Mar 7, 2012

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Yellow Posts: Inter-Faction Mail and Asia/Australia Server Transfer Information

Ever wanted to send an in-game mail to a member of the opposing faction? Even if you have two characters, one Republic and one Empire, you still couldn’t  send a mail between those two characters. Geeluc wanted to know why this restriction exists in his post “No Interfactional Emails”. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller answered to tell us that this restriction is being removed in the future:

It’s a restriction we’re working to lift soon. 

Hopefully this will allow us to also send credits and items to members of the opposing faction. If that functionality is just limited to characters on the same account, that would be fine too.

A rather large post popped up from melsione titled “Australian server transfer in LATE April!” the purpose being to complain that free server transfers from US/Europe servers to the new Asia/Australia servers are going live in late April, almost two months after the launch of the Asia/Australia servers themselves. While it’s awesome that BioWare is providing free character transfers for these customers, it sucks that it wasn’t ready in time for launch. However, creating a character transfer system is not easy and Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Manager, responded with a lengthy post to try and explain what the devs are doing and why it is taking so long:

Hello everyone. I can absolutely understand the frustrations expressed here, and I appreciate that for the most part, you’re being constructive in your comments. Here’s a little more insight into the situation.

The character transfer system is being actively worked on by the development team. It’s a large, complex project, made more complicated by the Legacy System – and it has to work perfectly. As always, it is not the only task the team as a whole is undertaking, but it’s a priority. It has not been deliberately delayed, nor is it being ‘held back’ for any reason. As you know, the first stage of the system will be a one-off, optional transfer for those who are based in the regions defined in our FAQ. At some point after that, we’ll bring a more fully-featured character transfer system online for all to use.

I can understand the frustration of those of you who have been playing on the US servers and waiting for transfers. We know your enthusiasm and excitement for the game – you wouldn’t have taken the steps you did to get the game earlier than the official launch if you weren’t enthusiastic. We’re working as hard as we can to get the system in place. If we could have brought it online earlier, we would have. However, priorities post-launch had to be directed towards the game itself. The team’s been working flat-out to improve the game, including bug fixes and additional content.

When we announced our launch territories last year we knew many more fans were excited to play The Old Republic. That’s why we moved quickly to launch in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore, with more territories being lined up for future launches. Our primary focus when launching in any new territory has to be to reach more players. Ultimately, that’s best for the continuing success of the game. We want everyone who wishes to play on the new servers to be able to do so, hence character transfer being offered. With that said, in this case we felt it was important to get the game into the hands of new players as soon as possible. That, combined with our post-launch development priorities, meant that character transfer did not make our launch date for these territories.

The development team remains committed to delivering a robust character transfer system for all, with our first priority being for Asia-Pacific players. If we can bring the system to you earlier than expected, we will, but for now we’re aiming towards late April.

The final, and long, dev post of the week also comes from Stephen Reid, responding to the thread “What happens to my legacy levels if I character transfer?” created by jakedamus and expanded upon by Palathas. Basically, these players want to know what happens to their Legacy points and levels if they character transfer to an Asia/Australia server. Unfortunately, the devs haven’t quite worked out that part yet, but it sounds like their goal is to keep the Legacy points intact, they just aren’t making any promises yet. Stephen Reid explains further and answers a couple more questions about character transfers:

Originally Posted by Palathas
1) As above about legacy levels.
2) Is it just the one character or is it a server full of characters?

3) Are all items carried over from the characters personal hold and what they are wearing? (More of a confirmation)

I’m not creating any Asia-Pacific characters at the moment due to the uncertainty of what’s exactly happening with the transfers.

We’ll have more information about Legacy levels and experience a little closer to the window for character transfer. The system is still in development, and I don’t want to promise anything that may not happen for whatever reason.

With that said, the development team is being very careful to ensure that the experience is as smooth as possible. We don’t want to penalize anyone’s progression just because they transferred their character.

On question (2), you will be able to transfer multiple characters, although there will be some limitations (eg available slots on a server). Again, more details will come closer to the time, but you will not be limited to one character.

On question (3) the only current restrictions are listed in the FAQ. After transfer:

The character will no longer be a part of its guild – Guilds and guild membership will not be transferred to your new server. You will need to create or join a new guild on your new server.

Your Friends list will be reset – Friend lists are server specific, so you will need to repopulate your list with players from your new server.

Before you transfer your character, it is important to ensure the following:

The character has no items listed on the Galactic Trade Network (auction house) – active Galactic Trade Network listings will not be transferred to your new server.

The character has no items or credits in their mailbox – In-game mail will not be transferred to your new server. Make sure you have removed everything in your mailbox before initiating the transfer. Otherwise, the contents will be lost.

Hope that helps clarify a little!

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Feb 27, 2012

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Yellow Posts: Legacy Names, Voidstar Ties, And David Bass Is Freaking Out

The combat log has been a long requested feature by players and it looks like the day might be finally coming that we see some more information about our combat performance in TOR. TheRealCrucifer started the thread “2/22/2012 -> Can we get an update on where the Combat Log is?” and Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer, has an update for us…at the upcoming Guild Summit.

We’re going to give an update on this topic at the guild summit 

This came as a surprise to David Bass, Senior Community Coordinator, who is presumably preparing some of the material for the event:


The gauntlet has been laid down. Good luck, sir.

Some of you may have recently received a billing summary email from BioWare about your recent TOR subscription purchase. This may come as odd because the transaction date that the email references is probably  from January, when your first TOR subscription purchase occurred. Not to worry though, you haven’t been double charged or charged for additional months if you have canceled your subscription. This email was just delayed from it’s initial delivery and everything should be resolved now. As Joveth Gonzalez, Associate Online Community Manager, explains:

Hi everyone,

Many of you have received an email earlier today that has caused a bit of confusion that we would like to clear up. The summary and confirmation email that players have received (or will receive) is a delayed email that should have been sent on the original date of the transaction. The date for the actual transaction can be found in the first sentence of the email that was sent out. 

In other words, this is not a new charge. Rest assured that if you have cancelled your subscription since the date featured in the email, you are NOT being re-subscribed.

Apologies for any confusion, and in the future you can look forward to receiving summary and confirmation emails in a more timely manner. 

Thank you

Would you like to change your Legacy name? That permanent surname that you get to chose for your character when you end chapter 1 of your class story? I think a lot of people would and BioWare agrees. Georg Zoeller basically confirmed that a system to change Legacy names is in the works, but he does not have an ETA on when it will be available and what the relevant details are (thanks to Egees for starting the thread “Legacy Name Change Confirmed?”):

We’re definitely working on this (it’s a much requested feature) but we have not made any statements regarding when this will be available.

Last up this week, Ashania posted a thread called “How Voidstar ties are determined” where she posted a conversation that she had with a TOR customer support droid describing the issue. However, that CSR…err…CSD, didn’t provide the correct answer to Ashania so Joveth Gonzalez stepped in with the correct information about how ties in the Voidstar warzone are determined:

Hi folks, 

Unfortunately, it seems that our CS droids were in error when they responded to Ashania’s original tickets and for that, we apologize. 

Currently, in the event of a tie on Voidstar, the winner is randomly chosen. We are going to be improving this with 1.2, but in the meantime, that is how winners are currently chosen for ties on Voidstar.

Again, I apologize for any confusion and thank you for letting us know about this.

For even more fun, BioWare should, in the event of a Voidstar tie, let all the participants /roll to determine the winner of the match! Come on, what could go wrong?

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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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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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Jan 23, 2012

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Yellow Posts: Ability Delay, Companion Crafting, And Bugs

You may have already heard about the ability delay problems with the game and what BioWare is doing about it. What you may not have realized (like I didn’t) is when those fixes are getting applied: soon. Like, really soon. Like, next patch? Per Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer, and messenger of ability delay problems:

Correct. Nobody said 1.2. The improvements mentioned in the blog post are urgent and there is no reason for us to wait for a major content release to roll them out.

Please note that we are very deliberate and careful when using the words ‘soon’ or ‘very soon’. We don’t use them lightly.

Honestly, when the noise about the ability delay problem started gaining traction a couple of weeks ago, I had a hunch that this problem would be nearly impossible to resolve. But thanks to lots of player feedback and hard work by BioWare, my intuition is once again proven moot. It’s really nice to see BioWare deal with issues like this in such a short amount of time, especially when these issues deal with such a core gameplay feature and affect such a large amount of players. I probably sound like such a fan boy, but it sure makes it easier to pay that monthly subscription fee when stuff gets improved this quickly.

Did you think that affection points just got you a couple of extra quests and conversations with your companion? Well, think again! Forum poster Sendotux wanted to know how affection affects crew skill efficiency and crit rating. Systems Designer David Hunt explains that affection points actually improve your crafting crit chance and efficiency. Pretty cool, huh?

Companion affection improves your crafting efficiency and crit chance.

Forum poster SunwindIon noticed that after the most recent patch, the cooldown animation for ability icons on the quickslot bar has been changed. Most notably, icons are not greyed out (or are only sometimes greyed out) when they go on cooldown. This makes it quite hard to determine when an ability is on or off cooldown. Thankfully, Georg Zoeller and the whole team are aware of the issue and are investigating:

We hear your feedback and are working on adjustments to increase the readability of the cooldown UI in an upcoming patch.

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