The most rumoured in-development MMO title of all time was finally made official last night. Bioware (KOTOR, KOTOR II, some other non-KOTOR but still jolly good RPG games) are officially working on an official Lucasarts-approved MMO game in the official Star Wars official universe. Officially.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is the name, KOTOR Online is presumably the game, and according to Bioware, they’re going to be taking the whole concept of MMO gaming, mashing it into the beloved sci-fi universe, and doing something completely new with it…


Actually, the ‘new’ is that it’s going to be heavily story-based for an MMO, and if anyone gives good Star Wars story it’s Bioware (it’s certainly not George Lucas, that’s for sure – ZING! Heyyy-ohhhhh!).

I’ll leave the rampant speculation about content based on nothing more than a press release and a few bits of pre-alpha art to the experts with magazine pages to fill. My take on the news (other than assigning it a small portion of my finite levels of excitement that’s already being apportioned between Star Trek Online, Stargate Worlds, Football Manager Live, DC Universe Online, The Agency and Champions Online amongst several others) is that I feel sorry for the gallant and oh-so unsuspecting community team at Bioware, blissfully unaware of the horrors that will be coming their way around launch.

Think about it. Until now, Bioware has enjoyed almost universal levels of praise, respect and warmth from the game-playing masses, nothing but love and happiness from all who’ve touched, been touched by, and then touched others with any of their games. The company’s community relations department simply spends all day long opening fan letters covered in hearts, filled with presents and candy and ending every day just that little bit more spiritually lifted than when they started thanks to the never-ending sea of positive waves they exist in.

The poor, naïve fools.

What’s going to happen the very first time a post-launch patch ‘slightly fixes’ an over-powered weapon stat, ‘minor tweaks’ a force power to reign it in from being a tad unbalanced, or ‘removes’ a teensy-tiny exploit that was causing something a tad unfair to happen? I expect the scene in the CS department might be a little bit different (warning: strong language below):

A brightly-decorated office area, dominated by two large desks covered in the usual office worker toys (a predominance of fluffy hearts and cute animals though) and a desktop computer. The walls have rainbows painted on and across one drapes a banner reading ‘HAPPY PATCH DAY! <smiley face>’.
BRAD is sitting at one desk, wearing shorts, sandals and a jumper with smiles all over it. KATIE enters brightly, wearing a puffy dress covered in pink hearts. Her hair is in ponytails and she is carrying a small basket.

BRAD: Hi Katie! Happy morning to you fellow Bioware worker! You’re looking simply fabulous as usual today! New dress?

KATIE: Hi Braddeeee! I’m so happy! You look gorgeous too! I brought muffins for everybody!

She brandishes the basket and Brad takes a muffin from within.

BRAD: Oh you are a sweetheart, Katie dear! Yummy! Ready for another day at work!

KATIE: I’ll say! Although you can hardly call it work! It’s so wonderful reading how much everyone loves playing our games that they should really pay US for being here! Hahaha!

BRAD: Hahaha, you’re so right! Mmm, paprika! Nice touch! So, big patch went out last night!

KATIE: (sitting at computer) Yes! Isn’t it great how those hard-working developers continue to make our games even better and better? I expect the lovely, lovely fans will think the same too! Oh well, enough silly gossip, let’s check the morning emails…

She moves the mouse and we track in on the screen as a flurry of email windows fill the screen. A v/o reads each of the following as we crash zoom in on pertinent words.

>>>From: <DarkJeddii74>
>>>Subject: YOU FAGGOTS SUCK!!!

>>>From: <landorulez.4vr>
>>>Subject: DIE BASTRDS!!!!
Un-be-fuckin-leveable! You obviously no NOTHING about making good games you fucks! You obviusly only care about your own preciuous ‘pet’ classes, and nothing for those of us that were LOYAL to you from the beta, like me!!! Why else would you change the ONLY damn power that makes us Jedis worth a damn in this game. I’m CANSELLING my subscription, you’ll never get another dollar out of me. Fuck you Failoware!!!@

>>>From: <Kirksnuts>
OMFG! OMFG! OMFG! You motherfuckers and your hate for Star Wars. You only care about making money and nothing at all about the loyalty your players have shown. This is worse than the NGE crapfest that $OE pulled on Galaxies! I hope your families all die painfully and your parents end up sucking satans cocks in hell. If I wasn’t so angry I’d come and burn your offices down with you all still inside. FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU ALL. I HOPE YOU DIE. Sincerely, Charles

Cut back to the twosome reading the emails on the screen. The scene is essentially frozen as the pair stare wide-eyed with disbelief at the torrent of abuse. One end of the wall banner comes loose and it falls to the floor. Involuntarily, Katie clicks the mouse button and the two of them flinch as another volley of hate hits them.

Brad suddenly collapses to the floor into the foetal position and begins sobbing and wailing and pulling at his hair. Katie is still staring at the screen without having blinked.

KATIE: Wh… why… why would they s-s-say such things? Such… things? Wh-why? Why Brad? Why would they say such things, Brad? Brad? W-why?

BRAD: (rocking, from the floor) Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop…

And scene…

Anyway, I have no doubt the game will do stupidly well when it comes out. Just spare a thought for poor Katie and Brad before you compose your first spot of ‘feedback’.