Archive for July 2nd, 2010

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Multiplayer Combat In The Old Republic

July 2, 2010

What they mean when they say "heroic" combat?

It was a bit of a wait for the Star Wars: The Old Republic Friday Update today, but I personally felt it was worth it. Bioware unveiled a multiplayer gameplay demo that’s similar to the G4 video we saw at E3, but now we can view the whole battle and see what’s happening a lot more clearly.

In an older post about the “MMO Holy Trinity”, I talked about how I was happy to see it alive and well in SWTOR. Even so, I also expressed a desire for a more dynamic trinity. I mean, at this point I’m pretty sick of the whole 5-to-25-guys-beating-on-a-single-big-boss scenario. Crowd control also needs to be more interesting, not this process that involves sheeping/shackling/banishing/rooting/freezing/sleeping/sapping etc. a mob and then not having to worry about it for the next 10 seconds or whatever. It would also be nice if everyone had their own enemies to take on, and individual dangers to worry about. Oh, and please, no “let’s just AoE the crap outta them” encounters.

“Dynamic” basically means I want MMO battles to feel more like real fights, alive with all its moving parts. And I have to say, the new demo video comes frighteningly close to what I had in mind.

Though it appears a main tank (the Trooper) is still required to take on the strongest mobs, the Jedi Knight’s no slouch either. He rushes ahead alongside the Trooper in order to engage the smaller enemies. At the end of the fight, the Jedi Knight and the Smuggler also work together to take down an Imperial lieutenant, with the latter providing some back up healing while the former takes the aggro. The Jedi Consular healer, managing the group’s health bars, uses her lightsaber to fight a little and throws out the force when the repair droids enter the fray. I know some people were pretty disappointed in the aloofness of her role in the G4 demo video, but you can see this time she’s really tearing things up (and no wonder, as it turns out she was being played by the awesome Sean Dahlberg)!

Even though we’ve seen some of the content already, this demo is much better than the G4 video. It was a good opportunity to observe the Republic classes in action (and their introductions at the beginning were very cute), using their abilities in battle to complement each other.  I know this is just a low-level encounter, but things look promising.