Star wars the old republic also known as SW:TOR or TOR is Biowares first attempt at producing a massive multiplayer online game (MMO) and couldn't have chosen a better background for their game.
Teaming up with Lucas arts Bioware have chosen to build on the already huge cult followings of star wars and the knight of the old republic (KOTOR) RPG gaming's released in past years. This game has been in production for over 6 years now and every day the following grows more and more as anticipation masses for the 20th of December 2011 release date of TOR.
This past weekend the team here at GameStrats were lucky enough to join thousands of other players from around the world at the SW:TOR open beta weekend where we got our first real glimpse at the game and its features.
One feature that has really been something we wanted to look at is the companion system in TOR, each class gets his or her own companions who will join you on missions and aid you in fights as well as perform tasks for you such as crafting, gathering and even missions for credits while you're not even logged in!
This revelation helps to remove some of the tedious grinding associated with MMO's and also allows for groups to be filled quickly with companions when you're missing a DPS, Tank or even a healer there is a companion for every role within the old republic.
The GameStrats team took it upon themselves to explore different aspects of the game, rather than trying to find the outright fastest way to level we decided instead to gather information on all aspects from companion abilities and a complete list of companions available at the Gamestrats website right through to location holocrons and learning how level characters fast through the respective starting areas.
My responsibility was to amass as much information with regards to companions of all the classes within the old republic, and I'm pleased to say that none of them let me down, each of the SW:TOR companions has their own personality which really shines through thanks to Biowares voice acting and the fact each companion brings something to the table both in combat, through player customisation of the companion and even minor tweaks to your crew skills making companion choice more relevant that it first seems.
Although companions are never going to be a replacement for experienced players with relevant equipment and skill rotation, reactions to AOE and other various aspects of game play, they do bring a little more flexibility to the game allowing a small group of friends to proceed with flashpoints when that last DPS just doesn't seem available, the great thing about taking a companion in that last slot is the ability to switch out need an off tank? Sure pull out the tank companion, healing too hard to handle on this boss? Great then pull out the healer instead, or just need to burn through the trash then grab a DPS companion.
With a little bit of micro management of skills and their ability to see your companions skill bar under your own it allows for some really good control of your character and companion allowing you to override what sometimes feels like poor ui. Which is great when all your lacking is some consistent CC in an encounter which can seriously help to even the odds in world PvP also.
All in all the companion system is something to look out for and I for one can't wait to explore every aspect of the system the old republic has implemented. For more information on companions check out the GameStrats website