This is the second MMORPG that will be based around the star Wars universe. The first, Star Wars Galaxies, started off well but then went downhill after they changed the game a little too much for peoples liking. Some people said Sony were trying to make their game more like Warcraft which didn`t work too well. When the Jedi Knights were added to the game, nearly everyone created a character. Galaxies closed in December 2011 when the current licence terminates annoying its small but sizeable fan base. They developed a special event to mark the end of the game and on the majority of servers, the Alliance beat the Empire.
Whilst Galaxies was set in the events during the films, the Old Republic is set 3,500 years before Star Wars and centuries after Bioware`s previous Star Wars game Knight of the Old Republic. Lucas gave Bioware total freedom over what they could do in the game so long as it didn`t contradict events in the film, e.g. Blow up Tatooine.
The company behind it have had experience of producing Star Wars games before, the Knights of the Old Republic. This is their first attempt at producing a MMORPG and we will have to see how they get on. The company is also behind Mass Effect and Dragon Age games.
The player takes on one of eight roles in the game, four are on the side of the Sith and the other four are Jedi learning. On the Jedi side you have Smuggler and the Sith will have a Bounty Hunter equivalent.
Each player will have their own space craft to start with, so there`s no levelling required before you get a mount as in Warcraft. Players are going to need a spaceship considering the vast number of visitable planets available ( Korriban, Ord Mantell, Nal Hutta, Tython, Coruscant, Balmorra, Alderaan, Tatooine, Dromund Kaas, Taris, Belsavis, Voss, Hoth, Corellia, Ilum and Quesh, and the moon Nar Shaddaa. ) Every character is able to fulfill a role so in one battle, a player can be tank and the next can be a healer. That will eliminate having to wait around for a tank to come along.
To simplify things like in Warcraft, certain alien races are limited to certain classes of player although that doesn`t apply to humans who can be any. Each class will have two specialisations. Trooper ( Commando and Vanguard ), Smuggler ( Gunslinger and Scoundrel ), Jedi Knight ( Guardian and Sentinel ), Jedi Consular ( Shadow and Sage ), Bounty Hunter ( Powertech and Mercenary ), Sith Warrior ( Juggernaut and Marauder ), Imperial Agent ( Operative and Sniper ), Sith Inquisitor ( Sorcerer and Assassin ).
Currently, playable alien races are :- Chiss, Human, Miraluka, Mirialan, Rattataki, Sith Pureblood, Twi`lek and Zabrak. You can play either male or female versions of the game. The Hutts are seen in the game but are non-playable. Future expansions will undoubtably add additional alien races.
The game started out as a pay game but it couldn`t sustains the numbers and turned to the free to play model. The free model has a number of limitations such as not being able to send mail.