Mar 3, 2012

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Community Q&A For March 2nd: Legacy Unlocks Include Mailbox & GTN; Crafted Gear Rules All

While there were fewer questions than usual answered in this week’s community Q&A, there were definitely some interesting ones. For example, we learned from Damion Schubert that part of the Legacy system will unlock things like a mailbox and GTN terminal on your ship:

JediCarve – Will our ships ever get upgraded to include mailboxes and the Galactic Trade Network so that we will be able to access those without having to go through the process of load screens and Orbital Stations/Spaceports?

Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer): On one hand, we really like making the ships richer and more useful, and on the other hand, we also want to be sure that the fleets feel like vibrant centers of the game community. So the answer is… Yes! And this feature is coming as soon as Game Update 1.2 … as ship features you can unlock as part of the Legacy system. Watch for more information about Legacy unlocks coming in Game Update 1.2 – we should be dropping that Real Soon Now.

This is an interesting decision, as those are the 2 primary functions you would need to go to the fleet for. Would be interesting to hear more of an explanation on how this reconciles with the idea the fleets are supposed to be commerce and social hubs.

Technical Design Director Emannuel Lusinchi also provided some insight into the idea that, at least in the near term, crafted gear should be superior to endgame gear obtained in other ways:

Gidoru – In last week’s Q&A, you detailed upcoming changes to the Crafting System with crit crafting orange gear and removing base mods from purple gear. I think that this issue needs some clarification, as what was stated essentially suggests that orange crit crafted gear will always be superior to either PvP or PvE gear. This is because players will be able to simply remove the mods in their PvP or PvE gear and place it in a piece of crit crafted orange gear that will additionally provide extra stats as a result of the augment slot. Is it your intention to make crafted gear superior to gear obtained in other ways?

Emannuel Lusinchi (Technical Design Director): Yes, for Game Update 1.2, this is correct. Crafted gear is, in theory, superior to endgame gear obtained in other ways. However, it is worth pointing out that putting together crit crafted gear, including item modifications, requires more effort, not less. Now, the reason I specifically mention Game Update 1.2 is that we will introduce new mechanics in a future update that, without diminishing the usefulness of crit crafted items, will bring some interesting changes and that’s all I will say about that!

It sounds like Game Update 1.2 is shaping up to be a pretty interesting patch, and with the guild summit starting on Monday, we’re no doubt about to learn more! Ask A Jedi will be at the summit and will report back with any news!

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Feb 20, 2012

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Yellow Posts: Closing Outstanding Issues And Companion Equipment: Need Or Greed?

This week we start with Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer, having way too much fun on the RP forums:

Dear Sir,

With much delight we confirm your order for 200 C2-N2 Advanced Spaceship Maintenance Droids. The C2 Droid Corporation is enlightened by your humble request for this superior, Republic technology and is looking forward to replace the inferior R2-V8 units found on these hopelessly outdated spaceships of yours.


The Republic.

Man, if I was the one delivering that cargo, I sure hope the Empire would board my ship so that I would have an excuse drop that shipment….

Ahem…back on topic. User Joaby posted in the official Asia/Pacific region launch thread that he would like to know where exactly the servers for that region will be located. Joveth Gonzalez, Associate Online Community Manager, lets us know that those servers will be placed in Australia.

Hi there Joaby! Just wanted to let you know that the servers will be located in Australia.

In addition, Mr. Gonzalez let us know that the game client will not be region locked so anyone can play on those servers easily (thanks to bahugboto for asking the question):

Hi bahugboto! Thanks for your questions! Yes there will be, in fact, an Asia/Pacific tab under the location selection list and anyone with an active SWTOR account will be able to play on these…

If you didn’t notice, in the upcoming 1.1.4 patch a couple outstanding issues are being addressed. Specifically, using abilities that indirectly target players (like AoE abilities) will no longer damage PvP flagged players if you aren’t PvP flagged. Per Amber Green, Live Community Coordinator:

Hi everyone. Thank you all for your patience and reports. We wanted to post in this thread to let you know that we have made this change with patch 1.1.4, which is now live on Public Test Server! You can read the patch notes here.

I mentioned this a few weeks back, so it’s nice to see this problem finally getting cleared up.

Ms. Green also tells us that the “\” key, which is used to quickly open the bug report submission page, is now re-bindable:

Hi everyone. We wanted to post in this thread to let you know that we have made this change with patch 1.1.4, which is now live on Public Test Server! You can read the patch notes here.

Hallelujah! No more accidental opening of bug reports when typing frantically in PvP or other hectic situations.

Lastly this week is a topic that I am really interested in. Right now, the only options when rolling for dropped equipment in groups are “Need”, “Greed”, or “Pass”. Given TOR’s unique companion system, should I roll “Need” on items that I want to use for my companion or “Greed” since I am not going to use the item on my main character? It’s a dilemma of etiquette since I don’t think an unspoken standard has been set for this situation. I have been in groups where needing on gear for companions was perfectly acceptable and others where players were booted for such behavior.

However, it sounds like BioWare is aware of this confusion and is working to improve the rolling mechanics to make this easier. Damion Schubert, Principle Lead Systems Designer, has some good information for us about Companion needing and greeding:

Need vs. greed isn’t as simple in our game because of companions, as well as Orange Gear and mod extraction. 

We will probably limit the ‘need’ button to only people who match the primary class the gear is meant for, and add a new button in between need and greed for players to choose if they intend the gear for these purposes – this will allow CC users to roll against each other without competing with the guy who wants to sell the gear for credits.

I don’t have a timeline on this for you guys right now, though – certainly not in the next major patch. In the meantime, I strongly recommend that players who care clearly decide the expected need/greed role behaviors (‘no companion need rolling or you’re out!’) when a group is initially formed. In the meantime, I’ll work on getting this feature in the works.

Sadly, this won’t be coming in the 1.2 patch, but at least they are going to start working on it. And please let us know what you think the proper etiquette is in situations like this. “Need” for companion gear, or “Greed”?

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Jan 20, 2012

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Damion Schubert Talks Vanity Pets

I’m telling you – there is no end to the excellent TOR sites that are emerging which you need to check out, and another one that recently popped up on my personal radar is Inquisitor’s Roadhouse. I’ve only been following it a short time, but today they really delivered some knockout content – and exclusive interview with BioWare Principle Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert.

Damion is responsible for all “non-story, non-combat” systems you see in the game. So, Crew Skills are his baby. Likely are any upcoming guild system enhancements. Apparently, vanity pets also fall into his laundry list!

Anexxia over at the Roadhouse gave a pretty thorough interview, and has a lot of info that fans of collecting vanity pets will be interested to hear, including:

Inquisitor’s Roadhouse: Is there going to be any way for characters to obtain opposite-faction pets?

Damion Schubert: We currently have LS/DS pets, not opposite faction pets.  That’s not to say this won’t change.  One of the things we want to do a lot more of is adding items that take a bit of communal exploration to discover – we’re well aware of how popular Datacrons and the Magenta Lightsaber crystal is – and minipets is one place where we’ve identified adding fun things like that could really pay off.

Head on over to Insuisitor’s Roadhouse for the full interview. And while you’re there, keep it bookmarked!

L2P2 Pet From Beta - L2P - get it? :)

L2P2 Pet From Beta - L2P - get it? :)

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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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Nov 28, 2011

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Yellow Posts: Keybinds, Lightsabers, And Community Updates

For those of you who did not get into the beta, you may be curious to know if you will be able to re-map key bindings to your desired configuration. Forum user Boozefish was curious and confused since he had heard that this feature was not available in the current beta build. He posted a thread titled, “Changing default keybinds,” to ask about it. However, Damion Schubert, Principal Lead Systems Designer, was able to step-in and let us know that key binds are able to be modified:

Keybinding is in, fear not.

Forum poster Aximand found a quote that Stephen Reid said at San Diego Comic Con when he was asked about lightsaber colors. In the thread titled “’Dozens and dozens’ of colors,” Aximand wanted to know of Mr. Reid’s quote about there being “dozens and dozens” of lightsaber color options was accurate. David Bass, Senior Community Coordinator, confirmed that yes, there are tons of colors that haven’t been discovered yet by data mining:

There are definitely still undiscovered colors out there.

Have you been planning on getting your guild into the Pre-Launch Guild Program? Well you better hurry, because sign-ups for the program end on December 2. As Associate Community Production Coordinator Courtney Woods, explains:

A few weeks ago weannounced that Phase 3 of our Pre-Launch Guild Program had begun. Phase 3: Deployment allows guild members to see whether or not their guild qualifies for transfer into the game. As we approach Early Game Access for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, we want to remind all of you in guilds that the Pre-Launch Guild Program will end on December 2nd, 11:59PM CST so that guilds can be assigned to servers for Early Game Access.

Lastly, a new associate community manager has just popped up on the scene. JovethGonzalez created his welcome post on Saturday during the crazyness of beta test weekend starting up. Since most of you were probably busy testing the game, be sure to head over to the forums and welcome our new community manager to the fray…err…community!

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