Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

A bit early, but that's because I'm off on vacation tomorrow morning and won't be back until January. So here's a Yoda Claus to celebrate:

Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year. And remember, 2011 is the year that should see Star Wars: The Old Republic's release (along with a number of other big MMOs). Either way, it's promising to be a good MMO year. Maybe it'll make up for the rather lousy MMO year that 2010 was (pretty much the only good thing, in my book, was the large number of MMOs switching to a 'Freemium' model).

And see you all after the Fireworks; I'll do my best to catch up on all the SWTOR news when I'm back.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Timeline 11: Rebirth of the Sith Empire

Last Friday BioWare had a new Timeline update for us, talking about the rebirth of the Empire. Here is the official news:
In the years following the Great Hyperspace War, the Sith exiles on Dromund Kaas faced a daunting future on a harsh world. The guidance of the Emperor and the Sith Lords were critical, but Republic Intelligence has stolen historical records that indicate the resilience and determination of the early Imperial Military were no less crucial to the Empire’s reconstruction. Master Gnost-Dural has identified one Imperial Military Leader in particular whose story exemplifies the strength that runs throughout every level of Imperial Society.

BTC 1251 – Following the destruction of their ancient civilization on Korriban, the Sith exiles sought to rebuild their Empire amid the jungles of Dromund Kaas. The man who eventually earned the distinction of the being the Empire’s first new Grand Moff, Odile Vaiken, emerged as a critical figure in these dark years. While the Emperor and the Sith Dark Council were preoccupied with long-term strategies, Vaiken recruited non-Force users to form the new Imperial Military. This nascent but efficient army courageously battled the powerful native creatures on Dromund Kaas to carve out the space for a secure civilization. In later years, as the new Sith Empire grew in size and strength, Vaiken went on to establish the foundation for the modern Imperial navy and set the standards for constructing a fleet that would one day emerge from exile and crush the Republic. For common Imperial citizens, Vaiken became a model for their highest aspirations, proving that even non-Force users would play a vital role in restoring the Sith Empire to prominence and power.

Watch the latest Timeline holorecord, Rebirth of the Sith Empire, narrated by actor Lance Henriksen.

You can also download a high resolution version of this video.
Read on after the break for a full transcript of the timeline, as well as a couple of other updates (including a video interview).

Friday, 3 December 2010

BioWare Blog: Closer Look at Crew Skills

It's been a while since we've had a Developer Blog entry from BioWare (two months if I'm not mistaken). That's a pity as I always tend to enjoy them, and today's blog entry is no different.

First though is some expected, but still good, news: The Jedi Wizard has officially been renamed. Here's the official news:
A few weeks ago, we asked the community to help us rename the Jedi Wizard advanced class. Thousands of votes and many posts full of lively debate later, the polls have closed, and we have a clear winner! Without further ado:

The new name for the Jedi Wizard is… Jedi Sage!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the voting process. Your feedback is always important to us, so please join us on the forums and let us know what you think about the game.

- The Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ team
For anyone who's been following the official poll(s) (even if just looking at them once since they were posted) it shouldn't come as a surprise that "Jedi Sage" came out the winner. Even so I'm glad that we're rid of the "Wizard" name and will enjoy playing a Sage. Particularly since it'll give the feeling that it's a class that came out of the community, making it a little special.

The other update today is the blog entry as mentioned. In it Game Systems Designer Patrick Malott talks about the Crew Skill system and reveals another crafting skill (though the systems page hasn't been updated yet): Armstech. Here's an excerpt from the blog:

Though companions are vital to The Old Republic and the Crew Skills system, we do know that some players want to be the primary crafter for all their crafted items, or for particularly special pieces of equipment. It’s worth noting that players will definitely need to be directly involved in the process when learning rare schematics, and that Lightsabers aren’t acquired or assembled via the Crew Skills system. We’ll have more details on this later.
To be honest that quote makes me quite happy and now I feel free, so to speak, to be more excited about the Crew Skill system (which I maintain isn't a crafting system but a time management system). Though I don't expect player crafting on a level that you get in other MMOs I'm fine with that. At least it sounds like there'll definitely be something for players to do there. Maybe some kind of upgrading system akin to Knights of the Old Republic as I've speculated before; at least let lightsabers be the player's own (I'm fine with the Crew Skill system crafting crystals and such to be used in lightsabers).

And overall the Crew Skill system sounds quite good and an interesting diversion from the rest of the game, unique (as far as I'm aware) among MMOs. I do have some concerns about letting crafting/gathering continue when the player is offline (and I'm saying that as someone who doesn't expect to be a hardcore 'crafter'), but that's a minor thing. Right now I can see myself selecting one main companion to always take with me while I let the rest slave away on my ship to make cool stuff for me.

And that's as far as the updates today go. But I do have a developer quote, a video interview with Dr. Ray Muzyka and some release date news... after the break.