Thursday, 3 December 2009

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.

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