Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Weekly Web Wrap-Wup(because four 'w's are better than three)

Hello, and welcome to a new feature on my blog, the Weekly Web Wrap-Wup. This is where I collect news from around the inter-tubes and bestow upon it my opinions and comments, and hopefully divine some answers out of the mess that is the games industry.

So, we start this week thusly:

BioWare/EA/LucasArts announce KOTOR MMO, reveal nothing at all

Yesterday at 2:00pm PST dozens of game journalists packed into what I can only think of as a massive temple, awash with Star Wars memorabilia, to bear witness to proclamations from on high. That, or they assembled in a board room to listen to representatives from the various companies talk about the new Star Wars MMORPG.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been officially announced, putting an end to speculation and rumor about the "worst-kept secret in the industry". Besides a title and a time period, nothing significant was revealed about The Old Republic. Locations, classes and minor things like space combat and even guilds were kept under wraps.

One thing that BioWare did talk about is a new addition to the MMO archetype: companions. What this boils down to is that you have an NPC character follow you around and help you out, Han Solo and Chewbacca being the example they gave. Your companion will grow with you, and you can interact with them is various ways, such as romancing them or betraying/killing them. Pretty interesting, considering that most MMOs don't really focus on player/NPC interactions. Having to baby-sit a follower could get tedious, but hopefully BioWare will iron out some of the major AI partner bugs like pathfinding and combat before this game hits the shelves.

Besides companions, BioWare also spent some time delving in the story of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Their goal is to have a fully developed story for each class, so two people playing Jedi or Sith don't have their quests intertwined. Pretty admirable if you ask me. BioWare mentioned that they won't have any "Darth Vader rescues puppies" or "collect slug-butt" quests. Sounds good to me. I'm all about stories in games, and the stories in current MMOs are pretty thin.

Overall, I'm hopeful for this game. With BioWare at the helm this game has a chance to break the stigma currently plaguing the perception of Star Wars MMOs. The release date is still pretty far off(the game is currently pre-alpha) so there's going to be a lot more Star Wars news coming our way in the future. This is one to keep an eye on.

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