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Flashpoint Interview

By Michael Bitton on April 29, 2011 | Interviews | Comments

Flashpoint Interview
MMORPG.com:

For those not following the game closely can you give us an overview of what Flashpoints are exactly? How do they differ from your typical MMO dungeon romp?

Daniel Erickson:

Sure, so a Flashpoint is our chance to do huge scripted amazing storytelling, and bring it in balanced for a four player party. It allows you guys to go in and have your own adventure separated out from everyone else. Because it is in a separate instance we can do some of the huge things that are hard to do in a public space. We can have ships explode, we can have you running through places that are being destroyed. We’ve got places, you got to see Taral V when we brought it to PAX, and there were ships running into towers that were falling over and exploding, and if you ran through you caught on fire.

It’s a chance to do big big exciting stuff; and as you guys got to see, you guys got to play through a Flashpoint, they don’t play at all like a typical MMO dungeon. They are story focused, they are big, they are cinematic. You come out feeling like you’ve really accomplished something. And they’re, when talk about, “Oh. We haven’t seen some of the endgame stuff; we haven’t seen some of the other features.” What I always tell them is, “Look at our Flashpoints, and understand that is what RPG MMO means to us.” Right, we take that sort of approach for each feature. For basic questing, what did we do? We took the basic questing and we said we needed to give you context, we needed to give you story, we needed to make it exciting. Flashpoints, same thing; we’re going to give you choices, we’re going to give you scenes, we’re going to make this much more exciting, much more like you’re doing a cinematic piece. Same thing for everything we try to do in the game.

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MMORPG.com:

Can you give us a taste of the one we saw today? The Black Talon?

Daniel Erickson:

Absolutely. So, the Black Talon is actually a, probably the one we talked about the earliest, and one of the first ones we conceived of. The Black Talon is, you’re on your way from your origin world just trying to get to Dromund Kaas, you’re just minding your own business. A Grand Moff calls you up and says, “Hey. There is a Captain on your ship that has refused to do what I told him to. He thinks for some reason, that taking his small transport craft and attacking a large military fleet is a bad idea, but I want you to do it anyway. So you go hijack the ship and attack them.” So, you end up fighting your way through your own ship, taking out the Captain, making the bold decision whether or not, killing the Captain is really a punitive measure that is not asked of you, and if you this it has fairly far reaching consequences. Crew morale goes pretty bad, some pretty bad stuff happens at the end, and there are several other decisions like that all the way through.

You get to fight across yours, and then you get to go and invade another ship, take out all their people, chase it down. It’s a big big, really amazing sort of piece, that frames the battle. It’s really there to introduce you to the conflict with the Republic. Just in case, like if you’re one of the characters that came off Hutta, you actually haven’t really been introduced to the idea of the Republic and what they represent, and so this gives you a taste of it before you get to Dromund Kaas.

MMORPG.com:

Roughly how many Flashpoints are expected to be available in the game at launch?

Daniel Erickson:

We’re not talking numbers yet. Basically, because what we do is we plan out more than we’re ever going to get in. We have more written than will come in, so the ones we don’t get in will hopefully come in later. Basically, all of the ones that we can get, to that level of polish, and that cool, ship out. The rest of them we’ll hold on until later.

MMORPG.com:

Are all Flashpoints locked to a particular faction? Are there cross-faction Flashpoints?

Daniel Erickson:

There are no cross-faction quest givers, so there are places that you end up, most of them are locked to a particular faction. Later on, there are some that can be run by both factions, but they’re sort of in different contexts and everything you do as far as actual dialogue and role-playing are all different. You’ll never have a time where you’re going to go in and talk to the same Imperial Moff that told the Empire to go do something, and your Jedi is going to go, “OK! I’ll do that too!”

MMORPG.com:

On a related note, are there Flashpoints where Imperial and Republic players must band together to thwart a greater enemy? If not, is this something you have considered?

Daniel Erickson:

One of the things that, so no, there are no things that where they get together and fight together. It is my personal opinion, and this is something we may explore later, but until you’ve exhausted the war, until you’ve exhausted the conflict there, the third party thing always sort of weakens both sides. There’s very little in the Star Wars universe that’s ever been as exciting as the Empire vs. The Republic conflict, so bringing in the space worm of whatever that everybody’s gotta go and battle, while very economic, because it allows us to just do one piece. Originally in the game, we thought we were going to do a lot of quest content that way, as well. It’s much more expensive to do everything completely unique on both sides, but contextually it just doesn’t work as very good storytelling to say, “Hey. Let’s band together and team up and kill each other later.”

MMORPG.com:

In some recent discussions regarding gear it was revealed that players will generally be free to wear most gear that falls under their armor class regardless of whether it looks and is statted for another class that uses the same armor type. For example, a Jedi Knight who wears Heavy armor can wear some armor that may have the stats and appearance of Trooper gear. Does this extend to gear dropped in Flashpoints? Can a Jedi roll on Trooper armor and vice-versa?

Daniel Erickson:

Yeah, absolutely. So a Jedi could roll on just about anything and the Trooper will probably get really mad at him, but you can absolutely roll on it. It’s not going to ever be as good as Jedi gear, because the Trooper and the Jedi are looking for different stats. So, he could roll on it, he could put it on, he could run around looking like a Trooper; but if you see a Jedi that is dressed like a Trooper and he tries to join your Flashpoint group, you’re probably going to tell him no, because he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager.
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