While the Darth Hater crew is on their way to Seattle for this year's Penny Arcade Expo, it's time to wrap up Gamescom coverage with this week's DevTracker Highlights. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller discusses cross-faction chat, organized sports, roleplaying Jedi, and Czerka manufactured fire traps. Lead Writer Daniel Erickson chronicles the conception of Huttball. Senior Online Community Manager Stephen Reid clears up misunderstandings from Gamescom, and affirms Origin will not be necessary to play Star Wars: The Old Republic. Hit the jump to see all the highlights.
Georg Zoeller explains the reasoning for strict cross-faction communication.
Am I misunderstanding a mechanic? So this is implemented to reduce abuse?Players in a local area can reach only a limited number of players. Even if they go into a city hub to maximize their exposure, they're still only going to reach players just closely around them. If you want to annoy more players, you have to work for it, that takes time and gives our Customer Service team time to minimize the damage you're doing.
/say and local chat are still available. Wouldn't most of the abuse come from enemy players who are close by?
Planetary chat reaches every player on the entire planet. That's a different story entirely.
We do have enough testers in our program to create statistically significant metrics (yes, I know what that term means, we do in fact have data from that many testers). We have a really good idea what we're looking at.
As we've explained before, there's a number of factors to this decision:
- Test data. We have chat logs, we have CSR complaints, etc.. We know what we're dealing with, and if anything, the test audience is more mature and calm than we can expect live servers to be. We have a 0 strike policy and people violating our terms are removed from testing. That test data indicates that planetary cross faction chat would degrade the game experience for a large number of players and create very high customer service cost.
- Volume. You're doubling planetary chat volume for planets visited by both factions. Chat is good, but too much chat isn't, especially if it's irrelevant (You really don't care if a Sith Warrior needs help on his class quest when you are a Smuggler). This also reduces the reach of total 'spam' that people can do 'advertising items', 'credits', etc.
- Confusion. In addition to people being naughty in chat, you deal with honest mistakes by people (get together a group for a world boss and realize you're 7 Empire guys and that lone Jedi who came along).
All that together lead us to go to a middle ground: We will allow local chat around the player but not planetary chat. You can have RP, you can have a nice discussion with your nemesis and your Smuggler can even act out your secret love affair with that cute Imperial Agent, but you can't do it for everyone on the entire planet to see.
Georg Zoeller cites precedent for enemies participating in organized games during wartimes.
Is it so hard to believe that the best warriors of various, often hostile, factions would come together at a neutral place to test each other's prowess and ability in various ways? Especially if there's the chance that some accidents may happen to the other team on the way?
It's not like that's unheard of, even during a cold war between mortal enemies
Daniel Erickson describes the background setting for Huttball.
Quote from Daniel EricksonWhy the **** are Imperials and republicans playing a game of football against each other?Hey Folks,
That's the question I have for DE and his writing staff.
Totally fair question. I wrote Huttball personally and gave it my big stamp of approval. Huttball came from a request by the pvp team to have a mode that could mix sides in the event of unbalanced factions. So it's not Empire vs Republic playing insane death sports, it's anyone who wants to win some prizes and flex their muscles going to Nar Shaddaa, gambling center of the galaxy, and blowing off some steam. Story is important but so are alternate, setting-appropriate activities that give some depth and variety to the world and the gameplay experience. There is a crazy Hutt that likes running huge arena events for his amusement. Your choice if that's the way your Bounty Hunter enjoys spending his downtime.
Hope that helps,
Stephen Reid clears up a misunderstanding about loot containers and operation lockouts.
Quote from Stephen ReidI just heard that they are letting everyone in a raid get loot every time they kill a boss. I think is is a really bad idea. They also said that there will be no raid lockouts... In that case I could easily be in full BIS gear in a week or 2. Then what am I going to do? They will not be releasing new content every month.To clear some of this up...
I thought about this and then I thought well maybe hard modes will be epic and that is what will take the time. But from the interview i read earlier it seem that they want to make hard-mode easy as well.
First of all, loot containers. After every boss is defeated during a normal difficulty Operation, every player will receive a loot container. Inside that container each player gets a chance for loot specific to them, or commendations that can be exchanged for other loot. So to be specific (because this seems to be confused by PC Gamer) that happens after each boss is defeated in a normal difficulty Operation, and not just once at the end of the Op. (There are multiple bosses in Operation: Eternity Vault for example.)
Second, Gabe was misquoted a bit on the lockout thing (it's a bit loud here on the show floor!). There are lockouts, but they are designed to be 'flexible'. This means, for example, if I have killed Boss 1 in an Op group and Gabe has killed Boss 2 with another Op group, then I can join Gabe's Op group and together we can defeat Boss 3 - but Gabe can't go back to Boss 1, until the lockout expires.
As Gabe has said there are going to be difficulty modes. We've spoken about 'normal' and 'hard' modes so far, which will be available for both 8 and 16 player Op groups.
We'll talk more about difficulty modes and how they work later, but suffice to say, Gabe and his team are focused on making sure endgame content is both accessible and challenging.
Georg Zoeller notes that there are many events to enjoy besides Warzones.
I can confirm that Jedi players will not be forced to participate in Warzones. If your idea of roleplaying your character is to not participate in such events, our game fully supports that playstyle.
Our game offers a broad variety of choices. Jedi can fall to the dark side or pursue the light side. Even though some might say 'Jedi shouldn't be able to throw enemies that surrender from mountain tops', we believe in giving players options to roleplay their personal story.
Georg Zoeller clarifies the confusion about mixed teams in the Huttball Warzone.
I have to 'unconfirm' this confirmation, it is inaccurate, maybe a translation or transcription error as well.
While at some point we had faction mixed teams during testing, the design for the game currently does not involve players of different factions mixing in the same team.
It is however possible for two teams of the same faction to meet each other in The Pit.
Georg Zoeller points out positioning strategies to avoid fire in The Pit Warzone.
The alternative route is at least as slow as waiting for the fire to drop. Calling that strategy is a joke. The fire is up 50% of the time, and there's no UI element to show when it will be up or down. If there's a 50% chance it's up then you're not precisely timing things, you're getting randomly lucky.Actually, you can tell when the fire is charging up by watching the Czerka sponsored contraption or just by keeping a tap on the timing. There is absolutely nothing random about that fire.
If they want to make it spawn once every minute or so and have a warning timer, then it would be considered strategy to perfectly time it with CC on opponents. As is it's a coin flip.
Also, as demonstrated by the Sentinel in the video, it's possible to avoid the flames using abilities such as Force Leap or Rescue (The Sage non-hostile Force Pull), which means defenders need to be mindful of their positioning lest they end up actually helping the enemy. (This is where Snipers/Gunslingers come in handy, they can't be charged while in cover.)
It is, of course, also possible to get pulled into the flames by a grappling hook or Force Pull or to root / stun / snare other players inside the flames.
Georg Zoeller reports that map transparency can now be adjusted.
That's correct. Stand still, it's opaque. Move and it goes semi-transparent.Even better, it goes as transparent as you want to set it in the game options! (Just added)
In other news, typing on a German keyboard is near-impossible for me.
Georg Zoeller addresses class balance concerns in terms of mobility for Warzones.
Since it was brought up as a concern - yes, the Combat team is taking Warzones into account in the class/PvP balance, so we've made sure that all Advanced Classes offer some form of mobility / utility that is useful in Huttball (leap, grapple, pull, push, speed, etc).
Instead of going the route of everyone getting the same, we opted for everyone get's something fitting their class and role.
There's some pretty advanced plays being made on our internal server by the more experienced guys.
Stephen Reid confirms that Origin is not required for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Quote from Stephen Reid
Regardless of what other games may choose to do in their integration with Origin's desktop client, here's what our situation is:
You are not required to use the Origin desktop client to download, patch or play the game client for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
This applies whether you purchase The Old Republic via Origin.com or from a retailer in boxed form. You will not be forced to install the Origin desktop client.
There are still various consumer benefits to the client itself, but it's not required for The Old Republic.