Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Your Sixth Assignment: Don't Panic

In my zeal for Star Wars: The Old Republic, I sometimes forget that other folks haven't been following this game for nearly as long as I have.  I was on vent last night and Laura highlighted this fact well ... I *have* been following this game for a LONG TIME.  I first found out about the KOTOR MMO in mid 2007 and have been religiously dogging Bioware's steps ever since.  The MMO was officially announced in 2008.  This summer will mark my four-year obsession with this game.

Folks, apparently I've been lusting after this game since I started playing Warcraft.  Yowza.

In light of this fact, I'm going to compile a glossary of terms and cover as much nuts and bolts knowledge of this game as I can for the folks who just recently got interested.  Here we go!

Classes - There are 8 total classes, 4 for the Republic and 4 for the Empire.
Republic
Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Consular, Jedi Knight
Empire
Bounty Hunter, Imperial Agent, Sith Inquisitor, Sith Warrior

Advanced Classes - At level 10, you can select an 'Advanced Class.'  Advanced Classes are basically analogous to specs in WoW.  Each class has three talent trees, 2 for Advanced Classes and a shared tree.  The shared tree are abilities and talents that are communal to all players of that specific class.  Here's a list of the Advanced Classes and their roles.
Republic
Trooper - Commando (ranged dps/healer) and Vanguard (tank)
Smuggler - Gunslinger (ranged dps) and Scoundrel (ranged dps/healer)
Jedi Knight - Guardian (tank) and Sentinel (melee dps)
Jedi Consular - Shadow (melee dps) and Sage (ranged dps/healer)
Empire
Bounty Hunter - Powertech (tank) and Mercenary(ranged dps/healer)
Imperial Agent - Operative (ranged dps/healer) and Sniper (ranged dps)
Sith Warrior - Juggernaut (tank) and Marauder (melee dps)
Sith Inquisitor - Sorcerer (ranged dps/healer) and Assassin (melee dps)

Races - There are currently 8 confirmed races (with a possible 9th that yet to be revealed).  I'll list each race and what they can play as.
Human - Any class.
Zabrak - Any class.
Miraluka - Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular
Sith Pureblood - Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor
Chiss: Imperial Agent, Bounty Hunter
Rattataki - Imperial Agent, Bounty Hunter, Sith Inquisitor
Mirialan - Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular
Twi'lek - Sith Inquisitor, Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler
Cyborg (not yet confirmed) - Smuggler, Imperial Agent, Sith Warrior, Bounty Hunter

Light/Dark Side Meter - The morality scale is a popular part of every Bioware game.  It basically tracks your character's actions and how good or evil you have been.  This morality gauge will be in full effect in TOR.  Certain types of gear will only be equippable by characters of a certain type of alignment.  Please note that alignment is not restricted by faction!  You can play as a light-side Sith, but just know that your gear choices will be rather limited.  This is a designed penalty ... if you swim against the current, just know that you will encounter difficulties.  But isn't the price of being something totally different worth it?

Companions - In keeping with the Bioware tradition, The Old Republic will provide your hero with a set of companions that will journey alongside you, save your life, or perhaps even betray you.  There isn't much information about companions out right now, but here's the known list along with the classes they are associated with.  Tanno Vik (Trooper), Bowdar (Smuggler), T7-01 (Knight), Mako (Bounty Hunter), Vette (Warrior), Kaliyo Djannis (Agent), and Khem Val (Inquisitor).  Check here for more info on companions.  Companions are powerful and versatile additions to your party.  They can run missions for you, complete crafting projects, gather resources, and provide support in combat.  They can also be taken into flashpoints (see below) to help fill out your four person party.

Crew Skills - These are professions.  Check this page.  There are gathering, crafting, and mission types.  Your companions can do all of these on your ship on or foot, freeing you up to fight.  Not much is known about professions at this time, but I expect some information soon after 2011 E3.

Starships - Each character will receive a personal starship at some point during their travels, usually on their origin world.  Starships are used as modes of personal or group transportation as well as the primary vehicle in the space shooter portions of the game.  Bioware has included an on-rails shooter minigame that you can complete for xp, starship-only loot, and new customizations for your ship.  The starship minigame is not intended to be a fully-fledged portion of the game, but instead treated as a time-filler or perhaps a well-needed break from quest grinding.  Although capital ships are not expected at launch, guild capital ships are planned.  These capital ships will likely be purchasable for a princely sum or craftable at a huge expense.  It will house all the guild members' ships and provide a communal guild area to hang out in.

Flashpoints - Flashpoints are the TOR version of dungeons.  Flashpoints are group instances for up to 4 characters.  Notice how I said 'character' not 'player?'  That's because you can bring companions to flashpoints.  They'll never be as good as players, but they can help fill holes in your group.  As few as 2 players can join a flashpoint.  If only one slot is open for a companion, it automatically defaults to the party leader's choice of companion.  Flashpoints also feature the party dialogue system.  The party dialogue system lets all active players participate in the dialogue choices during a flashpointflashpoints are: The Esseles (Republic, low level), Black Talon (Empire, low level), Taral V (Republic, mid level), Boarding Party (Empire, mid level), Directive 7 (both factions, end game).  More info available here.

Operations - Operations are TOR's versions of raids.  There is little known at this time, although Bioware is releasing information on the "Eternity Vault" at 2011's E3.  More info to come.

Warzones - Warzones are the PvP battlegrounds of TOR.  They've not expounded too much on warzones yet, and have only really talked about one warzone: The Battle for Alderaan.  Story is a premium feature of the warzones, as each warzone will have a specific story-related task.  No flag capturing or base capping for no reason.  This article delves deep into the PvP aspects of the game.

Voiced-Over Dialogue - The Old Republic is the first fully-voiced MMO in existence.  You will never read a line of quest text.  You will never watch chat bubbles to see what's being said.  All dialogue is fully voiced and rendered in cinematic cutscenes.  Your choices will affect your gameplay and certain avenues of adventure and dialogue will open or be closed off forever based on your actions.  Think, and speak, carefully!

Hope that clears a lot up ... as always, feel free to leave comments below.  I'll answer any and all questions regarding TOR.

Fly safe, shoot straight.  For the glory of the Empire!

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