Nov 8, 2011

Posted by in News | 17 Comments

Fan Site Summit: Ilum Open World PvP Detailed

So here we are at the end of a long day one of the Fan Site Summit. Games were played, secrets were shared, lasers were tagged. It was another incredible day at BioWare’s Austin studio learning all we can about everyone’s favorite upcoming MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Though there was a full slate of activity today, for this report, I want to talk about Ilum. As you may recall, BioWare introduced the planet Ilum as the first open world objective-based PvP zone at PAX Prime in August. Though brief, the glimpse we saw then of walker vehicles traversing the frozen tundra and legions of troops charging into The Battle of Ilum was enough to get the PvP juices flowing.

We were excited today when BioWare’s Gabe Amatangelo, Lead Endgame Designer for Star Wars: The Old Republic came in to talk to us about this resource-rich planet. He was able to provide some details and answer some very specific questions that have been on the mind of the community. Although we can’t show you any new screenshots or other visuals we saw, we just wanted to give a recap of the highlights here:

  • Ilum is a level 50 end-game zone
  • About half of the planet’s size is used for the world PvP objective, and it’s a large planet
  • There are 5 control points in the zone: a Republic and Empire base at the north and south, as well as 3 central resources
  • All 5 points must be under control simultaneously for victory
  • Certain control points engage/deploy walkers that can and need to be take down by special shoulder-mounted rocket launchers, and perhaps other means. It takes a good 10 seconds to fire one of these rockets
  • Victory conditions award a buff that can stack, which awards extra Valor points (earned during other forms of PvP such as Warzones)
  • This buff is faction-wide
  • The status is persistent, no timers for the game to artificially start or “reset” – it’s always on
  • There are rare crafting resources available throughout the zone
  • Zone can hold hundreds of players
  • Design accounts for population differences
  • Operation (raid) group size is 24 players. (Note: PvE Operation instanced content is designed for 8 or 16, but the group itself can have 24 people in it.)

You can get a sneak-peek at Ilum from our video at the Star Wars: The Old Republic panel at PAX Prime this year. I can tell you that as exciting as this video makes it look, it’s 10x more impressive on every level seeing it live!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below and it may jog some other facts we learned today loose :)

  1. This sounds extremely fun, especially the large scale of the battle. :)

  2. Pong Krell says:

    Was nice to have actual video as well as the write up.

    They didn’t do much more than show the same stuff we’ve seen but at least Gabe talked about it in more depth.

    I’m still not convinced there won’t be dominance through poulation balance and if you can exchange warzone commendations for mercenary (albeit at an unfavourable rate) then people may just farm warzones for the best gear.

  3. So its basically a modified Wintergrasp/Tol Barad zone?

    And yea, that video didnt make it look exciting at all. Maybe to a fanboi sure, but not to someone who looks at it realistically.

  4. I do like the sound of a resource rich planet. One thing I enjoyed in Wintergrasp was the higher end resources to gather, as it forced me into a PvP environment (I don’t normally PvP) daily. It was worth the risk of a fight to have access to better raw materials.

  5. If you guys have a chance to ask, I have a question about “Design accounts for population differences”

    What types of mechanics will be in places? Will it be a buff for the side that has fewer people or something more gradual, such as an incremental decrease in time to capture objectives based on player imbalance?

  6. •Design accounts for population differences

    Were there any details on the specifics of this system?

  7. So, we can expect that Empire will maintain control of Ilum and therefore have semi-permanent access to the Valor buff while Republic players are forced to ‘suck it up’.

    Yep, that sounds the Mythic devs at work.

    • Acctually it sounds pretty smart. first off it’s a bonus for winning, but you can only use it while not fighting in that area. So it encourages the losing side to go fight and the winning side to go play warzones.

      • Right. And the winning side gets more bonuses, more Valor, and ultimately better gear at a faster rate. Having better gear leads to even more domination.

        Warhammer, all over again.

  8. Brainysam75 says:

    So does that mean they changed the gropu size. I know it had been 4 at one time?

  9. actiblizz says:

    •Operation (raid) group size is 24 players. (Note: PvE Operation instanced content is designed for 8 or 16, but the group itself can have 24 people in it.)

    Any clarification of that meaning that raids are or aren’t zergable?

    • The content is tuned for 8 or 16 players, but you can have a 24 player raid group. So for open world events like PvP or open world bosses, or just genera merriment. But you can only take the designated numbers into instances.

      Similar to WoW, raid groups are 40, but the size of the content is only for 25 people, so only the first 25 get in.

  10. HottesIce says:

    Yes this sounds great. I hope it’s not just advertisement for the game and they realy check out what can be improved.

    My favorite property of this o-pvp world is that it’s persistent. WWhat you work for will have persitence, until the enemy conquered it back. The addition of fact that player numbers are not influencing winning/loosing makes this realy an amazing experience. It will be fought back and forth all the time because no one will be realy stronger.

  11. How can the buff stack?? (Victory conditions award a buff that can stack)

    I mean if it has no reset timer its either on or off?

    Or does it have a timer regardless that just ticks for an hour and wont stop if you lose control over Ilum.

    Or what if lets say empire has all 5 bases gets a buff then republic attacks one base , empire gets it back to 5 bases and gets another buff?

    mhh would love to hear some specific mechanics


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