Wednesday, 29 February 2012

TOR Launches in Asia Pacific Territories

The time has come for those living in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore as The Old Republic is now launching in their territories. Here is a segment from the official news:

Gamers in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore can now join the fastest-growing MMORPG of all time, as Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ has officially launched in those countries! Fans will be able to take part in their very own Star Wars™ saga on regional servers.

Players can choose between two version of Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Standard Edition, which retails for $79.99 AUD / $89.99 NZD / $389.00 HKD / $64.90 SGD, and the Digital Deluxe Edition, an exclusive to that comes with a number of exclusive in-game items, which retails for $89.99 AUD / $99.99 NZD / $465.00 HKD / $76.90 SGD. Each version of the game will come with 30 days of game time, and after those 30 days players will be able to continue playing the game by either paying a monthly subscription or by purchasing a 60-Day Pre-Paid Game Time Card for $32.99 AUS / $42.99 NZD / $249.00 HKD / $39.90 SGD. Visit to pick up your copy now*!

Good luck to BioWare with the launch and have fun to all the players.

After the break a post by Stephen Reid about launch dates and server names.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Community Q&A: Feb 24th 2012

Last Friday BioWare posted another Community Q&A, answering eleven questions. Here's one such question and answer:

Zennis: Has there been any discussion to streamlining the Space Port process? Perhaps allowing speeders in the Space Ports besides the Fleet?

Brian Audette (Senior Designer): We've absolutely heard what the fans are saying and have been exploring options to address these issues. While we are still investigating allowing speeder use in Space Ports, we've also been looking for other ways to get people from point A to point B with greater haste. One such feature will specifically affect planets that have Orbital Stations instead of Space Ports such as: Tython, Korriban, Hoth, and Belsavis. We'll be adding an option for players to go directly to their ships from the surface shuttles as opposed to having them run through the Orbital Station to their airlocks. This feature and some additional tweaks will start showing up in Game Update 1.2.

I'm noticing a bit of a recurring theme in these... "will be available in Game Update 1.2". At least over a third of the question pretty much boil down to that answer. And last week was similar. Sounds like 1.2 will truly be a massive update.

See all the questions and answers on the official homepage.

After the break a couple of links and the developer quotes.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A Look At The Old Republic

Last Monday I mentioned that BioWare had silently released two videos of players talking about the game. Now it seems that they have released another one, and actually had an announcement for it. Though it seems that this one is more a combination of the other two with some developer input as well, talking about how well the game is doing. Here is the official news:

No MMO launch is ever perfect, but we are pleased to report that the launch of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ on December 20, 2011 was a tremendous success. More than two million copies of the game have been sold, and the servers are full of players logging in to experience their own personal Star Wars™ sagas and to play with friends through the hundreds of hours of massively-multiplayer content. It’s an exhilarating experience to watch the game grow as more people join, and even more exciting to hear what players are saying they enjoy most about the game.

Watch this new video to catch up on how the game’s doing and to hear from the players themselves on what makes the game such an incredible experience.

BioWare also posted their Dev Tracker Summary for the last week, but I think I pretty much already handled that Monday.

1.1.4 Patch Notes

BioWare has patched the game again (yes, on Wednesday instead of on Tuesday as they have before) bringing the game up to version 1.1.4. Though it includes a number of nice bugfixes I think that the main addition is probably the inclusion of the new cooldown appearance settings, allowing players to change how the cooldowns appear (getting rid of the flashing if desired and such).

Here are the full patch notes:

1.1.4 Patch Notes — 2/22/2012


    • The key formerly bound to /bug can now be mapped to any action and no longer opens the /bug window. The command is no longer able to be bound to a quickslot, but player can still type /bug in chat to open a new bug report.

Classes and Combat


    • Using abilities with indirect targeting (such as area of effect abilities) will no longer cause players to be flagged for PvP if a PvP-flagged player from the opposing faction is within the ability's range, and the ability will have no effect on the PvP-flagged player.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Community Q&A: Feb 17th 2012

Last Friday BioWare posted another Community Q&A. Here's one of the twelve questions that they answered:

HollowPoint: There has been a large push in the community for chat bubbles, especially with a toggle option for those who don't want them. Is a chat bubble system in the works? If so, when can we expect it to be implemented?

Damion Schubert: They're definitely on the list. We’ve got many active roleplayers in the dev team and chat bubbles have always been important to us. We actually had chat bubbles in beta, but there was unfortunately some serious performance issues that our implementation caused that, for example, made things really suck in warzones and the fleet. They’ll be coming soon, but in priority, the GUI team is focused first on GUI customization. I'll have a better idea of timing once we get past that. And yes, for people who hate them, whenever we do them, they'll be toggleable.

Though I understand that they've got a lot on their plate and UI customization is going to be enjoyed by more people, it's still somewhat disappointing that chat bubbles are taking so long for them to implement. Then again I've never really used them in other games either unless they were implemented really, really well.

For this one and the other eleven questions see the original post.

BioWare also, somewhat quietly (at least I nearly missed them), released a number of new videos last Friday. Those, the developer quotes, and a few other things after the break.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Old Republic Asia Pacific Launch

I'm back from dealing with a family matter. Next to the weekly maintenance and patch not a lot happened while I was gone, except that BioWare announced their Asia Pacific launch. Here's an excerpt:

BioWare and LucasArts are excited to announce that Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ will officially launch in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore on March 1st, 2012! Fans in these regions who purchase the game will be able to experience their very own Star Wars™ saga on regional servers. Players who have already begun their journey will also have a limited-time opportunity to migrate their characters from their current servers to Asia Pacific servers after the launch on March 1st, giving them the chance to take advantage of the decreased network latency by playing on a regional server. All players who qualify for a character transfer will be notified in early March with more details.

In the press release announcing the Asia Pacific launch date, General Manager of the BioWare Label’s MMO Business Unit and Co-Founder of BioWare Dr. Greg Zeschuk expressed appreciation for the patience of fans in the region:

Our biggest priority for The Old Republic has always been to deliver a high quality product and high quality service and we are pleased with our results in North America and Europe. We appreciate that our fans in these countries have been patient and we are excited to deliver this same great customer experience to players this March.

So that's March 1st for those in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia. The news goes into more detail regarding prices, subscription fees (in US Dollars for some reason), and pre-orders (for those in Australia and New Zealand). And there's a full press release for the announcement as well.

Read on after the break for some more news from BioWare, including a bit about the Guild Summit, the Dev Tracker Summary and a reminder to become a Founder.

1.1.3 Patch Notes

Here are the 1.1.3 patch notes from last Tuesday. And after the main patch notes I'll also include the 1.1.2a patch notes and the 1.1.3a patch notes.

1.1.3 Patch Notes — 2/14/2012

Classes and Combat


    • Surge rating has been re-balanced. It now reaches diminishing returns the same way as other damage ratings, and its per point damage contribution has been reduced by approximately 10%.

    Bounty Hunter


        • Stabilizers: Correctly adds pushback resistance to Unload.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Global Cooldown & Community Q&A

Last week BioWare posted two articles, one taking a look at the upcoming changes to the cooldown UI and the other answering a number of questions from the community. Here is an excerpt from the first article:

Our UI team took this feedback to heart and worked up a solution which gives every player a lot more choices in how cooldown animations are displayed. If you're happy with the way the game currently looks, you can ignore these changes - but we think some of these preferences will be welcomed by many players.

Currently, these new preferences are scheduled to be added to the game in patch 1.1.4, which should be available for preview on the Public Test Server next week and deploying to the live servers soon afterwards.

Here's a screenshot of the new portion of the User Interface section of the Preferences menu which deals with cooldown settings, and some details on the options available to you.

I've had little trouble with the changes to the cooldown UI, but I know that a lot of people where unhappy with them. So for a lot of people these shoudl be welcome changes. And heck, I quite like the idea of adding a countdown text to the cooldowns so that I don't have to hover over skills with longer cooldowns to see how much longer I have to wait. Read the full description in BioWare's blog post.

Read on after the break for the Community Q&A, a few other bits and the developer quotes.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


As of yesterday evening I got my (first) character to level 50!

That makes Star Wars: The Old Republic the second MMO (not counting Guild Wars) in which I've reached maximum level (the first one being Age of Conan).

Here are some other facts about the number 50 (and the year 50) that you might not know:

  • 50 (fifty) is the natural number following 49 and preceding 51.
  • 50 is the smallest number that is the sum of two non-zero square numbers in two distinct ways: 50 = 12 + 72 = 52 + 52. It is also the sum of three squares, 50 = 32 + 42 + 52. It is a Harshad number.
  • There is no solution to the equation φ(x) = 50, making 50 a nontotient. Nor is there a solution to the equation x - φ(x) = 50, making 50 a noncototient.
  • The aliquot sum of 50 is 43 and its aliquot sequence is (50,43,1,0). Fifty is itself the aliquot sum of 40 and 94.
  • 50 is the atomic number of tin.
  • 50 is the fifth magic number in nuclear physics.
  • In Kabbalah, there are 50 Gates of Wisdom (or Understanding) and 50 Gates of Impurity.
  • 50 is the traditional number of years in a jubilee period.
  • There are 50 states in the United States of America. The TV show Hawaii Five-O is so called because Hawaii is the 50th state.
  • 50 years of marriage is the gold or "golden" wedding anniversary.
  • Year 50 started on a Thursday (same day of the week as this post).
  • Year 50 was known as the Year of the Consulship of Vetus and Nerullinus (before Anno Domini became in use in the early medieval period).
  • In year 50 Cologne was raised to the status of a city.
  • In year 50 Romans learned to wash themselves with soap.
  • In year 50 the Dutch city of Utrecht, where I got my university diploma (a bit later), was founded.
  • In year 50 the Romans built the (first) London Bridge across the Thames out of wood.
  • In year 50 the African Great Lakes were discovered by the Greek explorer Diogenes.
  • In year 50 Cai Lun, Chinese inventor of paper and the papermaking process, was born.
  • The Asterix comics are all set in the year 50 BC.

So you can see that the number 50 is quite a distinguished one and I am proud to add my characters level to that accomplished list.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

1.1.2 Patch Notes

Before posting today's patch notes a quick note. Since starting to post the patch notes I've been trying to come up with a comfortable way of posting them without causing a massive wall of text on the main page. Last week I tried putting previous patch notes first (before the massive list of the latest notes after the break), but that felt unsatisfactory. There won't always be emergency patches between main patches and it gave the impression of the main patch notes being missing on the blog's main page.

So this week instead I'll try something different: start with the main patch notes and put the break after one of the starting sections without further comment (leaving it just a "Read more" on the main page). Any additional patches will be posted after the main patch notes.

So with that out of the way, here are the 1.1.2 patch notes:

1.1.2 Patch Notes — 2/7/2012

Classes and Combat

    Combat Ability Responsiveness

    • Further improved response time for ability activation requests, especially in low-framerate situations.
    • The activation bar now appears at the correct time (when the activation of an ability begins) and disappears when activation is complete.
    • Instant combat abilities no longer occasionally start their combat animations twice, resulting in jerky behavior on the executing player's client.
    • The display of the floating text from instant healing abilities is no longer delayed by the animation on the client and now properly reflects the time the effect happens on the server.
    • Abilities on cooldown are now more easily distinguished from abilities that can be used.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Learn the Basics of The Old Republic

BioWare has started a new series of videos aimed to help out starting players. The first of these videos they named "Begin Your Journey" and talks about server selection and character creation. Here is the official news:

We are excited to announce that we have just published the first of what will be a series of tutorial videos designed to help new players learn the basics of em>Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. With each Quick Start Guide, new players will be guided through different aspects of the game.

The first video in this series, titled “Begin Your Journey,” takes you through the process of jumping into the game for the first time. In this video, Social Media Coordinator Eric Musco helps new players through the process of picking a server type, creating their first character and guiding players through their character class’s opening conversation.

You can watch this video right now by visiting the Quick Start Videos section of the New Player Guide. Over the next several weeks we’ll be releasing additional guides which will include topics such as navigation, user interface, and grouping with other players. We hope these videos will ease new players into the game while teaching more experienced players a thing or two that they might not have known.

Since this video is aimed at new players there obviously isn't anything of interest in it to those who are already quite familiar with TOR or with playing MMOs in general. But even besides that I can't help but feel a bit that if your game needs tutorial videos like this then there's a problem with the game to begin with. Shouldn't this explanation be in the game itself? The video itself is nice enough though.

Anyway, BioWare also announced two new weekly blogs. Read on after the break for the news, as well as a few more links and the developer quotes.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

BioWare Announces Guild Summit

BioWare just announced The Old Republic Guild Summit:

Today, we are pleased to announce the first ever Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Guild Summit, being hosted in Austin, TX in March. Over the course of a few days, guild leaders from around the world will gather together to discuss the state of the game with the developers from BioWare Austin. Guild leaders (or a designated officer in the event of a guild leader being unable to attend) will participate in Q&A sessions with developers, roundtable feedback discussions, and will get a preview of some upcoming game features.

The goal of the summit is to facilitate an open discussion between guild leaders and the game design team. This event will provide an opportunity for attendees to voice their feedback directly to the teams responsible for the design of Star Wars: The Old Republic, hear the team’s thoughts and reasons behind design decisions, and discuss the current direction of the game.

The Guild Summit will be hosted from March 4th – 6th, 2012 at the DoubleTree Hotel Austin. Due to space limitations, the event will be invite-only. We've already invited guilds of various backgrounds and sizes to the Summit, from Endgame to Role-playing to PvP guilds, but we've got some space left for additional guild leaders who wish to attend. We ask that interested leaders submit an application, which can be found at this link.* Guild leaders will be evaluated based on the information provided in their application.

While we welcome applications from guild leaders from anywhere in the world, please be advised that the Summit will be conducted entirely in English. Applications will be accepted until 11:59PM CST (GMT -6) on February 10th. If you have any questions regarding the event, send us an email at!

*Must be 21 or older to attend. Guild leaders selected to attend are responsible for all of their travel, food, and lodging expenses.

Sounds good to me. Though I can't help but wonder at their guild selection process. Considering how big TOR is and how many guilds it has they can't possibly invite all of them (obviously) and I'm sure that there are going to be a number of very disappointed guilds. I also fear that this might lead to some elitism as some guilds might consider themselves special for having been invited. But it all depends. In general it's just quite good to see BioWare reaching out to its community like this and trying to get feedback to help improve the game for all of us.

Busting Bugs and Fixing Exploits

BioWare posted another developer blog titled "Busting Bugs and Fixing Exploits". In it Rich Vogel talks about BioWare's process for fixing bugs and exploits. Here's an excerpt from the full blog post:

Let me start by explaining how we go about determining when to fix an issue in the live game, whether it is a bug or an exploit. Let’s begin with exploits – those cases when we determine that a bug in the code can give an unfair advantage to a player. (Remember, not all bugs are exploits!)

If an exploit is discovered that threatens players’ experience in the game or the in-game economy, we will usually try to create an Emergency Patch to fix that exploit. Before we declare something an emergency though, we have to validate the issue with our internal Quality Assurance, or QA team. They gather data working with our Customer Service, analytics, and development teams to determine the extent of the exploit and the steps needed to reproduce it. Once we have the steps, we work on a plan to fix the issue. Depending how long the issue will take to fix and how risky it is, we will decide if we need to temporarily disable the cause of the exploit in the game.

To those more familiar with the process of developing a game most of it probably won't come as a surprise. But even so it's good to be reminded that fixing bugs can be a complicated process. Just because you run into a bug that seems like a simple thing to fix doesn't mean that it'll get fixed immediately. And just because it might take a while to get fixed doesn't mean that they're ignoring the bug. Games are very complicated things, MMOs more so than most (particularly an MMO that's live as you want to avoid introducing new bugs even more than you otherwise would).

They are most definitely fixing bugs though, as anyone keeping an eye on the continuous stream of patch notes can attest.

After the break a number of links from across the web and the developer quotes.

1.1.1 Patch Notes

Here are the latest patch notes, both the 1.1.0c patch notes from last weekend (which I hadn't posted yet) and the 1.1.1 patch notes from yesterday.

1.1.0c Patch Notes - 1/28/2012


    • Improved service to reduce the number of player disconnections to the character selection screen.

Read on after the break for the 1.1.1 patch notes.