Monday, 4 July 2011

Bounty Hunter Character Progression

The update that BioWare had for us on Friday was a Bounty Hunter character progression video. Here's the official news:
As your character progresses in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, you will gain experience and strength, learning new skills and earning more advanced gear.

The Bounty Hunter is feared across the galaxy for his ability to track elusive prey from the bustling metropolises of the core worlds to the further reaches of known space. As his targets become more evasive and his enemies more powerful, the Bounty Hunter will learn new skills and abilities to match the advanced weapons and armor he discovers during his travels.

Watch some of the paths along which the Bounty Hunter can progress to get a brief glimpse of the armors and abilities available as he grows in wealth and glory.

That means we've now had a progression video like this for all the armored classes (Jedi Knight, Sith Warrior, Trooper and Bounty Hunter) with the four 'cloth' classes still to go.

Read on after the break for an interview GameInformer did with EA's Frank Gibeau nd the developer quotes.

GameInformer held an interview with EA's Frank Gibeau covering a range of (EA-related) topics, including some on The Old Republic. Here's two quotes from the article relating to SWTOR:

Q: Star Wars: The Old Republic is a digital exclusive to Origin - should we expect more PC digital titles to be exclusive to Origin?

Frank Gibeau: It depends on the title and what we're trying to do. In the case of Star Wars we're trying to build an audience for Origin. And it's also an opportunity for us to better manage the downloads and how we bring people over from the beta and that sort of thing. For a lot of reasons it made sense for an MMO, which is a highly complex deployment. I think long-term you'll see we believe in reach so we will have other digital retailers for out products because we want to reach as many audiences as possible. But at the same time if we can use exclusive content or other ideas to help grow our audience then we're going to do that because we're growing a platform.

No surprise that they're using The Old Republic to draw interest for their new digital platform. And I don't think that's in the best interest of the game at all. I'm also not convinced that it really makes things that much easier for them (beyond not having to deal with other digital retails that is), but anyway. At least there's some hope that they might sell SWTOR on other platforms too, though that's probably going to take a while. I suspect that Origin would either have to fail completely or otherwise not bring in that many new sales for SWTOR anymore before they'll start considering expanding the audience by selling it elsewhere too.
Q: Speaking of Star Wars, there has been a lot of speculation on the game in terms of the cost, and EA has said itself that its one of the most expensive projects its ever been involved in. Can you clear up any of the chatter that suggests you've over spent on the game?

Frank Gibeau: I don't pay much attention to that talk, I get a lot of questions from analysts and press about it. What I try and concentrate on is, is it a good game and is it ready to go? You look at a game that has 200 hours of gameplay for each of the six classes, and that doesn't include the crafting, the raids, the multiplayer. It's vast. It's a gigantic game. And that costs money. But when you get one of these launched they persist for a long period of time. Ultima is on its first decade and it still has tens of thousands of subscribers and is widely profitable for us. It's just the nature of the beast that you have to build this amount of content. Do I wish it wasn't this expensive? Absolutely, but I think everybody does. At the same time it doesn't really do us much good to comment on how much it costs. Ultimately what matters is whether it's a good service and do people really like the game?

Hmm, I guess that they dropped two classes, since by my last count the game had eight. I guess he misspoke (or is just clueless). For the rest the games press has been pointing out the 200 hours figure, but I'd always take number like that with a grain of salt. He might just be trying to say "each class has a lot more gameplay hours than a full single-player game".

Anyway, on to the developer quotes.

Developer Quotes

  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Alderaan Highlights video.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on release date announcement.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on release data announcement, part 2.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on filling quest log.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on filling quest log, part 2.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Jedi Guardian Tank.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on murky pre-order offers.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on server firsts.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Holocom feature.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Shae Vizla.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on 'soon'.
  • [link] to Daniel Erickson on quitting conversations.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Sentinel vs Guardian.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on NPC-exclusive skills.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on accepting answers.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on someone being misinformed.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on (no) cross-planet holocom.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on (no) force PvP.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on basic attacks.
  • [link] to Damion Schubert on gathering missions.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on European Community.
  • [link] to George Zoeller on friendly spaceports.
  • [link] to Damion Schubert on gathering missions, part 2.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Game Testing selection.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Game Testing selection.
  • [link] to Damion Schubert on quitting conversations.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Jedi Consular soon™.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Jedi Consular soon™, part 2.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Jedi Consular soon™, part 3.
Of the posts I'm quoting in full here the first is by Georg Zoeller on the size of the quest log:
I don't think this is a concern for us. After years of playing legit characters and testing, I don't even know if there is a limit we are enforcing. And since you can hide quests that are not on your current planet and turn tracking on and off individually for each quest, you're unlikely to experience significant overload either.
I never quite got the whole limit on the number of quests you can take at once (shouldn't that be more naturally gated through quest progression, level restrictions and quest zone) so I'm glad to hear that there's no (apparent) limit to the number of quests you can have at once.

The next post is by Daniel Erickson in regards to quitting in the middle of conversations:

Hey Folks,

In the event of disconnects, you will start at the beginning of the conversation, as if it never happened. You don't need to rush to turn your computer off, though. The same thing happens if you hit the Escape key in the middle of a conversation. It quits out, dumps your choices and you can start over. It’s not until the end of the conversation that it saves it out and sends it to the server. It’s a good escape hatch for when the cat walks on your keyboard or you accidently hit a response you were just browsing.

Hope that helps,

I was wondering about the escape functionality in dialogs. It's interesting (and not unwelcome) to hear that it's an intended feature. Maybe that'll encourage people to try a few different dialog options just to see how they turn out... except that there's always the risk that you might progress to the end of the conversation without realizing before you can cancel out and make the choice you were really intending to.Because the problem is that this doesn't work once the dialog finishes (what if the last choice is an important choice that also ends the dialog when your cat decides to take a stroll across your keyboard). Slightly better, I guess, would be the ability to roll back the last dialog you did. But this is quite nice as is (just keep your cat away from your keyboard in any case).

Damion Schubert made some posts on gathering missions and how they might affect the ingame economy. Here's the main one:

There are some preconceptions about the missions system, such as that it's an infinite money machine. Quite the opposite: it costs money to send your CC out looking for stuff, typically more than you can sell the returns for to a vendor. You can hit the jackpot, but this is because you find items that are of high utility to yourself or other players. For example, you might find rare crafting materials to make ubergear. The value in these items is what you sell them to other players for.

This is a delicate balance, of course, but a player who tries to farm non-stop is going to have a pretty severe cash flow problem, and basic economics says that if too many people are flooding the market with too many of the same goods, it’s going to be difficult for you to get a price for the goods more than the cost to acquire it. Supply and demand, y’know, which most of the time should self-correct.

Could you send every CC on every character out all the time? Sure, if you have infinite cash. It’s my team's responsibility to be sure that doesn’t happen. =)

I didn't know, or had forgotten, that sending your companions on missions would cost money. I'm not altogether sure if that's enough of an incentive to keep players from turning their companions into money making machines (if high level players tend to have more money than they know what to do with then they might be happy to pay high prices for resource regardless of availability). I've seen dedicated crafters (try and) band together to keep prices high regardless of availability. But then I've got no head for economics and will just have to trust that Mr Schubert and his team know what they're doing in that regard.

Normally I only list developer quotes up until the Friday update. But this week I decided to list three beyond that (all pretty much saying the same thing) as it's about the Consular and I like the Consular. Basically it's Stephen Reid assuring Consular fans that there's stuff in the pipeline:

Just to reassure all Jedi Consular fans, there's plenty of JC lurve coming down the line. In fact I was watching footage just this morning featuring a Jedi Consular... starring in their very own video.

Also as an FYI, we're planning to do Character Progression videos for all classes, ultimately, and given their new 'style' we decided to re-do the Bounty Hunter. (The game has improved graphically since the previous video was created, too, so that's a bonus.)

Anyway - the Consular has not been forgotten, far from it... and you'll see for yourself... soon (TM).

I'm guessing that the video he's talking about is the Consular's class video, considering that the Consular is the only class without one yet. So not really a surprise, but still yay! Video incoming soon™.

And that's it for now.

[link] to interview with Frank Gibeau at GameInformer.

No comments: