Posts Tagged ‘Galaxies’

Strong Pre-Order numbers for SWTOR

In an annual report released yesterday by Bioware, among the pages of budgeting and productivity reports, discerning fans of Star Wars The Old Republic saw that the game, still months from release has already broken 36 thousand subscribers.

In a somewhat surprising move it seems the developers of the game have neglected to mention this on their website, even though it seems like a very impressive statistic. However, this may be just a temporary business decision, as they may wait until the number reaches another substantial milestone, such as 50 thousand.

With the date for release officially ‘set in stone’ for the 20th of December, it is somewhat surprising that so many players would be interested in securing the game so far ahead of time. Previous games, even ones as large as World of Warcraft, did not have nearly this many subscribers such a distance before they would actually enter the game.

It is probably no coincidence that the release date has been scheduled for the 20th, four days after the planned shut down of the previous Star Wars MMORPG, Star Wars Galaxies. Perhaps Lucasarts’ juggling of these dates is why it took so long to have a confirmed release for SWTOR, as they want to transfer as many players as possible straight from one to the other.

Since the announcement of SWTOR there has been almost continual speculation as to how the two games will coexist, which has thankfully been put to rest with the conclusion of one chapter in the Star Wars game-saga, and the opening of another. Lets just hope the strong subscriber numbers will reflect the strength of Star Wars The Old Republic when it is released, or we may find a lot of players wishing to move back to their previous game, which will no longer be there.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - September 28, 2011 at 12:09

Categories: Classes, Gameplay   Tags: , , , , , ,

Players drown in sorrow over lack of SWTOR Swimming

A hot topic of contest on the official forums over the last few days has been swimming in SWTOR.

At the recent PAX convention players who were able to enjoy the game for the first time found this surprising fact, and that was there is no swimming engine in Star Wars The Old Republic.

In many ways, this is not completely unsurprising. For decades many games have done without swimming, preferring to just have players that fall into water die. This saves a lot of space as the 3d engines and animations required are usually quite complex, which may be why the lack of this skill in video game characters has been so prevalent.

Even big blockbuster games such as Assassins creed did not have swimming engines, and the edition of one in the sequel was one of the major selling point. We remember 1/4 of the back panel being dedicated to just telling reads that in this game ‘You can swim!’

Without swimming in TOR we are likely to just see water as impossible to enter. This means the developers will probably not put much liquid in their terrain designs, and if pushed may try adding it in the form of Lava or Acid so they have some reason for killing off players who would be foolish enough to enter.

Many players have been complaining on the forums about the lack of a swimming engine, and fingers have been pointed in the directions of a number of developers who evidently must be responsible for this particular outrage.

SWTOR’s major predecessor Star Wars Galaxies got around the need for a swimming engine by just allowing players to traverse the surface. Although unrealistic, this did work quite well and is a perfectly viable option for Bioware to implement if they feel like adding swimming as a minor expansion some time after release.

Regardless of our characters aquatic abilities, we are still eagerly awaiting Star Wars The Old Republic and are keen to hear any news of development advancements!

We'll see none of this in SWTOR.

We'll see none of this in SWTOR.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - April 16, 2011 at 22:48

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

Star Wars Galaxies

Star Wars Galaxies Logo

Star Wars Galaxies

Unlinke SWTOR, Star Wars Galaxies has been around for a long time. Released in 2003, it has had seven years to mature and grow. Nobody will argue that these years have been a wild ride for the game. There were some ups, as well as a few very well known downs. These were of course the combat upgrade and new game enhancements, which were met with unanimous negative reviews, and saw a serious drop in subscriber numbers. If anything is learned by the developers of SWTOR from their predecessor, it is to avoid changes like this.

That aside, Star Wars Galaxies provided an unparalleled Star Wars universe, where players could really choose their own path unlike any game, then or now. This is one area in which SWTOR falls down, as it seems it is not trying, and will never be able to, compete with the sandbox nature of Galaxies which attracted many in the first place.

SWG Space Ship with 3D Enabled

SWG Space Ship with 3D Enabled

In many ways, Galaxies seems superior to the upcoming Old Republic. It’s space system was far more open, players were free to do what they pleased, and there were complex and challenging resource and crafting systems. Also incorporated were involved and detailed ship customisation sub-games which were both interesting, and generated a lot of repeatable content for players to continue¬†optimising¬†their craft.

The Player versus Player system in Star Wars Galaxies was also one of the better ones from any MMORPG today. Like the rest of the game, it was very open, and battles could and did take place anywhere around the galaxy, although they did tend to concentrate at a few heavily contested locations (Restuss anyone?). Large fights were possible anywhere, although there was usually significantly latency due to the poor servers employed by SOE (One of the games major flaws). So far, SWTOR does not seem to support such large scale conflicts, which has displeased many of its most avid supporters.

Player Combat in SWG

Player Combat in SWG

The graphics of galaxies were also somewhat more realistic than those of SWTOR, which has chosen to take a more cartoon-esque approach to visuals. As can be seen in the space ship screen-shot above, the game also supported various forms of 3D viewing, with cheap anaglyph methods available to all, whilst those with more advanced computer monitors could take advantage of polarised or shutter glasses.

Although the developers of Star Wars Galaxies did make many mistakes, they also did many things right. Their MMORPG still having a steady subscriber base as it approaches its eighth anniversary only confirms this. There are many things that Bioware can learn from Galaxies, and if done well and with patience, they should be able to, in SWTOR, avoid many of the problems of their predecessor, and incorporate many of the positive points.

Over all SWG achieves a 8.5/10 rating. Although a lot has changed since its release 7 years ago, the current game is well made and entertaining.

Pros:

  • Involved crafting, equipment and space customisation systems.
  • Entertaining player combat.
  • Large open range game world.
  • Good grouping, guilding and community tools.

Cons:

  • Excessive lag.
  • Very demanding on computer resources.
  • Currently low-ish subscriber numbers.
  • Some irritating bugs and game mechanics
Screenshot from Star Wars Galaxies

A screenshot from Star Wars Galaxies

For you Galaxies veterans and collectors, one of the rare Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided Collectors Edition packs is for sale on Amazon.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - February 9, 2011 at 02:42

Categories: Other Games   Tags: , , , , ,