This week's Star Wars: The Old Republic Friday Update is a dual update consisting of the second portion of Senior Game Designer William Wallace's Companion Characters Developer Blog and a new video dubbed 'Choose Your Side' which features the Jedi Knight and Bounty Hunter character classes.
In the Developer Blog, William Wallace highlights companion artificial intelligence and their function in groups. While discussing companions and their strengths, William makes special note of the ease of which companions can be used if a situation requires it.
A common situation familiar to MMO players is the departure of a member halfway through a quest or instance (As a personal example: I once abandoned a group in the middle of an instance when my washing machine caught fire. These things happen!). This could potentially ruin the game experience for all involved parties, but with the ability to substitute a companion in this situation, an experienced group of players will often be able to mitigate the impact of this event and continue their adventure.
In addition, we now have a new video feature which will likely become a regular one fans can expect to see over the coming weeks. The 'Choose Your Side' video shows off the combat in The Old Republic with the intention of seeing the Jedi Knight and Bounty Hunter duking it out. Senior Writer Hall Hood, Writer Randy Begel, Senior Designer Austin Peckenpaugh, and Senior Designer Pete Warner discuss the motivations behind the character classes and the possible outcome should they ever meet on the battlefield.
Video embed and official DevTracker posts follow the jump.
Quote from Courtney Woods
In "Choose Your Side, members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic development team debate the merits of the various in-game classes to see who will truly reign supreme. In the first installment in this four-part series, the noble Jedi Knight squares off against the nefarious Bounty Hunter. In support of the Jedi Knight is Senior Writer Hall Hood and Designer Austin Peckenpaugh, while Senior System Designer Pete Warner and Writer Randy Begel defend the Bounty Hunter.
Quote from Courtney Woods
The role of a companion in your group, and their AI, is explained by William Wallace.When it comes to the amount of control over their companion, players have different, often diametrically opposed preferences. Some players do not want to manage their companions any more than they have to, wanting instead for their companions to act autonomously without the need to manually trigger abilities or actions. Others want direct control over their companions, playing them almost as a second character.
Originally, our companions functioned almost entirely on their own, with only a few options for manual control. From both internal feedback and testing, we found that the integral nature of companions to gameplay in The Old Republic had many players wishing for more control over their companion's behavior they wanted more than what they had experienced in other massively-multiplayer games.