Star Wars: The Old Republic Previews

Mass Effect 3 is only one of the two titles BioWare brings on the table at E3, the other one being the ambitious MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the press jumped at the chance to write more about the highly anticipate game.

IGN didn't play it but thinks that this may be the MMO to convert "MMO haters":
BioWare opened their demo with the opening cinematic of The Old Republic, which has members of the Sith Empire striking a surprise attack to win back their homeworld from the Republic. It's an action-filled sequence filled with lots of classic Star Wars light sabery, but the characters were what made it most interesting. The relationship between two Jedis is inferred as one leaves the other behind to die, and a Han Solo-type character proves his worth by helping the other Jedis escape. The whole thing is punctuated by a Sith character slaying his leader and claiming the Empire for himself. The story-telling is exciting, but subtle, and manages to create the same kind of engagement the films do.

In this case, our character had been sent to Tatooine to investigate the remains of a failed operation by Czerka Corporation, the coldhearted, money-grubbing conglomerate that appeared in the Knights of the Old Republic games. It appears that the company had originally set up excavation operations on Tatooine but abruptly pulled out--so our job was to figure out what it was that Czerka had unearthed that had spooked them so badly. Our first lead was Darth Silthar, a high-ranking Sith lord who had been investigating a legend propagated by the Sand People before mysteriously disappearing. We headed out into the desert in the direction of our clearly marked goal using the game's handy-dandy overlay map (which still goes transparent when superimposed over the world, letting you see where you're going as you go), stopping only to get a side quest from an Imperial officer whose company had been waylaid. It seems that the soldiers had been ambushed by agents from the Exchange--the intergalactic crime cartel that players infiltrated in Knights of the Old Republic--but it also seemed that this would be a "heroic" level quest that would require two or more companions to complete. Since we were on a time limit, we declined this mission and went on with our primary quest.

According to the developer, the foundation of a compelling role-playing experience is exploration, progress, combat, and story. They claimed that lots of MMOs succeed at the former three, but wanted to create a story-driven experience in this space as well.

To achieve this, each class has their own unique story in the Star Wars universe. From there, there are plenty of choices that will effect your specific story. So you could play the game for 100 hours with a jedi knight, then start over as a bounty hunter and have a completely different experience. "We're giving players Knights of the Old Republic 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 in one MMO package," said the demo rep.

Like other Bioware hits, The Old Republic will have moral choices. The one shown off today portrayed a jedi knight deciding whether to slay a defeated sith lord or spare him. The former obviously results in bloodshed, while the latter ends with him joining your cause.

It also leads to some embarrassingly cheesy dialogue like "It's a strange thing, saving lives instead of taking them. It feels right." It feels pandering, more like. Hopefully other choices won't be as blatantly black and white.

PC Gamer:
The boss fight took place inside a vast chamber. The boss was called Boris, and he'd done bad things. It was down to the party to take down the shield that protected him, by destroying the four shield generators in the room. Combat was slick, and slightly faster paced than I remember it being when I played there was a splashing of cloud control, and the tanking abilities (Force Leap!) looked fun. Killing the shield generators meant stealing rocket launchers from the corpses of the downed Imperial troopers, and blowing up their unarmoured fronts.

TenTonHammer goes in-depth with a three-pages piece:
I found myself with a mission to find Darth Silthar an archeology-minded Sith who'd been poking around the indigenous Sand People's caves. The Sand People, hostile as ever, were linked in groups of three, and I suffered a death or two before Daniel showed me how to bring out one of my fighting companions.

Dying was actually a good thing it introduced me to SWTOR's new death mechanic. Inspired by single-player RPGs, in which you only load a quicksave on death, SWTOR allows you to revive in place after waiting 30 seconds for a MedProbe to arrive. It's similar to Rift's soul walk system in that you have a short time to stealth walk to safety, except that you can use it much more than once an hour. Daniel noted that if you die several times in a short period of time, the waiting time starts to lengthen from 30 seconds to, say, 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Or, you can wait ten seconds and respawn at a medcenter (seemingly the only option when you die in a story area).