But what's especially notable for folks who have been away from the game, like myself, is the huge Game Update 4.0 that hit when Knights of the Fallen Empire launched in October of last year. See, when The Old Republic was announced, lead designer James Ohlen hyped it up as better than a potential Knights of the Old Republic 3, by saying: "What we're really doing is Knights of the Old Republic 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12-plus."
It's only in this most recent update that The Old Republic has finally realized that tantalizing promise.
The biggest improvement to The Old Republic with Game Update 4.0 is the fact you can now play solo from level one to level 60 by completing your main story missions and a string of planetary story arc.
I cannot overstate how smart this choice is. BioWare looked at how confused the game was between being an MMO and a single-player RPG and made a shocking call: It essentially split the game into two separate experiences. You can play it up to the cap as a single-player game, grouping only when you absolutely feel like it. And once you hit the cap, that is where you start getting into the real MMO stuff of raiding, hardcore dungeons, gear grinds and more.
Not interested in the latter? Just play through the story stuff and then quit. Not interested in the former? Knights of the Fallen Empire lets you create a character from level 60 so that you can get right to the MMO stuff you care about faster. BioWare is, against all odds, successfully catering to both of the game's audiences.
You can now take any of The Old Republic's NPC companions and assign them as a healer, damage dealer or tank at will. No more teaming up with a character you don't like just because you need a healer; this is now a game about doing the stuff you actually care about, in the form you want. You're even allowed to play new solo-friendly versions of what were once group-only "dungeons."
Bothered by the endless running across vast open spaces that MMOs entail? The Old Republic now features a much less restrictive fast travel system, and the planetary taxi systems are unlocked from the moment you visit a new area, without needing to journey on foot to each new quest hub. If you play it right, there's very little downtime between quests.
Hey, guess what! Those sequels to the Knights of the Old Republic games? Here you go. They're waiting on you right now.Sounds like it's time to reinstall Old Republic on my laptop...
It's as if they, while deciding not to completely can the MMO game, have yet managed to turn Old Republic into exactly what I wanted it to really be:
- Knights of the Old Republic 3: Jedi Knight
- Knights of the Old Republic 4: Jedi Consular
- Knights of the Old Republic 5: Republic Trooper
- Knights of the Old Republic 6: Smuggler
- Knights of the Old Republic 7: Sith Warrior
- Knights of the Old Republic 8: Sith Inquisitor
- Knights of the Old Republic 9: Imperial Agent
- Knights of the Old Republic 10: Bounty Hunter
I guess it doesn't really go up to 12+ yet. But if DLC's keep coming out, who knows?