When we headed out to Austin for the latest Fan Site Summit last week, we had no idea what to expect. We were hoping to see some cool new things and of course get our hands on the game for an extended period of time.

Well, I can tell you both of those things happened. And for me, the “cool” and “new” part surpassed all expectations. Perhaps “shock” and “awe” might be a better way to describe it.

What better place than Texas to reveal a brand new open-world area on Tatooine called Outlaw’s Den. The name, as it implies, is a pretty rough place. Just how rough? Well, hold on to your seats – it’s an entire area of the map dedicated to free-for-all combat. Yes, you heard that correctly.

What does free-for-all mean you might ask? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds for the most part. In this dangerous area of Tatooine, everyone is a potential target. This means you can even attack members of your own faction, anywhere, at all times. Even on PvE servers. The only players you can’t attack are any members of the group you’re in, be it a 4 person party or a 24-person Operation group. Beyond that, you can target and be targeted anywhere, anytime.

This is a real gem for old-school MMO players and a bit of a nod to sandbox-style game design. Literally anything goes and although there is loot to be had, the reward is ultimately the wild-west style environment and subsequent rush that you get just from setting foot on this kind of soil.

Here’s an overview of some of the highlights:

  • Free-for-all rules: Kill anyone and everything that isn’t in your own party/group, including players of your same faction
  • Rare vendors – that are killable – and don’t re-spawn on a regular schedule
  • Rare resources for Crew Skills
  • Map designed with objects and architectural features such as arenas and pits – to do with as you please
  • Commerce area with access to your cargo hold (bank) and the Galactic Trade Network (auction house.) Even this area of Outlaw’s Den is not a sanctuary. Always keep one eye open at the mailbox ;)
  • It’s well-marked so players shouldn’t be surprised if they stroll into the area

We didn’t get our hands on Outlaw’s Den, as it was in early stages of development, but we were able to see it in action as Lead End-game Designer Gabe Amatangelo demonstrated. The visuals are very Tatooine, but with a very foreboding feel.

Personally, I can’t tell you how glad I am BioWare is experimenting with this style of gameplay in their MMO. It’s great that they’re really trying to use the huge world they’re creating in the Star Wars universe to offer as many varied play styles as there are players. It may seem hardcore to some, but it’s a breath of fresh air in the genre, and from a mainstream title no less!

If you’re interested in talking about Outlaw’s Den, or anything else from the Fan Site Summit, stop by the Ask A Jedi Cantina tonight, Friday November 18th at 9:00PM EST. We’ll be holding a live Q&A, and while we may not be able to answer everything, we’ll give it a whirl!

We hope to know more about Outlaw’s Den soon, and will of course bring a full report when we do. In any case though, just think: we’ll all have the game in our hands to try it for ourselves in barely 30 days!

Not Outlaw's Den. We don't think.

Not Outlaw's Den. We don't think.