You May Recognize SWTOR’s Newest Companion

By Nathan Grayson on July 17th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

DUN DUN DUN dundundun dundundun DUN DUN DUN dundundun dundundun.

And it’ll be terribly awkward for you, because it’s not who you think it is. You’ll be like, “Hey, HK-47, how’s it going?” And HK-51 will be like… well, I don’t know what he’ll be like, because he’s a new character. He and his exceedingly murderous brethren are, however, something of a throwback to cut content from KOTOR 2, so you might not end up totally out of your depth. For now, though, BioWare’s prepared a lavish CG trailer, because – and I guess this should’ve been the headline for the story – gameplay doesn’t exist anymore. It disappeared forever while you were asleep. Games are now cobbled together from CG, live-action footage, and meticulously photoshopped still images. You can’t actually play them, but you can hit the pause button whenever you want, which offers a truly unprecedented level of choice in how you approach every situation.

But where have these droids been since The Old Republic was – in the grand scheme of things – negligibly younger? It seems, after all, like a band of robots perfectly calibrated for assassination and dark humor would make a little noise during, you know, a war.

“Buried deep beneath the icy surface of Belsavis rests an army of the deadliest, most feared machines in the known galaxy. Thought to have been lost when an Imperial freighter was destroyed, they have recently been rediscovered by a group of renegade Sith Lords. Now both the Sith Empire and Galactic Republic seek to control these dangerous weapons for themselves. Those who are brave enough to venture into the wreckage will emerge with a powerful new ally.”

So that sounds like fun. SWTOR’s picked up a pretty bad rap in recent months, but it does seem like BioWare’s been tremendously active in supporting it. Are any of you still actively playing it? Are people unfairly counting it out?

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95 Comments »

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  1. NightShift says:

    The obligatory face comment.

    DroidFACE.

    On topic, what do companions actually do in KOTOR?

    EDIT: As for the alt text…Terminator?

    Edit 2: Poor Bioware and Dice, I wish they would just break off from their publisher(who shall not be named) and become independent like Splash Damage.

    • Belsameth says:

      Almost anythging a player does, basically.
      Heal/tank/dps bot.

      • Phantoon says:

        No way they give the real player experience. I hear some of them bug up and act like total noobs, but at no time do they blame YOU for it.

        That’s what their customer support is for *ba dum tsch*

        • Belsameth says:

          Obviously they don’t have the AI that can replicate complex human behaviour, to you can take full controll over them and do it yourself :)

          • ynasvdvs says:

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        • trivianinja says:

          There were a few really annoying bugs on some companions at launch, but they got worked out months ago.

          Basically, most companions have two modes. Say, tank or dps, or heals or DPS.

          Everyone gets 6, with a variety of races and roles. Everyone gets a couple of tanky companions, a ranged DPSer and a melee one, and a healer, and everyone gets a C3PO-esque protocol droid.

          Much like earlier bioware games, they’ve all got backstory and a side mission or two.

          Lastly, and most importantly, you can send out any companion you’re not using at the moment to do tradeskill stuff (gather materials or craft things) or to sell your junk items.

    • Premium User Badge

      tumbleworld says:

      Not Terminator. The Imperial March.

  2. Belsameth says:

    HK! \o/

    A reason to come back, I guess :D

    <3 HK

    • Vorphalack says:

      Don’t do it man. It will just taint your memory of something genuinely cool.

      • President Weasel says:

        The biggest* problem for my enjoyment of this game was the shoehorning in of fanservice bullshit. I guess if you’re spending megacredits on the license you feel the need to make sure every single possible reference and trope from any iteration of Star Wars has been squeezed in there somehow, but it still annoyed me.
        While the HK droids are at least from the right time period for the setting and thus less inherently irksome than “hey, here’s something else that’s almost precisely the same as the original trilogy for no apparent reason, yay woo yay”, it still smacks of desperation.

        Maybe if we squeeze a beloved character from the last game we made that was actually well-liked and felt kind of original, then they might love us.

        Yeah, maybe not. I found out while writing this post that I am still disappoint, and surprisingly bitter, about the game.

        (* well, that and the fact that it had a very bland and generic MMO mechanic, and no crafting system worth talking about, and not much of an endgame, and no death penalty, and – but we don’t want to do the Spanish Inquisition sketch, do we)

        • Kuraudo says:

          God, thank you for voicing exactly why I couldn’t stand the environments/characters in this game – the feeling was there, I just couldn’t put it into words. This is spot on.

        • hotcod says:

          While this has mostly been born out of people wanting the Star Wars expanded universe to feel like Star Wars because, well, that’s the reason people want to play games with Star Wars in the title there is actually an interesting link to be made to the story of that universe.

          Simply put the universe is one that remains stagnant because the people in it keep fighting the same war. It’s a constant cycle of war, rebuilding and more war where people often spend more time trying to rebuild or reuse past ideas or relying on the force than building new ideas. Any new ideas that do appear end up lost and only a few may be found in the next cycle. A slow change but one where the basics, Sith vs Jedi in a war fought in pretty much the same way with the same tech. This expands to the culture and design as well.

          And this is not just “fans making excuses” the idea of a cycle of expanding and advancing civilisation ending up in a huge war (which involves the force) that some what resets everything is a major part of the EU. It’s a major part of the Fate of the Jedi series of books if I’m right. Vader was meant to end this cycle and bring balance to the force by joining those stupid force god type things during the clone war but instead sets in motion events that luke has to set right later… personally I hate that but that that’s how it goes.

          Now don’t get me wrong, from the get go Bioware was very up front of the fact they where using the old republic time period to let you play a “classic star wars story” in a context where they are not to heavily restrained by what can and cannot happen. And I do agree that they went a little over the top with it buuuuuuuuuuuuut the general idea of the same old stuff happening over and over again is a very real one in the expanded universe fiction.

        • Damien Stark says:

          The only one that really bugged me was the same one Penny Arcade was griping about this past week:

          All over the place you’re freezing people in carbonite. It’s like the standard non-lethal way for Bounty Hunter to wrap up a quest, and multiple other quest have you defrosting folks from Han-Solo-esque wall statues. In Empire Strikes Back, a hojillion years later, they made a big deal about how that was a new idea, untested, and who knows if he’ll survive the process. Sigh.

          Aside from that, I’m really enjoying SWTOR actually. Never played WoW; I was sold on the whole “it’s KOTOR 3-10 and you can play it single-player!” sales pitch. I wouldn’t say it completely delivered on that (hell, what could?) but it’s been pretty great. If you don’t enjoy it, I’m not gonna change your mind by arguing, but I would agree that people are “unfairly counting it out”.

          There was clearly a big drop off in subs as the first round of people played the content and got sick of it, but a million subs is still a ton, more than almost any other MMO out there (I believe statistically it’s number 3). Yet the clear narrative is how failed it is and deserted and dying and whatever. They transferred a bunch of people to consolidate on big active servers, and now the PVP, PVE, and auctions are all quite active and fun.

  3. SirDimos says:

    “You May Recognize SWTOR’s Newest Companion”

    Optimus Prime?

  4. fionny says:

    Subs dropping like flies due to lack of content, crap PvP (especially the oPvP) what do they implement? A ruddy companion…

    • kevmscotland says:

      Spot on, and the main reason I stopped playing this.

      Too much time spent on crappy accessories style content, and not enough on the actual game itself.
      The legacy system turned out to be a whole load of nothing also.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      also F2P up until level 15 (which caused a bunch of people to complain that F2P ruins MMOs and threaten to quit as usual)

    • Dakia says:

      I’ve never understood the lack of content argument. When compared against WoW, for example, TOR has just as much content at the top tier as WoW.

      It is all well and fine to say that you don’t like that content, but to say that it wholly lacks content is simply wrong.

      • Vorphalack says:

        WoW is hardly a model MMO for the amount of content it provides. For TOR to emulate that is pretty poor.

        • Dakia says:

          I’m not saying that it should be the model. I use it as reference as it tends to be the most popular comparison for people to make.

          The same could likely be said of other MMOs out there. Rift would be the only one, to my knowledge, that would get the edge.

          • Vorphalack says:

            I think the point is that we expected BioWare to do better than emulate WoW from 5 years ago, both in terms of quantity, quality, and frequency of updates. They just failed there.

        • Damien Stark says:

          Not really sure how we reconcile
          1. “Subs dropping like flies due to lack of content”
          2. “WoW is hardly a model MMO for the amount of content it provides
          3. The fact that WoW has more subs than any other game on the planet.

          Also a little confused at the “crap PVP” comment, as it’s generally been acknowledge that PVP was the surprise hit in the game. Bioware’s been scrambling to grow the PVP since they originally thought it would be a fairly minor niche, and instead it’s super popular. The exception to that obviously was the whole Ilum open-world PVP attempt, which was clearly a disaster, and they simply shut it down.

          I mean hey, if you don’t like it you don’t like it, but these three things do not compute…

    • zerosociety says:

      To be fair, and for the record I hate the game, this ins’t brand new content. They played some of the HK sound assets and showed models at a press demo at GenCon about a year before it released. It was part of the “this is really KOTOR 3 & 4 with an mmo wrapped around it” pitch.

  5. pitak89 says:

    I played the game for about a week when it came out and stopped.

    But… I… I need to play again…

  6. mondomau says:

    Oh dear. Pretty desperate strategy – pulling out one of the most popular characters from the game everyone wanted them to make a sequel too instead of a predictably limited WoW clone MMO.

    • Belsameth says:

      He was actually already in as a boss in one of the endgame flashpoint operations

      • mondomau says:

        Ah. Didn’t get that far. Got utterly bored after level 11 / 12.

        Still though, bringing ‘him’ in as a companion does smack of desperation IMO

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Yep, but you can’t steal his pants like the Revan boss.

  7. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    The HK factory in KOTOR 2 was really difficult if I recall correctly. It always sucks when you’re forced to only take the one character into an area.

    • razgon says:

      Well – it wasnt in the game so thats hard to tell…

    • JazzTap says:

      I’ve been running through KotOR 2 again, with TSLRCM 1.7 in, and it’s been magnificent. Just got through the HK Factory, which feels like a full-fledged level now (’twas not yet the case in an earlier build of the mod).

      Unfortunately, all foes have tedious amounts of health for HK-47 to burn through alone, even when he’s specced to get crits on 75% of his attacks (disruptor rifle, keen scope, master sniper shot, decent attack bonus). By then, 25% (or even 75%) energy resist armor and substantial charges of damage-absorbing shields make surviving quite possible (on Normal at least), but it takes a monotonous while.

  8. Ergates_Antius says:

    Staring eyes.

    Or eye-equivalents anyway.

  9. Wolfrar says:

    Is there any hope of a KoTOR 3 anymore? I mean a Single Player only type of deal. I feel like SW TOR really butchered the story lines of its predecessors. I know that’s just my subjective opinion, but many people have voiced their objections to how story lines from KoTOR1 and 2 were wrapped up in TOR. I just miss those games terribly, KoTOR 1 was BioWare at its peak as far as I am concerned. I would give my left leg for a proper 30+ hour single player sequel that re-writes the events post- KoTOR2. No really, I would – I have no use for my left leg anyways.

    • chargen says:

      Oh no no no. Once SWTOR finally become unsustainable and is shut down, this series, now tainted with possibly the most expensive failure in gaming history, will be quietly shelved for all eternity.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        until it is raised by the unholy business magics at EA to give us an FPS reboot. I suspect within 10 years, if EA survive that long.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Well, SWTOR is supposed to be Kotor 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 if I remember correctly, so the next one will technically be Kotor 10.

      While we’re at it, might as well ask if there will ever be a Warcraft 4, given the drubbing Warcraft lore has received from the ongoing WoW era.

      • Damien Stark says:

        I suppose the official line would be that SWTOR was KOTOR 3-10, since it has 8 class stories. Even as someone who likes SWTOR, I think it’s a silly claim. As far as unique content goes, it’s true that each class gets its own story (fully voiced both male and female, with five unique companion characters per class) but there’s only one set of planetary side-quests per faction, and the Flashpoints are also shared.

        All that said, I’d love to see another proper single-player KOTOR made, whatever they call it…

  10. pakoito says:

    Staring eyes

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    piratmonkey says:

    I’m currently playing a free account and enjoying it immensely. However, I prefer to play it solo, only grouping when necessary since I hate feeling pressured to skip the conversations. When I have the cash, I’ll definitely be picking it up.

  12. caddyB says:

    Just let it die already.

  13. Furtled says:

    I hopped back on briefly during the free week and it’s still not enough to grab me into subscribing again, if it were single player with a co-op option for flashpoints then maybe, but not as an MMO, ace new companions or no.

  14. Jimbo says:

    The best thing about SWTOR has been following the increasingly desperate headlines. Here’s a sneak peak at the next three:

    “Everybody is now Revan!”

    “I’m Luke Skywalker and I’m here to be your Companion!”

    “We’re Pulling the Plug on this POS!”

  15. virtualmatrix258 says:

    I loved this game up until I level capped after a month. With nothing to do but hutt ball, I unsubbed. I miss my bounty hunter but there’s no point in going back.

  16. Spinks says:

    Still playing the game and having fun. I think it’s probably the best MMO on the market for newbies or casual MMO players who like this style of DIKU based gameplay.

    The group finder (came in with last patch) and server consolidations are working pretty well. Hardcore players will tend to blitz through any new MMO in a couple of months and then get bored, that’s not really news.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      I am also playing and having fun, so yar boo sucks to the nay-sayers. (Obligatory chiz ect).

    • Premium User Badge

      piratmonkey says:

      Also enjoying it. I find the story line pretty compelling (despite the confusing light/dark choices for Sith characters).

    • Damien Stark says:

      Also playing and really enjoying it.

      Server transfers and Group Finder made a big improvement, as PVP is no longer deserted (or all Huttball) and I can actually do some Hardmode Flashpoints now that I don’t have to spend an hour LFG first.

      I PVP on my Bounty Hunter, PVE on my Operative (if anyone is considering giving the game a quick once-through for the story/content, I highly recommend female Agent), and have started a Jedi Shadow and Trooper Vanguard. All good stuff, fun to be had.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    I started playing a few months back, right after the Legacy was implemented I think and I’m having good fun for the most part. The MMO side of things do get in the way at times, but I expect they’d get in the way no matter what MMO I played.

    I mostly just play with friends or PUGs for Flashpoints and I quite like it. The story I’ve seen so far as Imperial Agent is pretty good, even if I’m getting confused as to who betrays who at this point. I might be a quadruple agent. Also all Sith are fucking morons. I swear, if not for the ineptitude of the Sith upper classes in the Empire they’d have won. Just like in the movies. If the Emperor and Vader had left the army and fleet to their own devices I’m certain they would have won. But no, Sith have a need for pointless gambits and silly theatrics.

    Ahem.

    However it’s also my first MMO aside from a few trial stints at EVE so I might be talking out my ass.

  18. EPICTHEFAIL says:

    But do we still get to repeat everything he says?

    • Grygus says:

      Speculation: yes.

      • President Weasel says:

        Qualification: but the joy will probably have gone out of it.
        Concerned observation: it may retroactively cheapen the original.
        Obligatory meme reference: meatbag.

  19. Kdansky says:

    Stock sound galore. Could someone please sell them a few new sound clips? And if you’re at it, sell them to Capcom too, because they use the worst and most generic sounds for the most important bits (the SF4 super flash, for example).

    And advice to their video making team: If you show me 20 seconds of logos, 20 seconds of corridor, 20 seconds of hallway, and then three seconds of not-really-interesting robot, I’m not impressed. Build-up only works if there is pay-off.

    Bonus: If you didn’t know from the title, could you tell this is star wars from the art style? I can’t. It’s generic SF, nothing more.

    • Wintermood says:

      @KDansky: Well, the “Payoff” is the HK51. For someone who knows the HKs and KotoR this trailer works reasonable well.

      HK51 “not-really-interesting-robot”? Wow…

      • Koozer says:

        But if you don’t know who/what HK-47 is, it’s a pretty pointless trailer. I suppose it just shows just how fanservice-y it is.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          It’s pretty interesting for one reason… why does a droid need a blue light shining from his thighs and crotch joints.

        • Bhazor says:

          Well technically it’s HK 51 who was the first miniboss from Kotor 2 and was actually a far better villain than anyone in the original Kotor ever was.

    • Koozer says:

      Interesting aside: If someone showed me episodes 1-3 (with the Jedi bits cut out) I don’t think I would be able to tell it was Star Wars. Oh, apart from all the recycled sound effects. The Seperatist fighters making the same noise as TIE fighters, even though they use different tech is especially silly.

  20. ErrantConstruct says:

    I’m still playing and enjoying it. Especially since they rebalanced the classes. I like how much it feels like a Bioware game, but I can play with my friends. Never really been grabbed by an MMO despite trying several, but the story and setting for this one have held me. I know it’s “just a WoW clone” but I plan to go through all the class quests. The recent patches have really helped with quality of life stuff, so I can skip the boring sidequests when I redo content with new characters.

  21. Wintermood says:

    Me and my girlfriend are both playing and enjoying it. :)
    We do not really understand the mindless hate the game gets and certainly do not let it taint the experience/fun we get. I hope it is there for a long time (perhaps later FreetoPlay?).

  22. Neurotic says:

    It’s a fun game if you approach it without any hype-mania knee-jerk WTF expectations. I played my free 30 days as a 40 year-old fan of the films and proud former owner of most of the toys, figures and Marvel US comics, and I enjoyed it immensely. I’d played about half of KOTOR 1 years ago, and that’s it. It looks to me like the people who got burned the most are the KOTOR+Expanded Universe fans who have been soaking in all that stuff for years, and I feel sorry for them.

    • TwwIX says:

      No. Fans stopped playing it because it is a lackluster and forgettable experience. People aren’t going to pay a subscription fee for a glorified singleplayer RPG with grindy gameplay mechanics. It’s a failure for a reason.

      • Grygus says:

        “People aren’t going to pay a subscription fee for a glorified singleplayer RPG with grindy gameplay mechanics.”

        This statement seems dubious to me, but perhaps I just need clarification. Can you explain to me how this doesn’t apply to World of Warcraft? You level solo and the end game is entirely made of up of various grinds, but people have been paying subscriptions for that game for years.

        • Vorphalack says:

          Your interpretation of that quote is far too literal. There are tens of millions of players who have quit WoW and its clones over the years, and wont pay for another.

    • Vorphalack says:

      It’s fun if you don’t know any better, is basically what you are saying. Almost everyone will have experienced an RPG, MMO or Star Wars game that is better than TOR.

      • Damien Stark says:

        Yeah, KOTOR 1 and 2 were okay, but the endgame content blows!

        /sarcasm

        Despite your attempts to repeatedly assert that anyone who likes the game you dislike must simply not know better, I’m going to disagree. I play tons of games, including KOTOR 1 and 2 as well as many other RPGs, and I’m quite enjoying SWTOR. I will agree with you that most of the people hating it are those who played WoW for years and burned out.

        But if you’re not one of those people, there’s plenty here to like, and it keeps improving all the time.

  23. CletusVanDamme says:

    Still enjoying it, yeah.

    I think the server merges were a good move, even though they gave the people who hate the game plenty of lulz.

    I never liked the HK droids much, much in the way I thought Minsc was over-worshipped, but surprisingly I’ve found the companion system is one of the things I enjoy the most about TOR so I’m happy to see this content. Sure would be nice to get some new Ops content though, and Nightmare Denova doesn’t count unless it’s wildly different from HM.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Cannot take seriously the opinion of man who thinks Minsc in over rated : |

  24. Koozer says:

    After a Star Wars binge on Jedi Outcast, Jedi Academy and half an hour of KOTOR (for the first time), I had a go at the trial for this. I didn’t make it past level 4. I really wanted it to be good, but it was just so stiff and blatantly MMO-like it failed to immerse me at all.

    ‘WoW-style’ combat can be entertaining (see: WoW), but here my Jedi had 4 abilites before I quit: one hit them twice with a lightsaber. One hit them three times with a lightsaber. One threw some rocks to stun. One threw some rocks to slow. Suffice to say, it was not very exciting or varied. Also, no auto-attack, as far as I could tell, so I had to hammer a key every bloody second, even against trash.

    In conclusion: Jedi Knight series has the combat but godawful story, KOTOR (after 13 hours now) has the story but wonky combat. TOR has neither.

    • Grygus says:

      To be fair, TOR has story in spades. You didn’t get to it, because it is gated behind merely competent MMO gameplay, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

      • Damien Stark says:

        That’s a good way to put it.

        Meanwhile, the Internet never fails to provide “I played 15 minutes of a 100 hour game and I can state authoritatively it contains nothing good”

  25. FreshwaterAU says:

    I played at launch until march and loved it, hit max and then one day, poof, the magic was gone. never finshed the BH story. I dunno the planets near the end are so long inbetween objectives it began to bother me. I always though PvP was a lot of fun though. I also came back in the free week, even transfered my characters but…..maybe one day I will do the Jedi story, but….

  26. S Jay says:

    Please stop this and give us KOTOR 3 :'(

  27. Baines says:

    I don’t know anyone who lasted more than a free weekend. General consensus was that it was fairly meh. You’d play it briefly for the story, but it wasn’t worth paying for and there were better alternatives (both free and paid) if you just wanted an MMO.

  28. Sic Jake says:

    Why are they making this trailer now? HK-51 as a companion was in the game at launch. He was sorta “hidden” but that was all worked out in the first week if even that.

    People have been using him since launch month :/

    I played SWTOR for about 2 months, enough to make level cap and finish off the story for the Jedi consular. I like how the story is told, voice acting and cut scenes are fantastic. Honestly I can never play another MMO that just does quest text, bioware has ruined me.

    I left because I could never find a group for end game, and honestly the class trees are boring, once you’ve played with Rift’s Class system and trees, it’s hard to look at any other game

  29. der jester says:

    People were aware of HK being a companion but no one is running around with him. You might be thinking of the ship Steward droids that are worthless.
    I’ve been playing since launch and enjoy the game. I don’t think this is any more fan service than the fleet of HK-50’s that hunt you down in KOTOR2. Plus it’s not something they could decide to do over night to try and retain/expand their player base. At launch they were already working on next years content since it take so long to write and record all the voice work needed for each of these expansions. You can’t just have a board meeting where suits panic and say “That’s it, we need fan service! drop in some HK droids!” The trailer and press release make it sound like a whole new zone in the game. As long as it’s more than Corellia’s Black Hole grind I’ll be happy.

  30. MythArcana says:

    Or you could check out the NEW Drox Operative by Soldak for a 25% beta discount.

    http://www.soldak.com/Drox-Operative/Overview.html

  31. BakaGrappler says:

    I am still an active player. (well my subscription is active, and I wanna play, but the trouble I’ve been having with my OS has kept me from playing for the past week, though I’ll be getting a free legit Windows 7 OS soon. Here’s hoping I can play again soon.)

    Thanks to the server “mergers” the population of my server has bounced back and with the new Group Finder, a dedicated DPS can find a group in 10 minutes or less. I’m still having fun with the game, despite being on my 3rd character to 50, and am quite happy with the additions of every content patch.

    It is a game worth supporting and playing, especially with the speed at which they are adding in new systems to make the game more intuitive for use, and rewarding for long term players. I’m having fun watching it evolve, and it’s “having a story to explain the 10 wolf tails quest” nature has actually spoiled me where other MMOs are concerned.

  32. Xardas Kane says:

    I could live with the stale MMO mechanics and plastic-looking graphics, but the way they handled Revan, The Exile and HK-47 just killed me on the inside. After witnessing that atrocity this game is dead for me, period.

  33. Fythbro says:

    I’ve always wondered if HK-74U is a dwarf version of HK-47.

  34. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Cool, ToR is finally free to pl…

    No, wait.