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Star Wars Prequels Games

Star Wars: the Old Republic Launches 389

Posted by Soulskill
from the fully-operational dept.
Today marks the official launch of Star Wars: the Old Republic, a new MMOG from BioWare, EA, and LucasArts. The game's population has been building throughout the week as players who pre-ordered were granted early access, but now the gates have been thrown open to everyone. By using the Star Wars universe and a 'story-driven' approach to MMO gameplay, BioWare hopes to draw in a new group of players who don't typically consider themselves MMO gamers. Since the game is still largely unexplored, comprehensive reviews have yet to be written, but Shack News has a write-up about the early game. An article at Eurogamer discusses whether this sort of game launch marks the end of an era for the MMOG industry — the game's budget is estimated to be as high as $100 million, and it relies on a traditional subscription model when many games are making the switch to free-to-play.
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Star Wars: the Old Republic Launches

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:13PM (#38439152)
    Its going to be too full of Star Wars fans. I learned my lesson from the Sony Star Wars MMO.
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:24PM (#38439334)

      Wow, the rare guy who wasn't completely pleased with his Star Wars Galaxies experience.

      • SWG was great and I loved it....up untill the infamous "Combat Update." After that, people who spent months just to unlock thier force sensetive character slot got pissed on and shoved aside so EVERYONE could just start as jedi.
    • by cmv1087 (2426970)
      I'm bemused that you won't be playing a Star Wars game because there will be too many Star Wars fans playing it. Isn't that a bit like saying you won't eat at a restaurant because there's too many people eating there that like the food?
      • by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:57PM (#38439840) Journal

        Your analogy would work perfectly, if you include the necessary bit.

        I won't eat at a restaurant because there are too many slobbering, loud, annoying food fanbois there.

        If you can eat and enjoy yourself without ranting endlessly how the executive chef sold out years ago, complaining about how the lobster shot first, or otherwise being a overzealous and clueless food otaku... then you won't detract from my enjoyment of the restaurant. But if you are, I'll go someplace else. And it's just unfortunate that this particular restaurant franchise has some of the worst customers ever.

    • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:39PM (#38439586)

      Believe me, it wasn't the fans that ruined Galaxies, it was Sony. They drove that property into the fucking ground. The "New Game Enhancements" killed it permanently back in '05, it just took them 6 years to put that final nail in the coffin.

      Sony should never be allowed to touch a fucking MMO again.

    • Actually... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:51PM (#38440654) Journal

      Actually, as someone who's been there for a week or so now, I can tell you that you can hardly tell. I haven't run into much nerdiness about anything movie-related. If anything, it comes across more like a bunch of KOTOR fans, plus the occasional (and frankly expected) "OMG IT'S WOW WITH GUNS!!!111eleventeen" trolling.

  • WoW 2.0 (Score:5, Informative)

    by aaronfaby (741318) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:16PM (#38439194)
    Played the beta. WoW Improved with lightsabers. Same old borefest. Yes, I know there are companions and mass effect style conversations. Things are slightly different and improved. Yay. Stop pretending it's this awesome new MMO experience. It's not.
    • Re:WoW 2.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dward90 (1813520) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:22PM (#38439312)

      I don't understand who you're talking to. It's the best leveling experience I've ever experienced in an MMO. Sure, it's not a completely new genre. If you were looking for something that doesn't play like an MMO, then you were looking in the wrong place. You can downplay the effect that the conversations and story have all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that those elements make leveling feel extremely different from World of Warcraft (unless you spacebar every conversation, in which case you're missing the point of the game).

      What you seem to be saying is that you don't enjoy MMOs. That's a valid opinion, but it's not a valid criticism for this game.

      • Re:WoW 2.0 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:29PM (#38439430)

        It's the best leveling experience I've ever experienced in an MMO.

        This. I dont even pay attention to my level so much, I just wanna get that sonofabitch who STOLE MY GODDAMNED SHIP.

        • Re:WoW 2.0 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:35PM (#38439528)

          Indeed. I've leveled just about every character class in WoW. I can barely remember any of the quests. The only one that comes to mind is the Lolita-like quest between Duskwood and Westfall. Other than that, it was just a bunch of "Collect 6 Bear Pelts" quests with completely uninteresting text thrown in just to say they gave the story telling a try. Leveling was a chore that was to be endured so that you could get a class to end-game.

          SW TOR is different. I literally have no desire at all to do anything at end-game. Raids and such are the last thing on my mind. I just want to quest. Any game that makes questing actually the thing I log in for rather than a penance I must pay to get to the "real" game deserves a nod.

          • by halivar (535827)

            Wouldn't a KOTOR 3 have fulfilled your wishes just as well? And without the monthly sub, mind you.

          • by Whorhay (1319089)

            That's funny because I actually enjoyed the leveling experience in WoW. The top level raiding was also fun but because of it's nature it wasn't as entertaining over all. At any time I could pickup and play one of my alts and go do questing and progress the character. At max level, once you finished the quests all that was left was waiting for the weekly raids or grinding out rep with whatever faction. The leveling experience was by far more versatile and fun for me. I had five max level characters of differ

      • by halivar (535827)

        What you seem to be saying is that you don't enjoy MMOs. That's a valid opinion, but it's not a valid criticism for this game.

        Where did the GP ever say anything like that?

      • by Snaller (147050)

        "You can downplay the effect that the conversations and story have all you want, "

        I listen to other sources of sound, I can't listen to their waffling on as well, so its skip skip skip - so they have no effect.

        • Wow, you just missed the whole point of the game.

          I'd have thought that it being produced by Bioware would have been a clue as to how it would play..

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Just for that, I'm going to need to to bring me 10 wampa pelts!

    • by halivar (535827)

      Not WOW improved, IMNSHO. More like Vanilla WOW with lightsabers. No LFD. No dual-spec. These are two things that casual players like me enjoy. It's like they took a stock MMO, added voice acting, and a veneer of KOTOR.

      Now, there are a few things other MMO's need to look at. The companion system, if stolen by another company, and perhaps matured, could really help blur the lines between single-player and co-op multi-player games in a beneficial way for us casual gamers.

    • by greymond (539980)

      Yup, it's basically KOTOR 3 but with a monthly subscription.

    • Re:WoW 2.0 (Score:4, Informative)

      by fallen1 (230220) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:11PM (#38440070) Homepage

      (Some quick background - I beta tested and played SWG until the NGE nerf. I beta tested and played World of Warcraft up until about 18 months ago. I have also played multiple other MMOs including DDO, Ultima, Tabula Rasa, A Tale in the Desert, and so on.)

      It actually IS this awesome new MMO experience, and please stop WoW fanboying by playing down the impact of the fully voiced universe and the fact Bioware has done what Blizzard did - borrowed from the best of in other MMOs and refined it. As dward90 says above, if you're skipping the voiced scenes then you're missing the point.

      It is definitely NOT WoW with lightsabers - I don't see any orcs, goblins, or pandas running around. Oh? You mean it PLAYS like Word of Warcraft somewhat? Yes, it does. In as much as World of Warcraft played like Star Wars Galaxies, and Ultima Online, and Asheron's Call, and the other MMOs that came before it.

      I have been in multiple betas of SWTOR and I have been playing since December 13th of early access. I can tell you now, this game has longevity and inventiveness on its side. It is fresh and new and compelling in ways that other MMOs "walls-o-text" quest/missions are not. It engages you in both your class storyline and in the world at large. It doesn't have the sandbox open worlds of an MMO like Galaxies or an RPG like The Elder Scrolls series, but there are hints that Bioware may be moving that direction as the game grows. The game is great visually and gameplay is engrossing. The mission/gather system is an amazing combination of previous MMOs like Eve and WoW. The crafting system is fairly solid, interesting, useful and will come into its own as more players inhabit the universe and expand the player economy.

      As for the so-called "end game" that hard core players and game sites seem to want to focus on, well, that will be a while in coming for casual gamers like myself (although my main character is level 22 at this time). Those hard core players with no life and a caffeine drip in their veins can probably give you a review in another 5 days or less :-p My hope is that Bioware ignores their outcries when they consume the game inside of 14 days and start looking for something else. Your revenue stream is NOT the hard core players, it is the casual gamers who will play for years on end.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        Your revenue stream is NOT the hard core players, it is the casual gamers who will play for years on end.

        You were doing well up to there, but how did you finish that sentence without your brain imploding?

        WOW makes its money from the hopelessly addicted and the gold farmers who supply them. Given the mind boggling investment just in developing SWTOR it'll take years of locked in players to break even. Do you know many casual players who'll keep dropping $15 month after month to watch the same cutscenes o

  • Irking (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jackdaw Rookery (696327) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:19PM (#38439264) Homepage Journal

    You see, I'd love to be playing this, but at 60 for the game and 15 a month, that's just too rich for my tastes.

    I think the game itself should be free and downloadable, then charge a monthly fee for the online access. I'm going to wait for the cost of the game to come down :(

    But damn, it's so tempting to buy ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bazald (886779)

      The first month is included, so it would be fairer to say that it's $45 for the game and then $15 per month. There are slightly cheaper 3 and 6 month plans available if you're planning on sticking around.

      • Thanks for the info, but 45 for a game that you then keep spending on monthly still just doesn't add up.

        Why isn't the game free? Wouldn't they get more subscribers that way? After all, it is the monthly subscription that makes them the money.

        They seem to be deliberatly hampering themselves by sticking to the WoW model much to closely.

        • By that logic carmakers should give you a car for free, and only charge you to service it.
        • Re:Irking (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tyler Eaves (344284) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:34PM (#38439518)

          $60 for a game, then $15 per month vs paying $60 for a game you're done with in a month, so then you're bored and go buy another one at $60. Which is cheaper?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Do you really have to play games as soon as they're out?

            You could buy them a year (or 2 years) later, when they cost $15.

            It's just a matter of preference. For the same amount of money, would you rather play 1 game all year long, or 10 different games?

          • by Hatta (162192)

            If you're done with a $60 game in a month, you got ripped off.

        • by Baloroth (2370816)

          Initial investment gets people hooked (sometimes). Once you spend the $60, the $15/month doesn't look bad compared to the idea that all that money was wasted. Or that is the idea, anyways. Creates a more loyal fanbase. If free, people have much less incentive to stay (but lower barrier for entry). It all depends on the type of player you want.

          Don't want it too high though: a large part of the reason I never picked up WoW again was that I'd have to buy all the expansions... and not even get any game time in

        • by Shados (741919)

          Why isn't it free? Because millions of people were willing to pay for it. It would have been retarded to do anything else. The There was around 1 million unit just in preorder, including selling out the collector edition at 150$ a piece.

    • by Clsid (564627)

      It will come down if people refuses to pay the original 60. I think they should try for something like 19.99 and then the subscription. WoW prices have been slashed, so you can get the Battle Chest for $20, the two other expansions for $30, plus if you sign for the annual pass you pay like $13 per month plus get a free copy of Diablo 3. When you think that WoW is a pretty mature and stable game at this point, and all the content you are getting, who cares about a different game that is pretty much like WoW.

    • by nick357 (108909)

      Its an MMO which should last a long time.

      You play for 2 years for example. You pay $60 + (23 * $15) = $405.

      You think you should be paying 24 * $15 = $360.

      Thats less than $2 per month over the life of the game, which could probably be made up with advance purchasing.

      I don't see what you are complaining about.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      You see, I'd love to be playing this, but at 60 for the game and 15 a month, that's just too rich for my tastes.

      I fall into the camp of someone who will simply never pay a monthly fee for a game. I'm a casual gamer at best, and I've long since been outpaced by video games and can't work most of them.

      By making it on-line only, and charging for that, they've pretty much assured that people like me will never even try it. Which, they're probably fine with.

      The guys who made Portal, however, can likely count

  • by mseeger (40923) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:21PM (#38439292)

    The title doesn't really fit....

    My suggestions:

    - Return of the Grind
    - A new quest
    - The sleep deprivation strikes back

    Yours, Martin

  • the game's budget is estimated to be as high as $100 million

    What in the world could they have possibly spent that on? I'm struggling to figure it out. Even if 3/4 went to marketing and executive bonuses, that would still be a rather large sum of money.

    • Well let's assume 9/10 went to marketing and executive bonuses and go from there :-P

    • Re:$100M really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dward90 (1813520) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:31PM (#38439466)

      Napkin math:

      200 employees (random guess, but my gut says that's a low number)
      x $75k per year (another random guess, but I don't think it's absurd)
      x 5 years in development
      = 75 million. Add in marketing, management, and server costs, and you might be there.

      Oh, and don't forget license fees. I won't speculate on what Lucas is charging them, but I bet it's mindboggling.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      As another poster said - voice acting. LOTS of it. That and CGI - and writers, etc. It took a lot of people a lot of man hours to develop this. That said - $100 million doesn't seem all that bad. Last I heard their pre-orders alone were approaching 3 million. Some of those are collectors editions and digital deluxe, but even at $60 a pop for the regular edition x 3 million is $180 million. There's other material costs involved there, but I'd wager that the initial sales alone will makeup for the deve

    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:44PM (#38439648) Homepage Journal

      the game's budget is estimated to be as high as $100 million

      What in the world could they have possibly spent that on?

      My guess: 2 Death Stars and franchise rights from Lucas.

  • Seriously? It's "Largely unexplored"? I was in beta for half a year and that was short compared to some. I had about half a dozen max level characters during that time and I've done quests that don't even exist in the current build (because they were removed with often unfixable bugs effecting players). Plenty of people who were in beta longer then me even have certainly explored SW:ToR pretty darn thoroughly. I think 'game reviewers' are the only ones who haven't played more than a single beta weekend and

    • by kassah (2392014)
      The difference here, is if this is like any other beta, you signed a non-disclosure agreement when you were handed beta. While you may not care about that, reputable news sources generally don't break those kinds of things, because they will get sued for it. That's if they even agreed to it in the first place, which I doubt any did.
    • by Snaller (147050)

      "Seriously? It's "Largely unexplored"?"

      Yes, because nobody has written about it, go do that if you care so much (remember to write how the interface is unreadable)

  • WoW with lasers (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:26PM (#38439366)

    I've played beta. I won't be rushing out to buy this. As a previous poster said, it's WoW with Blasters/Light Sabers.

    What a waste of Bioware talent and a Star Wars License. They would've been much better off using the Mass Effect 2 combat system as a basis. Instead, it's no different than the hundreds of WoW like clones out there ... EA wanted this game to cut into WoW... The sad thing is they will succeed because there are millions of people out there willing to play WoW with a Star Wars skin on it.

    I'm disappointed to say the least. I anticipated much more from Bioware. If the game mechanics were anywhere near the quality of the cut scenes, I wouldn't be posting this. There seems to be very few gaming companies ready to break any molds in the MMORPG realm. EVE Online is one of few, and that game came out in 2003.

    Hopefully I'm wrong, and my beta impression was due to limited time in the game. But I fear it's what it is, and what could've been a game I would be playing for years is one I'm just going to pass over.

  • Lots of other "big" titles that launched recently have since gone free-to-play. Star Wars Online and DC Universe Online are recent examples. I give SWTOR a year (more than the average due to the Star Wars name) before they start letting people in free. They might not call it "F2P" but at the very least they'll have playable trial accounts that expose 75% of the game.

  • early access (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ogive17 (691899) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:30PM (#38439446)
    I've had access since last Tuesday. I'm currently at level 24 (out of 50) and so far the story has been enjoyable. It does not feel like a grind, in fact most missions to kill x # of creatures are just bonus quests that you can easily skip.

    The game is not revolutionary and they did take most of the best features from WoW. I really enjoy it.

    Right now the only thing negative I have to say about the game is the artifcial cap they put on every server. Almost every server had a 20+ minute queue to log in during peak hours last week. My brother said he had to wait 10 minutes at 10am this morning to log in. If I have to wait more than a couple minutes I will be raising hell.
    • by berashith (222128)

      I would say that if you can complete half of the levels in a week, then it should not feel like a grind because it isnt. It also sounds like it isnt a challenge, and all of the content is high level. Why not just give a intro demo and turn everyone loose at level 50

  • A story-driven MMO...this could be a "neverending story" that actually lives up to it's name!

  • .... and fails. (Score:4, Informative)

    by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:36PM (#38439538)

    Waiting queues on all early-access servers, up to 1:15 on the German servers at this time despite grand announcements that this will not happen to them. They are also claiming that they increased server capacities today, which, as far as I can tell was either by an insignificant amount or an outright lie.

    I predict that this will either kill Bioware or at least bring them to the brink.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      P.S.: SWTOR feels like a WoW with worse animations, worse interface and too much voice-acting. Nice for a few weeks, then boring.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      "Nobody goes there anymore - its too crowded.".

      Queues are to be expected in a popular game on launch day. Every time you hit a queue that means that there are that many paying customers in there taking up that much room. You'll never see any business "killed" for having too many customers.

    • They did actually add like 20 servers today, trouble is all those full servers from before are still full, as stubborn people wont go to a new one, and new players wont pick a light population server, fearing there wont be anyone to tell them how they mine for fish.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Is it easy to move a character between servers on TOR? Last time I tried in WoW, it was a huge pain in the ass. A real let-down after having played Guild Wars (where you could move anywhere, anytime you wanted).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Supermike68 (2535978)
      It is estimated that Bioware spent 135M dollars on the development of SWTOR.

      Early estimates put pre-orders at ~3M.

      You don't need to be a mathematician to figure figure out that they will make money off of this title. Thus your prediction is far from correct.

      I for one am impressed with what Bioware has added to an increasingly bloated genre. I know they will continue to do amazing things in the future.

      PS. Turn down the hate.

    • by Sparton (1358159)

      Worst I had was peak time Friday night in PST (North American server), at about 35 minutes.

      No wait times past 10m on the weekend, and nothing on Monday or Tuesday.

      Might just be the European servers, or the particular one you're on. I'm on one of the most dense NA servers (wait times for mine are among the top when I check).

  • by Snaller (147050) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:49PM (#38439732) Journal

    With 20/20 vision and their nose pressed against the screen - as an adult I can apparently get lost - their interface is composed of a font so tiny that I can't read most of it which is a bit of a problem even though quests are spoken, you still need to read stuff... this is where the kids butt in and say you can adjust the chat font size - and I have to compose myself and point out, ITS THE WHOLE DAMN INTERFACE - tooltips, skill trees, subtitles, their 'codex' (and no, you can't just change resolution, they make sure to scale it so it remains at the same visual size regardless of actual resolution)

    You'd think in this day and age the technology to adjust font size wouldn't be totally unheard of? Apparently Biowares programmers feel this is to abstract a concept, or perhaps they only want kids to enter their hallowed halls. The rest can bugger of back to WoW.

    Well ok then.

    • by greymond (539980)

      UI Scaling and Mods are something Bioware Stated would come after launch.

    • by Sparton (1358159)

      Pretty much all of Bioware's games are like this. I couldn't play Mass Effect 2 on my PS3 with my standard definition TV because, despite it being a fairly sizable TV, the font was completely unreadable. I don't doubt that even on an HDTV I would still run into issues.

      It's not just a programmer issue to add in font sizes, though. It's a QA issue. The stunning amount of text that needs to be checked once per font size is not a trivial expenditure of time.

  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:59PM (#38439860)
    After my BF3 experience, with the game launched early to compete with MW3, I would never
    buy another EA game again. Horrible cheating, crashing, clunky origin interface.
    Time to starve the beast. Don't buy the games and make ea vanish as it should have ages ago.

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