Starting chronologically, Online Community Manager Stephen Reid announces his new role on the Star Wars: The Old Republic team:
Quote from Stephen Reid
Hi. My name's Stephen Reid, and I'm your new Community Manager.
Like probably all of you, I've been a Star Wars fan for almost my entire life - starting with the original Star Wars in 1977. When that Star Destroyer came thundering into frame, the unforgettable John Williams' score blasting out in futuristic Dolby Stereo... well my 5-year-old mind was well and truly blown.
Fast forward to 1999, and I made a pilgrimage to Portland, Oregon (of all places) to see The Phantom Menace on opening night - midnight showing, natch. When Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber ignited... well, my 26-year-old mind was blown again.
Fast forward to 2003, and from my bedroom in a south London flat, I experience BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic on Xbox. When I realized exactly who I was playing... well shoot, wasn't your mind blown? I also knew without a shadow of a doubt that with BioWare, Star Wars was in good hands.
Which brings us on fast forward right up to last week, when I arrived to work at BioWare Austin and saw - well, we're not ready to discuss that yet. All we can say publicly right now is that it involved minds and... actually let's just move on in case I get my own intro thread deleted.
So, let's get the vital info in before the lock: I've worked in the games industry, and in various types of content and community management roles, for about 12 years. I'm a huge believer in the power of online communities to bring the creators of games closer to their fans, and vice versa. Quite frankly, I have one of the coolest jobs in the world, and that's before you add the Star Wars factor.
In other words, I'm absolutely thrilled, excited, privileged and humbled to be here and working on Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's an incredible opportunity to serve you, the community, and to help make what I know will be a landmark MMORPG.
There's still plenty to do, to see, to talk about and of course to debate about that galaxy far, far away that we're preparing for you to explore. I think it's going to be an amazing journey. And I hope you're ready to come along.
Thanks for reading.
Responding to MegaBubble on the fact that people can't be jack of all trade crafters, Damion Schubert explains why that is in greater detail:
To be more precise, players can have up to three crew skills but only one of those can be a crafting skill. The fictional reason is that you only can have room for one crafting table on your ship, but the real reason is that we don't want all players to be self-sufficient.
We call the system Crew Skills because they are skills possessed by your amorphous crew as a whole. If your crew can go treasure hunting, you can order any of your crew members to run treasure hunting missions. Vette may have a bonus to treasure hunting (being a native treasure hunter and all), but to be honest we currently have these bonuses set to be relatively mild - we don't want people to choose NOT to take their favorite companion out on the field with them because the economic bonus to keeping them on the ship is that much greater.
Damion Schubert expounds further in the thread:
You can have three gathering skills, or three mission skills, or one of each. Or two gathering and a craft. The only limit (right now) is you can only have one crafting skill, and you can only have three as a whole.
In a later response, Damion Schubert answers MorgonKara's question on whether Crew Skills are a permanent choice:
Originally Posted by MorgonKara
Are the three crew skills a permanent choice or can you experiment with different combinations and change them?
You can unlearn skills. If you relearn it later, you must progress it up again. (You will not lose your schematics for crafting skills, but they are inaccessible until you reach the proper skill level).
Damion Schubert explains a few more points BioWare's philosophy on Crew Skills:
So just to throw a couple more stray thoughts about our philosophy.
- No, you the player cannot craft currently - which is to say you cannot choose to watch the progress bar fill up yourself. That being said, to us, watching a progress bar has always been the least interesting part of crafting in other MMOs. The part of being a crafter that is interesting to us is things like finding rare schematics, finding hard-to-find components, and the social game of finding customers and suppliers. We really wanted devoted crafters to be able to focus on these aspects of crafting, and not so much on the 'watch a progress bar go forward' part of things. Crafting should be a social thing - staring at a progress bar is not.
- No, you don't see companions running missions out 'in the real world'. While I laugh at the idea of a stream of companion characters filing into the palace on Alderaan, it's unfeasible for a lot of reasons.
- The real test of the value of crafting is less about whether companions or players are swinging the hammer and tongs, and more about how the itemization of crafting is balanced in a way that the gear is useful. Crafting is important to the systems team, and we're devoted to ensuring that crafted gear has a place in the economy, especially at the endgame, and doubly especially for the devoted crafters.
- It's worth noting that we really want the system to support the casual crafter (the guy who is taking crafting largely to outfit himself while leveling up) and the devoted crafter (the guy who wants to be known as the best Armormech in the galaxy). Supporting the former means making the system accessible and easy. Supporting the latter means ensuring that hard work can allow you to provide goods and services that almost no one in the galaxy can. The systems design team is striving to satisfy both groups of people.
- My own personal goal is that some crafters can get so good that players all over the server seek them out. My problem being a crafter in most other MMOs is that you tend to become a guild's pet at some point, and you're expected to do all of the work for free. We want those devoted crafters to be exceptional enough that they can actually demand a price, and that people will actually break out of the guild in order to pursue those goods and services. The system isn't there yet, but we have plans...
Continuing the parade of developer interaction, Georg Zoeller posted his thoughts about epic Star Wars racial abilities.
Quote from GeorgZoellerOriginally Posted by
Because Ackbar is AWESOME!
And he knows when something is a trap...
If Mon-Cals are in the game, they should get a "Trap detection" racial skill.
And I was more thinking about giving them a 'State the Obvious' ability, usable once per fight.
Last for this week we would like to leave the community with a high note for those wondering if there will be an increase in communication between the developers and the community:
Quote from Stephen ReidOriginally Posted by IaoKim
Of course some friday updates will be better than others but does this update mark a new tread of increased dev communication and an increase in the overall of clarification and information about the game?
Yes! No! Maybe?
I'm quite aware that there's been a lack of direct communication over the last couple of months (although that wasn't part of a plan!), and we hope to rectify that a little (maybe even a lot - your mileage may vary). It may take a while as the seized cogs and gears start to turn again, but it should happen. There are plans afoot.
As others have said, indeed, we are heading towards launch and the closer we get the more we'll be talking about game specifics. There's still a way to go (and plenty to cover) but that's a natural effect of the release getting closer.
I will say, on the general topic, that one man's 'discussion of vision' is another man's 'irritatingly vague waffle'. So my job, in part, is to try and get a good mixture of game-specific details and broad vision statements from the devs to you folk.
That way, hopefully, everyone's satisfied to a degree.
I'm sure you've heard this before (and will again) but there are loads of people who work hard to bring you updates week in and week out. On their behalf, thanks for your enthusiasm and praise - when it comes.