News Article

New Article – Flashpoint: Kuat Drive Yards

Senior Designer, on Star Wars: The old Republic, Jesse Sky posted a news article on Kuar Drive Yards, last night. The article describe the new flashpoint for level 15+ players that comes with game update 2.6. This will be a new type of instance that the team is calling a Tactical Flashpoint. The main thing that distinguishes Tactical Flashpoints is that they are role-neutral – in other words, they are balanced for a combination of any four classes. This means Group Finder will match the first four players it finds, which translates into drastically shorter queue times, especially for DPS classes. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet, as I fear there will be no incentives for healing and tanking and you will only perpetuate the issue of a lack ofsupport roles in the long run. Time will tell though. Check out the full article over at the…

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Announcing The Old Republic Guild Summit

Good news in from BioWare this week. They have announced the first ever SWTOR Guild Summit, hosted right here in Austin (where I just happen to be) in March of this year. Guild leaders from around the world will gather with developers from BioWare Austin to talk about the game and its future. It’s by invitation only but yours truly is hoping to be there (*cough* cough* BioWare) and if not, I will at least bring you all the updates as I find out about them. The update was announced on the official News feed for SWTOR: Guild leaders (or a designated officer in the event of a guild leader being unable to attend) will participate in Q&A sessions with developers, roundtable feedback discussions, and will get a preview of some upcoming game features. The goal of the summit is to facilitate an open discussion between guild leaders and the…

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SWTOR as a Single Player Game

Are you the type of gamer who loves RPGs but typically skips the multiplayer aspects of MMOs? You might still like SWTOR. While I enjoy my fair share of multiplayer games, I also have a tendency to go solo quite often. I spent a good year or more of my 7-year history in World of Warcraft playing solo. I just got tired of everything else there was to do in the game and focused on speed-leveling characters, getting achievements, making money on the Auction House or whatever other random activities gave me enjoyment at the time. I leveled some characters outside of a guild and I didn’t talk to anyone- just ran through doing my own thing. I have discovered in my years as a gamer that other people like playing this way sometimes, too. One gamer wrote about it on Arstechnica.com in “Forever alone? Star Wars: The Old Republic…

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The Guardian Says SWTOR Coming In November

SWTOR release date? Such is the fervent desire among Star Wars and MMORPG players these days to find out when we’ll all be able to play SWTOR , that anyone with the actual release date for SWTOR could make an absolute fortune right now. So every time someone reports a date, or even a general time of the year as fact, we’re all bound to pounce on it and further fuel the rumour mill. Today, that reporting body is the UK’s The Guardian newspaper – and despite the track-record of British newspapers in the past few months, we might actually be ready to believe their statement that “Star Wars: The Old Republic is set to launch on PC in November”. That brave statement came at the end of an excellent article on Bioware, in which SWTOR director of production Dallas Dickinson explained why Bioware were brought on-board to build the…

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James Ohlen reveals a few secrets in the new Star Wars Insider

In the Recent Star Wars Insider Magazine #121, James Ohlen revealed a lot about almost every aspect of Star Wars: The Old republic. For hard-core followers of the game, there isn’t much new information, but there is a few interesting statement, concerning casual content: “A lot of people are scared of massively multiplayer games because a lot of MMOs can become a grind… We’ve chosen to avoid that. We always give the player a story to drive the game forward. One of the more Interesting part of the Article is where Ohlen is speaking about the Sith Storyline. He explains about one of the first tasks that need to be done will be to kill your master. When that is done you need to locate a jedi and corrupt him. Furthermore he is outlining how the decisions you make affect the story you experience but also effect your character customization….

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How a big budget can change the game for everyone

BioWare gets even more funding for what may very well turn out to be the most expensive game ever made. How can this change the industry forever? Electronic Arts, a company that’s been around since almost forever has just stated that they’re going to be putting even more financial backing behind BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. Eric Brown, the chief fiancial officer, stated that the game is “the largest R&D project EA has ever undertaken in terms of dollars that we expect to spend bringing the title to market.” What’s the actual price tag then? That detail remains unknown. What is known is that EA isn’t poor. For this reason it is unlikely we’ll see the game launched in the incomplete state so many MMOGs suffer from. That point alone is reason enough to believe the game will be a strong contender for a top spot in today’s Western…

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Companions and Sith Advanced Class Details Revealed for SWTOR

It’s Friday again and that means its time for another BioWare update for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Most of what this Friday update brings has already been revealed over the last day by other sites (particularly IGN and GameSpot), but it’s nice the see on the official site regardless. And with a few new snippets here and there (such as a new biography page). This week’s update is all about those lovable little companions players will get symbolic of the Han and Chewie relationship. If you want to know how these companions will help your character develop there is a whole wealth of information now available on the Companions page. Every Star Wars™ hero needs a companion. Han has Chewie, Luke has R2-D2 — even Jabba has the cackling monkey lizard Salacious B. Crumb. These characters will complement your strengths or weaknesses, and provide company for the epic journey…

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IGN Interviews BioWare on Companions

IGN has an intresting interview with James Ohlen about the companions in Star Wars: The Old Republic:  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…

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BioWare Talks Advanced Classes and World Building in Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare returns this week with a double dose of Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) news. After the revealing of Advanced Classes this week, BioWare added additional details to the SWTOR website that explain the feature in more detail. Each class will be able to choose from one of two Advanced Classes. After investing in their chosen path, a third shared skill set will become available to help enhance a character’s chosen skills and role. The second bit of news involves the development and building of worlds in SWTOR. If you’ve ever wondered how building the concept and lore behind a world and its population works in MMORPGs this is a good read that will interest you. The team explains many of the challenges faced when building a world for players to become immersed in and the process by which the content is developed and eventually brought to life. Two…

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Smuggler’s Vanguard

The first update today is the release of a short story by Robert Chestney named “Smuggler’s Vanguard”, giving a closer look at one of the characters from the Timeline. Here’s the official news: Get a closer look at one of the most popular characters from the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Timeline series. Hylo Visz, the daring Mirialan pilot who broke the Mandalorian Blockade, is the protagonist in a new short story published on StarWars.com. Written by BioWare’s Robert Chestney, ‘Smuggler’s Vanguard’ tells a story from Hylo’s past, when she was contracting on a high profile job for the Hutt crime cartel. Caught between two of the Hutts’ most brutish goons and a suspicious Corellian corporation, Hylo is forced to rely on her instincts and her luck to squirm out of a difficult situation and find a way to profit against the odds. Check out ‘Smuggler’s Vanguard’ on StarWars.com now!…

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Is SWTOR worth 2 million users

Yesterday IndustryGamers reported that, according to one analyst, EA are looking to get 2 million subscribers when Star Wars: The Old Republic releases next year. Many have since speculated that EA needed this amount of subscribers for the game to break eave. In a genre where only one game has ever exceeded two million subscribers at $15 per month, that’s a very high standard to put yourself up against. Then again, we are talking about Star Wars, beloved by geeks the world over. We’re also talking about BioWare, who have blown many gamers away with the awesomeness of Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins. Over at massively they discuss this matter in further details. A a really good read I recommend to check out: Two million is possible worldwide, right? The other issue that I’m hanging on is the fact that 2 million subscribers is a far fetch for…

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SWTOR is EA’s “largest ever” project

Though this should come as no surprise to anyone, Eurogamer is reporting that Star Wars: The Old Republic is EA’s largest ever project. Their text: BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is the most expensive game ever created at EA. The publisher’s chief banker Eric Brown described the MMO as the “largest ever development project, period, in the history of the company””. He said a packaged game usually costs around $30m to make at EA, but “any MMO costs significantly more than that”. When asked by a member of the Wedbush Morgan Securities audience in New York today how the cost compared to World of Warcraft, Brown said Blizzard spent “$100 million, perhaps more” to ship the game in 2004. “That’s lifetime [research and development] to actually ship it and obviously then there’s maintenance subsequent to ship and expansion packs,” Brown added. These days, WOW makes around $100m a month…

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Endgame is “Brand New System”

ComputerAndVideoGames, the digital arm of PC Gamer magazine, has posted a message noting that James Ohlen told them that the endgame content in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be a combination of classic MMO systems and something new. Here’s their article: Bioware has revealed that end game content in Star Wars: The Old Republic will mix the classic MMO system with “something brand new””””””””””””. The ‘endgame’ content offers players incentives to stay in the game once they’ve reached maximum level. Speaking to PC Gamer in its new ‘MMO issue’, the game’s creative director James Olhen said: “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…

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Can BioWare Put The RPG Back in MMORPG?

You can’t help but wonder whether BioWare’s upcoming MMOG, Star Wars The Old Republic, will be able to port the same roleplaying aspect their successful single player games are known for to a new platform. Tentonhammer Have an excellent editorial about this: With story based MMOGs, I had hoped games would give us direction and purpose without losing the ability to make choices. Alas this was not to be–most current quest-based games give you little more than a choice between taking a quest or not taking a quest. I want to take a quest to kill a target and then be faced with the decision whether to actually kill them or let them go. Either way, there could be consequences for my actions. Let me piss off an NPC and have to face him or his minions later. Let me refuse to take a quest from an NPC vendor and…

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EA Earnings Call

Yesterday EA had its Q3 FY10 earnings call, during which (as I understand) they let shareholders know how the company is doing and where it is going. That means that we get a sneak peak at what they’re planning to publish in the coming year. Regarding Star Wars: The Old Republic they made statements which seem to suggest that (unsurprisingly) the game won’t be released before March 31, 2011. As VG247 reports: EA’s confirmed that BioWare’s Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, won’t make the publisher’s next financial year. Speaking in EA’s Q3 earnings call last night, CFO Eric Brown said the game won’t ship in the 12 months ending March 31, 2011. “We are not assuming that we bring a major new MMO to market in fiscal ‘11. We will continue to increase significant development cost as we prepare this title for launch,” he said. Both EA and Lucas…

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IGN Video Preview

IGN has a short (two-and-a-half minute) video that they’ve titled “Star Wars: The Old Republic PC Games Preview”. There’s nothing new in it at all, it’s just IGN summing up in broad strokes what we already know over a composite of old footage (particularly the gameplay trailers). But it’s a nice overview and might be useful to explain to people roughly what Star Wars: The Old Republic is if they haven’t heard of it yet. I still can’t help but cringe at seeing some of the character models though. [link] to “video preview” at IGN. Join the forum discussion on this post

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IGN’s Star Wars: The Old Republic Clichés

There’s a brief article over on IGN looking at the Star Wars clichés that The Old Republic has to have to be a truly authentic Star Wars experience. The article is clearly tongue-in-cheek and is as such a fun read. Here’s an excerpt: Affirmative Action: The Republic has always been a leader in providing good jobs to non-Basic speaking races and shown particular acceptance to those races who mangle the language by confusing word order or inserting an annoying “sa” at the end of every pronoun. This tolerance even extends to droids who communicate through a sophisticated system of beeping and shoving. All the human player characters will be required to have at least one non-human or droid sidekick that doesn’t speak any Basic but is still able to understand and be understood by everyone else in the game. To keep these sidekicks in their proper place as defined by…

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An Inside Look at Star Wars: The Old Republic

GameSpy has a preview article up for Star Wars: The Old Republic. This looks to be from the November press event where they unveiled the Jedi Consular and the Sith Inquisitor (and the Imperial Agent IIRC). Here’s an excerpt: Before delving into the gameplay demo proper, BioWare unveiled the final list of classes. The approach that the developers are taking with class design eschews the traditional roles you’ve seen in most MMOs, where a balanced party is comprised of an aggro-generating tank, damage-dealers, and a healer. Instead, the intent is to allow players to live out their Star Wars fantasies, presenting familiar but flexible character archetypes. The eight playable classes are as follows, with noteworthy inspirations from the Star Wars universe. It’s a fairly brief article without anything new that I’ve noticed. In fact, some of their points are questionable (such as their list of iconic characters with each class;…

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SW:TOR in Total PC Gaming UK Magazine

I went to buy my Christmas cards today and as I walked past the magazine rack in the store I noticed that one magazine had “Exclusive Star Wars the Old Republic” in big, bold letters on the cover, on top of an image of a Jedi that I hadn’t seen before. Picking up the magazine (which turned out to be “Total PC Gaming”) found that it had a five-page preview (not counting the title page). And since it includes the last two classes it’s definitely new. So I bought the magazine. The magazine comes with a DVD containing screenshots and videos of the game (some 45minutes worth), but it’s nothing you haven’t already seen. All the screenshots can be found on the official website as well (a number of them fairly old in fact). The videos consist of the cinematic trailer from E3, the gameplay walkthrough from CamesCom and the…

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Threat of Peace, Issue #19

The nineteenth issue of Threat of Peace™ marks the start of the third chapter in the story, beginning with the Bounty Hunter Braden returning from his visit to Coruscant. Reporting in, Braden gets further orders from Nok Drayen, and an insightful question. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Tavus meets Jedi Knight Fortris Gall in the ruins of the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine. The truth about the recent attacks begins to unfold. Fans of the series will be pleased to know that the Star Wars: The Old Republic: Threat of Peace webcomic will be published as a graphic novel by Dark Horse Comics in Spring of 2010. The book will comprise all issues of Threat of Peace as well as all new, previously unreleased content. Additional materials will include all-new cover art and previously unseen sketches from the comic as well as concept art from the Star Wars: The Old Republic video game. Liner…

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