Monday, 16 May 2011

Sith Inquisitor Records

Last Friday BioWare revealed more details, and a video, on the Sith Inquisitor class (so now only the Jedi Consular class is left to get the same treatment). Here is the official news:
Inquisitors, the dark geniuses of the Empire, are masters of treachery and dark Force power. Feared as much on the battlefield as they are by prisoners and political enemies, they will stop at nothing to earn themselves more power. The paths to power are many, though. Is your Inquisitor an Assassin, striking down enemies from the shadows with cunning tactics and a skilled blade? Or are you a Sorcerer, a triumph of the dark side, smoldering with ambition and uncovering dark secrets of the Force to destroy your enemies?

Find out more about these dangerous Sith:

I wonder if they'll put up a similar update on the Consular before E3 this year, but since that's only a few weeks away...

Anyway, read on after the break for a couple more articles from other sites and for the developer quotes.

Last week had an interview with Daniel Erickson about the Imperial Agent class. Here's an excerpt:
What does an Imperial Agent bring to PvP combat?
Daniel Erickson:   
The Agent brings, depending on how you take it, my favorite build for PvP combat is absolutely the Sniper because that’s kind of the thing I’m most likely to play in an action game anyway, and what the Agent brings there is patience. You really can actually play a sniper with the Sniper class.

One of the things you got to play Alderaan, you got to notice there are some high walkways around the things, there are some really good places where you can go and hide and do things. So if you’re playing a Sniper, you can actually set up, get ready, wait until somebody’s coming in, grab your damage buff that you’ve actually gotten from your tokens, put it in, focus on that one guy, throw, you’ve got a little droid that can go there, it doesn’t explode until you do damage. So you can do that one, hit them with a poison dart, slow ‘em down, then do your snipe, and it’s a one big big slam of damage, and it’s really fun.

The Operative obviously, being stealth, is actually the great guy to say, “Hey. Nobody’s dealing with that actual piece right now.” Like the turrets you guys had to take. If nobody’s there, and you’ve got an Operative with stealth, he can get past the entire group and be doing it before anybody even knows he’s there.

Over at IGN two of their editors played through the first Imperial Flashpoint and they wrote down their thoughts about it. Here's an excerpt:
Nick: The first thing that sticks out to me is how the flashpoint began. We're in this big ship and, for whatever reason, we end up talking to the captain. He says something about taking this comparatively small craft that we're on and using it to try to destroy a Republic starship. The details are a little fuzzy as I was personally just focusing on hitting the most negative option possible in group conversation (where group members choose a response and automatically roll to see who actually gets to "talk"). Do you remember exactly what was going on?

Dana: I too don't glean much beyond "go kill these other guys" because I'm just trying to beat the other three party members in the conversation. Which is an interesting potential problem with TOR -- does making social conversation into a mini-game mean people will miss what's going on because they're too focused on "winning"?

And finally GameSpot had a Q&A with Georg Zoeller and Daniel Erickson about the Sith Inquisitor. Here's an excerpt:
GameSpot: We also understand that The Old Republic will attempt to embrace a "shades of gray" morality system (like in other BioWare games) that will be independent of your profession and faction. But given that the Sith inquisitor's original design was patterned after dastardly Emperor Palpatine--the corrupted, withered incarnation of evil from the original Star Wars trilogy whose sinister powers let him shoot excruciatingly painful lightning bolts from his fingertips--this idea of playing against alignment seems the least believable for this profession. How can a lightning bolt-shooting Sith inquisitor successfully join the path of the light side and stay there?

Daniel Erickson: The inquisitor does start in the darkest place of all our classes, but the path to redemption is always there. On their best behavior, inquisitors are what Palpatine appeared to be: powerful, charismatic, and willing to make the tough decisions to defend their people. As an inquisitor, you will find there is usually a diplomatic route to control, and once that control is achieved, it's up to you how to use your power.

And then finally the developer quotes.

Developer Quotes

  • [link] to Daniel Erickson on invalid class-species combos.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on rewarding exploration.
  • [link] to Alexander Freed on SIS.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on revisiting planets.
  • [link] to Damion Schubert on holocrons.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on class stories starting point.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on view distance.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Guard ability.
  • [link] to Gabe Amatangelo on Warzone matchmaking.
As you can see there weren't that many developer quotes this week, but even so here's a couple that I picked out form the above.

First there's a post by Alexander Freed where he talks about the Strategic Information Service (the Republic's equivalent to Imperial Intelligence):

In TOR, the Republic's covert intelligence agency is the Strategic Information Service (SIS), and--as you surmise--it has its hands full dealing with the galactic cold war. The SIS turns up in a number of class stories throughout the game, as well as in several faction-wide quests.

The SIS is a very different beast from Imperial Intelligence--it's a much smaller and a much newer organization, without the enormous network and arcane bureaucracy of its Imperial counterpart. Until the Empire returned, the Republic didn't need a gigantic intelligence apparatus, as the galaxy was at peace and the Senate prefers not to spy on its own people.

Of course, that doesn't mean the SIS isn't very good at what it does--especially given that it still abides by legal and ethical restraints that the Empire doesn't much worry about. (Which isn't to say that SIS operations don't skirt certain lines, at times... but those are exceptions.)

(If you're curious, you can get a peak inside the SIS in the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic - The Lost Suns comic, which features a Republic spy as its lead. The SIS isn't the focus of the story, but it has a role to play. Here ends my plug. )

I wonder if that comic will be released as a web comic again. Either way, it's nice to hear some details on the way the two sides approach intelligence gathering and covert missions. Maybe in the future they'll add a Republic class who has more to do with the SIS.

Damion Schubert made a post about holocrons (/datacrons) trying to put some people's fears to rest:

Each holocron is limited as to who can interact with it, in some cases due to access but in other cases due to the level of potential suck. Thus, the Sith don't need to go to a Jedi homeworld to find them, but Korriban has several.

We never put holocrons in places where you can miss them and be unable to go back and get them. For example, we wouldn't put them in a phase that can't be repeated, or on a temporary location on your galaxy map (and yes, we have some of those).

Makes sense to me that they won't put datacrons in places you can't revisit. It's interesting to know that they have some temporary locations though.

Finally, Gabe Amatangelo made a post about matchmaking for Warzones:

Warzones will have a dynamic matchmaking system. It will do many things, like attempt to balance the number of queued groups, healers, levels, etc. on each side. If a match is not made after X minutes then it will begin to alleviate some of these preferences, including potentially widening the level range.

If a match with a wide level range happens to launch, then the lower level players' stats and ability ranks are bolstered. We aim for this to bring all players to at least 80% of the highest level players' combat effectiveness, player skill withstanding.

Promoting a lively PvP community is one of the PvP team's core goals. We believe enabling players on a server to play together often will promote camaraderie as well as rivalry, which lends itself toward achieving that goal.

That being said, as with many things, the matchmaking protocol is subject to change with testing, feedback and metrics.

Hope that helps clear it up.

I honestly wonder how their matchmaking is going to work, particularly considering that they're not going to do it cross-server. In my experience queues for PvP matches tend to be so long that ti's not worth sticking around for. When I say that I want to play a PvP match I want to play it pretty much right away and not sit around for several minutes (and that's a best-case scenario) waiting to be allowed in. I'm sure that it's a matter of balance, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if shortly after launch they decide to go for cross-server anyway because the queues just are too long on some servers.

Anyway, that's it for now.

[link] to interview with Daniel Erickson at MMORPG.
[link] to Flashpoint preview at IGN.
[link] to interview with Georg Zoeller and Daniel Erickson at GameSpot.

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