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Opiate for the Masses

Eric Barnett Posted:
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With development continuing to grind along, the Old Republic website does its best to keep us entertained while we patiently wait for more information. I use patiently very loosely here being that if you are like me, you turn into a kid at the candy store looking at some new chocolate bar. You have no idea if it will like it or not, but man do you want it. E3 is looming just around the corner, hopefully yielding some Star Wars related goodies for us. In the mean time, the good folks over at www.swtor.com have been feeding the fans with some hype inducing nuggets of back story lore. This week, we will take a dive into the midi-chlorian deep end and examine the universe behind the game.

First, I feel we should talk about the extremely well done Galactic Time-line lore trailers. Releasing periodically, these graphic novel style trailers shed some light on the events leading up to the game’s launch. With a fantastic art style and interesting story line, these clips immediately grabbed my interest when perusing the website. Being released in a reverse order, these episodic tidbits of information from the Jedi archives provide us with an interesting take on explaining the known time-line of events. Explained from the perspective of Jedi Master Gnost-Dural; the Jedi Council requested that he delve into the order’s historical records in light of new revelations about the formation of the Sith Empire. Talk about setting a tone for delivering background lore to the players! Any company can simply put up a link on their website with a few screen shots or some concept art, and spout of a tale of grand adventure. Bioware and Lucas Arts have taken it a step further, introducing periodic webisodes to further stoke the flames of our curiosities. Not to mention the whole thing is being narrated by Lance Henriksen, (better known as Bishop from Aliens, General Shepherd from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, or Admiral Steven Hackett from Mass Effect.) who could read Jane Austin novels to me and I would still be interested.

Secondly, the website has teamed up with Dark Horse to release an e-comic series called Blood of the Empire. Written by Bioware's Senior Writer Alexander Freed, the comic promises to be chock full of the compay’s amazing storytelling. So far from the first two comics, we have met some complex characters, and witnessed events that have started to shed some light on the inner workings of the Sith order. The website describes the series as such:

“Set in the years before the Treaty of Coruscant and the establishment of peace between the great galactic powers, Blood of the Empire sets the stage for The Old Republic with new heroes, new villains and new revelations about the inner workings of the Emperor’s cabal.”

I, for one, always enjoy getting to see the darker and grittier side of the Star Wars Universe. If I have to sit through one more Star Wars movie that has some “loveable kid’s character”, or a “Twilight-esque, Tween style love story”, I might start punching kittens though dump trucks. I personally enjoy both the light and dark side of the force, but for once, I'd like to hear about some smugglers stabbing people in the back and making off with their cargo of spice. Even hearing about some Sith shock troopers running into a colony and mopping up some resistance would be music to my ears at this point.

Lastly, we can't leave out the all encompassing Holonet database. This section of the website offers an ever expanding array of information for any Old Republic enthusiast. Covering the assortment of categories from character biographies, to planet descriptions, to class breakdowns, this is your one stop shop for your game related information. I found this section was a good start to displaying the game’s information to the public. In all honesty however, the best place to find an amalgamation of info remains to be the sticky posts on the forums. There you will be able to find snippets from game conventions and Q&A sessions, where the developers answered player questions. The Holonet however, is a good start for a person coming to the website wanting to know more in regards to what the game is all about.

I'm sure we will see a good amount of information come out of E3 this year, however being at the midpoint of development, we can't be too shocked if we only get some table scraps. The question does remain in my mind, now that EA has Bioware and Bioware has merged with Mythic Entertainment, how did this effect Bioware's development cycle? Are we doomed to see a rushed job, or has Bioware still insisted of keeping to its current standard of not launching until they feel that the game is done? Only time will tell on this on folks and I am still trying to remain hopeful.

All the lore and background fluff will keep me satiated for now, but at my core I am still a gamer and I want to start seeing more about the actual game sometime soon. On the other side of the coin, I could see myself being just as happy of not seeing any more information until they are ready to go into closed beta. I'd rather see a mysterious and polished title, rather than a completely out there and botched job.

One thing I can't stress enough to the developers is this: don't promise something if you can't deliver. If you say you are going to have an epic feeling combat and quest system, you had better deliver that otherwise you run the risk of acquiring your community’s scarlet letter. Not to sound all doom and gloom however; if they can provide me with the same feeling of excitement that I get from reading the comics and watching the story clips, then you'll see me parading around Times Square, praising its name like a crazy street preacher. The questions that I would like to pose to you all this week are what is one fluff piece that you would like to see added? How do you feel about the way that the community team is handling the flow of information? Finally, what would you rather see, lore and comics, or screen shots and trailers? Stay tuned to this article for some exciting stuff coming up next week. Keep the faith my babies, I feel that the force is strong with this one.


Eric Barnett