An IGN preview yesterday confirmed that yes, we will be getting player ships in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Like everyone else, I got pretty excited about this and the “robust customization package” that will allow me make my personal starship unique. But I gotta say, another part of me already expected all of this. After all, you can’t expect anyone to make a Star Wars MMO in this day and age and not provide spaceships and a ton of customization options in it, especially not after an announcement that you’re EA’s “largest ever” project in the history of the company.
That said, I also speculate that player ships will have a much larger role in SWTOR than simply being pieces of eye candy that we can ogle and show off to other players.
Space travel? This is probably a given, seeing how it’s such a huge part of the Star Wars experience, not to mention there’s also more than a dozen planets we can travel to and explore. I mean, it’s entirely possible that it might all just boil down to a few cut scenes and atmospheric space flight, but I strive to be a positive thinker — I think there’s actually going to be a much bigger space component involved.
Player housing? I’m thinking Knights of the Old Republic here, where the Ebon Hawk served as a hotspot to interact with and choose your companions before a mission. Still, I think player housing should be more than just a place to stash your junk and companions. Now I’m thinking Star Trek Online, where my bridge was nothing more than a non-functional space where I would sit in the captain’s chair and watch as my bridge officers went about their tasks while completely ignoring me. That’s just not true “player housing” to me, not without the functionality and ways to customize and interact with the ship interior.
Nothing in the IGN article says anything about interiors, but I’m optimistic here as well. Star Wars Galaxies is purported to have one of the best player housing systems out there, and we know for a fact there are former SWG devs working on the SWTOR team, so at least someone over there should know how to do it right. Also, when it comes to the matter of functionality, I have to wonder if we’ll be getting areas used for crafting on our ships. I’m thinking about KOTOR again, of course, where we were given a workbench aboard the Ebon Hawk to modify our weapons and equipment.
Space combat? Well, that’s the million dollar question now, isn’t it? I’ve made a friendly wager with Hunter over the topic, and I’m just going to reiterate my predictions here. My guess? There’s going to be some form of space combat. Again, this kinda goes back to the whole “you don’t make a 100 million dollar game without planning for this sort of thing” thought that I had (and especially not if you’re going to take on an IP like Star Wars) so the only question that remains for me, really, is: If there is going to be space combat, how well will they pull it off?
Will it be minimal? A KOTOR type activity where you spend a few minutes with a gun blasting at other ships behind a view port? Or will there be more elaborate space encounters that will actually involve ship maneuvering and complex strategies? My guess is that we’ll probably see something between these two extremes. All I know is, if space combat’s going to make it into the game, it probably won’t be trivial. I would expect it to be on par with the rest of the content, even if they’re just going to be heavily scripted space fights in instanced areas, but I’m certainly not expecting a full-blown simulator-type experience either.
This quote in the IGN preview also piqued my interest when I read it:
While the E3 demo didn’t let us go off-world, obviously a smuggler will have some advantages aboard a ship that a Sith Inquisitor will not.
This along with the details in the article that there will be ship classes (such as “Vanguard” and “Fury”) in-game are just a couple of other things that make me suspect there will be space combat in SWTOR. After all, if there was no combat, what would be the point of considering advantages and disadvantages when choosing a particular ship with which to traverse a galaxy that’s “ripe for exploration”? Granted, it’s possible this could all just be wishful thinking on the author’s part, a sentiment I can certainly relate to right now as I’m sitting here poring over the available information and over-thinking things.
Anyway, just my thoughts. Of course, I’m well aware that I may be completely off-base here, in which case, I’ll owe Hunter 10 credits.