Star Wars: The Old Republic — the story behind a galactic gamble

Jan. 20, 2012 | 5:32 a.m.
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A warrior in a scene from Star Wars: The Old Republic. (LucasArts / BioWare / Electronic Arts)

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A gunslinging smuggler in a scene from Star Wars: The Old Republic. (LucasArts / BioWare / Electronic Arts)

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A space combat scene from Star Wars: The Old Republic. (LucasArts / BioWare / Electronic Arts)

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A Jedi in a scene from Star Wars: The Old Republic. (LucasArts / BioWare / Electronic Arts)

It may be the largest entertainment production in history. More than 800 people on four continents have spent six years and nearly $200 million creating it. The story runs 1,600 hours, with hundreds of additional hours still being written. Nearly 1,000 actors have recorded dialogue for 4,000 characters in three languages.

The narrative is so huge that writers created a 1,000-page “bible” to keep the details straight, and the director recently asked a colleague not to spoil moments he hadn’t yet seen.

It’s not a movie or a TV series. It’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, the most expensive, ambitious and riskiest video game ever produced.

Created out of a 60,000-square-foot converted warehouse next to a cooking school on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, the Old Republic is proof that while box-office, network TV ratings and music sales are slumping, games are holding their own, thanks to steady growth from online games. Revenue from games played online last year topped $7 billion, up from $6.5 billion in 2010, according to Parks & Assoc.

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Did the prequels change cinema?

Even among its interactive peers, the Old Republic is touted as a great leap forward. Much as the first “Star Wars” movie in 1977 changed film history, its makers hope to create a new gold standard for gaming.

“We want to do to other video games what talkies did to silent films,” said Rich Vogel, co-director of the studio leading the game’s production.

To recoup its massive investment, the Old Republic’s publisher, Electronic Arts Inc., will have to snag more than 1 million customers willing to spend $60 to buy the game and an additional $15 a month to play for years on end. The game, released in late December, already has more than a million registered users, but many could leave after a free 30-day trial.

“The real test is whether they can retain subscribers in the long run,” said analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen & Co.

At the Austin home office of game developer BioWare, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, more than 400 designers, programmers, writers and artists have immersed themselves in the imagined Star Wars universe, surrounded by maps of the ice planet Hoth, armor designs for bounty hunters and even a five-day weather forecast for Princess Leia’s home world of Alderaan.

Art has been outsourced to Russia, Estonia and China. Motion capture filming is done in L.A. and Vancouver, Canada, with voices recorded in New York, London and Paris in English, French and German. Quality assurance testing takes place in Romania, Argentina and India, while technical operations are run out of Virginia and the customer service center operates in Ireland. A regular plane shuttles employees between Austin and Electronic Arts’ headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif.

“Coordinating it all is like teaching elephants to do ballet,” said Greg Zeschuk, who co-founded BioWare with Ray Muzyka.

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Spotlight on Irvin Kershner

The Old Republic’s builders are trying to fundamentally change the online gaming experience. In most such games, players, alone or in groups, go on generic quests interspersed with narrative moments. But what players see and do in the Old Republic is shaped by the players’ own decisions. On one mission, an imperial agent in search of clues can flirt with a female character or threaten to kill her — and then do so, after she talks.

Those choices take place in the context of eight distinctive storylines inspired by movies and written for different character types whom players choose at the beginning of their adventure. Players who choose the smuggler will see hints of “Big Trouble in Little China,” for instance, while the trooper’s tale is loosely based on “Band of Brothers.”

“With each character class, you create and star in your own ‘Star Wars’ adventure,” said head writer Daniel Erickson, who with 16 scribes created every detail of the Old Republic’s galaxy down to details about Sith art, interstellar wedding protocol and the look of the elephant-like Bantha’s excrement. It’s all collected in a digital library, accessible available only to BioWare employees, called BioWiki.

And as with every online game, it allows players to join together on missions or engage in mortal combat against one another.

The idea for the game has its origins at a 2005 meeting between Vogel and BioWare’s Zeschuk and Muzyka, two Canadian physicians-turned-game developers. After attempts to adapt “Lord of the Rings,” “A Game of Thrones” and Marvel comic book super-heroes like such as Spider-Man, the team signed a co-publishing deal with “Star Wars” creator George Lucas.

The filmmaker, who declined to comment for this story, blessed the idea of setting the Old Republic in “Star Wars” pre-history and gave Muzyka and Zeschuk virtually free rein. His LucasArts’ staff stepped in only to soften content they found too risque, such as scenes involving sex slaves. To avoid contradicting established tales of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, the game takes place 3,000 years before the “Star Wars” films.

From a business perspective, potential rewards are huge: World of Warcraft, the most successful multiplayer online game to date, has generated more than $3 billion in profit over the last seven years.

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'Star Wars': A toy story?

“There’s no other opportunity to make money like this in the entertainment industry because people keep paying to play continuously,” said Bruce Hack, a former chief executive of World of Warcraft publisher Vivendi Games.

It’s also a great risk. In addition to the nearly $200 million spent to create the game, tens of millions of additional dollars per year will be required to keep it refreshed with new stories and adventures.

When the makers of the Old Republic began their work, subscribers were flocking to multiplayer online games. But that trend has reversed recently. Even the mighty World of Warcraft has lost nearly 2 million players over the last year as customers have embraced free online titles such as FarmVille and League of Legends.

In addition, although “Star Wars” is among the most popular and recognizable entertainment brands in history, characters and story lines familiar from the movies are not part of the game’s landscape, because its setting is so far in advance of the film narratives. There is no Han Solo or Chewbacca in sight.

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A gunslinging smuggler in a scene from Star Wars: The Old Republic. (LucasArts / BioWare / Electronic Arts)

Some who participated in pre-release testing last fall have already developed a devout passion for the Old Republic. Jeff Hollis and his wife, Deirdre, have matching “Star Wars” tattoos and help run, a fan site devoted to the game.

On a recent Sunday night, while their 3-year-old son slept nearby, the Burbank residents fell just short of their goal of capturing a Jedi ship when the beta test ended and the game went offline. “We both let out a cry,” Jeff recalled. “We had already become accustomed to having the game as a part of our lives.”

– Ben Fritz and Alex Pham

Reporting from Austin, Texas; and Los Angeles


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81 Responses to Star Wars: The Old Republic — the story behind a galactic gamble

  1. J Sokol says:

    Bioware has done an excellent job of bringing their highly immersive role-playing concepts into the world of Massively-Multiplayer gaming (MMO). As a former World of Warcraft player, and MMO junkie, I was burned on the genre, and gaming in general, until Star Wars: The Old Republic came out. This game is very well done for it's scope and should pay them back handsomely. Players are tired of the repetitive model that became inculcated into games like World of Warcraft. Bioware has raised the bar of what is acceptable. But increaed production costs will make it even more difficult to produce this type of game.

    • Geek Girl Diva says:

      Very true. I was a WoW player for years, but I'll never go back. The storytelling aspect and the immersion are so interesting and engaging.

      I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next.

    • Shiran says:

      You are an uncouth troll! This game is absolutely revolutionary and genre changing. It fully immerses you into your character and the World, putting player fully in charge of their destiny, as computer controlled character react to your decisions, quests are not mindless "click accept, do exactly what quest says, even if its a horrible genocidal act," instead your character has full unprecedented control on how to execute every quest with as much or as little of blood shed and diplomacy as you, and only you see fit. The planets are massive and full of explorable nooks and crannies, truly creating a sense of living, breathing Galaxy (far far away). While traveling between planets, you may also engage in massive space battles taking on hundreds fighters, obliterating capital ships and even humongous orbital stations, it is captivating and no game out there is even remotely close in the scope.

    • Gamer With a Life says:

      Despite the hardcore trolls downvoting J Sokol's comment, he's right on the money.

      Star Wars: The Old Republic was designed to be an impressive, immersive and replayable game with up to 8 fully voice acted, original different story lines. I've found myself enjoying the game quite a bit.

    • falrin89 says:

      By MMO Junkie I hope your suggesting you've played more than just WoW? Because it sounds like you have no idea what you are talking about. That or you're a BW/EA employee.

      That "repetitive model" you are talking about, is exactly what TOR is based on. Every MMO is, don't try to kid yourself.
      And as far as the amount of money bioware has put into this game it seems it was all spent on voice acting, because beyond that the game is littered with bugs and glitches.

  2. killian101 says:

    Aside from the horrendous space combat, recently broken PvP, the game is pretty solid

  3. Jamey says:

    BioWare and LucasArts have threaded the needle in providing a few new ideas to the MMO genre BUT also keeping the basics of what has worked well in the past. Because WoW is the triple-A standard for MMO's and has been for many years… you can't talk about SWTOR without comparing the two. There are certainly similarities to WoW, but with a few new features (including the immense voice overs and personal storyline)… SWTOR has bridged into a new era. It has revitalized what was starting to feel a little stale in MMO's lately. As with any release this large, it's not 100% polished. But it's one of the smoothest launches I have seen since I began with MMO's back in 1997. AND BioWare has jumped on fixing bugs and exploits faster than any MMO that has seen this much early success.

    • Ryan says:

      Jumped on fixing bugs and exploits? Really? They may claim they have in the patch notes, but many many many of the bugs still exist that have been 'fixed.'

  4. Ryan says:

    So what you are left with is trying to run through the area, not caring about the mobs or dying (death penalties are a joke, and often the timer is less than a quarter of the time it would have taken you to go through all those useless enemies) finishing the objective, stripping, getting yourself killed and going to the nearest medical station because it's just that much quicker.__I had a lot of fun with the game up until 50, but the latest patch and the horrible screwup that was Ilum (clearly not tested or even thought about) and the incredible imbalance in PvP (coupled with the inability to cast spells appropriately, because of failed cool-down and a horrible interface) caused me to cancel my account last night. Thankfully, unlike others who couldn't even see the cancel button, I was able to do it quickly.__Great single player game, not worth the monthly fee (yet). Good luck Bioware.

  5. N. Shah says:

    The game still has problems. A non-functional Looking for Group system, an obtuse Auction House, lack of high-resolution textures outside of cut-scenes, ability delay based on animations not actual cast time or global cooldown, and faction imbalances to name a few.

  6. James says:

    Anyone who is tired of WoW should not play this game. It's WoW from late Burning Crusade era, especially at the endgame. Except the combat isn't as responsive, the gear-token system is convoluted, the "flashpoint" dungeons are buggy and poorly tuned in hard-mode, and the PvP design ranges from uninspired (Warzones) to downright awful (Ilum).

    Anyone who is interested in playing KotOR 3 should wait until they have a week off, play through a class storyline or two, and wrap it up before the free month is over. The game IS fairly pleasant from 1-49, especially 1-25 or so (the level most reviewers got to), but worthwhile longterm or innovative it ain't.

  7. scottee says:

    agree, this game is going to fail pretty hard, those voice dialog, people can experience it within first month and not go back again, it is the MMO aspect that keep people spending month after month, and on this part, they did a horrible job, it is actually worse than starndard industry MMO's feature, with a lot of basic feature missing, and not to mention the countless amount of bugs. It would take Bioware at least half year to just to fix the bugs and bring it up to industry standard alone. Things are not looking good.

  8. Kinetic says:


    RobertC has declared its dead.

    And whose calling it that…

  9. Grifter says:

    Here's a quick suggestion for those that hate the game and end content……play the game without hitting the damned spacebar.

    I managed to get into a FP with a Bounty Hunter who had no idea whatsoever was the story up to like 30….in one breath he said 'the story sucks' and 'he skips everything related to it.'

    Before you torpedo the game, how about playing it like you are NOT in a race.

    • James says:

      This is a pretty common willful ignorance of the facts to discredit people who have complaints. I had some free time when the game released (It did launch the week before Christmas, after all), and since I had my hands on a new game, I played it a lot. Mostly in the afternoons and evenings with a steady group of 2-3 people. I never hit the spacebar. I did all but three of the flashpoints while leveling up, did my class quests, some space combat, some instanced PvP, and most of the planet quests (I didn't do the bonus series because the other things I was doing kept me ahead of the planets' leveling curves). I didn't race. The game can be completed in about 150 hours /played – respectable for a single player RPG, no doubt, but definitely on the lighter side for an MMO.

      Once there, the complaint isn't about a lack of endgame content. There's plenty. There's two planets with daily quests worth doing, a handful of operations, a dozen hard-mode flashpoints, and Ilum, the open PvP planet. The problem is almost every single one of those is hobbled by bad design and bugs. The grind is unrewarding and needlessly complicated, the encounters are poorly tuned and don't follow any logical difficulty progression (the "easiest" low level Flashpoint and the "last" level 50 Flashpoint are generally speaking the two easiest ones to complete in hard mode), and Ilum… well, the situation there was all over the gaming news yesterday.

  10. Javis says:

    For some MMORPG players nothing will suffice, there isnt a game that will meet their expectations. So rather than commenting on what the game actually provides, they comment on how it comes up short. If not for the things that a game does how else were they supposed to create it. I think people like Ryan are just bored with the genre.

    The game has its shortcomings but it is fun, immersive, competitive if you allow it. The storylines are witty, hilarious at times and the choices make for some entertaining dialogue.

    The progression is linear but if you have friends and guildmates, groups and missions can be extremely fun — I know I have had a blast the first 45 days or so and I am subbed monthly to continue this ride.


  11. thetruth says:

    First of all some of the story is wrong. Bioware has mislead the story line hours greatly. There are only 200 hours of story per class. There are 8 classes. Thats where they get the 1600 hours. Most of those hours are mindless rinse and repeat missions that has been worn out for the last 5 years of mmo's that have either went belly up or have went free to play. Your real story in the game is only about 20 hours. BW has a huge problem with credibility mainly because of the horrid 1.1 patch that came out 48 hours ago. This patch made a mess of an already terrible pvp system, graphics have been haywire, and lost items plague the game. This game is on a rail, no open pvp other than far few and in between pvp or contested zones, no cross faction chat, and is about the most restrictive play game in history. They have gone out of their way to make sure that carebears will be the only ones who will enjoy this game. There is nothing new in this game that hasnt been hashed around in other games for years. Space combat is nothing more than a bad Firefox copy. With all of these problems Electronic Arts which bioware is now part of stock dropped due to lack of expected sales. Another problem is when you read between the lines as far as actual players in the game most servers are barren already. Bioware touts that they have sold over a million copies but after the horrid pvp patch they actually hid the cancel button and claimed it was a technical error. There is a famous line in the first released Star Wars that went, "move along, there's nothing to see here." That kind of sums this game up nicely. This game will be free to play within a year. This is from a long term beta tester and within 24 hours a soon to be an X SWTOR player.

  12. Ryan says:

    Players are tired of the repetitive model of World of Warcraft? Yeah, maybe, but SW:TOR Did nothing to 'improve' on this model. This game is even more repetitive than WoW, with it's cut and paste groups of 3-5 mobs, easily taken down with AoE spells, the same long halls and corridors with the same boring mobs that grant you no incentive to kill them at level 50, even with the bonus quests. "Hey kill 40 of these guys while on your way to an objective" helps out when you aren't max level, but when you are, it gives you miniscule LEGACY EXPERIENCE which no one even knows what it does.

    • Kyle says:

      *Gives Ryan a standing ovation!* AGREED Ryan! I am one of the planet's biggest Star Wars fans, but also one the planet's biggest dislikers of WoW. I have tried to play WoW on several occasions, and have never been able to get past level 5 do to sheer boredom.

      My expectations for SW:TOR were so high, I forced myself to pretend I wasn't playing WoW with a Star Wars skin. But after my first grueling experience, leveling a Jedi character to 50, I just couldn't take it any more. I lasted 2 weeks after the free 30-day trial, then canceled.

      I honestly can't fathom why Bioware would choose such a repetitive and absolutely boring model to make the "MMO of the decade with." But they did, and I personally found your analyisis of SW:TOR to be right on the money!


  13. Gamer With a Life says:

    The game is not dead.

    No one is referring to it as "the greatest fiasco in MMORPG history" except the 5% of loser WoW raiders that need something to sink 18 hours of their day into.

    In fact, the game is thriving and most of the people who have tried it find it to be enjoyable.

    Get yourself a life there, little buddy.

  14. Andrew says:

    This game is dieing everyday. Six years of work includes:
    no mod support
    no UI customization
    no cooldown timers
    no endgame
    no high quality textures (disabled due to terrible engine that was purchased)
    level 50 takes 3 days

    What did Bioware do with 6 years?

  15. Scott says:

    So… was this bought and paid for by EA? Because there have been about 67 comments refuting this ridiculous article, where subscriptions have dropped over 50% in the last week, sales have dropped from 10 to 38, and patch 1.1 ruined the game.

    • Torvak says:

      Oh, the internet rage is always amusing, especially when those raging twist facts to suit them or straight up fabricate numbers to try to make a point.

      You say:

      1. Subscriptions have dropped by 50% in the last week, yet there is no way for you to have this information. This number is a fabrication.
      2. Sales have dropped from 10 to 38, yet you fail to mention that sales numbers for MMOs consistently take a dip post-launch. Using the number as a metric for failure is therefore another false flag. It can, however, accurately reflect the huge spike of initial unit sales which in the case of this MMO were higher than usual.
      3. Patch 1.1 ruined the game, which is a completely subjective comment bordering on the hysterical.

      The Old Republic isn't perfect, but if you're going to scream about it on the internet try not to fail so much at it.

    • Mike says:

      Subscriptions have dropped by 50% have they, well that’d be worrying if you could actually back up that figure with a reliable source.

      Sales dropped after the holiday buying and launch surge? Bet that’s never happened with a game before…

      • Mord says:

        Torvak @ Mike:

        A 5 second google search shows Scott to be telling the truth.

        This is as official as it gets, the game is bleeding subscribers. And yeah, MMO sales take a "dip" after launch, but they don't submerge the way TOR does (dropping almost -80% sales in the second week according to VGChartz).

        As for patch 1.1 ruining the game… well, i'll let you decide.

        Actually, don't decide. Just watch:

        This "game" is dead in the water. There is no recovery from this disaster, and its showing in EA's stock portfolio. You can't downvote the truth.

      • Lex says:

        EA stocks were and still are overvalued. The stocks are 5x expensive than it should be. Currently, EA stocks are just making a correction and reaching its true value.

  16. Scott says:

    Unfortunately, in the rush to be innovative with all the expensive voice acting, they completely left out features that have become standards in the MMORPG industry in the last decade.

    Missing are any kind of UI customization, an Auction House (the game only has a trade network, buy only, no auctions, speech bubbles, Guild banks, LFG tools, realm forums and many more.

    The combat is extremely sluggish and unresponsive. The high-rez textures along with AA that was available in Beta testing have been removed from the game. The ads for the game still show the high resolution textures, but once you actually buy the game they are not available.

    This game may have possibly been a contender 7 years ago when World of Warcraft came out, but today it seems dated and has many bugs and an extremely limited amount of features other than the voice acting.

    Many people do not even classify the game as an MMORPG because of the difficulty of communicating with other players and the fact that it is really a solo adventure game with a few MMORPG elements added in to justify the monthly subscription.

    I was not impressed with this game after the initial novelty of the voice acting wore off.

  17. Gamer With a Life says:

    And you're already being called the most inbred forum troll in MMORPG history.

    Look, I can lie too!!

  18. Jay says:

    Interesting that QA was outsourced. There are game breaking bugs circulating in the community, bugs that the average gamer has no problem finding. Perhaps if they'd focused more on getting people with gaming backgrounds and QA experience, it wouldn't be such a fiasco.

  19. Gamer says:

    There are 3 parts to any major mmo: End Game, Mechanics, Leveling up. The end game is non existent and contains a convoluted reward system. The mechanics in this game were top of the line 7 years ago when this project entered it's initial development cycle (games since have made dramatic improvements). The only thing this game does well is tell an epic story line–however, this historically has never been enough to satiate a population of players for long.

    A quote on Linear Story in MMO's:
    "The advantages tend to flow from the effort to build epic stories for players to be a part of…The disadvantages have been well-covered: If you're isolated into a personal story too much, you lose the sense of being in an open world that is filled with alternative potential adventures. It's more difficult to hop around and partake of the glories of several different zones at the same time, and harder to join up with friends whenever you like. Group quests become less-desirable." -Kaivex, Blizzard

    In the end, this game feels like a massively "single" player game. And should have never ventured into MMO territory.

    • PatrickJean says:

      Wow well put.
      I have enjoyed this game for about 1 month and got tired of it. It would be one of the best single player games out there, but not going to make it in the MMO world. They spent a lot of their resources on story line and graphics but neglected the main things that makes or breaks a great MMO which are Fighting mechanics and End game. They have a few nice visual effects when you fight (Most of them better then wow) but the coold down system and the fact that you cannot create macros make it not so much enjoyable. This game gets and A for story telling just like Metal gear Solid but made a major faux pas, it thought it could replace World of Warcraft. At the end, it served 2 purpose: 1 Give Blizzard a little wake up call and maybe they will focus more on a better story line for wow.
      2. Give wow players a little break from wow which will make it really enjoyable for them when they all return in about a month.

  20. Guest says:

    Don't believe the hypemachine. SWTOR cost a lot of money, but most of that money was spent on marketing and voice acting. The content this game has is quite shallow, with mini-main story arcs littered about strings of fetch-quest chains.

    The writing is Saturday-cartoon standard, a direct drop in quality from other BW/EA games.
    The combat is traditional World of Warcraft fair, minus the autoattack button. And plus 0.5 sec ability delay (which is more gamebreaking than it seems).
    The classes are poorly balanced and direct copies of existing world of warcraft classes. Spells are copied down to the T, examine many of the Sith Inquisitor spells and then compare them to WoW's shaman. They both have lightning-based spells that deal relatively/proportionally the same damage, cost similar "mana" and are on similar cooldowns. Some abilities don't even make sense in the Star Wars universe, with lightsabers inflicting "bleed" effects.
    KOTOR fans will be disappointed, the great stories of KOTORI and II are stomped on by George Lucas. Kreia and Revan are cast out of the limelight – it really doesn't make sense for any previous KOTOR fan to like this game, the way they treated the prequels like trash.
    Finally, BioWare's customer service is atrocious. They have outsourced it to Indian call centers and bots. Nothing against Indians, but EA has failed to train them properly. Many barely speak English. BioWare has been practicing deceitful methods, delaying patches until the end of the month (to garner more subscriptions), hiding unsubscribing methods, giving players the runaround, banning players illegitimately et cetera

    Do yourself a favor and try this game out before purchasing it. I know that's not an easy task, but watch a stream or a youtube video before you jump on the bandwagon. It really isn't worth the money.

  21. Jedi Master Patience says:

    Some of these posts are really unbelievable. There is more hate here than the entirety of the Sith Empire.

    Modern gamers as a whole have become a selfish, self-centered, entitled lot of spoiled children who think their whims, demands and needs must be met on a constant and immediate basis in order for any game – TOR or otherwise – to even remotely succeed. Their attention span lasts as long as a gnat's sneeze and their loyalty to any gaming ip or brand is about as flimsy as their arguments.

    I am glad to hear some of the more positive comments that focus on fun, community and the overall aspect that this is A GAME!!!

    Relax people, play for fun, for the recreation of it. Let the game develop and if you don't like it – leave and quit with some dignity; and not by leaving behind TROLL claw marks as a means to find your way back once everything is fixed and the rest of us are having an even better time.

    • Mikemo says:

      It's hard to have fun when the game is horribly broken. But hey, you're having fun and everyone else should be just like you. No one else is allowed to have an opinion or they are a troll right? Enjoy that "Founder" title, at least I have a new 150 dollar monitor stand.

    • Darth Ender says:

      Of course we are spoiled. We pay for the game. Its a MMO. It is supposed to be tailored to please a large amount of people. And most of them fail. Ive been playing games for 30 years and I love the MMO genre for the last 8 years. So far nothing beats EVE Onlne and WoW for me.

      Cant speak for others. Nor for Swtor which I will not play as I am from Romania and EA decided to humiliate us by not including us in Europe and not making possible for us to subscribe through Origin. I do not care for March release. EA must learn to respect its players.

      What we hate is the constant propaganda and desperation we are fed by publishers that drem to make billions from us by offering mediocrity. They should stop paying studies about what we want as gamers and start putting some passion back…

    • disappointed gamer says:

      stfu – this game is a total piece of garbage pure and simple.

  22. MakVolci says:

    By who, you?
    I've never heard that anyone in game (I have over 150 hours) or on the forums which I browse everyday.

  23. warren says:

    Lots of WOW fannboys in this thread, QQ some more.

  24. RollyPollyDwarfHeads says:

    I played WoW for many years on and off from the first day on, until recently. I created the largest guild in the history of Stormreaver (500+ toons and 200ish unique players) last I checked. We had 2 separate MC runs to accommodate how many people we had end game. I also played Everquest and Asheron's Call.

    So far my experience with this game is that it blows WoW out of the water – it took the best and left out the more unpleasant aspects.

    I am not yet to end game due to the hours and responsibilities I have at work. I also spend a great deal of time on social activities. However, I think people need to remember how little end game content existed in WoW when it was released and how broken the PvP could be at times.

    I am sure many of these opinions state valid facts, I may well end up agreeing with some(or all). But if we compare WoW soon after release to TOR now, the games are not even comparable. Remember the hours long queues to get into your server to play with friends and guildies? This lasted for MONTHS. Remember the countless times this class was OP or broken, or PvP was broken?

    These comments are not taking into account all the flaws and failures of WoW. It's like people remember only the best of WoW and none of the major flaws. Blizzard fixed the problems, Bioware will too.

    Don't let these negative comments dissuade anyone from purchasing this game. This is the best MMO I have ever played at launch by leaps and bounds. It's by far the most immersive and engrossing MMORPG to date.

    • scott says:

      That's like saying a smartphone that just came out and is missing GPS, has a poorly working app store, and is largely responsive is worthwhile since it just came out versus a phone that has been out a while and has all the bells and whistles. No one is playing WoW of four years ago and TOR isn't competing against the wow of four years ago.

    • borris says:

      An intelligent comment with an actual point and no bias opinion, nicely done

    • oomu says:

      swtor is not against wow of 7 (or even 4) years ago.

      it is against the wow of _now_

  25. Zen says:

    The game has very good PVE up there with other mmo’s I have played over 20 years.. The pvp needs work.. A lot of work which Mythic is the source of the pvp development team. In my opinion bio needs to fire them and get a new team in. But I will give it more time on the pvp end and see if it all gets fixed.. If not I will not hate on bioware after all never winter nights was a genius of a game in its time and bioware will come through I hope!

  26. ERIC SACLES says:

    EXCUSR ME MR.LUCAS WHAT HAPPEN TO THE OTHER MOVIES NEEDLE IN THE MINDS EYE AND THE OLD REPUBLIC MOVIE AND SO FORTH WHAT Happen you cant do this leaveing and making people wanting more.It's not fair at all.Give us one more star war saga From greatest flim maker ever

  27. Razgul says:

    I do want better textures, I have a high end gaming pc, I can handle the load on this computer and then some. That said the game still looks great and at times beautiful. They do need to improve the speed of the cast, take ques from DC Universe online, that game was great looking and furious pvp action. The problem was the content, DCU lacked content, thinking that adding a little every month was going to be sufficient but it was not. That game is F2play now, I think one day SWTOR may head there but not nearly as quick as DCU did, there is still plenty they can do to SWTOR to improve the game. To me the game can only get better, graphically, mechanically, the game has promise. I already bought a 6 month sub, not going anyway, I want to see what this game can produce for the future.

  28. qwert says:

    Do you have a source on that budget? I've heard so many different numbers without anything to back it up so I kind hope to be able to put this to rest.

  29. Rocko says:

    This game is amazing! All the hate is from a very vocal minority of console and WoW fanboys.

    • Hexias says:

      The buyer's remorse is strong with this one.

      Amazing how suddenly everything becomes a "vocal minority" when you disagree with it. I suppose the tens of thousands of posts on the official forums reporting bugs and claiming to quit are from a "vocal minority" too… that's why most servers are practically dead now where you're lucky to see 30 people online.

      I guess in the end the only true minority will be… you.

      Oh, and to stay on-topic: Where is the source for the "$200 million" quote? Because now suddenly all the major gaming blogs are running with it and linking back to here, however nowhere in this article does it state where that number came from. I would have expected better from the LA Times but I guess even you aren't out of the clutches of EA's bankroll.

      • gibbons says:

        30 people? really? Funny last night there were over 200 people just on the fleet when I logged in. You just proved his point about the wow fanboy minority who make comments without actually knowing what they are talking about.

  30. Robert says:

    I played Star Wars: Galaxies. I miss the sandbox nature of it (property, player established cities w/elected officials, rules, etc) and the in-depth crafting system, but other than that I think the game is quite fun. If you're looking for a fun game and you love Star Wars, it's a no brainer.

    Some of us have jobs/lives that prevent us from getting to level 50 in 3 days (one commenter said that's how long it takes).

    The story is immersive, fun, and engrossing. I think the avalanche of negative comments comes from kids that stay locked in their room with a mountain dew IV drip, bed pan, and an intimate knowledge of their favorite pizza delivery person's weekly schedule.

  31. Jared says:

    Yeah StarWoW is a shameless copy of WoW. EVE Online is one of the few mmos that can claim to be truly original and not a WoW clone, because it was developed before WoW was released. If you want an MMO that's not a WoW clone, give EVE Online a try.

    • Scott says:

      Some of the comments in here are comming from people that lack perspective and likely wisdom ie punks. My cadillac has four wheels and a steering wheel, therefore its a copy of the Toyota Prius (oh and yea geniuses, electric cars perpetuate the use of the largely COAL BASED energy infrastructure in this country). Therefore all cars are copies of each other… they all get you from one place to another so they are all the same. Differences are in the nuances, styling, amenities, etc. There is a most efficient way of doing most things… WOW has been in development its entire life of 6-7 years, do you honestly think they have not found the best way to do almost everything an MMO needs to do? So the line is VERY FINE and the differences don't even have the POTENTIAL to be shocking… just like all cars have a steering wheel and 4 wheels… its the best way to do it. A change to something different is not always good and is sometimes horrific, look no further than Obama.

  32. James says:

    A lota hate on this thing….I think its a great game with some flaws but ones that bioware can "easily" fix. Its a pitty you have to wade through the WOW fanboys to get to a genuine comment. And for everybody expecting them to have every little system and UI feature in right now needs to get a grip of themselves.lvl50 takes alot longer than 3 days if you HAVE a life…I also agree with Jared that EVE online is probs the most original MMO ive ever played but its not something that the crater faced virgins on here will get. peace \.//

    • JoseyQ says:

      I think the problem with the wow kiddies.. ( Played WoW for years… since vanilla actually. Is they may be afraid that given time BioWare ( maybe one of the top developers of singleplayer, Multi-player, and console RPG's) may transfer all that knowledge into a Kick-ass MMO. Then all their friends might leave Azeroth, and come play here. What then of WoW when everyone leaves?

      The do have a few points, even a broken clock is right twice a day. But the utter hate with which they talk about " wow has this…swtor gas crap.." betrays what may be a fear. A fear that given time… SW:TOR may be that WoW killer. It has a long way to go before it can be that ..but we need to remember.. wow was very pretty at launch. AND had MORE flaws at launch than ToR had.

      WoW kiddies, just go back to WoW enjoy it while it lasts, once BioWare gets all the pieces on the board where they need to be, your population will become our population, and your world will be laid waste and barren… Then you will….

      " Come …to the Darkside…. we have Chocolate Cgip cookies."

  33. Matt says:

    Its funny how people say starwars copied wow with some of the powers that are similar when Return of Jedi had force lightning in it back in 1983. The force is an evolving thing from what we've seen in the original movies to when the prequels came out to when kotor 1 and 2 came out. Never played wow have no ambition. I bought old republic and I can't wait to play when I have time. It sounds like a lot of people complaining aren't Starwars fans just mmo'ers with no lives so the bought it can't wait to rip on it. I personally feel die hard Starwar fans are playing it despite the issues they will keep playing until they can be corrected.

  34. Rimmon says:

    Not sure what games people are judging this one against and claiming it to be sub par to industry average, but after playing both WoW, Rift, and Warhammer, and being at launch at all 3 of those titles, I can say, completely honestly, that this game had the best launch of the 3 in terms of both quality and polish. By far.

  35. Oli says:

    Guild Wars 2 will be so much better than this – pushing the MMO genre to a new level, rather than the mindless skill-less grind of last generation games such as this and WoW, what a waste of 200 million dollars.

  36. Reporter/Gamer says:

    "Even the mighty World of Warcraft has lost nearly 2 million players over the last year as customers have embraced free online titles such as FarmVille and League of Legends."

    Ugh, lack of research on this comment. FarmVille and Leagur of Legends are not true MMOs. That meaning that a session of those games can last as little as 1 hour. Most players of those games, that are hard-core gamers, will play an additional game.

    Here is a bet: Poll those 2 million lost subscribers and ask them if they primarily play FarmVille and LOL. I bet you aren't going to get the answer the above comment suggests.

    Point is that it would have been better to note the lost subscribers to a true challenger to WOW, such as…wait lemme think…oh ya SWTOR, which the article is about.

  37. rusu mihai says:

    1.SWOTOR main strength(i will be back on this) seems to be pve

    2.pvp is a mess atm

    3. all other things that are more or less

    related to those 2 points for me are LESS important

    4. faction imbalance

    i don’t wanna comment point 2, pvp is a MESS now. nothing to add.point 3 gets all the extra stuff peeps complain about, from delay to fall in texture, getting opposing faction drops witch u cant sell to them,imbalanced items ,drops whatever,etc.

    point 1, eeee,,, actually seems a strong point, however it is NOT. u have a few line story quests for each class(distinct quests) i think less then 3%(is my number, i took taris ,alderaan,voss and tatooine as examples to count, and i did count heroics quest-daily repeatable- 1 time, if u think i should not have count them, raise that figure around 12

    ) are class specific, that means is i re-roll another class i will remake the whole 97 % of the quests.

    I cant make that 3 rd time, i cant. sorry.I cant listen 3rd time to the dialog.The magic space bar help second time a lot, however 3 rd time, uhm ..

    it is actually less re-playable as it seems.

    Add the fact that population is spread on lots of worlds and server cap is v low, some programming design i guess.. there are servers where u cant get teams to so the team needed quests.

    I m not telling other mmo s are more re-playable, don t care, im telling that this 1 is not either.

    Add the fact pvp is a bit weird and u are left with no content other than looking at ships leaving in ports and grinding flashpoints after hitting 50.

    Point 4.

    For those in game already i can offer my deepest simpaty.

    For new players is a game of chance, as u cant see from ur game client servers statistics, u can roll on a badly imbalanced server on underdog faction and u get a bad experience.

    I don’t talk this from forum experience, i have a 50 sage, 49 vanguard and a 13 gunslinger.

    The play 1-30 is SUPERB,30-49 is so -so, 50 lv simply is not for me .

    PVP side, 1-49 is so-so, can be quite fun on faction balanced servers( i read on forums, never did have the honor to experience it) even after 49.

    I guess more pvp option would not hurt to be added,3 warzones and 1 open world only is all we got.

    Game is not badly broken, just atm i have little hope and reason to play it more.

    IF and WHEN they will add more type of content i will resubscribe ,if i will consider that would be have enough to keep me busy at least a month, 1 dungeon will not do.

    Paper is fine, Nerf rock,regards Scissors.

  38. bilbo baggns says:

    i think what people are forgetting is that the game has ben out for a month and that MMO's evolve all the time, i myself love the game, just like i did WoW, and sure some things are a bit rough but they are still fixin things every day.

  39. Gaius Baltar says:

    Let me just state before hand that I do not even own a console, for sure not a WoW fanboy (played for 4 months and left), and not a kid who sits infront of the PC playing games all day (34 year old professional working full time in Data Management). I first started following this game in 2009 and have been a regular on the forums since then. I followed all of the dev trackers and pre-launch information. I truly expected more from SWTOR. The thing that really ruined the game for me is that there is NOTHING out there if you wander a minute or so off of the roads and paths. I liked how in WoW you could wander off for hours and explore zones and find secret quests, hidden areas and random world bosses just wandering around. SWTOR has nothing other than an occasional mod out there and if you walk too far you hit an Exhaustion Zone forcing you to go back. In other MMOs you can pick up books on bookshelves and read them or mouse over signs and statues to see what they say, but SWTOR has almost no interactivity with the environment whatsoever. Yes, the storyline was good but quests got boring really quick. The lack of UI customization was minor for me but still didn't help.

    I truly hoped for more when I bought this game. I played from the first minute of early access but I made the decision to cancel my subscription at the end of the free month…the game in its current state simply does not justify $15 per month over the $80 I already spent to buy it. Maybe in a year or 2 when the game evolves, if it is still around, but not now.

  40. DDM's Realm says:

    Nice review and the info provided is truly staggering. The epicness of this game shows in the massive amounts of polish that are already in it. From everything being voice acted to the detail of even the simple quests. The way the stories weave in and out of each other shows the attention to detail. It's nice to play through different stories from different angles and makes the different classes worth playing. has some good reviews as well as some great guides to get you going. I would suggest that if you are a gamer, you give this one a go. It's tons of fun! A great game for sure!

  41. guitarjock says:

    There may be a lot of WOW fanboys commenting, however, their concerns come from the core of MMORPG players and they should be taken seriously. I am amazed at the lack of attention the SWTOR team gave to the successes of many MMORPG's before them. It's almost as if they have no actual "game players" on the payroll….I think this is a pretty big mistake.

    I feel that the SWTOR team has left out many key elements in making the best MMORPG to date. Many of those shortcomings have already been mentioned above. If I were so lucky to have been on a development team for this game, I would have fought for a more open game play…..similar to the way Star Wars Galaxies. To me, it just doesn't make since to be in this great galactic "world" and be "confined" to one planet at a time as you level-up throughout the game.

    I also would have implemented mounts….not just speeders….from the start. I would have implemented, or at least planned on implementing a more meaningful crafting system and enabled players to craft items that people actually wanted.

    I would have absolutely implemented player cities…similar to the way Star Wars Galaxies did. There were a ridiculous number of continually subscribing players that played SWG only to be the mayor of a player city. Bottom line….that meant extra money to the SWG team. Seems like a miss for SWTOR if you ask me.

    These are just a few of the 'key" items the SWTOR team has seemed to either have missed or not developed well. DESPITE this….SWTOR is a really good game, and if you are a fan of the STAR WARS universe….you would be remiss not to purchase this game and at least try it for a few months. I am a subscriber….but I am also a sucker for the Star Wars Universe created by Lucas. I am holding on and seriously hoping that SWTOR works hard on hitting some of these key elements by actually paying attention to what made previous games, like especially WOW, successful. It would also be a mistake to ignore the few successes that SWG had before its surmise. Here's to HOPE, and at least enjoying the successes the SWTOR team HAS accomplished…..A great looking game that is a bit more focused on single player game play, with the best developed story lines in an MMO and astounding voice acting! I say, at least experience what they HAVE achieved and give them a chance to deliver the rest as the game develops!

  42. guitarjock says:

    I forgot to mention that one thing that the SWTOR team can do to at least keep them viable as the game stands (as the greatest MSPO-Multi-Single-player On-Line game) is that they can add episodic story-line quests on a monthly, bi-monthly, or maybe even quarterly schedule in order to keep players coming back. That's just a suggestion, but one that I think will make it more likely for longevity.

  43. aaa says:

    I would say the galactic gamble is going to fail galactily.

  44. GamerGeek says:

    PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: If you are a lover of PvE, then you will like this game. If you LOVE PvP…DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND OR MONEY! Enough said…

  45. insane00 says:

    EA is based in Redwood City, not Redwood Shores.

    I mean LA is in California, and all you need it google to find this fact.

  46. Stan says:

    SWTOR is dying at this point. It's a really terrific game levels 1-49. But many players complain that it is severely lacking when it comes to the so-called "endgame" — the part that keeps players subscribing to massively multiplayer online games.

    Bioware, in the tradition of KOTOR and Mass Effect, has created a great single-player game in SWTOR. It's just not a great (or even sustainable) massively multiplayer online game at this point.

  47. Chris says:

    I love this game with a passion. I have no idea why people are complaining and I don't understand the complaints at all. The game makes the leveling process fun, playing with other people makes it even more fun, and the dialog roll system can be hilarious to do with your friends. I've having a blast playing so far and I have friends joining it now that they know the game isn't another Warhammer and actually lives up to the hype. But hey complain away because it's not WoW…

    • Jeff says:

      I followed this game for years. Pre-ordered on the first day it was available. Took part in two of the Beta Weekend events. Started playing on December 13th through Early-Access. And canceled my account in early March. It is a good game but what really killed it for me is that whenever I get bored I roll an alt and try something different. TOR is such a linear and short game that that isn't really that viable an option. By my fourth or fifth time through Balmorra and Tarsis, I was downright abusing my space bar to speed through dialog that had long since lost its appeal. While ten percent of the content is class based, the other ninety percent is identical and TOR's "one planet one path" design gets old fast. TOR was just too short and too linear to keep me playing… And if I'm not playing, I see no reason to keep paying.

  48. Joshua says:

    WoW was way worse at the very begininng, I was there and I know, but no one will admit it. The difference here is that EA is updating constantly. YOu didnt see Wow doing this at the begininng. You guys are short to remeber the failures that WoW had. WoW has had a long time to perfect its technique. Not only that, they have much time to listen to their subscribers. Swtor has had many many more fixes, than WoW did in its begininng. For that fact I know that this game will be successful. On the other hand if EA stops listening to its subscribers, then thats when I would start getting worried about a horrible game, or more importantly, when I start deciding to quit playing. But for now, I know the changes and problems the game has. For you inexpierenced gamers, let things develop. After all the game is 5 months old or so.

  49. Casino_Queen says:

    Since the video game industry has official surpassed the movie industry, the production values for video games has also skyrocketed. It is crazy how much game studios are paying to develop a game. In this case, this game has a high chance of being successful because it deal with the Star Wars universe. I am sure there are legions of fans just waiting to play the game.

  50. Kairos Antilles says:

    Come to New Eden and blow up internet spaceships if you wish cast off the chains of constraint imposed by theme park MMO worlds. EVE Online is where the action is at… Immortality awaits, pilot…

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  52. Shannon says:

    I love this game!!! I'm not a WoW fan boy, never played at all! I played Guild Wars and loved it but nothing has ever given me the experience I've gotten from TOR. I've made friends, in place formerly on seen on TV or read about in books and I'm apart of it. I'm in it to win it, I cant wait to see where it goes!

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