While Star Wars: The Old Republic is now officially out there for the masses, that doesn't meant that the TOR round-ups will cease. Quite the contrary and we have more than a few links, impressions, excerpts, and previews for you this last week of 2011. We hope those who dove head first into the new GFFA MMO world are enjoying their experience so far! But for now, let's get on with it...
So just how many people have ventured into the TOR galaxy?
Critically Acclaimed Game from BioWare Already the Fastest Growing Subscription MMO in History
REDWOOD CITY, Calif, Dec 23, 2011--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BioWare™, a Label of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), launched Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ on Tuesday, and already fan engagement is setting new standards for an MMO game launch. Star Wars: The Old Republic is the fastest-growing subscription MMO in history, with more than one million registered players since launching on December 20, 2011. BioWare and EA will continue to steadily pulse players into the game through the holiday and into 2012 by limiting supply, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for all while further growing the community. Fan reaction has been extremely positive, with the first wave of players posting impressive play-time feats after having been granted Early Game Access and playing up to seven days before launch. To date, players have:
•Logged 28 million in-game hours – roughly equivalent to watching all six Star Wars movies, two million times •Averaged well over five hours a day playing the game •Created more than 3.8 million characters; 510,000 Jedi Knights and 550,000 Sith Warriors •Killed more than two billion non-player characters in the eight days since Early Game Access began
“Already over a million players strong after our Dec 20th launch, The Old Republic has become the fastest growing subscription MMO in the history of our industry,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, General Manager of EA’s BioWare Label and Co-Founder of BioWare. “Everyone at BioWare, EA and LucasArts is honored - and humbled - by the stellar response from our fans. We're going to work together closely with our community in the weeks, months and years ahead, continually serving our audience with regular delivery of compelling new features and content.”
The first reviews are in and critics around the world are giving the game high praise for dramatic, genre-changing innovations in the MMO category. By adding voiced characters and story, BioWare is innovating the genre and giving players a much more immersive experience. In the USA, G4 scored Star Wars: The Old Republic a perfect 5 out of 5 and PC Gamer rated the game a 93%. Australia’s AUSgames.com and Germany’s Games Aktuell scored the game 95%, and Sweden’s GameReactor gave The Old Republic a 90%.
Star Wars: The Old Republic stands as one of the largest and most ambitious achievements in video game history. Beyond the critical and commercial success, this game represents an enormous milestone for Bioware and LucasArts teams. In 2006, Dr. Ray Muzyka, Dr. Greg Zeschuk and the talented team at BioWare began this project with a great vision and a plan to recruit an army of engineers, designers, artists, quality assurance, customer service agents, marketers, community managers, network operators, scriptwriters and voice-over talent. Five years and millions of hours of game testing later, BioWare and LucasArts have released an unparalleled artistic achievement, always putting fans and product quality first.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a story-driven, massively multiplayer online (MMO) game from BioWare and LucasArts. Set thousands of years before the classic Star Wars movies, players will be immersed as they team up with friends online to fight in heroic battles reminiscent of the films, exploring a galaxy of vibrant planets and experiencing visceral Star Wars combat. Players join forces with either the Galactic Republic or Sith Empire and choose one of eight iconic Star Wars characters, including the Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler, Trooper, Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent.
Included with the purchase of every copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic is 30 days of access to the game, after which players can continue to play through subscribing* at either $14.99 per month, $41.97 for 3 months ($13.99 per month), or $77.94 for six months ($12.99 per month). For more information on Star Wars: The Old Republic, please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com, follow the game on Twitter® at http://twitter.com/swtor or “Like” Star Wars: The Old Republic on Facebook® at http://facebook.com/starwarstheoldrepublic.
* Subscription pricing in the United Kingdom is £8.99 per month, £25.17 for three months (£8.39 per month) or £46.14 for six months (£7.69 per month). Subscription pricing in Europe is €12.99 per month, €35.97 for three months (€11.99 per month) or €65.94 for six months (€10.99 per month).
Momentum Surges for Star Wars: The Old Republic During the Holidays
Critics and Fans Worldwide Heap Praise upon the Year's Highest Rated MMO from BioWare and LucasArts
REDWOOD CITY, Calif, Dec 26, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Over a million gamers worldwide celebrated the holidays in front of their PCs with lightsabers, Sith lords and Jedi knights as BioWare(TM), a Label of Electronic Arts Inc., continued to see an unprecedented amount of player engagement for Star Wars(TM): The Old Republic(TM). Over this past weekend, players continued to flood the servers of the fastest-growing subscription MMO in history, immersing themselves in the game for over 5.5 million hours. Star Wars: The Old Republic is also proving to be a critical smash hit, with an average review score of 88*, making it the highest rated MMO of 2011, while also winning over 105 industry awards, including "Best Multiplayer Game of 2011" from MSNBC. Enthusiasm for The Old Republic has also gone viral, as over 1.6 million fans have viewed the Jedi vs. Sith Freeze Mob in Times Square on launch day, making it one of the most viewed videos on YouTube during this past weekend.
The Old Republic has been lauded for bringing innovation to the MMO genre by adding fully voiced characters and placing a true emphasis on story and player choice. These new innovations, combined with highly polished gameplay and a smooth service, have led to a number of incredible gameplay achievements from the rabid community, including:
-- Over 60 million in-game hours -- roughly equivalent to watching all six Star Wars movies over 4 million times
-- Over 850,000 Sith Warriors and over 810,000 Jedi Knights created
-- Over 260 million quests completed
-- Over 44 million PvP battles
-- Over 9 million space combat missions completed
-- Over 3 billion NPCs killed
Star Wars: The Old Republic is set thousands of years before the classic Star Wars movies, with the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire locked in the middle of an epic, galactic war. Players choose one of eight iconic Star Wars characters, including the Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler, Trooper, Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent, becoming the hero or villain of their own personal Star Wars saga. Players will team up with friends online, fighting in heroic battles reminiscent of the films, immersing themselves in a galaxy full of vibrant characters and planets, while experiencing visceral Star Wars combat.
Included with the purchase of every copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic is 30 days of access to the game, after which players can continue to play through subscribing** at either $14.99 per month, $41.97 for 3 months ($13.99 per month), or $77.94 for six months ($12.99 per month). For more information on Star Wars: The Old Republic, please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com , follow the game on Twitter(R) at http://twitter.com/swtor or "Like" Star Wars: The Old Republic on Facebook(R) at http://facebook.com/starwarstheoldrepublic .
* According to Metacritic.com as of December 25, 2011.
* Subscription pricing in the United Kingdom is GBP 8.99 per month, GBP 25.17 for three months (GBP 8.39 per month) or GBP 46.14 for six months (GBP 7.69 per month). Subscription pricing in Europe is EUR12.99 per month, EUR35.97 for three months (EUR11.99 per month) or EUR65.94 for six months (EUR10.99 per month).
Kotaku.com discusses WSJ assertions of an EA/Activision battle for supremacy.
So just how big of a risk is TOR for EA? Joystiq.com and apparently lots of other folks thin that the risk is pretty big. Speaking of Joystiq, you can also click here to listen to their roundtable review of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
And as always, we conclude with the inevitable list of links to previews and reviews, complete with excerpts.
Gamefront.com has quite the lengthy TOR preview in the form of a three part series. Check out an excerpt below but then click here for part one and then here for part two. Part three has yet to be posted.
"If there’s a part of progression that TOR nails, it’s the early levels. The game makes you feel powerful from the get-go, and you’re introduced to a flurry of skills right off the bat. Once you reach the teens, the new abilities stop coming quite so thick and fast, but there are still a number of fun milestones: choosing an advanced class; getting the sprint ability to move more quickly when not in combat; finally getting your personal starship."
PCGamer.com heaps high praise on the newly released MMO and gives TOR a score of 93 out of 100:
"The Old Republic plunges players into the Star Wars universe we’ve always wanted to live in, and succeeds as both and RPG and an MMO. And perhaps just as thrilling, there’s an oversized Bantha’s worth of potential in expanding areas like space combat and the companion system, or in adding new features like guild housing. This one’s got a long, bright future ahead of it."
Beyond their review, PCGamer.com examines "How BioWare wrote Star Wars: The Old Republic."
"What I can confirm is that SWTOR more than justifies the box price, which includes the first month online. Whether it's a universe that delivers a constant flow of new surprises and challenges is something that will decide how long punters continue to shell out £8.99 month. But for me it's an impressively epic start."
"The question on the table for today is whether or not Star Wars: The Old Republic delivers on the promise of a narrative-driven massively multiplayer role-playing game. The answer is an easy yes. Fans of Star Wars, MMOs and BioWare RPGs will find a whole lot to like here. Forgetting the subscription for a moment: $60 gets you one month of play in a game that includes eight RPG stories, all on the same basic scale as Knights of the Old Republic, and fully developed MMO features like PvP and endgame challenges. It’s a hard package to say no to."
"So, as you'll already be aware, this is not the definitive review of The Old Republic. Not just because we've only played for around 30 hours, and have barely scratched the surface of what the game has to offer, but because MMOs are constantly evolving. With patches and future content, the game will be unrecognisable by the end of 2012. Think about the leap from vanilla WOW to Cataclysm and you'll get the idea.
End game content is also important for an MMO, and we're hours away from experiencing any of that - and we haven't even tested our mettle in a PVP arena yet. So we won't be scoring TOR yet. After the Christmas break, and hopefully after we've dinged our character to level 50 (the cap), we'll come back and give the game a score.
But until then, if you still want an answer to the question "Should I try The Old Republic?", we'd have to say yes - if only for a month. It's a game worth experiencing, not only as an MMO, but as the spiritual successor to Knights of the Old Republic. If you want a quality, story-led RPG set in the Star Wars universe, this offers that, but with the bonus of a persistent world full of real players."