|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Release: December 21, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Mild Language, Sexual Themes, Violence|
There's also an innovative companion system. Rather than just letting you tow around a pet, SWTOR lets you accumulate a group of followers that can help you out with missions that otherwise would require human team members. Your companions also do your crafting for you, and you can "reverse engineer" items to improve them.
All of that said, it's clear that a major challenge for BioWare was to walk the thin line between creating a single-player KOTOR follow-up and making an MMO. The way they resolved this dilemma works for the most part, but it can definitely feel weird at times. The storylines put you in control of a character who's special—my Sith Warrior, for example, was hand-selected to play a major role in the military. But so was every other Sith Warrior I see pass me in the hall. And when a quest demands that I accomplish some task by myself, I enter a "story area" that I "own." All of this works perfectly, mechanically speaking, and there's probably no other way to do it. But it's confusing to see yourself as a tiny cog in a machine at one moment, and as a world-historic hero the next.
The multiplayer content is decent so far, and there's no doubt that BioWare will be adding more as time goes by and players burn through the story content. Sometimes it feels forced, however; fairly early in the game, you're given quests that you can't accomplish alone, seemingly for the sole purpose of forcing you to put together a group and realize that dammit, this is an MMO! There are also dungeons you can raid in a party, of course, if cooperating against computerized opponents and tracking down rare loot is your thing.
If it's PvP you crave, there are free-for-all PvP servers, as you'd expect, as well as some very interesting "Warzone" modes. In Alderaan, each side has a huge spaceship where the players spawn, and the goal is to take down the opposing ship with the three provided anti-aircraft guns. Voidstar has one team fighting its way into a ship while the other team tries to repel the invasion. Huttball is a sport in which you try to get a ball across the other team's goal line. These are great and well-implemented ideas, and no doubt BioWare is cooking up more as I write this.
Again, these are impressions I got in my very early hours with the game. I plan to write an update down the line, both to revise my thoughts and to explain any significant updates that BioWare makes. But my early experience makes something very clear to me: If the idea of a Star Wars MMO appeals to you, The Old Republic will be worth the cost of admission.
CCC Contributing Writer