Eyecandy: Space (area) in the Old Republic

Instead of putting together the 2nd part of the Eyecandy tour, I decided some special attention needed to be put on something that was revealed during this past March 11th-13th’s PAX East convention: BioWare’s reveal, and guided tour, of the planets Hoth & Tatooine.

* * *

First up, a tour given by SWTOR’s Lead Writer Daniel Erickson of one of the most iconic planets in the history of Star Wars lore.

The ice jewel, the playpen of the Wampa’s, the place where Luke very nearly froze his nuts off—until Han found a creative use for his buddy’s deceased Tauntaun.

The one, the only…



I’m going to refrain from going into any details about Hoth, itself (Daniel Erickson does a much better job of getting across how wicked the planet is), so I’ll just post some arbitrary thoughts that I had upon seeing this video for the first time—and I’ll do the same with the next video.

First off—FUCK ME! I had no idea the planets in this game would be so damn huge…

I was honestly not prepared to take in the full scope of what I was seeing. In my head, more often than I can even accurately recall, I have tried to visualize what the worlds might be like, as far as area, in SWTOR. Before I really knew it, I was beginning to make comparisons based on the MMO’s I’ve played in the past (LOTRO, WoW, Perfect World, etc). Of those games, WoW was definitely my biggest measuring stick.

I had a blast playing WoW. I had my reasons for leaving the game, but I’m not afraid to admit that I enjoyed my time in the game, thoroughly. One of the main reasons for this was the environment I had to run around in.

I still have a fairly clear picture in my head of the scope of WoW’s zones. I feel confident I could accurately describe almost all of Westfall, a large section of Stonetalon Mountains (I still remember that creepy as fuck Sishyr Canyon with the giant tarantulas), almost all of Ashenvale, and probably more than 75% of every other zone in the game (apart from Alliance areas. I never did run Alliance—I was always more of a Horde guy, as is my best bud). Even a good while after I left the game, I still have a pretty good grasp on how big a WoW zone can be.

That said, I was absolutely amazed by the videos BioWare unveiled at PAX East of the worlds Hoth & Tatooine.

Hoth looks exactly like I imagined it would: perpetual “oppressive” winter (for those who actually read the previous article, wink wink).

Funny enough, however, it doesn’t look nearly as oppressive as I thought it would be originally—more importantly, the thing is MUCH more massive than I ever thought possible.

When I imagined a “ship graveyard”, I thought it would be similar to certain areas of WoW where downed airships in Northrend littered the ground, forming the covering for a small hut with some people inside. I wasn’t thinking an ACTUAL ship graveyard—with a ship so massive you could actually go inside and explore it like it was an actual building. It’s not even the only one, either. As Daniel E says in the video, it is only one of the ships in the ship graveyard. Who knows how many will be ripe for exploration in SWTOR?

Color me very impressed with Hoth. I cannot wait to get off my ship and just wander out into the wintery expanse. I may even try to jump off a cliff, or hit a lava fissure in a canyon by jumping at just the right angle. This planet definitely has me excited to see what BioWare has in store for the planets not yet released—including worlds like Alderaan & Taris, which are both worlds BioWare has described as “massive”.

* * *

Hoth was not the only world BioWare dropped on the mass of SWTOR-starved fans who descended on PAX East like hungry little bastard piranhas. I figured I would save the best for last, just like BioWare did on the day.

I can’t just begin this with BioWare’s version of Tatooine. First, I have to go back to where it all began.

Luke, two setting suns, and the immortal score by the great John Williams:



Now for Family Guy’s version:

Finally, BioWare’s version :

Ok, Hoth actually got a reaction out of me. I can clearly recall seeing the Hoth video and saying “damn” about 50 times.

Tatooine, on the other hand… I was speechless.

I’m not sure exactly what it was about the video that hit me so hard. Maybe it was the Sand Crawler, towering over the landscape like some monolithic obelisk (you can actually see it from a great distance away if you pay close attention). It could be the large canyons, or the Bantha stumbling along looking for food or water. It might even be the damn Jawas hanging around Anchorhead standing by the droid while a speeder coasts by. Whatever it was, this video just completely smashed my preconceived notion of what Tatooine would actually be like in SWTOR.

Like I said about Hoth, I had no idea the worlds in SWTOR would be so fucking expansive. I know better now (the devs have confirmed some worlds can be as large as 7-8 Wow zones), but at the time I first watched this video I had no warning.

I can already imagine myself getting lost on Tatooine—on purpose. I can’t wait to get a speeder and just go explore the whole damn place.

I don’t know what materials will be abundant on Tatooine for the exploring crafter at this time, but if it turns out to be a good place for an Artificer to get some materials (my SW is going to need his upgraded glowstick), I could see myself spending a crap ton of time on Tatooine. The Crew Skills video released by BioWare several months ago shows the Bounty Hunter character collecting salvageable metals, then directing his companion to salvage while he went back to killing. At the very least, Tatooine looks to be a good place to scavenge up droid parts or maybe metals that can be used to create blasters (being that this is the home of the Jawas, that sounds about right).  

In any case, Tatooine looks like a very awesome world for the MMO explorer. Since I am an MMO explorer, I can see myself just wandering this landscape to see what’s around a mountain or something; for that reason, I am very pleased that BioWare seems hellbent on giving me as much room to roam as possible.

* * *

I figure this is a good place to stop. There isn’t much left to say about these two worlds that Daniel Erickson didn’t point out in the videos.

Let me say again, I am very impressed with what BioWare is giving us in terms of space (area) in SWTOR. While something can be said about small areas with content bound up tight like a mummy, I find I prefer area where I can stretch my (metaphorical) legs out.

It wasn’t the cramped areas I liked most in WoW (Eversong Woods, Darkshore, Elwynn Forest), I preferred the more open, vast areas (Tanarus, The Barrens [minus the inane chat from the past], and WotLK zones like Storm Peaks, Borean Tundra & Howling Fjord).

In LOTRO, one of my favorite zones to explore was The Shire—in part because of the ambience, and in part because of the wide open fields waiting for you everywhere you looked.

Based on the videos above, I’d say BioWare is coming along great in terms of creating interesting space for their future MMO audience to traverse.


6 thoughts on “Eyecandy: Space (area) in the Old Republic

  1. So cool! I think they were showing these presentations while I was in line, and I was like straining to hear and see the stage from where I was standing 😛 Good to see the rundown of these videos on your blog. All these planets are going to be beautiful.

    I was actually trying to find the videos by themselves on youtube recently. I hope BioWare will make HD versions available one day…if you think it looks amazing from the TVs in these recorded videos, imagine what it would look like in high def!

  2. Glad you enjoyed them as much as I did. I had no idea these planets were going to be on a guided tour at PAX East (though actually I suggested something like this in that swtor.com thread asking what we would like to see at PAX East). I’m just going to pretend like I had a hand in getting this onto their PAX presentation schedule.;P

    Like I said, I was absolutely unprepared for just how big these planets were ingame. I was not expecting the vastness that was shown, especially on Tatooine.

    Hoth looks like a world I am going to enjoy wandering around on. If BioWare will let me, I want to get to the top of that Ice Fortress and take a nosedive off the top. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if we wind up seeing a warzone battle inside one of those ships in the ship graveyard (though that could just be wishful thinking).

  3. I had no idea they were going to do these either, it was a surprise to me on Saturday when I showed up and someone with a mic on stage said to check back there at designated times in the afternoon, and that there will be “special presentations”.

    They should do more of these. Oh my god, I’d die for a guided tour through Coruscant!

  4. Coruscant & Nar Shaddaa would make for awesome tours—though I would probably die of a nerd-heart attack if BioWare decided to unveil something like Manaan or Geonosis with one of these tours.

    Really though, there are so many worlds I would love to see given one of these presentations: Taris, Alderaan, Voss, Belsavis, etc; it’s really hard to choose just one or two.

  5. I like the “idea” of space, but i’m not big on exploring. It’s probably a combination of slow internet/bad rigs in the past. But to me the scale and size of the planets is an awesome thing for 2 reasons.

    1. As you mentioned, i harken back to my WoW days and think about the Golden age of WoW. Good ole Burning Crusade. I can remember the plight and story from Honor Hold *quiet hordey!* The Marshlands, how grand Shattrath City was, it’s history, Terrorkar Forrest, and especially Shadowmoon Valley. Every one of those zones had it’s own story, it’s own past, it’s present, and menacing forces and beings wandering around that made it what it was.

    Bioware has an unimaginable task of not only retelling the past of iconic planets like Tattooine and Alderaan, but practically crafting/reinventing plants like Hoth. The fact there will be something TO every planet and there’s so many makes me giddy and anxious to play through, especially knowing the deep aspect of player stories and whatnot, that’s exciting.

    2. After a while mmo’s get boring, let’s be honest, SWTOR will only hold and captivate the attention of someone for so long, the fact there will be multiple things *more than likely* to do on each planet, so amny characters to interact with, so many resources to gather, and probably several little things to do there, i don’t think i’ll be at a loss for things to do in this game.

  6. I definitely agree that Burning Crusade was the pinnacle of WoW. Most people I’ve talked to agreed that BC’s zones, quests, and general lore were the best that WoW ever released.

    I still remember how incredible it was to see Blade’s Edge Mountains for the first time. My friend was on gchat, and I literally said “Holy shit!” I only had to give a brief description and he knew right away where I was.

    The other zones were just as memorable.

    Is there a more impactful moment than stepping out of the Dark Portal right into Hellfire Peninsula? Also, Netherstorm, Nagrand (still one of my favorite places), Terrokar Forest, Zangarmarsh, and Shadowmoon Valley—all of those places were wicked.

    What I see from SWTOR definitely gives me reason to think the worlds we’ll have to explore could end up being as diverse & awesome as TBC’s zones were for WoW.

    Dark, mysterious planets with miles and miles of shadows? Ilum, please stand up.

    Worlds with lush vegetation & unique wildlife? Oh hi there, Voss.

    Worlds torn apart by war & pollution? Welcome to the party Hutta, Belsavis, Quesh.

    Worlds with large, elaborate cities? Sup Nar Shaddaa, Coruscant.

    I am deeply impressed by all the worlds I’ve seen so far in SWTOR.

    I can only imagine what BioWare might release next (they haven’t come out and said there are no other worlds to reveal).

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