The New Old Republic from a long time ago is now!
The game that nearly all Star Wars fans have been waiting for since Star Wars Galaxies rolled out it’s new combat experience. Bioware has filly come out with an MMO that changes how we really play MMO’s.I have played quite a few MMO’s in my life. I think my first dose was back with SWG came out, and that’s what it took to make me jump, Star Wars. Since then there has been Everquest, FFXI, LOTRO, and the ever popular WoW. One thing that was a constant was that, while the gameplay was fun, I never really got into the story. That’s not to say that I didn’t like the story much, but it never grabbed me. That is until The Old Republic.
In single player games, there is a lot of emphasis put on the story. You are telling the story from the players point of view. These are the games that grab you and make you care about your character and drive you through the game. In most MMO’s the story is told through the quest givers and usually there is a lot of reading. Most of this reading breaks down to “Them thar cyotes are killin mah chickens! Go kill 10 of them and bring me their pelts!” Because, surely the other “cyotes” will take the hint. With TOR, the quest giver tells you, through actual conversation, what he needs, and you steer the conversation with your reactions. Fully voiced characters help with that. I can see that my character is making the decision to kill 10 “cyotes” and I can hear the impact that it has on the NPC. It’s not just a paragraph of text that I probably wouldn’t be reading anyways. Span that across 50 Levels….that’s a big story.
So now we have taken the Single player aspect of story telling ad brought it to a MMO. But what about the M in MMO? (yeah I know there are two, we are talking about the Multiplayer one.) That’s what makes the story telling part that much more interesting. Lets throw a second player in the conversation now. Farmer Frank is worried about his chickens, Jedi Joe is very interested in Farmer Franks plight, but Smuggler Steve just wants to get paid. This changes the conversation! For each conversation choice, the players roll to see who gets to answer. Depending on the response, Farmer Frank could reply with something different. The outcome of the quest could be, less money, or no money, or lots of money!
I found that I was really interested in my story quests, so much so that I started bypassing some of the side quests that everyone can get just to progress my story. The downside to this being that my story got too hard for the level I was at. Side quests are there to help build you up more. I have become more attached and actually care about my characters story line more so than any other MMO. Add into this the actual moral choices that Bioware is known for throwing into the mix, and now we have different story trees that make even the same player class re-playable! I wasn’t so sure on this until I watched a friend, who was the same class, in his story quest and the outcome of the conversation was vastly different because of his choices. (it’s no wonder this game took so long to come out!)
All of this is not even getting into actual game mechanics and game play. I might try and cover that in a separate post since I don’t want to make this terribly long. A quick side note about interesting game mechanics. Everyone knows that you can press a key combo to hide your UI and then press “Print Screen” to take a screen shot. Bioware took this to the next level by giving Collectors Edition buyers a “Holocamera” in game. When used, it creates a screen shot from the players POV. Not too different from the key combo right? Nope, but the in game character will actually pull out a camera and take a picture. This made my trip to Tatooine a bit more touristy! Enjoy the pics and expect more from a galaxy far far away soon!