Star Wars: The Old Republic (TOR) comes with a buffet of a story for an MMO, but you only get to fill your plate once. From decisions as significant as choosing your character’s class specialization to events as trivial as responding to dialog options, much of what you do during your character's main story has a lasting and permanent effect. We like the feast: BioWare’s masterful use of instanced environments creates more captivating gameplay for the solo quester than most any other MMO.
But just how does it fare as a massive multiplayer game? Hit the jump to read more!
It's one thing to claw your way to the top of the lightsaber-swinging heap -- to let Yoda ride in your backpack and relentlessly crush your self-esteem the old-fashioned way. It's something else entirely, however, to cheat the system and un-balance the Force with your ill-gotten loots. The latter, BioWare claims, is the reason it can justify controversial temporary bans handed out to lower level SWTOR players who've ventured to the level 40 planet of Ilum. But is that really all there is to it?
Star Wars: The Old Republic is the youngest of younglings in the massively populated world of MMOs, but that hasn't stopped BioWare from taking a long, hard look into its future. The RPG powerhouse's verdict? The Force is strong in this one. Like, “immortal Jedi ghost” strong.
BioWare? Making an RTS? Hold the phone! Is the thing we would be saying if this wasn't being developed by a renamed Victory Games under BioWare's sagely direction. That said, BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka did drop an interesting tidbit: “We’re bringing BioWare’s vision for emotionally engaging gameplay and great attention to quality to the strategy genre and the Command & Conquer franchise.” Yes, China, you may have nukes, but how will you fare against this witty one-liner dialog option? OK, we doubt they'll take it that far, but – at the very least – it'll all look drop-dead-and-then-come-back-to-life-just-to-drop-dead-again gorgeous thanks to BF3's Frostbite 2 engine. See for yourself in a (sadly brief) trailer after the break.
BioWare's taken us on many epic journies, but let's face it: The RPG titan has a pretty specific wheelhouse. Fantasy land, space, mythical China, space again, fantasy land again, space double-again. With Mass Effect 3 bringing Shepard's star war to a close, though, BioWare's getting ready to hand the spotlight over to something completely different. So then, what is it? Honestly, we haven't the foggiest. It looks kind of like RAGE meets Uncharted meets every part of Burnout except the pause menu, but who knows? BioWare could just be throwing us all for a loop. Fortunately, the full reveal's coming December 10. In the meantime, though, why not check out the full image (via Game Informer) after the break and painstakingly analyze every last car ker-splosion bit for clues?
Yes, yes, the rumors are true. Mass Effect 3 is boldly going where no series entry has gone before it: the Internet. If you're worried that BioWare's mindlessly running and gunning for Call of Duty's throne, though, you can go ahead and call off your precision orbital strike. Instead, Galaxy at War – as it's known – is a series of four-player co-op missions that can ultimately impact your single-player ending. Fortunately for those who'd rather keep the spotlight all to themselves, though, it's completely optional. Check out the trailer below for a full explanation that could only be better if it was read in FemShep's soothing you-just-wait-I'm-going-to-murder-you voice.
There's something to be said for staying independent. After all, when you're under somebody else's roof, you have to follow their rules, right? And when that “somebody” is EA, well, you're not under a roof so much as you are a Death Star. Or at least, that's the general public perception. BioWare, though, insists that the big buyout didn't transform it into some kind of soulless puppet. EA may be running the show, but BioWare's still pulling the strings.
Every MMO with any sense is headed for the bountiful hills of free-to-play, and it's not hard to see why: Down in subscription valley, two Godzilla-sized juggernauts are about to go to war. In one corner, we have perennial 800 lb gorilla king World of Warcraft, and in the other, EA's own Death Star, The Old Republic. And as it turns out, TOR's decided to rush WoW head-on this holiday season. That's right: $15 a month. It's as if a million wallets cried out in terror and weren't suddenly silenced – but will be eventually after many expansion packs and half-hearted utterances of “Oh, I'll cancel it later.”
It seems BioWare's Austin studio has taken a short break from filling its airways with the Imperial March 24/7 to blast disco anthem “I Will Survive.” Or at least, that's how we imagine these sorts of things – and until someone proves to us that Willy Wonka isn't a documentary about chocolate factory labor conditions, we'll stand by our beliefs. At any rate, BioWare's got big plans, and it's not afraid to let the world know. In short, the master of all things RPG is hoping that its Old Republic will live on until it's downright ancient.
Hold the phone (or omni-tool or Android that's an actual android or whatever); multiplayer in BioWare's single-player space epic? During the series' grand finale – after many wonderful years of solitary bliss? This could be a recipe for disaster. Don't go into a Krogan berserker rage just yet, though. If early reports are anything to go on, BioWare's not trying to make this the next Gears of War or anything like that.