How Star Wars: The Old Republic will move gamers

Comic-Con 2011: From speeder bikes to light speed travel, BioWare developers discuss player options and character progression.

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Who was there: Star Wars: The Old Republic game director James Ohlen, executive producer Rich Vogel, and community manager Stephen Reid, with senior content producer Dallas Dickinson moderating.

What they talked about: The first thing players will see when they start a new character in Star Wars: The Old Republic is the iconic Star Wars text crawl. The development team was adamant about recapturing the magic of the movies, and so it felt it was important that every class receive its own introduction in this fashion. In addition to this intro, each character class will have several hundred hours of unique story content, with Dickinson adding that players "will not see one duplicate mission" between the classes during their personal story missions.

Truly the Harley of the Old Republic.

Moving from personal story to galactic exploration, the panel addressed how players will get to and around the many planets in The Old Republic. Getting planetside will be a breeze using your personal ship's galactic map and light speed travel. Originally, Vogel said, light speed travel took several minutes to complete to help communicate the sheer amount of distance traveled. However, after focus-testing this feature, the development team decided to treat light speed as a form of quick travel. On the planets themselves, the team showed off its latest vehicle additions: speeder bikes and landspeeders. While they didn't offer any specifics on how these vehicles will function, they did show off a variety of different designs.

Afterward, the panel moved to character progression and combat. With character progression they showed off a wide variety of armor sets and other cosmetic items. Ohlen went on to explain that the items designed for each class were all inspired by the appropriate characters from the movies--from the trooper's armor to the bounty hunter's helmet. For combat, Ohlen chose to focus on the role of companion characters. "Companions are going to be a huge part of The Old Republic," he said. Players will be able to change the clothing, weapons, and much more once the game is released. And while it's not final, the team also hinted at including adjustable companion AI and issuing them specific combat commands.

As the panel came to a close, the floor was opened up for questions from the audience. While most of the questions prompted responses already covered in the presentation, the panel did go into some more detail on how each player's personal story will be impacted in group play. In brief, during a group decision the player's character will be awarded points based on the specific choice he or she wanted to make--even if the rest of the group voted another way.

The game's special edition was also detailed and will include the journal from master Gnost-Dural, a Darth Malgus figurine, a galaxy map, a soundtrack, and several unannounced in-game items. As far as a release date goes, the team wouldn't say anything more than this holiday season.

Quote: "We try to make sure that we match the iconic roles people want to play in the game."--Rich Vogel on character classes.

Takeaway: The Star Wars: The Old Republic development team is definitely shooting for the moon with a fully voiced massively multiplayer online game with hours and hours of unique content both for solo players and groups. As this game continues to grow, it should be interesting to see how the developers bring all these features together in one complete package.

Discussion

43 comments
keech
keech

@Poodger Except that It's been done before. Say what you will about the game itself, but Final Fantasy XI supported PC, Xbox, and PS2 all at once as a cross platform game. Meaning all players on all 3 platforms played on the same servers. Now the game isn't nearly as graphically demanding as ToR I know. But generally speaking it managed to handle the technical aspects of server latency and multiple players on screen at once very well. No worse than most PC only MMO's I've played at any rate. Though I agree as far as control scheme and UI. It's not impossible, but a lack of a moddable UI and plug in support along with the inability to reliably use hot keys (or a keyboard in general) and a controller at the same time can hurt the experience. I know it all too well, I played the above mentioned FFXI for many years on a console haha.

Poodger
Poodger

@keech Actually, I meant what I said. ToR might not be pushing anything to graphical limits, but it would be quite stressful on a console to have hundreds if not thousands of players roaming around simultaneously, interacting and fighting on the same screen or server. And my statement also went beyond technical capabilities. This game could not run on consoles because of the control scheme and gameplay. So quite literally, consoles could never even hope to dream of playing a game like this.

deal266
deal266

@Poodger This game would never want to step that low.

ACx7
ACx7

Standard $15 a month fee?

Jstephens914
Jstephens914

I am going to have to try this. I haven't played an MMO in a few years and I can't pass up Star Wars.

kiopta1
kiopta1

Darthveng.... your reliance on graphics must make it impossible for any great games to have a long shelf life for you.....5-10 years from now Mass Effect graphics will look weak but , at least for me, that won't change the fact that the game, characters, and story were amazing and highly enjoyable. Maybe to the point where I look upon it as I do with things like Staw Wars, Lord of the Rings, or even Harry Potter.

kiopta1
kiopta1

@pszone thats your choice but I think you will be missing out. I don't view this as simply another MMO..its as close to a single player story driven game as an MMO can get. besides most consoles and the networks they have aren't ready for the massive needs of a strong and heavily populated MMO.

kiopta1
kiopta1

@Nickery123 Holiday 2011 includes Nov. but people have to choose between games all the time...so I don't really see the problem. Not to mention that if you can't afford another game in Nov how can you then afford it in Dec or Jan? As a player I dont care if 12 year olds dont have enough allowance to buy all these games right away....now as an investor in gaming companies I could care less about used games being attacked. I view it the same as buying a car..if you want all the bells whistles and that new car smell buy new and don't expect that from a used one. As far as money goes...eh you have to make a choice based on what you can afford and for me I would ratherpay for a game that I can play for years rather than pay for one that I will play once or twice..beat it than be done.

pszone
pszone

If i run star wars old pubilc 3 it wont be mmo it would be single play and online play game for ps3,xbox360,PC. Aslo bring HD visions for ps3 and xbox360 and ya pc collection as well. The can i most love not coming to consles. This is not Bioware fault its EA Games fault and belive me i run things differnet to make it not a bad company at all and get the pp want.

sportwarrior
sportwarrior

First MMO I'm ever gonna play. Probably the only MMO I'll ever play. But I absolutely have to play it.

keech
keech

@Poodger May wanna check your facts before saying something like that. The system requirements for TOR aren't exactly pushing the boundaries on graphics. In fact the system requirements for TOR aren't horribly higher overall than the requirements for WoW: Cataclysm. They are actually lower in some aspects. The decision to not bring MMO's to consoles has nothing to do with technical capability. It's more about user interface and limited ability to make significant changes and improvements to the game years down the line and a far more limited user base on consoles.

dg3215
dg3215

Holiday season begins in October. At least that is what the department store Boscov's (where I use to work) considered the beginning of the holiday season and it ends the 1st week in Jan.

DarthVeng_basic
DarthVeng_basic

@Chickenesta : And that's half the reason I do not play WoW. Can't stand the character models and cutesy crap. The choice of making TOR look cartoony is extremely disappointing as well.

zidan4000
zidan4000

@Poodger also they usually don't support mouse and keyboard on consoles , i can't imagine playing an mmo without mouse and keyboard , these games are complicated enough on pc let alone on a console using a crappy user interface with a gamepad.

Frosty192
Frosty192

@GunBladeHero Good console gamers are uptight people anyways.

Phaselinear
Phaselinear

Just got my pre-order in along with a new gaming PC.....lucky me....

Wafflezorz
Wafflezorz

@GunBladeHero Some game types just can't work on consoles as they are designed now. Maybe some day in the future MMORPGs will flourish on consoles, but that day seems to not been a long time ago, but in a galaxy far far away.

Poodger
Poodger

@GunBladeHero This game could never even dream of being able to run on consoles. They just aren't powerful enough.

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

If it is not coming to consoles then I'm not interested.

Bartz77
Bartz77

@doomsayerr That is only for that one color, that gold with a black outline around it. If they made it so only preorders got to change their color the whole game, everyone would flip a ****.

pariah23
pariah23

No new MMO of any significance has ever released in December and EA certainly isn't going to be the first to take that risk. It will come out in November.

doomsayerr
doomsayerr

@nevryn Dude , just the thread at the official website ... they said and i'll quote .. " bla bla bla including the crystal which will allow you to change the color of your " bullets" or your lightsaber color , which WILL ONLY BE AVALIABLE FOR PRE-ORDER CLIENTS"

nevryn
nevryn

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

doomsayerr
doomsayerr

@Raven_Lord Yup, i'm pretty sure it will be on december , i mean.. Amazon says it's on December 4 and you know how those websites are , they always go for an earlier guess so people pre-order sooner, still i'm much less excited than i was since a few years ago , now with Bf3 and Gw2 i wouldn't see a point on playing SWTOR if i wasn't a SW fanboy,and btw i don't know if you guys noticed but you will only be able to change the color of your lightsaber IF you pre-order , and it's not avaliable on my country .. HOW douchy is that ?

JLCrogue
JLCrogue

I pretty much expected this game would come out this holiday season, which means any time in the fall/winter 2011. It seems like this isn't any news at all.

TechnologoDoom
TechnologoDoom

Probably will be the first MMO I'll actually play. I'm just hoping it's as good as it seems to be.

nickery123
nickery123

@dakkafex don't be belligerently dumb of course they mean December you know Christmas? Hanukkah? Ring any bells? Besides how would we not have a release date if we were THAT close to launch?

nickery123
nickery123

@kiopta1 I actually have to agree with the old holiday release window as opposed to November. While I'm sure it would hold it's own, there are simply too many shooters coming out who all cut into each others sales anyway and I don't intend to spend more than 120 dollars what with BF3, UC3 and everything else it is simply too competitive and people simply dont have that kind of money to buy usually more than two games new at one time, its simply too expensive and we all know how how the used gaming industry is being attacked.

Breyant
Breyant

"sepcial edtion" nice :)

kiopta1
kiopta1

I call for a release in Nov 2011....beta weekends are most likely in Sept 2011...Many places are selling out due to huge demand and a tiered release is being used to reduce opening day lag ( not to mention all the issues dealing with other countries).

debusentel
debusentel

I can't wait. Ever since I left SWG after the NGE, I've been patiently waiting for this and now it's almost here!

Grimbear13
Grimbear13

The game's a lot of fun I'm looking forward to the next build and the final release!

Raven_Lord
Raven_Lord

@doomsayerr: And another type right in the sentence where they talk about the release date: it should be 'than' instead of 'then'. ;) Anyway, I'm pretty sure that they won't delay it beyond December, SWG shuts down on December 15, so if I were them, I would release SW:TOR around December 1 so ex-SWG player can move to SW:TOR before their service is terminated. On a side note: I do hope that BioWare hires some of the developers who worked on the Jump to Lightspeed part of SWG, and they develop proper space combat for SW:TOR (I know quite a few people who were completely hooked on the space simulation part of SWG).

dakkafex
dakkafex

this holliday season? wich one would that be? summer vacation?

doomsayerr
doomsayerr

just nitpicking .. there's a typo at the 5th paragraph on the 5th line at "special" .

Chickenesta
Chickenesta

@DarthVeng_basic Everyone said EXACTLY the same about WoW before it was released. Ive played beta last november and the character models/art work works really well.

DarthVeng_basic
DarthVeng_basic

And isn't it criminal how the in-game character models look NOTHING like the CG Trailers and cover art? They look like cartoon characters on steroids. Really disappointed in their choice of character model.

-Saigo-
-Saigo-

I can't wait for this :) Hopefully it's as good as the hype!

KojimaMGfan83
KojimaMGfan83

I already pre-ordered the collector's edition of the game on Amazon!

dkdk999
dkdk999

I wish we could have an awsome swtor comic con video interview like we did last year. That was the coolest thing related to swotor I've ever seen.