Star Wars – The Old Republic – An Epic, Massive, Multi-player, On-Line, Role Playing Game
I decided to deviate from doing a book review for this edition and instead thought to do a review of the new massive multi-player online role playing game Star Wars – The Old Republic. LucasArts, Inc., BioWare, Inc., and Electronic Arts, Inc., have cooperated to develop and release the latest and greatest “mmorpg”. This new game was officially released on or about December 14th and within one week had over 5 million subscribers. At between $59 – $129 per game (either boxed or via electronic download) plus about $15/month for the subscription – by the end of 2011, BioWare and its partners had grossed around $470 million dollars and continue to enjoy an ongoing cash flow stream of about $75 million dollars per month. Nice!
This game is set in the early Star Wars universe about 3000 years before the events portrayed in the Lucas films – in the era know as the Old Republic. The game concept is that of a story driven epic where you are the hero and adventure with friends on line. Choose to be a Jedi, a Sith, or any other classic Star Wars character type. You make decisions which define your personality and determine your path down the light or dark side of the Force.
The game starts with you selecting which side you wish to play (Galactic Republic or Sith Empire – light or dark – Jedi or Sith). You continue to define your character with further choices regarding race (human, etc.). The next selection in character development is to determine what role you will play in the galactic conflict. Role choice determines if you will be Luke Skywalker and carry a light saber or Hans Solo and be a blaster-toting smuggler. Character creation is great fun in that you can change pretty much every aspect of the appearance of your hero including body shape, skin tone, hair style, color, tattoos, jewelry, etc.
The game mechanics are very similar to the incredible successful World of Warcraft (with over 10 million subscribers). Your keyboard and mouse control movement and attacking. The numbered keys control Force powers and abilities. There is nothing like Force leaping into a crowd of unfriendlies and using your two light sabers to neutralize them.
What makes this mmorpg different is the ability to have companions which are in game characters, not other on-line players. They help you in your adventure and are affected by the choices you make regarding light or dark. They will heal you and fight for you. Also different is the mission dialog cut scenes. As you adventure you will be asked to render assistance to everyday citizens – this interaction is critical to your character’s development and alignment with the Force.
BioWare has tried to make this game easy to play and “new user” friendly. But when playing you find it to be deep, rich, epic and great fun. If you prefer not to watch tv – download a copy and check the game out. I told my wife that when I passed the Jedi trials and was given my light saber I had tears in my eyes. She cracked up! Look for me on the Shein Server in the Galactic Crusade Guild. I will be the handsome Jedi with the blue light saber.