Star Wars fans are a flutter with the news that Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) hits shelves Dec. 20.
Developed by Bioware, the game has some heavy competition in the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games department. Blizzard's fantasy role playing game, World of Warcraft (WOW), is the current MMO champ, but the champ is showing its age. With about $150 million invested in the project, SWTOR might just have enough force to dislodge the current king.
The pre-orders have been going exceptionally well. It's the fastest selling pre-ordered game in EA's history, Ray Muzyka, a senior vice president of EA and co-founder of its BioWare label, told Reuters.
SWTOR is bucking the trend of MMO's going free and charging $15 on a per month basis, dropping to about $13 a month is users subscribe for six months.
But those hoping to hop on the Millennium Falcon and challenge Luke to a game of holochess may be disappointed. The game takes place thousands of years before the movies take place. The game is set in the heyday of the Jedi Order (before it was wiped out), where the lightsaber-wielding do-gooders are battling their evil counter-parts, the Sith, for control of the galaxy.
Players get to choose to side with the Jedi or the Sith. Each side has four classes: the Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Knight and Jedi Consular classes are available for those who join the galactic republic. And the Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent and Sith Inquisitor will be working for the Sith Empire.
Each class will get a variety of skills sets to level through and specializations trees to make the classes even more unique. A smuggler may become a gunslinger or a scoundrel whereas a Sith Inquisitor may turn into a sorcerer or assassin.
Players will also be able to own their own star ships to ferry themselves around the Star Wars Universe and serve as their base of operation. One of the more innovative concepts being developed in SWTOR is the companion system. Players can travel with over 40 different companions to help them in battle, craft items or even fall in love with. The game features an affection system to deepen the players' emotional connection to their allies and every companion has a well-developed personalities.
Whether SWTOR can seize the MMO throne from Blizzard is yet to be seen. WOW was released in 2004 and is starting to show its age. But Blizzard has done plenty of work to keep its game relevant with expansions, tweaks to the level grinding to make it less tedious and making so players can now play to level 20 for free.
However, SWTOR has plenty of momentum as EA reports the company sold more than 200,000 preorders last week. Nonetheless, Star Wars MMO's isn't an entirely new concept since Star Wars Galaxies was launched in 2003. The game hasn't enjoyed much critical or commercial success and will be such down Dec. 15, five days before SWTOR opens its servers.
If you strike down one Star Wars MMO, it will become more powerful than you could imagine.