Some Star Wars: The Old Republic Thoughts

So there’s been a lot of buzz about SW:TOR this week, it’s E3 week anyway so it’s hardly unexpected.

1. New Trailer

Vwoom Vwoom blue tentacle girl lots-of-jedis plane-crashes-into-a-building bullet-time DROID omg-that-battle-looks-awesome vwoom

It’s exciting, it’s beautiful, it looks like Star Wars, I’d go see the film if it came out tomorrow. (Incidentally, does anyone else think that ‘plane crashing into a building’ has become cinematic shorthand for a really really evil enemy?)

Tobold is grumbling that the hype machine is kicking into action too soon on this MMO. After all, it probably won’t be out for years (I reckon 18 months at the absolute soonest) and when it is, it probably won’t look anything like this trailer.

I’m undecided about hype, but I do think he misses what trailers are all about. A game trailer simply isn’t the same kind of beast as a film trailer. It isn’t supposed to be an edited highlight of the final version, carefully cut together to make sure you get to see the only funny line and some total spoilers.

It is a simple appeal to mindshare. It has to say ‘Hey hey hey! Look at this gameworld! Does this look cool? Is this a world you might want to come explore virtually? Do you wanna be like this person? How about this one?’.

Blizzard have been very keen on releasing trailers for Warcraft; each expansion has had one and many of the major patches also. They in no way are supposed to represent actual gameplay. They’re flavour. They’re meant to stir up some excitement. Maybe let the player catch a glimpse of the world they’re being invited to enter.

WAR released a stunning cinematic trailer before they launched. Again, it was never meant to represent accurate game footage. But it did show a cool battle in a city, and showcased some of the races and classes – this did tell players what the game was intended to be about. Maybe the players didn’t all stay, but the trailer helped to stir up interest in the Warhammer background, setting, and game.

My main issue with the Star Wars trailer is that it doesn’t have enough droids. I am still hoping against hope that at least one of the as-yet-unrevealed classes will be a droid of some kind. Meanwhile, I shall shun the hype machine by finishing KOTOR because that will not at all make me pine for SW:TOR …. DOH!

2. Announcement made that SW:TOR will be the first ever fully voiced MMO

Broken Toys points out that EQ2 also made this claim 5 years ago. I will note that not every quest in EQ2 is fully voiced, which is a good thing because it can be really annoying.

More to the point, how much disk space is this MMO going to take? How long to download patches? Will we have to run it with the CD in the machine?

Tune in for more later this week. I’m still hoping that Bioware will have some kind of playable demo to show.

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8 thoughts on “Some Star Wars: The Old Republic Thoughts

  1. Wizard 101 is fully voiced and is out before SWTOR.

    Point taken about the trailers for video games not seeming to have to have anything to do with the game — EQ’s trailer famously had nothing to do with the game, and used to taunt you with that fact by playing in its entirety every time you started the game if you didn’t click through.

    That doesn’t make the SWTOR one any more valuable. Yeah, I’d go see the movie. But it doesn’t make me want the game any more or less because I know it has absolutely nothing to do with it. So why bother with it?

  2. If you have to play the game with the CD in the drive that will be a colossal disappointment and will show a real disconnect with the target audience. That said, I can’t help, but be extremely excited for this.

    It will be interesting to see what Blizzard’s response to this is. Perhaps, the new MMO they’re talking about?

  3. As Tipa said, Wizard101 is fully voiced.

    “More to the point, how much disk space is this MMO going to take? How long to download patches? Will we have to run it with the CD in the machine?”

    Using Wizard as a guide:

    - You don’t need a CD to run sound
    - My Wizard101 installation is 890MB (WOW is 47.5GB)
    - Patches are no longer than WOW patches; often less

    I looked at the files in the Wizard installation and they seem to be doing some extremely smart caching – there are relatively few sound files – and I’ll bet it streams what it thinks it needs in advance, and ditches sound files it has finished with. This keeps the overall game footprint extremely tiny compared to WOW.

    This is PROBABLY the same sort of thing that Free Realms does… you can see it streaming data all the time.

  4. Now we can skip the quest dialog, instead of just skipping the quest text! Definitely a breakthrough in MMO gameplay. :D

      • I certainly hope so! I’m a huge fan of Mass Effect, so I’d love to see a similar conversation system in TOR. You don’t suppose that our toons will be able to talk back to NPCs, do you?! What exactly do they mean by “fully voiced”? Now I’m just indulging in completely unwarranted hype…

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