Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Starfighter, simply known as Galactic Starfighter, is the second Digital Expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it was first officially announced on October 8, 2013 with an intended release to the general public in February 2014. It centers around the addition of player-vs-player space combat and ship customization.
Galactic Starfighter is the second Digital Expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it was first officially announced on October 8, 2013 with an intended release to the general public in February 2014. Galactic Starfighter was first conceived shortly after the release of The Old Republic, but before the developers could define what the expansion would actually look like, the project was put on hold in favor of additional content and the Free-to-Play system. It was not until August 2012 that the developers resumed work on identifying how they wanted to approach space content. Comments and requests by fans factored into the discussion, and the developers soon established two main factors: free-flight space combat and ship customization. The developers soon decided to pursue player-vs-player combat instead of developing a large open world with story content and massive capital ships, and work started on the expansion's development.
For the levels in the Digital Expansion Galactic Starfighter, the creative team first collaborated in brainstorming what type of environment they wished to create, and they typically relied on iconic locations and scenes from the movies for inspiration—the Lost Shipyards map was designed with the idea of weaving through asteroids and blasting through an unfinished capital ship. The base design for the map layout was the next step, and scaling was critical: the ships in the expansion are smaller than player characters, allowing the developers to create larger environments relative to the players in order to maximize space. The designers then created a 2D map of the environment which indicated where points of interest and spawn points would be located, and the different ship types are tested to ensure that no type has a major advantage. The artists then expanded on the map to construct the environment, and visual effects and sound design are added to make the level immersive. After a test of the ships in the environment again, levels undergo a great deal of playtesting that sees the developers move or remove environmental objects to create a better level.
Announcement and promotion
Prior to the official announcement, Galactic Starfighter was teased as the "Super Secret Space Project." It was first mentioned in the second LiveStream Event on November 29, 2012, and was described as "something that is a departure from our normal space game." It was not mentioned again until August 2013, when a teaser video was shown at the Community Cantina Tour in Seattle. The video, framed as footage from a surveillance droid in space and an audio report by an agent of the Shroud addressed to the Shroud, describes the agent's findings that the Republic and the Empire are gathering their naval forces. A Republic fleet attacks an Imperial shipyard, and the video shows gameplay footage of Liberator-class starfighters and Mark VI Supremacy-class starfighters dogfighting before the surveillance droid is destroyed. No other information about the feature or its release date was announced during the Cantina Tour.
Active subscribers received Early Access to Galactic Starfighter on December 3, 2013 when Game Update 2.5 went live, and Preferred Status Players on January 14, 2014; the expansion was made available to Free-to-Play gamers on February 4, 2014. Subscribers also receive exclusive paint jobs, two pilot suits, two titles, and the maximum leveling and progression benefit available—a benefit which can also be gained through the purchase of a Starfighter Pass in the Cartel Market. Preferred Status Players will receive two pilot suits and an exclusive title, and any players who subscribed by November 1, 2013 received an exclusive Gunship unlock with custom paint jobs.
Ships, Crew, and game modes
- "It is fast, furious dogfighting action where you get to choose your style of play by selecting the Starfighter that is right for you, be it Scout, Strike Fighter or Gunship (or all of the above!), blowing up your enemies, and then using Requisition (experience) to upgrade and customize your ships."
- ―Blaine Christine
Galactic Starfighter introduces player vs. player space combat in the form of 12v12 dogfight matches, as well as a variety of features to accompany the core combat element. Gameplay and the user interface are significantly different from ground gameplay, as well as the traditional space combat. Initially, three starship classes have been announced for Galactic Starfighter: the Scout, Strike Fighter, and Gunship, and a fourth—the Bomber— was released when the expansion went live in February.
- Scouts have high speed, high maneuverability, and a boost ability, and possess Rocket Pods in addition to their blaster cannons. Team-oriented Scout ships such as the Republic's default NovaDive or the Empire's default S-12 Blackbolt can use a number of devices, such as a Slicing Device to scramble an enemy's navigation systems and tag their location, or a Sensor Beacon to help track the enemy's movements. Other Scout ships, such as the Flashfire and the S-13 Sting, are designed for ship-to-ship combat. They exchange some of their maneuverability and speed for heavier firepower—they feature Rapid-Fire Laser Cannons and Cluster Missiles to overwhelm the shields of enemy fighters, and have access to the Blaster Overcharge and Booster Recharge systems. Scout Class Starfighters were based on the A-wing and the TIE interceptor. Another Scout model is the IL-5 Ocula, also known as the IL-5 Skybolt for the Republic; they are acquired exclusively through the Cartel Market.
- Strike Fighters are ships designed to take on both stationary objectives and other starships, balancing firepower and maneuverability. Strike Fighters rely on the ability to equip and swap between either two primary or two secondary weapons depending on the specific class of ship. The FT-8 Star Guard and the F-T6 Rycer, the default Strike Fighters, are both capable of swapping primary weapons, which include Quad Lasers and Ion Cannons, and secondary weapons include Cluster Missiles and Concussion Missiles. Some Strike Fighters also feature Directional Shields, which can be toggled to specific directions; the primary threat to Strike Fighters is being disabled by an Interdiction Drive or Sabotage Probe from enemy Scouts and Gunships. The F-T2 Quell and FT-6 Pike, which are purchasable with Fleet Requisition, carry two different types of missiles, and the TZ-24 Enforcer/Gladiator model is available for purchase in the Cartel Market.
- Gunships are the third class of ship, and each Gunship features at least one long-distance Railgun with a zoom firing mode available. Some Gunships can swap between different Railguns: the Ion Railgun drains the enemy's power, the Plasma Railgun inflicts heavy damage over time, and the Slug Railgun penetrates enemy shields. Gunships survive best when they remain hidden, as they cannot move when using the Railgun, though they can still turn and strafe. Gunships can use a variety of shields as well—the Feedback Shield charges the ship's shields with energy and releases it upon enemies when hit, and the Fortress Shield can double a ship's shields but render them motionless. The Rotational Thrusters allow Gunships to quickly rotate under fire, and the Interdiction Drive boosts a ship's speed and cripples the enemy's speed to allow for getaways. The GSS-3 Mangler and SGS-45 Quarrel are the only model of gunships currently available for the Empire and Republic respectively.
- Bombers are a fourth class of ships that was introduced in the full launch of Galactic Starfighter in February 2014. The Empire's B-4D Legion and Republic's Warcarrier both carry a drone turret and missiles, while the Empire's M-7 Razorwire and Republic's Rampart Mark Four are designed as minelayers. Both models became available to unlock with a number of Fleet Requisition in February.
Components are the basic building blocks of a starfighter; every ship can be equipped with five major components and four minor components. The major components grant weapons and active combat abilities, and minor components grant passive boosts to various statistics. Ships start out with one default component in each slot, though each slot has a number of different options that can be unlocked and used, and each ship has a different set of components that can be equipped. Each component has three to five tiers of upgrades that can be purchased to increase its effectiveness or add additional functionality. Major components have two upgrades in the higher tiers that offer different improvements, allowing for players to construct unique ships. All unlocks and upgrades for starships are purchased with Requisition, a new form of currency that is earned by completing Starfighter battles—participation is rewarded by Requisition, the winning team receives a large bonus, and individual actions can result in Requisition as well. Each ship in a player's hangar has a pool of daily Requisition, like the rest experience gained from waiting in a cantina or safe zone, and the daily Requisition doubles the rate at which a ship earns Requisition until that pool is used up. Once a ship has been fully upgraded in each component, the ships is considered Mastered and will earn Requisition at a higher rate. Requisition is divided into Ship Requisition, which is tied to specific ships, and Fleet Requisition, which can be used on any of a player's ships. Ship Requisition can be converted into Fleet Requisition by spending Cartel Coins.
Galactic Starfighter also introduces Crew Members—companions that man players' starships. Each faction has a set of four entirely new Crew Members, and players can also use their class's companions as Crew Members. For a Requisitions fee, players can also unlock the companions of other classes. Crew Members serve two primary purposes: Copilots and Support Crews. Crew Members serving on a player's Support Crew work on ships while they are not in combat, and each Crew Member fills on of the four slots: Offensive, Defensive, Engineering, and Tactical. Each companion or Crew Member has a specialty, and they grant a unique combination of two passive bonuses when assigned. Copilots are chosen from the four current Crew Members on the Support Crew, and each copilot grants a different active ability in addition to their passive bonuses when selected as the copilot. The four Imperial Crew Members are Aven Geth (Engineering), MZ-12 (Offensive), Salana Rok (Tactical), and Writch Hurley (Defensive), while the Republic Crew Members are Ashy (Engineering), B-3G9 (Offensive), Kendra Novar (Tactical), and Oro Wogawa (Defensive).
Galactic Starfighter will launch with two game modes, Domination and Team Deathmatch. Domination involves a series of objectives that must be captured and defended, and teams gain points for maintaining control of an objective. Team Deathmatch pits teams of players against each other. The team with the highest player kill score when either time expires or the score limit is reached wins the match. Team Deathmatch maps also contain a Power-ups feature. 
User interface and gameplay
- "From the start, we wanted to make sure that we nailed the feel of “free flight” Star Wars space combat, so we’ve taken great pains to get the controls just right. It is flat out fun to simply fly your ship through the battle zones we’ve created. The Scout feels zippy and maneuverable, the Strike Fighter nails the all-purpose combat role, and the Gunship is really, really good at picking off targets from long range then relocating to the next cover point to keep out of harm’s way."
- ―Blaine Christine
The content for Galactic Starfighter centers around the primary menu, which is accessed by pressing the H key or an icon on the minimap, and the menu features five tabs: Ships, Components, Cosmetics, Crew, and Launch. The Ship tab organizes ships under each of their respective types, and at the time of Early Access, there are a total of 14 ships available with 10 additional ships planned for release in February. The Components tab allows players to select components for their starship out of their currently unlocked components and install them, and the Cosmetics tab is used to alter cosmetic details of the ship such as paint jobs and the color of weapon discharges. The Crew tab allows players to choose which Crew Members or companions they want to use as their Support Crew, and the Launch tab enters a player into the queue for a match. The heads-up display in combat is largely similar to the basic interface of ground gameplay, though the minimap is moved to the upper right corner and displays the entire battlefield regardless of the player's position. Next to the map is the scoreboard, which also features icons for objectives; the icon's color indicates which team controls the objective, and dots surrounding the main icon indicate how many turrets remain around the objective. The firing arc is located in the center of the screen, and features orange, purple, and blue curved bars on the left and right sides of the circle. The orange bar on the left measures the weapon power pool, while the purple bar on the right measures the engine power pool. The blue bar on the right indicates the speed at which the ship is traveling, and a smaller circle—the missile targeting reticle—is located within the larger firing arc; players must keep enemy ships within the smaller reticle to fire missiles, and within the larger circle to target them with cannons.
In the bottom left corner of the screen, there is a circular display with an icon of the player's ship surrounded by two rings. The rings, which are divided into two sections to signify forward and rear shields, will change color to indicate how much damage has been taken. If the shields are completely depleted, they will not regenerate. The ship icon in the middle represents hull integrity, and will change color depending on how damaged the ship is. To the right of the display are three bars that represent power conversions; the F1, F2, and F3 keys can switch the conversions between Blaster, Shield, and Engine power conversions. On the bottom of the screen, a simplified quickbar that displays six buttons allows players access to the ship's abilities. Slots 1-4 are mapped to the number keys 1-4, and the remaining two abilities are mapped to the left and right mouse buttons. Abilities vary between ships and components, though the left mouse button is always blaster fire and the right mouse button is for missiles, rockets, or railguns. In combat, distant enemy ships will be framed by small square boxes with the player's name above them, and if a player manually selects them or uses the tab button to lock on, a targeting reticle will appear as well as a circle indicating their project flight path. Once the enemy is in missile range, the targeting reticle will turn red, and if the enemy is in blaster range, the targeting reticle and circle will both turn red. Gunships also feature sniper-like scopes for their railguns, and the scope indicates how charged the railgun is.
Movement is controlled by the keyboard: the W and S keys are acceleration and deacceleration, the A and D keys are roll left or right, the X key stops the engines, and the space bar engages the afterburners. Holding the Shift key with W or S will strafe up or down. The camera can also be shifted to various modes—holding down the F key engages the free-look camera that does not move the ship, while holding the Z key frees the mouse cursor from the camera. Holding the C key shifts the camera to look at an enemy target, and the Tab button cycles the targeting system through nearby enemy players. The E key allows for manually targeting an enemy near the mouse cursor, and R targets the enemy player who just hit the player. Sensors also play a key role, with four sensor attributes whose range vary between different ships: Sensor Detection, Sensor Dampening, Sensor Communication, and Sensor Focus Range. Sensor Detection. Sensor Detection determines how far away an enemy ship can be detected, while Sensor Dampening reduces the distance from which an enemy can detect the player; the range of an enemy's Sensor Dampening is subtracted from the player's Sensor Detection to determine the actual range of the player's sensors in regard to that enemy. Sensor Communication determines how far away friendly ships can broadcast detected enemy ships—friendly ships within an ally's Sensor Communication range can see all of the enemy ships that the ally has detected.
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10
- ↑ Developer Profiles: Star Wars: The Old Republic. HeroEngine.com. Retrieved on February 14, 2013.
- ↑ Star Wars: The Old Republic
- ↑ Using information from the novel The Old Republic: Annihilation and Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire, the events of Game Updates 2.0 through 3.3 for Star Wars: The Old Republic can be placed in the time period between 3640 BBY and 3637 BBY. According to The Old Republic lead designer Charles Boyd (screenshot), the game's events can be assumed to occur in a timeline matching that of their real-time release. Therefore, the events of Game Update 2.6 and the Digital Expansion Galactic Starfighter can be placed in approximately 3638 BBY.
- ↑ SWTOR Patch 1.6 Livestream Q&A Transcript. Dulfy.net (2012-11-29). Retrieved on September 13, 2013.
- ↑ SWTOR Super Secret Space Project SSSP Teaser video. Dulfy.net (2013-09-01). Retrieved on September 13, 2013.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Starfighter
- ↑ 2.6 Patch Notes