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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Monday, November 14, 2011

AN EVEN LONGER TIME AGO

"Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?"
-Han Solo

One of the best games I ever played on the X-Box was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Set a thousand or two years before the movies, this game was brilliantly designed and interesting, had no Jar Jar Binks or Ewoks, and most importantly was written by someone other than George Lucas. The sequel wasn't as great, although it was still fun - it seemed like the game was 75% finished and they were ordered to release so they slapped an ending on it to wrap it up that felt incredibly rushed and contrived.

Well the same guys are working on a Star Wars MMOG, called Star Wars: The Old Republic. I was invited to a brief stress-test beta and played over the weekend. It took about five hours to download the files which was a bit annoying since the beta was only Friday-Sunday. I was gone most of Sunday, so I didn't get as much play time in as I wanted. As a result I didn't check all the classes and only got to level 9 with one.

I can't tell too much detail because of the secrecy agreement but I can say this: it looks great, plays great, and was a great deal of fun. What you liked about KOTOR (if you played it) you'll like about this. The setting is pure Star Wars without the obnoxious bits. The characters play interestingly and distinctively, the quests and interaction are engaging and entertaining, and this really looks like it will survive.

There were some bugs but it looks mostly done; its more done than, say, Ultima Online was when it was released. I didn't get to see any end-game content or try much in terms of grouping, but it seems a winner to me.

I've beta tested a lot of games in the past and while they were okay, they didn't really grab me (Lord of the Rings, Rifts, etc) SW:TOR did. I'm too poor to buy and play another MMOG but I definitely would if I could. This one is going to take a huge bite out of WoW's market share (except perhaps in China). I'm truly looking forward to the release, as are a lot of people.

Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out December 15th, but as I understand it there will be another stress test beta this upcoming weekend. Hopefully it won't involve as much downloading. You'll need a pretty burly system to play this one, just as fair warning.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Eric said...

Sweeet. If I was ever willing to sideline another hobby in order to give MMOG's a try, this might be the one that would convince me to do it. Most of these games take place in Tolkeinesque fantasy worlds and while they look very well done, I just don't get as excited about that as I used to, but I do still find sci-fi and superhero themes very engaging, and this seems like a good mixture of both. I also thought DC Universe Online looked really interesting, but so far the reviews I've read have been lackluster.

11:17 AM, November 14, 2011  
Anonymous JoelAT said...

Star Wars, bleh. Now, make a Babylon Five based game and I'd be all over that.

11:24 AM, November 14, 2011  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

Champions Online was fun but it didn't really capture my attention. I think it was the lack of a really compelling universe; the City of Heroes setting was actually more interesting to me.

11:59 AM, November 14, 2011  
Anonymous BobK said...

Christopher,

I was in the stress test beta weekend too. Loved it and I second all your comments and hope I'm called back for the next beta weekend! Perhaps we can team up and take down Ironfist!

8:03 PM, November 14, 2011  

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