Showing posts with label q and a. Show all posts
Showing posts with label q and a. Show all posts

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

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.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Community Q&A: May 25th, 2012

Last Friday BioWare posted another Community Q&A, this time about Game Update 1.3. Here's an excerpt:

Mallorik: What is your philosophy on cross server LFG tools? Are we getting a same server tool just to hold us over while you work on cross server tech or is this just a test to see if a same server tool will do the job? 

Daniel: Although we’re certainly willing to entertain the idea of cross-server LFG tools if the need arises, it’s a last resort for us. We firmly believe for cooperative play it is important to have a community and social responsibility that you simply can’t have with players appearing and disappearing from your reality. Instead we are pushing hard on servers that are massive compared to the ones we launched with. Early tests show we’ll be able to raise the peak concurrent user cap above what it was at launch. Combining that with server transfers to enable players to move to these new servers and fill them to the brim, we should see some fantastic, vibrant communities develop where Group Finder will always be able to find someone for your content.  

There has been some speculation on what exactly they mean with these super servers, but I think that regardless it's absolutely vital for the health of the game to ensure that the general server populations seem healthy again. Though I also fear that any talk of server merges will likely just add fuel to the fire of the perception that the game is 'dying', so they have to be careful. I'm betting the impression that they're going with the spin that they've increased the capacity of the servers and that is why they're merging. Though I think that the only way to really pull that off if by doing away with 'servers' altogether and just go for a single one (per territory). We'll see.

The post also promised more detailed blog articles in the near future about Game Update 1.3, so looking forward to read those.

After the break a new TOR novel and another interview. No developer quotes this time (since it has only been a few days since the previous post there haven't been much of any new developer posts to quote).

Monday, 14 May 2012

Community Q&A: May 11th, 2012

Last Friday BioWare posted another Community Q&A. Here's an excerpt:

Freeborne: Alacrity as a stat seems to be encouraged in "Energy Based' classes (Troopers/Smugglers) through our talent trees. However, Alacrity seems to be a terrible secondary stat for us. The faster we use abilities, the faster we lose our energy - and the less energy we have, the less energy we regenerate. Are there any plans to review Alacrity, or at least its place in some class talent trees?

Austin: I agree. We're exploring ways of improving Alacrity that we hope to get working for a future Game Update. As much as I'd like to, I can't provide details on this plan yet. It's possible that we'll address passive Alacrity boosts in the skill trees, but those changes need to be solid and work for the long haul; it would be unacceptable to have a ‘temporary’ skill in place that we planned on removing at a later date.

I'm not a min-maxer by any stretch of the imagination, but I've never been quite certain of the use of Alacrity. Then when I read a blog post somewhere making an argument that anything that lets you use your skills faster is basically a poor choice as it also burns through your energy faster that made a lot of sense to me. As such I've kind of been ignoring Alacrity in my characters even if it sounds like a cool thing, making you faster. So it's welcome to hear that they're looking at approaching that differently.

After the break the developer quotes and a quick reply by EA on investors losing a bit of faith in The Old Republic.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Community Q&A: May 4th, 2012

Here in the UK we just had a bank holiday weekend, which for me meant spending the day running around Quesh and Hoth with my Consular (instead of working on my brother's website like I was probably supposed to). But now that that has passed it's time for rounding up the updates for TOR.

There's a the (temporary) return of Fan Friday and there's BioWare taking action against fraudulent payments. There's also news on subscription numbers coming from EA's earnings call and the developer quotes. But all that is after the break, first let's take a look at the Community Q&A BioWare posted last Friday; here's an excerpt:

Lorroc: Are there any plans to introduce a mentoring system in SWTOR? In some other MMOs, this mentoring system lowers the stats and armor of high level characters and grays out abilities that they didn't have during lower levels so that they can help their lower level friends.

Damion: I'm a big fan of ‘down leveling,’ and I've been pushing to add something like this for a long, LONG time.  Plus, you just can't ignore the master/apprentice relationship as being a core part of the Star Wars experience.  So yeah, this is coming -- someday.  And, as always, it will have a couple of unique twists that I think people will enjoy. 

Ooh, I'm definitely a fan of 'down leveling' as well; anything to make it easier for people to play together despite level difference. And I'm curious what twists they'll add. I hope it includes participating in your low-level friend's quests instead of just tagging along as they do their quests). We'll see.

Read on after the break for all the other stuff I mentioned above.

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.

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, 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.

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.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Community Q&A: March 23rd 2012

Last Friday BioWare published another Community Q&A. In it they first announce that next week will be a special Q&A focusing on existing questions regarding Game Update 1.2 before going on to the questions themselves. Here's one of those questions and answers:

Niktika: Can you please explain some of the reasoning behind the healing nerfs? It almost seems like every healer is up in arms regardless of their class.

Georg: Sometimes it's hard to hear this, but the change to healers you're referring to was, quite simply, a result of them being too good. When one healer is close to target performance and the others aren't, it's natural to think that the logical course is to buff the underperformer and leave the over-performers alone. I want to dispel that notion and explain why it isn't always possible.

All specs for all roles have a target performance. This is what drives the balance of the game: soloing, Heroics, PvP, Flashpoints, Operations... everything. When those targets aren't hit, we can't just ‘bring everyone up’ to the highest performer without negatively impacting the balance of the game and creating unsustainable inflation in our combat system. Frankly, it's also a lot more work to change all end game content in the game to compensate for an over-performing role than to bring the role back in line. The hard but simple truth is that Sorcerers and Sages had better Force management than we intended (e.g. a well-played Sage was almost incapable of running out of Force) and Mercenaries and Commandos were significantly over target in their healing performance.

After considerable testing, we're more confident than ever that all healing roles are both closer to target performance and closer to one another than ever before, leading to a much tighter balance on end game content. The community will be able to confirm this using the new combat logging feature in Game Update 1.2.

I know trying to ‘sell’ a downwards adjustment (AKA nerf) to anyone affected is like selling the need for a tax increase to people. When you are on the receiving end of it, you're not going to be happy about it. It may appear massive to you, even if the overall impact is limited. You likely won't care that it's 'for the greater good of the game' and, if you decide to disagree with our action, there's little we can do to sway you.

Based on the feedback brought to us so far from testers playing on PTS along with metrics and combat logs gathered from our guild testers, we are going to make additional adjustments before Game Update 1.2 is promoted to the live servers. For example, we reopened the internal debate about having an in-combat resurrect ability for Mercenaries/Commandos based on PTS feedback regarding the new Operations, in light of the higher utility value this ability brings to the table in 1.2. We're listening to your feedback, too, and rebalancing some of the changes made to healing based on data gathered from PTS. Look out for a future update to PTS for more details.

After the break the developer quotes.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Your Saga Continues

I'll be honest. I'm finding myself having a hard time bringing up any enthusiasm for TOR and haven't played in weeks. Though I'm eager to start playing my Consular, I'm waiting on a friend who I was supposed to play her together with (and that friend is likely deep into Mass Effect 3 right now; it's getting to the point where I'm just considering playing alone as I'm wasting my subscription fee like this).

But anyway, that lack of enthusiasm extends to keeping the blog updated, which in turn means I've got a rather big backlog. Particularly since last week a fair number of details from the Guild Summit were released across various sites. Add about half-a-dozen official BioWare updates and a truckload of dev tracker notes and it's a lot to get through.

So let's get to it. To start with last Friday BioWare's writer Charles Boyd posted a BioWare Community blog entry titled "Your Saga Continues: Story in Game Update 1.2". Here's an excerpt:

First, you will be called upon to return to the embattled world of Corellia, joining their faction’s forces to carry out missions in an all-new district known as the Black Hole. Refineries in the Black Hole process a rare and unstable starship fuel called hypermatter that’s necessary for all starship travel, and a critical component of fleet operations for the Republic and the Empire. Hoping to play both sides for maximum profits, a corrupt Corellian councilor has seized control of the entire district, hiring the toughest mercenaries and deadliest criminal scum available to lock down his holdings, effectively enslaving the refinery workers, and brutalizing anyone who tries to stand against him. Whether the councilor’s new regime stands will be up to you.

Read on after the break for... well a whole lot of stuff.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Guild Summit and Q&A

I'm running a bit behind and there's a lot going on at the moment with TOR, with new details for the 1.2 content update and such coming out of the Guild Summit. But let's start with last Friday's Community Q&A. Here's an excerpt:

JediCarve - Will our ships ever get upgraded to include mailboxes and the Galactic Trade Network so that we will be able to access those without having to go through the process of load screens and Orbital Stations/Spaceports?

Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer): On one hand, we really like making the ships richer and more useful, and on the other hand, we also want to be sure that the fleets feel like vibrant centers of the game community. So the answer is... Yes! And this feature is coming as soon as Game Update 1.2 ... as ship features you can unlock as part of the Legacy system. Watch for more information about Legacy unlocks coming in Game Update 1.2 - we should be dropping that Real Soon Now.

There's definitely more on the Legacy system as they've talked a lot about that during the Guild Summit. It's nice to have mail and GTN on your ship, though I wonder if legacy points aren't better spent on something else (at least mailboxes are plentiful enough even if that makes the most sense to have on your ship). Read the rest of the questions at the original page.

Read on after the break for details on the friends trial, an interview with Gabe Amatangelo, details from the Guild Summit, information on Game Update 1.2 and the developer quotes.

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.

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.

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.