Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’

Of Monsters And Meatbags: SWTOR’s HK-51 Update

Don't worry, ma'am. We're only here to help.

Disney owns Star Wars now, so what better way to celebrate than with the most un-Disney character in the entire Star Wars universe? In fairness, Hk-51 isn’t HK-47 (who has already appeared elsewhere in Star Wars: The Old Republic), but they’re quite obviously cut from the same organic-life-loathing cloth. They probably also both loathe cloth, for that matter. Point is, don’t go into a frothy mouthed state of paralytic shock if your new companion combines the words “meat” and “bag” to form a phrase of a far more sinister nature. But the galaxy-spanning quest to secure an adorable HK-51 of your very own is only a small part of SWTOR’s upcoming update 1.5. The rest appears in a hyper-advanced eyeball stimulating holocron after the break.

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BioWare Force-Tweaks SWTOR’s F2P Restrictions

Ooo! A penny!

Soon, everyone will be able to play Star Wars: The Old Republic*. Oh, that asterisk? Sorry, my entire-one-to-one-scale-replica-of-The-Death-Star key is broken. Still though, the point remains: SWTOR’s gearing up for a F2P relaunch, but there are some nearly moon-sized restrictions keeping it grounded. Fortunately, after initial complaints and some time on test servers, BioWare’s seen fit to scale them back – if only just a bit.

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SWTOR Free To Play Is Now Free To Play

John (left) and Jim (right), yesterday

“Hello, Guinness Book Of Records? Was Star Wars: The Old Republic the fastest MMO to go from subs-based to free-to-play? Why yes, I could go away and do the most token amount of research instead, but I wanted to hear a human voice for a change. Also, can I have a pint of Guinness please? Yes, Extra Cold, thanks.”

And now you can try out SWTOR’s freeiness to playiness for yourself, albeit in a contained, reduced version, as the first vestiges of it are now live on that MMO folly’s test server.
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BioWare’s Schubert On MMO Past Vs MMO Present

A long time ago, in a galaxy that was still this one, Star Wars: The Old Republic lead systems designer Damion Schubert was one of the principle minds behind Meridian 59, a bonafide pioneer of MMORPGs as, well, things. Since then, he’s worked on Shadowbane and The Sims Online, among others. During GDC Online, however, he gave a talk regaling tales of Meridian clone invasions and other such emergent madness interspersed with rather comical regrets (Fun fact: It was the first 3D MMO. It also launched without mouse-look). Afterward, we sat down for a chat about how MMOs have changed since Schubert first helped hand them a lunch bag and usher them onto the bus back in ye olde 1990s. And while his eyes lit up as he reminisced about Meridian’s good old days, he was also quite adamant about his preference for SWTOR’s story-driven approach over, say, EVE-Online-style emergent madness. All that and more after the break.

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Power To The (Solo) Players: SWTOR’s F2P Restrictions

Note: 'Limited' customization options mean you probably won't actually be able to look like this. Yeah.

Hmmm. Mmmmm. Ehhhhh. Errrrrr. Also harumph. Oh, hello, didn’t see you there. When I enter my Contemplate-O-Sphere, I tend to just lose track of the world around me and emit a series of guttural droning sounds – eyes wide yet unseeing, as though I’m possessed by some kind of brain ghost. I believe many of you call it “having an idea.” Only I’m having many ideas – mostly prompted by Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s fairly alarming approach to free-to-play. In short, if you’re only playing for solo story, you’re in luck. But, if not, well…

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Bioware Reveal SWTOR’s “Terror From Beyond”

If only we could talk to the monsters.
SWTOR‘s fresh content mill continues to crank on the missions for light-saberists and chums. Speaking here, Bioware’s Austin bossbloke Matt Bromberg said: “We’re committed to: about every six weeks, doing a major update for the game — which would be a new Warzone, a new Operation, a new Flashpoint, a new event — and to doing that on a really frequent cadence, every six weeks.” So that’s EVERY SIX WEEKS. Got that? (Nice use of the word “cadence” there, Matt.) The upcoming 1.4 update is proof of this policy, because it contains a new operation called “Terror From Beyond”. This features the Gree planet of Asation, and a “hypergate”, which you can see in action below.

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The Old Republic And The Revenge Of The Payment Model


Yesterday’s news about The Old Republic means that this morning we see a wave of editorials suggesting that subscription-based games are over, and that “free” is the only way MMOs can survive. This, of course, is because “MMO” essentially translates to “quest-based online RPG” (99% of the industry can’t see any other way to do it) and that tired old road is having to find new ways to keep people coming. There is another path, however, a less travelled one that might sustain the subscription model. The MMO which epitomises this is EVE Online. A sandbox model, where player-interaction is the content.

But will we continue to want to pay subscriptions for that? Or is it just a matter of time until that is made free?

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Inevitable Disturbance In The Force: SWTOR Goes F2P

69p to make your lightsaber purple

Well, that took all of about a fortnight. Pretty much everyone called this one, given the age of the expensive monthly subscription game seems to be over, bar a few very particular exceptions. So it is that the struggling juggernaut that is EA/Bioware’s MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic is to join the rapidly-swelling ranks of free to play. They’ve just announced that play up to level 50 will be gratis and open to all as of this Fall Autumn. That’s no moon – it’s a fully-armed and operational new business model.*
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You May Recognize SWTOR’s Newest Companion

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.

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Lite Saber: More Free SWTOR, This Time For All


Star Wars: The Old Republic now has a free trial, hooray! Anyone is eligible, which is a good thing, and the main limiting factor is that it caps you to level 15 (the level cap is 50 for subscribers, so this will get you off the starting world to Coruscant, but not much further.) PvP and flashpoints are also available in the trial. There’s a bunch more information in the FAQ, but overall this seems like a good move for the game. Allowing folks to try it out before they plunge into the depths of their wallets is always a good idea.

SWTOR Wants You Back. Yes You, Steve

Yikes.
“Come Back and Play at No Charge* for Up to 7 Days!” Says the SWTOR site. Ha, what’s that asterisk in there? Why it’s the expiration date on this offer, which is July 17th. And this is an offer for lapsed subs only, of course. Returning folk will no doubt be thrilled to “receive an exclusive in-game pet, the Gannifari [pictured], and 25 Black Hole Commendations to use towards high level gear.” So that sound useful, if you’re a pet-loving ex-Jedi/Sith/Miscellaneous.

SWTOR is currently sitting at update 1.3, which focuses a bit more on PvP and grouping. “Grouping” is a funny word… Trailer for 1.3 below!
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Update Double-Up: TOR’s ‘Allies’ Patch And Pyro Day 2

NO GUYS TURN AROUND RUN HE'S GIANT.
I remember when games used to be obstinate, unyielding creatures. They’d prance through the room, coated in all manner of dust and bugs and glitches, and they just didn’t care. Now, though, they heed developers’ every beck and call post-launch. The things can practically grow extra arms on command. Case in point: SWTOR’s latest patch, which brings it up to not-quite-light-speed with modern MMOs and, of course, Team Fortress 2’s recent case of Pyromania. So then, let’s have a gander at what’s on the menu.

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Hmmm: The Old Republic “Looking At” Free-To-Play

UNNNNLIMITED PLAAAAAYTIME.

No, BioWare hasn’t suddenly made a lightspeed jump to F2P, but – speaking with GamesTM – it changed its tune quite a bit from “subscription-based forever.” So then, the obvious (in almost every situation ever in the whole of human history) question: why? Well, it’s certainly hard to ignore SWTOR‘s 400,000-person slide into the subscriber Sarlacc Pit, but BioWare contends that there’s more to it than that.

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SWTOR Free Weekend Coming Up!


Bioware send word that they’re having another free-to-party party this weekend. It’s taking place from Thursday, May 17th at 12:01AM CDT / 5:01AM GMT, and ends on Monday, May 21st at 2:00AM CDT / 7:00AM GMT. The usual limits apply: Level 15 cap, but you can freely play PvP zones. Only people (or email addresses?) that have not played the game previously will be able to participate in this free weekend.

Assuming you’re not busy, of course. You’re probably busy. That’s fine too.

Old Before Its Time? SWTOR Subs Sliiiiiide

METAPHOR

Yesterday was EA’s annual fiscal earnings call, which meant another night of the publisher baying about sums of money beyond all human imagining to stern shareholders and jumpy journalists. The headline numbers were revenues of $4.1 billion and earnings of $76 million, and a claim that it will be throwing $80 million down the gluttonous money-pit “in development of games for Gen4 console systems.” So consoles didn’t start until PS1, huh? My sister’s still-used Sega Mastersystem says otherwise, bucko.

But enough about the willy-waving. Let’s talk willy-shrinking too. Back in March, EA claimed its frighteningly expensive MMO goliath Star Wars: The Old Republic boasted some 1.7 million active subscribers. It’s now the merry month of May, and the earnings call brought news that subscribers are down to 1.3 million. So that’s 400,000 chappies gone in just two months, eh?
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BioWare Force Pushes Back Against SWTOR Doubters

You probably should've considered firing the gun a little sooner.

Not such a long, long time ago, in galaxy much like this one, only more naive, youthful, and able to pull off those jeans the Milky Way no longer has any business shimmying into, Star Wars: The Old Republic was the Next Big Thing. It was billed as a tale for the ages – or six tales for the ages, really. Some soup-tin-sized lightsaber hilts aside, it could do no wrong. Fast-forwarding to today, however, paints a significantly more disenfranchised picture. Where once the level cap was a mystical thing – like the bell at the top of one of those strongman hammer dealies at fairs – now everyone’s dinging it. The credits have rolled, show’s over, and the theater’s empty aside from an incredibly cute cricket and tumbleweed couple in the throes of deep, eerily silent love, right? Wrong. That, lead designer Daniel Erickson told RPS, is a classic case of the Internet’s peanut gallery making a lightspeed jump to conclusions.

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Wook! SWTOR Gives 30 Free Days To Level 50 Players

If you squint, you can see me in the background falling from a mountain
I never play MMOs enough to receive awards. Actually, I do play them, but don’t play, so while everyone’s grinding and high-fiving over getting level quad-squlllion, I’m jumping up a mountain the wrong way, attempting to find a stray polygon to land on to climb higher and higher. It’s important research. So I’m physically shrugging at Bioware’s gift of 30 free days of game time to every SWTOR player that’s reached level 50. It doesn’t affect me in the slightest that my pioneering playstyle goes unrewarded. It might affect you, though, and for that I’m happy and seething with envy for you. It’s to drag everyone back into the game to experience the delights of the massive Legacy update. As an extra incentive, they’re throwing in a cute little baby Tauntaun.

Enough about the freebies. Here’s what the update looks like.
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SWTOR Free Weekend Incoming, For Newcomers Only

Me? No, it was like that when I got here.
The second free weekend for Star Wars: The Old Republic has been announced. The SWTOR team writes: “…we are excited to announce that individuals who did not take part in the first Weekend Pass Free Trial will have another opportunity to live out their very own Star Wars™ saga, for free, with the second Star Wars: The Old Republic Weekend Pass Free Trial! Participants in the previous Weekend Pass Free Trial and any other free trials are not eligible for this upcoming Weekend Pass Free Trial period.” This free weekend runs Thursday, March 22nd at 12:01AM CDT or 5:01AM GMT to Monday, March 26th at 2:00AM CDT or 7:00AM GMT. It also has the same limitations as the first, with a level cap, and chat exclusions. And it’s free! Freeeeeeeeeeee! Ahem. Sorry. I’ll make some tea.

SWTOR Free Weekend Trials Start Thursday

Not the younglings!
EA send word that their game of multi-player laser-swords will soon be featuring free weekends, the page for which is here. It reports that the first free weekend is “Thursday, March 15 at 12:01AM CT through Monday, March 19 at 2:00AM CT.” There are some more details just here, most notable restrictions on chat options to stop you being a big old gold spammer, restrictions to “Origin World, Capital World, the Fleet, all Warzones, and in their first Flashpoint”, and a level cap of 15. Should still be enough to give you a good free taste of the thing, of course.

SWTOR: A Short Time Before ME3 In A Galaxy Next Door

Superhappytopchums who are too tight to subscribe, assemble!

Mass Effect 3 is still a day away in the US and four days away in the UK (unless you happen to know of some way to make your PC’s IP address appear to based in Hong Kong, in which case you could play the game right now) but we are left with another option if we’re craving immediate Biowarian intergalactic adventures. If you don’t have a subscription to Star Wars: The Old But Mysteriously Similar To The New Republic but know someone who does, you could be in luck. Starting tomorrow is the Friends Trial, which means subs can invite in chums for a week of free play and access to everything the game contains up until level 15.

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