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.

Oh, speaking of which... you might've noticed that I've been doing that a lot lately, putting an "after the break" thingy in. For those who don't know/realize; everything before the 'break' appears on the front page which lists the latest posts (as well as any list of posts on the site) and is the text included in the RSS feed (EDIT: I just noticed that the RSS feed actually includes the full text; fancy that). Everything after the break only shows up when you open the post in a separate page. I'm still experimenting a bit with it and trying to find the best way to use it. In general I tend to want all the news on the front page and have thus eschewed using the break thingy. But often, particularly lately, my posts can be rather big and would just have you scrolling through screens filled with text. So I'm trying to put all the 'big' news before the break (which, as you can see above, can still be quite significant) and but the rest such as more minor articles and dev quotes and such after the break. Hopefully it works out well.

Speaking of which, GameSpot Australia (if I'm not mistaken) had a video interview with Dr. Ray Muzyka in their "Crosshairs" online show. I don't think that there was really anything new in it, but might be interesting to watch regardless:

Earlier this week Stephen Reid made a post on the forum about PvP and mobs. This was in response to a blog post discussing two German articles which seemed to be more skeptical towards The Old Republic. Here is Stephen's reply:
There are some inaccuracies in the initial reporting here, which could have happened for any number of reasons - but in the interest of calming speculation, there are a couple of things we wanted to address.

First, regarding PvP, so far we've been focusing on the instanced Warzones in our initial reveals, but that is not the only form of player vs player gameplay in The Old Republic. We'll have more to announce in time.

Second, regarding the Flesh Raiders, and mobs in general. In the build shown at the press event, we told the assembled press that one particular Flesh Raider model was being repeated in that build, but that the final game would have a variety of Flesh Raider models. In fact, you got a sneak peek at concept art for those models in last week's Studio Insider.

In addition, there are a number of different creatures, droids and enemies of various types on Tython (and on every world you'll be adventuring on). They're all over the world.

Third and finally, remember that this was a preview event focused on early gameplay. As Game Testing progresses, and as we conduct more press events, the continuing development of the game is going to be highlighted; changes are inevitable.
This past week also saw some news on The Old Republic's projected release date. During a technology conference EA CFO Eric Brown said that the game will be released in EA's fiscal year 2012, which runs (roughly) from April 2011 until March 2012. He further noted that they're targeting a release in calender year 2011, so somewhere between April 2011 and December 2011. This is the first time that there has been an official mention of a target release, though BioWare has said Spring 2011 in the past (something they've recently seem to have stayed away from doing, causing me to suspect that they might have hit some delays to their internal target dates and might not release in Spring).

As such it wouldn't surprise me if the game releases in Summer or even Fall 2011. Being just before the Christmas craze, and with how popular/anticipated The Old Republic is, releasing in Fall would probably do quite well for EA. Not to mention that it should give the game more than enough time to reach a truly polished state.

Finally, a small bit of news, it seems that Paul S. Kemp is writing a short story, featuring Darth Malgus and set before the novel Deceived, for Star Wars Insider magazine, as per his twitter:
Turned in a draft of a shorty short story to appear in Star Wars Insider. It stars Darth Malgus and is set before the events of DECEIVED.
Thanks to Darth Hater for the news.

And that's it for today.

[link] to video interview with Dr. Ray Muzyka at GameSpot.
[link] to German magazines blog post at Cantina Talk.
[link] to target release date news at Gamasutra.
[link] to Paul S. Kemp short story news at Twitter.

1 comment:

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