E3 2011: Team Interview With Daniel Erickson
When we found out we were interviewing Star Wars: The Old Republic's Daniel Erickson at this year's E3, we decided to switch up our typical interview format and instead perform a group interview with several members of the Darth Hater staff. Hit the jump for the video and the transcript.
If you're on our site, then you know who Daniel Erickson is. But would you like to tell the one person new to Darth Hater what you do at BioWare?
Daniel Erickson: One person? That is not a very big uptick in population, but just in case we get two, I'm Daniel Erickson and I'm a lead writer for The Old Republic.
Earlier today on the official forum, we got our first post about raids, or as you call them --
Can you give us a brief rundown about operations in The Old Republic? What makes them different than MMOs, and what makes them similar?
We'll start with what is the same: it is big; it is multiple groups. There are going to be some really interesting fights, and some interesting puzzle pieces that aren't necessarily fights. Things that really make you strategize, put a group together, and have to practice and plan for what you're doing.
What makes it different? It is very much the difference between Flashpoints and a traditional dungeon. Context, story, having it really fit in the world, and feel like a piece of the history that's going on.
Now the question that always comes after that when I say story, no you will not be having raid-group sized multiplayer conversations. That would be terrible, terrible terrible.
When you say "multiple groups," are you talking one or two?
We know there are eight-mans, and we know there are more than eight-man raids. We do not know the max size yet; it is really a thing of testing and checks. We not only have to see what works, but we have to see what is fun. Our combat is really dynamic; you notice we have a lot of knockbacks, fly-arounds and a lot of motion. We need a lot of room to have firefight combat, so we're trying to figure out what is the biggest that works and what is actually fun.
How are you managing choice and difficulty? Because you mentioned that there were no story choices inside the Operation.
We kind of sandwiched the story outside; we have some stuff later on that you're going to see as well, for repeatable content. We put a lot of the story stuff sort of in front and into the back. So you know what you're doing when you do it, and when you come out, you make some decisions about what goes on. But if you just want to repeat that content and keep running it, we don't want to slow you down and make you slog through the conversations each time.
We know companions in the current stage take up a member slot in your group. So if you have four people in a group, it is two humans, two companions. Or three humans with only one companion, etc. What is the companion situation going to be in raids? Is it the same for what we've heard for Flashpoints? Do they take up a player slot?
Companions in our opinion right now do not belong in PvP Warzones, and do not belong in raids.
Why aren't there companions in Operations?
Your companions are never going to be smart enough. The whole point of a raid is to be able to have coordination that only practiced players can do. If that raid wipes because Vette decided she wanted to wander away, people would be very upset.
You have all these different types of mechanics in the game. We saw stuff like enrage timers that made a comeback from other games. Are there any other mechanics that you can speak about that specifically harkens back to other games that you're familiar with?
I think we're probably going to keep that under wraps for right now; Gabe would probably kill me if I stole his thunder. I will say that the most fun I had so far is that raids run as raid groups, which brought us the world bosses that are in and running in the testing right now. I killed the world boss on Dromund Kaas, and I had to get a ten-man together to do it. And we had to go wander the swamps to try to find this enormous thing. We had to spread out to find him, so I was with the group of three that found him and almost died instantly. As a Sith Assassin, I went stealth and hid under a rock to wait for him to go by, and then yelled at everybody. I have a picture on my desktop of us standing in front of the giant dead world boss. It was one of the better nights I had playing an MMO.
How are you talking about managing difficulty for raids? People who may not have raided before -- is there an entry path for them?
One of the things that we want to make sure of is that the raids are going to bump up. The first raid should obviously not be the "wipe everybody forever" raid, and there is a little more context for what is going on. But as far as difficulty... it is going to come from testing like everything else. We're going to have to see how our population handles it and what our population is that gets there. If it turns out that the population is really pushing endgame as opposed to going alts, and is actually hardcore MMO people, then I'm betting those raids are going to be hard.
Is there a way to change that difficulty for those hardcore MMO people?
I don't know at this time. You're going to have to hit Gabe.
- Page 1 of 3
- Interview Part 2