Aug 28, 2011

Posted by in Features, News | 63 Comments

Ask A Jedi: Heart Attack Over Huttball!

If you spend any time on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic forums, you are sure to have seen his passion and prose regarding all things Jedi. You know him as Professor Walsh. Each week (or thereabouts,) Professor Walsh will answer a few reader-submitted questions in order to enlighten us all with the ways of Star Wars lore and history, in this sometimes highly-opinionated piece. You can submit your own question at the end of the article!

Editor’s Note: This is a special edition of Ask A Jedi, where there are no questions from readers. Only a lecture from the Professor!

No. The title isn’t joking; well okay it is, kind of. Yes, I am recovering from a mild heart attack that I suffered a few days ago. People wondered why I suddenly vanished from posting on forums when I did (only a period of about 8 hours when I was in the middle of discussion with people) and that is the answer – the Prof’s health is pretty bad right now.

I joke, because people already found out about my heart issue and everyone knows that I was pretty worked up about Huttball. The fact is, as a designer and a major lore-freak, Huttball bothers me. I don’t like it when lore is pushed aside for gameplay. Though, seriously I don’t think that had anything to do with my heart attack contrary to the sensationalism of this very article.

The truth is that there’s a freaking war going on in The Old Republic, and I am pretty sure that Republic high command would be very angry at anyone who got caught spending their day off playing football with a Sith Inquisitor who recently murdered dozens of Republic soldiers. If that happened the Trooper responsible would be demoted or worse.

I just can’t really rationalize Huttball. I mean we were told that we couldn’t have open flight because of story, but Huttball is just fine? We couldn’t have playable non-humanoid species because of story, but Huttball is just fine?

Weren’t we told specifically that PvP would not be things like capture the flag because it was a “gamey” and was a silly thing to have going on? Didn’t they say this numerous times? I just cannot really let this go.

Yes, I know some people will say that it is just a game and we shouldn’t let this stuff get to us. It does, however, get to me. This is a lore and story driven game; it should be lore and story driven. There was no reason to add this the way it was added.

Some people say, “Well this is fine because people in Greece used to have peace treaties during the Olympics!” To those people I say that this is a totally different situation. This isn’t a state of war that goes back and forth like the Greeks had. This is a situation where an enemy who isn’t trustworthy came in, attacked the Republic unprovoked, faked a peace treaty, then they sacked the capital city of the Republic. This is the biggest point.

The Sith faked a peace talk specifically to get a cease fire, specifically to take advantage of their enemies. How in the world would anyone in the Republic believe them enough to compete in a blood sport? How in the world would anyone in the Republic forgive a Trooper who spent his time off playing a game against a murderer instead of shooting him permanently dead where he stood?

No. That’s my opinion anyway.

Onto looking at extrapolations though this raises one concern. According to a forum post by Daniel Erickson that says that he was asked by the PvP team to make Huttball because they wanted a game to play in the event that there were server faction imbalances. This concerns me.

Many months ago I was really certain that BioWare was making a mistake by overhyping the Sith. I said that this would lead to a faction imbalance. They repeatedly refuted this stating that there was no faction imbalance and they had data that backed it up. Yet now they are making a game specifically for faction imbalances.

My concern is that the situation on the test server, now that there are a lot more people playing, is I’m guessing showing a massive imbalance. If that is the case then there happens to be a LOT of people who owe the Prof a major apology. You can send those, as well as any get well soon wishes, to me here at Ask A Jedi by commenting on this article.

Anyway Ask A Jedi readers, I hate to cut this short but I really feel like something the rancor vomited up. So until next time all I can say is this: Stay safe and may the Force be with you.

  1. Your commander need never know; what happens on Nar Shaddaa, stays on Nar Shaddaa. Besides, what I do on my shore leave is my own business don’t you think?

    • Realistically what you do on shore leave isn’t your business.

      If a member of Seal Team Six was spotted (by anyone) playing Football with Osama Bin Laden on his weekend off then the citizens of the United States would have been PISSED OFF to the point that said member of Seal Team Six would not be a member of Seal Team Six any longer.

      • Starshaker says:

        I think that this would be something that soldiers would love to do! I mean you get to go murder soldiers that murdered you buddies and it is smiled upon! I mean you get to kill bad guys and people appreciate and you earn money! It is a win win! The only thing I don’t agree on is the mixing of factions… I think the only factions that could mix should be Bounty Hunter and Smuggler cause they don’t really care about Factions… Make sense?

        • Abner Ford says:

          There is no mixing of factions. There can be Empire vs. Empire or Republic vs. Republic. Georg Zoeller confirmed that.

          • Starshaker says:

            yeah I hadn’t done my walk through of new content today yet so then I don’t have a problem with Huttball LOL! :-) I would like to know and if anyone can ask this… WHAT IS GOING ON IN SEPTEMBER?! First it was massive beta… Then since they announced that though it has been kind of hush hush… Am I going to have a good chance of getting into the beta in Sept? Or is my luck going to continue to be a disappointment? Thanks guys just found this site a couple of days ago so far LOVE IT!!! Keep up the good work. May Da Force Be Wit YA!

          • just want to say, that factions can be mixed, during WWI there was the Christmas Truce :In a place where bloodshed was nearly commonplace and mud and the enemy were fought with equal vigor, something surprising occurred on the front for Christmas in 1914. The men who lay shivering in the trenches embraced the Christmas spirit. In one of the truest acts of goodwill toward men, soldiers from both sides in the southern portion of the Ypres Salient set aside their weapons and hatred, if only temporarily, and met in No Man’s Land. (wikkipedia)

            So lorewise, it makes sence too for me with huttball, Hutta is a no man´s land too
            great site, thx for all the good work

      • yeah but in this “football” game wouldn’t you still have the objective to be killing him while playing? I don’t see whats wrong with it even from a lore perspective. You can still kill the holy hell out of the other team, and it’s not like Huttball is practicing or promoting sportsmanship in any form…

    • On duty or off duty you are still a repersentive of the Republic and as such should hold your self to a higher standard.

  2. Gameplay > Story. It’s just that simple. The best story in the world as a game with poor gameplay would be a horrible failure. Games are an interactive experience and have certain strengths and weaknesses that make them unique compared to other storytelling models, such as movies, books, and comics. One of the big differences is that a game is supposed to be fun.

    A movie like Requiem for a Dream is not fun. An epic poem like the Divine Comedy or Paradise Lost is not fun. These are the kinds of stories that do not translate into a gameplay experience without so much alteration it no longer truly resembles the source material Dante’s Inferno the game for example.

    A game has to be fun, first and foremost. Great story? Awesome. Interesting character? Fantastic. But none of that matters if the game itself is not fun.

    Huttball looks like fun. Every video i’ve seen of it from Gamescom and PAX — which have been many — look like fun. Fun gameplay > story every day of the week, every month of the year, including Febtober.

    In an MMO, even a story-driven MMO like TOR, the story can only take you so far. Eventually, it is going to end. It is impossible for devs to make enough content to keep everyone playing story material for the hundreds of days worth of /played that many people will experience. So there has to be something more than story. That something more is gameplay. One type of gameplay that works well as a means of delivering ongoing content is PvP. And story-driven PvP is difficult to promote in a meaningful way.

    Because PvP has to be repeatable. Sure, capturing an enemy keep is fun at first and makes sense storywise. But after the 80th time it has been captured, the story is pointless and it’s just about gameplay. So why not skip the foreplay and get to the part that really matters, fun and rewarding gameplay. To me, Huttball is a perfect example of just that. The story is paper thin, at best. The gameplay, however, looks robust and just about as much fun as someone can have in front of a computer.

    • Starshaker says:

      I agree with you to a point… I agree with the Prof that if you are making a game that is story driven every aspect has to have story that makes sense. You can make great game play with story… Bioware has done it for years in my opinion. However, I honestly think that they can make Huttball a more story oriented experience… Make there be like a peace treaty in Nar Shadda that means if you kill someone there you actually go to the prison there and either have to serve your sentence or pay a fine… Or break out of the prison if you are powerful or stealthy enough. Great way to implement another Companion… ANYWAY I think they should have just made it more of a big deal as far as with story as opposed to just yeah its a neutral planet so anything goes… I love that they didn’t allow you to mix classes though… Anyway, that is my two cents…

  3. Wow, I can’t imagine why you had a heart attack. Jesus, dude…chill. It’s not like they put in intergalactic scrabble. Huttball is dangerous! You’re actively KILLING one another. If all you want is pure unbending lore, read SW books, watch the movies, and write fan fiction. People play games to have FUN! And Huttball looks amazingly fun. What about in game mail? That breaks lore. I never saw Luke send a telegram. Or what about the biggest lore bender? Death?! You die…then respawn. Last I check, lore said you had to be burned in a pyre or turned into a ghost. Just enjoy the damn game and relax your spastic heart.

    • The heart attack had little to do with Huttball I assure you. (See the second line of the article.) In any case, the thing is the lore in this game isn’t that you die, you are sent to a medical facility, that is the lore.

      It still doesn’t explain:
      1. BioWare said no CTF in TOR early on.
      2. Again, if a member of Seal Team Six got caught playing football with Osama Bin Laden people would have been pissed even if they were doing it in North Korea which is neutral.

      This, overall, is a bad idea.

      • to 2.: it would be a different thing if you could get north korea on your side by winning in the football game which is as far as i understood it the reason to participate in huttball lore-wise

        • Incorrect.

          The lore does not do anything to get the Hutts on your side. It is specifically and only, lore-wise, for the participant to gain money and fame.

          “Getting the Hutts on your side” is a claim people made to try to justify it, but it isn’t true or supported by lore.

          • as i said in the comment right beneath this one it has been said at gamescom or the gamescom meet and greet that it is indeed do gain favors with the hutts but also to get your mad out against the other faction because nar shaddaa is neutral.
            how same faction matches fit into that picture i don’t really understand.

          • Starshaker says:

            It is hard to use the osama analogy because the only way that would work is if there was a country that was like Las Vegas… I could see Soldiers taking shore leave if Las Vegas was in Korea or something like that. Trust me if that were the case no cameras would be allowed and no Identity required therefore a lot harder to get caught…

      • Abner Ford says:

        I don’t recall them saying no CTF. I recall them saying they want to avoid things that are too “gamey”, like just clicking on a flag and carrying that as if it’s actually going to have some impact on the game world. In this case, the gameplay and the story met in the middle, or maybe closer to the gameplay side.

        Either way, there was a compromise for the sake of fun *and* something built in that can address any possible faction imbalances. There are certainly characters in the Star Wars world that would salivate at the opportunity to be in this. There are those that would not, especially the pious Jedi. However, that’s why roleplaying is optional, and that’s why the Huttball warzone itself is optional.

    • Actually because of the Game Rating, we don’t die. We get defeated, and then either get healed up by medical droid, or wake up in a medical center.

      I’ve been on your side for many a good, and many a stupid debates on the Forums Prof. (Also get well soon)

      However, on this point I have to stand against. You. This is a lore and story driven game, but its not just a PVE Game. It has PVP too. From all I’ve witnessed of you on the boards. I don’t fancy you as much of a pvper, especially when it comes to organized kind like Warzones, and Arena. However, as a slight pvper myself I know that if the more PVP options you ahve the better.

      Why? Because if they went to launch with just 2 WZ, then they better have a 3rd ready for patch soon after because things get old. One of the greatest aspects of Warhammer Online was just the sheer number of Scenarios they had. I mean it just blew WoW away. They were all fun, and they were all different from one angle or another.

      Many, many people have give you the most simple answer that would fix your “attachment” to Lore. (BTW, Remember attachments are forbidden) YOU, and the people like you/that rp with you just ignore it.

      You keep throwing the word “War” around, but you forget the first needed world “Cold.” We are not actively fighting back and forth when the game launches, but that is a danger on its way.

      I’m sorry your rp elitist view/immersion is broken by Huttball. But I speak for the majority of PVPers, hardcore (not insanecore) to less levels of role players when I say that We are fine with the options. Freedom of choice is in the game. We choose to play it for what it is, a game. I wish you all the luck in finding great stories with your Rp friends, either with or without Huttball.

      • The funny part about all of this is simple:

        I love PVP.

        I don’t like raiding. I like RP’ing and I like PVP. Warzones I am fine with… Bullcrap capture the flag against people who are enslaving, murdering, and torturing… Negative…

        Funny that all of the NPCs we have seen in game refer to the War that is going on, as opposed to a “Cold War” and well I guess this just is an example of BioWare backing down from their original vision. This was Star Wars… They stated that a dozen times… Now they are claiming it isn’t a War.

        They should bring back the 3rd neutral faction then… Because now this game IS “Star Neutral Guy’s Adventure”

        • The Underworld FTW!

        • JediMasterWard says:

          I apologize for the length of this response:

          First and foremost, good and evil is in the eye of the beholder. In my eyes, the Council is the very epitome of evil. The Council is no different than an oligarchy from days of old, though they didn’t gain their positions through material wealth but spiritual wealth (AKA: Force). Of course, there is the Galactic Senate which operates quite like a democracy but it is corrupt because the power largely rests with the Council. The Council says, “Boo,” and everyone in the Senate jumps. Do you know what this means? Non-force users are essentially second-class citizens in the Star Wars universe. That doesn’t sound like equality to me. It also doesn’t sound “good”. It sounds “evil”.

          This is precisely what Anakin is eluding to when he is discussing politics with Padme; the Council meddles in everything, exploits political players to its own advantages, and strips the individuals of a voice. However cheesy and ridiculous Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman are as actors, the sad truth of their character’s story is that they are being denied one of the most basic human instincts – to love. It’s more than that. They’re being denied the ability to grow. Love can end badly, yes. But good things can come from that end. The Council isn’t looking for balance at all (even though they claim they are 20 or 30 dozen times [yes, yes… an exaggeration]), because they seek to eradicate bad. In fact, I often question how killing Vader is supposed to help matters. “We need to restore order and balance to the Universe, but let us kill off the one thing that is balancing us!” Now that, THAT I take issue with. I can only assume it is because they are so blinded by their own moral code that they cannot see what they are doing. You know, it’s funny because most of the criticisms about the Jedi come from Padme, not Anakin. She’ll say, “To be angry is to be human.” And he’ll respond, “I am a Jedi. I can be better than this.” Padme is the one who humanizes him, brings him back down from the clouds with his fancy schmancy lightsaber, and slaps him upside the head with words of wisdom. Of course, the beautiful thing about the dialogue is most viewers often miss this because they are so focused on Padme refusing Anakin’s affections. But these are two different conflicts. And honestly, I believe she is avoiding his advances simply because she is worried he has been too far removed from his humanity. Who did that? Not the Emperor! (Although he is a bastard.) The Jedi did.

          Leading me to my next point which is, one could easily argue that it is the absence of interpersonal conflict in Anakin’s life which leads to his downfall. Sleep with the enemy for Christ’s sake! Or the Force. Whichever works. I mean, even the dumbest CIA movies and television shows depict the lead character undergoing conditioning where they are put in circumstances which will test their ability to perform under pressure. How the hell does someone who is disallowed from experiencing anger learn how to subvert it in a moment of crisis? Yeah. They don’t. Clearly. I honestly don’t know why they didn’t just give lightsabers to the 18 million copies of Jango Fett running around disguised as Storm Troopers. There you go Council! A group of conditioned robots without feelings for you to boss around on a whim! And this is how they are treating humans! Like robots. (Actually, no one ever says if any these cloned Jango Fett’s feels emotion. I would assume so.
          So, I wholeheartedly believe that if anyone is “evil” and to blame for the Republic’s demise it is the Council. Yes. Responsibility should be placed on the shoulders of those who were so blinded by spirituality they could not behold the awe of humanity. Odd if you think about it – to trust so fully in something you cannot see to the detriment of the thing that you can. So the Jedi Council is the menace. Principled? Yes. Ethical? Mostly. But entirely blinded by their feelings as dictated by the force.

          Adding to this, I have every intention of playing a light sided Sith when this game launches. You’re wrong to believe that every Sith playing Huttball will be morally bankrupt. You’re debasing Huttball based on extreme good morality and extreme bad morality. Maybe a Republic character plays Huttball because they don’t identify with these extremes and they can see both good and bad qualities in the Republic and the Empire? Maybe a Republic character plays Huttball with the intention of making sure that the he has the ball longer, gains more fame, and rises through the ranks faster than his teammates so that the Sith don’t gain any more power than they already are? I said “sleep with the enemy” and I mean it. There are a million and one reasons to interact with someone you abhor. Talking to, playing with, and learning about something that conflicts with your morals gives you a better idea of how to cripple the people that disagree with you. I don’t remember seeing any Jedi run from Sith in the movies. It was the fact that the Empire drew fire on the Republic that spurred their battles. I’m pretty sure that if the Jedi could have avoided killing anyone or anything, they would have chosen that option instead. So, if you have a Sith that isn’t swinging his lightsaber at your head, and is instead helping you win a game, you have absolutely no reason to be slicing his head off anyway. So, from a pure story perspective, Huttball can and does fit.

  4. Okay first off i don’t remember if i have read this or heard this at gamescom in person or at the gamescom meet and greet but it has been stated that nar shaddaa is a neutral planet so no open fighting is allowed and that huttball is a way to get in good favors with the hutts.

  5. It’s not the imbalance of one faction over the other in all of SWTOR it’s specifically for one server. Over time, especially, the numbers are not going to be even and queue times may get ridiculous, except for Huttball. I have no problem at all with it.

  6. It’s a cold war. In theory… “on paper”… both sides are at peace. They do maintain some peaceful exchanges… in the Black Talon Flashpoint for example… you (as a Sith) are contacted by what seems to be Master Satele Shan who is quite cordial and looking to defuse the situation.

    So really people need to stop saying they are at war cause that’s not the reality. They have squirmishes left and right but they are not at all out war.

  7. To me it is stranger trying to think why a Jedi would play Huttball, as opposed to why a Trooper or really any other would. A Sith you can understand, really, they’d play for the sake of being able to test themselves, following Malgus’ philosophy of needing conflict. I suppose I will continue believing until a satisfactory reason is provided that the player Jedi are more akin to Revanchists and seek to test themselves in battle like the Sith, but who knows?

    It is a gameplay decision, and it isn’t the worst thing they could have done, I mean I played WoW for 8 years, so I have I imagine become slightly immune to gameplay decisions taking precedence over lore, and even lore being purely invented to satisfy them .I doubt Bioware will go the Blizzard route re:lore though, I just cannot see them doing it.

    • Abner Ford says:

      Yeah, if someone is playing their character a light side Jedi and then plays Huttball, it doesn’t make sense. But every other character in the game has a reason to be in it. It’s not “football”, it’s a violent, gladiatorial competition against hated rivals. As you said, more brash or aggressive Jedi would welcome a chance to get a crack against a Sith lowlife.

      My problem is with the lame name hah.

  8. Lore wise this could be hard to explain but look art it this way. You get into trouble with the Hutts much like Luke and the gang in ROTJ. Instead of a Sarlaac pit though your being made to fight to the death in Hutt Ball.

    Lore or no lore it still looks fun and I for one plan to enjoy it.

  9. QuiteDrunkOnGin says:

    Hi, firstly great site and I’m glad you’re back and updating things. I really hope that your health is on the mend.

    Secondly, it’s a game. Plain and simple. Huttball represents a game mechanic to make things fun and lively. From a lore point of view this doesn’t make sense. But there is a boat load of content already there for you if you want it. I reckon anyone who follows the lore will have too much on their hands already to spare time for Huttball.

    For those who want a break from such things, there is a gameplay mechanic that is sure to bring a smile to your face and help you enjoy the game a bit more.

    Personally, I think the lack of a space battle sim a la X-Wing / Tie-fighter (yeah I am that old!) is probably the biggest tragedy for me. But hey, the alternative looks pretty fun to play even if its perhaps a bit noddy.

    At the end of the day, the story, flashpoints and operations look brilliant and so do the actual PvP warzones. Huttball looks like a fun distraction but it is by no means mandatory so I dont see it as that much of an issue.

    • Tie Fighter (and expansion) is still one of my favorite games ever. Hopefully they will make a new game like that someday. But it’s not realistic to expect them to include a whole other game, which would likely need a whole different game engine in order to work as a mini game within an MMORPG. I’m cool with the shooter on rails, reminds me of Rebel Assault [if you remember X-Wing you must remember Rebel Assault :)]

      • QuiteDrunkOnGin says:

        Oh yes, I remember rebel assault and I quite liked it too so I’m quite happy that they have this in the game. It’ll be a nice little aside.

        However with Huttball. I think it has great potential. I worry about it being an eSport in the pro-gamer circuit a la Starcraft. I dont think it’s the right platform for that level of competition.

        However, on the eSports side of things, it would be pretty good to have spectator modes for all PvP. Heck it wouldn’t be that immersion breaking to have ‘satellite imagery’ from orbit checking on the progress of the battle below that you could observe…?

        However I would imagine spectator mode would be pretty boring after a few goes so perhaps the effort to implement this would be too great considering the potential gains.

        Anyway… I think I need to go back to my childhood and see if I can get x-wing to work on Win7!

  10. “attacked the Republic unprovoked,” are you shitting me look at the lore the Republic nearly committed Genocide of the sith and you dont think that is a reason to come back and start tearing shit up?…

    • You do know that Dural was wrong right? That there was no genocide? You also know that the reason the Republic attacked the Sith in the GHW was because the Sith attacked the Republic unprovoked right… Also the Sith destroyed a number of planets, and an entire Solar System.

      Yes, unprovoked.

  11. You are, actually, overlooking historical precedent. During World War I, 1914 specifically, there was a “Christmas Truce,” an unofficial bit of peace that slipped in a very bloody war. During that brief peace, the Allied forces and Germans did, actually, play a game of football, I believe.

    Of course, that’s isolate, but it proves that combatants don’t always do what you think they will.

    During the Cold War, we have the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” as the United States team faces down – and defeats – the Soviet hockey team.

    The Cold War had casualties. Soviets were involved with the deaths of Western Allies, Western Allies were responsible for the deaths of Soviets.

    What The Old Republic’s galactic landscape provides is a more “citified” (not civilized, but let’s say having better infrastructure) field on which these games can be played.

    Attacking the sport whilst allowing dead characters to respawn at will… which, honestly, is the less likely?

    There are priests that race bicycles professionally. There are monks that tour the world doing shows of their martial arts prowess. Being in an order, religious or otherwise, is not a prohibition against competition.

    Finally, if there were such a place as Nar Shadda, you can bet there would be contingents from both sides. Competitions may be the “excuse” they’d use to be there, but the real purpose would be to extract every ounce of information possible.

    Huttball would give spies an IDEAL location to observe enemy tactics, weapons, and chatter. “Loose lips sink ships,” and there are going to be plenty of very loose lips around a blood sport where we can presume intoxicants will be freely available.

    I think BioWare is trying to show you that the Star Wars universe is more than just these two factions warring. You don’t just send two “peoples” against each other. War weariness can bring down an empire… Just ask the Germans of World War I. They weren’t beaten on the field of battle, they were undermined by war and privation.

    Keeping the “masses” happy during any conflict is a serious concern. To me, Huttball appears to be that very thing.

    Lore may not cover it, but you cannot run an Empire or a Republic without catering to (read: appeasing) the folks who stay at home, work the factories, and grow the food your forces will eat. A revolution at home could easily knock your “side” out of war.

    Just as the Russians bowed out of World War I.

    Canon is like a theatrical stage, it shows you the bulk of what you need to understand a given story. However, whether you think of the “offstage” area as a continuation of that imaginary “scene” or you try to understand the rigging, lighting, and carpentry that goes into any stage production, there is far more going on than just what you see.

    Huttball is offstage, stageleft, just beside all the other things that keep the populous amused.

    • Bravo Checkers, that was well put and better than what I said.

      • Not really. He is completely wrong. You cannot equate *anything* that has ever been done in either WWI, WWII, or even the Cold War to what the Sith did.

        The Sith did atrocities that make Hitler look like a karking saint.

        Note that I am JEWISH and am saying that.

        • Sorry, but it’s not about good and evil. It’s not about body-count. It’s about opportunity.

          Huttball is a perfect opportunity to view weapons IN-USE against your own weapons and armor. There would be teams of analysts on both sides observing the damage, techniques, and effects on defensive abilities/armor.

          Opposing forces spend inordinate amounts of resources and effort to get intelligence on weapons, agents, officers, tactics and techniques.

          Huttball is on-going weapons-testing. It is an intelligence service’s wet dream.

          And, honestly, you have that backwards. You can’t compare an imaginary universe to what’s happened in the real world. History is tangible proof, anything else is wishful thinking. Wishful thinking of creative writers set down in text or on screen.

          Imaginary atrocities do not compare, in any way, to real-world history. If you really believe what you’ve said in the above post, you seriously, and I do mean seriously, need to spend some more time studying history – not just the events, numbers, and times, but the actuality of what occurred.

        • Johnny5ive says:

          Yeah, you cant compare what the Sith did to what nazi germany did because the Sith aren’t real. Lets not forget that Star Wars, and TOR are both works of fiction.

          That being said, Hutball looks fun. I’m a big fan of story and lore, I read a ton of SW novels I have the rebel alliance symbol and Galactic Empire Symbol tattooed on each arm. I’m a big big Star Wars fan…

          I’m also a big game fan, and Huttball looks like a fun game. When I play Hutball it will be as an escape from the story and lore for a time.

          It’s just like WoW I love the story in WoW but I still love playing CTF in WSG even though it makes no sense.

          I’m able to occasionally separate lore mechanics from gameplay mechanics and not freak out about it. It leads to a far more enjoyable and less stressful experience if you ask me.

  12. SorcererBiggz says:

    I’m glad Walsh is no longer a game developer.

    • I still design from time to time actually. Also I get paid pretty well when I do and I have a fairly impressive resume. I’ve also been *100% correct* about every prediction I have ever made about TOR.

      • You have gotten progressively more bitter about this game. I find it hard to believe much of what you say at this point. Clearly this game is not for you, and that is ok.

        • You can find it hard to believe all you want but… I called the contents of the trailers… I called the advanced classes and their roles *months* before they were announced… I called a marketing imbalance for the Sith and that was confirmed to have existed… The only thing I have said that hasn’t been proven so far was a massive faction imbalance due to BioWare’s improper marketing… And now they are concerned about an imbalance…

          You can decide the rest for yourself.

          • I have decided. I have found your bitterness towards the game to be a black eye for AAJ. You posts have gone from someone who had a critical eye for the game, to someone who just seems to whine.

          • I’m sorry you feel that Hero. I’ve always been critical of design. This isn’t whining. If it was whining I wouldn’t have given any reasons, and I did, clear and comparable ones.

            Look, I’m sorry if you think I am whining and attacking BioWare, I’m not, but I’m going to tear into anything that I think is a bad idea and that includes Huttball.

            If you think I am a black eye on AAJ… Well… No critic, no matter what their preferences, can ever please everyone.

          • Abner Ford says:

            The reason why you can be considered a “black eye” is not what you say, it’s how you say it. You come off extremely arrogant and difficult to have an actual dialogue with, and I know that opinion extends to many people on the official forums.

            You should re-evaluate your approach to talking to people if you want to be respected by your audience.

          • In response to this…

            Many people also *like* how I say things. This is given to the fact of the extreme amount of positive feedback I get. So while some people don’t like how I do things, the same amount, if not more, do like how I do things.

            I’m a critic.

            I’m not here to debate my opinion. I’m here to *give* my opinion. I’m not here for people to change my mind and have a “dialogue” with.

            I give my opinions. I answer questions *with* my opinions. I give my take on things.

            That is what critics *DO*.

            Have you ever read a Roger Ebert review? He doesn’t sit down and discuss his opinion with other film goers.

            Have you ever listened to a report by Ben Crosshaw? He doesn’t point counter point his viewers.

            I’m not here to debate my opinion usually… That is because I am a critic.

          • Ah, but here’s the distinction. Roger Ebert writes for a newspaper and does a television show. He’s involved in older forms of media. As media has changed and developed, he actually has engaged in debates and ongoing conversations with some critics — especially regarding his stance on video games not being an art form.

            The major difference, however, is that you and I are on an Internet site with a feedback commentary system. By posting here or on the official forums you are engaging in an environment designed for debate and back-and-forth. You may see yourself as a critic, but you are utilizing a social and interactive medium in which to express your criticism.

            There’s nothing at all wrong with that. You should not, however, think of the Internet as a place in which commentary does not exist. To be a useful and productive critic in 2011, you should expect to need to engage in conversation and debate with others. All of us are critics here, really. We’re discussing a piece of interactive entertainment in a way that is critical and (usually) thoughtful. This is a place for debate and discourse so you should expect to engage in it.

  13. Where in the lore are there Bounty Hunter healers….Sith healers…Talent trees…leveling…gear…etc and so on? If your so worried about the game breaking your fragile view simple don’t play and keep to your books. Every game based on IP has to break away from it…LOTRO and Warhammer did. SWTOR is no different. As it was mentioned before a PvP match like Alderan can fit in the story once or twice but after that you really need to take gameplay into account.

    • Come on… where in lore do you see them go to the bathroom? Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. And it’s surely not unbelievable to see it added.

      Talent trees? That’s a game mechanic – why not say, ‘having to press ‘W’ to walk forward – a pretty poor justification.

      Prof. Walsh’s criticism is legitimate and one I agree with, given Bioware’s justifications for leaving other (IMO essential) things out.

  14. I’m all for discussing the game and concerns about faction imbalances, but this post left me feeling a little uncomfortable. Am I supposed to disregard your health issues or sympathize? You’ve circled your post with your heart attack, and now I feel obligated to wish you well or risk feeling like a jackass. So, in that vein, Get Well Soon, complete stranger!

    I’m in no way a lore person. It was only this month that I’ve finally even seen all the Star Wars movies. But, the important point to me is that they are focusing on the fact that there could be a faction imbalance and are already implementing a workaround for that. I think that’s awesome.

    (Obligatory WoW reference:) There is nothing worse than sitting around for a half hour waiting for a battleground to pop, while you know the Alliance are getting instant or near-instant queue times. I love that SWTOR will have a solution to that problem in the event it gets out of hand.

    I completely agree with those who’ve said that you’re going to be playing a game, and the lore will be broken time and time again. I’d rather the game sacrifice a few things in order to become popular and successful, and things like Huttball are a great way to bring in $15 per month from people like me, who don’t care a bit for the sacredness of the lore.

  15. royaldufus says:

    lets leave it at this: ITs just a game calm down about it.

  16. Sorry if this was stated early and i just missed it but the point of the Olympics is the perfect rational for this game. And the professors arguement of the Greeks never having an enemy as bad as the sith is poor. Because the allies had the Nazis and the Olympics still went on IN germane with hitler giving the opening speech so yes, things like this do go on. It doesn’t matter if anyone thinks its right or not its the rules of the game and if people don’t like it they don’t have to participate.

  17. Johnny5ive says:

    So is huttball really that much more lore breaking than doing the same dungeon over and over again and killing bosses that you have already killed several times before?

    • It is… It really is…

      Yes, you will do the same dungeon and fight the same enemy numerous times. (Fight, not kill, characters in this game in most circumstances are not killed as they usually end up in a med center.) Yes, this is jarring, however… The deed itself is still:

      “Go protect X, stop the Sith, rescue Y, defeat Z.”

      Any Trooper, Jedi, or Smuggler light side, dark side, or other, has every reason to do any mission.

      Hutt Ball is the only thing that specifically requires people to break lore, or to do something distinctly “out of character” for one reason or another.

      Yes people make up their own justifications, “I am doing it to gain favor from the Hutts!” they cry… Even though they really aren’t… At no point will your behavior in Huttball help the Republic because that isn’t what Huttball isn’t about.

      Huttball is about participating in underground arenas for money.

      Also, for those people who say they are doing it to earn money to help the Republic… They are also helping the Sith by providing opponents for them.

      Heck, logically, the Republic should *not* participate in Huttball at all so that Sith constantly fight over themselves leaving Sith space less defended for Republic Assaults against them.

      Not to mention that would avoid the public backlash that would come from the Republic citizens.

  18. Hey Prof. I have an idea. If you don’t like Huttball. Then don’t play it. Problem solved.

  19. Firstly this game needs people like Professor Walsh to ask the hard questions like “please explain X,Y,Z” and if the answer is good enough then we need people to say so.

    Secondly i believe that the story around Huttball could be a lot “thicker” and a previous post where someone described it as “paper thin” was spot on.

    Thirdly i support Hutball in TOR.

    One thing i disagree with professor is they way you compare the level of “evilness” for lack of a better word, from star wars lore to history. Its all relative to the universe you exist in. In star wars Hitler never existed, earth doesn’t exist, so consider that the level of atrocities in star wars are on the same level because that’s all they have known, so therefor cross faction sport is possible, because the Jedi wont be sitting there going well what the sith did was really bad this time compared to WWII so we are not going to play hutball with them.

    Also TOR itself creates lore around certain things, for example, TOR lore allows for jedi to peruse love interests, this will result in dark side “points” but this is an absolute “No No” for a jedi during the time period. That means if those choices are allowed then the choice for a jedi to stop by Nar Shaddaa and play football with Osama bin laden is feasible.

    Also it is completely feasible for a smuggler or bounty hunter to participate in Hutball as the are more neutral in their allegiances, this also applies for agents as they can choose what means they will use to gather info from the enemy.

    This only leaves the Jedi consular, while it unlikely that a diplomat would participate in this type of blood sport, this is the part where story must give way to game play because in the end it is a game that people pay to play its not an interactive star wars documentary.

  20. First: Sorry to hear about your heart attack, heard about it from Lethality when I met him this weekend.

    Second: Emmanuel Luschi said that about 40% of the beta population plays a Jedi Knight. If there’s a faction imbalance, I don’t think it favors the Sith.

  21. This sort of thing is merely one of those things that one takes a hit to their “suspension-of-disbelief” in lieu of the fact that it’s an MMO. It’s a far more overreaching and expansive experience than say…reading a novel…or watching a film. It’s interactive, it’s open-ended in regards to the scope of player it’s trying to reach, and it’s going to have a thing or two that doesn’t jibe with what one expects from a factual representation of the Star Wars galaxy.

    Huttball, as far as I”m concerned, is one of those things that I can ignore. Just like I ignore any EU novel past Vector Prime, or like how a friend of mine ignores the Prequel Trilogy in total. For us, respectively, they don’t exist. It’s not different than Pocket D in CoX. It makes NO sense for superheroes and supervillains to be hanging out in a club, together. NONE….NONE AT ALL. Yet there it is. It’s done as a sort of meta-idea. Something that reaches out from a 4th-wall perspective and allows you to engage without having to explain it all away.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

  22. Get well Walsh. Hopefully you get to take it easy.

  23. “I mean we were told that we couldn’t have open flight because of story, but Huttball is just fine? We couldn’t have playable non-humanoid species because of story, but Huttball is just fine?”

    I didn’t believe the sincerity of those reasons any more than Apple’s ‘security’ justification for keeping iPad/iPhone as closed systems.

  24. This is a game! I think you are taking your need for lore to dramatic levels. If it is “immersion” breaking for you I suggest you don’t play it but stop the QQing. Myself, I want a game that is enjoyable, has variety and is balanced in terms of PvP. Huttball solves this by allowing faction competition in a way that still has some sense of buy in from a lore perspective(It is a underground sport).

  25. If we follow your logic then Jedis should never be given dark side choices. It’s a game. And tbh if u think it ‘breaks the immersion’ u can simply avoid playin it. I personally think it’s a innovative way for friends who play on the same side hv a chance to compete. It’d be real boring if Jedis are only allowed to ‘spar’ with training sabers as the only means to PvP with each other.

  26. I agree nothing like paying a friendly game with the people your at war with that have just take hundreds of troopers lives both on there side and on yours.IT MAKES NO SENSE.

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