Why Star Wars: The old Republic will be released soon – and not be a flop

A commitment to Star Wars: The old Republic (ToR)

Since more than a year, one of the most anticipated games in the industry is Star Wars: The old Republic. “ToR is KoToR 3, 4 and 5”, Bioware claims. This sentence and other, surely provocative statements, rise the hype around the game.

Until today nobody knows the exact release date. Beta testers “have a feeling” that it will be on October the 4th 2011, others say that it will be christmas, others say it will be during spring next year. For me, this is pure speculation, but the truth seems to be that the game is in a really good state now. Today there are several game testing groups, playing different builds of the game. We haven’t seen a decent Fan Friday update for weeks now and no new information were released to the public for a while now.

My opinion? I think that the game will be going live soon. According to Bioware, there won’t be an open beta, like RIFT had just 4 months ago. Beta testers are saying that the game is in a really good state, but still needs adjustments and some love. The spell animations are not the best (like in WoW, e.g., unspectacular, but full of love) and some planets are not playable fully – but that’s about it. No other issues were brought up during discussions in various boards or in the comment sections of blogs publishing leaked SW:ToR material.

As a true Star Wars fan, I could not stop myself watching most of the beta videos which were released by the testers. It is remarkable that the graphics are quite good when you consider that the textures and models are all built in in a low resolution. You can see that when zooming into the pictures: It seems to be the case that the amount of polygons is very limited currently. This is properly the case because the beta wouldn’t be playable with “ultra” graphics – I guess.

However, a few months ago I feared that SW:ToR will become a flop and won’t draw enough attention in order to be the next WoW. But the fact that this new MMO will run on every machine which is capable of running WoW makes me hope for a hit and a for it to become a very time-consuming activity during my spare time (while I am not doing research for vulnerabilities or Linux stuff).

I think there is no better time to release such a game. As a matter of fact, WoW achieved something spectacular: World of Warcraft was able to “collect” millions of players worldwide from many online games and brought them all together. People with different backgrounds played together, raided, PvEed and organized themselves. Later on, many players left for masochistic reasons like Aion or Lord of the Rings online and therefore were spread all over the gaming world. True, WoW still has constantly more than 10 million active players, but most of them are playing other games, too.

When RIFT was released this spring, there was hope for a new hit. Unfortunately this game lacked love in animations, character design and the raid content. PvP is not that bad, but still boring since world PvP doesn’t seem to happen at all. In addition, the game had very strange graphics demands.. I failed to understand why I was able to play Star Craft 2 in a full HD resolution with high-ultra settings while RIFT only ran on low details. One month after release, the hype around RIFT was blown away, leaving only a dying community and a disappointed community of around 1-2 million players (well, potential players).

Now, with RIFT and WoW failing, with Guild Wars 2 not being released yet or too late, with Star Wars Galaxy being shut down soon, Bioware and Lucas Arts both got the chance to achieve something which was missing since 2004: Creating a game which attracts the masses for a longer period. Star Wars: The old Republic – we are ready for you. Now it’s your turn! 🙂