After a skipped column in November, we’re back in December for another edition of MMO Co-Opportunities. It’s been exceedingly quiet on the MMO front of late (thus, the skipped November issue), but this month marks the release of Bioware’s first MMO: the Old Republic. Come, let us gossip and geek out about it.
I’ve been a Bioware fan for quite some time. When I first started getting into PC gaming in high school, games like Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic sealed my fascination with my new hobby. Since Neverwinter Nights, I’ve played and beaten every single Bioware game released. So it’ll probably come as no surprise that I have the Old Republic pre-ordered. What may be surprising, however, is that I’m not deliriously excited about it. I’m looking forward to it for sure, but the past few years have been a strange ride on the hype train for me. I’ve gone from excited to apathetic back to excited again as new gameplay videos and hands-on impressions have been released. After playing a beta weekend a few weeks back, I found I the story and dialogue options to be immersive and fun, but the gameplay (e.g. the skills and their executions) to be a little disappointing. I’m hoping, however, that the gameplay gets more fun at later levels when people are deep into their specializations. But enough about that; let’s talk about the game itself, and specifically what it may have to offer for us co-op players.
The Old Republic is a faction-based game. The Light side is composed of Jedi Knights, Troopers, Jedi Consulars, and Smugglers. The Dark side has the mirror classes (i.e. very similar but not identical classes) of Sith Warriors, Bounty Hunters, Sith Inquisitors, and Imperial Agents respectively. Each class gets two specializations they can choose from at level 10, which basically fall into three different types of roles: healing/support, tank, or damage. While this is nothing new as far as the MMO genre is concerned, I have to admit I’m pretty psyched about making a support Bounty Hunter. It’s great that they’re offering so many choices of which classes can fill which roles.
What Bioware has been trying to sell from day one about the Old Republic is that it will be a story-driven MMO. Your character will have story missions that pertain to them specifically throughout the entire game (or so, it’s promised). Other players can join you and help you complete these missions, so you won’t have to do them solo if you don’t want to. As long as we’re on the topic of doing missions and quests together, I should bring up something that I think is very cool about the grouping system. Just like most other MMOs, The Old Republic often requires you to run to (or run back to) an NPC to pick up or turn in a quest. If you’re in a group and the other members are eligible for the quest pick-up or completion, when you interact with the NPC, they’ll get an indicator and an option to Holocall into the conversation. A holographic version of them will appear next to the NPC and you guys can talk to him/her together. Furthermore, when multiple players are in a dialogue, they roll a die to see whose answer goes through to give an equal chance for everyone to participate. Since the game has a light side/dark side meter, some of you may be relieved to know that if one of your friends answers a certain way that applies light points or dark points, only that character is affected and not the other party members.
That’s a taste of what possible MMO Co-Opportunities The Old Republic has to offer. I’ll be jumping into the game in a couple of weeks, and I’ll be sure to write up a full old-school edition of MMO Co-Opportunities on it for either January or February for those of you who are interested. What are your thoughts on the game? Will you be getting it, waiting awhile, or just skipping it completely? Let us know!