The official PA Forum guilds will be PVE East Coast Guilds according to a vote we took last thread.
The Imperial Guild is <Remarkable Circumference>, which can be found here.
The Republic Guild is <Rigorous Scholarship>, which can be found here.
The EU PVE Republic Guild is Disregard for Canon.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a MMORPG developed by Bioware's new MMO division in Texas set in the Old Republic era of Star Wars, 200 years after the conclusion to KotOR. You'll take one of two sides, either the Imperial or Republic side. There's a lot of interesting things about it, but first, watch these:
Those trailers, done by Blur Studio, are awesome and set up the setting for SW:TOR.
SW:TOR is a massive undertaking by Bioware, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts. How massive?
It's going to cost like a hojillion dollars.
It's the size of 10 KotORs recorded back to back.
40 Star Wars Novels worth of content, approximately.
It has a crapton of planets.
One chunk of one of the planets is reportedly about the size of Kalimdor as a reference point. The planets vary in size though.
It's got music for days.
Original music as well as music from the movies that you know and love.
It has on rails style Space Combat,
which you'll either like because you played Starfox 64 way too much or hate because you want X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter with new graphics.
While the game itself has been one of the worst kept secrets ever since before it was announced in 2008, it is now coming pretty close to release. Simply stated, this game is similar to the Everquest model of MMOs, which has evolved into being the WoW model of MMOs. It has some cool new stuff, some stuff you'll recognize, and hopefully will combine the two in a good way.
The Beta is currently ongoing. The rules for it are pretty simple. You can tell people you're in the beta, but that's about it. While it's OK to link leaked videos/photos here, it's probably not a good idea to break any NDA on the forum, so it's best, if you're in the beta, to probably not talk about it. Leaked info has come up and probably will continue to come up as we are on the 5th month of extended beta testing compared to the summer and fall early zone beta testing. Some people from the December beta test were chosen to renew for the January beta tests, so I'm not entirely sure how many invites they're sending out. The beta tests in December were sent out through a survey thing, but from now on, all beta invites are supposed to be coming straight from Bioware. The last beta test apparently had about 2000 people involved.
There's no release date officially announced. Spring 2011 was the first window given. Then it was Spring 2011 after March 31st. Then it was April 1st to December 31st. Technically, it could still be getting release in Spring. There's no way to know for sure what's going on though. There's some speculation about waiting to see what happens at E3.
Now that's out of the way, let's break it down for ya.
Story? You ask. WoW has a story. You say.
Indeed. WoW has lore. Pretty much all MMOs have Lore. TOR has a story similar to Bioware's single player games. This means that you will likely be getting a very in depth experience. Each class will have their own fully voiced and unique storyline. Pretty intense, no? As it's all fully voiced, immersion here is a big deal. This includes player characters. The cinematic trailers give you some idea.
A great way to see where the story is coming from is these awesome timeline videos.
They explain why the galaxy is the way it is, and where your class of choice plays its part.
On top of that, you can check out some of the Dark Horse webcomics
that are being made for this game. People have had mixed reactions to them though. I think they're generally thought of as terrible by the assembled masses here. There's also some books, but those are kind of neither here no there.
I'll put up the full walkthrough in the video section where you'll see some of the dialogue. They don't really show the use of companions in the trailer, but Bioware has confirmed that there are indeed companions as this is Bioware game. Naturally, you will be able to bone some of your companions. Actually, that was speculation...but not really.
Every class has its own unique storyline. This will probably be bad news to anyone susceptible to alts, as Bioware appears to be trying very hard to getting you to play through each class to experience each unique story. A big thing for Bioware is how each class is supposed to feel iconic. To that end, it's useful to think of these classes in terms of who they're based on.
Each faction has 4 classes. 2 of those classes are force users as Jedi or Sith, depending on faction. As it stands, you will not be allowed to change factions.
At level 10, you will be able to pick one of two paths for your class to take, called an "Advanced Class." It's useful to think of each Advanced Class as a spec, but it's also worth noting that each advanced class has a shared trait tree for the whole class and two distinct trees for that advanced class, which can vary as much as healing to DPS.
Each class has 5 unique companions as well as a droid on their ship that they can use for a few purposes.
I'll list the classes along with their advanced classes and what they're used for.
Bounty Hunter. Obviously, the Boba Fett like character.
Shared Tree: Firebug. Shit's on fire, yo.
Shield Tech: Ranged tanking
Advanced Prototype: Sustained DPS
Arsenal: Ranged Burst DPS
Sith Inquisitor. The Palpatine like class.
Shared Tree: Madness. DoTs amongst other things.
Lightning: Ranged DPS
Deception: Stealth DPS
Sith Warrior. The Darth Vader class.
Shared Tree: Rage. Lightsaber improvement.
Vengeance: Melee DPS
Annihilation: Sustained DPS
Carnage: Burst DPS
Imperial Agent. Not necessarily based on a character from the movies. The general idea appears to be a young, up and coming Tarkin from the Original Trilogy.
Shared tree: Lethality. Poison.
Concealment: short range DPS
Marksmanship: Ranged DPS
Smuggler. This is the Han Solo archetype.
Shared Tree: Dirty Fighting: DoTs and CC
Scrapper: Stealth, short range DPS
Saboteur: Sustained DPS
Sharpshooter: Burst DPS
Jedi Knight. The Luke Skywalker or younger Anakin Skywalker class. Obi Wan fits here too.
Shared tree: Focus: Improved Force and lightsaber power.
Watchman: Sustained DPS
Combat: Burst DPS
Vigilance: Burst DPS
Jedi Consular. This is your Yoda class. Similar to Inquisitor.
Shared tree: Balance: Enhances lightsaber/force attacks.
Infiltration: Stealth DPS
Kinetic Combat: Tank
Telekinetics: Ranged DPS
Trooper. This is based off of the Troopers you saw in some of the animated series like The Clone Wars.
Shared Tree: Assault Specialist. Explosives.
Gunnery: Ranged DPS
Combat Medic: Healer
Tactics: Close range DPS
Shield Specialist: Tank
Companions: Tanno Vik
Flashpoints (Fancy Word for Instances) and Raids
Crafting, which Bioware calls "Crew Skills," is something we know a good deal about as a result of interviews and such. You can see the main explanation on how it's handled On the Main Site.
A brief summary is that you don't actually do any crafting. You order your companions to craft. Now, crafting can take three separate paths. Gathering, crafting, or missions. Gathering basically means that while you're out in the world, you or your companion can gather from some material. It also means that back at the ship, you can send your other companions out on gathering missions. Crafting itself consists of taking the crafted material and telling your companion to make you some crap. That can take from 5 minutes to nearly a full day depending on exactly what the thing they're making is. Mission crafting basically means you are sending out your companions to get you loot or change your good/bad alignment. That'll be explained more clearly with the professions each class contains.
Bioanalysis: collecting genetic material from plants and creatures.
Scavenging: collecting materials and parts from old/damaged technology.
Slicing: collecting things through computer systems or hacking lockboxes.
Archaeology: collecting crystals for any variety of things.
Armormech: Armor making.
Armstech: Weapon making.
Artifice: Jedi and Sith artifact creation.
Biochem: chemical enhancing serums and implants.
Cybertech: Reverse engineering stuff for items.
Synthweaving: Sounds like cloth armor.
Treasure Hunting: Track down valuable items.
Diplomacy: Negotiation skills. Likely will affect alignment.
Underworld Trading: Trading stuff to get items.
Investigation Mission: Discover/solve problems.
Flashpoints are SWTOR's word for dungeons basically. Originally, they were supposed to be 1 time instanced events that you go to and play. Testers thought the one time part was bullshit, so these are apparently repeatable now. This will mostly act as a placeholder until the game comes out, and I'll start putting up strategies.
The Esseles: Early level flashpoint. You get access to it leaving the starting planet.
Taral V: Mid level flashpoint. You go to the planet Taral V to rescue a prisoner.
Black Talon: Early level flashpoint. You get access to it leaving the starting planet.
Boarding Party: Mid level flashpoint. You have to track down an escaped Republic prisoner.
Directive 7: High level flashpoint. Droids are involved. My personal guess is HK47 might be involved.
Eternity Vault. Set on Belsavis. It's potentially related to prisoners of the Rakata Empire.
There really is a truly impressive number of planets.
Ord Mantell: This is the starting planet for the Smuggler and the Trooper. This world is supposed to carry players from level 1-10.
Tython: This is the starting planet for the Jedi Consular and Jedi Knight. This world is supposed to carry players from level 1-10, and is where Jedi get their first light saber.
Coruscant: This is the second planet that Jedi are off to, and is also the planet where the Jedi get their ship.
Korriban: This is your starting planet for the Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor. This is a level 1-10 world, and this is where the Sith get their lightsaber.
Hutta: This is the starting planet for the Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent. It is a level 1-10 world.
Dromund Kass: This is the capital of the Sith Empire and likely the second planet for the Sith characters.
Planets Open to Both
Balmorra: Potential War Zone. Sith occupied this planet, but the Republic is sending forces there.
Alderaan: Confirmed War Zone. Currently in Civil War with the Republic and Sith both backing certain sides.
Tatooine: Open to both sides. The Imperial Military has a presence on the planet. Republic base is Anchorage. One of the earliest planets open to both sides.
Taris: Potential War Zone. Mostly a barren wasteland still.
Belsavis: Potential War Zone. Republic prison used to be here that's now in chaos.
Voss: A planet where both sides are supposed to be peacefully angling for an alliance with the Voss.
Hoth: Most likely a War Zone. Both sides fighting over the technology of ships that crashed here after a battle.
Nar Shadda: Likely not a real war zone for both sides, as the Hutts control this planet and likely don't want a bunch of Jedi and Sith fighting in their streets.
Corellia: Apparently under Republic control, but apparently Imperials are going through back channels to attempt to get a foothold here.
Ilum: Potential Warzone. This is the lightsaber crystal production planet, and both sides want control of it.
Quesh: Under Republic Control with the Sith and Hutts both desirous of taking control over this planet for the lucrative chemicals made here.
Check out descriptions of them all on Wookiepedia.
The best media guide to me is this long developer walkthrough. They are from 2 years ago though, but it gives you a nice flavor for what this game has to offer. It does look better now though.
May 13th Update: Sith Inquisitor Trailer and Info.
March 12th Update: Mid Level Flashpoint Walkthrough.
March 8th Update: Guild stuff
January 28th Update: New Game System Revealed: Flashpoints.
These are basically the game's instances.
January 21st Update: New Planet Quesh
is added bringing the number of planets to 17.
this is basically the main fansite. They stay on top of the updates, so you don't have to go searching the internet for any glimmer of information.
The Old Republic:
This is the official site. You can sign up for the beta here or wade through their media and holonet sections.
What We Know So Far:
This is a post on the official forum which is a compendium of everything that is known about the game at the current moment. The guy has done a great job keeping it updated.
Story spoilers contained herein: Hands on Impressions.
This is a compendium of first hand impressions from conventions regarding where the game is at in the first few levels. It has a ton of good info that has not been released officially in any capacity about the actual gameplay.
And regarding the playa hate:
Why You Gotta Playa Hate?
Standard (digital or physical): $59.99, includes 3 day early game access, and a color stone that will make your lightsaber or blaster bolts gold.
Digital Deluxe: $79.99, includes 3 day early game access, the color stone, a Flare Gun like in the 'Hope' trailer, a Training Droid that'll pewpew things for you, a HoloDancer of a Twi'lek for those who like head tentacles, a HoloCam that... I dunno, records video in-game? And a neat STAP speeder bike.
Collector's Ed: $149.99, Everything above, but a 7 day early game access an Exclusive Mouse Droid and no it doesn't look like the one we know and love, and an Exclusive in-game vendor that'll, I dunno hang out on your ship and sell you neat stuff. Plus all that other crap that you'll likely shove into your closet somewhere eventually. Except for the soundtrack and authenticator, those are nice.
PS: Any of you looking for the Digital or Digital Deluxe versions, have fun with the 40 Gig download!