Nov 27, 2011

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Wild Space: Weather, History, and Quick Tips

It’s a big galaxy our there, and Wild Space can be a dangerous place. Worry not, explorer – each week we’ll navigate you safely through the lost hyperspace routes of the Deep Core and track down the great articles and entertainment from around the SW:TOR fan community, all in less than 12 parsecs, of course!

If you have been following SW:TOR for a while, you know that there are no random weather effects in the game. Sure, there are localized weather effects depending on your location on a planet that are constantly active, but nothing that occurs randomly. Only scripted weather in SW:TOR.

An article by our friends on TORWars tries to convince BioWare to turn on some more weather effects. Author Anthony Sproson argues that the literary device “pathetic fallacy” could be utilized much more by BioWare to enhance the SW:TOR story via the weather. For example, when something sad happens BioWare could cue some rain or storms; when something good happens, BioWare could stop the rain, throw up some sunshine, and add a rainbow.

By having the weather mirror your character’s emotions, BioWare could really augment the story and make it even more immersive. It’s a really interesting concept for a video game (it has been used in books and movies forever) and I would recommend that you all check out the full article over on TORWars.

History in general is very interesting to me and I have always been excited to learn more about the history of video games ever since I read “Masters of Doom” way back when. Darth Hater released an editorial this week which gave a brief history of the MMORPG genre.

Starting from MUDs (multi-user dungeons), progressing through the 2D (Ultima) and 3D (Everquest) MMORPGs of the recent past, and ending up with the World of Warcrafts and Rifts of today, author Raiden goes to great lengths to explain where MMORPG video games came from. It’s not entirely about SW:TOR, but it’s really cool to learn about where the genre came from and where it is going. Definitely check out the full article over on Darth Hater.

Georg Zoeller pointed this next fan creation out on Google+ and I think that it’s worth reposting here. YouTube channel TOR Hangout has (so far) posted two Quick Tip videos to show you how to manipulate the SW:TOR user interface.

The first was about using the focus target feature in to cast healing spells or buffs on a single target that you “focus” on. For those unfamiliar with focus target, you designate a player and they get their own special unit frame and key modifier that you can use to cast spells on them. The second video was about enabling and configuring healing frames for when you are in a Flashpoint or Operation.

Both videos are really well done so I would encourage you all to check them out. Lets hope we get more tips like this in the near future!

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Nov 13, 2011

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Wild Space: Fan Site Summit Post-Mortem

It’s a big galaxy our there, and Wild Space can be a dangerous place. Worry not, explorer – each week we’ll navigate you safely through the lost hyperspace routes of the Deep Core and track down the great articles and entertainment from around the SW:TOR fan community, all in less than 12 parsecs, of course!

With the Second Fan Site Summit having come to a close, I thought I would take this opportunity to point out some information that you can check out about what the fansites who attended saw and learned.

First up, TORWars posted two great photo galleries of the summit. Not so much information about the game, but you get a cool glimpse inside the BioWare studios and into the office where the magic happens! Developers, office decor, concept art, workstation setups, and fan site personnel are all on display.  Check out the photo galleries here and here.

TORWars was also able to score the first un-boxing video of the SW:TOR Collector’s Edition! Check that video out here.

Over on Darth Hater, they managed to transcribe the Q&A session that Gabe Amatangelo, Lead End-Game Designer, gave to the assembled multitudes regarding PvP, Flashpoints, and Operations. Some of the more interesting tidbits were:

Q: How long would it take to maybe go through one Operation if you have a successful run?
A: Three hours.

Q: As far as Ilum [the open-world PvP zone] goes, did you say it was going to be persistent like constant?
A: It’s constant. It’s not a timer. It’s always going on. The timer is when you destroy the other vehicles, and your vehicles are able to fly in, it’s five minutes before your vehicles are vulnerable to attack, that’s the only timer. But other than that, if you want to wake up at 3 AM and take it from the Empire, who seems to be dominating it, and you’re Republic, by all means you can do that.

Check out the full Q&A transcript on Darth Hater.

The ladies of Corellian Run Radio posted a nice summary of the Q&A with Game Director James Ohlen. Of note:

  • Guild banks are the first feature to be added for guilds post-launch.
  • The designers intend for light/dark conversation choice to be mostly about RP concerns and don’t want you to be concerned about your stats when making those decisions.
  • Not many people are skipping through the fully-voiced dialog.
    Most gear is modifiable. For example, you could take your starting lightsaber all the way to level 50 just by changing the mods to keep up with the stat increases.
  • There are no abilities that only work inside or outside; all abilities work everywhere(!).

Lastly, Mr. Ohlen was asked why he thinks other MMOs fail? He said that a terrible launch, security issues, and a tendency to go too far either to the MMO side or to the single player side all contribute to why MMOs fail. Rest assured that BioWare is working hard to avoid all of these pitfalls. For the full summary of the Q&A check out Corellian Run Radio.

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Nov 9, 2011

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Fan Site Summit: TORWars Un-Podcast With Corellian Run, Fragworld and Ask A Jedi!

As you know, Ask A Jedi currently doesn’t have any sort of podcast. But if they’re always as fun as this one was, we’re really missing out!

The guys over at TORWars invited Kathy and Carla from Corellian Run Radio, Jaro from Fragworld and us to sit down and discuss the events of Fan Site Summit day 1, and what a discussion it was! It was a pretty solid re-cap of the various events including details on Ilum and The Voidstar Warzone, as well as some other odds and ends.

It should be noted that we were fresh off of a victory in a game of Laser Tag against some very formidable 6th grade students from a nearby elementary school. It was close, but the Star Wars team prevailed in the end (otherwise we would never live it down!)

Anyway, give a listen to the cast over on TORWars. It’s only about 30 minutes long, highly entertaining, and you’ll learn what the ladies can do to contribute to the launch effort instead of growing a launch beard. Listen here.


The round table. Literally.

The round table. Literally.

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Nov 5, 2011

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Gamer Magazine Previews SW:TOR; Directive 7 Flashpoint Mention

The non-stop sleuthing of the guys and gals over at TORWars have turned up yet another gem in the most unexpected of places: Best Buy.

The latest issue of Gamer Magazine, which is available free at Best Buy, features Star Wars: The Old Republic on the cover, and provides a very nicely done spread on the game inside. It covers classes, worlds, Warzones and more. For the most part, most hardcore fans won’t get much new info out of it, but there is a little tidbit about the Directive 7 Flashpoint…

Up until now, very little has been said about Directive 7 other than what is on the official Game Systems page for Flashpoints. There, it’s described as an end-game Flashpoint playable by both factions.

Luckily, you don’t even have to leave your chair to read it. It’s available as a downloadable PDF from Gamer right here!

Directive 7

Directive 7

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Oct 30, 2011

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Dialog Choices: What Do They Mean And What If You Didn’t Mean It?

Over at TOWars, one of my favorite fan sites, author Mark Douville has once again penned an interested read.

This time around, he opines on the implications of dialog choices in a piece entitled Path To The Calm Side: The Paraphrasing of The Shrew. He takes the opportunity to not only dissect the dialog system, and touches on the potential concern of a morality system based on a short representation of what your character will actually say, leading to potential “miscues”:

First let’s look at the paraphrasing of text. Anyone who has ever played Dragon Age II or the Mass Effect series will be familiar with this. Let’s say one of your options would be to respond to an idea with, “There has to be a better way. After all, the Gungans would not be willing receivers in a Dirty Kick marathon.” This might be paraphrased for the dialog choice as, “I don’t like that idea” or “The Gungans wouldn’t participate.”

All in all, it’s a well-thought out piece that takes a neutral stance on an otherwise polarizing issue. Not to mention the image captions, as always, are a feature in and of themselves. Head over to TORWars to check it out!

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