Friday, 15 June 2012

E3 2012 Retrospective

I wasn't at E3. But I was able to follow the entire thing last week from the comfort of my home (and later in the week, the comfort of my workplace) through the various live streams and the glut of articles released over the course of the week. And I thought that I'd give my thoughts on the press conferences and the games (or at least a number of them) on show.

As such this post isn't about SWTOR, it's mostly not even about MMOs. It's just about what one of the biggest events for gaming had on display this year. And my wholly personal take on things.

I'll split this into two parts. The first looking at the five main press conferences and the second part looking at a number of the games. Catch it all after the break.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

1.2.7 Patch Notes

Here are the latest patch notes (1.2.7, as well as 1.2.6 and a few minor inbetween ones):

1.2.7 Patch Notes



  • When a player is required to rename multiple characters, it is now clear which character the rename prompt refers to.

Crew Skills

    Gathering Skills

    • Corrected an issue that could prevent players from gathering from some resource nodes that appeared to be lootable.

Flashpoints and Operations


    • Addressed an issue that prevented some encounter effects (such as fire or other damaging area abilities) from displaying correctly for some players.

SWTOR's E3 2012

Last week was E3 again, and SWTOR was there as well. During EA's press conference on Monday Dr. Ray Muzyka stepped on stage to talk about The Old Republic:

BioWare also posted the video Dr. Muzyka shows at the end there on the official website:

Preview Exciting New Reveals from E3!

Throughout E3, journalists will be able to take a sneak peek at some of the exciting content that is coming to Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ in the next year. This includes new Space Content, an increased level cap, the upcoming Operation: Terror From Beyond, which takes players to the Gree-controlled world of Asation to battle against an army of unseen horrors, and more!

But our biggest reveal is the announcement of Makeb, a brand new planet never-before seen in the Star Wars™ universe! A fully-realized world for you and your friends to explore, Makeb will also introduce an all-new storyline. The Hutt Cartel, tired of being ignored by the great powers of the galaxy, has taken Makeb in an attempt to acquire an unmatched power which can bring both the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire to their knees. It will be up to you and your allies to face off against the Hutt Cartel, breaking their hold on this once tranquil world and end their bid for galactic domination.

Preview Makeb and see a small sampling of the other content coming up, in this new gameplay preview!

One thing you might notice when watching the two videos is that the second one, the one on the official site, doesn't include the "New Playable Species: Cathar" bit. I'm not sure why they left that out, but it's not there and it definitely is in the first one.

For the rest it's a new Flashpoint, a new Warzone, a new space mission, etc. The biggest surprise in the whole thing was that they're planning to raise the level cap before the year is out, extending the class stories onto a new planet from what I understand. Dr. Muzyka also announced that The Old Republic will be free-to-play for the first fifteen levels come July (which is pretty much the same as all the free weekends and friend trials that they've had, just without limit).

To be honest I found the whole thing, SWTOR's entire E3 presence, to be decidedly disappointing. Perhaps that is because I was hoping for a big announcement, like the development of an expansion or such and nothing of what they announced really fit the bill. In fact everything was altogether very expected. I would even say that it sounded somewhat minimal in the way that they represented it as "one of everything".

True, the raised level cap was a surprise... but I'm not actually sure that's a good thing. One of the biggest challenges for TOR right now is giving people enough to do. By raising the level cap, even if it's just by five levels (as I suspect), you're basically invalidating all of the current endgame content (just remember how trivial level 45 content is for your level 50 character). To keep all of that relevant they have to do a lot of extra work. Work which, I think, would be better spent on either making more current endgame content, or by making more of the existing content viable for a maxed out character (like downscaling characters going back to lower zones and such; lesson learned from GW2). Sure I want to continue my class stories and adding more for that is good, but I think that they can do this without raising the level cap.

Anyway, after the break more details about changes coming in Game Update 1.3, details on character transfers, the Community Q&A from last Friday, a bunch of links from E3, and the developer quotes.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Community Q&A: June 1st, 2012

E3 is about to kick off today with the big press conferences by Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sony. I've got no idea if The Old Republic is going to have any announcements (though it wouldn't surprise me if they started talk of an expansion). We know that they'll be at E3, but it might just be giving people some hands-on time with update 1.3 or such. Either way, I thought it best to put up the update before the craziness kicks off.

Last Friday BioWare had another Community Q&A focused around Game Update 1.3. Here's an excerpt:

Dzeiger: With the changes to make social gear "adaptive" and augmentable and thus more desirable, are there any plans to revise the social points system? For example, making it per-Legacy rather than per-character, and/or expanding options for social point gathering at endgame that doesn't involve endless Esseles and Black Talon runs.

Daniel: Yes, the social point system will be getting a major revamp in the future and many of our systems will be going Legacy-wide, though whether social is one of them is still under discussion. In the meantime, Game Update 1.3 will bring social points to all Flashpoint and Operation boss kills, meaning far more social points just for being social and playing with friends.

I've personally pretty much given up on getting any social points; I guess that I'm just not social. But even so this seems like I good change and I seriously hope that they make social points a Legacy-wide system.

After the break a Community Team update, a few updates from various sites and a handful of developer quotes.