Jan 2, 2012

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Stephen Reid Clarifies Disciplinary Action On Ilum, Credit Farmers

If you’ve been following the community buzz over recent days, you may have heard about some players claiming that their accounts were banned. They explained the banning was a result of taking low-level character to Ilum, which is a high level zone. We even did a Blue Milk & Cereal on it this morning, and as we stated there, we hand’t yet herd BioWare’s side of the story. Now we have.

Senior Community Manager Stephen Reid took to the official forums earlier this afternoon to clarify the recent actions that had been taken on some accounts. Reid explained there were 2 chief causes: credit farmers and Ilum loot exploit that was causing imbalance in the economy. Here’s a snippet:

None of these accounts were banned for their actions and no accounts have been banned for travelling to Ilum while still relatively low level. By comparison, the number of accounts that were warned or temporarily suspended was considerably lower than the number of accounts banned for ‘credit farming’.

In summary, our Terms of Service team took action against a number of accounts that were ‘credit farming’ to remove them permanently from the game. They also warned and temporarily suspended – but did not ban – a smaller number of accounts for activities on Ilum that were decided to be game exploits.

While it’s nice to hear about the swift action of credit farmers, of particular interest of course is the Ilum suspensions. The clarification that there were no players banned for this is a welcome one, because in some sense this is a subjective issue. How is the exploit defined? Is it clear to players? Permanently banning legitimate players based on creative use of game mechanics is a slippery slope, so it’s good to see that wasn’t the case here.

Head on over to the forums for Stephen’s full comments, and get involved in the discussion.

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Dec 29, 2011

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Reddit AMA With Stephen Reid Transcript

Earlier this evening, Senior Community Coordinator Stephen Reid took to Reddit for an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session with the passionate and vocal Reddit community.

Stephen didn’t shy away from anything, including the very hot current topic of the “delay” in combat abilities that is causing concern. There wasn’t necessarily any new info here, but the answers are as complete as can be, and there are a lot of them!

Take some time to fish through it, maybe you’ll find something interesting we missed!

Stephen Reid Reddit AMA – December 28, 2011

Q: Ability Delay. Have you guys discussed this internally, and if so, is there an ETA for a fix on this issue?

Hey! It has been discussed internally, and we’ll talk about it publicly soon. It’s not a simple issue so we don’t want to issue a quick, off-the-cuff response.

Q: Can you tell us what your plans are for guild banks and guild capital ships?

Guild banks and guild ‘housing’ (of some type; ships are most popular as people know) are both on the list for future development. As always it’s a question of priorities and so on, but they’re definitely discussed. I will say that guild banks are higher priority.

Q: What is your favorite MMO (besides this one)?

Used to be City of Heroes – first MMO I worked on.

Q: Any idea if the space sections will expand to include PvP or grouping?

I have an idea. Can’t share it though. ;)

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Dec 26, 2011

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Yellow Posts: Community Questions, In-Game Purchasing, Future Content, And Respecing

Forum user Spankyjnco posted a list of eight questions (expanded to ten) about various things in the game that probably a lot of players would like answered from BioWare. Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Manager, took the time to respond to all of the questions and let us know where they stand on the issues. Here are a couple highlights:

Q: Is there a plan to fix the graphic settings? Right now there is no real difference between medium/high graphics and it’s apparent that we are all stuck with the medium textures. What’s the reasoning for this, and do you guys have a fix planned?

A: It’s a bug, and we are working on rolling out a fix.

Q: A easier way to find groups. Having to spam in /1 is quite annoying to everyone in the zone, let alone those looking for a group. And noobdy seems to use that actual “Flag yourself for group” option because it’s not very successful. I would like to do flashpoints, but I’m not going to waste 30 minutes sitting in the fleet spamming /1 that I am looking for a group. Some kind of way to have a global search/group finder would be nice.

A: We’re aware of this desire, but we actually believe that finding others on the same planet as you encourages social interaction a bit more than a general ‘group finder’. We’re not saying it’ll never, ever happen but again, not high priority right now.

The post is pretty extensive, so I would encourage all of you to check it out for some valuable information.

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Dec 25, 2011

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Stephen Reid To Host AMA On Reddit

Reddit bills itself as “the front page of the internet.” While that might be a stretch, it has definitely caught on as a bit of an underground social network, somewhere between usenet and Facebook. Or something. Topics of every kind can be found here, and it’s all user-generated.

There has been a Reddit dedicated to TOR for some time, and it can be found here. It’s been a source of some great discussion during the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic, including links to “things” I’m certain BioWare would rather not have had seen out there during the Game Testing program. None the less, it’s a lively place with tons of passionate fans discussing the game every day.

Senior Community Manager Stephen Reid has decided to bravely venture into the the fray this coming Wednesday, December 28th at 2:00PM Austin Time (Central Standard Time) to host an AMA. That’s Reddit lingo for, “Ask Me Anything.” And while I’m sure the “ask” part will be covered, that doesn’t necessarily mean Stephen will be able to AEYA (Answer Everything You Asked). I’m sure he’ll give it the old college try, however!

This is a (welcome) trend with game developers recently, as ArenaNet’s Jon Peters helms an AMA for Guild Wars 2. As a matter of fact you should check it out so you know what to expect.

So mark your calendars for Wednesday and see if you can get ‘ol Rockjaw to spill his guts!

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Dec 21, 2011

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Grace Period To End Following Scheduled Maintenance Period Tonight

In case you haven’t entered your product registration code yet, now might be a good time to do so.

The Star Wars: The Old Republic game servers will come offline at 2AM Austin Time (Central Standard Time) and are expected to be down for about three hours. After that, players will need to have a valid product registration code attached to their account in order to log in and continue playing.

Wait, What Code Now?

It’s worth pointing out, since there has been confusion in the past, that this is different than your pre-order code. The pre-order code is what you received from the retailer where you pre-ordered that allowed you early access to the game. The product registration code (or CD Key) comes with the game itself, and is what unlocks the game license for you to play. If you ordered a digital edition from Origin, this code would have been emailed to you after December 15th. If you ordered a physical copy from any retailer (including Origin) you must retrieve the code from inside the packaging. Stephen Reid has it outlined very thoroughly in this post.

As a side effect to all of this, BioWare is expecting a large rush of players entering their codes, causing a heavy load on servers. The forums will be temporary casualties of this expected load:

When we bring SWTOR.com back up after maintenance, we’re expecting to see very high load as users complete their ‘ready to play’ steps as outlined above. As having everyone complete these steps and getting them back into the game is our highest priority, we have decided to keep the official Forums in ‘read only mode’, hopefully just for a few hours, until load subsides. (In other words, you will be able to read the Forums, but not make posts.)

After the close call I had with Origin’s shipping schedule, I’d agree with BioWare that there are many players yet to enter their code for one reason or another. If you can, head over to your SWTOR.com account and do it now to avoid the rush!

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