Jun 27, 2011

Posted by in News | 9 Comments

Yellow Posts: Phat Lootz And Gear Scoring

As BioWare has stressed time and time again, story is the “secret sauce” that is going to make SW:TOR different from other MMOs. Their goal is to create a deep, engaging universe where every decision you make matters and the player’s story is one of the driving factors behind playing the game. However, this being an MMO, some people are (understandably) curious about the rewards they will receive as they progress through the story and their class quests.

SoulstitchMMO sought out an answer from the devs in his thread Epic Rewards for Finishing Class Quest? and boy did he get a response! Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer, and Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer both weighed in on the subject. SoulstitchMMO wanted to know if “finishing” your class quests (at level 50) would result in the acquisition of epic gear and if the rewards would be good enough to justify completion of your class story at max level, instead of, say, running Operations for better gear. Damion Schubert explained that while gear is one reward that you receive as you progress through the story, the real reward is the story itself :

There will be [loot rewards at the end of your class quest chain]. Not talking about specifics yet.

However, no reward is going to be as interesting as the reward of the conclusion of your story. This is kind of like asking “What’s the reward for watching Episode IV past the point where they escape the Death Star?” It’s the satisfaction of a good story, well told.

Georg Zoeller chimed in a little while later responding to Orcron who wanted to know why class quests got the lion’s share of the major rewards and why the traditional methods of grinding mobs or dungeon running didn’t:

I wouldn’t say richer – after all Flashpoints, PvP and other activities have great rewards as well… just not things like companions and such.

As for random mob killing … that’s not the game we’re making. You can do it, for sure, but it’s not going to be nearly as effective as questing or participating in Flashpoints, PvP and other activities.

Camping the spawns of random mobs is a part of the MMO legacy, grind, that we don’t really see having a place in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

(As someone who once wasted hours camping pygmy goblins ins Dark Age of Camelot, I am strongly in favor of killing that kind of ‘gameplay’ with fire).

It sounds like BioWare is creating a non-traditional hierarchy, of sorts, in terms of rewards and the activities that you need to do acquire them (Disclaimer: The following list is only speculation on my part and might not reflect how rewards are awarded in the final release of the game):

  1. Story/Class Quests would get you the most “important” rewards – Companions, ship(s), vanity titles, loot, and other rewards (possibly)
  2. Operations would get you the best, epic loot and other rewards (possibly)
  3. Flashpoints/PvP/Crafting would get the next best loot and other rewards (possibly)
  4. Grinding would get you very little loot and other rewards (possibly)

As they have stressed before, story is really important to BioWare and players will be rewarded for participating in it accordingly. However, if a ton of story just isn’t your cup of tea, grinding out experience by traditional mob killing is still a leveling possibility…just don’t expect to be rewarded with epic loot, companions, or vanity titles. As Georg Zoeller illustrates:

If you’re really allergic to story, exposure to this game could very well result in an anaphylactic reaction for you.

That said, if you really want to endlessly grind creatures all while not getting any companions, class related titles, many of the cool story arcs and Flashpoints with cool combat mechanics, quest rewards, etc, you definitely can.

Lastly, Mr. Zoeller poses an interesting question to the community in a response to a thread titled I have better gear, therefore you suck, posted by General-Who. He asks BioWare if they have come up with any way to prevent players from being judged solely by the gear that they are wearing (as happened in World of Warcraft with the rise of Gear score). Mr. Zoeller asks:

Well, it seems an interesting enough discussion to throw a question in.

If there was a ‘privacy’ flag for your profile that prevents people from inspecting your character, would that help?

I assume not, because I assume those that want to judge you would just assume you are hiding your character because you are afraid to be judged and therefore possibly inadequate in their eyes?

I know there are additional considerations in regards to this, but I wanted to specifically know your opinion on this question.

What do you guys think? How would you stop a “Gear score mentality” from cropping up in SW:TOR? Sound off in the comments!

  1. Zlatto the Toydarian says:

    A great post …. the concept of PVP, Crafting, etc loots as a ‘tier’ below end game can be interpreted by some as positive and some as negative.
    If you are not a fan of raiding I can see how it could be troublesome, but as a card caring member of the ‘I am going to over charge you for crafting you items’ guild I see this as (possibly) a indirect requirement for all guilds to support and nurture crafting within its ranks. How better to get ready to slap around to unknowns a the Eternity Vault then leveraging the combined effort of your guilds crafting skills to fill in the gaps of equipment.

  2. I personally like GS, if you use it correctly. We need to be spreading the word on how to use it properly instead of trying to find away to get rid of it. The only people who didn’t like GS in wotlk were the one’s who wanted to run ICC without farming heroics/ToC to get the proper gear first.

    • The problem with GS was once a few had completed ICC it was nearly impossible to find a group for ToC to get the required and when you finally did no one would allow you in a raid unless you had the achievement because without it you’re not a good enough raider apparently.

    • I agree with steven. I liked gs too. When you tried to do serious pugs and you wanted to do HM’s you should check the gear and the experience. If you wanted to do serious progress in a pug you had to have the appropriate gear and experience. Thats what GS and achievements were for. If you wanted to get the appropriate gear for it you could join a guild, make some friends and carry you through ex-content. So simple…

    • GS had one use for me. Back in WoW when i didn’t know a particular person, i would pick the one with the higher gear score. Why? Because the chances of that being a good player are higher if they have that higher GS. Sometimes they where better, sometimes not. It’s like going to a new restaurant, you see a dish on the menu that looks good, and one that looks OK. You choose the one that looks good because there are higher chances that you like it.

      Either way, i would rather have a well geared idiot then a badly geared idiot (god forbid they are both bad players)

      I vote yes for GS.

      • Aeudidar says:

        Ok, but using your analogy of a restaurant – picking the highest GS as being the best player is like Picking out the most expensive item on the menu and proclaiming it to be the best item available, and that rarely works out to be the case.

  3. DarthShnooky says:

    Nice post with the dev tracker.

    I seem to recall them saying that the best crafted gear in the game would be just below raid gear, and likely needed by those who are raiding. Which would be a great system. If you’re not a raider, why do you need BiS gear meant for raiding? Crafted gear that is just about as good sounds like the perfect solution to gear grind issues.

    • Zlatto the Toydarian says:

      Succinctly put sir
      I agree that if they follow this concept those into soloing and exploring would have access to all gear needed to complete their efforts, and those looking to break into raiding have a good starting point

  4. I followed this as it unfolded in the dev tracker and I really, really liked Zoeller’s counter-question at the end. This question really emphasizes a core point. Regardless of how oppressed you think you by your limited pre-launch understanding of the game (you most likely haven’t played), there is far more to consider than meets the eye.

    Game design, like political ideology, has not be perfect as yet. As a consequence, this means some of the people will really not like this. Zoeller pointing out that even the ability to hide your gear will result in false-assumptions really highlights a core challenge with the psychology behind game design. The reality is, no system is perfect.

    What I REALLY like is that BioWare are clear on their vision. They own the license, they likely got the license because of the vision for story, and now they’ve designed a game that rewards participation in the story. There’s no confusion here. And the emphasis being made by BioWare will help reduce the potential for surprise.

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