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Hyperspace Beacon: Always in motion is the future


Boot your navi-computer, angle your deflector shields, and prepare for the jump to lightspeed. This year will be the greatest year in the history of MMO gaming. I don't mean because Star Wars Galaxies is shutting down, because it's not, and that would be a sad year. I mean that the most anticipated game in the history of MMOs will be released this year. Star Wars: The Old Republic will make its way to our doors and our hearts this spring. (I cross my fingers, hoping for no delay, but I know it's probably inevitable.)

As the release nears, we will certainly see a plethora of updates and secret reveals. We had our share of SWTOR news last year, and as with every game, the hype-machine presses on with a fevered fervor towards its zenith. There is so much we know about this game already, yet at the same time, we know very little. We are really like a Miraluka on a Vong ship. (You get 500 fanboy points if you understand that reference.) We keep bumping into walls, but we don't really see the whole picture. Honestly, I question whether I want to know the whole picture before the game is released.

Let's tap into our Force foresight a bit today to see whether we can muster a few visions. Maybe we'll see a city in the clouds; maybe we'll see our friends being tortured. Maybe we'll find out we are really Revan! What will be revealed in 2011? Follow me after the break to find out!

I get in trouble if I don't do this, so I am going to preface this whole article with the tag: speculation. None of this is absolute truth; it's just a collection of my hopes for the game. All of it will be based on facts and things we have seen before, but none of it is based on leaked or unreleased or secret information. That said, let's dive in.

This is the one reveal I am more than certain will happen. I do not think we are finished seeing all the species available for play. For instance, it has been announced that the Jedi Consulars can be Mirialan or human, but during the Jedi immersion day, some people were able to play as Twi'leks. Zabraks are available for Troopers and Sith Inquisitors, but if you take a look at the Alderaanian PvP video, you will notice that the Jedi Knight player is also a Zabrak. I do believe BioWare is done revealing unique species, but I am hoping that there will be more species available for each class -- perhaps Rattataki will be available for the Smuggler, or maybe we can play Mirialan Troopers. However, the more likely option is that certain species (like Zabrak or Twi'lek) are available for all classes. Mmmmm... Twi'lek Sith Inquisitor? That would be awesome.

When space combat was announced, we learned our ships will be able to be outfitted with different parts for combat purposes, much like armor and weapons for your character. BioWare has also made it clear that it wants someone to look at another character and know he is higher in level. Blaine Christine even went so far as to say that we will probably be able to tell whether someone is a great raid-runner or PvPer based on his gear. If you visit your captain's quarters in Mass Effect 2, there are tidbits all over your room showing some of the missions you've run and items you've collected. I completely believe something similar will happen in SWTOR, except I think it will be taken to the next level. SWTOR will not be left in the dust by any other MMO. I have confidence that you will be able to decorate your ship as you see fit and that furniture will be available, too. However, I do not believe that it will be created by players as it is in games like SWG, but rather that NPC vendors will sell it to you. It will be a type of status symbol. Other players will say things like, "Wow, you've found the lost city vendor on Belsavis?"

I know what you're thinking: We have a lot of planets already -- do we really need more? My answer is yes, we do. But which planet will it be? We know all the starter worlds already. We have a bunch of iconic planets, like Corellia, Tatooine, Korriban, Alderaan, even Coruscant. How can there possibly be another planet that will turn heads? We have two contested planets so far that we know about: Ilum and Alderaan. It seems Belsavis and Voss may be locations of contention as well. But (save for Voss) these planets are or were all under Republic control. So far, we have not seen a planet originally under Sith control being contested. So I have one guess as to which planet we have not seen -- I think it's Ziost. Disagree if you like; I want to see what you think!

On a related note, I believe there is one place that will be teased a lot over the next few months. Revan's complex was teased in a video aired at PAX. I think that was the first in a series of teasers that will slowly be unveiled as we squeak closer to launch. Unfortunately, it is going to be very hard to predict what exactly happened to Revan, because we have absolutely nothing to go on other that what was given to us in Knights of the Old Republic and the SWTOR timelines, and little of that can be used to predict the future. However, I believe his complex will be one of the major raid areas in the game, a place that both Empire and Republic citizens will strive to control. But I do not think HK-47 will be anyone's companion. Sorry.

That's it for me, folks. A mystical energy force is guiding me away for this week, but before I leave, I want to read what you think. Let me know your take on my predictions and tell me some of yours in the comments below.

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 Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!

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