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Star Wars The Old Republic

The Old Republic has been a hit and miss for BioWare ever since it has released. While not nearly as successful as its predecessors, Knights of the Old Republic, they still remain quite popular among fans.

Today (Oct. 27th) the massive (free) expansion pack, Knights of the Fallen Empire, releases to the PC. The expansion will come with a huge new story line, new level caps and gear.

The Developer had this to say on the upcoming The Old Republic game expansion:

Q: How much were you inspired by the Episode 7 that is coming out soon, we know that in the past you weren’t allowed to put certain content into the game because it was a potential spoiler for the movie, but there are some similarities that show up in the Force Awakens trailers. How much did you know before you started?

A: I would love to give a really cheeky remark to this, but the truth is we know absolutely nothing about the movie. They are very tight lipped about anything and don’t want to risk anyone spoiling that movie and rightfully so because that movie looks amazing. So if there are similarities it’s a happy coincidence. There are definitely some things that we’ve been able to piece together that we think are important but they say “you can’t do that” and we think they are clearly that is important. We are wrong half that time. They’ve figured us out and they totally troll us now. We submit everything we do to lucasfilms so they can see everything that we are doing. They give us feedback and let us know “hey you shouldn’t do this or this.” Sometimes they tell us why and sometimes they don’t. We really didn’t have any insight on what they were doing. We wish we could have told you all that we’ve already seen the movie.

Q: What would you tell players who haven’t tried the game yet to get them to play? Can they immediately get their hands on Knights of the Fallen Empire?

A: PLAY IT! This is the best time that it’s ever been! Knights of the Fallen Empire is probably the greatest opportunity. We talk a lot about our passion for Star Wars and if you guys know BioWare’s history with Knights of the Old Republic. This kind of IP that we’ve had ownership over, it is hands down the best and only Star Wars RPG experience that you can get out there. We are very proud of the one that we’ve created, so if you want to check out The Old Republic as both an IP and as a game the opportunity is now. We made it accessible so you can start from the beginning and level up faster. We are also giving everyone a free level 60 character so they can jump in and enjoy the Knights of the Fallen Empire if they just want to see the new stuff. A lot of the players we speak to like to play in a larger MMO world, but they like the story to be focused on them and that is what this is. Players get to play their way, but there are also people and friends around them at the same time when and if they want to group together. If you like Star Wars, especially if you like Knights of the Republic game, it’s the best and only game in town.

Q: What was the reasoning behind getting rid of all the equipment vendors in the supplies area on all the planets?

A: We looked at it as that we had too many vendors and they were all over everyone’s mini maps and all over the place. We thought we would simplify the experience so that you can more easily find what you were looking for. We also took a look at everything before we did it and we made a big list of everyone who we had out there in all the different locations and it’s not just the fleet but also the camps in the planets. We looked at what the players where actually using the vendor for, what they were buying and not buying and where they were using them. There were some inconsistences within some of the camps that didn’t have some of the same vendors so we wanted to make sure that we were a little bit more uniform across all the different locations. It was really just an opportunity to clean up and streamline because we started adding vendor after vendor after vendor. A lot of the time our solution was to just add another vendor and we realized it really wasn’t necessary.

Q: What are some of the difficulties that you have in crafting a story that works for all the varying storylines and different character architypes?

A: I worked on a class story back in the day and it was something that we were all very passionate about, but at some point you need to move on and it can’t just be a story about your job. That isn’t the only way to make a personal story. We really wanted to show that your character was growing and changing over time. As you become this veteran of the galactic war and lung into these huge challenges and struggles the galaxy changes and your character changes over time as you go through different things.

We always want to be true to where your character came from and always want to remember that a trooper is going to think about things differently than a Sith Warrior. They also want to be responded to in different ways by people who know that history and that background. At the same time we really want to move the story forward and move our player characters forward, like you feel your character is one that can evolve not just the NPC’s and also make you feel you can evolve your character in interesting new ways. It’s definitely a challenge to think about it, why would a smuggler do the same thing as a Jedi, but when you play through the story I like to think we’ve thought of a pretty cool new way to get you into that. We really wanted to make choices that actually had some impact and matter to the players. It’s far easier to do with a singular story line obviously because you are multiplying the impact of the gameplay. To do that with a lot of classes with the amount of writing and time that goes into it exponentially grows, now we can do a better more focused approach that has that depth.

Q: In the new trailers we are introduced some new memorable characters what were your inspirations for these characters.

A: It gets to the heart of what Star Wars is right? It is family drama; families struggling against each other and what does power do to you. What does it mean to have the power that the force gives you and being in control of the force. It is also about the moral quandaries that you are faced with in having the force. How does that affect the way that you raise children or the way you would be as a parent or a child? It is all those kind of elements that are the core part of Star Wars in general that we wanted to explore and how we could come at them in new and different ways.

Valkorion is an emperor figure, but he is also the father figure like Darth Vader. There is an interesting blend between them. Arccan and Vexin are twin brothers, but we kind of play with the light and dark and it doesn’t end up quiet the way you’d expect from the first impression of them. Vaylin is this… there is so much complexity there that we don’t even want to get into it, but her talents and gifts are also sort of her curse and part of what keeps her from others in some interesting ways. Her talents and gifts have had a deep effect on her and on her relationship with the members of her family. There is just so much cool stuff about them and we were really inspired to explore new character archetypes that touch on those central themes of what Star Wars. In Star Wars, regardless if it’s a Death Star or Star Destroyer or whatever the big threat is. Star Wars is a personal story and family is one of those big themes. Taking this family dichotomy and effectively the problems they have with each other, but then turning it up to eleven and throwing in that they rule this huge empire that is so powerful. What does that magnification do to the relationship, but at its very core you are looking at a son that wants approval from his father and a fathers motives that aren’t necessarily pure.

Q: What are your favorite characters from the Knights of the Fallen Empire (multiple answers)?

A: Senya, is by far my favorite character and I won’t get into any more of the depth because obviously it gets into more of the spoilers that are part of the actual story. Senya is my favorite not only from the design standpoint, but the strength of character, personality. I dig her.

That’s my answer too actually for all the reasons that I can’t tell people. Senya plays a very key role in the story so when you dig into the story you will see what we are talking about. There is some very cool stuff. I don’t think I can pick to be honest. They are all great in very different ways.

Senya for the reasons they’ve said. Lana I really love, she is this great character because she seems very reasonable, down to earth , practical, focused and goal oriented, but she is a sith. She is on the dark side. She is ruthless and people forget that. You can talk with her and she seems perfectly imitable and then you realize what she is willing to do to win this war or achieve her goals and I love that sort of interaction between what you expect and what you get in reality.

My favorite dialog in the expansion points to that very fact (without spoilers). There is something that happens with lana with a brief exchange in dialog and I was like man that was good. Then you have Koth who is this down to earth, regular guy who is swept up in huge galactic events and he still manages to shine and keeps a great sense of humor and personality. HK-55 who we’ve shown, HK traditionally is the most popular… he or Revan are the most popular Old Republic characters. So finding a way to explore that HK character and find a new take on him, cause HK-55 is very similar, but kind of has a different role and job that he pursues that might seem at odds with the traditional HK.

My Favorite is T7. There is nothing more Star Wars then a plucky Swiss army droid who always comes through in a pinch and is your companion. The joke I’ve been making for seven years is that the game is actually is about T7. We are really only on his adventure, because if you notice, he is pivotal everywhere. Without him there is no adventure. We are just helping him achieve some final goal and we just don’t know what that is yet.

Q: How did you guys entertain the idea that you could possibly lose a companion for a time or lose them altogether?

A: it was a feature that was discussed back in the day and here at BioWare we are focused on making your choices matter. It is key to making a good story. One of the challenges that we faced back the day was that your companions had very set roles in the gameplay outside the story line, they are tied to their own story. For example a character was a healer and that was their role, so if you drove them away or made the decisions that drove them away you would lose your healer and then you would not have one, then you would be at a huge disadvantage in the game.

The story sounds extremely interesting and made even better with that fantastic cinematic trailer we saw at E3. The Old Republic had a big draw thanks in part to BioWare’s story work. That being said, I am sure this will serve more as fan service to those who have already been playing it, rather than bring in fans who were on edge about trying out the MMORPG.

Rollin' up with your squad.
Rollin’ up with your squad.

So, what do you guys think of the new upcoming expansion pack? Will you go back to playing The Old Republic? Let us know in the comments below!

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