Bioware Cash in on Sponsorship Deals

As with many other large games over the past few years (World of Warcraft et al) bioware has struck deals with game hardware designers, in this case Razer, to produced licences input devices for players across the galaxy to use.

However, unlike their predecessors in the sponsoring business, this deal has actually produced something that, at first glance, is not completely hideous!

With their futuristic clean cut lines and simple colour schemes, this collection of hardware for once might actually have a market in fans that are not utterly die hard champions of The Old Republic galaxy. As can be seen in the picture below they also appear to be quite functional, another unexpected boon most experienced MMORPG players would not have accepted.

The one downfall of the devices so far is the price, as all of them seem to cost about twice the Recommended retail price for similarly functioning products.
That is, except for the Keyboard, which complete with a colour touch screen should add a new dimension of intricacy to the controlling of characters, although it seems somewhat unlikely players will take their eyes off of the monitor to focus on the three inch thing near their hands, which may render it rather redundant.

Although new ground has been broken with the keyboard, this was not to be with the mouse. If players choose to spend the $130 dollars Razer is currently asking, they will get nothing other than what is fundamentally a re skinned version of a mouse made by the company that has been on sale for more than two years.

The input peripherals market is a common cash cow for popular MMORPGs across the world, so it is not surprising that it made its way into SWTOR, however the popularity and quality of the devices still remains to be seen (and is far from certain).

More details on the Mouse, Keyboard, headset and Mouse pad on offer are available on the official website for SWTOR here.

SWTOR Keyboards set for release.

SWTOR Keyboards set for release.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - December 25, 2011 at 19:22

Categories: Items, Misc   Tags:

Pre Release Music

As noted in previous articles, the music of Star Wars The Old Republic is an incredibly important aspect of the game, perhaps more so than any MMORPG before. With more than six composers on their Payroll, Bioware has certanly acknowledged this, which should see a very immersing experience for fans.

Although the collectors Edition of the game comes with the official soundtrack and its 17 compositions, these only represent a small sample of the best the game has to offer.

Perhaps to the dismay of keen players that ordered the collectors edition of the game, effectively paying a premium for this CD, Bioware has begun releasing the game’s soundtrack, one track per day, up until the release date.

This has gotten quite a lot of attention from fans, with the videos gathering more than 20 thousand views each on the first day.

Since the composers on the job are well known and respected in the field of game compositions, many of them working on previous Star Wars Projects, a lot was expected of the team, so thankfully judging from the pieces released so far they have performed very well.

Although the writers have avoided typical Star Wars Riffs, such as those featured in the original Trilogy, this might turn out to be for the better, as it is sure to mean many more copies of the soundtrack will sell once the game is released, hopefully drawing in more potential players. The music is however, as expected, rather similar to the previous Bioware Star Wars Games, KOTOR I and II. This seems rather fitting as it is from the same (similar) Era, with the same forces battling for supremacy, with the same real life composers!

Following is perhaps the best track released so far, The Mandolorian Blockade, which has been worked on by a team of the composers. Sounds good!

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - December 16, 2011 at 19:13

Categories: Films, Misc   Tags: , , , , , ,

Choose Your Side, or Rather Class

The puzzlingly named Choose Your Side features have continued today, as fans count down the days until release, with a match up between Imperial Agent and Jedi Consular taking place.

Always keen to make their employees seem like real people to the public (rather than the un-sleeping computer maniacs we know they really are) some light banter was put up on The Old Republic’s website detailing the hot topic of debate in the Bioware office, which class had the upper hand in a Consular vs Agent battle.

Now, seeing as many of these fights have happened already during testing the developers are somewhat playing coy with the population, because as released seven weeks ago, we already have the number for one on one combat that has taken place.

Originally the article was to be found here , but due to the need for more content to go into the weekly news it has been removed, and hypothetical ‘class Matchups’ have been added instead.

But thankfully as we have the official site’s news archived here at SWTOR Republic we can look up the numbers to see which has the upper hand.

The real numbers show a slightly different side of the story as the “they are balanced” message sent in the Choose Your Side feature. For all one on one fights that have taken place so far the current winner is the Imperial Agent, but a 69% success landslide.

Perhaps this should not be surprising. A solo class matched up against a group play style class is always bound to present some imbalances, however generally we would have expected things to have been slightly better than we have seen.

As the release grows nearer, now only 13 days away, many are racing to pre-order the game to secure their cheaper, and fully featured copies. If market research done so far is anything to go on, the game may be scarce in standard retailers for quite some time.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - December 7, 2011 at 19:09

Categories: Gameplay, Misc, Testing   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Beta Open to All

Over the past month the developers at Bioware have sent emails to all SWTOR accounts claiming that due to a security risk passwords must be reset. Now, this is 90% untrue, as no security risk has presented itself. Rather, this is a covert method to check which accounts are active still. Ones that do the reset are yes, and anyone that ignores is assumed to be a fake account, and will not be given the same privileges everyone else is afforded.

In this case, that is an invite to the now open beta. If you are one that hasn’t done the reset, then now is the time to stop reading and head over to the official SWTOR site to get it in, or you may find yourself excluded until release on the 20th of December.

With the open beta free for all, the number of players in game has sky rocketed, with more than a doubling of entrants within the first game.

Unfortunately for players Bioware has also released information saying that nothing they earn or complete in Star Wars The Old Republic beta will be transferred into the live game upon release. All in all this is good news for those that haven’t been playing already, as they will not be at a technical disadvantage to begin with. However, the will certainly be at a knowledge disadvantage, as the keen testers have had more than six months to master the game, so getting to the top level should be a very quick affair when done live for the first time.

Although the Beta is now open for play, this will only continue for four weeks until the game’s official release, which can’t come too soon for most.

Threats are no longer needed with the Open Beta.

Threats are no longer needed with the Open Beta.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - November 24, 2011 at 12:37

Categories: Misc, Testing   Tags: , , , ,

Collectors Edition Tempting Fans

With the finalised contents of the Star Wars The Old Republic Collectors Edition finally announced, we can see just why players have been so excited about its release.

Along side the special collectors version will be the Digital Deluxe version, which provides many of the collectors boons to budding players.

For the Deluxe edition, in addition to the SWTOR game disks and a free first month, players can expect all of the following:

Flare Gun Similar to the fireworks guns of Star Wars Galaxies, the Flare gun will be able to shoot (solely cosmetic) jets of flame into the sky.

Training Droid Although ineffective in combat, the training droid will serve as a combat target designator, highlighting primary targets on the battlefield. Seems somewhat similar to the familiars, again from SWG.

HoloDancer Again like Galaxies we will have HoloDancers, solely for our entertainment.

HoloCam This Intergalactic camera will let players participate in In-Game photography of The Old Republic, allowing them to record their favourite locations. Assumingly the images by the camera will be of a higher quality than game screenshots.

STAP Giving out a free vehicle for a special edition is a tremendously original idea, so of course we will see one in SWTOR.

Aside from the Digital Deluxe edition’s perks, the Collectors version will contain an additional two major boons:

Mouse Droid This mouse droid should function like our favourite familiars, following adventures across the galaxy and contributing their beeps wherever appropriate.

Collector’s Edition Store
The ultimate gift from the Developers to players with a little extra cash to give them, the collectors edition will feature many unique items (thankfully not useful in combat) and will even have regular updates to keep players coming back.

All in all the two new versions prevent such great items that there will surely be many players plenty keen enough to throw out the extra money to gleam these advantages over their friends and foe. Thankfully they currently offer no combat advantage, but when developers see just how much extra these editions earn for such little work, we can only hope they get no ideas to continue the trend.

Unboxing the SWTOR Collectors Edition

Unboxing the SWTOR Collectors Edition

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - October 30, 2011 at 12:12

Categories: Items, Misc   Tags: , , , , , ,

Companions in SWTOR

Now that just about all of the companions for SWTOR have been finalised, we can finally see just how this system will play out for the average player.

People that have enjoyed games such as Mass Effect and KoTOR will be quite familiar with this system, as by in large companions will function in the way that they did in those previous games.
Throughout the story players will meet new companions, and fortune permitting, they may join them on their adventures across the galaxy. There are many different possibilities for each class, and they will generally take the typical stereotypes we are used to from Star Wars films and Games.

Each class will have their own romantic interest, their droid companion, as well as general fighters that should compliment each professions play style. This will mean high DPS sidekicks for Tanking professions such as Jedi Knight, and strong damage-takers for more fragile Sith Inquisitors.

Unlike in the previous games, Companions will take on whole new levels of customisation in Star Wars The Old Republic. Their behaviour will be controlled (to an extent) by the player, so as to maximise their effectiveness in combat, and their appearance will also be changeable, so we should not have every single player walking through Mos Eisley with identical HK-47 models.

As the developers revealed in their recent release, Companions in SWTOR will play a huge part in the story telling, and many of the quests and adventures players embark on will be due to their interactions with their party. This will mean players will grown very close to their in-game sidekicks, and everyone will certainly have a favourite among them.

For some this might be the useful alien that always have their back in combat, whilst others might prefer a master-craftsman Twi-Lek, even if she gives them a lot of back chat.

Blizz, a Jawa companion from SWTOR, sure to be a favourite.

Blizz, a Jawa companion from SWTOR, sure to be a favourite.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - October 12, 2011 at 12:17

Categories: Gameplay, Misc   Tags: , , , , , ,

Pre-Order SWTOR

Now that SWTOR has finally been released for pre-order, fans of The Old Republic are flocking to online stores and supermarkets alike to grab their own special copy, so that they are ensured play time on the very first day it is released. The moral is, Pre Order SWTOR Now!

As one of the most anticipated games of 2011, SWTOR will fly off the shelves, so many fans assume (perhaps correctly) that if they do not get in early, they may find themselves at the end of a long queue for the game when it finally enters its second run of production.

To accompany this announcement, the developers at Bioware released a brand new promotional video ‘Join the Fight’ at the recent Comic-con. This short cinematic takes fans through a quick run down of the professions, and reveals some previously unseen abilities which are sure to be a hit with the players of each profession. Also included in the video is a brief snippet of The Old republic’s soundtrack, which so far seems to be truly phenomenal. As of yet only videos have been released, but they feature expertly crafted mashups of well known Star Wars refrains, as well as original pieces composed for The Old Republic.

Now that SWTOR is ready to be ordered, we should see the interest in the game rise, and players become even more vocal, because now that they’ve paid for the game they will very much want to receive what they hoped they paid for.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - August 4, 2011 at 11:47

Categories: Gameplay, Misc   Tags: , , ,

Tough Competition

Star Wars The Old Republic must face up to competition

Star Wars The Old Republic must face up to competition

Perhaps looking back the developers of Bioware might have wished for a slightly more speedy development process, as they have unwittingly scheduled the game for release during one of the most anticipated few months of the past five years. Coming up will be a huge number of releases, including the next Call of Duty, Battlefield and Assassins Creed. Any of these games alone would take a chunk out of the possible number of players for SWTOR, and all together they may significantly reduce beginning subscriber numbers, which will put the game at a great Financial disadvantage.

One relief will be that these games, like their many predecessors, aught to turn into passing crazes, and within six months to a year their players will be looking for something new, and that might just be Star Wars The Old Republic.

One thing slightly more involved about this will be the demographics playing the various games. Unsurprisingly most of the roleplayers *cough*carebears*cough* will not turn to these other games, so at least for the first few months SWTOR may see far more than its fair share of tea parties, in game weddings and general over-simplification of perfectly functioning aspects of the game.

One thing is for sure, Bioware is sure to know of these expected difficulties, which may see them lash out on advertising far in excess of what may have been originally expected. Even thought this may only attract the minimum number to begin with, over time these investments should yield more players, which may overall make for a stronger game.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - July 27, 2011 at 22:13

Categories: Gameplay, Misc   Tags: , , , , ,

Current Testers Keeping their Secrets

Testing of SWTOR

Testing of SWTOR

After being chosen to play Star Wars The Old Republic all players must agree to reveal nothing about the game to the outside world. Even further, they are encouraged to not even tell friends and fellow gamers that they have even be admitted to the test.

So far we have yet to have any major leakages from testing, but the developers and fans alike know that it is just a matter of time before one of the testers grows disgruntled and spills the beans.

Although this would undoubtedly be easy to do, such a culprit may well find themselves in a world of Legal Ramifications , especially if they do a good job of informing the public as to the contents of the game. In the past we have seen similar things, with testers being sued by companies after they decided they had had enough of the silence, and pushed ahead with their own Agenda.

Although it may be tempting for a would be conspirator to spill the beans, we have been assured repeatedly by the developers at Bioware that such an action would not only be foolish, but that it will hold back the game’s release and almost certainly invite legal action. That aside, it would also ensure that said player would never be allowed to play the game post release.

Tests are always a trying time for any development studio, and the early testing of SWTOR has been no exception. However, so far players have done a great job of playing by the rules and if this continues we may even see the game released early.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - July 21, 2011 at 22:00

Categories: Misc, Testing   Tags: , , , , , ,

Friday Featuring SWTOR

This weeks Friday Feature goes over some of the most recent fan art straight out of the forums of The Old Republic.

More and more we are seeing fans do request driven art works, which seems to be a good way for them to make friends, connections, and money. Many new players and aspiring artists have tried their hands over the last few weeks. This has included many of the less skilled participants, which really has brought a shine to the artworks of the more experienced contributors.

However, that is not to say that even fan art from the most handicapped of participants is not worthwhile. As can be seen from their numerous Friday Features on the subject, developers use the fan art for inspiration, and to see what players ideally want the game to be like.

One thing that has yet to be done is a centralised database for the different artists and their work. Perhaps it would be a good weekend project for fans with a little knowledge in web design. An accompanying forum would also undoubtedly be quite popular, and could be used to attract many of the players who currently keep their trolling to the forums.

For the next few months leading up to release there are sure to be many more artists bursting onto the scene, which should encourage new works, hopefully deviating from the endless characterchures produced so far.

It seems that Friday features have focused almost solely on Fan art and blogs, which will hopefully change as the game edges closer to release.

A Fan's impression of their future character.

A Fan's impression of their future character.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - July 5, 2011 at 17:04

Categories: Misc   Tags: , , , , ,


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