Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Choose Your Side: Smuggler vs. Sith Warrior

Right now I'm on vacation (on my parents' not-that-fast computer), yesterday I was travelling, Monday my Internet was down and the days before that I was lost in a galaxy far, far away. So I'm a little late reporting last Friday's update.

Though at this point I think most people are more interested in playing the game than in reading about it. Either way.

Anyway, just as I predicted, last Friday BioWare gave us the final "Choose Your Side" video, facing off the Smuggler against the Sith Warrior. Here is the official news:

From the moment we announced the eight classes in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ fans have been pitting them against each other, arguing who would have the advantage in a one-on-one fight. The hallways of BioWare echo this debate, with the writers, combat designers and other developers all chiming in on which classes they feel will have the upper hand.

In the fourth and final installment of “Choose Your Side,” writers and developers discuss the ins and outs of the Smuggler and Sith Warrior classes, highlighting some of the skills and abilities that separate these classes from the rest. This time around, Senior Writer Hall Hood and Senior Game Designer William Wallace stand behind the Smuggler, while Writer Ian Ryan and PvP Designer Ben Pielstick speak for the Sith Warrior.

Personally my money is on the Sith Warrior for this. Lightsabers, use of the Force and an utter ruthlessness are probably going to be better than blasters and wisecracks. Don't get me wrong, I think Smugglers are more fun, but Han Solo did end up in that carbonite.

After the break a note regarding server queues, numerous articles and developer quotes.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

“Your Saga Begins” Launch Documentary

No, I haven't posted last Friday's update yet. I'm working on that post, but had Internet trouble yesterday and for the rest I've been kinda busy (in a galaxy far, far away). And I've got to leave to catch my plane in five minutes, so this'll have to do.

With it being launch day today I did want to post this though. In celebration of launch day BioWare released a new documentary video titled "Your Saga Begins". here is the official news:

The day has arrived! We are excited to announce that Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ is on store shelves. This is an exciting day for all of us at BioWare and LucasArts, and to celebrate the launch of the game we want to show you all a short video. This documentary chronicles the development of the game, with members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic development team talking about the experience creating epic stories that allow players to live out their very own Star Wars™ fantasies in a galaxy populated with thousands of other players.

Be sure to watch “Your Saga Begins” now, and then pick up your copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic to explore iconic worlds and take on epic adventures with your friends.

Dammit BioWare now I don't want to go on vacation. (Ok, not entirely true, I'm much looking forward to seeing my family again, but even so I also want to play).

After the break another short BioWare post and a link to the official press release.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Grace Period

Originally The Old Republic's Early Game Access would end on the 19th and if you hadn't redeemed your product key (as opposed to your pre-order key) by then you wouldn't be able to play on the 20th (at least until you redeemed your product key). This was unusual because most MMOs with an early access program give players a few days into launch where they can play even without their product key registered (known as a "grace period"). This is to give stores a chance to ship the product to players. So people were understandably somewhat upset when The Old Republic decided not to have one.

Luckily though they've changed their minds and The Old Republic now offers two days of grace. Here is the official news:

Hello everyone,

While we've worked closely with our retailers in the launch territories to ensure copies of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ are available from our launch date of December 20th, we understand that for those who’ve pre-ordered there is a concern about getting your copy on time. We’ve heard you want a 'grace period' where you can continue to play without having to enter a final product registration code (AKA 'game code').

We've been listening, and after doing another deep review of our platform infrastructure we're taking action. Today, we're announcing a two day grace period for Star Wars: The Old Republic customers.

This means that everyone who pre-ordered and is in the Early Game Access program has two days beyond December 20th in which to enter their product registration code, which will be found inside the physical Standard and Collector's Editions of the game; for digital editions of the game from Origin.com, the registration code will have been emailed to you after December 16th. After December 22nd 12:01AM EST, you will be required to have a valid payment method and a product registration code registered to your account to continue to play. We strongly recommend that you register your product code as soon as you are able to do so (rather than waiting until the last minute) to ensure a seamless entry into the game, a smooth experience on the account website and to collect any special gifts and items you may be entitled to based on the version of the game you purchased.

We understand that for some, your copy of the game may still arrive after December 21st. Unfortunately we cannot extend the grace period any further. We suggest you contact your retailer to discuss shipping options, if this is a concern.

You may be wondering if your 30 days of game time will be affected by the grace period. The answer is no. If you redeem your product registration code during the grace period, and add a valid payment method to your account, you will begin your billing cycle from then, and you will be entitled to 30 days of game time. If you redeem your product registration code before December 20th, your billing cycle will begin on December 20th at 12:01AM EST (the official launch date and time of the game).

We know this has been an issue for some of you, and we apologize for the concerns. We're looking forward to welcoming all of you to the official launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic!

It's good news for those who want to play on the 20th and fear that their code might arrive a day or two late. For me it's not much of a concern either way since I'm leaving on vacation starting the 20th anyway and won't be registering my product code until I get back home a few weeks later.

While I'm at it, let me also post a press release, the official Early Access start news and news on maintenance windows during launch after the break.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Bonus Music Tracks

BioWare announced on Facebook that in addition to the daily tracks they're giving us eight bonus tracks today:

Every day we have brought you a new musical score from STAR WARS: The Old Republic. Today we have reached an incredible milestone, we have reached 500,000 ‘likes’ right here on Facebook! As an extra reward for reaching half a million ‘likes’, we are releasing 8 additional bonus tracks of music for your listening enjoyment! Thank you again for your continued support and may the Force be with you.

You can find them and all the other tracks released so far in my original music post.

Welcome and What's Next

With Early Game Access started, in a very real way pretty much the launch of the game, BioWare just posted two posts on the website. One to bid players welcome and the other to give an idea of what they're working on next.

Here is the welcome post:

This is a big day for us; we are launching Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, BioWare’s largest and most ambitious project to date, and we’re very proud that you’ve been able to join us. It’s an honor to be able to share this game with you.

A huge team of talented, passionate people at BioWare, Electronic Arts, Lucas Arts as well as many other partners all over the world poured their hearts and souls into this game. We want to thank every single one of them for being part of the team that developed this game; it’s a monumental accomplishment.

Another group of people that we depended upon was you, the players. We had hundreds of thousands of players spend millions upon millions of hours beta testing this game. Without you we never would have been able to build it; thank you for your contribution. This game is yours just as much as it is ours.

And finally we want to emphasize that this is just the beginning of a very long journey together. The game is launched, but it’s not done; it will probably never be done as we’re committed to working on Star Wars: The Old Republic in order to keep improving it and delivering exemplary service to you, the customer. It’s going to be a great ride.

Finally, we can only think of one appropriate way to sign off on this auspicious occasion:

May the Force be With You!

 

Ray Muzyka & Greg Zeschuk
Co-Founders, BioWare

Personally I was thinking of "here goes nothing", but I guess "may the Force be with you" works as well.

Read on after the break for the future plans.

Early Game Access Begins

The call has gone out, Early Game Access has begun. The first wave of emails has been sent and people have started playing.

I got an email as well, so I'll be playing as soon as I get home from work. Unfortunately with some chaos regarding the EU RP megaserver (a number of large guilds decided to split themselves off and go to another server instead) I'm undecided what server I'll play on. Bah.

Anyway, if you're in today then congratulations and have fun. And if not then hang on tight, you'll get in soon enough.


P.s. For those who don't know or don't remember; that image was originally used to tease the announcement of The Old Republic over three years ago. Seems fitting to use again now (nicked from MMORPG).

Monday, 12 December 2011

Guild Deployment Details

Early Game Access is almost upon us and BioWare has started sending out email to guilds with their guild deployment details. BioWare also posted a short FAQ explaining how everything (related to Guild Deployment) works. Here's an excerpt:

Now that your guilds are in the game, ready to go, here’s everything you need to know about how Guild Deployment works.

How can I tell if/where my guild has been deployed?

Everyone will receive an email before Early Access with details about the status of their guild.

  • If your guild was successfully deployed to a server, you’ll receive a link to the website that you can follow to find out what server your guild has been placed on.
  • If your guild was not deployed to a server because it did not meet the qualifications for import, you will be able to create your guild manually in the game.

Server assignments through the Guild HQ system are final and cannot be changed, but you and your guild are not in any way required to play on the server where you were placed. We have pre-created assigned guilds on specific servers as a convenience to you, and these assignments may be ignored at your discretion.

Not really mentioned in the FAQ, but you can also search for guilds and on the guild page find out what server they're deployed on (which doesn't mean that they'll actually play on that server).

After the break a few more details (such as server lists collected in various places), but first I want to give a shout out to the SWTOR-RP.com community who have been in the progress of selecting a "megaserver" (well, two, one for EU and one for NA but I've only been keeping track of the EU one). They've decided that the "The Progenitor" EU RP-PvE (English) will be European roleplaying megaserver and invite all roleplayers to join them there to make as strong a roleplaying community as possible. I'll be looking to play on that server as well.

Read on after the break for a few more links.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sith Inquisitor Character Progression

Just a few more days and many, if not most, of us will be playing The Old Republic for realz.

But first we've got another Friday Update. On this day of Christmas my SWOTOR gave to me, the last of the class progression videos showing the Sith Inquisitor... uh... see? Yes, that'll do. As per BioWare's official news:

As you progress in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, your character will acquire new skills and abilities that complement their more powerful weapons and armor.

Feared across the galaxy for both their mastery of the Dark Side of the Force™ and their ability to manipulate those around them, even those within the Empire know to watch themselves when in the presence of a Sith Inquisitor. Some acolytes who complete the trials use their newfound powers to channel the Force into devastating mental and lightning attacks. Others command the Force to deceive their enemies both in conversation and on the battlefield.

Hurray for more silly hats. Seriously though, the Sith Inquisitor (at least the Assassin) is a fun class to play with some great Darkside options. They just don't have much fashion sense. Either that or I don't. Then again, if you're in command of the Dark Side of the Force then you probably don't need much fashion sense as you can just electrocute anyone who even thinks of making fun of your outfit.

Oh, and my prediction for next week: Smuggler versus Sith Warrior "Choose Your Side" video. I'm calling it.

Read on after the break for the introduction of the SWTOR Community Blog, launch events, lots of links to articles across the net, and the developer quotes. Oh, and one funny Gamebreaker video which, if you haven't seen it already, you don't want to miss. And don't forget that I've been keeping my Music of The Old Republic post updated with the daily tracks BioWare has been posting up on Facebook.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Pre-load started

Pre-loading for Star Wars: The Old Republic has been started. If you pre-ordered the game (and registered your pre-order) then you can download the game client from your account at swtor.com and start downloading the 20GB or so of data needed for the game. Here's the news from BioWare:

Early Game Access* for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ is only a few days away! Starting December 13, 2011, The Old Republic will begin emailing invitations to start your Early Game Access. Invitations will be sent throughout the Early Game Access period offering rolling access to the game in the order in which you redeemed your Pre-Order Code, so be sure to check your email inbox!

To ensure that players can get into the game as quickly as possible when their Early Game Access begins, we are now allowing everyone who has redeemed a Pre-Order Code at our Code Redemption Center to pre-load the game to their computer.

In order to download the game client before Early Game Access begins, you need have already logged into your account and redeemed your Pre-Order Code. Once you have done this, you can download the game client by clicking on “My Account” in the upper-right of the window and then click “Pre-Order.” On your Pre-Order page, click the large button that says “Download Game Client” to begin download of the game!

If you participated in our recent Beta Testing Weekend between November 25th and 28th and still have the game client installed, you will be able to patch this client instead of re-installing by simply launching your client, logging in and allowing the download to complete. If you did not participate in the November 25th – 28th Beta Weekend, first uninstall the Game Testing Client and then re-install to ensure your game client will function correctly during Early Game Access.

Learn more about how to get ready for Early Game Access!

If you haven’t pre-ordered Star Wars: The Old Republic yet, you still have time. Visit our Pre-Order Page, secure your copy of the game and redeem your Pre-Order Code at the Code Redemption Center to pre-load the client and qualify for Early Game Access.

If you have any issues installing or patching the game client for The Old Republic, check visit the Customer Service Support section for information and assistance.

*Customers who redeem their Pre-Order Code at the Code Redemption Center prior to launch will be able to pre-load the Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Client before the official Game launch. Pre-loading the Game does not grant you access to the Game. Pre-Ordering the Game only allows you access to the Early Game Access period and your Color Crystal. Early Game Access may be up to 7 days. The length of your Early Game Access depends on the date and order in which you redeemed your Pre-Order Code. In order to continue playing the Game after the Early Game Access period, you must redeem your official Game Product Registration Code at the Code Redemption Center.

If you can spare the bandwith then I'd uninstall any old beta clients even if you've played the weekend of the 25th, just to clean out any mess the beta might've left.

And yes, this means that BioWare extended the Early Access period by two days, starting on the 13th now instead of the 15th. Though it seems that we'll have to wait until next week to know how many of those days each of us can use. And there not being a grace period after Early Access is likely going to rub a few people the wrong way too (not me, since I'm leaving on vacation on launch day).

Anyway, this should give everyone a week at least to download all the data, which should be more than plenty of time.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

SWTOR Beta Preview

By this time it feels like pretty much everyone who wanted to has played The Old Republic. Even so, having playing played in beta, and trying to play as little as possible so as to avoid spoiling the story (and not being very successful at it), I thought it might be nice to share my thoughts on the game.

In the end I made a deal with myself: I allowed myself to play the origin planets (except Hutta) and not any of the other planets (except Dromund Kaas). I didn't want to play Hutta because Imperial Agent will be (one of) my (two) main characters (the other one being Jedi Consular) and I didn't want to spoil the story (any more than I already did at the London Fan Day months ago). And since all the other planets are shared I didn't want to play those either... though I allowed myself Dromund Kaas so that I could see how things were after the starter planets and get to my ship (and thus experience some space combat). Since by the time I decided on this self-imposed rule I'd already played a Consular to level 10 playing Tython again wouldn't be an issue.

As such I played every Republic class up to level 10 (and the Consular three times), both Sith classes to level 16 and a Bounty Hunter to level 20. The Bounty Hunter was a special case where I avoided all side quests (though I did do all side quests on Dromund Kaas again just to bridge the level gap some) and managed to finish the class story on two planets after Dromund Kaas. I tried to do similar with the Sith Inquisitor after Dromund Kaas, but half-way through Balmorra ran into a level 20 elite (while I was still level 16) that I couldn't defeat.

Read on after the break for my experiences in the game.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Choose Your Side: Agent vs. Consular

First off; woot:

That means I can (finally) use the keyboard to make dialog choices without being surprised by BioWare's different interpretations. And yes, tha's optional (in fact it defaults to off right now).

Anyway, on to the Friday updates. This Friday BioWare released another "Choose Your Side" video, this time pitting my two main classes against each other: Jedi Consular versus Imperial Agent. Here's the official news:

From the moment we announced the eight classes in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, fans have been pitting them against each other, arguing who would have the advantage in a one-on-one fight. The hallways of BioWare echo this debate, with the writers, combat designers and other developers all chiming in on which class they feel reigns supreme.

In the latest entry of our series “Choose Your Side,” members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic team plead their cases for two iconic Star Wars™ classes, highlighting the many skills and abilities that set each class apart. This time around, Senior Writer Alexander Freed and Designer Ken Dilks argue in favor of the stealthy Imperial Agent, while Writer Jo Berry and Designer Jason Attard speak on behalf of the Force-wielding Jedi Consular.

I'm going to be a cop-out and say it's a draw. The Agent (particularly the sniper) seems to me to be a very preparation-based class getting the upper hand when they get to decide when-and-where, but the Consular (particularly the Sage) seems a heavily reaction-based class, healing back whatever damage the Agent might do. So it becomes a question of whether the Agent can do damage quickly enough for the Consular to react to or not.

It also seems to me that the video focuses heavily on the Sniper and Sage advanced classes, pretty much ignoring both the Shadow and Operative advanced classes (not once did it mention stealth that I recall). Then again it's probably not very interesting making a video of two invisible classes.

Read on after the break for The Old Republic peripherals, the end of the pre-launch guild program, lots of links again, and the developer quotes.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Listen to the Music of The Old Republic

BioWare announced that every day from now until launch they'll release a music track of The Old Republic. Here's the official news with the first track (The Mandalorian Blockade):

The Collector’s Edition of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ includes seventeen original tracks, but this is just a small sampling of the breadth of music that was composed specifically for the game. As we count down the days until our December 20th launch, we want you to experience the entire original score! That’s why, starting today and continuing every day until launch, we are releasing one new musical track available for download each day on both Facebook and YouTube!

You can head over to our Facebook page right now to listen to and discuss “The Mandalorian Blockade”, the first track that we’ve released. This track is also available to download below, and all of the released tracks will be available for download from this page on December 20th. Make sure that you check back to Facebook each day to listen to the latest musical score from the game, and while you’re there remember to ‘Like’ us so that you don’t miss a single track.

Download Now:

TheMandalorianBlockade.mp3

[EDIT] Link to the file removed; find it together with the others in the list below (after the break).

The music is quite nice and suitably epic. But most importantly it sounds very Star Wars despite being clearly new music (near as I can tell at least).

I'm not going to make a post every day with new music, but I think I might collect them every Friday when posting the Friday news. Which reminds me that I should probably prepare my mp3-player for a bunch of Star Wars music to listen to over the Holidays (to stay in the mood).

Only two more weeks...


[EDIT] Contrary to what I said above I decided to just update this post instead with the new tracks. Read the lastest list after the break.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Jedi Consular Character Progression

With the (likely) last beta weekend, and by far the biggest, slowly drawing to a close we take a look at the Jedi Consular character progression video that BioWare released last Friday. Here is the official news:

As your character grows more powerful, you will see them gain new skills and abilities to complement the superior gear they acquire.

Channeling the power of the Force to give them strength in combat and clarity in diplomacy, Jedi Consulars are respected for their leadership on the battlefield as well as their evenhanded demeanor at the negotiating table. While many devote themselves to uncovering the ancient secrets of the Jedi and use their command of the Force to defend and protect their allies, others use the Force as a means of slipping into the shadows and becoming powerful servants for the Republic.

My, those Jedi Sages sure do get some silly hats. Let's all be imminently thankful for the "hide helmet" option. In general find it hard to get excited by this video at all. The gameplay doesn't look very interesting (the closest it gets to interesting is the Shadow's stealth, but even that doesn't feel that exciting) and the clothing doesn't look very compelling either (large shoulderpads and all). I get that it's difficult to make a healer look that interesting (and I've no issue with robes, quite the contrary), but this video failed to make me excited for the Consular. It failed to make me feel "Yes, I want that", which is a pity. Particularly since I'm still planning to make the Jedi Sage one of my two main classes.

Anyway, with all the beta stuff going on there are a lot of articles to go through again. That and the developer quotes after the break.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Bringing Down the Hammer (on the NDA)

The NDA has been lifted! That means that all across the world people can finally inform their significant others what they've been so secretive about all these months. And it means that you'll see a bunch of previews articles appear all across the net, that too.

But before we get to that the official Friday update, consisting of a trailer for another Flashpoint and the announcement of a new (non-fiction) book. Here's the official news on the Flashpoint video:

The ‘Hammer,’ a powerful prototype battle station developed by the Republic, was thought to have been destroyed in the war, but it has mysteriously reappeared in the possession of the expansionist Advozsec. Determined to assert their new power, the Advozsec have been using the weapon to conquer neutral worlds in the Outer Rim. Now, before the Hammer can strike again, both the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire have set plans in motion to bring the station down.

We are excited to present a new preview of ‘Bringing Down the Hammer,’ just one of the many Flashpoints in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.

It's one of those movies which, while decent, I doubt I'll remember a month from now. Then again, I'll be playing The Old Republic a month from now so I doubt it'll matter much anyway.

Continue reading after the break for the book news and a wave of articles come out of the NDA lifting and news on the newly announced Legacy System. That and the developer quotes of course (this week with a special guest star).

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Choose Your Side: Inquisitor vs. Trooper

It's Friday, which means another BioWare update. Which I'm posting now. Before BioWare posts it. Because this is actually last week's update. Ahum. So I'm a little late... blame Skyrim.

Yes, so... last Friday BioWare posted a couple of updates. Primarily among them a "Choose Your Side" video pitting the Sith Inquisitor against the Trooper. Here's the official news:

From the moment we announced the eight classes in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ fans have been pitting them against each other, arguing who would have the advantage in a one-on-one fight. The hallways of BioWare echo this debate, with the writers, combat designers and other developers all chiming in on which classes they feel will have the upper hand.

In the video series “Choose Your Side,” members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic team plead their cases, highlighting some of the many skills and abilities that set each class apart from the rest. In the second video of the four-part series, two of the most iconic classes in the Star Wars™ universe face off as the Force-wielding Sith Inquisitor battles the stalwart Republic Trooper.

I have to say, my money's on the Inquisitor.

So that's two more "Choose Your Side" videos to go and I think we can tell with near certainty that those will be Jedi Consular vs Imperial Agent and Smuggler vs Sith Warrior. Because they're not going to do Smuggler vs Agent (as they're pretty much the same class mechanics wise and thus wouldn't make for a very interesting versus debate) and we've already had the other classes.

After the break we'll look at the other updates; news on the next (and probably final) beta testing weekend, news about TOR appearing at Dreamhack, account security issues, news from the second Fan Site Summit and a few more previews.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Imperial Agent Character Progression

As you can see from the title of this post, this Friday BioWare released the Imperial Agent character progression video, showing a number of Imperial Agent outfits and skills. They also announced the length of Early Game Access (up to five days) and something about Revan preview chapter, but honestly who cares... Agent outfits:

As you progress in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, your character will gain experience, growing more powerful and discovering new skills while also acquiring more advanced gear.

Through cunning, stealth, and ruthless tactics, the Imperial Agent has no shortage of ways to complete his objectives. Even so, as the complexity and importance of his missions increase, the Agent will have to acquire new skills and equipment to help him combat the ever-growing threat to the Empire. This video shows you a sampling of the many different armors and abilities the Imperial Agent can obtain as he travels the galaxy.

I must say that I quite like the outfits, even if the Operative high level one makes her look more like a Sith with the hood up and everything. The Sniper ones are much more my speed. And I'm particularly happy that they're showing a female character for a change (after the other five progression videos we've had all had male characters).

And that leaves just the Jedi Consular and the Sith Inquisitor to get their progression videos (with only about a month-and-a-half left before the game releases).

Now, for those of you who do care about the other news as well (which, in fairness, includes me too), read on after the break for the Early Game Access details, previews from the upcoming Revan novel, previews and interviews, and the developer quotes.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Prepare for Guild Deployment

BioWare has updated the Guild HQ to include an indication of whether a guild is ready for Phase 3: Deployment. This isn't phase 3 just yet (the game needs to launch for that), but it does help guilds get ready for it. Here is the official news:

Last month we expanded our Pre-Launch Guild Program with the implementation of Phase 2: Alignment, where guilds could designate other guilds as allies or adversaries. Now, as Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ moves ever-closer to launch, we are excited to announce that we have initiated the first part of Phase 3: Deployment!

Phase 3: Deployment will see any guild that meets the pre-designated criteria be transferred into the game for launch. Before we begin this process, though, we want to give all of you who are in guilds the opportunity to make sure your guild meets the following requirement for transfer:

  • Four members of the guild must have pre-ordered the game and redeemed their Pre-Order Code at the Code Redemption Center.

(NOTE: We have removed the additional requirement for the guild leader to log in to the website and verify that their guild remains active and wants to be imported.)

To help clear up any confusion as to whether or not your guild is ready for deployment, we have now given each guild page a small status indicator. This indicator will show you the number of people in your guild who have pre-ordered the game, and will inform you whether or not your guild meets the criteria for deployment into the game.

Now is the time to make sure that your guild meets the criteria to be transferred into the game so visit the Guild HQ now! Make sure to secure your copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic by visiting our Pre-Order page, and then redeem your Pre-Order Code at the Code Redemption Center to ensure that your guild is among the first to explore The Old Republic!

To learn more about guilds in The Old Republic, check out the Guilds Game System page for details and visit the Guilds FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions.

Additionally David Bass made a detailed post on the forum explaining the server types and PvP ruleset TOR will have. Read that after the break.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Warzones

Last Friday BioWare gave us more information on Warzones, including a new game systems section for them and a video for the Voidstar Warzone. Here's the official news:

Warzones in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ are specific areas outside of the main character story, where players face off against each other in exciting Player-vs-Player combat. In order to give you a more detailed look at each of the different Warzones, we’ve launched a new Warzones Game Systems page! This new page will allow you to learn about each of the different Warzones, and each Warzone breakdown is accompanied by a short video displaying how the Warzone looks in the game.

Be sure to check out the Warzones Game Systems page now, and keep checking back to StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com for more information on Warzones in the coming weeks!

I can't help but zone out a bit when watching the video; we've seen so many of them by now that one more doesn't really excite. And it's hard to follow what's going on. But it does give a little bit of a sense of what the objectives are in this Warzone. And I noticed multiple lightsaber colors (had we seen purple and yellow lightsabers yet? I don't recall having seen them before). And don't forget the Game Systems page, which is quite nice as well (though I can't help but feeling that three Warzones isn't a whole lot).

Read on after the break for links to various articles (more press previews and details from Paris Games Week) and the developer quotes.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Previews and Unboxings

Ooh my, it's been a busy week. Finally got my new PC and been busy setting that up. Things are flying at the speed of light now and it seems I can play most everything at maximum settings (when I told a friend the specs he called it 'somewhat overkill', which is good because that's exactly what I was going for). Finally have a chance to play Fallout New Vegas too (which crashed to blue screen on my old system). Been a lot of fun so far (playing Easy Hardcore).

But I'm sure you're not interested in that.

It's been a busy week for TOR as well. Not only are there the Friday updates (a Fan Friday, a Eurogamer Expo highlights video and details on the Collector's Editions), but a lot of previews from the press as well. Add to that a bunch of stuff from New York Comic-Con and Paris Games Week and there's a lot to go through. So let's get started.

Of the three official Friday updates the one that's probably the most interesting is the additional details on the collector's edition bonuses (including an unpacking video). Here's an excerpt from the official news, including (a link to) the video:

When we announced that Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ was available for Pre-Order, we also told you about the many digital items that come as a bonus for purchasing the game. While there is a pre-order bonus for everyone who secures their copy of the game regardless of the edition pre-ordered, some of these digital items are reserved for those of you who purchase either the Digital Deluxe Edition or Collector’s Edition of the game.

To add clarity, we’ve decided to break down the digital items that you will be able to gain access to in each edition of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

The main question I have after that is... how is the HoloCam different from the screenshot button? For the rest it seems decent enough even if I'm still kind of miffed that the CE Store (and VIP area with it) isn't included inthe Digital Deluxe Edition.

Read on after the break for the Fan Friday and Eurogamer Expo news, for a bunch of stuff from NYCC and PGW, for a lot of SWTOR previews from around the net and the developer quotes. Best to schedule a day off from work/school to be able to read all that.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Signs of War

Oh my. With New York Comic-Con officially started today BioWare had a bunch of The Old Republic updates for us (I count five official news items). So we'd better get to it.

The first, biggest, news is that they have a new (ingame) trailer for us titled "Signs of War". Narrated by Satele Shan it sets the stage for the stories of the game itself, giving glimpses of the things players might encounter when playing. Here is the official news (with the video linked):

A return to war is inevitable. Two great armies mass their forces, readying themselves for the approaching battle. Meanwhile, the galaxy is rife with chaos and corruption. As the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire teeter on the brink of open warfare, a new generation takes charge; their actions will shape the future of the entire galaxy.

We are excited to present to you the latest Game trailer for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, Signs of War, which debuted at New York Comic Con.

To some degree we're getting a bit inundated with SWTOR trailers, but I still liked this one. Can't wait to play and experience those stories it's hinting at.

Read on after the break for a new Operations page, release date news (good news for those in Europe), convention news both future and past, and the developer quotes.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Old Republic heads to NYCC 2011

One update I missed last Friday (because BioWare posted it after I made my post) is that The Old Republic is heading to New York Comic Con coming weekend. Normally I'd just keep this around until the next update, but with the Meet & Greet on Wednesday and the Con coming weekend already holding it off would probably mean that I'd be too late. As such, the official news:

Each year, New York Comic Con attracts tens of thousands of fans to the Jacob K. Javits Center on Manhattan Island to take part in one of the largest pop culture conventions in the United States. This year, between October 13 – 16, BioWare and LucasArts will be in attendance to give fans the opportunity to get some hands-on time with Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.

Those who come by the booth will have the opportunity to experience both the Alderaan and Huttball Warzones. New York Comic-Con attendees will also have the chance to play through some of our Origin Worlds content on the showfloor.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will also be taking center stage as part of three separate panels! Our main panel will be held on Friday, October 14th at 2:30pm EDT inside room 1A10 of the MTV Theater. Additionally, on October 14th inside the American Airlines Theater, members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic development team will be taking part in a Q&A panel moderated by MMORPG.com. Finally, at 2:45pm EDT on Sunday, October 16th, BioWare’s Principle Writer and Revan author Drew Karpyshyn will be taking part in a panel on writing novels set in the Star Wars™ universe.

If you are unable to make it to New York Comic Con, BioWare will also be hosting a Community Meet & Greet on Wednesday, October 12th at District 36. Lasting from 8:00PM EDT until 11:00PM EDT, fans will be able to get some hands-on time with the Origin Worlds content, have a drink at the open bar and hang out with members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic team. Space is limited, so show up early to make sure that you can get in! Keep your eyes on our Community Forums and Events Page for more details as they become available.

To stay up to date on all the latest news coming out of New York Comic Con, be sure to check back to StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com as well as our Twitter and Facebook pages for live updates from the showfloor!

Read on after the break for a (single) developer quote post by David Bass about the Meet & Greet.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Choose Your Side: Jedi Knight vs. Bounty Hunter

Friday again, so another update from BioWare on The Old Republic. This week they have a new video for us, the first in a new series, where two classes face off against each other. Not so much in the combat sense, but more in the sense that developers point out what they feel makes the class good, leaving it for the viewer to decide which class is better for them. Here's the official news:

From the moment that we announced the eight classes in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ fans have been pitting them against each other, arguing who would have the advantage in a one-on-one fight. The hallways of BioWare echo this debate, with the writers, combat designers and other developers all chiming in on which class they feel reigns supreme.

In our new video series “Choose Your Side,” members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic team plead their cases, highlighting only a few of the many skills and abilities that set their class apart from the rest. In the first video of the four-part series, two of the most iconic classes in the Star Wars™ universe stand toe-to-toe as the famed Jedi Knight squares off against the feared Bounty Hunter.

My vote? Jedi Knight, but then I'm a goody-two-shoes.

That wasn't the only update though. BioWare also has part two of William Wallace's Companion blog post. And earlier this week BioWare announced that this weekend they're having another Beta Testing Weekend. That and the developer quotes after the break.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Interactive Galaxy Map

BioWare just released its Friday Update and this time it's an explorable galaxy map, showing all seventeen revealed planets. Here is the official news:

The Star Wars™ galaxy is massive and you will be able to visit numerous worlds during your travels in the The Old Republic™. To give you an early taste of what the experience will be, we’ve added a new feature to the website, allowing you to explore the Galaxy Map for yourself. You’ll get to see the five major sectors of the Known Galaxy, check out profiles of the planets, and even examine interactive models of the player Starships.

Access the new Galaxy Map page through the HoloNet!

To explore the galaxy in '3D' you need the Unity Web Player installed. But it's pretty neat, giving you details on the planets when you click on them and allowing you to look at the 3D models of the six player ships. Though at the time of this writing I haven't been able to get the planet videos to play (I just get black with a play button) and from the forums it seems I'm not the only one. Courtney Woods mentions on the forums that they just take some time to load. Very nice update overall.

Read on after the break for a Eurogamer Expo interview with Chris Collins that Darth Hater held and the weekly developer quotes.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Developer Dispatch: Companion Characters

It's been another busy weekend, and busy week, for The Old Republic. The biggest news of course was the release date announcement, and there's a fair bit more of that here too, but Friday BioWare also put up a blog and developer spotlight video centered around Companions. Here's the news for the video:

Even heroes need friends. Whatever epic journeys they may undertake, heroes always find they need allies to join in their adventures and help achieve their goals. This is why companions have been a traditional part of Star Wars™ since the very beginning and why they’ve been an important element in all the BioWare RPGs. Unsurprisingly, Companion Characters also play a critical role in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.

In your story, they will provide colorful commentary and comic relief, and as your saga unfolds, they will become your most trusted allies. In combat, they will fight at your side, complementing your tactical expertise, and supporting you wherever you go. We are also pleased to tell you that after testing and feedback, we’ve added an additional layer of customizability for companions both in terms of their appearances and in terms of their tactics in combat.

Watch this new Developer Dispatch to hear more on the importance of Companion Characters in The Old Republic and some of the many ways in which they contribute to your hero’s journey and the overall gameplay experience.

Let us know what you think of the video in the Forums.

It's a nice video, thought I don't think it really tells us anything new (beyond some glimpses at companions we officially don't know about yet).

Read on after the break for more companion info, including a BioWare blog entry and a Q&A, various interviews, some Huttball and the developer quotes.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Release Date Announced

I was there when Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk officially announced the release date for The Old Republic at Eurogamer Expo today.

The Old Republic will launch December 20 in North America and December 22 in Europe.

They also announced the pricing plan for the game. You can find all the details in the official news:

BioWare and LucasArts are pleased to announce that Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ will launch on December 20, 2011 in North America and on December 22, 2011 in the European Launch Territories! The announcement was first made by BioWare co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk during their keynote address at the 2011 Eurogamer Expo in London, England. Speaking to a packed room of press and fans alike, Dr. Muzyka acknowledged the weight of the moment and the patience of the fans.

“This is an incredible moment for everyone at BioWare and our partners at LucasArts who have dedicated their lives to build this extraordinary game. We appreciate the patience from the millions of fans who have been waiting for the game’s release.”

Each copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic will come with 30 days of subscription time, after which you have the option to continue playing with one of the following monthly subscription fees:

  • 1 Month Subscription: $14.99 (£8.99/€12.99)
  • 3 Month Subscription: $13.99 per month (one-time charge of $41.97/£25.17/€35.97)
  • 6 Month Subscription: $12.99 per month (one-time charge of $77.94/£46.14/€65.94)

Those who have pre-ordered the game and entered their pre-order code on StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com are eligible for Early Game Access. If you haven’t yet reserved your copy of the game, be sure to visit our Pre-Order page and secure your place in the Old Republic now!

We want to thank you for your continued passion, dedication and support. Though one part of this incredible journey is coming to an end, we are confident that you all share our excitement for this new beginning. Be sure to check back to StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com as well as our Twitter and Facebook pages for all the latest news and updates on Star Wars: The Old Republic.

There's also the press release (with pretty much the same information far as I can tell).

Unfortunately the release date comes pretty much right when my Christmas vacation starts, so I'll probably miss out on the head-start as well as the first few weeks. Ah well, start the new year with SWTOR; sounds good to me.

I also got to play a little Huttball at the Expo (we won 0-2, and I scores one of the goals). I had no idea what I was doing (and I don't think anyone else did either, so that's alright), but it was quite fun. I might write up a bit more detail later on my experience, though there isn't really that much more to tell (I honestly don't remember the details of the match itself... there was a lot of shooting and lightsaber swinging). I'll also put up the Friday update later, probably on Monday.

Wasn't expecting to hear a release date for TOR when I went to Eurogamer Expo. Quite a surprise.


PS. It seems that my website (Eilistraee.com) is having issues (I've got my host looking at them, seems like all the permissions are turned off). And since I was hosting this blog's background on my site the background won't work at the moment (and just be black instead of showing stars). I hope that they fix it soon (but unfortunately probably not during the weekend).

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Guild Alignment Begins

BioWare has just announced that phase two of their pre-launch guild program has begun. Now guilds can pick allies and adversaries. Here is the official news:

Back in March we initiated our Pre-Launch Guild Program, where members of the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ community could search for already established guilds or register one of their very own through the Guild Headquarters page. We are thrilled to announce that we have begun the second phase of our Pre-Launch Guild Program!

With Phase 2: Alignment, we are introducing new features which allow guilds to set their allegiance with other guilds in The Old Republic. Now a guild leader, along with members who have the proper permissions, can select up to three guilds as either Allies or Adversaries, depending on their faction affiliation. Qualifying guilds that are marked as Allies and Adversaries of other guilds will have the highest chance of being placed in the game together, allowing these guilds to coexist on the same server.

Another feature being implemented with Phase 2 is the ability for guild leaders and members with the proper permissions to invite friends to join their guild via email. You can start recruiting new members today!

To learn more about guilds in The Old Republic, check out the Guilds Game System page for details, and to search for or join a guild, visit the Guild HQ now! Also be sure to visit the Guilds FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions.

Good news for the pre-launch guilds. So get cracking and set your allegiances. :)

Monday, 19 September 2011

Studio Insider: Combat Animation

Last Friday BioWare had a Studio Insider for us with a look at combat animations and a Q&A on PvP, and they had an update on their presence at Eurogamer Expo coming weekend.

The Studio Insider starts with Principal Lead Animator Mark How giving a description of the combat animations. Here's an excerpt:

Once we knew what our rules were for combat, the programmers and animators were able to create a Lightsaber clashing system that could predict the volleys of weapons fire and other attacks being thrown at the player from all directions, and have the player dynamically react to ‘block’ these attacks. Not only that, but we were able to keep this system active while players were deflecting directed attacks, engaged in melee combat or even running. Players may not even realize all the factors that are coming into play to visually represent the combat experience, but we believe it’s critical for making the player really feel fully engaged in the fight. Without these dynamics, the players would wind up locked in certain animations when they go to engage in a “Stock strike” or “Project,” and then the combat would really be failing to capture the feel of Star Wars; it would give the player the impression that they are watching the action rather than taking part in it for themselves.

Most of the article comes down to "we have an animation system", "we spend a while developing it" and "it's fairly complex" without going into detail about what system they actually have. It would've been interesting to learn exactly what they're doing to give combat a cinematic feel without giving players the sense that they're losing control of their characters. I also suspect that most players will never really notice the nuances of the animation system much (after the first few times of "hey, my guy blocked that blaster bolt with his lightsaber"), which is a pity.

After the break a quick look at the Q&A, the Eurogamer Expo news and the developer quotes.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Smuggler Character Progression

I'm back from my long weekend and had a bit of catching up to do regarding SWTOR (and it didn't help that they had site maintenance today). But now that I am I can bring you last Friday's updates.

There were three updates; a character progression video for Smugglers, a blog post about... let's call it The Old Republic's expanded universe, and a PAX highlights video. Here is the official news for the progression video:

As your character progresses through the saga of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, you will see them advance as you unlock new skills and acquire or craft superior gear.

Whether running blockades to deliver vital supplies or evading Imperial patrols, the Smuggler must rely on his wit and guile just as much as the blaster at his side. As the price on his head rises and his enemies grow more dangerous, the Smuggler will have to acquire new skills and utilize more powerful weapons and armor to survive.

Get a look at some of the ways the Smuggler can progress and see just a small fraction of the weapons, armor and abilities that become available to him.

Let us know what you think of the video in the Forums.

It's a nice video, giving a decent impression of the Smuggler. But I can't help but note one thing. Though it's based on one of my favorite Indiana Jones scenes (if not executed quite so well) there's a scene that made me raise my eyebrows. I've wondered how they would balance a class such as a Smuggler to be in line with the power of a Jedi/Sith (at least in Troopers and Bounty Hunters I can see how they do it... lots of heavy weaponry). And the clip where the Smuggler one-shots a Sith shows that they didn't, not really. Because nobody should be able to score any kind of hit like that facing any kind of Force user. Yes, I know that you won't be able to one-shot like that in gameplay (ignoring level-differences), but it still seemed very odd that anyone could just do that with a blaster. It's like taking a pebble and throwing it through a fortified vault door.

It just brought back fears that they aren't handling the power balance, how Jedi/Sith are near demi-gods in the lore, properly. And that could have severe consequences for how the setting feels. How much it feels like Star Wars.

Anyway, after the break the other two updates, a few tidbits, and the developer quotes.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

GamesCom 2011 Highlight Video

It's been a busy few weeks for The Old Republic. This weekend is testing weekend for a lot of people (in NA) giving them a few days to playtest the game. Last weekend was PAX and the week before was GamesCom. Busy times indeed.

On Friday BioWare posted a highlights video of the latter (mostly glimpses of other people playing). Here is the official news:

We had an incredible experience at this year’s GamesCom, with Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ winning the 2011 GamesCom Award for Best Online Game as well as being a huge hit with everyone that attended! The air was electric from the excitement as fans and journalists filed through our booth to get some hands-on time with both Origin Worlds and Alderaan Warzone PvP! The reaction from the fans at the show left us feeling incredibly grateful for having such a passionate and dedicated community.

Knowing that not everyone could make it to Cologne for the show, we wanted to share our experience with all of you. Thank you for all of your continued support and enthusiasm for the game!

Check out our GamesCom Highlight Video now!

Obviously there isn't anything new in the video, but it's nice to see the crowds.

Read on after the break for a couple of interviews from PAX and the developer quotes.


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Eternity Vault Developer Walkthrough

Last weekend was PAX and last Friday BioWare had for us a developer walkthrough of the start of the Eternity Vault Operation (first shown at GamesCom). Here is the official news:
Throughout the week of GamesCom, those who stopped by the EA booth had the opportunity to see a live demonstration of the Eternity Vault, one of the high-level Operations in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. In it, Imperial forces are sent to investigate an ancient prison that is believed to hold a powerful and deadly threat to the Empire.

We don’t want the people who couldn’t make it to Cologne to miss out. In our new video, BioWare’s Dallas Dickinson guides you through the opening minutes of the Eternity Vault. Check it out and be sure to visit our Twitter and Facebook pages for all the latest news and updates on The Old Republic.

I must say that I didn't find the walkthrough particularly compelling. Of course, as I've said before, it's true that seeing someone play an MMO is a quite different experience from playing one yourself. But watching that video doesn't give me the sense of "I want to participate in that". Quite the opposite.

Then again I've never been too fond of raids.

Read on after the break for some stuff coming from the conventions and the developer quotes.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Warzone: Huttball

Last week was GamesCom, which means again a lot of videos and interviews and all of that goodness. They showed PvP and Operations with the primary big reveal, and the Friday update, the announcement of a new Warzone: Huttball. Here's the official news (with link to a video showing the zone):
In a time of turmoil where two mighty armies ready themselves, many citizens of both the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire have begun to look for an escape from the uncertainty of impending war. For many people on Nar Shaddaa this escape can be found in the gladiatorial confines of ‘The Pit,’ where two teams compete in a violent game for the amusement of Giradda the Hutt and thousands of spectators!

We are excited to reveal “Huttball,” one of the Player-vs-Player (PvP) Warzones in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™! Watch the video to see how the game is played and be sure to check back to SWTOR.com for the latest news and updates!

It seems like a fun concept to me as far as PvP goes. Though honestly I can't see either my Republic character or my Empire character willingly participating in that. There's a war going on so the Jedi and Sith and Troopers and Agents (I can somehow see it for Smugglers and Bounty Hunters as neither are that invested in the war) are just going to participate in a spectator sport of violence?

Don't get me wrong, it looks like fun to play. But it seems like it's showing some wide cracks in BioWare's mantra of "story, story, story". And while it's fine to have things that are just there because they're fun and are outside the story, it seems that they're still trying to justify it with story which makes me very worried for the quality of the rest of their stories. We've seen such shortcuts before (like the incredibly artificial 'moral choice' in the Esseles Flashpoint). It's starting to feel like they're having a lot of trouble keeping the whole thing together.

Anyway, in the end fun is what matters, right? Read on after the break for BioWare's PAX plans, some GamesCom stuff and the developer quotes.

Monday, 15 August 2011

TOR GamesCom 2011 Plan

Last Friday was... particularly meager as far as TOR goes. Understandable perhaps with GamesCom right outside the door and them probably holding back the interesting stuff until then, but even so. All we got was a Fan Friday and a description of what they'll be showing at GamesCom (basically players get to play PvP and they're also demonstrating a little of the Eternity Vault). Here's the latter:
GamesCom is less than a week away! Taking place from August 18th through August 21st in Cologne, Germany, GamesCom is one of the world’s largest video game convention and this year BioWare and LucasArts will be in attendance to reveal new information and give gamers from all over Europe the opportunity to get some hands-on time with Star Wars™: The Old Republic™!

Attendees at this year’s GamesCom who make their way to the EA booth will be able to get hands-on play time on each of the Origin Worlds. Additionally, lucky members of the community who successfully applied through the forums will gain exclusive access to an area where they can take part in the Alderaan player-vs-player Warzone.

Throughout GamesCom we will also be running demonstrations of a small portion of the Eternity Vault, a high-level Operation or raid, on the showfloor.

You don’t have to be in Cologne to stay up-to-speed on the latest information from GamesCom. Be sure to check www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com, the Community Forums, our official Twitter and our Facebook page throughout the show for all the latest news!

So yeah, not much there. Even though, read on after the link for a few wallpapers from the Fan Friday (possibly the only worthwhile content this week), a couple of articles posted on various sizes over the last week, and the developer quotes.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Jedi Consular Records

Last Friday BioWare released a class update for the last of the eight classes: the Jedi Consular. As the other seven classes before it they list a Companion for the class, point out a species that you can play, show the class' starship (though we've already seen that in the Jedi Knight update as that class gets the same ship) and, most interestingly, show a class video. Here's the official news:
There is power in wisdom, study, and diplomacy. The Jedi Consular wields that power with an even hand. Consulars study the mysteries of the Force. They use their knowledge to bring peace, but when words fail, their understanding of the Force makes them dangerous foes. Choose your Consular’s path – become the strong, silent hand of the Jedi Council as a Shadow, or immerse yourself in the mysteries of the Force as a Sage, healing and empowering your allies.

Learn more details about the Jedi Consular:

In particular don't forget to check out the video. Kotaku might've called it boring (but then again Kotaku seems to be down on everything SWTOR) but personally I find it the best representation of an actual Jedi, much moreso than the Jedi Knight. Though it's really odd to see Stephen Reid as a Jedi Consular (I kid, I kid). It might not be the most action-filled video, but if that's representative of the class then that only makes me more excited to play it. Can't wait.

After the break BioWare's second update last Friday, a San Diego Comic-Con highlights video, and the developer quotes.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

‘The Esseles’ Developer Walkthrough

Last Friday BioWare gave us a walkthrough of the first Flashpoint that Republic players will get: The Esseles. Here is the official news:
During the week of San Diego Comic-Con, a select number of people had the opportunity to play through ‘The Esseles,’ a Flashpoint that Republic heroes will be able to experience for themselves early in their hero’s journey. In the Flashpoint, players must group together to protect a high-ranking diplomat and fend off Imperial boarding parties.

For everyone who was unable to join us in San Diego, we’ve put together a new video featuring developer commentary from Director of Production Dallas Dickinson. Check out our new Developer Walkthrough, and then secure your place in a galaxy far, far away by pre-ordering your copy of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™!

It's a nice walkthrough and serves as a nice counterpoint to the first Flashpoint walkthrough they released some two years ago. If I'm not mistaken that was the one the Empire side gets at about the same time.

That whole airlock thing seemed rather questionable though; a rather forced and unrealistic situation to try and jam in a moral choice. I find it hard to believe that BioWare's writers seriously couldn't come up with a better construction.

Anyway, after the break it's straight to the developer quotes. Yes, the Comic-Con links still have to wait until a later time.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Join the Fight

Yes, I'm late; work has been crazy busy and I've been dead tired coming home. On top of that last weekend was Comic-Con with a lot more stuff coming out of it, but that'll all have to wait until I've had a bit of time to compile all the new links and such.

Anyway, last Friday BioWare posted a new trailer. Titled "Join the Fight" it fully consists of ingame footage and gives each of the eight classes a brief moment. Here is the official news:

We are excited to present Join the Fight, an all-new in-game trailer for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ that premiered at San Diego Comic-Con 2011.

The uneasy peace established by the Treaty of Coruscant is broken and both the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire build their armies. As both sides prepare for open war, a new generation of heroes must rise up to meet the challenges of a volatile age, declaring their allegiances and fighting for what they believe in.

If you can’t join us in San Diego, be sure to check back here throughout the convention for more updates. You can also follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to get the latest updates straight from the convention floor.

It's a nice trailer, though some of the choices for the characters seem a bit questionable to me (just what on earth is that thing the Consular is wearing on her head; guess I'm glad that they've got an option to hide helmets). Worth a look.

The developer quotes are after the break, as well as a very brief mention of some of the things that they showed during Comic-Con.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Old Republic Now Available for Pre-Order

As the title says, EA, LucasArts and BioWare have now made pre-orders for Star Wars: The Old Republic available. Here is the official news:
BioWare, LucasArts and Electronic Arts are excited to announce that they have begun taking pre-orders for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™! Pre-Order now to get Early Game Access and as an added bonus you’ll receive a Color Stone to change your weapon effect! Supplies are limited and the order in which you pre-order and redeem your code at The Old Republic’s Code Redemption Center is the order in which we let players in during Early Game Access - so don’t delay! Visit the Pre-Order FAQs for more details.

Three versions of the game are available for pre-order:

The Standard Edition of Star Wars: The Old Republic comes with all of the essentials that you will need to get into the game, including the game software and thirty days of game time. The Standard Edition will be available in both physical copies that will be sold at most video game retailers, and a digital edition that is exclusive to Origin.com. Learn more at our Pre-Order page.

The Digital Deluxe Edition of Star Wars: The Old Republic, is available exclusively through Origin.com, comes with both the game software and thirty days of game time. In addition, the Digital Deluxe Edition of Star Wars: The Old Republic comes with the following digital items that your characters can use in the game:

  • Flare Gun: Fires flares into the air.
  • Training Droid: Hovers at your side for combat assistance.
  • HoloDancer: Project your own holographic dancer.
  • HoloCam: Keep visual records of in-game adventures.
  • STAP (Single Trooper Aerial Platform): Sleek and unique in-game vehicle.

The limited Collector’s Edition of Star Wars: The Old Republic can only be purchased physically. Packaged with thirty days of game time and all of the virtual items that are included in the Digital Deluxe Edition, the Collector’s Edition comes with a number of physical and digital collector’s items that you cannot get anywhere else:

  • The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural: 111 pages of notes and sketches by the revered Jedi Master from the early years of the Great Hyperspace War between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. Features never-before-seen artwork and all-new information.
  • Darth Malgus statue: The villainous Darth Malgus comes to life with this exclusive 9 in. collectible statue from Gentle Giant studios.
  • The Old Republic Galaxy Map: 14 x 20 in. at-a-glance look at the known galaxy.
  • Security Authentication Key Fob: Keep your Lightsaber and credits safe with this custom Security Authentication Key Fob for your game account.
  • Music of Star Wars: The Old Republic CD: Seventeen orchestral music tracks from The Old Republic.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic game: The full Star Wars: The Old Republic game on DVD-ROM in a collectible metal case.

The following virtual in-game items are exclusive to the Collector’s Edition:

  • Exclusive Mouse Droid: A faithful droid to join you on your adventures.
  • Exclusive Collector’s Edition Store: Unique in-game store with a dynamic array of items to assist you from your humble beginnings through your journey to become a galactic legend.

Be sure to act fast and pre-order your copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic now to ensure your place in Early Game Access!

As the post says you can pre-order from the pre-order page, which also lists the following minimum system requirements at the bottom:
OS Windows XP, Vista/7
CPU AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better · Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.0GHz or better
RAM Windows XP: 1.5GB · Windows Vista and Windows 7: 2GB · PCs using a built-in graphical chipset, 2GB RAM recommended.
Video ATI X1800 or better* · nVidia 7800 or better* · Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics or better*
DVD-ROM 8x or better
*Minimum of 256MB of on-board RAM and Shader 3.0 or better support.
More information on pre-ordering can be found in the official pre-order FAQ.

And yes, I pre-ordered (and redeemed) my Digital Deluxe version already. :)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Insider label

A quick update on the site; I've changed the old "fan" label to "insider".

The old "fan" label I added when BioWare started to include a "Developer Corner" in their Fan Friday posts and thus making them interesting enough to report on and give a label. But the Developer Corner has since grown into "Studio Insider" and has become a separate post. In the beginning those Studio Insiders where always next to a Fan Friday, but since then that's not always been the case. And since the interesting thing is the Studio Insider anyway it made more sense to have a label for that.

The new label also covers the Developer Corner so, with two exceptions, all the previous "fan" labeled posts now have the new "insider" label (one exception is where it was a Fan Friday post on its own and another was for last year's special Fan 'Friday' during E3 where I changed the label to just "news").

Studio Insider: Crafting the Class Intros

This Friday BioWare had a Studio Insider for us in which Senior Video Editor Brian Arndt tells us about creating the class into videos. Here's an excerpt from the full post:
Well, we are all proudly working on a Star Wars video game, a lifelong dream of mine and probably all of the team. What does the player need to see first to know they are about to play a part in the Star Wars universe? You guessed it!

As a part of the BioWare Creative Services team, we get to spend all our time in The Old Republic filming and editing gameplay walkthroughs, character progression videos, taking screenshots and even creating the Timeline video series. We work around the clock to deliver these Friday updates for the community (and even read your forum posts to see what people are looking forward to seeing and try and get them in there!). It's exciting and exhausting but a lot of fun, and the team is super passionate and proud to be doing it. So how did we end up crafting the class intro video assets for in-game, you might ask?

The studio insider post shows the Sith Warrior intro (which, as I understand from the post, has been modified since) and part of the work-in-progress Smuggler intro.

It's interesting. I recall that from my hands-on I noted that I was missing exactly this. So I quite enjoyed reading this insider post and can't wait to see the ones for the classes I'm intending to play (though preferably not before actually playing the game... silly as it might sound I don't want to spoil the feeling of those first few moments).

The article also includes a Community Q&A on the sound design. And BioWare also made a post about their Comic-Con presence. That, a long video interview with Daniel Erickson and the Developer Quotes after the break.

Monday, 11 July 2011

BioWare Blog: Maps, and their Making

Last Friday BioWare had a blog entry for us, written by Principal Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert, about the ingame maps. Here's an excerpt from the full post:

Galactic cartography

Having good navigation is important for any game, but particularly so in any massively multiplayer game, where wanderlust is positively encouraged. For The Old Republic, we realized that we had some relatively unique problems early on.

First off, once your character leaves their Origin World, other planets tend to be significantly larger in terms of land mass than those you might find in other MMOs – sometimes five or six times as large. While this is really cool for creating canonically expansive worlds in the Star Wars™ universe like Hoth or Tatooine, it also creates interesting design considerations. As the player is only adventuring in perhaps one-sixth of the map at any given time, having one world map would result in everything he cares about at a given time being compressed into a tiny corner of the map, making that map pretty much unusable.

Read the full post to get the rest of it.

It's interesting to read how maps are created for the game and what functionality they have. I think it might take a little getting used to their icons (when I played I had no clue what icon was supposed to mean what, but that I didn't really take the time to find out) and I'm not sure I like having to hover over quest icons to see their area, but it's got a couple of other nice features such as sharing quest icons with others in the party.

There hasn't been a whole lot on SWTOR this week (probably waiting for the next round of conventions), so after the break all we've got left is the developer quotes (with only one I found worth repeating in full).

Monday, 4 July 2011

Bounty Hunter Character Progression

The update that BioWare had for us on Friday was a Bounty Hunter character progression video. Here's the official news:
As your character progresses in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, you will gain experience and strength, learning new skills and earning more advanced gear.

The Bounty Hunter is feared across the galaxy for his ability to track elusive prey from the bustling metropolises of the core worlds to the further reaches of known space. As his targets become more evasive and his enemies more powerful, the Bounty Hunter will learn new skills and abilities to match the advanced weapons and armor he discovers during his travels.

Watch some of the paths along which the Bounty Hunter can progress to get a brief glimpse of the armors and abilities available as he grows in wealth and glory.

That means we've now had a progression video like this for all the armored classes (Jedi Knight, Sith Warrior, Trooper and Bounty Hunter) with the four 'cloth' classes still to go.

Read on after the break for an interview GameInformer did with EA's Frank Gibeau nd the developer quotes.