After you read this week's DevTracker Highlights, be sure to check out our coverage of Star Wars: The Old Republic at New York Comic-Con and BioWare's presence at this year's GDC Online. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller talks PvP incentives, the pitfalls of translations, and out of date gameplay. Community Coordinator Allison Berryman discusses iterative development and how feedback plays it's part. Writer Charles Boyd clarifies details about companions and their motivations. Hit the jump to see all the highlights.
Georg Zoeller compares incentives for players to participate in Warzones, open world PvP, or both.
"one of the top things on our list for post launch is a rated Warzone system where players can form teams, earn team ratings, earn individual ratings, as well as participate in tournaments"People will do what they like. If the majority likes to queue, then that's what they want to do.
I imagine the majority of people queuing up for instanced PvP if that's where the best rewards will be coming from.
Honestly, this reads a lot like 'OMG, there might be incentives for players to do what they like instead of what I like.'
If people prefer to do Warzones over open world PvP or vice versa, then that's their prerogative and we won't force them to do the other thing. As for where the best rewards are, you'll earn rewards by doing either.
Georg Zoeller cautions players not to trust translations so easily.
I can't comment on this since I don't understand the language the original thread is in and I'm not comfortable with commenting on an automatic english translation of a french interview with an american developer.
Clearly, based on the reactions I'm reading in this thread, something terrible must have happened. Let's all panic and run to the door!
Alternatively, once I manage to find Daniel, which may take a few days since it's weekend and he might also be in NY, I'll try to clarify and understand what this is about. If you manage to find Daniel before me, maybe he'll clarify for you.
Short: Georg thinks in all likelyhood this is a typical storm in a teacup. Those are cool, but not entirely productive.
Georg Zoeller warns that publicly shown gameplay is not always the most up-to-date build.
The dev's commenting system is broken. They often comment and the comment doesn't show up publicly for days. That said, he's wrong. There is no tempest in a teacup, we know the modification system was changed and the article is not mistranslated.Wait, you mean what I see in front of me on the most current authoritative game build in the office is not what it seems to be?
Think what you see outside the office is the most current Modification System? Nope.
Georg Zoeller estimates how long flashpoints will take to complete for the average player. The post below is roughly translated.
Das ist zwar schn und gut, wenn das die Entwickler so sehen. Ntzt aber nichts, wenn es in einem Jahr wieder heit: 5% mehr Schaden heit 10 Minuten schneller durch den Flashpoint, heit Spieler mit "falscher" Klasse oder Skillung knnen zuhause bleiben.The numbers would be a flashpoint yes 200 minutes ... minutes are more likely 30-45.
Allison Berryman reminds players that testing is highly iterative and changes are constantly being made.
Quote from Allison Berryman
It's clear many of you are very interested in the Item Modification system (and understandably so!) and the various changes it has undergone. However, we'd like to remind you that it's very difficult to get a good impression of an article's meaning via Google translate subtlety and context are often easily lost by automatic translations. Translating in general can be very difficult and can lead to confusion or misinterpretations.
It's very important to keep in mind that we actually use our Game Testing Program to test the game. This means that sometimes we make radical changes to systems in order to gather the feedback we need. This testing allows us to find what works the best and is most fun for players. The Item Modification system is a system that has required some changes and testing as we feel out what players enjoy the most. In one build, items that can be modified may be rare. In another, they may be ubiquitous. Through testing, we'll try several implementations, gather feedback, and make changes accordingly.
When Daniel spoke about Item Modifications, it is likely that what he spoke about reflected the implementation that was currently in testing not necessarily the final intended state of the system (and we say "likely because after talking with Daniel, he doesn't have an exact recollection of what he said; he does do a LOT of interviews!). We haven't delved deeply into discussing Item Modifications officially, and one reason for that is exactly what you're seeing here: talking about things while they're still in testing (and thus in flux) can be confusing to the community, so we do avoid it when we can while still trying to share information about the game.
We know you're all interested in the specifics of how the system works, but please do keep in mind that quite a few things in the game are still subject to change as we continue with the test. Don't panic! Though we're close to launch, we aren't done testing!
In the same thread, Allison Berryman notes that feedback is a crucial part of making sure changes to game systems are what they need to be.
Quote from Allison BerrymanDidn't someone say they were pretty much in the polishing stages? Figuring out a major game mechanic such as this does not seem like polishing to me. I am as equally concerned by this response as I was by the interview.Keep in mind that our development process is highly iterative. Feedback is critical to us, and we use it to make changes.
There are several systems that are still undergoing changes meant to balance them and make them fun, and that will be a continuing process. Do we have an idea of where we'd like to be with a given system? Yes. Do we know exactly what changes to make to get there? We feel like testing (the feedback, telemetry, and other data we get from it) is an excellent way to help us make informed decisions and get feedback on a variety of changes so we can determine what works best. So, it isn't that we don't have a plan or any idea what the system should be, it's more that we feel like testing is a critical component in making decisions about those systems and using feedback to tune them.
Sometimes we test big changes, sometimes just minor adjustments whatever we think the system needs based on what we see in the test.
Georg Zoeller illustrates how customization kits will work when meeting companions for the first time in game.
So I was wondering earlier. Now that we all know you can customize your companions looks how will that work? Lets take Bounty Hunter/Mako for example. When the Bounty hunter first meets Mako will she have the default appearance and you can change it afterwards (this would seem silly to me)? Or right before meeting a companion for the first time will a customization screen pop up so we can generate their looks before we begin interacting with them?It's fairly simple.
The first is a major immersion breaker and the latter is a big spoiler/ suspension breaker.
How do you guys think Bioware is handling the introduction of Companion?
At the same quest step where you get your companion, you get to chose from several alternate appearance options. These are 'customization kits' that can be equipped on your companion's character sheet.
Since you meet most of the companions earlier in the story, you already know their default appearance, so there's no sense in 'hiding' that you're changing something here. Think of it like a forced reconstructive surgery on your companion
Charles Boyd points out that companions vary in context for each of their backstories.
Quote from Charles BoydWell, I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunity for that, considering Tanno Vik was discharged from the military, basically for being a crazy person who loves bombs a lot. Although, I do see where you're coming from, a little variety is nice. Having that Han Solo type character, the thief with a heart of gold type, is a bit different from psycho, "I want to blow up EVERYTHING!!!" guy. I do think Vik is gonna be one of my favorite companions.If I may offer a correction on Vik, referencing the biographies section: "Criminal accusations were registered against him throughout his short service career, until he was finally convicted for masterminding a protection racket while defending a Republic outpost on Talay."
Vik is a self-interested, amoral sociopath who happens to be an incredibly skilled demolitionist; not a mad-bomber psychopath. Hopefully this will not cool anyone's anticipation for him
I won't speak to the other companion rumors and speculations in the thread, but I will remind everyone that out-of-context information delivered second- or third-hand from an unofficial source is often less than 100% accurate.