Star Wars: The Old Republic Previews

It appears there's a new flurry of coverage from Star Wars: The Old Republic since the NDA on beta players has lifted, and as a result we have rounded up a few new previews, including some video bits, for your perusal.

NoobFeed has a written piece:
Your crew in the TOR is formed by characters found throughout the game, and your spaceship represents the base of operations. From there, your team can be dispatched to gather materials and forge items while you take more diplomatic tasks. If you aren't in the ship, there's no problem either. Tasks can also be delegated using the communication system, and you can call someone from the crew to join you in your current mission - a dedicated subordinate may, for example, collect materials while you take care of local enemies.

As stated earlier, the evolution of your team as a whole depends on the individual skills of each specific member - resonating even as corporate motivational talk, and that's exactly how things work. Among the available skills appears, for example, the "bioassay." Basically, the character becomes able to do a quick schematic read of living or dead creatures, in order to acquire information. Thus, the results are recipes that will be valuable later on are made into items for a character that has the necessary skill to use it; boosts of energy are among the possible beneficial results.

Twenty Sided:
The problem is that while BioWare's first three pillars of Progression, Exploration, and Combat are all holding up the roof of their MMO, the fourth pillar is in another building altogether on the opposite side of town. There is a very clear disconnect between TOR's storytelling elements and everything else in the game and the story suffers for it. The game feels much less like an MMO built around storytelling and much more like an MMO with storytelling elements strapped on. While the story-related cutscenes succeed at garnering feelings of attachment and interest in the characters and plot as I'm told someone I've been working with is in trouble and I need to go help them, or that the person I've been chasing since the beginning of the game has finally shown himself, as I'm dropped back into the MMO part of the world and the quest marker pops up in my log with (kill dudes that are standing around idly in a field and take their stuff until you find x of y,) I'm reminded that I'm playing a themepark MMO again, and I'm doing the same damn quests I've been doing for the last eight years and no, they're still not interesting and everything that the story has propped up for me shatters in an instant. The gameplay completely fails to support the story.

This problem could have been remedied had the MMO parts of TOR been good I'm not sure I'll ever accept kill ten rats quests as a .ood platform for RPG storytelling' but I would have been less bothered by them at any rate but the truth of the matter is that the forth pillar is by far the best one, and the MMO elements in TOR are some sad combination of outdated, poorly designed, and badly implimented.

Ten Ton Hammer talks about the Bounty Hunter class:
Having already defended the Republic as the Trooper it wasn't much of a surprise that their Sith counterpart the Bounty Hunter played quite similar, at least for the first ten levels or so. Fire off an explosive attack to knock down enemies and pepper them with blaster fire worked on most bad guys who crossed my path.

Later on in the levels however things became a little less clear, more specifically in regards to my role in flashpoints. Being a Powertech I was called upon to tank in flashpoints like the Black Talon, only I couldn't hold any threat and my crowd control abilities are restricted to standard or weak enemies. This made for an awkward first few levels in my new advanced class, and steered me away from flashpoints until I picked up the taunt ability a few levels later.

Even if there was a small identity crisis happening in the gameplay, the story stayed true to form. I really enjoyed the idea of The Great Hunt, travelling around the galaxy hunting rare, and dangerous alien creatures is a great basis for the class story to revolve around.

GameInformer has some dungeon-delving footage:
Please note that this footage is from the beta, which contains a bug that removes lip-syncing from certain sections of the dungeon.

I wasn't a believer in The Old Republic until I spent significant time with the beta. Now I know what's on my calendar for the months immediately following its December 20 release date. The combat may be a syllabus from an MMORPG 101 class, but BioWare's brilliant storytelling is as good in TOR as it is anywhere else.

And finally, IGN has more videos from the beta than you can shake a stick at.