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Gamescom Speculation Time!

By Michael Bitton on August 16, 2011 | Columns | Comments

Gamescom Speculation Time!

Working on this side of the fence, it’s often amusing how your perception changes in that you view each year from convention season to convention season. And I have to say, it goes by pretty quick! Gamescom, the biggest show of them all in Europe kicks off today and fans of Star Wars: The Old Republic are expecting some major news.

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Gamescom and PAX are so close together that PAX is often simply a North American rehash of the events across the pond, but this year may be different as far as The Old Republic goes.  While we still have a few shows left this year, Gamescom and PAX are really BioWare’s last chances to make a big splash before the game actually comes out. They still have quite a bit of ammunition in terms of big announcements they can make, so I don’t think PAX will simply be a rehash this time around.

At this point, barring any surprise announcements, only two major systems haven’t been talked about: World PvP and the ‘Legacy’ system.

On the PvP front, we’ve heard a good deal about Warzones in The Old Republic, though we haven’t seen them all yet, but it’s been incredibly quiet in terms of World PvP. Will World PvP be a bullet point on the back of the box for The Old Republic? Or is BioWare working on some major systems? I have a good feeling we’ll find out this week. I do know that there will be what amounts to “RvR lakes” in the game, but whether or not they will actually mean much of anything is really something I’m curious to find out about. Realistically, I don’t expect to find that BioWare’s put together some deeply integrated RvR campaign system a’la Warhammer Online, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crossing my fingers anyway. As a huge fan of PvP, I feel it has to be more than an item progression track; it should be significantly meaningful to the game itself, and there are many ways to tell a story through conflict, so I am still holding out hope that BioWare has an ace up their sleeve here.

The ‘Legacy’ system is even more elusive. We don’t know a thing outside of fairly cryptic hints and occasional teases from BioWare folks. Most fans are speculating that the ‘Legacy’ system involves re-rolling characters for some sort of benefit. For example, reaching level cap as a race exclusive to The Republic will unlock said race on the opposing faction. This is fairly plausible, but some have also speculated that BioWare may actually have races that aren’t available at all until you’ve hit the level cap on a character. I think this is a bit less likely, but all signs so far definitely point towards the ‘Legacy’ system being some sort of reward for rerolling after hitting the level cap. I’d prefer additional progression outside of items for my main character, such as Alternate Advancement points, to incentives to reroll, so even if the rumors turns out to be  true, there are hopefully still means of progressing my main character outside of chasing the various gear-based carrots.

Ultimately, if I were to put my money on reveals, I’d say that Gamescom will be all about PvP and (more importantly) World PvP, while PAX will unveil the ‘Legacy’ system.

Outside of major announcements, there are still a bevy of smaller bits BioWare can show off, ranging anywhere from the Eternity Vault raid (which is indeed currently scheduled to be demoed at the show), to hands-on with space combat, or even the newly revamped companion system.

What do you think we’ll be hearing about at Gamescom this week? Also, if you had to pick from any of the above announcements, which one would you want to hear about first?

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager.
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