Dec 1, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Will You Create A Back Story For Your Character?

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!

From the very beginning, BioWare has stated that one goal for TOR is to re-create the table-top roleplaying experience in digital form. For example, group conversations were added to mimic the exchanges that players have out of character when sitting around a roleplaying table. Every player has an opinion on what should be said to a non-player character, but only one person can actually speak to them. For those who have had the good fortune to play Dungeons & Dragons or even the (now defunct) Star Wars table-top RPG know how incredibly fun these exchanges can be.

I don’t know if there is truly anything better than becoming completely invested in your fictitious character’s personality and actions. Playing with friends who are just as invested as you are in their characters can lead to some truly great experiences. It’s just fun to lose yourself in another person and imagine that you are part of a great rebellion against an oppressive regime or that your sister has been captured by marauding bandits and you have to track them down to rescue her.

Ah…nostalgia. Anyway, one of the best ways to really get into your character is to create a back story or at least decide on some personality traits for your character. BioWare has kindly given us a good starting point for our back story in the form of the legendary opening crawl, but that may not be enough for some people.

Personally, I am determined to develop a really good back story so that I can get invested in my Sith Warrior. My question to all of you this morning is are you going to do the same? Let us know if you plan to work on a back story for your character before launch!

Will you create a back-story for your character?

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Sep 3, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Did You Get A Beta Weekends Invite?

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!

If you’re a regular reader of Blue Milk & Cereal, you might notice I’m not the usual author. I’m filling in for him today because he had something else come up this weekend that he had to attend to.

But what could be more important than writing about Star Wars: The Old Republic? Apparently, playing it! Yes, that’s right – he was one of the lucky few invited to the very first Beta Weekend as previously announced, and detailed last weekend at PAX Prime.

As I congratulated him with the most genuine smile I could muster, thankful that, since I didn’t get an invite, I would still have time to mow my lawn and paint my fence this weekend, I contemplated what the topic of this morning’s article would be.  That’s when it dawned on me, what better topic for BM&C on the first Beta Weekend than to find out just how many AAJ readers got the golden ticket… er… email!

Just please remember to not post anything that would be against the NDA, which is absolutely everything except saying you’re in :)

Did you get an invite to the first TOR Beta Weekend?

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Sep 2, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Should TOR Have Flying Vehicles/Mounts?

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!

Every MMO player knows that one of the exciting things about progressing through the game is getting access to other forms of travel – be it special spells, vehicles, mounts or other means of transporting oneself.

Player vehicles or mounts generally allow players to move at a faster speed and sometimes offer other perks – such as giving your friend a lift, the ability to reach areas otherwise unreachable on-foot and even  advantages in PvP.

Some games even allow flying mounts, enabling players to freely control their transportation in virtually any direction they wish to go. In fact, just recently (and completely out of the blue), Star Wars Galaxies announced atmospheric flight, which is especially odd since that game is shutting down in December.

But, flying vehicles can also create a few problems of its own, such as bypassing content or not doing/going to the places where the developers planned the content. Of course you could attribute that to poor design on developers part – but adding an entire extra axis to the game world doesn’t exactly make game design any easier!

We already know that TOR is going to have quite a variety of ground-based player vehicles, but it seems that we won’t be getting any player-controlled flying mounts, at least not at launch. It makes some sense when you understand that BioWare is very focused on story and delivering a great experience to the player. There are a couple of threads on the official forums on this topic, here and here. It seems to depend on the perspective which way the player-base votes.

Personally, I hope to see flying vehicles in a future expansion, if not sooner. Perhaps the same exapsnion that brings multiplayer space combat to the game. Let it be a PvP region or simple co-op – both would greatly enhance the game we all cannot wait to get our hands on.

So what do you think? Should TOR have atmospheric travel / flying mounts? Let us know below!

Should TOR have flying vehicles/atmospheric flight?

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Sep 1, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Will You Miss A “Reputation” System In TOR?

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!

During our interview with Gabe Amatangelo at PAX, we confirmed that there isn’t any sort of “reputation” system in the game. It’s possible this was stated somewhere before, but it was news to me. As a matter of fact, this page has been on the Holonet since the site launched in 2008. It looked ripe for expansion, but nothing ever came of it.

This came as a bit of a surprise, since this type of system has been an MMO staple almost since the beginning of time. The ability to gain (or lose) favor with a given group of NPCs to unlock content or rewards presents an opportunity for interesting dynamics, especially in the Star Wars galaxy where political undertones play such a big part in the story.

On the down side, the implementation of these reputations or factions in other games tended to lean toward the “grindy” side of available activities, and we know BioWare is interested in removing that aspect of the genre as much as possible.

Still, I think with a little creativity and ingenuity, a reputation system could work in a game like The Old Republic. What if it were called “diplomacy” as opposed to reputation? It suddenly takes on a whole new life.

Perhaps this is something that BioWare would add to the game through an expansion, or maybe we’ll never see it at all. Personally, I’m a little disappointed.

How about you? What do you think of the absence of a reputation system in TOR? Will you miss it? What ideas do you have to make one that isn’t so “grindy”? Let’s hear ‘em!

Will you miss a having a "reputation" system in The Old Republic?

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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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