Why Star Wars: The Old Republic is better than another KOTOR

If you’re a fan of MMOs, last week was pretty damn exciting for you. BioWare announced they would be adapting the beloved Star Wars universe, and the equally beloved Knights of the Old Republic franchise, into a massively multiplayer online experience.

However, if you’re a fan of just Star Wars... or just Knights of the Old Republic... or just not the MMO genre... then last week probably ranged somewhere between “bit of a letdown” to “huge disappointment.” You desperately want to continue supporting your favorite universe and your favorite game series, but seriously, an MMO? This about sums it up.

We know. We were once as skeptical as you, but after sitting in on the official announcement at LucasArts headquarters, we’ve come away eager and excited all over again. Here are the six things that convinced us, quoted from a roundtable discussion with the game’s lead writer.

The story still matters. The story is still Star Wars.

Daniel Erickson, Lead Writer on Star Wars: The Old Republic:

“It is 3,600 years before the movies. It is 300 years after Knights of the Old Republic 2.

The Sith Empire shows up and surprise attacks the Galactic Republic. Pretty much totals them, then calls for a truce, to which the Jedi say, ‘No, it’s a trap.’ The Republic says ‘We have to do it,’ and while they’re off signing the treaty, the Sith Empire slaughters all their major people and sacks Coruscant. This forces them into a much, much worse truce in which they must give up all sorts of different planets. Now we have a Cold War scenario with border wars and skirmishes happening.

When the game starts, the truce is going to break. Everyone knows it – the big war is coming.”

Don’t like MMOs? Think of The Old Republic as KOTOR multiplied.

“RPGs for BioWare are always built on four pillars. Combat, exploration, progression... and story. You put all these things on a truck and you drove them to MMO land, but one of them fell out and never got there. When we started talking about doing a BioWare MMO, it was obvious to us that you have to have all four things.

Stories frozen in time aren’t stories. A story that goes nowhere isn’t a story. Most MMOs have background, and the people you meet have a story. But you don’t have a story. Your story doesn’t progress, characters don’t change and nothing you do does anything. You don’t have a story - you have a background.  When the whole twist is that the villain secretly wants you to kill him because he has problems with his mother, nobody cares. But everyone cared about the KOTOR twist because it said ‘this is about you.’

If you’re someone who doesn’t play MMOs but loves BioWare games... If you’re thinking, ‘I just wish they made another KOTOR,’ you could pick up this game and just have your multiple KOTORs. We’re doing more content than all other BioWare games combined. You could get the exact same experience you were expecting to get. Only you cannot pause the server.”

Choosing between classes is like choosing between KOTORs.

“You have a different story depending on what class you pick, and that class story is going to take you from the beginning to the end. It’s not, ‘Level 10 – hey, I got a Jedi quest!’ It’s the context and feel of your entire experience in the game, resulting in the most unique stories we’ve ever written.

In Baldur’s Gate, we didn’t know if you were a Druid, a Warrior or a Mage. We didn’t know what your fantasy was, so we told a very classic story. Now, we know you are a Sith. You are training on Korriban and you were born in the Sith Empire; this is who you are and this is how society expects you to behave; here are your choices and here are your decisions. For all intents and purposes, when you choose Sith you are saying, ‘I want to play the Sith RPG.’  Which gives us the ability to not only tell these specific stories, but to tell stories that never would have been told... especially when you get into the classes that we can’t talk about today.

I would love to say that there was a quest that made sense for both Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader to do. We never found one. Not even one. So if you play this game as a Jedi, and then you play as a Sith, you will not see one piece of repeated story content. Not one quest, not one line. The contextualization is all important. If your fantasy is running around as Vader, you better feel like Vader all the time.”


  • shtbag01 - November 11, 2008 8:55 p.m.

    i think this star wars game is going to kick ass i love mmos i play wow and gw all the time and now i have old republic to look forward to i cant wait for this 1
  • secondshooter - November 2, 2008 3:02 p.m.

    Cool. I'm beginning to be convinced. I just hope that you don't have to pay to play.
  • Sebastian16 - November 2, 2008 5:12 a.m.

    When this official announcement came out, I looked for it with the extremely high hopes of it dispelling the 'KOTOR MMO' rumor...This news really, really, really disapointed. First off, why is it set so far in the future? I want to know what happened with Revan, the Exile and a of the other characters from KOTORs 1 and 2, while this may explain it, it's not what I was looking for. Another thing, I personally hate MMOs. I played WoW for about a year, got sick of it, tried some others, and they're all the same; I despise them. Maybe, just maybe, if this was an MMO set right after KOTOR 2's events, I would be interested (But then again, I'd be paying a monthly fee, another detail that makes me want to sucker-punch the Bioware developers). And while the person they interviewed knew what he was talking about, and made it sound semi-appealing, I'm not changing my stance - This is probably the biggest gaming let-down I've had in a very long time.
  • SpikeDelight - October 31, 2008 5:59 a.m.

    I've been looking to get into an MMO but every time I tried out WoW or anything else there was something missing. Apparently this game is going to be that MMO for me. I love Star Wars and I love Bioware and I love what they're doing with this game. This will be so worth putting all that time in because not only are you playing a fun game but you're immersed in a universe that is actually recognizable and means something to you (or at least to me). The Star Wars universe is way more interesting and has a richer history than Azeroth imo but that's just me. Anyway, I'm so excited for this game!
  • jacob_kreed - October 31, 2008 5:37 a.m.

    KOTOR was and is still best Star Wars out there. MMO's Extra Cost, Online, No Life, Lag... BIOWARE will hopefully bring out a offline game afterwards
  • Icehearted - October 31, 2008 2:10 a.m.

    A multilayer Old Republic sounds like it could have some potential, but then the MMO community is usually immature, selfish, unfriendly, racist, sexist, elitist, etc. Do I really want a pay a monthly fee to grind away for hours on boring tasks (it is a staple of the genre, like it *HA* or not)? Do I really want my Old Republic experience, the fun I may or may not have, the play, everything to be decided at the whim of 12-17 year olds looking to "pwn" me for "epic lulz"? I've played quite a few MMO games, and I remember them all the same way; miserable, boring grindfests full of immature, nasty, poorly governed players. Every time I've quit playing one I've been happier for doing so. KOTOR 3 would have been more welcome. This transparent attempt to milk my wallet by tapping into the cash cow that Blizzard has flourished in is a huge turn off.
  • Gowsy - October 30, 2008 10:56 p.m.

    I love the link to the gif, it summed up my feelings instantly, good job!
  • DarthSereno21 - October 30, 2008 10:47 p.m.

    Sounds cool. I'll get it if comes out on 360.
  • LordRevan111 - October 30, 2008 10:16 p.m.

    I agree with Prospero, I loved the KOTOR games, and if it's 300 years later. . . how does that same story continue?
  • benjitenji - October 30, 2008 9:38 p.m.

    looks a bit like fun, but not much till i know if itl be a AMMO (action massive multiplayer online game, such as one where it takes skill to win, not just click to attack and thats it) or a regular click to attack mmo,if its AMMO i think itl be cool, but if its not, BOOOO!
  • Prospero - October 30, 2008 8:17 p.m.

    eh..I guess. Individually, im still not convinced. I just dont play MMOs. I know they can be fun but im just not interested in them. I even bought guild wars, and havent played it since the first day. Im hoping this game could perhaps steer my interests in MMOs because im in love with KOTOR, but i just dont know...
  • LordRevan111 - November 12, 2008 10:38 p.m.

    Yeah, i'm hopin that maybe later there'll be a KOTOR 3. . . Probably not though
  • Octaviux - November 8, 2008 8:29 a.m.

    Looking forward to this, was so let down by SWG after following it for over 2 years before it launched
  • idunno - November 2, 2008 8:11 p.m.

    I kinda want to know exactly what happened to Revan. The first Fable and KOTOR were the games that got me into RPGs and so I've become attatched to Revan. 300 years in the furture all we know is that Revan disappeared because of these Sith.
  • zerog69 - November 1, 2008 4:44 a.m.

    I am the biggest fan of KOTAR and of Bioware. I absolutely loved the first two KOTAR's and I loved Mass Effect enough to buy the books before the game came out to get the story pre-game action. With all that said, I have to say that making the KOTAR games into an MMO is by far the biggest let down of my year. I just knew that EA would not leave my Bioware alone. Sure they have all the money to back anything but Bioware was already doing it right....WHY mess with something that is already so Golden? I've got to agree with Icehearted on this one. WHY? WHY? WHY?
  • LordRevan111 - November 1, 2008 12:58 a.m.

    Yeah, i'm now even MORE pissed off about no KOTOR 3 Damn you boiware
  • BoondockSaint54 - October 31, 2008 6:47 p.m.

    I was really looking forward to this but I don't think I'm going to get to play it since it's on PC only. I was hoping it'd at least be released on the 360.
  • gaseoussnake - October 31, 2008 3:16 p.m.

    This makes me smile
  • jar-head - October 31, 2008 3:11 p.m.

    i used to play swg, hence the title Jarhead, cause i was what, second in command of an entire servers spy's? cause i was the luckiest sob on it? this looks like a bold bold move by bioware, but hey, servers through most mmog's are being "upgraded" atleast bioware isnt "shutting" down the servers, like most of everyone feared. this looks bold, but smart.
  • Z-man427 - October 31, 2008 6:45 a.m.

    looks good, but like Mass Effect, probably won;t be a game for me interesting side not, about a game where choices affect the out come... my Capcha Code is "moral seldom"

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