Mar 1, 2012

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Council Chambers: Whose Guild Is It?

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.

This week’s topic comes from a question that a coworker was talking to me about with respect to his guild. He’s been a long-time member of “That Other MMO,” and after twice being in raiding guilds that suffered from chaotic or badly handled leadership changes, he finally decided to start his own guild about a year and a half ago.

All was well for a while, the guild was happy and making good progress, things were stable and quiet, but as time wore on and TOR drew ever closer, he found himself losing interest in his previous love. So, like many of us, he made the decision to pull up his stakes and move to TOR full-time. Except, in his case pulling up stakes turned out to be quite literal – he announced his decision to disband the guild he’d founded in That Other Game when he left.

Now, for him this seemed the logical choice. Twice prior to founding his own guild, he’d been in other guilds that had been great under one leader, but foundered or failed under the new leadership. However, his decision to disband has caused huge amounts of chaos and turbulence for his current officers and guildmates, in what otherwise was a very stable, successful guild. He came to me asking for advice because he truly doesn’t understand why the other members are upset. Yet to the members, they can’t make sense of his decision whatsoever – and in fact, most of them find it very selfish.

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Feb 28, 2012

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Lethal Injection: We Need Factions

I originally posted this on the official TOR forums to try and get some discussion going there, but it was swiftly and unceremoniously moved to the Suggestion Box, otherwise known as where discussions go to die. So, since I had a blog that talks about Star Wars: The Old Republic, I decided it was a great place to put it after all! :)

TL;DR

Here’s the basic gist of it, so those of you that wish to flame me can get right to it:

Adding NPC factions to the game and allowing a progression mechanic for them through reputation would allow BioWare to tell stories about more and varied parts and peoples of the Star Wars galaxy. This would also assure that players with “nothing to do” would always have something to do.

With that out of the way, onward!

The Problem

One of the louder cries over on the official forums from the people that have already advanced to level cap is that there’s “nothing to do.”

There is some truth to this. Leveling is as quick as in any game, if not quicker. Normal mode Operations are designed to be very easy, and reward nearly the same gear as Heroic mode. So it’s very easy to be geared up completely in no time at all. At that point, there really isn’t much left to do.

You could roll an alt, but that has nothing to do with progressing your main character. Until we know more about the Legacy system (which is designed to incentivize rolling alts) we can’t say what else that will bring.

Of course you could also play Warzones and spend time on Ilum, which is probably the only real option at end game that doesn’t run out (unless of course you max out your PvP gear and Valor rank). But you could still PvP for fun, which it is.

The Solution

So what, then, could players in this position of having nothing to do spend their time doing? The answer is Factions.

Traditionally, MMOs have had various NPC factions scattered throughout the world. TOR is no different, actually. The key difference between TOR and some other games such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard and even RIFT is that these factions exist as a game construct that you can earn (or lose) reputation with. In other words, the game measure your interaction with these factions and provides potential rewards (items, areas, content, lore, etc.)

Back at PAX 2011, I asked Gabe Amatangelo and James Ohlen if TOR would have any of these factions and they said no. However, it looks to me as if it may have been a part of TOR’s original design, as you can see here on the Allegiances page of the HoloNet:

Factions

Looks to me that there might have been more intended for this page...

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Feb 27, 2012

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Yellow Posts: Legacy Names, Voidstar Ties, And David Bass Is Freaking Out

The combat log has been a long requested feature by players and it looks like the day might be finally coming that we see some more information about our combat performance in TOR. TheRealCrucifer started the thread “2/22/2012 -> Can we get an update on where the Combat Log is?” and Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer, has an update for us…at the upcoming Guild Summit.

We’re going to give an update on this topic at the guild summit 

This came as a surprise to David Bass, Senior Community Coordinator, who is presumably preparing some of the material for the event:

WE ARE?! 

The gauntlet has been laid down. Good luck, sir.

Some of you may have recently received a billing summary email from BioWare about your recent TOR subscription purchase. This may come as odd because the transaction date that the email references is probably  from January, when your first TOR subscription purchase occurred. Not to worry though, you haven’t been double charged or charged for additional months if you have canceled your subscription. This email was just delayed from it’s initial delivery and everything should be resolved now. As Joveth Gonzalez, Associate Online Community Manager, explains:

Hi everyone,

Many of you have received an email earlier today that has caused a bit of confusion that we would like to clear up. The summary and confirmation email that players have received (or will receive) is a delayed email that should have been sent on the original date of the transaction. The date for the actual transaction can be found in the first sentence of the email that was sent out. 

In other words, this is not a new charge. Rest assured that if you have cancelled your subscription since the date featured in the email, you are NOT being re-subscribed.

Apologies for any confusion, and in the future you can look forward to receiving summary and confirmation emails in a more timely manner. 

Thank you

Would you like to change your Legacy name? That permanent surname that you get to chose for your character when you end chapter 1 of your class story? I think a lot of people would and BioWare agrees. Georg Zoeller basically confirmed that a system to change Legacy names is in the works, but he does not have an ETA on when it will be available and what the relevant details are (thanks to Egees for starting the thread “Legacy Name Change Confirmed?”):

We’re definitely working on this (it’s a much requested feature) but we have not made any statements regarding when this will be available.

Last up this week, Ashania posted a thread called “How Voidstar ties are determined” where she posted a conversation that she had with a TOR customer support droid describing the issue. However, that CSR…err…CSD, didn’t provide the correct answer to Ashania so Joveth Gonzalez stepped in with the correct information about how ties in the Voidstar warzone are determined:

Hi folks, 

Unfortunately, it seems that our CS droids were in error when they responded to Ashania’s original tickets and for that, we apologize. 

Currently, in the event of a tie on Voidstar, the winner is randomly chosen. We are going to be improving this with 1.2, but in the meantime, that is how winners are currently chosen for ties on Voidstar.

Again, I apologize for any confusion and thank you for letting us know about this.

For even more fun, BioWare should, in the event of a Voidstar tie, let all the participants /roll to determine the winner of the match! Come on, what could go wrong?

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Feb 25, 2012

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Do Credits Matter?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

We’re back! At least temporarily… still trying to get a solid, consistent writer to handle the BM&C duties, so if you have any ideas for discussion topics, let us know!

The recent Public Test Server patch notes for patch 1.1.5 that indicated that speeders will have their priced reduced until patch 1.2. Now, there are no more details than that right now, and I can’t imagine the thinking behind that. Will they go back up in price in 1.2?

At any rate, I posed this very question on the PTS forum and once of the responses was from a player that said he had so many credits, he could afford anything they put up. This got me to thinking… do credits even matter anymore? It seems that most players who simply play the game have more than enough credits to do whatever they need to that the game lays out for them. In a way, your “credit counter” is just another progress bar. Not very interesting.

And honestly, I’m not just picking on TOR here. Most MMOs, including World of Warcraft, have devalued in-game currency so much that it has lost nearly all meaning. Some of this is due to the constant fight between gold farmers and RMT. There are all kinds of special currencies, badges, tokens and whatnot that replace the “money” in the game to assure the player is the one doing the content and earning the reward.

I miss the old days. When money was money and it was a way to buy whatever you wanted! And even then, I don’t think games should automatically fill your “money progress bar” so that you can have everything… you should have to work a bit and save – just like in real life – to achieve certain things.

What’s the solutoin? I don’t know… is it soulbound currency that you could only spend with NPCs and the Auction House/GTN? Maybe. But it just feels like we’ve lost our way (and the battle) when we’re looking for ways to replace currency with… other types of currency. What are your thoughts?

Do credits matter enough in TOR (or any other MMO)?

View Results

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Feb 24, 2012

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Patch Notes: 1.1.5 – Public Test Server – I’m Rollin’!

Today, BioWare rolled out a brand new build of Star Wars: The Old Republic to the Public Test Server. Patch 1.1.5 is now available for players to test and the notes are available below, or here.

Items of note are the addition of a /roll command as well as a fix to the Master Looter function. Also interesting is the reduction in price of several speeder models “until patch 1.2″. Hmm.

No word on character copy yet, which is truly required for the PTS to be of any real value (at least to players.)

Anyway, you can get more details from the official Test Center including instructions on how to participate. And don’t forget to head over to the official Public Test Server forums to give BioWare your feedback when you do!


Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ — 1.1.5 Patch Notes

Because development is ongoing during testing, it should be noted that all changes and updates listed in the patch notes should be considered incomplete and are subject to change or removal before release to the live servers. The Public Test Server patch notes will be provided in English. The final release notes will be provided in English, French, and German when the content is moved to live servers.

General

  • 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

Sith Warrior

  • The French version of the “Darth” title is now correct.

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Feb 22, 2012

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Council Chambers: No “I” In Guild

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.  

First, let me say – from a spelling perspective, yes of course I know there is an “I” in guild. The title comes from the famous expression of, “No “I” in team” – we’ll overlook the fact that there is in fact a “me” there.   Ahem.

Last week, we talked about the Guild Summit and what kinds of questions you’d maybe be interested in learning more about. While I got a lot of feedback about the game as a whole – which likely will not be addressed at the Summit, as it is specifically and solely about and for guilds – I’ll definitely keep my ears open for news on any of the topics our readers asked about, as well as doing my best to cover the event as a whole.

In the feedback and comments from that entry though, a very interesting – and sometimes passionate – debate ensued about what a guild actually is, what it should provide to its members, what its members should provide to it, and all those issues related to those things. It got me to thinking about this topic, and what guild membership really means to people. So this week, let’s look at what a guild actually is, and how that matches up to what players think it ought to be?

This is every guild, right?

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