Hyperspace Beacon: More nuna bites
Like just about everyone else watching the PAX coverage, I was expecting something big to come from Star Wars: The Old Republic. However, aside from a release date, I really didn't know what the team could give us that everyone would find important. At this point, you either like what you see or you don't. Nothing short of actually playing the game is going to make a difference. This oversaturation of information is a direct consequence of starting a marketing campaign three years ago. This long campaign results in news being regurgitated a few times over, as if it were new info. Take for instance the same-gender romance arc -- that was a topic we covered two years ago.

As I did in the last nuna bites segment, I'd like to take a moment to discuss some of the smaller bits of news that you may have missed. At the same time, I would also like to weigh in on the same-gender-romance-arc subject because it is important, and I would like others to feel comfortable about expressing their personal viewpoints on the subject too.

Gay in TOR
What is my take on gay or lesbian relationships in Star Wars? I was asked this question on Google+. I hoped that it was an honest question and not an attempt to get me to say something stupid or to turn people off to what I have to say. I'm an optimist, so I took it as an honest question. So I gave an honest answer:
To each his own. From a story perspective, I don't think it adds nor takes away from the narrative. It's Star Wars; it's more disturbing to me to think about two Hutts getting it on than two guys.

If you're talking about Star Wars: The Old Republic, specifically: Yeah, I'm disappointed that there will be no same gender romance options. At the same time, I don't believe that it's this game's fight. Maybe when the country has stopped thinking that homosexuality is all about sex and come to realize that it's about the relationship between two people, then SWTOR will be able to do some rewrites.
My perspective may be a bit skewed because the issue doesn't affect me directly. However, it does affect a few of my friends, and since those friends are also roleplayers, the idea of an NPC romance is much less intriguing than a romance with a player character. And I have to agree: It's much more exciting to engage in a story-based romance with a player controlling the actions of the other character than basing the outcome on some mathematical formula. D20 (Base Damage + Agility - Encumbrance)*Weapon Bonus > 13 = smooch.

PvP Planet
On a totally different subject, the developers announced that the level 50 planet of Ilum is a PvP planet. Admittedly, I am not a strong PvPer, mostly because I play healers, tanks, and pet classes. I'm usually either the first one dead in PvP or the one people ignored. However, I may actually have something to do on this PvP planet. In the presentation on Sunday, designer-of-everything Gabe Amatangelo explained that factions will fight for territory control including base defense -- oh! and manned turrets!

The last Star Wars MMO failed miserably with player-controlled turrets. It was no surprise that when SOE "upgraded" the combat system, turrets were dropped. However, technology has changed dramatically since then, and manned turrets are actually exciting in recent games.

On top of that, Amatangelo explained some of the underlying philosophy behind the open-world objectives. He explains that traditionally, if one faction has 100 players and the other faction has 200 players, the group with 200 is going to win. However, the design team has worked really hard to incorporate different "run-and-gun tactics" as Amatangelo put it. The idea is to keep the open-world PvP fun no matter how many people are currently PvPing.

On top of the PvP, Ilum is the home of endgame solo content. Although we do not yet know the specifics, developers mentioned this weekend that solo players will have repetitive story content to play once they hit max level. Amatangelo mentioned on the Totally Rad Show that players will likely hit max level before reaching the end of the class story, so this gives a fifth option for top level characters: Warzones, Operations, Flashpoints, class story, and now open-world PvP through Ilum.

Eternity Vault
We really do not know a lot about the Eternity Vault Operation, but the first two sections were presented at least two separate times over the weekend. The first time was, of course, the Friday Update, and the second time was at the presentation on Sunday. However, that's not the nuna bite. The nuna bite is hard mode. Gabe Amatangelo explained that players at the presentation are playing the Eternity Vault on normal mode and that currently there is a normal mode and a hard mode for the encounter. Thankfully, the rag-tag group of players wiped after the second wave of Eternity Vault defenses. If the players had been able to clear past the giant defense droid, I would have been disappointed in the difficulty of the raid.

I'm out for this week! Let me know your thoughts about these nuna bites, and of course, I want to hear about PAX. What did you think of what was presented? Did you attend? What did you think of your hands-on experience?

The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to larry@massively.com. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!

This article was originally published on Massively.
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