Free Game Weekly: Star Wars The Old Republic
BioWare once proclaimed Star Wars: The Old Republic as equivalent to “Knights of the Old Republic three through six.” That is, if you wanted a BioWare-created follow-up to their beloved classic, Knights of the Old Republic (recall that KOTOR2 was done by a different developer, as BioWare was likely busy working on Jade Empire and then Mass Effect soon after releasing KOTOR), this massively multiplayer online RPG was going to be it.
And boy, was TOR a big deal. While most MMORPGs were okay with hitting the player with tons of text bubbles and cookie cutter quests copied across many classes, TOR told distinct (and fully voiced—the voiceover cast for this game is widely considered the biggest one in history) stories for each character class. For example, playing as a Republic Trooper put you in a storyline that feels like an intergalactic version of the tv show 24 while the Jedi Knight had a more classic Star Wars feel—no questlines were the same. So after spending 50-plus hours as a Bounty Hunter, I could start as an Imperial Agent and get a wholly different experience; meaning TOR can boast hundreds of hours of gameplay across its eight classes.
So yes, TOR is a really big game. A whole lot of game. And now, that game is free. The developers have worked hard on converting TOR from a traditional MMO to a free-to-play one, and holding fast to two core rules: players can reach level 50 without paying a cent (i.e. finish one of the eight epic storylines), and subscribers should not experience any degradation of their gameplay experience. While there isa monthly subscription model with a host of benefits (interface tweaks and cosmetic upgrades), the fact is, you can get over 100 hours of Star Wars gaming without paying a cent. If you’ve been curious about how The Old Republic is, now’s a great time to try it. You can decide later whether to keep playing it gratis, or to maybe sign up for a subscription to add the recently released Game Update 1.5 which adds new dungeons and a beloved companion to the game.