It was just over three years ago that Bioware simultaneously announced their return to the Star Wars universe and their first foray into the MMO space with Star Wars: The Old Republic
. Since that announcement, many MMOs have come and gone, beaten back by the unassailable giant that is World of Warcraft.
This month though, Star Wars: The Old Republic was finally released to a gaming public divided into two camps: gamers highly anticipating the game, and gamers who approached with caution. After all, how would this be able to distinguish itself from World of Warcraft? How could they know if the game, rumored to be the most expensive ever developed in video game history, would be worth the time investment required?
Only time will tell if that caution is warranted. But for those who have
jumped back in to the type of Star Wars experience only Bioware can provide, they are finding a fantastic payoff. Star Wars: The Old Republic may be something special. It has all of the hallmarks of a Bioware single player RPG: companion NPCs with romances, hours upon hours of voice acting, meaningful choices that really seem to have an impact on your character's experience of the game, your own personal starship complete with ship combat... the list goes on. Since each class has its own unique story with both light and dark side options, some have called this the next eight
sequels to the seminal Knights of the Old Republic.
But in addition to that amazing single player experience, the game brings with it classic MMO trappings: heroic quests that will require more than one player to complete, global markets, PvP warzones, and even just the excitement of seeing other live players running around in a living, breathing world.
Again, it is far too early to tell if Star Wars: The Old Republic will stand the test of time like its most obvious competitor, World of Warcraft. But it may be that we are witnessing the beginning of a new era in gaming: an MMO that takes story just as seriously as it takes raiding.