It’s no secret that all of us here at g33kWatch have been super excited about Bioware’s upcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. Luckily at New York Comic-Con we had a chance to go to the SWTOR panel and interview SWTOR Live producer Cory Butler.
I have been a child (well, late blooming) of World of Warcraft, gave Aion a go, did the trial for Rift, got suckered into Guild Wars, and I even gave Dungeons and Dragons Online a go. After all of that, I gave up on the MMO world all together, never really finding one that didn’t feel like a grind or just a big time sink. I was equally surprised and horrified when I heard that Bioware was making a new MMO based on Lucas’ franchise but after all the news that’s dropped, I will be making my foray back into the world of Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (Curse you George Lucas/Bioware!)
At NY Comic-con, both Joey V and I had the pleasure of being able to squeeze into the official Old Republic panel amidst hundreds of other fans who wanted to learn even more about the game. The panel was headed by Game Director James Ohlen, Writing Director Daniel Erickson, Writer Drew Karpyshyn, and Live Producer Cory Butler.
The panel started with your typical seen-everywhere trailer followed by some hyping by asking who knows anything about the game, who played it, who’s in the beta, etc etc. We were then given some cold, hard facts about the game:
All of Bioware Austin is working solely on Star Wars: The Old Republic.
This means they are 100% committed to this game. We were promised that there is no secret game that’s being worked on and that every resource they have is being used for this game.
Since last March, SWTOR has been tested for 4.8 million hours across the US and Europe and there have been an average 200,000 forum posts per week.
This active involvement of the dev teams and testers is proving to be awesome for a finished product. Having read through of the forum myself, I’ pleased to say that Bioware is really listening and making changes and making sure the consumer is happy with the product.
It takes place 3,963 years before the movies and 300 years after Knights of the Old Republic.
This means you won’t see any of your favorite movie characters but that’s where this game needs to go in order to be able to be expansive and awesome. We were treated to video showing the re-taking of Korriban, watching the Republic turn the tide of battle of Alderaan as the Galactic battle intensifies, and finally see the Sith’s attack on Coruscant and the Jedi temple which forces a treaty and cold war, bringing us to the events of The Old Republic
You can choose from 8 character classes, all of which based on iconic characters in the movies and each class has it’s own set of missions, there will be no duplicate missions from class to class!
This. Is. phenomenal. Each class’ story is equivalent to “several hundred hours of gameplay.” It seeks to get of the grind you have to go through when playing current MMOs when trying to make multiple characters. Though, on a larger scale, there will be a big galactic storyline that can be dropped in and out of so it doesn’t feel entirely like a single player RPG but still is able to add lots of rich story elements to the game.
For you more social players, there will be high level endgame content, PVP, and social features.
There will 15 Flashpoints shipping at launch
These will be ranging from low to high levels which are SWTOR’s instances. These can be completed in regular mode and then a hard-mode for the more adventurous. So really, there will always be a flashpoint appropriate for your level.
Some are going to be more narrative heavy, others more action involved, but all are going to be fun. A good number of flashpoints are going to be Endgame specific and really can only be completed at Max level, but we weren’t given how many.
There will be things called Operations.
These seem to be the SWTOR equivalent of raids. There will be 3 Max Level Operations, one of which was already announced and we know it as Eternity Vault. A second one was partially revealed which will involve the Hutts, who just so happen to be the third largest faction in the game.
For all you bloodthirsty fans, there will be 3 PvP warzones
There will be open world PvP as well.
First is the Alderaan warzone, which has the two factions fighting over control of a Super-laser which would turn the tide of the war.
Second is Huttball, which takes place on Nar Shada and allows players to earn glory and credits. The nifty thing about this warzone is that you can actually fight people of the same faction. It almost looks like it could be Grifball from the screen shots, but we’ll know more as the release gets closer.
Last is the Voidstar warzone, which has one faction attacking and one defending a valuable computer chip. Attackers move through 4 zones to ultimately get to the chip. Even if you don’t make it all the way through, the match will reset after a determined amount of time and sides will switch.
There are 2 major social hubs in the game where you can launch flashpoints, PvP, spend credits and have a trading hub. These are located in the main fleets for each faction and can be accessed by starships. What if you want to feel special in these cities and not hang with the common folk? There will be a special VIP section of the city for purchasers of the Collector’s Edition only. This doesn’t grant any advantage in the game, it just makes you feel cool.
After this, we moved onto some Q&A which didn’t really produce much of anything but here are some highlights:
- There will be no dungeon-finder initially, in order to make people focus on the world.
- You will be able to shift your light/dark- side alignment and this can be changed down the line by dailies and diplomacy missions
- There will be light-side/ dark-side themed items, but they are mostly for vanity
- Possible smart-phone app?
- No mini-games for launch, but Pazzak is possible later down the line
- Lots of different ways to define your role in game
Last but not least, December 20, 2011 WORLDWIDE RELEASE
After the panel, Live Producer Cory Butler was awesome enough to talk with us a little bit about the game, his favorite parts, and some changes that went on during development.
I’m excited for this game and I hope you are too since it’s looking to be a good one. I’m looking forward to playing with you all when it comes out so we can get our lightsabering on!
Until next time,