Star Wars: The Old Republic: PC Performance, Benchmarked

Star Wars: The Old Republic isn’t a resource hog, but it does require a respectable amount of graphics muscle to enjoy at its highest settings. Our testing shows that the game in its current state favors AMD cards, though it remains to be seen how much optimization AMD and Nvidia are able to put in before it goes live later this month.

At low detail settings you’ll want at least a Radeon HD 5770 or GeForce GTS 450 for smooth 1680x1050 frame rates. At high settings, even with 4x MSAA, the game doesn’t need much more, and a Radeon HD 5770/6770 or GeForce GTX 550 Ti can handle 1920x1080. 

I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.

With texture transparency anti-aliasing enabled, this MMO is much more demanding. At 1920x1080, only AMD's Radeon HD 6970 was able to provide slightly more than a minimum of 30 FPS, although the GeForce GTX 570 was only a little behind.

When it comes to platform requirements, the game is much more forgiving. Really, any quad-core chip will suffice. Or, you could go with a dual-core processor running faster than 2.5 GHz.

I look forward to completing your training. In time you will call me master.

What about the game itself? The question on everyone’s mind is: will it be compelling enough to take on World of Warcraft? While we think that Star Wars: The Old Republic is fantastic, its monthly fee is $15 (the same as Blizzard’s). If these were the only two MMOs around, we’d say that Bioware's new darling has a good chance of capturing big market share. However, the free-to-play model looks like the way of the future. Already, some premium games have gone free, including Lord Of The Rings Online, Age Of Conan, Need For Speed World, Vindictus, DC Universe Online, and Dungeons and Dragons Online. Star Trek Online will be free in January of 2012, if you're a sci-fi buff looking for a no-cost MMO based on major IP. Even World Of Warcraft appears to be hemorrhaging more subscribers than usual between content updates, and it’s possible that players are being lured away by free, high-quality competition.

Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy!

None of this takes anything away from Bioware's accomplishments in Star Wars: The Old Republic, mind you. But we do wonder how many more players this title would have attracted a year or two ago when free-to-play was synonymous with crappy Flash-based browser games.

Still trying to find a restroom

Star Wars: The Old Republic offers a solid, fleshed-out single-player RPG experience to this MMO in the beloved Star Wars universe, but we don’t think it lives up to the hype. Frankly, we're not sure that anything could. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying this is a bad game. We think Bioware’s creation has the chops to pull a lot of people into its well-crafted web, but only time will tell if it has what it takes to keep them there, particularly when its subscription-based model is forced to compete against some impressive free-to-play titles.

Regardless, if you’re a fan of Star Wars and MMOs, you owe it to yourself to give Star Wars: The Old Republic a try, if only to play through all eight unique character classes.

Star Wars, Those Near And Far Wars...
  • hpglow
    Tom's you get bought out by Best of Media, and now the news is a couple days old and stale, we get anoying pop-ups over what we are reading every 3 pages or so, and there are very few cards in this write up. Why do I keep coming here to read stuff? I'm just going to take you guys out of my queue of reads every day you need to go back to what made you profitable.
  • Looks like my GTX 460 will handle the game fine. Playing in the tester weekend beta really made me look forward to playing the game.
  • jellico
    Ran the game on very high, max viewing distance with:
    Radeon HD 5850

    I played with high settings and a 3/4 viewing distance with:
    Core 2 Duo e840
    Nvidia GTS 8800

    I played with with a mixture of low and medium settings and 40% viewing distance with:
    i5 - 750
    Radeon HD 4670

    So clearly, a better video card (even an older one) is more important than a top-end processor.

    This is a great game! Every quest and NPC interaction has voice-overs which greatly add to the dimension of the game. The intro movies are the best I've seen of any game, ever!
  • hokkdawg
    I just KNEW this game wouldn't live up to the hype. It has a great single player RPG component, but it really doesn't need to be an MMO. It's like LOTRO - that game is great when sold as a single RPG to play offline, or even with P2P multiplayer. But as an MMO? Totally not worth the monthly fees. Time will tell with SW:TOR, but it sounds like the single player is the primary selling point...and the venture into MMO territory is nothing but a ploy to rake in more income from monthly fees...
  • hardstylerz
    So people were fine about the performance of this game but complained about the performance of crysis? which looks a million times better than this...The game looks worse than world of warcraft and yet runs like absolute crap. I smell another ploy to push up sales for graphics cards. YOu can't be serious about the performance of this game. Even skyrim looks better and plays better despite being a console port.
  • lunyone
    Well I might be interested, but at $15/month I'm not that interested.
  • As a subscription based game, BioWare can continually add content, and it doesn't hurt to be able to group with people for tough encounters or just because you enjoy it.
  • SirGCal
    I was on the beta. Thought my system is a bit overkill (OCd 1100T & 6970), it ran like butter with everything maxed and the AA trick activated.

    Still, I'm excited for release. I had a lot of fun in the beta and world PVP seems interesting without being annoying (though time will tell when the whole public gets ahold of it). You can solo much of it, but there are mini-raids starting at level 10 (or flashpoints I think they were called)...

    The stories were just... wow... Sometimes they went a bit weak but they were always so detailed. I can say that this wouldn't be nearly as good as a single-player RPG. Lots of social aspects going on. But it's also not a grind like any other MMO I've done... Never once did I feel the grind of 'go kill 20 of these, bring the eye. go kill another 20, bring the teeth (why didn't they tell me last time).' Infact, kill X anything was a very rarity accept for a bonus xp aspect of which you nearly always doubled before finishing anyhow.

    The big question is; "Will it have a good end-game"... Cause if not (and we didn't get to test that far), then long-term playability will be very limited... But again, we'll see that very soon...
  • Will I lag with a low end graphics card in lets say a city or an instance? What would u recommend the minimum graphics to do such things and have a good experience?
  • Yargnit
    Perfect timing, I've been trying to decide between a 6950 and 560ti for a new SWTOR rig to get for Xmas. Wish you had tested these specific cards, but this certianly helps still. I've always prefered Nvidia's cause of better drivers, but this makes it real hard to take a 560ti over a 6950.

    Just wish you ran a 1gb/2gb card test. I've seen SWTOR eat tons of memory (2.7GB) & I wonder if video RAM is the same way.