Star Wars: The Old Republic - A New Hope for Star Wars Fans

By Cody "Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor

Cody "Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor

For a decade, massively multiplayer online games have been entertaining
hundreds of thousands of gamers on a daily basis. These massive virtual
worlds are embodiments of the fictional lands that we've always dreamed
of exploring - from the hallowed grounds of Middle Earth to the war
torn lands of Azeroth - and every year gamers spend countless hours
dreaming of how they might change their favorite novel into a massively
multiplayer online game. While thousands of intellectual properties are
considered for MMOG treatment, only a few ever get the funding and the
creative team on board to actually turn them into a full-blown AAA MMOG.

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wants a lightsaber

So when Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts announced in mid-2000
that they were creating a MMORPG based on the style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars universe,
majority of the gaming industry believed that  style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars Galaxies
(SWG) would be the game that would push MMOG gaming into popular
Looking at the top grossing movies since 1977, the style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars franchise
target="_blank">holds four of the top ten spots
(if you adjust for inflation), and every style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars movie has
over $200,000,000 at the box office. As a money-making intellectual
property, nothing can touch the sheer power of style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars. Billions
dollars have been spent on Star
toys, video games and merchandise,
and Star Wars
fans continue to show their support, despite some
mediocre products in the past. It was easily apparent that the rapidly
growing MMOG industry would receive a huge shot in the arm with an
influx of Star Wars
fans, and SOE had that spot reserved with style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars

However, Star Wars
was nowhere near the game that many style="font-style: italic;">Star
Wars and MMOG aficionados expected. The world was almost
too big, the
fights were mediocre at best, and the content was sparely populated
throughout the various regions. Outer space combat was non-existent and
those players that wanted to vie for a position as a Jedi were met with
a cryptic and almost impossible grinding period. In essence, style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars
Galaxies was not what anyone had hoped, and rather than
bringing the
MMOG market into new venues, SWG and its subsequent alterations created
a vast number of jaded and cynical MMOG players. The game remains a
fairly positive part of the SOE portfolio, but MMO gamers that played
the title previously were furious with the way they were treated and
dropped out of the Star
universe entirely.

But hope is far from lost for the Star
license in the MMOG
marketplace. Officially announced only a few minutes ago, LucasArts has
opted to give the Star
franchise another attempt in the MMOG space,
and this time they’ve set their sites squarely in an era of style="font-style: italic;">Star
Wars that is much more conducive to a popular player
experience. The
new MMO, which is titled Star
Wars: The Old Republic
, takes place
thousands of years before Star
Wars: Episode I
and has the potential to
harbor thousands of Jedi and Sith per server. While the details are
still coming in regarding the exact use of Jedi and Sith in SW: TOR,
it’s safe to assume that LucasArts and Bioware
aren’t going
to make the same mistakes that a Star
MMOG made in the past.

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Wars Galaxies was viewed as a crime by many

Yet as this announcement breaks through the cloud cover of the San
Francisco Bay, the rest of the MMOG industry is trying to determine how
this game will affect the rest of the gaming space. As stated
previously, a huge percentage of the U.S. population has seen one of
the seven officially released Star
movies, and that is an audience
that EA and Bioware obviously hope to tap into with the release of
their upcoming MMO. While there will probably be some fallout from
previously released MMOGs, I don’t envision that every
subscription to World
of Warcraft
, Lord
of the Rings Online
, or
Warhammer Online
will end simply because of the release of a style="font-style: italic;">Star
Wars-based MMOG.

On the contrary, Bioware may have a hard time convincing many of the
formerly jaded Star Wars
MMO gamers to come back to the fold and try
their hand at a different Star
MMOG. That said, Sony Online
Entertainment may be hard pressed to keep their existing player base in
Star Wars Galaxies.
For many Star Wars
fans, the Era of the Old
Republic is one that is full of mystery and the sort of epic adventures
that we grew up envisioning when we played with our style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars action
figures. If Bioware creates a game of truly grand proportions, everyone
will be eager to try their hand at this new world.

In the end, I can only see Star
Wars: The Old Republic
bringing an even
brighter spotlight to the MMOG market and pulling more people into our
virtual worlds. Star
is huge. There is no denying that fact. With
the consistency and standards set by previous Bioware titles, I can
only assume that SW: TOR will be one of the bestselling MMO games of
all time.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Page.

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