Tuesday, 24 January 2012

1.1.0b Patch Notes

Here are today's patch notes:

1.1.0b Patch Notes - 1/24/2012


    • Implemented optimizations to improve performance on Republic and Imperial Fleets.

Classes and Combat

    • Significantly improved the delay when activating player abilities, particularly when in lower framerate situations. This allows for improved ability responsiveness in hectic combat situations.



    • Operations will no longer allow more than 16 Operations Group members to enter concurrently.

    Karagga's Palace

    • Operations Groups will no longer be forced to reset the Operation if the group wipes when attempting to defeat G4-B3 Heavy Fabricator.
    • Fixed an exploit that would allow players to repeatedly loot the chest after defeating Jarg and Sorno.

Miscellaneous Bug Fixes

    • Fixed an issue that could cause graphical inconsistencies, which most often manifested as random screen "flickering."

Monday, 23 January 2012

Teaching Elephants To Do Ballet

That was too good a title to pass up. The Old Republic is a very, very big game and creating it was a very, very big project with lots of moving part. And apparently what Greg Zeschuk said about that was that: “Coordinating it all is like teaching elephants to do ballet.” There's a bit on that, some stock yo-yo-ing that happened last week, some reviews and interviews, and some barking dogs. But all that after the break, first there's a note on the Community Blog by Jeff Hickman on the Ilum situation:

After Game Update 1.1 went live, we discovered that the Open World PvP area on Ilum was not working as our PvP design team intended. As many of you know, large groups of players began capturing the Ilum control points, then 'camping' at the enemy's base. This led to a very frustrating experience for a number of players who were unable to leave their base and fight back against their attackers. It was not a fair gameplay experience. In addition, some players on the attacking side gained more Valor points than designed for the time they spent in PvP.

The amount of Valor granted from these activities was significantly more than intended and we are now carefully investigating players who were on Ilum during this period, and present at some of these 'camping' events. I can reassure you that those who were involved and who gained an unfair advantage over other players inappropriately will be carefully reviewed and action will be taken to restore game balance. This could include Valor adjustments or account actions in accordance with the severity of the issue.

We have made the decision not to enact a mass 'rollback' of Valor points for all players in the game, or even on Ilum. This would unfairly penalize some players who may not have been present during this event. Rest assured though, anyone and everyone who is found to have exploited the situation to an unreasonable degree will be investigated and actions taken as needed. Our in-game metrics are able to give us precise details on where players were, what they were doing and what rewards they gained.

We take any sort of situation where one group of players gains an unexpected or unintended advantage over other players very seriously and will act to ensure that all players can have a fair and fun game experience.

Thanks for your patience while we worked to resolve this issue. Our team worked diligently to get a patch ready to address this and other issues, and we're already seeing the results in improved battles on Ilum. As always we welcome your feedback and will continue to improve moving forward!

Jeff Hickman,
Executive Producer – Live Services

I'm not sure if this will appease those who ran into the troubles on Ilum. And from what I understand (I don't really PvP and haven't been to Ilum yet) things still aren't quite right there. One of the biggest problems seems to be the faction imbalance where there's apparently (and not altogether surprisingly) a lot more Empire players than Republic ones. So BioWare has a lot of work ahead of them to make Ilum the PvP experience that it should be. Still, at least it sounds like they're trying.

After the list a second Community Blog post, this one by Georg Zoeller about the ability delay some people have been suffering from. Also the aforementioned laundry list of other posts.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Coming Up in STAR WARS: The Old Republic

With Game Update 1.1 - Rise of the Rakghouls released, and patched, BioWare is keeping the pressure on regarding the future with a "Coming Up in STAR WARS: The Old Republic" video. here's the official news:

See what the future holds for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ in this brand new video which showcases some of the new game content and game systems that we will release in the coming months. In it, you will be able to take your first look at upcoming game content, including new Warzones and Flashpoints. You will also have the chance to get a sneak peek at the expanded Legacy system that’s coming to the game, UI customization, as well as new Guild features!

The video talks about the Flashpoint and how part two is coming in the future, it talks about a new PvP Warzone and ranking coming, it talks about the Legacy system showing a Miraluka with a red lightsaber (Miraluka Sith?), it talks about the guild bank and user interface customization. Showing examples of all. And they stress again that they listen to the community.

It's all looking quite good, though if "you can play the faction-restricted races on the other side now" is the main selling point for the Legacy system I'm going to be disappointed. I'll take it more as a sneak peak though. In fact I'll take everything like that. After all, it's all still very much in development I'm sure.

After the break I'll post the most recent patch notes, (hopefully) fixing the mess on Ilum and a few other things.

Become a Founding Member!

THere is trouble on Ilum. Due to a bug Empire players (who seem to greatly outnumber Republic players on just about every server) are massively spawn-camping the Republic spawn points. Today BioWare will issue an emergency patch to fix the issue and soon these troubles too will be behind us. In the meantime we've (well, those of us high enough level to be on Ilum) have an interesting experience to relate. Years from now you can relate to your character's grandchildren "I was there when...".

And to prove it you'll be able to whip out this fancy new "Founder" title that BioWare is introducing:

We would like to thank each and every one of you for helping to make Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ one of the most successful MMO launches of all time. To show our appreciation, from now through March 19th, 2012, 12:01AM EST, we are rewarding early members of The Old Republic community with a unique Founder’s medal* and title.

So how do you earn the “Founder” title? This reward is only available to players who have completed either one of the following transactions (by March 19th, 2012, 12:01AM EST; Pacific: March 18th, 9:01PM PST; European: 4:01AM GMT, 5:01AM CET):

  • Billed at least once for an active Star Wars: The Old Republic subscription


  • Redeemed a Star Wars: The Old Republic Pre-Paid Game Time Code

Once you become eligible for the title and have surpassed your 30 days of game time included with your official Game Product Registration Code, you will be notified by email. The Founder’s medal will be delivered to all your characters through in-game mail. From the in-game mail, simply right-clicking on the medal to unlock the “Founder” title to your character. This title is permanently bound to your account and will carry over to any character you make in the future. (NOTE: It may take up to 7 days for the “Founder” title to be applied).

TIP: You can choose to show the Founder’s title or any other title you’ve earned in-game by opening your character sheet and selecting a title from the character name drop down. Once applied, the title will show next to your character name on your nameplate.

If you haven’t picked up the game yet or need to purchase a Pre-Paid Game Time Code, be sure to purchase one now! To redeem your Game Time Code, visit the Code Redemption Center. Finally, to sign up for a recurring subscription, log in to www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com and visit “My Accounts > Subscription.” Star Wars: The Old Republic has three recurring subscription plans:

  • 1 Month Subscription (automatically billed every 30 days): $14.99 per month (£8.99/€12.99)
  • 3 Month Subscription (automatically billed every 90 days): $13.99 per month (one-time charge of $41.97/£25.17/€35.97)
  • 6 Month Subscription (automatically billed every 180 days): $12.99 per month (one-time charge of $77.94/£46.14/€65.94)

For more information about how to unlock the exclusive Founder’s Medal and title, visit the Rewards page.


I don't think that I'll be permanently sporting the title. "Founder Tricia" just doesn't sound right and I don't think that it'll really fit any of the other characters I'll be playing in the future. But even so I think that it's a nice gesture from BioWare as a "thank you" for being here from the start.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Design Notes - Game Update 1.1

Game Update 1.1 - Rise of the Rakghouls has gone live and the servers are up. And on BioWare's Community Blog Game Director James Ohlen made a design notes post. Here is the text:

Today we are releasing our first major Game Update, Rise of the Rakghouls. Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ has had a very successful launch, but we know our work has only begun. We want you, our fans, to know that we’ll continue expanding and exploring the galaxy, ensuring it’s a place where new adventures are constantly unfolding.

Both high and low level players will discover new content and game systems waiting for them in this Game Update. Our goal is to provide something exciting for every type of player in the game: PVP players, Flashpoint fans, Guild members, space combat aces and role-players.

This first Game Update will show everyone how serious we are about expanding Star Wars: The Old Republic, and there’s much more to come. We have another major update planned for March and future content arriving throughout 2012 and 2013. We plan to release new Operations, Flashpoints, Warzones, Space Missions, single player content, vehicles, and companion characters. We’ll always be improving our existing game with additions like guild banks, PVP ranked matches and interface customization. Our Legacy system expands in March, bringing more options and a new level of depth to the existing character classes.

Our Game Updates will also include bug fixes, balance changes, performance improvements and exploit-proofing based on your feedback. We review reports from the community every day and compare them to gameplay metrics, QA bugs and our own experiences in the live game—where we’re playing right alongside you. Although we already address critical issues during our weekly updates, the major Game Updates will implement some of the most sweeping changes and fixes.

Expect a few surprises between these Game Updates, too. You never know when the Republic might strike Dromund Kaas, if a mysterious alien fleet could appear in the Core Worlds… or when the Rakghoul plague of Taris might infect the rest of the Galaxy. Changes are coming, and they’ll affect everyone.

We fully intend to support Star Wars: The Old Republic—and our players—for many years to come.

James Ohlen
Game Director

See, now you've got me curious as to what surprises between Game Updates they're going to have. Of course if I knew it wouldn't be a surprise anymore. Though considering the first update wouldn't it be appropriate to swarm the galaxy with Rakghoul?

I posted the full patch notes for update in my previous post.

Game Update 1.1 - Rise of the Rakghouls

As I write this I think that the servers are still down (not that I can play anyway), but BioWare did post the patch notes for the update. Here is the opening description:

Game Update 1.1
Rise of the Rakghouls

A mysterious outbreak of rakghouls threatens the worlds of the Tion Hegemony, a strategically important sector of the galaxy that has remained neutral to both Republic and Imperial advances. Now Republic and Imperial forces race to the besieged world of Kaon to eliminate the threat, desperate to secure the allegiance of the Tion Hegemony for themselves…

Welcome to Game Update 1.1 of Star Wars™: The Old Republic – Rise of the Rakghouls. In this episode your high-level characters will be introduced to the Tion Hegemony, journeying to the world of Kaon for the first time in Flashpoint: Kaon Under Siege. You can also expect to see new and dangerous foes inhabiting Operation: Karagga's Palace, challenging you further in various difficulty modes.

Beyond these major content additions, changes have been made throughout the game, including a number of changes to Open World PvP on the planet of Ilum. Read on for the full patch notes, and we look forward to hearing your feedback about the new content on the Forums.

Read on after the break for the full patch notes.

Monday, 16 January 2012

‘Kaon Under Siege’ Flashpoint

I should have known that BioWare would have an official announcement for the Rise of the Rakghouls content update. As such everything in that announcement, as well as the video for the "Kaon Under Siege" Flashpoint I already posted in my previous post. But ah well; here's the news for the Flashpoint anyway:

The Tion Hegemony is in utter chaos. A mysterious outbreak of the Rakghoul plague has spread across several worlds, killing countless civilians while mutating others into Rakghouls themselves. On the planet of Kaon a small group of survivors fight against the endless waves of Rakghoul monstrosities. Now both the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire have set plans in motion to rescue the survivors of Kaon, locate the source of the virus, and forge an alliance with the Tion Hegemony.

We are excited to give you this preview of ‘Kaon Under Siege,’ the new Flashpoint coming January 17 as part of the next major Game Update for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™!

Nothing new there, but at least now I can give this post the video label.

After the break the full Rise of the Rakghoul announcement, five screenshots from the Flashpoint exclusive to fansites and the developer quotes from last week.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Rise of the Rakghouls Coming

Tuesday the 17th The Old Republic is going to get its first content update and it's called Rise of the Rakghouls. And here I am, currently playing on Taris already neck-deep in rakghouls and all I can think is "they're going to rise even further? Do they want me to drown in the damn things?". But no, it's referring to the a new story-driven Flashpoint we'll be seeing. Here's the trailer for it from YouTube:

Could be interesting, though it's hard to tell from that trailer. It's not going to be the only addition though. No, as Shacknews reports there are in fact two big content additions:

Flashpoint: Kaon Under Siege is a completely new and unique group combat experience located on Kaon, a planet in the Tion Hegemony, a strategically important sector of the galaxy that has remained neutral, Groups of up to four Republic or Imperial players must race to Kaon to eliminate the Rakghouls outbreak, securing the allegiance of the Tion Hegemony for their respective sides. This Flashpoint will be available for level 50 characters only and will feature Normal and Heroic modes.

Operation: Karagga’s Palace is a continuation of the game’s second launch Operation. In the Operation, teams of 8 or 16 players will face off against Karagga and the Hutt Cartel after the Hutts abandon their famous neutrality and breach agreements with both the Republic and Empire. Concerned by the threat of another combatant in the war for galactic control, both factions send teams of their most powerful heroes to confront Karagga and determine his intentions. This Operation will feature Normal, Heroic and Nightmare difficulty modes.

Those are the big additions, but there are more changes coming in the patch. MMORPG reports on DR. Greg Zeschuk's words:

“A month ago when we launched the Early Game Access program for Star Wars: The Old Republic, we promised our fans that this would just be the beginning of our journey together,” said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, General Manager of the BioWare Label’s MMO Business Unit and Co-Founder of BioWare. “Rise of the Rakghouls adds a lot of the things our community has been asking for – additional higher level group content, features like anti-aliasing, PvP bracketing and more. In the future, game updates will be even more substantial, as we promise to continue to not only add to The Old Republic, but to also improve and refine the experience with the full Legacy System and new Guild features.”

That full Legacy System and new Guild features (such as the guild bank) refer to the second content update that's currently slated for March. Read on after the break for various interviews with the developers (particularly James Ohlen) about Rise of the Rakghouls, the second update and beyond.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Labels Changed

I try to tag all the posts I make on this site as appropriately as I can with labels. Hopefully that'll help make things easier to find. But at the same time I don't want too many labels either and instead have a relatively short list.

When I started the blog new labels pretty much came whenever I posted something that didn't fit in the existing labels. I tried to use labels I thought were going to be used a fair bit, but that didn't always happen. Additionally the blog was very much focused on pre-release, trying to find out what kind of game The Old Republic was going to be. With the game now being released that's all far less interesting (as we know what kind of game it is).

With a bunch of labels with very few posts and a bunch of labels that weren't as relevant anymore I decided it was time to try and do a little label cleanup (also because I finally found out how to change and remove labels with Blogger).

Read on after the break to see what changes I made and why and for a list of all current labels and what I mean by them.

Holiday Patch Notes

Early Game Access began on the 13th of December and the game officially launched on the 20th of December 2011, but BioWare hasn't been sitting still since then. Throughout the Holiday period (and continuing still) BioWare has regularly published patches to the game, fixing a variety of bugs. The patest patch was today, so I thought that it might be nice to publish those patch notes. And then, for completion's sake, post every other patch notes before that as well (after the break). It is my intention to start regularly reporting the patch notes as BioWare publishes them.

At all times you can find all the patch notes (with the latest ones showing by default, but the others selectable to the right) on the official patch notes page.

1.0.2d Patch Notes 1/12/2012


  • Fixed an exploit that allowed the removal of Armoring item modifications that were not intended to be available for removal on Artifact quality items.

Flashpoints and Operations


      Bug Fixes
      • Fixed an issue that sometimes prevented players from resetting their active Flashpoint.


      Eternity Vault
      • Using "Reset All Active Operations" no longer causes Soa and the Ancient Pylons to respawn even if the player is currently locked out of these encounters.

Unofficial Holiday Updates

"Unofficial" is perhaps not the right word, more "Coming From Sources Other Than The Official Website". But that makes for a bit long title so I went with what I did, making it the next in my series of "playing catch-up with the Holidays" series.

Though I'll start with something that can be considered an official update as it was posted on The Old Republic's official YouTube channel. The following video shows a flash freeze mob in New York's Times Square held to celebrate the launch of the game:

That was quite amazing. Would've been something to just be there, going about your last-minute Christmas shopping, and then have all that happening. Though when I started watching I didn't know that it was a freeze mob and kind of expected to see some choreographed combat. This was still amazing though.

After the break I'll look at a bunch of other things posted over the Holiday weeks.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Official Holiday Updates

For my second post in getting caught up with the news from over the holiday season (the first one listing the reviews that have been posted) I'm listing the official updates from the last couple of weeks.

It seems that BioWare pretty much stopped with the Friday updates (which is fine by me... made sense pre-release but not so much anymore now). But instead they started a blog with various developer posts and news about the game. Let me list the official updates I caught over the last few weeks, both from the official blog and their news feed:

  • [link] to launch press release.
  • [link] to welcome to SWTOR message.
  • [link] to thank you for playing article.
  • [link] to what's next article.
  • [link] to a sneak peek.
  • [link] to momentum surges article.
  • [link] to a word on bugs.
  • [link] to PvP Update.

I'm not going to quote all of them. Things like the press release and the welcome message and such I'll leave for you to read at the links above if you're interested. But, after the break, I will quote four of them which talk about the future. Additionally I've also included the developer quotes from the last few weeks (at least as far as I could get them).

Monday, 9 January 2012


The Old Republic has launched and has been live for a number of weeks now, nearing a month if you count Early Game Access. And in that time a lot of gaming sites have played the game and written extensive reviews about it.

Here is a list of the ones I've seen (some found on my own, others picked up from Metacritic), including the score that they gave the game (if there are multiple links for a site I only list the score they gave once):

  • [link] to first impressions at MMORPG.
  • [link] to review at Ten Ton Hammer. (88/100)
  • [link] to review at PC Gamer. (93/100)
  • [link] to review at Eurogamer. (8/10)
  • [link] to review at GameSpy. (4/5)
  • [link] to impressions at Shacknews.
  • [link] to review at MMORPG. (8.7/10)
  • [link] to review at GameSpot. (8.0/10)
  • [link] to video review at GameSpot.
  • [link] to review at IGN. (9.0/10)
  • [link] to video review at IGN.
  • [link] to review journal at IGN.
  • [link] to review at G4TV. (5/5)
  • [link] to review at Ausgamers. (9.5/10)
  • [link] to review at DarkZero. (9/10)
  • [link] to review at The A.V. Club. (B-)
  • [link] to review at Digital Spy. (4/5)
  • [link] to review at IncGamers. (8/10)
  • [link] to review at Cheat Code Central. (4.5/5)
  • [link] to review at VentureBeat. (89/100)
  • [link] to review at The Guardian. (4/5)

Read on after the break as I briefly pull out a couple of reviews.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

Happy New Year!

I nicked the above image from the Internet somewhere, but I thought that it was appropriate enough. Not only is it the new year, but The Old Republic has been officially released for (almost) two weeks now. This makes 2012 pretty much the year in which we get to officially play BioWare's massive Star Wars MMO. The start of a new saga.

Since I've been away pretty much exactly since launch I haven't kept a close eye on the news. But I have been scanning headlines (and storing news messages to read when I get back) and from what I can tell everything seems to be going quite well for the game. The launch seems to have gone incredibly smoothly with the worst thing being some queues, and everywhere people seems to be much enjoying the game (again, based mainly on scanning headlines). In general I've got the feeling that The Old Republic is set to do quite well in 2012.

For now though, enjoy the New Year's celebrations. Enjoy the fireworks if you are somewhere that people light them (they don't seem to do so where I am in France). Enjoy your time with your family and enjoy the champagne, but remember to drink responsibly. And let's all work to make 2012 the best year yet.