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Darth Hater Talks Star Wars: The Old Republic

Posted on 08 December 2009 by Tim

Star Wars: The Old Republic is the upcoming massively multiplayer online-game (MMO) from BioWare and LucasArts. The game is set long ago, during a time period that hasn’t been explored much. The Treaty of Coruscant has been signed by the Sith Empire and the Republic but tensions are running high.

Tension leads to conflict. Conflict leads to a great setting. And a great setting is just what an epic MMO needs! Oh and just to put this in perspective, according to SWTOR FAQ, the game is set 3,500 years before the rise of Darth Vader.

Darth Hater - SWTOR Community and Podcast

But this is about Darth Hater, a SWTOR blog and podcast, that aims to bring you all the latest news and commentary. I was able to speak with Justin Lowe, also known as sado on the website and forum, he is the Founder and a Content Producer on DarthHater.com. Follow Darth Hater on Twitter here.

Interview with Darth Hater

How’d you come up with the name Darth Hater?

Originally I had an idea to make a personal blog out of my own excitement for Star Wars: The Old Republic. This website needed a name so I asked a few friends for some ideas. One response in particular stuck with me – Darth Hater. Nick Cerbini, a friend of mine, originally used the name as an alias in Unreal Tournament and he made the suggestion. After deciding it sounded right, I went to see if the domain was available and, to my surprise, it was. Apparently the person who owned it before let the domain lapse and went back on the market just a month or so prior to me attempting to register it. You could say I encountered a stream of unending luck.

What aspect of The Old Republic are you most excited about?

I will be hated for saying this, but I am looking forward to story the most. There is much yet to see of The Old Republic, but from what I have seen thus far the story of the game intrigues me the most. Story in MMORPGs is one of those features that I feel has been sorely lacking up till this point. I can also say that it is one of the biggest selling points to friends of mine who have not played MMORPGs before and, until recently, have seen no reason to start. This is anecdotal of course, but take the case of my brother – he has never played an MMORPG or even come close to playing one, but now with story being a primary focus of The Old Republic, and BioWare’s track record, is considering checking it out. The draw of a good story in an MMORPG should not be underestimated. We all have confidence that The Old Republic will retain everything previous MMORPG have had, but I feel we have yet to see story done well in an MMORPG, and that is why it is the most exciting aspect of The Old Republic to me.

What are your readers most interested in when it comes to TOR?

Everyone is looking for the facts when it comes to The Old Republic. We have tried to cater to that by removing as much speculation as possible and piece together the facts of what is shown without the fluff. It has been a centerpiece of our website in the form of dissections which have garnered us an immense amount of traffic in response.

From what you’ve seen so far, is BioWare on the right track with the game?

Everything I have seen thus far suggests that. There have been complaints from the community of BioWare/LucasArts not showing off enough of the actual mechanics of The Old Republic, but I think the latest Imperial Agent demo that was shown to the press demonstrates that they are trying to address those concerns. Speaking just of myself, I couldn’t be more excited about the track of the game at this point. If sometime down the line they announce Wookiee or Jawa Jedi then I might have to rethink that statement.

SWTOR Jedi and Sith Battle

It’s hard to tell without playing the game, but do you think TOR could be bigger than World of Warcraft?

That’s a bit too speculative for me. World of Warcraft is definitely the eight billion pound gorilla in the room when it comes to MMORPGs and I am not under any delusions that The Old Republic will somehow dethrone them as king of the genre. While this is an interesting discussion for many, I don’t see why they both can’t exist side by side. I can say that I quit World of Warcraft for the simple reason of boredom. After 4+ years of playing the same game you are bound to get a little burnt out of the game. I have to imagine that there are people out there in my same position regarding World of Warcraft, but do I think that the release of The Old Republic will lead to a mass exodus from World of Warcraft? Simply put, no. However I do think both will be quite healthy long after this debate is over.

The storyline of the game is intriguing. Do you happen to know how much of this time period has been covered in books and comics?

The story of this time period is extremely open which is most likely why Bioware chose this time period to use in the game. There are a couple books coming out as well as the paperback version of the Threat of Peace which you will be able to pick up sometime down the line that will discuss the time period but other than that there is not much known of this time period. There is alot known however about 300 years in the past which deals with Revan but in the current time period is seems as if Bioware is completely open along with LucasArts to craft what they want regarding the story and setting.

Who are you most likely to side with? The Republic or the Sith Empire?

All of us at Darth Hater have decided on Sith Empire to start off with. It would be a bit weird having all of the Darth Hater staff rolling Republic first.

The Sith Empire seems like a good choice to start off. Have you guys decided on classes yet?

The team has vastly different opinions regarding the classes. For myself I am looking forward to either playing the bounty hunter or imperial agent. Dover is looking forward to playing an imperial agent and Emleah is looking forward to playing a Sith Inquisitor. Unfortunately the rest of our team is rather undecided at the moment regarding their class. Most of our team will likely decide what class they will play a couple weeks before launch.

Is Darth Hater the first blog you guys have worked on or are you all experienced bloggers?

Most of us have worked on other blogs or news sites before but this is definitely the most trafficked one any of us have worked on. The Star Wars: The Old Republic community, and our own community at Darth Hater, have been incredibly supportive all the way. We wouldn’t be where we are without them.

Thank you sado for chatting with me! If you’re interested in getting more from Darth Hater, I suggest you check out their blog, podcast or follow them on Twitter.

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Champions Online: The Superhero MMO

Posted on 25 November 2009 by Tim

Champions Online, made by the same folks who created City of Heroes, is essentially an MMO version of the same thing. Heroes with powers run around and kill people. Typical MMO fare. However, the content is relatively shallow, the powers aren’t that interesting and you have to stick to established builds to do well in combat. There’s an archenemy system that is supposed to challenge you but other than that there aren’t many truly unique aspects of this game.

One thing you’ll notice right off the bat, after installation, is the drawn out super-in-depth character creation. You can customize your character with a wide array of features. The sad thing is that the rest of the game doesn’t seem to have the same level of detail put into it.

Leveling is a linear progression of quests. Basically, questing is the only way to level a character. Not that it’s a bad way to level. But Champions doesn’t offer much…the quests aren’t interesting and didn’t pull me into the lore of the game. Although Cryptic Studio is working to improve group quests, there isn’t much group content at this point.

Champions Online will not pose a major threat to other MMOs. It’s simply not that good.

I gave it a go. But the game didn’t turn out to be worth the monthly subscription. I won’t be playing CO anymore and will approach Cryptic Studios games with a bit more caution.

I’m holding out hope that Star Trek and Star Wars: The Old Republic will turn out to be much better.

Champions Online Logo

Other Reviews of Champions Online:

  • MMOCrunch says, “It’s extremely casual and alt friendly, but is hamstrung by a lack of group content early on.”
  • For The Lore thinks that “This is the next step in the evolution of hero MMO’s. It is a good game but it is very clearly built upon the shoulders of City of Heroes.”
  • EuroGamer covers it pretty well here: “Cryptic’s superhero MMO serves a huge heap of wish-fulfilment to you before you’ve even started playing, ladles yet more onto your plate after barely an hour, and then lets it all go cold and you hungry for half the game’s length. It has hundreds of missions, but somehow they’re barely enough to sustain a single play-through, and they’re stretched out over a handful of over-extended locations. It doles out character progression in terms that are hard to understand or notice; it constantly showers you in meaningless items, but rations exciting new skills with mind-numbing parsimony.”

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Mike Schramm From WoW.com Discusses World of Warcraft – Part 1 of 2

Posted on 04 August 2009 by Tim

WoW.com, formerly known as WoW Insider, is one of the top sites for World of Warcraft fans. The site features news, class guides, tips for raiding, and even some free leveling guides. Since becoming WoW.com, the site added a community feature to it. Now you can create a profile to show off your characters, write blog posts, and post pictures. You can see my profile here.

Mike Schramm from WoW.com Mike Schramm is currently Senior Editor on WoW.com but can also be found writing articles for TUAW, Joystiq and Massively.

Mike was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule for me.

For World of Warcraft players, or those considering joining, what does WoW.com offer?

We’re basically the one-stop shop for everything in the game, including guides, commentary, news, and views both about the game and the community. We’re one of the biggest sites out there specifically about World of Warcraft, and one thing that sets us apart from everyone else is that we do it all: whether you’re just a casual player who wants to know what’s up with the latest patch, you want some more insightful commentary about the latest class changes, or you’re not even a player and just want to hear about the latest craziness coming out of the community, we’ve got it. At this point, we’re running new posts almost every hour, so there’s tons and tons of content and fun things to read at all times of the day.

Watch Mike interview Michele Boyd from The Guild. Video below!

What 3-5 posts would you recommend as must-read for a new player?

That’s a tough one. For new players of World of Warcraft, we have a great series called WoW Rookie that takes a good look at some of the more basic mechanics and things to learn in the game. The column was obviously designed for rookies, but it’s so well done and complete that even veterans might find some tips in there that they haven’t heard yet. Other than that, new players should probably just look around the site — the game and its community is so big that there’s probably something that will attract their attention and give them a place to start. The class columns are excellent, and the leveling guides can be helpful for new players as well.

Why do you think World of Warcraft has been far more successful than other MMOs?

One thing it does very right is give every single player tons of things to do. Blizzard was one of the first companies to realize that you also had to get a singleplayer experience right with an MMO, and they made sure that every single class in the game can level all the way up to 80 (the current highest level) by themselves if they choose to play that way. Of course, most people don’t, so whether you want to raid, play against other players, or jump into the economy, there’s lots of stuff to do there as well. There’s a lot of reasons World of Warcraft is so big (Blizzard’s legendary polish, their reputation as a developer, and the fact that it’s such a popular game already — friends get friends to play — all went into it, among many other things), but I think the main reason it’s stayed so popular is that it has something really intriguing for almost any kind of player.

How has the reaction to patch 3.2 been?

So far so good, though at this point, it’s a little later than we expected. But this was a patch we didn’t know a lot about until more recently — the last patch, Ulduar, was expected when Wrath of the Lich King came out, and the next patch, Icecrown Citadel, will supposedly wrap up the Arthas story, which is very anticipated. But 3.2 was kind of a mystery, and so while players are very excited about the Crusaders’ Coliseum, I think they (and Blizzard, to a certain extent) still aren’t quite sure what to expect. It could take off and be huge, influencing the way they do raids in the future, or it could kind of flounder and have everybody hoping for Icecrown a few weeks after 3.2 comes out.

Part 2 of my interview with Mike Schramm.

Here Mike interviews Michele Boyd, from The Guild:

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Dark Horse Comics Will Develop Mass Effect Comic Series

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Tim

Electronic Arts (EA) and Dark Horse Comics announced they will be developing a comic series based on the popular game Mass Effect.

BioWare™, a studio of Electronic Arts Inc. and Dark Horse Comics today announced a new comic book series based on Mass Effect™, the blockbuster sci-fi action videogame that IGN.com rated the #1 Xbox 360™ game of all time. In Mass Effect: Redemption, the story takes readers through the treacherous events leading up to Mass Effect 2 which opens with galactic hero Commander Shepard having mysteriously gone missing and left to fight for survival. What unfolds next will expose readers to new locations, aliens and extended storyline in the Mass Effect universe. Mass Effect: Redemption
is scheduled to launch in January 6, 2010.

When Mass Effect was originally released last November on the Xbox 360, it unveiled a vast, beautiful galaxy populated by diverse, fascinating alien races. Players stepped onto this stage as Commander Shepard, a hero at the vanguard of humanity’s ascension in the arena of galactic politics, and thus began an epic story bolstered by engaging characters and rich, branching dialogue.” – Gamespot (Rated Mass Effect: 9.0 out of 10)

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