Flashpoint and Operations Panel Highlights and Q&A!
Lady R was kind enough to report in with the latest from the PVE-centric panel.
• James Ohlen
• Daniel Erickson
• Gabe Amantangelo
• Georg Zoeller
• Damion Schubert
• Emmanuel Lusinchi
Operations and Flashpoint Panel
- 38% of level 50 players have played an Operation
- There are bugs, especially in Etenity Vault – more frustrating than other areas due to time invested, level of reward, and repeatable content
- Putting a high priority on fixing Ops bugs
- KP launched more smoothly – had the help of select guilds for testing and feedback, which really helped improve
- Looting system in normal difficulty needs improvements. Only got part of what they had wanted into it – wanted to make the loot system PuG friendly, but with destined loot, you sometimes get repeats of what you already have. So in the next patch, it’s going to work more like normal loot rather than destined loot. Want to eventually make destined loot tradeable for the short term, but not there yet. So until they are – going back to the regular loot system
- Existing operations are relatively easy. Hard and nightmare are much more challenging. Hard and nightmare modes give same loot, which is currently problematic. Currently, nightmare modes give achievements, but not different loot.
- New Op, Explosive Conflict will be harder than current Operations, designed to require more coordination. Want to really focus on the coordination and execution between the players for the emphasis of EC. This will be considered the first of the Tier 2 operations.
- Nightmare mode for EC will not launch in 1.2, mostly because it still needs serious testing and debugging before it is ready.
- New ‘Story’ difficulty mode for all Operations. Story mode will replace normal difficulty mode – overarching story arcs should be experienced by everyone. Story mode can be played without having to gear up. To compensate, hard mode is being made more challenging.
- Orange gear viability in end game – tiered modifications available from Operations. Can RE operation gear for appearances. You’ll be able to wear what you want in Opertions with the extraction of mods and set bonuses.
- Pre-destined loot in normal mode going away in 1.2.
- Future of Ops – bug fixing is the highest priority for Ops, longer time period to test and gather feedback for major content patches, goal is to have better end game testing.
- Character copy to PTS is in progress, so there are more people on the public test server.
- More operations coming – at least two more are currently in development.
- Want players to fight the boss, not the game – more info given onscreen and through boss animations. Less given through buffs.
- Flashpoints are enjoyable, need better endgame progression in flashpoint.
- They are aware of the difficulties in finding groups and are working on a solution.
- New Flashpoint – Lost Island, will finish the Kaon under Siege story.
- Future of flashpoints – more flashpoints are coming.
- Group Finder: They will be introducing Group Finder in 1.3. This will work for missions, flashpoints, and operations. It will be single server only. Community is very important, and they don’t want random pug dude who goes AFK And doesn’t care about his reputation – you avoid that when more people know each other.
Question and Answers
Can trash mobs start dropping cash to help pay for repairs?
We know repair costs are an issue for the community. At the current time, for 1.2, we do not anticipate changing the repair costs – there will be tweaks to the economy in general to more evenly distribute the economy. We will be doing something to the repair costs to bring everyone up to the point where they feel like they have cash.
Will we see separate lockouts for nightmare and hard modes?
No. The story mode is on a different lockout – story mode is for casual pick ups, hard/nightmare is designed to be run by guilds.
Will there be a differentiating point between 16m and 8m?
We want them to be a relative difficulty between 8 and 16. On the stat size of the NPCs, we try to adjust stats to get everyone to execute. There are higher mount drop rate chances and loot in 16m, same type of loot but more of it. Slightly higher drop rate of schematics as well in 16m.
In the immediate future, we’re keeping the same kind of content and loot, but definitely listening to the community to see reactions.
Will boss stats be added to foster competition in the raid community?
We really like the sense of competition and we want to be able to validate guild achievements for Ops. We have nothing on the immediate horizon, but some long term plans – and it is something I’m passionate about.
Not a huge difference between Columni and Rakata gear currently. Will there be a bigger gear disparity in the new Ops?
There will be more of a disparity. Our initial target was not to inflate the gear too much, and we did wind up inflating it more than we wanted to.
One new tier for PvE and PvP coming, it will have a bit more sensical stats, like not so much accuracy. I do have to say though, accuracy is important for tanks. We’re also opening up augments for all gear pieces to help customize your character. On top of that, 1.1.5 introduces lightsaber crystals with expertise on them. In general, there is more disparity in terms of PvP and PvE in the coming content, it won’t be as easy to switch back and forth as it currently is.
What is the current stance on Operations? Threat meters, damage meters, combat logs, etc?
The stance is that we want to have reliance on the end game visual cues, not reliance on add ons. The stance is that we do want to have them in, but not for 1.2.
We do realize it’s very important, especially if you’re an Ops leader, to identify what are we doing wrong, on the other hand we want you to have control over what you choose to show for your character. As of 1.2, you will be able to put something in a chat window.
Combat log will show everything incoming and outgoing to your character, that can be saved to disk. However, you can’t flag a button to see how everyone else is doing. Also, this will work out of game, not in.
Will space combat ever be applied to Operations?
Space is obviously a hot topic – it’s a big part of Star Wars, we do have a secret project on space in the works right now but that’s all I can say.
Raid mechanics – is this something we will see across the board? 2 healers, 1 tank, 5 DPS seems to be the only workable model for players, will this be addressed?
Intention was to have 2 tanks, which somewhat fell through. In 1.2, we’re getting a bit more focused and polished with that – there’s going to be a lot more coordination required, and I’d be really surprised if players will be able to get away with fewer than 2 tanks because of that.
We want you to be able to build a group and run with that group.
For flashpoints and Ops later on, have you looked into the Lucas style ending where people split up?
The ancient pylons, we were touching on that but we didn’t get to explore it as much as we wanted to. It is something we want to explore in future Ops.
RotJ ending was the dream for our Ops, and definitely something we want to do in the future (Lots of applause).
Is 8 or 16 meant to be harder, or do you want it balanced?
We do want it to be balanced, in EV we know 16m wound up more difficult, we did better with KP. The coordination in 16m is inherently more difficult, so we leaned towards giving a little lower health in 16m. The target is meant to be even, though we know in EV that is not currently there. We are trying to fix this in 1.2.
As an Ops leader, are we going to get some more tools to adjust players?
In the UI panel, there’s more talk on that but we do want to have more management options for the Ops board.
Questions from live stream
Will you be implementing a ready check system for FPs and Ops?
We don’t have a ready check? We are anxious to get them in.
Are we going to implement hard modes for FPs that do not currently have them?
Yes, eventually we will be.
If you can RE Ops gear, can you get schematics from Ops gear drops?
Is there going to be another difficulty added to FPs to bring them in line with Ops?
Not in the near future, we’re going to keep adding new FPs and the difficulty will be ramping up in them, so for instance the new FP will be more difficult than the prior ones.
Are you going to look to do more world-specific Operations, more open-world Ops:
Yes, new world boss in 1.2, and will continue to introduce new content.