Friday, 18 December 2009

The Sands of Tatooine

In another big disappointment in what seems to be end endless series of them it seems that BioWare Austin have decided to include the most boring and over-used planet in the entire Star Wars setting in the MMO as well, namely Tatooine. And the planet they promised to unveil today happens to be that one. Great.

They also have a comic, which I must admit having lost all interest in as well (in my opinion it's drawn badly and the story doesn't seem to go anywhere). Anyway, here's the official news:
The twenty-second issue of Threat of Peace™ takes us to the long-abandoned Jedi Enclave on Dantooine, where Lieutenant Tavus meets the true culprit behind the efforts to undermine the peace treaty. It seems Master Dar’Nala survived her Imperial captivity after all, and everything that’s happened since has been all part of her plan. Despite his doubts, Lieutenant Tavus agrees to assist Master Dar’Nala in completing her plan by slaying the Sith mastermind, Lord Baras.

Check out the latest issue of Threat of Peace now.
And here's the official news for the planet; you can just hear them struggling trying to make the planet sound even remotely interesting:
Far in the Outer Rim, the sands of Tatooine bake beneath the glare of two bright suns. Small pockets of barely civilized communities dot the desolate landscape, surrounded by the endless expanse of barren dunes and rocky canyons that have silently slain so many of those who ventured out into desert. Among the small shantytowns and settlements that persist, travelers may find shelter from the brutal climate, but trust is as rare as water on this lawless world. Visitors and locals alike must constantly watch their backs in Tatooine’s townships.

Access the HoloNet records to find out more about the desert wasteland of Tatooine, and the mysteries buried in its scorched sands. Be sure to check out the Media section to get the latest screenshots, concept art, and wallpapers depicting this harsh, desert wasteland.
Anyone else shaking their head over how this nothing of a planet always seems to be at the center of pretty much every major event in the Star Wars history? Just because a planet happens to feature in the movies doesn't mean that you have to include it in your game as well. Part of what made Tatooine interesting, once upon a time, that it was such a remote corner of the universe that where the Star Wars sage (and I'm talking original trilogy here) started. But every time it's included in another Star Wars story it makes the original story less because now apparently it's the planet where everything always happens. <sight>

There are other "desert planets" in Star Wars you know; ones you can actually do something interesting with.

The one good thing to come out of this is that they've got a wallpaper of the planet as well; after all your desktop is kind of supposed to be boring, right?

I'm sorry for being so negative, yet again. But I was hoping that for once Tatooine would not be included in a Star Wars game. And it seems as if my hopes for this game are getting dashed one by one.

IGN's Star Wars: The Old Republic Clichés

There's a brief article over on IGN looking at the Star Wars clichés that The Old Republic has to have to be a truly authentic Star Wars experience. The article is clearly tongue-in-cheek and is as such a fun read. Here's an excerpt:
Affirmative Action: The Republic has always been a leader in providing good jobs to non-Basic speaking races and shown particular acceptance to those races who mangle the language by confusing word order or inserting an annoying "sa" at the end of every pronoun. This tolerance even extends to droids who communicate through a sophisticated system of beeping and shoving. All the human player characters will be required to have at least one non-human or droid sidekick that doesn't speak any Basic but is still able to understand and be understood by everyone else in the game. To keep these sidekicks in their proper place as defined by the traditions of the Star Wars universe, their promotion opportunities will be limited by the so-called "cockpit glass ceiling," leaving them stuck as co-pilots and completely unable to find work as main characters.

[link] to "Star Wars: The Old Republic Clichés" article at IGN.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Darth Hater: The Audio of Star Wars: The Old Republic

Over at Darth Hater they have an interview with some of the LucasArts guys responsible for the sounds and music in Star Wars: The Old Republic. The interview is split into three part; music, sound fxs and voiceovers. Here's an excerpt:
DH: The original score by John Williams became an integral part of Star Wars culture. How did the audio team approach creating new pieces with such iconic shoes to fill?

JH: We’ve assembled a team of composers for The Old Republic who are all well-versed in the language of John Williams. Mark Griskey, whose previous Star Wars work includes both KOTOR II and The Force Unleashed, is returning as our lead composer on the project. Joining him are composers Lennie Moore, Gordy Haab, and Wilbert Roget, II. Lennie comes to us with a diverse background in games, TV, and film. Gordy recently worked with us on Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings and Wilbert wrote new music for the recent DLC levels for The Force Unleashed. In addition, we’ve also hired composer Peter McConnell (Grim Fandango, Brütal Legend) to compose 90 minutes of original cantina music for us. We’re deep in the heart of writing material for the game right now and things are sounding fantastic.

DH: When will we find out about a Star Wars: The Old Republic Official Soundtrack and how can I preorder it?

JH: All of the details are still to be determined but we’ll have more info on that soon!
Some new details to be gleaned from that, including that each class will only have two voice options (male and female). Of course I still feel that the player character shouldn't be voiced at all as voicing the player takes away player ownership of the character. But ah well.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

GameSpy: An Inside Look at Star Wars: The Old Republic

GameSpy has a preview article up for Star Wars: The Old Republic. This looks to be from the November press event where they unveiled the Jedi Consular and the Sith Inquisitor (and the Imperial Agent IIRC). Here's an excerpt:
Before delving into the gameplay demo proper, BioWare unveiled the final list of classes. The approach that the developers are taking with class design eschews the traditional roles you've seen in most MMOs, where a balanced party is comprised of an aggro-generating tank, damage-dealers, and a healer. Instead, the intent is to allow players to live out their Star Wars fantasies, presenting familiar but flexible character archetypes. The eight playable classes are as follows, with noteworthy inspirations from the Star Wars universe.
It's a fairly brief article without anything new that I've noticed. In fact, some of their points are questionable (such as their list of iconic characters with each class; I would've thought Qui-Gon Jinn to be more of a Consular and the developers have already said that the Inquisitor has a Darth Maul-type spec; making Darth Maul an Inquisitor instead of a Warrior... though that probably just shows how the Sith/Jedi classes don't have distinct enough icons in the Star Wars movies; if someone said that Palpatine was a Sith Warrior because he was also one of the greatest lightsaber wielders then I would've completely believed that).

[link] to preview at GameSpy.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Sith Inquisitor Class Reveal

The eighth and final (not counting any possible expansions and whatnot) class reveal, the Sith Inquisitor:
The history of the Sith Empire is fraught with scheming politics and dark secrets—the lifeblood of the Sith Inquisitor. Treachery hides around every corner in the Empire’s dark corridors, and survival depends on an individual’s natural cunning and the will to manipulate and defeat enemies and allies alike. The Inquisitor experiments with forbidden powers to not only survive in this cutthroat environment, but to excel and seize authority.

Access the latest HoloNet entry now to see a full profile of the Sith Inquisitor, including footage displaying the destructive powers of the dark side! Also, be sure to visit the Media section to get downloadable screenshots, concepts, and wallpapers!
And wallpapers as well:


GameSpot Sith Inquisitor Hands-On

Though they already posted an earlier article talking about the press conference (where the Jedi Consular and Sith Inquisitor were unveiled) GameSpot has posted another hands-on article. Here's an excerpt:
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, game developer BioWare, a studio founded by two medical doctors on the foundations of nerdy swords-and-sorcery role-playing, made the jump to deep space with Knights of the Old Republic, a Star Wars-themed role-playing game that told a story that predated the events of the motion pictures by several centuries. Some years later, the developer is now working on a massively multiplayer online game in the same universe--a game that will let you play as a Boba Fett-like bounty hunter, a Han Solo-like smuggler, or a Mace Windu-like Jedi Knight…among others. We recently had a chance to get a bit more insight on the game from its developers, and we also had our first chance to play the game using the Sith inquisitor profession, which we'll discuss shortly.
There's at least one inaccuracy in the article though; I'm fairly certain that the Dashade companion for the Sith Inquisitor isn't "a Sith inquisitor whose powerful lighting-based abilities provide excellent ranged damage" but in fact a melee character who is particularly resistant to the Force.

Anyway, the HoloNet page on the Sith Inquisitor should be up later today.

[link] to Hands-On at GameSpot.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Rumor: Star Wars: Legends?

In non Star Wars: The Old Republic related news, Kotaku has a rumor of a new Star Wars game in development (and likely to be announced soon). Here's their text:
There's a listing over on the website of the Australian Classification Board for a game we've never heard of. It's called Star Wars: Legends. And no, before you ask, it hasn't been banned.

The title was submitted for classification way back in June, and earned the game a Mature rating (for "fantasy violence"). Interestingly, it's listed as an internal Lucasarts project, with Activision down as publisher.

And it's not just the Classification Board making stuff up; "Star Wars: Legends" also appears as a recent filing with the US Patent Office.

A Star Wars game we've never heard of, developed by Lucasarts, mature content...anyone would think this was the game due to be revealed at the Spike VGAs later this month.
Has me curious what game that might be. Though to be honest, judging on the title alone (as that's all we have), it wouldn't surprise me in the least if this is a game trying to cash in (again) on all the popular Star Wars characters. I'd expect a game where you get all the "legends" (think "famous characters from the movies") together.

But who knows.


The Star Wars game revealed at the Spike VGAs turns out to be The Force Unleashed 2. Pity.

[link] to Star Wars: Legends rumor at Kotaku.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Jedi Consular Class Reveal

It seems that today we get one class reveal, with the last one seemingly reserved for in a week or two. But first, they also have another issue of the comic. Here's the official news:
The twenty-first issue of Threat of Peace™ begins with Lord Angral returning to Korriban in full fury. Based on the message from Master Dar’Nala, Angral accuses Lord Baras of secretly ordering the recent attacks. Meanwhile on Dantooine, Jedi Knight Satele Shan reacts to the accusations against Baras with surprise and skepticism

Check out the latest issue of Threat of Peace now.
So next is the official class reveal. Here's the official news:
Channeling the power of the Force for strength and wisdom, the Consulars of the Jedi Order cut to the truth of any complicated situation as cleanly as their double-bladed Lightsabers cut down an army of Imperial foes. Whether unlocking long forgotten mysteries of the Jedi, raising armies to fight for the Republic, or engaging in mortal combat with Dark Lords of the Sith, the Jedi Consulars’ deep attunement to the Force gives them all the power they need to rise to any battle with poise and balance.

Access the HoloNet to read archived reports on the mystical Jedi Consular and to see footage of the Consular in action! Also, be sure to check out the media section for new downloadable screenshots, concept art, and wallpapers!
The screenshots and concept art is also listed on the Holonet page, but they've also added two wallpapers:


I hope that as a Consular you're not forced to use the double lightsaber to be effective, because I find it an decidedly silly weapon (I really wish that they would've just stuck to one kind of lightsaber where, at most, you might be using two at once. But I guess the double lightsaber is a staple now). So far I'm utterly underwhelmed by the class, and I generally like the more peaceful, meditative, negotiating style.

The November Press Event, Part 2

There's a few more articles from the November press event, first a couple as listed in Sean's updated post:
Going to a galaxy far far away with The Old Republic
Let's be real: the most exciting elements of The Old Republic would be those features that are distinctly BioWare. With over a year's worth of voice-over, each character class will have distinct plot lines with proper acting. Conversations, too, are acted out directly using the real-time dialogue systems of Mass Effect and Dragon Age. With eight character classes split between the two factions, and each offering completely different plot elements, there is a huge amount of story in The Old Republic.
Giant Bomb
Star Wars: The Old Republic Interview (video)
Ryan talks new classes, companion characters, and more with Mr. Christine of BioWare.
Game Informer
Star Wars: The Old Republic - Video Interview
There’s a lot of buzz in the air over Bioware’s Star Wars MMO set in the KOTOR time period. There’s also a lot of tidbits users are still itching to know. We sat Lead Writer Daniel Erickson down and had him go over everything from how the game ties into Star Wars cannon to the newest class announcements: The Sith Inquisitor and Jedi Consular. There’s also some good new info in there about the new companions in the game and how they will make MMO gameplay work for whatever size party you play in.
Two of those are videos, so let me embed those here as well:

[UPDATE] The embed of the second video didn't seem to work, so removed that one. Instead just go there directly.

And finally there's a couple that Sean hasn't put in his post yet (though I'm sure he will soon). Let me list those in the same format as Sean's list:

Star Wars: The Old Republic Hands On
A long time ago in a demo far, far away we found ourselves waiting to see the final two classes for Star Wars: The Old Republic. BioWare and LucasArts had already revealed six of the eight total classes for the game (Jedi Knight, Smuggler and Trooper for the Republic and Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent and Bounty Hunter for the Sith) but there were still two spots at the bottom of the roster that had yet to be filled in. Today we're able to reveal that the two new classes are the Jedi Consular and the Sith Inquisitor. BioWare and LucasArts gave us a thorough demo of each new class and even allowed us to spend some hands on time in the Sith Inquisitor's opening chapters.
Star Wars: The Old Republic - Preview
I've been waiting a long time to go hands-on with Star Wars: The Old Republic, the upcoming Star Wars MMORPG set during, well, the Old Republic. At a recent LucasArts event, I finally had my chance. In addition to that, this is the first time I've had a chance to write extensively about the game (outside of my nerd rage over the first screenshots). We (myself, David, and Scooter) were treated to the reveal of the final two character classes, the importance of companions, class customization, and saw the Imperial Agent class in action. I don't currently play MMOs -- the last one being the ill-fated Star Wars Galaxies -- but since Old Republic plays more like a single-player RPG set in an online world (and I'm more than familiar with Star Wars), nothing felt that alien to me once the presentation started up.
Star Wars: The Old Republic Interview: Companions, Romance, No Alien Side-Boob
Got something you'd like to know about BioWare's upcoming MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic? After playing around with a Sith Inquistor for about 20 minutes, I had plenty of questions for Producer Blaine Christine. Unfortunately, stumpers like, "Hey, when's this game coming out?" and, "What's the level cap, anyway?" all earned me a whole lot of we-haven't-talked-about-it-yets.

So while we didn't talk about all kinds of amazing stuff, we did talk about storytelling, romance and sex in BioWare games, and the recently announced companion feature -- players will pick up their very own Chewbacca- and R2-D2-esque followers. Perhaps even a Jar Jar, if you're lucky! But I can't talk about that.
One quote that I found interesting from the IGN article is the following: "The Inquisitor uses basic saber strikes to build up Force energy which he can then unleash in stunning lightning attacks" That gives me some hope, if it works like that for the Consular as well, that the Consular might be able to me played as a melee healer (using melee attacks to build up the Force to use for healing). But then, considering how a number of articles say how drastically different the Inquisitor and Consular actually play it's probably a vain hope.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The November Press Event

And as I predicted there's a lot more articles from the press event that BioWare held in November. But instead of quoting each one of them here I'll just refer to Sean's post:
As some of you already know, we had two press events last month; one in Europe and one in the United States. Today, articles from various websites (and magazines) are being released based on information collected at these two events.

We will keep a list of the articles and update this post as new ones arise.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Hands-On Preview
BioWare has just released Dragon Age: Origins... Mass Effect 2 is on the horizon... but there's a third game in development at the RPG mega-studio and it is none other than Star Wars: The Old Republic, the company's foray into the MMORPG genre. X-Play's Matt Keil recently got to check out the game's final two classes, the Jedi Consular and the Sith Inquisitor, and was kind enough to write-up his impressions:
Star Wars: The Old Republic Video Interview (Video)
We talk to the developer of Star Wars: The Old Republic about the newly announced character classes.
Star Wars: The Old Republic Hands-On - The Sith Inquisitor
Star Wars stole the limelight at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. There, the creative forces of BioWare and LucasArts revealed some juicy new information about their upcoming sci-fi online role-playing game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. In addition to unveiling a mouthwatering cinematic trailer at the show, the developers gave us a taste of the smuggler and bounty hunter character classes behind closed doors. Since then, we've seen the Sith warrior, Jedi knight, and Imperial agent. At a recent EA showcase in London, BioWare revealed the remaining two classes: the Jedi consular and the Sith inquisitor. We got the chance to play through an inquisitor quest during the event and talked to the development team.
Star Wars: The Old Republic Preview: The Space Inquisition
I played through about 95% of a quest we'll call "The Tomb of Tulac Horde" because I'm not sure what its official name is, but that just about sums it up. I was in the role of a Sith Inquisitor acolyte with a nice rack and red hair — and I was role playing her with an attitude problem that somehow didn't get her Force-choked even once during the play through. The quest involves going into a tomb to collect three tablets and returning to your Sith master. Additionally, you could accept a quest to activate something in the tomb called the Red Machine for some other dude standing outside the tomb.
Darth Hater
December 3rd Information Extravaganza
Today is the day! The Information Extravaganza has begun! Below you will find links to all of the articles posted on December 3rd pertaining to what we learned at LucasArts about Star Wars: The Old Republic. This includes information regarding the Jedi Consular, Sith Inquisitor, Smuggler class trees, second part of our interview with Jake Neri, other general information learned during the hands-on demo, and our take on the four force users debate.
GameSpot UK
Star Wars: The Old Republic Hands-On - The Sith Inquisitor
Our hands-on with the game featured a combat-heavy side quest on the Sith homeworld of Korriban--which was also featured in Knights of the Old Republic II. The area that we saw was certainly a desolate place, featuring red dirt and rock formations and some dangerous alien life-forms. Our character, a level eight Sith inquisitor, had come to Korriban to study the lost laws of the Sith and to be trained in their ways. After talking to a shady quest giver called Ephram Zell, we needed to enter a Sith tomb and acquire an artefact known as the Red Engine. This mission also served as a test for would-be dark lords like us, as we needed to kill the monsters that lurked within the tomb before collecting the device and returning to Zell.
Hands-on: Star Wars: The Old Republic
While navigating the corridors of the planet's sprawling, temple-like fortifications on our way to the dig site, we were approached by another Sith. She informed us that some Jedi had been captured and were being held prisoner on Korriban, and wanted us to interrogate them. Knowing our time was short, we left this for later, having seen what will likely be only the beginning of multiple, intertwining quests for each class.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
You can't fault BioWare and LucasArts' showmanship, but when you're working with what they're working with, it's almost too easy. At a recent EA press event, we were shown and allowed to play their Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, behind closed doors. We suspect this was only so they could have a hydraulic octagonal door to put the game behind, with a Stormtrooper guarding it, quacking officiously at loitering journos. Cheesy? Perhaps, but it's impossible to stop a little genuine excitement slipping into your cynical smile.
Star Wars: The Old Republic Interview Can the companion characters replace human-controlled characters in a raid of an instance?

Blaine Christine: They're not meant as replacements. If you're in a group, each one of the group members could still have a companion character. It's an augmentation, but that works with the solo game as well. So really they're there for you to be used when and how you see fit. Similar to other BioWare games, we don't necessarily force companion characters on you. It's a way to augment your play style.
Star Wars: The Old Republic Interview
IncGamers: I've had the chance to play and get my hands on The Old Republic today, and I have to say it does feel quite different to other MMOs. How did you actually approach developing it and designing it and making it different?

James Ohlen: Well, there's two major differentiators for our game, we feel. One is story, and the other is combat. Well, I guess there's a third if you count Star Wars, because Star Wars allows us to kinda be fantasy without being fantasy - you know, you have to differentiate yourself and so many people are just in the fantasy genre, so Star Wars is big.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
The most in-depth look at The Old Republic anywhere on the internet?

It sounds like a recipe for guaranteed success: the most renowned RPG developer in the industry with a license for the biggest IP in the history of the world, takes on what has proven to be one of the most profitable mediums in gaming… potentially, at least. As much as we hate to trivialise Star Wars: The Old Republic, we still feel obliged to put the question of whether The Old Republic will just be a standard MMORPG in a Star Wars skin to the man in charge of the project.
Ten Ton Hammer
Not SO Far Far Away - A Preview of Star Wars: The Old Republic
I have been fortunate enough, in my short career in the gaming field, to be able to meet some great people and travel to some interesting events, but none of them ever instilled in me that pit-of-the-stomach anxiousness, which borders just this side of uncomfortable, until I was invited to LucasArts HQ in San Francisco to gets some hands-on time with Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The Kotaku, EuroGamer and Darth Hater links I already reported on this morning, but the rest is new.

The only thing that I will put here is GameSpot's interview video (just because I can easily embed the video):

There will probably be more articles over the coming day(s). And it wouldn't surprise me to see Holonet pages for the new classes tomorrow, but we'll see.

[link] to Sean's post listing all the articles.

The Muzzle Comes Off

For the last couple of weeks we've had rumors and leaked details on the last two classes, the Sith Inquisitor and the Jedi Consular, while the news sites stayed 'strangely' quiet. No so strange when you realize that they've been under a gag order, not allowed to say anything until December 3rd.

Which, if you note your clock, is todays date. So I expect a number of news sites posting articles with their experiences. First to the post are Kotaku, EuroGamer and Darth Hater.

EuroGamer has what can only be called a fairly skeptical view with some hints of hopeful enthusiasm in their article. Here's an excerpt:
The "thoughtful" Consular will also be able to specialise in healing, but The Old Republic's specialisation system is intended to offer options not restrict them, and reduce the obstacles to soloing or finding a suitable group. You'll be able to quickly swap between specialisations on your character, so there should be "no worrying about finding a healer", according to LucasArts. Using the Smuggler as an example, you could choose to configure the cowboy opportunist as a "scoundrel" - a short-range stealth rogue, skilled in medicine - or a "gunslinger", your classic dual-wielding ranger.
In that quote is the most interesting detail in the entire article; apparently you can swap specializations easily. Which is a good thing, as it means that nobody has to be a dedicated healer. You can be a healer when needed/wanted (with the Jedi Consular of course) and not when you don't. Though it doesn't make much lore sense and it depends a lot on how it's actually implemented, it does sound good to me.

Kotaku has an article in their usual style with the text divided into segments for what it is, what they saw, how far along it is, what needs to be improved and what needs to stay the same. Here's the section on what they feel needs to be improved:
What Needs Improvement?
I can't tell the difference between Sith Warrior and Inquistor: Just looking at the list of powers suggests that the class difference between Warrior and Inquisitor is supposed to exist. But while playing my big jugged female character, I just didn't feel any different from a Sith. I shocked people, I drained life force, I cut ‘em up with lightsabers. How is this different whether I'm a Warrior or Inquisitor?

Wow, is the whole galaxy a size D or just the Sith chicks? I'm not as annoyed as I am bemused by the boobs I saw in Old Republic. I almost missed half of what my acolyte was saying during the opening quest cinematic because I was watching her bosom stay oddly stationary while the rest of her body would shift when she sighed in boredom at her boss. Then, I practically ran into the bosom of another Sith female just trying to walk out the door. Finally, the Sith who assigned me the Jedi mind-rape quest I wasn't permitted to explore must've been using the Dark Side to keep her rack from sagging. Seriously, they took up one third of the screen in some camera angles during her quest-assignment cinematic.
Ugh, having gotten the impression that there wouldn't be any use of sliders for customization and having seen the screenshots I was afraid of this. I'm getting so very, very tired of game developers giving their female character ridiculous chest sizes as if that's somehow 'heroic'. My back hurts just thinking about it. But I guess that falls under the "our characters are all horribly mis-proportioned" heading.

Lastly, for now, is the near orgasmic explosion of details and articles over at Darth Hater. You can just feel that they've been chomping at the bit, eager to release all this. I haven't read any of it yet, and I'm not sure how much I'll be able to before tonight (as I've got a busy day with meetings and Christmas lunch at work), but here's their list of articles with brief descriptions:
General Information Learned – An in-depth dissection of the general abilities and information that does not pertain to any specific class. Information you can expect to see in the article includes the questing system, sprint mechanic, and much more.

The Sith Inquisitor – An in-depth dissection of the history, class abilities, combat, and more of the Sith Inquisitor.

The Jedi Consular – An in-depth dissection of the history, class abilities, combat, and more of the Jedi Consular.

Smuggler Class Trees – An in-depth dissection of the smuggler class trees shown in the presentation as well as Jake Neri’s comments from the second part of our interview.

Companion Characters – An analysis of a couple companion characters and how BioWare and LucasArts think they could change the way we play MMOs.

Jake Neri Interview Part Two – The second part of our interview with Jake Neri discusses the Jedi Consular, Sith Inquisitor, why the team decided on four force users, companion characters, and the smuggler class trees.

Darth Hater on the Four Force Users – Our very own take on the possible reasons behind using four force using classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic. We offer our own, unfiltered, opinions regarding the very heated debate and how we feel after a month of consideration.
Lots of details to go through there; thanks Darth Hater team. :)

I'll post more articles as I come across them (though probably not before tonight as I said).

[link] to hands-on article at EuroGamer.
[link] to preview article at Kotaku.
[link] to collection of articles at Darth Hater.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The Expanded Universe of The Old Republic

BioWare just let us know of some upcoming books related to Star Wars: The Old Republic set to expand the Star Wars (and The Old Republic) Expanded Universe expansionistically. Ok, that last wasn't a word. In Sean's much better words:
LucasArts and BioWare are forging a new Star Wars™ era of epic adventure with their forthcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. Set more than 3,500 years in the past of the far-away galaxy, the game occurs in a time when the Jedi and the Galactic Republic clashed with the Sith Empire. It is an era rich with storytelling opportunities not only for players, but for fans of Star Wars literature.

Already, online fans are aware of Threat of Peace™, the serialized web-comic written by BioWare's Rob Chestney. This April, Dark Horse Comics begins collecting the comic into a 96-page trade paperback, Star Wars: The Old Republic Volume 1: Threat of Peace, with art by Alex Sanchez, and colors by Michael Atiyeh.

Threat of Peace author Rob Chestney is also slated to write a new, original The Old Republic short story for online publication here at

Next July, Del Rey Books will publish in hardcover Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance, a novel by bestselling author Sean Williams. Now in the early planning stages is a second novel set in the Old Republic time frame, written by Paul Kemp, author of the forthcoming Crosscurrent.

Unfortunately it looks like the novels won't be fully voiced (unless they do an audio book as well).

Saturday, 28 November 2009

SW:TOR in Total PC Gaming UK Magazine

I went to buy my Christmas cards today and as I walked past the magazine rack in the store I noticed that one magazine had "Exclusive Star Wars the Old Republic" in big, bold letters on the cover, on top of an image of a Jedi that I hadn't seen before. Picking up the magazine (which turned out to be "Total PC Gaming") found that it had a five-page preview (not counting the title page). And since it includes the last two classes it's definitely new. So I bought the magazine.

The magazine comes with a DVD containing screenshots and videos of the game (some 45minutes worth), but it's nothing you haven't already seen. All the screenshots can be found on the official website as well (a number of them fairly old in fact). The videos consist of the cinematic trailer from E3, the gameplay walkthrough from CamesCom and the four developer dispatches.

The article itself is a little more informative, though most of it we all already know by now. Still, considering that the only information on the two new classes come from a German magazine it's nice seeing an English view (leaving off any possible translation errors). Though I'm sure they wouldn't like me posting scans of the article, let me instead go through the article and pull out some quotes.

It starts by talking about how BioWare wants to bring the fourth pillar of story to MMOs. Since we've all already heard this a million times before there's nothing new here. From there it moves onto another big selling point: full voice-over. Again nothing new.

But then it moves onto the Sith Inquisitor and some examples of very early gameplay:
As a Sith Inquisitor, we began our hands-on in the apprentice training grounds -- a very early beginning to our dark side experience. The Sith Academy on Korriban is situated in a dusty red, martian-style landscape whose native fauna comprimuses mostly of force-sensitive Tuk'ata, otherwise known as Sith Hounds. Naturally they're not friendly pooches and will agro within a few feet.
The article details how SWTOR has some standard MMO-style kill/collect side-quests. But what impresses the writers of the article is the Mass Effect-style dialog wheel (ugh) and the moral choices you get to make.
Deceit and treachery are the defining characteristicts of the dark side, and Malora wants you to bring her the creature's brain first so she can pour a chemical on it that will scupper Renning's experiment and allow her to usurp his position. Your options are: to do as she asks, bring her the brain, claim her reward and then claim Renning's reward; or to deny her request and take the specimen direct to Renning. Or, you can ret her out.
The article talks about how you get a similar choice in a story mission where you're supposed to root out Sith traitors, but you can refuse to kill them on moral grounds. When you do however your quest giver makes it clear that he distrusts you and will keep a close eye on you. The article then wonders how much of a long-term impact these choices will have, whether characters can cross the light side/dark side boundary (which we know that they can) and how choices will affect abilities, stats, PvP and end game, not giving an answer to any of them and just leaving the question hanging.
BioWare is saving [the answers] for a much later date and James [Ohlen] only goes as far as to tell us that these are important choices, that "the end game will de tied to the story."
Next the article talks about abilities and such, noting how it's drawing from the Star Wars arsenal.
As a dark side apprentice, our Sith Inquisitor already had access to dark lightning as well as some basic Force abilities and his lightsabre skills. In the Star Wars tradition, this would already put him far beyond the average Republic foe, so mob encounters within the training instance consist of small groups of weak soldiers that stand a better chance of posing a threat.
The article compares combat for the Inquisitor to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, mentioning "short-range DPS lightning attacks, lightning mez effects and, of course, various melee lightsabre techniques". They even compare the Inquisitor to a melee DPS class ("under the hood"). But the difference is that even at low level you have "more scope to play with your abilities". James Ohlen notes that "combat is a little more like what you see in a single-player Star Wars game than in an MMO".

It then goes on to talking about the choice in career path that every character gets at a point in the game, giving you two choices. It compares it to that approaching level ten in Aion.
A Smuggler, for example, is a Han Solo-type class who makes use of stealth and cover to tackle enemies, but at some point you'll get the choice of pursuing the stealthy line by becoming a Scoundrel, or take a more direct approach to combat with the dual-wielding, sniping Gunslinger. Intriguingly, the Gunslinger also comes with the 'Smooth Talker' trait, which gives you additional dialogue options.
Similarly the article notes that the new classes will get two paths. For the Jedi Consular "one (route) is more support healing and the other is more of a controlling stun path where he's doing damage and taking people out of the battle with telekinetics". And for the Inquisitor it is "a fast Darth Maul path that uses the staff lightsabre and does lots of damage, and the other is a more controlling, lightning, Palpatine-type character". Which, to be honest, confuses me as it sounds like the Inquisitor can play pretty much exactly like the Warrior. I guess, and the article notes something like this (as I'll get to in a bit), that the difference is that the Warrior wears heavy armor and the Inquisitor is more of a glass canon.

The article then mentions the typical MMO (trinity) roles:
"It's important for players to fulfil different roles, so thatwhen you go into combat you feel that you're an important part of that combat, not just a fifth wheel. We do have the classic roles in there but we didn't want to define the classes as those roles from the very start. We wanted to let the player play their Star Wars fantasy, to let them play Luke Skywalker as a Jedi Knight, then once they get to the kind of levels where they're grouping in the tank/DPS manner, that's when they start thinking about career choices."
Finally it goes on to companions, how every class has them and how the ones you've unlocked are kept in "a holding system" that BioWare isn't talking about yet, but which the article speculates (and I agree) is probably some kind of Ebon Hawk-type hub. It notes how companions are there to comment on stories and quests and how they have a role in combat. Basically if you want a tank then you take the tank companion, etc.

It also mentions a couple of examples, like "The Sith Warrior has a Twi-lek and she's more of a roguish, smuggler-type character" (should sound very familiar to anyone who's seen the cinematic trailer). And the Sith Inquisitor "might want to pick the Dashade, which is a big, demonic, seven-foot tall creature that's really dangerous and immune to a lot of Force powers while being good at taking damage". And it mentions that a Darth Maul-type player might want to take another Darth Maul character to do as much damage as possible because in a group "your job is DPS".

Which brings me to a thought. I'llg et to the class sidebars in a moment, but those list the article's take on the class roles. But considering the above as well as the class role talks a little more up I suspect that each class actually has two roles with your one depending on your specialization choice. For the Sith Inquisitor this would be either ranged support (the Palpatine type) or melee damage (the Darth Maul type). This would explain to me why it seems articles (as well as people in the forums) have such a hard time grasping the purpose of the classes. As such one could argue that SW:TOR has sixteen classes (for mechanics purposes) instead of eight and I can fully see group requests asking for a specific specialization instead of just a class in general (like asking for the healer Jedi Consular specifically). Anyway.

The article closes with how it feels that SW:TOR has the best chance of becoming a mega-MMO (liek WoW) of all the MMOs they've seen over the years because it seems to have all the right ingredients in place: a very popular IP, backign of a huge publisher, created by the leading RPG developer, and the resources and experience of experienced MMO developer Mythic.

Next to the main article it also has a very brief (three-question) interview sidebar with James Ohlen and sidebars describing all eight classes. The interview asks whether a Smuggler or Trooper can really go head-to-head with a Force-sensitive character. James Ohlen assure that this has been something that they kept in mind from the start:
Liek a Trooper isn't just a guy in armour, he's a guy in ridiculously huge armour with giant guns who can call on air strikes and has thermal detonators... he's basically a walking tank. So he's able to take on a Jedi. He has to keep them at range though; Jedi are the ultimate close-combat fighters, so none of the other classes can survive against a Jedi or Sith within lightsabre range.
Interesting how he keeps "Jedi" and "Sith" in general terms (instead of saying "Jedi Knight"). Though pet classes are my favorite type of class (and one which SW:TOR doesn't have; part of why I'm so upset with the last two classes) after that is the melee healer type. And I'm starting to wonder if you could play a Consular in that manner.

Anyway, James goes on to call up the Obi-Wan versus Jango Fett battle again, nothing that Jango could hold his own because he and Obi-Wan are both about level twenty characters. But then when Jango runs into Mace Windu that the latter is "obviously at the fiftieth level because they fight and Mace cuts his head off and it's over instantly". Sneaky confirmation of the game having a level 50?

Next the article asks whether James sees SW:TOR as a WoW killer. But James doesn't look at it that way. He says that they're not competing with WoW but instead try to build their own niche. He hopes that SW:TOR will offer things that appeal to different people ("or the same people for different reasons"). He feels WoW and SWTOR can exist in the same time.
It would be great if it becomes as successful as Warcraft, but we're not planning for it, we just need to get close to its success -- and that's still huge.
Then the article asks whether this is a new MMO are for BioWare, to which James answers that it SWTOR is successful that they want to stay in the MMO market.

Lastly the article has sidebars with all the classes, Smuggler, Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular and Trooper for the Galactic Republic and Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor and Imperial Agent for the Sith Empire. It calls the Smuggler "the most charismatic and manipulative", using stealth and distraction. it also mentions that at later levels a Smuggler can get "a long-range sniper ability" as well as smooth-talking abilities for favorable dialog options.

The Jedi Knight is said to don "suits of heavy armour" and prefer lightsabre combat, using the Force for defense (both for themselves and their group) and short-range pushes and AoE stun tactics. For the Jedi Consular it says the following:
The role of a Jedi Consular within a larger group is to maintain the health of other classes and to apply the occasional buff. They're equipped with ranged and melee Force attacks for solo play, but once you have the option to specialise, the Jedi Consulars can focus more on their passive Force abilities or move to building upon Force stun and telekinetic powers to deliver damage and to support melee DPS and tank classes with mez effects.
For the Trooper it noted that they use the latest weapons and technologies, battle armour designed to withstand heavy assault, blaster rifles and detonators. And that they "have the ability to call in air strikes to blanket-bomb mobs".

On the Empire side it starts with the Bounty Hunter and how they're criminals and just tolerated because they get the job done. It mentions that they use "illegal and lethal stolen weaponry", that they have various tricks, are a versatile class and "one of the few that can tackle a Jedi in melee".

The Sith Warrior uses rage, hatred and fear, relies heavily on lightsabre assault and paralysing Force powers. They wear heavy armor and "is more than willing to risk experimental technologies and even augmentation to advance his own prowess". For the Sith Inquisitor it says the following:
Sith Inquisitors prefer attacking at range but, unlike its fantasy equivalent, they aren't shy about the front line. They are happy to tavkle multiple enemies in melee with a combination of lightsabre and debilitating Force abilities. Once the career path option opens op, you can move into a Darth Maul-type character with a lightsabre staff, plying your trade as a lightly armoured but extremely acrobatic warrior. Alternatively the Sith Inquisitor can remain at a distance, focusing on the ever-deadlier DPS Force lightning abilities.
The Imperial Agent is compared strongly to the Smuggler, calling it Lawful Evil to the Smuggler's Chaotic Good. it's said to use stealth tactics similar to the Smuggler and have "a lethal equivalent of a backstab strike". The class is said to have even less honour than the typical Sith and stoop to nefarious means.

The article also has a number of screenshots, mostly showing the new Jedi Consular and Sith Inquisitor classes. Next to the concept art on the cover (as show above), which I'm guessting is a Jedi Consular considering the green lightsabre, it shows a screenshot of a Sith Inquisitor with a double-bladed lightsabre shooting purple lightning at an enemy from a distance. It has another shot of a lightsabre-less Inquisitor doing the same to a Trooper, with a comment saying "Heavy armour and high Force resistance characterise the Republic Trooper".

A couple of small screenshots I've got trouble making out (since they're small and partly across the middle), but there seems to be a Jedi fighting some big, red, bipedal creature, another shot of a Jedi facing the camera, what looks to be a Smuggler or Agent shooting a rifle, and a Jedi/Sith Force-pushing some kind of droid.

larger shots on the final two pages include four characters around a shuttle including a bald, black guy and what looks to be a Jedi Knight as he's wearing armor and brown Jedi robes (with the hood up) over that. THere's a small image of a double-bladed sabre wielding Inquisitor facing off against a Trooper. An imagine of a Consular with one sabre doing some Force thingy (yellow sparks at her hands) before three droids. Another of a Consular in a stance ready with her lightsabre (the lightsabre hilt in this image looks rather huge to me; I've seen tree trunks that are smaller). And finally an image of an Inquisitor indoors holding up both hands with purple lightning jumping between them.

And that's it. I don't know the publication much at all so no idea how good they usually are. I also have no idea if they have a tendency to post their articles online after a period of time as well (like some other print magazines tend to do), though they do have their own website as well as seen to be associated with the NowGamer gaming website. So who knows. For now you'll have to do with the description I gave above, which I think should include all the more important details.

Friday, 27 November 2009

The Legacy of Alderaan

This Friday BioWare reveals the planet Alderaan:
Ever wonder what happened on Alderaan before the Death Star reduced it to an asteroid field? Now you can see it for yourself! We are excited to announce Alderaan – a planet famed for its natural beauty – as the next playable planet in The Old Republic™! For thousands of years this planet has been a shining example of peace and diplomacy, but now a bloody civil war threatens the legacy, and the very future of Alderaan.

Access the HoloNet records to research the history of Alderaan, and find out about the civil war consuming the planet!

Be sure to check out the Media section for never-before-seen screenshots, concept art, and wallpapers of this beautiful planet of snow-capped mountains and lush green forests!
New screenshots and concept art on the holonet page, and there's a new wallpaper:

On a side-note, I still haven't decided whether to stop with the blog or not. At this point I'm asking myself whether I really contribute anything to the swtor community. There are better news blogs out there (like Darth Hater), which leaves me with wondering if the original purpose for starting this blog (keeping track of the news for myself) still applies.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Rumor: Last Two Classes Revealed

It seems that German magazine PC Gamer has already been released and includes the last two classes. Considering that the classes coincide with the rumors that have been flying the last week or so (apparently they were revealed to the press at the same time as the Imperial Agent and some people claimed to have been at the press event) and how authentic the scans look it's likely true.

According to the articles (and other rumors) the last two classes are: Jedi Consular and Sith Inquisitor.

Yes, that means another Jedi and Sith class, which makes absolutely no sense (and means that there's no class based on Leia/Padmé either). Deeply, deeply disappointing and I must say that my anticipation for this game, my desire to play it, has dropped well below zero.

Have fun reading the tragedy from the scans (if you read German) while I consider whether I want to continue with this blog or not (after this is made official).

Jedi Consular
Sith Inquisitor


[UPDATE] Rumor is not a rumor anymore. <sigh>

Friday, 20 November 2009

Threat of Peace, Issue #20

Todays update seems to be just a Threat of Peace comic. Here's the official news:

The twentieth issue of Threat of Peace™ catches Lord Angral aboard his battle cruiser. After receiving a tip from his criminal partner, Angral turns back to Korriban to confront the traitorous Lord Baras. At the same time, Jedi Master Orgus Din surprises the Bounty Hunter Braden in a Nar Shaddaa cantina and demands to know who was responsible for the attack on Coruscant.

Check out the latest issue of Threat of Peace now.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

James Ohlen on Endgame

It seems that IncGamers is preparing a (video) interview with James Ohlen, giving us a sneak preview by showing his statements regarding the endgame of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Here's the text of their article:

BioWare has confirmed that Star Wars: The Old Republic's focus on story will not interfere with its plans for the endgame.

Speaking to IncGamers, BioWare's James Ohlen said that the developer will have no problems enticing players back for more once they reach the max level.

"Obviously the endgame of our game is very important and something we've put a lot of thought into, but at the end of the day, there's a lot of different ways to do endgames," said Ohlen.

"I can't go into detail on how we're doing it, or if we're doing those things [battlegrounds, endgame raids] or in what form they're going to be coming, because we're still working on that and developing it, but in no way does us focusing on story in any way challenge us in that area."

Star Wars: The Old Republic

He added that the fact that each class in The Old Republic has its own story will add to the game's replayability factor.

"Just to give one example, if you were to play a Jedi Knight on the Republic side, and then if you were going to play the Bounty Hunter on the Imperial side, it's actually like two different games," he said.

"None of the story content, none of the combat - none of it's shared. So you essentially have just played two different MMOs."

"You're going to have a really epic, awesome ending when you finish your class story arc in this game, but that doesn't mean that your character can't continue," he explained.

Look out for our full video interview coming soon, and you can read our preview right here.

Interestingly enough it looks like their preview linked at the end doesn't actually work. Ah well, they should have the interview up soon enough I'd guess.

[link] to James Ohlen's statements on endgame at IncGamers.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Imperial Agent Demo Walkthrough

Blame Dragon Age: Origins for me neglecting to post this earlier, but over at Darth Hater they posted a walkthrough of a demo they got a few days ago. Members of the Darth Hater staff were flown over to get a personal demonstration of the new Imperial Agent class and in the article they describe their findings.

Here's an excerpt:
Daniel Erickson, lead writer and the man behind the machine for this demo, explained that the Imperial Agent is designed to approach combat situations intelligently, setting up a plan of attack and then executing on that plan, as opposed to just going in guns a-blazing. His first example of this approach was an “Exploding Probe” that the Agent could send out from behind cover. This probe moved to the target and began hovering, with the mob completely oblivious to its existence. The Agent then shot the target and, at the first tick of damage, the probe also exploded causing a cascade of damage that killed the enemy.
There's quite some nice insights in there.

Additionally their latest podcast includes the audio version of the interview with Jake Neri that I pointed out before. In between segments of the interview they comment on what was said as well as what they saw in the demonstration they got.

Thanks to the Darth Hater team for giving us all those details.

[link] to demo walkthrough at Darth Hater.
[link] to podcast at Darth Hater.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Imperial Agent Class Reveal

As predicted today they officially "reveal" the Imperial Agent class (meaning that it gets its Holonet page). Here's the official news:
Outfitted in the smartest, sleekest, high-tech gear, the Imperial Agent always has the right tools at the right time. Using their abilities of subversion and subterfuge, these covert operatives infiltrate and assassinate enemies of the Empire with deadly efficiency.

Access the HoloNet to read the intelligence reports on the Imperial Agent, view videos, screenshots, and concepts. Pledge your allegiance to the Sith Empire by outfitting your desktop with our Imperial Agent wallpapers.
And here's an excerpt from the HoloNet page:
The most elite operative within Imperial Intelligence is the ‘Cipher’ Agent—recruited and trained to carry out the most dangerous and sensitive assignments the Empire has to offer. Whether working undercover or carrying out assignments in broad daylight, the Cipher races along the razor’s edge of disaster, using carefully orchestrated tactics that leave little room for error—the smallest slip-up can be catastrophic. Each successful mission, however, shifts the galactic landscape in the Empire’s favor, and the Agent plays a supremely critical role in securing Imperial domination.
Sounds like players are going to be part of 'Cipher'.

Also, don't forget the new wallpapers (though they don't really do it for me):


From the gameplay videos that does indeed look very much like the Smuggler gameplay. Gotta love that airstrike though.

Darth Hater Interviews Jake Neri

Darth Hater have an interview with Jake Neri, Producer at LucasArts for Star Wars: The Old Republic about the Imperial Agent class. It's quite interesting, talking a bit more about how the class plays, using cover and gadgets and such. Here's an excerpt:
Dover: One interesting thing that I’m sure everyone who is listening to this is really sinking their teeth in that you mentioned earlier was the fact that the Imperial Agent can go stealth. Stealth has always been a difficult concept for some MMOers to handle, but it seems you taking it with the “Stealth Belt” you guys called it?

Jake Neri: Yeah, there is a lot of lore and fiction in Star Wars about the “Stealth Belt” mechanics and things like that. We are looking to grab from there. That is one of the things about working with Star Wars, most every permutation of everything related to any combat, sneaking, or fighting, war, battles, or anything, it’s there for us to draw upon, and that’s just a perfect example of that. It’s not necessarily something you have to go buy, or get, but something as a class you have inherently. It’s one of your abilities. And we fictionalize it through the fact that you have a belt.
Sounds like an interesting class; I've always had a thing for sneaking around and such.

There should be a Holonet page up for the class later today.

Alright, back to Dragon Age for me right now.

[link] to interview with Jake Neri at Darth Hater.

Friday, 6 November 2009

BioWare Blog: Writing the Jedi Knight

Alright, so it seems that I can't predict worth a damn. Last week I predicted that we'd get the next class reveal sometime around Christmas. And though technically not a reveal (no holonet entry yet), today we get to know the sixth class. But I'll get to that in a moment.

First of all we have another Threat of Peace comic; the nineteenth issue and the start of the third chapter (and here I didn't even realize that the previous chapter had finished). Here’s the official news:
The nineteenth issue of Threat of Peace™ marks the start of the third chapter in the story, beginning with the Bounty Hunter Braden returning from his visit to Coruscant. Reporting in, Braden gets further orders from Nok Drayen, and an insightful question. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Tavus meets Jedi Knight Fortris Gall in the ruins of the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine. The truth about the recent attacks begins to unfold.

Fans of the series will be pleased to know that the Star Wars: The Old Republic: Threat of Peace webcomic will be published as a graphic novel by Dark Horse Comics in Spring of 2010. The book will comprise all issues of Threat of Peace as well as all new, previously unreleased content.

Additional materials will include all-new cover art and previously unseen sketches from the comic as well as concept art from the Star Wars: The Old Republic video game. Liner notes will provide new insight on the characters and storylines in the comic and how they relate to what players will experience in the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Threat of Peace will be available at comic shops and bookstores in early May 2010. We’ll have more information about the publication early next year.

Check out the latest issue of Threat of Peace now.
The main update this Friday however is another BioWare blog entry, this one by Drew Karpyshyn (writer of the Darth Bane novels). It seems that Drew has been redeemed, leaving the darkside behind as he's working on the Jedi Knight class. Though he still seems to struggle with all those tempting darkside choices. Here's an excerpt:
Let’s start this blog off with an introduction. My name is Drew Karpyshyn. I was the lead writer on the original Star Wars™: Knights of the Old Republic™ game, as well as the author of several Star Wars™ novels. And I’m here to tell you about the Jedi Knight character class.

Now, anyone who’s familiar with my novels Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Darth Bane: Rule of Two and the upcoming Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil might be surprised to hear I’m working on the Jedi Knight class. But I was excited to step away from the dark side so I could embrace the challenge of writing the “good guy”. (Or “girl,” of course.)
The blog makes me feel a lot better about the Jedi Knight class than the GameSpot Q&A does actually. All those moral choices that Drew talks about should make for a very delicious class (where the Q&A painted the Jedi Knight more as a "Sith Warrior in a different color robe"). The only real drawback tend to be that in the morally black-and-white Star Wars universe such moral choices are always incredibly obvious. Even with Drew's examples I'm scratching my head trying to figure out where the dilemma is.


I thought that that was it, a nice blog entry and the fortnightly comic. That's about in line with the usual Friday updates. But then I got a second email from Sean noting this little gem:
And the next class reveal is…

For those of you who may have attended or read reviews from the Electronic Arts European Press Tour that happened earlier this week, you already know the answer to this. It’s the Imperial Agent!

The Imperial Agent is heavily inspired by several classic Star Wars characters such as Zam Wessel and Grand Moff Tarkin. Imperial Agents work behind the scenes to get the work of the Empire done. Specializing in high-tech gear, the Imperial Agent always has the right tools at the right time. They use abilities of subversion and subterfuge to infiltrate and assassinate enemies of the Sith Empire with deadly efficiency. Players who choose to be Imperial Agents in The Old Republic (TOR) will see the underbelly of the Empire in a whole new light.

Stay tuned for the Imperial Agent’s HoloNet update next week. In the meanwhile, join the speculation on the Imperial Agent’s class forums!

UPDATE: IncGamer has some screenshots up, too:

... as well as our very own Darth Hater:

So the next class is the Imperial Agent. Very nice to have that bit of persistent speculation finally confirmed. Though I must say that I'm a tad surprised that this class is the Grand Moff Tarkin archetype as that leaves me utterly confused about the fourth class (ok, not 'utterly', I can still see something like a Trade Federation Viceroy type class, commanding battle droids).

And as said, IncGamer has a bunch of screenshots as well:

Looks like a nasty class; I wonder if high-level players will get a Death Star to blow up Alderaans with. :p

With the Imperial Agent now confirmed I'll risk making another prediction: we'll see the official reveal next Friday. ;)

Though I guess that I'll be neck-deep in Dragon Age next week, I'll still do my best to post an update.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Jedi Knight Q&A at GameSpot

Hot on the tail of the Jedi Knight class reveal comes GameSpot with a Q&A about the class, much like they had for previous classes. In it GameSpot asks BioWare's director of production Dallas Dickinson and senior game designer William Wallace a couple of questions about the class. Here's an excerpt:
GameSpot: We're pleased to be able to reveal the early details on the Jedi knight profession. This is obviously an iconic character class represented by some of the most famous characters in Star Wars fiction. Give us an overview of this profession.

Dallas Dickinson: The Jedi knight is based very much on [Samuel L. Jackson's] Mace Windu archetype [from the Phantom Menace motion picture]. He is a powerful, force-wielding warrior who will be called on to protect the galaxy from a great evil. Players should expect to be involved in a bit of intrigue but mostly to be focused on hunting down and combating the Sith and their representatives throughout the galaxy.
I must say that a lot of the description sounds eerily much like the Sith Warrior description; quick into melee, dominating with melee powers, advertising dual wielding for the class. Not entirely unexpected, since it only makes sense for this kind of class mirroring (and hopefully that will put any doubts about mirroring to rest, though I doubt it). And we always knew that the Jedi were going to be combat heavy, but I can't help but be very disappointed by the description I see in the Q&A.

I guess I was just hoping for somethign more... spiritual.

Ah well, three more classes to go. There's still some hope that there will be a class that actually sounds fun to me.

[link] to Jedi Knight Q&A at GameSpot.

Jedi Knight Class Reveal

My they're early with the Friday update today. As rumored it seems that indeed today they officially reveal the Jedi Knight class. Here is the official news:
For thousands of years the Knights of the Jedi Order have been the guardians of peace and justice in The Old Republic. Through disciplined training and meditation, the Jedi Knights achieve perfect union of body and mind, allowing them to meet any situation with focused, fearless attention. Strengthened by the Force, they are able to turn this training into brilliant displays of lightsaber combat inspiring allies and disheartening those who would see the Republic fall.

Access the latest HoloNet entry now to see a full profile of these heroic Jedi Knights, including videos showing them in action! Also, be sure to visit the Media section to get downloadable screenshots, concept art, and wallpapers!
And indeed they have the Holonet page up as well. Here's an excerpt from the description:
Valiant, Determined, Guardian of Peace

A symbol of hope in dark times, the Jedi Knight stands for the legacy of the Jedi Order—more than twenty-thousand years of protecting the Republic and keeping the peace across the galaxy. Though Jedi Knights have served as generals, guerilla fighters, and warriors for generations, their legendary combat prowess faces its greatest test during this age.
And don't forget the media for the class; the screenshots and concept art you can get from the Holonet page too, but there's also two new wallpapers:


Oh, and the new class forum for Jedi Knights is now open as well.

Not entirely unexpected to see this class, even before the rumors started earlier this week. We always knew that Jedi was going to be a class and after the Sith Warrior it became quite obviously that the Jedi class would be Jedi Knight.

Only three classes left to be revealed. My speculation is that one will be some kind of Imperial Agent (by whatever name; the Imperial answer to the Smuggler), some kind of Senator (by whatever name; the Leia/Padmé class) and some kind of Imperial Officer/Governor class (by whatever name; the Grand Moff Tarkin class and answer to the Leia/Padmé class). I guess we'll see in time. I predict the next class reveal to be somewhere around Christmas.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Rumor: Jedi Knight Next Class?

As reported by Darth Hater it seems that some members in the BioWare community have uncovered some information that seems to indicate that BioWare is close to revealing the next class, and that this class is the "Jedi Knight".

In a thread on the forums posters are listing evidence for this.

When going to the "jedi-knight" url on the holonet you get a page stating "You are not authorized to access this page." This text indicates that it is a valid URL for upcoming content, as otherwise it'd just give a blank page (and previously revealed content had such a text as well before it was released).

But more telling is the following picture people uncovered in the website's directory structure:

That subtitle reads "savior of the galaxy".

Also the following two forum images were uncovered:


The first one of those clearly seems to be a jedi, and the second might be an Imperial Agent or such as many are speculating. But it's unlikely that they'll reveal two classes at once. It looks quite likely that they'll reveal another class this Friday (or soon at least).

Of course, as with all rumors, this isn't anywhere near official until BioWare say that it is official. Though I do recall Sean saying that he wanted to leave such 'hints' around for forum members to uncover, so it's looking likely that we'll get the Jedi Knight class soon.

[UPDATE] It seems that Darth Hater has something more to report on this. Apparently some user found the flash animation for the Jedi Knight, making it as good as certain that this will be the next class reveal. Even more telling is that it seems that both this Flash animation and the header title image (I reported on above) have been removed from the site, making it clear that BioWare didn't really want those to leak just yet (too late). I've replaced the image above with one someone managed to save and put on flickr, but believe me it was on swtor at first.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Timeline 5: The Battle of Bothawui

Jedi Master Gnost-Dural has a new timeline update for us today. But first today also brings us the eighteenth issue of the online comic. As per the official news:
The eighteenth issue of Threat of Peace™ is full of suspense and suspicion. Jedi Master Orgus Din is called away from Balmorra to pursue a suspect in the Senate Tower bombing, the Bounty Hunter Braden. Meanwhile, Lord Baras foils an assassination attempt on Korriban, and Jedi Knight Fortris Gall requests Lieutenant Tavus’s help on Dantooine.

Check out the latest issue of Threat of Peace now.
Of course, the big news today is the timeline. here is the official news:
A new holorecord in the Jedi Archive captures a poignant moment in the Republic’s recent history. Master Gnost-Dural recounts the story of the battle of Bothawui—a battle in which the courage and sacrifice of Jedi and Republic forces scored a major victory against the Sith Empire.

BTC 18 – Nearly a decade after the return of the Sith Empire and the start of the Great War, the Empire had scored dozens of victories, establishing its dominance in the Outer Rim. As the Sith turned their forces toward the Mid Rim, however, the Republic prepared a bold surprise. When an Imperial squadron arrived to seize control of Bothawui, the entire Republic fleet was waiting. The fleet’s victory was celebrated across the galaxy, but the truly inspiring moment was yet to come. As the Republic fleet dispersed to defend other battlefronts, only a small force remained behind to face the Empire’s retribution. The Jedi and Republic troopers on Bothawui never had a chance of surviving the Imperial attack, but their courage and selflessness in the face of impossible odds won a victory far greater than that from any single battle. The heroic stand on Bothawui restored hope across the galaxy, and rallied the Republic’s forces to fight with renewed courage.

Watch the fifth Timeline holorecord, The Battle of Bothawui, narrated by actor Lance Henriksen.

You can also download a high resolution version of this video.
And as usual the full text:


































Bah, damn cliffhangers. ;)

Quite a heroic last stand. Almost brought tears to my eyes.