The Old Republic
On October 21st 2008, I remember sitting at my house reading over daily video game news articles from Gamespot. To my surprise, I saw that Bioware (one of my favorite gaming companies) had made a big announcement. They were developing a Star Wars mmo, that would be a direct sequel to my favorite RPG of all time Knights of the Old Republic.
Now it is May 4th 2011, well over two years after the game wass announced and there is still little to no evidence that the game is any closer to release than it was in October of 2008. The Old Republic has captivated Star Wars and Bioware fans for the past several years, but there is still no information on release. Two E3 conventions have come and gone without a release date, and any hard facts on end game experience.
Sure Bioware, has released information on flashpoints, companionions, planets, lore, and story, but what about end game. Will end game be primarily pvp based? Or will end game be raid/flashpoint/story? There is little no information about this.
Also, since 2009 at the very least Bioware has been in a closed beta stage for The Old Republic. Forum members like myself who have followed the game since it was announced have still not recieved an invite into the game.
With The Old Republic seemingly locked into a never-ending closed beta, and be headed by information repressive developers it may be a long time before the fans ever receive information on when the game will be released.
But, let's examine the facts. The game has been officially in development since 2008. However, we know that game development started possibly a year or two prior to that, which means that TOR has been in development for around 5 years. Reports have begun to surface that TOR could be postponed into 2012 and if that happens it will mean that the game could be 6 years old before it is ever released. This would make The Old Republic, old indeed when it is released.
The game was built on 2004-5 mechanics and how a MMO should operate. This means that the game was built on the World of Warcraft 'themepark' model. This model includes scripted events, static areas, and little to no deviation from what the developers intended. However, now it is 2011, World of Warcraft is starting to decline, and players desperately want something different. WoW 2.0 simply isn't good enough anymore.
Bioware knows that and maybe that is one of the reasons the game has dragged on in development for so long. It is possible that basic mechanics are being changed from the original intentions. Players can already see this with the 'trinity' concept. This concept, in simple terms, means that there are three types of classes: tank, dps, healer. TOR was built with this in mind, but overtime the classes changed from locked roles to having the possibility to be any of the three types.
Flashpoints are scripted like a themepark, but open to player choice and direction which makes them different from WoW's dungeons which have the same outcome each time. Likewise, companion npc characters might make the game unique as well.
While the jury is still out on end-game, it seems that this game system is what is holding TOR in the development cycle. There has been little to no information about end-game. Until Bioware figures out how to make this unique to TOR and innovative, it is unlikely we will be playing the game anytime soon.
So, to close. No there is still no release date. I'll update this when I hear of one or write a new article about it.