Quotes from Bioware Employees
From Allison Berryman:
PAX East begins in just one week and Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ will be there!
Inside the main PAX East exhibition hall, visitors to Booth 912 will be among the first in the world to play the mid-game Republic Flashpoint, Taral V! Taking the role of a Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Knight or Jedi Consular, you’ll team up with other players in an extended hands-on gameplay experience. This is a challenging mission which even MMO veterans may find difficult, but we will prepare everyone who plays with a tactical briefing at the booth.
Conquered Taral V? Experienced every Origin World? There’s still more. Throughout all three days of PAX East we’ll be giving presentations of Star Wars: The Old Republic from our booth stage, including live Q&A sessions with Developers from the BioWare Austin team. Ask James Ohlen (Lead Designer) and Daniel Erickson (Lead Writer), as well as other team members, your burning questions.
Get on the wrong side of the wrong people, and you’ll find yourself pursued by a Bounty Hunter, the most dangerous professionals in the galaxy. Bounty Hunters do what it takes to cash in on their marks, utilizing the best in weapons and defensive technology to bring in the target – dead or alive. The technology your Bounty Hunter uses is up to you; choose to specialize in prototype shield and heavy armor technology to become an unstoppable Powertech, or spend those hard-earned credits on the most destructive arsenal available as a Mercenary.
Over 3,500 years before the rise of Darth Vader, another Sith Lord’s name commanded fear and respect across the galaxy: Darth Malgus. The mysterious Sith Lord orchestrated the destruction of a prominent Jedi Temple, setting the stage for the tenuous peace of the Treaty of Coruscant.
In Deceived, you’ll learn the story of Darth Malgus and his rise to power. Delve into the dark secrets and history that shaped one of the most powerful Sith Lords the Old Republic would ever know…
Get ready to read the thrilling story of Darth Malgus on March 22!
Can I put a bounty on other player characters, that is the big question???
As Georg is not in the office right now, I’ll answer on his behalf (and with his words) – the answer is no, not at launch.
As always with an MMORPG, things may change in the future, but player bounties are not planned for the launch of The Old Republic.
How many players can the booth accommodate at one time? Will we play the game in groups or will seats be filled as players get up? Will playtime be on a timer and if so what is length of the play time?
Also, thanks for bringing SWTOR to the east coast this year
Thanks for having us, East Coast. (Is it ‘East Coast’? Or ‘east coast’? I never get that.)
We’re going to keep quiet for now on how many players the booth can accommodate, as we don’t want our rivals changing their plans.
Suffice to say it’s a significant number. We have a 30ft by 50ft booth (plus the stage booth), and have to save space for queuing and the like, but we’ve tried to fit a decent number of stations to play on there. The majority of the stations will be setup to play Taral V.
For Taral V, you’ll be playing in groups, and we’ll be swapping groups in and out on a schedule. You’ll have 45 minutes to get as far as you can through the Flashpoint. There’s a certain boss that if you defeat, well… you’ll get rewarded. Details will be revealed at the show.
In total, Taral V can be up to 90 minutes of playtime. That’s impractical for the show for a number of reasons, so we chose to give you an extended demo of 45 minutes instead. It’ll give you a nice long look at mid-level content that’s group specific.
Will companions be in the Taral V flashpoint?
How long will the play session be for the Origin Worlds?
Will fans be able to record video of the gameplay from personal camcorders and/or cellphones?
To answer in order:
– Companions and their uses are being carefully examined in Game Testing right now, so there are still decisions to be made there. In addition for PAX East, we wanted to emphasize multiplayer group play over Companions, so you won’t be playing with Companion Characters on Taral V. Don’t worry, you’ll have enough firepower to go around.
– Origin World play sessions will be capped at 45 minutes just like Taral V, however we won’t be running those to a schedule. If someone chooses to stop playing after 10 minutes, someone else will be able to step up and play right after them.
– Finally on recording – generally yes, with some exceptions. The exceptions are easy – if we ask you not to record, please don’t record.
To set minds at ease, all on-stage stuff (presentations, Q&A) are fair game to be recorded. Footage of gameplay is also fine, but we may ask you to stop recording or not record certain things. Again, please respect our wishes if you attend.
And if you recall, I did say we were working on bringing you footage ourselves. And not shaky cam… well, maybe a bit of shaky cam.
I would certainly rather play as a BH, but I’m not arguing. To play is to play, and I’ll love every second of it.
You can absolutely play as a Bounty Hunter on their Origin World, Hutta, on the booth.
They were not available at Gamescon to the public and at PAX Prime they were available for only the single presentation. The Jedi classes have never been publicly available.
On this at least, you’re correct. Jedi have not been publicly available to play before this show, which is why we highlighted that fact in the article.
RE: The Dark Side – The Good Bad Guys:
This is a subject near and dear to my heart.
We’ve tried our best to ensure that you can play a) a dark side character who isn’t simply a jerk, and b) a light side character who isn’t self-righteous and preachy. (After all, if every snarky comment or put-down gave you dark side points, Han Solo would’ve been Sith Lord material.)
That’s not to say you can’t be an obnoxious jerk of light, dark or neutral alignment! (And it may endear you to likeminded companions and alienate you from others…) But we wouldn’t want to require it.
Does Bioware Listen to The Forum Members?
Interesting post, and while we certainly discussed some variations of this in the past, maybe I can give you an idea of how we approach this.
Short version: Yes we do.
Developers definitely read the forums. The Community team also actively scours them for interesting, important, controversial issues and surface them to us as developers.
Do we ‘listen’? Yes, definitely – although listening / taking into consideration is only half of what people expect. The other half is that we take their feedback and act upon it, and this is where things get tricky.
Naturally, this being a game forum, there are a lot of strong opinions. If we acted on all of them, we would make a schizophrenic game. There is also a lot of “I think you should do feature X, who is with me?” type-posts. Agreeing to such a question is easy, especially if you don’t have to weigh it against whatever other feature you might have to cut for that… as we do whenever these discussions happen internally.
As for the negativity, standard forum dynamics like flame wars, trolling, etc… we’ve learned to see past that. Most of us have been in games for a long time, and BioWare has run forums ever since the days of Baldur’s Gate (I started there as a fan…) We know how things work and we know how to read the forums without getting distracted by the dark side of them.
I also don’t want to lie to you; we don’t use these forums to get you to tell us how to make a game. We use the forums to understand what the community cares about. We also use them as a ‘canary in a coal mine’ to detect things we might have misjudged or where we are not sure about (Jedi Wizard anyone?).
Frankly, at this point in development, we definitely don’t use the forums as a source for feature ideas anymore. We’re not at the point in development where we would add new features out of the blue anymore.
For actual feedback about game details and how it plays, we mostly rely on our tester feedback and the metrics we gather from the test (which often speak more clearly than you can express in a feedback email). There have certainly been situations where posters on the general forums have brought up angles on things that we hadn’t considered before, which is great – but the majority of actionable feedback definitely comes from our hands-on testers (a group of players we are continually expanding). Maybe we should do little summary of what kind of changes we have made based on tester feedback at some point in the future.
Lastly, the best way of getting us to read your post is:
* Make a well thought out point.
* Write in plain English/German/French language, use paragraphs and use punctuation. Don’t post a wall of text. And don’t write extensively in a color other than the default.
* Be clear in your post about what is your opinion and what is fact (to your knowledge).
* Give a precise topic title.
* Make sure your name on the forum doesn’t get associated with being the troll/bully/red stapler guy – we don’t have time to read all threads and we’re definitely more likely to pick threads from people that have a good track record.
* Don’t try to bait us into answering using aggressive language to create artificial conflict (“I think everyone who doesn’t like Feature X should die”). If you do, you probably ruin your chance of getting an answer, because we don’t like to reinforce such behavior.
Hope this gives you a little insight.