Comic-Con 2011: Old Republic Talks Speeders, Advanced Classes, Companion Characters, and More

The first big piece of Old Republic news from Comic-Con 2011 was undoubtedly the availability of pre-orders, even though they with the disappointing news that the game would have a limited launch (to keep the technical headaches to a minimum), and without any hint of a release date. There is some good news, though: GameFront is running a contest on Twitter to give away a preorder code!

Once the conference started up, however, a number of more concrete details emerged from the Old Republic panel. There was understandably a lot of interest in transportation — MMO players spend a lot of time getting from one place to another — and the big reveal of the day were the landspeeders and speeder bikes that players will use to, well, speed up their movement through the world.

We got some hands-on experience with the speeder system at E3. The one we tried sits in an item slot in your inventory like a WoW mount, and you can summon it into existence at any time and drive it around the gameworld. Though the Old Republic developers had initially planned to limit the number of speeders available, sticking to a basic model for low-level players and a souped-up version for the elder game, they have since decided to expand the system, creating a variety of vehicles for a variety of levels, some more difficult to acquire than others.

The game will also include a shuttle system for getting around large planets, and players will also have access to their own personal starships (“mobile homes in space”) which can be used either for intra-planet transport or for traveling quickly between planets using hyperdrive, which BioWare assured people would not be time-consuming. Players will be able to customize the name of their starship — expect to see a lot of “M1ll3nium fAlC0n”‘s

As it turns out, the appearance of companion characters can also be customized. If you prefer your Twi’Leks red, instead of blue or green, for example, you’re in luck. The BioWare developers also talked advanced classes — you’ll be given a cheap opportunity to respec once if you feel you’ve made the wrong choice, but doing so again will be much more costly. They also mentioned an intriguing option in the elder game; apparently there’s a whole planet full of solo content for advanced players. Take that, raiding!

Stay tuned to GameFront as we scour Comic-Con for more news on The Old Republic and all your other favorite games. And start thinking about which color of Twi’Lek you prefer — you only have until holiday 2011 to decide!

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