SWTOR: Utinni!

June 8, 2011

I didn’t follow E3 as closely today, playing some catch up with my work instead (on account of all the time I puttered away yesterday, watching all the presentations). I did, however, catch a couple of Star Wars: The Old Republic live streams and features.

One of them was a live demo session hosted by Daniel Erickson from the show floor, answering fan questions and showcasing a Bounty Hunter questing on the planet of Tatooine. The video can be viewed here.

My interest was piqued immediately, for not only is the Bounty Hunter my class of choice, BioWare had also been teasing Tatooine for a couple weeks now and I was really looking forward to seeing it. Everything sort of fled my mind, however, the moment they revealed Blizz the little Jawa companion. Tally another point under the “Reasons to play a Bounty Hunter” column, please!

Oh em gee, will you just look at how cute and cuddly he is. Though, I almost choked to death on my Coke when someone actually asked if he was romance-able (he’s not, thank god). Sorry, but that’s just wrong. Sooo wrong.

They’ve done a wonderful job on the environment; despite the lowered graphic settings for the live stream, everything still looked very beautiful and Tatooine-y. Oh, and massive. Something tells me I’ll be extremely grateful for my speeder “mount” for traveling. Other highlights — a med probe ability that acts similarly to the Rift “soulwalk” when you die, unlimited inventory space for quest items, ability to switch out your companions on the fly for convenience while soloing or grouping, and many other quality-of-life features.

You can’t sell your companions, which was sort of obvious to me, but I still couldn’t help but be amused by Erickson’s answer of no slavery in the Old Republic — if only because it reminded me of how long I’ve personally pondered the ethics of selling, trading, and even sending your bridge officers through the mail like some kind of human chattel in Star Trek Online. Heh.

The other live stream I watched was the short interview on SWTOR raids (which they call “Operations”), as well as the trailer for the Eternity Vault encounter on Belsavis:

You know what it reminded me of? Oddly enough, Episode II. Yep, Attack of the Clones. Battle of Geonosis. The scene where Padme finally professes to Anakin that she truly…deeply…loves him (like, really?) before they and Obi-Wan are hauled off to become creature food, and Mace Windu and his 212-member Jedi strike team have to step in at the nick of time to rescue their asses. The scene where, outnumbered 50 to 1, the Jedi fight to the end in a charlie foxtrot of running feet, flying blaster bolts and flashing lightsabers, utter chaos exploding in every corner of the arena.

In short, Geonosis was a complete gong show and it was the first thing I thought of. Not that that’s a criticism of the above trailer, however. On the contrary. Large-scale battles like that should be messy, they should be chaotic. I thought some of the game footage they showed captured that vibe very well. That said, there were glimpses of what appeared to be boss fights, but also many encounters where the players split up to engage multiple enemies — the latter is what I hope we’ll get to see more of. In any case, I don’t know what else to make of SWTOR raids yet, with still so little to go on.

I did also manage to catch the Nintendo unveiling of the WiiU this afternoon. This year seems to be all about the possibilities for me. The possibility of me actually using a Wii product again for something else other than exercising and work out games if I got the touchscreen controller. The possibility I might actually be drawn into the world of handheld gaming by the Playstation Vita. The possibility I might finally have enough reasons to get a Kinect. All prospects, but nothing really jumped out at me.

My main interest still lies more in MMOs than in consoles or anything, though I’ve enjoyed every minute of the coverage over the last couple of days on games like Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed Revelations and even Neverwinter.


  1. Not enough jawas. I’ve thought that for a long time. I guess this means every class will get their comic relief. I hope the droid for the smuggler isn’t mine. Droid comedy relief has been done.

    • Droid seems like it could be for the Jedi Knight, though I’m sure other classes may have other models. In any case, I wouldn’t worry about the Smuggler, comedic relief seems to be his forte πŸ˜€

      It would have been cool if ewoks were in the game…but apparently, no Endor in TOR, no ewoks 😦

  2. Not watching the trailer. Not watching the trailer. Not watching the trailer…

    Whew, that was close, I almost watched it anyway!

    By the way, the WiiU is a whole new console not just a touchpad controller for the existing Wii so unless you’re prepared to drop more cash on the WiiU you can probably remove possibilities of playing your Wii.

    • Thanks for the info, it was surprisingly hard to find clarification. Though I suppose if it’s going all HD now with so many more features, it would HAVE to be a new console, wouldn’t it.

      Probably won’t drop cash on it then, even with the revelation about third parties and Nintendo “growing up”. It’s too late, I’ve got my Xbox already for many of those games.

  3. so what? Jawas are not allowed to love and be loved back…

    … truly a sad day for us Jawa lovers.

    • Sure, Jawas can love and be loved back too…just find another Jawa to do it πŸ˜›

      To be honest, they simply remind me too much of children in their robes with their voices… O_o

  4. And just what is wrong with romancing a Jawa? Not only are they shrewed businessmen, but possible worldwide ambassador’s, and insanely cute, if i had a female character, she’d definitely romance the Jawa without question!

    • Good point. I’d be willing to go into business with my Jawa companion, not into bed πŸ˜‰

  5. All this info has been really hard on my work projects as well. I’m trying to play some catch up on today’s news during my lunch break and just can’t keep up with it all!
    I watched the live feed too, it was exciting watching that counter keep scrolling up past 10K viewers and seeing the questions pop up.
    I had to laugh at some of the questions like the Jawa romance and cheer over the inventory demo as well as know I will not be subjected to man eating teddy bears (Ewoks) in the game.
    There were a lot of little things that made me smile (being able to ride all the way through tunnels without getting kicked off your speeder for one). The jokes about release date questions and the silly forum devs in fire post that seems to have taken on a life of its own, were all part of that live streaming feeling.
    After watching a lot of the game footage and the cinematics, I’m starting to think that I may not get around to any of the end game content they are showing for a while. I’ll be too busy playing each and every single class available first. πŸ™‚

    • Oh there was a joke on the fire post? For some reason I totally missed that, must have been off getting a drink or daydreaming about krayt dragons at the time! But that’s awesome πŸ˜€

      I’m curious as to what endgame will be like. I’ve never been big on endgame in MMOs in general, since I lose interest quick. Unless SWTOR does something very different, I can’t see myself being converted in the long run, so maybe not ever getting to endgame on account of being too distracted by every single class story wouldn’t be so bad for me πŸ˜› For myself, the joy of an MMO has always been the leveling, the journey, the experience πŸ™‚

      • Yeah, someone asked a question about Devs in fire and Stephen passed that one through with a chuckle.
        There is a certain epic quality to well done raids that you just don’t get from other game activities. The footage I’ve seen so far makes me really hopeful that the large group dynamic will feel amazing, at least for the first few times you do it. If they can manage to keep that sense of awe and wonder and adrenaline going for many times through their operations, I’ll be pretty happy. It may devolve into the usual get gear to get more gear that a lot of MMO end games do, but it looks like it will be a wild ride along the way.

  6. The presentation of Mass Effect 3 from the EA press conference left my jaw hanging open. They certainly chose an epic part of the game to display for the event.

    The gameplay on Tatooine really fulfilled all of what I was hoping to see from the planet. It’s massive, I’m going to enjoy touring it on a speeder, there’s a Jawa companion (lucky BHs), and I dig the terrain. This is even from a toned down version of the game. Daniel E made it clear they had to lower the graphical settings in order for the presentation to be as smooth as possible. Considering the massive amount of web traffic that must occur at a convention as prolific as E3, I don’t doubt this was damn near mandatory (the lowering of settings). I look forward to the day I can roam it on my own toon.

    The Eternity Vault video was cool, but I admit it was probably cooler to my friends who love hardcore raiding. For me, I couldn’t help but notice the Sith Warriors Force Charging up to the top of those tall gun turrets. As soon as I get my Jugg rolled and have access to that ability, I’m going to go buck wild. I’ll probably be that random SW people see on Dromund Kaas using critters to leap frog from balcony to balcony.

    Other than what was seen of SWTOR, I’ve kind of tuned out of E3 a bit. I think maybe it’s because E3 is so much more press-driven than other cons, like PAX Prime & East, and Gamescom. I’m sure my focus will get more solid once those cons roll around (especially if SWTOR announces a release date there *crosses fingers*).

    All in all, I’m pleased with what SWTOR showed at E3. If not simply for the content shown, then also for the hope it brings.

    There are no more pillars of an MMO that BioWare has yet to unveil.

    Instancing, raiding, crafting, they are all there now.

    All that is left is polish, then release.

    This long ass 2-year journey looks to finally be coming to a close. I look forward to it.

    • After seeing the walkthrough on the website in all its glory, I’m just completely wowed by Tatooine. It was probably one of my least favorite planets in the game at first. I mean, we’ve seen so many of its reincarnations in movies, games, cartoons, comics, what have you. And let’s face it, it’s kinda barren out there. But somehow, BioWare still managed to make it look interesting…and great. People who were critiquing the features and saying it doesn’t look like anything new or exciting…where’s their sense of wonder and exploration? How can you watch that and not get chills about the idea of wandering that great wide world?

      Anyway, I agree, Eternity Vault would probably look much cooler to dedicated raiders. I’ll raid in SWTOR initially, I have no doubt of that. But I wonder how long it will keep my interest. I’m definitely no hardcore raider, so if it’s ultimately going to be a gear grind, I’ll probably find myself starting alts and working on the other class stories instead.

  7. […] since last June when we first found out about Blizz, obtaining an adorable Jawa companion had been one of my […]

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