Star Wars: The Old Republic Previews: Full Beta Preview at

In my various opportunities to play Star Wars: The Old Republic, I’ve never actually played on the Republic side of things, that is, until recently. You see, the kind folks over at BioWare finally allowed the press to sample Star Wars: The Old Republic for an extended period of time and within the comfort of our own homes, though we’ll only be looking at the Republic side of things this time around.

As the team here divvied up our class assignments, I naturally jumped on the Trooper, which was the first class I wanted to play in Star Wars: The Old Republic before I found out there would be an Imperial Agent. Don’t get me wrong, I want to swing a lightsaber just as most of you do, but there is something cool about just being the guy (or gal, in this instance) with a (BIG) gun.

Tell Me a Story

I’m not going to get too specific on some story elements in order to avoid spoilers (though there may be some; you’ve been warned!), but I will touch on the various themes and experiences I played through along the way. Now, with that out of the way…

Your story in Star Wars: The Old Republic begins just like any Star Wars film, with the Star Wars theme blaring as you’re treated to an opening crawl detailing the basic story of your chosen class. Once the crawl completes, the camera pans down into a space scene involving a starship, which is of course a nod to every Star Wars film made. If you’ve never noticed this, well, now you know.

Troopers start out on the mountainous planet of Ord Mantell as a new member of the Republic special forces team Havoc Squad. The first minute or so involved my character being briefed on the situation on the ground by one of my fellow Havoc Squad members while riding aboard a Republic dropship. Things quickly take a turn for the worse as the dropship takes enemy fire, prompting the pilot to make an emergency landing. As the exit ramp opens, I am treated to a wide view of the war torn planet of Ord Mantell before I step out and put my boots firmly on the ground.

Given the warm welcome, it’s pretty easy to tell things are going to get real pretty soon, and BioWare doesn’t disappoint. The soldiers I encountered on my way to the planet’s main Republic base all needed my help, and as they made their desperate pleas for assistance, there was no shortage of the sounds of blaster fire and explosions occurring nearby.

The overall scope of the Trooper’s origin world story centers on the Republic’s struggle against a separatist movement on the planet and the danger of a stolen Republic bomb.  Along the way, I participated in a variety of side quests involving assisting the local population or various members of the Republic military. The class story content and objectives were quite compelling, and the side quests felt fitting, though many of the actual objectives were fairly standard stuff. The addition of story really spices up the formula, however. I certainly can’t stress that enough. If I never see another text box, it wouldn’t be too soon!

The game opened up a lot more once I left Ord Mantell (where I only saw other Troopers and Smugglers) and made my way to Coruscant. Before arriving on Coruscant, I traveled to the Carrick space station in the midst of the Republic fleet. This is the Republic social hub shown off during the TOR main panel at New York Comic-Con last week. The station is indeed filled with vendors, a cantina, class and crafting trainers, and a jump off point to launch Flashpoints. It was a pretty neat spot, but felt sort of inorganic. It almost felt like a bit of a shopping mall in space. Everything is neatly placed and organized in an intelligent and convenient fashion, which is great for gameplay purposes but really not much else.

In order to head to Coruscant, I could opt to take a basic shuttle straight from the station to the planet or a VIP ship called The Esseles, which is a Flashpoint that would eventually bring me to Coruscant at the end. The basic story behind the Esseles is that an important Republic Ambassador is on board and one of the Sith Empire’s top brass is keen on capturing her. As members of the Republic, we’re obviously not interested in giving her up that easily (well, maybe), so this prompts the Imperial Moff to launch a boarding attack on the ship. The result is a fairly awesome dungeon crawl set up for four players to run through, participate in dialogue, and make important choices that directly affect the way certain parts of the Flashpoint play out. The Flashpoint was peppered with all manner of cinematic set pieces, especially the last boss fight, which was absolutely epic to say the least. It was a real hoot to play through it alongside other players.


Star Wars: The Old Republic Previews

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