It's only been a week since Comic-Con 2011 and BioWare is already preparing for Gamescom and PAX in this week's DevTracker Highlights. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller talks about weapons mods, testing, healing, boss strategies, and Advanced Class respecs. Chris Collins, the new European Community Manager, introduces himself to everyone on the forums. Hit the jump to see all the highlights.
Georg Zoeller explains how weapons modifications function and how players can change the appearance of items and gear.
1) Let's say you put your hands on a new shiny item, does it means you are obliged to find new mods too to make it as good as your former one?1) You'll find preinstalled mods in most items. That's where their stats come from. Whether or not the item is better depends much on what you already have of course. The key is that if you like the look of it very much, you can use the mod system to make the item usable for a very long time by replacing those preinstalled mods.
=> Not usable immediately unless the player is willing to loose some efficiency.
2) It seems depending on their level/rarity items have more or less mods slots.
=> If that so, then you are preventing players to use (display) lower gear than what they have. They have to choose between look and stats.
3) Finally gear dyes question keeps being avoided. We understood we can color match our gear with our chest gear. Still the question persists:
=> Can we dye our gear? Can we choose the color of any gear piece?
All in all I'm not convinced that system is as good as an appearance tab one, still the weapon one looks interesting but maybe too restricted as heavily depending on gear mods slots.
2) Rarity/Quality has more to do with the number of slots available than level.
3) That question is not being avoided. Right now, you cannot dye your equipment. We might add that ability at some point in the future, but currently the option you have is to 'unify color to chest piece' or not.
Will this system provide you as much options as the appearance tab you are asking for? No it won't. But it definitely provides a whole lot more visual customization than a purely drop driven MMO as you can modify the equipment you find/buy in the game with any fitting mod you buy/find/craft.
Georg Zoeller reinforces that testing is comprised of players from all types of different gaming backgrounds.
Yeah there was a mistake here alright. The testers you chose for this one. You want to know why the current heated reaction is going on it is because you have removed the value of all of the choices in this game. If there are no consequences for my choices then those choices don't matter.
Really, all? There were so few choices in the game? I didn't know there were so few. No, wait... there still are.
Sorry, but stating things in absolutes doesn't help your cause and does not increase your chance of ever getting a useful answer or discussion from us.
As for blaming those 'testers you selected' - they are a statistically representative sample of the SWTOR community. Since we are actually taking testing very seriously and make a lot of changes based on results from testing, statistically the chance that someone, somewhere will not like those changes is 100%. We can live with that.
Georg Zoeller points out that chat bubble text will also appear in the player's chat window.
Hmm, do you actually have a source that the chat bubble text won't also appear in the chatbox log? I watched the interview from SDCC today and there was no indication of that.Yeah, it'd be hard to find a source for that, as it ain't so. Any ambient chat or player chat activity is always copied into the chat window.
Georg Zoeller reigns in the expectations of those hoping for another Star Wars sandbox MMO.
Almighty Gamewiz.....actually if you bothered reading my other posts you would know that I said he is by far the most outspoken, thus he has drawn my ire. You are dismissed.That's fine if I draw your ire, I can live with that.
Naturally, as one of the more active members of the development team, the statistical chance that I am the one giving you bad news about something you care about is fairly high to start with.
The funny thing is, I actually like sandbox games.
But, I also have an obligation to communicate the truth about the game we are making and that means ensuring that there isn't any ambiguity out there in regards to what kind of game The Old Republic is.
So please understand that if I tell people that this game is a new game and neither inspired nor meant as a sequel to another Star Wars MMO, I am managing their expectations. We want people to understand what this game is about when they buy it.
And yes, sometimes I am fairly blunt about this particular topic. That's not because I dislike that other MMO, or because I hate sandbox elements (I don't). It's because expectations in this particular area tend to run unchecked.
Short: You're actually just shooting the messenger. Granted, that messenger can be blunt and loud and his statements can make you angry, but still, he's just the messenger of news you don't want to hear.
We are on the finishing stretches for this game, the first BioWare MMO set in the Star Wars: The Old Republic era. It's a spiritual sequel to the KotOR games and focuses heavily on bringing BioWare story into the MMO space. It features a highly polished and fluent evolution of traditional MMO combat systems. It has the bells and whistles of a modern MMO, it's faithful to the IP and universe it's set in and it features BioWare's signature features such as story, companions, etc.
Does this mean we don't have any sandbox elements? No, there are quite a few features you'd classify as sandbox in the traditional MMO sense.
Does this mean the development team hates sandboxes ? No. It's just not the primary focus of the game we are making.
Does this mean we are never going to have ([your favorite feature from another game])? No. What happens after launch will be heavily driven by player demand. If there is an measurable demand for a feature and we think it can be integrated well into our game, it'll go on the 'Wall of Crazy' for discussion and potential future inclusion in the game.
TL;DR: If I tell you 'no, we won't be doing your favorite feature for launch', it's not because I hate you. It's because it's the truth.
This is part of our philosophy of waiting until we're sure about a feature's implementation before we talk about it.
I would like to think, in the long run, you'd prefer to hear the truth instead of having me tell you we are totally thinking about adding a feature you like, when in fact we might not be.
Georg Zoeller clears up why there are few healing abilities shown in the Esseles Developer Walkthrough video.
He spends the entire time talking about cool dps abilities and combos as well as tanking without mentionong once a healing ability.
With just months away from release we still havn't been shown a core mechanic for many MMO players. Purhabs they intend to replace us with companions.
Just to point this out:
The Esseles is one of the two earliest Flashpoints in the game, players will be roughly between level 8 and 12 when playing it.
Healing abilities are introduced when you pick your Advanced Class, which in this video, the characters did not have. You can definitely get your Advanced Class before doing the Flashpoint (in fact, many players in testing make that choice), but it's not required.
That's the simple reason why there is no healing shown in the video. That doesn't mean we don't have content for those who want to heal; in fact when I overheard the team practicing for GamesCom/PAX demos I'm sure I heard the cry "MEDIC!" more than a few times.
Georg Zoeller comments on Ironfist's tactical strategy as seen in the Esseles Developer Walkthrough video.
Was anyone else a little disappointed in the AI of the boss in the gameplay trailer today? He uppercut the smuggler then just stood there and took hits. Hogger was coded 7 years ago and at least makes you think a little bit. (Similar level boss in Wow)Iron Fist is a tank in heavy armor. Not a nimble Jedi, acrobatic Smuggler or Agent.
I loved other aspects like the droids coming in through doors, not just standing waiting to be killed like other MMO's.
Just hoping this is still unpolished AI and we can expect an engaging fight that we have to coordinate.
Past his initial jetpack charge, there is little tactical advantage for someone like him to just move. He's one of several sub-bosses in the Flashpoint.
It would be quite annoying if every enemy was moving, just cause
Georg Zoeller expands on why they implemented the ability to change Advanced Classes.
Read it again. "It MIGHT be that we don't let players respec their Advanced Class at ship, but then 6 months down the road we do. Or we do allow them to respec the Advanced Class, but at an enormous cost and then we lower that?"That is correct. We had identified this particular aspect as 'needs data from testing before we can make a call' and we communicated it as such.
That states, very definitely, that it was not ruled out for launch, because the second option was an option that involved it being implemented at launch. It was fairly clear that the system was completely up in the air at that point, and nothing was ruled out.
The current plan is 'we are rolling out Advanced Class respec onto the test servers, along with a pricing curve and potential additional limits to prevent changing Advanced Classes after the early teens'.
We will then analyze the impact this has on the game from testing and go from there.
Obviously, the ideal is that people don't ever need to respec their Advanced Class. There are additional measures we are putting in place to improve the communication about that choice to the player before it happens. Ideally, we would also allow you to 'test drive' the AC , but that's fairly expensive and unlikely to happen. It's more likely that we stick with a short period (a few levels) during which you can change your AC class for a credit cost before it locks in. We might attach other limiters than just credits (e.g completely disable the option past level 20 instead of a very high cost of credits.). That's what testing will determine.
Georg Zoeller discusses how following the Gray path requires a balance of Light and Dark choices.
I'm wondering how does one play a neutral alignment character when in situations like these you would either gain light or dark side points, no neutral option. Does that mean that if I want to be "grey" I have to be careful to balance my answers with both light and dark side so they'll cancel each other out?The situation given to you in this case really only had two options. As such, being neutral is impossible. While some quests in the game may give you a 'uh, I'm not going to get involved, I'll stay neutral' option (often dubbed the 'I don't want to take sides' or 'I don't want to make a decision'), in the grand scheme of things that's not a really viable option for the majority of quests. If it were, the neutral option would be 'refuse quest'.
In short: Neutral choices rarely make for interesting choices or interesting gameplay, which is why they don't exist on every quest, only once where it makes sense.
The game tracks both your light and dark side choices. Once a quest is completed, these choices are locked in final, forever. You can never 'reduce' the dark side influence your character has built up, you can only try to balance it out with light side choices.
So, short: Yes, you can play neutral, but in the context this game that would mean making per case choices in quest, trying to do both of light or dark choices of similar magnitude.
Georg Zoeller sheds light on how players can change the color of their blasters.
There are multiple things that can change blaster colors on all classes, from the 'cell mechanic' on the Trooper to the ability to slot found or crafted color cartridges into your weapon via the mod system.
On top of that, you can find weapons with rare and unique weapon effects as well (e.g. some of the rare assault cannons have very unique sound and weapon signatures, people will turn their heads when you start unloading with them).
Chris Collins introduces himself to the community as the new European Community Manager.
Quote from Chris Collins
This is a pretty exciting post for me to write, as I finally get the chance to introduce myself! My name's Chris Collins and I'm the European Community Manager here at BioWare.
As the European Community Manager, it's my job to work closely with TonyMoreno and the rest of the EU community team, to ensure every last bit of feedback from the European community is understood and given to the right people here at BioWare. Being based at the BioWare Ireland office in Galway, I'll be working directly with Stephen and the rest of the community team, but with the advantage of being closer to the centre of the action (although as I write this, I'm actually in the Austin studio, trying to absorb as much of the latest information as I can, as well as meet everyone).
At the same time, it's also my job to make sure that players on this side of the pond get access to all the latest info and news that the developers are itching to tell - and from what I've been seeing over the last few weeks while I've been here in Austin, there's a lot of awesome stuff to come!
Having been a Star Wars fanatic for years (yes, I own my own movie quality replica Darth Vader costume), words can't describe how eager I've been to say hello. I look forward to getting to know you all and, of course, take it easy on me while I'm still the new guy