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Star Wars: The Old Republic Hands On Preview

You want a Star Wars MMO with lots of story and customizable Jedi? Then so be it.

MMOs in general have been fun for me, but none draw me in because of the overall lack of story and motivation. Yes, leveling up and questing is fun but for me, I like to have narrative in my experience. Because of this, Star Wars: The Old Republic has been on my personal radar for a while now. Not only does it promise a traditional MMO experience and lots of Star Wars related goodness, but it also contains the story, character development, and conversation trees that Bioware is known for. My hands-on with the game quickly made me realize that this is a game that I could easily get lost in.

The demo started me off with about eight different playable characters to choose from. These were pre-set for the sake of the demo, but will be completely customizable as far as race, faction, and class go in the final game. I picked a blind female Jedi consular named Luseen. Whichever one you choose is considered special by the higher ups, so they immediately send us off on a quest to defeat invading monsters and ogres and rescue Jedi allies. Being a Jedi Consular, my character battled with the traditional light saber and my special attacks included a light saber slash, a force lift that tosses a rock at foes, and a double slash, among many others.

When engaging people in conversation, players are given the Mass Effect inspired conversation circle where you pick from one of (usually) three answers. One answer is typically aligned with being “good,” one is generally “neutral,” and the last is usually more of a “renegade” answer. The game is fully voiced, which again sets it apart from the vast majority of MMOs on the market.

As I played, I noticed people who picked other characters had introductions that were much different. Some were immediately thrown into the thick of battle, while others had a bit of a slower, more story driven opening. It's just a testament to the vast amount of differences each class can have, and I'm sure that players will want to experience most, if not all the different classes to see how the plot plays out.

The Old Republic comes with your standard MMO controls: hotkeys at the top are for special moves, movement and menu management are handled farther down on the keyboard, and basic attacks and camera movement are handled with the mouse. A few camera quirks aside, it felt good and didn't take long to get used to.

Additionally, it looked great. Character models were well done, and the lip syncing (at least for this demo) was top notch. It has a distinct level of quality that most MMOs don't have.

One downside is the monthly subscription fee which will be unreasonable to most: twelve dollars per six months. However after playing today, I can see why. The production value is top notch and for players who have been striving to play a story driven MMO that lets you fulfill your Star Wars fantasies, this is the game for you. Star Wars: The Old Republic is slated for a December 20th release this year.



Jesse Miller Staff Writer

10/15/2011 at 12:14 AM

$15 per six months? That's one of the cheaper MMOs out there. Can't imagine too many people complaining there.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

10/15/2011 at 12:51 AM

actually i was mistaken, its $12 per six months, which is a bit better. After playing it, i think its worth it

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

10/15/2011 at 12:51 AM

actually i was mistaken, its $12 per six months, which is a bit better. After playing it, i think its worth it

Nate Hascup Staff Alumnus

10/15/2011 at 08:20 PM

Wow...this might get me to pay for an MMO. I too prefer the more story driven aspect of offline RPGs and was initially dissuaded by KOTOR going MMO because I assumed there would be a loss in plot developmen. Even the fee is reasonable. That's $2 a month. Those two aspects are what have kept me away from MMOs.


10/18/2011 at 08:09 PM

The monthly fee is actually $12 per month if you buy a 6 month block. $14.95 per month when buying a single month at a time.

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