While at E3 I had the chance to sit down with Daniel Erickson developer, story editor, and one of the head writers for The Old Republic. First things first, there is another update to the Old Republic, that is 4 updates in the last 6 months, according to Erickson they plan to continue that pace so as to always be striving to make the best possible game. The new update is important in alot of ways, one it has a revamped tutorial making it easier than ever for players to hop in and learn the basics. Also starting in July the game will go free to play up to level 15. That is correct free to play.
There will be also with the new update the chance to obtain a companion character and for those of you who are afficianados of the old republic you will be excited. It is the updated form of HK-47 dubbed HK-51 who will only be available after a huge galactic quest. There is also a new planet to explore and the devs have put in a ton of work to make the game work on nearly every system even something as mid-range as my crappy laptop.
Now for the basics as some of you may not know them, There are 8 different classes, each class has its own seperate story, and each class also has two advanced classes and each of those has three different trees. Which pretty much adds up to mean you have a shit-ton of choice. The game takes place roughly 3000 years before the movies and 300 years after the old republic making this game unique in that it can create its own lore and not have to necessarily rely on the LucasArts bible.
Now for the Interview with Erickson…
What have you noticed seems to be the most popular class and what is your favorite class as well?
In terms of the fans the favorite class seems to be the Imperial Agent, lots of people seem drawn to the story and the gameplay elements in that particular class. As for me from a story point of view I did write the first few bounty hunter mission, but from a build and combat stance I love the Sith Inquisitor Assasin, he kind of becomes a dodge tank avoiding all damage and then laying waste around him, it makes you the smartest guy in the room and that is always the best option.
What is your inspiration for the games where did you draw most of it from?
Well in terms of Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back is the holy grail. The largest worlds are in fact Hoth and Alderan. As for the universe as a whole it took a lot of time to research everything, to iron out all the lore that contradicts itself and to make the world more cohesive as a whole. We even found a mascot for ourselves during development an obscure alien race called the Gree, which we found while researching the pen and paper game. We liked them so much we put them in game and this update is kind of where you first see the signs of their civilisation so we are very happy about that.
What is the hardest part in transitioning Star Wars and a license like the Old Republic to an MMO?
The Scale of the universe is so large and the flexibility of a traditional rpg were the hardest challenges to overcome. Especially the story you have to walk that line of linear and sandbox to make the story more responsive and to make the player want to go where you are taking him. It is especially hard when you are in the middle of a quest and some random guy jumps in the middle of it and starts flailing around like an idiot and we wanted to take that into consideration when crafting the quests and side missions.
And Finally do you have any advice for players in July when the game goes free to play?
Here is my advice, pick something that appeals to you personally. Each class when you start the game has a blurb and outline of what the over-arcing story will be. Don’t pick what you think will be the coolest but instead pick the story that appeals to you most. As for going places and meeting people the Fleet is where the vast majority of people hang out but we have noticed lately that the sith planer Dromand Kaas seems very popular. So go out there and make some friends and most of all just have fun!
That is it for The Old Republic from E3 2012, this is Tim St. Croix your MMO Reporter and local wordsmith. Telling you all that I look forward to seeing you in game!