We've played as six of the eight professions in this highly anticipated online game. Read our hands-on account and get new info on gameplay, playable races, combat skills, and new game mechanics inside.
Star Wars: The Old Republic will take the pre-A New Hope universe of Star Wars that appeared in Knights of the Old Republic and combine story-rich gameplay with massively multiplayer online adventuring. The result will be highly differentiated experiences for the game's different professions, which will start off in different parts of the universe along different story paths until those paths converge in and around the war waged by the evil Empire with its Sith allies against the peace-loving Republic with their Jedi allies.
In advance of this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, we took the opportunity to play through the early story content for six of the game's eight character classes: the Republic trooper, the smuggler, the bounty hunter, the agent, the Sith inquisitor, and the Sith Warrior. As we found, several classes are linked by their initial starting area and quest sets, though their differing powers and combat styles make playing each one a unique experience. Here is our report on these six professions. Please keep in mind that our impressions are based on an early version of the game and everything covered here is subject to change. Also, please also note that this story contains minor spoilers.
Republic Trooper and Smuggler
The Republic trooper and the smuggler professions begin their lives in the same area under different circumstances. As a trooper, we started our career as the newest member of the elite Republic commando unit known as Havoc squad--a handsome human soldier riding on the inside of a giant walker into a war zone on the planet of Ord Mantell. The planet is a Republic world torn apart by a civil war waged by separatist rebels. As a smuggler, we played as a Twi'lek, which is the humanoid Star Wars race that has long tentacles down either side of their heads, similar to the Bib Fortuna character in Return of the Jedi.
Yes, the Twi'lek are playable, and this one was a Han Solo-like ship captain who lands her Millennium Falcon-esque ship on Ord Mantell to drop off a weapon shipment to the Republic fort. Unfortunately for both characters, the Republic's on-the-ground contacts double-cross the standing armies, siding with the separatists instead. As a result, the separatists steal the smuggler's ship and hack into the local artillery banks, which means that the beginner smuggler must go out on foot (or risk being shot down), while the trooper's walker gets blasted by the commandeered guns and needs to go it alone on foot as well.
The trooper class begins with four different primary combat skills, which are keyed to the number keys on your keyboard, and all pertain to using your heavy blaster rifle. Most of the trooper's combat abilities operate based on ammo (this has been changed from the previous time we played the class, when it relied on action points). The abilities include hammer shot, a basic ranged attack that consumes a single round of ammo; rifle grenade, which consumes several rounds and activates your character's rifle-mounted grenade launcher to knock all enemies in the blast radius flat on their backs; fast reload, which reloads your weapon to full; and stock strike, a melee attack that lets you pistol-whip your foes with the butt of your rifle once you get up close.
The smuggler class, on the other hand, is one of the game's "cover classes" and focuses on acquiring cover behind various environmental objects. These objects then grant various offensive and defensive bonuses while accruing energy points with basic attacks and expending them with advanced ones. The smuggler tends to favor a single, handheld blaster (again, not unlike Han Solo), and the profession's starting abilities currently include flurry of bolts, a basic ranged attack that builds energy points; take cover, which lets the profession acquire any nearby cover indicated by a transparent green paper-doll model; burst, which fires off three times as many rounds as flurry of bolts but costs energy points; and flash grenade, a hand-thrown projectile that has a chance of stunning all targets within its short radius but also costs energy points.
From cover, the smuggler's action bar changes to include flurry of bolts (which causes the smuggler to quickly pop out of cover to fire), detaching from cover, and charged burst, which is a new skill that slowly charges up a blast before causing the character to peek out behind cover and deliver a highly damaging burst of three charged-up rounds at a great cost of energy points. (And aside from these character-specific abilities, all characters in the game will universally have some kind of fast-healing, meditative skill to use when out of combat to decrease the amount of downtime required for characters to recover from the wounds they've suffered.)
Each character has different entries into Ord Mantell. The trooper meets up with the rest of Havoc squad in short order, including Wraith, the stealth specialist; Fuse, the demolitions expert; Needles, the medic; and the squad commander, Tavus, who briefed us on our mission to track down a stolen orbital strike bomb with enough power to wipe the Republic fort and the nearby civilian refugee encampment off the face of the planet. Our mission required us to infiltrate a besieged village to meet with a refugee informant with intel on the bomb, fighting through a few waves of separatist guerillas and guard droids. We'll say that they didn't put up much of a fight; we took on groups of three or four rather easily and pounded them into the ground by unloading hammer shots and grenade blasts. We also periodically reloaded and used the stock strike melee attack to smack down the few rebels that dared to get in close.
We reached our checkpoint rather easily but found that the separatists had gotten to our informant first and left him for dead in an alley. After checking in with our commanding officer by remote communicator, we accepted our updated mission to find the deceased spy's data pad in his house, where his nerve-wracked wife waited for her husband's return. Unfortunately, it was clearly our duty to inform her of her husband's demise, which she took poorly to say the least, but rather than simply strong-arm the data pad away from the hysterical widow, we instead chose to hear her out--to listen to her vent her frustrations and assure her that her husband died a hero. While either approach would likely have gotten us what we wanted, our choice to delve deeper into the conversation netted us a "conversation bonus"--an as-yet nonfunctioning gameplay mechanic that LucasArts producers tell us may affect your character's light side or dark side alignment or result in some kind of other reward.
the fact that bioware is making this game (and they dont make bad games) and they have a very large fanbase should make this a contender against wow. wows a great game and will be hard to beat but i think that this game can certainly match it and hopefully it will be a great game alongside wow....no reason both cant be good right?
I love the smuggler and agent's mind game missions but wish they could hold their own in combat! I hate being a mind-less brute but I hate being a smart wuss as well. That's what I hate about MMOs. Why can't we have true freedom and design a character like we did KOTOR 1&2.
fallen angel i am also looking forward to the rifles, but the monstours one the troopers are packing. ps. flame-throwers are always good.
Looks good. I want to play it :) Am i the only one not wanting to have a light saber? Im more interested in blasting with my rifles and pistols :) Bounty hunter? ^_^
This hits me as more of a guild wars than a wow pvp look intense maybe there will even be something like warhammer online where you need pvp to progress
WoW has not had 11 million subs in quite some time. at their peak, they had 2 million north american and 2.5 million european subscribers. stop touting the 11 million number like it's still valid. hell, wow doesnt even run in china anymore.
I just want to know what the "end game" will be like. What happens when you reach the level cap? Are there "instances"? In the end though, I still would have preferred a proper sequel to KOTOR II.
@AzatiS Dude I left out you being a fan boy in my second and simply said why I used it as a means of comparison. We're both using WoW as a basis of comparison if you haven't noticed, that's why I used idiotic, because you just jumped to conclusions like you are now. I never said it was a WoW killer I just said why I believe people are using the phrase WoW killer. I've played WoW and that's why I can say stuff about it because it's boring, the only thing "intense" about it was raiding. The pvp is boring in WoW that's why I have a means of saying it is being 1 upped by TOR, because (in my opinion) TOR has better intensity in fights, because I've played WoW. I can can understand that subscriber issue, but that's why I said it shouldn't be all bad because of the fans and overall franchise like I said in my first post. Chill man. It's just a matter of opinion overall.
This looks epic, although I'm not fan of MMO! Just interested to see how are they going to make people choose some other classes other than jedi or sith.
@Harxelithn omfg again with WoW.... I just posted 6-7 games that will release in 10-11 that will affect SW-TOR as of subscribers issue. Since subs is what companies considering a sucess . how i should leave aside Cataclysm when it will make 10M sales and keep 10M guys in front of their PC for another 1 year?.... omfg already with WoW... Idiotic is your logic not mine , read again my first original post and try again. First you saying me "" Im wow fan "" then idiotic , then since i mention WoW first i might be wow fan... Ive read 100++ persons already saying WoW killer. How will be wow killer when wow got 11M active subs ? Since is the most popular MMORPG how the #@$$ i shouldnt mention it? And why you jumping the other 6 games ?? Now , before again call me idiotic for any reason , go back to my original post , READ ALL of it and we talk again. Sales and Subs will clarify what you calling " wow killer" because ive heard this 5 times now. Both 5 games failed so much that are nearly dead ( WARonline - Conan etc etc ) Now about intensity , go watch or better play wow pvp , yes a 6 years old game , then go watch the TOR fights and youll see for yourself what i mean...
Sort of traditional MMO triggering of skills and energy management, although they're doing some interesting things with ammo and energy metrics, linking single to AE attacks, and status-affecting cover points. Looking at all the big upcoming MMOs with pseudo-traditional MMO/RPG combat systems, I'd say Guild Wars 2 is still doing the coolest ability + positional combat. Example: an elementalist casts a huge fire wall, then a ranger shoots arrows through the firewall: we have flaming arrows. Dozens of literal combinations like this. But The Old Republic's combat system appears to be a close second place for party chemistry potential.
I really hope that some of us who truly love the melee side of combat that they allow the option use "controllers" instead of mouse and keyboard. I would only use the keyboard, for secondary weaponry and abilities. But movement, taking cover, and primary weapons and attacks or abilities should be able to be on a controller.
Make some new ****always the prequel crap. Night of the old was awesome but how about night of the NEW.
Hmm looks interesting at least. Maybe it will be diffrent from the typical MMO. It would be nice if they released a single-player demo to get people excited about the game, for those who are still undecieded about it.
@MaddogQ80 Patience, young Padiwan. E3 showing is near. Only then will you truly understand the true nature of the Force.
im not gonna lie this does look really cool. however i say that because i am a huge star wars fan and i also play wow. wat this looks like to me is wow with star wars characters which honestly gets me excited. I would deff want to see some actual game play footage. why are they stll keeping that under raps?
http://www.gamereactor.dk/nyheder/78519/Eksklusiv+Old+Republic-trailer/#comments new trailer
Did he just say "...spring 2011 release and we hope to see everybody online really soon.", I wouldn't call that really soon...
Why are people looking for gamespot when the actual star wars has way more content then this? I mean I go here for comments really, but if you want the cutting edge scoop, I think you should head to their website and not here. Gamespot is not giving this game justice.
I'm still waiting for details on the MMO mechanics and features. Lets hope its not like Age of Conan. The previews always described the solo early gameplay and it sounded great ! But when people finally got to the multiplayer part... Anyway, we really need info on the game as an MMO.
I think people are miss informed about what killer means. In no way shape or form does it mean blizzard will shut off their servers and wow people will move to sw. What killer means is a company that can litterally compete with another company and pull off numbers better then them. Basically like ati and nvidia, as nvidia sometimes is an ati killer.
@AzatiS I don't want to ramble on a website about who's opinion matters, So i'm just going to say this. I agree with you on WAR, everyone was really hyped up for it and it ultimately failed as I predicted it would when I first saw it. So were not to different there. But I never said Intensity doesn't matter, I said it looks like TOR has better "Intensity" then WoW ( I use wow as a comparison, because it's the top MMORPG ), Yeah I'd have to say animations are better, considering all you did in WoW was fondle the air with green magic emanating from your hands and then you do a Hadoken hand gesture, which is similar for every spell and everything else when it comes to animation. So Yeah I'd have to say it has better animation then WoW. No I don't just think just about lighting, like you may think I do or something, I say their better because the are. There very close to cel shaded graphics almost paralleling comics that the rest of the SW franchise is built on. Defining open world geometry to me, makes you seem kinda idiotic, considering I agreed with you on the dull liveliness... Dude, if you feel that I'm looking at what you said wrong then clarify to avoid argument. When I see a list of MMO's and you put WoW on top and you talk about how WAR, TOR, aren't going to be as good as WoW, then you make it seem as though you're siding with WoW.
We can't judge it right now, i won't deny that i have expectations for this game. It won't kill WoW (It's like apple... it's a goddamn freakin' cult) but SW:TOR MIGHT hurt it alot. We can't know for sure until we have seen some actual footage.
Stupid video attached to this article is total bs. The actual game will not look like that and they talked of playing as 6 of the 8 classes and yet we get no footage of this ? Seriously that promo video is useless. I want to see the real game not some promo video.
The only way WoW will ever die is if it kills itself. The game is extremely well established and has had many years to do so. No new mmo will ever be able to match up for most of us in that case. Perhaps if a new mmo had the chance the grow and mature as wow did it could, but most people will likely shun it from the start. As long as WoW is around anyway. Just my 2 cents.
So it's a lot like KOTOR only instead of making a variety of (sometimes) subtle ethical decisions you make one at the beginning of your career and it's what class you're going to be. Pretty awesome stuff right there. Also - no thank you.
have absolutely no expectations for this game, i am tired of predicting if a MMO is gonna hit it big.
@wigwam2 CoD is dead and we all know it or we're in denial and dont go sending me messages saying wtf are u on and dumb stuff like that.
@wigwam2 I don't think that the idea of a WoW-killer is that of a game that will make all of the players who play WoW leave the game. The idea of a WoW-killer, or back in the day, a Halo-killer, was a game that was made to be extremely competitive with the game it was supposed to "kill." In other words, many people think that SW:TOR will be a WoW-killer because it will be able to rival the success that WoW has had.
this game is not a WoW killer!!!! people r going to stick with WoW because they r loyal. Some r gonna stick with this game. Some might play both, but the point is saying WoW is dead is kinda like saying were never gonna see another CoD game because another shooter looks good!!!
@ I-Heroic-Pain-I 1. They've already stated that it will eventually reach 100. 2. Their next MMO isn't even in official production yet, which means, on average of their game development time we're looking at 5-7 years before it's launched. 3. They've gone from 60-80 level cap in 5 years with it being extended to 85 before the end of the year. We'll have more than enough time to see lvl 100 before it's "over". And If Everquest II taught use anything, it's that just because a new MMO is released by a popular company, it doesn't mean their older titles immediately stop being popular. Quite the opposite in fact.
Wow ! - a bunch of pre-rendered cut-scenes and softball questions. Well - the last time GS hyped a crap game (Dragon Age), it sold really well, followed by a lot of buyer's remorse. I predict the same thing will happen here.
Im not satisfied with the amount of content that gamespot covered in this preview... It made me want more!! haha, this game seems to be coming along very well and i cannot wait for the spring 2011 release. This will be my last foray into the mmo genre after several years of WoW and a few months of conan. Cant wait to play my Bounty Hunter!!!!
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