Nov 15, 2012

Posted by | 5 Comments

A Trip Down SW:TOR Memory Lane – Hang A Left At Free-To-Play Parkway

Ah, the memories.

Chances are you’re reading this post now because you were a fan or follower of Ask A Jedi back in the day. I started this site back in 2010 because, quite simply, I couldn’t get enough of Star Wars: The Old Republic! There were already plenty of great sites like Darth HaterMos Eisley RadioTOROcastCorellian Run Radio and soon TORWarsRepublic Trooper and more, but that wasn’t enough for me! I wanted to be fused at the hip with the next great MMO, which by the way was set in the STAR WARS UNIVERSE and made by BIOWARE!

The next 20-some odd months that followed were nothing short of amazing, and running this site while following the game’s development was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Obviously, it was great getting so close to the game in its early stages of development, but you know what made it really special? The people!

Over the course of that time, I got to meet a lot of great peeps from all of the fan sites above (and more!) What was so special about all of these folks is that what they were doing, they were doing out of passion. Everyone traveled to every corner of the map, from conventions like E3, PAX and more. And they did so on their own dime and their own time. I can tell you from personal experience that it was hella expensive being a TOR groupie for a few years, but it was worth every penny.

Not only that, I had the great fortune of getting to meet many designers, developers, marketing and community folks from BioWare, Electronic Arts and LucasArts. It was my first real exposure “inside” of the game industry, and I have to say everyone was absolutely awesome. The hospitality shown by each of those companies and especially individually by all of the folks we met was incredible. I felt like they really cared about the fans and the fan sites, and they did. The Fan Site and Guild Summits held at BioWare in Austin… I’ll never forget it!

And of course, there’s no way I could forget the peeps who helped me run this site… You think everyone running by you on Tatooine is some random gamer until you get to know them. We had a special team keeping the wheels greased at AAJ – dare I say the best in the business.

No, I’m not getting the band back together, but felt like I wanted to do a special post here to commemorate the occasion that today is, especially for those of us who were so close to the game!

Looking Forward

It’s hard to believe that this time last year, we were all eagerly anticipating the launch of a brand-new Star Wars MMO. It’s even harder to believe that very same game is relaunching today, less than a year later, as a free-to-play title. So on this dawn of a new era for Star Wars: The Old Republic, I just wanted to take a minute to remember what is so great about this genre we all love – the people we play with.

Anyway, there’s a lot of Light side mushiness going on here, so I’ll start to wrap it up.

While I don’t have a lot of time to devote to gaming these days, I’ll be joining my buddies from TORWars, along with *many* other community members over in the newly formed TORWars guild on The Shadowlands server. Yes, they went Empire, but don’t hold that against them – they’re good peeps! :)  I’m looking forward experiencing TOR this time around casually and socially in the best possible way – with friends!

– Bill (Lethality)

P.S. Some folks have asked what I’ve been up to, so I figured I’d give a quick update!

  • I’m still working my day job as an interactive producer at a large advertising agency, desperately trying to make the jump to the game industry (If you’re hiring, let me know! :)
  • I’ve also taken up as a news editor for ZAM Networks, and you can find my stuff there every day! By the way, you should keep an eye on ZAM… big things ahead.
  • I’m also doing some blogging over on my MMOpinion site. If you know me, you know that I’m never short for words when it comes to how MMOs “should” work and be played, so you can find some commentary and discussion over there! You can also follow me on Twitter, which is the old Ask A Jedi feed, except re-named!
  • Finally, I’ve joined forces with Andy and the fine chaps from Republic Trooper to form a new site called Titan Everything dedicated to following Blizzard’s upcoming MMO, code-named Project Titan. Right now, “following” is a loose term as I’m sure we’ll be AARP members by the time it releases, but stop by, join the community and chat it up a bit!

Read More
Jan 8, 2012

Posted by | 7 Comments

Wild Space: Immersion, “Digital Disappointment”, And Companion Gifts

It’s a big galaxy out there, and Wild Space can be a dangerous place. Worry not, explorer – each week we’ll navigate you safely through the lost hyperspace routes of the Deep Core and track down the great articles and entertainment from around the SW:TOR fan community, all in less than 12 parsecs, of course!

Over on Corellian Run Radio, they have posted an interesting column that deals with immersion in TOR with respect to pop-culture references. BioWare has mentioned in the past that they don’t want to include obvious pop-culture references in TOR because they feel it would break immersion. In contrast, World of Warcraft has made a living with all of the pop-culture references that can be found in their game. The author of the CRR article, Thom, describes a rather elaborate reference featuring the A-Team that can be found in World of Warcraft.

By now, you almost expect a new cultural reference in World of Warcraft whenever you play it, so much so that pop-culture references have become part of the experience of playing the game. It can almost be considered its own game feature. TOR, on the other hand, seems to be keeping references to a minimum. Thom has only seen pop-culture references appear as part of quests and they are often quite subtle. Personally, the only references I have found have been Star Wars related (check out Nem’ro’s cantina on Hutta, there are a few good ones in there) and those types of references only serve to enhance my immersion and pull on my nostalgic heartstrings.  What do you all think? Have you found any pop-culture references that are immersion breaking for you? Do you like or not like pop-culture or Star Wars references?

Be sure to make your opinion known on those questions below and check out the full article on Corellian Run Radio.

Read More
Nov 27, 2011

Posted by | 4 Comments

Wild Space: Weather, History, and Quick Tips

It’s a big galaxy our there, and Wild Space can be a dangerous place. Worry not, explorer – each week we’ll navigate you safely through the lost hyperspace routes of the Deep Core and track down the great articles and entertainment from around the SW:TOR fan community, all in less than 12 parsecs, of course!

If you have been following SW:TOR for a while, you know that there are no random weather effects in the game. Sure, there are localized weather effects depending on your location on a planet that are constantly active, but nothing that occurs randomly. Only scripted weather in SW:TOR.

An article by our friends on TORWars tries to convince BioWare to turn on some more weather effects. Author Anthony Sproson argues that the literary device “pathetic fallacy” could be utilized much more by BioWare to enhance the SW:TOR story via the weather. For example, when something sad happens BioWare could cue some rain or storms; when something good happens, BioWare could stop the rain, throw up some sunshine, and add a rainbow.

By having the weather mirror your character’s emotions, BioWare could really augment the story and make it even more immersive. It’s a really interesting concept for a video game (it has been used in books and movies forever) and I would recommend that you all check out the full article over on TORWars.

History in general is very interesting to me and I have always been excited to learn more about the history of video games ever since I read “Masters of Doom” way back when. Darth Hater released an editorial this week which gave a brief history of the MMORPG genre.

Starting from MUDs (multi-user dungeons), progressing through the 2D (Ultima) and 3D (Everquest) MMORPGs of the recent past, and ending up with the World of Warcrafts and Rifts of today, author Raiden goes to great lengths to explain where MMORPG video games came from. It’s not entirely about SW:TOR, but it’s really cool to learn about where the genre came from and where it is going. Definitely check out the full article over on Darth Hater.

Georg Zoeller pointed this next fan creation out on Google+ and I think that it’s worth reposting here. YouTube channel TOR Hangout has (so far) posted two Quick Tip videos to show you how to manipulate the SW:TOR user interface.

The first was about using the focus target feature in to cast healing spells or buffs on a single target that you “focus” on. For those unfamiliar with focus target, you designate a player and they get their own special unit frame and key modifier that you can use to cast spells on them. The second video was about enabling and configuring healing frames for when you are in a Flashpoint or Operation.

Both videos are really well done so I would encourage you all to check them out. Lets hope we get more tips like this in the near future!

Read More
Nov 20, 2011

Posted by | 5 Comments

Wild Space: No NDA = Live Streams

It’s a big galaxy our there, and Wild Space can be a dangerous place. Worry not, explorer – each week we’ll navigate you safely through the lost hyperspace routes of the Deep Core and track down the great articles and entertainment from around the SW:TOR fan community, all in less than 12 parsecs, of course!

This week the unthinkable occurred: the SW:TOR Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) was lifted which released a torrent of videos, content, impressions, and opinions. Normally, this article would focus on analyzing the material put forth by the various fansites, but honestly I think that you all are interested in only one thing this week: finally being able to watching the game.

For those of you waiting patiently until next week for the last beta testing weekend, you finally have something to fill your time: SW:TOR live streams! So, without further ado, here is a not-so comprehensive list of live streams that I was able to find online. Enjoy!

SW:TOR Fansite Live Streams:

Darth Hater –
Red Rancor –
Force Junkies –

Other Live Streams:

And if you know of any more high-quality of streams we should be aware of, post in the comments below!






Read More
Nov 13, 2011

Posted by | 0 Comments

Wild Space: Fan Site Summit Post-Mortem

It’s a big galaxy our there, and Wild Space can be a dangerous place. Worry not, explorer – each week we’ll navigate you safely through the lost hyperspace routes of the Deep Core and track down the great articles and entertainment from around the SW:TOR fan community, all in less than 12 parsecs, of course!

With the Second Fan Site Summit having come to a close, I thought I would take this opportunity to point out some information that you can check out about what the fansites who attended saw and learned.

First up, TORWars posted two great photo galleries of the summit. Not so much information about the game, but you get a cool glimpse inside the BioWare studios and into the office where the magic happens! Developers, office decor, concept art, workstation setups, and fan site personnel are all on display.  Check out the photo galleries here and here.

TORWars was also able to score the first un-boxing video of the SW:TOR Collector’s Edition! Check that video out here.

Over on Darth Hater, they managed to transcribe the Q&A session that Gabe Amatangelo, Lead End-Game Designer, gave to the assembled multitudes regarding PvP, Flashpoints, and Operations. Some of the more interesting tidbits were:

Q: How long would it take to maybe go through one Operation if you have a successful run?
A: Three hours.

Q: As far as Ilum [the open-world PvP zone] goes, did you say it was going to be persistent like constant?
A: It’s constant. It’s not a timer. It’s always going on. The timer is when you destroy the other vehicles, and your vehicles are able to fly in, it’s five minutes before your vehicles are vulnerable to attack, that’s the only timer. But other than that, if you want to wake up at 3 AM and take it from the Empire, who seems to be dominating it, and you’re Republic, by all means you can do that.

Check out the full Q&A transcript on Darth Hater.

The ladies of Corellian Run Radio posted a nice summary of the Q&A with Game Director James Ohlen. Of note:

  • Guild banks are the first feature to be added for guilds post-launch.
  • The designers intend for light/dark conversation choice to be mostly about RP concerns and don’t want you to be concerned about your stats when making those decisions.
  • Not many people are skipping through the fully-voiced dialog.
    Most gear is modifiable. For example, you could take your starting lightsaber all the way to level 50 just by changing the mods to keep up with the stat increases.
  • There are no abilities that only work inside or outside; all abilities work everywhere(!).

Lastly, Mr. Ohlen was asked why he thinks other MMOs fail? He said that a terrible launch, security issues, and a tendency to go too far either to the MMO side or to the single player side all contribute to why MMOs fail. Rest assured that BioWare is working hard to avoid all of these pitfalls. For the full summary of the Q&A check out Corellian Run Radio.

Read More