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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

General Discussion  » SWTOR: Official State of the Game 6 NOV 2012

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  User Deleted
OP  11/06/12 6:41:38 PM#1

Here it is:








Star Wars: The Old Republic – State of the Game



Hello everyone,

This is the first of many regular “State-of-the-Game” postings to you, the players. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and finally have the opportunity to get it started. I’m hoping to use these postings as a direct way to address some of the top unresolved issues that most concern our community. I won’t get to everything all at once, but I’ll try to hit some of the big ones, and talk about these topics as openly as I can. It’s my hope that you’ll respond with more comments, questions and concerns. As you do, I will then take these and either roll them into my next update, or have the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ community team answer them directly as we usually do. Sound good? OK!

Before we begin, let me introduce myself for those of you who do not know me. My name is Jeff Hickman and I am the Executive Producer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have been working on the team for about 2 years now and was responsible for most of the Live Services and ultimately the launching of our award-winning game. Twelve years ago, I joined the industry as the Director of CS for Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC) with Mythic Entertainment. In the years since then, I have engaged in just about every role you can imagine on an MMO team (except art, because I suck at art). In the early days at Mythic, I helped design several expansions for DAoC, produced and ran their daily operations and in 2005 was given the opportunity to become Executive Producer for that beloved game. Between then and now, I built, launched and operated Warhammer Online and I was also Executive Producer for Ultima Online. I’ve devoted my life to MMOs and the people that play them, and have some cool tattoos to prove it:  


When we decided to go Free-to-Play earlier this year, we had weeks of discussion with everyone on the team about where we thought the game was going, what we thought was going right and what was going wrong. We uncovered a lot of issues, but three things really stood out:

1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.

2. The subscription requirement was driving away huge numbers of people who do not want to commit to paying monthly.

3. The frequency of our Game Updates was way too slow. People were leaving because we were not releasing new content fast enough to keep up with the pace at which it was being consumed.

You are now seeing the results of these conversations. Free-to-Play goes live this Fall, and we are dedicated to getting Game Updates out to you every 6 weeks or so. Though each of these efforts is incredibly challenging for the team, they have accepted that challenge and have tackled them head on!

But we know there is more we can do, more you want us to do. So today, I thought it might be more useful to dive into some more granular and “hot” topics.

Topic #1: Staff: Why are some developers leaving The Old Republic™? How will the game be affected?

Answer: People leave for a lot of reasons. Some have worked on the project for 6+ years and are simply tired and want to go work on something else. Others may not agree with the direction that the game is heading – Free-to-Play is not for everyone and requires a big shift in thinking and culture within the studio. Still others do not have the right skills for the roles that we have as the studio evolves and changes. When any single person leaves, whether we make the decision or they do, it is difficult, but the studio and game live on and thrive as we change, actually thrive because we change. The core of what makes the game and studio great are still here; quality in our game and in our workplace, people that are passionate about both, a camaraderie with each other that helps us support one another, and key people like James Ohlen (who was at BioWare from the very start) who continue to help us carry the banner of BioWare and who are dedicated to help evolve and improve Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Topic #2: Bugs: How does testing work? Why do bugs get through? Why did Game Update 1.4 have so many of them? What are we doing to improve the process?

Answer: MMOs are undoubtedly one of the most complex games on Earth. We employ hundreds of QA professionals to ensure that our game is high quality, but sometimes bugs get through. We test every step of the way as we develop the game or change to the game. We have many, many development environments that work in a sequence to push updates from initial construction, to code and content integration, to internal end-to-end testing, to player facing testing on Public Test Servers and then on to the Live servers. Sometimes (like in Game Update 1.4) we make changes that have unintended (and undiscovered) consequences on completely different parts of the game (the performance issues that showed up in the update are a great example of this). These unintended changes happen more often than you would think (or we would like), though we usually catch them before they go live. We have recently put new measures in place both on the development teams and in QA, as well on Public Test Server (where we should find many of these types of issues), to catch things like this in the future. I am not saying it will not happen again – bugs will always happen – but we will strive to give you the best, high quality, bug-free experience that we can. As a side note, we finally got a lock on the last of the major issues from Game Update 1.4 and appreciate your patience with that one.

Topic #3: Oceanic populations. Are we doing anything about them?

Answer: We are very aware of the concerns with the population levels on the Oceanic servers. The problem is pretty complex, as the solutions we have either split the populations further (like allowing Oceanic players to move to North American servers), or would force players to go to server types (PvP or RP, etc…) that they do not want to be on. Our current plan is to wait for Free-to-Play to launch and see what the influx of new players does to the populations of these servers. We will give it a little time and if we do not see significant improvement, then we will move ahead with the solution that offers the best playing experience for the Oceanic community.

OK, that is it for now. Please keep your comments and questions coming and I will try to answer the biggest, unresolved questions in these “State-of-the-Game” posts. I want to thank you all for the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing game like Star Wars: The Old Republic. I will do everything in my power to take care of the game, and help guide it to a great future.

Jeff Hickman
Executive Producer


Elite Member

Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 3043

11/06/12 6:48:07 PM#2

"And if I could make a personal request, if former players would stop mailing bags of poop and pipe bombs to our office, we would really appreciate it..."



Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/09/06
Posts: 8156

“No path is darker then when your eyes are shut.” -Flemeth

11/06/12 6:59:52 PM#3
Originally posted by Burntvet

"And if I could make a personal request, if former players would stop mailing bags of poop and pipe bombs to our office, we would really appreciate it..."


LOL xd

People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert


Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/06/04
Posts: 1148

"I'm your Huckleberry!"

11/06/12 7:03:43 PM#4

"Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."


LOL. made me laugh

Loved UO, EQ, EQ2, Daoc, CoH, Vanguard, Lotro, SWTOR, WOW... looking forward to Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen!


Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/04
Posts: 161

11/06/12 7:05:21 PM#5

[quote]1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.[/quote]


If that were so then numbers 2 and 3 would be void.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/29/09
Posts: 583

11/06/12 7:12:12 PM#6
Originally posted by yorkforce

[quote]1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.[/quote]


If that were so then numbers 2 and 3 would be void.

C'mon, he can't speak the truth, he's employed by them!

For anyone with a vested interest, it's important to read from the same hymn book - when your options are limited.

It seems that those with options have left or are leaving, before F2P proves beyond a doubt that it's the game that sucks.


Elite Member

Joined: 4/29/10
Posts: 2954

11/06/12 7:13:06 PM#7
Originally posted by 7star

Before we begin, let me introduce myself for those of you who do not know me. My name is Jeff Hickman and I am the Executive Producer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have been working on the team for about 2 years now and was responsible for most of the Live Services and ultimately the launching of our award-winning game.

When we decided to go Free-to-Play earlier this year, we had weeks of discussion with everyone on the team about where we thought the game was going, what we thought was going right and what was going wrong. We uncovered a lot of issues, but three things really stood out:

1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.

2. The subscription requirement was driving away huge numbers of people who do not want to commit to paying monthly.

I'm not a SWTOR hater.  I enjoyed leveling my character but felt the game was severely lacking to pay a sub for.  I didn't think end game was "awesome" at all.  I will return as a F2P player to level alts here and there.  Something I refuse to pay any  company a sub for.


What the fuck is this guy smoking?  I assume he's posting this misinformation in hopes of keeping his job.


Many people thought leveling their first character per faction was great.  Leveling an alt of the same faction was 90% repeated content.  That is NOT awesome.


The game released with horrible ability delays.  PVP was far from awesome on release.


The game released without  group finders.  That was not awesome.


They patched Ilum and hundreds of players exploited it for massive "honor" or whatever they call it.  There was no rollback.  Not much awesome there.


Their model was based on massive amounts of voiceovers.  Even using them for simple fetch/kill quests.  It proved unsustainable.  Not so awesome.


They allowed players to customize their appearance until they hit end game where if you wanted the best gear, you had to look foolish.  Not an awesome to be found.


They released a star wars game with the limited single player, "on rails" space combat.  The lack of space combat onm release hurt SWG, why make the same mistake?  Space combat in SWTOR is not awesome.


I could list tons more but I won't.  The fact is that the game was not awesome enough for me to pay them a monthly sub just to level alts.  Going F2P won't change my opinion on that.  There is literally nothing in SWTOR that is worth a sub of any price to me.  SWTOR at the level cap is far from awesome.






Novice Member

Joined: 9/20/12
Posts: 364

Wish I had something positive to say =(

11/06/12 7:14:18 PM#8
Originally posted by Tokken

"Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."


LOL. made me laugh

I smoke the same stuff he does!! HAHA!! WHAT?!?!


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

11/06/12 7:20:46 PM#9
Jeff hickman is in charge

Oh dear

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/08/12
Posts: 663

"Veni Vidi Vici"

11/06/12 7:23:00 PM#10

Looking at: The Repopulation
Preordering: None
Playing: Random Games


Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 2979

The Critical Hit Pretzel!

11/06/12 7:30:48 PM#11

Lets face it, its not an awesome game, its generic. To be fair... I... oh god... I actually liked the personal story portions. If it focused more on that and lessened the mostly dule side quests I'd probably of enjoyed the game more and been distracted from the generic nature of how they made 'classes' to fit a generic mmo system rather then doing something original that would of actually made the game good. 


I mean the personal story in many of the classes (not all) is pretty entertaining, not able to reach the levels of most single player games but much better then some games out there that paraded Personal story and ended up giving a rather lack luster product that made me cringe more then it awed me *glares at GW2*.


Anyways, I am in some form excited for F2P.  The personal story is entertaining enough even if a lot of it the rest of the game is not. That and lightsabers, it helps me over look a lot of issues. It will be a good time filler when I'm bored of rift and whatever other games I'm messing with at the time.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/24/10
Posts: 531

11/06/12 7:31:45 PM#12
Originally posted by Burntvet

"And if I could make a personal request, if former players would stop mailing bags of poop and pipe bombs to our office, we would really appreciate it..."


This is better then anything he actually said.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/12
Posts: 1032

11/06/12 7:35:10 PM#13
Originally posted by Tokken

"Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."


LOL. made me laugh

Funniest thing I've read in a long time lol.  I can only take that as sarcasm. It has to be..

"You are all going to poop yourselves." BillMurphy


Novice Member

Joined: 11/05/10
Posts: 897

11/06/12 7:43:43 PM#14
Originally posted by GwapoJosh
Originally posted by Tokken

"Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."


LOL. made me laugh

Funniest thing I've read in a long time lol.  I can only take that as sarcasm. It has to be..

I guess he meant awesome for a F2P game. If the game is truly awesome then number 2 (and 3 to some extent) shouldn't exist.

It's like you have a piece of art and I said, "that's awesome, I'd love to have it on my wall!"

You: "Will you pay for it?"

Me: "No."



Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/04/11
Posts: 2034

11/06/12 10:08:40 PM#15

#1 The "our game is awesome" language is something that leaked out of one of their meetings a while back. It was probably someone saying, ok name some good things, and that "awesome game" bit was dutifully written on the white board.

They clearly focused on #2.

#3 will never be solved.

Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011


Novice Member

Joined: 1/12/06
Posts: 69

11/06/12 10:21:44 PM#16
Originally posted by Tokken

"Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."


LOL. made me laugh

Me too.

How out of touch with reality do you have to be to make a statement like that? When over 2 million people buy your game, and at best 25% are left less than a year later.... that is a lot of people who didn't "love it" or "want to play it".

What a moron.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/03/08
Posts: 1321

The more you know, the more you know you don't know.

11/06/12 10:24:03 PM#17

I love the questing in SWTOR more so then any other "themepark" type MMO. I do not care at all for about 80% of the so-called "end-game" content. Repeatable quests are boring. PvP (in most MMOs) is just not much fun. OPs (raids) are too few and again suffer from that feeling of repeatitivness.

With that said, I would renew my current sub except for one and the coming cash shop. While I am sure there will be items that will be desirable, I just have to wonder as to why those items are not being added to the game as part of my subscription. Why do I have to pay extra? So, the answer is....I won't. Further, I will not support the game so that "freeloaders" can play (albiet in a much limited way) while I help pay the bills. When so-called f2p goes live....I will be done and won't return.

Let's party like it is 1863!


Novice Member

Joined: 6/10/12
Posts: 32

11/06/12 10:28:48 PM#18
My game is awesome, just check out my ink, bro.

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/10/12
Posts: 783

11/06/12 10:31:09 PM#19

Jeff Hickman is not someone they should have placed in charge of this game. He's not going to take it anywhere good, for sure.

Jesus, he says the game is awesome and peole want to play it -- yet if that were true, people wouldn't actually MIND the subscription fee.

Also what's the point of having a F2P version of this game, when you have to play as casually as like one session a week to finish everything you're allowed to do in a week, because it's basically forcing people to subscribe anyway, shoudl they want to play more than two days of the week and still be rewarded.

It's so goddamn terrible... ugh.


Novice Member

Joined: 6/02/09
Posts: 197

11/06/12 10:33:24 PM#20
State of the game: Failing.
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