[SWTOR] Player housing, PvP, new video, and more from E3

Star Wars: The Old Republic, as befits the best funded game in history, has put up a strong showing at E3 this week. So here’s a summary of some of the posts and details.

Bioware are very keen to quell any rumours that the game will be a Massively Multiplayer Solo Game. There is going to be plenty of group content, battlegrounds and PvP, raids, instances, the whole shebang.

Now my perspective is that I decided that I wanted to play this thing after playing Dragon Age. Bioware have the ‘it’ factor for RPGs like very few other developers. So the rest of the information is gravy. But for those who have not yet made up their minds ….

But first for something completely different – an unrelated video

New out for E3, the Hope video, showing a battle between Republic and Empire forces on Alderaan (which looks a bit like where my friend lives in Southern Germany).

It looks phenomenal, it also contains no gameplay footage. So what to make of a trailer like this? Enh, enjoy it for what it is. They’re showing off the setting and some of the classes and combat abilities you might see in game. Although the Jedi/Sith get all the best moves, the Trooper (notionally the hero of this piece) looks pretty darned cool as well.

And a far more related video

If you have 30 minutes to spare, also check out the 30 min broadcast on G4 which does include some live gameplay footage. This link above didn’t work for me, but if you can either get to it or saw the show, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Let’s talk about some of the new features announced this week

The two big reveals during the EA session were that players will each get a ship, to use as housing, and that the game will sport some PvP gameplay via battlegrounds.

A ship of my own – whilst some commentators have been going nuts expecting space combat and spaceflight in game, it seems clear to me that this isn’t Bioware’s plan. Maybe in future, but for now, the ship is going to be a private base of operations for your character which can move from planet to planet (eg. as in KOTOR).

You’ll be able to customise the ship, invite friends round to see it, and intriguingly Bioware hint that each class will have a different type of ship. This makes a lot of sense, the game is heavily based on giving people lots of class specific content and who would expect a smuggler to fly the same type of ship as a trooper?

There has always been a disconnect in MMOs with housing between the idea that your house is your home base, and the notion that adventurers wander the world smiting evil. You don’t normally think of Sir Killsalot the questing knight coming home every evening to a cosy cottage with his favourite stuffed dragon head in the garden. And as the game worlds expand (via expansions and new zones), it seems even stranger to be going back to your original home every night.

Obviously magic portals can cover a lot of ground by explaining how these things are possible. But the basic problem that a wandering adventurer probably doesn’t have a permanent home is a storytelling and immersion issue. Having a space ship base in a space game resolves a lot of these issues. Your home moves with you, problem solved.

Battle zones! Bioware announced that players will be able to fight the opposite faction in SWTOR in battle zones (such as Alderaan, shown in the video). I’m not clear as to whether this is limited world PvP (ie. an entire PvP zone and people can drop in or out as they wish) or instanced PvP (such as battlegrounds or scenarios) but expect to hear more about this as the months go on towards release.

More interviews, more information

The fansites and official blogs are also getting more face time with Bioware and a chance to see a live in-game combat demo. Here are a couple of summaries of their experience/ chat, from Massively and Darth Hater.

One thing that comes out of this about classes. In the segment that the press saw, the Trooper acted as main tank, but it sounds as though all of the classes could fill more than one role. So the Jedi consular was healing but also on dps and crowd control. So was the smuggler (a stealth healing class, just what the world needs!). The Jedi knight was dps but also off tanking. And the Trooper was putting out a lot of damage as he tanked.

That probably gives us more idea about how the game will play out, and I like what I’m hearing. Massively also discuss crafting in SWTOR in their interview (it’ll be like WoW)

So, anyone feeling the Force yet?

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11 thoughts on “[SWTOR] Player housing, PvP, new video, and more from E3

  1. I was excited about this game when I first heard about it and Bioware really do seem to be ticking all the boxes for features that would get me to buy it. I can’t imagine it is too long before the Internet masses declare that Bioware is the 40man raid about to get a world first kill on World of Warcraft but to be honest, I don’t care about it in comparison to WoW. If Bioware pull this off I know where I’ll be found.

  2. I just said it to jaxom on Twitter, cinematic trailers are by default not the real game. We were already further than that way before E3, we already saw ingame footage of the Jedi and Trooper. Sure, it was not cinematic, but it was really good.

    It is interesting how scarce and vague Bioware are with info. I think you are right, the player ship will be player housing and portal to the worlds of the galaxy. Basically, KOTOR’s Ebon Hawk.

    I am very sceptical about SWTOR. But maybe this is good. The more I was anti-hyped, the more I usually enjoyed the game in the end.

  3. Player housing is always something that’s made me ask ‘Why?’ What does it really add to the game and why are people always so hot to have it despite the fact that when it’s implemented, it’s never really bought anything that interesting to the table and in fact has had a habit of making the game less interesting when it is there.

    The vibe I’m getting off SWTOR is that it’s going to occupy the same sort of niche as LoToR. A well put together game with some interesting stuff and a loyal player base that just isn’t going to be WoW.

  4. “So, anyone feeling the Force yet?”

    Earlier this week i wrote on my own humble blog: “Good luck getting any press now Star Wars!”
    Well… Those words have long since been eaten, both the new trailer and the in-game footage, has once again turned me into a believer. (think it also helped that Blizz announced nothing at E3, which is a surprise to me).

    What interests me the most in the mmo @ e3 reveals is the warhammer 40k. With the limited sucess that the other warhammer got, what could make a company throw this amount of prestige and money at the 40k version?
    I dunno how many like me there is out there, that is very excited about this, because of the hours spent over plastic tables moving little 40k figures around? I’d love to hear your take on that game, if it even got on the radar :)

    • I know what you mean about Blizzard. It’s so stupid that Actiblizzard has to turn up at E3 and say NOTHING about all their most popular games. How crazy is that?

      This blog is getting hundreds of hits from people searching for ‘e3 blizzard’ this week (it’s because I mentioned both E3 and Cataclysm in gaming news on sunday), and well … they’re just not there. It really doesn’t help the industry when so many of the big companies prefer to go it alone. Gamers get confused, if nothing else.

      Having said that, the same tricked worked very well for Games Workshop. By running their own conventions and own magazines, they raised a whole generation of wargamers who saw themselves as Warhammer players and nothing else. Blizzard is probably aiming to do that same thing. They don’t want gamers. They want WoW/SC players.

      I do have some comments on WH40k but basically there’s no way I see it working as a ‘regular MMO’ because you’d have to be nuts to actually want to live in that universe (well maybe if you get to play an inquisitor…). If they can keep a PvP or even RTS type focus then it’ll make a lot of fans very happy — but how many MMO elements can or should they work in?

    • Sonething I’ve found kinda interesting is the fact that the more gamer-y sort of companies have tended to be more into showing off their wares at PAX than E3 whereas E3, which is a far more traditional press focused event tends to be more of a platform for the big companies.

  5. I’m looking forward to SWTOR and I admire them for being really quite brave.

    I am planning to get it as soon as it comes out just in case it goes into a Warhammer Online downwards spiral soon after launch.

    At it’s heart it does seem to just be a massively single player online game still. Bragging that they’ve tacked on lightsabre Warsong Gulch and wow-style casual crafting doesn’t change the core game.

    Grouping sounds comical. Looking forward to picking the dumbest choices in pug groups in the hope of seeing sparks fly.

  6. While I’m pretty excited about SWTOR (but trying not to get my hopes up too high), that Hope trailer really didn’t do anything for me. Basically, it comes down to having the characters make too many stupid decision throughout.

    1) Trooper going into combat without a helmet. I can forgive this as they were trying to make it easier for the viewer to see/identify with him rather than just being a person in a full suit (like the ‘red shirt’ sith).

    1a) Not really a stupid decision, but the Trooper barking orders to others (who are likely in radio contact with one another) just looked dumb.

    2) After dealing damage to the ‘boss’ sith, the trooper charges… to attack with a knife? Why?

    3) Instead of killing him outright for his foolishness, the sith wait until hes conscious and start a ritual killing. Why? They’re not interrogating him or getting anything useful out of putting off his death. He should have been killed just like the other republic troops (which is happening throughout).

    4) After being rescued, the “hero” is thrown a new gun… which he immediately discards to (once again) charge the sith. Instead of using a knife this time, however, his genius plan is to detonate an explosive at point blank range while still holding onto it. Why not throw it or just shoot the sith? He was, afterall, entirely focused on killing the jedi.

    Some people found it “badass,” but it was too much for me to suspend my disbelief and enjoy. Their first one was /much/ better, imo.

  7. Dear all,

    First of all we spoke here about MMORPG which that mean we will have:

    GCD – any MMO need a query to server and an answer back
    LEVEL UP – by questing, grinding, etc. in the way to max level
    MMORPG trinity – Tank, DPS/CC, Healer; to allow group quests, instances
    PVP – one or all form of : open PvP, Instanced PvP, arena, duels, etc. Players want to measure their force and skills with others, and don’t think any successful MMORPG will ignore that.

    If SWTOR will do all these better or worst then WoW, AION, Warhammer just to mention the MMORPG I play, we will see next spring. For me is important how I fill when play those games, and the willing to come back.

    I will play the game anyhow, because I like the Old Republic atmosphere (I loved KOTOR series) and I am little beat tired of fantasy. WoW kept me there more then 4 years, if SWTOR will be just WoW in space for me is enough, but I hope to be better.

    I don’t see yet my archetype character Rogue, Assassin, Witch hunter, but I think I will play anyhow a force wielder for lore reason. My second choice was the entire time priest, which here will be the consular or inquisitor.

    Just my two cents,

    message from the dark side there is :)

  8. Pingback: Gaming News: What’s hot at E3, APB and the embargo of doom, WAR drops producer, Microsoft still has no sense of humour shock « Welcome to Spinksville!

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