Monday, 30 April 2012

Community Q&A: April 27th, 2012

Last Friday BioWare posted another Community Q&A. Here are two of the questions and answers:

Arymono: When will character transfers be available for everybody?

Dallas Dickinson (Senior Producer, Live Services): We will be rolling out our Character Transfer Service in early summer. First we’ll have some targeted free transfers from/to specific servers, but that will be followed with a broader system where you can either take advantage of free promotional transfers to specific servers or paid transfers to the server of your choice. We know everyone has more questions about character transfer, and we’ll reveal more details closer to the launch date.

DrakeAssaShin: What is being done to address low population servers?

Dallas: The Character Transfer Service, as mentioned above, will be offering free transfers from/to specific servers. This should allow the most motivated players to get onto a higher population server.

I kind of wonder how that's going to work. If the free transfers are from unpopulated servers to populated servers then isn't that just going to make things worse for the unpopulated servers? And the other way around I can't see a lot of people taking them up on the offer. The only thing of use that I can see is offering people free transfers if their server is going to be merged into another server or such. But I'm sure BioWare knows what they're doing better than I do.

The Q&A also has some tantalizing hints of things to come in the future.

After the base The Old Republic expands, its player base shrinks (a little) and the developers keep chattering away on the official forums.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

1.2.1 Patch Notes

Here are yesterday's patch notes:

1.2.1 Patch Notes


Classes and Combat

    Jedi Knight

      • Zen (with Ataru Form) now correctly reduces the global cooldown of Cyclone Slash.


      • Charged Burst's damage has been increased by approximately 5%.
      • Damage for Aimed Shot, Speed Shot, and Quickdraw has been increased by approximately 5%.
      • Sharpshooter
        • Trickshot's damage has been increased by approximately 5%.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Community Q&A: April 20th 2012

The Rakghoul plague is pretty much over. I thought that it was a great event, a lot of fun (even if I ended up not having that much time for it... at least I got myself one of the red mini ghouls). Now it's back to business as usual in The Old Republic, and that includes another Community Q&A posted by BioWare last Friday. Here's an excerpt from the full Community Q&A:

Irouven: What is the idea behind the selection at the equipment vendor for planetary commendations? Sometimes you get boots, sometimes chest-armor, never a potential "full" outfit.

Damion: We don't want you to get all of the pieces of an armor set from any one source of gear.  We want you to do multiple activities in the game to build out a full set of gear.  This is a conscious decision on our part to encourage and reward playing multiple facets of the game.  So you should do other things -- heroics, check the GTN, etc -- the full set of gear is out there.

I'm not entirely sure I like that. I think I'd prefer to get a full, different, set per gameplay activity. But I can understand why they did it like this. In the end I don't really care that much about gear, as look as my character looks nice.

After the break some more news, a few articles from across the web, and the developer quotes.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Old Republic Website Updated

Yesterday BioWare had a long maintenance period during which the official website was down. The reason? To relaunch the website with a new look. Here is the official news:

We are excited to unveil the brand new Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ website! We’ve completely rebuilt the website from the ground-up, with the intention of providing you with the latest game updates in an easy to navigate way. In addition to all of the latest news and information that is released, we’re also going to give you much more information about in-game content. Right now, you can check out our updated Flashpoints page on the Holonet, which includes information for each of the seventeen Flashpoints currently in the game.

In addition to information on every Flashpoint, we’ll also be adding much more to the new and improved Holonet. In the coming weeks this will include brand new biography pages for each and every one of your Companion Characters, as well as new pages dedicated to highlighting the many different Operations and PvP Warzones that you can experience in the game.

But this is only the beginning. We’ll be continuing to update the website with an array of new features and functionality, such as Guild support, Skill Trees, Character Profiles, and so much more!

Continue to check out for the latest news and information about the game, and don’t forget to check out our new and improved Community Blog for the additional news, patch notes, and insight from the development team.

Having looked around a bit I must say that I like it a lot so far. It's nice and clean and not filled with Flash nonsense everywhere. Good job BioWare.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Rakghoul Outbreak on Tatooine!

It seems that BioWare started a live event. This first one takes place on Tatooine and involves an outpreak of the rakghoul plague. It seems new objects have appeared on the two (Republic and Imperial) Fleets as well as on Tatooine; interacting with these gives you a brief ingame cutscene like this one (thanks to Darth Hater):

See the other three videos further down (after the break). There are more, user-gathered, details on the event on the official forums. Apparently participating in the event nets players rakghoul DNA which they can trade in for goodies.

From a roleplaying perspective I'm somewhat in a quandary... both of my characters (Sniper and Sage) would probably listen to the news broadcast and stay away from Tatooine. But that would mean that I'd miss out on the event. So I might just go "out of character" and have a look (tonight) anyway.

Next to the other three videos after the break there's also a few links and a few developer quotes.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Welcome to Game Update 1.2 - Legacy

Yesterday BioWare release the much anticipated Game Update 1.2. And with it they added a bunch of updates to the site, including some surprises. To begin with Game Director James Ohlen put a welcome message up on the Community Blog:

Today we released our second major Game Update, Legacy. The scope of this update is much larger than our first update and is probably one of the largest free updates ever released for a MMORPG. We’ve talked a lot about how we are going to support our fans throughout 2012 with major updates to the game. We hope the Legacy update proves to you how serious we are about this. 

This Game Update has something for everyone. A new Operation, Flashpoint and Warzone. New solo content on Corellia. The unveiling of our Legacy system. Interface customization, Guild banks, Galactic Trade improvements, etc. If you want an idea of just how big this update is, check out the patch notes. Over 18,000 words long!

The most important element of this update is the Legacy system. Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ has more unique story content than any other entertainment product in history. The Legacy system allows you to experience that story content in a different way. We will be continuing to support the Legacy system throughout the year, with major additions coming in our future updates. Including one that will make fans of the original Knights of the Old Republic very happy.

Our future updates are largely based off of feedback from you, our fans. We hear you when you ask for easier ways to group, a way to transfer characters to other servers and that you want more ways to engage in PVP. These things are coming - many of them in our third update.

However, we also want to surprise you with additions to the game that you weren’t expecting. While we managed to cover a lot of the biggest Star Wars fantasies with our initial release, we know we didn’t get them all. If you have a favorite moment from the Star Wars™ movies that you have yet to be able to experience in the game so far, be assured that we know about those as well. One day you will get to live out your Wedge Antilles, General Veers or Sebulba fantasies. 

James Ohlen
Game Director

Be sure to check out everything that’s new in Game Update 1.2 with the News Articles and Community Blog Posts that we’ve published about it so far.

News Articles
Coming in Game Update 1.2
Developer Dispatch: The Legacy System
A Quick Look at UI Customization
Warzone: Novare Coast

Community Blogs
Your Saga Continues: Story in Game Update 1.2
Crew Skills in Game Update 1.2
Your Legacy Begins
PvP in Game Update 1.2
Community Q&A: Friday March 30th, 2012: Game Update 1.2 Special
Community Q&A: Friday April 6th, 2012: Game Update 1.2 Special
Update on Ranked Warzones in Game Update 1.2

They also posted a new video for the new Operation, some disappointing news about ranked Warzones, and some good news for many subscribers. For all that read on after the break.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

1.2 Patch Notes - Legacy

Here are the patch notes for The Old Republic's biggest update yet: Game Update 1.2 - Legacy. I've added a few additional (really minor) old 1.15 patch notes I hadn't reported yet as well. Sit back, this is going to be rather big...

Game Update 1.2 - Legacy


The galaxy is in turmoil. War rages across countless worlds as Republic and Imperial forces struggle for control of critical resources. Amidst the chaos, threats emerge from all sides. The planet Denova, known for its extensive deposits of baradium ore, has been seized by a band of mercenaries and veteran Imperial defectors with mysterious motives. If they are not dislodged, the explosive arsenal they can create will give them the power to destroy any armed force – Republic or Imperial. On Corellia, a corrupt councilor attempts to maximize hypermatter profits by playing both sides of the conflict, and the crazed mastermind behind the Rakghoul outbreak, discovered on Ord Mantell, continues to threaten the lives of all sentient beings in the galaxy…

Game Update 1.2 – Legacy introduces exciting new content and features for all Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ players. Dig deeper into your personal Star Wars saga with the expanded Legacy system! Construct your family tree and unlock new rewards, abilities, and perks for all the characters in your Legacy as you advance your characters.

Visit the Black Hole area on Corellia to complete new level 50 daily missions, experience the finale of the Rakghoul outbreak storyline in the Lost Island Flashpoint, and get ready to challenge the mercenary warlord Kephess and his deadly allies for control of Denova's critical resources in the all-new Operation: Explosive Conflict. You'll also have the chance to face off against your foes or participate in a same-faction training mission in the all-new Novare Coast Warzone, a 3-point domination battle!

Game Update 1.2 brings even more new features to Star Wars: The Old Republic. UI Customization has been added to the game! Detach, move, resize, and arrange UI elements to suit your personal playstyle in the new Interface Editor. Guild Banks are also available – store and share resources with your guild! Additions and changes have been made to Crew Skills, classes, and more - read the full patch notes to discover all the changes!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Warzone: Novare Coast

Last week BioWare posted a video for the new Warzone: Novare Coast. Here is the official news:

We are excited to reveal Novare Coast, our latest Player-vs-Player Warzone featured in the upcoming Game Update 1.2 “Legacy” for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™!

On the war-torn planet of Denova, opposing forces vie for control of Novare Coast, a strategically vital beachhead that leads to the open oceans of Denova. Whoever controls this coastline will have a decisive advantage in taking control of the planet. To secure the beach, sides battle for control of three mortar turrets which can be used to pound the enemy with artillery fire.

See the Warzone for yourself by checking out the latest video.

Since I'm not one for PvP there's really not much for me to say about the video.

After the break the Community Q&A, a number of links and the developer quotes.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Game Update 1.2 Coming Thursday

I've still got some backlog from last week to get through, but wanted to put up a quick post as BioWare announced that their big Game Update 1.2 is getting released this Thursday:

Hello everyone!

We will be bringing down servers for eight hours on April 12th, 2012 from 12:01AM CDT (April 11th, 10:01PM PDT/1:01AM EDT/6:01AM BST/7:01AM CEST/3:01PM AEST) until 8AM CDT (6AM PDT/9AM EDT/2PM BST/3PM CEST/11PM AEST) in order to deploy Game Update 1.2 - Legacy. All game servers will be offline during this period. will be available. This maintenance is expected to take no more than eight hours, but could be extended.

Please note the timing on this maintenance period, which is beginning earlier than usual.

Game Update 1.2 – Legacy introduces new content and features for all Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ players. Earn new rewards and build your family tree with the expanded Legacy System, explore Lost Island, a new Flashpoint, challenge the new Operation: Explosive Conflict, and face off against your foes (or your allies) in Novare Coast, a new Warzone. You can also experience new daily missions on Corellia, customize your User Interface, create a new Guild Bank for your guild, and more! Learn more about Game Update 1.2 here!

After this maintenance is over, restart the game launcher to patch to Game Update 1.2. This patch will be up to approximately 1Gb in size, depending on when you last updated the game.

Scheduled Maintenance

Date: Thursday, April 12th, 2012 (See PDT timing below)

Time: 12:01AM CDT (April 11th, 10:01PM PDT/1:01AM EDT/6:01AM BST/7:01AM CEST/3:01PM AEST) until 8AM CDT (6AM PDT/9AM EDT/2PM BST/3PM CEST/11PM AEST)

All game servers will be offline during this period. will be available. This maintenance is expected to take no more than eight hours.

Thank you for your patience as we maintain service for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.

Last chance to get your white crystals and such.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

A Quick Look at UI Customization

BioWare released a new video titled "A Quick Look at UI Customization", looking at the new UI customization in Game Update 1.2:

Game Update 1.2: Legacy for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ introduces several new systems to the game, including the option for you to customize your User Interface. You’ll be able to alter the placement and size of each UI element to suit your own personal preference.

In this new video, Lead Interface Artist Michael Voigt shows us how it all works.

User Interface customization is just one of the new gameplay systems that will be coming to Star Wars: The Old Republic in Game Update 1.2. You can learn about another of Game Update 1.2’s features by watching our Developer Dispatch on the Legacy System, and you can see a preview all of the new content coming up in this Game Update by checking out the New Features video.

My first thought on seeing it? "Wow, that actually looks really good". I honestly expected it to be limited to just being able to move some key elements around and maybe some scaling. But it's actually quite extensive. Best of all, in my opinion, is the ability to save layout and share them with others. It wouldn't surprise me if someone would set up a repository online for people to share their UI layouts. Though I think I'll stick to making the changes myself (probably just tweaking the current UI a bit here and there).

I'm sure that it's not news to those already playing around with the system on the Test server, but as someone who hasn't seen it in action yet I must say that I'm impressed and looking forward to 1.2 going live so that I can play around with it.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Your Legacy Begins

I'm running a bit late (again) with my updates. Doesn't help that BioWare had a whole bunch of them. We've got two official blog posts, a Q&A, a new podcast (yes) and a lot of developer quotes. So let's get started.

First the important news though; as of last weekend I'm playing TOR again. After getting my Agent to level 50 and finishing the class story (as well as some things in my personal life) I'd pretty much stopped playing TOR for a number of weeks. The intention was to start a new class (a Consular) and play with a friend (playing a Knight), but that didn't materialize so instead of wasting my subscription fee I decided to just play solo. If it happens after all I think I'll just play a (healing) Trooper; getting through those first ten levels should be quick enough.

Two things I've noticed over the last weekend. First, it's incredibly easy getting a group as a healer to the point of people coming to you to ask you to group with them. Though I've played healers in the past it was always with someone so I didn't really look for grouping up with others. Second thing; healing in a group is incredibly easy and somewhat boring. I've got a full skill bar, yet am limited to using just three of them (at level 15) more or less. That was while playing Hammer Station (during which we did wipe once because of a mistake I made). I don't mind it that much though; I kind of like focusing on keeping my group healthy instead of killing enemies. And I'm sure things will pick up at higher level. Overall I'm enjoying my Consular so far; quite enjoying the somewhat slower, more mystical pace of the story.

Anyway, enough about me; on to the official news.

First is a blog post by Senior Game Designer William Wallace called "Your Legacy Begins". Here's an excerpt:

You may have already started your Legacy by picking a Legacy Name. This happens when you finish Chapter 1 with your first character. From this point, all of your characters on that server are now considered part of your Legacy, regardless of faction. This means that any existing characters which have not been played past Chapter 1 will gain a Legacy Name, and any newly created characters will also have their Legacy Name available from character creation.

From Game Update 1.2: Legacy, unlocking your Legacy grants you access to a newly expanded Legacy Panel (accessed, by default, by pressing the ‘Y’ key) where you can modify your family tree, and see what Legacy Rewards you have unlocked.

I'm probably sounding a bit like a broken record on this by now, but I still wonder what the point of the family tree is. It doesn't really do anything for roleplayers as it doesn't give them anything that they couldn't already do and is more restricting than liberating (I can't help but come up with some complex family trees that this legacy system probably can't represent such as half-siblings, incestuous relationships in the tree, double relationships such as your brother also being your rival, etc, etc; but then I haven't tried it on the test server so maybe it can do all of that and more). It just seems like a lot of effort to implement something for fairly little return. It would help if other people could see your family tree (even if it's 'just' somewhere on the website). The only thing that I can think of is that they did it to re-enforce the notion of this being a 'family legacy' as that really doesn't exist anywhere other than in this family tree despite how hard BioWare is saying that familial bonds are a cornerstone of Star Wars. It doesn't do anything for any of their four pillars.

Beyond the tree the rest of the Legacy system is reasonably nice though. Though I'm not entirely sure about the whole Heroic Moment requirement for class unlocks, considering that I can count the number of times I actually used the heroic moment with my Agent on one hand. Considering the requirements (Heroic Moment, companion character, long cooldown, etc) it all seems a bit too restrictive. Not to mention that the Agent's unlock, Orbital Bombardment as I understand it, has a long cast time; I felt that it was only really useful as an opening move when facing a group of weaker mobs. As such I somehow seriously doubt that my Consular will ever make use of Legacy Orbital Bombardment. But it's the thought that counts.

There's a few surprises in there as well. I didn't know about the extra customization options for some species, let alone that those would be unlocked too. I didn't know of the alignment milestones (though it doesn't affect grey alignment just yet; see below). I didn't know of the companion unlocks, class emotes or class buffs. And I didn't know of the Rocket Boost. So overall a nice system.

Read on after the break for the PvP blog article, the Community Q&A, the announcement of the new official podcast and the developer quotes.

Live the Ship Droid Experience!

Yesterday was April Fools' Day and most of the Internet went crazy with various kinds of pranks, fake news, silly updates, etc. BioWare too got in on the act by posting an announcement for a new feature in Game Update 1.2: the chance to play the life of your ship's droid. Here's an excerpt:

Jedi Knights, Smugglers, Bounty Hunters and the other class characters may be the heroes in the wider galaxy, but on board the starship, the Ship Droids are the heroes. That’s why, as part of Game Update 1.2, you will soon be able to assume direct control over your Droid’s actions with Ship Droid™, a brand new mini-game coming to The Old Republic!

Features of this mini-game include cleaning the cockpit windows, calibrating the ship’s food processors, and several other exciting maintenance duties:

It's a nice April Fools' joke and got a few chuckles out of me. Though I also think it's a bit of a missed opportunity to make fun of some of the controversy around TOR. Maybe poke a bit of fun at the PvP problems the game has/had, or have a laugh at the same-sex controversy some elements raised. It almost gets there and I quite liked the scene with SCORPIO, but it would've been even better had it been with T7-O1.

Nice, but definitely not the best April Fools' joke yesterday. Read on after the break as I highlight a few of the (non-TOR-related) April Fools' jokes.