Help re-create A New Hope

A big thanks to Darka on the forums, who posted a link to Star Wars Uncut. It’s a great crowdsourcing project where anyone has the opportunity to recreate a 15-second slice of the original Star Wars movie.

Whether it’s Lego, live action or Star Wars figures, you can end up part of a fan-generated replica of A New Hope. Some of the results are superb, others are hilarious and some are both. I for one am now desperate to see the final product – it will have to be one of the viral movie efforts of the decade. Check it out for yourself, or view a couple of sample scenes right now:

Star Wars Uncut – Scene 455 from igor petrov on Vimeo.

Star Wars Uncut – Scene 264 from Keith Browne on Vimeo.

Star Wars Uncut – Scene 257 from Craig Gleason on Vimeo.

WoW Cataclysm: why it adds strength to SWTOR

The big MMO news to come out of this weekend is the trailer for the next World of Warcraft expansion, called Cataclysm. Before I start talking about it, have a look for yourself if you haven’t already:

As a WoW player, I have mixed feelings about well known areas in the game having their appearance changed so much. That aside, it looks like an excellent expansion. Here’s why I think Cataclysm adds even more fuel to growing fire that is Star Wars The Old Republic:

1. Proof of longevity

As a Warcraft player since the original 2D version in the 90’s, I’m still surprised at the longevity of the franchise. For me, WoW lore has never connected in a big way. That said, Blizzard have put some effort into that aspect and Cataclysm takes another big step in expanding the lore side of things. The Star Wars Universe arguably has the most comprehensive lore of any game franchise, so SWTOR‘s longevity appears assured. I can already picture the trailers for SWTOR‘s third expansion and it’s hard to imagine they won’t stake as bold a claim on story development as WoW has.

2. It’s about guilds

One of the touted features of Cataclysm is a new guild progression system, something that’s been totally missing in WoW to date. It’s safe to say that SWTOR is factoring in the primacy of the guild in a big way, and now they’ll have some time to watch Blizzard try their hand with increased guild functionality and learn from any glitches that occur.

3. Attractive grind

One thing WoW have improved over the years is leveling. They’ve tried to make quests a little more varied and the achievements system hasn’t hurt motivation either for a lot of people. You can be sure BioWare have scrutinised these aspects closely and have the luxury of ensuring better variety from Day 1. I for one will be disappointed if there’s not some sort of formalised achievements system – more on that in an upcoming story.

4. Alts out the nose

Any MMO needs it players coming back for more and more. Leveling up multiple characters is something common to most and WoW’s next expansion makes that even more attractive with a wider range of quests in the lower level areas. SWTOR may have a different approach to leveling but the attractiveness of creating multiple characters and leveling them is key to long-term success, if combined with compelling expansions.

The sum-up

The purpose of TOROZ isn’t to constantly compare SWTOR to WoW, but it’s fair to say WoW is the dominant MMO and they’ve both made some savvy gameplay decisions as well as delivered some dud ideas over the past five years. That evolution can only benefit up-and-comers like SWTOR, who can innovate on what’s an incredibly deep vein of MMO history.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – what about Catalcysm do you think is good evolution (or even revolution) and do you think any of it is the same old stuff?

A syndrome BioWare needs to avoid

Although SWTOR isn’t strictly a first-person shooter, I thought the following video was important to bring to BioWare’s attention:

The humanity of it all!

SWTOR Guild recruitment goes to a new level

Torment Gaming are actively trying to put together some guilds for SWTOR, and they’ve gone to quite a bit of trouble to tell you. Once more gameplay footage is released by BioWare, expect a lot more of these to show up:

Torment SWTOR Teaser #1 from The Darkside on Vimeo.

Voice as immersion: more information

BioWare and LucasArts have released a short piece in how voice is being used in SWTOR to increase the immersion of players.

There’s some interesting shots of the game action itself interpersed between comments from developers.

I have to admit that the gameplay shots have taken me aback a little – particularly the avatar close-ups. They just don’t seem that much evolved from previous iterations of the Star Wars franchise I’ve played on consoles. Here’s the video in full:

Do you like what you hear and see?

Official machinima: deceived