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

The Daily Grind: Will you sub to EA’s new ‘Origin Access Premier’ service?

During EA Play this weekend, EA announced Origin Access Premier, its attempt at a subscription service on PC. For $100 a year, you’ll basically get a service pretty similar to what already exists on Xbox: You’ll be able to play all the big new games, like Anthem, plus other titles within the Origin Vault, for that flat fee.

Subscriptions rise again, right? Is this a good thing for games outside the service?

“As always, I want to Bree to win the lottery, buy up some MMOs and take them to the Island of Misfit MMOs where $200 per annum gets you sub/pref access to all of RIFT, LOTRO, STO, SWTOR, et al.,” MOP tipster Sally wrote to us, urging us to write about the sub. “But picture that you are a hard-working indie dev. You already have the issues with dealing with Steam. Now a customer has to decide whether to buy your game or just play something like Anthem for no additional cost.”

Will you be subbing to EA’s new Origin Access Premier service? Do you think it’ll have a catastrophic impact on indie games or MMOs with subs?

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E3 2018: BioWare’s Anthem has soloable co-op open world, no lockboxes, a sweet trailer, and a February 22 launch

At this afternoon’s EA Play, EA and BioWare have revealed Anthem’s brand-new trailer. The game is now slated to launch on February 22nd, 2019.

During the developer discussion, BioWare said it recognized the problems inherent in storytelling in a multiplayer shared world (reiterating Casey Hudson’s dev blog from not that long ago), but it thinks it’s found a way to reconcile driving the story without sacrificing multiplayer gameplay.

Characters will play as “freelancers” piloting Javelin exosuits, trying to survive in a hostile environment, and fighting the bad guys trying to exploit the power. There are four Javelins, each with a different way to play the game: Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor, Storm. “You are not your suit,” BioWare cautions; you can flip between them depending on the gameplay you want to take part in from moment to moment.

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The Soapbox: Do MMOs still fall victim to the copycat curse?

When Radical Heights launched, I was inspired to put together a whole Perfect Ten about why trend-chasing doesn’t work for online games. Obviously, my chief focus was on games that wind up being developed at a rushed pace to cash in on trends and then run face-first into problems with chasing momentary trends, which… you know, you can just read the article; it’s linked right there. But it also prompted a follow-up question by longtime reader Sally Bowls asking why, with all of these issues, why the same rules don’t apply to MMOs.

The answer? Well, there isn’t one answer. There are three answers, all of which are part of the same set of considerations. For one thing, there’s the difference of development time and depth. For another, there’s the time before grinding. And last but not least, well… they do apply, really. But let’s take this piece by piece to talk about why trend-chasing for MMOs doesn’t quite provoke the same immediate reactions as it does for, say, MOBAs.

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Perfect Ten: What I’ve always wished for in a Fallout MMO

This week I’ve been absolutely consumed by the thought of Fallout 76. I know, I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up for a proper MMORPG, but even the prospect of some online multiplayer functionality thrills me to no end.

Fallout has been one of my favorite computer RPG series ever since its first installment way, way back in the 1990s. I played Fallout 2 like crazy back in the day, log in to Fallout Shelter frequently now, and just recently started my third journey into Fallout 4.

There’s so much to love about these games, which is I’m quite eager to see the full reveal of Fallout 76 by Bethesda at E3 next week. Before that happens, however, I want to share with you what I’ve always wished for in a Fallout MMO. It has such potential to be an awesome online RPG with a huge built-in fan base and big developer muscle behind it. Let me share my list and then you do the same in the comments!

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One Shots: The crane… the crane…

I love crane machines. Yes, I know they’re a total scam, but I won something in one once, and I can’t help but throwing money at them in the vain home of repeating that epic moment. Of course, I might forswear crane machines altogether if I got one of FFXIV’s creepier races as a prize.

Vincent has no such compunctions: “Only a Lalafell would look this happy being carried around by a Death Claw!”

It’s how all of us at Massively OP get to work every day, actually.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic is tuning up its warzone experience

When July rolls around, Star Wars: The Old Republic is planning some changes to its warzones. Significant ones, at that. The development team wants to make matches shorter, maps more distinct, and the overall feel more satisfying. To that end, everything planned has been posted on the official site, ranging from fairly straightforward changes to the Alderaan and Yavin maps to more significant changes elsewhere.

Voidstar, for example, is having several activations sped up to make the map feel like an objective race instead of something that frequently ends in a stalemate and favors the defenders too heavily. Ancient Hypergates are also being retuned to make running orbs a more significant and useful part of the map’s gameplay. Check out the full rundown if you want to see all of the number tweaks before they go live; there are plans for testing, but you can get an idea of how this will change the experiences just by reading.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The sorry state of roleplay in Star Wars: The Old Republic

Since the server merges, the Star Forge server has unofficially become the roleplay server for Star Wars: The Old Republic. And roleplaying’s fight to remain a relevant way to enjoy this MMORPG has never been tougher. Roleplayers, if nothing else, are resilient. We are still in the game and attempting to find our place in this world where there is little support for our gameplay style from the developers.

Some of you might remember the late ’80s, but for those who don’t that was a period of time when the only thing keeping Star Wars alive were the RPGs. Timothy Zahn would not pen Heir to the Empire until 1991, the best video game we had was arcade-only made in ’83, and The Phantom Menace was well over a decade away. This was the period of time that the keeper-of-canon Pablo Hidalgo started his quest to become a part of the Lucasfilm family. It was the time when only two things were keeping the Star Wars alive: the Kenner toys and West End Games’ Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. We know it wasn’t the made-for-TV Ewok Adventure movies.

Roleplayers have been the undercurrent that has kept the franchise alive, even during the dark times — during the prequels. What is their current status in SWTOR?

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One Shots: The cream of the shuttercrop

What do you get when you ask MMO players with bulging folders of screenshots to pick their very, very best to show off? An absolutely amazing array of visual delights, that’s what.

Zyrusticae kicks off our look at the MOP community’s best-of-the-best screenshots with this view of what I think is Blade and Soul: “Just one? Really? Just the one? Boy, you really know what to say to induce absolute decision-making paralysis in me, don’t you? Well, after much deliberation, I just realized that it had to be this one. There is no other shot that gets my attention as much as this one does. The absurdly saturated, bright blue color palette in contrast with the autumn colors… yes, it does my heart good.”

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Massively Overthinking: The case for rarity and randomness in MMO monetization

Last week, Guild Wars 2’s Crystin Cox gave a monetization interview to Gamasutra during which she made one specific argument I wanted to pull out and re-examine. She was trying to explain why lockboxes can provide a “value” to players that they can’t get any other way.

“When we talk about cosmetics, there’s a demand for every individual cosmetic. Like maybe I love cowboy hats, I just want to buy cowboy hats. But there’s also a demand, and a lot of players feel this way, for just cosmetic options. I like cowboy hats sure, but I also like bandanas, and I like clown hair, I like everything. I don’t really have a super strong preference. I just want more things to put in my dress-up box. That demand can be satisfied a lot better sometimes with just giving you a random thing because that can be done a lot cheaper. If you don’t care about which one you get and you just want one, you can get it for a lot cheaper. When you’re talking about games that have rarity, and rarity’s a big part of that game, then lootboxes can be done to distribute something on a small scale, so that not everybody has access to it but some do, as sort of a jackpot item. And then that gets into a little more complexity around the economy and your game, and whether not this is an enjoyable part of your game for people to play, play with the economy of some such. But if it is, then you can use lootboxes to be a pretty good distribution for something that’s very rare.”

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Perfect Ten: The unique pitfalls of licensed MMOs

Making a list of the “biggest” MMOs currently running is always an exercise in frustration. It’s easy to put a few things on the list – no one’s going to argue with placing World of Warcraft on such a list, for example – but then everything else always gets mired in opinions and controversy, and endless cycles of “why isn’t this game I love on there while another game I don’t like is there?!” I speak from experience.

Still, on our list of the healthiest MMOs at the moment, we’ve got only three licensed games: Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Those are by no means the only entries on the licensed game list, of course, but there does seem to be something of a dearth of those. And perhaps that’s more understandable than it seems. For all that we talk about how one setting or another would be perfect for an MMO, there are some unique troubles you inevitably run into when you get into the licensed MMO shuffle.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic doubles your rewards with its latest patch

The latest patch for Star Wars: The Old Republic is doubling your rewards. Your experience? Doubled. Command XP? Also doubled. Other things? Doubled. Incoming damage? Probably not doubled, because that’s not a reward, that’s an impediment to a reward. But the ongoing events of the game are also doubled, as the patch turns on the Nar Shadda Nightlife event as well. So you still get more doubling. Double everything.

And it can continue. For example, guess how many fixes were added for The Nathema Conspiracy? Double that number, there are a lot of fixes. (If you guessed the right amount initially, please halve that number, then double it. We have a theme going.) It all coincides nicely with the latest movie to hit the screen, so enjoy some extra rewards, have fun in Nar Shadda, and have fun repeating the word “double” until it loses all meaning.

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Massively Overthinking: On slavery mechanics in MMOs

Polygon recently had an interview with Conan Exiles creative director Joel Bylos focused on the game’s slavery mechanics, a “feature” I had entirely forgotten about, probably because the game calls such NPCs – whom you are encouraged to capture and enslave – “thralls.” Bylos likens thralls to the ‘bots of Westworld: They serve multiple purposes, from dancing for entertainment to manning base defenses as “intelligent turrets.” Essentially, he argues, they’re a mechanic that allows a single human player to build out and staff a mini empire.

I thought it would be interesting to explore the subject of slavery in Massively Overthinking now that Conan is back in the headlines (and getting good reviews). Should slavery exist in MMOs and other online games? Does it get a pass because it’s NPCs, or does it make you uncomfortable to see your player potentially cast as a heroic slaveholder?

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Hyperspace Beacon: The SWTOR Summer roadmap might get you back into PvP

Star Wars: The Old Republic producer Keith Kanneg just dropped the next roadmap earlier today, outlining the features upcoming before September and a little bit beyond. Although he didn’t give much detail about the future of the story for the game, he gave us enough hints that we can speculate about the direction it’s headed.

At the very top of the roadmap post, Kanneg thanks everyone for such a great first year as producer of SWTOR and hopes that everyone enjoyed the traitor storyline. The story ends with a lot of questions unanswered, but unfortunately, those questions will not be answered until sometime after September according to the post. However, it’s possible that some of the setups this summer are pointing toward what the developers have planned.

Kanneg said the devs have been listening to players and “as a result, [they will] be making a lot of changes based on your feedback, beginning with our PvP plans this summer.” 2018 will be the summer of PvP for SWTOR, so let’s break down everything that the developers are doing.

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