Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SWTOR is Here: I'll Miss You All

The story starts with a video gamecompany called Bioware. In 1998, they came out with a D&D videogame called Baldur’s Gate. I ruined my first car trying to help mydear friend Brandon Mason trying to get that game. That journey ledto what is now known as my Werewolf Story, I should tell it to yousometime.

In 2002, Bioware released another D&Dgame, Neverwinter Nights. I spent WAY too much of my life playingthat game. The story and the gameplay were amazing. There was afeature that allowed the player to use the game engine to constructtheir own worlds and story lines, allowing completely freshplayer-generated content, online. It was a breakthrough.

2003 was where things changed. Biowarereleased another RPG named Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. KotOR was one of the most influential games of our time. It wasnumerous awards and changed how much of the Star Wars communityviewed their beloved IP. The game centered on the little-known eraof Star Wars mythology known as The Old Republic. It took placearound 3,000 years before the rise of Darth Vader. In those timesthere were still thousands of Jedi and thousands of Sith. There wereforms of the Republic and Empire, but they were different. It was afresh look that still felt every ounce the Star Wars we grew up with. The setting was intriguing, but it was the story that blew us allaway. That was when Bioware cemented itself as a powerhousestory-teller in the minds of gamers everywhere.

They released Mass Effect in 2007 andshowed us all that they were able to produce epic story and gamequality consistently, and this time with an independently created IP.

Now that you have a glimpse at thebackstory, let me tell you about 2008. That year Bioware announcedthat it was beginning construction of its very first MMO. We wereall thrilled. If Bioware could produce an MMO with the same qualityas its single-player RPGs, then it could be something really special. Not long afterward, there were rumors that Bioware had been workingclosely with Lucas Arts, purchasing various development rights. Manypeople began to wonder if these two were related. Could Bioware beplanning a Star Wars MMO?

Before we go any further, let memention that there was already a Star Wars MMO at this time. It wascrap. Complete. Crap. We, as a gaming community, were ashamed ofit. It was called Galaxies. It was set in the movie era and itwould take an entirely separate long post to explain why it was sobad, but take my word for it. The question was, how could Bioware’sStar Wars MMO stand tall and majestic while knee deep in the rancormanure that was galaxies?

On October 21st 2008, we gotour answer. Bioware officially announced that it was developing aStar Wars MMO set in the time period of The Old Republic. It was asif millions of voices suddenly cried out in joy, and they haven’tyet silenced.

For over three years now, I have beenfanatically following every aspect of the development of this gameand have been impressed at every turn. My friends and I havediscussed every aspect of this game at great, great length. Theinterest that others put into following sports, politics, orprostitution, we put into this. Theorizing and fantasizing about itbecame a major aspect of our lives. With every addition detail welearned it seemed more like they were making an MMO just for us.

The Game officially releases onDecember 20th, but those that pre-ordered can get in earlybased on how early they pre-ordered. I pre-ordered the very morningthat pre-orders were available. Pre-order.  I got in yesterday. At7:15am on December 13th 2011, I logged into Star Wars: TheOld Republic. With the exception of a lunch break, I played straightthrough until midnight. The experience has continued to exceed everyexpectation in every way. Except the fat-dude thing, that’s prettydumb.

I guess what I’m saying is this:

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