BioWare released this week's Community Q&A early this evening, featuring answers from the BioWare team on a variety of gameplay-related issues. Highlights include an in-depth analysis of healer balance changes and an explanation of the vote-kick system in warzones. Other topics of discussion included Interrupt abilities for Mercenaries and Commandos, and rage timers in hard mode Flashpoints.
Mksaccount: Are there any plans on adjusting rage timers in hard mode Flashpoints?
Quote from Gabe AmatangeloThe team continues to tune Flashpoint bosses based on metrics and feedback. Bosses that are a ‘spike’ in the progression curve (e.g. when a second boss might be more difficult than the last) are being addressed in one way or another, be it increasing their enrage timer, decreasing their health, extending the cooldown of control abilities, etc.
Bendog: Are there any plans to make the lower level planet commendations ‘Bind to Account’? It would be nice to hand them off to another character.
BurdoThePious: Is there a reason why the Commando / Mercenary Advanced Classes do not have an interrupt ability (eg. Mind Snap, Distraction, Force Kick)?
Quote from Georg ZoellerYes. The lack of an interrupt ability on these Advanced Classes is a purposefully designed weakness in their ability arsenal. At the current time, adding an interrupt to the Commando/Mercenary would increase their combat utility, especially in PvP, beyond what we are comfortable with.
That said, this issue is one we’ve re-evaluated with every major patch and will likely continue to revisit in the future. It is not inconceivable that an interrupt may be added to these Advanced Classes in a future update, especially if more PvE content is introduced that relies on a certain number of interrupts being available in a group.
Niktika: Can you please explain some of the reasoning behind the healing nerfs? It almost seems like every healer is up in arms regardless of their class.
Quote from Georg ZoellerSometimes it's hard to hear this, but the change to healers you're referring to was, quite simply, a result of them being too good. When one healer is close to target performance and the others aren't, it's natural to think that the logical course is to buff the underperformer and leave the over-performers alone. I want to dispel that notion and explain why it isn't always possible.
All specs for all roles have a target performance. This is what drives the balance of the game: soloing, Heroics, PvP, Flashpoints, Operations... everything. When those targets aren't hit, we can't just ‘bring everyone up’ to the highest performer without negatively impacting the balance of the game and creating unsustainable inflation in our combat system. Frankly, it's also a lot more work to change all end game content in the game to compensate for an over-performing role than to bring the role back in line. The hard but simple truth is that Sorcerers and Sages had better Force management than we intended (e.g. a well-played Sage was almost incapable of running out of Force) and Mercenaries and Commandos were significantly over target in their healing performance.
After considerable testing, we're more confident than ever that all healing roles are both closer to target performance and closer to one another than ever before, leading to a much tighter balance on end game content. The community will be able to confirm this using the new combat logging feature in Game Update 1.2.
I know trying to ‘sell’ a downwards adjustment (AKA nerf) to anyone affected is like selling the need for a tax increase to people. When you are on the receiving end of it, you're not going to be happy about it. It may appear massive to you, even if the overall impact is limited. You likely won't care that it's 'for the greater good of the game' and, if you decide to disagree with our action, there's little we can do to sway you.
Based on the feedback brought to us so far from testers playing on PTS along with metrics and combat logs gathered from our guild testers, we are going to make additional adjustments before Game Update 1.2 is promoted to the live servers. For example, we reopened the internal debate about having an in-combat resurrect ability for Mercenaries/Commandos based on PTS feedback regarding the new Operations, in light of the higher utility value this ability brings to the table in 1.2. We're listening to your feedback, too, and rebalancing some of the changes made to healing based on data gathered from PTS. Look out for a future update to PTS for more details.
Pzljug: When are you guys going to finish the Timeline on the Holonet?
Quote from Stephen ReidWhen the Timeline series was begun we weren’t entirely sure how many timelines would be needed to detail relevant backstory for The Old Republic and left ‘blank spaces’ on the Timeline that, we thought, would all be filled in with Timeline entries. Ultimately, we feel we’ve detailed all the relevant backstory required, so no more Timeline entries going back into earlier history are planned. However, we know how much players enjoyed the lore details, style and presentation of Timelines, so we’re planning to continue that with a different series (currently unscheduled!) which will detail other aspects of the lore of The Old Republic.
Suzume_Bachi: If I unlock the Pureblood Sith species for all my future characters via the Legacy System, will I be able to create a Republic Pureblood Sith Smuggler, and will that Smuggler have Punish to I can smack around Corso Riggs?
Quote from William WallacePlayers creating characters with the new species/class combinations allowed by Legacy will get that species’ unique ability. So yes, your new Sith Pureblood Smuggler will have the Punish ability, and can use it on Corso Riggs as much as you like. Poor Corso....
DevTheSith: Can Bounty Hunters get a [Name] The Mandalorian title (or if it’s already in game, where is it)?
Quote from Daniel EricksonCurrently, there is no such title available for Bounty Hunters. It may be added as part of a future content update, but we’ve got no current plans to add it to the existing game.
Alericus: I am wondering how the ‘vote to kick’ system for PvP matches will work. I have a concern it will be abused by pre-made teams who want to control the team. Can you clarify how this system will work?
Quote from Gabe AmetangeloAny player can vote to kick an AFK player through the Ops frame context menu. This will not initiate a vote prompt, but rather must be actively sought out by multiple players. Once a player has received several votes they will receive a prompt indicating that they’ll be kicked from the Warzone in a few seconds if they do not engage in combat or defend an objective. A player who is kicked from the Warzone in this manner will be returned to their original location before they queued, and will not be able to queue up again for several minutes. We’ll continue to fine tune the detection logic, but gradually, with an eye towards protecting the innocent bystander player.
Mataoh: A lot of guilds have a second alt guild for the opposite faction - is there any plan to allow some sort of cross-faction chat so both guilds can communicate with each other in game?
joetacticSW: Can we have a ‘Loop music’ feature or some other way to make our experience less quiet?
Sound off about this week's Q&A in the comments section below, or discuss it in the official forum thread.