Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Trooper Character Progression

Last Friday had a new armor progression video for us, this time showing the progression of the Trooper. Here's the official news:
As your character progresses in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, you will see them grow more powerful as they gain experience and discover new skills that will allow them to utilize new gear.

As the elite Trooper rises through the ranks of the Republic military, there are several ways he can specialize his training, and several sets of armor and weapons to match. Watch this video to get a small sampling of the many different armors and abilities that your Trooper can acquire through the course of the game.

I'm not that big a fan of the Trooper, but the armors look decently Trooper-ish enough. It's a nice video to watch.

Read on after the break for developer quotes.

Things have been relatively silent lately, which makes sense as they're probably holding their cards close to their chest until E3 next week. So all that's left is a couple of developer quotes (two of which I found worth repeating in full):

Developer Quotes

  • [link] to Stephen Reid on post-release events.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on (no) macros.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on EU servers.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on dual wield.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on weapon holstering.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on (no) sandbox content.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on ability descriptions.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on dual wield weapon activation.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on BioWare light/dark reference.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on (no) macros, part 2.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on (no) sandbox content, part 2.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on (no) sandbox content, part 3.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on dual wield combinations.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on mobs waiting.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Star Wars hero sidekicks.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on cover.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on "PLANNING" tweet.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on working at/for shows.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on language servers.
  • [link] to David Bass on showing at E3.
Both repeated quotes I've got for you this week are from Georg Zoeller. In the first one he talks about sandbox features, basically saying that because there's already SWG don't expect SWTOR to be too much like SWG:
Just to manage expectations (and I think we've posted this a number of times now in the last few years).

There is already a Star Wars MMO that focuses primarily on these features. We're making a different kind of game and we've been pretty open about that from the start.

That does not mean we are hostile to certain sandbox features such as player built housing - it just means that these kind of features are not a particularly high priority to us at this point as we navigate to ship.

There will certainly be out-of-combat player activities and activities that promote social interaction in the game, but you will not be able to take a job as a moisture farmer on Tatooine and simulate the life of such an individual in our game.

In short: Uncle Owen and his life is not the kind of heroic journey we're going for with this game. (The jawa's with their rocket launchers wouldn't make that a very fun activity anyway).

In my view MMOs are usually a bit of a push and pull between 'sandbox' features and 'theme park' features. And personally I believe more in 'sandbox'-type MMOs than 'theme park' ones. The second is really good at pulling people in and giving them something immediately fun to do without them having to make much effort at it, that's undeniable. But I do believe that you need the first to keep players engaged for longer, give them personal investment and reason to stay and want to see the game succeed. Because when people get tired of the 'rides' in the second type they'll just move on to another theme park.

You need both though, really. Something to immediately engage players and something to get them to invest and stay. And if you do it really right the player content will start to outshine the developer content.

But I get where Georg is coming from. There's no point in making SWG again. I just hope that SWTOR still has enough 'sandbox'-y features to help it with longevity. Things like using player ships as personal homes can help a lot, if done right. And I wonder what other things, if any, SWTOR has to encourage players to help provide content (be it by hosting events, roleplaying, organizing tournaments or such, whatever).

In the second post Georg talks about NPCs standing around, waiting to be attacked:

Enemies will definitely not just stand around waiting to be attacked, even though, in the end, that's kind of their purpose in an MMO (they are enemies, after all).

A few examples:

They engage in a variety of activities when not in combat, which include patrols and overwatch over areas where that makes sense.

When traversing through hostile territory, it is usually a good idea to fully assess the situation before attacking - just because there's two sandpeople leisurely lounging at the sarlacc pit, it doesn't mean there isn't a sniper deployed on a dune nearby covering the camp.

At some times, this can be even a bit unfair - Who'd know that the emergency protocol for the missile platform involved a special ops team rappelling in from above when the alarm is triggered... or who knew that the Jawas had shoulder mounted rocket launchers in their backbacks.

When engaged, blaster wielding humanoids often attempt to disperse and find cover, which can mix things up. Humanoids that perceive friendly targets engage enemies will often join the fight as well.

Droids are usually a bit more straightforward, as their programming often miraculously omits that sense of self preservation seen in humanoids. Few might take cover, but then again, if you have big guns or deploy-able shields, you might not have to.

Smarter / Stronger enemies also react to changing conditions in battle. If a smuggler or agent think they can be a ******** and try to wear down an entire encounter full of enemies by slowly taking potshots from cover, they'll be surprised to find that thermal detonators or targeted headshots make a very effective counter to that kind of behavior.

Many enemies encountered in the game will have access to special attacks, defense or other abilities, many of which are staples of the Star Wars universe. Bosses, especially force users, often have a wide array of abilities and the player will have to watch things like 'not fighting a guy that has Force Push while standing at the edge of the Sarlacc Pit'.

I must say that from what I've seen of the game so far it definitely feels as if enemies are just standing around, waiting to be attacked. Maybe the things like patrols weren't implemented yet or just not in the (low-level) area I saw. Or maybe I just missed it.

Much of what Georg talks about refers more to what enemies do after you engage them, though. Before you engage them I'd like to see a bit more life. Enemies just sitting entrenched or such seems so poor; I'd rather see some continual troop movement or animals roaming around the zone hunting, or packs of animals moving from grazing fields to water hole to rest area, etc. I would want it to look like the enemies are behaving the way you'd expect them to behave and the gameplay be subject to that, instead of the other way around (where gameplay dictates that they stick around in one spot to be attacked forever). And similar with NPCs.

But I guess that's probably beyond what they're trying to achieve with SWTOR. That probably comes down a bit to that 'sandbox' vs 'theme park' argument again in the sense that their goal isn't so much to make a realistic 'world', but to make a bunch of fun 'rides'. Since most all MMOs are like that, can't really blame them for that.

Anyway, that's all for now.

1 comment:

The Tame Lion said...

Wow, absolutely fantastic! Yeah!