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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Being A Jedi Doesn't Guarantee Victory In Old Republic's PvP

When I walked into the small room where EA was demoing Star Wars: The Old Republic's PvP warzones for the first time at Comic-Con, I immediately went for the first computer I saw with a Jedi character. As it turned out, I was one of the few players in the room who had chosen to play on the Republic side. A group of friends who clearly had previous MMO experience had grabbed up all of the Empire spots, leaving me and a few EA reps to battle against them. And we got completely destroyed.

I got to check out the Alderaan Warzone, an instanced PvP match-up where both sides struggle for three turret control points on a snowy field. Players spawn in towers overlooking the battlefield and then ride snow speeders down to the actual conflict. The map is laid out in essentially the most straight-forward way possible -- one turret in the middle, one on the far east of the map, and one on the far west. Players must interact with a turret without being interrupted for about 10 seconds to switch it over to their side.

Upon landing my snow speeder on the battlefield, I bolted for the middle control point and grabbed it. No sooner had it switched over to Republic colors than a small army of Empire opponents showed up to ruin my day. There were no Sith lords on their side -- just a ragtag collection of rogues with blasters and sniper rifles. I leapt in, lightsaber swinging, using a variety of skills including a big Force shockwave and a lengthy combo that locks enemies in place when pulled off correctly. Despite my assumption that a lightsaber would make short work of these guys, I was cut down before I was able to get one of them down to half health.

Upon respawning, I hooked up with one of my Republic cohorts to try to take the east control point, currently the only one still neutral. The teammate I ran with was a tank class, so I got to check out the Old Republic's unique take on PvP tanking. Tank classes can throw a shield onto weaker DPS or healing-focused teammates. As long as that shield is on, a certain portion of damage they take will be pushed onto the tank again, allowing them to do their job even if enemies focus fire on weaker classes.

Another element that sets Old Republic's Warzones apart from PvP in other MMO is the use of power-ups. Tiny holograms litter the battlefield, and when they're active players can run over them to get a boost to speed, health, or attack power. If that sounds like something out of Quake, it's on purpose. The Old Republic dev team took a lot of inspiration from competitive shooters when designing the game's fast-paced PvP.

In the Alderaan Warzone, the Republic and Empire each start with 500 points that slowly tick down at a rate depending on how many control points they own. In the case of the game I played, my team had trouble holding a single point for longer than a few minutes, so it didn't take long for our points to drain entirely.

On the one hand, it's the sign of a correctly-balanced game that a highly-organized team can take down an opposing team that's just winging it, and it's to Old Republic's credit that I had a lot of fun and got a handful of kills despite being dominated. On the hand, I couldn't shake feeling strange as I watched my Jedi slice away at a guy with a blaster over and over again just to knock off a sliver of the opponent's health. In BioWare's efforts to balance the game for PvP, I'm a little concerned that Jedi and Sith characters in Old Republic are losing part of the reason they're so special and beloved by fans in the first place.

Then again, maybe I just suck.

To read more about the Old Republic, check out my E3 preview.

  • Soldier class all the way.
  • I think the game definitely shouldn't have taken on a WoW structure. What they should have done is take KOTOR and make it an MMO, not take WoW and add Star Wars and real dialogue.
  • I stopped listening after "players...ride snow speeders." But seriously, it's good to hear that The Old Republic is making some gameplay changes to the standard PVP seen in most MMOs these days. As for the balancing issue...well, they're not going to make everyone happy. Some people will want force users to be epic in comparison to all other players, while others will want well balanced, even classes. It seems like Bioware's going down the second route, and I'm completely fine with that.
  • Yeah, I guess it's a necessary evil for the sake of balance. I can't really think of a way around it, though, because then everyone would want to be a jedi/sith and the other classes would be worthless. It would've been cool if, like in Kotor, you start out as a regular smuggler/soldier/etc and become a jedi/sith at some point, but it wouldn't really work in an MMO landscape because, again, everyone would be a jedi/sith. I can only hope that TOR will make up for the lack of Kotor3 :(
  • Wish I had a PC strong enough to play this but then again I will be wayyyy to busy with BF3, Skyrim, Uncharted 3, Rage and Batman Arkham City. Maybe in a couple years when content has been added as well as the bugs worked out.
  • Well it's a sacrifice that has to be made else they lose the crowd that likes to PvP and to be honest it was probably that your team sucked.

    Communication is the way you win in any PvP situation and sometimes it just takes some time to get accustomed to how things work. Wouldn't be surprised if the friends did Arena, or still do, in WoW or some other online game.

    I mean you can't have a class be a one man army in a PvP system and I'm sure the flip-side of the coin is the PvE you'll get plenty of the "I'm a *** bad-ass slicing through people" type feeling.

    Don't sell it short yet

    Also since the beginning the idea of being a Gunslinger or a Scoundrel was far more appealing than a Jedi because you can do that in pretty much every star wars game
  • I think that this may have convinced me to be a sniper in this game
  • Imagine playing as any other class against a fully powered Jedi: doing your best to shoot him down from long range, only to have him deflect your rockets with the force and deflect your blaster shots with his lightsaber as he zooms up on his speeder. You finally switch to your close-range weapons, but he closes the distance too fast with a Force Dash (as seen in Force Unleashed: Jump, then Force Push behind you), and with one swipe of his lightsaber, your giant health bar instantly disappears (or, if you are "lucky", he misses the kill swipe, and you have a few seconds with a missing limb to try to kill him again before he can take another swing). Basically, if the Jedi's sabers weren't nearly as weak as training sabers, Sith and Jedi would be extremely OP in close-range combat for PvP, so of course the Rogues would survive.
  • i look at it from a canon POV

  • But the power-ups aren't setting PvP apart at all - even WoW has power ups that, when active, you can run over and gain a buff to speed, health (a heal, to be fair) or attack power.. Still, I am excited to try out Old Republic.
  • Interesting stuff, although I have almost no desire to play this game anymore. When I first quit Galaxies over a year ago, I was frothing at the mouth for anything related to The Old Republic, but I've since lost all interest in MMOs.
  • They need to draw from the movies for PvP. Jedi are not immortal, nor are they unbeatable in combat. You just have to know how to fight them. Attacks from a lightsaber have to be blocked, or, less likely, dodged. Blaster shots can be deflected by a Jedi, but it's not like they can slow down time, you have to overwhelm them. I think they just need to add in a tactical element for combating Jedi. A system where you actually have to outsmart them, or lure them into a trap. Not just run in there blindly and get cut down like a stormtrooper. Less mindless button smashing, more thinking.
  • It sounds cool but in my opinion, I won't have an opinion until I play it.
  • Republic - tropper/comando Sith (or empire? forget what they call themselves) Bounty hunter/powertech
  • "In BioWare's efforts to balance the game for PvP, I'm a little concerned that Jedi and Sith characters in Old Republic are losing part of the reason they're so special and beloved by fans in the first place."

    Well its what I expected all along.  They've got to balance the classes and not all the classes are force wielders.  Fair is fair.  Im not surprised in the least.  If Jedi were able to just slice through any non force wielding opponent with ease in PVP, everyone might as well play Jedi/Sith.  And there would be much complaining in the mean time.

  • PVP in this game has me skeptical atm but with the supposed in depth campaigns equal to a console rpg this may be the first MMO I play on a PVE server so I don't get ganked while in the middle of watching a cinematic
  • PvP reminds me a bit too much of WoW.  But I do hope that The Old Republic exceeds many expectations.  I'm excited for the KOTOR part in this MMO, because I kinda look at it as a KOTOR 3 MMO.

  • Can you really criticize a multiplayer game for not making the coolest class unbeatable? I mean, without being a colossal idiot? If you want to criticize the premise of making a Star Wars MMO in the first place, then fine. But if you accept that it's OK to make a Star Wars MMO, you shouldn't attack it for being balanced between classes.
  • Idk if i just havent read enough yet but what other species can you choose in Old Republic i always see screen shots of humans and thats lame

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