Should I Be Excited for Star Wars: The Old Republic?
By: Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
It goes without saying that the Star Wars franchise is the most overused name in the video game industry. Time and time again we’ve been given Star Wars games (and spinoffs) that have been bearable to downright bad. Of course there have been different attempts to incorporate the Star Wars universe into something that’s playable, since the universe itself is well suited to be made into a very immersive game- it’s just that there are only a few Star Wars titles that were any good.
And now we have another Star Wars game coming out, and this time it’s another MMORPG. Now the question is, should we be really excited for this? Would it mean that we have to suffer through another Star Wars MMO?
In fairness to Star Wars Galaxies (the first Star Wars MMO), the game had a lot of potential. The game gave us the options and choices we don’t normally have in any Star Wars game. However, as the game progressed, certain decisions by the company that handled the game (I won’t be dropping the name of that company because it’s pretty obvious who it is) ruined it for the players. Of course I still acknowledge the dedication the game’s remaining player base has, but even Lucas had to pull the plug of SWG for TOR.
We then have BioWare making the newest Star Wars MMO. Should we then be excited? Hell yeah we should.
Now, I’m not much of a hardcore Star Wars fan. I loved episodes 4-6 while taking episodes 1-3 with a grain of salt. I’ve never immersed myself in the novels but I have had the experience of playing through a lot of the Star Wars games and even researched some notable characters in the Star Wars universe (Mace Windu fan right here). If you mention any game related to Star Wars figurative ears would perk up in excitement. I am glad that my enthusiasm for Star Wars games has not dissipated through the years- but with TOR, I’m more excited than usual.
One of main reasons why my excitement is greater for TOR is that BioWare is the one developing the game. Who would be better suited to create a new Star Wars game than the company who brought us one of the most memorable Star Wars game in history? Of course a lot of people who have been paying attention to BioWare would know that the company is treading on unknown territory because this will be their first actual attempt in the MMO genre. I myself have that nagging apprehension ever since I heard they’d be handling the reins on this one.
BioWare is known to create tons of great story-driven games. And seeing that the genre they’re going into rarely cares for storyline- we are left to wonder what would BioWare do with SWTOR? In fact, we’re left to wonder how they will incorporate storytelling into a genre that throws away stories because it’s too darn hard to maintain a flowing storyline. We then hear BioWare promising that every player would get their own story in TOR! No company would even dare to deliver that, including Blizzard, since most of the MMOs that have a player story comes from RP-ing or players who have the gift of wordsmithing.
I personally want to see how BioWare will try and deliver their promise. The company has proven time and time again that they can really spin a good tale, and I want to see them try and apply their magic into the MMO scene. If they are able to do this perfectly, I’m seeing that this is the biggest push the MMO industry, which has been stagnating lately, needs.
Aside from wanting to see how BioWare would pull this off, I actually love some of the features that BioWare has included in TOR. The most noteworthy for me is the space combat. I actually liked the route BioWare went with on this one. As a big Rogue Squadron fan, I really expected space combat in TOR to have the same intensity as I experienced in that old PC game. With the video I saw during E3 I felt that rush and I love the sheer beauty the space combat has. I also liked how BioWare expected that space combat could be tedious and that not all players would love to keep on shooting down ships so they made space combat as an optional “mini-game” for players.
The job classes on the other hand are satisfactory for me since most of them are the classes that I expected in a Star Wars game. What I really want to see is how they fare in actual combat since BioWare is boasting that they are trying to make your character look and feel as an action star from a Star Wars movie would. Would my Jedi knight fight with the acrobatic dexterity that has often left my mouth agape whenever I watch Jedi battles? Would I be able to see the smuggler in all his/her gun slinging glory?
The other thing that made me excited for TOR is the dedication of the people backing the game. The TOR community is huge even if the game is still under development. As a person who has had experience both as a player and as someone behind the operations of an MMO, the lifeblood of any online game is its community, and TOR indeed has that, in spades. Speaking of the community, BioWare even has a special pre-launch guild program to bolster TOR’s guilds.
I always believed that a game company that knows how to take care of its community knows what it is doing, and BioWare has been known to foster a great community even before the TOR project.
As a person who is looking for the next MMO to spend both my money and time on, I’m pretty psyched for TOR. I trust BioWare enough to be able to deliver a lot of their promises. With my experience in their games such as KotoR, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age Origins I think that my trust is well founded that they would make TOR into a great Star Wars game. Though of course I still have my doubts and concerns but I’m giving Bioware the benefit of the doubt after they proved time and
But rest assured if I’m disappointed in this game, my review will be far more spiteful than a death by Force choking!