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Old 03-20-2009, 10:15 PM  
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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Don't believe there's a dedicated thread, and since they're starting to release information now, I figure it's time for one.

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Old 12-12-2009, 12:42 PM   #166
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Star Wars: The Old Republic Hands-On - New Character Details and Playing the Sith Inquistor

By Andrew Park, GameSpotPosted
Dec 10, 2009 5:35 pm PT

We try out this upcoming massively multiplayer game based on the Star Wars universe first explored in Knights of the Old Republic.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, game developer BioWare, a studio founded by two medical doctors on the foundations of nerdy swords-and-sorcery role-playing, made the jump to deep space with Knights of the Old Republic, a Star Wars-themed role-playing game that told a story that predated the events of the motion pictures by several centuries. Some years later, the developer is now working on a massively multiplayer online game in the same universe--a game that will let you play as a Boba Fett-like bounty hunter, a Han Solo-like smuggler, or a Mace Windu-like Jedi knight…among others. We recently had a chance to get a bit more insight on the game from its developers, and we also had our first chance to play the game using the Sith inquisitor profession, which we'll discuss shortly.

For starters, all eight playable professions have now been revealed for the game. Previously, we'd revealed the Republic trooper, the smuggler, the Sith warrior, the bounty hunter, the Jedi knight, and the Imperial agent. The studio has now revealed the final two professions: the Sith inquisitor, an evil Force-powered character reminiscent of Emperor Palpatine who is capable with a lightsaber but possesses an array of even-deadlier Force powers; and the Jedi consular, which is patterned after the Knights of the Old Republic profession and is also good with a lightsaber but is better with light-side Force powers and tends to look for ways to resolve conflict with words, rather than with a fight.

The development team reiterated its commitment to deliver an enjoyable Star Wars experience above all else and suggested that this outlook also influenced the game's character design. Rather than focus on standard online role-playing game archetypes such as healer, tank (frontline fighter who soaks up damage from enemies), and DPS (or damage per second, a combat character that focuses on dealing as much damage as possible), the team is focusing on creating characters who are fun to play and provide the kind of experience you'd expect from playing such a character in a Star Wars game.

However, in the interest of game balance, the studio is adding several game features that will help make the game enjoyable to play without having lopsided character classes or forcing players to group with certain other professions to have any kind of chance. For starters, each class is being designed around a number of different themes that can apparently be specialized in to customize your character around your playing style. The example given was the smuggler profession, whose general themes include luck, recklessness, opportunity, and cowboy. These themes contributed to designing the class around two different archetypes: a gunslinger archetype that uses such skills as taking cover in combat and using a "dirty kick" attack in melee, while carrying dual pistols into battle and using smooth-talking skills to get out of sticky situations; and a scoundrel archetype that focuses more on stealth and critical headshot hits, as well as unconventional medical skills--reminiscent of the way Han Solo rescued a frostbitten Luke in The Empire Strikes Back by gutting a tauntaun and shoving Luke's body into the beast's warm carcass.

In addition to this open-ended character design, the team will add computer-controlled "companion" characters that your character will meet and join over time, and can call upon as needed. Two examples shown by the developers were Khem Val the Dashade, a Sith inquisitor whose powerful lightning-based abilities provide excellent ranged damage, and Xalek the Kaleesh, a Sith apprentice who deals heavy bursts of damage with his lightsaber attacks.

The presentation ended with a hands-off demonstration of the Jedi consular character in motion on the Jedi home planet of Tython as the character did battle with squat humanoid "flesh raider" enemies. The consular seems to be pretty handy with a lightsaber but is even better at using Force powers, including mind maze, which is an ability that temporarily stuns a group of enemies and prevents them from attacking, and Force slam, which is a telekinetic power that lifts an enemy in the air and then smashes it down into the ground. The consular also has a meditation skill that briefly incapacitates the character but quickly regenerates spent Force powers--a much-needed feature that would have been welcome in Knights of the Old Republic and will probably make the lives of Jedi characters much easier in The Old Republic.

We then moved from our hands-off demonstration to hands-on time with the Sith inquisitor profession on the starting planet of Korriban. Korriban, as you may recall from the Knights of the Old Republic games, is the homeworld of the evil Sith--effectively, the dark Jedi of the Star Wars universe. In both of those previous games, Korriban was a world in transition--while the Sith have established a home base and training ground on the planet, they also run an active excavation outfit in the Valley of the Dark Lords, a series of deserted desert tombs where mighty Sith warlords, and their mighty Sith secrets, lie entombed.

In the Knights of the Old Republic games, players ran missions for the Sith to explore these tombs in search of artifacts, escaped slave laborers, and treacherous rival Sith students. In the Old Republic, as a Sith inquisitor you'll end up with similar tasks, though you'll also take on new quests and find yourself working for, and against, numerous Sith academy trainers in short order. Our session began with our character's initial meeting to speak with our first Sith instructor. Once we did, the game initiated a dialogue sequence reminiscent of those in Knights of the Old Republic, complete with branching dialogue options (including straightforward answers and wise-guy remarks) and quick camera cuts between different characters. The instructor, who addressed us simply as "Slave," made a few casual death threats before sending us out to the Valley to retrieve a set of holocrons (basically, data discs) from the tomb of the fallen Sith lord Zash.

Eager to explore Korriban and zap as many people, places, and things with lightning as possible, we made our way to the shortest possible route to the valley entrance using the onscreen minimap, but not without passing by another quest-giving Sith trainer, who demanded we assist her with a different mission--that of smuggling a captured and brainwashed Jedi off the planet to help spread confusion and chaos on Tython. While the trainer very much seemed like a coldhearted Sith and repeatedly threatened us when we did not immediately accept the mission, it raised an interesting question: Who exactly had been brainwashed, the captured Jedi or the Sith trainer who demanded we smuggle the prisoner safely off Korriban? We pondered following through on the quest but decided that it might not offer as many opportunities to zap things with lightning, and we instead made a beeline for the exit.

The Valley of the Dark Lords in The Old Republic looks like a much huger, more-detailed version of the preliminary dig sites from the Knights of the Old Republic games. The entire area is still an inhospitable desert but, in this case, is bathed orange from the intense heat of the sun. The valley opens up into a series of huge dig sites laid out next to each other, and the central walkway is cluttered with metal girders, digging equipment, and other industrial debris. We made our way down to the valley and headed to the tomb to which we were assigned--which was helpfully marked by a waypoint on our minimap--to meet an archeologist character waiting on the outside. The character, who was not a Sith warrior but was still seemingly as cruel and impolite as any Sith, demanded we seek out something called the "Red Engine," essentially a multiple-location puzzle that could be fully activated only when each differently located fragment was anointed with the blood of a slain enemy. That was all we could stand, so we went running headlong into the tomb in search of something, anything, to start zapping.

Fortunately, the ruins were full of living things to make dead. On entering the tomb, we found a separate holocron left by a dead Sith initiate that claimed that rebellious slaves had turned on their captors and reprogrammed the local maintenance droids to attack Sith. So we not only had a reason to destroy escaped slaves and mutinous droids, but we also had a quest to do so. In addition, the tomb was infested by giant caterpillar-like monsters known as "K'Lor Slugs," which, to our delight, turned out to not be immune to lightning bolts.

Our character was apparently built up to be a few levels higher than a character in this area normally would be and was equipped not only with a deadly lightsaber, but also with numerous special abilities. Like in all massively multiplayer games, these abilities are bound to hotkeys on your keyboard, expend a certain amount of energy (in this case, your character's Force energy), and require a certain amount of time to "cool down" before they can be reused. However, unlike World of Warcraft and EverQuest, and more similar to games like City of Heroes and Champions Online, The Old Republic doesn't have a basic auto-attack that will automatically make your character repeatedly whack away at your currently targeted foe. Instead, our character had a basic "saber strike" melee attack and various lightning-based and telekinetic Force powers, such as a simple damaging blast known as "shock"; a powerful stunning attack called "overload," which caused our character to leap upward and strike the ground with his lightsaber while stunning all nearby enemies; and "whirlwind," a telekinetic power that incapacitates a single foe by lifting it off the ground with a gust of wind.

These powers helped us easily carve our enemies into mincemeat as we activated the first few parts of the Red Engine by slaying enemies nearby while picking up the first few holocrons for our main quest. Sadly, time flies when you're destroying enemies you have completely outclassed, so we were unable to complete any of our main quests within our allotted playtime. However, we had plenty of opportunities to crush our enemies and found that while the inquisitor class seems to have limited lightsaber skills, its Force powers more than compensate and definitely make you feel like you're playing a very powerful and dangerous character.

The Old Republic seems like it has much to offer--powerful character classes built on Star Wars fiction rather than stodgy old massively multiplayer archetypes; playable Jedi and Sith characters from the outset; and did we mention the lightning? Though we've finally had a chance to play, we can't help but feel like we've barely scratched the surface of what seems like a very deep game. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more updates.
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:04 PM   #167
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I'll have to say that I'm fairly impressed with the planning on this so far. At first, I thought that you'd just end up with everyone playing sith or jedi. By having two force classes for each side, I think they'll cut down on that tendency.
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:12 PM   #168
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:58 PM   #169
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I was concerned initially with the idea of the AI companions, although they've always worked well in Bioware games, but after playing skirmishes in LotRO for the last two months, I think it's going to be great. I know in LotRO it's introduced a great mechanic and gives you yet another OCD MMO thing to do (raising your soldier's skills). There are times now I wish I could use my soldier in the world outside the skirmish instances, and that sounds like what TOR is going to do.

This game's going to be huge I think. And not just because it's Star Wars. Because it sounds like it's going to be good.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:03 PM   #170
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How are they going to keep everyone from choosing the high-level, more power-endowed classes?

The galaxy needs ditch-diggers too, so to speak.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:10 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by Raised On Riots View Post
How are they going to keep everyone from choosing the high-level, more power-endowed classes?

The galaxy needs ditch-diggers too, so to speak.
My experience in MMOs has always been that the majority of players have tendencies or roles they fall into regardless of what the best classes are in min-max terms. Although on the other hand you have players (like me) who randomly change from game-to-game. I know in EQ I was a bard, in WoW I was a tank and in LotRO I'm a lore-master.

That's actually something that concerns me a little about TOR in that they're trying to get away from the Tank/DPS/Buffer/Healer mindset as they mentioned in the article. People are going to have to find their way in a world without traditional MMO roles. There's probably going to be a lot of kicking and screaming while it happens, too; folks are resistant to change. "THAT'S NOT HOW WOW DOES IT!"

My guess is though they'll be doing a lot of tuning in beta. Although it also sounds to me like they're not making any classes more powerful than others, they're just giving them different ways to do the same general things. Several of the classes have crowd control, several do ranged damage, several have melee skills, and as the article mentioned (first I'd heard of this...) each class will have its own skill trees that allow them to specialize in different areas.

It'll be interesting to see.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:19 PM   #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keg in kc View Post
My experience in MMOs has always been that the majority of players have tendencies or roles they fall into regardless of what the best classes are in min-max terms. Although on the other hand you have players (like me) who randomly change from game-to-game. I know in EQ I was a bard, in WoW I was a tank and in LotRO I'm a lore-master.

That's actually something that concerns me a little about TOR in that they're trying to get away from the Tank/DPS/Buffer/Healer mindset as they mentioned in the article. People are going to have to find their way in a world without traditional MMO roles. There's probably going to be a lot of kicking and screaming while it happens, too; folks are resistant to change. "THAT'S NOT HOW WOW DOES IT!"

My guess is though they'll be doing a lot of tuning in beta. Although it also sounds to me like they're not making any classes more powerful than others, they're just giving them different ways to do the same general things. Several of the classes have crowd control, several do ranged damage, several have melee skills, and as the article mentioned (first I'd heard of this...) each class will have its own skill trees that allow them to specialize in different areas.

It'll be interesting to see.
Well, I ask because they're going to have soldiers on both sides, and this is SW we're talking about; who the hell wants to be a grunt with a blaster when you can choose to wield force-powers and a lightsaber?

When I was a kid out playing with my friends in 1977/78, I don't recall anyone fighting over "who gets to play the Republic soldier in the goofy helmet who gets his ass shot off by Stormtroopers before Vader enters stage-right"?
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:33 PM   #173
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There were plenty of people who wanted to be han solo, and more than a few boba fetts.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:39 PM   #174
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There were plenty of people who wanted to be han solo, and more than a few boba fetts.
Well of course there were. But bounty hunters and smugglers are more desirable than being trooper#32 or soldier getting choked.
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:09 PM   #175
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Sweet video on the two Sith classes:


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Old 12-29-2009, 05:49 PM   #176
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raised On Riots View Post
Well, I ask because they're going to have soldiers on both sides, and this is SW we're talking about; who the hell wants to be a grunt with a blaster when you can choose to wield force-powers and a lightsaber?

When I was a kid out playing with my friends in 1977/78, I don't recall anyone fighting over "who gets to play the Republic soldier in the goofy helmet who gets his ass shot off by Stormtroopers before Vader enters stage-right"?
This was my major concern as well. After watching videos of the gameplay with the various classes... and seeing them make two difference "force" classes for each side... I think this is less of a concern.

If there was one jedi class per side, then I think everyone would flock to it. Since there are two jedi classes per side, I think you'll see people feel more free to explore the classes outside of the jedi.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:09 PM   #177
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Who is the Imperial Agent?

The Imperial Agent is the ghost inside the Empire who ensures the people’s loyalty. She could be your neighbor, your lover or your superior officer. When rebellion stirs, she silences or discredits those who commit treason. She’s always alert, always watching for signs of dissent, and with a word, she can consign you to a dark cell for the rest of your life.

The Imperial Agent is the undercover spy who’s earned the trust of powerful individuals inside the Republic. She attends all the best parties, steals the plans of Senators and generals, and knows just what to sabotage and just who to kill to bring whole fleets crashing down around her. When she’s discovered, she’ll disappear with a smile.

The Imperial Agent is the special operative who cleans up the messes made by Sith Lords who can’t see the big picture—or who further their own agenda at the expense of the greater good. Without anyone realizing it, the Imperial Agent keeps the Empire from falling apart by arranging backroom deals and undertaking secret missions into the underbelly of the Empire.

The Imperial Agent is the Intelligence officer who hunts down enemies no one else ever hears about—conspiracies, rogue Jedi, ascendancy malcontents, black ops groups inside the Strategic Information Service, and worse. No one will ever know about her victories, but the secrets she collects make her powerful… and that’s the way she likes it.

Long story short? The Imperial Agent is an expert at infiltration, seduction and assassination. She’s part of Imperial Intelligence. And she’s whoever she needs to be to get the job done.

Creating a New Class

One of our goals for the Imperial Agent was to take a fresh look at the Star Wars™ universe. We know what life is like for Jedi and Sith, smugglers and bounty hunters—but what does it mean to be a citizen of the Empire, charged with protecting its people and bringing glory to its Sith rulers? What does it take to be part of a military machine—not as a soldier on the front lines or a scheming Grand Moff, but as a player in politics and espionage? What sort of person navigates a galaxy of superweapons and superhumans with only his training and his wits, knowing that one wrong word could mean secrets exposed and wars lost? What’s the ultimate goal for such an individual? Power? Thrills? Or simply an Empire safe from its enemies?

The Imperial Agent is an unusual class in that it doesn’t neatly fit a specific Star Wars movie archetype. Oh, espionage clearly has a role in the setting—in the original trilogy alone, we see stolen Death Star plans, mysterious cloaked informants, good-hearted businessmen blackmailed into betraying old friends, infiltration teams flying salvaged enemy ships, and more—but the operatives themselves are rarely front-and-center. In a game with the scope of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, however, creating a class to deal directly with this setting element seemed natural.

That addresses the “agent” part of the class. But why “Imperial”? We see a lot of loyal officers of the Empire in the films without getting inside their heads. Grand Moff Tarkin is the only character Darth Vader ever treats as an equal—he can stare Darth Vader down even as Vader violently chokes people around him. But why? How does an ordinary man like Tarkin come to “hold Vader’s leash,” and how would a lower-ranking officer ever survive a Sith’s wrath? Is it by proving yourself invaluable, or by having a secret edge your superiors can’t beat?

There’s also a lot to be explored in the role of the defender of a despotic nation. The Sith Empire has done terrible things, yes—but trillions of ordinary Imperial citizens believe in its cause. The Empire isn’t mired in the chaos and mediocrity of the democratic Republic. The Empire promises that great men will rise to the top, and lesser men can be proud to serve. Many Imperial Intelligence officers are genuinely patriotic, believers in the system… and others are jaded, self-serving or idealistic reformers. If we were going to create a game where half our stories take place from the Imperial perspective, we needed a class that dived deep into the Imperial story.

Secrets of the Imperial Agent

That’s enough background and context. Let’s talk specifically about what you’re going to see and do in the Imperial Agent class story.

It all starts on Hutta, where XXX XXXXXX is trying to XXXX the XXXXXXXXXX of XXXXXX the Hutt. After XXX XXXXX XXXXXXX, the Imperial Agent XX XXXX XX XXXXXXXXXXX X XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX on behalf of Darth XXXXX. He’ll work alongside a genetically enhanced XXXXXXX, encounter double-agents and triple-agents, betray XXX XXX XXXXXX or perform atrocities in the name of the Empire. The Imperial Agent will need to determine his own loyalties and the loyalties of those around him, and survive the attentions of XXXXXXX successor, the Sith Lord XXXXX XXXXXXX.

The Republic military, the SIS and the Jedi will all have a part to play as well, and that’s just the beginning—enough to give you a taste without spoiling what’s to come.

Conclusion

Playing the Imperial Agent isn’t for everyone. He’ll never be out front with a Lightsaber or torching Droids with a flamethrower, and he’ll never receive fame and recognition for his successes. The Imperial Agent lives in the shadows and, when he does his job right, no one ever realizes he was there. His best weapons are a sniper rifle, his gadgets and his ability to charm or lie his way through any situation. He works for an Empire that places little value on an individual operative’s life.

It’s going to be rough. It’s going to be fun.

For those of you giving it a try, one last word of advice: Whatever you do? Don’t trust XXXXXX.

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Old 01-03-2010, 04:29 AM   #178
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This game is going to be awesome. I'm pumped to play the inquisitor as well as the Imperial Agent.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:54 PM   #179
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This actually isn't too awfully far off from my 'holiday 2010' expectations:
Quote:
Star Wars: The Old Republic Delayed Until 2011?

By Bryn Williams | Jan 12, 2010

EA's CEO John Riccitiello mentions that the company's 'new major MMO' won't hit until next year.
There's some confusion as to exactly which new MMO EA's John Riccitiello was referring to in a statement issued yesterday, but the chances are that BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic won't land in stores until sometime in 2011. GameSpot's coverage suggests that either The Old Republic or possibly Realtime Worlds' APB could slip into next year.

Riccitiello also said that the company is planning to launch "our major new MMO"--presumably BioWare Austin's Star Wars: The Old Republic--in "spring 2011." It was unclear if he meant calendar year 2011, or EA's 2011 fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2011.

[UPDATE 2] When asked if Riccitiello was talking about SW: TOR, an EA rep would only offer the following statement: "No further comment beyond what John said. This wasn't a comment about a specific franchise, but a notation on how we are building a plan and guidance for the next fiscal year."

Since December 2008, EA has cut around 2,500 jobs, a figure which factors heavily into our earlier story of the videogame industry in crisis.
And a specific spring 2011 statement from a dev on the tor forums:
Quote:
While we have not announced a specific date, we can confirm that we are targeting a spring 2011 release for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. We’ve got a lot of exciting updates and reveals planned throughout 2010, including the first-ever hands-on testing for the game. It’s not too late to sign up to be a game tester, so go to www.swtor.com/tester and sign up today. We can’t wait to share more about the game with you as we progress through the year, so make sure you stay tuned to the official website for details.
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:58 PM   #180
Sweet Dick Willy Sweet Dick Willy is offline
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Sweet Dick want MMO sooner, goddamnit!
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