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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.

Comments
  • though i love this game adn want it i even pre orderd it, i wont be able to stand if they talk like its wow adn call a jedi counceler a sourcer class or a lot of other stuff i mean its star wars not wow. sor ill proably join a rp guild or somethign

  • Too bad there isn't class pvp.

  • at this point i wish they just woulda made kotor 3.... i miss being able to pretty much single handedly make or break the galaxy far far away on my own

  • Doesn't guarantee it will be a good game either.

  • So excited for this game!

  • I think you just suck :)  I am definetely looking forward to this game, the last Star Wars game I got really into was either Shadows of the Empire or Tie Fighter(old school there).

  • I don't really mind Bioware screwing up the lore. Nothing could be as bad as Galaxies. That's right, i went there!

  • Republic Commando is the way to go.

  • Im looking foreward to this game alot! Its going to be my first MMO on PC. I played a bit of DC universe on PS3 and wasnt overly impressed but who knows i could end up loving this MMO. I know they arnt alike at all.

  • Reskin an MMO however you like, the extremely stringent, rigid, boring backbone mechanics will always have to remain in place.

  • I have faith in BioWare and I'm a die hard Star Wars fan I just still don't know if I'm gonna get this yet. It sounds amazing and I've played MMO's before I just need more time to make my mind up.

  • It sucks that they're nerfing lightsaber users just to balance the lamer classes.

  • the one thing thats always bothered me about Jedi in most SW games, lightsaber hits aren't dismembering or auto kills like they are in the movies/books etc.

    Its amazing how what seems to be sucha  small detail can completely ruin any sense of immersion for the player.

  • PvP isn't really what I look for in an MMO, but it's good that it's an option to o that if I want to.

  • I really think it's unfortunate that they're balancing the classes out this much. One of the best things about the KOTOR games is that (in spite of being relatively "weak" in the beginning of the game) towards the end, as your Jedi character became stronger/got a lightsaber/gained extra force powers, you really started to feel super powerful. By combining saber attacks with force powers and a couple laser bolts from your support party, you could take down enemies (or groups of enemies) in seconds. It was the way you're supposed to feel as a Jedi and - I think, along with the great story - one of the reasons that made those games so satisfying and all-around great.

    I know, if I play this game, I'll be a Jedi/Sith character regardless (it's not really a choice for me since I would never play any other character in a Star Wars game. I mean, it's STAR WARS!) and I kind of feel let down. I wouldn't expect them to be AS strong as I described in KOTOR but I would definitely think they should be strong enough to easily dispatch single a run-of-the-mill foe (low-level smuggler, agent, etc.). There should be some classes that, at higher levels, can take the Jedi/Sith one-on-one (like the commando/bounty hunter) but I like the idea of - at least earlier on or with certain classes - having to dedicate two-three "regular" characters in order to take down a force-wielder (after all, they DO have the force). I just hope that, if I do end up playing TOR, I don't feel like a dud with a stick.

    P.S. - are they releasing the game for mac os too?