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 3, 2012

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Blasters, Beggars & Credits: The 10-49 Brackets Mean 10-49 Gear Is Back

Some players do it for glory. Some do it for infamy. Some like to accumulate the most points, or explore the far reaches of the worlds they inhabit. This, however, is not a column for those people. This is a column for those people who, quietly or not, enjoy making money so that their digital avatar can sleep on large piles of cash.

PvP has never been a great focus of mine – though currently I am playing it a lot more than I participated in previous MMO titles. I have found it fun without the awful side effects that so often plague it – though it’s far from a perfect system (see Bags, Champion).

However, many players have made it their main focus. Some of them are 50 and at the expertise cap, and some of them are still at low levels. And today, we are going to specifically zero in on the 10-49 bracket.

Recently level 50s were given their own PvP bracket, with all the other levels in their own. This segregation has, of course, come as a relief to the many lower-level players and alts who enjoyed pvp but found it frustrating to fight level 50s who were doing fantastic amounts of damage.

Now, however, they have their own non-expertise and non-50 bracket, where the higher levels have an advantage in abilities, but everyone is pretty close with the bolster mechanic. And there is a market to sell to these folks, provided you can make armor, mods, or weapons at the right points.

The first big one is level 49. Level 49 is where many of the PvP players will focus an entire level, both to farm valor and have enough commendations to purchase gear. However, that creates a market of people that could have a major advantage. As a Synthweaver I have lots of level 49 patterns that can easily translate into much higher pvp damage. Many of those remain viable into the end-game and are about as good as the tier 1 gear, which, of course, has created a nice market for me.

Mod-able gear is another possibility (sadly, I haven’t tried it). Selling a few cosmetic pieces could potentially net some money as well. In general the materials are quite simple to gather for them, such as the Jedi Initiates Vestments. There’s also a noticeable change around the 30s for leveling, and I would highly suggest selling anything in the 30-38 range if you can; 42-49 is also a nice range, but I would focus more on mods until the 49 gear.

Now, there are a few other levels (10 and 14 being rather big as well) that you could focus on as well. Some people will level alts to do the same. There are two level ranges to stay away from: level 20 and level 40. The gear that can be had from the pvp vendors at those levels is quite good, and competing against commendations is a losing battle. However, as a Cybertech you should look into selling mods that are 2 – 6 levels higher than that gear, especially the artifact-quality (if you have the time and resources to commit to getting it).

The twinks are coming; some are already there. Keep this in mind while leveling professions – anything with high endurance is a great bet to reverse engineer to get a better version.

Beggar’s Tip: I see a lot of people bemoaning Synthweaving and Armormech as being non-moneymakers. Yes, I can say our potential was behind a bit at level 50 initially; Cybertech, with all its toys and ship parts, made a few individuals incredibly wealthy. At least on Jung Ma Republic side, the spaceship business has gotten a little cut-throat and made it slightly less efficient as a money-maker (although my friend reports that his armorings and mods are selling quite well). However, if you didn’t guess right at the start of the game, don’t fret – you can still make money.

Now, competing against slotted gear doesn’t work so well – if you get lucky and get something with an augment slot, by all means run up the price and sell. But there are two slots where slotted items are rare to the point of being non-existent: waists and wrists. As a synthweaver, I have focus almost exclusively on wrist patterns for RE and do my best to maintain a stock. It’s especially helpful that a lot of those patterns are level 49, but they sell extremely well because, until someone gets into the end-game, there isn’t a better option.

Esseles/Black Talon hardmode drops the Columi token, as does Karagga’s Palace, but judging from the guilds on my server, not a ton of people are running them; similarly, the PVP bags don’t drop tokens in any pattern and are unpredictable. So yes, make wrists and waists and reap the profits (at least, until people come in here and read this column).

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Jan 26, 2012

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Should There Be PvP Arenas In TOR?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

Editor’s Note: Today’s topic is pulled from the Blue Milk & Cereal historical archives. Certain things we asked “back then” have different context now, so it’s fun to see if responses have changed! You can find the original poll here.

PvP: some people love it. Some people hate it.  Pitting a small number of combatants head-to-head gives the developers an easier time of balancing player-versus-player combat by minimizing variables.  This small-scale combat can be intense and visceral. However, in a class-based game like an MMO, it can often be frustrating.

For me, arena PvP always turned into a flavor of the month-based game of rock-paper-scissors. Some months, your class will be the best in the game, but after they nerf it, you might as well reroll instead of PvP.  While these are exaggerative statements, when your class is out of favor with developers, it can be extremely difficult to do well in arena-based PvP. One overpowered class doesn’t pull nearly as much weight in large-scale battles like TOR’s Warzones.

Despite all these gameplay complaints based on my own opinion, arena-style PvP does have basis in Star Wars lore.  From the gladiatorial arenas on Geonosis to the one-versus-one battles on Taris in Knights of The Old Republic, small-scale battles have always had their place in Star Wars.

Do you think there should be arena-style PvP in TOR? Or do you think the large-scale battles of TOR’s Warzones capture the heroic battles of Star Wars well enough?

Should there be arena-style PvP in TOR?

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Taris Arena in KoTOR

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Jan 24, 2012

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Is The Ability Delay Fixed For You?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

Arguably the biggest item that’s been addressed in this morning’s 1.1.0b patch is the fixes to the “ability delay.” For those not familiar, the issue came to light on the forums here, and prompted developer response from Associate Game Director Emmanuel Lusinchi and and update from Principle Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller.

The servers came back up at around 6:30AM EST this morning, and within minutes we were already getting reports from members of the AAJ Army that the ability delay had been fixed or greatly improved! We continued to get comments from Twitter:

@bran1138: I am on a lower end machine so ability delay got me killed a few times and I logged in just now to a much nicer experience.

@Stigas_Illidan: Just finished a game of #swtor Huttball and I went from unplayable 5FPS to 60FPS and zero delay. Big kudos to the dev team!

@gomatgo: Feels like a new game.

These are encouraging signs! Indeed, the ability delay had the silent but long term potential to turning players off of the combat without even realizing why. If this has been addressed, or at least in part this is great news!

But what about the test of you? Once you get in game and test it out, let us know your thoughts on the improvements (or, if you don’t notice anything different!)

What do you think of the fixes to "ability delay?"

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Jan 22, 2012

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Are The Factions Balanced On Your Server?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

One of the talking points that seems to have emerged over the past week or so was that of faction imbalance. Some sources, although not a single official one from BioWare, report seeing an extreme tilt towards the Empire. Evidence of this has been provided in the form of endless Imp vs. Imp Huttball matches, and lopsided open world PvP on Ilum. But I’m not sure that paints the whole picture, let alone that of faction balance.

My opinion? Players who elect to join the Galactic Republic tend to be more into the lore and the story side of things, skewing more of their gameplay toward PvE. Players who join the Sith Empire, as I guess is the Sith way, are more concerned about individual power, and well… killing things. Hence, they gravitate more toward the PvP aspects of the game. Even if the factions are imbalanced just a bit, this could skew it even more.

Now, this is complete opinion and speculation on my part. We saw poll upon poll during beta that showed near 50-50 splits of players on whether they were going to roll Republic or Empire. My hunch is, that is much closer to the truth. In fact, the numbers BioWare did release revealed a slight advantage to creation of Sith Warriors over Jedi Knights. But nothing drastic.

So, just curious… what kind of server population balances are you seeing? Vote, but let us know in the comments what faction and what server you’re on!

How does the faction balance of your server look?

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