Aug 31, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: What Do You Think Of Alternate Currency?

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!

In this weekend’s reveal of Open World PvP at PAX, Lead End-game designer Gabe Amatangelo discussed that both Warzone Commendations (from Warzones) and Mercenary Commendations (from Open World PvP) are both required to acquire the best PvP gear in the game. He also revealed that the two types of badges could be exchanged for each other, however at less than a 1-to-1 exchange rate.

This brings to light an even bigger discussion, however – the concept of alternate currency in general.

Badges, commendations or tokens – different terminology for the same thing – are sometimes given as rewards for completion of certain tasks. They could be given exclusively, or along side other rewards such as items or regular currency (gold, credits, and so on.) Requiring badges instead of gold/credits to purchase an item guarantees that the player is actually doing the content (since the badges are not tradable to/from other players).

A good idea in concept, but the badge system can get out of control. Already, just in PvP, we see two kinds of badges – Warzone and Mercenary Commendations. We also know that there are Valor Points you earn from PvP that will act as another type of currency. And that doesn’t even count anything on the PvE side of the fence! Blizzard went through a period with many, many types of special currency and in the end both the players and Blizzard themselves decided it had gotten out of control.

I for one would like to see standard currency (credits in TOR) make a comeback. In order to curtail buying/selling however, perhaps credits could be made non-tradeable between players, unless it goes through the auction house. It won’t stop everything but will put a huge dent in it. I just feel that it makes sense to use the in-game currency, since otherwise, it really makes little sense to even be in the game if developers constantly have to dance around using it.

If that isn’t the answer, then perhaps just one “type” of badge should be rewarded for ANY type of content you do, with no need for exchanging them. Simply do whatever content you like. Requiring different badges for different rewards would seem to foster somewhat of a grind mentality, which works against BioWare’s mantra of “no grinding.”

What do you think about alternate currency? What are the pros and cons from your point of view?

Do you like the idea of alternate currency in game, such as as badges, tokens or commendations?

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Aug 28, 2011

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PAX 2011: Gabe Amatangelo Interview w/ Totally Rad Show

Alex Albrecht from The Totally Rad Show spent a few minutes with Lead End-game Designer Gabe Amatangelo to discuss some of the finer points around Flashpoints and Opeations, including the stance behind not having a “dungeon finder” tool, at least for launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Gabe also discusses a bit about Ilum, the “solo” end-game planet that is a constant state of conflict between the Empire and Republic. It’s worth a watch, check it out!


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Aug 27, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Do You View Advanced Classes As Full Classes?

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!

One of the longest-running discussions within the TOR community has been the difference between classes, advanced classes and specializations. Most “outsiders” are unaware that TOR’s advanced classes aren’t mere talent specs or minor cosmetic differences. Even during the show floor presentations yesterday at PAX, Lead End-game Designer Gabe Amatangelo described them very clearly: “advanced classes ARE the classes” he said. After introducing this concept to players new to the community,  typically they agree that the advanced classes essentially are separate classes sharing primarily a story, and beyond that just a few basic mechanics.

Still, there are holdouts that can’t seem to accept this idea. In all fairness, it’s not their fault either. BioWare dug a bit of its own whole here by labeling your character choice as a “class” during character creation, not to mention their wavering on the topic of wether or not you’d be able to “switch” your advanced class after you pick it at around level 10 in the game. Last we knew, you will be able to.

Personally, I view the advanced classes as truly separate classes. For example, let’s take the Jedi Consular class and examine the two potential options – Shadow and Sage. In terms of gameplay, Sage could be played as dedicated healer whereas Shadow could be played like a traditional rogue in other MMOs. The same versatility goes for other classes on both the Empire and the Republic sides. As you might expect from BioWare, they’ve defined their classes by their story. And it’s the advanced class system where the combat class really comes into focus.

So we want to know what do you think. Does TOR have 16 or 8 classes in total? What are you factoring into your decision? Let us know below!

Do you view advanced classes as full classes?

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Aug 24, 2011

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gamescom 2011: Gabe Amatangelo Interview was able to corral BioWare’s Lead End-game Designer on Star Wars: The Old  Republic Gabe Amatangelo to ask him a few questions during gamescom last week.

Gabe talks about operations and even Crew Skills during the piece. Again, it’s a must-watch for the TOR faithful!

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Aug 21, 2011

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gamescom 2011: Smuggler Gameplay + Gabe Amatangelo Interview w/ TotalBiscuit

Following up his excellent interview with Stephen Reid, in which we got to see about 25 minutes of Sith Warrior origin world gameplay on Korriban, TotalBuscuit has returned with about 16 minutes of Smuggler origin world content!

This time, he’s Stephen Reid-less, but if you’re familiar with TotalBuscuit, you know he’s a skilled and entertaining narrator and he doesn’t disappoint here. The video is cam shot, but available at 1080p, and some of the best I’ve seen. Although this time, he was not permitted to play the in-game audio.

A must-watch I would say, but as with his Sith Warrior video, this definitely contains some spoilers if you’d rather save your Smuggler experience for when you finally get your hands on the game!

As a bonus, TotalBuscuit also conducted a short interview with Gabe Amatangelo to talk a bit about end-game. Of interest they discussed the Eternity Vault Operation shown as “entry-level” with simple mechanics, and Gabe notes that it gets much harder with different mechanics from there. Also: Open World PvP.


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