Many Star Wars fans have been hungering for a decent MMO set in the Star Wars universe. For a time, right after launch, it looked like Star Wars Galaxies would fit the bill. Sadly, after a promising start, the whole Jedi fiasco soured many fans on the game, and the New Gaming Experience killed off most of the rest of the fans. Today, the game is a sparsely populated ghost of its former self. Fans were left wondering when, or even if, there would be another Star Wars MMO.
In the not too distant past, rumors began to surface that Bioware was ramping up development on an unnamed MMO. Speculation ran wild. Bioware is known for it’s awesome RPG games, like Baldur’s Gate and (gasp!) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. KotOR is not just a great Star Wars game, it’s a great game, period. Could it be that Bioware was working on a KotOR MMO? This idea was all but confirmed about a month ago, and Bioware just made it official on Tuesday. The MMO they are working on is:
And I couldn’t be more giddy.
As you might imagine, there’s already a ton of info floating around the interwebs. Go ahead and look, its all cool, but I’m going to hit the highlights as I see them.
- SWTOR is set in the Old Republic, as in KOTOR, 3000 years before the Battle of Yavin (this is Star Wars dating convention, in case you didn’t know). The galaxy is filled to the brim with all sorts of people and creatures, including Jedi and Sith. In fact, the Jedi and Sith are the only two character classes currently named. No need to worry about how scarce Jedi are, they’re everywhere, and the natural opposition between the two leads directly into PvP. I can also see some interesting PvP possibilities within the Sith themselves, given the confrontational advancement procedure for moving up the Sith ranks.
- Supposedly the game will focus on the story much more than other MMOs. I’m not sure how they can do that given the realities of keeping multiple servers synced and the demanding patch/update procedures in MMOs. But, if anyone can do it, Bioware can.
- You’ll have companion characters that travel with you, much like in KotOR and in Guild Wars, but your interactions with them have consequences, including their leaving your employ. Kinda neat.
- And lastly, the art direction looks great. The game is deliberately being designed to run on lower end machines, so you won’t get photorealistic graphics. Instead, Bioware is taking a page from World of Warcraft and making the graphics have a more ‘painted’ look (see the graphic at the top or more here), thus allowing lower system requirements. Great move. Most fans aren’t going to have the high end gaming rigs, so anything that allows more people to play is a good thing.
A Star Wars MMO created by Bioware that lets you play as a Sith? I’m in! The only downside is it will probably take over a year, maybe two, before we’ll be able to play, and that makes me sad.
What about you? Anyone else as geeked about this one as I am?