Aug 22, 2011

Posted by in News | 5 Comments

Yellow Posts: EU Testing, Cross-Faction Chat, Huttball, and Loot!

Even with many of the developers and community managers away at gamescom, many of them still found the time to post on the official forums. This week, forum poster Hjaw asked the devs in his thread “EU Testing – we need info!” if they could elaborate on when EU beta testing would start. Currently, a few people from the EU are in testing, but a full-blown EU server beta test hasn’t begun yet. Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Manager, took to the forums to answer:

Hello from the very loud GamesCom showfloor…

We know how much everyone in Europe is eager to test The Old Republic and while it’s been a slow process to get to the starting line, we’re really close.

Right now Game Testing is ongoing as it has been for quite a while. While some Europeans are in this program and are testing, there are more testers from other countries.

We will be adding more testers during September, including testers from Europe. This will increase the number of European testers by a considerable amount. As part of this increase, we’re hoping to add a number of European Guilds.

Beta Testing Weekends in the EU will start after the US, but not much later. That’s about all we can commit to right now.

Obviously, I’ve given you no dates or timeframes here, but as we get closer, we’ll have more to say. September isn’t that far away, after all.

Mr. Reid followed up that post with further details a little bit later, and in the interest of saving space, you can read that post here.

Forum poster Bobiefatt started the thread “Confirmed – Rested XP will be in the game” when Mr. Reid posted the confirmation to twitter. Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer, posted some additional details about the rested XP system:

To shed a little more light on how the system works right now: you earn Rest XP by going to a Cantina. You continue to earn Rest XP over time if you are logged out, provided you log out in a Cantina. Currently, Rest XP is capped at (meaning you can only accumulate up to) roughly a level’s worth of experience.

As long as you have Rest XP, you earn double XP from any creature kills. Rest XP does not contribute to other sources of experience (completing missions, exploration, codex discovery, etc). 

A heated debate about cross-faction chat sprung to life on the forums due to TenTonHammer’s interview with SW:TOR Game Director James Ohlen. Forum poster Tohrazer created a poll in his thread “no cross faction chat??” where he wanted to know what people thought about cross-faction chat in SW:TOR (as of this writing 61.5% are in favor of it and 38.5% are against). Apparently, the participants got a little off-topic and confused about the system so Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer, stepped in to clarify the situation:


Let’s back up for a minute and clarify what’s going on here.

Nothing has changed since San Diego Comic Con.

As discussed at SDCC, the decision was made to separate the general chat channels by faction. However, this decision ONLY affects the planet-wide chat channels such as “General Chat.” If you’re standing next to another player (local chat), you can talk to them regardless of what faction you’re part of.

The only thing we removed, as already mentioned at Comic-Con, was the ability to communicate with the opposing faction across the entirety of a planet to avoid the issues (like griefing, abuse, and other factors which led to a very unpleasant experience) which we saw way too often in testing.

We discussed the option of hiding the global chat and defaulting it off, but ultimately the ratio of negative incidents was too high to justify that. The reasoning here is simple: We really didn’t want to create a game option that essentially says “[x] Give me an 80% chance of having an infuriating and annoying chat experience,” and putting the onus on the user (“you can just /ignore them”) is not our idea of a quality game experience.

Removing planet-wide cross-faction chat radically reduces the amount of reach a misbehaving player has before account action can be taken. We’ll likely add the ability to filter local cross faction chat as well.

Hopefully that clears it up a bit.

To me, this decision is a no brainer. Sure, cannon wise everyone speaks basic and can communicate with each other, but that doesn’t mean that they should. Even in beta testing, BioWare has discovered a high amount of inappropriate conversations taking place across factions. In addition, I think everyone would be in favor of trying to avoid situations where a lone Jedi would show up to an all Empire group quest (awkward…!). Griefing, harassment, and confusion is not fun for anyone and implementing ways to reduce all that from happening is generally a good thing. For even more information, check out this post from Mr. Zoeller a little while later in the same thread.

To go a long with that topic, forum poster Alvronde seemed to think that you could group up and quest with members of the opposing faction, and if that is the case, why can’t he create a guild with those people? In his thread “If you can quest with the other faction, why can’t you guild with them?”, Georg Zoeller again stepped in to clarify that no, you cannot group or guild with members of the opposing faction:

You cannot quest with the other faction. The quest content between the factions is 100% different.

I guess that answers your original question as well, right?

One of the biggest reveals this week at gamescom was the new Warzone, Huttball. As more and more information started to come out about the Warzone, some people on the forums (specifically Naggroth’s thread “New Announcement at Games COM! HUTT BALL! MUST SEE!”) thought that story-wise it was unrealistic that a a game like Huttball would be held in a time of war (like the time period that SW:TOR is set in). Georg Zoeller once again responded to put the naysayers to rest:

Is it so hard to believe that the best warriors of various, often hostile, factions would come together at a neutral place to test each other’s prowess and ability in various ways? Especially if there’s the chance that some accidents may happen to the other team on the way?

It’s not like that’s unheard of, even during a cold war between mortal enemies

It was also learned that the teams in the Huttball matches could be played as Republic vs. Empire, Empire vs. Empire, or Republic vs. Republic. This, again, didn’t sit well with some forum goers and Daniel Erickson, Lead Writer, responded as to why this could happen from a lore perspective:

Hey Folks,

Totally fair question. I wrote Huttball personally and gave it my big stamp of approval. Huttball came from a request by the pvp team to have a mode that could mix sides in the event of unbalanced factions. So it’s not Empire vs Republic playing insane death sports, it’s anyone who wants to win some prizes and flex their muscles going to Nar Shaddaa, gambling center of the galaxy, and blowing off some steam. Story is important but so are alternate, setting-appropriate activities that give some depth and variety to the world and the gameplay experience. There is a crazy Hutt that likes running huge arena events for his amusement. Your choice if that’s the way your Bounty Hunter enjoys spending his downtime.

Hope that helps,
Daniel Erickson

Ohh, and the huttball itself will explode if a single character holds onto it for too long (talk about hot potato!):

If you hold the ball to long it does explode in your face and leave a crater in the ground where you were.

Brian “Balgosa Windspire” Arndt
Senior Video Editor

Lastly, we’ll end on everyone’s favorite topic: Loot! Forum poster Neloish, created a thread titled “Getting concerned about endgame… PC gamer article” where he was concerned (duh) about loot containers and raid lockouts that he heard about. Stephen Reid gave a long response in his thread to alleviate some of his concerns:

To clear some of this up…

First of all, loot containers. After every boss is defeated during a normal difficulty Operation, every player will receive a loot container. Inside that container each player gets a chance for loot specific to them, or commendations that can be exchanged for other loot. So to be specific (because this seems to be confused by PC Gamer) that happens after each boss is defeated in a normal difficulty Operation, and not just once at the end of the Op. (There are multiple bosses in Operation: Eternity Vault for example.)

Second, Gabe was misquoted a bit on the lockout thing (it’s a bit loud here on the show floor!). There are lockouts, but they are designed to be ‘flexible’. This means, for example, if I have killed Boss 1 in an Op group and Gabe has killed Boss 2 with another Op group, then I can join Gabe’s Op group and together we can defeat Boss 3 – but Gabe can’t go back to Boss 1, until the lockout expires.

As Gabe has said there are going to be difficulty modes. We’ve spoken about ‘normal’ and ‘hard’ modes so far, which will be available for both 8 and 16 player Op groups.

We’ll talk more about difficulty modes and how they work later, but suffice to say, Gabe and his team are focused on making sure endgame content is both accessible and challenging.

From what we have seen at gamescom and what has been posted on the forums, it appears that the endgame content is shaping up quite nicely. What do you guys think? Is there anything that you would still like to see added to the endgame system? Is there anything that BioWare have announce you would like to be taken out?

  1. question about the beta testing- when and how do we join the beta team? i run a guild on wow and we have over 300 people that have been talking about trying out star wars and are talking of quiting if the game play fits there liking better then wow. can some one help me on this issues thanks.
    i have started a guild and we have 11 people signed up so far, thanks again

    • You’ve done all you need to do! As long as you have at least 10 people, that’s the only criteria to get selected for Guild Testing. To get the guild formed in the game automatically once it launches, you just have to make sure at least 4 people have entered their pre-order code by then.

  2. I swear …. I check my gmail twice as much as before. WIth the limited chance at beta combined with the guild beta …. my OCD just

    sorry had to stop mid-post and check gmail to see if the invite came in

  3. These guys do a great job with all the questions on the boards especially considering the fact that the same questions are repeated at least 100 a day with different wording.

    All Dev posts are usually pretty detailed unless it involves the 2 millionth request for a release date lol.

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