Star Wars: The Old Republic Hands-On

We finally got to play BioWare's hugely anticipated Star Wars massively multiplayer online game at GamesCom, and we unleashed the power of the dark side as a Sith warrior.

One of the most hotly anticipated PC games on GameSpot at the moment is Lucasarts and BioWare's upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Mixing George Lucas' epic sci-fi universe with BioWare's successful role-playing experience seems like a pretty safe bet after the success of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series. That game mixed successful MMO pillars, such as combat, progression, and exploration with something BioWare excels at: compelling, narrative-rich storylines. Announced late last year, details about the game have slowly emerged since then, and so far, we've seen a number of Empire and Republic classes, including the bounty hunter, smuggler, trooper and Sith. We finally got a brief play of SWTOR as a Sith warrior at GamesCom 2009 in Cologne, Germany.

Before we got hands-on, we were treated to another demo and briefly introduced to the Sith homeworld of Korriban. We saw the massive pyramid-shaped Sith Academy in the distance and a quest that involved clearing a tomb of grave robbers so we could collect some valuable Sith artifacts for our quest giver. Our BioWare guide, playing as a level four character, made quick work of the raiders, as well as some giant K'Lor slugs and their smaller broodlings at which point we moved on to a familiar setting: the hands-on section from the same demo that we saw previously at E3 2009.

Playing as a Sith instead of a bounty hunter this time around, we arrived on a Sith warship with another player, with the task of disciplining the captain who has defied his superior's orders. After a brief cutscene, we engaged in some multiplayer dialogue, which allowed both us and our party member to choose our own responses and then ultimately decide whether the captain should live or die. We saw the former decision played out at E3, so we decided to go against Sith convention and show mercy. The captain didn't take our kindness for granted and requested that we help him defeat some Jedi scum about to land on the ship.

Our decision to save the captain instantly resulted in a new path opening up to us. Instead of taking a right turn toward a shuttle bay elevator, our route instead took us left, into a different area of the ship. The basic controls are all very standard for an MMO: right-clicking the mouse selects other characters, powers are mapped to the keyboard's top button row, and W, A, S, and D keys are used to move. Your character won't automatically attack an enemy within range however, so you will need to keep using those powers to make mincemeat of those Republic dogs. Certain powers, such as basic attacks, earn action points, while others use them. After fighting a few low-level Republic troopers, we'd earned enough to use the Force charge power. This ranged attack lets you perform a huge leap attack to quickly get up close to an enemy. The impale power, meanwhile, stabs your lightsaber through an enemy for a powerful attack. Area stun temporarily freezes enemies in your vicinity, while Force choke lets you perform Darth Vader's powerful signature move. It won't be enough to kill Jedi apprentices and knights, but it will sap a fair amount of their health and feels totally badass. If you succumb to the powers of the light side and die, you won't necessarily have to begin the quest from the start, and numerous items, such as bacta cylinders, will be able to revive you. Finally, we were also told by a BioWare staffer that you will earn more powers through player-versus-environment main and side quests.

For more information about the Sith class read our recently published Q&A with SWTOR's creative director James Ohlen and associate lead designer Emmanuel Lusinchi and visit gamescom.gamespot.com for the rest of our coverage from GamesCom 2009.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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Discussion

92 comments
EpicFail37
EpicFail37

this is every bit on my wish list...

kreias
kreias

replying Vasot: Me and alot of people wants an MMO of KOTOR. And I think the graphic is ok.

Sea666
Sea666

Beta test (public) was announced today - SW:TOR site went down "milliseconds" afterwards :).

Vasot
Vasot

I am disappointed the graphics look old and the gameplay repetive with a shallow story :( Just make KOTOR 3 we do not want an MMO !!

shooters125
shooters125

im glad they got rez items that way we dont have to rely on bringing a preist type character on something a little too hard.

Aletunda
Aletunda

this could work out to be an awsome game, just depends what combat and gameplay are like, graphics im not too phased about, i mean Wow doesnt have the richest looking details or anything (as much as i despise that game) and its done pretty well so this should be a hit

DarcyAllen
DarcyAllen

Will I buy this? Most definitely! It's about time we get a good replacement from Star Wars Galaxies! I just hope they don't turn it to crap like SOE did!

Kippie88
Kippie88

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dg3215
dg3215

This game looks like it can be a great game. All I wonder is what are the requirements, I have a great computer but a lot of my friends do not and I hope they can play it. Also I hope BioWare takes their sweet time making it so those nasty bugs that a lot of MMO games have at launch are not there. I will not be surprised if this game does not come out until late 2010 or 2011.

village_iddiot
village_iddiot

@nerdriot.. I highly doubt it will be anything lik Kotor because their using the engine from Jade empire.

village_iddiot
village_iddiot

THIS is really going to suck. I have to assume that all of you are nubes because Kotor was way better than this...Skyydragon "what R the Requirements?" I can already see the requirements. THe best Computer in the world and a hefty price to pay each month. Im sure that Bioware is going to be great and set a number of Precendents for MMO games. It's just all the people that played Kotor will hate this game...

Jacen_G
Jacen_G

how they explained it sounds like its Coop instead of MMO

Fededyret
Fededyret

you can see some gameplay videos of the very same things - sith warrior class, korriban, bounty hunter, and the conversation with the captain on the ship and much more - on IGN, unfortunate these videos ain't on gamestop yet.

skyydragonn
skyydragonn

I'm so glad bioware is behind this title. I really dont feel any other publisher has the storytelling savvy to really make an MMO envoirnment "feel" like the star wars galaxy. after watching the recent gameplay video (20mins long in 4 pts) I cannot wait to get a hold of this title. It looks like its going to be awesome fun. especially considering that each class has so many different options to change the story. Eight (yes 8) classes with over 200hours of gameplay each. and every playthrough being different? Goddamn its going to be fun playing through all the variables. EDIT: anyone know the system requirements yet?

PSplayer09
PSplayer09

yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! its a PC game!!!! AND ONLINE!! :O must buy!!!

Argal
Argal

@buckeyejuggalo How right you are, also played and loved Galaxies until the Combat upgrade, at which point most of the people I had been playing with left and it all turned crappy =/ I absolutely hate how they turned Jedi/Sith into a starting class, with the Force Sensitivty requirements and Village system Force Users really "felt" like powerful characters and Masters were rare and elusive. I managed to get to Adept (I think it was called) rank myself before I quit. Nevertheless SWG was still one of the best MMOs ever made and I really hope Old Republic will become the kind of game SWG could have been.

turnerdoc
turnerdoc

how much will it cost i played sw galaxies day it came out loved it hated the 15 a month i shelled out to play played for two yrs both the exspanions all total over 400 damn

buckeyejuggalo
buckeyejuggalo

Also, I know they're going to just hand Jedis and Sith over to people because of their abundance during this time period but does anyone else miss the old Galaxies way of being a Jedi/Sith? Having to actually work for it and seek the training? Or am I just day dreaming again?

buckeyejuggalo
buckeyejuggalo

@SgtDeathrax Apparently you've never heard of Star Wars: Galaxies? It was one of the most epic MMOs to ever grace this earth...until ole' what's his face got ahold of it (same fellow who came up with Force Unleashed, his name escapes me) and implemented the combat upgrade. Then it all went to hell and sucked hardcore. That is the whole reason I play WoW. Star Wars: Galaxies sucks it too hard. I would like to know if they're going to implement space combat like in Galaxies. That was one of the best parts...zooming around in my TIE fighter, blowing rebel scum from the skies. All in all this is very promising so far and definately is worth the trial version at least. I'm not jumping to conclusions and saying this is the be all to end all MMOs because we've seen where that's got us before, eh? (cough, Warhammer, cough)

Barighm
Barighm

Everyone is turning their signature RPG series into MMO's these days. Everyone wants to be WoW. Profit drives the direction of game development, not gamers. That said, don't forget the Xbox players! What they will probably do is create a single player KOTOR 3 version for 360 using the MMO's quests and environments.

bennie12
bennie12

Not and MMO fan but this looks incredible. IGN.com actually has videos. I was extremely dissapointed when they announced that this was a MMO instead of KOTOR 3, but now I am warming up to it. I am still hoping for KOTOR 3 by Obsidian or someone. I mean, think of the Old Republic trailer with the Jedi getting killed and the graphics look amazing. That could be KOTOR 3. The amount of improvements they could make since the first two would be astounding. 3 is possible because of the 500 year gap between Sith Lords and Old Republic. But this still looks awesome.

jayzsayz
jayzsayz

Race you to the store when this comes out! But seriously, this game will allow me to live out my nerdy star wars fantasies. =O Fully voiced, compelling narrative, bioware, bounty hunters, lightsabers, oh my. At the moment, I play wow like many of you, and I'm not really looking for a wow-killer because Blizzard has had many years to polish their game and they know what attracts people, but I'm looking for a game that will take some of my addiction off WoW. All I know is, Im certainly getting this at launch and savoring each voiceovers. The gameplay is at the right pace as I would like. Not too slow but not too much spamming. Bioware kept reiterating on IGN's "Q&A" that PVP is very important to them, and this is good news because that's a big part of MMOs. This game also has so much prelaunch goodies on their website. They're really putting lots of love into this one. It's gonna rock!

SgtDeathrax
SgtDeathrax

There is a few MMO's out there!! But there is no Star Wars MMO available until now!!! Muhahahah!!!!! It's gonna be the ducks nuts... It'll be right up there with WoW and the almighty LOTR Online.. I'll say this will be the game I'm going to get!!

SgtDeathrax
SgtDeathrax

There is a few MMO's out there!! But there is no Star Wars MMO available until now!!! Muhahahah!!!!! It's gonna be the ducks nuts... It'll be right up there with WoW and the almighty LOTR Online.. I'll say this will be the game I'm going to get!!

amari24
amari24

@Rovelius Someone is being close-sighted here.I never said this game will suck.I'm saying the majority of KOTOR fans wanted a KOTOR 3 and not an MMO.How many MMO's do we have coming out and already here? WOW,Champs,DC online,Now we even have a new WoW game to obviously compete with this game.Not to mention this game will have nothing to do with has sucessor..And it looks so gimicky and cartoony im not even going to play it.Not to mention P2P,.There was no point ever to turn KOTOR into a MMO.No reason ever.We already have Mass Effect...Why not let it stand out from other popular games and keep it RPG format.

Rovelius
Rovelius

@amari24 Someone is being close-minded here. I see no reasons whatsoever to say this game is gonna stink. It's actually quite the contrary. It's gonna kill WoW, lol.

chaos123hades
chaos123hades

this game is going to be perfect,because there'ive taken so much time making it

TheLemonGelati
TheLemonGelati

God, this looks good. Looks like I may actually be playing my first MMO at the release.

ssj4jaksta
ssj4jaksta

someone i know is in the closed beta for this game. They said and i quote "this is gonna be the mmo to kill all other mmo's" and i already thought it would be good because its being made by bioware, but after he said that i was automatically sold.

nerdriot
nerdriot

Looks awsome!..hope they upgraded the battle system from KOTOR because I tought it was kinda slow pace with the stop action system(dont think it would work im a MMO)...anyway im hoping it can replace LOTRO as top MMO with a story...Im due for a change :)

ssfire8
ssfire8

WOW!!!!! this game is looking great

Jakeamalake
Jakeamalake

The innovations in on-line gaming have changed gaming forever. The present and future of gaming is on-line play, and I think its great that Bioware and Lucas Arts are stepping up onto the stage with what I feel will be a great game.

buffdaddy69
buffdaddy69

@amari24 So wait, MMO's are the most overrated Gameformate? explain.

amari24
amari24

Star Wars:Knight Of The Old Republic was my favroite gaming franchise ever.But making it into and MMO just destroyed the legacy...Im not going to even botherp playing this game.You turn an award winning master-piece into the most overrated gaming format of alltime.God.. Bioware are such idiots.

xrman
xrman

Looks good but I want to learn more. I simply wished they had made Knights of the Old Republic III and not an mmo.

Dezeylucid
Dezeylucid

Hey i might just play this... It seems 2 b ok.

ultralesus
ultralesus

Must admit I'm bored of high-fantasy and space settings. I'm looking forward to DC Universe personally... Still... It's BioWare... it's bound to be classic.

Odnomiar
Odnomiar

Can't wait for this... this will be the game(probably) that breaks me from WoW. 5 years in the same 'verse is starting to grate...

NoLifeGamin
NoLifeGamin

hearing that Old Republic is gonna be based off the SWKOTOR franchise(which i found to be even more addicting than WoW) im am SOOO sold for this

Meejoe27
Meejoe27

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Nina_Pro
Nina_Pro

Has some potential and although I'm slightly worried about what happened to Galaxies I have a lot of faith in BioWare. If it's as good as WoW then it'll be great. I wonder how they're gonna incorporate PVP into the game and are they going to go the route of maybe adding space combat and economy system ala EVE Online or something similar in future patches or expansion packs? Owning property? Dare I hope for a complete MMO such as Galaxies could have been (had the stars aligned differently and more voodoo priests consulted)? Nah I wont hold my breath.

fandom888
fandom888

I know that this will be an exciting MMORPG game, and there is no doubt. But isn't it a bit overhyped? I know what BioWare is capable of with RPG games, but things are a little harder with online games.

-Celeste-
-Celeste-

@Mogglewump I think the point they were making is that the vast majority of MMO's aren't generally regarded for their stories. However, good combat, decent progression, and a large world to explore generally lead to sucessful MMO's. I dont know where you're implying that those concepts originated from MMO's. Think of it this way ... the MMO is the roof, and those are teh supports. MMO's generally dont have or need a good story. RPG's on the other hand, dont need the progression or exploration (its artificial and based on the story).

skitchrick
skitchrick

Sounds instanced.... please Bioware, learn from the strengths that made SWG so frigging good: sandbox-wide open- build anywhere-go anywhere FREEDOM! It's cool to have a few instanced quests, but make this puppy BIG and I'll play for years. PS- I can't wait to play it!

Mogglewump
Mogglewump

"That game mixed successful MMO pillars, such as combat, progression, and exploration with something BioWare excels at: compelling, narrative-rich storylines." So that'd make it an...RPG then. Strange turn of phrase that implies that these concepts originated in MMOs. I look forward to seeing the game, though I'm yet to find an MMO story in which my interest survives against the presence of grind.

Namstreg
Namstreg

seems like a pretty good single player Star Wars game but i cant imagine how this is supposed to be an MMORPG. seems to quite lag the elements of an MMORPG but has all the necessities of a single player Star wars game. Well, i can wipe this off my "what i want for christmas" list