I don't play many games. Pretty much zero. It's embarrassing to admit, but I received an Xbox 360 for my birthday earlier this year, and I've barely played. I know. Please don't hit me. I didn't ask for it. Before the Xbox and Fables III, the last video game I played with any regularity was the Legend of Zelda on a Nintendo 64. I haven't tried playing anything made for the computer for longer than ten minutes since the days of junior high and Oregon Trail.
It's not that I dislike games. I do. Just too much. When I dive in and pick up the controller, I can't stop. I play for hours on end without shame. I feel like I can't give in. Still. I can't deny that news of the upcoming Star Wars MMO from Bioware, Star Wars: The Old Republic, didn't catch my attention. I've been wanting to try a roleplaying game but never felt World of Warcraft or something similar was for me. There wasn't any draw for me to check it out. Star Wars has built in appeal. I've overheard others saying the same thing I'm thinking, "I don't play games, I don't play MMOs, but I have to try this game." Star Wars is a big part of it, but the trailers showcase impressive visuals. A new trailer was just released in the past few days. Watch it and drool.
The demo I played at New York Comic Con pushed me from thinking I would probably play to knowing I'd definitely be buying the game. I sampled enough to know I will get to experience balanced storytelling and fighting (I don't want to just kill things) and that playing an online roleplaying game is very much like playing D&D. By that, I mean I could readily translate what happens when I roll dice and make alignment based decisions to this online environment. The story plays out like a "choose your own adventure" novel. Voice actors recorded a jaw-dropping number of hours of dialogue and responses for each possible option and story.
Besides the character conversations, hours of original scores were written for the game, too. Multiple composers worked on the themes. The new music is woven with familiar John Williams pieces. Since his scores are the oxygen of Star Wars, it's an effective way to tie the Old Republic time period - a few thousand years BBY - to the events of A New Hope.
The visual aspect of the game environment isn't too shabby either. The computers in the demo pavilion were of course amped up to show the game at its finest, but I feel like it will retain the look on my laptop. The list of available characters seemed long to me, and you can play Light side or Dark side. Each character comes with a specific set of abilities. After I chose to be a Jedi Consular, I obtained a mission-quest-thing almost immediately. The game was easy to navigate (though I admit to having some trouble with the keyboard shortcuts initially), and I was killing Flesh Raiders and completing quest goals in no time. The guy showing me the game was very patient with my uh, inadequacies and inability to read a map. I am such a Padawan.
I played just long enough to know that when I buy the game, I'll have to set an alarm to moderate my playing. If I end up playing with friends (you can play alone or in a group), I'm sure I'll be ignoring the alarm.
Star Wars: The Old Republic will be available on December 20. Pre-order your copy today.