Star Wars The Old Republic: An Introduction
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Starting today I will be writing a series of articles building up to the release of Star Wars the MMO. In this article I will be introducing this wonderful title that is coming in the end of 2011 and the confirmed release date is December 20 for the Americans and December 22 for the Europeans! Currently the closed beta is live and only a small amount of players are invited. There are several testing phases though so if you haven’t been invited yet, keep trying. Luckily my friend scored invites and was willing to share with me so expect some insider coverage in my next article!
Star Wars is most likely the biggest fantasy/science fiction film series of all time. Made by George Lucas, the first trilogy started in the 70’s and 80’s, the second one was made in 1999 and the last movie released was in 2005. There was an MMO made during the reign of the follow-up trilogy that has since fallen out of style, leaving a hole in the hearts of Star Wars fans and MMO gamers everywhere. Star Wars The Old Republic, being developed by the legendary devs at Bioware, will return the Star Wars universe to the MMO genre with a whole new storyline.
The setting is 300 years after the events of Bioware’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series. For anyone not familiar with these top titles, this series truly set the bar for every RPG game to come. The KOTOR series consists of the same classic Sith vs Jedi wars that made Star Wars famous in the 70s. The KOTOR series however takes place 3,500 years before the Star Wars films and the story is much more political and deep than the movies themselves. If you haven’t played these games yet I believe they are both available at a discount on Steam. If you care at all about story telling you will want to catch up on the tale before jumping into the upcoming MMO.
Now back to Star Wars The Old Republic. The Jedi are held responsible for the success of the Sith during the devastating 28-year-long Great Galactic War and the Jedi have relocated themselves on the planet Tython. This is the place where the Jedi Order had initially been founded, to seek guidance from the Force. The Sith control Korriban, where they have re-established a Sith Academy. You enter this universe as a fresh recruit for one of these two warring factions.
Now for the people that aren’t been familiar with the “Force” : The Force is an all binding power between organisms and energy. Some people in the known Star Wars universe are force sensitive; this means they are able to utilize the Force as an extension of their own will. With this power many things can be done and people are able to achieve different skills and abilities.
The Force is balanced between Good and Evil. The Jedi are the peacemakers in Star Wars The Old Republic and the Sith prefer to use it more to their evil likings. The Jedi respect the universum and serve any living organism with any problem that might occur. The Sith however use the Dark side of the Force to manipulate powerful leaders and craft the Universe to their choosing. They get their power from hate, egoism and passion.
Star Wars The Old Republic is going to be a MMORPG similar in the style of other currently Pay to Play released MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft. This is Bioware’s first MMORPG, and they are trying to make SW:TOR different from most MMORPGs while not straying too far into the unknown regions of development.
Because Star Wars is a really known franchise in the world right now people have high hopes for the game to become a top seller. Bioware realizes this and knows that if they can provide the basics of a solid MMO with high production values, the brand will sell itself.
As such the combat is standard MMO goodness but the storyline is intricate, giving players a wide variety of choices in progressing their own personal storyline. This is nearly unheard of in the MMO genre because of the difficulties in producing custom crafted storylines for literally hundreds of thousands of players without breaking game immersion. There are a lot of choices you can make between the Light side and the Dark side and your character will evolve to a different personage every time you make a choice. In essence they have crafted a MMO theme park like so many others, but one in which you can choose to take the soft core left track or go for the full on 360 degree loop on the right track!
Another big feature Bioware is using to differentiate itself is Space Combat. Every character in Star Wars The Old Republic will obtain its own space ship; this ship can be used for Space Combat or travelling to other planets. The ship will also serve as your ‘home’ where many tools and resources can be stored. Every character that will help you and join you in your journey will take residence in your own Space Ship so you can easily find them if you require their help. There isn’t a lot of information released about the Space Combat, yet there are several videos you can find on YouTube regarding the Space Combat should you seek them out. There is no information however of what purpose the Space Combat will have so this is still one big mystery for everyone and I personally cannot wait to fly with my own ship in space and shoot some evil scum.
Races & Classes
There are many playable races and classes. Only a few of them are known so far, but I expect there might be even more added to this list in the future.
Everyone known in the Star Wars universe might remember a few of these and most of them are found in the KOTOR series or even the Star Wars movies.
The current classes are playable for the Republic, please note that these classes can be played by several races so you have a lot of choice:
The following classes are known for the Sith Empire:
I’ll go into greater detail on the specializations of each class after I get a bit more time in beta to see their strengths and weaknesses.
Bioware has given the following system specifications for Star Wars The Old Republic:
- Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4000 or better / Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.0 Ghz or better
- Memory: At least 1.5 GBRAM for XP / 2 GB or better for Windows Vista/7
- Graphics: ATI XT1800 or better / NVIDIA7800 or better / Intel 4100 or better. 256 MB minimum video RAM, shader 3.0 or better fully compatible graphics card.
- OS: Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7
- DVD-ROM: 8x or better
The requirements are really not demanding that much of your machine and everyone with a computer that has been purchased in the last 5 years should easily be set to play this game.
As stated above Star Wars The Old Republic will hit the shelves in December which is only 2 months away. Personally I was absolutely thrilled when my friend said he’d lend me his beta account and I definitely intend to buy the Collectors’ Edition of the game. Bioware has released details regarding the Collectors’ Edition and I must say this is most likely the priciest Collectors’ Edition I’ve ever seen, coming in at $150.
I feel Star Wars The Old Republic will be bringing back the glory days of Star Wars Galaxies which is the previous MMO that was involved in the Star Wars Universe. With that game gone, this is the only way I can get my Star Wars MMO fix! I will continue making articles about my experience in the Star Wars beta so be sure to follow us on twitter and facebook to keep update on when my next article arrives!