In December 2011, over one million subscribers — including this author, who bought her very first gaming PC just to play — began to explore a galaxy far, far away in BioWare’s MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. The game is set almost 4,000 years before the events of the Star Wars movies, and acts as a loose continuation to the popular Knights of the Old Republic games. In The Old Republic, you star in your own cinematic, story driven adventure; you have allies and companions that join you in fighting against powerful adversaries and make light or dark side decisions, while the fate of the galaxy hangs on your choices. It’s addictive, super fun, and one of the most enthralling ways to immerse yourself in Star Wars. Any time an expansion is released, it’s a cause for celebration — and Knights of the Eternal Throne, the latest digital expansion, coming December 2, 2016 (November 29 with early access), is no exception. This year, BioWare raised the bar on excitement by offering players the chance to fight to rule the galaxy. StarWars.com spoke to BioWare’s The Old Republic creative director Charles Boyd and senior marketing director DebySue Wolfcale about Knights of the Eternal Throne and came away with six reasons to get very excited — along with some concept art and an exclusive screenshot!
1. Fear not, newbies and returning players! The expansion is a great time for new and lapsed players to join the game. There will be all sorts of promotional material to catch you up in the storyline, including the debut of a new cinematic trailer today (see above). “We try very hard to design it that way,” explains Charles Boyd. “You can jump into the new story line at level 65 and be ready to play.”
2. Long-term fans and professional gamers, you’ll be busy. In Knights of the Eternal Throne, you can look forward to expanded gameplay with the new Galactic Command feature available to subscribers, which will allow for “very cool” combat gameplay challenges that can be played alone or with friends. These include erupting battles known as uprisings and other types of action-packed battles; progress here will grant command rank and powerful rewards. The decisions players make while engaged in Galactic Command will ultimately impact the balance of the light vs. dark side of the Force across the galaxy. “As a Star Wars fan, it’s so great,” says Boyd. He should know — he’s a long time Star Wars aficionado and has been on the The Old Republic team from the beginning as a writer for the Trooper’s storyline. He adds that there will be fun multiplayer aspects and hard challenges for seasoned players.
3. It’s all about you. “It’s always about you; it’s uniquely yours,” says DebySue Wolfcale. “You’re ultimately leading your own saga.” Playing The Old Republic makes you the main character in your own, epic Star Wars story. You can choose who you want to be, you can choose what you look like in great detail, you can choose what class you play, you can customize your outfits and weapons (as well as those of your companions), you can choose whether you want to wield the Force with the dark side or light side, you can choose to play alone or with others, and your decisions have the power to change the galaxy. When I said it lets you immerse yourself in Star Wars, I wasn’t joking. And that continues with Knights of the Eternal Throne.
New for the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion, subscribers can play in three different modes in any chapter or combat mission. In Story mode, you’ll feel the wrenching emotions of the consequences of your life or death decisions. In Veteran mode, you’ll face challenges that force you to use tactical skills in combat. At Master level, you’ll be challenged to assert your dominance over your enemies. You can play alone, feeling the fight viscerally or with others in adrenalin packed large-scale battles. What kind of ruler will you be?
4. Experience a new Star Wars adventure in authentic way. According to Boyd, the stories stay fresh because of the hard work of the whole team, but ultimately it’s the Star Wars story that propels each new expansion. “It’s the brilliance of Star Wars itself,” he says. “It’s a pastiche of so many genres. It’s a samurai story, it’s Buck Rogers, it’s romantic drama, it’s a detective story.” In Knights of the Eternal Throne, you begin as the Outlander, a veteran of the Galactic War, fighting the most dangerous family known to the galaxy — evil Emperor Valkorian and his daughter, Empress Vaylin. The new storyline has betrayals, closures, and unexpected twists. As your power grows, you’ll have opportunities to either exert and gain personal power or rule as a just leader. The new Galactic Command maximizes your impact and power over the galaxy with the ability to play alone or with friends in heroic missions, factional conflict Operations, and new Uprisings. You decide which way the balance of the galaxy goes.
5. Play the game, get rewarded. According to Boyd, “We really appreciate our fans. We feel fortunate every day to create fun Star Wars adventures for fans to enjoy.” And they’re showing it via subscriber rewards: Premium players as of October 25, 2016, get Shae Vizla, Bounty Hunter Companion; premium players as of November 27, 2016, receive the epic Rapid Recon Walker Mount. Plus, all premium accounts between October 25 – November 27 get early access to Knights of the Eternal Throne on November 29 — three days before public release. Plus, players who join as premium level get access to all prior gameplay expansions: Rise of the Hutt Cartel, Shadow of Revan, and Knights of the Fallen Empire. So there’s no danger of missing out on previous storylines.
6. It’s The Old Republic’s five-year anniversary this December, and there’ll be some gifts – for you. Yep, more rewards are coming to players in celebration of the game’s big milestone in December. Don’t miss it. (And if you see a blue Twi’lek Jedi Knight at the Republic Fleet’s Carrick Station cantina, say hi. It might just be me.)
Linda is a physician who loves writing, yoga, horses, Star Wars, and style. She’s a contributor at FANgirlblog.com and has been a panelist at Star Wars Celebration and GeekGirlCon. Follow Linda on Twitter and Instagram.