Monday, December 5, 2011

Star Wars: The Old Republic beta impressions & preview

So the Star Wars: The Old Republic testing phase (public beta) is now over and we are allowed to talk freely about the game. I participated in two testing weekends along with thousand other testers.

My first impressions of the game overall were quite good.

Starting from the top, character creation is straight forward. Choose your faction (Republic or Empire, of course), one of 4 races available. On to the physical customization one must choose a face, a body type, choose some scars if you want, hair, eye and skin color.
However, the customization options are not that broad. There are only 4 body types, for example: skinny and short, average height and weight, tall and muscular, and fat. It should be enough for people to look unique... but there could be more.

The gameplay is quite similar to what has been established as the 'standard' for MMORPGs by the current dominator, World of Warcraft; that came as no surprise, I wasn't expecting they would take big risks doing something completely original, but it's not a bad thing either.

Something that is quite different though is the story component of each class as they develop. Through quests, each of the classes has it's own adventure to live, whether it's from being a padawan learning to become a Jedi, or an imperial agent investigating the assassination of a Sith Lord, it equates into many new adventures every time you try a new class. There's great detail placed in the voice acting, with many of the quests having entirely acted out conversations (some you get from data pads or other text transmissions).

The dark side has you
As you progress, you gain experience and levels as in other online games, but there are also some other aspects of character development. Similar to the system in KOTOR, making choices can affect your alignment with the Force, be it light or dark. Mainly this restricts which items you can use and purchase, but it also changes how people react to you and how you look. Being a well mannered, good hearted Sith, and Imperial people will treat you with disdain. Being a heartless cruel person will bring you to the dark side, and you will notice your face slowly changing, first your eyes turn bright yellow and then some cracks start showing, representing the corruption of your body and soul.

At some point in time you get a ship with which you can travel from planet to planet or engage in space battles. These play more or less like a point and click game, since you don't have much control over your ship, it follows a pre determined path and your task is to make things go boom by clicking your mouse. It's fun, but disappointing in a way. It pretty much negates any kind of player versus player space fights, which I was hoping for.

The battlegrounds however are a lot of fun and offer new challenges, like a space football sort of sport where you can pass the ball to your team mates running towards a goal and scoring points, all the while being able to fight and defeat other players to save your own skin or protect the ball carrier.

I do have some grudges about it, but it being a beta, I will wait for the final product to really complain. Things like the graphics being a bit 2006ish and items only lasting a level or two before you find something better are areas I'm hoping for improvement.

I recommend you at least try this game, if you get the chance at a friend's house, or through some sort of trial. It will cater well to both fans of the Star Wars universe as well as those looking for a great MMORPG.


  1. Game looks pretty neat! I might pick it up after closing WoW a couple of months ago. Let's hope it is as addicting! :-)

  2. I always likes the Star Wars universe, I'd be interested in how this game ties into the movies we've all seen. Time to watch those again before playing this game.

  3. Looks like they got one aspect of the Star Wars franchise (the games) right.
    Can't say much about the 'new and improved' movies :/

  4. it was pretty good as well when i was on the beta myself. completely agree with you on everything else too.

  5. Space ship fighting would have been a cool feature