star wars the old republic

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Official Site: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Studio: BioWare/Electronic Arts
Launch Date: December 20, 2011
Genre: Sci-Fi Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

Perfect Ten: MMORPGs that help you get your spaceship on

Sometimes even the most die-hard MMORPG player finds him or herself a little tired of constantly looking at the back of a head and a running butt. We yearn to slip the surly bonds of the world to explore the cosmos in our very own rocket ship to see what is out there. E.T., are you taking house calls? Can we hang for a little while? I brought Reese's Pieces!

Getting this experience isn't quite as easy as, say, finding an MMO that caters to the dragon-slaying crowd. It's well-known that sci-fi MMORPGs are in the minority, and only a fraction of those center around or contain some element of space flight and combat. However, over the years we've seen online games here and there allow us to live out our fantasies of being a space jockey, whether in the form of a trader, a fighter pilot, or an explorer.

Today, let's look at 10 MMOs, past and present, that helped us get our spaceship on!

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The Stream Team: Playing in SWTOR's Asylum with Senya

A long leisurely stay in the Asylum. That sounds like the perfect way for Mass for Massively OP's Larry and MJ to spend their day in SWTOR, no? Now that they have rescued the necessary engineer to help get The Gravestone functioning again, they are off to meet with Senya. What story will come out of meeting with her and her contacts? MJ can't wait to see. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to find out, and to help choose the Chiss' crazy actions in the Asylum.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

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One Shots: I am no man!

The big screenshot challenge last week was to capture action, not just still shots, in MMORPGs. This is tricker than it sounds, because you have to be quick with the screenshot key and manipulate the camera just right to get the perfect picture. It is easier to do this with other characters, obviously, including those in cutscenes.

Borghive gets headlining honors with his "final showdown" between the Witch King and Éowyn from Lord of the Rings Online. She looks a little outmatched, what with being smaller and having an actual head, but I think she's going to come out just fine. After all, she is no man.

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Here's what's in Neverwinter's Cloaked Ascendancy lockboxes

One of the many content chunks and upgrades landing in Neverwinter when Cloaked Ascendancy launches next week is... lockboxes. In fact, PWE put out a new dev blog today on the Many-Starred Lockbox landing on February 21st, taking a page out of Star Wars: The Old Republic's dog-eared playbook.

Potentially in the lockbox for those who buy keys? The Arcane Whirlwinds legendary mount, the multi-spell Tome of Ascendance, and a number of packs tailored to mounts, artifact equipment, artifacts, companions, enchantments, and costumes, some of which are shown in the gallery below.

But whom are we kidding -- you're never gonna get these.

Further reading: Andrew's piece on gambling vs. gaming, Larry's ideas for making lockboxes suck less, and this article telling us to get over them.

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Massively Overthinking: Are MMOs designed for 'low-skill gamers'?

Ages ago on the MMORPG subreddit, a player made a bold statement: MMORPGs are designed for low-skill gamers.

"I remember being dazzled by EverQuest and Ultima as a child," he wrote, reminiscing about his memory of high difficulty old-school games. "I recently loaded up [Star Wars: The Old Republic] again, and I'm shocked. Piss easy. Everything. XP falling from the sky. Mobs dead in one GCD. Brainless. The same reason I quite every MMO. I never meet people, I never feel challenged. I just feel bored. 'Wait till endgame' isn't gonna cut it anymore. I'm over it. I'm done. I feel like I'm just hitting the 'Reward' button again and again and again, solitary and alone, like a stupid little rat in the cage." He then basically blames the perceived shift of the genre on people who don't want games to be "like a job": "The genre just seems to be fueled by mediocre, anti-social "consumers."

I wanted to pull this back out to see whether our staff and writers agree with the claims -- and whether we all have some advice for this fan, who concludes his rant by asking people to change his mind. Howsabout it, Overthinking fans?

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR's latest raid might be a too little too late

When Star Wars: The Old Republic launched, I was champing at the bit for raids. Then when I heard about the launch bugs from friends, I really didn't want to have anything to do with that. But thanks to the Darth Hater crew and eventually my raiding guild in Nefarious Intent, I came to really enjoy raiding. I started raiding in SWTOR when Karragga's Palace was the top-tier raid. I raided every week for three years. We were never the best raiders on the server, and I don't think that we ever really tried to be because it was about having fun in a team-based PvE.

After a two-year gap, the developers at BioWare decided that it was time to introduce a new raid. With Update 5.2, players will see additional story, dailies, and the first boss of the new raid on the planet of Iokath. Although I am very excited to see all of this hit the game again, I can't help but wonder if the interest in raids is strong enough to make that kind of gameplay viable again.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tackle the questions: What is coming with Update 5.2: War for Iokath, what does the existing community think of it, and will it be enough to draw people back in?

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The Daily Grind: Where are all the sports-themed MMORPGs?

On those rare occasions when we mention EA's FIFA series, usually relating to court cases over online gambling, I'm always struck again by how few sports MMORPGs we have. We have fishing games and golfing games. We have racing games. But major team sports have never bridged the gap, in spite of their immense popularity -- though maybe that's because they're popular with self-identified non-gamers.

Indeed, even few MMORPGs include sports as something our characters would do -- it's a weird omission, right? Wouldn't it make much more sense for PvP to play out as sporting simulators, a la Star Wars: The Old Republic's Huttball, one of only a handful of examples I can think of from our 20-year history?

So where are all the sports-themed MMORPGs? Why aren't we seeing more of them, and how would you make them work? Read more

Global Chat: Get over the lockbox debate already

One of the largest and most enduring arguments of the MMO genre is the purpose, legality, and profitability of so-called lockboxes in games. We've certainly railed against them pretty hard here on the site.

MMO Bro takes an interesting position this week by saying that, yes, lockboxes are annoying, but we need to move on from grousing about them: "If I may play devil’s advocate here for a moment, I think the time may have come for us to take a step back and examine whether all the furor over lockboxes is really productive. It’s clear that lockboxes are here to stay, so perhaps it’s time for us to learn how to live with them."

Agree? Disagree? That's why we have the comments section. Now that you're fully awake, why not check out the rest of our roundup from the MMO blogosphere, including essays on early access stumbles, costumes, multiplayer mounts, and -- everyone's favorite -- geography!

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Jukebox Heroes: The best of SWTOR expansion soundtracks

I have a confession to make: I was fairly underwhelmed by the original soundtrack release for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Sure, it did the job, hit some of those familiar Star Wars notes, and slathered the myriad of game worlds in music, but I found it either too weird (the cantina tunes, mostly) or too long and bombastic to enjoy. Wasn't the worst I'd ever heard, but certainly not near what I would expect from a game bearing the Star Wars moniker.

Yet while I wasn't looking, BioWare has produced some incredible musical chops for the past two expansions. My mouth was often agape when I was listening to Knights of the Fallen Empire and Knights of the Eternal Throne, because I kept thinking, "What is this! What is this! This is the soundtrack this game deserved all along!" It was quite the pleasant surprise, let me just say, and today I'm going to share some of my favorite pieces from these recent expansions with you.

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The Daily Grind: Which no-housing MMORPG needs housing the most?

During our Elder Scrolls Online housing stream earlier this week, Larry and I joked about World of Warcraft's half-hearted and ineffective attempts to satisfy player demand for housing over the years, from farms to garrisons to order halls. I certainly wouldn't call any of these "player houses," no more than I'd consider Guild Wars 2's home instances to be housing.

Interestingly, most of the other games I'd say are in the top tier of MMORPGs have housing now, many of them having only just added it in the last few years, from Final Fantasy XIV to SWTOR. Even Lord of the Rings Online recently reinvigorated its housing (stay tuned for an in-depth look at that this weekend). In my mind, the best trend of the year so far has been this renewed emphasis on player domiciles, not just because I enjoy that type of content but because it's clearly a money-maker for the games that implement and monetize it well.

So for today's Daily Grind, I ask you: Which no-housing MMORPG needs housing the most, and why?

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The Stream Team: Heading to SWTOR's Asylum

The Gravestone launched, and Massively OP's Larry and MJ got to see just how powerful this ancient SWTOR ship was. Is. Was: Many systems blew after using the weapons one time, so now the crew needs to land and make repairs. And where will they be going? To Asylum. That certainly sounds like an adventure waiting to happen. Tune in live at 1:00 p.m. for more Choose My Alignment fun as the duo starts Knights of the Fallen Empire: Chapter VI.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 1:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 9th, 2017

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SWTOR's Tait Watson departs BioWare, trades Austin for SoCal

Star Wars: The Old Republic Producer Tait Watson is leaving the company, according to his farewell post to forumgoers this morning.

"I haven’t been fired, and I haven’t been laid off," he says. "I am leaving BioWare to move to California." Specifically? San Diego.

"[E]ven though there have been rough times, I have never once dreaded coming into work. Not one time in the time I've worked here, and a huge part of that is all of you. Yes, you. If you have somehow come across these words on the internet, I am talking to you. You are the beating heart that keeps this vibrant and unabashedly passionate community going, and for that you don't get enough credit. But I assure you, every single day people come into work and strive to show you just how important you are to us."

The greater San Diego area is home to many game studios, including MMORPG studios, Blizzard and Daybreak among them; his resume shows a former stint at Blizzard already, but he's thus far not talking about where he's headed.

Source: SWTOR forums via Dulfy

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Tamriel Infinium: Four reasons Elder Scrolls Online's Homestead tops other MMO housing

Traditionally, in this Tamriel Infinium column, I have been extremely critical of The Elder Scrolls Online, and I promise you, I'm sure I'll lob criticism at the game in the future too. But I also like to give proper praise to video game developers when they do something extremely right, and that’s the case with Homestead.

My first MMO experience with housing was probably very similar to every other old-school MMO gamer's experience with housing: Ultima Online. But I didn’t really play UO for a very long time, only a month or so. My first real experience was in Star Wars Galaxies. Unfortunately, that game is shut down now, so I can’t show you just how powerful and creatively flexible that housing was. Since then, I’ve experienced housing in a number of different MMOs. I’ve seen EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, WildStar, and of course, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Although some of these housing systems have elements that I really like, I don’t think any of them reach the level that ESO reaches. And to help illustrate what I mean, I’ve compiled a list of four reasons that Homestead is better than those other MMO housing systems.

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