Star Wars: The Old Republic Beta Test Observations
29 November 2011
It was a warm November 21st. An evening made memorable by the arrival of an email that started with the following sentence.
You are invited to test Star Wars: The Old Republic!
It was not a phishing email.
Before going further:
- Star Wars: The Old RepublicTM is the property of LucasArts and LucasFilm and Electronic Arts (EA) and BioWare (a division of EA).
- Limited use of their material is covered under the Fair Use Doctrine.
- Beta testers are bound by an amended Game Testing Agreement.
- The November 25 2011 amendment to the non disclosure agreement reads:
You may well ask what is Star Wars: The Old Republic? According to EA, BioWare, and LucasArts:
- "Set thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader, Star Wars: The Old Republic is a massively multiplayer online game challenging players with epic quests, featuring dynamic combat across iconic worlds in the Star Wars™ galaxy such as Tatooine, Alderaan, Hoth and more. Each of the game’s eight primary classes will enjoy their own unique trilogy of storylines, all of which are fully voiced with a sweeping musical score."
We believe the game will be a hit, and reach an initial half-million subscribers. With one million subscribers by the end of the first year.
Of course we could be wrong, and the dim sour grapes view from a major competitor could be correct.
Of course the Activision CEO Bobby Kotick may have other motives for his comments.
About that beta test...
The beta test began November 25th, and sadly ended the evening of the 28th. I liked it.
While now allowed to comment in detail on the game, I won't (mostly). The game has a very cinematic feel and the details would be one giant Spoiler Alert, because each character you play is story driven.
- "... it's a surprise. Hey, are you the kind of kid who reads the last page of a mystery first? Who pesters the magician to tell you his tricks? Who sneaks downstairs to peek at his Christmas presents? Noooo, of course you're not. That's why I'm not gonna tell you!"
Do you really want to know who's your Daddy?
Besides other gaming experts will describe in excrutiating details ALL the spoilers, and ruin the experience.
Having said that ...
This is a Windows only game.
The beta software was a download of approximately 19GB. Buying a box set will save you from the hours it will take to download a fresh complete digital copy. Abet you will need to download any recent updates. However digital pre-order owners may get access to the game up to five days in advance.
'Getting into the game required very little instruction. Gameplay was as they say, intuitive. The character controls were smooth and responsive*, with no appreciable lag. However this may change when the first hundred thousand players sign in. blah, blah.
There is "shooter" action aplenty to keep a gamer occupied. You may enjoy sending that first hand launched missile at an opponent, and see the body (bodies) fly. Or 'feel' the impact of your light sabre in a fight. Or chuckle at the sound and graphics of a "Dirty Kick" attack; "oooh that's gotta hurt". Or find your companion outplaying you, as she goes all out Xena Warrior Princess medieval on an opponent. No graphic game violence though.
When you're in a large area with a few dozen other players battling it out, don't get killed watching.
You will find movie references.
But what was most disturbing, was uncovering why the Republic fell.
Ok, not really a spoiler or Marker.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is scheduled for release in North America on 20 December 2011, and Europe on 22 December 2011.
"Well, you may have thought it was a game, but it was also a test. Aha, a test! Sent out across the galaxy to find those with the potential to be Starfighters. And here you are, my boy! Here you are! "
Centauri (Robert Preston), The Last Starfighter (1984)
Disclosure - Multiple copies of Star Wars: The Old Republic have been pre-ordered. Some here are Electronic Arts, BioWare, Amazon, Origin, GameStop, and Blizzard customers.
* Game was tested on two different systems:
- i7-2600K processor, 16GB memory, dual HD 6950 CrossFire
- i7-2600K processor, 16GB memory, dual HD 6850 CrossFire