PAX Prime ’10: Hands-on With SW:TOR – Eating My Own Words

Those of you who follow my writings may recall that shortly after E3, I posted a semi-angry, but mostly misunderstood, post on why I was severely disappointed by what BioWare was offering the MMO industry with Star Wars: The Old Republic.

But that was before I attended PAX this year as media. On Day 1, I stood around for around 20 minutes trying to grab some SW:TOR gameplay, then gave up since I had other things to do. As it turned out, I was lucky enough to have first dibs on a PC during the “Media Only” hour on Saturday. I had the opportunity to get in and test things out without having to fend off the ravenous beasts that are the public gamers.

Upon loading up the Bounty Hunter station (I couldn’t find the Jedi Knight – sad face), I was instantly thrown into the story of the class. My, do I have my foot in my mouth at this point. Everything was running smoothly — granted it was on Alienware tech — and the combat fulfilled what we would normally expect to see in a battle scene from the menace of the universe (think the Battle of Geonosis with Jango Fett). From the get-go, we have a rocket launcher and flamethrower ability in our arsenal against rival gang members. It was awesome and fun from the start.

I can’t go too much into the story, frankly because I only had 15 minutes to play, and I just wanted to screw around killing things. Though, I want to apologize to those readers out there who thought I was seriously hating on the MMOG. I have had total 180˚ turn on my opinion of the game; it also helps discussing your issues with the Senior Producer, Blaine Christine.

Before iTZKooPA’s on-camera interview with Blaine, I talked to him personally, for about 10 minutes while our cameraman took a break. Some of the things I discussed include some of the more recent news in the game’s development.

Read on for my paraphrased recount of the interview I had.

  • Regarding Space Combat being “on rails”

Christine: We originally stated that the goal of the game was to deliver on the epic feel and the elements of the battles that people would see from the movies in the gameplay. That led primarily to the design of the guided system for the space combat because it’s more geared towards people who want to experience it. It furthers the story that you are experiencing, and with us using the “on rail” system, it allows us to direct the flow of story and action, while still allowing the player to interact with the environment to react to what was happening at the given moment.

  • On the integration of multiple players, with one person making the plot decisions

Christine: We basically made two types of categories for quests. There’s the class quests, where only you can complete them and make decisions based in those quests, and then everything else. It’s not that everything else doesn’t matter in shaping the world for you, it’s just that they don’t make as much of a difference as say, killing your boss (A Hutt, if you’re a Bounty Hunter). Those who are with you in groups, will still have to agree with the person who they’re grouped with, and decides to kill the Captain instead of helping him fend off the enemy.

Everything else that I asked also will be covered in iTZKooPA’s video, including the questing; but I wanted to add in what I heard for myself because those were a couple of the main issues I had. The story will obviously continue from what we saw in Knights of the Old Republic (I & II) with some closure on what actually happened to Revan. The battles are being directed and designed with the intention of making them feel as epic and grand-scale as what George Lucas delivered to us in the movies.

I cannot wait to play this game, and wish I was a year older to qualify to join the SW:TOR Beta. However, I lack the space-time continuum refracting technology from the 29th century (if you caught that reference, kudos to you, Voyager fans).

1 Comment

  1. Glad to hear that, man. I have my own doubts about the game but hearing you and others, who had some hands-on time with it and came away pleased, makes me optimistic.

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