Enter the Warzones: Voidstar, Huttball and Alderaan

Another weekend, another piece of juicy SWTOR information released by Bioware. This week it’s all about PvP combat. Warzones are the areas designated for PvP in Star Wars: The Old Republic and Bioware had previously given out plenty of information on one of the Warzones, Huttball. They’ve now released information on a further two Warzones: Voidstar (a derelict Imperial Battle Cruiser) and Alderaan (that planet you might have heard about before).

There are video clips showcasing Voidstar, Alderaan and the previously announced Huttball here. Or check the Alderaan one out right now:
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Courage and ‘Hope’

Last year was absolutely EPIC at E3. The cinematic trailer for The Old Republic was a masterpiece. The Sith assault on the Jedi temple on Coruscant in ‘Deceived’ has to be seen to be believed. No one doubted that Star Wars: The Old Republic was going to be epic before that trailer.

After it? There was such a huge response that the SWTOR website crashed. Everyone was looking forward to E3 this year. But then Lucasarts and Bioware did it to us again – I expected a meal and they gave me a five course, full service banquet. They were not content to give us a new trailer, no…

Players will have personal starships. Oh did I not say that right? PLAYERS WILL HAVE PERSONAL STARSHIPS!!!!! Ah! I very nearly went in my pants when I heard that. I don’t CARE if there is space combat now. Knowing Bioware and Lucasarts, if they have starships, there will almost certainly be more to do with them that use them as houses. But I don’t care now. I get my own personal Republic Gunship! YAY! The images were just so cool, and the bits of PvP footage rocked as well.

But then, on the heels of that… They rocked my world. I have so few words. I am almost unable to type, I was so dumbfounded. If you have not seen the ‘Hope’ trailer, do it. Now. You will not be sorry. Spoilers follow this so watch the trailer first.

Oh my god. I have never been a huge fan of Jedi. They were too overpowered, too strong, too fast, too tough for normal people to beat. Sith likewise. Can you possibly imagine someone like Darth Vader falling to a Rebel Alliance trooper? I couldn’t. Until now.

The setting, Alderaan. All Star Wars fans know about Alderaan, the homeworld of Princess Leia, the world destroyed in Episode IV by the Death Star to make a point. The cinematic opened with peace, and then, darkness. The Sith of course as is their wont, invade and destroy. The only thing in their way? A small force of elite Republic Special Forces troopers. But cannon fodder these guys are NOT.

The Sith in charge of the attack on Alderaan is the same one that later lays utter waste to the Jedi Temple – Darth Malgus. This is at the start of his career, he doesn’t have the mask yet. But after the ending, we know why he wears it. I am amazed he survived at all. I guess hate makes a good anaesthetic.

The Republic set an ambush for Malgus and his troops. They don’t have the personnel to fight him one-on-one. So they fight guerrilla style. And when the narrator said ‘For the Republic’ I very nearly jumped out of my chair to charge myself. Dark Side of the Force, ha! Meet grenade launcher, heavy repeaters, thermal detonators and courage! They were swatting black robed forms right and left until Malgus himself entered the act. But even the kind of courage that the troopers had, has its limits. I was stunned when the senior trooper got his tail kicked by Malgus’ Force lightning.  When he was kneeling there about to be killed, I was almost in tears. And then she made her entrance.

I said I never cared for Jedi, and that is true. They always seemed too over the top. But the consular who dropped into the fight made my day. She wasn’t the focus of the battle, but she kept Malgus busy long enough for the troopers to win. She wasn’t invincible. Malgus was obviously better with a lightsaber than she was, cutting her double bladed one in half. She was powerful, I mean, come on! How many people can block a lightsaber with a bare hand? I think it was the same kind of thing Yoda did when he faced Dooku and Palpatine’s Force lightning in Episodes 2 and 3. A lightsaber blade is energy right? That means it can be deflected with great effort. Maybe a bit over the top, but it was very cool to see.

And then the TROOPER saved the day. How many times does a lowly trooper save a mighty Jedi? And how he did it… Omg, that was epic! The look on that Sith Lord’s face was just priceless. I mean I can see the guy thinking…

‘This Republic scum is pathetic! Tackling me, trying to hit me with his hands? Sheesh… How stupid can he be? Wait a moment, what is that in his hand??? A GRENADE!!!’

I laughed out loud when I saw that. High and mighty Sith might be tough, but raw courage can take them down if given the chance. Admittedly Malgus was still on his feet and the trooper was not. But it gave the Jedi time to recover and prepare to hit Malgus with the Force. And THAT is the whole point of this. Teamwork wins wars. Individual prowess means nothing, it is working as a team that makes such things possible. Sith are mighty combatants, true, but if they fight as individuals, they can be taken down, albeit at a massive cost in lives. And that was what won the battle for the Republic, the Jedi and the soldiers of Havoc Squad working as a team to fight and die if necessary.

If you notice, the Jedi’s arrival allowed the troopers time to regroup and fight back effectively. And that means more to me than any special effects or showy force powers. She was not the prime focus of the battle, she was there to keep Malgus occupied until the soldiers, the common foot slogging soldiers, could win the day. Smashing Malgus into the mountainside was almost an afterthought. This was after he had been burned by incendiary grenades, showered by blaster fire, and had a grenade go off in his face. No wonder he wears a mask now…

I found myself crying at the end of that trailer, and I strongly doubt I was the only one as the Republic fleet came to the rescue. It was… I truly have no words. It was epic was about the best I can do.

Such a game as Star Wars: The Old Republic is shaping up to be will be good no matter what. But if THIS is what we can look forward to, such surprises, such epic stories, such… sheer scope and grandeur… Such… Star Wars!

I personally think we have a contender here. We have something epic that may finally, after so long, live up to the franchise.  It may finally be Star Wars. Oh, by the way, the website crashed again, I read something about 25000 hits in about ten minutes or something like that. I have occasionally had my doubts. But now I truly have ‘Hope’…

And we have personal starships!!!!!! YAY!!!!

Over to you, what do you think of this announcement? I know I am going to watch the trailer again. And again, and again.