Dec 13, 2011

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Community Blog: James Ohlen – What’s Next For The Old Republic!

As many of you are sinking your teeth (or waiting to, at any rate) into the game, Game Director James Ohlen published a piece in the Community Blog about what we can expect in the future from BioWare.

Welcome to Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. It’s been many years in the making and the team is very proud of what we’ve achieved. Since we’re an online game we are going to continue building on the game for years to come. You can count on us to diligently expand the game and service to surprise and delight you. We’re going to not only respond to your feedback, but also hopefully exceed your expectations on how Star Wars: The Old Republic will evolve over time.


Many of you helped make the game what it is today by participating in our testing programs. You’ve watched the game grow over the past year and have been very vocal about things you’d like to see in the game in the future.


A team is never finished building a massively multiplayer game, so we’d like to take this opportunity to reveal a little information on what the team is working on for patches coming in the near future. Our priorities have been, and will continue to be, based off of the feedback we receive from our players.


-New Content – We will be adding new content to the galaxy on an ongoing basis. These worlds will include Operations, Flashpoints and solo content.


-Guild Functionality – Guilds are important to the long term health of any MMORPG. We have a huge list of guild centric features. This will be an ongoing effort that will probably never end. Guild banks are the first thing we’ll be delivering in our plans for increased guild functionality. Eventually we even want to deliver on the promise of the long hinted at “Guild Capital Ships.”


-UI customization – You like choice. We hear you! SWTOR is all about choice. Being able to choose how you interact with an online game is something we feel is very important. We are going to be giving more control over the UI as an ongoing effort. This is a very big priority for us.

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Dec 10, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Which Warzone Do You Like Best?

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!

War is a big part of the Star Wars mythos. There is nearly always some type of Republic vs. Empire battle going on throughout every movie, TV show or video game. Star Wars: The Old Republic is no different. Heck, from the opening moments of the Deceived trailer, we saw what was perhaps one of the most bold assaults by either side on the other in the history of the franchise!

The cool thing about an MMO is that we get to play out that war against other real players! In TOR, there will be many ways to do this including open world PvP, the innovative and high-risk Outlaw’s Den and last but not least Warzones.

Warzones are instanced areas that are designed for a specific number of players, and have objectives and rules that define the conditions for winning. They’re great because they give some of the best team-based gaming experiences you can find if you work together (and some of this most frustrating if you don’t!)

TOR will ship with 3 Warzones: The Voidstar, which is an assault-and-defend style battle. Alderaan, which is a class battle for control points, which turn the tide of battle. Finally, and perhaps the most interesting, is Huttball. Here, the Hutts are using you for entertainment as you participate in a really violent sport where you have to get a ball across enemy lines. A little like football, but with more fire, poison and explosions!

Each represents a different style of gameplay and visual environment, so based on what you’ve seen and heard about them so far, which do you think will be your favorite? Perhaps you even had a chance to play them in Game Testing or one of the Beta Weekends. If you did, we’d love to hear about it below!

Which Warzone do you like the most?

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Nov 30, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: What Server Type Will You Play On?

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!

It’s hard to believe we’ve never done a Blue Milk & Cereal on this topic before, but I had our official AAJ fact-checker look into it and he confirmed that it’s true.

A while back, BioWare revealed that there would be four official server rulesets: PvE, PvP, RP, and RP-PvP. Each of these represent a potentially very different gameplay experience.

PvE servers are great for those that like to go about their business while doing missions, and not be interrupted or attacked spontaneously out in the wild (unless they accidentally wander into Outlaw’s Den, of course ;)  PvP servers are for those players that like the excitement that comes with knowing you are in danger nearly everywhere you go. A fight can break out almost anywhere, and that feeling can be exhilarating. RP and RP-PvP rulesets aren’t really mechanically different than their counterparts, but offer a “sanctioned” place for role-players to have an environment more suited to their play style. It should be noted that BioWare will not be enforcing the RP rulesets, which is a bit of a letdown, but at least they’re an option.

By now I’m sure you can see where we’re headed with this one… we want to know what server ruleset will you play your main character on. Vote, and let us know why (or what you don’t like about the other rulesets!)

What server type will you play your main character on?

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Nov 18, 2011

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Fan Site Summit: Outlaw’s Den Revealed!

When we headed out to Austin for the latest Fan Site Summit last week, we had no idea what to expect. We were hoping to see some cool new things and of course get our hands on the game for an extended period of time.

Well, I can tell you both of those things happened. And for me, the “cool” and “new” part surpassed all expectations. Perhaps “shock” and “awe” might be a better way to describe it.

What better place than Texas to reveal a brand new open-world area on Tatooine called Outlaw’s Den. The name, as it implies, is a pretty rough place. Just how rough? Well, hold on to your seats – it’s an entire area of the map dedicated to free-for-all combat. Yes, you heard that correctly.

What does free-for-all mean you might ask? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds for the most part. In this dangerous area of Tatooine, everyone is a potential target. This means you can even attack members of your own faction, anywhere, at all times. Even on PvE servers. The only players you can’t attack are any members of the group you’re in, be it a 4 person party or a 24-person Operation group. Beyond that, you can target and be targeted anywhere, anytime.

This is a real gem for old-school MMO players and a bit of a nod to sandbox-style game design. Literally anything goes and although there is loot to be had, the reward is ultimately the wild-west style environment and subsequent rush that you get just from setting foot on this kind of soil.

Here’s an overview of some of the highlights:

  • Free-for-all rules: Kill anyone and everything that isn’t in your own party/group, including players of your same faction
  • Rare vendors – that are killable – and don’t re-spawn on a regular schedule
  • Rare resources for Crew Skills
  • Map designed with objects and architectural features such as arenas and pits – to do with as you please
  • Commerce area with access to your cargo hold (bank) and the Galactic Trade Network (auction house.) Even this area of Outlaw’s Den is not a sanctuary. Always keep one eye open at the mailbox ;)
  • It’s well-marked so players shouldn’t be surprised if they stroll into the area

We didn’t get our hands on Outlaw’s Den, as it was in early stages of development, but we were able to see it in action as Lead End-game Designer Gabe Amatangelo demonstrated. The visuals are very Tatooine, but with a very foreboding feel.

Personally, I can’t tell you how glad I am BioWare is experimenting with this style of gameplay in their MMO. It’s great that they’re really trying to use the huge world they’re creating in the Star Wars universe to offer as many varied play styles as there are players. It may seem hardcore to some, but it’s a breath of fresh air in the genre, and from a mainstream title no less!

If you’re interested in talking about Outlaw’s Den, or anything else from the Fan Site Summit, stop by the Ask A Jedi Cantina tonight, Friday November 18th at 9:00PM EST. We’ll be holding a live Q&A, and while we may not be able to answer everything, we’ll give it a whirl!

We hope to know more about Outlaw’s Den soon, and will of course bring a full report when we do. In any case though, just think: we’ll all have the game in our hands to try it for ourselves in barely 30 days!

Not Outlaw's Den. We don't think.

Not Outlaw's Den. We don't think.

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Nov 14, 2011

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Blasters, Beggars & Credits: I Love Ilum – Observations from the Summit

Some players do it for glory. Some do it for infamy. Some like to accumulate the most points, or explore the far reaches of the worlds they inhabit. This, however, is not a column for those people. This is a column for those people who, quietly or not, enjoy making money so that their digital avatar can sleep on large piles of cash.

A lot of details have been making their way out of the Fansite Summit, but perhaps most tantalizing of the recent items is the sudden openness about Ilum, the hostile and frozen planet of open-world PVP.

Of course, it’s the duty of this columnist to attempt to find some manner of profit in it all, so a quick run-down on the features and how we might make find some opportunities.

First, the most obvious one: the highest-level nodes of resources spawn here. As with other games that had high-level zones that encouraged world player-versus-player, players will be fighting over the best grounds for farming materials. However, unlike other games, the zone does not have a reset or timer. Instead, while farming, you will constantly be under threat, and it will be far more likely that you will encounter a hostile intent on preventing you from harvesting that sweet, sweet cheddar. Full-contact gathering certainly has its place as a sport, but it also cuts into profits. In general, if you yourself are not a PVP (at least in combat) enthusiast, I would recommend going at off-peak hours, unless it turns into the only place to acquire some rare material – in which case, fight on!

We're going to need a bigger lightsaber...

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