Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) is an upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game based in the Star Wars universe. Currently in development by BioWare Austin and a supplemental team at BioWare Edmonton, the game was first announced on October 21, 2008, at an invitation-only press event. The Old Republic will be released as a Windows title. The game is scheduled to come out between Q2-Q4 2011.
The Old Republic will also use cover mechanics for the second time in MMO gameplay (the first being Tabula Rasa). Members of the two main factions—the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire—will have different moralities; the project's key focus is to differentiate between the player's faction and morality.
Unlike traditional MMOs, classes in the Old Republic are not limited to the typical archetypes (healer, tank, melee dps, ranged etc...). Bioware has stated that each class will support on-the-fly customization that will allow any class to fill any role within a party, eliminating the need to spam channels in search of a specific class needed to fill a role within a group, which can delay or outright stop parties from completing group quests. While each class in The Old Republic will still favor a certain play style (be it ranged, melee, or otherwise), customization combined with companion characters will make for having a class be able to tackle many different situations, with or without the support of other player characters, and without requiring specific other classes in order to move forward.
Players' choices will permanently open or close storylines and affect players' non-player character (NPC) companions. The game's developers believe that the game will provide more context for characters' missions and quests than other MMORPGs offer. Every character in the game, including the player character, will feature full voice dialog to enhance gameplay, and interactions with those characters will feature a dialogue system similar to that used in the Mass Effect series. Players will be able to choose from a variety of NPCs, although spending time with a single companion will help more in developing story and content than dividing time among several, and may even develop a love interest. It is possible for players to "blow it big time" if they fail to meet NPCs' expectations. Players will also have access to dozens of planets, including Korriban, Ord Mantell, Nal Hutta, Tython, Coruscant, Balmorra, Alderaan, Tatooine, Dromund Kaas, Taris, Belsavis, Voss, Hoth, Corellia, Ilum, Quesh, Taral V; and the moon Nar Shaddaa. Every player will receive his or her own Star-ship, which was announced at E3 2010.
Footage of space combat was released at Gamescom. The short clip provided by BioWare revealed that space combat would be a "tunnel shooter." A tunnel shooter, otherwise known as a scrolling shooter, is a flying game where the player is on a predetermined track. Game play includes moving right and left on the X axis and up and down on the Y axis; however, players won't have control of the speed of their space craft. Jake Neri, LucasArts Producer, told PC Gamer in their upcoming October 2010 issue that their goal is to "capture the most cinematic moments that we can create. We want players to get in and feel like they're in the movies. It's about highly cinematic, controlled combat moments...very heroic, action-packed, exciting, visceral and dangerous encounters that'll make you pee your pants."
The game features a passive form of crafting, known as Crew Skills, in which a player's companions carry out gathering and crafting tasks asynchronously to the player's adventures out in the world. The player can assign up to five companions to perform various skills. Crafting skills allow the player's companions to create items. Gathering skills allow the player's companions to gather resources out in the world. Mission skills allow the player's companions to perform acts on the player's behalf, gaining the player light or dark side influence and other unspecified rewards.
The story takes place in the Star Wars fictional universe shortly after the establishment of a tenuous peace between the re-emergent Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, 300 years after the events of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games and more than 3,500 years before the events in the Star Wars films. The Jedi are held responsible for the success of the Sith during the devastating 28 Year long Great Galactic War (which led to the Treaty of Coruscant prior to the Cold War) and thus choose to relocate from Coruscant to Tython, where the Jedi order had initially been founded, to seek guidance from the Force. The Sith control Korriban, where they have re-established a Sith Academy. The game begins as new conflicts arise.
A collaborative effort between BioWare, LucasArts and Dark Horse Comics has resulted in webcomics entitled "Star Wars: The Old Republic: Threat of Peace" and "Star Wars: The Old Republic: Blood of the Empire", the purpose of which is to set up the story as the game opens.
There will be a range of playable species for the player to choose from. So far confirmed are Chiss, Human, Miraluka, Mirialan, Rattataki, Sith Pureblood, Twi'lek and Zabrak. Although Humans can pick any class available, other species have been restricted to only several classes each.
Each faction will contain different classes, each with a distinct backstory and a branching storyline affected by players' moral choices. Classes will also be exclusive to one faction or the other. Eight classes have been confirmed: the Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent, and Sith Inquisitor for the Sith Empire; and the Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Knight, and Jedi Consular for the Galactic Republic. Although each class will have a distinct storyline, they will be integrated with the game's overall arc.
The Old Republic marks BioWare's first entry into the MMORPG market, and it will be the second Star Wars MMORPG after Star Wars Galaxies. BioWare had long been interested in working on a MMORPG, but waited until they had "the right partners, the right team, and the right I.P." A major focus in the game is on developing characters' individual stories and, in October 2008, BioWare considered this game to have more story content than all of their other games combined. The writing team has been working on the project longer than any of the game's other development teams. An October, 2008 preview noted some of the 12 full-time writers had been working on the The Old Republic for more than two years at that point.
The game's first cinematic trailer, "Deceived", was shown at the Electronic Arts 2009 E3 Press Conference on June 1, 2009. A public live demo was shown for the first time at the Gamescom. On September 29, 2009, Bioware announced that they would be accepting applications for testers from the game community. Within minutes, the official website was down due to traffic, and Bioware announced shortly after that the site was being changed in order to accommodate the increase in visitors. A second cinematic trailer, "Hope", was released on June 14, 2010, that depicts another battle that happened before the game, the Battle of Alderaan. Game testing was officially announced to be underway on July 9, 2010, for testers from North American territories. As of September 2010, the official website has shown inclusion of the character Darth Revan and information of his reign in the gameplay. The budget is rumored to be roughly 300 million dollars by a company insider.
The music is composed by Mark Griskey, Gordy Haab, Jesse Harlin, Lennie Moore, and Wilbert Roget, II.
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