Hello there, TORO-fans! It’s been a bit since I’ve been on the typing end of this scene, but I’m coming back with a bit of a whammy. You see, I was recently invited to this thing called a Fansite Summit, in which we do what you’d expect… play the game, tour the studio in Austin, Texas, and meet up with the devs to chit-chat about certain aspects of the game; all of this was described in my previous article. Well, during one of these interviews, we got to discuss a little bit about Ilum… then we saw Ilum in action (from a one-man-army point of view), followed by a barrage of questions to poke at Gabe Amantangelo (the man behind all this fun endgame stuff). So now, it’s my turn to provide the answers you need that I happen to be permitted to answer. Without further ado…
Ilum, as some may be aware, is a planet within TOR dedicated to pure PvP madness. If you’re looking to compare this with something… take Wintersgrasp from WoW, and multiply it by about three times in scale, and 4,000 times in cool factor. In addition, there’s FAR more to this planet-sized activity than you’d begin to even think. Listing a few things to get an idea of what goes on: the large portion of the planet we were shown possessed five basic areas in which either faction could take part in an already constant battle between the Republic and Empire (in a very static draw between NPC/NPC until players intervene). Each area that we were shown possessed the necessity of a rocket launcher (shown in action within a recently released trailer), with which you blow up the objective of that area should the opposing team not kill you first.
Gabe demonstrated two out of five areas in which we’d be fighting toe-to-toe, Republic vs. Empire. One of these was a Republic outpost with anti-air turrets, which you must use your rocket launcher to destroy in order for a strike to begin. Let me just say, that bombardment is essentially twelve motherships of the original Starcraft setting freeing their mini-ships, with a RIDICULOUS number of aircraft blasting that base. The other activity shown was a battle between each factions’ robotic walkers in an epic cliff-side battle. The primary objective of this area was to take the previously mentioned rocket launcher, and blast down the enemy’s walkers. Eventually, you’ll kill enough walkers to turn the tide of battle, and your faction will send in dropships to deploy more walkers to reinforce your war effort. Note that after Gabe destroyed three, three more were dropped in. Walkers dropped in this fashion will hold a sort of invulnerability for five minutes before they’re ready to be hammered down. This works out as a sort of well-implemented tug-of-war that not only makes you feel FANTASTIC, but also provides a great immersive factor. It really seems like BioWare’s hitting hard for a cinematic experience in this game… and I’m beginning to believe they’ve got the formula to the T.
Now that you have the basic gist of what Ilum is, here’s a few factoids learned for you to toy over in your hearts:
- This is a constant, neverending battle. After a faction gains victory over all five points, they’ll “own” Ilum for as long as they can keep the opposing faction from gaining control over any one of those areas.
- There isn’t a player limit for this world, there isn’t a real balance system in place; it’s just a world. If the entire Empire faction sat around and camped the world while only a small group of Republic chose to try to take over? They may never OWN the world, but you can bet the Empire won’t have control of it for at least some of the time.
- Ilum is apparently a swell place to pick up Valor (PvP rank)
- There are turrets you may mount to defend your primary area from the opposing team that pulse a big blue-white energy ball. It appears to be set to shoot every second, and you remain in the turret for about 15 seconds before it kicks you out. Each turret is distructable, and can also be repaired.
What we don’t know:
- All of the types of encounters.
- What total benefits come from controlling all nodes.
- Just how AMAZING this planet is going to be.
Now, I’m a HUGE PvP junky, so I most assuredly look forward to this planet. There may have been things I missed here that were covered during the presentation and Q&A, so feel free and tweet questions at me (@Kyle_Pants) involving the planet so I can try and get those answered for you, if I have an answer to give. On a side note, they also covered Voidstar in depth, and I can answer any questions involved there as well, should you feel there’s something about the place that you can’t figure out. Expect more content involving this summit to be posted soon, so keep checking back to see just what surprises we’re holding back!