Feb 6, 2012

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Yellow Posts: Guild Summit, More on PvP Gear, And BioChem Changes

Well, BioWare tried to put me out of a job this week, but little do they know that if they strike me down I shall become more powerful than…no, I’m not going to do it. First up this week is a post by Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Manager, about the upcoming Guild Summit. Unfortunately, BioWare does not have unlimited space for the event so not all guilds who applied will receive invites. This inevitably leads to controversy as some people think that they were unfairly or even intentionally left out. Here is and excerpt of what Mr. Reid has to say on the selection criteria:

Guilds were selected with the ultimate aim of ensuring we had a broad representative mixture of guild sizes, playstyles and geographical locations at the summit (with the assumption that no-one might turn up of their own accord). We have guilds from all types of playstyles, large guilds (2,000+ members), small guilds (20 members) and guilds from across North America and Europe. (Note: many guilds are multi-national; our invites were for guild leaders, who were mostly located in NA/EU.) Guilds were also selected because of their constructive and critical feedback during testing of The Old Republic, both pre-launch and post-launch.

If you read Wild Space this week, then you know that PvP rewards are getting some changes in the near future. They are doing this in order to correct a perceived over-gearing of some lucky players who got a lot of good loot in PvP reward bags. Some have thought that to fix this imbalance BioWare should retroactively reduce the stats on that gear. That isn’t the current plan according to Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer. Check out this excerpt:

To spell it out: We currently have no intention to modify the stats on existing PvP gear downwards (which I assume you mean by ‘nerf’). Nobody has talked about eliminating the gap between old level 50s and new level 50s either.

Last up this week, another major change coming in the 1.1.2 patch is that BioChem is getting some more changes. Specifically the requirement that you have to have the BioChem skill to use Energized and Exotech BioChem products. This change was put in place for the following reasons, per Georg Zoeller:

This was done to (a) remove pressure of players to pick up BioChem for optimal combat performance and (b) to open up the sale of BioChem products to a larger audience on the Galactic Trade Network.

To me, it sounds like BioWare is really trying to keep BioChem from being a “required” crew skill for end game players. They really want all skills to be viable at the end game. Here’s more from Georg Zoeller:

It is our intention to gradually, over multiple patches, reduce the impact of situational consumables on endgame combat resolution and shift the factors which determine the outcome of combat more towards personal skill.

Check out the full article for interesting insights into the future of BioChem.

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Feb 1, 2012

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The First Ever Guild Summit Announced – March 4-6 in Austin! Stephen Reid & David Bass Q&A

In case you’ve been hiding under a sand crawler all day and missed it, BioWare made quite an announcement today – the first ever Star Wars: The Old Republic Guild Summit!

In what promises to be the event of the season – catering specifically to the needs of the guild leadership community – BioWare is opening up their Austin studio to allow guild leaders from across the globe to come together to give their input and feedback about the past, present and future of Star Wars: The Old Republic!

TL;DR: First thing’s first. If you’re the leader of a guild in Star Wars: The Old Republic – no matter the size, shape or style – BioWare wants you in Austin! Obviously there’s a finite amount of space available, so be sure to head over to fill out the application ASAP!

We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes of time from Senior Community Manager Stephen Reid and Senior Community Coordinator David Bass to ask them about the Guild Summit, and see what kind of beans we could get them to spill. Luckily, they obliged our request and the Q&A follows.

On a side note, we’ve had the privilege to attend the Fan Site Summits in Austin, and the Guild Summit seems poised to deliver all of that excitement and more, to even more people! If you are one of the lucky attendees, come back here and let us know, and maybe you could even file a report on behalf of Ask A Jedi! We’d love to have you!

Without further adieu, I present Messrs. Stephen Reid and David Bass!

Guild Summit 2012 Q&A – Stephen Reid & David Bass

Ask A Jedi: So, the first Star Wars: The Old Republic Guild Summit! Very cool! Give us all the details! Date? Time? Place? 

David Bass: We’re holding the Guild Summit from March 4th-6th here in Austin, TX. We’re going to have guild leaders from all over the world coming out to speak directly with the designers of The Old Republic so that we can gather their feedback first hand, discuss the state of the game and talk about future developments. We’re looking forward to some great discussions!

AAJ: Obviously, guilds are a very important part of an MMO community. Can you tell us a bit about how this whole idea came about?

Stephen Reid: Doing a Guild Summit was one of those big ideas we’ve had for a while; I think we first discussed it in a ‘wouldn’t it be cool if’ sort of way back when we did the first Fansite Summit last year. We’re always listening to the community and getting their feedback across all our channels, but nothing beats a one-on-one, face to face meeting, so this was our ultimate goal.

AAJ: How can guilds be a part of this and possibly attend?

DB: Well, we’ve invited a number of guilds already, but one of the pieces of feedback we saw during the Fansite Summits last year was that people want to have the option of attending events on their own, so we’re opened up an application which you’ll find here. Guild leaders can apply there from now through February 10th, at which point we’ll contact guild leaders and let them know whether we have space for them or not. Obviously we want to allow as many people as possible to attend, but the hotel only has so much space for us, so we’re going to have to limit the capacity.

SR: We really want to stress that guilds of any size or style can apply. We want to host a wide variety of players of all different types, so whether your guild is based around a style of play, a specific theme or maybe you’re just big (or small) we want to hear from you.

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Jan 16, 2012

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Yellow Posts: High Rez Update, LFG System, Crew Skills, And The GTN

Hopefully this week will be much more informative than the last, especially since the devs have been crazy active on the forums this week. By now, you’ve probably heard about the “high resolution texture problem” in SWTOR. Basically, high resolution textures are only available for in-conversation cutscenes and when you are playing out in the game normally the texture quality is lowered. One of the responses that Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Coordinator, posted in the official thread actually states in which update we will see more graphics options: 1.2.

…The first major changes will be in our next major Game Update, which will have the version number of 1.2. Those changes will bring greater visual fidelity to your character and those around you, but will still allow for good performance in situations where a lot of characters are on-screen at once. In other words, for those screenshots of your character in their best gear, you should see a marked improvement…

The game has been officially out for less than a month and we are getting our first major content patch. Hopefully, it will only take about another month to see these changes implemented!

Responding to a post by Obi-Wun, Damion Schubert, Principal Lead Systems Designer, talks a little bit about BioWare’s plans for a “looking for group” tool. What it boils down to is that, at this moment in time, most players are still confined to a few areas in the game, the fleet, mid-to-low-level planets, etc…and an official tool to automatically find groups for flashpoints and heroic quests is not needed currently. However, Mr. Schubert and the whole BioWare staff are quite aware that as players continue to reach the end game and more content becomes available a true LFG tool will become necessary. Given that, they are going to be implementing a true LFG tool soon™:

Improving our LFG system is high on the list of features that Systems Design wants to add to the game. We want this to be good not just for helping people find Flashpoints and Operations to run, but also other multiplayer content like heroic missions. A key emphasis will be on advertising for specific role needs (healer, tank, DPS). This feature is currently in the design stage, and once this feature has moved beyond this to a development stage and has a firm ETA, I’ll be coming back to you guys to give more details.

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Jan 11, 2012

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Stephen Reid Updates Community Weighs In On Hi-Resolution Textures

As outlined in his initial post, forum user Adelbert put together a lengthy post to ask the question: why do our characters look better in cutscenes than in normal gameplay? After drawing a lot of attention, Stephen Reid promised an answer, and today he delivered.

We will quote it in its entirety below, but to give the general gist: the decision was made to not have ultra-high settings because it adversely affected the gameplay even on high-end gaming machines, due to the texture and processor demands of loading characters. As anyone who has played MMOs knows, loading a large number of players into the client can cause issues and force good machines to run slowly. Due to that, they reduced the texture demand when out of conversations, but left the high-end textures for those conversations.

However, there is hope: he also promised that the team is looking into ways to allow us to use those high-end textures if we so choose. Read on for his full post!

Hey everyone, thanks for bearing with us as we investigated the concerns raised here.

After investigation, it seems that the confusion here is a combination of a UI issue that’s been resolved and a feature that’s working as intended, but the reason why it’s ‘working as intended’ needs explanation.

First, the UI issue. The preferences menu as it is seen on the Public Test Server for version 1.1 of the game is correct – there are only supposed to be two texture choices, ‘Low’ and ‘High’. This replaces the original three-choice preference of Low/Medium/High because in reality, there was never supposed to be a ‘Medium’ choice – that was a bug.

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Jan 9, 2012

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Yellow Posts: A Patching-We-Will-Go!

Lots of bugs are being discussed on the forums. It seems that this week, BioWare has been doing lots of information gathering and communication about bugs and what they are doing to fix them. For instance, if you find yourself in need of doing a Repair install on the TOR game files, you will probably notice that the launcher looks like it is downloading a huge amount of data (about 12GB). Forum poster BouncerPup noticed this and wanted to know why this happened on what should have been a minor repair install. Joveth Gonzalez, Associate Online Community Manager, got an unnamed developer to post about this, which turns out to be just a display problem with the launcher:

Hi everyone, I wanted to pass along this message from one of our developers:

Many of you have expressed concern that when performing a Repair the entire game is downloaded again. While the Launcher messaging does seem to indicate this, that’s not actually what is going on.

When the Launcher detects a corrupted file, it will attempt to restore that file from Version 1. In the Launcher it will appear that, for example, all of Main Assets 1 (12GB) is being downloaded, but in actuality, only the patch files which contain the corrupted file are being downloaded. Typically, this is a single patch file. Now, that said, those files can be very large (up to 2GB), but unless a large number of files are corrupted it will not download the entire 12GB (or in the case of English/French/German Assets 1, 7GB).

For those of you who are experiencing repeated corruption of files and are not having success with Repair, we urge you to try the Launcher Troubleshooting Guide. We’ve discovered new issues (CAS Latency and memory voltage settings) that when corrected have solved the corruption issue for several users. We recognize that this continues to be a vexing issue for some of you and we are continuing to investigate, but as of yet no common thread discovered. We will report any verifiable fixes to the forums.

Thank you

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