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Hyperspace Beacon: Force reflection


"Always in motion is the future," Yoda reflected to Luke Skywalker in the greatest of all Star Wars movies, The Empire Strikes Back. Even for a Jedi master, the future is unpredictable and always fluid. Likewise, I made predictions about Star Wars: The Old Republic that were completely off base and some that were spot on. Of course, the ones I got wrong were part of the BioWare plot to subvert everything I do. That's right, I'm looking at you, Georg Zoeller.

This week, I'm going to borrow a phrase from the SWTOR-RP website: Force Reflection. Every weekday, these roleplayers pose a question about SWTOR, Star Wars, or some sort of roleplay trope to get you to think about how you play you character. However, I'm going to use the phrase to think back on the predictions I made in this column, specifically the first article of this year. Which ideas did I get correct? Which ideas did I get totally wrong? I can't be one hundred percent correct all the time. I have to leave room for some errors or else I'd lose my secret job as a psychic-hotline operator.

Jump past the break to judge for yourself.

If only I had known then what I know now. How many times have you said that predictable phrase? Looking back on my future predictions regarding Star Wars: The Old Republic, I cannot help but chuckle at how far off I was. In my defense, we only had a glimmer of the information about the game that we do now.

Hyperspace Beacon: Galaxies' sunset
Unfortunately, in last year's article, I did accidentally predict one thing I really wish I was wrong about. In the first paragraph I said, "I don't mean because Star Wars Galaxies is shutting down because it's not, and that would be a sad year." Indeed, it was a sad year because of that. Although I don't blame BioWare for the shutdown of my favorite MMO, it's hard not to think the sunsetting of Galaxies is not directly related to the launch of The Old Republic. I said my good-byes to the game, and Karen, Beau, and I even streamed the last moments on my favorite server, Starsider. I miss the good times.

Hyperspace Beacon: Game delay
Another unfortunate prediction I made was the delay of the game. Bear in mind that at the time, the release window still set at spring 2011. Ironically, I said, "I cross my fingers, hoping for no delay, but I know it's probably inevitable." Yeeeep! Little did I know that the delay would be about seven months. That was worse than the three-month delay of DC Universe Online (which also happened this year). However, my understanding is that the amount of polish that went into the game from March to December was astronomical, so I'm glad for the delay. At least it was released this year, right?

Hyperspace Beacon: Missing planet
I predicted that we would see one more planet. I was correct; we did! However, I was incorrect about which planet. Two weeks after I predicted that we would see Ziost because we needed another Imperial-controlled planet, BioWare introduced us to Quesh (out of left field, in my opinion). According to those who've visited the world, it's still a bit unfinished. Other than Ilum, Quesh has the shortest level progression of any planet. Most likely, we are looking at some sort of planetary control expansion there in the near future.

Hyperspace Beacon: Operation: Revan
My prediction about endgame was both right and wrong. I had predicted that Revan's complex, now known as The Foundry or the White Nova Flashpoint, would be an endgame raid. We were, in fact, introduced to an endgame raid (or operation), but it was not Revan's complex. And we were introduced to Revan's complex, but it was not an endgame raid. However, I was right about one thing: "But I do not think HK-47 will be anyone's companion. Sorry." Or was I...

Hyperspace Beacon: Personalizing ships
When I predicted that we would have customizable ship interiors by launch, I was wrong. I was really hoping that this of all predictions would be the most true, but unfortunately, I will have to hold to a recent quote from Creative Director James Ohlen:

Ship customization (being able to add things to the interior of your ship) probably falls between soon and sometime. It's something that's pretty important. Let's say not as soon as the grey morality thing because it's a little bit of a bigger feature, and we want to introduce it properly.
I believe experiences in MMOs are most interesting when they are unique. I understand that the majority of the level-1-to-50 experience between characters of the same class is the same. However, it's the story choices and the side quests that add a bit of flavor to this otherwise commonplace experience. Customizable characters and outfits help create distinction. Likewise, customizing your ship's interior will also create visual separation between players' adventures.

Hyperspace Beacon: Speculation minigame
Speculation about what was or wasn't going to be in Star Wars: The Old Republic became its own minigame for fans of the genre. I recall that one of my predictions in 2008 was that player-generated content would change the face of MMOs, and I had hoped that SWTOR would lead the charge. The prediction wasn't completely unfounded at the time because BioWare had made Neverwinter Nights, which many people still play with fervor. In fact, BioWare still uses that creative engine to hire its new writers.

I was right that player-generated content would change the face of MMOs. It certainly breathed new life into City of Heroes and Star Trek Online. However, SWTOR turned out to be the exact opposite of player-generated content. Now, I've shared enough of my false prophesies, so I'd like to hear some of yours. I know many of you thought this thing or that thing would appear in TOR but didn't. Even if you were off-base about the details, tell us: Which ideas of yours actually made it in? Let me know what the comments.

I'll see ya next year!

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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