Dover: So this is part two. Everyone got to listen to part one on the Imperial Agent a couple of weeks ago. We were able to see a few things today that really excited the two of us quite dramatically. Specifically you revealed to us the inclusion of the two additional classes that fill out the roster. The roster of the eight.
Jake Neri: The final two.
Dover: The final two They will be the Sith Inquisitor and the Jedi Consular. There has been a HUGE amount of buzz in the Old Republic fan community regarding the existence of these last two classes, but more specifically whether or not we would see four force users or two force users. Can you go a little bit into why you guys decided to go into the four Force user approach rather than the two force user approach?
Jake Neri: I think you know when we looked out at all the possibilities when we talk about Star Wars, there are lots and lots of directions we could go. At the forefront of this we know there is a hearty passion for Jedi vs. Sith and that just seems to be a religion in a way. People are lining up "I'm gonna be Jedi, I hate Sith" or "I'm gonna be Sith, I hate Jedi" and so that maybe informed the decision a bit.
Mostly (in) Star Wars, a lot of it is about is about lightsabers and its about really amazing force abilities and it fit with what we've been trying to do from day one, which is to bring action packed Star Wars combat to a MMO. We really wanted to have the opportunity to challenge ourselves to do force classes that also had lightsabers and were effective somewhat with both. It was a natural thing. There is a tremendous amount of passion for the Force and "the Force has been working so let's go with that" So that is sort of how we got at that.
There was a lot of debate on this for a long time. I'm sure over time we will talk about things that didn't make the game, but there was plenty of other classes on the table. And at the end of the day, these just made the most sense. We're looking at having a round group of classes.
We talked a lot today about being able to customize your classes in a number of different directions. When you think of Sith Inquisitor, you're thinking about how we're talking about him today in the Emperor Palpatine mold, the Force lightning using guy. But as time goes on, we will show you other ways to customize that class that will give you a different gameplay style. We thought as core classes the Consular and the Inquisitor made the most sense. We thought they balanced well against the other two. You can think of the Jedi Knight and the Sith Warrior as more of a melee-style Jedi, and the other two maybe more of the ranged-style Jedi. I think it made a lot of sense.
What do you guys think? Were you excited when you saw it or were you like "Aww man I wanted something else?"
Dover: I'll go first. Whenever the Sith Warrior was announced and declaring there was such an emphasis on melee; I called my friend up and was like "Sith Warrior That means there has to be a Sith Lord or a Jedi Master." That is where my mind was, focusing on that direction. We have a counterpoint.
Sado: I think for a lot of us at Darth Hater a lot of us expected four force users in the end. We talked back and forth with you guys at the Q&A at PAX and asked that question if there were four force users because a lot of people in the community were expecting that for quite some time. A lot of people didn't want it, they wanted something similar to droid engineer or something like that.
Jake Neri: Yeah, definitely.
Sado: Other classes have a lot of speculation involved. I seem fine after with it after the demo, especially after the demo. Seeing how they were definitely in their own field and not nearly the same as the Sith Warrior at all or Jedi Knight.
Jake Neri: Yeah, they definitely play different. We were constantly challenging ourselves to make eight unique and cool classes that all feel different, can go in different directions, quickly can accent their experiences through cool companions. I think these classes give us a lot of opportunity to have a broad range of play styles.
You guys got to play the Inquisitor Right?
Jake Neri: You saw the lightning. To me that's what it's all about. That pays off right there; the lightning is so much fun it justifies why we took that class. The Consular, on the other hand, has a lot of cool telekinetic stuff. In the last Trilogy movies, there were a lot of cool telekinetic stuff and that inspired us with the Consular. We really wanted to deliver that. We showed you a little bit of that today in the hands on, but as time goes you guys will see more of that. I think it will be fun, and I think people will like them overall. You know the "Droid Engineer" aside, the people that want that will have companions that may deliver the experience they are looking for.
Dover: Speaking of companions, we were able to see a couple examples of how companions can go along with a different class. One of the examples was a melee companion that went along with the Sith Inquisitor.
Sado: That sucked force powers away from the user.
Dover: Right, so it kind of supplies the frontline role so the Inquisitor can fall back. And then another example was a melee guy based off of Darth Maul. So, as we look at the rest of the classes, is there a feeling a companion is meant to supplement a specific class to make sure it is able solo throughout the entire game? How do companions work along with the classes?
Jake Neri: We have to make sure companions work and we have to make sure people that don't want to have companions have a fun experience. What we have to do is provide options for you as a player to make sure you can customize your play style the way you want. It is really simple. We talked about it a lot today, but we feel each one of these classes has things they are inherently strong at and the companion should provide a different variation on that game play style.
I think you saw Kim Vaal as the Dashade character for the Inquisitor that you were talking about. His main cool feature is that he is a big guy; he has a big giant sword, and he will keep the heat off you so to speak but he is also able to neutralize force power.
It can be very useful in a situation where you only got a couple of people, you're going in and "Damn, I can't get through this because that Jedi has insane force power" Well, now you have a companion that might be able help you through that. And maybe you just like playing with him, he is fun, and he has a cool story as well.
That is the other thing about our companions: each one has a unique story. Each one allows you to betray or romance or all sorts of crazy things and he just one of those guys in your play experience.
The other one we were trying to show there was if you had a situation where you were wanting to play down a lighter healing tree or things that do not do as much damage, now you have a companion that can do a lot of damage quickly. Maybe he has some cooldowns associated with that. In a situation where "hey, that's just the way I like to play," now I have a companion to offset that.
When trying to work that into a group, if you're in a group on Friday night and you guys both want to play your Inquisitors, but damn, there are tons of giant beasts out there your trying to fight. Well, now you have a couple of companions you can use to customize the experience and you don't have to go looking for the right group. You have some extra tools at your disposal to get through the situation. That is what we're trying to do with companions and I think that answers your question.
Dover: You you also showed us the Skill Tree idea, the ability to go into the customization of the characters and make it your own. We saw the Smuggler starting off as a Smuggler and then possibly branching off into two different directions, one being a Gunslinger and the other being a Scoundrel. How does this split work out?
Sado: Are they set defined paths or is there room for customization?
Jake Neri: There is definitely room for customization. We didn't show tremendous amounts of detail on that because it is really in development right now.
The concept of being able to go into those directions and have a different defined play experience is what we are trying to show. We know we will have people that go, "hey I'm in love with being a Smuggler but I just prefer to stay at range." Or, "I like to be more of a stealth class, I want to sneak around and do things. I don't want to fight or maybe I want to sneak up on people."
In Smugglers, the different trees allow you to do that. Trees are the best way to describe them now. We don't have official nomenclature on how we are talking about these but you guys get the concept of skill trees. You go down a path and your applying certain skill points in there and you're going in a direction you like to play.
What we are trying to show with Medicine is that maybe you're in a situation where you need a healer type to get through. Smuggling doesn't necessarily immediately make people think about healing. People say, "wow; that is weird." But at the same time, we always try to stretch into the Star Wars cannon and do things that aren't conventional and that was one of those things we talked about earlier with Leland Chee.
We went to him and said, "We have smugglers and we want to do something interesting. What do you think?" They have this whole lore around black market medicine and organ leggers that are in touch with different spices and other things, and through that, Smugglers are in touch with underworld medicine. Because, like Blaine talked about, you can't always be heading to the doc when you're a Smuggler because you're running around, you're doing dirty deeds.
Dover: You also talked about cutting open the tauntaun. Field medicine.
Jake Neri: Yea, field medicine. We've been joking a lot about that. I don't know if it totally works, but Blaine has run with that and we appreciate him for that. The main thing is that we are trying to do interesting things with the classes by making sure that you can be that range class you want to be and in a pinch you can also be useful to a group. That is sorta why we chose that to show you.
Sado: You talked about persuade in those branches as well; that the gunslinger would be the one with extra points in persuade to be able to possibly activate more story. Does that mean that somebody will have to go that way if they want to experience more story or will there be some way of counteracting that?
Jake Neri: I don't think you have to do anything. If you're a fan of story and you're looking to drill into that the most, then that fits along with what we are saying with "choose your playstyle." It doesn't mean that you should have any more or less an experience as anyone else, but that it should be the experience you like. And if you're a fan of story and you're trying to find new and interesting things, then you should be trying to win conversations if that appeals to you.
I imagine that the guy who wants to be the Scoundrel first may re-roll another character and go down that path because he wants to try persuade, or maybe he just doesn't care about it because he wants to be more of a stealthy guy who wants to run up behind people and shoot them in the back.
I get nervous of the words "you have to do something" because that is sort of the opposite of what we are trying to say. We really want people to play the way they are dreaming about it. We can't cover every possibility but we are trying to bring a lot of options so that people do have choice.
Dover: Two more quick things about that before we let you get back to all the other things going on here in San Francisco. First, at the end of the presentation you said, "Players should be able to quickly get into the role that they want to get into." Did that comment have to do with the possibility of switching between paths? Or does that mean at the beginning of the game you can quickly get into the play style you want to get into?
Jake Neri: Without going into a ton of detail on that, because that system is still in development, a key goal is that once you reach a certain level and you have enabled those certain paths, or you have experienced whatever it takes to enable those paths, you can go in between them quickly.
That is the heart of what we're saying. You can't do everything all at once, you need to earn some of these things. But once you have done that and you are in a situation where "hey, I need this type of a gameplay/class build," you'll be able to go into that quickly.
Dover: Awesome. Last one before we let you go. You mentioned the Scoundrel of the Smuggler branch has Medicine. We were able to see the Sith Inquisitor with an actual heal that is able to use it on themselves or another person and we also saw the "Benevolence" ability for the Consular. Are we going to see healing options for every class if a player wants to go that direction?
Jake Neri: I don't think every class. But I do think you guys are picking up on the idea that when it comes to grouping we don't want you to always be frustrated because you can't find the right group. We want you to have utility in order to be successful in a solo experience or in a group. Now Smuggler, Inquisitor, and Consular are three examples of healing.
I think if you would have played the Jedi Knight, you wouldn't have seen that same stuff. Instead, you would have seen a rejuvenate ability for most classes, which is in support of us wanting to have quick paced gameplay. It is similar to bandage, an out of combat ability, where the other heals you have seen are more in combat. You guys are simply picking up on some of the classes that might be able to so some healing in the game.
Dover: Fantastic Thank you very much for your time We really appreciate it.
Jake Neri: I always wanted to ask you guys, you're here on the campus of Lucasfilm, your in the commons. What do you guys think of the place?