Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Jedi Consular Records

Last Friday BioWare released a class update for the last of the eight classes: the Jedi Consular. As the other seven classes before it they list a Companion for the class, point out a species that you can play, show the class' starship (though we've already seen that in the Jedi Knight update as that class gets the same ship) and, most interestingly, show a class video. Here's the official news:
There is power in wisdom, study, and diplomacy. The Jedi Consular wields that power with an even hand. Consulars study the mysteries of the Force. They use their knowledge to bring peace, but when words fail, their understanding of the Force makes them dangerous foes. Choose your Consular’s path – become the strong, silent hand of the Jedi Council as a Shadow, or immerse yourself in the mysteries of the Force as a Sage, healing and empowering your allies.

Learn more details about the Jedi Consular:

In particular don't forget to check out the video. Kotaku might've called it boring (but then again Kotaku seems to be down on everything SWTOR) but personally I find it the best representation of an actual Jedi, much moreso than the Jedi Knight. Though it's really odd to see Stephen Reid as a Jedi Consular (I kid, I kid). It might not be the most action-filled video, but if that's representative of the class then that only makes me more excited to play it. Can't wait.

After the break BioWare's second update last Friday, a San Diego Comic-Con highlights video, and the developer quotes.

The second update BioWare had last Friday was a wrap-up for San Diego Comic-Con. In the post they mostly talk about the things that they revealed during the panel and that they had people play PvP. But what's nice is the video at the end showing people at the con. Here's an excerpt from the official post:

For those of you who weren’t able to join us in San Diego, we’ve put together a highlights video to share the San Diego Comic-Con experience with everyone. BioWare and LucasArts thank each and every one of you for your continuing support and excitement for Star Wars: The Old Republic!

Looks like people were enjoying themselves.

On a different note, the website IndustryGamers had an article with some quotes by BioWare's Greg Zeschuk in which he talks about the challenge of creating an MMO and such. Here's an excerpt from the full article:

"It’s interesting, because at shows, you don’t see a lot of [MMOs]. I think that’s because they’re big, they’re hard to make, they’re daunting. I think one thing you can say we’ve absolutely learned is, we’ve always respected Blizzard a lot, and I think our respect probably has grown after seeing just how challenging it is to make one of these games," remarked Zeschuk. "So we’re nearing the finish line, we have thousands of people testing it... We’re getting ready to launch it - It’s got great potential. I think the interest is there. The quality is there. We’re making sure the service is good and then we’ll see what happens."
And that leaves us with the developer quotes.

Developer Quotes

  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on shooting the messenger.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on loot containers.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Esseles healing.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Esseles boss AI.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on changing Advanced Class.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on neutral choices.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on blaster colors.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on blaster colors, part 2.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on non-EU/NA players.
  • [link] to Chris Collins on Chris Collins (EU community manager).
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Chris Collins.
  • [link] to Chris Collins on Chris Collins, part 2.
  • [link] to David Bass on no surnames.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on (not) ending the NDA.
  • [link] to Chris Collins on GamesCom Meet & Greet.
  • [link] to Chris Collins on localization.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on EU community team.
  • [link] to Chris Collins on Chris Collins, part 3 on .
  • [link] to Chris Collins on GamnesCom Community Room.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on server population cap.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Gunslinger PvP.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Smuggler love.
  • [link] to Chris Collins on digital downloads.
One bit of news that came out last week was that during Operations loot containers drop for players, being specific to each player and giving either class-appropriate gear or tokens to use to buy gear from an NPC. Stephen Reid made a comment on that:
'Loot containers' (name is still a work in progress!) do indeed exist and are designed to alleviate the frustration some feel around high-level loot drops.

As it's currently implemented, at the end of a key encounter within an Operation, upon looting a high-level opponent, everyone in the Operations group will get an individual container which has a chance to give you a random piece of loot that's specific to your class. It could be part of an armor set, a weapon, and so on. If you don't get loot, you'll get commendations which can be used to purchase gear.

Please note, this feature is currently in Game Testing and may well be modified before launch.

To me that sounds very good. Because, honestly, it's somewhat absurd that players need to resort to some DKP-system to manage loot drops from Operations and such. The game should take care of such things. And the class-specific drops and commendations sound like a good solution to me. You get something if you join, something that's likely to be useful to you, and that's it.

The second post is by Georg Zoeller on being Neutral (instead of Light-side/Dark-side):

The situation given to you in this case really only had two options. As such, being neutral is impossible. While some quests in the game may give you a 'uh, I'm not going to get involved, I'll stay neutral' option (often dubbed the 'I don't want to take sides' or 'I don't want to make a decision'), in the grand scheme of things that's not a really viable option for the majority of quests. If it were, the neutral option would be 'refuse quest'.

In short: Neutral choices rarely make for interesting choices or interesting gameplay, which is why they don't exist on every quest, only once where it makes sense.

The game tracks both your light and dark side choices. Once a quest is completed, these choices are locked in final, forever. You can never 'reduce' the dark side influence your character has built up, you can only try to balance it out with light side choices.

So, short: Yes, you can play neutral, but in the context this game that would mean making per case choices in quest, trying to do both of light or dark choices of similar magnitude.

Part of what I worry about is that the while Light/Dark side thing will devolve into just a game of numbers. Particularly with gear being tied into it as well. That, to me, sounds like it's taking the roleplaying out of the game (it's not roleplaying if the game chooses for you by saying "you should pick this option because it maximizes your points"). One can argue that roleplayers can still make choices as suit their role (for which their approach to Neutral seems adequate as the alignment then isn't the goal, but the result of whatever choices you make), but I fear that doing so means you end up weaker because you can't use some gear/skills as you're just short of points as you made a few opposing choices that just suited your character.

But again we'll have to see how it works out.

Stephen Reid made a post about the game's launch, answering a few questions about it that have surfaced since they started taking pre-orders:

Hello all. Apologies for the delay in posting; post-Comic-Con we rolled straight into prep for GamesCom and PAX, and that's kept me busy.

I realize many of you are hoping for a definitive 'answer' to the question of "Why are we limiting the initial launch for The Old Republic". I'm afraid you already have your answer in the very first post of this thread. It was a decision made to ensure the highest quality of game service.

There have been other key questions, and we've tried to answer them for you. There are no plans to 'region lock' or 'IP block' players from the game. You may experience some latency issues if you're not playing in a launch region. In addition, we'll accept credit card payments for subscriptions. These seem to be the key questions for those who choose to potentially import the game, and hopefully we've answered those.

Many of you are also interested to know the timeframe for release of The Old Republic outside of the initial launch countries, but unfortunately we cannot give you a definitive timeframe right now. As we get closer to our initial launch, hopefully that will change and we'll be able to give you more details.

We've also been compiling some other questions and answers regarding Early Game Access and similar topics, and will be posting those in the next couple of days.

I'm very glad to hear (confirmed) that they're not region locking the game. That's not only good for people living outside of EU/NA, but that's also good for international guilds and people with international friends.

The last post I'll repost here is a short, intriguing one by David Bass on surnames:

The actual answer James gave was "We have no answer at this time." As in, "We can't talk about that right now." We have a reason for why we aren't answering any questions about surnames, though I can't share any details just yet.
Hmmm, surnames are tied into the rumored Legacy system? That would be my guess at least. But regardless it's interesting.

And that's it for now.

[link] to Greg Zeschuk quotes at IndustryGamers.

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