Archived => Gaming => Topic started by: Raktus on February 17, 2010, 08:08:15 PM

Title: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on February 17, 2010, 08:08:15 PM
I have to say, I heard about the game only once before in an old episode of STOked. They had mentioned it didn't look as exciting as STO did and I didn't think about it at all. When I read the blog post today about MMO's I decided to look it up. BIOWARE! Fucking Bioware is making it and no one told me? Finding that out forced me to watch some vids...


I would sell my first born, like I know who he is anyways, for a game like that. I watched the developers video as well which shown actual game play as well as PC/NPC interaction and flashpoints. I am still amazed, intrigued and using less than 20% of the seat I was sold. This could be the game I have waited for for a long time now.

Now, yes... I did enjoy STO and have attempted to defend them as hard as any fanboy ever could. That in itself is hard to defend when offering my opinion of another game of the same genre. I have to say though, I come from a writers history of Star Wars RP if not general star wars games (except, if you can believe, the most popular modern releases). I grew up with Star Trek, I watched Star Wars.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: ZIkar on February 17, 2010, 08:22:16 PM
Now whats funny is that there's guild already made for the game.

Got invited into 2 sith guilds a week after game was announced.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Ephigy on February 18, 2010, 08:01:26 PM
Yea there's a webcomic and awesomesauce CGI intro out there. The community isn't that bad (so far) and the classes are shaping up pretty well from what I've seen. Definitely trying it out, Sith warrior style!
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: cogzwell on February 18, 2010, 09:09:24 PM
I'm actually fairly interested in the game at this point, not because of jedi or space-combat, but as the story as an actual war conflict.

It seems to almost be kind of like a Persian War or peloponnesian war style story.... with lazers....
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Seyfert on February 19, 2010, 08:23:18 PM
I've been a part of the online community since the first day the website came online :) I'll give Octale's first born to get into the beta for this :)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Edrac on February 21, 2010, 07:14:36 PM
I've been watching this game since... what was it October of '07 that it was officially announced?

THIS, this is that game that WILL break break me of WoW for good. As i am a Star Wars fan first and foremost...
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Bazeleel on February 22, 2010, 09:53:40 AM
This game is why i quit WoW and deleted all my toon last week :)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Grail on February 22, 2010, 12:28:47 PM
At this time, this is the only MMO that I am going to play outside of WoW.  Everything fully voice acted?!?  Choices that once made change your gameplay experience compared to someone else's?!?!  Yes please!

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Edrac on February 22, 2010, 04:24:55 PM
At this time, this is the only MMO that I am going to play outside of WoW.  Everything fully voice acted?!?  Choices that once made change your gameplay experience compared to someone else's?!?!  Yes please!


From what I've seen, I've gotten a "KotOR and Mass Effect had a baby" sort of vibe... from the fully voiced dialogue and the conversation wheel...

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Vaulisel on February 22, 2010, 05:06:37 PM
I think this is an MMO I'll be really interested in, but probably not sign up for a go until the initial furor has died down. I imagine class balance will start to even out over time also; since no matter how many people say "OMG bounty hunters are awesome" you know that at launch there'll be so many lightsabers waving around that the newbie areas will be lit like Vegas.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on February 22, 2010, 10:36:28 PM
Catch up to SW:TOR In less than an hour:

(1) Timeline (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/timeline)

Watch the timeline as it depicts the events leading up to the stage at which TOR is set.

(2) Deceived Cinematic Trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMQ51v6Nafo)

Watch it, you have to.

(3) Webcomic (http://www.swtor.com/media/webcomic)

For the further immersion into the story thats coming, episodes still incoming.

(4) Developer Walkthrough (http://www.swtor.com/media/trailers/developer-walkthrough)

And now you should be set.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Edrac on February 22, 2010, 10:53:39 PM
I think this is an MMO I'll be really interested in, but probably not sign up for a go until the initial furor has died down. I imagine class balance will start to even out over time also; since no matter how many people say "OMG bounty hunters are awesome" you know that at launch there'll be so many lightsabers waving around that the newbie areas will be lit like Vegas.

that's the beauty of Bioware's proposed story based leveling system... Since each class has a unique story that ties into the overall story of the game only the jedi/sith starting area's will be swamped with "teh lazerswordz"

So i don't expect to encounter too many people being all "zomg lightsaberz shwoom, shwoom" in my (probably very military centric) Republic Trooper newbie zone.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Vaulisel on February 22, 2010, 11:13:19 PM
that's the beauty of Bioware's proposed story based leveling system... Since each class has a unique story that ties into the overall story of the game only the jedi/sith starting area's will be swamped with "teh lazerswordz"

So i don't expect to encounter too many people being all "zomg lightsaberz shwoom, shwoom" in my (probably very military centric) Republic Trooper newbie zone.
Don't count on it. Unless there are hard travel lockouts for quite some time into the newbie zones, it won't matter.

I don't know what it was like on other servers, but TBC day ONE saw Orgrimmar on my server chock full of naked female blood elves.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Seyfert on February 23, 2010, 12:08:03 AM
True but there is one flaw in that argument :) Your comparing it to WOW. This is Bioware. They've never gone half assed on a game before...why start now? I'm sure they have looked at all of WOW to see what they can intergrate and what they can throw into the eternal fire. Like all MMO's, it will have it's balance issues and bugs at first, but hopefully it will turn out for the better. Now, only one questions remains...................................Sith or Republic? I can't choose!!!! :(
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on February 23, 2010, 09:03:10 AM
that's the beauty of Bioware's proposed story based leveling system... Since each class has a unique story that ties into the overall story of the game only the jedi/sith starting area's will be swamped with "teh lazerswordz"

So i don't expect to encounter too many people being all "zomg lightsaberz shwoom, shwoom" in my (probably very military centric) Republic Trooper newbie zone.

Starting Planets
Sith Inquisitor/Sith Warrior: Korriban
Imperial Agent/Bounty Hunter: Hutta
Smuggler/Trooper: Ord Mantell
Jedi Knight/Jedi Consular: Tython
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on February 23, 2010, 09:35:07 AM
Some links...

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 09, 2010, 10:13:33 AM
BioWare writers are commenting a bit more often on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic forums lately. Writer Randy Begel added his observations to a thread discussing alignment decisions yesterday:

I agree wholeheartedly with intentions being the measure of moral alignment under normal circumstances, but incorporating it into a video game complicates matters greatly.

Since a game is finite we have to narrow down what would normally be a near infinite number of approaches to any given situation to only a few. Within these limits it’s our job to pick a range of options that gives the player enough diversity to role-play and we have to communicate as clearly as possible what those options are so the player isn’t unpleasantly surprised because a choice isn’t quite what they thought it would be. In that sense we have to assume that when the player selects an option they are doing so “in earnest,” playing at face value, because it’s impossible for a designer to know the player’s intention for selecting any given option.

The tricky part is trying to then add additional layers of intent onto the same choice. For example, if I accost the player with a group of thugs working for a local crimeboss, and those thugs indicate that the player can avoid an unpleasant demise if the player agrees to poison a close associate. A player might agree to the task only as lip service to get out of a fight, without ever intending to follow through on it. It’s up to me to either make it 100% clear that by choosing that option you fully intend to poison your friend, or I need to account for your deception and present other options later.

Because choices can be ambiguous it’s best to try and assign points on the alignment scale based on action rather than intent. In the above example, the player shouldn’t get darkside points until they reach the point of no return, in this case going through with the poisoning.

This obviously, doesn’t address everyone’s concerns, but I hope it’ll reassure everyone that we’re doing our best to avoid hanging you out to dry with a bad decision.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Manly_Stuff on March 09, 2010, 12:35:53 PM
It sounds interesting and all but I would have prefered a single player conclusion to the series.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 09, 2010, 10:49:58 PM
A PC Gamer interview came out today that highlights what Bioware’s thoughts are when it comes to endgame:
We’re looking at classic [endgame] systems, but we’re also doing something brand new that hasn’t been done in an MMO before. So we’re going to mix those two together.”

Olhen then got hushed by the game’s product manager, but added that Bioware was keen for players to continue questing after hitting maximum.

“We want to make sure the endgame isn’t completely different to what you have been doing,” he said. “So there will be a natural progression… We want to make sure that when people play ToR they feel like they never run out of content… that it’s an epic story.”

Perhaps this quote hints at a possible intertwining between questing and endgame and/or it simply indicates that there will be plenty to do once a player is leveling. One thing is for sure though, this quote will only succeed in “wetting our appetites” about the future possibilities of endgame in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Related posts:
incgamers Interview with BioWare’s James Ohlen

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: ZIkar on March 09, 2010, 11:43:04 PM
I hope for a conclusive and immersive story and that's pretty much it.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Hypodermic on March 10, 2010, 03:33:24 AM
I'll probably break my "wait until after 2 months for new MMOs" rule for this one
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 10, 2010, 10:00:33 AM
Finding Balance in the Force

My favorite Star Wars™ film has always been The Empire Strikes Back™. But while the battle of Hoth will keep me glued to the screen for that second when the AT-ATs appear out of the snow, the film’s defining moments are on Dagobah, while Luke struggles and trains with Master Yoda.

Before that, the Force was just a word that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader used, for a power whose glory days were long over. But on Dagobah, with Luke, we saw the Force differently; not as some simple trick that made Imperial Stormtroopers look the other way, but something greater. The Force™ is a living energy binding the galaxy as a whole. It is something that, in the hands of a master, could raise a lost X-Wing from the depths of a swamp. And after the cave where Luke faced his greatest fears, we understood the most important lesson for a Jedi: you can’t solve every problem with one stroke of your Lightsaber.

The Jedi Consular knows that lesson better than anyone. Trained in the arts of the Force, driven by curiosity and the search for knowledge, the Jedi Consular sees that through the Force, all things are connected.

As a Jedi Consular, your journey begins among the ruins and forests of Tython, still full of dangers and secrets after so many centuries. But the business of the Jedi Order is never confined to one world. You may find yourself inching through ancient ruins seeking proof of lost cultures, discovering and mastering forgotten Force techniques, planning an assault on an enemy base with Republic armies waiting on your unique insights, or even representing your order to a strange alien culture, whose first question is: “What’s a Jedi?”

And as your knowledge and experience grows, so does your reputation. The Jedi Council will entrust you with its most dangerous and delicate missions. Among the Sith, there will be whispers in the highest circles of a powerful new enemy. Maybe you’ll even get the chance to teach a new generation of Jedi, just as your master taught you.

But the Jedi Consular, more than any other Jedi, constantly walks a fine line. The Force has two sides; truly mastering it requires an understanding of both darkness and light. And a Jedi Consular’s natural curiosity can often lead him or her into trouble. Walking the balance between light and dark can give a Consular incredible power… but that’s when the treacherous thoughts begin creeping in. Don’t worry about falling to the dark side. You’re so smart and powerful, you can resist petty temptations. And even if you discovered some ancient secret that could make you stronger… surely you, with your superior intellect and understanding of the Force, know what’s best?

When developing the story for the Jedi Consular, these were themes we wanted to address – power and wisdom, how Jedi face the dark side, and how they work toward the ideals of the Republic. But the key element of the Consular’s story is mystery, using intelligence and courage to seek the truth. We wanted to capture the journey of Obi-Wan Kenobi – someone who begins with unusual insight and talent, but who is still growing into those powers, learning about the galaxy, and choosing what path to take in life.

For me, the challenge – and the fun – of writing the Jedi Consular is keeping a sense of balance between intelligence and arrogance, between what’s right and what could win the war against the Empire. A Jedi Consular must sometimes accept the grayer path, the less perfect choice. He or she must make the decisions the Republic can’t, in order to save it.

Will you delve into the greatest mysteries of the Force, to master abilities few Jedi ever dream of? Maybe you’ll be driven by a hunger for the past, to explore new horizons and reclaim long-forgotten lore for the Jedi Order. Or you could look to the future, rubbing shoulders with ambassadors and heads of state, and fighting alongside the Republic’s boldest generals.

Then again, perhaps you’ll seek power for yourself, use your wisdom to bend others to your will, and mercilessly destroy all threats to the Republic… even knowing what the cost of victory might be someday.

The choice is yours, Jedi Consular.

Joanna Berry

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Capt. Insane on March 10, 2010, 11:20:47 AM
I had heard good things about it a while ago but I cant afford any more games at the moment.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Edrac on March 10, 2010, 09:26:46 PM
I had heard good things about it a while ago but I cant afford any more games at the moment.

well get to saving then, It's still a year out!
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 12, 2010, 02:55:44 PM
GDC: BioWare's Walton on Adding Space Combat to Star Wars Galaxies & Customer Retention

One of larger portions of BioWare Austin's Co-Studio Director Gordon Walton and consultant Scott Hartsman's GDC session, "MMO Retention -- Learning From The First 25 Years," highlighted some of the game change management issues MMO developers encountered trying to retain existing customers. Although we plan on issuing a more comprehensive article on how some of the topics discussed in this session may relate to Star Wars: The Old Republic, we decided to release this very telling quote about Walton's experience with introducing space combat in an expansion for Star Wars Galaxies.

Gordon Walton: So when I worked on Star Wars Galaxies, we did an expansion called Jump to Lightspeed, which added all the space elements to Star Wars Galaxies. It was a huge expansion and an awesome space experience, actually.

But what we found was that a lot of the players who were playing the game that we had were not thrilled by us having space -- because they knew it came at the expense of adding more stuff to the stuff they were already playing. So it wasn't positive for retention, because the game was a very different game. It was a 3D space game. And in fact, a whole lot of people who play RPG type games don't really do the 3D thing that well -- it isn't their strongest suit. That was part of what we found out. The control scheme had to be different; everything had to be different. It was not as advantageous to us as we had hoped.

And in fact, we had a backlash of some anti-retention from the current customers that we already had because they were enjoying the game they were playing and wanted more of that, or wanted that fixed more than they wanted to fly around space in the Star Wars universe. It wasn't that flying around space in the Star Wars universe wasn't cool: the problem was that they wanted more of what they were already doing.

So all things that you do, no matter what you do when you're changing the game, you're going to have hopefully intended (consequences), and you're also going to have some unintended consequences. The rule that we kind of violated there, for me, was that we did too big of a jump from what was available. So customers want change, and they want the game experience to change over time, but they typically react badly to huge changes to the game. You leave people behind, and they don't have the time to kind of warm up to it.

I think it is about the on-ramp. The on-ramp is a big, steep, huge set of stairs that you kind of have to climb up -- where if you walk up gradually, then you tend to bring more of the audience along with you. Because again, it isn't one audience that we have; it is a whole bunch of little micro-audiences that are motivated completely differently from what we think on the side of those of us who make the game. They are motivated differently. The ones that are just like us we understand perfectly, and unfortunately they are a minority.

Taking Walton's words into context, we can probably develop some speculation of how space combat could be seamlessly integrated into Star Wars: The Old Republic... and without turning the people who don't jive with the Z axis into a perceived failure.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 12, 2010, 03:03:49 PM
Dr. Ray Muzyka on Content Updates And Sequels

BioWare co-founder and CEO Dr. Ray Muzyka participated in a GDCSF session yesterday entitled "Fireside Chat: Building a Blockbuster Franchise," along with Bungie Creative Director Joseph Staten. We had the opportunity to ask Dr. Muzyka about his views on content updates versus expansions or sequels.


When building a franchise, what is the threshold to decide to patch something, issue a DLC, or another title versus a sequel?

Dr. Ray Muzyka: Our future portfolio is much more oriented around a service mentality where we launch products to get people into the service, then we do everything we can to retain them and grow them and recruit new customers through acquisition and retention. We do it in our MMOs with Mythic studios and Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer and Ultima Online. Well do it obviously with Austins SW:TOR.

And with our other products, Dragon Age or Mass Effect, were doing it as well releasing post-release downloadable content. We have the free Cerberus Network for Mass Effect and were viewing this as an ongoing experience. We have a franchise team for all those products; dedicated to short term and long term initiatives where people move back and forth. There is a new expansion pack coming out for Dragon Age right away, and we obviously started on that way before Dragon Age got launched in the fall last year. So we had long term plans for that and were now able to launch because we had that vision to get it out within 6 months after [Dragon Age] launched.

It is all about having a plan. You may doubt the plan because of what the consumers say, so our post-release download content plans are very dynamic. We have something coming every month for our products. Maybe big updates every six to twelve months and full products every twelve to twenty-four months, but to have that vision you have people working on things and taking feedback and dynamically adjusting the plans in real time. But really, it just comes from a service orientation of an ongoing product spread. Its not just one discrete product anymore -- it is a longer term thing. And it expands beyond games to advance all your products.

We're working on larger pieces with our view on how this and other GDCSF sessions may all relate to Star Wars: The Old Republic, but we found it interesting Dr. Muzyka stated expansion content is worked on prior to initial release.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Edmunt on March 14, 2010, 12:06:09 AM
First of let me say I love Star Wars, and I mean LOVE it.
Now I will probably try this game out, and honestly it can't be any worse that Galaxies. But I don't see me sticking with the game.


Well I have a question for all the REAL Star Wars fans here. What is it you really want? Answer: To have the real Star Wars experience! To be anyone of a hundred different species. To fight among the stars! To visit the cantinas of Tatooine. To join the military of the Republic or Empire. To be a powerful Jedi or Sith. To be a crafty smuggler, an intergalactic spy, or a feared bounty hunter. To Prove yourself worthy of being a Mandalorian!!

And to be able to get that in an MMO, well its just impossible right now. Thats what Galaxies tried to do, and combined with bad decision making on part of a man WHO STILL REFUSES TO SEE WHAT A MESS THE GAME HAS BECOME AND WILL PROBABLY NEVER TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MONEY HES LOST THE COMPANY, it just fell apart.

The only way we'll ever be able to get the real experience is if we find a magical portal that can transport us into the Star Wars Universe... really if anyone finds one don't be greedy!

Anyway sorry for the little rant but thats what I would want from a Star Wars MMO and I don't see us ever getting it. And if I can't have that I really just want a true KOTOR 3 that ties together the first two.

Regardless it still looks to be a good game.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 17, 2010, 03:12:23 PM
Charting a Path to Class Customization

As the news coming out of Austin continues to pick up speed, mining information is becoming much more exciting. The response to our recent speculation articles inspired us to delve deeper into what we were previously told about Star Wars: The Old Republic with surprising results. We used our recently acquired knowledge to give context to older news items, and realized BioWare was giving us hard facts all along.
A few years ago during the 2007 Austin GDC, Gamastura covered a speech by Gordon Walton, the co-studio director at BioWare Austin. It focused on how developers should approach making MMOs in a post World of Warcraft market, and towards the end of the presentation, Walton made the following comments to the crowd:

"The places to innovate are endless, but what do players want? Innovations have to be substantially better to be noticeable. Their game has eight classes, my game has 16. Who cares about classes? Do something Ive never done before. If nine out of 10 people cant tell its an innovation, its not an innovation."

In retrospect, this quote reveals a great deal about Star Wars: The Old Republic in light of what we recently learned about class skills. Given the fact that we know there are eight classes, and we speculated each class has two distinct paths of damage and support, we can now see why Walton mentioned the number 16 in 2007. BioWare is supplying many more classes then we previously believed.

Additionally, the focus on recognizable innovations by making them substantial allows us to speculate that the depth within these 16 classes will be far beyond what many MMO players are accustomed to. We should remember that this speech was based around developing games in a WoW-dominated world. In order to stand out, Dalton states a game would need to do more than just supply a little more of the same. We believe this means you will see far more customization within each TOR path then what we currently see in a single set of WoW class trees.

Using this hypothesis, we created a possible class progression chart based on what we knew of the Smuggler's paths:


We believe the class customization options will be extremely deep once a player chooses their particular path. So deep, in fact, a single specialty could contain the same relative complexity as an entire World of Warcraft class. Instead of three talent trees, you may have as many as nine talent trees to quickly move between when you want to adjust your play style. Such an intricate level of customization would fit with Gordon Walton's desire to stand out in the eyes of the MMO community, and fulfill BioWare's promise to give gamers a different, defined play experience.

This is how we arrived at nine talent trees per path: first, we looked at what we already knew about the two Smuggler paths, noting the Scoundrel had both a focus on Stealth and Medicine. With all the developer talk about not forcing you to do something, such as solely specializing in healing to be viable for group play, we arrived at the conclusion that there had to be a third specialty that enhanced the Scoundrel's ability to do damage.

We then went back to the trusty Holonet and noticed something in one of the Combat Tactics videos: a Smuggler quickly moves to get into closer range and wields a single weapon. Since we already said the Gunslinger was longer ranged, utilized Cover, and duel wields blasters, we hypothesized the third specialty in the Scoundrel path would focus on single weapon damage.


Referring back to Walton's quote again, we concluded only developing three talent trees would be much too limiting for the level of character customization BioWare was aiming for. To account for this, we gave each specialty the same multiple of three to get to nine talent trees. The result is an array of so much variety, depth, and versatility that we could imagine quickly re-arranging talent points for a particular situation, and then with equal speed, do the same for a different one.

We then added a possible alignment focused skill for each specialty. We were told previously that characters would have specific abilities linked to whether they are light, neutral/grey, or dark. A single skill for each specialty would fit, and allows each character to access three possible skills based on their class, path, and alignment.

While this is extremely speculative, we believe the information received from BioWare and LucasArts strongly points to such complexity. This elaborate customization would be a significant undertaking for any development studio, but the response would be amazing from players tired of limited options. If this is similar to the class design of Star Wars: The Old Republic, we could be looking forward to a future of astonishing theorycraft.

Update: Ginnel, a member of the official forums, created a thread earlier today that contains an interesting quote from the latest issue of Edge. The quote, shown below, further endorses the conclusions contained in this article. The emphasis on deep character development is seen in this excerpt, as well as restating how dramatic the choice between the Gunslinger damage path and the Scoundrel support path will be.

There's a dramatic amount of variation within classes. Using the example of the Smuggler, BioWare guided us through three or four paths of character development; every couple of levels brings with it a specialization path. Smugglers, for instance can specialize early on as Gunslingers with dual-wielding and coercion abilities, or Scoundrels with stealth and healing aptitude. Class choice affects the story arc far more than the actual gameplay it reflects who you want to be within The Old Republic's universe, not what you wish to do.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 17, 2010, 03:16:11 PM
And just as a follow up to that article I'll post another Smuggler important one...


Smuggler Class Trees

Character advancement and customization are integral parts of all RPGs and many titles have succeeded or failed solely because of their approach to these mechanics. For over a year now, we have waited patiently for the first hints of how we will customize our characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic and now the first official clues are being revealed. During our time at LucasArts we were able to see a small example of how advancement and customization will be handled in TOR.
Buried between the Imperial Agent demo and Sith Inquisitor/Jedi Consular reveal, we were shown one example of how players will be able to customize the Smuggler class. The presentation consisted of a single, simple image we have attempted to recreate below.


The presentation continued with Blaine Christine, producer from BioWare, explaining what the different routes meant for players. He focused first on the Gunslinger path, explaining that a Smuggler following this path will focus on dual blasters and will be using the cover mechanic frequently. He also mentioned that this type of character could use persuasion more then the second path, possibly leading to different dialogue or story options unavailable to Smugglers following a different specialty.

The second path, called Scoundrel, is vastly different then its dual oriented counterpart. This specialty focuses on abilities that have only recently become associated with the Smuggler class. The first ability Blaine mentioned was the Scoundrels affinity for stealth and how this allows them to move close to their opponents, possibly implying they have a skill similar to the Imperial Agents Shiv. He then noted that this path also gave the Smuggler access to healing abilities. However he failed to note any specific ability or skill names associated with either of these paths.

Later in the evening we were able to talk to Jake Neri and ask a few specific questions about these paths and how they could work in the final product. The following is an excerpt from the interview, specifically the area that focuses on the Smuggler skill and advancement in general.


Dover: You you also showed us the Skill Tree idea, the ability to go into the customization of the characters and make it your own. We saw the Smuggler starting off as a Smuggler and then possibly branching off into two different directions, one being a Gunslinger and the other being a Scoundrel. How does this split work out?

Sado: Are they set defined paths or is there room for customization?

Jake Neri: There is definitely room for customization. We didn't show tremendous amounts of detail on that because it is really in development right now. The concept of being able to go into those directions and have a different, defined play experience is what we are trying to show. We know we will have people that go, hey I'm in love with being a smuggler but I just prefer to stay at range. Or I like to be more of a stealth class, I want to sneak around and do things, I don't want to fight. Or maybe I want to sneak up on people.

In Smugglers, the different trees allow you to do that. Trees are the best way to describe them now. We don't have official nomenclature on how we are talking about these but you guys get the concept of skill trees. You go down a path, you're applying certain skill points in there, and you're going in a direction you like to play.

What we are trying to show with Medicine is that maybe your in a situation where you need a healer type to get through. Smuggling doesn't necessarily immediately make people think about healing. People say, wow. That is weird. But at the same time we always try to stretch into the Star Wars cannon and do things that aren't conventional and that was one of those things we talked about earlier with Leland Chee.

We went to him and said, We have smugglers and we want to do something interesting what do you think? They have this whole lore around black market medicine and organ leggers that are in touch with different spices and other things, and through that, Smugglers are in touch with underworld medicine. Because, like Blaine talked about, you cant always be heading to the doc when you're a Smuggler because your running around. You're doing dirty deeds.

Dover: You also talked about cutting open the tauntaun. Field medicine.

Jake Neri: Yeah, field medicine. We've been joking a lot about that. I don't know if it totally works, but Blaine has stuck with that and we appreciate him for that. The main thing is that we are trying to do interesting things with the classes by making sure that you can be that range class you want to be and in a pinch you can also be useful to a group. That is sort of why we chose that to show you.

Sado: You talked about persuade in those branches as well, that the gunslinger would be the one with extra points in persuade to be able to possibly activate more story. Does that mean that somebody will have to go that way if they want to experience more story or will there be some way of counteracting that?

Jake Neri: I don't think you have to do anything. If you're a fan of story and you're looking to drill into that the most, that fits along with what we are saying with choose your playstyle. It doesn't mean that you should have any more or less an experience as anyone else, but that it should be the experience you like. And if you're a fan of story and you're trying to find new and interesting things, then you should be trying to win conversations if that appeals to you.

I imagine that the guy who wants to be the Scoundrel first may re-roll another character and go down that path because he wants to try persuade. Or maybe he just doesn't care about it because he wants to be more of a stealthy guy who wants to run up behind people and shoot them in the back.

I get nervous of the words you have to do something because that is sort of the opposite of what we are trying to say. We really want people to play the way they are dreaming about it. We cant cover every possibility but we are trying to bring a lot of options so that people do have choice.

Dover: Two more quick things about that before we let you get back to all the other things going on here in San Francisco. First, at the end of the presentation you said, Players should be able to quickly get into the role that they want to get into. Did that comment have to do with the possibility of switching between paths? Or does that mean at the beginning of the game you can quickly get into the play style you want to get into?

Jake Neri: Without going into a ton of detail on that, because that system is still in development, a key goal is that once you reach a certain level and you enabled those certain paths, or you experienced whatever it takes to enable those paths, you can go in between them quickly. That is the heart of what were saying. You cant do everything all at once, you need to earn some of these things, but once you have done that and you are in a situation where hey, I need this type of a gameplay/class build, you'll be able to go into that quickly.

Dover: Awesome. Last one before we let you go. You mentioned the Scoundrel of the Smuggler branch has Medicine. We were able to see the Sith Inquisitor with an actual heal that is able to use it on themselves or another person and we also saw the Benevolence ability for the Consular. Are we going to see healing options for every class if a player wants to go that direction?

Jake Neri: I don't think every class. But I do think you guys are picking up on the idea that when it comes to grouping we don't want you to always be frustrated because you cant find the right group. We want you to have utility in order to be successful in a solo experience or in a group. Now Smuggler, Inquisitor and Consular are three examples of healing.

I think if you would have played the Jedi Knight you wouldn't have seen that same stuff. Instead, you would have seen a rejuvenate ability for most classes, which is in support of us wanting to have quick-paced gameplay. It is similar to Bandage, an out of combat ability, where the other heals you have seen are more in combat. You guys are simply picking up on some of the classes that might be able to so some healing in the game.


Many interesting game facts are found in the interview, including possible respecs, branching dialogue based on skills, and the fact that many classes (not just Consulars and Inquisitors) will have true healing paths. This small peak into their approach to skill customization answers many questions from the community, and undoubtedly generates quite a few more. As we look forward to the new year we cant wait to have these new questions answered as well.

As a reminder to all of the information hungry fans out there, we were told repeatedly, as you can see in the interview, that the current state of skill trees in The Old Republic is far from finalized. Although multiple, vastly divergent paths would be welcome in our eyes, they should not be expected in the final product until otherwise stated by BioWare and LucasArts.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 21, 2010, 04:57:34 PM
Damion Schubert on Balancing Group & Solo XP
by Zenkei, posted March 21st, 2010 at 3:11 PM

A post (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=2652774) from Star Wars: The Old Republic's Damion Schubert (http://www.swtor.com/community/member.php?u=28) gave some insight on balancing XP gains for solo and group players:

We increase the XP pool for each group member in it, and then divide that pool. I don't have the number in front of me, but its something we'll be tweaking as we play anyway.

The general gist is that we want to reward grouping, but not so much that grouping is the only way to play the game (something that is very easy to do if you tilt the table too much, and then balance the levelling curve to that rate gain). That being said, as some have mentioned, grouping with another person increases your killing efficiency and reduces your risk of death substantially, to the degree that being in a group of two is vastly more efficient than 2X killing efficiency (this is like most MMOs). Still, you want to reward grouping enough to help ensure that you overcome the friction associated with grouping (finding groupmates, getting to them, tolerating idiots, etc).

Other notes:

Yes, we have anti-twink measures. Yes, high level players get shut out if they kill creatures too far below them. This is a fine line - you want to let high level players help their new friends, but you really don't want high level players hunting in low level areas, as that can be disruptive to the lowbies.
Yes, compared to other MMOs, we give you more XP for completing quests and less for killing creatures. These numbers will also likely be continually tweaked.
Yes, harder things give more experience.

Originally Posted by Xavior
Group of 5 level 10's killing a level 10 mob: 100 xp each
Group of 3 level 10's killing a level 10 mob: 100 xp each
Solo person of level 10 killing a level 10 mob: 100 xp

no one gets screwed, no one is forced to group and everyone is happy.

Balancing it's not that easy. Instead, you need to look at XP gain per hour. A group of 3 can kill (let's say) 5X the creatures than a solo player can in an hour, which means that if you give everyone the full XP value, grouping is 5X() more efficient than soloing. If you balance the curve to that, the solo player gets screwed.

In our curve, we push that towards being closer to 2-3X. Still a significant advantage, but the grouper has to deal with all of the inertia of forming a group.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Edrac on March 22, 2010, 05:00:17 PM
Raktus, dude, you are an f'n machine!

as a side note, found this (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/03/genocide-and-jedi-why-the-sith-may-be-right-in-old-republic.ars) article being talked about on Massively.com. very interesting take on the Sith Empire's side of the conflict.

I've personally always been able to do this sort of rationalization for Palpatine's Galactic Empire, especially after playing TIE Fighter for the first time. I do know one thing though, I will definitely have an Imperial chr when the game comes out just so I can have a nice counterpoint to the story my Republic main will be experiencing. 
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on March 22, 2010, 05:18:16 PM
There is an imperium and a republic? So basically the situation thousands of years before starwars is exactly the same as it is in starwars? That seems kinda lame.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 22, 2010, 05:46:33 PM
There is an imperium and a republic? So basically the situation thousands of years before starwars is exactly the same as it is in starwars? That seems kinda lame.


Research is a good factor in knowing why your statement is wrong.  :P
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 23, 2010, 08:56:17 PM
Jennifer Hale Confirmed as a Voice Actor in The Old Republic

Last week Aeli (http://"http://swtor.com/community/member.php?u=131716"), a poster in the official forums, created a thread (http://"http://vwww.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=123855") about gaming voice over veteran Jennifer Hale doing work for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The possibility of Jennifer Hale being part of the project should come as welcome news for players looking for quality voice acting in their games. As the voice of Bastila from Knights of the Old Republic and female Shepard in Mass Effect 1 & 2, her skills literally speak for themselves. She would certainly be a welcome addition to TOR, so we decided to check with BioWare and LucasArts to see if she would indeed be included in the cast. Here is their response:

Yes, in the April issue of PC Gamer (UK) during an interview with James Ohlen, we did confirm that Jennifer Hale is one of the Voice Actors for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

With this official confirmation, we can now start our own list of who we will be listening to when players finally get their hands on the game. It looks like the audio team at LucasArts (http://"http://darthhater.com/2009/12/16/interview-series-the-audio-of-tor/") were not joking when they said the voice work is going to be high quality.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on March 23, 2010, 09:37:34 PM
There is an imperium and a republic? So basically the situation thousands of years before starwars is exactly the same as it is in starwars? That seems kinda lame.


Research is a good factor in knowing why your statement is wrong.  :P

Usually question marks denotes that one is asking a question and not making a statement. Just saying.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 23, 2010, 10:07:56 PM
Usually question marks denotes that one is asking a question and not making a statement. Just saying.

Question: There is an imperium and a republic? So basically the situation thousands of years before starwars is exactly the same as it is in starwars?

Statement: That seems kinda lame.

Just saying...
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on March 23, 2010, 11:04:09 PM
Usually question marks denotes that one is asking a question and not making a statement. Just saying.

Question: There is an imperium and a republic? So basically the situation thousands of years before starwars is exactly the same as it is in starwars?

Statement: That seems kinda lame.

Just saying...

Well it is obviously implied that it is only lame if my question is answered positively.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Edrac on March 24, 2010, 12:04:03 AM
There is an imperium and a republic? So basically the situation thousands of years before starwars is exactly the same as it is in starwars? That seems kinda lame.

Well... yes and no.

In the Original Trilogy there are two factions:

The Galactic Empire - A tyrannical regime that rules through fear and the subjugation of tens of millions of non-human species. Ruled by an Emperor that rose to power by manipulating popular opinion, and secretly being the head of both sides of the last great war (the Clone Wars)


The Alliance to Restore the Republic (Rebel Alliance for short) - A rather rag-tag organization or freedom fighters determined to return the galaxy to the peace that it had enjoyed for over a thousand years before the Clone Wars. Founded by a group of popular, charismatic and outspoken senators that refused to see their galactic society cowed into fearful submission under the Evil Empire's rule.

The sides in the conflict in TOR are as follows:

The Sith Empire - The remnants of a conflict over 1,000 years ago who had fled to the unknown reaches of the galaxy when the tides of battle turned agenst them. Believed to have been eradicated by the jedi/Republic they spent the intervening years rebuilding their shattered civilization. Recently they made their triumphant return to the galaxy proper and began turning planets and people to their cause. They even struck at the heart of the Republic itself, galactic coordinates 0,0,0, Coruscant, the age long seat of galactic power. They now hold a considerable amount of planets and systems.


The Galactic Republic - The ruling government in the galaxy for over 10,000 years. They've had brushes with the Sith in the past and have always come out as the victors. Now with The return of the Sith Empire the centuries of peace have been broken. Even Coruscant isn't safe from the reemerged Empire and it's mysterious Emperor.

basically the conflict in TOR is alot more evenly matched that the original trilogy. In fact The game will be set during a sort of "Cold War" between the two sides as they are soo evenly matched.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 24, 2010, 05:42:51 PM
Lore Update: Naga Sadow

Powerful Sith and practitioners of the dark side proliferate the history of the Star Wars Universe. Although most casual fans may only know Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, anyone following the Expanded Universe knows there is a much deeper pool to draw examples from. For those that follow the extended fiction, few Sith names resonate like Naga Sadow. With BioWare and LucasArts crafting a new history for Star Wars: The Old Republic, we thought it might be a good time to look back at this powerful Sith Lord and speculate how he may effect what we will see in TOR.


Sadow was a Human-Sith hybrid who rose to power during waning years of the Sith Golden age, around 5000 BBY. A powerful force user, he was able to create illusions on distant planets as well as control solar activities; a power that allowed him to destroy entire stars. Sadow's reign began with the death of Marka Ragnos, the previous Dark Lord of the Sith. After defeating his primary rival Ludo Kressh in a prolonged power struggle, Naga Sadow donned the mantle of the Dark Lord of the Sith and started the Great Hyperspace War.

During his war with the Galactic Republic, Sadow used his unique powers to create illusions of ships while in meditation. These false ships confused and overwhelmed the opposing fleet, nearly allowing him to destroy every fleet in his path. However galactic conquest was not meant to be, and Naga Sadow was ultimately betrayed and forced into hiding on Yavin 4. He died on Yavin and his spirit was destroyed by Freedon Nadd nearly 600 years later.

The current Star Wars lore maintains that few artifacts remain intact regarding Naga Sadow. He used an actual physical sword which was discovered in his pseudo tomb on Korriban by Darth Revan. The only other remaining objects are a book he wrote found by Darth Bane and a holocron discovered by Sidious.



When going through the many images released over the past couple months we felt drawn to the image above. The picture appears to contain a "force ghost" that bears a striking resemblance to Naga Sadow. The tentacles on the character's face do share characteristics with Sadow's profile, and this similarity inspired us to examine the possibility that it is Sadow's spirit. However, as we stated above, Freedon Nadd destroyed his spirit, and we were unable to find any examples of force users with multiple spirits, so we can almost rule out that we are looking at Naga Sadow's actual force ghost. But if we are not looking at the ghostly visage of Naga Sadow, then what are we seeing in this concept art?

One possibility is that we are simply looking at the force ghost of a different Sith-Human hybrid. Many of people of this cross-species shared features with Sadow and it would not be uncommon for additional hybrids to be force sensitive and therefore able to become force ghosts. If we speculate that we are looking at a second example of a Sith-Human then it is possible such beings could be encountered by Sith players in The Old Republic. While this would be a sufficient answer, we shouldn't rule out Naga Sadow entirely.

Powerful Sith are known for creating artifacts and relics of incredible strength and durability. From Jedi and Sith holocrons to dark force amulets and gems, these items contain knowledge and power that is sought by people across the galaxy. This precedence forces us to consider that this picture does indeed contain Naga Sadow, however it is simply a hologram or residual image linked to an item. It is very unlikely that Naga is directly connected to Dromund Kaas due to the fact that it was rediscovered after his death, and a small, portable object would justify Sadow's image in this picture.

With such an interesting and important roll in the ancient history of the Star Wars Universe, it would be wonderful fan service for Naga Sadow to be included in The Old Republic. Unfortunately only time will tell if players will be encountering the remains or trinkets of this once great force user. Either way, Naga Sadow is a wonderful representative of the smart, conniving Sith we can't wait to encounter in TOR.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on March 26, 2010, 08:24:19 AM
The Old Republic: Smuggler's Vanguard
by Ascendant, posted March 25th, 2010 at 9:15 PM

The official Star Wars website posted an original short story (http://"http://www.starwars.com/games/videgames/tor_smugglersvanguard/index.html") today by Rob Chestney entitled Smuggler's Vanguard. Rob Chestney previously brought us the Threat of Peace webcomic. The story focuses on Hylo Visz (http://"http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hylo_Visz"), a Mirialan (http://"http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mirialan") smuggler known to us from the timeline series as the leader of the smuggler fleet that broke the Mandalorian Blockade.

There are many interesting references in the story. Planets referenced include Corellia (http://"http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Corellia"), Talus (http://"http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Talus"), and Nal Hutta (http://"http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nal_Hutta"), as well as Hutta's moon, Nar Shaddaa (http://"http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nar_Shaddaa"). Hylo's ship is called the Crimson Fleece, and the supporting characters include a Nikto (http://"http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nikto") named Musk, Barrga the Hutt, and an unnamed Weequay (http://"http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Weequay").

The story contains a mix of action and subterfuge and fits the concept of the Smuggler to a tee. For more details, follow the link to the full story below. Hat tip to Jedidsm on the heads up.

Full Story -> (http://"http://www.starwars.com/games/videgames/tor_smugglersvanguard/index.html")
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on April 23, 2010, 08:52:16 PM
Video Documentary 4: Combat Dissection

Here is Darth Hater's dissection of the latest Video Documentary from Star Wars: The Old Republic, which focuses largely on Combat. As in our prior dissections, we will add new content in as we find it, so keep checking back. Feel free to let us know if you notice something we missed, and we will be happy to add it to our dissection with credit. Note: if something is mentioned in a prior dissection, then we do not reiterate it again here. Low bandwidth users should note there are numerous images contained in this article.


Bounty Hunter


Group PVP


Imperial Agent


Jedi Consular


Jedi Knight


New Combat Droid


Player Character Beard


Sith Inquisitor




Sith Warrior





Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Bazeleel on April 27, 2010, 12:14:04 PM
Thank you for the pics :) I think im going bounty hunter and smuggler. Force user maybe just to say im a jedi/sith  :)

Bounty Hunter looks fun as hell!
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Vandal on April 27, 2010, 08:36:53 PM
From what I see threw the PVP pics it looks as if it will be free from engage at will. I could easily be wrong, but to me thats what it looks like, and that would be real fun. Easily abusable, but fun nevertheless.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Natural20 on May 01, 2010, 07:01:01 PM
Bioware have confirmed you can play grey jedi. This game can now do no wrong.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on May 01, 2010, 07:20:26 PM
I dunno if whoever took those screenshots were playing at low settings, or if the game just looks like that, but they look pretty horrible.

Textures are quite low res all over the board, and the effects look like something form a 2006 game.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Bazeleel on May 01, 2010, 08:22:55 PM
I cant only guess its a rough rendering of the game man, its not even in beta or alpha yet
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 08, 2010, 08:29:58 PM
Inhabitants Overview Dissection
by Dover, posted May 5th, 2010 at 6:37 PM

BioWare recently revealed a new section of the HoloNet titled Inhabitants. This section of the Star Wars: The Old Republic official site is dedicated to the NPCs and mobs we will encounter in-game, broken up into three subcategories: Creatures, Droids, and Humanoids. In addition to new screenshots and animations, each entry contains few paragraphs dedicated to the mob's defining traits and features. We took a closer look at the writing on these pages (both English and Aurebesh), picking specific statements that inspired gameplay speculation.


Importance of the Inhabitants

After examining the Inhabitants section, we concluded this area of the HoloNet pertains to non-player characters only, and is restricted to introducing mobs, companions and potentially friendly NPCs. One observation that stood out to us was that none of the the Humanoids shown are seen in distinctive class specific gear, much like the Deshade companion we saw last fall. This is important because we repeatedly see BioWare and LucasArts' marketing making a distinction between players and non-player characters. This decision was made to specifically avoid confusion in the community, and the Inhabitant section appears to continue this trend. When the non-human player characters are revealed, they will almost certainly be clothed in the distinctive class outfits we are accustomed to seeing.

Additionally, the screenshots for the Humanoid species lack the facial customization indicative of the human PCs. The faces in the images for the Trandoshan and Gormak lack any differentiation from one to the next, which is against the player-customization message BioWare and LucasArts focus on. If these species were indeed playable, then we would expect to see a variety of faces in the released media.

Since it is unlikely that every creature, droid, and humanoid species in the game will be listed in the Inhabitants section, we conclude those mentioned must be notable or significant in some respect. These pages are full of clues pointing towards future companion characters and other beings that could be pivotal to a player's personal story. We need to wait for more information, but it would be folly to discount this enhanced bestiary as a simple mob list.


Salky Hounds



"They filtered for such traits as extended and naturally sharpened claws, ultra-keen senses, tremendous jaw strength, and a vicious demeanor."

The "sharpened claws" and "tremendous jaw strength" could be simple nods to the abilities and attacks we will see when fighting Salkies. Unfortunately, there is not enough information for us to speculate on how this particular feral combat style will effect players. On the other hand, the "ultra-keen senses" point towards a large aggro range or high stealth detection. This focus on mob perception is a recurring theme throughout the Inhabitants section.

"...their vicious instincts were impossible to contain. Even when ordered by their masters to simply restrain, Salky Hounds attacked their targets with lethal force."

This implies a "berserk mode" or "enrage" style of attack. Additionally, if some mobs in The Old Republic do flee from combat, Salkies probably will not.

"Several criminal and mercenary organizations have purchased the Salky Hounds. Rumors suggest some of these dangerous beasts have even been purchased by entities on Coruscant."

We should see Salky Hounds in criminal zones across the galaxy, such as the gang ridden lower levels of Coruscant. By explaining this creature's distribution in the lore, BioWare supplies a reason for this mob type to be used in multiple locals as opposed to being limited to one planet of origin. This is important because it shows they are justifying their placement of mobs as opposed to simply reusing assets to save time.

"This would be highly illegal as Salky Hounds are banned from the Core Worlds."

This quote is probably a hint that some quest line will involve NPC targets being arrested or attacked because of their illegal hounds. It also supports why players may discover this mob in areas dominated by criminal activity.



Vertical, Left: Rancor Personality Genes?

Like much of the Aurebesh contained in the Inhabitants section, this phrase suggests a broad range of speculation. In addition to reinforcing the ferocity of this species, this could also be implying a story line involving either the creation of this species or possible behavioral similarities with Rancor.

Vertical, Right: Beware of Dog

This humorous line supports this species lore based dispersion as guards, and could be seen as a friendly reminder to anyone looking to take on a criminal base.

Horizontal, Right: Justicar Contract

Almost certainly a story hint, this could be suggesting a number of narrative paths, missions, or quests.




"Gundarks are more notorious for their speed and brutality; it's the agility and ferocity combined with that strength that makes them so deadly."

This seems to be a description of mob abilities and combat style. It makes Gundarks sound difficult to hit in combat as well as quick to engage players, possibly making them hard run away from. The multiple crowd control abilities utilized by the player classes will certainly be needed if Gundarks do end up being fast, tenacious foes.

"For centuries, Gundarks have been among the most ambitious targets sought by big game hunters."

This could be a nod towards a Bounty Hunter quest line. We already know the Bounty Hunter story involves the "Great Hunt," and although many assume this involves hunting only sentient targets, it may also include the more difficult feral creatures like Gundarks.

"...what makes these creatures exponentially more difficult to kill is that they often nest together and even when they leave the nest, they almost always travel in packs.

Here we see BioWare restating the view that heroic combat involves NPC groups being comprised of multiple targets. Much like the justification for the Salky distribution, this shows BioWare's desire to support their gameplay choices by weaving it into the story and lore of The Old Republic.

"The final note on Gundarks is to beware of their heightened sense of hearing. Many a Bounty Hunter has learned all too late that the only safe way to take down a Gundark is from a long distance.

In addition to supporting the idea that Gundarks will be involved in a Bounty Hunter quest line, this quote points out their ability to notice threats using their advanced sense of hearing. Much like the Salkies, this could be directed towards aggro range or stealth detection. Additionally, the specific focus on hearing could be implying multiple forms of detection beyond just a simple "see/don't see" mechanic. For example, a Smuggler or Imperial Agent using a "stealth belt" would be invisible to most target's eyes, but not to a Gundark's ears. Unfortunately there is not enough information for us to know if this implies multiple forms of detection or simply a lore based justification.



Vertical, Left: Drooga the Hutt

Similar to the Justicar hint on the Salky Hound page, this suggests a quest or storyline link. There is a very good possibility this will be an NPC encountered by players, however there isn't enough enough information to conclude what the Hutt's connection is to the Gundarks.

Vertical, Right: Sithspawn

This word could end up being very important to the Gundark species and story. The current Star Wars lore does not comprehensively state where or how the Gundarks originated, with previous records only going as far back as the Clone Wars. By connecting the Gundarks to Sithspawn, BioWare and LucasArts maybe implying that the true origin of this unusual creature will be revealed in The Old Republic.

Horizontal, Right: Dromund Kaas

Although mentioning Dromund Kaas is not shocking in and of itself (each screenshot shows Gundarks on a different planet), it could be very telling when you connect it to the Sithspawn Aurebesh. As we learn more about this species, and possibly it's origin, their connection to the Sith and the dark-Force tainted Dromund Kaas will almost certainly be revealed.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 08, 2010, 08:36:07 PM

X2-C3 Imperial Astromech



"Imperial Engineers imbued the X2 line with the most advanced sensor array ever developed. These astromechs are capable of detecting, recording, and analyzing subtle stimuli to determine the strength of enemy firepower, and in some cases, they are even capable of analyzing voice patterns to determine the truthfulness of an informant's statements.

This quote reveals a great deal about this droid's skill set. The first hint comes from their ability to "determine the strength of enemy firepower, which implies they may have the ability to display information about a target: such as hitpoints, resistances, weaknesses, or abilities. The second part deals with them being able to "determine the truthfulness of an informant's statements. This could mean players will have a hard time tricking NPCs who have X2s, or those players with X2 companions will have an easier time in their own conversations.

"Combine these advances with their unrivaled ability to splice security and computer systems, and it's easy to see why many consider the X2-C3 to be the most useful machine in the galaxy.

Here we have our first real hint that splicing, a key part of the KoTOR series, may be used in The Old Republic. Additionally, we are lead to believe the skill or skills governing splicing may be augmented by X2 companions. This, along with the following quote, shows that BioWare is dipping heavily into their experience with the early KotOR series regarding how droids can be used as companion characters.

"Though they are not front-line fighters, Imperial Astromechs are optimized for combat. Like most other Imperial droids, they come equipped with standard blaster-attachments and a variety of other specialized armaments

The items listed in this quote sound very similar to the equipment allowed on KoTOR's T3-M4, including: simple blasters that could be used by humanoids, and droid specific equipment such as flamethrowers, shock arms, and scramblers. By going out of their way to note that X2s will not be fighters, they imply that this droid may be a support companion. In addition to suggesting they will be companion characters, this is a pleasant reminder that players will be able to gear companions to their liking. This coincides with BioWare's statements regarding companion customization.



Vertical, Left: Three Wheel Drive

This seems to be another wink-and-a-nod comment, similar to the Salky Hounds "Beware of Dog." It also suggests an evolution in droid design from the four point stance used by T3-M4 in KotOR to the three point stance used by astromech droids seen during the Galactic Civil Ware era, such as R2-D2,

Vertical, Right: Imperial Hacker

This line does dual duty by reinforcing both this droid's connection to the Sith Empire and the possibility of slicing being integrated into The Old Republic. It also backs the idea that the X2 would work well as a support-based companion character.

Horizontal, Right: Ultimate Co-Pilot

This suggests a great deal about the X2, the game, and companion characters in general. First and foremost, by mentioning "co-pilot" BioWare and LucasArts reignite the debate over spaceflight and space combat in The Old Republic. This simple line certainly isn't enough data to make a solid judgment, but it is hard not to jump to conclusions. Secondly, if we assume player controlled ships will exist in some form, this line reinforces the idea that companion characters will effect multiple forms of gameplay beyond just ground combat.




"The Hutt Crime Cartel commissioned the initial line of AR models

Right off the bat we see hints of where we will be encountering this mob type. Much like the Salky Hounds, the AR-34 model will almost certainly be linked to seedy, criminal areas.

"In place of the massive armament attached to standard military models, the AR line comes equipped with high-speed short-range blasters. Combined with their immense limb strength, this allows them to bust down reinforced doors and lay waste to an entire room in mere seconds.

This quote basically tells us that the AR-34 model will be a mid to close range combatant. With such a dramatic distinction between close and long range player classes it is not surprising that certain mob types would share this distinction. This could also be suggesting that some classes will be more or less effective against particular mobs depending on the mob's preferred combat range.

"Though the Enforcer's blasters are deadly, their greatest weapon is their cortosis-grip gauntlets which can pulverize most opponents in a single blow.

Once again we see that the AR-34 will be a close range fighter, but we also get an important reference to cortosis. Cortosis is the rare and important metal used to help non-Force users deal with Jedi and Sith as it it one of the few ways to stop a lightsaber cold. This could be a hint that the close-range AR-34 will pose a significant challenge to melee Force wielders.

"Additionally, the AR-34 line is engineered for enhanced mobility, faster acceleration and increased flexibility for pursuing their enemies if necessary.

This line insinuates the mob will be fast and tenacious, much like the description of the Gundark. It suggests the idea that ranged classes will find it difficult to put distance between themselves and the AR-34.

"The AR-34 Enforcer's sensors are optimized for tracking quarry through industrial and mechanical environments.

A very interesting line, it implies certain environments will alter the performance or abilities of specific mobs or mob types. It suggests that players will find it easier to avoid the AR-34 in natural, undeveloped environments. If true, we could see a new level of depth within the mob mechanics used by The Old Republic. This environmental dependence, coupled with the Gundark's focus on hearing, seems to imply a much more complicated aggro system then what players may be accustomed to.



Vertical, Left: A. K. A. "Backbreaker"

By adding colloquial terms to the people, places and things in The Old Republic, BioWare and LucasArts add depth to the universe. These nicknames allow players to feel more connected to the game as they become familiar with each new term. Additionally, this specific alias could be a hint regarding a specific ability or skill used by the AK-34.

Vertical, Right: Extortion Expert

This phrase relates to the criminal background of the AK-34 and speaks to its usage as a type of henchman or "hired muscle." This may also be a clue about a specific type of quest revolving around this battledroid.

Horizontal, Bottom: Grip: 700kg / mm^2

Here we see a call back to the cortosis-grip gauntlets mentioned in the Factoid section. The amount of crushing power at this droid's disposal should stand as a warning to players looking to engage it in combat.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 08, 2010, 08:41:31 PM




"...their ability to comprehend and manipulate technology is uncanny and rivals the best minds of the Republic.

This line syncs up with what we previously learned in the Voss overview regarding the Gormak's technological proficiency. Players should expect to see abilities revolving around tech when fighting the Gormak. This may also imply their drops will be most beneficial to tech-based classes as opposed to Force-based classes.

"Because of the Gormak's seemingly innate and violent hatred of Voss civilization and all things associated with it, they are enemies to both the Republic and the Sith Empire.

In addition to reinforcing our stance on these being non-player characters, this line reduces the possibility of Gormak companions. Since we know the Gormak are in control of the vast majority of the planet Voss, this also suggests most of the planet will be hostile towards both Sith and Republic players.

"This is because of a Voss Mystic vision that led to a law forbidding the eradication of the Gormak species.

There appears to be no game mechanic reveals in this quote, but it almost certainly foreshadows the quest line players will encounter on Voss. Couple this quote with the recurring phrase "the last Gormak must not die..." and we see the start of what could be a very intriguing story. When you add the fact that the planet Voss is not constrained by past or future lore we see that BioWare can craft a wholly unique story, possible including the near destruction of an entire species.



Vertical, Left: Beware the Nightmare Lands

As we noted after GDC, the planetoids in Star Wars: The Old Republic appear to be comprised of multiple "zones;" this reference to the Nightmare Lands may be referencing one such zone on the planet Voss. There is also the possibility that the Nightmare lands could be the name of a flashpoint or some other instanced area.

Vertical, Right: Gorma-Koss

Gorma-Koss appears to be a proper name of some sort. It does seem to contain the name of both the Gormak and Voss species, possibly implying a link between the two that goes deeper then just sharing the planet, however there is not enough information to confidently conclude whether it is the name of a person or persons, a place, or anything else.

Horizontal, Left: Voss Must Die

This line seems to be a motto or directive for the Gormak. It is particularly interesting how this genocide-focused ethos stands in stark contrast to the Voss proclamation that "the last Gormak must not die." This unique narrative twist directly expresses the freedom BioWare can exercise regarding the story of the planet Voss.




"Trandoshans have been in conflict with the Wookiees ever since the two species came into contact. Joining the Galactic Republic first, the Trandoshans actually negotiated with Czerka Corporation for the right to enslave their furry neighbors..."

Although many lore fans know a great deal about the Trandoshans through the Bounty Hunter Bossk and other media, here we see a direct connection to how this species will be presented in The Old Republic. The Czerka Corporation is a staple of BioWare's vision of the Star Wars universe and its connection to the Trandoshan's slaving will almost certainly be a storyline encountered by players.

"...many Trandoshans have become slavers and mercenaries as they have spread out individually across the galaxy.

This quote implies we will see this species in multiple zones throughout the entire game. Although this is less impactful because they are a sentient, spacefaring species, it continues to support the integration of lore based rational for gameplay decisions.

"They are extremely effective warriors, due to their keen eyesight, their scaled hides, and a remarkable ability to regenerate.

This line could be revealing key gameplay aspects for this mob type. "Keen eyesight continues the perception theme seen throughout the Inhabitants section and could be implying a large aggro range or the ability to detect stealth. The other Trandoshan traits, "scaled hides" and the "ability to regenerate," point towards a hearty species that would serve well as a tanking companion as well as a challenging enemy.

"Many Trandoshans worship a female deity named the "Scorekeeper, who bestows blessings on her followers based on their victories in combat and in the "hunt."

By including this information regarding the Trandoshans religion, BioWare may be making another nod towards the possible story players will experience after encountering Trandoshans. At the moment there is not enough information to speculate on how this spirituality will effect the story or the mobs, but it's addition is an interesting hint.

"Though some Trandoshans have been observed to maintain some sense of honor, their naturally prideful inclinations are almost always more pronounced..."

This quote, in addition to the previous line, may be a helpful primer if players are able to take Trandoshans as companions. These companions could be spiritual, honorable, or prideful and this should be taken into account if a player attempts to maintain a Trandoshan compatriot.



Vertical, Left: Counting Jagganath Points

Relating to the spirituality mentioned in the factoid section, these Jagganath Points are an integral part to the social structure of some Trandoshans. By mentioning this in the Aurebesh, it is implied that players may encounter this cultural tradition when interacting with this reptilian species.

Vertical, Right: Shko-Yagu

Similar to the Aurebesh on the Gormak page, this appears to be a proper name of some sort. At the moment we do not know enough to speculate about who or what this names is in reference to.

Horizontal, Left: The Hunt is Life

This line also shares similarities with the Gormak page as it seems to be a Trandoshan motto or creed. With only two humanoids in released thus far it is too early to tell if this will be a theme, but the Aurebesh similarities are interesting.

The information accompanying the media in the Inhabitants section appears to reveal a great deal about the gameplay and story in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Much like the rest of the HoloNet, only through careful examination will we decipher clues about what we may encounter when we get in game.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 08, 2010, 09:53:09 PM
As an aside, all the discussion from THIS POST (http://media.vtwproductions.com/forum/index.php?topic=194.msg8083#msg8083) comes from this video:

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eid on May 09, 2010, 02:02:43 AM
I am getting WAY to excited about ToR.... I am really setting myself up to be disappointed (but let's hope that doesn't happen!)

Just wondering, can anyone recommend a (good) ToR podcast to whet my appetite further?

Cheers, Eid
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 17, 2010, 10:32:44 PM
The big Star Wars: The Old Republic buzz last week was Advanced Classes, Skill Sets, and a Developer Blog from Daniel Erickson, but we did get a real interesting opinion about skill-based leveling systems from BioWare's Damion Schubert (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=2938608#post2938608) that we all should pay attention to:

Not to go into the details of what advancement systems we will have or not have inside the game but... this doesn't always work out this rosily, without great designer care. I worked on Meridian 59, which was a wholly skill-based game, and learned a lot about the strengths and pitfalls of systems like it. One of my great pet peeves of pure skill-based systems is that they claim that they are more realistic, but they in fact can create extremely unrealistic situations inside the world.

In the original Everquest, it was not uncommon to see a player throwing himself off a cliff over and over again to improve his safe falling skill, or to see a person macroing some random text gibberish in order to improve his languages. In Meridian 59, players used to park themselves in front of low level monsters and leave the keyboard - they were unlikely to die, and could accumulate defense points in a slow, steady and totally risk-free manor. In Oblivion, the best way to build an assassin character is to hop through fields picking flowers. Jumping improves your Acrobatics (I believe), and the player needs enough flowers to grind up his Poisoning skill.

Sure, each of these could be destupidified with enough designer/programmer time and focus, but then you're coding, QAing and exploit-proofing a different advancement mechanism for every skill in the game. And you'll probably still end up with some silliness somewhere.

I know some people are offended by the idea of do stuff->gain experience->gain level->somehow get better at something completely unrelated. - I know I was too, young in my career when I designed M59. But one of the most important thing for advancement systems is that you get the behavior you incentivize. In a classic XP/Level based system, you are incentivizing your XP-granting behaviors (which in SWTOR is tilted strongly towards questing). In skill-based systems, it is trivially easy to accidentally incentivize really stupid and boring behaviors.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 17, 2010, 10:42:29 PM
Brian Arndt cleared up some controversy (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=2922466#edit2922466) regarding a distant figure in a screenshot:

Originally Posted by Altyrell
in this picture? (http://www.thegalacticstruggle.com/wp-content/gallery/may2010/1.jpg)

It's hard to tell, as the person is too far in the background to tell

It's actually a human player character that wandered into my screenshot :)

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 18, 2010, 05:32:09 PM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 18, 2010, 05:34:00 PM
Community Questions/Poll for this Week

Will story or gameplay guide your class choice in The Old Republic?
Story (245 Votes, 45%)
Gameplay (305 Votes, 56%)

Which morality path will you choose for your main?
Light (152 Votes, 28%)
Grey (121 Votes, 22%)
Dark (152 Votes, 28%)
Undecided (136 Votes, 25%)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Ken on May 18, 2010, 05:38:12 PM
Well the first bit wasn't so surprising.

However the second bit is! I expected dark to completely overwhelm the light. Interesting..
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Natural20 on May 18, 2010, 07:14:00 PM
I am getting WAY to excited about ToR.... I am really setting myself up to be disappointed (but let's hope that doesn't happen!)

Just wondering, can anyone recommend a (good) ToR podcast to whet my appetite further?

Cheers, Eid

Watch this space.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 18, 2010, 07:32:15 PM
Lore Update: Geonosis
by Zenkei, posted May 10th, 2010 at 10:11 PM

While not officially announced as a playable planet in Star Wars: The Old Republic, Geonosis sits with Dantooine and Yavin IV on the list of possible additions. A promising candidate, Geonosis is mentioned in multiple forms of marketing: including the Timeline, Biography section, and even the Threat of Peace. Geonosis is an iconic location with an important role in the films and continued development in books. A closer look at Geonosis reveals some interesting possibilities.



At one point in time, Geonosis (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Geonosis) housed a plethora of native species. However, Geonosis's largest moon was struck by a comet, causing massive amounts of debris to rain down on the planet culminating in the killing 99% of all indigenous life. This event also created a ring of debris that continuously bombarded the planet's surface over millions of years, destroying much of the remaining life. Geonosis became an inhospitable, desolate world with life being forced underground due to extreme environmental conditions, including flash floods and solar radiation storms. Eventually, only the truly cunning, resilient, and merciless species were left alive; Geonosians (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Geonosian) being chief among them.


Once the Geonosians were able to contact other species, the Baktoid Armor Workshop (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Baktoid_Armor_Workshop) constructed several droid and weapon foundries on the planet. In addition to this industrial infrastructure, Geonosis was known for the gladiatorial games held in the planet's many arenas. The combatants included Mandalorians, one of which rose to fame with the help of Imperial Intelligence. As a result of these Geonosian games, the champion declared himself the new Mandalore and allied the Mandalorians with the Sith Empire, striking a vicious blow against the Galactic Republic.


Mandalore the Lesser, as he is known today, blockaded the Hydian Way until forced to retreat by Hylo Visz and accompanying Republic forces. As a result, Mandalore the Lesser called the Great Hunt, only to have the winner challenge him to a duel, kill him, and claim the title of the new Mandalore. Using Geonosis as his base of operations, the new Mandalore consolidated power and thwarted an uprising by those who opposed him by supporting the Republic. Mandalore's status is described as secure in his place with the Mandalorians as they remain "cautious, well-paid allies of the Sith Empire."


With the new Mandalore's base of operations on Geonosis, combined with the knowledge that he is looking for a new champion, we speculate that Geonosis may supply players with the opportunity to compete for such a place of honor. This feat could be accomplished through use of the arena system to battle other players and NPCs and/or the performing of various missions and quests.


The Mandalorians are currently working with the Sith Empire, however, we feel it would be wrong to assume that Republic players will be left out. Players from either faction may be able to support their respective causes, be it the continued servitude of the Mandalorians to the Empire or possibly working towards turning them to fight the powerful Sith. Warriors love battle, and manipulating these great Mandalorian combatants may be the story focus we see on Genosis.

In Act 2 of the Threat of Peace comic, a Sith guard says, "Fresh merchandise for the Geonosis slave market. Let's pick it up." This statement, while vague, can lead to the conclusion that the slave market on Geonosis is quite lucrative for those willing to venture into such trade. Slaves might be forced to fight in arena matches and perhaps even the Mandolorians use them to some extent. While this might be a simple fact on Geonosis with little player interaction, it is sure to be one of the main story elements of the planet.


The fact that Baktoid Armor Workshop constructed several droid and weapon foundries on the planet is also interesting to note; any area of war production would be important to the Sith and the Republic. Similar to our speculation on the industrialized Belsavis, players may be able to fight over these factories in PvP or PvE format; possibly even granting bonuses or access to the faction that is currently in control. Rewards centered around this technological war-machine could include weapons, armor, or even a droid companion or two.

Geonosis is certainly an interesting planet with a long history of fighting and destruction. By including Geonosis in Star Wars: The Old Republic as a playable planet, BioWare and LucasArts could offer the opportunity for players to carve out their own place on it's the blood soak arenas and barren landscape. Many have clamored for Geonosis to be included and only time will tell if it will and how its story might shape our future adventures.


SW:TOR Timeline - The Empire Changes Strategy (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/timeline)
SW:TOR Biographies - Mandalore (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/biographies/mandalore)
Wookieepedia (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Geonosis)

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Vandal on May 18, 2010, 08:19:25 PM
Halo:Reach is now completely off my radar, ToR is just OMG!!!!.

The big Star Wars: The Old Republic buzz last week was Advanced Classes, Skill Sets, and a Developer Blog from Daniel Erickson, but we did get a real interesting opinion about skill-based leveling systems from BioWare's Damion Schubert (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=2938608#post2938608) that we all should pay attention to:

Not to go into the details of what advancement systems we will have or not have inside the game but... this doesn't always work out this rosily, without great designer care. I worked on Meridian 59, which was a wholly skill-based game, and learned a lot about the strengths and pitfalls of systems like it. One of my great pet peeves of pure skill-based systems is that they claim that they are more realistic, but they in fact can create extremely unrealistic situations inside the world.

In the original Everquest, it was not uncommon to see a player throwing himself off a cliff over and over again to improve his safe falling skill, or to see a person macroing some random text gibberish in order to improve his languages. In Meridian 59, players used to park themselves in front of low level monsters and leave the keyboard - they were unlikely to die, and could accumulate defense points in a slow, steady and totally risk-free manor. In Oblivion, the best way to build an assassin character is to hop through fields picking flowers. Jumping improves your Acrobatics (I believe), and the player needs enough flowers to grind up his Poisoning skill.

Sure, each of these could be destupidified with enough designer/programmer time and focus, but then you're coding, QAing and exploit-proofing a different advancement mechanism for every skill in the game. And you'll probably still end up with some silliness somewhere.

I know some people are offended by the idea of do stuff->gain experience->gain level->somehow get better at something completely unrelated. - I know I was too, young in my career when I designed M59. But one of the most important thing for advancement systems is that you get the behavior you incentivize. In a classic XP/Level based system, you are incentivizing your XP-granting behaviors (which in SWTOR is tilted strongly towards questing). In skill-based systems, it is trivially easy to accidentally incentivize really stupid and boring behaviors.

Love that quote you found Raktus. The fact that they are tilting XP gaining towards questing makes it seem like a story driven MMO, which has the potential to be very exciting.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Bazeleel on May 18, 2010, 08:34:06 PM
*jumps up and down*
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 20, 2010, 11:56:30 AM
Acklay (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Acklay)
Homeworld - Vendaxa (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Vendaxa)
Seen in TOR - Vid Doc 1 at 2:06 (http://www.swtor.com/media/vidcasts/viddoc001)
These creatures have hard exteriors, with soft bellies and walk on six single clawed legs. Although they live predominately underwater, they are known to hunt on land. With sharp teeth and an aggressive disposition, these creatures are favored for gladiatorial combat.
Chemilizard (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Chemilizard)
Homeworld - Nal Hutta (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nal_Hutta)
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/chemilizard)
Mutated by the polluted environment of Nal Hutta, these lizards are adapted to their toxic habitat. Little other information is known at this time...
Dewback (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dewback)
Homeworld - Tatooine (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Tatooine)
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://swtor.com/media/screens/20090123_003)
These omnivorous reptiles are commonly used as beasts of burden due to their relatively docile disposition. Well adapted to the harsh desert climate, Dewbacks are fully functional even under the hot double suns of Tatooine, however they may become sluggish over night due to their cold-blooded nature.
K'Lor'Slug (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/K'lor'slug)
Homeworld - Korriban (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Korriban) and Hoe'ha'on (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Noe'27ha'27on)
Seen in TOR - Vid Doc 1 at 1:55 (http://www.swtor.com/media/vidcasts/viddoc001)
K'lor'slugs are a carnivorous vermiform that utilize acute senses and a deadly toxin to subdue their prey. They breed quickly with clutches numbering over 300 offspring, each of which is ravenous immediately after hatching. K'lor'slug infestations can be devastating if not immediately dealt with.
Nexu (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nexu)
Homeworld - Cholganna (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Cholganna)
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/jedi-strikes-down-nexu), Vid Doc 1 at 1:20 (http://www.swtor.com/media/vidcasts/viddoc001), and Developer Dispatch 1 at 3:22 (http://www.swtor.com/media/vidcasts/devdispatch001)
The most common Nexu had two sets of eyes, giving keen sight. Sharp quills, claws and teeth make it a dangerous predator. While they were favored for gladiatorial combat, the Nexu was known to tire easily.
Terentatek (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Terantek)
Homeworld - Korriban (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Korriban)
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://www.swtor.com/media/concepts/terentatek)
The Terentatek was created by the Sith to serve one purpose, killing Jedi. The creature is similar in size to a Rancor, and may actually be genetically connected in some way. The primary ability of the Terentatek was its immunity to force powers, making it incredibly dangerous. While nearly hunted to extinction by the Jedi, these creatures seem to have a knack for survival.
Wraid (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Wraid)
Homeworld - Tatooine (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Tatooine)
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://www.swtor.com/media/concepts/wraid)
Wraid are large pack beats normally found in groups of two to six members. Popular for big game hunters, these beasts are short tempered and extremely aggressive. A wraid skull is a valuable commodity and this has created a profitable market for this creature.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 20, 2010, 12:02:30 PM

Assassin Droid
Manufacturer - Unknown
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://swtor.com/media/concepts/assassin-droid), Screenshots (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/droid-firing)
Assassin droids have a ruthlessly effective track record in Star Wars lore. Normally operating under the control of a biological master, these droids are a frightening opponent.
Battle Droid
Manufacturer - Unknown
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/droids-blasters), Screenshot (http://swtor.com/media/screens/jedi-knight)
Battle droids are a traditional "front-line fighter" in Star Wars. Normally cheap and relatively effective, they can be easily deployed to any number of environments and situations.
Medical Droid
Manufacturer - Unknown
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://swtor.com/media/concepts/medical-droid)
Medical droids have a long standing tradition in the Star Wars universe. They are frequently used in battlefield conditions as well as more peaceful situations.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 20, 2010, 12:09:40 PM

Rakghoul (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rakghoul)
Homeworld - Taris (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Taris)
Seen in TOR - News Article (http://www.swtor.com/news/news-article/20100212_002)
Rakghouls are not their own species, but rather humans that have been mutated by the Muur Talisman (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Muur_Talisman). Within the undercity of Taris, Revan encountered many of these creatures, as well as a cure. However, the status of the cure is unknown as the planet was decimated shortly after it was recovered.
Rancor (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rancor)
Homeworld - Dathomir (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dathomir)
Seen in TOR - Render (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/rancor)
Rancors appear unintelligent, but do contain some culture. There are records of one learning to read and write, but this occurred much closer chronologically to the Battle of Yavin (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Battle_of_Yavin). Originally from Dathomir, these creatures are found throughout the galaxy due to their appeal as over sized guard dogs.
Sarlacc (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sarlacc)
Homeworld - Unknown
Seen in TOR - April Fools (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/classes/sarlacc-enforcer) and Screenshot (http://cdn-www.swtor.com/sites/all/files/en/planets/tatooine/ss02/screen04_800x450_holonet.jpg)
Living for tens of thousands of years, these plant like animals are some of the longest living in the galaxy. At the early stages of life they are mobile, but become sedentary later in life with only their mouth appearing at the surface of the land. The Sarlacc can live in nearly any environment, provided there was a food source. Its digestive system takes thousands of years to digest a meal, making the Sarlacc a gruesome and disturbing killer.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 20, 2010, 12:38:20 PM

Bith (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Bith)
Homeworld - Clak'dor VII (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Clak'dor_VII)
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://www.swtor.com/media/concepts/bith)
The Bith are a highly evolved species that can be found throughout the known galaxy. Their well developed intelligence leads them to take on more complex or creative jobs, such as engineers, scientists, and musicians. Their anatomy is fairly unique among humanoids with their ability to breath through their skin and extremely advanced senses. Their sense of hearing is so complex that they can distinguish tonal differences like most races distinguish colors.
Chagrian (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Chagrian)
Homeworld - Champala (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Champala)
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/fight-amongst-ruins)
The Chagrian are an amphibious species who lose their sense of taste as they enter adulthood. While all Chagrian have two lethorns (the things coming down over their chest) only the males have the larger horns. With a history of enduring solar storms, this species as developed a strong resistance to radiation.
Dashade (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dashade)
Homeworld - Taris (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Taris)
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://www.swtor.com/media/concepts/dashade), Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/sith-unleashes-force-lightning), and Vid Doc 1 at 3:09 (http://www.swtor.com/media/vidcasts/viddoc001)
The Dashade are reptilian humanoids that are most noted for their resistance to force powers and radiation. Their near immunity to the force causes them to be utilized by both the Jedi and the Sith and instructors and assassins respectively. The Dashade are increasingly rare as the population was decimated in the Great Sith War.
Flesh Raider (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Flesh_Raiders)
Homeworld - Unknown
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/jedi-knight-2), Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/jedi-knight-0), Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/jedi-consular-0)
Flesh Raiders are a new addition to the Star Wars universe. There is currently no information on this species, other then their connection to the world of Tython.
Gamorrean (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Gamorreans)
Homeworld - Gamorr (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Gamorr)
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://www.swtor.com/media/concepts/gamorreans)
This porcine species are among the least technological of all spacefairing races in Star Wars. They follow a very warlike social structure with females, or sows, performing all productive work and males, or boars, focusing solely on training for and fighting battles. Their weapon of choice is a specialized war axe called an arg'gorak.
Gran (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Gran)
Homeworld - Kinyen (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kinyen)
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/20090123_003)
These mammalian humanoids are fairly pacifist and sedentary, a trait probably due to their evolution from herbivorous ancestors. They are naturally empathic with other Grans, being able to detect subtle changes in temperature and skin color. They have amazing visual acuity and may even be able to see into the infrared spectrum. The Gran also have a regressive genetic mutation causing additional or abnormally sized limbs. Though normally not fatal, those with this trait are normally shunned by Gran society.
Hutt (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hutts)
Homeworld - Varl (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Varl) followed by Nal Hutta (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nal_Hutta)
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://swtor.com/media/screens/hutt)
Hutts live over 1000 years and are considered children up to the age of 130 years. They are also hermaphrodites, associating themselves with whatever gender they desire. Hutts live by the philosophy that, "if something is out there to have, it might as well belong to you." Because of this, there are few morals within their society and planets under their control are often filled with criminals.
Ithorian (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ithorians)
Homeworld - Ithor (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ithor)
Seen in TOR - Render (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/ithorian-render)
Ithorians have a deep reverence for their home world. In an attempt to preserve their planet they moved their entire society to floating cities orbiting the lush world. They are precocious in nature yet they are normally extremely polite and respectful of others. They are capable of speaking in stereo due to their two mouths and four throats and their language is very difficult to learn. Their four throats also allow many Ithorians to create a sonic blast loud enough to deafen and stun enemies and, when trained in the use of the force, even shatter iron.
Jawa (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jawa)
Homeworld - Tatooine (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Tatooine)
Seen in TOR - Forum Avatars (http://www.swtor.com/news/article/20090724_001), Holonet: Tatooine (http://darthhater.com/uploads/blog_images/6432/jawa.jpg)
Jawas are the small scavengers, native to the planet of Tatooine. These creatures currently live in sandcrawlers, abandoned by Czerka (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Czerka) hundreds of years ago. Jawas survive by scavenging for droids and spare parts to sell to other species. Jawas speak their own unique language, and are notoriously difficult to understand due to the high speed speed of their speech.
Kel Dor (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kel_dor)
Homeworld - Dorin (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dorin)
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/kel-dor)
The Kel Dor evolved on a planet with a unique atmosphere, composed mostly of helium and "Dorin Gas." Because of this Kel Dor are almost always seen with their iconic breath masks and eye covers. Without the protection, oxygen and nitrogen would kill them. One advantage of this heritage is their ability to survive briefly in the vacuum of space, a trait most species don't share.
Kitonak (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kitonaks)
Homeworld - Kirdo III (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kirdo_III)
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://www.swtor.com/media/concepts/kitonaks)
Kitonaks are well adapted to the deserts of their homeworld. They have thick hide with folds that cover sensitive or vulnerable locations and are able to close their tiny eyes, nose and mouth tight enough to keep out and particulate. This species is characterized by a slow, patient nature and relatively peaceful demeanor.
Mon Calamari (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mon_Calamari)
Homeworld - Dac (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dac)
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://www.swtor.com/media/screens/20090123_003)
Mon Calamari are an amphibious race that evolved alongside the Quarren (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Quarren), as well as others. While aquatic in nature, they are able to survive on land. Mon Calamari are natural explorers and are well cultured. These creatures also are known for military feats and strategy.
Nautolan (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nautolan)
Homeworld - Glee Anselm (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Glee_Anselm)
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://www.swtor.com/media/concepts/nautolan), Timeline Video (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/timeline/peace-republic)
Nautolans are an amphibious species known for their remarkable swimming ability, however they experience no difficulty with moving on land, unlike many amphibious humanoids. Their distinctive head tentacles allow them to detect minor changes in pheromones, making them exceptional at sensing the emotional state of other beings. Their native language is optimized for use underwater, because of this most Nautolans speak galactic basic (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Galactic_Basic) when off world.
Neimoidian (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Neimoidians)
Homeworld - Neimoidia (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Neimoidia)
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://www.swtor.com/media/concepts/neimoidians)
Neimoidian society values wealth to such an extent that this species will go to great lengths to obtain money and power. However they are very easily intimidated and are exploited throughout Star Wars lore because of this susceptibility to manipulation. They are a relatively delicate species and will visibly react to any stress.
Nikto (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nikto)
Homeworld - Kintan (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kintan)
Seen in TOR - Developer Walkthrough at 2:19 (http://www.swtor.com/media/trailers/developer-walkthrough)
The home planet of the Nikto is bathed in radiation, causing the massive mutations within the species. The radiation lets many shades of skin tones, as well as other features, depending on the specific environment they inhabit.One branch of the Nikto Culture that could play a large role within the storyline is the Morgukai (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Morgukai), a specialist group that is efficient at anti Jedi tactics.
Rakata (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rakata)
Homeworld - Lehon (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Lehon)
Seen in TOR - Concept Art (http://www.swtor.com/media/concepts/rakata)
The Rakata developed early in the galactic history and are credited with the creation of some of the first hyper-drives. Their long term use of the dark side of the Force turned them into a race of merciless warriors. They used their advanced, Force-based technology to conquer any other species they encountered and became known for their cruelty, savagery, and arrogance. The advanced technology developed by this species is spread throughout the galaxy and is constantly sought out by those wishing to use these dark side artifacts.
Togruta (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Togruta)
Homeworld - Shili (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Shili)
Seen in TOR - Screenshot (http://darthhater.com/uploads/blog_images/6432/togruta.jpg), Threat of Peace (http://www.swtor.com/media/webcomics/threat-of-peace/act1?comicpage=1)
The Togruta have distinctive head tentacles that lead some to believe they share and ancestry with the Twi'lek (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Twi%27lek). One major difference between these two are the Togrutas hollow horns that give them a passive form of echolocation. An extremely social species, the Togrutas tend to travel in large groups and lone individuals may be looked down upon as abnormal.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Bazeleel on May 20, 2010, 03:09:37 PM
God bless biware!
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 20, 2010, 05:05:03 PM
BioWare's Damion Schubert on Win Expectancy

In the latest issue of Game Developer Magazine, Star Wars: The Old Republic's Damion Schubert opines on win expectancy, and gives plenty of examples of what works and what doesn't when it comes to game difficulty.

However, Schubert complained he only received three emails about the column. We think you should email him (damion at zenofdesign dot com) and let him know you enjoyed this line in the article (though you should spring for at least the PDF copy of the article, as it is a good read):

Already, games are starting to notice that players are failing more often than expected and asking them if they want to adjust their game's difficulty on the fly. In the future, more will start doing this behind the scenes -- to have AI determine the worthiness of the foe and adjust automatically.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Vandal on May 20, 2010, 09:11:59 PM
If I can be an Ithorian Sith.....Its game time.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Natural20 on May 20, 2010, 09:19:46 PM
Raktus, every post is like a little bundled up ball of joy. Keep it up.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 25, 2010, 07:11:13 PM
Dev Tracker Highlight: Drew Karpyshyn on Hoth

Responding to a post (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=2993503#edit2993503) on the Star Wars: The Old Republic Official Forums, writer Drew Karpyshyn addressed the connection, or lack thereof, between the planet Hoth and the Expanded Universe character known as General Hoth.

Hate to say it, but as far as I know there is no connection between the planet Hoth and General Hoth. Source material indicates that the planet was known and named thousands of years before the General was born, so it obviously wasn't named for him. I suppose he could have been named for the planet, but there is nothing in his history to indicate any kind of connection.

Of course, I didn't create the General Hoth character he first appeared in a series of Dark Horse comics. All I did was flesh him out a bit. However, I suspect the name was originally chosen to be symbolic of his demeanor: cold, grim and harsh.

Interestingly, there *is* a celestial body that was named after the heroic General. The central star in the Ruusan system was renamed Hoth's Brand in honor of his victories and sacrifices in the war against Lord Kaan's Brotherhood of Darkness. As to the planet that had its ecosystem changed, that was the world of Ruusan, which is a totally separate world from the famous ice planet of Hoth. And Ruusan's climate was altered, but it didn't become an uninhabitable ball of ice. And even though the central star in the Ruusan system was renamed, the planet itself was not.

I realize this doesn't do much to settle the question at hand, but it's a moderately relevant segue.

However, one thing I can confirm: the planet Hoth was already called Hoth during the timeline of SWTOR. Hope this helps.

http://www.drewkarpyshyn.com/ - It's all Drew, all the time!
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 27, 2010, 11:06:58 AM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on May 27, 2010, 11:43:27 AM
It looks interesting, but theres a few things that I find a bit weird. Firstly, the graphics are very dated. Compare them to another MMO coming out in the same timeframe (GW2), and you'll see what I mean:


I'm also a bit confused as to where the whole MMO thing comes into play. It seems like they've developing a fine single player RPG, but I've yet to see any sort of multiplayer content.

Lastly it kinda seems like they're stretching themselves a bit too thin. 8 different stories in 1 game sounds nice and all, but I'm worried that they're stretching themself too thin and it will just become 8 mediocre short stories in a flimsy gameplay wrapping.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 27, 2010, 04:06:22 PM

Faction Data
- Faction Homeworld/Headquarters: Geonosis (http://darthhater.com/2010/05/11/lore-update-geonosis/)
- Current Leader: Artus (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/biographies/mandalore), called Mandalore the Vindicated
- Affiliation: Sith Empire (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/allegiances/sith-empire), currently


The Mandalorians are a cultural group brought together through a code of honor who traditionally find work as bounty hunters, soldiers, and mercenaries; however, that wasn't always the case. The Mandalorians were once exclusively members of the Taung (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Taung) species, originating from the planet of Coruscant. The Taung were not alone on the planet, and early Humans warred against them in an attempt to force them off world. Around 200,000 BBY, a group of 13 Human nations called the Battalions of Zhell (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Zhell) were attacked by the Taung. Soon after, a volcanic explosion nearly caused the extinction of the Humans and darkened the skies, and the Taung began to call themselves the Dha Werda Verda (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dha_Werda_Verda) or the "Warriors of the Shadow." Despite the fortuitous explosion, the Taung were still forced off of Coruscant by their human foes. They fled to the nearby moon of Roon (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Roon).


Mandalore the First (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mandalore_the_First) led his people to conquer another planet in the Outer Rim in 7,000 BBY. They named the world Mandalore after their leader, and the Taung became known as the Mandalorians. The Mandalorians thrived in combat and were seen as some of the most skilled warriors in the galaxy. They wore unique armor which differed from one individual to the next, upheld a strict honor code, and were on the cutting-edge of weapon technology.

Initially, the Mandalorians were very careful about journeying outside of the Mandalore sector, however they did successfully conquer the worlds of Ordo (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ordo), Gargon (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Gargon_(planet)), and Shogun (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Shogun). Not long after these conquests, the Mandalorian culture leaned heavily towards the worship of Kad Ha'rangir (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kad_Ha'rangir), their destroyer god, and glorified war above all else.

Around 4000 BBY, the Mandalorians started to expand their control, beginning with the conquest and eradication of the Nevoota (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nevoota_(species)). Led by Mandalore the Indomitable (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mandalore_the_Indomitable), the Mandalorians raided Iskadrell (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Iskadrell) and freed the native slaves called the Iskalloni (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Iskalloni). Many of the Iskalloni were integrated into the Mandalorian culture, marking the first steps towards becoming a purely cultural faction.


The next planet on the Mandalorian's agenda was Basilisk (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Basilisk_(planet)), causing the Galactic Republic to send a relief force under the command of Jedi Master Sidrona Diath (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sidrona_Diath). This force ultimately failed to stop the Mandalorians and, realizing their defeat, the native Basiliskans (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Basiliskan) poisoned their own world rather than let it fall into enemy hands. The Mandalorians moved on, though they managed to capture many Basilisk war droids and reptilian Basiliskans, who would later be domesticated into mere beasts of burden.

With few challenges left in the Rim, the Mandalorians made their move towards the Deep Core (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Deep_Core). Entering the Empress Teta system (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Empress_Teta_system), the Mandalorians conquered the planet of Kuar (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kuar) for use as a staging ground for their campaign. The Mandalorian presence didn't go unnoticed. The Sith Lord Ulic Qel-Droma (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ulic_Qel-Droma), who controlled the Krath (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Krath) forces on Empress Teta, was challenged to a duel by Mandalore the Indomitable. In the end, Mandalore was defeated and swore his allegiance to Ulic Qel-Droma and his master, Exar Kun (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Exar_Kun). This was the first time the Mandalorians would become pawns of the Sith.


Joining together with Sith and Krath forces, the Mandalorians attacked the Republic shipyards in orbit around Foerost (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Foerost). The resulting victory allowed the capture of the shipyards and over 300 Republic ships. With their newfound strength, their combined forces attacked Coruscant. However, the Krath witch Aleema Keto (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Aleema_Keto) betrayed Ulic Qel-Droma, claiming he was dead and ordering his forces to retreat. She then convinced Mandalore to pledge his loyalty to her. Mandalore soon learned of Keto's treachery, and sought aid from Exar Kun on Yavin 4 (http://darthhater.com/2010/04/27/lore-update-yavin-4/). With the Sith Lord's aid, Mandalore was able to rescue Ulic Qel-Droma.

With Keto dealt with, Mandalore the Indomitable was tasked with capturing the Iziz Royal Palace (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Iziz) on Onderon (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Onderon). However, the Beast Riders (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Beast_Rider) of Onderon managed to call for help from the Republic, and the combined forces repulsed the Mandalorian attack. Mandalore, realizing the battle was over, attempted to retreat to the moon of Dxun (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dxun). During the retreat, Mandalore's Basilisk was damaged, causing him to crash land. Alone in the jungle, he was eventually killed by the native beasts. His armor was soon found and his helmet donned by the new Mand'alor: Mandalore the Ultimate (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mandalore_the_Ultimate).


The Mandalorians spent the next 20 years rebuilding and recruiting. With the majority of the Taung now dead, Mandalore the Ultimate began welcoming members of any alien descent into the Mandalorian culture. As a result, Mandalorian recruitment bases were set up across the galaxy. The influx of new warriors caused Cassus Fett (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Cassus_Fett), Mandalore the Ultimate's second, to suggest making the armor more uniform and thus the Neo-Crusaders (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mandalorian_Neo-Crusaders) were born.

Driven into relative isolation by their defeat in the Great Sith War, many Mandalorians become convinced that the once prophesied "Great Last Battle" was soon to be at hand. Emboldened, Mandalore the Ultimate launched a campaign into the Outer Rim conquering independent planets outside of the Republic's control. Despite the Mandalorian atrocities, such as 90% of the Cathar (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Cathar) race being wiped out, the Republic refused to get involved in the struggle as they were wary of being dragged into another war so soon after the last. This inaction allowed the Mandalorians to begin stockpiling resources plundered from conquered worlds in order to fuel the growing campaign. With each victory, the Mandalorian clans grew more powerful, recruiting conquered species in their growing ranks. This push was followed by a year of relative calm.


Suddenly, the Mandalorians conquered Onderon (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Onderon) from their Dxun moon outpost. From there, the Mandalorians pushed to take control of the worlds of Vanquo (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Vanquo) and Taris (http://darthhater.com/2010/02/15/lore-update-taris/). The Mandalorians seemed on the verge of conquering the whole galaxy when the truth behind the Cathar genocide was revealed. The truth of this despicable act inspired hundreds of Jedi Knights, lead by Revan (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Revan) and Malak (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Darth_Malak), to wage war against the Mandalorians. Revan single-handedly turned the tide of the war by masterminding a string of military victories, ultimately leading to the final confrontation with the Mandalorians over Malachor V (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Malachor_V). Revan faced off against Mandalore the Ultimate in single combat, slaying the Mand'alor. Meanwhile, a super-weapon known as the Mass Shadow Generator (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mass_Shadow_Generator) was activated, destroying the remaining Mandalorian fleet. After receiving their unconditional surrender, Revan stripped the Mandalorians of their armor and destroyed their stockpiles of weaponry and war droids. He took the mask of the Mand'alor, preventing another leader from being named. This resulted in the fragmentation of the remaining Mandalorians, who scattered and became bounty hunters and mercenaries.

Canderous Ordo, a member of Revan's crew, would later use the captured Mandalore's Mask to claim the title of Mandalore the Preserver and lead a band of Mandalorians to Onderon's moon of Dxun. Despite his best efforts to reunite the clans during his time as Mand'alor, the Mandalorians would remain scattered for nearly three centuries.


In 3,661 BBY, the Sith and Republic were once again at war. The Sith sought to crown a new Mandalore to gain the allegiance of Mandalorians. Through the rigging of arena matches on Geonosis, their pawn (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mandalore_the_Lesser) earned the title of Mandalore. The new Mand'alor organized the blockade of the Hydian Way (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hydian_Way), which would cripple the Republic until the eventual defeat of the blockade at the hands of Hylo Visz (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hylo_Visz) and her band of smugglers. Attempting to rally support, Mandalore the Lesser called for a "Great Hunt." The champion of the Great Hunt, a man named Artus, challenged Mandalore the Lesser to a duel and successfully killed him, crowning himself the new Mand'alor, Mandalore the Vindicated. Under his rule, the Mandalorians are well-paid allies of the Sith.


Mandalorian culture was a nomadic society with no prejudice against other species or other Mandalorians, so long as they obeyed the Mandalorian sacred rule:

Education and armor,
Self-defense, our tribe,
Our language, our leader
All help us survive.

These six actions were known as Resol'Nare (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Six_Actions). The rule called for wearing armor, speaking Mando'a, defending themselves and their families, raising children as Mandalorians, helping the clan succeed and sustain itself, and to rally to the cause of the Mand'alor when called.

The Mandalorians even adopted orphans into their ranks to raise as true Mandalorian warriors. Though they possessed a homeworld, the Mandalorians kept their nomadic lifestyle intact so that in the event of attack, the Mandalorians wouldn't be easily eradicated or driven extinct.


Mandalorian houses, called Vheh'yaime (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Vheh%27yaime) were constructed to be quickly and easily evacuated. No straight roads were constructed on Mandalore in order make it easier to ambush and pin down any invaders. Mandalorians were fully capable of operating alone and were simply bound together through culture. They were so individualistic that Mandalorians made their own armor according to their personal skills. However, not all Mandalorians were warriors; some were doctors, engineers, and farmers. However, all were trained to fight and were required to fight when necessary.


The Mandalorians history is one of gaining strength and then going to war to either conquer the galaxy or simply test their skills. This makes it logical to assume that while the current Mandalore the Vindicated is allied with the Sith Empire, he is biding his time and waiting for an opportune moment to strike back against his former masters. Mandalorians are a warrior society and it would be difficult to see them being happy as servants to another. If this is the case, then perhaps players will be able to assist the Mandalorians by acquiring supplies, manpower, or intel by spying on the Republic or Sith.


Multiple stockpiles were created by the Mandalorians throughout the galaxy. Mandalorians played a part in most of the galactic wars throughout their history and it is likely that many species hate and revile them. It would not be a surprise if there are quests from people on multiple worlds that require the killing Mandalorians or otherwise sabotaging their interests. This could possibly lead the players uncovering such rare and powerful items for their own use. The Mandalorians are the type to leave traps or creatures to defend their stockpiles, allowing for the possibility of some Mandalorian-themed flashpoints.

The rise of Mandalore the Lesser in the arenas of Geonosis may indicate some arena style player-versus-player gameplay. Such a test of skill would certainly fit with this faction's way of life, as the Mandalorians value combat ability above all else, including race and gender. If this is true, then it would not be unheard of to see players become an honorary Mandalorian through a long series of rites and trials.


Since Mandalorians are known mercenaries, it is possible that players might be able to hire one as a companion character. With skills as diverse as their personally crafted armor, these companions could fill any number of roles ranging from support to damage. Such versatile warriors would make very effective allies in battle.

The Mandalorians are an intriguing people. The fact that they haven't been wiped off the face of the galaxy despite their aggressive nature is a testament to their resilience and fortitude. They have had a hand in almost every major conflict for centuries and are constantly influencing politics. Even if they seem to be evading public scrutiny now, their way of life, their weapons, and their traditions will certainly affect the galaxy. It will be interesting to see what BioWare and LucasArts have in store for the Mandalorians and their leader, Mandalore the Vindicated.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Ken on May 27, 2010, 04:43:27 PM
Raktus, every post is like a little bundled up ball of joy. Keep it up.

I would also like to give you my thumbs up, Raktus. These are very good quality posts, helpful, easy to read, and impressive.

Well done.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on May 27, 2010, 04:56:46 PM
Star Wars: The Old Republic Companions
From Chewie to Artoo, we've got new details on the game's companion characters.

Every Star Wars hero needs a companion. Han had Chewie, Luke had R2-D2 -- even Jabba had the cackling monkey lizard Salacious B. Crumb. These characters compliment a player's strengths or weaknesses, and provide company for the epic journey you will inevitably undertake. Whether they're combative, friendly, flirtatious, or even just good for a laugh, companions always contribute to your adventure.

In Star Wars: The Old Republic, a variety of these Companion Characters will join your cause. Some will join you for adventure, some for greed, and some for motivations that will remain hidden until much further along in your adventure. The Companions run the gamut from intelligent droids to bizarre aliens, from an honorable princess to a roguish pirate, and each class has a completely unique set to of Companions.

While traveling the galaxy, your Companion Characters will provide commentary, information on plots and directions to points of interest-- all from their own unique perspectives. Companion Characters may act as your conscience, and try to influence your decisions. In turn, you will influence them, and change how they develop as the story progresses. Based on your choices, some Companions will become your closest friends, others may become your lovers, and a few may even become your enemies!

Each companion fits an archetype from the Star Wars universe.

You will be introduced to your first Companion Character early in your adventure. But as you become more seasoned, more will rally to your cause. As you travel with your Companions and get to know them better, they will not only become more powerful but they will also introduce you to a unique series of quests and rewards. Furthermore, you will be able to enhance your companions by equipping them with various gear.

As your team grows and develops, new options, strategies, and tactics will become available. When you're headed to "The Tomb" on Belsavis, who will you bring to watch your back and help out the rest of your group? Do you bring the hard-as-nails soldier who will help keep your enemies' attention off of your group, the gifted battlefield medic who can help keep everyone alive, or do you bring your ever-faithful Astromech whose computer skills may be the only hope for completing the mission? These are just some of the choices you will make while you and your Companions roam the galaxy in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

-- BioWare


IGNPC: Companions have been part of BioWare games from Mincs to Liara. How has the role or design of companions evolved over the years? How will The Old Republic improve on the existing companion systems? What have you learned about players' expectations for the companions?

James Ohlen: Companions have evolved a lot since the days of Minsc and Baldur's Gate. In Baldur's Gate the companion characters we created were limited to voice over barks and a little bit of story. In Baldur's Gate 2 we expanded that significantly, adding the ability for players to get to know his companion through intricate conversation trees, companion centered quest lines and romances. Occasionally we wouldn't have companions as part of our initial design (Neverwinter Nights and Jade Empire were examples of that), but we'd always add them back because companions had become such a staple of our games. In fact, Mass Effect 2 has a storyline that is focused primarily on the collection of companion characters.

With Star Wars: The Old Republic we had to solve for the fact that this is the first Bioware (MMO)RPG that is entirely real time. All of our previous RPGs allow the player to pause the game. We have had to approach how a player controls his companion much differently than before.

IGNPC: Can you give us a few specific examples of how companions might impact a particular player's experience?

James Ohlen: Companion characters have a significant impact on the player's experience. They are integral to the player's storyline. They interject during conversation to give the player their view on things. They give commentary as the player explores the world. They are an important part of combat, providing extra DPS, healing, tanking abilities or even crowd control.

IGNPC: How flexible are the companions' story arcs? Are they merely scripted to provide a solid context for the player's own moral choices or will the player have an opportunity to change a companion's goals and attitudes?

James Ohlen: Players can change his companion's attitudes and sometimes even his moral leaning. It is dependant on who the companion is and what kind of person the player is role-playing as. Some companions can be twisted to the darkside of the Force and others can be redeemed. Some companions can become stronger and more independent or be beaten down until they are subservient. This is done through a system that we are tentatively calling the Affection system. It's loosely based on the Dragon Age affection system and allows the player to change his companion's attitude through his actions, words and even through gifts.

IGNPC: Companions play an important part in the story, but they also impact the player's gameplay options. What types of tactical contributions will companions be able to make?

James Ohlen: Companions add a lot to a player's combat capabilities. Each companion has a specific role, whether it be additional DPS, tanking, healing or crowd control. Companions also have special abilities that can be activated to significantly change what's going on during a battle. One companion might lay down suppressing fire, giving the player some breathing room to escape or turn the tide of the battle. Another companion might trap a tough enemy in an energy bubble, allowing the player to use a divide and conquer strategy in a battle. Players can also equip items to his companion character. This includes standard gear such as armor and weapons. Additionally, what a player equips to his companion can change the companion's behavior.

All companions will have appropriate combat options.

IGNPC: How do you determine which types of companions work best for each class and each story arc? Will the different classes have the same range of companions? Will Troopers have fewer or more combat companions than, say, imperial agents? Can you tell us how different character types might work with the same companion type?

James Ohlen: Each character class gets his own stable of unique companion characters. All of the companions available to a class are useful in combat. The companions have been built to complement a class, so a class with tank options like the Sith Warrior isn't going to have a bunch of tank companions as it would be redundant.

IGNPC: Who have been your favorite companions from past BioWare games?

James Ohlen: I could give the standard answer of Minsc, Boo and HK-47, but I'll go with something different. From way back I would say my favorite companion was Viconia. She had a long and convoluted development history, and the fact that she became the most popular romance in Baldur's Gate 2 was a relief.

My favorite recent companion is Alistair from Dragon Age. The concept for Alistair is a little bland and unoriginal. He's also competing against the player to be the 'hero' of the story (and players hate that). But Dave Gaider (lead writer of Dragon Age) created a personality for Alistair that worked really well. The voice acting was also phenomenal, so I found myself liking Alistair more than I ever thought I would.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 03, 2010, 09:27:08 AM
Daniel Erickson on the Dialogue System

BioWare's Daniel Erickson posted details on the dialogue system in Star Wars: The Old Republic in a thread (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3048468#edit3048468) started by Ewoky (http://www.swtor.com/community/member.php?u=964).

The Mass Effect dialogue system worked exceptionally well for keeping the game fast and action-oriented, which is always that team's target. On Dragon Age we went for a more classic RPG approach with more options and the ability to dig into all the little details. The first option in dialogue was usually the most sensible one for a reasonable person in the situation. SWTOR is somewhere in the middle. We keep the story moving (nobody wants to sit there in a multiplayer game while their party member begs an NPC for more backstory) but we present the options based on the situation and the class or faction.

So in the Flashpoint that Altyrell mentioned, the kill option was on the top because it was an Imperial quest and being darkside is the default for their big faction choices. In the same manner the top option for Smugglers tends to be funny or flirty, Bounty Hunters tend to be all business, Consulars tend to be questioning and wise, etc. Then, of course, the rest of the options enable players to do something totally different with their characters. Want to be a hardcase Smuggler? A wry action hero Bounty Hunter? A charming Inquisitor? Choices are much broader than just good and evil.

Hope that helps!

One interesting difference between the Mass Effect and TOR dialogue systems is the positioning of options on the wheel. While in Mass Effect the top (default) option tends to fit good-aligned characters regardless of the character's alignment, the default in TOR character seems to match a character's alignment. Players who found the Mass Effect dialogue choices to be too black and white may see the inclusion of a wider variety of options as a welcome change.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Totalbiscuit on June 03, 2010, 09:55:10 AM
This is good news, I am indeed one of those people that found Mass Effect dialogue to be way too black and white. It's one of the only things Alpha Protocol does better in fact (shame the rest of the game is such a wreck). I honestly don't view KOTOR as much of an MMO at this point however, since they still have not revealed what, past the drop-in/drop-out story missions will exist, but it's a launch-day pickup for me because Bioware has a pedigree that I respect and that's worth a lot in todays market.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 07, 2010, 01:05:45 PM
Bioware: 'No point' to most MMOs 
Friday 28-May-2010 4:09 PM Old Republic will finally bring real story to the genre, says studio

Bioware has criticised current MMO games for having "no point" - and pledged that mammoth creation Star Wars: The Old Republic will finally bring real story to the genre.

The title - due for release next year - contains 'over 50 novels-worth' of voice-over content, according to Bioware.

Bioware designer and writing director Daniel Erickson told CVG that the Mass Effect studio had been disappointed by the "lack of fun" in other MMO titles on the market.

He said: "In the early days when they first announced that there were MMOs, like the existence of them, I knew in my head what that meant - because I played Role Playing Games. It was just giant Role Playing Games.

"And then MMO [games] showed up, and it wasn't that. It was the ruleset to an RPG: There was combat, and there were areas, but that was all. Someone had left out the module. There was no story, there was no point. You just kind of wandered around. And that hasn't really changed all that much over the years.

"We've always had that thought in the back of our heads: That Old Republic should be all the things we thought an MMO would be in the first place - which is all the parts of an RPG. Which means - and this is the most radical idea - it should just be fun. Like, just fun to play. You shouldn't be trying to ignore all of the content to get to the end as fast as possible."

He added: "I don't think that [MMO creators] set out in the beginning to say: 'Hey, let's make this a grind. Let's not have any interesting content here.' A lot of the better ones more recently have interesting content for the first few levels, you know - and some of them for the first 20 levels, whatever. But it's still not the interesting content you'd expect in a single-player game.

"The thing that has been a challenge for us on Old Republic is that people tried to convince us these limitations were canon - that they were to be respected, you know? That you could not, in fact, put interesting bits in an MMO because that was now sacrilege."
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 07, 2010, 01:11:41 PM
Star Wars: The Old Republic most expensive EA game ever
Thursday 27-May-2010 1:44 AM Upcoming BioWare MMO commanding EA's biggest ever budget

EA says it will have spent more money on BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic than any game in the company's long history by the time it ships.

EA chief financial officer Eric Brown said at Janney Capital Markets' 2010 Consumer Conference recently: "It is the largest R&D project EA has ever undertaken in terms of total dollars that we expect to spend bringing the title to market."

EA seems content to give BioWare all the time it needs to take make SWTOR the best it can be, reaffirming the game won't be out before March 2011. "We're not expecting it to ship in fiscal 2010, nor have we given a specific ship date thereafter," said Brown. "We're intentionally being nonspecific on the ship date."

Brown went on to explain why EA's so confident of the game's success. "In the past, for MMOs, the type of fiction that has resonated most broadly is fiction based on swords and knights and sorcery, et cetera," he said (via Gamasutra).

"Star Wars is analogous to that -- instead of the swords, you have the lightsabers; instead of the knights you have the Jedi -- we think it's a fiction that does very well, we think it's a fiction that spans the decades."

Analysts have previously said EA and BioWare are targeting two million subscribers with the game, but says it needs to acquire at least one million subscribers to recoup hefty development costs.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 08, 2010, 11:00:36 PM
Politics play an integral role throughout the Star Wars universe. We recently took a close look at the Mandalorians, one of the minor factions players may encounter in Star Wars: The Old Republic. This week we are looking at a faction that is very different from the honor-bound warriors: the eternally criminal Hutts.

Faction Data
- Faction Homeworld/Headquarters: Nal Hutta (http://darthhater.com/2009/10/26/the-glorious-jewel-of-nal-hutta/)
- Current Leader: Hutt Grand Council, assumed Nem'ro (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/biographies/nemro-hutt)
- Affiliation: Neutral


Originating on the planet Varl (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Varl) in the Ardos system (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ardos_system), the Hutts created an empire early in interstellar history. This early empire was predominantly based in the Outer Rim (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rim) in an area very near the Tion Cluster (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Tion_Cluster). They also controlled some space in the Mid Rim (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mid_Rim). Many skirmishes occurred close to the border between Tionese and Hutt space. The Hutts were considered a major threat by Xim the Despot (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Xim), who ruled the Tionese from 25,130 BBY to 25,100 BBY. That view caused him to initiate the Hutt-Xim conflict. This conflict included the destruction of the Hutt colony on Ko Vari (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ko_Vari) in 25,105 BBY and resulted in the Hutt's development of a slave army consisting of Nikto (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nikto), Klatooinian (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Klatooinian), and Vodran (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Vodran). This Hutt controlled force eventually defeated Xim's War-Robots (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Xim's_war-robot) in the Third Battle of Vontor around 25,100 BBY. Soon after, the Treaty of Vontor (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Treaty_of_Vontor) was signed resulting in the Hutts becoming the eternal overlords of the three other species and of the Si'Klaata Cluster.

The power vacuum left by Xim allowed the Evona (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Honorable_Union_of_Desevro_%20Tion%3C/a%3E%20to%20be%20created%20in%20Tionese%20space.%20This%20feuding%20state%20threatened%20the%20Hutts%20and%20Galactic%20Republic%20during%20the%20Tionese%20War%20in%2024,000%20BBY.%20The%20Galactic%20Republic%20responded%20by%20spreading%20chaos%20in%20Hutt%20space,%20which%20results%20in%20victory%20but%20worsened%20the%20divide%20between%20Hutt%20and%20Tionese.%3Cbr%20/%3E%3Cbr%20/%3EAccording%20to%20a%20Hutt%20legend,%20their%20homeworld%20of%20Varl%20orbited%20around%20two%20suns,%20%3Ca%20href=) and Ardos (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ardos). Together as lovers, these suns ruled over the Ardos system. However, when Evona was consumed by a black hole, Ardos purged its gaseous external layers and caused the other celestial bodies in the system to collide with each other, destroying them in fury in 15,000 BBY. This tale is widely believed to be hyperbole, and it is generally accepted that the Hutts destroyed their homeworld in some ancient civil war.


Regardless, Varl survived as a wasteland and was evacuated by the Hutts to Nal Hutta or "Glorious Jewel." The native population of Evocii (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Evocii) allowed the Hutts to own a small province on their planet. Unfortunately, the Hutts exchanged technology for land, which allowed them to eventually buyout the entire planet; over time, the Hutts took complete ownership of the planet.

Although the Evocii attempted to seek help from the Galactic Republic, their contracts with the Hutts were legally binding. Perhaps as a result, the Evocii were eventually evicted from the planet and forced to relocated to the planet's fifth moon. While there, the Evocii were enslaved to build the cities on Nar Shaddaa. Their labor lasted five centuries and, upon finishing, they were freed by the Hutts. The Evocii were then cast out into the Nar Shaddaa's undercity and began to mutate into savages.

During the time of the Great Galactic War, the Hutts were displeased with the Sith Empire as they were not included their plans. Regardless, due to the influence of Imperial Intelligence agents, the Galactic Republic was unable to gain Hutt support in the war against the Sith Empire. The Hutts remained neutral in the war.


"When a Hutt reaches the pinnacle of his career, it is his right and privilege to let his mind and body atrophy--to turn away from menial concerns and strictly indulge his appetites." - Nem'ro the Hutt Biography


When the Hutt Empire collapsed as a result of infighting between the clans, the Hutts survived by creating the Hutt Grand Council which was designed to prevent such problems from occurring again. The Council's goal was to oversee all operations of the Hutt Clans and to govern all of them fairly. However, the most powerful Kajidic (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kajidic) (Hutt criminal syndicate) held the most authority and therefore was ruler of the Hutt race.


The Hutts are gangsters who use others to increase their own wealth and power, both in their clan and in their society as a whole. They normally view outsiders as tools to be used and discarded. Prospective players who encounter Hutts on the world of Nal Hutta should exercise caution, as Hutts would easily betray their current allies to gain new, more powerful ones. Any mission given by a Hutt may be a test or a trap. One thing is for certain, never trust a Hutt, especially one that wants something from you.

The Hutts exploit other races and cause wars and conflicts while manipulating both sides in order to obtain more wealth and power. While neutral during the Great Galactic War, the Hutts are probably waiting for the right opportunity to cause a conflict that they can exploit to their advantage. Their only allegiance is to themselves and they will probably be found behind the scenes of many story lines.


Hutts are constantly vying for power, not only within the galaxy, but within their own culture. Becoming the leading Kajidic gives the right to rule their entire race and allows the Hutts the chance to atrophy, a goal all Hutts seek. Possible scenarios on Nal Hutta include power struggles between Hutts and the resulting gang violence. What would be a relatively peaceful walk through a city one day may resemble a war zone the next. Players should watch their backs as they walk through Nal Hutta or Coruscant. It's impossible to know when a disgruntled Hutt's assassins may strike.

The Hutts are the polar opposite of the Mandalorians. While the Mandalorians value culture and family, the Hutts would destroy both in an attempt to gain power and wealth. The long arm of the Hutts will be felt as players explore the various planets in The Old Republic. Future wars and conflicts may be funded and fueled by Hutt greed, with players are stuck in the middle trying to fight their way out.


Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 11, 2010, 11:26:37 PM
Star Wars: The Old Republic Exclusive Hands-On - Bounty Hunter, Trooper, Imperial Agent, Smuggler, Sith Inquisitor, and Sith Warrior
By Andrew Park, GameSpotJun 11, 2010 4:23 pm PT

We've played as six of the eight professions in this highly anticipated online game. Read our hands-on account and get new info on gameplay, playable races, combat skills, and new game mechanics inside.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will take the pre-A New Hope universe of Star Wars that appeared in Knights of the Old Republic and combine story-rich gameplay with massively multiplayer online adventuring. The result will be highly differentiated experiences for the game's different professions, which will start off in different parts of the universe along different story paths until those paths converge in and around the war waged by the evil Empire with its Sith allies against the peace-loving Republic with their Jedi allies.

In advance of this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, we took the opportunity to play through the early story content for six of the game's eight character classes: the Republic trooper, the smuggler, the bounty hunter, the agent, the Sith inquisitor, and the Sith Warrior. As we found, several classes are linked by their initial starting area and quest sets, though their differing powers and combat styles make playing each one a unique experience. Here is our report on these six professions. Please keep in mind that our impressions are based on an early version of the game and everything covered here is subject to change. Also, please also note that this story contains minor spoilers.

Republic Trooper and Smuggler

The Republic trooper and the smuggler professions begin their lives in the same area under different circumstances. As a trooper, we started our career as the newest member of the elite Republic commando unit known as Havoc squad--a handsome human soldier riding on the inside of a giant walker into a war zone on the planet of Ord Mantell. The planet is a Republic world torn apart by a civil war waged by separatist rebels. As a smuggler, we played as a Twi'lek, which is the humanoid Star Wars race that has long tentacles down either side of their heads, similar to the Bib Fortuna character in Return of the Jedi.

Yes, the Twi'lek are playable, and this one was a Han Solo-like ship captain who lands her Millennium Falcon-esque ship on Ord Mantell to drop off a weapon shipment to the Republic fort. Unfortunately for both characters, the Republic's on-the-ground contacts double-cross the standing armies, siding with the separatists instead. As a result, the separatists steal the smuggler's ship and hack into the local artillery banks, which means that the beginner smuggler must go out on foot (or risk being shot down), while the trooper's walker gets blasted by the commandeered guns and needs to go it alone on foot as well.

The trooper class begins with four different primary combat skills, which are keyed to the number keys on your keyboard, and all pertain to using your heavy blaster rifle. Most of the trooper's combat abilities operate based on ammo (this has been changed from the previous time we played the class, when it relied on action points). The abilities include hammer shot, a basic ranged attack that consumes a single round of ammo; rifle grenade, which consumes several rounds and activates your character's rifle-mounted grenade launcher to knock all enemies in the blast radius flat on their backs; fast reload, which reloads your weapon to full; and stock strike, a melee attack that lets you pistol-whip your foes with the butt of your rifle once you get up close.

The smuggler class, on the other hand, is one of the game's "cover classes" and focuses on acquiring cover behind various environmental objects. These objects then grant various offensive and defensive bonuses while accruing energy points with basic attacks and expending them with advanced ones. The smuggler tends to favor a single, handheld blaster (again, not unlike Han Solo), and the profession's starting abilities currently include flurry of bolts, a basic ranged attack that builds energy points; take cover, which lets the profession acquire any nearby cover indicated by a transparent green paper-doll model; burst, which fires off three times as many rounds as flurry of bolts but costs energy points; and flash grenade, a hand-thrown projectile that has a chance of stunning all targets within its short radius but also costs energy points.

From cover, the smuggler's action bar changes to include flurry of bolts (which causes the smuggler to quickly pop out of cover to fire), detaching from cover, and charged burst, which is a new skill that slowly charges up a blast before causing the character to peek out behind cover and deliver a highly damaging burst of three charged-up rounds at a great cost of energy points. (And aside from these character-specific abilities, all characters in the game will universally have some kind of fast-healing, meditative skill to use when out of combat to decrease the amount of downtime required for characters to recover from the wounds they've suffered.)

The Republic trooper speaks softly and carries one heck of a big gun.
Each character has different entries into Ord Mantell. The trooper meets up with the rest of Havoc squad in short order, including Wraith, the stealth specialist; Fuse, the demolitions expert; Needles, the medic; and the squad commander, Tavus, who briefed us on our mission to track down a stolen orbital strike bomb with enough power to wipe the Republic fort and the nearby civilian refugee encampment off the face of the planet. Our mission required us to infiltrate a besieged village to meet with a refugee informant with intel on the bomb, fighting through a few waves of separatist guerillas and guard droids. We'll say that they didn't put up much of a fight; we took on groups of three or four rather easily and pounded them into the ground by unloading hammer shots and grenade blasts. We also periodically reloaded and used the stock strike melee attack to smack down the few rebels that dared to get in close.

We reached our checkpoint rather easily but found that the separatists had gotten to our informant first and left him for dead in an alley. After checking in with our commanding officer by remote communicator, we accepted our updated mission to find the deceased spy's data pad in his house, where his nerve-wracked wife waited for her husband's return. Unfortunately, it was clearly our duty to inform her of her husband's demise, which she took poorly to say the least, but rather than simply strong-arm the data pad away from the hysterical widow, we instead chose to hear her out--to listen to her vent her frustrations and assure her that her husband died a hero. While either approach would likely have gotten us what we wanted, our choice to delve deeper into the conversation netted us a "conversation bonus"--an as-yet nonfunctioning gameplay mechanic that LucasArts producers tell us may affect your character's light side or dark side alignment or result in some kind of other reward.


The smuggler, on the other hand, begins her adventure with the aforementioned betrayal and grand theft spaceship, learning quickly that the smooth-talking informant who worked with her contact in the Republic military was actually a con man who not only stole her spacecraft and weapon shipment, but also stole the Republic soldier's prized blaster pistol, which was built with rare, antique parts. After holding off the attacks from a handful of separatist ambushers, we sallied forth in search of our lost ship (and the soldier's valuable blaster), battling through the same refugee village. But we had a different goal and a final location--to locate and disable the hacked antiair guns and, eventually, locate our stolen ship.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid!
Because we were playing the very first missions for each character in the game, we fortunately had little trouble dispatching our enemies once we acquired cover. The smuggler is clearly not a hardy class that can walk right into the thick of battle, and the few times we tried this, we nearly died. The key to the smuggler's survival seems to be finding good cover in the environment and then firing from cover. Fortunately, the flash grenade ability generally gives her at least a moment or two to find a decent hidey-hole, and the charged burst ability from cover deals an impressive amount of damage, so the smuggler seems like she can definitely hold her own in combat. We can imagine that in larger, group battles, the smuggler's stun-based and burst-fire skills will make it a powerful support class (even as the profession's stun grenade ability can penetrate cover), but its own need to seek cover will make it vulnerable to aggressive flanking.


Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent

We moved from the clear but troubled skies of Ord Mantell to the toxic yellow haze of Hutta, a homeworld of Hutt gangsters. While The Old Republic takes place centuries before Return of the Jedi's Jabba the Hutt ever reared his ugly head, his predecessors are very much a part of the game--wheeling, dealing, and squabbling over territory. Hutta is the starting point for two of the game's professions: the heavy-artillery-packing bounty hunter and the sneaky Imperial agent. Characters from both professions find themselves having to curry the favor of the local slumlord, Nemro the Hutt, for different reasons.

In the case of the bounty hunter, we played as a character of the Rattataki race--a breed of pale-skinned, bald humanoids with a pronounced mean streak. The bounty hunter starts her life seeking the Hutt gang leader's support to enter The Great Hunt, an intergalactic bounty competition that takes place once every 10 years and promises great riches to the winner. In the case of the Imperial agent, we played as a member of the Chiss race--a species of self-reliant, blue-skinned, red-eyed humanoids that aren't normally prone to direct acts of war. As the agent, our job was to infiltrate the Hutt's palace while posing as an honored guest and "persuade" the brigand to join forces with the Empire because the Hutt's illicit activities are monopolizing a valuable trade sector. This sector's huge profits rightfully belong to the kindly and just Empire--a faction so equitable that it sends assassins and fixers like us to do its dirty work.

The bounty hunter is a heavily armed, heavily armored walking tank with enough tactical weapons to make any Star Wars nerd sit up and take notice. At the very beginning of her career, she has four primary combat abilities: rapid shots, a standard firing mode from her wrist-mounted blaster; missile blast, which launches a concussive rocket that can strike up to three targets and send them all sprawling; flamethrower, which causes a damage-over-time effect to all enemies in a cone-shaped area immediately in front of you (it may even stun weaker foes); and vent heat, the character's most important ability. Unlike the trooper, who needs to constantly reload after firing, the bounty hunter instead builds up internal heat within her armor after firing continuously and must periodically vent that heat to continue the attack.

In contrast, the agent is, like the smuggler, a cover class, though this profession seems like less of a scout and more of an assassin. In addition to carrying an actual blaster sniper rifle, the agent accrues and expends energy points with different attacks (also like the smuggler) but starts out with subtly different skills. These include rifle shot, a basic attack that fires two standard rounds and builds energy points; take cover, which, like the smuggler's ability, acquires nearby cover after selecting from a handful of possible positions outlined by green silhouettes; and shiv, a devastating close-range melee attack that costs a good chunk of energy points but lets you bury a steely vibro-blade into your enemies to deal huge damage. From cover, the agent gains the snipe attack, which deals tons of damage, as well as the laze target skill, which marks a target and makes it much more vulnerable to damage--not unlike the Hunter's mark skill from World of Warcraft.

Have jetpack. Will bomb targets back to the stone age.
As a bounty hunter, our life on Hutta began with a briefing from the non-player characters running the small bounty hunting outfit our character had apparently joined. These money-hungry adventurers weren't exactly above twisting a few arms and pulling a few strings to impress the Hutt crime lord and get us into The Great Hunt (plus a chance at all those wonderful, wonderful credits). However, it was our job to perform enough reputable jobs to get the Hutt's attention, so we were tasked with hunting down a dashing smuggler so brazen and so dangerous that he would steal credits from Republic soldier pay kiosks in broad daylight.
We tracked our mark to the nearest hangar, dispatching his pirate underlings, with ease. Again, we had been playing through the very beginning of each profession's adventuring lives, so naturally, we didn't expect the fights to be tough, but for whatever reason, the bounty hunter seemed like a real beast in battle. We can't quite put our finger on why he was so tough, but it might've had something to do with the way the character can soften enemies up with a few quick rapid shot volleys, launch a missile right into their faces--knocking them clean off their feet--and then run right up to their prone bodies to burn what's left of them to a crisp with her flamethrower.


After cutting through a few waves of pirates guarding the hangar, we finally tracked down the pirate boss to find that he was a bit of a foppish dandy who talked like he was from the streets but dressed more like the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. We confronted our mark and started a dramatic conversation with him that was clearly building toward a Wild West-style quick-draw duel, but in this case, we chose to forgo the conversation bonus and chose the dialogue option to do as A New Hope's legendary scumbag Greedo did in a certain special-edition DVD set: shoot first.

How about a little fire, scarecrow?
Unfortunately, our victory was short lived--after returning to base, we found most of the bounty hunting support team slain. The surviving character from the team pulled up the base's security log, which showed that a rival bounty hunter, who played even faster and looser with the law than we did, had been making the rounds among potential entrants to The Great Hunt, ordering his henchman to murder most of your support characters to take you out of the game. The stakes for gaining the Hutt's favor were raised considerably because we weren't just out for credits anymore--but for revenge.

The agent's experience, on the other hand, seems even more cynical and even more removed. Rather than meet up face-to-face with a briefing team, the agent receives his orders remotely by holographic communications from his dispatcher, who is known only as "Keeper." This dispatcher is a sharp-tongued Twi'lek who demands that you remain discreet at all times, lest your existence be disavowed by the Imperial syndicate. As mentioned, the agent's job is to gain the support--willing or otherwise--of Nemro the Hutt by posing as a mysterious and rarely-seen crime lord known as The Red Blade, infiltrating the palace and entering into the Hutt's confidence. After a frigidly unfriendly mission briefing, we made our way to the palace through the broken-down streets of Hutta, which have erupted into open gang violence between Nemro's forces and those of a rival Hutt crime boss from a neighboring sector looking to expand his territory.

In combat, the agent, much like the smuggler, can't survive a full-on frontal assault for long and must take cover. However, when behind cover, the agent's devastating sniping and lazing abilities seem to make it a highly effective support class. However, these cover abilities, while powerful, are also potentially dangerous to use because they require the agent to poke his neck out of cover for several precious seconds while acquiring his target--seconds during which the character is not in cover and may take a beating. We're told by LucasArts staff that in the current version of the game, when dueling other enemies with blasters, you can actually carefully time your sniper shots to go off right when your enemies are reloading and avoid incoming damage, though this system, like everything else in this story, is subject to change. In any case, the agent, like the smuggler, brings an interesting positional element to battle and makes flanking a lot more important. But unlike the smuggler, the agent has a trump card up his sleeve in the shiv ability should his foes get the drop on him.

Once we infiltrated the Hutt's palace, we quickly gained access to him and sweet-talked him into believing our cover story. We were summarily admitted to our own private chambers, where we performed a brief minigame to search for good spots to hide listening devices so that we could better eavesdrop on the slumlord. We also became acquainted with the crime lord's two advisors: an ambitious Twi'lek and rising star in Nemro's court, as well as an older human heavy who has seemingly fallen out of favor. We quickly found out from a subsequent remote briefing that the human has fallen out of favor because he's sympathetic to the Empire and its efficient, calculating ways.

Clearly our mission was to get to the Hutt through his advisor, though the task wouldn't be easy. Among other things, we bumped into some lowlife in an antechamber who claimed that he was a close friend of the real Red Blade and then demanded a fistful of credits in exchange for his silence. We blew him off without paying him; this was partially because we're so brave that we never cave in to threats and partially because our play time with the Imperial agent had come to an end.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 11, 2010, 11:26:50 PM
Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor

If the bounty hunter and agent's starting missions seem cold and mercenary, the atmosphere for new Sith characters could be described as downright hostile. Both of these professions begin their lives on Korriban, the Sith homeworld, which has appeared in both Knights of the Old Republic games as the location of the cutthroat Sith academy, where new recruits routinely resort to extortion, manipulation, and murder to outshine their classmates. It also appeared as the place where teams of archeologists routinely brave the arid desert to dig through the trap-laden tombs in the Valley of the Sith Lords in search of rare artifacts and ceremonial weapons. Korriban is every bit as unfriendly a place as it was in the previous games--more so, in fact, because you start your career at the very lowest rung of the ladder here. Both of the game's Sith professions--the warrior and the inquisitor--will find themselves interrogating prisoners detained in the academy and exploring the tombs.

The Sith warrior starts his career as an acolyte serving a bitter, angry overseer who leads the training of you and your fellow acolytes, including Vemrin, the apprentice to a powerful Sith lord. At the outset of your training, the overseer very bluntly explains that this other apprentice clearly outclasses you and is your enemy and shockingly points out that you must kill Vemrin as soon as possible, lest you be killed by him first. The Sith inquisitor reports to a different Sith overseer as part of the slave caste--a group of low-born wannabes who are not of proper Sith bloodlines but have been admitted simply because they are Force sensitive. It's actually implied that the Sith ranks are dwindling, which is why the academy's entrance requirements have been relaxed. As it turns out, the inquisitor has an opportunity to become apprentice to a powerful Sith lord but finds herself in competition with another ambitious recruit who is further along in his training. Both of our Sith characters were human.

The Sith warrior is the melee powerhouse of the evil, lightsaber-wielding faction and possesses powerful melee combat abilities that crush opponents at close range. The character's powers are based on rage points, which he accrues by performing basic attacks and can then expend with more-powerful abilities. The warrior's starting combat skills include assault, a standard lightsaber attack that earns a few rage points; vicious slash, a slower melee attack that deals significant damage to a single target; and Force charge, which is essentially the Knights of the Old Republic's Force jump power. This ability lets your character perform a superhuman leap across a long distance to immediately engage a faraway opponent with a powerful lightsaber attack.

Good! I can feel your anger!
The Sith inquisitor also wields a lightsaber, but the profession's true strengths come from its devastating Force powers, which are tied to a Force power meter not unlike that of the Knights of the Old Republic games. The inquisitor has a basic saber strike attack that deals lightsaber melee damage; shock, a Force power that zaps a single target with a lightning bolt; and lightning drain, a highly damaging Force power that bathes a single target with damaging lightning, a la Emperor Palpatine from Return of the Jedi. It also drains Force power and potentially stuns and slows the movement of its target.


As the warrior, our experience started with a mission to raid the tomb of a long-dead Sith lord to extract an ancient, ceremonial war blade (not unlike the early mission we undertook in our first hands-on session with the game many moons ago).On the way to the tomb, we quickly picked up a few extra side quests within the tomb itself; one came from an Imperial officer who asked us to clear out some of the K'lor slugs (huge, pale, centipede-like critters) that inhabited the tomb, where a stray data pad revealed that a security malfunction had allowed pesky tomb robbers to enter the various tombs to scrounge for artifacts to sell.

As the Sith warrior, we had no trouble dispatching anything foolish enough to cross our paths. In fact, the biggest challenge we faced in combat was that we couldn't Force charge every single enemy we encountered because our enemies were clustered in groups (the powerful leaping attack requires you to stand at a distance from your target). There's no mystery about how the warrior's basic lightsaber attacks work--they're simple, work only at close range, and do decent damage. Of the character's starting skills, the Force charge ability will make Sith warriors deadly in player-versus-player battles because as soon as they get within moderate range, they can use this skill to automatically engage in hand-to-hand combat; this is a very difficult scenario for more-fragile characters that rely on ranged damage, such as the smuggler.

After retrieving the war blade from the bottom level of the tomb, we returned to the academy, and en route to our superior, we encountered Vemrin, who confronted us and dared to offer us the choice to be his vassal. The ambitious apprentice bluntly stated his intent to overthrow and replace the overseer, insinuating that joining forces was in our best interest, but we declined the offer with a few threats of our own and reported back to the overseer. It seemed that our superior was already aware of the apprentice's designs and suggested a plan of his own--one about which he hadn't informed his own daughter, Eskella, who openly voiced her resentment at her father's harboring another Sith warrior and sending him out to retrieve a war blade, no less. The overseer callously dismissed his daughter and instead sent us out on our next mission--to interrogate three subjects held in the facility's detention center.

Upon entering, we watched a brief cutscene that showed the academy's jailor interrogating Vette, the wisecracking Twi'lek who, as we revealed in our exclusive preview, can join the Sith warrior as a NPC companion. We then introduced ourselves to the portly officer, who had already been briefed on our mission and introduced us to the three prisoners. The first was a defiant young human woman and freelance assassin who had killed a key Imperial officer under Sith watch and awaited her sentence. She insisted she was ignorant of the target's true identity and was merely following orders, and rather than torture her, we decided to take the unorthodox dialogue choice of insisting that the woman not only be freed, but also brought into the service of the Empire as an assassin herself. This was a choice we hoped would add light side points to our character, though this feature apparently hasn't been implemented yet. The jailor expressed mild surprise at our choices but let us continue to the second subject, a disgraced Sith warrior with many years of service under his belt, who had made a crucial mistake on a recent mission that cost many men their lives. Realizing that light side and dark side points weren't in the game yet, we went right to the Force choke option, eventually killing him. We decided to cut to the chase again with the third and final prisoner, a member of the Rodian race (to which Greedo belonged) who strenuously argued that he had no idea the supplies he kept shipping were ending up in Republic hands. We immediately chose the Force lightning option and repeatedly zapped him until he confessed, and for some reason, we felt a lot better about ourselves afterward.

As the Sith inquisitor, our experience was even more mean spirited and nasty. We began as one of a group of students of a different overseer who, as mentioned, addressed us as slaves and demanded that we head to the valley and seek out the council of a Sith hermit who had taken up residence in one of the tombs. We wasted no time heading out to the area to find the old man in meditation with four other disciples. We also found a nasty surprise when the hermit revealed that the disciples were fallen Sith pupils who had come before us and failed--and given a second chance to prove themselves by attacking us.

In battle, the Sith inquisitor definitely has powerful skills--and a lightsaber to boot--but seems to have trouble standing up to a melee onslaught from multiple foes. The character's starting Force powers can target only a single enemy, and though it's possible that later abilities can zap multiple foes, the profession seems like it might be at its best with a bounty hunter or Sith warrior covering the front lines while the inquisitor hurls blazing electric death from a distance.

Having played through six of the game's classes, it seems clear that The Old Republic will offer a great deal of variety in terms of branching paths, differing dialogue choices, and interesting gameplay nuances. We're intrigued by the prospect of playing through a massively multiplayer version of BioWare's best story-driven experiences while also playing through diverse PVP battles where smart use of your character's skills will seemingly make all the difference. We'll continue to bring you more updates on this highly anticipated game.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 12, 2010, 05:42:02 PM
GTTV: Behind the Scenes Highlights

Gametrailers' exclusive behind the scenes look at the Star Wars: The Old Republic's E3 trailer just ended. We are currently creating working dissection as we add everything in. Be sure to watch this post for updates along the way.


Working Dissection Highlights
Takes place on Alderaan during a fight between the Republic and the Sith.
Malgus is a part of the trailer.
Malgus is seen thrown up against a wall by another force user.
It is implied that Malgus gets his mask during this video, making this a prequel to the Deceived Trailer.
Shae Vizla (Female Bounty Hunter) makes a return here again after the Deceived Trailer.
Sith Fighters seen here again from the Timeline videos.
Havoc Squad is seen in the trailer, as expected.
An Alderaan city is seen burnt to the ground.
Thantra (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Thranta) seen flying in the video during one of the segments.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 12, 2010, 05:52:30 PM
Gamespot: E3 Star Wars: The Old Republic Hands-On

Gamespot posted an exclusive hands-on article of Star Wars: The Old Republic. We are currently working through the dissection highlights of this article and will be updating this as we go. The link to the article is located below.

Working Dissection Highlights

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Edrac on June 13, 2010, 02:36:56 PM
Whoa... where can I see that trailer?
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 13, 2010, 02:43:25 PM
Prolly on Monday... sneak peek was given: http://www.gametrailers.com/episode/gametrailers-tv/95?ch=2&sd=1
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 14, 2010, 06:13:58 PM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 14, 2010, 06:30:49 PM
E3 2010: Star Wars The Old Republic - A Smuggler's Run
Even Twi'lek's get the blues.

If you weren't excited for BioWare's MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic yet, perhaps some of the new things I learned and experienced at E3 2010 will change your mind.

Every player, regardless of their chosen class, will get their own starship to command across the galaxy. Always dreamed of flying a Corellian vessel? Choose the Vanguard class when playing. Or maybe you've had some sort of sick dream where you gangster walk through the galaxy aboard an Imperial transport (if so, choose the Sith Fury class).

Of course, it would be pretty boring to have an entire galaxy packed with a handful of similar ships. To combat this, BioWare has created a robust customization package so that you can fully trick out your ship with premade gear sets or your own hand-picked items. Though BioWare isn't showing off the ships in action just yet, they assure us that there will be thousands of different variations so that each person can feel as if they have a unique vessel.

That same level of customization is also given to your character in the form of various PvP gear. Though you start out pretty basic in terms of gear, by completing PvP challenges (which BioWare isn't discussing yet), you earn new goods. Some of this stuff is cosmetic, some is highly functional and all of it seems to change based on class and race. In the example BioWare showed off, one bad ass ended up with a jetpack and devilish armor that made him look like Boba Fett spawned from Hell. In other words, you can build up your character to look more awesome than anything the Star Wars universe has seen before.


BioWare continues to insist that Old Republic can be played as a single-player game if you are the type who likes buying Massively Multiplayer games for the express purpose of not playing them correctly. However, the PvP rewards system is meant as encouragement for engaging with other players as often as possible. There will be other ways to earn gear, but it sounds like the quickest way to maximizing your get-up is by teaming up with other players (or shooting them in the face).

At E3 2010, BioWare offered up a half-dozen classes to try out, but I was immediately attracted to the Twi'lek smuggler, because I am a letch. But also, because the success of The Old Republic largely depends on the strength of the non-combat specialist classes. People will be drawn to play as the bounty hunter or the Sith Warrior, but if the smuggler and its ilk aren't fun, then the online balance weighs even more heavily towards just one or two classes. And that could very quickly spoil a promising MMO.

The smuggler is not the most combat savvy, but she's crafty. She uses cover to survive and has a set of available actions that better suit someone who can't overpower an enemy like a weapons-heavy bounty hunter. The cover system itself is basic. A green silhouette shows where you can take cover. And once in cover, you can use those icons to move from one spot to the next and eventually flank your enemies. Grenades and a rapid shot ability are key to taking down enemies without suffering too much damage. The smuggler is not a brute, so standing in the open taking pot shots is suicidal.

On the field of battle, the smuggler isn't useless by any means. And if you team up with more offensive-minded individuals, you can use cover to sneak to objectives or get the drop on protected enemies. But the smuggler's value will be more strongly felt outside of combat. After all, The Old Republic doesn't take place on one planet, but in a galaxy ripe for exploration. While the E3 demo didn't let us go off-world, obviously a smuggler will have some advantages aboard a ship that a Sith Inquisitor will not.

While you won't be Force-choking enemies or brandishing a lightsaber, combat for one of the least combat-focused classes is fun. As long as BioWare balances any combat deficiencies with some other benefits--better ship, more useful conversation options, etc.--plenty of people will be giving the smuggler class a go. And that can only help The Old Republic to succeed.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 14, 2010, 07:40:24 PM
EA’s E3 2010 Press Conference: Hope, Player Ships, and Warzones
Posted by Brooks on June 14th, 2010

EA just wrapped up their press conference at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. The presentation included a number of games including relaunches of the Need For Speed and Medal of Honor. Of course, we watched with bated breath for Bioware’s presentation. What did we get? The team showed off the new “Hope” trailer that was teased last week. The video is set on Alderaan and pits a Havok squad of troopers against an unmasked Darth Malgus. It was far and away one of the most exciting pieces of video game cinema seen since, well, the Deceived trailer! We’ll be sure to post a link to the video as soon as it goes live on the web. The second reveal of the presentation was a bit more gameplay oriented…


Player ships! LucasArts’ Mary Bihr and Greg Zestra from Bioware showed off two ships that will provide “a home for a player to use as a base of operations, from which to explore the galaxy.” The first of these is a ship for the Galactic Republic, not too-dissimilar from the Corellian Engineering Corporation’s XS-800 light freighter (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/XS-800_light_freighter) and the second is an unknown Imperial ship (similar look to the VCX-820 (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/VCX-820_escort_freighter)), with obvious visual inspiration from the later-introduced TIE series of ships. While there was no direct mention of space combat, this confirms that we will at the very least see a ship system on par with Knights of the Old Republic and the Ebon Hawk. Zestra finished the note on ships by saything that “we want a player ship to represent not only a right of passage in the game, but also a representation of their personal style.”


The second “reveal” is player versus player combat, or as it will be called in The Old Republic, “Warzones”. Little details were mentioned during the press conference, but Greg Zestra told the audience that “players will experience fierce battles that evoke the memories of famous Star Wars ground conflicts.” We did, however, find out that the first of these warzones to be revealed will be set on Alderaan. Press will be getting hands-on with the most recent builds during the week, likely showing off player ships and warzones, and we’ll keep you updated of those as well.


Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: tlawsz on June 15, 2010, 02:44:57 AM
Wow all of this information looks great.
If it's possible, I'm even more exited about this game
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eid on June 15, 2010, 03:40:01 AM
Ratkus, can I firstly thank you for collating these posts. But can I secondly request that you accredit them too?

Just a minor niggle of mine, but if I were the author I could imagine being a little annoyed.

Sincerely, Eid
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Ken on June 15, 2010, 07:12:00 AM
The cinematic got me really excited for this game =)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eid on June 15, 2010, 07:16:17 AM
So a VTW Guild? :D
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eversor on June 15, 2010, 09:39:32 AM
The game is looking to be absolutely amazing by every new bit of info about it.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on June 15, 2010, 10:17:54 AM
Meh. I still dont believe bioware can pull it off untill i see it.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Arkaen on June 15, 2010, 02:59:04 PM
Meh. I still dont believe bioware can pull it off untill i see it.

Because Bioware is known for low quality games that nobody wants to buy, amirite?  I think they can pull it off if they don't rush it.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Ken on June 15, 2010, 04:44:22 PM


Wow, it's exactly the same as the last new cinematic posted here. (http://media.vtwproductions.com/forum/index.php?topic=194.msg12159#msg12159)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Bazeleel on June 15, 2010, 04:56:50 PM


Wow, it's exactly the same as the last new cinematic posted here. (http://media.vtwproductions.com/forum/index.php?topic=194.msg12159#msg12159)

wow lol that didnt even show up for me i removed my reply lol sry
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 15, 2010, 04:57:03 PM
SW:TOR Live demo on the E3 stage for 30 minutes... in five minutes.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 15, 2010, 05:51:29 PM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 15, 2010, 06:05:34 PM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on June 15, 2010, 06:42:04 PM
Meh. I still dont believe bioware can pull it off untill i see it.

Because Bioware is known for low quality games that nobody wants to buy, amirite?  I think they can pull it off if they don't rush it.

They're known for their epic single player games with mediocre gameplay but a story so good that it makes up for it.

That doesn't translate well to an MMO where the story can only get you so far.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 15, 2010, 06:51:46 PM
Go to 41:54 for the TOR info

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Bazeleel on June 15, 2010, 07:32:27 PM
Game play looks amamzing! The balance of this so far looks amazing! Thank you for posting :) keep it up!

Edit: so yeah spring 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 15, 2010, 08:01:15 PM
General Information Learned at E3
by emlaeh, posted June 15th, 2010 at 7:26 PM

We are back from over an hour and a half playing playing all classes except the Jedi Knight and the Jedi Consular -- and we were able to group up together. Although we will have more specific information about the classes shortly, we first wanted to give you a head's up on some of the aspects of confirmed game systems:

Working Dissection Highlights
- WE SUCCESSFULLY DIED! When you die, you resurrect outside a small med center building in proximity to your bind station with a medical droid standing next to you. There is no corpse run -- you are immediately alive and can run wherever you want.
- Blaine Christine specifically mentioned PVP armor sets in presentation.
- Group size was max four players.
- Class trainers are in the game with "Elite" status.
- Side quests are not class restricted.
- If a nearby party member is in combat, then you cannot initiate quest dialog.
- You can sometimes contact quest-givers via HoloCom. They work the same as standard dialog cutscenes.
- A trade command and a Lobby chat channel are in the game, but we received an error message that said "this function is not yet implemented."
- /dance worked for both Chiss and Human, and the dance was the same for both female and male characters.
- Multi-player dialog system allows each user in the party to select a response, but an automatic dice roll decides the winning choice.
- If you are in a group, there is a two minute countdown for all group members to get to the conversation point. If they don't arrive, then the player has the option to start the conversation without his groupmates.
- For non-instanced questgivers, the NPC doesn't move around very much. Instanced quest givers interact with the environment.
- Mobs have a leash radius, and some did evade on us.
- Right-clicking on a inventory item sold the item to a vendor. Currency was single credits and no fractional amounts.
- Number Lock and Mouse3 are Auto-Run.
- Taxi system worked similar to World of Warcraft's gryphon system: you pay a small fee and it takes you from Station A to Station B.
- The character creation screen was very similar to Dragon Age: Origins.
- The aggro indicator is blue when there is no aggro, yellow they are aware of you (mouseover status says "ALERTED") but not engaged, and red indicates in combat. The ranges for this varied on the type of mobs.
- For completing quests, you sometimes received items, and money, alignment points, and experience points.
- For completing quests in a group, you received "Social Points" (we don't know what they do or what they are for)
- If a quest is instanced, then you enter a green portal. If you aren't eligible for the quest, the door is red.
- All classes have a "Revive" ability: a 5s cast time, 10m range, no cooldown, and it can be done to any player or companion. The tooltip did not indicate if the ability is restricted to out of combat use.
- You can inspect the gear of other players in your group from any distance, including other planets.
- You can inspect the gear of other players in visual proximity; unsure of maximum range.
- "Round Robin" type group loot rules without a dice-rolling mechanic, and the credits looted were split equally among players in the group that were in proximity.
- Loot was appropriate for what the mob would carry, such as a droid carrying a gun drops a gun.
- Personal Ships are described as a "base of operations" for the classes, groups, and companions.
- Companions are seen in the "hanger", similar to the way that they are in the Mass Effect and Kotor series.
- A Dashade Companion and Human (looks like one of the lightly armored trooper concept art images) are seen in the background during the presentation

Character Sheet:
Damage (Primary)
Bonus Damage
Critical Chance

Bonus Damage
Trauma Ignore
Critical Damage Reduction
Critical Chance Reduction
Damage Reduction

Bonus Damage
Bonus Healing
Critical Chance
Energy Regen Rating (in seconds)

Damage Reduction
Defense chance (percentage)
Glance chance (percentage)
Glance Absorption
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 15, 2010, 09:15:12 PM
E3 Presentation with Blaine Christine
by sado, posted June 15th, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Today we were lucky enough to be the first group to see Star Wars: The Old Republic on the E3 show floor. Before getting our hands on time and interviews were treated to an official presentation by BioWare's Blaine Christine. In addition to seeing the new trailer, we learned all about the marketing focus during this years Electronic Entertainment Expo.
Once the Hope trailer was finished we were reminded about the many facts we already know about Star Wars: The Old Republic (fully voiced, heroic combat, cover system, and of course story). He finished his recap with the very Yoda like statement, "Story drives choice; choice drives action." Now that the old news was covered, Blaine turned his focus to the first new reveal: player ships.

We learned that these ships will work as a base of operations for players as they travel across the galaxy. The two examples we were shown are the Sith Fury class Imperial transport and Jedi Corellian Vanguard class light corvette, with multiple screenshots of their spacious interiors. The Sith Fury in particular appears to be the same vessel used by Teneb Kel in the Blood of the Empire webcomic.These ships are very similar to the Ebon Hawk in Knights of the Old Republic, with multiple rooms and companion characters milling about. However, TOR is a multiplayer game and Blaine was quick to point out that these ships will also be a place where you can interact with your fellow PCs.

These ships were enormous, dwarfing the PCs standing outside of the entrance ramp. In a nod to true immersion, the outside of the ships appeared to be large enough to hold the rooms within. The apparent 1 to 1 scale in the images could do wonders to aid in immersion and is looking very promising.

Moving away from the new ships, Blaine reminded us that TOR is a massively multiplayer game and, "yes, we're going to have an incredible story, but we also have all the key elements that make a great MMO experience." With this stated, he moved on to talk about player progression and customization; or more correctly, he showed us. With a mixture of stills and recorded footage, we saw a male Bounty Hunter progress from a weak noob with simple gear and only minor armor to a mid-level character with advanced armor and a jetpack and finally a full fledged veteran in complex armor with all the visual bells and whistles to match. He finished up the focus on player advancement by stating that these many sets of armor were only a, "small slice of the many customizations available."

Continuing this focus on MMO tropes, Blaine moved on to the new PVP Warzones revealed during the EA press conference. We learned these Warzones are specially crafted areas designed for team versus team battles between the Sith and Republic. We were shown multiple stills of the Alderaan zone with player abilities filling the shots with particle effects. These Warzones were presented as distinct zones that are separate from the persistent Alderaan world map.

With these reveals out of the way, Blaine drove on to a live group combat demo. This combat demo consisted of a Republic group of four players, with each team member being one of the Republic classes. We were also told that each of these players would be filling a specific roll for the demo. Kako the Jedi Consular acted as the group's healer, Evan the Trooper acted as the tank, Lylora the Smuggler acted as both a crowd controller and back up healer, and Wynn the Jedi Knight acted as DPS and secondary tank.

After getting a briefing from a Mon Calamari commanding officer we learned that this group of players represented Havoc squad, implying this quest was a Trooper specific mission. Sith forces were boarding their Republic vessel and it was up to the players to keep the boarders at bay. The ensuing battle was an interesting mix of the single boss battles seen in other MMOs and the multiple weak-target combat we have seen in older TOR media. The Trooper, being the tank of the group, focused on engaging the larger targets while the agile Jedi Knight cut a swath through the smaller mobs threatening the group. On the other hand, the Smuggler and Consular were kept on their toes by controlling adds, assisting in burning down mobs, and healing their beafy counterparts.

Each class filled their niche in uniquely un-MMO ways. The Trooper held the attention of the larger mobs, but also appeared to do massive damage; this meat shield had spikes. The Consular did a great deal of healing but also had her lightsaber in hand, helping out with the overall damage. The Smuggler was safely hiding behind cover filling multiple rolls: including crowd control, damage, and healing. Finally, the Jedi Knight hammered down on the smaller mobs but also acted as a tank when a Sith "Lieutenant" ran around the corner, red lightsaber in hand. Each class appeared to fill not only a primary roll in the group, but also a secondary roll, making the combat appear versatile and dynamic.

As the last enemy fell, Blaine concluded the presentation and we prepared to get some hands on time with game. He left us with the following sentiment, "Star Wars: The Old Republic is an amazing MMO the offers players engaging choices that actually change the action and story of the game." Marketing message received Mr. Christine, now lets go make some decisions.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 15, 2010, 09:27:18 PM
Massively's exclusive SWTOR interview: Starships, PvP, and crafting!

E3 has been abuzz with the latest news about LucasArts' and Bioware's new MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Yesterday, they teased us with an exciting fully rendered trailer called "Hope." The trailer showed a battle which is a precursor to one the players will be able to experience in game. Unfortunately, this trailer didn't have many answers. In fact, it seemed to present us with even more questions. So we at Massively sent our own Sera Brennan to talk to the designers of SWTOR to see about getting some answers.

Rich Vogel, the executive producer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, was kind enough to sit down with Sera for a few minutes in EA's gameplay booth in the LA convention center on Tuesday. Perhaps we could get some of our burning questions answered about PvP, groups, space, ships, housing, and crafting. Follow after the jump to see what they had to say!

Massively: So, Rich, we got a lot of question from the readers. We put a call out for questions. Hopefully we can get some of those answered.

Rich Vogel: What we try to do is not talk about things that are not finalized yet because we don't want to over-hype things. That's kind of why people are frustrated because we haven't revealed a lot. A lot of people hype things that just don't come to fruition and get people very frustrated.

Oh yeah, we see that.

We are trying to prevent that.

One of the things people have been asking -- especially since the ships came out yesterday -- can you fly them through the galaxy? Do you fly them? Can you go through space? How is space implemented in the game?

As far as space goes we are not talking much about that. We talk about the player ships. Every class will have their player ship. Which is really cool -- kind of their central base for things. That's pretty much where we like to have it because we are actually working right now on some cool stuff for space, and we'd rather talk about it when we get it finalized. If everyone thinks about Star Wars there are always components we have to have. We have ships! We may have other things.

Ooh... That sounds interesting. Now the ships, they are going to work like player housing, right?

They are bases for you very similar to player housing. We haven't talked much about customization. and the reason we [haven't] is because we haven't really implemented a lot of those systems in the game yet. We are working with other things with your spaceship other than that. About customization, you will have to wait and see. Other than player housing? Yeah, it's your base.

You can bring your friends in and socialize in your own personal little instance?

Yes. There will be places to go. Think of the map in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. That's kind of what our navigation will be for traveling around in your spaceship.

That sounds really cool. I love Mass Effect.

The ships are awesome, very unique for every class. It is a very good place for you to just hang out and just chill.

Now with the PvP War Zones, they are going to be instanced as well?

The PvP War Zones are very similar to what you see in WAR and WoW.

Will there be any instances of open PvP or is that something you have on your map?

Well, we haven't really talked much about that yet, but I'd rather not say much about that. But since other games have that, it's a likely assumption.

So you are looking at it?

We will have open PvP play and we will have instances, I'll just put it that way.

With instances, especially the storyline instances and housing instances, people are very concerned that this will be a single-player game with MMO features.

One of the things they are working very hard on is we have a lot of aspects in our design that encourage PUGs, pick-up groups. That is one of our main focuses. We believe if you have to go adventuring, it's with a smaller group. We feel that most people play with four to five people. That's what we like to design a lot of game mechanics around.

Will there be questing with small groups?

You'll be adventuring. You'll be adventuring with a party, absolutely.

Would it be required?

No, it's not required, but like anything you get better rewards. But it's not required. You can play our games single-player, like you can with WoW. The issue is we like to encourage people to group, and we'll have a lot of mechanics in our game that will actually do that.

Will the instances be scaling?

We are not quite ready to talk about that.

Raids were mentioned today, which will be high-end content. I know you can't talk too much about raids. Will they be integral to the storyline of the game? Will players find themselves being lead to them? Or will they be more stand-alone, you-can-do-them-if-you-wish?

You can do them if you wish. That's the way they're designed. In WoW you have your raids and they are scaled on basically what you're fighting, right? We will have areas like that in our game, scalable to different sized groups. Again, we are not forgetting the MMO. We are not Massively Multiplayer Single Player Game. That is not what we want. We have a lot of good mechanics to promote grouping, socializing, and we have crafting in our game, yes.

What does crafting entail? Is there going to be a lot of crafting, or is it going to be very focused?

The big thing about crafting is that it will support combat in our game and it is very important. We haven't talked much about crafting, but we will in the future. People will be pleased with what we are coming up with for crafting. I think very pleased actually. It will not be to the extent of some of the games out there, like [Star Wars] Galaxies. It will be very similar to what WoW has. But it has some really cool twists that WoW doesn't have that I think people will like.

Is it more action-y or something?

When I say crafting I mean it is just what you can make, right? Crafting is about the cool items people can make and the ability to sell. And some people really get into that. And people like me who don't want to grind sometimes go and make stuff and sell them on the auction house. That's how I get my money to go out and do things. I love crafting, and it's going to be an important part of our game.

Well thank you for your time today.

I wish I could give you more time today, but that's all I have.

Thank you, Rich!
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on June 15, 2010, 10:28:46 PM
Another thing that puts me off this game is how similar to all the other mmo's out there it seems to be. It seems like they've tried to create wow in space with story. Thats not really all that exciting to me tbh.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Natural20 on June 15, 2010, 11:20:39 PM
Yeah, but the with story part is the important bit. Put simply. I don't care if the endgame is worthless if I pay for a game, get one full run through of story driven content lasting in the region of 50 hours. You know why? Because I've effectively just played for a co-op Bioware RPG. TOR is amazing in of itself. If the only thing that distinguishes it from WoW is a leveling system that's actually interesting the first time round then honestly, it's worth picking up because it's going to have more bang for your buck than most other games.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on June 16, 2010, 07:16:23 AM
Yeah, but the with story part is the important bit. Put simply. I don't care if the endgame is worthless if I pay for a game, get one full run through of story driven content lasting in the region of 50 hours. You know why? Because I've effectively just played for a co-op Bioware RPG. TOR is amazing in of itself. If the only thing that distinguishes it from WoW is a leveling system that's actually interesting the first time round then honestly, it's worth picking up because it's going to have more bang for your buck than most other games.

Yea, I'll probably be picking it up and playing it pretty much like a single player game if the story is any good. However, if everyone does that there isn't going to be any subs after 6 months.
Again. I dont doubt the story will be great, and that the single player experience will probably be pretty good. All I'm saying is that its probably going to fail as an mmo.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 16, 2010, 08:16:34 AM
E3: Class Ability Fact Sheet
by Misenus, posted June 16th, 2010 at 2:56 AM

Here at Darth Hater, we are known for our painfully thorough dissections of the nuts and bolts that make up Star Wars: The Old Republic. During our hands on time this Tuesday, we furiously scrambled to record as many facts as possible. Our own personal impressions will be coming shortly, but first we wanted to make sure the theorycrafters could get some real facts to sink their teeth into. Here are some of the key facts we discovered with our hands on time of the Imperial Agent, Trooper, Smuggler, Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, and Bounty Hunter.
We were able to have multiple members of the Darth Hater staff on hand to help compile the following ability stats. With the rushed nature of our hands on time, the consistency from one class to the next is understandably variable. Additionally, it should be noted that we were repeatedly reminded that all in-game text from character sheets to tool tips are considered "placeholder" and may be subject to change.

Note: We played Level 2 characters. Although we previously mentioned many abilities in prior dissections and other content, we included them to contrast and track changes.

Imperial Agent

Non-Cover Abilities

Rifle Shot
Range: 30m
Fire two quick shots causing medium damage.

Take Cover
Evasion increases against targets in your cone of cover while taking cover.

Energy: 40
Range: 4m
Stab the target with your energy blade for moderate damage over 3 seconds.

Show Cover Locations
Ability that allows you to toggle the option to view Cover Positions.

In Cover Abilities

Rifle Shot (same as out of cover)

Energy 40
Range: 30m
Channeled: 1s
Utilized cover and shot the target with a sniper rifle.

Laze Target
Range: 30m
Buff that enhances damage and recharges energy.


Fast Reload
Cooldown: 9s
Reload 6 ammunition into weapon.

Cooldown: 1.5 sec
Range 30m
Launch a series of hammering shots to damage the target.

Recharge and Reload
Cooldown: 60 sec
Fully reload the trooper's weapon. Heals the trooper and the companion.
Channeled for 15 sec

Rifle Grenade
Cooldown: 4 sec
Ammo Cost: 4
Range: 30m
Launches a frag grenade. Deals High damage and Knockback to all targets within 5m of target.

Cooldown: 30 sec
Range: 4m
Low damage, knockdown for 5s.


Flurry of Bolts
Cooldown: 1.5s
Range: 30m
A flurry of bolts fired from your blaster

Charged Burst
Energy: 45
Range: 30m
Fire 3 powered blasts at your enemy, knocking them down for 2 seconds and dealing medium damage. Only usable from cover.
The Take Cover ability turns into this when you occupy a cover position.

Energy: 40
Range: 30m
Fire 3 powered blasts at your enemy. Turns into Flash Grenade when you occupy a cover position.

Flash Grenade
Energy: 30
Cooldown: 20s
Range: 30m
Lob a flash grenade at your enemy, blinding them (and a maximum of 5 other targets within 5 meters) for 6 seconds. If a stunned enemy takes damage, the stun disappears. Only usable from cover.

Sith Warrior

Cool Down: 1.5s
Range: 4m
Inflicts your weapon damage, A series of quick melee attacks. Grants 2 Rage. If you are dual wielding, damage from both weapons but suffer a deficit to damage and accuracy.

Vicious Slash
Rage: 3
Range: 4m
Vicious weapon strike that deals high damage to a single target.

Force Charge
Cool Down: 15s
Range: 10-30m
Jump to a distant target, immobilize them for a few seconds, interrupts them, dealing low damage. Creates 3 Rage.

Channel Hatred
Channel: 15 seconds
Cool down: 1 Minute
Restore Health over 15 seconds.

Sith Inquisitor

Saber Strike
Range: 4m
Deals 100% weapon damage spread across a flurry of quick melee attacks.

Force Points: 60
Cooldown: 6s
Range: 15m
Shocks the target for high energy damage.

Lightning Drain
Channeled: 3 sec
Cooldown: 15s
Range: 15m
Deals very high energy damage to the target and restores force over the duration of the effect. Lightning Drain also slows the movement speed of the target by 50%, and stuns weak and standard enemies.

Channeled: 15s
Cooldown: 1m
Pause and meditate to restore your health and force. Damage causes this effect to end prematurely. Cannot be used during combat.

Bounty Hunter

(Standard Firing Ability)
Bounty Hunter fires 4-5 shots at the target
Generates minimal heat (4-7)

Wrist Rocket
60 Heat
Cooldown: 15s
AoE and knockdown Ability: the Bounty Hunter fires a rocket from his wrist mounted launcher and hits all targets in the explosion.

Flame Thrower
25 Heat
Cooldown: 15s
Close ranged AoE cone ability, hits all targets in front of the Bounty Hunter.

Vent Heat
Cooldown: 60s
Bounty Hunter vents all heat built up from firing weapons, and reducing heat to 0 and allowing the Bounty Hunter to cause a second round of havoc without waiting for heat to disperse.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 16, 2010, 03:10:45 PM
Cinematic Trailer: "Hope" Dissected
by Zenkei, posted June 16th, 2010 at 1:58 PM

To kick off the start of E3 BioWare showcased their new cinematic trailer (http://www.swtor.com/media/trailers/hope-cinematic-trailer), "Hope." Since BioWare seemingly never releases content without gameplay hints or marketing designs inside their message, it is appropriate to dissect. Below you will find what we saw and thought and for now, without pictures to ease the load on the site.

1:28- Trooper fires green lasers with two-handed gun, contrary to the normal red, perhaps indicates the modifiers last seen in the combat video dissection.
1:33- Grenade launcher confirmed as a possible weapon choice for Trooper?
1:40 - Malgus uses a Force Pull ability
1:56 - Malgus, a Sith Warrior, using Force Lightning
1:59- Trooper seemed to be able to resist the Force Lightning and actually press forward, attempting to attack with a knife.
2:34 - Sith wearing a mask, perhaps an indication of end-game gear
2:40 - Jedi Consular using Force Repulse (or something similar) and it only affects enemy targets, not friendly
2:49 - Jedi Consular using a staff lightsaber, lightsaber engravings
3:19 - Jedi Consular using the force to affect the environment (tree)
3:35 - Lightsaber snaps in half, and general damage to armor of main characters hints at an equipment damage/repair system
3:39 - Jedi Consular seemingly solidifying Malgus' lightsaber (you can see the cracks) and the lightsaber isn't passing through her hand
3:41 - The lightsaber Malgus is using has an unusual extension that covers part of the lightsaber at the base
3:52 - The grenade explosion is blue, non-lethal at close range. Is it the cryoban genade we have seen before in the combat video dissection?
4:02 - Malgus' armor blackened and severly damaged from grenade explosion (perhaps wear & tear on gear is visible)
4:17 - Jedi Consular using charged up Force Push
4:19 - Force powers affecting the environment again (rocks)

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 16, 2010, 07:16:14 PM
Exclusive: James Ohlen Q&A
Posted by Matt

After spending a full, glorious 60 minutes hands-on with Star Wars: The Old Republic and getting a chance to view the newly released “Hope” trailer in beautiful High Definition, I was led to a quiet meeting room where I had a chance to speak with James Ohlen, Senior Creative Director and Lead Designer at BioWare, Austin.
Before diving into the Q&A, we chatted for a few minutes about my time spent with the game in the demo room (Editor’s Note: Matt’s hands-on impressions will be coming soon!) I admitted to James that his fantastic new game had taken my MMO virginity, and how excited I was to jump on board my own starship and blast across the galaxy to explore hostile worlds and battle the Sith for control of the galaxy. He smiled, thanked me for my enthusiasm, and told me (without ego) that this game is the perfect game for him. It allowed him to have the Star Wars experience he’s always wanted, and that it was his goal to bring the same style of adventure to all Star Wars fans out there. I could tell by his excitement that this was a man who was truly proud of his work.
Matt Jarbo:  How has the fan reaction been to the new trailer?
James Ohlen:  So far the fan reaction has been great. A lot of people think that it’s better than the trailer we had at the last E3, which was amazing in itself. Personally I love the trailer.
MJ:  In this new trailer, can you tell us why you chose to make it a prequel to “Deceived”?
JO:  We wanted to have one of the same characters appear in this, as well as the ‘Sacking of Coruscant’, which was Darth Malgus. The ‘Sacking of Coruscant’ is, kind of, the last act of war between the Republic and the Sith, before a cold war shuts it down.  This, of course, becomes a hot war in our game. Also, we didn’t have an epic setting to go along with the first trailer, so we decided to show the ‘Battle of Alderaan’, which happens before the trailer we showed last year.
MJ: During the EA keynote yesterday, there was mention of “Warzones” for TOR. Can you elaborate?
JO:  Warzones are a chance for players to engage in player versus player combat. If you are playing as the Republic, then your team will face the Empire, and vice-versa. You get to see all the abilities being used simultaneously, and it gets very hectic, very quick. You have Bounty Hunters with flame-throwers and rocket launchers, and you have Troopers with huge blaster-cannons who can call in airstrikes. Jedi will be leaping through the air, using their Force powers to throw people against walls. All the while, the Sith are using Force Lighting and Force Choke. It’s like no Star Wars combat you’ve ever seen before.
MJ: Is the Advanced Class choice that a player makes a permanent one? Or can they switch back and forth with another class at will?
JO:  We did intend for it to be a permanent choice, but massive multiplayer games often change as they get older. With other MMOs there were certain aspects that were permanent at first, but after months and years of testing, those choices were unlocked and you were allowed to change them. Right now the choice is permanent, but after play testing, we might allow players to change this at a high cost. But the great thing about an MMO is that it’s constantly evolving.
MJ:  How integral are the companions to the overall combat output of the character? Are characters who decide to not use their companions at a disadvantage against those who use them? Will this affect the character in player versus player, or player versus the environment?
JO: Right now we are assuming that you are using your companion character. If you don’t use your companion you will be at a big disadvantage because all the DPS that your companion would be doing isn’t going to be there. So there is no point to not bring your companion character, unless you want to challenge yourself by not bringing him around. There is no tactical reason to not have him around. We do recognize that not everyone wants to control two characters at once, so we’ve been careful to create a companion, that if you don’t want to use him, you can just leave him alone and he’ll help make battles more interesting. If you are into your companion character, you can give them new abilities that will change the outcome of combat, and you can customize your companion character. These characters are a big part of the game.
MJ: Can companions replace player characters 1-for-1 in a group situation?
JO: No. If you’re in a four-man group, then each of those players has their own companion.
MJ: Will companions be limited to specific parts of the game such as the open world, instances, Warzones, or can they be used at any time?
JO: Currently we have them being able to be used at any time.
MJ: Ok, back to the single-player story… will the different playable species have stories that tie into their origin/home world?
JO: We do have a lot of playable species, however the way we’ve been building the story is that it is more about your class and your faction, rather than about your species. There will be mention of your species, but it won’t be integral to the story.
MJ: How will you reconcile “choices” in TOR? Is it possible that one person will see a different version of Coruscant than another?
JO: The vast majority of our worlds are public spaces. So basically, when you arrive at Coruscant it is a public space for everyone to be running around in. The players will run around and complete the world quests (which aren’t specific to your class, and are doable by anybody of that faction.) With Coruscant, and any other world for that matter, there will be certain instances that you can go into where you see your class storytelling. And in those areas you’ll be able to see differences and changes depending on your choices. Such as, if you have killed someone, or if you’re romantic with someone, those choices will be reflected when you enter those areas. You could have two Bounty Hunters where one has killed someone, and the other spared the same character. Each instance would be different for that player.
MJ: Once you’ve achieved the level cap, what is the progression like? Will the end-game have repeatable content? And will the Republic and the Empire share end-game content such as battling a common foe?
JO:  The end-game is a very important part of MMOs, and we have put a lot of thought into it. Right now we have several choices that a player can do when he gets to the end-game, but I can’t go into detail about that now. What I can say, is that we know that it is important, and we are putting a lot of thought into it.
MJ: Will there be a need for “Special Purpose” gear, such as cold-weather outfitting on Hoth, or clothing for surviving the sandstorms of Tattooine?
JO: Not currently, no.
MJ: Can you give any information about the crafting or harvesting systems, such as what type of natural resources might be in the game to be used by crafters?
JO:  We are not talking about crafting right now. I can say that we are having crafting, and there will be harvesting.  I can’t go into too much detail, other than to say, that when we did the design for these systems, we tried to make them feel like they belonged in the Star Wars universe. We made them so that you, as a hero, or like Darth Vader or Han Solo, wouldn’t feel out of place by using the crafting game.
MJ: Are there any plans for Guild Progression systems, as opposed to just individual progression?
JO: I can’t go into much detail about this, but I can say that we are working on all the classic and needed systems that are required in an MMO, such as social systems like grouping, friends, and guilds.
MJ: It seems like each class shares a starting area with one other class, how easy will it be to group up with your friends right from the start, if they are playing as other classes?
JO:  If you’re playing as a Sith Warrior, and your friend is playing as a Sith Inquisitor, then it is very easy because you both are on the same planet. But if you’re playing as a Sith Warrior, and your friend is a Bounty Hunter, then it will be more difficult because you are both on different planets. While it takes a little effort, it is easier to meet up with friends in TOR than in similar games.
MJ: Now that personal ships have been revealed, what can you tell us about space? Will be there space combat, or perhaps space exploration?
JO: Each character will get their own starship that will be their home base where they can store items, and other companion characters… and other things that we will be talking about later. Space ships are a big part of the Star Wars universe, and we have several exciting things planned.
MJ: In games like Mass Effect and KOTOR, morality plays a big role in the story. Does TOR use the same structure, or will there be a middle ground?
JO: There are advantages to playing the game in the middle as well as the good and bad. We want players to feel that they can play the grey character and not feel like they are playing the game wrong.
MJ: Will there be an API allowing access to in-game data?
JO: Right now I am not able to talk about that.
MJ: Any plans for mobile or web apps that interface into the game allowing players to stay “connected” on some level while not actively playing, such as Twitter or Facebook?
JO: That’s stuff we’ve definitely been looking at, but we can’t talk about it until later on.
MJ: Will TOR have an achievement system like other MMO’s?
JO: Achievement systems are a big part of other MMO’s, and we are very interested in them, but that is all I can say at the moment.
MJ: A lot of players enjoy spending hours creating their character like they could with Dragon Age, will you be releasing a creation tool before the release of TOR, so players can have their character already created?
JO:  We very much liked what Dragon Age did with that, and our marketing guys like it too. But I can’t comment on that at this time.
MJ: What are your plans to support TOR on the Mac?
JO: We are releasing the game on the PC.
MJ: Will TOR be supporting in-game voice chat, or would you leave that to third-party tools?
JO: We really want people to use third-party tools, we support that, but I can’t go into any detail beyond that.
MJ: When will the beta testing begin?
JO: You can go to the website (www.swtor.com) and sign up for the beta, but beyond that there are no announcements.
MJ: Are you still on track to release the game in Spring 2011?
JO: Yes.
MJ: Thank you very much for your time, and we look forward to getting more updates on this amazing game.
JO: You’re welcome and thank you.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 16, 2010, 07:23:32 PM
E3: Daniel Erickson Interview
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 16, 2010, 08:26:11 PM
Star Wars: The Old Republic on IGN
by Zenkei, posted June 16th, 2010 at 5:44 PM

For those interested, IGN will be doing a live review of Star Wars: The Old Republic at E3. It will air at 6:40pm EDT, 3:40pm PDT, or 11:40pm GMT. It will be 20 min review. The link is posted below.

IGN Live at E3 (http://e3.ign.com/2010/live/)

The interview was exceptionally short. So there was very little to comment on.

Warzone combat referred to as chaotic. Conflict is key, so many more warzones are possible.
Personal ships referred by Ohlen as functioning as player housing. So it is likely that players will not have a house in addition to a ship.
Truly an MMO, combination of story and elements of an MMO, not a single player game
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 17, 2010, 09:29:02 AM
E3: Interview With James Ohlen
by emlaeh, posted June 17th, 2010 at 5:25 AM

We were honored to gain more insight regarding class design, group sizes, character progression, and other topics from James Ohlen, Creative Director and Lead Designer of Star Wars: The Old Republic. As the game is still under development, we must warn you that some specifics mentioned about particular systems are subject to change after undergoing significant testing. An example of this is the combat systems for the Trooper changing to become something more fitting to the class in almost three months between our hands-on game play sessions, and the mysterious disappearance of double bladed lightsabers in the Sith Warrior HoloNet outfitting screenshots.

For the reason behind the latter and more, read on.

Design is a big focus, and today we learned a lot about combat and how it works with the player classes in group combat. We saw an example of the four Republic classes working together: the Jedi Knight, the Jedi Consular, the Smuggler, and the Trooper. Would you like to go a little more in-depth about how these classes can interact in a group setting?

Ohlen: We gave every single one of the classes different roles; much like the classic roles that you see in the MMO genre. That wasn't how we initially concepted the classes. The initial concept for the classes was that we wanted to get all the iconic characters from the movies into our game. We have the Bounty Hunter who is Boba Fett, we have the Smuggler Han Solo, Darth Vader's the Sith Warrior, etc. But once we had those archetypes, we wanted to make sure they also fit within the MMO norms. We wanted to have the DPS -- the damager dealer. We wanted to have the tank -- the guy who absorbs all the damage. We wanted to have the ranged DPS. So we looked at the classes.

For example, on the Republic side, the Jedi Knight is more of a DPS class. Though he can also -- depending on which Advanced Class he chooses -- go into more of a tank role. The Trooper is more of a tank role, but he is also a ranged DPS. The Smuggler is a ranged DPS and the Consular is more of a control character.

But you'll notice that I was saying that each of those classes could fill two different roles and that is because of our Advanced Class system. The Advanced Class system actually allows you -- once you reach level 10 -- to choose between two different roles.

So as the Jedi Knight, you can decide to go down more of a heavily-armored path where you have a single lightsaber, you have heavy armor, and you're more of a tank character who goes in there and absorbs damage. Or you can go down a path where you're much more of a DPS guy; where you're wielding double lightsabers and it is much more about dealing out damage fast. And each of the classes has that choice. It kind of allows us to give more class choice later on in the game.

We have a basic idea from what you just said about the Republic classes. We were only able to play two of the Sith classes today but we are Darth Hater, and we have a lot of Sith following us. In regards to the Sith classes, how does the Advanced Class choice shake up each one of those classes?

Ohlen: So on the Sith side we have the four classes: The Sith Inquisitor, the Sith Warrior, the Bounty Hunter, and the Imperial Agent. And the Imperial Agent is a ranged DPS character. He's actually quite unique because he uses cover; he is kind of our sniper character. He plays a lot different from any other class from any other MMO that I've seen. The Bounty Hunter is more heavily armored, and he can be a tank role though he can also do ranged DPS. The Sith Warrior is very much a tank character and the Sith Inquisitor is a control, or ranged DPS as well.

Now, the way they can change: the Sith Warrior can diverge, and he can go to the classic Darth Vader route which is wear really heavy armor, single lightsaber. If you're a Darth Vader fan, then that is who you want to be. And you're going to be the tank character: you're going to be able to take a lot of damage. Darth Vader deflects Han Solo's blaster bolts in the Empire Strikes Back. He is able to take a lot of damage. Or if you want to be more of a DPS guy, you can go more the dual lightsaber route and be much more of an aggressive character. And that's more like an Anakin Skywalker from Episode 2.

With the Inquisitor, you really get to choose between the Darth Maul route and the Emperor Palpatine route. So you know the Darth Maul route is you're very agile-wielding the saber staff and the Palpatine route is you're all about lightning and control powers, and you're more of a sorcerer than you are a lightsaber-wielder. You operate at range. If you're a fan of mages and sorcerers and all of that, then that is probably what you want to be.

So that is an interesting combination you have. We know about the Sith Marauder, the DPS Sith Warrior, then you've got the Maul route on the Inquisitor which is another light armored DPS. What's the difference between these two that makes them so distinct beyond the fact that they have unique stories?

Ohlen: There are a lot of visual differences obviously in the types of armor they wear. The Inquisitor is always in the light armor; the Warrior is always going to be in the heavier armor.

The types of lightsabers they use: the staff saber is restricted to the Inquisitor, while the dual lightsabers are for the Warrior. Also because of the core powers, the Inquisitor is always going to be more of a sorcerer type. He has things like the Dark Gift healing ability, the lightning powers. These are things that the Sith Warrior doesn't have. The Sith Warrior is very much our Darth Vader class. He has the telekinetic kill -- the choke -- that the Inquisitor doesn't. So they're always going to feel different. Sith Warrior is going to be about armor, much more lightsaber abilities, and more telekinetic powers like the Force Choke while the Sith Inquisitor has lighter armor, lightning powers, and feels more like a sorcerer.

So you mentioned the saber staff being for the Inquisitor, and the dual wield being the Warrior. You have kind of a distinction between how the Juggernaut has single wield and the Marauder has dual wield. Is that weapon split indicative of most of the Advanced Classes? We heard that the Smuggler has single guns or dual wield. Is that something we'll see for all the classes?

Ohlen: Yes. So in trying to make sure that all the classes are distinct when they go the Advanced Class route there were different ways we could do it visually. We didn't want it to just be about statistics. We wanted it to be something that when you saw these characters in action you could immediately tell that is a Juggernaut, and that is a Marauder. So every single class when they choose it changes the kind of gear they equip, the kind of weapons they use, and their powers as well.

You have the Smuggler with the dual blasters, and the Smuggler with the single blaster and the kind of a shotgun blaster he has as a backup. For the Sith and Jedi, it is all about the different kinds of lightsaber configurations they have: the single lightsaber, the saber staff, and the dual lightsabers. With the Trooper class, for example on the Republic side, he can go the huge -- you saw the trailer -- with the massive guns. He can go that route where he is much more of a walking turret. Or he can be more of a super-soldier with a very powerful blaster rifle, but he is more maneuverable and he is not just about walking down laying down fire. Personally, I'm probably always going to pick the Trooper with the huge gun.

These Advanced Classes are showing that they have a great amount of distinction. You want people to know this is a Gunslinger this is a Scoundrel. Are these class choices permanent?

Ohlen: That is something we have design discussions about; it is something we probably won't make a decision about until later on in the game. Because it isn't something we have to rush a decision on. We're going to see how playtesting goes, and then we're going to make the call then. And also because massively multiplayer games are constantly evolving, we might decide to go one way, and once our population gets a little more experience and we have more people leveled, we might reverse that decision. So we haven't decided that yet.

So the book is open for a lot of flexibility depending on how the players want it to go?

Ohlen: Whatever direction we go, the Advanced Class choice does have to be a serious choice. It can't be something you can just change back and forth over the course of your career. If we do let the player choose to reverse it, it would definitely be something that is expensive.

We saw today in our hands-on that there are a lot of social systems already built into the game. We were talking about PvP and how the groups are the working. How do you guys feel about PvP combat? Is it more intimate battles or is it more about large scale?

Ohlen: Because every single person has his own companion character, they do get pretty hectic. If you have an entire party against another entire party, it is almost double the number of characters because of all the companion characters running around. The way it feels it feels like a pretty massive battle because you have so many effects going off.

You have the Bounty Hunter with the flamethrower and rocket launchers, rocketing up into the air and raining death down. You see Jedis flipping through the air, the Smuggler rolling behind cover and using his dual blasters. Companions are running around and using their abilities. So I wouldn't really call it intimate. It's pretty chaotic. There's a lot of stuff going on.

As to the scale of the battles, like how many characters are going to be involved? Right now we're experimenting with different group sizes. We're experimenting with 4 vs. 4, 8 vs. 8 and what we end up with at the end is really going to be dependent on how playtesting goes and how it all works out. It is not set in stone yet.

We heard a lot about the look of your character being indicative of the power of your character. Can you expand on that a bit more?

Ohlen: We have a huge selection of gear in the game. Gear is a very big important part of RPGs and MMORPGs of course as well. So the number of uniforms we have in the game is huge. We have hundreds of different appearances you can be. And we have appearances that are kind of tailored to your class, then we have appearances that are more generic where any class can wear it.

At the end of the day, we're going to have thousands of different appearances of people running around the game. Because we want to make sure that everyone looks different. We don't want to be the game of clones where every player looks the same. As you saw in the video of the Bounty Hunter, that was just one single advancement path. The Bounty Hunter has like ten times that number of appearances. We go all the way from low level appearance sets to the highest level appearance sets that you have to do the high level activities such as battlegrounds and raid-like activities to earn.

We spoke last fall with LucasArts' audio team. We spoke with Darragh O'Farrell about how sounds are going to become more impactful as your abilities get stronger. Force lightning at level X is going to sound a little weaker than Force lightning at level X + 20. Is that reflected visually as well? Are the animations going to alter as things become more powerful?

Ohlen: We're going to give players new abilities as they gain levels, and some of our most impressive and most powerful abilities are at the higher levels. In that way, you're going to be able to do things that are really impressive at level 40 as opposed to what you can do at level 10. So watching a high level Sith Warrior go into battle is going to be a lot different than watching a low level Sith Warrior go into battle, for sure.

The visuals along with the companions like you mentioned, you'd have 8 characters on screen at one time, and you're high level and you've got really beautiful things going on. We've been able to see the game quite a bit and it is stunning. When you're looking at this many people doing this many things, how is that chaos metered out in your playtesting?

Ohlen: You mean in terms of how do you track what is going on? Interface is something we're going to be working on until the very end of the game. You probably saw one of the things we added was the damage numbers over the head. That was something that wasn't in several months ago that is now in the game. That really allows you to see what is going on in combat. But in terms of battlegrounds we're still playtesting. If we're finding players aren't able to track things we'll make adjustments.

You spoke a little bit more about getting from place to place with the Player Ships reveal. Can you expand on how that is going to work with multiple people in them?

Ohlen: I can't go into complete detail on how players are going to travel together on their ships. But our philosophy is always to keep groups together. If you want to keep the group together traveling from planet to planet, then we don't want to split you up. We kept that as our overarching goal whenever we're thinking about systems such as the player ship.

Thank you very much for your time, we really appreciate you talking with us today. We cannot wait to let everyone in the community get their hands on the game.

Ohlen: I can't wait until they get to see the game because it is really fun to play. Out of all the BioWare games I've worked on, this is the most fun to play in this stage of game development.

One last question that we ask of everyone we talk to: do you have a favorite class?

Ohlen: My favorite movie is Empire Strikes Back, and that is the Darth Vader movie, so I love the Sith Warrior.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 17, 2010, 01:11:08 PM
Star Wars: The Old Republic: E3 Imperial Agent Hands On
MMORPG.com's Michael Bitton had some hands on time with Bioware's Star Wars: The Old Republic at E3. Today, he brings us his experiences playing the Imperial Agent.

We met with the Bioware and LucasArts folks in an E3 meeting room tucked far away from the chaotic and absolutely gigantic EA booth that was down on the show floor, where we were assailed with all sorts of The Old Republic awesome, including a demo of the game's armor progression, the awesome "Hope" cinematic, a group gameplay demo, and more. While all this was going on, the room adjacent to us could be seen through the glass wall separating us, which contained two rows of machines set up with the actual game running live. Needless to say, all I could do was think about the moment I'd finally get to get my hands on the game. That day has come, and I chose to spend my first live experience with Star Wars: The Old Republic as a female Chiss Imperial Agent.

If you read the series of possible playable races articles we ran in recent weeks, you'd know I was pretty keen on the idea of Chiss being in the game, however, I felt they'd be an unlikely addition due to their isolationist nature. Turns out this didn't stop Bioware from putting them into the game, and my dreams of playing a Chiss in Star Wars: The Old Republic came true in short order. Why the Imperial Agent? Because spies are cool - duh!

The Imperial Agent is the Imperial counterpart to the Republic's Smuggler class in that it is generally a bit of a stealth class and relies heavily on the cover mechanic that they both share. The Agent Is a bit more ruthless than the oftentimes comical Smuggler, and I just have a thing for sniper rifles and shanking people, so I ran with that.

The Agent delivers in this regard, even at the low level one or two they started us out at I had a number of skills at my disposal. I could fire your basic rifle shot, shiv enemies up close, take cover, debuff enemies to take more damage by using the "Laze Target" ability, and use a sniper shot from cover to deal ridiculous amounts of damage, often resulting in a one shot kill. It felt like using a backstab from range really. The cover system takes some getting used to, but is pretty neat overall. My only criticism is that the cover ability only seems to work with a target selected, and so you often times want to roll into cover near a group of enemies you want to take out and realize you can't until you actually tab a target. Otherwise, it's pretty intuitive, with green silhouettes denoting nearby cover positions.


The Imperial Agent's story starts off on the seedy underworld of Nal Hutta, where your contact, an Imperial known only as "Keeper" sets you off on a mission to infiltrate the organization of Nem'ro the Hutt. The dialogue is convincing, and provides players with numerous options that should be familiar to any players of Bioware's previous RPGs. You'll be able to select from a number of different of responses that fit a particular tone or position you want to take with your subject and sometimes you'll have actions you can choose to perform as well. For example, I ran into a character within Nem'ro's stronghold that got the idea he knew me from somewhere; thinking that I could use this to my advantage I played along, only to find out I apparently owed the guy money, not so advantageous after all. However, being a girl, and a particularly fine one to boot, I attempted to flirt my way out of the situation, which failed miserably and resulted in me having to shank the poor bastard. I guess he just didn't dig blue chicks.

Aside from the main story quest, which is pretty compelling and feels very thematic for an Imperial Agent, you'll find numerous peripheral side quests throughout the world, and while the voicework is compelling, it's all pretty standard fare. Some guy needs help with this or that and you go take care of it for him, though some of it can be resolved entirely through the game's dialogue system, which is a definite plus. I ran into side quests that basically amounted to killing X number of things to get some items to bring back to my contact, but I also took on a task for someone looking for their missing brother. This could have resulted in a fight if I decided to go that way, but instead I agreed to pretend the brother had died in exchange for some quick cash. I earned a number of Dark Side points for this as well, but I am unsure how they will affect a non-Force character.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to do any stealth gameplay. Daniel Erickson, the lead writer on Star Wars: The Old Republic was on hand and explained to me that the stealth ability was learned later. I was determined to acquire it during my playthrough but never did. Instead, I had to settle for not-so-subtle face stabs when I felt that melee itch, which turned out to be a lot. Daniel took notice to this and agreed this was one of his favorite ways to play as well.


Overall, the combat, at least for the Agent, is fairly standard. It's flashy enough and fun, but it wasn't blowing my mind or anything, though I did only reach level 3-ish so take that for what it is. I can think of many MMOs that didn't really start off too exciting at the early levels, and this was definitely a good bit more exciting than those games, but not mindblowing. The cover mechanic is a lot of fun, and perhaps if I had stealth right out the gate it may have been a bit more interesting. The world seemed fairly open, though I didn't really get deep enough in it to be sure, and there are a number of "taxi points" throughout the game that you can use to travel quickly to a previously discovered location.

I've run into a lot of people during the show who ask what I thought of my hands-on with the game, and the short and sweet of it is this: If you liked Age of Conan's Tortage experience, it felt like the whole game was basically like that, only with way higher production values given the fact this is Bioware after all. For me, this wasn't a bad thing. I had figured Bioware prepared a demo build for E3, and I was attempting to "beat it" only to discover that it was actually the full version of the game they were letting us run around in. I didn't realize this until almost two hours later, which I think speaks for itself as far as how much I enjoyed the experience. If you like the idea of playing an Imperial spy, you'll probably be pretty happy with Bioware's implementation.

Oh, and here's a little gem for you geeks out there like me. If you're wondering how Bioware is accounting for the fact Chiss are suddenly prevalent throughout the galaxy, at least enough to be represented in Star Wars: The Old Republic as a playable race. Daniel's answer was, "They aren't." which leads me to believe that races may actually be faction, and perhaps in some cases class specific. Something to think about.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on June 17, 2010, 02:34:50 PM
I read some of the info here, and it seems so horribly safe. I cant shake the feeling that all they're aiming to do is make wow in space.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 17, 2010, 05:07:09 PM
Rob Chestney Clarifies E3 Demo
by Zenkei, posted June 17th, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Rob Chestney commented in this thread (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3180271#edit3180271) concerning the "Tank, healer, DPS paradigm" in an attempt to clarify some misconceptions about the demo shown at E3.

Hey guys,

This is a great thread and it's nice to see so many of the discussions that take place within BioWare echoed among the fans. I'm actually in the booth now helping play through these demos (as the Jedi Knight--woot!), and this thread grabbed my attention. A lot of good points have been made already here to clarify what the multiplayer demo implies and what the takeway is, but I think it's worth a few more comments:

- For the purpose of this multiplayer demo, we wanted to keep the 'team combat dynamic' simple and easy to understand. Furthermore, the Consular acts as the healer and as the 'camera' for the demo, so she isn't necessarily playing exactly as she would in a normal playthrough. We wanted her to stay back from the action to provide a wide-angle view of the entire scene. Thus, where she might have run into to strike a few blows for righteousness in a regular group battle, she has to minimize that to keep the view right.

- One of the other things to keep in mind is that these are level 8-10 level characters, and none of them have begun to train as "advanced classes". New strategies for team combat develop as characters get new skills, get higher level powers, and select specializations. Keep in mind also, that the demo is designed so that people who may not be MMO veterans can understand it also.

- There also seems to be some confusion about the primary classes being locked into primary roles. The Sith Warrior has two advanced classes; the Juggernaut and the Marauder. One is a better track for a 'tank', the other is more of a damage-dealer. The paradigm of advanced classes is designed to provide branching options so that all primary classes have at least two options for the types of role they will play in groups. Beyond that even, there are further specialization/customization options that will give characters additional variety in the types of roles they can play.

To sum up, don't assume too much from one example of four-player team combat that we're showing at E3. We hope you like the team dynamic we're showing to folks here, but we don't want you guys to read too much into it. At a later date, we'll definitely try to show you some different strategies and team dynamics so you can get a better idea of the breadth of the experience of team combat in TOR.

Eventually, we look forward to you guys getting your hands on the game to find out for yourselves!

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Edrac on June 17, 2010, 06:05:26 PM
Star Wars: The Old Republic: E3 Imperial Agent Hands On

Oh, and here's a little gem for you geeks out there like me. If you're wondering how Bioware is accounting for the fact Chiss are suddenly prevalent throughout the galaxy, at least enough to be represented in Star Wars: The Old Republic as a playable race. Daniel's answer was, "They aren't." which leads me to believe that races may actually be faction, and perhaps in some cases class specific. Something to think about.

I was figuring that was the case, and it makes sense. The Chiss are from the Unknown Regions of the Star Wars Galaxy, so to (coincidentally) are this Faction of Sith, and their Empire's of capital of Dromund Kaas. So Chiss will probably be Empire exclusive.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 18, 2010, 07:58:44 AM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 18, 2010, 08:32:16 PM
Sean Dahlberg on This Week's Updates
by emlaeh, posted June 18th, 2010 at 5:25 PM

BioWare's Sean Dahlberg soothed some community worries about class-restricted species, wrapped up the reveals of the week, and waxed poetic about the ups and downs of E3:

Hey guys,

I got up at 4am this morning to get back to Austin so I'll make this short and sweet instead of rambling on as I tend to.

We've talked about this before but it bears mentioning again; the updates we do are for the entire TOR Community. We have everything from people who read the site almost every minute to people who visit the site once a week; people who scour the web for data and people who like to be directed to what and where our updates are. So when we do our big broadcast messages, it is directed towards the entire TOR Community.

This week's Fan Friday was special. We've never had a Fan Friday that was updated every day of the week nor have we ever had a Fan Friday that announced any major systems. And from day one, last week, we called out very specifically that we would have an update every day (for this week) instead of just throwing it all out on a Friday.

Some of you knew about all of our updates come Monday. Some found out about the various updates all through the week. But some people won't find out about the War Zones and the Chiss Imperial Agent or Twi'lek Smuggler until today and some won't even see that info until we post it on our other social networks. Some won't even see it until next week.

SIDE NOTE: While we aren't talking about it yet (and I know many of you dislike this but there are various and valid reasons why we do this), we are not saying that you can ONLY be a Twi'lek as a Smuggler. What we are saying is that we are CONFIRMING that as a Smuggler, you can choose Twi'lek as a species. Will there be limitations? Yes, there will be. What are they? We aren't talking about that yet because we haven't come to a final conclusion on some things yet. When we do, you will definitely know but in the meanwhile we are only confirming what we know will not change between now and launch. Back to the point...

We all think it's awesome that we have so many dedicated fans. We really do. We only get to meet a fraction of them and the ones we do are amazing. Just this last week I got to personally meet a wide variety of people who participate in these forums on a consistent basis and it was great to see their excitement for TOR. And it's great to see everyone pull together and share all the information they gleamed from each and every interview they could find across the web (and sorry that my interview didn't really have any big reveals or anything in it).

But, like I said, our updates are crafted for the entire community and while a segment may learn everything before even the first day of E-3 (and some even before the Pre-E3 Press Event, ack!), a large portion of our community doesn't learn about things until later and usually when we are informing them of the updates by posting them on our website and the social networks we participate in.

Now, I know some of you will disagree with me (I have been reading the threads and posts between shifts when doing demos and at night), I personally believe we revealed a lot this week:

Hope - A new cinematic trailer.
Player Ships - Announcing a mobile base of operations and even showing two of them.
Armor Progression - Showed off a few new outfits and gave a small peek at how a character might progress.
Live Gameplay - We've never shown that yet and not only did we show a single-player experience we also showed a group experience. On live television where anything could happen.
Species reveals - Announced two more species; Chiss and Twi'lek.
War Zones - Talked a little about our PvP system; granted, we have a lot more details to give out on that but we have to refine and test things first to make sure we're giving out great and accurate information
Hands-On Demos - We let a lot of people come to our booths and play TOR; yes some were mainstream press and we had a few celebs come by, but we also had quite a few community members come through that work on various fan sites and podcasts (and many that aren't even TOR specific).

And that's not even counting all the information and things talked about during the various interviews. Granted, I'm seeing things from my point of view, but I think we did a lot over the last five days.

Hmm, and maybe I should go back and remove the part about me not rambling... because I think I ended up doing that after all

Quick Edit: And no, not asking for you guys to thank us or anything else. I am just trying to give a little more information on why things are they way they are based on some of the posts I have been reading over the last week.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 21, 2010, 01:33:50 PM

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 22, 2010, 12:39:21 AM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 23, 2010, 02:59:17 PM
Rumor: Game Testing To Start Soon?
by emlaeh, posted June 23rd, 2010 at 2:31 PM

We noticed today that Sean Dahlberg of BioWare posted the following in a thread discussing Star Wars: The Old Republic game testing that wasn't locked, as per usual protocol, and used different language:

Hey everyone,

Thanks for the information and it's definitely interesting that people are posting about our Game Testing Program. We don't have anything official to say at this moment but if you have any questions, please check out the Game Testing Program FAQ (http://www.swtor.com/tester#portalFaqHead).

As a reminder, you can state if you are selected for game testing. However, due to our hands on experience at E3, we can confirm the image in the thread is very similar to the game's launcher.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 23, 2010, 06:24:42 PM
Update: Sean added more on the subject, reminding people what potential testers are allowed to say:

The Game Testing Agreement that was agreed upon (when signing up for game testing) states:

1. The fact that there is a Game Program.
2. The fact that you are a member of the Game Program.

Outside of that, it is a violation of the agreement to do anything more such as posting images or screen captures of anything related to Game Testing that is private and confidential and not already publicly revealed by The Old Republic team.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 28, 2010, 11:09:34 PM
Dissected: E3 Content
by sado, posted June 28th, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Our dissection of the Star Wars: The Old Republic content released during E3 is now online. As in our prior dissections, we will add new content in as we find it, so keep checking back. Feel free to let us know if you notice something we missed, and we will be happy to add it to our dissection with credit. Note: If something is mentioned in a prior dissection, then we do not reiterate it again here. Low bandwidth users should note there are numerous images contained in this article.

Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent

Trooper and Smuggler

Warrior and Inquisitor

Player Ships

Bounty Hunter Progression

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Vaulisel on June 29, 2010, 01:04:16 AM
Frankly, I don't know what we'd do without you Raktus. It's like having our own personal(community) MMO Champion for TOR.

Naysayers be damned, I likes the look of this game. Hopefully it can keep me going until Dark Millennium comes along. Which I also hope will rock.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 29, 2010, 07:10:54 PM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 30, 2010, 07:58:46 AM
DevTracker Highlights For The Week of June 21, 2010
by sado, posted June 30th, 2010 at 5:50 AM

This week's DevTracker Highlights discuss what the developers prefer to play, video capturing, hints on upcoming videos, and more after the jump.
For the purpose of this post we will be omitting the DevTracker comments that are on the subject of Testing due highlighting them in several published articles throughout the week.

Brian Arndt (http://www.swtor.com/community/member.php?u=67) gives behind the scenes insight on how the videos of Star Wars: The Old Republic are produced:

Brian Arndt said:
Actually we only loose 1-3 frames when filming in Fraps. Sometimes when filming due to it being a production server however we will have reduced framerate to start with. If you build a system designed to use Fraps it works quite well. Some of our older videos will not have as good a framerate as some of the newer cam videos as the game's framerate is getting better every day!

As far as dance moves.. I'm /dance 'in right now!
Crafting videos: when we are ready to talk about crafting, we will probably show a video or something similar I'm sure! Just sit tight a little longer!
Video of the whole game? How about Spring 2011 when it ships!!
Free camera positioning: Not sure but I will submit it as a suggestion
My Favorite Class: That changes weekly honestly. Currently its between the Agent and Trooper though.
When Lance voices them we all explode from the awesomeness. it's quite messy.

Think that answers of few of them so far

Matt Boudreaux (http://www.swtor.com/community/member.php?u=606779) on LucasArts' ability to create authentic alien language VO:

Matt Boudreaux said:
All our alien language VO is actually provided by our friends at Lucas Arts, so I don't think we can get anymore authentic when it comes to Star Wars alien accents and pronunciation. :)

Back in December we had the opportunity to interview members of the LucasArts Audio Team that are responsible for producing what you hear in-game. You could say it is a good read on a related subject. ;)

Sean Dahlberg (http://www.swtor.com/community/member.php?u=366) on the factions the developers are going to play and the importance of class design:

Sean Dahlberg said:
We have a fair sized studio here at BioWare Austin and between us and LucasArts, there is a wide variety of people who play the various classes in The Old Republic. Dallas is one individual on the team and a very professional one at that who would not allow his personal opinion to negatively affect the product.

The Republic is definitely well represented within The Old Republic Team. Even while some may see me as a representative of the Sith, I'm a huge fan of the Trooper and Smuggler classes and I even played the Jedi Consular in a variety of the demos (no, not in the G4 demo, though).

The truth of the matter is that each class is actually great for different reasons. The story, the mechanics, the abilities, etc. Each has their own feel and flavor to them. Having played the Jedi Knight and Jedi Consular (I play all the classes but that's not the point of this sentence), it's amazing how different they actually feel when you consider they both start on Tython and are both "Jedi".

Everything said, both sides will be equally represented. For those who played KOTOR, I think they would agree that the light side and dark side paths of the game (to include the endings) were both epic. Quality is a very important thing to us and that is for everything we do in the game: The allegiances, the classes, the mechanics, everything. If we put something in the game, we want it to not only feel like it fits in the game but that it is enjoyable and has a reason to be in the game.

Sean Dahlberg on billing systems for Star Wars: The Old Republic:

Sean Dahlberg said:
While we haven't announced our business model, we are definitely looking at what is the best interest of the product (to include the community). This includes ensuring we support the best methods for each of the countries we will release The Old Republic in.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 30, 2010, 11:15:30 AM
EEDAR: GameTrailers Stream Stats
by sado, posted June 30th, 2010 at 7:47 AM

In the Gaming Industry stream numbers, along with other metrics, are often used to gauge the interest level of a game before launch. For those interested in the stream numbers pertaining to Star Wars: The Old Republic during E3, we have a chart from Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (http://www.eedar.com/):


It appears Star Wars: The Old Republic did very well. ;)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on June 30, 2010, 08:41:50 PM
BioWare, LucasArts Choose Monolith Monitoring For Star Wars MMO
by Eric Caoili

BioWare and LucasArts have selected Monolith Software's core monitoring and technology management solution for their much-awaited upcoming MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Monolith -- which has no relationship with the similarly named game developers Monolith Productions or Monolith Soft -- says its IT management solution is designed to "increase the operational efficiencies of network operations centers (NOCs) while delivering a fully integrated, open architecture platform for managing fault, availability and performance management."

The company says its software is a "multi-tenant, fault/event management and availability/performance monitoring solution" that collects, analyzes, and correlates data through web-based dashboards, which allows developers and publishers to visualize and monitor that information in real time.

BioWare chose Monolith's solution for its ability to manage the real-time monitoring of thousands of devices at several data centers in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The developer says the solution also fits into its Linux environment and met all of its requirements, including specific customizations.

"We are building a large game that will be supported by an expansive, complicated IT environment," says BioWare's director of infrastructure and services Ruben Cortez. "When you have this complex of an environment for a business reliant on continuous connectivity, you need a monitoring solution that can manage that in real time."

He continues, "We needed a solution that would not require a large footprint so we can identify and respond at Internet speed. Monolith won us over for its robust feature set, real time dashboards, reduced total cost of ownership and commitment to us as customers."
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 01, 2010, 07:19:57 PM
Star Wars: The Old Republic at Celebration V
by sado, posted July 1st, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Sean Dahlberg (https://twitter.com/ashentemper/) confirmed Star Wars™: The Old Republic™'s presence at Star Wars Celebration V in a Twitter response (https://twitter.com/ashentemper/status/17514464534):

Sean Dahlberg said:
Actually, we will be there! We're not quite ready to share what exactly TOR will be doing at Star Wars Celebration V but we will soon.

Star Wars Celebration V takes place Aug. 12-15, 2010 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. You can find ticket and event information at the official Star Wars Celebration Website (http://www.starwarscelebration.com/).
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eversor on July 01, 2010, 07:40:10 PM
Raktus, what would we do without your awesome TOR info roundup?
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eid on July 01, 2010, 07:45:57 PM
Raktus, what would we do without your awesome TOR info roundup?

Not to take the mickey out of Raktus, but perhaps we'd keep an eye on: http://darthhater.com/ and The SW TOR Dev Tracker (http://www.swtor.com/community/devtracker.php) We could also listen to: Mos Eisley Radio (http://moseisleyradio.com/).

Edit - fixed a URL - serves my right for posting when I should be asleep!

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eversor on July 01, 2010, 10:56:51 PM
Neat, thanks for those links, will definitely have my eye on those from now on as well.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 02, 2010, 05:51:08 PM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Oldchub on July 02, 2010, 06:38:13 PM
First off just wanted to give a huge thanks to Raktus for keeping this thread updated. Secondly combat is looking good, I can't wait to get my hands on this game.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 02, 2010, 10:38:49 PM
Star Wars: The Old Republic at Comic-Con International
by sado, posted July 2nd, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Sean Dahlberg (http://www.swtor.com/community/member.php?u=366) just unveiled the plans for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ at Comic-Con International:

Comic-Con International is coming to San Diego, California! Meet up with The Old Republic team at the panel entitled Beyond Solo: Crafting the Multiplayer Story in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ on July 23rd from 1:00 to 2:00pm in Room 7AB. Morgan Webb (G4s X-Play) moderates a discussion with James Ohlen (Studio Creative Director and Lead Designer, BioWare), Drew Karpyshyn (Principal Writer, BioWare), and Alexander Freed (Managing Editor, BioWare) about the creation of the multiplayer, planet-spanning story in Star Wars: The Old Republic. While much attention has been paid to the unique individual stories of each of the eight classes in the game, the team is excited to share their approach to the broader stories players will experience in The Old Republic.

Other things going on at Comic-Con for The Old Republic:
Blood of the Empire signing by Alexander Freed at the Dark Horse booth
Hope Cinematic Trailer displayed at the Star Wars™ booth

And don't forget, Friday, July 23rd is Star Wars Day! Arrive dressed as your favorite class or character from The Old Republic to show your support!

Stay tuned for more details!

Comic-Con takes place on July 22-25, 2010 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. You can find ticket and event information at the official Comic-Con website (http://www.comic-con.org).
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 03, 2010, 11:36:56 AM
Not to take the mickey out of Raktus, but perhaps we'd keep an eye on: http://darthhater.com/ and The SW TOR Dev Tracker (http://www.swtor.com/community/devtracker.php) We could also listen to: Mos Eisley Radio (http://moseisleyradio.com/).


SWTOR Official Site (http://swtor.com/)
Developer Twitter (http://twitter.com/realdarthhater/swtor-devs)
Darth Hater (http://darthhater.com/)
KOTORMMO (http://www.kotormmo.net/)
Moon Over Endor (http://moonendor.blogspot.com/)
Mos Eisley Radio (http://moseisleyradio.com/)
Old Repub (http://www.oldrepub.com/)
SWTOR Blog (http://www.swtorblog.net/)
SWTOR Station (http://www.swtor-station.com/index.php?lang=en&lredirect=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zd3Rvci1zdGF0aW9uLmNvbS9pbmRleC5waHA=)
TOROZ (http://toroz.com.au/)
Damion Schubert (http://www.zenofdesign.com/)
Drew Karpyshyn (http://www.drewkarpyshyn.com/)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 03, 2010, 12:32:49 PM
Blizzard "wouldn't bet against" BioWare
12 November, 2008

Blizzard executive Paul Sams has said that he expects BioWare have a good chance of finding MMO success with the recently-announced Star Wars: The Old Republic.

"They have as good a chance as anybody. I wouldn't bet against them, that's for sure," Sams said, speaking to Eurogamer on the eve of the launch of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

"They are an excellent company and they're utilising a well-known franchise as the backbone for that game. I think the combination of those two things bodes well for them, just because not everybody can say [that]," he added.

But Sams warns that a strong licence and a good development team are just the beginning when it comes to making a successful MMO.

"Running this type of game, building this type of game, maintaining this type of game is exceptionally difficult," he said.

"And so while we know they have some excellent developers and some excellent leaders, time will tell as to how they can react, and how they can prepare themselves to do all the other things... There are a lot more back-office things to running a game like this than you can ever imagine."

In particular, he pointed out that the level of success that World of Warcraft has - and that The Old Republic is tipped to reach - brings some problems of its own.

"It's a bit more tricky than it might seem, and I think that that is also why we haven't seen any other games that really have blown up from a huge subscribership perspective," he said. "Because how you react when it scales is very challenging, to say the least."

He also admitted that Blizzard hadn't done everything right itself.

"We've gotten a lot of bumps and bruises along the way - we're not perfect, we're far from it, right? We've had to learn a lot of things the hard way," Sams said.

"So it's a hard road, and it's also a very expensive road. [BioWare] have the benefit now of being with EA as relates to money, and EA has a pocketbook that is fat," he pointed out.

Sams said the Blizzard team was looking forward to tonight's launch of Wrath of the Lich King. "We're exceptionally excited about the content. We genuinely believe it's the best content we've created for World of Warcraft thus far," he said.

Blizzard recently claimed 11 million subscribers for WOW - some time after reaching the 10 million mark. We asked if this meant the game's growth was finally slowing down; Sams, normally one of Blizzard's most bullish spokesmen, came over uncharacteristically restrained and humble.

"We do anticipate that the number of subscribers will probably go up a bit, just because of the number of people returning to check it out," he said.

"Before we launched, there was nobody in the company that thought we were going to get anywhere near this," he added. "Each day that we continue to grow blows our minds."

Look out for more launch coverage and a review of Wrath of the Lich King in the coming days. And see you at HMV on Oxford Street for tonight's midnight launch.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Vaulisel on July 03, 2010, 01:56:59 PM
<supercynic>Blizzard needs TOR to be successful to they can cherry pick their next crop of "innovations" they want to put into WoW.</supercynic>

I'm not sure how to go about confirming this, but despite that Paul Sams claiming EA has a fat pocketbook, I seem to recall hearing EA have reported net losses for a worrying number of quarters running now. Something I doubt ActiBlizz has hanging over it.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 03, 2010, 03:01:04 PM

Working Dissection by Darth Hater
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eid on July 03, 2010, 09:52:59 PM
Another cool series of pages is the translation from Aurebesh to English


Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 06, 2010, 05:40:48 PM

Best Role Playing Game
Star Wars: The Old Republic
(BioWare Austin/LucasArts/EA for PC)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Overlord Xenu on July 06, 2010, 06:31:46 PM
Raktus, there is no way a mere human could assemble such a wealth of information as fast as you do.

Are you, in fact, an astromech droid?
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Red Dog Dragon on July 07, 2010, 11:28:48 PM
I'd have to say I'm pretty disappointed after watching the new gameplay video.  Looks like they're sticking to the whole Tank/DPS/Healer mind set and I'm sure it'll be plagued with the same problem we've seen for years in WoW, tons of DPS, a good amount of tanks, never enough healers. /facepalm

Why did they even give the healer a lightstick?  Just to taunt them?  Hrmph.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eversor on July 08, 2010, 12:10:05 PM
I'd have to say I'm pretty disappointed after watching the new gameplay video.  Looks like they're sticking to the whole Tank/DPS/Healer mind set and I'm sure it'll be plagued with the same problem we've seen for years in WoW, tons of DPS, a good amount of tanks, never enough healers. /facepalm

Why did they even give the healer a lightstick?  Just to taunt them?  Hrmph.

If you feel a lack of healers, man up and roll one. Or better yet, join a guild. Alternatively, use your companion as healbot. Also, do some research and wait for more info before judging on gameplay intricacies.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 08, 2010, 02:45:30 PM
I'd have to say I'm pretty disappointed after watching the new gameplay video.  Looks like they're sticking to the whole Tank/DPS/Healer mind set and I'm sure it'll be plagued with the same problem we've seen for years in WoW, tons of DPS, a good amount of tanks, never enough healers. /facepalm

Why did they even give the healer a lightstick?  Just to taunt them?  Hrmph.

As it was explained during E3, the Counsalor is more than a healing class and can do so much more than what the video portrays. Unfortunatly a video needs a point of view and the ranged capabilities of the class make it the best to do so. Therefore your only seeing a specific limitation of filming technique, not the class itself.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 08, 2010, 05:39:12 PM
E3: Hands On Impressions
by Dover, posted July 8th, 2010 at 1:20 AM

A few weeks ago the Darth Hater team descended on E3 with a ravenous desire to learn about Star Wars: The Old Republic. With so many hands on deck, we were able to gather large quantities of data for the TOR fan community, and we shared much of this information in our articles, a group podcast, and even a packed live Q&A. The best part of this entire experience is that, after all of our coverage, there is still more to share.


Hands-on gameplay tells different people different things, depending on what they like and are paying attention to. Additionally, every member of the Darth Hater team has a unique gaming history, giving us multiple decades of combined MMO experience to draw from. This observational diversity allowed us to learn much more about The Old Republic then if there were only a couple people on-site. However, we didn't fully realize this until we gathered after our appointment at the LucasArts booth. As many of you heard during our on-location podcast, this spectrum of personal impressions continues to improve our understanding of TOR.

UI Impressions

The User Interface, or UI, of The Old Republic will seem very familiar to anyone who has played a modern MMO. Although not revolutionary, this familiarity should make it easy for most gamers to pick it up quickly and intuitively. We were limited to only a few abilities on our low level characters, but we noticed there were a total of five possible action bars for high level characters who are flush with skills.


The UI was functional and compact, reducing screen clutter, but it may not be effective for hardcore players looking to maximize their information in minimal space. Thankfully the standard design and options imply a great deal of space and flexibility which is an encouraging sight for people looking to mod their heads up display.

One thing new to the UI in this build was Fly Text notifications during combat. Similar to some WoW mods or Borderlands, the Fly Text would show damage or healing done by displaying numbers coming from the target itself. This optional feature helped visualize the action on screen by letting players see exactly what they were doing to a target without needing to look at a scrolling log. While not revolutionary, it was a nice addition.

Flow of Combat


sado - I found myself in an odd place with the Trooper. As someone who does not traditionally play tanks, I wanted to find something I liked about the Republic's heavy gunner. During the Live Q&A, I described the Trooper as the "most annoying person in the world," and for one very good reason: I felt I should be yelling at the top of my lungs while playing it. The class itself involves running up to people while shooting your gun, knocking them down with the rifle butt, and firing a grenade into their stomach while they are on the floor. The character I would best equate it to would be Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando. It's a very loud class that does not apologize for being so.

In that same respect, I found myself wanting a couple more levels so I could access other abilities. My Trooper seemed unable to do high damage and resided somewhere in the middle of low to medium damage at level two. At the same time, the Trooper was nearly invincible. I gathered somewhere between nine to twelve enemies and still had no problem (but once again, I was only level two).

The newest bit of information on the Trooper came in the form of the Ammo system. The Trooper at level two has twelve ammo points and we were told this would remain consistent throughout the game. It functioned similarly to action points but the fixed clip needs to be reloaded to continue to perform abilities. For example, the Rifle Grenade ability used six shells so my Trooper could get off two Rifle Grenades before having to reload completely. We saw two abilities to help you recover your ammo count: Recharge and Reload, and Fast Reload. Fast Reload lets the Trooper quickly refill six Ammo slots and you can use this at any time, regardless of movement. Recharge and Reload worked as the Trooper's out of combat heal as well as a reload function, reloading approximately one ammo slot every two seconds. In between using the Ammo abilities and reloading I was able to use Hammershot, which uses no Ammo and functions as your basic attack, and Stockstrike. Stockstrike was the only crowd control ability that I had and I found myself using at the beginning of combat because of its thirty second cooldown.


Dover - The Agent's out-of-cover abilities felt very familiar to the many ranged classes I played in previous MMOs. On the other hand, the in-cover abilities felt new and unique. Snipe would almost always be a one hit kill, but I could only pull off two shots before my energy was drained. However, if I used Laze Target first I would be able to fire a third Snipe because of the energy return. This simple ability combo at level two instantly made me think about the tactical combinations we saw last fall, and now I really want to see what a higher level Imperial Agent can do.

The combat felt quick and nonstop. I think this fast paced feel comes from a number of very specific design choices by BioWare. The design choice of one player versus a group of weak targets made me feel extremely active and involved. It may take the same amount of time to kill three mobs in TOR as it would to kill one in WoW, but I found myself feeling like more was accomplished during combat. This psychological trick made the pace feel fast, even when playing the methodical Imperial Agent.

Zoidberg - I found that the Imperial Agent had multiple ways to approach combat. The primary method is to set up camp and get into cover. While in cover, powerful abilities could be used, such as Snipe. This felt slower paced, but the damage done mitigated the slow combat feeling because the kill rate was about the same as any other class.

The second form of combat was out of cover. I only had one melee ability at level two. Shiv was a powerful move capable of killing most targets in just one blow. This ability felt much quicker paced then the cover skills, yet against larger groups energy consumption became an issue. It did help to break the pace of setting up for each kill with the cover function. Along with Shiv, I could shoot at close range, but the powerful abilities from cover are not available when in the open.

The best part about the game was very little (if any) downtime between combat. The time running between groups of enemies was often enough for health and energy to regenerate.


Dave - The Smuggler's play style is very tactical. You pick and choose your fights rather than taking on all comers, and when you pick the group of enemies you wish you engage you plot out your approach, scope out the cover options nearby, and plan out the abilities you'll start off with. It's very easy to get the hang of, and at such a low level I never found myself having to employ mastermind-level tactics to win a scenario, but it's very easy to see the potential in a system like this assuming BioWare utilizes the system in puzzles and complicated encounters.

My low-level Smuggler only had a few abilities to play with, namely Flurry of Bolts (the basic attack), Burst (from out of cover only), Charged Burst (from cover only), and Flash Grenade (also from cover only). Generally my approach to encounters was to throw a Flash Grenade, which stunned any enemies within a small radius, and fire away with Charged Burst. For the most part one Charged Burst would kill the humanoid enemies in one hit, with a Flurry of Bolts afterwords if that wasn't the case. I did face several large battle droids that took a few Charged Bursts to take down. Fighting from out in the open generally depleted my health quickly, so it does seem like the Smuggler will always rely on cover for protection.

Combat is very quick, but not anything I would define as revolutionary. The cover system is certainly a refreshing addition to the MMO gameplay, but it feels as though it would lose its novelty after a good amount of play time. The one spectacular thing about the game currently is that you experience absolutely zero downtime. After a fight, you can activate your out-of-combat heal and be ready for the next encounter within seconds instead of having to sit down and wait for your health and energy to recharge.


Sleeper - The Bounty Hunter was a very fast paced, run and gun class with very low downtime. I ran close enough to grab aggro, and then proceeded to terrorize the groups of enemies. I started off with the trusty Wrist Rocket ability, which fired a rocket that caused an AoE explosion and knockback, and then proceeded to run up close and finish them off with the Flamethrower ability. After attacking the first group of three, I noticed the heat bar. I decided to start testing it out, trying to find the most efficient and fastest way to move group to group with the least downtime. Just by using the wrist rocket and flamethrower back to back put me at about 80 or so heat out of 100 and left me unable to use anything but my primary firing ability. After a while I began to use the Vent Heat ability in my rotation, which vents all the heat out of your armor and weapons and sets the heat level to 0 on a one minute cooldown. After each Vent Heat I was able to use my abilities normally.


Emlaeh - Since I was limited to only three offense Rank One abilities on my Level Two Sith Inquisitor, my task was to test the Saber Strike ability versus the one-handed Shock and two-handed Lightning Drain abilities to see how they worked independently of one another, and which combination was the most efficient. To perform this test, I first killed one Tomb Raider Heavy only with Saber Strike. It took about ten seconds to kill exclusively using Saber Strike with my Sith Training Blade using the ability at least three or four times. When I instead exclusively used Lightning Drain as an opener to slow my target from ranged on the same exact mob, it had at most 10% of its life left if it wasn't already dead, and died in half the time due to the 3s duration. I would finish off with Shock or Saber Strike.

Using Shock as an opener required immediate follow-up, as the Sith Inquisitor is extremely squishy against melee targets who did about 8-12 damage per swing. Using Lightning Drain after the Shock gave me enough time to back up while channeling to get out of melee range, while Saber Strike put me at risk of not dodging blows. Dodge (blaster fire) and Parry (melee) mechanics are in the game, as well as variable damage output (damage was not a consistently fixed or static number), confirmed by viewing the Combat Log.


Pete - Action flowed very smoothly for the Sith Warrior. Often times, I would open up with Force charge to cause AoE aggro. I would then keep building Rage by doing the Assault attack, often times twice. With enough Rage generated, I would finish the target by using the single target attack Vicious Slash. The rotation would often change depending on the level of the target, sometimes just using the Assault attack, while other times executing lower level mobs with a single Vicious Slash.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 08, 2010, 05:39:26 PM
Artificial Intelligence

sado - One of the most interesting things we learned about during GDC was the "Looking at You" aggro system. It was now fully in place, with a function called Alerted. I found myself walking past Separatists expecting that they would aggro and much to my surprise they did not. It worked much in the way that you would expect the Old West to work. They were bad dudes, but not necessarily looking to get into a shooting match with the Trooper. They watched you, but as long as you passed by and did not get too close to them or their buddies there was no issue. On the other hand, the roaming Separatist sentry droids would aggro from quite the distance and give chase. I aggroed one of these droids and ran all the way back to the outpost where my quest giver was located and it was still behind me. One of the NPC Troopers who was stationed near by opened fire on the droid, lost the battle, and his life. After the NPC Trooper died I did not see him return during the course of the demo.

The Separatist's actions varied once engaged in battle. It seemed as if it often depended on what cover was around them at the time to get behind. If there was no cover and I was near them, one of them would often run away to go get more of their friends. As a result, a bigger and more encompassing battle would occur with the Separatists taking cover where they could at the time. On the other hand, if there was available cover they usually ducked behind it, forcing me to go around them and use Stockstrike; I found myself missing or doing less damage when they were behind cover. In general, the AI looked better than any MMORPG I have seen to date.


Dover - Artificial intelligence is something many MMOs are lacking when compared to single player games. Many times MMO enemies seem binary, with only a couple different states to choose from. The two primary enemies are instantly aggressive or aggressive when engaged. While The Old Republic does have these mobs, they add a tertiary option: aware. This third mob type appears to acknowledge players when they enter a certain range, but will not engage unless the player moves closer or possibly stays in this "aware range" for a prolonged amount of time. This third option, while subtle, does help to make players feel like they are part of the world by reducing the "gamey" feeling accompanied with the "on/off" mobs in many MMOs.

Additionally, once aggroed most MMO mobs simply fight with blind aggression, possibly fleeing when their health gets low. Here we see another small AI twist from BioWare in the form of the cover system. Many of the larger enemies and animals I encountered reacted like I am used to, but the humanoids showed a little more intelligence; they would move behind cover when available, attempting to find a defensible position. This added mechanic did increase the variety of encounters.


Zoidberg - Humanoids were a fan of using cover once engaged in combat. This made it more difficult to target them, but they were fairly weak and would often die in one or two hits. Enemies that could not use cover, such as wild animals, would often be more difficult to kill. Prior to engaging the enemy, it was interesting to see how some would obviously notice you, yet not attack. This made it fell like they are not all mindless creatures that want to kill, but rather guards and people looking out for themselves.

Dave - The AI seemed pretty solid other than the few (seemingly) lag related glitches I ran into such as warping or weird enemy blitz attempts. Humanoid enemies dove for cover when they could; larger enemies mostly just stood in one place. The aggro distance seemed a little small. I could run within a stone's throw of some humanoid enemies and they'd never acknowledge me. The ambient wildlife in the game is also pretty static; they don't move around or react to you (unless they're a hostile animal).

Sleeper - Depending on the type of mobs we encountered, the aggro range was different between the group of three humanoids, and the single mobs (such as aggressive animals). It was good to see the AI enemies utilizing the cover system, often hiding behind walls and boxes.


Emlaeh - I mainly encountered single mobs on Korriban. This made sense to me because at Level two, you do not have any stun or slow that isn't channeled, nor do you have any AOE abilities. The low-level beast AI, such as the K'lor'slug, didn't impress me as much as the Humanoid ones who are significantly more intelligent and reactive.

Killing a Level six was significantly more difficult than killing mobs my own level. Their health and damage seemed to increase by at least 50% compared to Level two mobs. Level six Competing Acolytes killed my Sith Inquisitor fairly quickly when I encountered them in the Tomb of Naga Sadow. I used all my Force points attempting to kill one that was a little angry that I was poking around the tomb. I did encountered significant Parries when resorting to Saber Strike.

Pete - AI in the game was fantastic. Often times the mobs would shift their positions to put my targeting at a disadvantage. I even saw one mob jump onto a box when defensively moving away from my character. I think the BioWare team has played as many MMOs as I have, and they know the biggest complaint is AI. I really feel they've got this aspect dialed in.

Animations, Visuals, and Art Style


sado - I said I liked the visuals before, but now that FlyText, the UV-like filter on lightsabers, particle effects, and texturing are all working together, it is starting to look closer to the way I think they envisioned the game looking. Lightsabers pop out from the foreground because of the UV-like filter. Particle effects look better than ever which really give you a sense of the battle and environment around you. The optional FlyText gives it a very comic-book like feel in battle. As the community sees more of this come together, I think it is something they will like.

Dover - Even in it's pretesting state, The Old Republic art style and aesthetics are taking shape nicely. The particle effects look more complex each time we see them, and the lighting continues to impress from an MMO perspective. While each person's view on TOR's stylized realism is still a matter of personal taste, you can tell the developers are zeroing in on their own high-quality, distinctive look.

In addition to the general graphical fidelity, the animations are looking much smoother. I liked many of the abilities in older builds, but now the animations connecting one ability to the next are beginning to show a similar level of polish. We are still looking at an early build and animation bugs did occur, but if it continues this progression it should be silky smooth by the time the game launches.


Zoidberg - As I played through the demo, I noticed that the animations had greatly improved over the last year. Characters had smoother faces as well as more realistic movements (even for stylized realism). The graphics were most likely on the highest setting, but still you could see how room would be made for lower end computers.

Dave - The game looks great. As far as graphics and animation style go, it's hard to beat what BioWare has produced, which isn't surprising. All of the effects were pretty polished, icons were pleasing to the eye, etc. I probably belong to the camp that doesn't believe graphics make the game, so while nice, the aesthetic quality of the game wouldn't sway my choice to play or not.

Sleeper - The animations of the Bounty Hunter were smooth and very fast paced. The standard attack shot five blaster bolts into the enemies very quickly. The wrist rocket ability showed the Bounty Hunter raise his arm and fire the projectile from his wrist. Once it hit the target, the "boom" of the Bounty Hunter was shown, a nice sized explosion.


Emlaeh - The Lightning Drain ability had an animation that was much improved from the one visible in the Sith Inquisitor's HoloNet combat tactics page. I liked how the animation quickly tucked my Training Stick away and used both of my character's hands to perform the attack, a la Darth Sidious. By far the coolest animation is for Meditation: your entire body turns red and particle effect smoke steams from you.

Pete - Art style looked good to me. The models were well rendered and the animations on the models were fantastic and very fluid. I could move and the animation would stop; the action looked smooth and visually stunning. I love the fact that BioWare has transitioned the content from concept art and trailers into the game itself. The devil is in the details, and there is no doubt BioWare hasn't skipped a beat.

Dialogue System


sado - Listening and reacting to quest text has never been so much fun. Even with the "World Quests" being much like sidequests, I found them to be thoroughly enjoyable simply because I was able to react to what was going on. However, when I encountered a World Quest on the Smuggler that I already experienced on the Trooper I did skip the dialogue, much like I did on repeat play throughs of Mass Effect.

Dover - BioWare's focus on story is one of the truly unique parts of The Old Republic, and I think the dialogue system is the hook that will make sure players care about it. Story is great, but feeling engaged by the content of that story is key and the full voice over work in combination with the dialogue choices really made me feel engaged. Much like the side quests in KotOR and ME, I actually understood why I was out to kill targets or retrieve items. This narrative connection to your quests and decisions could do wonders to how personally invested players will be in their character and the dialogue system is at the root of it all.

Zoidberg - If you played Mass Effect, you will know what to do in The Old Republic. The conversations drew me in with the incredible voice acting before prompting me with a few options to choose from in the wheel. While it seemed fairly obvious it a response was good or evil, the exact wording would change between the short choice and the spoken response. Of course if you don't want to listen, I found the spacebar works just as well.


Dave - A dialogue system in an MMO is pretty awesome, and it does give the game a nice single player feel. The voice-overs especially are incredibly detailed and immersive. They have definitely made a significant improvement on the WoW model of receiving quests.

Sleeper - The dialogue system seems to keep things moving at a very nice pace by allowing you to select your answer prior to the NPC being finished talking; this makes the breaks between who is talking seamless. The options were well worded and you knew what would result out of picking the choice. Picking save the kitten would not result in you shooting the dog.

Emlaeh - The quest dialogue at Level two was about the same length compared to my Level six Trooper experience: maybe three to four choices to make in a single conversation. In a group there is a timer for decisions, so if one player doesn't make a decision, the other person's choice is the default.


Pete - The dialogue system is a really cool element added to a multiplayer game. When in a group, a countdown window pops up prompting all members to enter a green circle around the NPC within two minutes or they won't be a part of the dialogue cut scene. Members were allowed to click a button opting out of the conversation and the person who initiated the scene was able to choose to proceed even if all members were not yet present; these two options should make it much easier for groups to continue progressing even if one player is too far away or not interested in participating. Once in a conversation, rolling happened after each person selects a choice; if the user abstains, the others roll for a chance at the dialogue.

Questing Systems

sado - Questing worked much like it does in previous MMOs, however now you can accept your quest rewards anywhere for some of the quests. I was not completely clear if they all work this way, but it appeared that you could complete these quests where and when you want. This was very convenient, and could help casual players in their decision making process when it comes to equipment.

As for the rest of it, I kept getting World Quests that worked along side my personal story quest. Each time I progressed the main story, I would often find World Quests that would involve doing something on the way to my main story objective. This helped me stay engaged while traveling to the places I needed to get to. STORY SPOILER**By the time I ended my playthrough I discovered that I was on my way to meet Harron Tavus from the Threat of Peace webcomic series**END SPOILER. Only time will tell who else we will meet from the various forms of media associated to the game.


Dave - Questing was pretty standard: receive quest objectives, perform quest objectives, turn in quest. I did not like how the minimap handled quest objectives as it did not actually point me toward my quest if I was too far away (this may have just been an issue on my end). On the other hand, the up and down arrows that told you if your objective was above or below you were very nice. All in all, the beginning quests I performed weren't really new or exciting. Just your standard introductory fodder.

Sleeper - After accepting the first quest, a quest helper-esque system appeared to be in place. Indicators were displayed on the mini and world map. There was also a tracking system in place that would track your progress on the quests you had selected to do so.

Pete - The questing was very intuitive, however I did get stuck at a point before Sean came over and showed me how to use the map system. I found the magnification of the map was fantastic, again kudos for the devil in the details. I did not enable the quest helper system, but was able to zoom in and out of the map. I was able to complete several quests and even got a chance to choose different kind of phat loots related to my class.


Zoidberg - Grouping is an efficient way to quest and level, as it makes killing enemies in the open world easier. Along with the ease of killing, social points are awarded for completion of quests in groups. While the function is still unknown, they likely would be used as a way to encourage grouping with others. While dialog can get bogged down if you need to wait on members to arrive at quest givers and to make choices, it can be smooth if everyone is on their toes.

Sleeper - Grouping was pretty basic in its current state. The real area it shined was in the quest dialogue area. However, I did find it was much easier to kill an elite with a friend instead of doing it by yourself.


Emlaeh - I couldn't see Target of Target when I clicked on the nameplate of Pete's Sith Warrior. The Sith Warrior didn't get XP (experience points) when I was off in a different area. When killing same level mobs together, Pete's Sith Warrior pretty much chewed them up to the point where I couldn't do much but instant attacks. There seems to be a familiar aggro mechanic based on primary and secondary damage done to a target: if Pete barely touched a mob, I could pull that mob off him with either Shock or Lightning drain.

Pete - I was able to partner up with Em, who was playing Sith Inquistior; we were both playing on Korriban, in the Sith Force user starting area. We were able to do several activities including several interactive cut scenes. I loved the dynamic of the Sith Warrior and the Inquistior in combat. Em was able to stand back and dispatch ranged attacks, while I swooped into combat, drawing the agro from the mobs. I know BioWare has said forever that combat will feel epic, but I was seriously giddy like a school girl.


E3 was a great experience for the entire Darth Hater staff, and as you can tell we are still abuzz about everything we learned. As we move through the rest of the 2010 convention season, we plan to continue bringing the TOR community all of the facts, speculation, and impressions that you have come to expect. To quote Daniel Erickson, "Hate on!"
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Aristile on July 08, 2010, 06:44:55 PM
I don't know what I'd do without raktus. I'd actually have to go search for my info XD. Keep it coming raktus, the community very much appreciates it! ^_^
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 09, 2010, 01:57:56 PM
SWTOR Compare MMO Quests combat and more (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX0LqCz0ywk)

I know most of you will be particularly interested in about minute 6:20 on
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on July 09, 2010, 02:09:34 PM
SWTOR Compare MMO Quests combat and more (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX0LqCz0ywk)

I know most of you will be particularly interested in about minute 6:20 on

Looks like its going to be a great single player RPG! Still dont see much MMO anywhere though.
I'll most likely buy it, play through the story and cancel when I'm done.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 09, 2010, 02:30:36 PM
Friday Update: Game Testing Starts Officially
by emlaeh, posted July 9th, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Sean Dahlberg, Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Community Manager, officially announced the start of game testing today (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3471039#edit3471039):

Game Testing for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ is underway! Those selected to test will gain access to the game and be able to provide valuable feedback to help us tune particular areas of gameplay and begin the process of balancing and tweaking our content.

Game Testing is an on-going process being rolled out in several phases. These phases began with smaller, more focused tests with community members from North America, and later will expand to other territories. Users selected for the test program will be notified via email with more information on accessing the Game Testing Portal. If you've not been chosen yet, you may be selected in the next wave!

If you haven't signed up already, its definitely not too late! If you're not already a member of the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ community, click here to become one today! (http://www.swtor.com/tester) Be sure to check the box to indicate you are interested in becoming a tester. If you're already a member, go to the Game Testing Portal (http://www.swtor.com/tester) to begin the sign up process. Note that you must be at least 18 years of age to accept the Game Tester Agreement.

Please keep in mind that there are no guarantees that you will be selected once you have completed the sign-up process. For more information about testing Star Wars: The Old Republic, take time to read the Game Testing FAQ.

Were looking forward to your help in making Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ a success!
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: cogzwell on July 10, 2010, 02:03:03 PM
I admit.... i'll probably going to get sick of watching people talk so.... anyone know whether or not i can just click through? Fast forward maybe?
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Eid on July 10, 2010, 02:25:19 PM
You can press space, just like in other Bioware games

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 10, 2010, 05:27:34 PM
Unrelated, but still must see's:

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Ambrosiius on July 14, 2010, 11:11:06 AM

I would sell my first born,

I just started to read this post and Raktus becareful what you wish for as this video below will show you :)

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 19, 2010, 01:00:31 PM
GameSpot Interview: Composing Music for The Old Republic
by Dover, posted July 16th, 2010 at 6:57 PM

GameSpot (http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/starwarstheoldrepublic/video/6268560?tag=topslot;thumb;1)  added to today's musical theme with a video focusing on composing the music for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. This video focuses on the nuts and bolts of creating the themes players will see in game and offers a great deal of insight into the minds behind the music. Although the video does not contain any gameplay footage, there are plenty of interesting comments for any audiophiles in the community. When you combine this series of interviews with today's update, anyone who loves the sounds of Star Wars may want to consider today an official holiday. For those of you that are looking for more information on the audio of The Old Republic, be sure to read our own interview with the LucasArts audio team.

Possible planet reveal.


There seems to be more to this video then just music composition. This image appears to reveal that Corellia will be in The Old Republic.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 19, 2010, 01:05:17 PM
Friday Update: Music & Sounds of The Old Republic, Blood of The Empire 7
by Dover, posted July 16th, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Sean Dahlberg, Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Community Manager, posted in the official forum today, giving us a heads up about three new pieces of content for this Friday. This massive update includes a Developer Dispatch (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=170026), a Developer Blog (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=170025), and a new issue of the Blood of the Empire webcomic (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=170024).


Working dissection coming soon.
Our exciting news day starts with a new Developer Dispatch video focusing on the music of The Old Republic.

The emotional experience of Star Wars™ comes to life in new music created exclusively for The Old Republic. From soft melodies that ring in the forest of Alderaan to the magnificent booming of a battle scene on Ord Mantell, a talented team of composers, musicians and developers came together to create a magical score for the game.

Watch Developer Dispatch: Music of The Old Republic to see what goes into weaving the familiar Star Wars riffs with a new original score. And learn how music impacts the thrilling moments in video games as well as movies.

The second new content continues this focus on the audio in The Old Republic with a developer blog (http://www.swtor.com/news/blog/20100716_001) by Orion Kellogg, Audio Producer for LucasArts.

When you consider the legacy of Star Wars, what you hear has indeed moved and excited its fans: the orchestral score, the Cantina music, Chewie's roar, and the pew-pew of a blaster rifle instantly take us to a galaxy far, far away...

For anyone interested in learning more about the Audio of TOR, we encourage reading our interview with the LucasArts audio team.

Last, but certainly not least, Sean revealed the seventh issue of the Blood of the Empire webcomic:

In the seventh issue of Blood of the Empire™ (http://www.swtor.com/media/webcomics/blood-of-the-empire/act2?comicpage=15), Teneb Kel finds himself beaten and bloodied in the aftermath of the Lenico colony's destruction. Trapped on a strange planet, he must draw upon the ancient Sith arts in order to ensure his survival--and to learn the secrets he needs to resume his vendetta against Exal Kressh.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 20, 2010, 09:34:54 PM
MSNBC has posted a short video on Star Wars: The Old Republic which features short clips with Greg Zeschuk and Blaine Christine. There isn’t anything new revealed, but may be worth a look if you are interested in seeing a more mainstream viewpoint of the game.

Watch the video here! (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30501433/vp/38314246#38314246)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 20, 2010, 09:50:08 PM
Drew Karpyshyn's Schedule at Comic-Con
by sado, posted July 20th, 2010 at 9:05 PM

Drew Karpyshyn, writer on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, posted his schedule for Comic-Con (http://www.comic-con.org/) San Diego. The "Beyond Solo: Crafting the Multiplayer Story in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ (http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci10_prog_fri.php)" should sound familiar for those following the Dev Tracker as Sean Dahlberg mentioned it as one of the events for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ at Comic-Con however Drew Karpyshyn's list includes some that may be new to you. The list is contained after the jump for those interested.

Thursday, July 22nd
7:30 - 9:30 pm
Hanging at the Random House party at Jolt n' Joes (http://www.joltnjoes.com/).

Friday, July 23rd
1:00 - 2:00 pm
Star Wars™ Day: Beyond Solo: Crafting the Multiplayer Story in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ (http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci10_prog_fri.php)
Join me, James Ohlen and Alex Freed (both also of BioWare) as we discuss the trials and tribulations of writing the multi-player story for this incredible MMO.

Room 7AB: Get there early - seating may be limited!

4:00 - 5:00 pm
I'll be signing copies of my books at the Random House/Del Rey booth (1514) in the main Exhibit Hall (http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_exhib_3.php#R). There will be advance copies of Mass Effect: Retribution (http://www.amazon.com/Mass-Effect-Retribution-Drew-Karpyshyn/dp/0345520726/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273516332&sr=1-1) on sale, along with other titles.

5:00 - 7:00 pm
BioWare Meet the Devs
Join me and other BioWare folk at Dick's Last Resort (http://www.dickslastresort.com/domains/sandiego/) for drinks, snacks and oh-so-witty repartee.

7:00 pm - 12:00 am
Getting funky at the WOWIO (http://www.wowio.com/) Comic Cruise down by the marina.

Saturday, July 24th
10:00 - 11:00 am

Another round of book signings at the Star Wars™ pavilion by the Random House/Del Rey booth (1514) in the main Exhibit Hall (http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_exhib_3.php#R). Rumor is they may have some free giveaways for REAL Star Wars fans... though you didn't hear it from me.

That's it for my scheduled appearances. If anything else comes up last minute I'll post it on my Twitter (http://twitter.com/drewkarpyshyn) account.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 21, 2010, 01:31:53 PM
Fatal Alliance Out Now in Hardback and Dissection
by Staff, posted July 21st, 2010 at 12:16 AM

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance was released today in Hardcover. Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance is available for purchase at Amazon for $13.50 (as of posting). Working dissection (Warning: Spoilers Ahead) of the book after the jump.
Working Dissection

Exact page numbers coming soon, working off our notes from our galley proof at the moment. More will be added to this list over time, make sure to keep checking back for future updates. Feel free to add a comment if you find anything worth noting and we will add it with credit.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 23, 2010, 04:29:30 PM
Darth Hater at San Diego Comic-Con
by Staff, posted July 23rd, 2010 at 3:09 PM
Darth Hater will bring you coverage of Comic-Con all throughout the day. Keep your eyes peeled and F5s stomped for incoming news on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. Our Comic-Con schedule includes live blogging of the 1:00-2:00 PM PST Beyond Solo: Crafting the Multiplayer Story in Star Wars: The Old Republic panel, featuring BioWare developers James Ohlen, Alex Freed, and Drew Karpyshyn.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 23, 2010, 04:41:05 PM
Direct from the SW:TOR Forums: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=173964

First, thank you to all of you who participated in our Comic-Con Reveal mission (http://Comic-Con Reveal mission)! While we didn't quite make the numbers, we definitely saw how excited the community is about this and how everyone came together. After all of that, there's no way we could hold back with our special reveal at Comic-Con!

If you’ve been following the news coming out of the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ panel at Comic-Con International (http://www.swtor.com/news/news-article/20100709_001), you’ve heard the announcement that we will indeed have Space Combat as part of the TOR experience! But what does that mean? Space combat is an alternative gameplay experience to the primary game of storytelling, questing, and ground-based combat. In space combat, you fly your personal ship to various “hot spots” on your galaxy map. From there, you will blast your way through asteroid fields, enemy fighters, frigates, destroyers, and a variety of other obstacles that will evoke memories of some of the great Star Wars™ space battles.

To learn more, pick up the October 2010 edition of PC Gamer (http://www.pcgamer.com/category/magazine/) which hits newsstands starting August 17th for screenshots and an exclusive interview or check back with us in the weeks to come.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Feriluce on July 24, 2010, 01:48:35 PM
Combat? In space? Now this is interesting! My interest in this game just rose by 100%. Lets hope they make it great and not horribly boring.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 24, 2010, 03:40:00 PM
Comic-Con: Sean Williams Interview
by Misenus, posted July 24th, 2010 at 1:09 PM

After attending the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Comic-Con panel (http://darthhater.com/2010/07/23/darth-hater-at-sdcc/), we met up with Sean Williams (http://www.seanwilliams.com/), the writer of the new Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ novel Fatal Alliance. We were lucky enough to ask the Australian author a few questions about his new book and what it is like to work on the expanding narrative of The Old Republic™.

How is your first trip to Comic-Con?

SW: It is my very first one, and it is fantastic. It is overwhelming, exciting, and really brilliant. I'm still jet lagged and haven't had enough sleep.

Do you know if Star Wars™: The Old Republic™: Fatal Alliance is going to be number one on the New York Times Bestseller list?

SW: I don't know -- no pressure at all! I hope so. On the back of the game, and the magnificent trailers of the game, people's interest in the game, and hopefully interest in the book that I wrote as well... I'm hoping it will come out of the box really strongly. We'll see next week.

Your new book, Star Wars™: The Old Republic™: Fatal Alliance, released last week. This title looks to be the first in a long line of novels and stories revolving around a relatively untouched period in Star Wars™. What are the different challenges or rewards for writing in the Old Republic era versus The Force Unleashed, where there is a heavy canon precedence?

SW: The great thing about writing both books was that they were kind of exploring areas that hadn't been really explored before. It gave me the opportunity to poke into the Dark Times with The Force Unleashed was fantastic. But The Force Unleashed was written from a script; it was a very tight story and there were certain things we couldn't talk about because of the possible canonical problems.

It was a very different experience to write Fatal Alliance, where it is a MMORPG and everybody who plays the game has their own character and their own story. The character classes have their own arcs. There is a galaxy full of worlds that the action takes place in. There was no simple story to write. That made it very hard, and we had to find the right story that captured the essence of The Old Republic for the players. But it made it very exciting because we could do anything. As long as we captured that essence, it will be awesome. If the game does well, and there is enough interest in the first two Old Republic books, I think they could publish dozens of books, hundreds of books because it is such a rich, interesting era.

BioWare and LucasArts show remarkable consistency in maintaining the vision and themes behind The Old Republic, with ships, characters, and items showing up repeatedly throughout their marketing. How did this focus on uniformity impact your writing?

SW: Sometimes we knew something was going to be in the game but there was no art yet, which made it interesting and difficult at the same time. But the wonderful thing about writing for Star Wars™ -- any Star Wars™ novel -- is that you have a team of continuity people in the background waiting to correct your mistakes or supply stuff to inspire you if you ever get stuck. I always knew that if I didn't know something about a particular world, I could always email Leland Chee or Rob Chestney or my editors... all the fantastic guys. It is like standing on the top of a pyramid; all the people underneath trying to hold you up. My name is on the cover but it really is a team effort.

Which Fatal Alliance character story or point of view did you enjoy writing the most?

SW: That is a good question. I'm asked that, and I really struggle with it because one of the great things about this book is that all the characters apart from some of the characters that appear in the game... all the point of view characters, new characters that I created specifically for this book and I love them all. Even on principle I can't say that I like the Jedi characters more than the Sith characters because I really like the Sith characters too. One thing I really wanted to do with this book is capture the journey of the player from the very beginning right through. So these characters are at the beginning of their journey as well; they are undergoing conflict, they are learning, they are changing.

Right out of the box, they are iconic.

SW: Yeah, and that is one of the complicated things writing forStar Wars™ too. You're writing iconic material that is also fresh and new at the same time. And I want my readers to really fall in love with these original characters because in a sense this is a first for me in Star Wars™. I got to write second view secondary characters, but this is my first Star Wars™ novel where I create my own characters from scratch, and I really wanted to do it well. And I really want everyone to fall in love with them so I can come back and write more stories about them.

The biggest plot twist in Fatal Alliance was getting the Imperials working with the Republic against a common threat. Can you describe the writing process behind that?

SW: Isn't it terrible to say that I can't remember? I can't remember where that idea came from. I can't remember at what stage we had that idea. I know we went through several different story ideas before we settled on this one, and it isn't an amazingly new idea, but I wanted to see it happen. I wanted to write it; I wanted to put all the characters in a situation of conflict where they had to really assess everything about themselves and make Empire and Republic work together, making Jedi and Sith work together. Putting these characters into a situation they would just hate really, really appealed to me because it brings out the best and the worst in them sometimes. I don't think it breaks the idea of the Republic and the Sith being such mortal enemies; I think it demonstrates it more than anything. It was a huge amount of fun, and I really enjoyed it because it is good to screw your characters over (laughs).

What is the class you are most likely to play in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™?

SW: Whether I play the game or not would depend entirely on how busy I am because I know the game is great. I saw demos, and I could cheat because I know the story arcs. I know it is going to be absolutely brilliant, but I also know I wouldn't stop playing it. Once I start, it could be the end of my career. I really have to balance that out.

I love all the classes too! I will say this: the one class I wasn't very interested in at first was the Trooper class. But as soon as I read the Trooper arc, I thought "wow. That is a really great story."

They are the lynch pin of the Republic story.

SW: They are. They are the guys holding it together. And I invested so much into my Trooper character but I think I will actually play a Trooper. Unless they changed it on me, which I'm sure they haven't because we worked very closely with them to make sure the story arcs in the novel didn't give away too much of the story arcs in the game but captured the same kind of energy or essence as well. So I'm pretty sure it hasn't changed very much from what I read and it is a great story. They are all great; they are all terrific stories.

We can't wait for the next books from you.

SW: Well, you don't have to wait long for the next one; it is October for the Force Unleashed II.

Right in time for the game to come out.

SW: People will love that too. I think the game will be amazing.

Thank you so much Sean.

SW: My pleasure. It was great talking to you.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 24, 2010, 11:29:26 PM
Storytelling in The Old Republic: News from Comic-Con and Fatal Alliance Excerpt
By Pablo Hidalgo

On Friday, room 7AB at San Diego Comic-Con was packed with an eager audience to hear any news about Star Wars: The Old Republic. They didn't have long to wait, as Studio Creative Director and Lead Designer James Ohlen kicked things off with the subject of starships. "If you're going to have starships, you're going to have to have something to use your gun turrets for," he said. "So yes, we are going to have space combat in The Old Republic." Ohlen pointed people to the October issue of PC Gamer which will have more information.
For those not up to speed with the latest on The Old Republic (AKA SWTOR), the masssively online multiplayer roleplaying game from BioWare and LucasArts is set thousands of years in the past of the Star Wars galaxy. The galaxy is caught in a tug for power between the Republic, guarded by the Jedi Knights, and the Sith Empire. "We're bringing BioWare storytelling to the game, so that means full cinematic voiceover conversations. It means we have story where choice matters, where you can go to the light side or dark side," said Ohlen.

BioWare's key strength, reflected by titles like Baldur's Gate, Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR), is story. To allow for full immersion into a world where the player feels their choices affect the outcome of events, BioWare has had manage an immense web of storytelling paths, complete with hundreds of thousands of lines of dialogue.

"For me it's been an incredible experience," said principal writer and Star Wars author Drew Karpyshyn. "This is the largest writing team we've ever had at BioWare, and it's such a strong writing team. Every player class gets a story about the size of KotOR. Even bigger. And you have eight classes, so you get KoTOR III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X, and other types of stories besides the single player experience."

"There is a multi-player element," continued Ohlen. "When you're in a group and playing our game, you can actually engage in a conversation with NPCs together as a group. It's really cool to see. You have everyone in your party trying to say a line during dialogue, so you get conversations where you'll have a Smuggler saying something witty, and the Trooper being the military guy, and the Jedi saying something wise, and the NPC can react to all these different characters speaking to him."

Ohlen described the types of stories found in the game. The Player Quests are the personal tales, while World Quests are part of the backdrop of the various environs. "They're very similar to our classic BioWare one-off quests," said Ohlen. "You come across a guy who has a problem, and you help him solve that problem." The World Arcs are sharable stories that can be completed as a group, or individually, and are available to all classes. As an example, Ohlen compared Luke's personal story of wanting to become a Jedi Knight as a Player Quest story specific to Luke's class. The overall conflict -- the Battle of Hoth, and over the Death star -- those would be World Quests and World Arcs. A Flash Point is a group-only story that can be completed in about an hour of play. "It's very similar to what you might call a dungeon in another MMO," said Ohlen.

For a taste of various types of quests, classes and factions, and how they interact against a larger galactic canvas, those interested in The Old Republic are encouraged to pick up a copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance, the new hardcover novel from Del Rey Books by Sean Williams. The book features a Sith warrior, a Jedi Knight, a smuggler, a bounty hunters, a Republic trooper and more caught up in intrigue, on a quest that may indeed threaten the stability of the Republic. Continue reading below for an excerpt of the novel, which is available in bookstores now.

Eldon Ax licked her wounds all the way to Dromund Kaas.
The damage to her body was most easily treated. Many of the cuts and gashes she left to scar naturally, believing as her Master had taught her that a lesson quickly forgotten is a lesson poorly learned. The rest she treated with the help of the medkit built into her interceptor's cockpit, avoiding painkillers and anesthetics completely. It wasn't pain that worried her. That was good for her, too.

The damage done to her confidence would take much longer to heal -- not to mention her prospects of advancement. Darth Chratis would see to that. It didn't matter that her record on solo missions had been perfect up to this one. It didn't matter how highly she had been awarded by the Sith Academy. All that mattered was success. The interceptor burst back into realspace and the Empire's grimfaced capital, Kaas City, hove into view.

"I will kill you, Dao Stryver," Eldon Ax swore, "or die trying."

* * *

The debrief went as badly as she feared.

"Tell me about your mission," her Master instructed in clipped tones from his meditation chamber. Ax had been admitted into his presence before his morning rituals were complete, and she knew well how that annoyed him.

She bowed and did as she was instructed. Her Master doled out orders with an unbendable desire to test her willingness to obey. She knew better than to outright defy him, even when she was doing her best to keep her failure from him.

It was during her mission that the Mandalorian had found her. And it was this encounter she did her best to conceal from her Master, inasmuch as that was possible.

"Tell me more," said Darth Chratis, rising slowly out of his sarcophagus. In order to focus most effectively, he occupied at least one hour a day in a coffin-like shell that allowed no light or air, forcing him to rely solely on his own energies to survive. "You have not sufficiently explained the reasons for your failure."

She couldn't read his mood. His face was a mess of deep wrinkles and fissures from which two blood- red eyes peered out at the world. His knife-thin lips were twisted in a perpetual sneer. Occasionally, a tongue so pale it was almost transparent appeared to taste the air.

"I will not lie to you, Master," she said, kneeling before him. "While infiltrating an enemy cell, my identity was revealed and I was forced to defend myself."

"Revealed?" The bloodless lips twitched. "I do not sense the foul stink of the Jedi about you."

"No, Master. I was exposed by another -- one whose people were once allies in our war against the Republic."

That was the gambit she had settled upon, to turn the blame for the incident back on the person who had caused it.

"So." Darth Chratis stepped free from the confines of his sarcophagus. The soles of his feet made a sound like dry leaves being crushed.

"A Mandalorian."

"Yes, Master."

"You fought him?"

"Yes, Master."

"And he defeated you."

This wasn't a question, but it demanded a response. "That is true, Master."

"Yet you are still here. Why is this?"

Darth Chratis stood directly before her now. One withered claw reached down to touch her chin. His fingernails were like ancient crystals, cold and sharp against her skin. He smelled of death.

She looked up into his forbidding visage and saw nothing there but the implacable demand for the truth. "He did not come to fight me," she said. "This I believe, although it makes no sense. He asked for me by name. He knew what I am. He asked me questions to which I knew no answer."

"He interrogated you?" That prompted a frown. "The Emperor will be displeased if you revealed any of his secrets."

"I would rather die a lingering death at your hands, Master." Her reply was utterly sincere. She had been a Sith in training all her life. The Empire was as much a part of her as her lightsaber. She would not betray it to a pack of prideful mercenaries who worked with the Empire when it suited them.

But how to convey the truth of this to her Master when it was here, on this critical point, that her story fell apart?

"He asked me nothing about the Empire," Ax told her Master, remembering the scene with grueling clarity. Her assailant had disarmed her and pinned her with a net resistant to all her efforts to escape. A dart had paralyzed her, leaving only the ability to speak. "He did not torture me. I was wounded solely in self- defense."

She held out her arms to show Darth Chratis the injuries she had sustained.

He regarded them with no sign of approval.

"You are lying," he said with ready contempt. "You expect me to believe that a Mandalorian hunted down a Sith apprentice, interrogated her, asked her nothing about the Empire, and then left her alive afterward?"

"Were I lying, Master, I would be sure to do so more plausibly."

"Then you have become unhinged. How else can I explain it?"

Ax lowered her head. There was nothing more she could say.

Darth Chratis paced across the angular narthex in which he conducted his audiences. Displayed on the walls around him were relics of his many victories, including bisected lightsaber hilts and shattered Jedi relics. Absent were the tributes to his many Sith enemies. Although Darth Chratis hadn't earned the fear and respect of his peers simply by outperforming them, he didn't boast about those he had forcibly removed from his path. His reputation was enough. Only one in three apprentices serving under him survived their training. Eldon Ax wondered breathlessly whether the time had come for her to join those who had failed. Her life had been too short -- just seventeen years! -- but she wouldn't raise a hand to defend herself, if her Master chose to end it now. There would be no point. He could strike her down as easily as swatting a fly.

Darth Chratis stopped, turned to face her again.

"If this Mandalorian of yours didn't ask about the Emperor's plans, what did he ask you?"

At the time, the questions had puzzled her. They still puzzled her now.

"He was looking for a woman," she said. "He mentioned a ship. The names meant nothing to me."

"What names, exactly?"

"Lema Xandret. The Cinzia."

Suddenly her Master was standing over her again. She gasped. He had made no sound at all. The cold, strong grip of the Force was back at her throat, pulling her irresistibly upright until she was standing on tiptoes.

"Say those names again," he hissed.

She couldn't wrench her gaze away from his. "L- Lema Xandret. The Cinzia. Do you know what they mean, Master?"

He let her go and turned away. With two swift gestures, the ruin of his body was wrapped from head to feet in a long, winding cape, as black as his soul, and his right hand gripped a long, sharp-pointed staff.

"No more questions," he said. "Come."

With long strides, he left the room.

Eldon Ax took a long, shuddering breath, and hurried in the wake of her Master.

* * *

The sorting and storing of Imperial data was a growth industry on Dromund Kaas, albeit one kept carefully hidden from view. Vast inverted skytowers drilled deep into the jungle's fertile soil, entombing centuries of multiply redundant records tended by tens of thousands of slaves. Extensive compounds spread out around the entrances, maintaining the highest possible security. To one of these compounds Darth Chratis led Eldon Ax.

He offered not a word of explanation throughout the long shuttle flight from Kaas City, and she endured his silence with something like relief. At least he wasn't berating her. Her mission had become a complete failure. She'd had to practically hack her way to the spaceport and off the planet -- but not before running a search through landing records in recent days. There she found a reference to the Mandalorian. He had the temerity to travel under what appeared to be his real name: Dao Stryver.

Once again she renewed the vow to see him humbled as she had been, no matter how long it took. Perhaps death was too good for him.

A quick one, anyway.

Darth Chratis commandeered a private data access chamber seventy floors beneath the surface of the world, one equipped with a giant holoprojector, and ordered that the two of them not be interrupted. Ax trailed obediently behind him, increasingly mystified. Not once in her years of training had he shown any interest in this aspect of Imperial rule. Interstellar bookkeepers was his derogatory term for those who preferred service in the data mines to a more direct pursuit of power. She went to sit in the data requisitioner's place, but he waved her aside.

"Stand there," he said, pointing at a position directly in front of the screen and taking the seat himself.

With brisk, angular movements, he began inputting the requests. This as much as anything convinced her that events were taking a very strange turn indeed.

Menus and diagrams came and went in the giant screen. Ax found it difficult to follow, but she sensed that her Master was leading her through the vast and convoluted structure that was Imperial records to one location in particular.

"This," he said, tapping the keyboard with finality, "is the recruitment database."

A long list of names appeared in the screen, scrolling by too fast to read.

"Every person to enter the Sith Academy is listed here," he went on. "Their names, origins, bloodlines -- and their fates, too, where applicable. The Dark Council uses this data to arrange matches and to anticipate the potential of offspring. The fortunes of numerous families rest on the nature of this data. It is therefore protected, Ax. It is very secure."

She indicated her understanding, thus far. "I'm in there," she said.

"Indeed you are, and so am I. Watch what happens when I input Lema Xandret."

A new window appeared, showing a woman's face. Round-featured, blond, keen eyes. It meant nothing to Ax. The space below the picture was filled with words highlighted in urgent red. At the bottom of a long list of entries were two bold lines:

Termination ordered.
File incomplete: target absconded.
Ax frowned. "So . . . she was a traitor? A Republic spy?"

"Worse than that. We keep fewer records on the Jedi than we do on people like this." Darth Chratis swiveled in the seat to face her. "Tell me, my apprentice, what happens when a Sith is recruited."

"The child is removed from its family and placed in the Academy. There its life begins anew, in the service of the Emperor and the Dark Council -- as mine did."

"Exactly. It is a great honor for a family when a child is selected, particularly if their bloodline has not been so honored before. Most parents are pleased, as they should be."

"And those who are not are executed," she said. "Was Lema Xandret one of them?"

A cadaverous smile briefly enlivened the withered landscape of Darth Chratis's face. "Exactly. She was something unremarkable -- a droidmaker, I think. Yes, exactly that. From a long line of unremarkable droidmakers, with no trace of Force sensitivity. She produced a child with the potential to be Sith, and so the child had to go." Ax's Master didn't show amusement often. It disturbed her more than his rage.

"The file says ?target absconded,'" she said.

"First she tried to hide the child -- a late bloomer, who she feared would not survive training on Korriban. When that failed and the child was taken anyway, she ran with the rest of the child's family -- uncles, aunts, cousins, anyone at risk from reprisals -- and has never been heard of since."

"Until now."

"From the mouth of a Mandalorian," Darth Chratis said, "to your ears."

"Why me?" she said, sensing that her Master was studying her closely. "Because my family attempted to hide me, too?"


"What I was before I met you is unimportant," she assured him. "I am untroubled regarding my family's fate."

"Indeed. I trained you well." Again that desiccated smile. "Perhaps too well." He leaned closer.

"Look here, Ax. Into my eyes."

She did so, and the red horror of his gaze filled her.

"The block is strong," he said, and it was as though the words came from inside her head. "It's standing between you and the truth. I release it. I release you, Ax. You are free to know the truth about your past."

She staggered back as though struck, but no physical force had touched her. A silent detonation had gone off in her mind, a depth charge deep below her conscious self. Something stirred there. Something strange and unsuspected.

Ax looked up at the picture in the holoprojector.

Lema Xandret stared back at her with empty eyes.

"She was your mother, Ax," her Master said. "Does that answer your question?"

Numbly, Ax supposed it did. But at the same time it posed many more.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 24, 2010, 11:29:36 PM
* * *

Darth Chratis used the chamber's holoprojector to conduct a secure audience with the Minister of Intelligence. Ax had never met the minister before, nor seen him in any kind of communication, but the immense trust her Master showed by allowing her to remain in the room was utterly lost on her. Her head still rang from the liberation from her Master's conditioning. Not because of what it revealed, but because of what little difference it made to her.

Her family's lack of Force sensitivity had been the one thing of which she was certain about her life before becoming a Sith. She had assumed that her family had been killed, but that had never bothered her. She had certainly never worried about it, and it wouldn't have bothered her now but for one thing.

The block was removed. Memories should have come flooding back about Lema Xandret and her early life.

But there was nothing. Block or no block, there was nothing left. Lema Xandret remained a complete stranger.

With half a mind, she attended to the conversation her Master was having with the minister.

"That's why the Mandalorian sought to interrogate the girl. She's a potential lead."

"A lead to Xandret?"

"What other conclusion can we come to? She must be alive -- in the same bolt- hole she fled down in order to evade execution, I presume."

"What would the Mandalorians want with her?"

"I don't know, and the fact that we don't know makes it vital that we find her first."

"As a matter of principle, Darth Chratis, or Imperial security?"

"The two are often inseparable, Minister, I think you'll find."

The man on the screen looked uncomfortable. His was the highest rank any mundane person could attain in the Empire's intelligence arm, yet to a Sith Lord he was considered fundamentally inferior. Disinclined he might be to acknowledge that a single missing droidmaker warranted his attention, even one who tried to hide a Force-sensitive child from the Sith, but to disobey was inconceivable.

Then a thought struck him, and the conflicted look on his face eased.

"I wonder," he mused, tapping his chin with one long digit. "Just yesterday, a report arrived from our informer in the Republic Senate. The Hutts claim to have gotten their hands on something valuable, and they think the Senate would like to bid for it. Against us. I searched diplomatic dispatches and learned that we've received exactly the same offer, but couched in the opposite terms, of course. Ordinarily I would dismiss such an approach as unworthy of attention, but the fact that it came from two widely different sources does lend it some credence. And now this."

"I fail to see how the Hutts are connected. They are compulsive liars."

"Undoubtedly. But you see, Darth Chratis, this is where it gets interesting. The ship from which the Hutts claim to have retrieved this mysterious, ah, artifact, data, what have you -- that ship is called the Cinzia. And I note in the file you accessed that this is the girl's birth name."

Darth Chratis nodded. "There must be a connection."

"That the ship was named after Lema Xandret's daughter and a Mandalorian is asking after both of them? I think so."

"But it helps us very little without knowing what the Hutts are auctioning." That took some of the triumph out of the minister's expression. "I will pursue that information immediately, Darth Chratis."

"I trust you will, Minister, as a matter of principle."

The long- distance audience ended with a shower of static. It took Eldon Ax almost a minute to realize. Disconnected phrases filled her head like birds, looking for somewhere to roost.

. . . a potential lead . . .

. . . named after Lema Xandret's daughter . . .

. . . the girl's birth name . . .

It occurred to her only then that the name she thought of as hers was nothing but a version of her mother's initials.

What have you been doing these last fifteen years, Mother?

"Tell me what you remember, Ax."

"I don't want to remember, Master."

"Why not?"

"Because it's nothing to do with who I am now. So what if Lema Xandret was my mother? If I met her tomorrow, I probably wouldn't recognize her. I've never known her, never needed her."

"Well, you need her now, Ax -- or at least, you need her memories." Her Master came so close, she could feel the deathly cold of his breath. "It appears that knowledge of Lema Xandret and her missing droid makers is important to the Mandalorians. That means it's important to the Empire, too, for what strengthens another weakens us. Anything you can remember about your mother's whereabouts might be crucial. I therefore suggest you try harder. To reward you, I will put the block back in place afterward, so the memories will disappear again, like they never existed."

"All right, Master," she said, although her head hurt at the thought.

What if nothing came? What if something did? "I'll try."

"You'll do better than try," Darth Chratis told her with chilling finality. "In ten standard hours I expect to be standing before the Dark Council with you beside me. If you let me down, both of us will suffer."
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 25, 2010, 10:27:41 AM
Comic-Con 2010: Beyond Solo Panel
It is online for those who want to watch it.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 25, 2010, 02:10:54 PM
Comic-Con: Drew Karpyshyn Interview
by Misenus, posted July 24th, 2010 at 8:21 PM

Star Wars™ authors were out in force at the San Diego Comic-Con, and we were on hand to pry as much information from them as we could. In addition to Sean Williams, we sat down with BioWare staple Drew Karpyshyn to learn more about crafting stories for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.

Many BioWare and Star Wars fans are familiar with your work. Could you please give us a brief rundown of the titles and IPs you worked on as an introduction?

DK: I started at BioWare in 2000. I came in right at the tail end of Baldur's Gate II, and I was a writer on Baldur's Gate II, Throne of Bhaal, and the Neverwinter Nights series. I was the lead writer on Knights of The Old Republic, Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 2. And I have a few books out: some Mass Effect novels, some Forgotten Realm novels, and the Darth Bane Star Wars novels set in the Old Republic.

So to recap, what did you guys reveal at the panel?

DK: Today we did reveal that there is going to be space combat in the game; we didn't give any details about it but you can learn more about that in the upcoming PC Gamer. But the other thing we talked about was multiplayer story, and how we're going to do story with multiple players of the same faction enjoying the story.

During the panel you mentioned that the Mandalorians will be a part of the Bounty Hunter class story line; how involved will they be? Also, can you give us any more information about how prominently they will be featured in the over arching galactic story?

DK: We obviously can't go into too many details, but the Mandalorians are an integral part of the Bounty Hunter class story. They are also, as the Mandalorians are wont to be, a very powerful faction in the galaxy. They like to get their gauntlets in everyone's business, so they will feature quite prominently in Star Wars: The Old Republic. And if you are a fan of the Mandos, I think you are going to really like it.


We know that each class story will vary greatly, dealing with different areas of the galaxy and different objectives. We know the Mandalorians, the Hutt Cartel, Jedi Council, House of Organa, etc. are integral parts of the game. What are some of the challenges writing with established faction or group lore in mind?

DK: One of the great things about Star Wars is that you have this deep rich history of established conventions and groups you can refer to. But one of the challenges of working with those groups is that you still have to respect them. Treat them with respect... treat them in a way that is new and fresh but doesn't change them from what the fans know and expect. And we have a little bit of a different challenge because we're set obviously before the movies. We have a long time period of about 3600 years, so we're able to get away with some stuff we couldn't do if we were set ten years before the movies. But we can't wipe out House Organa, for example: they still need to be around. So we always have to be aware of the consequences of what we're doing in our story and how it will impact down the road the story that people love from the films and other works.

Can we look forward to any other familiar factions or groups as part of either another class story, something more faction specific, or world story arcs?

DK: One of the things we do at BioWare is take what we call "touchstones" from the Star Wars universe, and we like to play on them, add to them, make them fresh. One thing we're trying to do is bring back some of the familiar stuff from Knights of The Old Republic. It is set 300 years later, so not everyone survived, but... let's say that some of the people might have survived. I can't go into specifics, but fans of the Knights of The Old Republic will encounter things that they have seen before in new ways and see how things have gone. I think they'll really enjoy it. So you're going to see a lot of stuff you've seen before in new ways, and I think you'll really like it.

We also learned that space combat will be in Star Wars: The Old Republic. From a writer's perspective, did you encounter any new challenges or surprising freedoms when weaving space combat into the omnipresent story focus of The Old Republic?

DK: We announced it today, but we've known for awhile obviously. And it is one of those things that we weren't one hundred percent sure, but as writers, we knew it was an integral part of the Star Wars universe. You can't have Star Wars and not have space travel. So we always were writing with it in the back of our minds and working it into the stories. A huge part of Star Wars is going to all these locations, and everyone that watches the movies knows you don't just jump in the Millennium Falcon, fly to your destination and get out. There is trouble along the way. So we incorporated that into some of the stories and into some of the Flashpoints. We were working on it, and now we can finally officially say it, and release the reins to let it run.


The Star Wars universe is extremely deep and diverse with years of canonical history. Most single player games are only able to show players a relatively small narrative slice of such an immense story. How is working on a massive title like The Old Republic different from a writer's perspective?

DK: One of the big things is that you get the good and you get the bad. We have this huge established universe. You don't have to spend time explaining how a lightsaber works because everyone knows. They know the things you can do with a lightsaber. The flip side is that you want to present something fresh, so if you're going to do something with a lightsaber no one ever saw before, you better make sure it fits into the established continuity and established rules of the universe. And let's be honest: everyone knows the Star Wars fans take it seriously. You can't play fast and loose with the rules. Because it is such a huge universe, we're never going to be one hundred percent. There is all this different media working, and sometimes you get these little conflicts that have to be retcon'd. But we do our best to make sure we respect what is established, respect the work that is done before, but still give you something fresh and new. That is one of the great things about working in the Star Wars universe.

Keeping with this massive theme, you worked on both Mass Effect games and wrote three novels set in that universe, the third of which "Mass Effect: Retribution will be released next week. Has the experience of expanding the history and lore of Mass Effect altered how you write large scale history and plot lines, such as the ones we will see in The Old Republic?

DK: It is a little bit different obviously, because Mass Effect we started from the ground up. But we spent the first year establishing this baseline trying to create what already existed in Star Wars, which is this sort of existing history, existing culture, and existing knowledge that fans bring into it. So the first Mass Effect game, we had to establish that. But once we got to the second game, it felt very much like writing in the Star Wars universe where we have all this stuff we've set up and people understand it. Now we run with it, we build on it, and that is really where the fun begins. It is fun to build a world, but personally, I have more fun -- once it is built -- playing inside that world. Because that is what we want the players want to do too... play inside the world.

Story as the "fourth pillar" was the leading charge of the original marketing behind The Old Republic. What difficulties or differences can you tell us about crafting a high quality story for a massively multiplayer game?

DK: I can't honestly think of a more difficult way to tell a story. Let's be honest: it wasn't easy. It is a challenge we love. One problem is just scope. There is so much content in a massive multiplayer game. BioWare games are known for their massive amounts of story and dialog, but we had to do ten times as much as any game we've ever done to fill up a massive multiplayer universe. Second thing is that you don't have one single player making decisions. You have thousands, hopefully millions of people making decisions in this universe. We have to find a way to control it so that you feel like your decisions have an impact, but you don't want to ruin it for everyone else, and two, we don't to lose control. So those were some really unique challenges that we never encountered... certainly on that scale in any of our other work. I like to think we pulled it off, but it was hard. It was really hard work.

If there are errors in a book, you can go back and re-read your book to catch whatever you can catch. There is only a linear path through a book you can take. But with a game, how do you catch plot holes and errors in writing?

DK: With our branching dialog and branching errors, the only way to catch mistakes, errors, bugs, and things like that is with massive amounts of testing and QA. BioWare is very lucky; we're a company that has its own internal quality assurance and testers. Unlike other companies where they are kind of part time positions, they are full time. You can make a career, advance, and make a salary that respects how hard you work at BioWare in the QA department. That is very rare in the industry. They have to test so many branches and options and combinations... things we can't even imagine. There are players who are like "I did A and then B, but then I went back and did A again because you didn't lock it off. Then I did Z and.." And we're like "oh good lord, what is going on?!?" The only way to catch it is brute testing. We have documents that we try to track it all and plan it out beforehand; we've gotten fairly good at it over the years but things are always going to slip through and we really need the help of our testers. We test our own games, too... we play the hell out of our games. Which isn't the worst thing in the world -- they are fun so it is alright.

How involved are you in determining side quests?

DK: When BioWare first started, we were a much smaller company. Things were more simpler back then too. The writers were also designers, or what we would call world designers now. We would do a lot of that scripting, placing things, setting them up. With the sort of the advance in the technology, and the growing of our company, now a writer will work with someone who is designated as a world designer or technical designer to implement this plot. So we write it up, and give it to them. They read through it, then they give us feedback on what will work or what won't work, neat game mechanics they can do, then we work with them. Then we write it out in detail, then they take it and implement it. Then we get back together with them and kind of go through it to see if they can add anything to it or anything we can add to it.; things that didn't work, change it. So we really work in teams now, and I think that is the wave of the future in the industry. People are becoming more specialists. So as a writer, you know the theory of how it is all supposed to work, but the skills to actually make it work in a particular engine... they unfortunately slipped away from me. I can't do what I used to do. Back in Neverwinter Nights, we did a lot of our own scripting, but things have changed.


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was your first credit as lead writer and a huge critical success and fan favorite. What did you learn from crafting story in KotOR that helped you work on The Old Republic?

DK: One of the great things we learned when we worked on Knights of The Old Republic is there is this mass audience desire to know more about the history of Star Wars before the movies. Honestly, before we did Knights of The Old Republic, there were some people who speculated that nobody would care because it is characters they don't know. We realized people love Star Wars... you love the movie characters, but you love Star Wars itself. And that was one thing we really discovered when we did KoTOR. So we learned that as long as you respect the IP and respect Star Wars as people know it, you can still build on it, add to it... you know we kind of explored the history in ways it hadn't been done before, but as long as you do it in a way that doesn't disregard what comes later or what comes before, the fans love it. We're fans too, so we know what we like about Star Wars and there is a lot of common ground. If we go after what we like, the fans respond and that is the best part about working on this.

Of the eight classes in game, do you have a favorite? Which class would you choose to play?

DK: I can take the easy way out and say my favorite is the Jedi Knight because I did the majority of the writing. But honestly, the other thing I can say is that I kind of like the Sith classes because of my Darth Bane experience... I feel like there is a little something there. One of the things that is interesting when you work on a game is the thing you like the best often is what you didn't do. So I love the Smuggler class, I love the Agent class. They are the ones that get some of the best lines; they get to do some of the really tricky thinking, scheming, and thinking outside the box. I really look forward to playing those. It is hard when you work on the game for so long to not spoil yourself, so unfortunately, I won't get that experience the players will get when there are all these great surprises. But even knowing a lot of the story and all that, I'm really looking forward to playing them partly because I didn't work on them.


Do you get tired of the stories you wrote or played through a lot?

DK: You know, by the time it comes out, you've played through it so many times that it is hard to go back and play it. That is why with The Old Republic, I'm looking forward to playing the classes I didn't work on; they'll be fun to play because I haven't seen it and I'm not as familiar with it.

The other thing is, when you develop something... people will sometimes ask me about a book or a game I worked on, and I'll have trouble remembering. "Well, you wrote it... how come you can't remember?" And I'll be like, "I wrote ten versions of it. And in nine of those versions, what happened isn't what you saw. You only have to remember one version -- I've got nine versions running in my head. After awhile, they meld together and it is hard to remember because there is so much change and polish. Or that didn't work, let's rewrite it. It can be better!" It does get to a point where at some point, you kind of have to let some of that go, or your brain just gets overwhelmed. By the time when I'm done with a project, I'm like... I'm done! Time to move on!

You have a very prolific writing career. You written for video games and novels obviously. What do you feel is the differences between writing for prose, interactive fiction, comics, etc.?

DK: I think the biggest difference is obviously the player interactivity or what we call "player agency." For me, I think reading a book or watching a movie almost like watching sports. And playing our games is more like playing sports. You can love to play basketball -- it doesn't mean you love to watch basketball. But you can love both. I really think they are that different.

There are a lot of writers who come into games that don't understand this need to let players have some control, have some impact, and throw themselves into the story in a very different way. Because it feels like it is affecting you directly when you are playing a game. Especially our types of games, our roleplaying games, where you are creating a character and embody that character. Whereas with a story, you are interested in what happens to a character in a book or game. You can have sympathy for them, but it doesn't necessary feel like it is you that this is happening to. So I think you get more of an intense feeling in a game.

The flip side is because you have more control as a player, we have to understand we're going to have less control over the story. So we have to give you more options to do, but we can't go as deep into what the ramifications of them are. In a book, it is easier to get inside a specific character's mind and really take them on this really complicated story arc. We can't do that in a game because a player might say "well, I'm not going down that arc. I'm going down this arc." So I look at games as being very wide, where I look at something like a novel as a chance to not go as wide but to go much deeper. That is the difference to me; there are similarities but I think a lot of writers don't appreciate how different they are.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 28, 2010, 06:44:27 PM
10 million sales is BioWare's new target
By James Orry - 28/07/2010 - 1:08pm GMT

In a marketplace where one game can sell 25 million copies.

10 million is the sales target BioWare is aiming to achieve with its future releases, studio co-founder Dr. Greg Zeschuk has told VideoGamer.com (http://www.videogamer.com/news/in_the_house_with_dr_greg_zeschuk.html).

At the Develop conference in Brighton earlier this month Zeschuk spoke about BioWare's fortune to have had a few "minor" hits. But if the likes of Mass Effect and Dragon Age are considered minor, what's needed to be classed as a major one?

"Well, we need to sell 10 million units," said Zeschuk. "That's actually the new target, right? We do Top 10 games, our stuff is quite successful. I know Mass [Effect 2] is number eight so far this year, in North America.

"Sometimes I'm facetious when I say some of those things, knowing that we can sell a few million but seeing that someone else can sell 25 [million]. You're kinda like, 'Well, that's a hit!' We always joke that if we only do half as well as Blizzard on Star Wars: The Old Republic, we'll be quite satisfied.

"We've been very fortunate. I always joke about that, but..."

Zeschuk added that he's under no illusion that BioWare is in a position few other studios find themselves in.

"I think we know how lucky we are," he explained. "When we're saying that, we always know that we're super-fortunate that we have a nice combination of things going on - really great support from EA, a budget to make great big giant games. We recognise that in a sense it's a privileged position we're in."

BioWare is currently working on continued DLC for Mass Effect 2. The studio has also announced Dragon Age 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic for release in March 2011 and spring 2011, respectively.

You'll find the full interview with Dr. Greg right here (http://www.videogamer.com/news/in_the_house_with_dr_greg_zeschuk.html).
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on July 30, 2010, 09:03:22 AM
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 01, 2010, 11:24:03 AM
Friday Update: Nar Shaddaa
by sado, posted July 30th, 2010 at 10:08 AM

This week's Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ update is a planet update in the form of Nar Shaddaa:

Sean Dahlberg (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3720446#edit3720446) said:
Circling the planet Hutta is its largest moon Nar Shaddaa, the ultimate corrupt city. Dominated by underworld concerns and owned by the Hutts, this sprawling mass of skyscrapers is considered one of the most dangerous and exciting places in the galaxy, where anything can be had for the right price.

Access the HoloNet to learn more about Nar Shaddaa (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/planets/nar-shaddaa). Check out this video (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/planets/nar-shaddaa#flythrough) to see the endless city that covers the moon's landscape. Also, don't forget to visit the media section (http://www.swtor.com/media) for never-before-seen screenshots, concept art, and wallpapers showing this capital of illegal commerce.

The Cantina Boaaaat!

Also included in this week's update is a new issue of Blood of the Empire (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3720440#edit3720440) and information on the Threat of Peace in print (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3720443#edit3720443). Working Dissection and decoded Aurebesh after the jump.

Working Dissection


Decoded Aurebesh

Moon of Corruption
Shadow Town
Vrblthers (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Vrblther) (Credit: LegoBlock)
Entirely Dependent on Illegal Commerce
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 04, 2010, 06:46:43 PM
Faction Lore: Czerka
by Orionark, posted August 4th, 2010 at 1:14 AM

The Czerka Corporation (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Czerka) is very well known to fans of Knights of the Old Republic™. The company played large parts in both games, always serving as the epitome of corporate corruption. Thanks to the HoloNet (http://swtor.com/info/holonet), we know that Czerka left its mark under the sands of Tatooine (http://swtor.com/info/holonet/planets/tatooine), but what they worked on remains a mystery. We know from general lore that Czerka does not simply fade away after Knights of the Old Republic 2™, and records of its actions and examples of its equipment in stories during and after the Galactic Empire tell us that it should certainly be alive and kicking during the Cold War. Read on for a little bit of history, and you'll see why we believe Czerka will play a large part in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.



The Czerka Corporation is a galaxy-spanning corporate arms dealer. Active since the early days of the Galactic Republic, they are known for their corrupt business practices, exploitation, and extermination of indigenous species on remote planets. In most conflicts involving the Sith and the Republic, Czerka has universally sided with the Sith, although on numerous occasions they have been known to weasel their way back into the Republic should the opportunity for profit present itself.

The Czerka Corporation is credited with the initial discovery of Kashyyyk (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kashyyyk), dubbing the planet G5-623, or Edean as it came to be known by stockholders. The company quickly embedded itself within the Wookiee tribal society, and started the Wookiee slave trade. The company would establish chieftains with the help of Czerka munitions and mercenaries, and in return the puppet leaders would provide Czerka with slaves. During this time, Czerka was also responsible for hunting many native Kashyyyk species to near extinction, such as the tach. Thanks to the actions of a reformed Revan (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Revan), the chieftains were dethroned and Czerka was eventually driven off of the planet.

Czerka next set its sights on Telos IV (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Telos_IV), hoping to profit off of the reconstruction efforts after the planet was nearly destroyed during the Jedi Civil War (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jedi_Civil_War). Czerka supplied workers and equipment in exchange for the rights to pillage the ruined planet of salvageable equipment. The company clashed with the Ithorian (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ithorian) clan managing the restoration, and utilized its connections with the Exchange (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Exchange) to commandeer several restoration zones on the planet. Thanks to the influence of the Jedi Exile during her visit to Telos IV, Czerka's operations were halted and their control over the restoration project was severed.


Czerka also had a substantial interest in the ore beneath Tatooine's sands. The company started many small mining installations on the planet's surface, Anchorhead (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Anchorhead) being the most prominent. The company was dismayed to learn that the "valuable" Tatooine ore that it sought after was a mirage, corroding not long after it had been mined, making it useless for long-term construction projects. Czerka soon abandoned its mining operations, however Tatooine's harsh climate and remote location made it perfect for the company's secret weapons division. Several underground facilities were built for testing purposes, but for unknown reasons, Czerka simultaneously abandoned all of its operations on Tatooine.


Not much is known about the internal structure of Czerka, as they tend to be very secretive about their operations. The head of the organization is the President, and several corporate officers were seen in both Knights of the Old Republic games. Employees seem to have a very autonomous relationship with the company, for example Dern (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dern), a patrol officer, was allowed to poach tach within the Shadowlands (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Shadowlands) of Kashyyyk, seemingly at the company's behest.

Czerka is not at all beneath allying itself with other shady organizations. The company has known ties to the Exchange, as well as the Sith, even alongside their dealings with the Republic. Czerka tends to go where the profit is, even without regard to the galaxy and its inhabitants. Perhaps one reason for their continued existence even beyond the Galactic Empire era is their willingness to set morality aside to turn a profit.


The Czerka Corporation served as an important antagonist faction in both Knights of the Old Republic games, and we know their products are still around during the Galactic Empire era thanks to Boba Fett's Czerka ZX Miniature Flame Projector (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Czerka_ZX_miniature_flame_projector). It is entirely probable that Czerka would align itself with the Sith once again during the Great War (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Great_War) and provide many of the Sith army's weapons and equipment. It is also possible that much of the Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent equipment may be Czerka branded.


Thanks to Tatooine's holonet page, we know Czerka was very active on the planet before the Great War, conducting secret experiments in underground bases. For unknown reasons, the company quickly abandoned their efforts and left their facilities unmanned. According to the HoloNet, the Sith Empire is well aware of Czerka's undertakings on Tatooine and is actively uncovering their secrets. Czerka also appears to have a foothold on Nal'hutta (http://swtor.com/info/holonet/planets/hutta), seemingly poaching indigenous species as they did on Kashyyyk. The Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent story lines involve a mission (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BDAelZKWi4&playnext_from=TL&videos=RwQAIwwdWaQ) from Nem'ro the Hutt (http://swtor.com/info/holonet/biographies/nemro-hutt) that requires them to kill a Czerka employee. Perhaps their animosity is an extension of the war between the Exchange and the Hutts on Nar Shaddaa (http://swtor.com/info/holonet/planets/nar-shaddaa).
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 06, 2010, 05:16:55 PM
Friday Update: New Timeline Entry, Playable Species Reveal
by emlaeh, posted August 6th, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ revealed the latest Timeline record, The Mandolorian Wars (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/timeline/mandalorian-wars), plus a few more playable species (http://www.swtor.com/news/news-article/20100806): the Sith Pureblood, the Miraluka, the Mirialan, and the Zabrak.

Adding to the Twi'lek Smuggler, Rattataki Bounty Hunter, and the Chiss Imperial Agent, the classes are paired with the new species as follows:


When questioned (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3791094#edit3791094) about the definition of the Zabrak's horns in the image above, BioWare's Sean Dahlberg responded with something interesting regarding character creation:

While we haven't gotten into Character Creation yet (publicly), there are a variety of things you can adjust and customize for each of the species.

Dahlberg later commented a bit vaguely about playable species restrictions:

There are combinations we haven't confirmed. James recently talked on this subject at Comic-Con International, though, and announced that there will be some restrictions. For the time being, the combinations we have announced you can count on. What other combinations will there be? That's an update for another day...

Official DevTracker announcement text regarding the species reveal (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3790411#edit3790411):

So far we've only dropped hints about the range of playable species in Star Wars: The Old Republic. You may have heard about the Chiss Imperial Agent or the Twi'lek Smuggler, but we can tell you now that all classes will include optional non-human species.

Learn More! (http://www.swtor.com/news/news-article/20100806)

BioWare also revealed the latest installment of the Timeline series, BTC 311 - The Mandolorian Wars (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3790413#edit3790413):

The Mandalorian Wars included some of the bloodiest battles in the Republic's history. Mandalore the Ultimate's relentless campaign to goad the Jedi into open conflict cost the lives of millions. Though the entrance of a Jedi splinter faction into the war is perceived as the factor that turned the tide against the Mandalorians, the perseverance of Republic soldiers and pilots like Carth Onasi cannot be underestimated. Jedi Master Gnost-Dural's historical investigation analyzes the conflict with the perspective of modern events, highlighting the implications for the war against the Sith Empire.

BTC 311 Too often, the Mandalorian Wars are characterized solely as a prelude to the Jedi Civil War, but the events surrounding the conflict itself bear close examination. When Mandalore the Ultimate called together the clans and began augmenting his armies further with Neo-Crusaders, his intention was to pull the Jedi Order into open conflict. As is the tradition in their culture, the Mandalorians sought to establish themselves as the most powerful faction in the galaxy by defeating the faction they considered to be their greatest rivals. Though the Jedi Council resisted the Mandalorian challenge, the splinter group led by Revan and Malak eventually joined the fray and won the war. Though there has never been a hint that the Sith were involved in the Mandalorian Wars, new analysis from Jedi Master Gnost-Dural suggests that the influence of the dark side was involved. The bittersweet victory in the Mandalorian Wars took a toll on the Republic for which the price is still being paid to this day

Watch the latest Timeline holorecord, The Mandalorian Wars (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/timeline/mandalorian-wars) narrated by actor Lance Henriksen. You can also download a high resolution version (http://www.swtor.com/media/clips/mandalorian-wars) of this video.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 16, 2010, 09:30:41 PM
Friday Update: Jedi Knight Advanced Classes and BotE Issue 9
by Dover, posted August 13th, 2010 at 10:35 AM

The Friday update is here and we receive a bevy of information on top of everything we may learn at Celebration V (http://darthhater.com/2010/08/12/darth-hater-at-star-wars-celebration-v/). First off on this double header, Sean jumped on the official forums to let us know about the Jedi Knight advanced classes.

Sean Dahlberg said: (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3871696#edit3871696)

As part of our ongoing class updates, we are thrilled to confirm the Advanced Classes for the valiant Jedi Knight Guardian and Sentinel! Whether you want to defend the weak and inspire your allies to amazing feats as a Guardian or learn the art of using two Lightsabers simultaneously to create an intricate web of damage as a Sentinel, the Advanced Class system in Star Wars: The Old Republic will help you customize your character. Check out the Jedi Knight (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/classes/jedi-knight) section on the HoloNet for more information! Check out the media section (http://www.swtor.com/media) to see a new video of the Jedi Knight in action (http://www.swtor.com/media/trailers/jedi-knight), and download some never-before-seen screenshots!

Weve also updated the Biography section with someone indispensable to the Jedi Knight Astromech T7-01! Visit the HoloNet to learn about this known associate from the Jedi Knight holorecord, or by accessing the T7-O1 biography (http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/biographies/t7-o1).

Along with confirming many long standing bits of speculation regarding companion characters and class rolls, this update adds another revamped holonet page to be scoured for new clues and hints. However, we mentioned it was a double header and it looks like our friends at Dark Horse are showing us a little more story with the next issue of the Blood of the Empire webcomic!

As a special bonus, this issue of the webcomic officially reveals the preview panel we received for our one year anniversary!

Sean Dahlberg said: (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3871689#edit3871689)

It's the beginning of the end in the ninth issue of Blood of the Empire (http://www.swtor.com/media/webcomics/blood-of-the-empire/act3?comicpage=1). Teneb Kel awakens from his vision with a new understanding of the danger he faces--but is there still time to stop Exal Kressh's plot against the Emperor from coming to fruition? And meanwhile, what's going on with Maggot and the Jedi Padawan...?

Check out the latest issue of Blood of the Empire now! (http://www.swtor.com/media/webcomics/blood-of-the-empire/act3?comicpage=1)

Aurbesh Translations



Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 16, 2010, 09:36:12 PM
SWCV: Live Blogging From The Art and Writing of SWTOR
by Staff, posted August 13th, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Darth Hater's live blogging from Friday's The Art and Writing of Star Wars: The Old Republic direct from Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, FL and pictures of the progression of the concept art detailing a green lava planet after the jump.


After closer inspection of the last timeline video, we're leaning towards this concept art possibly being one of Malachor V (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Malachor_V). Stay tuned for more updates from SWCV, and come back tomorrow for a live feed from the encore panel.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 16, 2010, 09:39:35 PM
SWTOR Nominated For Best of Gamescom, Best Online Game Awards; Gamescom, PAX Details Revealed
by emlaeh, posted August 13th, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Although Darth Hater is currently entrenched in Star Wars Celebration V until we turn our attention to Europe next week, Electronic Arts issued a press release (http://investor.ea.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=499039) today stating Star Wars: The Old Republic is nominated for both Best Online Game and Best of Gamescom awards.

The release also details the EA Press Briefing at The Palladium, Schanzenstrae 36, Gebude 197, 51063 Cologne on Tuesday at 4PM. A live stream of the press conference will be available here (http://live-event.ea.com/gamescom/live/), and there will be a public SWTOR show floor presence throughout Gamescom.

Official DevTracker announcement about Gamescom and PAX states there will be public hands-on opportunities at both events; full schedule after the jump.

Sean Dahlberg said: (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=185594)

The Events page (http://www.swtor.com/events) has been updated!

GAMESCOM, AUGUST 18 - 22, 2010

Touting 245,000 attendees last year, GamesCom is known as the worlds largest gaming convention. Were excited to be presenting The Old Republic at this years GamesCom in Cologne, Germany for our first worldwide consumer hands-on event! Its going to be incredible -- Don't miss it!

Visit the Star Wars: The Old Republic booth in Hall 6.1 at Booth B066 to get another look at Hope on the big screen, and to see all the exciting things were showing off. The trailer will also be shown multiple times per day at the EA booth, so be sure to stop by!

The Old Republic Booth Schedule Hall6.1, Booth B066

  • Wednesday, August 18th, 9AM - 7PM CET (Press Only)
  • Thursday, August 19th, 10AM - 8PM CET
  • Friday, August 20th, 10AM - 8PM CET
  • Saturday, August 21st, 9AM - 8PM CET
  • Sunday, August 22nd, 9AM - 6PM CET


LucasArts and BioWare unite on stage once again at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in Seattle, WA. Were giving PAX attendees an exclusive in-depth look at Star Wars: The Old Republic! Dont miss your chance to be the first to hear and see new details about this MMORPG on the main stage in the Benaroya Hall Main Theater on Saturday, September 4th from 5:00PM to 6:15PM.

Also, be sure to visit the LucasArts booth (Booth #152) to get your hands on The Old Republic!

The Old Republic Booth Schedule Booth #152

  • Friday, September 3rd, 10AM - 7PM PDT
  • Saturday, September 4th, 10AM - 6PM PDT
  • Sunday, September 5th, 10AM - 6PM PDT
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 16, 2010, 09:44:02 PM
SWCV: Saturday SWTOR Panel Live Blogging
by Staff, posted August 14th, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Darth Hater's live blogging from Saturday's The Art and Writing of Star Wars: The Old Republic direct from Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, FL after the jump.

UPDATE: Regarding the Felucia and Endor controversy, we have it confirmed from on site that both planets were used as an example of how things are designed larger than life in the Star Wars universe to give a reference point of scale, not that anyone should think that either planet was in the game.

Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 16, 2010, 09:47:07 PM
Interview: Drew Karpyshyn on The Jedi Knight
by sado, posted August 14th, 2010 at 8:39 PM

As an addendum to yesterday's reveal of the Jedi Sentinel and Jedi Guardian, we were about to wrangle some additional details about the Jedi Knight class from Drew Karpyshyn, BioWare's Lead Writer.

Read on for the follow up to our Comic-Con interview with him to find out his take on what went into creating the Jedi Knight, and debunking the perceived Sith bias in BioWare and LucasArts' marketing efforts.


We spoke with you last time about crafting the general stories in Star Wars: The Old Republic. In light of the information found in PC Gamer, we wanted to focus this time on what makes a Jedi Knight the Jedi Knight. Can you elaborate on how BioWare approached the Jedi Knight from a design standpoint?

Drew: One of the interesting things about the Jedi Knight is how iconic it is for Star Wars. Lightsabers are what I think of when I first think of Star Wars. We know the Jedi Knight story was explored quite a bit, so the thing we wanted to do is get you something that captures the experience, but is still very fresh and very new. And the iconic figure from the movies that I think represents this style of Jedi Knight is Mace Windu. I think this is your Jedi Knight role model... right? This is the guy. He is badass with a lightsaber, he follows the code, he knows what it is all about and he knows what he wants to do to get stuff done. So that was our guideline.

With that guiding our design, we set out to say, "okay now, let's put this character into some situations that fit into our Old Republic time frame." The story needs to fit into this time of war between the Republic and the Empire where the Republic is sort of in a difficult position. The Empire, as everyone knows, sacked Coruscant as we see in the Deceived Trailer. This is tough for the Republic, and this is a guy who doesn't want to sit by while the Dark side does it's thing. He is not going to sit on the sidelines, but he also has to respect the peace treaty that is set up. He is not going to run off on his own and start breaking rules because he is a Jedi -- he does not do that.

That is where we set up this situation for him, and we had to be respectful of that. We didn't want to slip into some of the things that maybe wouldn't feel like a "Mace character." We don't want to have him become this rebel that defies the Jedi Council because that isn't really what the Jedi Knight story is. Now, having said that, of course as a player you can take it in all different directions and you can go down a darker path as you can in most BioWare games... but you'll still be a Jedi Knight.

Where the moral choices are concerned, we saw Dark side points and Light side points in gameplay demos. With this in mind, we see many similarities between the Sith Warrior and Jedi Knight, so what are the differences between those two stories from a morality standpoint? What makes a Dark side choice for a Jedi Knight different from a Dark side choice for a Sith Warrior?

Drew: Obviously, as you alluded to, they are in many ways opposite sides of the same coin. But, we wanted to go a little bit further in differentiating them. We don't want it to just be, "you're a Jedi Knight if you pick A, and you're a Sith Warrior if you pick B." We didn't want to go in that direction. So they both have their own unique story, of course as all our classes do, and what we did was focus on the framework of the story they are set in.

For example, the Sith Warrior is in a very different environment. He is in an environment where cutthroat ambition is encouraged and his masters are looking to challenge him in a way that if he fails, he dies. It is a very different setup. The Jedi Knight is in a very different kind of environment. His goal is to be a protector. His goal is to be a defender of the Republic and to those who are unable to defend themselves. He is definitely in a hero role. The Sith Warrior is more about surviving and acquiring power, while the Jedi Knight's decisions are focused more on accepting responsibility, self sacrifice, and putting other ahead of himself while still managing to overcome the evils and horrors that assault the galaxy.

Now when you go down the Dark side of the Jedi Knight, you are basically abdicating some of this responsibility. You're becoming a little more selfish and looking out for your own interest. Now this is a Dark side path, but you are still doing it within the framework of working for the Jedi Council and opposing the Empire. You are never saying you are going to join the Emperor; you still want to stop him. You're simply taking a different path to your goals. Whereas the Sith has totally different goals. It is really what your goals are in the story and in the character arc that define your class, how you go about getting there is the dark side light side part, but your goals are ultimately going to be very different from a Sith Warrior's.

I think that confirms that there is no mirroring between the story arcs.

Drew: There is none. There are planet stories that are faction specific, so everyone on a faction will have the same planet story, but each faction will have a unique story for each location. Every class has their own class story that follows you throughout the game and there is no mirroring. Even between the Jedi classes there is no mirroring, let alone between the Jedi and the Sith. They are unique characters. You all have your own motivations; you all have your own end goals. Very different.

What are some of the challenges in creating such a deep story experience with no mirroring?

Drew: One of the challenges is, "how do you keep this fresh and new, and make eight different versions of a Star Wars-feeling story?" Now different classes have different stories; Han Solo's is not the same as Luke's. To go back to our Jedi Knight example, Mace Windu has his own story which is different from anybody else. One of the challenges was to take it and come up with a story that still felt like a Jedi Knight story, but be something players had not seen before.

We looked at some of the traditional stories that were done, such as the temptation of the Dark side, the fall, and redemption. Then we said, "how can we take these themes, but do them in a different way people haven't seen before?" I'll admit it was difficult. The Jedi Knight is a class Hall Hood, one of the senior writers, and I spent a lot of time working on. We're taking this very seriously and we want to make sure we get the Jedi just right. So that is the challenge: it is the most iconic image of the Star Wars universe and we want to make sure we do it right.

The rewarding thing is that we arrived at that place. Seeing what we accomplished is this great reward. Seeing the stuff we were able to put in there... I think we are going to blow the minds of the fans out there. They are absolutely going to go nuts over this stuff. I'm really looking forward to the fan reaction, especially with the forums. We read the forums and we know there are hints at us having a Sith bias. We find that quite funny because Hal and I are so focused on making the Jedi awesome in every way we can. And we know once it comes out, people will be well satisfied.

We heard there are similarities between the Imperial Agent story and things like the television series 24. Are there any outside influences for the Jedi Knight story?

Drew: If you look at the Jedi Knight as a concept, I think you have to go back to things like the knights of Arthurian legend. A character like Lancelot is the classic knight who fell and was redeemed. We looked at a lot of these classic heroic figures, these defenders, these protectors. Then we said, "how do we take this archetypal story and then make it fresh and unique?" And then really spin it in a way that fits in the Star Wars universe. We want to show people something they have not seen before in the Star Wars universe so it doesn't feel like they are just rehashing something. So we did look back at the classics. The Jedi Knight is called a Jedi Knight for a reason. It harkens back to the knights of old who did defend the kings.

Thank you for your time, hopefully the people on the forums who worry about a Sith bias will like this. A lot of people do seem to think you are ignoring the Jedi Knight and Jedi Consular, but it appears you guys are not.

Drew: We definitely are not. I know personally that we spent a ton of time on the Knight and Consular trying to get them just right. One of the reasons we did not show a whole lot is because we don't want to show anything until we are totally happy with it. Because we are holding off on that, people think we are ignoring it, but it is actually the opposite. We are putting so much time and effort into it that we weren't ready to show anything. I think with the latest update people are seeing that we are starting to reveal things like the advanced classes. The Jedi Knight is an iconic Star Wars image and we are definitely taking it very, very seriously.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 16, 2010, 09:50:34 PM
Interview: Hall Hood on The Smuggler
by sado, posted August 15th, 2010 at 9:47 PM

We sat down with BioWare writer Hall Hood to get a behind-the-scenes look at the motivations behind the Smuggler class. Read on to get a peek at how factions are designed, and what goes into creating world stories arcs on the various planets.


What is your involvement on the writing team?

Hall: I started writing out for the Smuggler class, and wrote about half of the content for that before I got to jump over to the Jedi Knight class and put quite a bit of work on that class. It was really fun, and sort of a dream come true because I got to fulfill two fantasies. I got to write for Han Solo, and I got to write for Luke Skywalker. The great thing too is that I wrote world-based content, group content, etc. and that is really fun because I did it for both factions. I get to write for all the different fantasies; I get to write for Darth Vader and Boba Fett, and Rex the Trooper from Clone Wars.

What are main influences for the Smuggler inside and outside of Star Wars?

Hall: Well, the first time I ever saw Star Wars when I was a kid, I was like, Luke? Whatever. I want to be the guy with the big giant dog that can tear people's arms off and the guy that has his own ship. I was like Han all the way-he was where I wanted to be. And, of course, that changed over time. I was like, Luke is pretty awesome, too. But back in the day, it was always the kind of sarcastic, wise-cracking character. That was, to me, was the thing that I appreciated about Han. He was funny, he never took anything too seriously, and he always kept the story exciting and he was just kind of this outrageous character. You have all these other characters who are being very serious about everything, and Han is the one who is making wise cracks while the trash compactor is about to crush them to death. Obviously, I'm a fan of Firefly. I once heard Firefly described as a television series starring Han Solo where he shot first in every episode.

Many would say that the voice of the Smuggler sounds a lot like Nathan Fillion or very close at least.

Hall: Well, obviously if you're going to create that Han Solo feel, then there is a certain way of delivering dialogue that you have to capture.

There are few people that do that very well, too.

Hall: Yes indeed. I'm very, very happy with the Smuggler voice actors. They're both terrific. It is really great to listen to these guys. Getting back to influences, I was also a big fan of the Kurt Russell character in Big Trouble in Little China, and that was always an influence. But I always had an appreciation for all of the sort of outlaw characters -- the ones who are on the fringes of the big battle. The neutral parties that get swept up in events and have to make a decision about going one way or the other with it like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. Things like that, and of course I love stories about criminals. I love Elmore Leonard stories. I love Pulp Fiction and things like that. And that is part of the fun of getting to write the Smuggler; it is drawing on all of those different influences ad then filtering them into Star Wars. It is a tremendous amount of fun.

We heard a lot about moral choice in SWTOR, especially during the panel. What goes into that as far as the Smuggler is concerned? We heard it implied that for the Imperial Agent that one side will basically be subservient to the Dark Council's wishes. And from Fatal Alliance, the other one thinks they're just a bunch of crazy freaks and they can run things better. Or some of the things Drew Karpyshyn told us about the Jedi Knight; he will still want to destroy the Empire if he goes down the Dark path, but more on his own way. Can you describe how that would be for the Smuggler, because there's no mirroring of these class choices or moral choices. How does the Smuggler approach his world?

Hall: The Smuggler's moral conundrum is always the conflict between selfish-self interest and being greedy, and doing the right thing. "Do you need those credits at any costs? Do you care who you hurt as long as you get paid?" And the reality is that the good Smugglers are the ones who are still in it to make some credits. They got to keep their freighter flying and all that. But the reality is they balance against the "well, I'm not going to hurt somebody. I'm not going to make sure that I profit and someone else suffers." And they can occasionally do the pure paladin thing of "alright, I'm going to give up my profit on this so that someone else doesn't suffer." That is the extreme example, but that is kind of where it is.

And also, in the greater conflict of the Sith versus the Republic, it is very much about how you can play a Smuggler who doesn't care about any of it. You can play that Smuggler who's like "I'm in business. I'm just going to continue to do my thing and let these other people fight it out. That is not my problem." Or you can go the very passionate privateer route, where you can decide "I'm going to lend my ship to the Republic."

Your use of name privateer... there was a game that came out in the 90s called Privateer that I was a huge fan of. The story line of a Smuggler was one of those key things that attracted me to that story. I'm glad that you use that context.

Hall: Absolutely. And also thinking back to other eras in our own history, there has always been the potential for the independents in times of crisis to jump in and lend a hand.

What were the challenges of writing the Smuggler story?

Hall: The Smuggler was fairly easy to write once we got over the biggest hurdle of trying to figure out how to motivate the Smuggler because unlike the Jedi and the Republic Troopers, the Smuggler is an independent operator and is fairly self-interested most of the time. If you look at Han Solo, he doesn't care about the rebellion and he doesn't care about the Empire either. He is just making a living. That was one of the things we had to work really hard at was justifying how the Smuggler can get involved in the same kind of adventures as a Jedi Knight or a Republic Trooper. Once we did that, from then on it was just humor and sarcasm, romance and outrageous characters, and crazy plots.

That is the other thing too... the Smuggler plots always start out as a very simple job that progressively becomes more complicated until the entire galaxy is in danger of exploding. That is Han's story; all he wanted to do was drop the old man, the whiny kid and the droids off on Alderaan. Three movies later, look where he wound up.

How involved are the writers in class combat design or developing abilities for a class?

Hall: The great thing about BioWare is that writers are part of the design process from the beginning. We work as closely as possible with all the other departments to make sure everything fits together, and everything feels like it belongs in the game. By the same token, we have an amazing group of systems designers who are incredibly smart people whose job is to come up with "how do we actually implement this in the game, and what would be fun?" We had meetings early on where we talked about the different character classes and about what their ability packages might be. And we speculated what separates a Smuggler from a Jedi Knight. How is Han's style of fighting different from Luke's or Yoda's or Rex the Trooper's? So we talk about that early on, and we have some input into this, but at the same time we have so many incredibly talented people on the team. My personal attitude is trust them to be brilliant. I know they know their stuff, and I can trust them to do what they need to do.

What is your involvement with the writing of other world stories, and what is the process that goes behind crafting those?

Hall: The reality about our world-based content is that it has to be exciting for everyone. It has to be exciting and make sense for all of the classes to be playing this and saying "yes, okay, I want to do this. I want to be involved in this." But also at the same time, they have the ability to play according to their own unique styles. And I talked about it a little bit in the presentation today: the notion of what happens when a mercenary Smuggler teams up with a goody-two-shoes Jedi Knight or a straight arrow Trooper. What happens when they need to go and deal with someone who has a problem: the Smuggler is sort of like "well, I have expenses." The Jedi might be "no, we have to go help these people," while the Smuggler is more "I don't know... do they have money?"

That is part of the excitement there. One of the primary things of making sure that any of our group is going to be thrilling no matter what character class you are playing. It will maximize your ability to play it according to how you play your role in the game. Are you a Dark side-leaning Jedi Knight? There is a place for you in the world content. We have ways for you to play through that, and maintain your character's integrity.

To create these world stories, what we do in initial stages is look at the planet we're going to create world-based content for and ask ourselves "what are the stories here? What is going on this planet, and what is the big conflict? Who are the different factions that are involved in this?" Then we allow that inherent conflict of the planet to drive what we are doing in terms of generating stories. We want those world-based content stories to tell the story of that planet. If you play the group content, then you are going to come away really understanding that planet backwards and forwards, and understand what the conflict is while also making a difference there.

Is there a formula that is standard across all of the planets where there are two main factions at conflict with one another?

Hall: We don't try to adhere to any particular formula for the planets. But good game design necessitates providing opportunities for players of any persuasion to have quests to perform and content to experience on those worlds. So yes, it is important to us to make sure that if you are with the Republic faction, you may be dealing primarily with these people, and you may be shooting those people over there. Whereas if you are playing for the Sith Empire side, your allies may be the ones the Republic are shooting at. And sometimes there is a wild card in there where everyone shoots at it. Whenever we sit down to design stories for a planet, we always want to maximize player opportunities, maximize fun, team up with who you want to team up with, and make moral choices around that.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Hope to see you in game.

Hall: My pleasure.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 16, 2010, 09:54:26 PM
Interview: BioWare's Clint Young
by sado, posted August 16th, 2010 at 3:44 AM

The Star Wars: The Old Republic development team was out in full force at Celebration V, and Darth Hater was there to hear what they had to say. Over the weekend we learned a great deal from writers Drew Karpyshyn and Hall Hood, and now our interview blitz continues with BioWare concept artist Clint Young. Hit the jump to learn just what it takes to craft art for The Old Republic.


What is your role at BioWare?

Clint: I'm a concept artist at BioWare. My time with BioWare and the Star Wars license actually started way back in 1994 when I was hired on by LucasArts. I did work for them as a conceptual artist, a rendered cinematic artist, and head of the visual effects department. I worked on a slew of titles from Jedi Knight Dark Forces 2 all the way up to Republic Commando. Then I moved down to Texas to be a part of the fantastic BioWare team that is bringing Star Wars: The Old Republic to life.

Do you use outside sources to create concept art? Can you share some details about that process?

Clint: We are a MMO, and that requires an enormous amount of art. When someone asks me how much art we do for a typical MMO, I say it is three films worth of concept art. We're talking costumes, spacecraft, environments... all the way down to what does blue milk come in. The drinking cups. What does a Sith sit in when he is at a conference. It is a massive amount of work. There are actually five concept artists at BioWare, myself included, and each of us have our own specialty. Arnie works on characters, Ryan Denning is a fantastic spaceship designer, Paul Adam does great stuff with costumes, and Diego does the most phenomenal placeables. He knows the look of Star Wars down to a tee. I'm the one who gets the blank canvas to do the larger concepts of what the worlds look like right before they kick off the start of the planet.

We do have some guys out of house that we work with and we direct them to the look and the satisfaction of the management team at BioWare. I think we had 12 to 15 concept guys going at once, and now that we are entering the last phase of the project, we're down to five major players currently.

So everyone is in their own specialty areas?

Clint: We cross-pollinate as much as we can. You can imagine someone thinking "how many Mandalorian outfits have I done? How many Jedi robes have I done?" Come over here and I'll give you a mountain to draw. So there is a little cross-pollination that goes on among the concept guys. Obviously, we get burned out drawing the same thing over again, but it is Star Wars so there is something fresh and exciting to draw on a daily basis. What guy or kid would object to being told they are drawing a Sith starship when he asks what he is going to do today? There that is that general excitement that happens to us daily when we come in and we don't know what we will work on. It could be something as cool as that, or figuring out what a Sith warlord has as his lightsaber. How do you make lightsabers cooler? It is a big task.

What goes into designing a planet?

Clint: The writing staff has an understanding of the planets, and we usually like to kick off a planet after they started writing it. By that time, they are giving me a broad overview of what is going on that planet: what kind of strife is it in, what kind of characters live there, the alien species that inhabit the planet, etc. Then after it comes to me, I do what we call quick studies about a day after reading the documentation. These are about 25 different sketches to give them the general look and feel of the planet. Then they come through and pick out their favorites. I pick my favorites, and then we kind of meet in the middle and build from there. By the time the planet actually gets kicked off and given to the world builders and designers for fleshing out, we came down to about five different large scale paintings that I gave them for each one of the regions on the planet. Be it the Imperial underground on Korriban or the Jedi Academy on Tython, each one of these areas gets broken down into its own painting that I feed to the world designers and world builders.

How much time occurs between the start and finish of the entire process to where the planet is final?

Clint: That is a good question. It is a trick question, and I'll tell you why. As an artist, you are always in love with the art and you have to divorce yourself from it. From start to finish, I gave the world designers a painting and three weeks later, I walked by their desks and thought to myself, "interesting. He has my painting up as his wallpaper." And it was the actual world itself. They nailed it so perfectly that I mistook it for my own art.

They keep polishing it past that. We're still in polish for worlds that the general public would consider done a year ago. So we're really taking the time to give players the best looking Star Wars environment ever. We're really taking the time to do it especially because this is an MMO, and it keeps getting better and better. These world builders are top notch, and every time I look at their screens, I am blown away. If I had it my way, I would say six months start to finish on a world. But that rarely happens in the gaming industry.

How much impact does the world builders, the concept artists, the animators -- everyone who works on it -- have on the process so the art style is conveyed to the player?

Clint: Everyone has their own ingredient that they bring to the pot. The soup is very colorful and tastes very good, I might add. I generally like to give the broad overview. I don't like to nitpick any concept art for any given world right off the bat because I know the world builders are going to bring something new and exciting to the page.

I like to start off with color and really rough paintings. This is what I imagine, these are the general shapes, these are the silhouettes, this is the color of the floor, and this is the kind of planet that I want. They go off and work on it. Once it gets to a point where we start testing that world, we as the concept team like to go back, play through it, and paint over the top of it to bring it to that next level. There is a lot of give and take. By the time it goes up to Design to prop it, it is an amazing piece of art. Everybody gets to add their little bit in, and right now even in the polish phases, there is still noodling on it. I'm sure the designers will add their two cents in the bucket. I know it sounds cliche to say it, but this is one of those games where everybody gets their say.

And it really is a fantastic place as a Star Wars fan because some of the stuff you put in suddenly becomes bible. When you look up something on Wookiepedia and see the stuff you designed or a screenshot from the game, you realize what kind of impact you are having on the Star Wars world. Everybody from the writers to the owners of the company contributed.

How is like working with LucasArts when it comes to concepts of the worlds?

Clint: We talk to them every day. The friendship between LucasArts and BioWare is a fantastic one. We love the IP and those guys are involved with just about every concept. As a matter of fact, every time I finish a world piece or design or drawing, it gets put into a folder to be sent to them for their stamp of approval. I wouldn't have it any other way because those guys know Star Wars as well as we do.

One of the Developer Dispatches highlighted the process from concept art to completion. Can you give a bit of insight on how the creatures are designed?

Clint: We normally have a list of skeletons we can use for each one of the creatures. For example, take something like a Tauntaun, and it becomes our base model with a skeleton. In order to minimize the amount of skeletons that we're actually using in the world, we'll go in and design twelve creatures that can exist upon the Tauntaun's skeleton. Some of them might be as simple as a black Tauntaun with a white stripe and give it a skunk look. Or we can really go to town and change the silhouette of this thing just enough to where it is a different creature, and then we populate them on different planets.

Now, that doesn't mean we are cheating the system. When I look back and ask how many skeletons we have... we have hundreds. It becomes one of those things where you are designing over the same skeleton but you can really push the envelope on how different these things look.
It starts at writing. They give us a general description of where the alien lives, what the alien eats, how does it survive, if it runs in packs, etc. -- anything you would expect someone coming up with a creature design to tell you. We take all those things into consideration, and go out to scour the internet. What I love to do is look at old National Geographic magazines. I have a slew of stuff I scanned and we start to pick out elements we like to match. Certain times it may be a camel head mixed with the body of a flying creature. Then we massage it and make it work. That is the basics for designing a Star Wars creature.

One of the points you were hammering on at the panel was the blackboard of outfits as steps of levels and progression. Can you give more information on that?

Clint: It wouldn't be right of me to say what your character is going to look like at the end of the day when you play Star Wars: The Old Republic. However, I will say that when you have thousands of different costume variations you can choose while playing the game and then level up, it becomes a question of -- especially from a concept and design standpoint -- how do you take what Obi Wan wore that was obviously at the top of the Jedi line, because that is what they all wore, and make it cooler. It is a tough, tough call because it is like someone coming to you and saying "design me a lightsaber but make it cooler." Well, there is nothing cooler than a lightsaber.

I think we've seen some of that there with the Sith Warrior and the Sith Inquisitor codpieces.

Clint: (laughing) Right. Sometimes it gets unbearably hard to really take these things to the next level. Obviously working on a MMO, it is all about "hey, look at me. Look. At. How. Cool. I. Am." So saying I'm a 40th level Sith Inquisitor... you really have to change that silhouette to make him look cool. He is so much more over the top than Emperor Palpatine ever was. And suddenly you realize we are really doing it -- we are really pushing the Star Wars envelope to places it has never gone before. This game is so phenomenal.

The stuff you all see -- it is the tip of the iceberg. When Arnie said we have blackboards full of costumes, he didn't tell you that the hallway that these reside in is roughly the size of a football field. We're talking thousands of outfits all designed by concept artists here at BioWare.

We'd love to have a high res image of that to dissect.

Clint: I would love to have a high res image of that! It would be a hell of an image.

But given that we're Star Wars: The Old Republic, it is one of the things where I really enjoy the ornate-ness of it. It is finding out a way to make that costume and that look very high level without taking it to the ridiculous level. Obviously we didn't want to go the WoW route, or the Mad Max shoulderpads as we like to call it. But we want to give the player the bling. That is what Arnie always calls it. We really take lessons from the actual films themselves, but we take them to the 100th degree... especially with the style of the conceptual artists of the films like Doug Chang and his ornate designs.

It is a slippery slope because you want to make it look good and you want to make it look high level, but you don't want to go so over the top that it takes people out of the Star Wars universe. That isn't what Star Wars is about. Especially as a Jedi; it isn't about showing off but about what can you do.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing it in 2011.

Clint: Thanks!
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 16, 2010, 09:58:40 PM
Interview: BioWare's Lead Concept Artist Arnie Jorgensen
by sado, posted August 16th, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Star Wars Celebration V allowed us to talk with multiple members of the LucasArts and Bioware teams; many of which, such as Clint Young and Hall Hood, joined us for their first official Darth Hater interview. Now we add to that list with BioWare's Lead Concept Artist Arnie Jorgensen. Read on to learn about concept art, as well as the loot and levels in Star Wars: The Old Republic.


Can you give some background on what you do and your involvement on the team?

Arnie: I'm the Lead Concept Artist, and overall, my task is vetting all the art. First at the concept level and then at the higher level to make sure it looks like it is all continued within the same universe we established. And it all looks like it is concepted and built by -- as much as possible -- one artist. It all looks uniform, and I do all of this before it is looked at by Jeff Dobson (Art Director). So I'm kind of in charge of gathering all of this stuff; making sure it is up to what we are hoping to do before final approval by the Art Director.

How much involvement does LucasArts have in the day to day development of art production?

Arnie: We work in what is called "milestones," where we have six weeks for each milestone. Every three weeks, we gather all the art we're working on, concept or otherwise, and we present it to Lucas for approval.

So far, Lucas is great to work with. I worked with them for a decade now, so I'm probably just getting good at it... I hope. I know what they are looking for, and what they will not like or nix. Sometimes we push the envelope on things where I go, "ooh, Lucas might not like this so much," but you know what? Lucas so far has been great with every game I worked on with them. They are pretty easygoing guys and we sometimes make small changes for them, but by and large, they really let us go creatively. In fact, sometimes Lucas even pushed us by saying "hey, you guys need to go further with that stuff. You're getting a little conservative here." So it is a good relationship.

That is good to hear because some of the community, for whatever reason, may feel that you might be limited by LucasArts' involvement.

Arnie: It is not that way; I haven't seen it that way at all. Sometimes they have their thing where they say, "that wouldn't happen in this time frame; you guys can't do this." Fair enough -- they have their IP to maintain. As far as visually, I haven't noticed Lucas doing anything negative. They push us even further sometimes, and I enjoy working with them.

You guys can really create this time period, and maintain the legacy from KoTOR into SWTOR. How important has it been for you guys to make sure that legacy is not tarnished?

Arnie: It is extremely important to us for one reason -- we weren't on the original KoTOR team. Now we have people like Drew Karpyshyn and those guys that were, but we really feel that we have to pick up the mantle and take over where they left off. I wouldn't call it pressure, but there is a lot to live up to. And there are BioWare standards beyond that where we really don't want to be the ones to drop the ball -- we're doing everything in our power not to. We're really making this game for KoTOR fans, so someone who really enjoyed KoTOR will enjoy the heck out of this game as well.

We saw Clint do a mock up piece today. How typical is that of the amount of time that goes into a piece like that?

Arnie: I think the level of what Clint did was exactly the level of a color mock-up we would do maybe when laying out all the planets. That is why I made the joke about "two greens, two this" because he was doing a green one at the time. But it isn't indicative of what we go into beyond that phase. When we're doing color mock-ups, what Clint did today is spot on and what we expect. Beyond that, no... we go into far greater detail than what he did. This was really a concept to show basically this is what this planet is about. It is green, it has volcanic eruptions... we got it, move on to the next planet. When we get into more depth on this particular planet, then we really explore a lot more than that, and the concept wouldn't take only an hour: it could take two to three days to do one concept.

Is the concept art Clint created today indicative of something you will use in the game?

Arnie: Absolutely. We'll use every concept that is approved. If he did that concept for us as a company, and we built off that, then we'd leverage for anything we wanted to. We'd give it to the environment guys to look at for look and feel, but it wouldn't be something that is buildable. On our concept team, a lot of it is serious development-type stuff that needs to be buildable; you couldn't really hand that concept that Clint did to someone to actually build.

So this is great for high concept, and that is what we love and Clint is amazing at it. But beyond that, we'd have to go into much greater and greater depth with even more detail. That is why sometimes it takes days and days per concept.

You spoke about how some of these concepts goes away due to design mandates. How many pieces of concept art never see the light of day?

Arnie: I couldn't give exact numbers... there wasn't much thrown away. I wouldn't throw away that green shot. We would color adjust it; I would say "go back and make the sky more blue because we have enough green sky." We're getting real basic here, as it goes beyond this... you would take that concept and move it along. I wouldn't say "throw it away," and we would go in a totally different direction. Sometimes it is salvaged and we do different things. But there are hundreds and hundreds of concepts you will never see just because it isn't in an art book somewhere, and we don't post them on the web. Hundreds and hundreds... I don't want to say thousands but on that level of number of concepts.

At the last company I worked at, which was Star Wars Galaxies, I was the Lead Concept Artist because I was the only concept artist. On this project, I worked with up to 17 concept artists at one time. This game in magnitude is much larger than what we did for Galaxies.

Speaking to that as well, we have subgroups in the Concept Art division. I'm the Lead Concept Artist but I found that it was much easier if the guys working with me owned their own projects. We have five guys working on the concept team: myself, Diego Almazon, Ryan Denning, Paul Adam, and Clint Young. Clint seems to have a really good handle on environments, and he has a really good feeling for it as far as color and other things, so he is heading up the environment division. If you like starships, interiors, Flashpoints... Ryan Denning is doing all that stuff. The guy is a maniac at.. if you're into amazing cross section books, Ryan Denning does that and heads that up. Paul Adam heads the wearables division to make sure all the wearables are balanced, color adjusted correctly, and fitting the right note for the story. And Diego Almazon is really good at creatures and stuff like that.

All these guys help out with those categories; everybody does everything on this team. Everyone is a jack of all trades but master of one. So that is why Clint is a master of environments, but he also creatures, vehicles, wearables, etc. But when he is doing a starship, Ryan Denning will be the one that gives him the box to play in because he was at the meetings. He'll say "the starship is about this, this, and this." We call that "The Funnel." Then Clint will take those things in the box he has to play in, and he will fulfill that and take it to the next level. He can do what he wants with it, but as long as he is fulfilling what we need him to as far as art and stuff, then he is succeeding.

So that is what each one of these people do in their own disciplines, and ultimately I oversee all of it, but these guys are really talented. And for the most part, I just let them run because that is the way you are going to get the best stuff anyway.

A lot of teams don't have a lot of resources, and sometimes outsource some of the work. Can you speak more to that?

Arnie: We had up to seven in-house concept artists, which leaves a good eight external ones. We definitely used external concept artists, which were vetted by the heads of the subgroups I mentioned. They would also vet the art as it would come in to make sure it worked, up to snuff, and buildable.

If you think about it: right now we have five in-house concept artists, we had up to 17 concept artists at one time, and we relied on up to 50% of our concept art coming from outsource, which in many ways is more difficult. We have such a big game to do. We have so many placeables and props that need to be built by 3D artists. Every single placeable, prop, vehicle, environment, etc. has to be looked at as a concept and built exactly like the concept. We can't take figures and fade them off to black like "it is just a concept." We can't do that because we're all production-oriented.

So we had to rely on these guys and push them hard to nail this stuff down, and come up with exact concepts that we needed. And they did a good job with this, and we were happy with the work that came from outsource. A lot of times this wasn't done overseas; we had a couple in our offices in Austin. Some of them are associated with a company, and others are freelancers.

Right now, we're paired back with five in-house concept artists. We don't any outsourcing right now because we can manage it. That is why I'm doing more art than I used to, and it is really fun for me to get back in there and draw again. Not to take away from the outsources, but the in-house guys were hired because they were the best.

Can you elaborate and explain the wearables board we saw today in the panel?

Arnie: We have all the boards divided into class groups, and there are subgroups... let's take the Smuggler. This is the Smuggler progressing (level) 1 through 50. And we have all the different lines broken out: levels 1 to 5, 5 to 10, 10 to 15, 15 to 20, and all that. When we were initially planning all the different wearables for any class, we came up with sort of the hero pieces for each one -- about seven or eight different looks for each class. For the Smuggler: this is the Han Solo sort of Scoundrel, to the Lando Calrissian "bling," over to the "Space Cowboy," moves into the "Firefly" but hey, that is what Star Wars is. We developed more than that, but we paired it back to seven or eight different looks for each class... throwing out looks, adding to this, adding to that until every single class had its own unique looks. And enough given so throughout your play of your character, you're really going to progress through not just wearable 1, wearable 2, wearable 3 -- but totally different looks.

What is interesting about it is that still to this date, we're still looking at those boards, re-balancing, moving stuff around, saying "this looks higher level than this" and moving it around. Believe it or not, we're still adding to the world a couple of new wearables right now because there are some deficiencies. We're still messing with all of that. Even if I snuck you out photos of all of these right now, it would be helpful and wouldn't be exact because we'll be balancing this thing until it ships.

I'm first an artist, but secondary a game player, and I'm really into MMOs. I wasn't joking when I said at the panel today that "I'm really about phat loot." We really went to extremes to make sure each class looks like its class but really gets badass as you get higher and higher into progression. Let's say you missed the first couple of months and you log in as some newb, you go to Coruscant, and see the higher levels run by... you're going to go "hooooooooly crap!" There will be a lot of that.

Speaking of loot... you are aware of the problem with a lot of MMOs, especially World of Warcraft, where all the higher level loot looks similar.

Arnie: I am so frustrated with my Paladin. I looked like a Death Knight for 90% of my play. Until you got to your tier armor, you don't even look like a Paladin! You look like everyone else. All they did was gear their tier armor to look like their class. I'm wearing spiked shoulderpads, and I'm wondering what is going on?

It is usually called "The Competition of The Bigger Shoulderpads." Can you reassure the community in that sense?

Arnie: We actually have a completely different loot process than WoW does. Our drops are different, our wearables are designed far different than WoW's are. This is coming from a guy who loves WoW, and I don't want to take anything away from that because if you have 11 million users, then you are doing something right. But in our game, when you are a Smuggler, you will in one form or another look like a Smuggler all the way through your game unless you purposely mismatch or go off the beaten track. You can do that in our game: you can play a Trooper and not look very Trooper-ish, but you really have to say "I really don't want to look very Trooper-ish."

For the most part, we have so many wearables that we designed now... it is like a joke when people walk into our office and say "holy cow!" We said upfront we need so many wearables because we have so many different classes and 1 through 50, this class has these wearables. We don't put this one on the Smuggler -- this is Trooper. There is plenty of gear, we can be the same level and look totally different, but we're both Troopers. That was very important to myself and the Art Director early on. We're going to try not to make that mistake if possible. I do understand why WoW did it; they make really good decisions on their team. But as a player, this bugged me and we tried to remedy it.

As far as the process of wearables, does the concept artist say "I think this looks cool" or does the writer come up with the first?

Arnie: It can be all of the above on some levels. "That looks amazing! We'll figure it out." But for the most part, what happens is the writers will come up with the hero's journey: "this is their story arc, and this is how we want them to progress." The concept artists along with the designers originally did all the boards: this is the look for the entire Smuggler class. Then we went to Daniel Erickson, the Lead Writer on our game, and we would pull looks out, add some in, do this and that, but it was a concept artist who originally made the pitch. And always, just like everything at BioWare, we went back to the team and said "what did you guys think?" The writer would say, "this doesn't fit the character at all."

The Imperial Agent was a really good example of this. It took us awhile as concept artists to get our minds wrapped around the idea of the Agent because we saw it as purely Imperial; this guy is Grand Moff Tarkin, which wasn't at all the intent of the writers. They said, "no, this is Imperial Agent. He is undercover a lot." So we had to come up with a lot of divergent looks for the Agent, one of which is "I'm now on the battlefield; I took off all my cover and you know now that I'm an Imperial officer. And you are about to get jacked up."

It is really cool. There are few points in the Agent story, and when you PvP and things like that, where the Agent says "screw this -- I'm an Imperial officer." And you'll see him as that.

To switch over to creatures, can you talk about how that process works with preserving the lore?

Arnie: The creatures were begun by writing and designing. We would go planet by planet: these are the creatures that live on this planet. We actually got lists with descriptions about each one. "Hey, you are doing this planet -- these are the creatures that live there. Make them fit into the planet." So that is how it initially went.

It is funny how things change over the course of a game, so here is something that probably a lot of people wouldn't know: things change. A lot. And what happened in Star Wars: The Old Republic is that we did all of these creatures, then we all started playing the game, looked at each other and said "wait a minute... we're not trying to build WoW or DAoC." Being in the Star Wars universe isn't about rolling through the countryside killing creatures. So we revamped and moved that around a lot; rebalanced the planets -- adjusting away from creatures as much as possible sometimes. So right now, what we got currently is a Star Wars-y feel of enough creatures to feel like a real planet, but not too many that you feel like you aren't playing Star Wars anymore.

Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us.

Arnie: You're welcome.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 16, 2010, 10:02:47 PM
Sado's Flickr Stream from Celebration V (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zirak/sets/72157624713699956/)
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: Raktus on August 17, 2010, 11:39:19 AM
Dissection of the Space Combat Video
by sado, posted August 17th, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Our working dissection of the Space Combat Video is after the jump. As always, content that is covered in past dissections will not be covered in this one but feel free to take a look at our past dissections by clicking dissection in the tag cloud for reference.
Title: Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Post by: ZIkar on August 16, 2011, 01:36:25 AM
Wow Raktus thanks for all this Info!