Mar 1, 2012

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Georg Zoeller Waxes Poetic On Economic Changes In Patch 1.1.5

In a very entertaining blog update, Principle Lead Combat Designer and legendary pit fighter Georg Zoeller provided players with a glance at some changes to the economy on the horizon. In a nice twist, everything was provided in-context and with lore attached. I do believe this might just be the first story-based dev blog. Kudos, BioWare – well played!

Anyway, if you’re a TOR fan and especially if you’ve got your eye on some of the current prizes with the intent to purchase, you’ll want to see what Mr. Zoeller has to say. And remember patch 1.1.5 is available on the Public Test Server right now to check out!

Head on over to the blog entry for the full read, but we’ll leave you with a fun excerpt about the color crystal changes right here :)

It’s been reported that Operatives of the Republic Strategic Intelligence Service have recovered several new variations of color crystal prototypes during a daring raid on a cutting edge Imperial Science Bureau outpost on Ilum. Among the items recovered are a number of rare, purple-hued color crystals, usually exclusive to Imperial-held worlds.

Republic scientists are confident that they will be able to reverse-engineer and potentially replicate the captured Imperial technology, including the color crystals, in a matter of weeks. While most of the prototypes are still being analyzed, it has been confirmed that the Imperial Science Bureau’s “Project Expertise” at the Ilum outpost scored a major breakthrough in the crystal cutting process. While information on the new technology has been kept tightly guarded, we know that the process can create several variants of existing crystal colors which improve the crystal’s natural properties.

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Mar 1, 2012

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Gabe Amatangelo Interview: Add-ons, Combat Log, Cross-Server, Ranked PvP & More!

The fine folks over at long-time Australian fan site TOROZ have just posted a brand new video interview with Lead End-game Designer Gabe Amatangelo. Apparenlty, Gabe was down under for the launch festivities taking place over the past few days, and took some time to meet with fans and fan sites.

There are definitely some interesting tidbits to come out of this, which are compiled below. I don’t know about you, but these changes look pretty exciting! We’ll keep an eye out for more coverage from the Asia-Pacific launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic. In the mean time, enjoy!

Thanks to TorBoard for the notes compilation!

Gear/Warzone/Commendation Changes

  • Lesser end-game commendations (Champion, Centurion, etc.) will not be exchangable.
  • There will be two levels of warzones. Regular and Ranked warzones.
  • Regular warzones will give out regular WZ commendations, and Ranked warzones will give out ranked WZ commendations.
  • New intro PVP set for new level 50 players to fill gap in gear.
  • There will be some “fun” uses for commendations you dont need anymore.

Ranked PVP

  • Phase one will be server specific.
  • Phase two (coming in the future) will have cross-server queuing.

General/UI Changes

  • Combat log coming soon.
  • DPS meters/Parsers will be done by 3rd party addons via combat log.
  • Free/Paid Server transfers are being worked on but no date provided. They want to make sure the process is perfect before releasing this.

Cross-Server Queuing

  • Coming in phase two of pvp changes (later than 1.2)
  • Priority is on playing with people from your own server.
  • As soon as you start choosing certain things (which warzone, ranked, etc.). It becomes more difficult for you to get a WZ with server players so you go into the cross-server


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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 29, 2012

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Calling All Guilds – Do You Want To Test Game Update 1.2?

If you’re the member of an experienced Star Wars: The Old Republic raiding guild, BioWare wants to hear from you! They’ve just posted notice that they’re nearly ready to begin testing Game Update 1.2 on the Pubic Test Server, and are looking for guilds to test the high level content:

As you know, Game Update 1.2 is packed with new content, including a new Flashpoint, Operation, and Warzone. To that end, we’re looking for some end-game guilds to test this new content and to provide feedback before the update goes out to our live servers.

While we don’t have the technology for mass character transfers yet, we do have a manual process to copy characters from our Live servers to our Public Test Server that we will be offering for Guilds that are accepted for testing.

Needless to say, if you’re a guild interested in this, you should get in touch with BioWare asap. The full instructions are here, but the email address to use is

On a separate but related note, BioWare is also looking for experienced TOR players local to the Austin area to test the content as well.

The Star Wars: The Old Republic team is looking for skilled SWTOR players in the Austin area to test out brand new content in the BioWare Austin office. We are looking for players that are experienced with endgame Operations, Warzones, and Flashpoints. 

The only requirement seems to be that you’re local to BioWare’s Austin studio, and you must complete this survey. This is a temporary paid position that will take up about 1 weekend per month. I’ve never wanted to live in Texas as much as I do now!

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Feb 29, 2012

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Oceanic Servers Officially Live; No Server Transfers Until Late April

It’s a bit of a bittersweet moment for TOR players in the Asia-Pacific region of the world.

This morning, BioWare launched brand new servers in their region hat should greatly improve gameplay performance for the majority of players currently playing but on North American servers. This is great news… but what if you’ve already got an accomplished character on a different server you’d like to bring over to the new Oceanic servers? BioWare has you covered, but unfortunately not until late April.

In an update to the official FAQ this morning, it was clarified that server transfers for those that qualify will occur in “late April”:

Qualified players in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, or Singapore, will be offered one-time free character transfers to Asia Pacific servers for a limited time period in late April. No specific date has been confirmed at this time. We will be sending an email to all qualified players by early March with more details.

What makes you a qualified player? We have the details for that as well:

To qualify for free character transfers, players must meet the following requirements by Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 5:01PM EDT, 7:01PM NZDT, 2:01PM HKT, 2:01PM SGT:

  • You specified that your country is Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, or Singapore during your account registration process.
  • Redeemed an Official Game Production Registration Code on Code Redemption Center.
  • Have had or currently have entered a valid recurring payment method or redeemed a Pre-Paid Game Time Code.
  • Only characters created on The Old Republic servers by February 28, 2012, 5:01PM EDT, 7:01PM NZDT, 2:01PM HKT, 2:01PM SGT qualify for transfers.

Characters created by qualified players on a non-Asia Pacific server after the February 28th deadline will not qualify for transfers to Asia Pacific servers. We will be sending an email to all qualified players by early March with more details.

On a separate but related note, some players are actually reporting much worse latency on these servers than they were seeing on the North American servers. We’ll follow this development as we learn more!

For now, head on over to the FAQ for all of the details of the Asia-Pacific launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic!

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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! :)


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:


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

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Feb 28, 2012

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BioWare Releases Oceanic Launch Details, Includes Server Names & Types

Fearless Community Leader Stepehen Reid just took to the official forums with a post that should be of great interest to TOR players in the Oceanic region of the world… launch details and server names just for you! The biggest advantage here is of course that these servers are located regionally, and game performance should be markedly better.

BioWare had previously announced that they would be launching the game in Oceana on March 1st, and now we have details… and in fact, depending where you are, the launch of these servers might even be as soon as tomorrow!

Here’s our official launch timing. All servers will be online simultaneously at approx 5:01AM CST (Austin time), but with timezones straddling a date

New Zealand: 12:01am NZDT (March 1st)
Australia: 10:01pm EDT (February 29th)
Singapore: 7:01pm SGT (February 29th)
Hong Kong: 7:01pm HKT (February 29th)

Of further interest are the server names and types – crucial for MMO fans to rally their friends and all get on the same page:

We’ll be launching with three initial servers dedicated to these territories. As previously mentioned, these servers are physically located in Australia:

Dalborra (PvE)
Master Dar’Nala (PvP)
Gav Daragon (RP PvE)

Not covered yet is the clarity on character transfers for players that have already started them on North American or European realms. Reid mentions that an FAQ will be coming out tomorrow, and perhaps we’ll know more about it then.

In the mean time, head over and check out Mr. Reid’s entire post!

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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:


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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Community Q&A February 24th – Improved Travel, Combat Animations & More

This week’s Community Q&A has just been posted and it’s got some interesting questions (and answers!) No doubt, some players will feel that there are too many “coming soon” answers, but it does give a snapshot into where BioWare is and their eye on the community.

You can read the entire Q&A here after the jump, and don’t forget to head over to the offical forum thread for next week’s Q&A and get your question in there!

Chyp: Can we expect to see any animation/damage timing consistency changes between factions?

Georg Zoeller (Principal Lead Combat Designer): Yes. The animation team has been working on a new set of animations for abilities like the Trooper’s Mortar Volley to provide closer matching of animation timings and improved combat responsiveness. We expect to roll these changes out with Game Update 1.2.

Zennis: Has there been any discussion to streamlining the Space Port process? Perhaps allowing speeders in the Space Ports besides the Fleet?

Brian Audette (Senior Designer): We’ve absolutely heard what the fans are saying and have been exploring options to address these issues. While we are still investigating allowing speeder use in Space Ports, we’ve also been looking for other ways to get people from point A to point B with greater haste. One such feature will specifically affect planets that have Orbital Stations instead of Space Ports such as: Tython, Korriban, Hoth, and Belsavis. We’ll be adding an option for players to go directly to their ships from the surface shuttles as opposed to having them run through the Orbital Station to their airlocks. This feature and some additional tweaks will start showing up in Game Update 1.2.

deusBAAL: Will you be providing a LFG tool? What will be its features? How will it be intended to work and when can we expect it to go live?

Daniel Erickson (Lead Writer): We are hard at work on a much more robust LFG functionality that will quickly help put groups together while still offering the flexibility to decide how you group and what sort of people you want to be grouped with. We’ll release more details as we get closer to release.

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