As we march ever closer to the spring 2011 launch window for
style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old
Republic, BioWare has
continued to reveal plenty of interesting gameplay details, and their
showing at E3 2010 was certainly no exception. During their
presentation, we were given a look at not only the first details on the
PvP Warzones, but also learned about player ships and got a chance to
see how combat plays as a group.
For my hands-on time with the game, I opted to check out the Smuggler
class. While I didn’t get to spend quite as much time with it
as I may have liked, I did get the chance to experience a number of
different gameplay elements such as the dialog system, combat and
The combat and controls felt pretty fluid, though I have to admit that
the smuggler seemed as though you had little choice but to constantly
make use of its unique class mechanic of finding and firing from cover.
Mind you, since games such as style="font-style: italic;">Gears of War
popularized the cover mechanic for firing ranged weapons from a
position of relative safety, I’ve found the same to hold true
of many other titles that do something similar.
In the case of
style="font-style: italic;">The Old Republic,
this boiled down to being able to easily pick off single enemies when I
could locate and fire from proper cover, whereas attempting to
run-and-gun it through the area resulted in some incredibly quick
deaths. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you consider
that most MMOGs, regardless of genre, tend to have those archetypical
“glass cannons” as ranged characters to help
account for their higher DPS output.
For example, during the group gameplay portion of the demo we were
shown, the smuggler seemed to shine far brighter than when solo simply
because with proper group support they could more effectively assume
their own support role and fire from cover while the trooper took the
bulk of the incoming damage. Considering the
‘massively’ portion of MMOG, I certainly
don’t expect that every single class should be able to solo
all combat situations. So at least based on my hands-on time with the
smuggler, I definitely got the impression that style="font-style: italic;">The Old Republic
will shine brightest when played socially.
The other thing I would say about my hands-on with the game is that it
felt like a very genuine translation of the poplar style="font-style: italic;">KotOR
titles when it comes to questing. While I only experienced a handful of
quests, those I accepted and completed were strung together much like
quests tend to be in a single player RPG, with plenty of branching
dialog options thrown into the mix as well. The net result was that
Old Republic will indeed be a
massive MMOG experience, there’s still plenty of elements
that help retain the essence of what has helped BioWare gain such a
positive reputation to begin with. It remains to be seen just how
extensively these elements permeate the overall gameplay experience,
but I have a feeling that style="font-style: italic;">KotOR
fans will feel right at home. Well, so long as they’re not
put off by the graphical nuances that remind me more of the Clone Wars
animated series more so than any of BioWare’s more recent
titles like style="font-style: italic;">Dragon Age
Speaking of retaining a positive style="font-style: italic;">KotOR
vibe, one of the new things revealed at E3 this year is that players
will each be able to own a spaceship, the style of which seems to be
directly linked to the Jedi vs. Sith factional separator. In the
following video you’ll no doubt notice how similar these ship
interiors look and feel to something like the Ebon Hawke. No word as of
yet if they’ll come complete with an insane droid stuffed
into a storage compartment though, but we can only hope!
Much like the Ebon Hawke or style="font-style: italic;">Mass Effect’s
Normandy, these player ships are intended to serve mainly as a base of
operations rather than being something you hop into for a quick round
You’ll also be able to socialize within the ships, and will
no doubt interact with your various NPC companions in them as well.
We were also given an interesting look at how armor progression for the
Bounty Hunter might look as seen below:
Mind you it will probably be a much slower transition than what we see
above, but there does seem to be a pretty seamless transition from the
look and feel of the noob armor pieces on up through the higher end,
more bad-ass armor set.
Old Republic seems to be
shaping up quite nicely, and certainly has a lot of tried and true
BioWare RPGness going on, which will no doubt be a plus in the minds of
fans of their single player titles.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Page.