How are you going to handle PvP?
I'm glad that the guys at Bioware have taken that first step and admitted that they will indeed have some PvP in SW:tOR. However, an admission of guilt doesn't really give us much information about how you plan to commit the crime. If I wanted to solicit an opinion about how PvP should play out in an MMO, I have no less than a thousand different forums I can wade through to find one. Heck, just on the SW:tOR forum alone there are enough opinions and ideas to keep me reading until the game goes live. But as much as I'd like to believe the developers at Bioware are frantically reading through the forums looking for ideas on how to integrate PvP into their game, I'm fairly certain they have at least a rough idea of how they want it to play out. Letting the players in on some of the theory you have behind the PvP you want would not only helps to keep players ravenous for SW:tOR information well fed, it could also serve to streamline the ideas on the forums so that maybe some of them would prove useful.
That being said, let me ask a few questions so I can better understand what kind of PvP experience I can expect: Open world PvP like Darkfall, designated zones like Dark Age of Camelot, instances like World of Warcraft, or some combination of the three? Are you hoping to see 1v1 fighting, small groups fighting each other, large scale siege type battles, or all three? Will there be any incentive or reward for engaging in PvP for example; realm points, special gear, PvP skills, or titles? Will you put things in place to discourage ganking or do you consider that a form of PvP? Will a character with little to no progression have any chance at winning a fight against a character who is much further along? Can I engage in PvP throughout the progression of the storyline in a meaningful way, or do I have to wait until I'm through with the storyline?
Answering questions about what PvP system will work best for SW:tOR could end up alienating portions of the MMO market that Bioware wants to grab, but I don't think it has to. If you read any MMO game forum you'll get the impression that PvP boils down to two schools that are diametrically opposed to each other. On one side you have your hardcore, I'd rather be ganking, red = dead player who will readily give you all the stuff he got from ganking that day if you simply roll a female toon and tell him your mic is broken. On the other side is your casual, amusement park riding, saves his/her best PvP for the auction house, socializer who will give you his/her whole day's worth of mined ore if you simply bind a /hug and a /bow macro to your quickbar and remember his/her name.
The reality is that PvP does not break down into these two stereotypes, there's lots of room in between that will appeal to a larger number of people looking for something more substantial from the player versus player experience. I don't want you to focus on just large scale sieging and have that be the only accepted form of PvP. At the same time I don't want just dueling and having to go to the assigned arena five planets away.
What do I want from my PvP experience? First: meaning, focus, a reason, incentive, purpose. When I'm doing the storyline and other PvE content I get immersion, I get to escape, I have to play a little longer for that next cool skill, two more times and I can get the purple light saber, in one more level I can kill that boss Ewok as a symbol to millions of fans that thought having cute little muppets for six year olds in a Star Wars film was just. . .silly. I want the same thing in my PvP. Give me a Death Star we have to capture from other players, a cool title, skills obtained through PvP, make someone else rescue the princess while I guard her and mess around with the floaty vaccination torture globe thingy. If you give it meaning and focus it's a more enjoyable experience. Second, don't limit the scope of your PvP to just one over-arcing, 'you should play my game THIS way'. Sometimes I want to zerg, sometimes I want to run with a small elite group, and sometimes this guy in vent just pissed me off for the last time. Give me a bunch of different ways to engage in PvP and if someone comes up with a new and different way to do PvP, give them the opportunity to fight that way too. The game wasn't perfect and the PvE was some of the worst available but Dark Age of Camelot is a pretty good example of a game that attempted to provide both incentive and scope. Large areas to roam, castles to take, bridges and milegates to congregate around, stealth as a means to be able to remain solo, speed classes so small groups could escape larger ones, PvP skills and titles to aim for. As I said, by no means perfect, but a decent starting point. Give us a place where we can beat each other up, give us a reason to beat each other up, and try to make it so that all sides have a shot.
You've answered all my questions and want some more? Sure!
How many character slots per server? Will you use any specific ruleset variations across servers? Cash shop, subscription, or both? How long will it take to go from one side of the universe to the other? How long to walk the entire circumference of the largest planet? Will you use hearth stones, bind points, recall stones, or any other personal, instant transportation? How about summoning other players or the ability for players to provide instant transportation to other players? If you're making only two separate factions what mechanisms do you have in place to combat population imbalance? Will I be able to remap keys, invert the mouse, click to move, or mousemove (those two are different things)? Can I run third party programs? Will you use Hackshield or anything similar? And lastly. . .When's release? When's Beta? What's a good amount to give as a bribe? Do personal slaves of Bioware employees get dental?