Why Is Everyone So Giddy About Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Why Is Everyone So Giddy About Star Wars: The Old Republic?

by Ron Keith
The East Coast has been in the grips of a hot, stifling summer, but it has been a damp, drizzly November in the MMO gamer’s soul. This Summer saw the release of only one new major MMO —œ APB, and APB is primarily a niche MMO for PvPers. Nothing for PvEers, here. Please move along. 
In fact, the whole year has been disappointing. Well, not if you liked your single-player games. For you it was a year of pink ponies and glittery rainbows: This has been the year of Assassin’s Creed II, Red Dead Redemption, and, of course, StarCraft II. But MMO fans got Star Trek Online, Global Agenda, and APB. 
Is it any wonder MMO gamers have their eyes fixed on the horizon and their hopes firmly set on the future?
Thankfully, this Fall promises several new MMOs:  Final Fantasy XIV releases in September; DC Universe Online comes out in November; the oft-delayed Jumpgate might finally come out; and many people expect Guild Wars 2 to at least go into beta before the end of the year.
Yet many gamers have their set their sights farther into the future, looking well beyond these games. They’re looking towards June of next year, the expected release date for Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR).
Everyone is looking forward to this game. Everyone. You, your little sister, your mother, your English teacher, and the horse they all rode in on. You’re all looking forward to SWTOR. It’s still nearly a year before the game is scheduled for release and people can’t get enough of it.
Why?
Star Wars has a built-in fan base, of course. A huge fan base. A Hutt-size fan base. But that doesn’t really explain the sweaty, heart-thrumming anticipation people suffer when SWTOR is mentioned. 
For instance, DC Comics, has a pretty big fan base, too, arguably not as large a Star Wars, but still pretty big. But no one gets school-girl giddy when someone mentions DC Universe Online.
What, you don’t like Superman? Or Batman? Or Wonder Woman? 
Sure you do. But are you looking forward to DC Universe Online? Umm, maybe. Yeah, maybe.
So what’s the difference here? Both have huge fan bases. Both should be highly anticipated MMOs, right? Yet, SWTOR gets all the buzz. 
The difference is the developer. 
Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is the company behind DC Universe. You remember them. SOE was responsible for the last Star Wars MMO, Star Wars Galaxies (SWG). Remember how well they managed that? 
SOE managed to alienate a huge portion of the MMO community with its handling of SWG. In short, they took a great game, dumbed it down, and promptly lost most of their subscribers. SOE garnered a lot of ill will with MMO gamers with that one and they still haven’t quite recovered from it. Maybe DC Universe will get SOE back in everyone’s good graces. Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see, right?
All those other MMOs also have developers with spotty track records. Yeah, you might love Guild Wars and you’re likin’ what’s being said in their news releases about Guild Wars 2, but it is an NCSoft game and you know their history. Guild Wars 2 might be great or it might be Lineage. 
(Yawn.). Square Enix, the developer behind FFXIV, has a good track record, but the Final Fantasy MMOs have been hit-or-miss. And no one knows anything about the Jumpgate team. 
But SWTOR is different. The developer of SWTOR doesn’t have a spotty history and it’s not an unknown quantity. You probably know who’s developing SWTOR. That’s right. Yeah, baby. It’s Bioware!
Of course, Bioware has the advantage of not having an MMO history. They’re a new, unknown MMO quantity, sure. Maybe they’re getting a free pass because of that, but they’re not an unknown quantity. 
Bioware makes not just good games, they make great games. They make freakin’ fantastic games. Look at their history: 
Dragon Age: Origins —œ 91  (Metacritic Score)
Mass Effect 2 —œ 94 
Mass Effect —œ 89 
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic —œ 93
Neverwinters Nights —œ 91
Neverwinters Nights 2 —œ 82 (Okay, a little stumble with that one.)
Baldur’s Gate —œ 91 
Baldur’s Gate II – 88 
(Metacritic is an average review score of a game based on the scores a game receives from reviewers.)
Bioware is a winner. There’s no spotty track record here. These guys rock. They make extraordinary, high-quality games that often meet and exceed gamers’ expectations. Their games have great game play, immersive storylines, and hours upon hours of gaming joy. 
Can you imagine what they’re going to do with an MMOs? 
That’s why everyone is looking off into the distant future, all starry-eyed for SWTOR. That’s why they can’t get enough of it. That’s why they scour the intertubes for any scrap of information about what’s going on with this game. Because people love Bioware and they’re all looking forward to what Bioware does with the SWTOR.
Maybe once they’re done with Star Wars they can make a Neverwinters Night MMO. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
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