United We Stand is an Ask A Jedi series focusing on guilds, groups, and other communities in Star Wars: The Old Republic. By examining the communities that we form, we can create a stronger game for ourselves, build relationships that will last a lifetime, and perhaps even change the world itself.
A while back, I read “The Prince” by political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli. The idea was that it would have cool stuff that guild officers could apply to leadership and that I could write about. This turned out to be kind of true. In the actual act and organization of leadership, what Machiavelli has to say isn’t particularly applicable. We’re not hiring mercenaries, doling out land and fortresses to loyal princes, or deciding whether or not to raze, puppet, or annex cities (Oh, hey there, Civilization 5!). Although, it makes me wonder if in an older MMO like Ultima Online if this kind of advice would be more applicable.
I put the project aside, until I picked up a copy of “World of Warcraft and Philosophy: Rise of the Philosopher King.” You may have seen this book or maybe its companions like “The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy: I Link Therefore I Am” or ‘Halo and Philosophy: Intellect Evolved“. At first, these seem pretty dumb, but it was actually really awesome. It is a collection of papers and articles about philosophy that all use World of Warcraft as an example. For example, there is one about how the World of Warcraft economy represents the capitalism that Adam Smith described in “The Wealth of Nations“. Another describes the philosophical idea of determinism through the example of a player controlling a character and that character not understanding what it is that causes him to move. In particular, there was an article called “The Machiavellian Guild Leader” by Moses Wolfenstein that discussed how guild leaders in World of Warcraft use some of the political leadership principles that Machiavelli talks about.
Wolfenstein points to the infamous Onyxia Wipe Animation as an example, in which the Boulderfist guild Wipe Club is trying to down Onyxia and after a particularly close loss the raid leader Dives began to yell and scream promising to punish them all with “50 DKP minus!”. Wolfenstein claims that Dives is employing the Machiavellian principle that it is better to be feared than loved or hated. Machiavelli says that if you want to rule a country and remain the ruler, it is much better to be feared because when you are kind and generous people will appreciate it. If you are loved, the people will not appreciate your generosity because it is what they expect of you and when you need to be harsh they will hate you for it. When you are hated, you cannot rule because you will be too worried about being overthrown. “It is better to be miserly than generous for when you fail to be generous where expected you will be hated, but if you are miserly than you will be unexpected.”Read More
This week has been super busy on the forums. The devs (Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer in particular), responded to tons of posts about the information that came out of the Guild Summit. Here are some choice posts I found most interesting:
There was a little confusion on the forums about the future of Ilum and open-world PvP in general. Some people thought that it was being thrown out entirely because of how bad it has been. However, the exact phrase the Devs used during the PvP presentation at the Guild Summit was that they are taking Ilum “back to the drawing board”. Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Manager has a lot of further information to give about Ilum:
Ilum is being deprecated in Game Update 1.2. The Open World PvP area on Ilum will still be present in 1.2, but rewards previously gained in Ilum will be available in Warzones and that’s where we expect the bulk of PvP to take place for now.
As we said during the Guild Summit, the PvP team is ‘going back to the drawing board’ with Ilum. That means they want to rework it to be fun and engaging. We accept there are issues with the current design and want to ensure that what we end up with is enjoyable for PvP fans. We have no ETA on when a redesigned Ilum might be available, but when we do have more news, we’ll share it.
The PvP team definitely monitors these Forums and would love to see constructive feedback on Open World PvP and how you feel it could be improved. They have their own ideas, of course, and they’ve read many of the posts here but more feedback is always welcome.
Anyone want a Mac version of SWTOR? Pencilvania sure does. The short answer is: don’t hold your breath. Mr. Reid has a slightly longer answer and does not completely rule it out, but a Mac client is also not being actively worked on:
There are no current development efforts to create a Mac OS client for Star Wars: The Old Republic (or indeed, for any other operating system or platform).
No-one here hates Macs (in fact, many of us quite like them ) but development efforts are currently focused on expanding and improving the game for PC/Windows.
Ranked Warzones are coming in Game Update 1.2 and with that, the ability to queue with a pre-made 8-man Operation group is also coming. Stephen Reid clarifies some information about this from the PvP presentation:
David [Bass, Senior Community Coordinator] was trying to clarify the ‘Future of Warzones’ section of the PvP presentation, but that’s caused a bit more confusion; apologies. I huddled with Gabe Amatangelo about this question and got a definitive answer.
You can queue as an eight-man Operations group in Game Update 1.2, for ranked Warzones only.
In the future, whenever cross-server Warzone queuing is possible, the plan is to allow people to create teams of eight which can be named, etc.
The PvP team is aware of the importance of ranked Warzones and PvP rankings in general, hence allowing eight-man queuing. Apologies again for the confusion. We hope everyone’s going to enjoy the feature!
Here is some really good information about the future of Macros in TOR. If you really want to be able to use Macros, it sounds like the developers want to make changes to the default interface that would remove the necessity for most Macros, and they are downright opposed to Macros that automate combat. Here is what Georg Zoeller had to say about Macros:
If you’re invoking the Guild Summit, let’s be a bit more precise about what we’ve said:
A) Macros are a possibility in the future. We don’t hate them.
B) I am opposed to macros that automate combat (shouldn’t be a surprise). I’d rather take tedious things (such as sprint turning off after death) and modify the design than to rely on people to create macros to deal with these things – which creates unnecessary barriers of entry in my opinion.
C) We don’t consider interface improvements and quality of life features (e.g. mouse over healing) to be macros (so 2 does not apply)
D) Macros for social behaviors, etc are definitely a possibility too.
Finally, just to clarify, only a small subset of Legacy abilities are going to be able to be used on other classes (i.e. Flame Thrower on a Sith Warrior) and you won’t be able to pick and choose which abilities to take from other classes. As Stephen Reid says, that would be pretty game breaking:
The Heroic Ability Legacy unlock doesn’t allow you to pick any ability you like; that would indeed lead to some balancing nightmares.
There was very careful consideration over which abilities to allow as unlocks. With the limitations of the ability only being usable during your Heroic Moment (requiring an active Companion) and the cooldown on that, you shouldn’t see too much ‘Heroic Ability spam’. We see the unlock as a fun, limited ability that many players will enjoy. It wasn’t designed to unbalance the game.
Council Chambers is all about the ins and outs of guild leadership in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Each week, we’ll look at running and managing a guild through good times, bad times and everything in between.
For all those who did not get a chance to watch the live streaming of BioWare’s Guild Summit, Reedyn and I here at Ask A Jedi will do our best to get you as much information as we can about the event itself, game updates, and some of the news to come out of the game.
While the Summit itself was designed for guild leaders, a lot of the content being discussed Tuesday concerned the big patch 1.2 update, and the content included in that. There will be some significant updates and improvements to guilds, in particular the inclusion of guild banks, with other much-requested features coming in future patches. It sounded like after guild banks, the number one feature guilds sought was the implementation of an in-game guild calendar, and the design teams said they’ll definitely be working on this for a future patch. No dates yet, other than “Not 1.2”. Other items such as being able to invite people to groups from the guild window, better guild navigation and features, and some sort of guild logo that players can wear or display were also mentioned.
A lot of the discussion also focused on the Legacy system – which probably merits its own entry, as it is very complex and includes an extensive list of new features. The Legacy system will introduce multiple self-casting buffs, unlocking new species/class combinations, and then convenience features such as powerful gear for lower level alternate characters.
Finally, a significant amount of information was presented about some upcoming changes to PvP and PvE. In PvP, two of the more noteworthy items were the removal of Ilum for an indeterminate amount of time as the world PvP is re-examined and repaired to work more closely in line with what the developers had initially intended, and to also address many of the issues and concerns brought about by the community in the last major patch.
In Operations and Flashpoints, there will be a new Operation with roughly the same number of bosses as current Operations, and with adjustments to difficulty levels coming across all Operations. What is currently considered Normal Mode will become Story Mode, and is designed for the very casual players who may not be regular raiders but still want to see that aspect of the game’s story. Gearing and progression will be largely moved to Hard Modes and Nightmare Modes, and the challenge of Nightmare Modes significantly increased to truly make these encounters…..well, nightmarish. An additional Flashpoint that completes the Rakghoul story from Kaon Under Siege will also be implemented, allowing players to learn the ending of that event and also to gear up in a more challenging flashpoint for the end game crowd.
Guildy, But Not Guildy Enough
For my part, I found the Summit very information and helpful, but felt like it could have focused a bit more on the guild aspect more. In some ways, while I had fun and learned a lot, it felt a bit more like a “1.2 Update” event rather than something specifically designed for guilds. The small size and one-on-one time with the development team was fantastic – so definitely far beyond what one could expect at a PAX-type event or a future BioCon (for which there were many enthusiastic demands). However, the content felt much more like a reward to active and loyal guild leaders more than the opportunity to really meet and get feedback from guild leaders about what they need, what they like, what they do not like, and some of the guild-based reactions to potential features such as a guild leveling system.
In the future, I’d recommend additional aspects like breakout sessions with guild leaders, and perhaps more options to discuss actual guild issues – for instance, not only what are the game features people most want to see for guilds, but also some more community-building sort of things. For instance, when the Guild Headquarters was closed in early January after launch, guild leaders were told this would be reintroduced – but no word followed on when, if that is still true, or what will happen to the former Guild Headquarters.
I also would have liked a better dialogue with some of the guild leaders on how many of the “down the road” features that guild leaders actually want. For example, there was mention Tuesday of some sort of “guild progression”, which sounds an awful lot like guild leveling. As we saw in the entry from two weeks ago, guild leveling is something that has a lot of strong emotions from the guild communities, both positive and negative. While I was there as a fan site representative rather than a guild leader, my inner guild leader would have welcomed some sort of round-table with other guilds to discuss with the developers whether this is something the community wants and needs, or where we would like to see efforts placed in terms of supporting the guild.
So all in all, while the event was a fantastic opportunity to interact directly with the representatives from BioWare, meet a lot of other fantastic players and guild leaders, and learn a lot about some of the upcoming changes in patch 1.2, it also still didn’t feel quite as guild-centric as I had expected. That said, people gave some fantastic feedback about all sorts of aspects of the game, and I fully expect the writers and developers to take that feedback into account as they continue building a bigger, better Old Republic for us all.
I do have to applaud the initiative that the TOR team displayed with this event, reaching out to the community and setting up an event on this scale. It’s something that very few MMOs have done – in fact, the only one I am aware of offhand is EVE’s efforts to work with a player-driven council to get feedback and address community concerns. So on that, well done! Given this was the first of its kind, I doubt anyone expected it to be perfect – and I think there is room to improve if a second guild summit is held next year, with some more breakout sessions on features with guild leaders, so that it really can feel like a dynamic exchange – but even getting this much was head and shoulders above what many other games provide.
Got a question for Council Chambers? Drop a line to Lady Republic at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment here, and you may see your guild questions answered in a future column!Read More
Ever wanted to send an in-game mail to a member of the opposing faction? Even if you have two characters, one Republic and one Empire, you still couldn’t send a mail between those two characters. Geeluc wanted to know why this restriction exists in his post “No Interfactional Emails”. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller answered to tell us that this restriction is being removed in the future:
It’s a restriction we’re working to lift soon.
Hopefully this will allow us to also send credits and items to members of the opposing faction. If that functionality is just limited to characters on the same account, that would be fine too.
A rather large post popped up from melsione titled “Australian server transfer in LATE April!” the purpose being to complain that free server transfers from US/Europe servers to the new Asia/Australia servers are going live in late April, almost two months after the launch of the Asia/Australia servers themselves. While it’s awesome that BioWare is providing free character transfers for these customers, it sucks that it wasn’t ready in time for launch. However, creating a character transfer system is not easy and Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Manager, responded with a lengthy post to try and explain what the devs are doing and why it is taking so long:
Hello everyone. I can absolutely understand the frustrations expressed here, and I appreciate that for the most part, you’re being constructive in your comments. Here’s a little more insight into the situation.
The character transfer system is being actively worked on by the development team. It’s a large, complex project, made more complicated by the Legacy System – and it has to work perfectly. As always, it is not the only task the team as a whole is undertaking, but it’s a priority. It has not been deliberately delayed, nor is it being ‘held back’ for any reason. As you know, the first stage of the system will be a one-off, optional transfer for those who are based in the regions defined in our FAQ. At some point after that, we’ll bring a more fully-featured character transfer system online for all to use.
I can understand the frustration of those of you who have been playing on the US servers and waiting for transfers. We know your enthusiasm and excitement for the game – you wouldn’t have taken the steps you did to get the game earlier than the official launch if you weren’t enthusiastic. We’re working as hard as we can to get the system in place. If we could have brought it online earlier, we would have. However, priorities post-launch had to be directed towards the game itself. The team’s been working flat-out to improve the game, including bug fixes and additional content.
When we announced our launch territories last year we knew many more fans were excited to play The Old Republic. That’s why we moved quickly to launch in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore, with more territories being lined up for future launches. Our primary focus when launching in any new territory has to be to reach more players. Ultimately, that’s best for the continuing success of the game. We want everyone who wishes to play on the new servers to be able to do so, hence character transfer being offered. With that said, in this case we felt it was important to get the game into the hands of new players as soon as possible. That, combined with our post-launch development priorities, meant that character transfer did not make our launch date for these territories.
The development team remains committed to delivering a robust character transfer system for all, with our first priority being for Asia-Pacific players. If we can bring the system to you earlier than expected, we will, but for now we’re aiming towards late April.
The final, and long, dev post of the week also comes from Stephen Reid, responding to the thread “What happens to my legacy levels if I character transfer?” created by jakedamus and expanded upon by Palathas. Basically, these players want to know what happens to their Legacy points and levels if they character transfer to an Asia/Australia server. Unfortunately, the devs haven’t quite worked out that part yet, but it sounds like their goal is to keep the Legacy points intact, they just aren’t making any promises yet. Stephen Reid explains further and answers a couple more questions about character transfers:
Originally Posted by Palathas
1) As above about legacy levels.
2) Is it just the one character or is it a server full of characters?
3) Are all items carried over from the characters personal hold and what they are wearing? (More of a confirmation)
I’m not creating any Asia-Pacific characters at the moment due to the uncertainty of what’s exactly happening with the transfers.
We’ll have more information about Legacy levels and experience a little closer to the window for character transfer. The system is still in development, and I don’t want to promise anything that may not happen for whatever reason.
With that said, the development team is being very careful to ensure that the experience is as smooth as possible. We don’t want to penalize anyone’s progression just because they transferred their character.
On question (2), you will be able to transfer multiple characters, although there will be some limitations (eg available slots on a server). Again, more details will come closer to the time, but you will not be limited to one character.
On question (3) the only current restrictions are listed in the FAQ. After transfer:
The character will no longer be a part of its guild – Guilds and guild membership will not be transferred to your new server. You will need to create or join a new guild on your new server.
Your Friends list will be reset – Friend lists are server specific, so you will need to repopulate your list with players from your new server.
Before you transfer your character, it is important to ensure the following:
The character has no items listed on the Galactic Trade Network (auction house) – active Galactic Trade Network listings will not be transferred to your new server.
The character has no items or credits in their mailbox – In-game mail will not be transferred to your new server. Make sure you have removed everything in your mailbox before initiating the transfer. Otherwise, the contents will be lost.
Hope that helps clarify a little!Read More
Today, BioWare pushed Patch 1.1.5 to the live servers, bringing many welcome fixes to players of Star Wars: The Old Republic. While it may pale compared to the shiny that is Patch 1.2 as detailed during the Guild Summit, it’a great to see constant forward movement on a weekly basis from the gang in Austin!
You can find these as well as all previous patch notes at BioWare’s official Patch Notes page on SWTOR.com
Patch Notes – 1.1.5 – 3/6/2012
- Players can now use the command /roll or /random to generate a random number between 1 and 100. This command will also accept a range (example: /roll 20-40) or a die value (example: 2d6).
Classes and Combat
- Moving while channeling an ability (such as Telekinetic Throw and Force Lightning) will no longer cancel the Global Cooldown, which would allow those abilities to deal more damage than intended.
Don’t quit. That’s the thesis of this post. If you are a guild officer, don’t do it, don’t give up. Don’t quit your guild, don’t ask to step down, and absolutely do not just disappear. Burnout has always been a danger for leaders everywhere, not just in gaming guilds but in every volunteer leadership position. I know that you might feel tired of the responsibilities, but honestly: just keep playing, just keep logging on. You’ll thank me later.
I am an optimist, I believe in the best in everything. Every problem has a bright side, and no matter how bad things might get one should always remember all the good things that one takes for granted. I will always remember the smiling faces around me as we downed our first boss, cleared our first operation, or got our first piece of Rakata. I remember the energy that I felt at every new member and every small achievement. I remind myself of all the time and energy that we put into building a great guild and no matter how tired I might get, I’ll always rather have this than nothing at all. I just keep playing, and I just keep logging in.Read More