BioWare Compares ‘Star Wars’ MMO Combat To ‘WoW,’ ‘Age of Conan’ And ‘The Force Unleashed’

There is much we don’t know about LucasArts and BioWare’s newly announced, currently PC-only MMO “Star Wars: The Old Republic.”

This week’s announcement didn’t explain many important aspects to the game, including how combat works. It is slow? Fast? Turn-based? Action-centric?

I spent time on Tuesday with BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk, who attempted to explain — as much as he could — what “The Old Republic”’s combat is like, using extreme points of comparison: “World of WarCraft” and “EverQuest” against “Age of Conan” and “The Force Unleashed.”

Here’s what Zeschuck said.

MTV Multiplayer: I really like “The Force Unleashed,” and that’s one end, an action take on “Star Wars.” And then you have traditional MMOs like “World of Warcraft,” “EverQuest” — you’re pressing a button, it’s doing an action. And then you have, more recently, MMOs like “Age of Conan,” which introduced a combo system. You’ve talked about how you want to introduce visceral combat. If we take, on one hand, “EverQuest,” where you press a button and it does something, and a more action-oriented MMO like “Age of Conan,” where would you place “The Old Republic”?

Greg Zeschuk, BioWare co-founder: That’s a good question. At some level, I can’t tell you. Not in the sense that “because I can'” [because it’s a secret] but because we don’t know quite yet. What really what it comes down to is the gameplay and the iteration and trying it out. We have a lot of ideas.

MTV Multiplayer: Would you consider it action-oriented? More hands-on?

Zeschuk: That’s a tough one. I mean, I think the main goal, the key thing we’re trying to solve, is that…does it look, from the user’s perspective, that it could be cut from the movie? That’s the very first thing, and then how we got there…to certain degrees, it’s yet to be determined. We have a system that works and ’hey, it looks like the movie’ but what do you to get there is the key next question. I don’t think we have a good answer for that yet. The way we tend to develop is we hit one goal and then we go, ’okay, let’s start iterating.’

MTV Multiplayer: How can we take that to the next level?

Zeschuk: Yeah. So I think the interesting thing is…the key thing you want to have is capturing the sense that the player has a really good sense of control and that’s the key thing to solve for us, is that visceral level. If it looks good, now we’re onto the ’how do they feel like they’ve got the control while it’s looking good?’ That’s kind of where we’re at.


Readers, what style of combat do you want in “The Old Republic”? Do you want it to be as hands-on as “The Force Unleashed” or as removed as “World of WarCraft”?

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