Lately there’s been some talk of Star Wars the Old Republic being just another WoW clone, simply because their action bar interface looks similar. This simply is not true – there are many things that set these two games apart, but here a five reasons.
A more detailed backstory:
This franchise has a jaw-dropping amount of material to work with – a whole universe, actually. The many planets that have been introduced throughout the years in comics, books, movies, and games provide a rich and diverse landscape for your character to progress in. Having a central conflict that we can readily understand is a benefit as well, since the Jedi/Sith conflict has been well documented through the movie franchise.
“This takes place thousands of years before that, though! It has two games (Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2) to work with, which was less than what World of Warcraft had!” you may protest. This is where things get interesting for diehard fans of the series – you get to see and experience where traditions of cultures depicted in the various Star Wars media originated. Not only that, but the amount of familiarity that long-time fans have will make them feel right at home in the galaxy far far away from day one. This more detailed backstory leads me to my next point.
A more involved story, in game:
The old republic, at launch, will have 250 hours of story driven content. Think back to Vanilla WoW at launch (or any other more recent MMO) – did it even have remotely the same amount? The game’s decision making in quests also has a vast impact on your character’s development, and can even change some of the responses you can make later in the game. These choices will help players identify with their character and really immerse themselves in the story. In addition, the many flashpoints (what SWTOR calls instances) are story-driven, with multiple, branching paths that your party can choose the direction of – no other MMO has done that. The game provides a story explanation for almost everything you do, and even has a main class questline to advance the story, in addition to your standard sidequests.
A cinematic feel unrivaled in other MMOs
The overall feel of the game is very cinematic, from the battles to the over the top space missions to the conversations you can engage in – making it difficult to put down and a spectacle to behold. The goal of Bioware and EA is to make battles seem like they jumped right out of the movie and into the game. None of the battle animations are completely canned – they have a few different animations for each of the abilities in the game – making combat seem very fluid and real time. The space combat is on rails to provide a maximum amount of cinematography at every turn, with more special effects than you can shake a lightsaber at.
Having your own crew
Want to have your own personal crew of lackeys to do your bidding? Of course you do. Somebody’s gotta man those turrets during the space missions, after all. People to do your crafting, gathering, selling, etc. while you continue your quests… who wouldn’t want that? However, this isn’t all they do, as you can take one of them on the road with you and have them help you in combat. They also play a major role in the story. For example, if you play a Jedi or Sith character, you can have an apprentice join your crew after a certain point in the story. This brings us to our final point.
Twilek Fema – I mean, everything is done on an epic scale
As you land on Coruscant, you’re treated to an epic pan out of the city, and you can clearly see that the sprawling landscape is dominated by speeders, towering buildings, and the Jedi temple in the distance. That’s just a taste of things to come in this game. Picture this – you’re part of the Republic forces. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there are 2000 people on your faction – that’s 2000 ships. 2000 crews, all moving about the galaxy doing missions in real time. Imagine the eventual raid content, the potential for massive space battles on the scale of EVE Online, but Star Wars style. Not to mention, the sight of 20 Jedi (though I realize that’s probably an unlikely party) running to face down a single boss. That is what has me the most pumped about playing this game – it’s big, it’s shiny, and it’s Star Wars. It’s every fanboy’s dream. Goodbye, WoW account!