The Old Republic is ready to put out its next expansion, Galatic Starship, and while it may or may not be too late for the grand Star Wars MMO people have originally dreamt of, I feel this add-on should give it the boost it so desperately needs. Come December 3rd for early access players or January 14th for preferred status players, SWTOR will offer 12 vs. 12 galatic, in-space PvP the Star Wars way, complete with large-scale space arenas, capital ships, and starfighters.
Personally, I am not the biggest fan of MMO-based player vs player but this has the Star Wars fan in me gushing with excitement especially since I am a huge fan of the Star Wars: Battlefront franchise. The one issue that needs to be addressed prior to launch is how it is going to both play and feel especially with the hecticness of a traditional SW space battle. SWTOR is an MMO at heart and adding an expansion that could potentially turn it into an arcade shooter is just way out of left field. Is it going to be twitch reaction? Or auto-lock target and use of skills to get behind and infront of your target is key? Well, I don't know yet but I hope it retains the tactical feel a skill-based MMO needs all while making use of the mechanics of an in-space battle -- dodging, barrel rolling, obstacles, and objectives.
While the move is both delicious yet mysterious, I do agree with Jeff Hickman, General Manager for Bioware to a certain extent in-terms of expanding the Star Wars Universe:
“Our goal with Star Wars: The Old Republic has always been to immerse players into their own Star Wars adventure and huge space battles are a vital part of fulfilling that fantasy,” said Jeff Hickman “Galactic Starfighter will be a deep experience that will continue to grow over time. We can’t wait for both our current and new players to get their hands on it soon.”
Of course, little spin-off additions to games like this are never truly a bad thing. I mean, look at what Blizzard did with World of Warcraft's pet battle system. While I feel that wasn't way out of left field, it's still something different and it doesn't have to be something you have to do -- rather, a nice touch for that other side of the community pie. However, I am concerned with whether or not Bioware has the funding or the man power to do a side project like this and call it a "full expansion" considering SWTOR isn't known for its PvP. Perhaps they should have put the focus elsewhere like in expanding the deep story-based PvE but I guess every game needs a hook to draw players in. I mean, it's a gimmick that's drawing someone like me in, no? Heh.
At the moment, The Old Republic is free but you get a fee benefits from subscribing:
- Early access to Galatic Star Fighter will be available on December 3rd, 2013 for subscribers.
- For preferred status players, you will get early access on January 14th, 2014.
- The expansion is 100% free and will be available to ALL players February 4th, 2013.
I can't wait to hear more form Bioware in regards to how this will play out. Here's to hoping we'll get to relive some epic Star Wars moments recorded in books but on film! Comment below your thoughts and do you think it's enough to keep SWTOR up and running?