Starships will be available in multiple classes designed for multiple roles. So far three specific types have been announced. The fast Scout, the offense-heavy Gunship and the Strike Fighter. All can be customised via a variety of unlocks. Player can choose from a variety of unique new weapons, powers and abilities as they advance. I would not be in the least bit surprised if this aspect of the new system is monetised via the Cartel market. It would also seem that the new system is not solely PVP orientated as the press release describes the chance to “travel to multiple space locations and fight through exciting battles with different gameplay modes”. This seems to infer a wider variety of game modes and will hopefully retain the current PVE elements of space combat, just without the restriction of being on rails. Further details are available for both the Republic and Empire on the official SWTOR website.
As expected BioWare’s Super Secret Space Project is to be a major overhaul of the space combat system. The new game mechanic will constitute the second expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Titled Galactic Starfighter, it will be offered free of charge and will usher in open space combat, via player versus player dogfights for groups of up to twenty four. How soon you’ll be able to join in the action is dependant upon your player status in the game. As ever the current scheme favours those who subscribe and once again we see the introduction of new content as an inducement to do so. Non-subscribers will be required to buy a Starfighter Pass from the cartel market to partake of the starfighter progression system in the same manner as subscribers.
As a player who has recently returned to SWTOR and is pleased with the ongoing improvements that BioWare are making to the game, I am cautiously optimistic about the Galactic Starfighter expansion. Sure it may not be a cutting edge space combat simulator but then again it is not meant to be one. This is an additional sub game to the central MMO and it most certainly seems like a step forward to me, over the existing system. If this then paves the way to a further expansion of the space travel aspect of SWTOR, such as wider exploration and travel, then so much the better. If these sorts of changes continues over the months to come, then I think there is potential for SWTOR to be a credible product by December 2014.