May 16, 2011

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Yellow Posts: "Guard" The Servers

Datacrons, a part of last weeks Friday Update, as well as a recent developer blog, have been a point of interest for many players.  There has been some concern from the community about the permanent stat increase that is rewarded when your character comes across one.  Georg Zoeller has been trying to keep the peace by explaining numerous times it is not the end of the world if you do not find them:

We are rewarding exploration, yes. You will notice this to be a constant theme in the game – a tremendous amount of work goes into creating these beautiful planets, and we reward people that go out and see it.

Does that punish people who don’t like to explore? I don’t think so. They’ll spend their time differently and get benefits from whatever other activities they pursue in the time that explorers spend exploring.

Damion Schubert also chimed-in on that same thread:

Each holocron is limited as to who can interact with it, in some cases due to access but in other cases due to the level of potential suck. Thus, the Sith don’t need to go to a Jedi homeworld to find them, but Korriban has several.

We never put holocrons in places where you can miss them and be unable to go back and get them. For example, we wouldn’t put them in a phase that can’t be repeated, or on a temporary location on your galaxy map (and yes, we have some of those).

Georg brings up a good point that I believe is lost on some.  When you dedicate your time to one activity you get rewarded for what you do.  If you spend your time crafting you will be able to create gear for yourself or other players.  If you want to PvP you will be able to obtain gear that is 10% better for PvP then that of comparable PvE gear.  So it is only logical that explorers, who spend their time finding every nook and cranny, will gear rewarded for doing just that.

With the lore of Star Wars and how the Jedi have been portrayed, the average fan may think that Jedi would be overpowered in combat.  BioWare Senior Community Manager Stephen had to clarify for the umpteenth time, that the game is being designed around the balancing of the classes and not the lore.

Nice try, but as you said yourself, you’re pretty sure of what Daniel meant. So why the thread? Trying to stir up some more controversy, perhaps? 

What Daniel said is exactly what he meant. In the story (or backstory, if you prefer) of the Jedi and Sith classes, you join them when they are at the beginning of their training. Comparatively speaking in The Old Republic, that puts them at about even odds with non-Force using classes, even if those Bounty Hunters and Troopers have spent years honing their craft.

In other words, our classes are intended to be balanced from a gameplay perspective. That’s our aim. However from a story perspective, that doesn’t mean they all need to be at exactly the same place in their own personal progression.

In other words, what Daniel said. 

We have heard some good things about the Hero Engine, and the scalability that it has.  Georg made a quick reply to a question on view distance and it will be far for those computers that can handle it.

View distance will be configurable in the options. If you have a computer that can take a bit more, you’ll be able to take advantage of that.

An interesting feature learned during the Fan Site Summit was the “Guard” ability that some of the tanking classes can make use of.  This ability will mitigate damage between the tank and the player character that it chose to protect, effectively mitigating the incoming damage by half.  This ability will be a part of one of the tanking trees that you will need to spec into, and is not a base ability.

You’re correct; it depends on your skill tree choices, which allow you to specialize as a tank.

Another new feature that came out of the PvP reveal was the matchmaking system for Warzones.  One aspect of Warzones includes a buff called “Bolster” to lower level characters so they can be close in health and damage when paired against high level characters. Gabe Amatangelo had a chance to post and layout some of the mechanics of the matchmaking system:

Warzones will have a dynamic matchmaking system. It will do many things, like attempt to balance the number of queued groups, healers, levels, etc. on each side. If a match is not made after X minutes then it will begin to alleviate some of these preferences, including potentially widening the level range.

If a match with a wide level range happens to launch, then the lower level players’ stats and ability ranks are bolstered. We aim for this to bring all players to at least 80% of the highest level players’ combat effectiveness, player skill withstanding.

Promoting a lively PvP community is one of the PvP team’s core goals. We believe enabling players on a server to play together often will promote camaraderie as well as rivalry, which lends itself toward achieving that goal.

That being said, as with many things, the matchmaking protocol is subject to change with testing, feedback and metrics. 

Hope that helps clear it up.

So it might be possible for players to face those who are 10-40 levels above them if no one is found within their level range.  This type of system sounds great, but from experience playing Warhammer, the implementation there could have been much better.  Yes, you can live a bit longer but you still tend to get steamrolled by those who had better gear, more levels, and of course more abilities.  Hopefully BioWare offers PvP type abilities at various levels and not all exclusively near the top of a level range.

Like at PAX East this year, BioWare is looking to do another community meet and greet, this time during the week of E3.  David Bass was looking for those who would want to attend, but it is not clear if the meet and greet is official, as they are just gaging interest:

Hi everyone,

Since E3 isn’t open to the public, we’re considering holding a meet and greet in Los Angeles during the expo so that fans who are in the LA area can meet up with us one night and chat with the developers. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be able to have the game playable at this meet and greet, but you’d get a chance to chat with those of us who’ll be at the show, and hear about some of the cool things that are happening inside E3.

We’d like to get a better idea of the size of group we’re looking at for an event like this, though. If you’d be interested in coming downtown one night between June 6-9 to meet up with the SW:TOR team, let us know in this thread!


Finally this week, a question has been cryptically answered about account security.  For those who may be unaware, Sony had a major breach of security to their servers and over 24.6 million accounts had been compromised on some level.  Stephen could not disclose any specific details on BioWare’s security plans, but said they’re taking every measure possible on all levels, to secure data and accounts:

For – ironically enough – security reasons, we will not be commenting on or explaining our security measures now or in the future.

Rest assured, we are taking every measure at all levels of the business to ensure accounts are secure and safe. It’s an ongoing process and will never stop.

It will be interesting as we approach E3 to see what the dev tracker will bring us… stay tuned!

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