The highly anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG is almost here! Less than a month away (December 20th), it takes place in a war between the Republic and the Empire, 300 years after the Xbox game Knights of the Old Republic.
Knights of the Old Republic was highly successful, integrating individual choices for alignment with the Dark or Light sides. One of such choices involved killing off “an Obi-Wan Kenobi-esque father-figure or a romantic interest.” The game did well among reviewers and gamers, which should be no surprise since LucasArts and BioWare are creating this new adaptation of the game series as a MMORPG.
Gamers can’t wait to see this game unfold, as players can become Sith, Jedi, etc. while “defining their personal story and determining their path down the light or dark side of the Force.” A unique aspect of the game will involve decisions that will lead to your companions remaining loyal to you or possibly betraying you. Will The Old Republic redefine what a MMORPG is with its unique character development through loyalties and betrayals? We are particularly interested in the Sith backstory and their development, as the game won’t make them out to be shallow villains. Head writer Daniel Erickson states, “The Sith were literally chased out of the galaxy by the Jedi […] So if you’re playing on their side as a good guy, you’re not going to just go run over to the Republic, because the Republic tried to wipe out your entire people.” Not only does the game sound incredible, but the collaboration of LucasArts and BioWare peaks interest among gamers, as LucasArts created many fantastic Star Wars games and BioWare the vastly popular Mass Effect and Dragon Age series.
KitGuru knows plenty of MMORPG virgins who are immensely interested in playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. This begs the question – just how popular will this MMORPG be? The game received the highest number of pre-orders within the first five days in Electronic Arts’ history. In response to fans questioning the decision for the series to stray away from the single-player RPG, Tom Nichols (executive producer of LucasArts) said, “We felt that just doing a single-player experience with a new KOTOR really misses the opportunity to take this out to a much wider audience.” With a wider audience as one of the game’s goals, what will be the effect on other MMORPG’s, particularly the popular World of Warcraft? How will it impact the WoW community as more WoW players find themselves immersed in a complex Star Wars universe? We are willing to bet this new release will have at least some impact on future WoW patches and expansions, since Old Republic will bring new characteristics to MMORPG’s.
While Star Wars certainly can’t replace WoW (given the immensely different environments and game roots) there will be elements that set Old Republic apart from WoW. A compelling aspect of Old Republic will be the game’s focus on storytelling. The months where I get sucked back into WoW, I rarely bothered to read the descriptions for the missions, I just went out and did them. However, if storytelling was more a main focus within the game, it would certainly enhance overall game experience. Old Republic plans to “put stories into context,” which LucasArts’ executive producer thinks will set it apart from WoW.
Despite the predictions and hype for Old Republic, we won’t know the effect it will have on MMORPG’s as a whole or on WoW until its release and reception. Given the game’s intricacies, it will definitely be a game to check out in the coming months. Without seeing the game as a whole, we can’t get a true sense of its vast implications for the MMORPG community. As Obi-Wan Kenobi said, “That’s no moon. It’s a space station.” Old Republic may very well unfold into something far larger and more expansive than anyone could predict.
KitGuru says: Be a part of the evolution of MMORPG’s! Check out Old Republic next month, while we track the implications its developments will have on MMORPG gaming and the MMO community at large.