STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC Impressions: Levels 1-10


We've previewed, we've discussed, we have made wishlists and counted down and guilded up and now, the day is here. Star Wars: The Old Republic has now been officially released worldwide, and judging by the up to 35 minute queue times on some servers, people are most definitely playing it.

We'll be doing a full review of the game, giving a final verdict, eventually. A review of an MMO is difficult, as we have to play all the different modes, try all the battletypes, and check out the eight different classes. So in the interim, we're going to give you a glimpse into one playing experience, with my Sith Warrior, fighting for the Dark Side (and the Empire, I guess... but it's all about the Dark Side for my warrior). We'll check in every several levels, and when we hit major story act marks as well.

The game starts with you on an origin world; in the case of the Sith Warrior, it's the Sith world of Korriban. This ancient seat of Dark Side energy is familiar to any fan of the expanded universe of the Star Wars mythos. With Korriban come several references to the Sith Lords of legend. Exar Kun and Naga Sadow are both referenced in the first ten levels, and the Sith Code of course plays an important role in the Warrior's story.

The story is definitely what jumps out here; while I teamed with a few other people for a few missions, including the heroic missions that really require some solid assistance, but for the most part this is just a single-player game, where other people happen to be playing around you. This is a BioWare RPG in all the most real ways; you have great conversation, Light and Dark Side choices (so far, found myself to be surprisingly balanced, though I am leaning a little bit Dark), multi-step missions with great loot, and combat that relies more on how you stack your combos than your simple brute force. Plus there's that lore, all that beautiful lore, stored in your codex so you can increase (or verify) your knowledge of the greater Star Wars mythos.

The story wasn't the only thing to smack me in the face with awesome so far, though. For a game with thousands of people playing on each server, it's remarkable how great it looks and how smoothly it runs. For a longtime Star Wars fan like myself, there is a real thrill every time you enter a place like the Sith Academy or an ancient tomb. Killing your first master, attacking other young Acolytes, getting your first companion, and of course, getting your first lightsaber are all incredible moments... that all happen in the first ten levels of the game!

So what's to come? Well, I have a companion relationship to cultivate, I'm about to go off-world for the first time and choose my advanced class, PvP battles to fight, and of course I'm now officially a Sith Apprentice to a Darth, who frankly I can't wait to slay to claim my own title as a Dark Lord of the Sith. Stay tuned for more of my personal journey through my first play of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and let me know what yours has been like over at facebook and twitter.

One thing's for sure, this is a journey I'm happy to be taking through an era a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away, and one I'm going to be taking over and over again throughout the extended future. FOR THE EMPIRE!

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