Star Wars: The Old Republic Updated Hands-On - The Republic Trooper

We suit up with the Republic trooper profession in this upcoming <i>Star Wars</i>-themed online role-playing game.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a studio named BioWare developed a single-player role-playing game called Knights of the Old Republic. It took place in a unique version of the Star Wars universe centuries before the events in the motion pictures. Now, BioWare has returned to this setting with a highly anticipated massively multiplayer online role-playing game that will attempt to combine the addictive hack-and-slash nature of massively multiplayer games with the intimacy and in-depth story of single-player games. In The Old Republic, you'll be able to choose a profession that is associated primarily with the plucky Republic, or the growing Sith Empire. This time out, we played the Republic's trooper class--a heavy-duty assault class that doesn't use lightsabers but, instead, suits up in heavy armor and carries heavy blasters and grenades.

The Republic trooper speaks softly, but carries a big gun.

We began our session with a rookie level-six trooper (made significantly more powerful for the purpose of the play session with the help of some substantially overpowered weapons and armor) on Ord Mantell, a planet split by civil war. It seems that the Republic's control of the planet is slipping away to a separatist guerilla movement, and our job this time around was to infiltrate a separatist base, meet up with our commanding officer, and get debriefed on the real mission: locating and disabling a force field protecting a powerful bomb that must be defused. However, along the way, we also picked up a side mission from a local journalist who offered a bribe in return for our recovery of certain holodiscs containing exciting footage of separatists--footage that the news networks would love.

We began our mission by not-so-subtly making our entry into the separatist compound, which was casually guarded by various separatist soldiers (including commandos armed with blaster rifles, separatist brawlers armed with melee-range vibroblades, pistol-toting propaganda officers, and security robots). Fortunately, our somewhat overpowered test trooper character didn't have much trouble dividing and conquering each small cluster by engaging each enemy individually in combat and generally blasting the enemy to bits.

The trooper is considered to be an "action point class," in that it has a basic blaster attack (currently called "hammer shot") that not only deals some ranged damage to a target, but also stores up two action points in the character's meter (the trooper can store up to 10). These action points are used to power most of the profession's other abilities, such as "rifle grenade," which launches a single-target explosive that knocks its targets off their feet; "sticky grenade," which launches a different single-target explosive that causes its targets to panic (what with a live grenade being stuck to them and all); and "full auto," which can potentially use up all your character's action points by unloading your blaster rifle on your target in a damaging barrage. Troopers also have a close-range melee attack with the butts of their rifles that can send their opponents sprawling. Clearly, these abilities make the profession crucial not just for dealing damage, but also for controlling crowds of enemies by making sure priority targets are knocked off their feet...and stay off their feet.

The trooper has abilities that can control priority targets while laying down withering fire.

We tore through the first few separatist troopers on the map quickly while seeking out our contact; she was staked out in a nearby control room clearly located on the game's minimap. After speaking with her and getting our orders to deactivate the bomb's force field, we headed out to the base's entrance. Again, it was clearly marked on the minimap, and we fought the occasional skirmish with nearby separatist troopers. Interestingly, The Old Republic will actually custom-tailor hunting quests based on your play patterns, so if you happen to repeatedly slaughter, oh, let's say, Ord Mantell separatist troopers, the game will craft a miniquest for you that will reward you for killing a few more of them (in this case, a total of 20). Fortunately, our powerful character had little trouble patiently isolating individual targets and filling them with holes like interstellar Swiss cheese.

Because of our powerful character, we didn't have a great deal of trouble dealing with the base's defenses, which were primarily separatist colonists and robots. Thus, we soon got on the trail of the bomb. On our way to the center of the base, we found a small party of injured (and terrified) separatists, who begged for their lives. We gave them the benefit of the doubt and let them escape. At that point, LucasArts producers informed us that we'd normally receive light side points (this wasn't implemented at the time we were playing). Soon, we found our main target--a control room where a frightened separatist soldier claimed that the bomb had been moved and that Republic scum like us would never find it. At this point, we entered into a three-sided dialogue with the soldier and our commanding officer--who had also tracked down the target--and gave us an order to pull out our weapon to shoot the man on the spot. Rather than take the dialogue option of agreeing to the order, we chose to refuse in favor of interrogating the man thoroughly (which would probably have earned us more light side points). He folded and revealed that the bomb had been moved to an unknown location and his separatist commanding officers had fled.

The trooper will be a valuable addition to just about any adventuring party.

With our quest log updated to locate the fleeing separatist officers, we tracked them down in a nearby room and entered into a two-sided dialogue. We did our best to come to a peaceful resolution, though the panicky fugitives refused to listen to reason and opened fire. We gunned them down in short order, completing our primary mission. This left us to complete our side quest to hunt down the missing journalist and his holodiscs. We found the idealistic young man soon afterward, modifying the content of the discs to suit the separatist's agenda since he had become swept up in the movement. We engaged the young man in dialogue and decided we'd had enough of going after light side points and demanded the discs on pain of death. The journalist revealed that the discs were stolen by separatist propaganda officers. We ventured back out to the base to locate some propaganda officer spawns and summarily executed them, picking up the discs as loot. We then left the base to find that the main bridge going from the compound to the outside world had been completely destroyed. We hopped down into the ravine below to find our journalist contact to hand off the discs for our reward, hightailed it back to the main base to collect our reward for the main quest, and picked up several new ones from needy settlers and military officers.

Though our time with the class was short, we can tell that the Republic trooper is clearly a tough customer who can dish it out, as well as take it. We'll continue to bring you updates on this highly anticipated game as soon as we can.

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Discussion

76 comments
danaketh
danaketh

After years in Star Wars Galaxies, I'm looking forward to this game. Hope it will show SOE how they messed up good game. I'm not really happy with that side related class stuff but since Bounty Hunter is on the Sith side, I have no objections. Always played for Empire and BH is my #1 choice :)

_distemper
_distemper

@peterfaj I think that there's a bit of a belief that's been ingrained in Star Wars fans that Jedi are super-rare. Its a completely different era, and while you would be correct to say that there are proportionally more of the other classes, such as the Tropper(not necessarily all the other classes), than Jedi/Sith, there are still quite a few of them around.

kalace06
kalace06

I'd really like to beta test this game and hope to give constructive criticism on it. Played WoW for 5 years (and almost every other MMO that was out before and after) now so there has to be a way to do what Blizzard does but better. I love Bioware from when I started with them on Baldur's Gate. I hope they can move this game to the point where it has great potential from release and not all show and tell like Aion's release.

nekered
nekered

@RussianRAGE quoted "RussianRAGE said: @Nekered You are the one that sucks wookie fur. This game is a gift upon humanity." Perhaps i do, atleast Im not the one who will fu things up with the actionpoint thing.

irutehe
irutehe

Considering how mainstreamed Bioware has begun to look since ME2 I start to have my doubt about this one. Don't get me wrong... ME2 is a hell of a ride but still it lacks almost all elements of RPG. Up till now Bioware haven't failed but you can never be sure seeing as greedy EA is behind them now. I sure hope we will have an alternative to the "other game".

Tainted_Chi
Tainted_Chi

Let's not forget... Jedi do not start as Jedi... As this is an RPG at heart you're going to need to build up and go through the ranks, starting as a Jedi wannabe, a 'force sensitive'. You may even have to locate the jedi order yourself and prove yourself to them by getting to a certain level before you can even become a padawan. It is a long grueling road to become a master of the force... Plus, If you think back to the story in KOTOR, Calo Nord the bounty hunter was very dangerous even with a 3 man group including Bastila. Every class will have its advantages and everything should even out fine if they have put as much effort as it appears into it. Let's not worry about these things until we know what's what.

jmoliere
jmoliere

To peterfaj This is a time where the jedi's and sith are abundant. It's not like in star wars galaxies where there was almost no jedis left. I'm pretty sure they are going to level the classes so jedis and sith aren't inmortal gods that no other class can kill

NHLcoolguy
NHLcoolguy

this well be a great MMORPG game i am going to buy it for sur.

peterfaj
peterfaj

I know you'll hate me for saying this, but I'm pessimistic about this. Everyone wants to be a Jedi, but Jedi are supposed to be rare. If everyone in the game will be a Jedi it will kind of suck. But the biggest problem is that it's hard to make a workaround that wouldn't make the game worse. Either they make Jedi weak or no Jedis or you need to do/achieve something before you can make a Jedi character or you will pay more. I think the third one is the best choice if they make it right. I am not a fan of pay-to-play games, but I might give this a try, because I love KotOR.

Darko-Ashitaka
Darko-Ashitaka

I'll have to wait and see more from this, but so this is the only MMO I'm actually considering subscribing. In one word: BioWare. And In one phrase: it's BioWare, it's Star Wars and KotOR was an awesome RPG.

Synther33
Synther33

The level of n00bishness in these comments is most impressive.

Gammet25
Gammet25

Its from bioware, i have good faith.

dimsey
dimsey

nekered you say that as if most mmos don't have a class that does things similar. I haven't played in ages so forgive me if I'm off the mark but isn't that basically how say a warrior works in WoW? You got to build up rage/stamina/whatever to get to the more advanced attacks. This sounds something like that. It's not a new thing. Hardly worth whining like a 12 year old about.

pmor
pmor

Sorry nekered, that quality game developers are not making games that require no skill to play...oh wait I'm not sorry. Bioware is doing a great job so far for a game that's not even in beta yet, and with such a big IP. Everyone just calm down a lot of things can and most likely will change from now to release.

RussianRAGE
RussianRAGE

@Nekered You are the one that sucks wookie fur. This game is a gift upon humanity.

nekered
nekered

Bah! Action points? WTF in order to do the actions i need to build up actionpoints? Thats the most stupid thing i ever heard. I really looked forward to this game but now i dont know ill even try it. If i learn something i would like to always be able to do that without building something up. What happend to the old reliable filled bar with action points from start? LAME LAME LAME. And to all flamers out there i dont really care what you say the action bar thing still sucks wookie furr

15sniper
15sniper

Ya I would have to say That it looks like any other star wars game.And I think them not having helment on puts a daper on things.It looked better with them on.

DuplicateTurtle
DuplicateTurtle

Like the rest of you, I haven't seen anything yet that would clearly define this game as an MMO. Right now, it seems more like Borderlands than anything else.

Nick277
Nick277

Screw Star Wars MMORGP, make a Mass Effect MMO.. Now that'd be awesome imo..

Neogenic
Neogenic

I would just like to take this opportunity and say goodbye to whomever the republic trooper with the ridicously large gun is pointing at. Obviously he will not need a full size coffin when the trooper is done with him.

spOOoOOn
spOOoOOn

What is the point of all this arguing? There is no set-in-stone definition of "MMO" other than "its like WoW".. It's an RPG you play online, a couple of million people will play it online at the same time, it's an MMO. Who cares what they call it.

LT-Voltaire
LT-Voltaire

Wow you guys are funny all arguing down there! If Bioware says hey people this is our MMO then I think that they now better than we do since they are the ones who are making it duh stop the bickering gezz! This MMO might be the one id like to play i tried WOW for a few months and its drab boring way of telling a story was long drug out and boring to play. This one sounds unique and I cant wait to try it out. I love all Bioware games from Baldures Gate to Mass Effect series and Dragon Age: Origins i love them all may devs who create RPG's and the sort should take a lesson from them so they can get it right!

Bhemont
Bhemont

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

TheJetplane
TheJetplane

@sircyrus As far as I'm concerned they can eliminate "massive" from the classification entirely. All an MMO does is attract meta-gamers and shenanigans that break the suspension of disbelief. Now you are correct that they should stop calling it an MMO if it does not have any "massive" elements to it. I however am voting that they continue to leave those elements out. But that's probably too much to hope for...

sircyrus
sircyrus

@megaman143 a monthly fee. EA likes microtransactions.

Brennios
Brennios

They ought to have more single player features in this game.

PewPewNinja
PewPewNinja

Look like the gameplay will be the same as WoW...boring Point and Click...dont get me wrong i love Bioware game but i dont see this beating the real next gen MMO..Like TERA,C9,Mabinogi Heroes...And even Dragon Nest.Oh ya and Guild Wars2 i know this one will be point and click but its b2p with no monthly fee...TERA is the next big mmo..by the L2 team you can only expect the best

mastersheperd
mastersheperd

theyve already said it was a old republic mmo so yes it will most likely have a monthly fee but they also said it will have individual interests too

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

I hope they put Single-player inside!!! beside Multi-player...

megaman143
megaman143

@sircyrus well, one could assume that it's called an mmo, because it's multi-player perhaps? hence the name. you must not actually follow this game very much, there has been plenty said about this game that explains why it's an mmo, flash points are an excellent example

Red_Signal
Red_Signal

How do you know there will be a monthly fee?

sircyrus
sircyrus

Sounds good, but we still havent heard anything about why the game is a MMO. This could have just as easily have been the impressions from a new single-player KOTOR. Which is probably what BioWare is aiming for, but if it's just like single player why would it be made into a MMO and charge us a fee? Bioware: Tell us what about the game makes it a MMO.

Fogshie7277
Fogshie7277

I'm still going to be a Sith inquisitor. Everyone should be Sith, I've always been light side in Star Wars games.

rann89
rann89

This looks good and all, but I'm failing to see how this is going to be a successful MMO. I can see this as a regular single-player game, but an engaging multiplayer worth paying monthly? Not likely.

Skrotorr
Skrotorr

"Clearly, these abilities make the profession crucial not just for dealing damage, but also for controlling crowds of enemies by making sure priority targets are knocked off their feet...and stay off their feet" Why am I having disturbing flashbacks to SWG kockdown spam?

SithChampion
SithChampion

Star Wars will never die nor be forgotten.

laserit
laserit

@thebanewolf Reading the preview gave me the impression, that they were quite pleased with their experiance

Gruug
Gruug

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

Lach0121
Lach0121

this game is one of 2 mmo games that im looking forward to, and when its all said and done i think the visual style of the game, while you play it, will be quite nice.. but there will always be some fanatics on either side of the hate it-love it spectrum lol.. this game i think is gonna be great. the other is The Secret World which i hope is great also, but it has less going for it than this one does.

lucas182
lucas182

man.. i hate mmos.. they like... remove you from your life... at least i know 1 year ahead that in 2011 my social life will equal ZERO...

thebanewolf
thebanewolf

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

SpiKeX-Crom
SpiKeX-Crom

Can you say..."Side ways shovel." lolz, just look at the first picture. Oh, I crack myself up. But, seriously, I will get addicted to this game. YAY FOR STAR WARS!

Shiftfallout
Shiftfallout

@ Chainer323 Thats funny, because star wars is still the same IP with a specific visual style. The game is reflecting on the kiddy 3D animated film in terms of art style, which they use as the reason for lack of any normal and specular mapping in favor of cell shading and cartoon like over exaggerated graphics which are cheaper to make. The art style is nothing like Star Wars, its hideously over saturated and plastic toy looking.

Chainer323
Chainer323

@Shiftfallout are you comparing KotOR to RPGs of today or to RPGs at the time that the game came out? This game is not meant to reflect on the 6 movies, it's meant to expand on the expanded universe from the sith/republic era

Shiftfallout
Shiftfallout

@ sandgroper What if those complaining about the style have played Kotor, which was a mediocre rpg btw. The point is, the art styles are different, Kotor does a better job at the art style, though it wasnt great. There are a dozen star wars games that have managed to reflect on the films better. Lucas Arts is pushing the kiddy art style to go in line with their 3D CG animated film "the clone wars" which was perfect for kids. Btw, did you ever play SWG? This product is going to be WoW lite with lightsabers.