Georg Zoeller illustrates the difficulty curve of flashpoints when attempted with less than a full group of players.
Hi Georg,Currently, it is feasible to complete some of the lower level Flashpoints with two players and two Companions, if the players are really good. Three players plus one companion is more common and works for most as it is easier, but still definitely a bunch more challenging than four players only.
Leaving aside for a moment the issue that content designed for multiple players could now potentially done with NPCs in place of them , I guess I am curious how increasing the importance of a companion by giving it a full player slot reconciles with the comments about leaving the pass/fail up to the players, and not have the companion be a deciding factor?
Unless maybe it's a nomenclature thing between Flashpoints vs. Raids? When James spoke about it previously, did he literally mean raids and warzones, but NOT level-up Flashpoints?
Thanks as always for your participation here
As mentioned, we're actively testing different options here, and haven't made final calls on companions in Flashpoints.
Georg Zoeller weighs the implementation of swimming against other features in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
I completely disagree with this. An easy fix to not break the world designs is to add a fatigue system. You swim too far out, you become fatigued and must turn back. It's a wall to keep you from going too far, but at least it's not so rigid of a wall in not being able to swim at all.There's no rigid wall in the game at this point. You walk in shallow water, it becomes deeper as you progress, and at some point you start getting the message that you should turn back. You can continue on and ultimately drown (then respawn) or move back.
In order for swimming to be actually worth the implementation and time, we'd want to do it right - meaning content built around it, maybe a water centric planet, etc. Absent that content - there are no water worlds in this game - we've decided to focus on other things that are more important to us.
I can definitely see why people like swimming (or any other feature for that matter), however, the decision to put a feature like that in the game cannot be solved with a simple yes/no poll. In reality, the question is more like "Do you want swimming or 'feature X'. In this case, we chose feature X (or Y, or Z) for a number of reasons - one being that just adding a very basic version of swimming without building proper content around isn't something we wanted to focus on for launch.
We'll definitely look at this again later, after launch, but if we were to decide to do it, it'd be accompanied with proper content and mechanics themed around it.
Georg Zoeller concedes that he fully expects players to create guides for finding Datacrons.
Nothing stays a secret on the internet for very long. Even if finding a datacron increased your level cap, within months their locations would be posted on every SWTOR community site online.This.
In the current day and age, there is no such thing as secrets, at least not to people who want to know about them. People who want to explore, can explore; people that would rather follow a roadmap they found on the internet are free to do so as well.
Ultimately we encourage players to see the planets and experience the content we've created for them off the beaten path and either way, that happens.
Georg Zoeller gives a few details about the design of water on planets.
This sounds like a very carefully worded way of saying "You walk along the bottom of the water as if the water isn't there, until you either turn around and walk back out or until the game eventually kills you". This is the kind of thing that makes people go "Wow. Can you believe they released the game in this state? That's just plain unpolished."Which is why you will not be able to walk on the bottom of the sea. You can wade through waist deep water slowly getting deeper and at some point you start freezing/drown/etc.
Additionally, since this is a design decision made a long time ago, there is no reason for you to endlessly walk into the water as well. There's just no content out there that would require you to do that. We don't want you to run around in the deep water, it exists as a soft planet boundary - not as adventuring space.
Alexander Freed paints a picture of the patriotic view Imperial citizens might have of their Empire.
Quote from Alexander Freed
Imagine living in a society where you're taught that great men and women - the brilliant, the inspired, the powerful - should rise as far as they can, and lesser men and women are uplifted by following and supporting the highest of the high. Imagine your society has believed this for centuries, and - after suffering terribly a long time ago - built a magnificent and powerful nation that celebrates art, achievement, struggle, duty and conquest.
This is a culture where every citizen serves the state - at least for a time, in the best capacity he or she can - and where that contribution is honored. A culture where a great number of joys and vices are permitted - in the proper context, so long as they don't interfere with one's duty.
Of course, that's not necessarily how you'd view it if you were a slave. Or someone who suffered from the random whims of the powerful. Or someone who believed that species isn't an indicator of inherent potential. Or...
Well, there are plenty of reasons to see the Empire as a tyrannical, billions-strong cult without conscience, kept in line by propaganda and unearned rewards on one hand and terror on the other.
But most Imperials wouldn't see it that way.
Fun discussions, as always. And highly relevant to what makes an Imperial Agent.
Damion Schubert expands on the design philosophy of swimming, noting that any feature or absence thereof is done so with considerable discussion.
Quote from Damion Schubertits not an obsession with swimming, its an obsession with immersion.
Realism does not necessarily equate immersion. Sometimes it can help it along, but sometimes it can fight it, and there are definitely different ways for players to get that goal.
A sense of immersion often comes from a sense of flow, from a sense that players are in the experience fully and totally. You certainly can be immersed in the realness of, say, the lush islands in Crysis. You also can be immersed in the pure action of Quake or even a really good run in Tetris. It's all about how smoothly the experience feeds into itself and into your own perceptions.
My experience with swimming in most MMOs (and in fact, most other games) has not been particularly immersive. They are usually along the lines of "Where am I getting shot from? Why is my map useless? How far away is my target, really? Can I escape this fight swimming at this pokey speed? Why do my combat moves look so janky? Why does my pet look janky? Why is pathfinding janky? Why is navigating my character around tight spaces so difficult? Why does the game let players use jumping in and out of water to exploit? Where is there a designer I can punch in the throat?
When you're having experiences like that, you're not in the game, you're instead an angry and frustrated person staring at a keyboard. Failures in these areas don't feel like challenges you couldn't overcome, they feel like places where the game robbed you. When you start having these reactions, you are not immersed.
Doing swimming poorly is hard. Doing swimming very well (i.e. solving all of the problems above and then building the content to really take advantage of it) is very hard. BioWare is not a company that prides itself on halfway solutions typically. We'd prefer to swing for the fences - if we decide to take a feature, do it well. We don't always succeed, mind you, but that's the intent.However, why is it that other games are able to do this, but not TOR?
We're not other games. And none of those 'other games' have the same feature set as each other, anyway. Each of them has had a different design philosophy, a different focus, a different set of problems to deal with, etc. And ours will be different still.
There are a lot of features that these games have that we don't have. There are a lot of features we have that they don't have and likely never will. Features have a substantial cost not just a cost to develop, in this case, but a cost to design, worldbuild, build art for, QA and support for years to come. The senior design leads spend a lot of time comparing the various features, and figuring out what will make the best package of combined features i.e. the experience that we call the game.
Because really, no feature exists in a vacuum. It's all good and well to say "This game must have Baby Seal Clubbing because game XXX had Baby Seal Clubbing 10 years ago and so this game is going to be like one built by primitive cavemen designers who had no idea of the magic of Baby Seal Clubbing!" But the MMO genre is so established now that the possibility space for features is very large, and no, not all of them will make it in. For every feature, there's a lot more discussion that happens amongst the designers. Does this feature support or fight the other features in the game? Does the feature highlight what we're trying to do, or elevate the IP, or serve part of the populace that is currently underserved? Put shortly, is this feature right for the game? Or is there a better place we can spend all those resources to make something truly magical?
Because at the end of the day, we're not trying to make 'just another MMO but with lightsabers'. We don't want to blindly include features because some of our competitors are doing so. We want SWTOR to be its own experience and its own identity, and this occasionally means doing things differently and taking some chances.
Does this mean that Baby Seal Clubbing will make it in? Well, I fought for it, but no.
Georg Zoeller reminds us that despite what may be seen or heard, the game is still in testing and things can and are likely to change.
This update was pretty much conformation they are remaining locked, despite what Ohlen said.This update is about the current state of the game. We're still very much evaluating if you should be able to change Advanced Classes and even if we decide that you cannot for launch, this is a topic we would continue to evaluate with each patch.
Georg Zoeller confirms the Advanced Classes Update contained a sneak peek at newest game UI.
Just wondering if we could get confirmation on whether the screens of the talent trees and the skills is an indication of what the new UI's theme is. And if it is what do you guys think.Yup. You are the first to see a small glimpse of it - not even our game testers have seen it in action yet.
Georg Zoeller shows the distinction pure damage Advanced Classes can have between their skill trees.
Amazing update! But I do have a question for Georg:I've seen this question a few times now, so I'll try to explain.
From the supplied list, it is easy to fortell the two AC-specific skill tress that accompany the shared skill tree, except in the case of the Imperial Agent Sniper, Jedi Knight Sentinel, Smuggler Gunslinger, and Sith Warrior Marauder.
Every other Advanced Class seems to have two distinct roles that could easily correspond to two skill trees, but the four listed above seem to only have one role.
Do these four ACs only have potential for the one combat role? If so, I am curious as to how their skill trees will be divided.
Thank you for today's blog and your continued forum comments Georg!
First - we are not under any illusion that there will be parity in class distribution. There will be more Jedi Knights than Smugglers and there will always be more Sith Warriors than Agents. That is fine - we designed the game with that in mind. Certain fantasies are more popular than others after all.
There is a good number of people that only ever play damage dealing classes. Regardless of what choice you give them, when it comes to the core role of it, they want to go in there and make a difference with damage.
By having some Advanced Classes dedicated to pure damage, we are creating options for these players to experience different gameplay variations of damage dealing gameplay and mechanics within their class.
The Marauder / Sentinel skill trees allow for some great variation in gameplay (tactical vs. in your face, burst vs. sustained, different levels of mobility, Area of Effect vs single target) to give players that have a strong preference for the damage dealer role more variation that what is possible on ACs that fill multiple roles already.
So we really don't look at this as 'The Marauder only has one role available, therefore it must be significantly better at it than other ACs that have a DPS option', we look at this as 'The Marauder has one role available to it, and several very different (and full) ways of putting it to effect'. Plus, you get to wield dual blades - I hear some players really like that too.
Randy Begel affirms that not all romances are created equal and that companion characters may be romanceable through either the light or dark side.
Quote from Randy BegelAs a Sith, I plan on being a total Jerk to everyone I meet, but I am concerned that this will affect romantic options with my companions.This made me laugh.
My biggest concern will be the Light and Dark Side points gained.
I don't want to shut off possible romantic options by being a jerk, but at the same time I don't want to gain Light Side points just for the sake of making the romanced character feel that shes my "fluffy cuddly batch of sugar pudding yumyums".
Something to note: you don't really gain light side points just for being nice to someone or dark side points just for being a jerk. It takes more than that. Maybe you're just being manipulative when you're saying the "L" word to your romantic interest, or you were just having a bad day when you told them that thing they just gave you was garbage.1. Will different characters have to be treated differently in order to be romanced?Absolutely.2. Will any of these companions be romance-able by telling them they "will be killed if they disobey my orders?" (treating them like trash basically)Basically, there are definitely more than a few romances suitable for you bad boys and girls out there, so I wouldn't worry about getting left out.
However, if you're really dying to romance a particular character and they don't care for your antics you're going to have to make some compromises, like being nicer around them or maybe just keeping them away from your cacklingly evil behavior.