Dark or Light

Interview With Dallas Dickinson, SOE Producer

Reed Hubbard Posted:
Interviews 0

Summer is almost here, and in addition to all the great things summer brings, this year will see the highly anticipated final movie in the Star Wars saga. Rabid fans have already started lining up at theaters to be among the first to experience Episode III:

Revenge of the Sith. All kinds of movie tie-ins are planned, from Topps’ collectible cards to Mr. Potato Head’s Darth Tater (no joke!) It’s certainly shaping up to be the summer of Star Wars.

Summer means big things for Star Wars Galaxies as well. Along with the movie, LucasArts will release a new expansion for their MMORPG entitled Rage of the Wookiees. This is no mere add-on. Rage of the Wookiees is closely tied to Episode III and overall Star Wars lore. The Wookiee planet, Kashyyyk, will be introduced, along with new ships, new quests, a new combat system, cybernetic implants, asteroid mining and more. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Dallas Dickinson, Producer for Sony Online Entertainment, about Rage of the Wookiees, Episode III, and Star Wars in general. Here’s what he had to say:

MMORPG.com: The new expansion for Star Wars: Galaxies is entitled Rage of the Wookiees. Just to satisfy the purists out there, Wookiee has two e’s, correct?
Dallas: It sure does. And Kashyyyk has three y’s!
MMORPG.com: The expansion will introduce the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk to the SWG universe. Will the planet be appropriate for all player levels?
Dallas: The planet Kashyyyk will have some content that is appropriate for players who have mastered one profession but most of the content is built for mid-to-high-level players. However, the Space Mining game is appropriate for players of all levels, and offers a great new form of gameplay especially for the more casual player.
MMORPG.com: Will Kashyyyk be eligible for player-run cities?
Dallas: Kashyyyk is primarily an adventure planet – a place for players to explore and learn the story of the lasting struggle between the Wookiees and their Trandoshan slavers. Because the focus is on adventure and the content very directed, players will not be able to place homes on Kashyyyk.
MMORPG.com: How will Wookiee player characters be affected? Given that the focus of the expansion is their home planet, will those who play Wookiees see some additional enhancements that are unique to the race?
Dallas: The Rage of the Wookiees expansion is intended to give every player of Star Wars Galaxies the ability to learn and experience the back story of the Wookiees. Though while much of the content is Wookiee-specific, Wookiee characters in the game won’t see additional content for themselves only.
MMORPG.com: Speak a bit about the storyline. Will the new content be focused solely on the lore of Kashyyyk, or will some of it extend to the existing planets?
Dallas: While some of the content is directly related to the history of the struggles on Kashyyyk, there are other story lines introduced as well. One of the major new storylines revealed in Rage of the Wookiees involves the history of the Clone Wars. This story will lead players all over the galaxy, and will introduce players to some of the most famous (and infamous) celebrities in the whole Star Wars universe.
MMORPG.com: Are there any new beasts unique to Kashyyyk?
Dallas: We are introducing over ten new species to Galaxies with Rage of the Wookiees including the Kashyyyk Bantha, similar to the familiar Bantha save for the lack of a shaggy coat, and the lack of the huge horns that were often associated with the species. And we’ll also be introducing new mounts, including the Bolotaur, a large and powerful reptile native to Kashyyyk. For its size, this creature has one of the fastest metabolisms of any beast in the known galaxy.
MMORPG.com: The expansion’s release is set to coincide with the next movie in the Star Wars saga. How much crossover content (i.e. Episode III content) will players see in Rage of the Wookiees?
Dallas: In addition to exploring the Wookiee/Trandoshan conflict (which is referred to in the film), the Clone Wars are a major thread within this expansion. The battles you see in Episode III will be referenced in Rage of the Wookiees, both in story and in some of the cool items you can acquire. In addition, in some of the more challenging quests you may get to see a few Episode III characters in Rage of the Wookiees if you’re lucky.
MMORPG.com: Discuss the synergy between the movie and the expansion. Will Rage of the Wookiees merely gather content from Episode III, or is LucasArts planning to use gaming as a supplemental medium (such as has been done with the Matrix movies) to provide additional content to the saga?
Dallas: The content for the Rage of the Wookiees is more than a gathering of content from Episode III. There are key elements that resonate to the movie, but there is also a fundamental gameplay focus on giving players a directed experience enriched with story driven and loot driven quests that will encourage players to travel throughout the universe and adventure to diverse planets, space zones and beautiful locations.
MMORPG.com: What about the combat upgrade? What all does it encompass? What changes will players see?
Dallas: The Combat Upgrade is designed to make the combat system in Star Wars Galaxies faster paced, engaging, interactive and Star Wars centric. The fundamental changes on the system include a re-working of the ranged combat, the armor system, artificial intelligence and the profession roles.
MMORPG.com: Will the combat upgrade be specific to those purchasing the expansion, or will all players get it?
Dallas: The combat upgrade will be free of charge to every single player and the content will be available through download. Once the combat upgrade is live, all players will have the opportunity to reallocate all of their character’s skills to take advantage of the new enhanced system.
MMORPG.com: How will the asteroid mining work? What impact will it have on the existing player economy?
Dallas: Space Mining will be revealed and taught to players through a series of quests. The gameplay itself is simple enough: find an asteroid, blast the heck out of it, and gather the resources that fly off. We are shooting for a really fun, simple arcade experience here. At higher levels (in higher level space zones), you’ll start to see Mining Pirates show up to compete with you for the resources – so you’d better be prepared for some dogfighting. The resources you get can either be traded in for fast cash at mining stations around the galaxy or converted into special crafting resources that you can only get in space. These resources will not replace any existing resources, but there will be specific schematics and recipes that require you to have space resources to make.
MMORPG.com: Another exciting new feature is that of cybernetic implants. Explain how the implants will work.
Dallas: You will be able to earn these implants by completing quests on Kashyyyk. Once you have them, you can get them installed by NPC Cybernetics doctors at the larger Medical Centers in the galaxy. The implants will have various combat-related uses: some will be better for Melee professions, others will be better for Ranged professions. Installing one will give you some statistical enhancements as well as a special combat move or two.
MMORPG.com: How will implants affect the current player equipment? For example, will equipping a leg implant limit a player on the types of leg armor he may use?
Dallas: Cybernetics will replace armor altogether – so a savvy player will have to decide which to use. The trade-offs will be interesting, so you may want to give up a few points of armor in return for a special burst-run ability or a power attack.
MMORPG.com: Rage of the Wookiees will require players to have the Jump to Lightspeed expansion installed. What kind of JTL features can players expect (e.g. new ships)?

Rage of the Wookiees introduces a number of new ships for all players of Galaxies. There are a number of modifications going in for current ships, like the TIE Interceptor – the Royal Guard version. As well as new ships being introduced to Star Wars canon, like Anakin’s Jedi Starfighter from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Along with the new space craft being added with Rage of the Wookiees is the entirely new Kashyyyk space system. Similar to the other 10 space sectors in the game, there are missions to take, areas to explore and battle through for your faction and of course, for monetary gain!

With all that Star Wars fans are anticipating this summer, Rage of the Wookiees has to be just beneath the movie itself! The new content and gameplay features are exciting and will take Star Wars Galaxies to a new level. We want to thank Dallas for taking the time to speak with us. For more information on Star Wars Galaxies, visit the official website at http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com. The official site for Rage of the Wookiees may be found at http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/rageofthewookiees/


Reed Hubbard