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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Ten Things You Need To Know About The Old Republic

We’ve spent dozens of hours exploring the beta, and came away with several core features you should grasp to decide if this new Star Wars game is for you.

It seems like we’ve been waiting to play Star Wars: The Old Republic forever. Formally announced in 2008, the MMO has been creeping towards launch ever since. Even so, it’s been hard to get a comprehensive picture of the game, since most press access to the game has been limited to brief convention appearances.

In recent weeks, we finally had the chance to dive in and play the full beta version of the game. Even as BioWare works to polish the final experience, we found a game of impressive scope and ambition.

For players who are still trying to make up their minds, here’s what you need to know to get started and determine if this is the game for you.

Choose A Class, Choose A Story

The Old Republic has eight complete, well-told stories packed in to the package, one for each of the eight core classes in the game. More than any other MMO we’ve played, your story experience will be shaped by your choice of class. The Jedi Knight treads a path of nobility and sacrifice. The Republic Trooper delivers an action-packed military story. Each class’s tale has its own main characters, plot climaxes, and boss battles. We tried out several different classes, and every one stars a different cast of characters and delves into a unique stretch of the universe.

On top of your class story, you’ll also have the chance to participate in innumerable quests that tell the broader story of the conflict between the Republic and the Empire. Though some have the feeling of side missions, many of the quests outside of your quest are sprawling adventures with storylines that equal or exceed events going on in your class story.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, Star Wars fans and wider fans of narrative-focused games will find a lot to love, but MMO players who especially don’t care about story might be frustrated.

It’s A Big Galaxy

Even at launch, Star Wars: The Old Republic is a vast game universe to explore, both in geography and narrative. Your journeys in the game will take you across the Star Wars galaxy to different planets, space stations, moons, and more. Planetary zones are extremely large, packed with quest content, unusual sites to investigate, and challenges to overcome. A huge galactic map includes over a dozen planets for each faction to visit, plus various other sites, like space battles and space stations.

The breadth of locations and storylines is set against the backdrop of a dramatic galactic conflict between the Sith Empire and the Republic that occurred several thousand years before the Star Wars movies, and several hundred years after the Knights of the Old Republic game. As a result, there are lots of new dramatic possibilities, and no one knows how those plotlines will unfold.

Single player gamers who have previously enjoyed other BioWare games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age will certainly find a game worth investing time in. However, those same players may need to adjust to the larger areas, longer walks, and slower pace of an MMO. There’s a lot of ground to cover in The Old Republic, so like with any massively multiplayer game, you spend a lot of time traveling from one place to another.

[NEXT UP: Choose your path between light side and dark side]

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  • This was a really great article. At first I was hesitant to buy the game seeing as how I didn't know what exactly was in it, but thanks a lot to GI for explaining how this MMO works! :)

  • I have already pre ordered it and can't wait for

  • I'd only recommend this to new-ish MMO players who aren't tired of the MMO grind or Star Wars fans.  If you've played a lot of MMO's in the past and don't really care for Star Wars, I'd skip it.

    The class story quests are pretty cool, though.  

  • This was an outstanding article.

    It honestly sounds like KoTOR but with friends!

    I cannot wait to get my teeth into this and I have a solid crew of friends who feel likewise, this should be an excellent MMO experience!

  • Companions, and their ability to do crafting for you, sounds like an awesome idea. I might have to check this out.


  • Thank god this looks so awesome because Pandaren gave me a reason to quit WOW

  • Awesome article Matt! Very detailed and this has me wanting to jump in on this game. One question....will there be a "trial" version available via download or something? Cause that's how I got hooked on WoW initially was by how much fun I had in the trial version so I got the game after that. But man this game really makes me wanna jump back into MMO's =)

  • This was great.  Being a Star Wars nut, I've wanted this game since it was first announced.  Now I want it even more.

  • i have it preordered but this helps :)

  • I'm so happy reading that if you WANT to you can treat this game as an epic single player game.
    Yes I know it's an MMO, but clearly you have hundreds of hours of story for each class, and full voice and choices.
    So it really does seem like it could pass as a single player game.

    I love that cause I am not much of an MMO player, I might dabble and try it out once I am done with class stories.

    Can't wait to play it, but first BF3 and Skyrim.
    This is why I never per-ordered SWTOR, I'll pick it up a few weeks later instead.
  • Sounds like it will be a worthy edition to the Star Wars gaming line.

  • Sounds a good game, will have to look more into it before buying it.


  • I really want this, but after looking at the specs it need to run on my computer, it will probably be a problem :(

    Also, I am afraid of getting addicted :P

  • Cannot wait for this, this year is definently a great year for gamers.

  • I was hooked....until I saw three little letters, MMO. I like to experience my star wars stories by myself, and I am foresaking MMOs for eventually losing their appeal to me as a gamer, I've played adventure quest, dragon quest, mech quest, WOW, pirates online, star wars clone wars online... all great games, but they eventually lose their appeal and leave me wishing there was more to it.

  • Great article :) I'm still not sure whether I'll get it or not but if there's a free trial I'll definitely download it, atleast to confirm if I like it.

  • This is welcome news in the MMO world.  It's about time more MMO's developed stories centered around the class/character type you choose.  This is one of the reason's I left WOW.  After your initial starting area, you end up in the same general quests as everyone else.  If WOW would move more towards class/character specific quests (ex - rogue takes on stealth/assassination quests, hunter takes on killing creatures quests, etc), I'd happily go back to it.  Hopefully with the character/class specific quests that SWTOR is developing, it will make playing as different classes more rewarding.

  • I'm so excited for this game I can't wait!!!

  • Nice to finally get a bigger picture of this game.  I've been following it since before it was even confirmed as a Star Wars game and I'm just as excited to try it now as I was then.  Sounds like it will be familiar enough to long time MMO players to jump right in.  But also have enough new ideas to keep it from feeling like a clone.