Let’s Blow This Thing and Go Home

Smuggler Han Solo in his most intimidating and seductive pose.

Unlike when the Jedi were killed by the clones, millions of nerds cried out in joy today, for Bioware is allowing folks to pre-load Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Press PLAY before continuing.

While the game itself isn’t playable until the twentieth fifteenth THIRTEENTH (they added 2 days to the pre-release playtime!), it does help build anticipation for the gamer. I’ve been excited about this game forever and had a chance to do a weekend test or two and am absolutely stoked. The fact that I can start playing a day or two before my collector’s edition arrives in the mail (with my Darth Malgus statue and whathaveyou) is awesome.

There are two things I want to address directly related to the game:


Some people have been critical of the TOR beta. Some of them are trolls, EQ/D&D:O/LotRO/WoW fans who have just come in to ridicule the game and support their own team (and there is of course, speculation that some of these trolls are in fact company men [c-men, if you will]). Some don’t like the crafting system, or the linearity of the questlines for certain classes, or even just the graphics (which I think look sick, but whatever). These trolls have also complained that because of the NDA, they’ve been unable to bitch in public, and as such Bioware is scamming the public (or so they accuse). But with the NDA lifted, people are free to post what they want.

The main problem with posting criticisms however is that, well, it’s a beta. For those not in the know, a beta is essentially the preview release of something, the prototype, if you will, often wildly different from the actual product.

And here is where I think Bioware is brilliant: there are some fans who will probably like this game no matter what, and they’ve pre-ordered. These folks will get up to a week to play it: if they like it, glowing reviews will spread and Bioware can easily expect strong sals to continue. And if it is bantha poodoo*, well, the reviews will reflect that. So, well played Bioware. Well played.


Having only played a bit of the game, I can say that while the UI and controls mimic WoW pretty well (and, as much as I dislike it [as a former WoW player], Blizzard nailed their UI), the storyline seems incredible. I won’t lie, I’ve read the three Old Republic novels released for the game (Revan wasn’t as good as I expected, TBH. Maybe a review to follow?), and I continue to be blown away by what is easily the most interesting part of the Star Wars timeline. Obviously, like any good person, having played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to death, my expectations are high. But from the minuscule amount of playtime I got, I was incredibly impressed. The main problem with MMOs, to me, is the lack of a compelling storyline. Playing WoW, for me, was literally “ok wheres my quest oh here it is what do i do ok done here now what oh this guy might have something” etc. Very little thought goes into it or is needed. The world is only ever changed by you by action or inaction, and even then, the changes are temporary. TOR, on the other hand, offers more choice. Even if the choice is extremely limited or black and white (the typical “kill/don’t kill” option), it still offers a way to change your story, and that’s what TOR is. Rather than being a multiplayer-based MMO, it’s a story-based MMO (the designers claim that TOR tries to walk a path between the two but it’s not incredibly obvious). To hardcore MMO players, that’s a bad thing. To others, well, it’s a great thing.

There’s not much else I can say that I feel is worth saying, to be honest. The beta is behind us, the real game is literally days away. And while I still need to get a supercomputer so I can play it with the settings maxed, I’m absolutely stoked. Pre-order it if you can (digital editions aplenty, I expect).

*according to 1.ii.a.iv of the Reviewing Star Wars Stuff Agreement (ratified 1989), the phrase “bantha poodoo” must be used to describe something not good. Google it.


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