The More They Keep Telling Me Star Wars: The Old Republic Isn't Like World Of Warcraft, The Less I Want To Play

I just had a hands-on demo with the hugely anticipated massively multiplayer role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic, but after an hour of watching self-described sizzle reels of prerendered and in-game footage of casually pirouetting Jedi and environments so full of foxfire and crepitating tails of energy, I couldn't actually make myself actually play the game. This isn't the Star Wars I love. This is a cartoon fantasy of a world that once felt lived in, ancient and crumbling, but is presented now-three-thousand years before the events of the Star Wars movies—as mawkishly digestible neoteny.

Which isn't to say SW:TOR is going to be a bad game or that its story will be bad. (And Lord does Bioware think players of massively multiplayer games care about story; they've bet what is rumoured to be hundreds of millions of dollars on it.) It's simply clear that the world that Bioware has created (or reinterpreted), the world in which they expect players to spend hundreds or thousands of hours within, is so unlike the Star Wars that excites me that I can't bear the thought of spending all that time living inside that universe.


Comments

    Am I reading this correctly in that Joel is disappointed that a Star Wars game has replicated the environments precisely to the period it's set in? The period that we knew it was going to be set in from day one because it's noted in the actual name of the game.

    From his remarks about how it 'is so unlike the Star Wars that excites him' it sounds like he is the last person Kotaku should have relied on for an article on getting to play a demo of SWTOR.

    Also, anything that is not like WoW is actually a good thing. That game hasn't been a good example of an MMO since Burning Crusade.

      To be fair, a look at the game from someone who isn't excited for it is pretty interesting. It gives kotaku some credibility and some more depth. I'd rather have some warnings the game could be bad than have everyone raving how good it is, because when was the last time a truly good game was released that had amazing reviews all across the board?

      Also I hear that Bioware spent the majority of the budget on making the game fully voiced, they better have a damn good story if they want to keep any of the "instant-gratification" MMO crowd playing.

        It's Bioware. If anyone can pull off a good storyline behind an MMO, it's them

        I'd love to read some actual solid criticism of ToR, but some blogger who parrots some arbitrary, baseless hot air like "it's... it's just not my STAR WARS!" can be safely ignored.

    I loved the way bioware an obsidian presented the star wars universe in the kotor games. To me, the storys and the way in which the period was presented were netter than anything George Lucas could have dreamed up...

    ... But all the trailer and footage vie seen of TOR make me think that bioware have decided to adapt the period to seem more like the prequal trilogy... I mean, those republic troopers look just like clone troopers. I will probably give TOR a go, but I have very low hopes. For one thing, I dislike mmo's. I've played a few of them like star wars galaxies, eve online and star trek online and they are just terrible. I can remember when bioware announced that there would be no kotor 3, but an mmo instead, and I was crushed! Crushed I say!

      Star Trek online, Starwars Galaxies and Eve online?
      Those were terrible.
      Try playing a real mmo like World of Warcraft, Everquest, or Guild Wars.

      There hasn't been a good sci-fi mmo yet, TOR should solve that problem, but we won't know until it comes out.

        Your kidding... Star Wars Galaxies, Eve Online, and... ok maybe not Guild Wars. Those were pretty good MMORPGS with large player bases and in-depth story lines. WOW... That's an upgraded suck fest version of Runescape. Its full of immature dorks and Nerdy jerks. Comparing World of Warcraft to Runescape is like comparing a pile of shit to a pile of shit on wheels. One might be a tiny bit more impressive but they still both stink!

      Even KoTOR was reminiscent of the movies that came before it. The idea is to capture the feel of the Star Wars universe as we know it, rather than make it completely alien.

      "… But all the trailer and footage vie seen of TOR make me think that bioware have decided to adapt the period to seem more like the prequal trilogy… I mean, those republic troopers look just like clone troopers."

      Thank the maker someone else has noticed this. First time I saw TOR I thought it was set during the prequels, not the KOTOR era at all...

      "I dislike mmo’s. I’ve played a few of them like star wars galaxies, eve online and star trek online and they are just terrible."

      Well no wonder you hate MMOs.

    "It’s simply clear that the world that Bioware has created (or reinterpreted), the world in which they expect players to spend hundreds or thousands of hours within, is so unlike the Star Wars that excites me that I can’t bear the thought of spending all that time living inside that universe"

    Yes, because World of Warcraft was EXACTLY like Warcraft II and III. :P

      Not exactly, but the characters looked like updated versions of them, they had the famous landmarks of WoW history, they had the characters, the spells...

      It's pretty damn similar.

    Game will only end up with the Die Hards following it.

    Think the Horde Alliance balance is off - Imagine how many people are going to want to play a clearly evil race the Sith - not many at least with Horde/Alliance there is a ground to see both good and evil in each race something to relate to - if they make the Sith relatable then it just nulifies the intent of all movies created.

    Bounty hunters may be a sollution - but I doubt it - PVP will probably make this game to unbalanced as the Jedi far outnumber the others.

      Heaps of players dig the evil/renegade plots. As a lifelong Horde player, I relished the more evil elements of that faction ie Undead/Blood Elves, before they just neuter them further by making them even more noble than the Alliance.

      You're describing exactly what happened in WoW. When it launched, seriously 70%+ was an Alliance Hunter (and most of THEM were nelfs). Then people re-rolled when they got around to class balance and figured you couldn't have a 5 man hunter party. Sure, the majority of ToR's starting population will be Jedi, but it'll reach equilibrium just like WoW did. Probably even faster, because the kids are not the early adopters and might stick around with WoW a bit longer.

      And even then, they'll probably regulate it to only Battleground PvP and not world PvP where faction imbalance actually matters.

    Despite what some people say, i have faith in bioware. bottom line is they produce good quality games, nuff said...

      They have a lot of the SW: Galaxies team from Texas in on this project too. Which I'm worried about.

    The title and content of this article are completely unrelated... but every time I watch footage of this game I think "oh hey, it's WoW... no thanks".

    GIVE ME KOTOR 3 DAMMIT. I DON'T WANT WOW IN SPACE.

      WOW in space would be the Starcraft MMO.

        Don't give them ideas.

        I couldn't stand more wowtards coming to other mmos complaining that its not wow.

      +1 for KOTOR 3.

      Thinking about what kind of game they could have made with hundreds of millions of dollars and 2011 technology, instead of SWTOR, makes me frustrated.

    It's kind of ironic to be complaining about TOR not resembling the movies when what they've done is to completely retcon established Old Republic canon and make everything look like it came straight out of the prequels or the Clone Wars cartoon. If you meant it doesn't resemble the OT then you have a point, but then as someone said that was never the intention. You could always go play Galaxies if you wanted a bastardised MMO version of the OT time frame.

      He's saying how it doesn't look close enough to star wars, yet the troopers look exactly lone storm/clone troopers. The Imperial ships look like Star Destroyers and even the Smuggler class ship looks like the Millennium Falcon/Ebon Hawk.

      I know they have to make it recognisable, but damn, this is just shameless.

      "It's like poetry, you know, like they rhyme."

    Everything so far indicates it is, indeed, WOW in space. Raids, tanks, healers ect.

    As for the story aspect, I love a good story just as much as anyone. I think that, like DC Universe online, it will attract many people initially, but once people hit the level cap and realise it's yet another reskinned version of the tank and spank format, they'll leave.

    I'm sorry, if it doesn't have midichlorians, pod races or racist caricatures, then it's just not Star Wars.

    *why yes, I did recently rewatch episodes 1-3 and yes, I am still bitter :)*

    agree with Aidan.

    Also it would be possible to play kotor3 for those that dont have time to waste on the mmos.

    Still hoping to see some of the philosophy and som characters from kotor2 in this game though.

    GCW era is so much more interesting to me than this old republic era. I think if they tried to make the whole franchise a little less animated it might have appealed to me a bit more.
    This is one reason i will always turn to starwars galaxies for my starwars sandbox fix. Although that game has gotten quite dull towards my second year of subscriptions.

    I had to google 'neotony', first time a Kotaku article has required me to look up a word /golfclap

    I sort of agree with what Joel is saying. Despite the fact any criticism of this game causes Star Wars and/or Bioware fans to go into colon spasming fits, the game pays lip service to Star Wars rather than actually represent it.

    The original Old Republic games (and comics) presented a vintage looking Star Wars universe that actually looked stylistically like a precursor to the Star Wars world we've seen in the movies. This doesn't, the Troopers look very like (modern) Clone Troopers, as do the Bounty Hunters, Jedi and Sith, and it's meant to be three thousand years prior to the current Star Wars timeline? styles and trends change every decade, even the differences between Phantom Menace and New Hope were subtly crafted to be noticeable, you'd think the armour soldiers wear might alter a little in three thousand years.

    There seems to be little to no connection with any existing Star Wars canon, just a bunch of visual hooks to suck in fans.

    There was a time where Bioware stood for quality gaming.. Since EA brought them, they've come to stand for rushed games that look great but leave you feeling that maybe you shouldn't tell your parents/friends/partner that you actually played it and then paid for all the additional DLC.

    I'm hoping TOR will be good, but I'm ignoring the hype and the cinematic trailers and watching the actual game play footage.

    I played over the beta weekend pretty religiously, i grew up with kotor, and im an avid starwars fan, and to me swtor really does to the games and story justice.
    The NPC interaction is easily on par with singleplayer Titles like mass effect or dragon age, and that really blew me away.

    I played it as if i was simply playing kotor 3, and i honestly loved every second of it.

    The few flashpoints i did do with friends were great fun, and i think they implemented the multiplayer conversations perfectly. i dont know if it will be a WoW killer, cause i worry for the endgame, gear, pvp im not sure what will happen with that, but it is exciting. I didnt really ever play WoW that much, never even got into the higher levels because i found it boreing.

    Swtor however was captivating, and i found myself hooked on the story.
    I cant wait to see how it turns out, my current only problem with it is the BLOODY AUSTRALIAN RELEASE BULLCRAP. ESTIMATED 135 MILLION ON PRODUCTION BUT THEY FORGOT WHAT SERVERS ARE?

    anyhoo. bring it on :D

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