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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

SWTOR Guild Summit Day 1

Posted by SBFord Monday March 5 2012 at 11:16AM
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And the rest...

The auction house is "about 80% less stupid already" but the team isn't ready to reveal exactly what that means yet. :)

PvE:

Currently:

  • Levelling is in good shape
  • Need more story
Update 1.2
  • Unify to chest option is back
  • New daily missions on Corellia: Any piece can be toggled on/off
  • Higher resolution textures
Future
  • Dual and multi-spec: Switch between skill tree builds and, later, switching changes gear loadout too
  • When do we get more story? This year. :)
  •  

User Interface

  • The UI will be totally editable.
  • Colors display in blue and green. Blue is not turned on, green is.
  • Everything can be moved around anywhere on the screen.
  • Every element is scalable.
  • Mission tracker depth can be adjusted
  • Move secondary windows wherever you want in whatever size you want
  • Some preset templates will be included
  • Custom UI configurations can be saved as XML files so you can swap configurations with other players

Guild Features

"Guilds are incredibly important to our organization as a whole."

Current state:

  • Bare bones: UI is functional but could use more features
  • Guilds want tools to make coordination easier
  • Guilds want to show off how awesome they are
In 1.2
  • Guild banks: Shared bank for members, 7 bank tabs in escallating price, detailed control for guild leaders (who can access tabs, some even requiring authenticators to access)
Future
  • Guild calendar: create events, share with non-guildmates
  • Guild emblems to show on armor in certian hot spots
  • Guild advertising: set up flags for finding guilds inside the game space
  • Guild progression
  • Guild capital ships design exists (a long way off!) "We will do it when we can do it right."

Roleplaying

Asking for what RP guilds need in terms of tools to facilitate RP.

Current State:

  • More ambience and life on worlds
  • Legacy features
Future:
  • Character recustomization
  • Chat bubbles
  • More orange gear with viability at end game: where what you want, whenever you want
  • Events team - not talking about it :)
  • Improving spawning tech will address feeling of static worlds, more ambient creatures, more moving parts everywhere, "sittable" chairs

Economy and Crew Skills

57% to 42% Empire to Republic across all servers

Leveling curve is amazingly smooth in upward progression

  • 80% of level 50s have <1M credits
  • Repair costs seen as too high
  • Exploits
    • Ilum chest looking -- implementing measures in 1.2
    • Track down bots quickly and remove
    • Credit spam in-game is fairly minor compared to other MMOs, almost instantaneous removal of spammers
Crew Skills
  • System overall is well received
In 1.2
  • Legacy upgrades
  • Endgame mods from Reverse Engineering (better reverse engineering returns, more can be reversed engineered, etcl), craft operations gear with critical augments slots
  • Every crew skill is being given an endgame purpose

Legacy System

20,000 checking out the Live Stream!

MULTI SPEC is coming that will probably be tied to the Legacy System.

Shortcomings

  • Essentially, a very pretty experience bar
  • The bar has a function

What's coming in 1.2

  • Family tree is automatically updated with characters and how they fit into your legacy
  • Reach level 50 with a species to unlock that species for all future Legacy characters
  • Reach level 50 with a human, gain presence increase for all existing and new Legacy chars
  • Legacy Global Unocks: Complete chapter 2, unlock unique class emote, unlock current class's buff for all other Legacy characters
  • Complete chapter 3: Unlock current class's "Heroic Ability" for all other Legacy characters. EX: Finish Chapt 3 with a Sith Warrior, unlock Heroic Ability: Force Choke. Can use Force Choke on all Legacy chars during heroic moments.
  • Complete all missions for a companion "type" unlocks shorter cooldown and longer duration for heroic moment for the first companion of each "type" (ranges, etc), unlock a small stat boost for first companion of each type and a Presence buff for each companion completed.
  • Global Unlocks: Alignment Abilities: Reach level 50 and gain Dark V, Lioght V or neutral alignment unlocks active abilities for all Legacy chars (jab, uppercut, etc.)
  • Social Rank unlocks: Dance with companion, new emotes (RP emotes)
  • Purchaseable Legacy Rewards: Most rewards can be unlocked OR purchased. They are expensive and retroactive.
  • Cooldown reductions: Emergency fleet pass, quick travel, JETPACKS (short duration sprint, not free flight)
  • Sprint moved to level 1
  • Items for ships including training dummies, operations/warzone dummies (ops dummy takes damage like a boss, wz dummies take damagej like a player)
  • Ship Repair droid: repair or buy items, sells upgrades for ship droids that improve specifiic crafting abilities
  • Ship board mailbox!
  • Ship board auction house (way up the legacy to keep fleets active)
  • Bound to Legacy: Full mailing options, can trade within Legacy if not other players
  • Legacy Appearances

Future

  • Character specific rewards, buffs to help speed early game progression, purchaseable items/abilities for new characters

Will be bringing in rewards, in the form of valor or something (their words not mine) for "running around the world killin gpeople".

18,000 people watching the Live Stream of the Guild Summit. That's just awesome! :)

Player vs Player

Warzone

Issues

  • Lots playing
  • Medal system not balanced across classes
  • No ability to queue for specific warzones
  • Players AFKing
Warzones in Patch 1.2:
  • New Warzone: Novare Coast
  • Same Faction vs Same Faction game play
  • Majority control type objective
  • Ranked PvP pre-season will debut with 1.2
    • Character ratings for both solo and group play
    • ELO rating system
  • New dailies
  • Removing incentives to quit early
  • 18 new medals including objective based
  • Warzone rewards based on earning medals
    • Discouraging farming: More medals for completing a warzone faster
    • Medal rewards capped.
  • VOTE TO KICK with measures to prevent abuse
  • Efforts to combat AFK: Minimal participation to earn the medal. Don't do anything, don't get anything.
  • New tier of PvP gear: War Hero, greater stat differences from PvE gear, new lightsaber colors, new PvP crafting,
  • Existing warzones will allow same faction vs same faction matches. No timeline announced.
  • Cross server Warzone queuing: Incentives for and devs will try matching same-server opponents.
  • 8-person queuing, formalize it later with "teams". Persistent groups across warzones will be forthcoming.
OPEN WORLD PVP
 
Not terribly popular, Ilum has some problems (LOL!)
 
In 1.2
 
  • Going back to drawing board on Ilum (BIG applause)
  • Redesigning Ilum to be more fun and engaging
  • Removing Ilum PvP quests
  • Rewards being moved to Warzones
  • Less random rewards for PvP progression
FUTURE Open World PvP
  • Ilum redesign
  • Minor changes to Outlaw's Den
  • Mirror class imbalances, ongoing effort to address all issues
  • Team working on hacking/exploiting issues

The response from the assembled guild leaders is very positive about the answers they've been given to the questions they''ve asked.

Flashpoints and Operations that don't currently have them will have a hard mode added to them at some point.

The team is definitely working on splitting operations teams with some taking on ground combat, some in space combat, etc. James Ohlen confirmed that this is something the team is very interested in and will be working on in the future.

James Ohlen: We have a secret project with regard to space but that's all I can say for now.

Operations & Flashpoints

James Ohlen, Daniel Erickson (now Lead Game Designer), Gabe Amatangelo, Georg Zoeller, Damion Schubert, Emmanel Lusinchi are the panelists

Operations (Gabe):

  • 38% level 50 players have played an Operation
  • Bugs in Eternity Vault
  • More frustrating than other areas
  • High priority on fixing operations
  • Looting system in Normal needs improvements, switching to regular loot mode in the near future
  • Existing operations are relatively easy
  • Hard & nightmare modes give same loot
In 1.2
  • New operation, Explosive Conflict, considered Tier 2
    • Harder than current operations
    • Nightmare mode to be a more serious challenge
    • Needs serious testing and balancing, will not launch in 1.2
  • New "Story" difficulty mode for all Operations
  • Overarching story arcs should be exerienced by everyone
  • Story mode can be played without having to "gear up"
  • To compensate, hard mode being made more challenging
  • Wear what you want in Operations with extraction of mods and set bonuses
  • Nightmoare mode will be only way to get top tier gear
The team is focused on bug fixing and working with extensive guild testing of new features. They are hoping to make character copies to PTS.
 
Two operations in development that are more challenging and rewarding. Fight the boss, not the game. More info on screens with "visceral" cues.
 
Flashpoints
  • Flashpoints are enjoyable
  • Need better endgame progression via FP
  • Difficulty in finding groups
Update 1.2
 
New Flashpoint, Lost Island
 
Future:
 
More FP coming, Group Finder (coming in 1.3) that will be all purpose for missions, Flashpoints etc. SINGLE SERVER ONLY!

GUILD SUMMIT: 2:00 pm CST

POKKET'S HERE! Whoot! :)

The Summit is now ready to kick into high gear now that studio tours and lunch are over with. Everybody's pumped and ready to go.

The afternoon sessions are going to be Bioware's version of speed dating with six panel discussions coming in the next four hours. It should be fascinating as guild reps will get to ask their questions and provide feedback directly to the dev team.

On an unrelated side note: I have never been around a more committed group of players before. Most will freely admit that there are things they want to see changed and are hopeful that this week's summit will bring about changes to the game. We'll keep in touch with some of them over the coming weeks and months and let you know how they perceive their voices were heard.

Next upcoming: Bioware studio tour but no pictures inside dang it. :(

Everyone is running around in groovy guild summit tshirts. The crowd is overwhelmingly male, 30+. No one so far is in costume though there are some wicked tshirts from various guilds. There are guilds representatives from around the world and they're an enthusiastic group they are.

I will refrain from nerd convention jokes, however. They're simply such happy folks I can't do it to them. :)

Game Update 1.2 - Bioware showing off new features in a new video.

  • new flashpoint: lost Island
  • Expanded legacy system: wicked new interface
  • Advanced options in customization of the UI
  • Imrpoved character models and customization
  • new mini pets
  • guild banks
  • new gear
  • new light sabre colors
  • Lost Island Flashpoint
  • User Interface customization: BIG round of applause
  • Warzone rankings: Can play ranked matches
  • New ranked gear tiers
  • In game events to be introduced: Limited time events created by a dedicated team. Few details forthcoming to keep it surprising for players
  • Guild banks coming to the excitement of the crowd. Shared bank, can unlock up to 7 tabs, detailed controls for leaders
  • Will deploy to PTS "soon" and hit live servers "when testing is complete"
  • "We're aiming for early April"