Monday, 29 November 2010

Interview with Dr. Ray Muzyka

Friday Brings Us SONIC!!!

Well almost, but I cant help seeing the resemblance.

Friday update brings us in my option another none update. Though I have said I would no longer update these types of scraps, I could not help myself when I seen the Terentatek.

Updates like this have me concerned about the release date all over again. As BW could release 10 times as much as they have, and still have ample to take them well into mid summer.

TOR is pegged to be 1 of the biggest MMO's to date, it already has a large amount of planets and more story content that never repeats across the classes. Yet they release just 5 new inhabitants on the HoloNet.

For me these should be added extras on a Friday not the hole content release.

But on the up side I'm quite looking forward to killing this hedgehog after clamming a lot of my youth.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Beta invites


Some of you may have received an email from Magid, regarding a survey concerning Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. As there has been some confusion, we wanted to let everyone know that it is indeed valid.

We are partnered with a third-party agency, Magid, to conduct some focused playtests for TOR. These are part of our ongoing Game Testing Program. As part of that testing, a number of emails were sent to registered community members like you who’d opted in for game testing.

What to do now? If you were sent an email and haven’t clicked through to the survey yet, well, go ahead and click. If you haven’t been emailed, don’t bother asking someone else to share; the surveys are individually linked to email addresses. If you are selected for testing, we’ll let you know – with an official email, this time!

Of course, I have to remind everyone that everything to do with Game Testing is bound by the Game Testing Agreement - and that means if you’re selected, apart from telling people that you’ve been selected, everything else is confidential.

Happy Thanksgiving to all Stateside!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Kind Is Dead, Long Live The King

Well since the announcement of Stephen Reid as the new Senior Online Community Manager over at the TOR forums it has seen a tenfold increase in activity from the powers that be.

A place where lack of interaction has seen slim picking ever since Sean parted ways and moved on, have we seen such a good response from the BW side of the field.
It is really nice to see this again, Sean left a very big hole in the BW community. Where he built the bridges between us and them.

I hope Stephen continues this 1st flourish of interaction with the forum goers as it is indeed a breath of fresh-air after the absence of the last king.

Friday Update - Crafting For Hero's

BioWare has shown us the crafting they revealed earlier in the week, and have given us some clarification on the subject.
As always they have left a lot of the info out, but we have ample to be going on with. Companions will have all crafting skills, in the video we see the BH only engaging in savaging, though you can command your companion to do this as you continue to fight.

This follows the theme of you being the hero, and continues on the fun aspect of the combat over the grind.

Each companion gets 3 skills, that you can decide to spread out over the 3 skill sets.
  • Gathering
  • Crafting
  • Missions

Skills can be added and and you will need to level them. All common things we find in other MMO's. You also can remove skills and retrain a different type.
Although you can have 3 skills per companion only 1 of those can be Crafting. So 1 crafting and 2 gathering or 1 of each, or indeed 3 of 1 skill. Though you can not gain 3 crafting skills on 1 companion.
Crafting skills are split into 6 parts :-
  • Armormech – the ability to work with hard metals and electronic shielding to construct all types of personal armor
  • Artifice – the delicate work of constructing Jedi and Sith artifacts
  • Biochem –the engineering of performance-enhancing chemical serums and biological implants
With 3 yet undisclosed crafting skills. This would in all likelihood let you be able to master all crafting skills on each of your classes. As the pic below show the crafting station with a total of 5 slots, leaving you 1 more space for another companion to follow you and fight by your side.

No info of yet on how much more benefit you will gain if you add 3 skills of the same type to 1 companion. But it should work on a multiplier system. The more same type skills the greater the rewards. This will allow you to steam line your crafting needs.
In the early stages of the game this will push the player driven economics, buy sell and trade. Also its would make it difficult to follow a fully fledged crafter, as you would be forced to buy and sell. Which in its self is not a bad thing.
But there are a few out there that would like to be that crafter, be it in a guild or on a world setting. Building rep as a good crafter has its own rewards above and beyond credits.

For players like myself who pride themselves on being known as a very good crafter, no matter the MMO I tend to play. I would have to re-roll, 2-3 times to gain all the skills I need to make everything. For me I don't see this as a downside, as I tend to re-roll a few chars at least.

It would make a difference if you intend to adopt raids and PvP as your endgame. As these in there selves require a great deal of time. This would limit the number of times you could re-roll. So you really could be a good crafter or endgame raided/PvP. But if you try to do both your going to be lacking some what over others that will go with only 1.
We also do not know how Raid v PvP v Crafted items compare, will crafted items become obsolete over time ?

I do like it though, I have never seen this type of crafting outside a single player game. The only other that would come close is that of Diablo3. Where you get the crafters round world to make your items for you, you lvl those as you go, and this leaves you to fight. All you need is gold and salvaged items that you get from around the world.

I would give BW 9/10 for the innovation factor on crafting. Though there is still a lot we still need to know about how skills stack and how effective they are.

All in all its a good start, time will tell how good this will lend to those that want to be a crafter as there long time goal.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Planet Nelvaan revealed early?

Those clever guys over at have spotted something very nice in 1 of the missions.

In the brand new Crew Skills video, at 1.53, you can see one of the diplomatic missions is to the planet Nelvaan. According to - the planet is -

A planet in the Koobi star system, Nelvaan is a primitive world of low gravity experiencing the onset of an ice age. Three moons orbit Nelvaan. It was in close proximity to Tythe. A world without a terrible amount of gravity, it was home to several massive life forms, including the vicious Horax.

Nelvaan is also dominated by a landscape of precarious mesas that would have fallen in standard gravity worlds. These mesas are home to the primitive Nelvaanians—blue-furred lupine humanoids. Lacking a planetary government and holding no allegiance to either the Separatists or Republic, it was a rarely visited world useful only to Bothans, who regularly siphoned water from the glacial fields, a practice that did not concern the Nelvaanians.

It seems to be that of a new planet, that has yet to be revealed. A missed leak or left in by BW for us to find ? Who really cares planets are cool and the more we get the better.

StephenReid New Community Manager

Hi. My name's Stephen Reid, and I'm your new Community Manager.

Like probably all of you, I've been a Star Wars™ fan for almost my entire life - starting with the original Star Wars in 1977. When that Star Destroyer came thundering into frame, the unforgettable John Williams' score blasting out in futuristic Dolby Stereo... well my 5-year-old mind was well and truly blown.

Fast forward to 1999, and I made a pilgrimage to Portland, Oregon (of all places) to see The Phantom Menace on opening night - midnight showing, natch. When Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber ignited... well, my 26-year-old mind was blown again.

Fast forward to 2003, and from my bedroom in a south London flat, I experience BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic™ on Xbox. When I realized exactly who I was playing... well shoot, wasn't your mind blown? I also knew without a shadow of a doubt that with BioWare, Star Wars was in good hands.

Which brings us on fast forward right up to last week, when I arrived to work at BioWare Austin and saw - well, we're not ready to discuss that yet. All we can say publicly right now is that it involved minds and... actually let's just move on in case I get my own intro thread deleted.

So, let's get the vital info in before the lock: I've worked in the games industry, and in various types of content and community management roles, for about 12 years. I'm a huge believer in the power of online communities to bring the creators of games closer to their fans, and vice versa. Quite frankly, I have one of the coolest jobs in the world, and that's before you add the Star Wars factor.

In other words, I'm absolutely thrilled, excited, privileged and humbled to be here and working on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. It's an incredible opportunity to serve you, the community, and to help make what I know will be a landmark MMORPG.

There's still plenty to do, to see, to talk about and of course to debate about that galaxy far, far away that we're preparing for you to explore. I think it's going to be an amazing journey. And I hope you're ready to come along.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 12 November 2010

BioWares Ray Muzyka talks about the latest news about Star Wars

Crafting Update

1st off shout out to ShavedEwok from the SWTOR forums.
Who linked
and did a summary of an interview with Daniel Erikson taken from Chronic Reload PodCast.

The interview seems to be from this years EA Winter Showcase.

Although there are lots of interesting general tidbits on the game (development, features etc), I'll focus my quick rundown on the Crew Skills (Crafting, Gathering and Missions):

Gathering and Crafting
  • Further indications that it's your companions, not you as a player, who are doing all the actual gathering and crafting.

  • There are Mission Skills that come automatically with Gathering Skills.

  • When finding resources while out in the field, you can remotely assign companions on your ship to gather them.
Some select quotes on Gathering and Crafting:

So, you don't go pick up the thing, you go: "Hey you, go get that". You don't craft the boots, you're in your ship and you've got a whole craft... and you say: "You, go make me some boots".

...there's the gathering, there's the crafting, but you don't do any of it, because you're Darth vader and Darth Vader does not make boots. Your companion characters do all of that.

...there are also mission skills that come automatically with the gathering skills, so while you can be out in the field and say: "Hey oh I spotted that thing, let's gather that up", you could also call the people back on your ship... and say: "Hey, go find me some of these ingredients, because later I'm gonna want somebody to make me some boots".

So the big [thread?] of innovations for it is: You don't do it, your crew does it. You don't have to be there while they do it, you can just call them back on the ship... and you don't even have to be online. You can send everybody their marching orders, log off for the night, log in the next day and find out what everybody brought you.

- Daniel Erickson, BioWare

  • There's a cost and a time for sending your companions on missions.

  • Missions run from being 5 minutes to 24 hours in length.

  • Diplomacy missions are for getting Dark Side or Light Side points.

  • All companions have bonuses for different Crew Skills (e.g. Treasure Hunting).

  • Sending a companion to do Treasure Hunting is a kind of dice roll which depends on how much time is invested.

  • Treasure Hunting mission "dice rolls" also have crits, bringing you higher quality loot occasionally.

Some select quotes on Missions:

The mission system allows you to send your companions that are not with you on missions themselves... and there's a cost to do it, there's a time to do it. The missions run from being 5 minutes to being 24 hours and then there's a reward for it.

Diplomacy is for Light Side and Dark Side points...

I want Dark Side points. Oh, it turns out that there is a system out on the edge of unknown space and their ambassador is refusing to [pitulate?] to the Emperor, I'm going to send one of my companion characters out there to convince him otherwise. We go out there, we wait until the time is up. He comes back, we get a report, we find out if he did good or did bad. If successful we get a nice chunk of Dark Side points. We're spreading the influence out there.

Vette actually has a bonus to Treasure Hunting, all the companions actually have bonuses for different crew skills.

So we say: "Hey [Vette] you go get me some cool gear"... and it really is sort of a dice roll... and depending on how much time you invest in it obviously your chances of getting something good is even better... and there are crits, so you can get something really really good every once in a while.

- Daniel Erickson, BioWare
Again, there's lots of other interesting info in this interview, but I focused on the aspects of the Crew Skills.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

SWTOR's Crafting Goes Farmville

The first insight of the TOR crafting system sees the light from Electronic Arts Winter Showcase in London.

BW have said all along that hero's will have a heroic crafting system. So you are unlikely to see a Sith mining or making cloths. With this in mind, BW have come up with the crew skill crafting system.

From your ship, you will be able to command your companions to complete crafting tasks, with different companions excelling in specific areas.
This Crew Skill system will be divided into three majors groups, Gathering, Crafting, and Missions.

These skills include-
  • Gathering - Bio Analysis and Slicing
  • Crafting - Artificer and Bio Chem
  • Missions - Diplomacy and Treasure Hunting
Active companions would only be useful in gathering, I see this as you killing/questing and your companion looting hides, bones and the like.
Other companions in passive mode will be to complete other tasks, crafting and missions. Missions and crafting can be stacked, this kind of hints that they will continue to complete there tasks while off-line, just like you would find in farmville.

It seems that almost everyone no matter how they feel about crafting, will at least dabble with the crafting system. I find this way of crafting a bit of a let down with the very little info we have received. With everyone having the same pool of companions to pull from, and with tasks being able to be stacked. Players that tend to lean towards crafting as a high priority at end game content. Will have no benefit over a PvPer, or a player that likes to do raids.

This will leave players that like tailer there class to be a crafter over PvP/PvE class. I may be wrong but I see no benefit in trying to be a crafter. If missions like t-hunting is all governed by a random dice roll, I fail to see a dedicated crafter like myself having any benefit over anyone else.

Crafters take pride in there work, and do many things that others find boring. Taken time out of raids and PvP, and do some of the more time consuming aspects like mining and gathering, this is the 1 point that sets us apart from the rest of the competition. Having this 1 aspect taken away from us kind of kills crafting as a viable end game.

I do hope I am way of my speculation here, but it does look like crafting, and those that like to stand out as top end highly dedicated crafters, are going to get totally shafted.

Time will tell.

BW do not shaft this 1 up please. You may or may not know how important crafting is to some players. So please give it the time it deserves and let crafters standout from the crowd.

Friday Update - WarZones

I know its kind of late, but after a short holiday heres the Friday update.

After 2 years of waiting and speculating, we have are first teaser of END-GAME combat.

This first snip-it is of the Alderaan warzone, this is a group PvP combat area, that pits you against your opposite faction.
This is a capture the flag type instance, thats has a few objectives to complete to win the scenario. Although this is nothing new is the way BW have constructed the instance, I have found in the past with things like SWG and Unreal Tournament. These are by far the most fun packed way of participating in PvP.

With the added commentary with which objects you have done, and yet to do is a nice bonus twist. Also gaining exp and some kind of point system for items, something like tokens from WOW. It gives added incentives to enter PvP that is outside the normal gank squads.

You can enter an instance from anywhere within the world by a queue system. You are then matched to a group by level. Though there is not much info about this, it does leave you thinking you may not be able to get in the same instance as your buddy's.
If indeed it has a random generator for groups, it could leave you with mindless zombies that will make up your extended group. Not given you an option in who you play with would be a crazy way of trying to move forward in warzones.
As we all know, when you find like minded people within a guild. You get to know there tactics and you can plan an attack over time and training. Having warzones that chuck you into a totally random group, would take all of the benefits of having a ready made group.

I'm sure BW has thought about this (though no info atm) and will give you an option of taking a pre-made group into the instances. If they have not, then DARN, get someone fired NOW!!!!