To that end, lead writer Daniel Erickson has headed a team of 12 full-time writers for several years in crafting storylines tailored to each class. Adding to the complexity, BioWare has brought its trademark moral quandaries into the equation, creating another dimension on which to write compelling storylines.
Shacknews talked to Erickson about the considerable writing effort in the long-awaited MMO and learned about a great deal, from moral decisions and Jedi to bunnies and Han Solo.
On the way story will work in The Old Republic:
"We have classes in the game, and every class has a different story. Every class has a story that will take you from the first level of the game to the last level of the game, and none of those stories are the same.
In the same way, faction stuff is split out between the Empire and Republic. So the takeaway note from this is, if you roll a Jedi character and you play them from the first level to the last level, and then you roll a Sith and you play them from the first, you will not see one repeated quest, line of dialogue, or piece of content. It is a 100% different story experience.
That is not to say you won't see the opposite side of the conflict. It is about war. We don't play common people. We play huge heroes in the Star Wars universe, which means the war is important."
On the strength of class-based story:
"You are a Sith. You have a Darth Vader fantasy. You are now playing, for all intents and purposes, a Sith RPG."
On how confusing the story will be for newcomers:
"What happened to Bastilla? This isn't stuff that we would ever shove into someone's face. People will be playing that have never played a KOTOR game, or have even watched a Star Wars movie.
Just like we would for any fantasy game, [as a Jedi starting out] you go to Typhon, you train to be a Jedi, and you learn what it means to be a Jedi."
On the idea of choice-based story in an MMO:
"You're 60 hours into the game on the light side, and you hit this huge choice. You know exactly what you want to do, and you look for the save button, and you realize there is no save button. I'm gonna make this choice, and this choice is going to be my choice forever. It makes not only the individualism of we're actually telling this story, but the power of making these choices stronger than they've ever been in any BioWare game."
On how the story will change depending on your companions:
"The things you get to see are going to be dependent on who you're traveling with. If Han had never hooked up on Luke, he would have never had a perspective on the Force."
On the possibility of more abstract, Han Solo-type classes:
"There are a lot of fantasies in Star Wars, and they're not all Jedi and Sith."
On including quests that don't feel "epic":
"You will never have a stranger ask you to save her cat.
There are no bunnies. There are no rabbits. You are a Jedi. At no point will you be sitting down saying, okay, I have three buttons and a crystal. If I only had some thread, I could make some shoes."
On whether this means there won't be crafting:
"That is not correct. There will be crafting."