This week's Community Q&A is up and BioWare highlights PVP Resolve, Playable Species, story, and more. While not as lengthy as past Q&As, it is still worth a read. Continue after the jump for the Q&A in full.
On a side-note, BioWare revealed plans for San Diego Comic-Con including details on the panels. If you happen to be in attendance, you'll want to take note of them.
CelCawdro: If Cathar are successful, what kinds of species can we expect to see? May we see anything beyond the current selection of near-humans? What is the process behind selecting new species and gauging community interest?
Lurtzello: Are the various stories ordered? Meaning, when does the storyline of each Republic planet takes place compared to the Imperial storyline and the storylines of the other planets?
The longer answer: The class stories tend to weave in and out of one another--they all happen (nothing's "out of continuity"), and they all happen roughly at the same time (chapter 3 is chapter 3 for everyone, for example), but there's not a set correspondence that runs all the way through. For example, you couldn't say "the Jedi Knight is always half a planet ahead of the Imperial Agent." But you could say "the Bounty Hunter chapter 3 finale takes place before the Trooper chapter 3 finale."
For the world stories, it's a little more complicated. In some cases, only one of the world stories can happen--the Republic and Empire can't both defeat King Ulgo on Alderaan, or the villain of the False Emperor Flashpoint. For story purposes, we know these characters were defeated... but we don't know by whom.
In other cases, different factions' world stories happen roughly at the same time--aside from the final defeat of Ulgo, the rest of the Alderaan missions can be contemporaneous. Other world stories are, as you suggest, time-separated--Republic Taris takes place significantly before Imperial Taris, and Imperial Balmorra takes place significantly before Republic Balmorra.
For the most part, it's best not to worry too much about ordering individual world events unless they actively reference one another--and if they contradict one another, you can assume that we won't be writing future stories that depend on one faction's participation at the exclusion of the other. (For example, you'll note that the Corellia "Black Hole" storyline reconciles the events of the Imperial and Republic Corellia storylines so that going forward, we know roughly the state Corellia is in!).
caravaggio: The last few major patches have seen significant changes to the Sniper/Gunslinger Marksman/Sharpshooter tree. Can you talk a little bit about how you guys envision the class and what was not working that caused you to decide changes needed to be made? Do you think that 1.3 brought you closer to where you want to be or do you still see areas in the tree that need improvement?
These specs are also highly cover-dependent, and it has been a difficult task to communicate to players that in most cases they're better off holding their ground than kiting like a Sorcerer or Sage would. Of course, even that depends on having chosen a good cover spot to begin with. We face the issue of rewarding clean shots from cover while not making extended stays overpowered.
To answer you more directly, our vision for these specs hasn't changed, but I think we're striking much closer to that target than we have in the past. I'm really quite happy with Marksmanship and Sharpshooter in Game Update 1.3. Prior to this update, these skill trees fell apart at the top tiers, so we really wanted to address that and reward the full-spec Marksmanship and Sharpshooter. They now have the tools to stand their ground when they need to, they have better energy management than ever before, and their gameplay is smoother, simpler, and more rewarding. That's not to suggest there aren't issues, but I expect most issues can be addressed with minor tweaks in the future.
Clymene: Are there any plans to buff companion tanks? Currently they are barely any better at survivability than dps companions, especially poor Xalek, and don't hold aggro very well.
Taitsuo: Would you guys consider adding root effects to the Resolve bar? At the moment, 3 well-coordinated Gunslingers could permaroot someone (5secs duration, 15 secs cooldown). With ranked warzones, that could mean a lot…