If you're reading this, it likely means that you aren't one of the many millions of World of Warcraft fans who have been working their mouse-fingers to the bone since the release of Cataclysm. If that's the case, then clearly you aren't satisfied with the current offering of MMO titles, or maybe you are a WoW fan who is simply interested in finding something new to pour your hours into. With The Old Republic getting closer and closer by the day, fans of MMOs and the Star Wars universe are in for a treat.
The Old Republic's story trailers show that the developers at BioWare are as committed to bringing a rich plot to their newest project as they have been to both Dragon Age and Mass Effect, but that isn't all it takes to win fans. The latest video released for TOR comes all the way from PAX East 2011, providing a walkthrough of one of the game's flashpoints called 'Taral V.' Now we have some images of gameplay to put alongside the great rivalry between the Jedi and Sith.
It's not that BioWare hasn't kept fans updated on the various classes and characters of TOR, or the improvements they've made to the MMO formula, but the team has been especially dedicated to communicating the fact that their MMO will be based on story, not just mechanics.
Presumably this is meant to differentiate themselves from WoW, and gain some subscribers before Blizzard unveils their next MMO. Story is a great way to do that, but you still need solid gameplay as a foundation.
The latest walkthrough video shows the Taral V mission, built around a team of 4, and aimed at an experience level of around 32. While some might wonder if having multiple party members could take away from the strong character interactions that have made BioWare's other RPGs so unique, they've thought of everything.
When prompted by a quest-giver, each player in the party will be given a choice to select an appropriate response, with a dice-roll determining who will have their line spoken.
A clever idea, but one that has to be seen first, so take a look:
From the looks of things, the basic elements of gameplay are being addressed with as much care as the narrative, which is a good thing if BioWare hopes to win over the 500 thousand players it needs to make a profit. The characters and fiction of Star Wars doesn't seem to be used as a crutch or hook in the actual missions, just an interesting world in which to set their larger story.
From small touches, like having a healer deploy hovering health packs to heal instead of strange auras, the science fiction is being used to add to the game's content, not replace it.
We like the character creation we've seen so far, and hope for the best, even if EA investors have their doubts about TOR. There's no reason for a handful of games to rule the MMO roost, but The Old Republic has to pack a punch if it wants to carve out a spot for itself.
What do you think after seeing the game in action? Does being walked through an actual mission show that the game really is a competent RPG, or do you still have your doubts?
Star Wars: the Old Republic is scheduled for a release sometime after April for the PC.