Star Wars: The Old Republic
Submitted by Neimad
Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) is a new massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) expected to go live in 2011. After frenzy surrounding the initial game announcement in October 2008 by LucasArts, anticipation has been building towards the development of a title whose franchise is beloved by many since the first Star Wars film opened in 1977.
SWTOR is being developed by Canadian-founded and American-owned game company BioWare, best known for their computer RPG titles Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Mass Effect, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. SWTOR is expected to take up the mantle of success in what has been a barren ground for science-fiction based MMOGs. Set 3,500 years prior to the Star Wars movies, the MMOGs tie-in to Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is expected to provide a number of familiar elements. The previous success of KOTOR and its sequel is a reason for optimism around SWTOR in by the gaming community. KOTOR and KOTOR2 currently hold Metacritic scores of 93 and 85 respectively.
The question about how SWTOR will be different from other MMOGs is best answered by a quote from the official FAQ -
“Star Wars: The Old Republic will be similar to other MMOs but with several key innovations. Traditionally MMOs are built on three pillars; Exploration, Combat, and Progression. We at BioWare and LucasArts believe there is a fourth pillar: Story. Our mission is to create the best story-driven games in the world.”
The positive vibe around SWTOR is tempered by the reception given to the franchise’s last MMOG effort, Star Wars Galaxies (SWG). SWG was developed by Sony Online Entertainment and on launch in 2003 was heralded as “Easily the most gorgeous and immersive game in the genre”. While initially successful, SWG encountered a number of issues around the introduction of Jedi characters, particularly the difficulty of enabling a Jedi character on a player’s account. An expansion to allow space based content followed by further additions to make the game more accessible, including allowing Jedi as a starting class, saw a reduction in the subscriber base and the closure of game servers over the next six years has led to gamers treating the newest approaching Star Wars MMOG with cautious optimism.
During the development phase BioWare has gone to great pains to assuage gaming community concerns while revealing tantalising glimpses of what SWTOR would offer. The release of the Deceived trailer featuring a Sith Empire assault on the Jedi Temple, as well as Hope showing the actions of Republic Troopers fighting on Alderaan, and gameplay trailers from the E3 and PAX East gaming expositions have kept interest buzzing. The Fan Friday reveals have shown the eight classes available to the Galactic Republic (Jedi Consular, Jedi Knight, Smuggler, Trooper) and Sith Empire (Bounty Hunter, Imperial Agent, Sith Inquisitor, Sith Warrior), seventeen planets, six starships, as well as leading characters expected to drive the game from the as currently unknown launch date.
The most recent initiative by the developers to include the SWTOR community was the Pre Launch Guild Program. Begun in March 2011 the program allows members who have registered on the SWTOR website to lay claim to their in game group identity. Guilds can identify with the Sith Empire or the Galactic Republic, state a PvE, PvP, and/or Role Play focus, and have a geographical server preference for US East, US West, or Europe.
How and when Star Wars: The Old Republic proceeds will be one of the most anticipated gaming events of 2011. Also of interest will be the impact STOR has as a competitor in the MMOG market. With the worldwide fanbase that Star Wars has, and a potentially entertaining game from a developer whose reputation is built on the foundation of providing compelling storylines, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set to be one of the largest releases of the year.
Star Wars: The Old Republic FAQ - Star Wars: The Old Republic | FAQ
Metacritic Star Wars Galaxies - Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided for PC
Wikipedia Star Wars Galaxies - Star Wars Galaxies - Wikipedia
BioWare - About BioWare
MMOGChart - http://www.mmogchart.com/Chart2.html
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