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Episode 2: The journey towards SWTOR and TOROcast…

Despite the big E3 roll out of information on SWTOR, we still need to publish editorials. Banath will now go into his journey to SWTOR and TOROCast.  So yeah…. we want you to read this as well…

Hello, gang, and welcome to the second issue of The Non-MMO Perspective. Last time I mainly talked about what appeals to me to Bioware’s big title and why I am going to play SWTOR as my first real MMO. The Star Wars appeal, the RPG-back lot that Bioware has and my love for KOTOR. Every other week I will try to work out every aspect of the game – including gameplay, marketing, story, graphics – from the perspective of a non-MMO player.

As I mentioned in my previous article, I became interested in SWTOR first because of KOTOR. I played that game so often, I can almost dream what happened. And yes, I largely roleplayed the version that eventually became “canon”, male light-sided Revan. KOTOR 2 was a fun game as well, but like most, I found the story’s ending to be unfinished. And thus the waiting for KOTOR 3 began. Hoping that it would have more of the story of the first game, and also some gameplay tweaks. I was wrong.

Two and a half years ago, Bioware spilled the beans on a game that would still “succeed” KOTOR but would be an MMO instead of a traditional single-player RPG. We also got some screenshots, and the news that the game had been in development for a while. Those screenshots, though, made me hesitate. “This doesn’t look quite like Knights of the Old Republic,” I thought. That “look” was the first thing that made me go “huh?” (queue Samm’s Yoda recording). Perhaps that was part of Bioware’s strategy, to get people talking about their game. Do something different and people will rabble about it. And so they did. A lot…

The press was all over the place when it came to this game. Covers, dissections, etc. there was no way to not know of this title. All over the world the game gathered fans and haters. And what have we actually seen up till then? Nothing, basically. But we all jumped in. We all had our opinions of what Bioware should be doing. For me, as an outsider (MMO wise) looking in, it was really strange to see all the MMO-terms be thrown about. Not by the makers but by the general public. SWG, WoW, WAR, dps, tank, etc, etc. All gobbledygook to the untrained gamer. Either way, Bioware, Electronic Arts and LucasArts managed to put the game on the map. But as time progressed, the game slipped to me more and more to the background. And then they released the first timeline video.

First of all, with this new paragraph, I want to say the following *clears his throat*: Bioware, I hate you. I hate you because the timeline trailers are of such a good quality I always hate it when they are over again. Through Gametrailers.com I saw the first video and the background of the Jedi researcher Gnost-Dural, voiced perfectly by Scifi movie and Bioware veteran Lance Henriksen (also the voice of Admiral Hackett in Mass Effect), that was investigating the “Treaty of Coruscant“. Enough information to get you intrigued and it eluded to so much more when it finished. That there was a bigger trail to be followed. Well thought out, written and voiced. An excellent piece.

During this time, I became part of a different gaming website in allegiance with Gametrailers.com. I started to post on the forums and of course a topic on The Old Republic was there. I jumped in and looked around. That forum started to look more interesting than the game had been in a while. But that was before E3.

Boom! went the dynamite during E3 ’09. The first cinematic trailer, “Deceived”, was shown at the Electronic Arts press conference and blasted everyone, absolutely everyone, away, – myself included. Bioware displayed that they can “pull a WoW” when it comes to the cinematic trailers and it echoed through. Still, some skepticisms remained for me, because the screenshots already informed us that the near-life look of the trailer wasn’t going to be how the game looked at all. “Deceived” did made me I signed up with the main site of SWTOR at least, though never been very big on their forums. (I know, shame on me, but I was already busy with another forum and it is especially difficult to keep up with a big forum as SWTOR has been since day one.) I sometimes read up on a thread, or read the latest statement, but thought myself to much of a MMO n00b to truly have a well-rounded opinion. Of course, there is also the lore side, but even on that end, I don’t compare to the amazing, encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars that many fans have. Still, I jumped onto the bandwagon and watched all trailers that would be coming out,treasuring every tiny parcel of media on the game that Bioware put out . Still something seemed missing, something that seemed integral for a game as massive (no pun intended) as SWTOR.

During E3 ’10, Bioware showed another great cinematic trailer, “Hope.” This one seemed inspired by the timelines – bear with me – because like the timeline trailers, Bioware went back before the events of “Deceived”. We see Darth Malgus with a normal face (well, at least without the breathing gear – he still seemed to have a very unnatural pallor) and we see parts of the war prior to the signing of the Treaty. It had great action, and it put the Republic in a better light, it seemed to me, than the first trailer had shown. It also took away my fear that non-Force users would not be able to hold up in combat with Force users. And now with E3 ’11, we saw the epic introduction cinematic called “Return“. An entire Republic party was shown, though CG, and it looked awesome. Again.

My purpose in laying all this out was not just to detail how I relate to SWTOR. My goal was also to shed some light on how Bioware handles their hype and my view on it. In my opinion they do a very good job of it. Sometimes they didn’t show much at all, or they showed things that seemed uninteresting, but at least for me it was timed perfectly. Every time the game started to fade into the back of my mind, Bioware released another trailer, or timeline, or set of images that would show the progression of the game. We discussed this handling of hype on the other forum.

Once, I was asked to join the forum moderators’ podcast. After that, kept in touch with the dudes that host it. I went into a short debate with one of them about SWTOR and that I was interested in listening to a podcast about SWTOR. He pointed me towards TOROCast. I started to listen the episode just before Samm got to hear about Bioware’s crafting system. The enthusiasm and obvious love for this upcoming MMO was apparent to me and I have been listening ever since. In the last few weeks I went back and started listening through the podcast archive and started to pay more attention to the stuff here.. The reads were fun, but sometimes way over my head, in terms of gaming terminology. Acronyms were being thrown around that left me scratching my head. But Fo’s articles were very helpful and fun to read.


And then it came to me: why wouldn’t I write for TOROcast as well? I already knew I could write, since I do so for another website (www.funornotfun.com). My articles have been received well, so why not give it a shot at TOROcast? And thus it was, that I came to join these nutcases.

Next week, I will write about an RPG-element that has been lacking in MMO’s.

For now, 
May the Force be with you.


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