As a huge nerd, the news that Bioware was going to be creating a new Star Wars MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) made me reach for a change of pants. I had been caught on a scale ranging from entertained to reaching for the shotgun by the last Star Wars offerings of the last…decade…but now there is A NEW HOPE, and let me tell you why.
1) IT’S FREAKING BIOWARE. I love these people. If it wasn’t a corporation, I would have its babies. Every game that they’ve made has been well crafted, with a fantastic story and dialogue that was well above the grade of video game writing. Not that that’s hard to do, but that’s a rant for another time. In fact, for one of their newer games, Dragon Age, there is supposedly nine novels worth of writing contained in the game. I’m going to stick my neck out there and say that the characters that they created for their games are just as memorable, flawed, and “human” as any characters created for a television or film drama.
2) It’s Star Wars…the good stuff. Screw the Senate, screw the Council, and screw goddamn Medichlorians. Seriously, the next person I hear say that word is going to get my boot up their ass. Let’s forget the small stuff, the tiny niggling minutiae of politics; give me good and evil on an epic scale. Give me space battles and armies who actually I actually care about fighting for dominance. Give me characters with character! The Old Republic is going so far back in time that they can create their own version of the Galaxy Far Far Away, and it’s probably going to be much better for it.
3) This is not the only Star Wars game Bioware has made. A few years ago, they created a single-player game called Knights of the Old Republic. It was a smash-success, and captured the Galaxy in a way that few have managed to do since. For this new game, they are bringing in quite a few game mechanics from KOTOR and other Bioware games, and I applaud them. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Conversations and Companion characters will both be returning, as well as the Affection system from Dragon Age.
Now, the extent of what Companions do hasn’t been explored yet, but it’s certainly an interesting concept in an MMO. If you have a healer companion, will you need a healer if you intend to work in a group with another player? Each class has its own set of companions – will they interact with companions from another class? How will raids work with each player being shadowed by one or two companions? Will there be raids at all? Details like this might be revealed at this year’s E3, but then again, they might not.
The Old Republic is scheduled for 2011 release – so keep your eyes open!