One of those things that must have made KOTOR seem such a prime candidate for MMOification – besides its cooldown-based combat system and setting in bloody Star Wars – was its proclivity for minigames.
In 2003, a player might have interrupted their journey of extraordinary self-discovery to play a few rounds of pazaak and watch the pod-racing, before decamping to the Ebon Hawke for a spot of turret target practice.
These are precisely the sort of embedded distractions MMO players like to get involved in. In SWTOR, that’s manifested as something called Huttball: “the most brutal game in the galaxy”, funded by its slimiest residents. To date it’s had a single PvP warzone to its name – but BioWare Austin have built a new one in portrait, on the atmospherically poisonous adopted homeworld of the Hutt: Quesh.
In Huttball, players grab the explosive device enscased by an uranium shell, or ‘ball’, at the centre of the field and drag it across to the opposing team’s end of the pitch. It’s a surprisingly immediate affair for SWTOR – involving running, jumping, passes and interception. And, naturally, spurts of horrible violence against opposing teamsters.
This new Quesh pit features a different layout to Nar Shaddaa’s. It an upside down pyramid which hosts the hutball at its apex and the team endzones at its base. It boasts more verticality, “much more hectic” scrapping, and deadlier traps. Toxic sludge pipes pump acid atop the heads of players, slowing and injuring them.
Moving down the vertical pit is a simple matter of falling off ledges – but getting back up again is a bigger task. It’s made easier by magnetic grapple blaster tables – which you can interact with to return immediately to the structure’s second level: the “main killing platform”.
The new Huttball pit is heading to the public test servers shortly, with a wider release penciled in for SWTOR game update 2.7 on April 8. Will you be logging in for that, or the two new flashpoints on Tython and Korribean?