Star Wars: The Old Republic Previews and Interviews

If you thought yesterday's wave of Star Wars: The Old Republic coverage was a little daunting, then today's round-up will probably convey a similar feeling. First, the previews...

In this particular case, the Consular approached a group of raiders and used Mind Maze to confuse their pet Manka Cat and then pulled a raider out of the group using Force Pull. The raider was now standing in lightsaber range and the Consular quickly dispatched him while also using his lightsaber to block blaster fire from the other raiders. With the first raider down, the Consular turned his attention back to the distant group and used Force Slam to lift them up into the air and send them crashing down to the ground. Using these three powers, his trusty lightsaber, and his healing Benevolence power, the Consular was able to dispatch his enemies.

Another reveal during the presentation were how Companions will be used in the game. Citing the "can't find enough people for a raid on a Friday night" excuse, the ability to summon Companions will not only help boost your party during quests, but also provide some story aspects as well -- think Mission and Zaalbar from KOTOR. The two companions mentioned during the presentation will be associated only with the Inquisitor class: Khem Val, a Dashade who works like a tank, who has the ability to soak up Force powers during battle, and Xalek, a Kaleesh who is designed like a DPS and will be your character's apprentice during the story portions of the game. We're told that all character classes will have options in regards to companions to help balance your style of play while customizing your character.

The Sith tomb featured caverns, tunnels, and a large outdoor area, and we encountered several different enemies, including K'lor'slugs, which are giant molluscs that attacked us in groups when we got too close. We're pleased to report that our long-range weapons were capable of dealing with these pests before they got too close, but we did need to cycle through our abilities so that we weren't overwhelmed by enemies. Inquisitors have some powerful attacks at their command, such as electrocute, which unleashes a devastating lightning storm. We also found the shock ability to be quite useful, as it froze an enemy for several seconds while we attacked others. The inquisitor is formidable in melee combat too, and this is when our lightsaber came in handy. The saber strike is deadly at close range with several slashes performed in quick succession, and another useful ability was the lightning drain, which transferred health from enemies to our character. With these abilities, we found the inquisitor to be formidable in long- and close-range combat; however, we generally found it easier to stand back and attack with electrocute and shock and then rush in for the kill with a saber strike or lightning drain.

All characters are fully voiced, and dialogue choices are made similarly to Mass Effect in that you choose the gist of what you want your character to say and the line delivered is something more intricate than what was shown in the dialogue wheel. Being a Sith trainee, most responses were a choice between obsequiousness, total apathy, or acute unpleasantness. It was a small taste, but it was easy to get a sense of how large the game is, and how much there will be to explore.

Games Radar:
Aggro radius is a common MMO term that refers to the distance between a player and an enemy unit. In most MMOs, once you enter the aggro radius of an enemy unit, it will begin attacking you. After spending some time exploring the Sith training ground on Korriban, it feels like the aggro radius of enemies in Old Republic is smaller than what you're used to seeing in WoW. That means that you can move a little closer to enemy units in Old Republic. At least, that's how it seemed to us. It could've just been that we were sampling some lower level quests, or that BioWare is still fine-tuning the combat. But we suspect that the aggro radius will still seem a bit shorter than WoW's throughout the game so that players will be able to take advantage of Old Republic's new cover system before engaging enemies.

And then we have video interviews at Giant Bomb and GameInformer, and a text interview with producer Blaine Christine at Bitmob:
How does the player gain these companion characters as they progress through the game?

BC: For anybody who's played previous BioWare games, you're going to be pretty familiar with it -- you basically unlock them as you go through the story. So they're important not only from an action standpoint and how they interact with you and your group, but also from a story standpoint. Because they each have their own story and you sort of get a different play experience based on which companion character you select to go along with you at any given time, because they're going to interject at certain times, maybe remark on how you complete a certain quest.

Particularly in terms of light side and dark side choice...if you have a companion character that has "a positive outlook on life," they may react negatively if you decide to kill someone when, perhaps, the situation doesn't warrant it.