SWTOR: Novare Coast Preview

When asked in an interview to describe The Old Republic’s new Novare Coast Warzone, game director James Ohlen had this to say:

We were trying to go for more of a wartime flavor, sort of a Normandy beach, D-Day type flavor. That was the initial concept for it, and I think it gives it a different feel than the other Warzones.

Having played two and half rounds on Novare Coast, I can confirm that the Warzone conforms to his description. The intro cinematic featured some cool amphibious artillery pieces, which certainly fit the D-Day vibe. In terms of terrain, the Novare Coast is defined by rocky dips and gullies — a varied landscape that presents interesting tactical possibilities.

Gameplay centers around three capture points: one central, quite close to the Imperial and Republic spawning areas, and two other more distant locations, to the northeast and northwest. As could be expected in a chaotic press-demo game, most of the action raged in close promixity to the central point, as journalists struggled to master unfamiliar classes and builds. As we became more familiar with the terrain, however, small groups banded together and struck out for the more distant nodes, cultivating the familiar ebb and flow of Conquest-style gameplay.

The three capture points — artillery control stations — are captured by activating consoles. The more teammates that click on them, the faster they capture, though all can be interrupted with the use of a well-placed AOE ability. Taking control of the artillery bleeds down the opposing team’s score; when it reaches zero, it’s game over.

Novare Coast, like Huttball, will be open to mixed-faction teams, though our well-balanced demo group didn’t take advantage of that feature. Instead, much of its distinctive gameplay derived from the terrain — clever players will hide behind rocky outcroppings and dodge behind the fortified huts that house the control nodes to bewilder opponents. Differing elevations will also break line of sight to facilitate sneak attacks and desperate end-run Hail Marys.

While the format might not be a revelation, SWTOR players on imbalanced and low-population servers will certainly welcome the prospect of another cross-faction option. The Novare Coast’s distinctive level design will also likely please. It may not be a crucial blow in the war against the Wehrmacht, but it’s fun PVP.

Game Front is on-site at PAX East all weekend (April 6-8), bringing you daily news, hands-on previews, interviews and pictures. Stay tuned for more PC gaming-focused coverage!

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