9 Things You Need to Know about Star Wars: The Old Republic
The NDA is lifted. The betas have come and (are almost) gone. Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the top talks of the industry, despite other AAA releases, not to mention the fact that it’s not even out yet. We here at Padinga have been playing the beta with gusto, and therefore we wish to share with you, who may be undecided or have not played the beta, what this game is all about exactly. These are the things you need to know going in.
1. Simultaneously, it IS and IS NOT WoW with a Star Wars Skin.
People have said this, and to a degree, it’s true. Gameplay is very similar, and if you’ve enjoyed WoW, you won’t find much to object to in TOR. You pick a race, pick a class, and jump into killing things and completing quests. You level and place points in talent trees that give you bonuses to the way you play. It moves like WoW and FEELS like WoW, and really, this is not a bad thing. Emulation is the sincerest form of flattery, and TOR takes many cues from WoW’s pedigree. But the similarities end there. Let’s talk more about this after the Break.
2. It plays like a single-player game, but you can play it with others at the same time.
TOR’s main focus, aside from being a standout AAA game, is the story. In some ways, the story aspects are given greater precedence than the MMO aspects, but this is not to the detriment of the game. On the contrary, it creates a new experience, defining what is essentially a social single-player game. Of course there are other conventional MMO aspects that are not story-heavy, like raiding and PVP battlegrounds, but the meat and potatoes of the game is the questing. Every quest you receive is delivered to you with a voice-acted conversation, much like the conversations in Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Knights of the Old Republic.
Throughout these single-player conventions, however, you can still be in a party with other players. When playing as a group, this is the sort of game that almost demands simultaneous voice chat; as you are experiencing the story together in group conversations and group questing, discussion and humor come as second nature. In short, while TOR is a fantastic game in and of itself, playing it with friends on voice chat DOUBLES the fun, especially more so than anything any other MMO has previously delivered.
3. The differences between Republic and Empire classes are fractional.
This is not readily apparent from the start, but it may come as a bit of a shock that there are very few differences between the Republic and Empire classes. Certain classes play JUST like others across the board, and the advanced classes only have a few differences in the talents. The cloning is as thus, respectively:
- Jedi Knight (Guardian, Sentinel) – Sith Warrior (Juggernaut, Marauder)
- Jedi Consular (Sage, Shadow) – Sith Inquisitor (Sorcerer, Assassin)
- Smuggler (Gunslinger, Scoundrel) – Imperial Agent (Sniper, Operative)
- Trooper (Vanguard, Commando) – Bounty Hunter (Powertech, Mercenary)
There are a few other differences, such as the fact that Gunslingers dual-wield and Snipers use sniper rifles, but for the most part, the play is very similar. Your main differences in playing each will be in the story, and of course in how you build your character.
4. Many of the game’s features are NOT tied to your level.
As you play through your first character, you will notice that you do not start out with many of the features of the game, such as a companion, a starship, or any crafting. Unlike WoW, in which many of these sorts of benefits can be obtained simply by reaching a certain level and finding the questgiver or trainer as soon as you are able, TOR ties these to the main storyline. You will NOT always get your companion as soon as you hit level 5. You WILL get your companion as soon as the story gives it to you. For some characters, like the Jedi Knight, this will be as early as level 5, but for others, like the Smuggler, it can be late into level 8, or possibly later. It depends on your class’ story, plain and simple.
Don’t expect to get any crafting until around level 10, and a starship shortly there after. Also, PVP is not open until you hit level 10, just like WoW.
5. You CAN earn Dark Side points as a Republic player, even a Jedi, and vice versa for the Empire, but you CANNOT faction change.
At least, not yet. The analogy Bioware gives for someone taking, say, Light side points and actions as a Sith, is as if you were a German soldier in Nazi Germany who did not agree with its politics. You would not actively resist, but you would play against the Reich from the inside. So you will be stuck in your faction, but you can be as fanciful as you want… to a point. Certain gear is tied to your Dark Side or Light Side level, so you may not have access to the best gear if you aren’t fully one way or the other. Bioware has stated that they will be releasing Neutral gear in the future, but it is not available at launch.
6. There are no differences between races, aside from appearance and emotes.
Plain and simple. No War Stomp, no Stoneform. You can customize your appearance just like any other MMO, and you’ll get a special emote dedicated to your race, but that’s all, folks.
7. Space battles are infrequent rail-shooting levels, but they are a blast.
There are space battles in TOR, but this is not Jump to Lightspeed or X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. When viewing your galaxy map on your starship, much like in Mass Effect, certain missions will be visible on the map that are space battles. Once you arrive, you will be plunged into a Starfox-like experience, but again with that Star Wars candy coating. While in the mission, you will have certain objectives to complete, like destroy this or that, and the object is to complete this without dying and within a certain time limit. Once you complete it, that’s it, you’re done, pass Go and collect $200. You can complete the missions again if you like, but the thing to note here is that these missions have no real bearing on the rest of your game, aside from credits and experience.
8. Your pre-order bonus does NOT give you the ability to change your blaster/lightsaber to whatever color you want.
I don’t know if this was changed from what was previously stated, or I just never read all the fine print. Your pre-order bonus crystal color is yellow with a black outline. It’s actually pretty lame, but there it is. You have the ability to change your colors in the game through weapon customization, however, so don’t feel too gypped.
9. You can create your guild NOW.
Yes, the game is not out yet, but you can still create your guild ahead of time, which will be assigned a server at launch. Simply go to http://swtor.com/guilds to create your guild or join an existing one! Don’t forget, we have our very own Padinga Alliance guild as well!
If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section and we will answer them for you!