Monday, 7 March 2011

Bounty Hunter Report

Lately I seem to have the habit of posting the Friday update on Monday. But ah well, better late than never.

Last Friday gave us three update; an update for PAX East, an update on the soon to be released SWTOR novel "Deceived", and a class update on the Bounty Hunter giving up their advanced classes, their ship, and more.

So let's get started with the latter. Here is the official post:

Get on the wrong side of the wrong people, and you’ll find yourself pursued by a Bounty Hunter, the most dangerous professionals in the galaxy. Bounty Hunters do what it takes to cash in on their marks, utilizing the best in weapons and defensive technology to bring in the target – dead or alive. The technology your Bounty Hunter uses is up to you; choose to specialize in prototype shield and heavy armor technology to become an unstoppable Powertech, or spend those hard-earned credits on the most destructive arsenal available as a Mercenary.

There’s much more to the Bounty Hunter, and we’ve compiled all the details for you:

  • Meet Mako, an orphaned computer slicing prodigy from Nar Shaddaa who can join your Bounty Hunter as a companion.
  • Discover more about the Rattataki, a species with a violent history perfectly suited for Bounty Hunting.
  • Tracking marks through the galaxy requires the perfect ship. The Kuat Drive Yards D5-Mantis Patrol Craft satisfies all the Bounty Hunters’s needs – speed, efficiency, and unstoppable firepower.
  • Check out the new Bounty Hunter class video to see a Bounty Hunter in action, and hope that you’re never on the receiving end of this dangerous professional.
The Bounty Hunter never really interested me personally, but it's nice information for those who do like the class. And don't forget to check out the new class trailer in either case.

Read on after the break for the PAX East update, a trailer for the Deceived novel (yes, a trailer for a book), more on the Bounty Hunter in an interview on IGN and the weekly developer quotes.

Next weekend is Dragon Age 2 weekend (which releases here this Friday), but that weekend is also PAX East weekend where developers go to show off their games to rabid fans. And BioWare is there as well with The Old Republic. Friday they posted details of what they'll have for the fans there. Here's a snip:

World Gameplay Premiere - Flashpoint: Taral V

Hidden deep within the Maelstrom Nebula, a top-secret Imperial prison holds a Jedi Master who is invaluable to the Republic war effort. As part of a Republic strike team, you must assault a heavily defended compound on the jungle world of Taral V...

Inside the main PAX East exhibition hall, visitors to Booth 912 will be among the first in the world to play the mid-game Republic Flashpoint, Taral V! Taking the role of a Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Knight or Jedi Consular, you’ll team up with other players in an extended hands-on gameplay experience. This is a challenging mission which even MMO veterans may find difficult, but we will prepare everyone who plays with a tactical briefing at the booth.

Other things available will be the starting planet for all of the eight classes (making Tython publicly available for the first time), presentation, Q&A and a community meet-and-greet. And though I won't be there I do expect a fair number of reports and shaky-cam video footage to come from the expo. We'll see next week.

On March 22nd (in the US at least; the rest of the world likely a bit later) they'll publish the next Star Wars: The Old Republic novel, namely "Deceived" by Paul S. Kemp. The book features Darth Malgus, the Sith shown in the two cinematic trailers. And now the book has it's own tailer. The video is made up mostly of segments from the other two trailers, but there's a tiny new bit at the end (possibly a first look at a new trailer for this year's E3?).

You'll have to watch the video at BioWare's site as they're using some script shenanigans to show it.

Together with getting a day-early exclusive on the Bounty Hunter class trailer, IGN posted an interview with writing director Daniel Erickson and principal lead combat designer Georg Zoeller asking more details about the class. Here's an excerpt:

IGN: Do NPCs in the world react differently to Bounty Hunters than they might other classes, and if so how? Do Bounty Hunters get unique options during conversations and what are they like?

Erickson: NPCs react differently to all classes and the Bounty Hunter and Smuggler most of all. As outsiders on their respective sides these are the people who get to shake things up and see their sides from another perspective. An Imperial officer that wouldn't dream of trying to strong arm a Sith will talk down to a Bounty Hunter, but an underworld contact might be far more likely to offer up information.

Which leaves us with just the developer quotes.

Developer Quotes

  • [link] to David Bass on PAX East presentations.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on last BioWare blog update.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on single saber dps.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on player names in VO.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on player names.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on PAX East update.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on player names, part 2.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on single saber dps, part 2.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on no auto attack.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on pronouncing "Georg".
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on PAX East.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on no auto attack, part 2.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on no auto attack, part 3.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on exploring Taris.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on the scatter gun.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on environmental effects.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Bounty Hunter video.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Bounty Hunter as healer.
  • [link] to Daniel Erickson on Cathar Jedi.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on bounties.
Let's start off with a couple of quotes by Georg Zoeller on player names. Here's one on known names:
As you probably already have guessed, well known names from the extended Star Wars universe will not be available to players, so you don't have to worry about running into Darth Vader.
And one on special characters:
Yes to hyphens.

Yes to apostrophes.

No comment - yet - on titles or surnames and the like...

... I'm sure we'll talk about such things at some time in the future though

Since I've broken BioWare's systems before with my tendency to use apostrophes (on the old BioWare forums I went by "Shir'le E. Illios") I find this quite daring of them to allow them again. But I'm glad as well as traditional twi'lek names combine the first and last name into a single word with an apostrophe. Of course it depends on what direction they'll take for surnames.

And also glad that we'll just have to content with "Daa-arth Vaa'd0r" and the like. Maybe we can report such names even on non-rp servers. Just saying that name filters rarely if ever work.

Georg Zoeller also made a number of posts about the lack of auto attack in SWTOR. Here's one:

I think it is worth noting in this context that the game is relatively forgiving about the timing of your button presses / clicks, and therefore this particular concern about not having auto attack should be a non issue.

To ensure equal ability activation timing (and therefore DPS potential) between players with high and low latency, the game will, during the execution of an ability, allow you to 'queue up' the next activation (within a reasonable time window).

This ensures that your character is able to seamlessly move from one attack to the next without the player losing precious milliseconds by not exactly hitting the end of the previous ability/attack (something that would, in the end, force the player to spam buttons/clicks).

Naturally, moving/jumping etc will abort such queued up attacks/ability activations at any time.

Our testers have consistently lauded the absence of auto-attack as positive so far.

And another:
This is really a technical feature, not a gameplay mechanic. Basically, instead of requiring you to precisely mash a button to time the end of a cooldown of a previous ability, we give you a (small) window in which the game accepts button/click input while your previous ability is still executing.

It actually removes the need to closely watch the cooldown bar/UI as you can instead time your button presses with what action you see your character perform on screen (e.g. I'm close to the end of my previous attack, I can now hit the next attack and it will seamlessly execute - I don't have to wait until my character has fully finished his current move). Again, more fluid, more action-y, less vulnerable to latency.

I remember from playing Rift how utterly frustrating it was how sometimes when you click an action it wouldn't queue it up, and sometimes it would (it would only queue up when the action was nearly done refreshing or such). Which meant that despite the queuing I spent more time watching the ability bars than watching the action. So I seriously hope that BioWare has that feature working properly.

Georg (I seem to only have Georg quotes this week) also made a post about environmental effects:

Have you ever tried to take a steady video in a rainstorm?

Seriously it's hard

In general environmental effects get done towards the end of a project, so the videos don't have the latest and greatest in that regard. You'll see some serious weather at PAX East though I think.

I must say that I hadn't really considered environmental effects, or the lack of them in previous TOR videos, but yeah those can have a big impact on how it comes across. So I can't wait to see some of those effects in PAX East videos.

Finally, to return to the theme of the Bounty Hunter for a moment, Georg also made a post about bounties for the Bounty Hunter:


Since 'bounties' is a loaded term for some people, let me clarify - and you can quote me on this:

"You will be doing plenty of bounty hunting as part of the story and the quests in the game."

Of course, when most people on the forums talk about "bounties" they tend to talk about Bounty Hunters being able to hunt other players, which frankly I hope won't be in SWTOR (at least not in the way that people tend to mean it), so for them Georg's answer isn't saying much. In fact, in general it's just stating pretty much what everyone should've been expecting to begin with: bounties in stories, no word on otherwise (but I wouldn't hold my breath).

And that's it for now. I expect more after PAX East, though next weekend I'll probably be busy.

[link] to Bounty Hunter interview at IGN.

No comments: