Star Wars: The Old Republic Updated Impressions - New Details and Party Combat

This highly anticipated online game from the creator of Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect is on hand at E3 2010. We take an updated look.

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We can't think of a better way to commemorate the game industry's biggest event of the year than sitting in on a demonstration for Star Wars: The Old Republic, the highly anticipated online role-playing game from BioWare Austin and LucasArts. Today's demonstration included hands-on time for the six classes we've already covered in our exclusive preview, as well as a sit-down session that revealed new game details and also included a live, hands-off demonstration of a group mission with Republic-aligned characters.

You've probably already seen this year's impressive E3 trailer and may remember last year's equally impressive E3 trailer. It appears that the two are linked, since this year's video depicts a Sith defeat on the planet of Alderaan at the hands of Republic troopers and Jedi, resulting in severe facial wounds for the commanding Sith lord--the same one who wears the menacing mask in last year's video, which depicts a successful Sith counterattack to destroy the Jedi council on Coruscant.

We were also informed that all players in the game will have their own personal starships, which will essentially act as mobile player housing that can be used for travel and for socializing, both with other players and with non-player companion characters (such as Vette), just like in the space travel sequences in The Old Republic, in which you could wander the decks of your ship and chat up your companions. The two ships shown were the Jedi ship, a Corellian Vanguard-class light corvette ship not unlike Knights of the Old Republic's Ebon Hawk, and a Sith ship, a Fury-class Imperial transport, whose dark, forbidding control rooms and meeting halls recall the Imperial cruisers of KOTOR as well.

We then watched a brief demonstration of how the bounty hunter class will differentiate itself visually over time, starting off with light armor and no helmet, moving up to slightly heavier armor on top of a flowing tunic, moving further up to heavier plate-like armor (with helmet) in fashionable stormtrooper white, and leading up to an extremely high-level character in heavy armor in Boba Fett's infamous olive green color, wielding a powerful auto-pistol that fires multiple shots in one hand and launching armor-mounted missiles from the other while floating around on a jetpack. We're told that the Republic troopers carrying the heavy minigun-like weapons depicted in this year's E3 trailer may belong to one of the advanced classes that eventually becomes available to the basic Republic trooper (a feature that we previously unveiled with the first advanced classes for the Sith Warrior).

Finally, we ended the session with a hands-off demonstration of a live, four-player adventuring party taking on a challenging combat mission. The group consisted of a Republic trooper, whose heavy armor and heavy blaster rifle make him perfect for soaking up frontline damage (as a "tank," in online RPG parlance); a smuggler, who deals heavy damage after taking cover and, in some cases, may occasionally heal her teammates (a "damage per second" character, or "DPS" in online RPG terms); a Jedi knight, who acts as a secondary "tank" and also deals good combat damage and whose Force-powered skills are crucial in neutralizing Force-wielding Sith; and a Jedi consular, who acted as the group's healer. This straightforward mission involved defending a Republic installment from a Sith invasion force helmed by gigantic war droids (which were themselves supported by tiny repair droids that would annoyingly heal the behemoths) and a Sith lieutenant.

Fortunately, this particular session went quite well for the party, as the trooper captured the full attention (or "aggro," if you prefer) of the first rampaging war droid while the smuggler and knight dutifully provided supplemental damage and picked off the hostile repair droids and the consular periodically healed the trooper. By working as a team, the group was able to defeat the first droid but was quickly assaulted by a second accompanied by the Sith lieutenant. This required the trooper to quickly grab the attention of the droid while the knight was tasked with grabbing the attention of the Sith before the enemy warrior tore the smuggler to shreds. Fortunately, the group of players controlling these characters (all of whom were wearing LucasArts shirts, so they probably knew what they were doing) skillfully stuck to their roles while the smuggler occasionally detached from cover to get out of harm's way, and their foes were all neutralized in a matter of minutes.

Star Wars: The Old Republic remains an intriguing game, and while we've played through many of its professions and seen several stunning E3 trailers, we'd really like to delve deeper into the higher-end parts and experience the full game at this point. It will launch next year.

Discussion

131 comments
stevo367
stevo367

Too many MMOs that look promising in the next 6 months or so. I'll wait for reviews on all of them before i decide which time waster to pay for. I'm eagerly awaiting this one though and i hope it lives up to the hype. Also, i really don't care if the graphics aren't top notch as long as they are decent. I play games that are fun and keep me interested and cutting edge graphics fall way down my list as a measure of determining it's value. I've seen too many crappy games lately that have great visuals.

hormagaunt
hormagaunt

I will buy this. I'll get a job for no other reason than to buy this!

Thathanka
Thathanka

I'd love it if this game was great but so far the graphics and animation look terrible and outdated compared to others in the genre. Wow is six years old and looks far better than what we have been shown of The Old Republic. I fear that this will be an even bigger disappointment than Warhammer online :(

lhscouchmonster
lhscouchmonster

@Maddogtaylor unfortunatly when it comes to MMOs, that is exactly what it means. if you have more important thing to spend money on (friends, family, social life) you def shouldnt have enough time to invest in playing the MMO. this is coming from a recovering wow addict that tried playing while having a legit job. one of the two eventually has to give.

Maddogtaylor
Maddogtaylor

@ camdean just because people dont buy the latest pc's does NOT mean they dont work. maybe it means they have better things to spend it on than games?

mc200020
mc200020

Ever wonder what makes the Kotor games awesome? Star Wars+RPG+No interference with the main storyline=Another awesome game that you will never forget. The new ONLINE MULTIPLAYER thing will improve things ten fold, or cause them to collapse inward and blow up terribly ending in a rare star wars related flop.

camdean5
camdean5

Let's hope they have a high end graphics option for people who work and spend their pennies on PC goodies, there is no doubt it will run for lower end machines, I can already see that. It's looking like a good game though, roll on release day...

starwars2000
starwars2000

I've heard a rumor that there won't be monthly subscription which would be AWESOME! Can anyone confirm that.

Hakensou
Hakensou

oh boy... If this game comes out as good as it seems... I have only one regret... There goes my social life, again... Thanks Bioware/Lucasarts! My girlfriend will be in touch...

rocktube70
rocktube70

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

BryanBadillo
BryanBadillo

LOOOOOOL @mcneil_07 Forgive my stupidity. well i suppose that I will have to buy it for the PC

noahmorrow07
noahmorrow07

the only thing im dissapointed about is how the jedi counsler is a healer............i mean its ok if they have a couple abilities that do maximum healing but i thought they where suppose to be focused around force powers while jedi knights where focused around lightsaber ablities???....but here it says knights are to use force powers and councelers are to heal???

mcneil_07
mcneil_07

LAWL. @BryanBadillo What are you talking about? This is the first game like this from BioWare...it isn't a new kotor lol... It is only on the PC...it's an MMO like WoW, but hopefully better!

BryanBadillo
BryanBadillo

Holy sh1t!!!! I wants this game but i only play in the 360 :(. Is not coming to xbox like the first one?

forceunleashed2
forceunleashed2

BOTH trailers are AWSOME but when i watched the sith one i was like gonna be a sith... then i watched the hope trailer.. now im like jedi jedi.. still i hope the video isnt the best part in this entire game.. they'd better do a better job the lord of the rings :P

Hakensou
Hakensou

Ok... reality check... games are a lot more than graphics... A good game must always comply with more than just shiny images with sparkling explosions and what not. For example, gameplay is a very important factor along with a good interesting and immersive story line, captivating characters, challenging situations, etc. I think that this game can achieve a very good all around status. I'm confident that this title will rock. oh and... WoW was the first major title in MMORPG history - indeed... To compare it to every single title that comes out after that - forseable... To say that every other title is a WoW clone - that's just lazy...

KoreanSchoolKid
KoreanSchoolKid

i hope to god this game doesnt end up being like every other single mmo on the planet where you do the 1. start in village 2. learn of horrible threat, usually ancient 3. level up 4. win 5. grind for hours just hoping for that rare drop or level up more i wish bioware just made a new kotor...

Polarskill
Polarskill

The graphics are great for an MMO... who cares if they aren't perfect. All it means is that more people can play the game, and not have to own a monster of a computer.

ChrissTheJackal
ChrissTheJackal

I am a WoW player. But if anyone can pull it off its BioWare

Rysuken
Rysuken

Hmm well its look interesting. Nothing new or revloutionary though.

bodylotion
bodylotion

When checking out The Old Republic i can't help but remember the time i played Star Wars Galaxies, a game which wasn't that good really but somehow managed to keep me playing and mess up a year of college.

rciafardone
rciafardone

Maybe someone already said it but i can not resist.. HA DOOOOOOO KEN!!!!!!!

Grayford
Grayford

Graphically, reminds me of KoToR quite a bit. If it is an endless grind with the tedium of most mmos, I won't play for long. It's BioWare, though, so gotta give them a chance.

Spawn32005
Spawn32005

Well the isn't in it's final production yet either so the graphics aren't going to be at their best. I don't understand why ppl critique the game before it's even in the final production, makes no sense.

tomio160
tomio160

Its Star Wars! which obviously has a lot of mature fans who like mature graphics and more violence blah blah. But since PEGI ratings weigh higher than ever on the sales (especially an mmo) and Star Wars adding a lot of new young fans to the saga with the latest episode 1/3 movies, the choice for these kind of graphics is kinda logical. You want to play a game for its graphics, i'd say go play a shooter!

Philosoph
Philosoph

"RandyRedCat: "Practically any discussion I come across on GS about TOR just involves half the people saying it's a WoW clone" Every MMO since WoW has been called a WoW clone by people who have played WoW. Prolly because they played it 8hrs a day for 2 years and are bummed out that it got over run by prepubescent yobs, so they automatically link anything of remote similarity to being a generic clone without originality. I must agree though that the graphics are not so hot. The reasoning is understandable but they could have easily built in multiple detail tiers for a range of PC specs. It's not fair to expect people who've spent thousands on a gaming rig to have to look at detail made for medium to lower end specs (i have a low end spec ;P) i know when i get good hardware i want to see it's full potential.

deacla_2009
deacla_2009

playabllity over graphics any day, i have a really powerfull gaming pc but most of the people i know dont so if this was high graphics they couldnt play which means i wouldnt want to play (well i would but you know what i mean)

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

@SDScarface And it just happens that 1/2 of the gaming public cant fork over uber $$$ every damn year just to keep up with whatever some over caffeniated hardware maker comes up with and if we dont have it we just plain suck. Whatever. Im glad they are not pushing the visuals to hard, it looks way better than SWG. They need to keep the game playable or people wont play. Whats the point of having a photo-real game running at 60fps if only 2 or 3 people have rig (and the nuclear power plant addition to their house) to play the damn thing.

rahl247
rahl247

SDSkarface Posted Jun 28, 2010 2:22 pm PT this thing should have went for a more realistic age of conan MMO look not this cartoony BS and its the fault of the 80% of people out there still running old video cards and windows xp. the graphics are unbearable to look at. this is EA's most expensive game?? really? you did that then u eliminate 1/2 of the player base. there are a ton of people out there that do not have high end pc machines. they need to make this game where it runs real good on med pcs then u get dble the subs.

sakurayuri
sakurayuri

So pretty much everybody is going to be running around shooting lightening out of their hands wielding a light-saber with force powers? Great.

SDSkarface
SDSkarface

this thing should have went for a more realistic age of conan MMO look not this cartoony BS and its the fault of the 80% of people out there still running old video cards and windows xp. the graphics are unbearable to look at. this is EA's most expensive game?? really?

gperks1986
gperks1986

ok ok setting this straight. If swtor didn't use wow as a blueprint they would be idiots. so in using the blueprint they are trying to better mmo's story and completely voicing over every character, as well as intricate combat is whats gonna put this a step above wow. The graphics imop are slightly better than wow. so with all this plus a huge star wars/biowar/kotor fan base this should make for an epic game. Let's just hope they deliver b/c wow will die if they do.

jmcmanj
jmcmanj

This game looks like an epic WoW

Saerain
Saerain

Newsflash: caring enough about graphics to point out when they suck does not equal caring more about graphics than gameplay. Just FYI.

GamesMaster08
GamesMaster08

I dont see why everyone is complaining about "Cartoony Graphics". The game was made like that to attract more players and make them focus more on the actual story and gameplay than just the graphics. They also made it look like this so it would be compatable with older Computers, if you are one of thousands or even millions with a slightly older computer, you dont want to pay up big bucks just to play one game online.

ichc1000x
ichc1000x

This is going to dominate. ^_^

janrabbit
janrabbit

im rather looking forward to this, sounds like it will be fun :)

RandyRedCat
RandyRedCat

Why in the world is everyone all so annoyed at the graphics around here? Practically any discussion I come across on GS about TOR just involves half the people saying it's a WoW clone, another quart looking forward to it and then the final quart getting all "Ugly Graphics, Don't like the colour scheme, whats with the cartoon models?" As far as I can see it doesn't look half bad, in fact I think the cartoon approach and vivid colour scheme matches it perfectly, enough of these supposed 'Next-Gen' graphics, have none of you noticed that games getting released over the past years are just becoming greyer and greyer, literally, look back, now, do it. Notice how all the brand new FPS games are basically brownwash. I'm sick of this constant obsession with graphics and HD, this game looks fine, all the greatest games ever constructed look fine, because it was the experience and gameplay that sticks with you. Not the realistic shade of green on an army tank, or how brown the mud can be.

tidus_ff
tidus_ff

Its not so much the graphics that puts me off. Its more so the art direction, it just doesn't "feel" Star Wars to me. Yes its Bioware and we know it'll have good gameplay. My problem lies with the fact that this is Star War's, and to me, Star Wars is not represented by the Clone Wars animated movie. The problem I have with that movie is exactly the same problem I have with these screenshots. It just doesn't feel Star Wars. mikolon234, I don't want Cysis graphics, I think that'd be an awful choice personally for this game. Something akin to . Its a big weakness and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks so.

666NightsInHell
666NightsInHell

pay for play games not for me, tonns of great free to play mmorpgs around..

Moloch121
Moloch121

I never find why people think graphics=gameplay? The only amazing looking game that is actually good is Crysis and I doubt alot of people can even play it the way its meant to be played and most reviews I read so far keep saying the graphics look great with its hand drawn textures

mikolon234
mikolon234

I would have to agree with Tidus on this one. There is no way I will be able to play this with the catoon graphics. Love Bioware and you have to know the game will be great but that does not give them a free pass on poor graphics. Big dissapointment as I was looking forward to this title. I know with WoW and other popular games out there I am in the minority on the entire cartoon graphics thing but I hope they keep coming out with good titles for the rest of us.

SithLordVenom
SithLordVenom

@ tidus_ff Who would be put off of an animated SW? Your no fan....your a phony.....boooo go away.

IceWolFReal
IceWolFReal

this will be one hell of a FIGHT!!!!

EleftheriosX
EleftheriosX

I believe you can do solo combat but the game tries to make you part y up with people and battle together for a more dynamic experience

Olsenz
Olsenz

can you solo? I always enjoy some good soloing

Master_cheat001
Master_cheat001

I dislike party combat. I prefer sole role controlling more. But it is the way they does. So be it.