#swtor – Sunday Developer Q&A with Bioware; Guild Ships!

Source: Darth Hater swtor fan site

Sunday Developer Q&As with BioWare Live Blog
by Baelor, posted March 13th, 2011 at 12:39 pm
It’s Sunday, the last day of PAX East 2011 and the developers at BioWare are throwing a last hurray with two question and answer sessions at the presentation stage. In the first one at 12PM — James Ohlen, Daniel Erickson, and David Bass fielded questions from the audience while Stephen Reid moderated the session.

In the second session at 5PM — Hall Hood, Jess Sliwinski, Rob Chestney, and Neil Pollner answered questions. We’re working to bring you notes on the questions and answers from the events in Live Blog form.

*

12PM Session with James Ohlen, Daniel Erickson, and David Bass

With guild pre-launch, can you change servers after launch?
David Bass: Check the guild FAQ. You’ll have warning.
DE: No answer from David!

Can you declare war on other guilds?
JO: Maybe after release.

How do you plan to acclimate players with little or no MMO experience to SW:TOR?
JO: Accessibility important. Beginning tutorial in depth. Social games provide opportunity to collaborate.
DE: Story is universal, everyone can get that. TOR is easier to pick up than Dragon Age.

Player housing/guild halls?
JO: Guild capital ship highly requested. Maybe at release, if not soon after.
DE: Ships replace housing for us. No one hangs at Leia’s house. Probably won’t make it into release.

Character customization?
DE: I’ve never run into my twin in game. There are close-ups in conversations. NPC’s have their own models so you won’t twin an NPC.

Can healers be badass?
JO: Yes. Even Sith Warrior as tank has visceral action. When you are in group as healer you have blaster. Star wars tropes trump MMO’s tropes.

Release date?
Bass: Game testing ongoing, release in 2011. (Note: After July 1, 2011!)
JO: 1k player cohorts have tested.

System specs?
JO: Can’t talk about it yet. We need to appeal to lower end machines which is why it is stylized realism.

Will DX10 or Win7 be required?
DE: No! You don’t need to go shopping.

(Missed question)
JO: Death penalty less harsh than other MMO’s. Combat more challenging so you might die more than other games. Want to avoid rage quits.
DE: Don’t want you to sleepwalk through the game. James didn’t want people eating bread and sitting around while playing.

Reid: Why doesn’t Oteg talk like Yoda?
DE: Because he isn’t 900 years old. Lucas approves everything.

Reid: Explain day/night cycle more?
JO: Position of sun is fixed. We wanted a whole bunch of distinct looking worlds. Would require too many programmers.
DE: Having day/night would make things look significantly worse.

Reid: Will instances have day/night?
DE: Instances and phasing have variety, you’ll go places that are at different times.

How large is each world?
JO: Alderaan is 7-8 wow zones. Origins smaller.
DE: As game goes on worlds get bigger. Alderaan has houses and castles that take up space.

Will you need to raid for badass gear?
DE: Top gear has 3 options – multiplayer end game, pvp, or crafting. But you’re not in bantha hide early, you look badass throughout.
Reid: We’re working on armor progression vids for other classes.

Balancing class combat?
JO: In other games, you have mostly swords or magic. In our game we needed an eye on making it look good when a melee class engages with blaster class. Jango goes toe to toe with Jedi. Troopers in TOR don’t die to ewoks. Troopers can call air strikes, rocket launchers, grenades. SWTOR has unique classes.
DE: Kotor has vibroblades, not our game. Not badass enough. (Clarification: He was referring to players using them in SWTOR)

Are there features for competitive/hardcore players?
JO: Leveling content is valuable. We value the hardcore, but we also value our 1-X content.
DE: We don’t let the super hardcore dictate content that they won’t value.

Will there be endgame content for players who aren’t interested in raiding, PVP, or other group activities?
JO: We have a lot of different player types. We have activities for everyone. If you’re not into raids, there’s other stuff. There will be something endgame for people who love BioWare story.
DE: We will have amazing PVP stuff soon that could change the game world. World bosses are tough.

Is crafting like WoW where you need to collaborate with others for mats?
DE: The best stuff will require social collaboration for mats.

Closing comments –
JO: Spread the message that our game has all of the MMO systems, giant worlds. We’re building a game that everyone will love that has BioWare story in it.
DE: If you liked/disliked the game, say so. For people who rant, ask “have you played it?” Post on the forums, give us feedback.


5PM with Hall Hood, Jess Sliwinski, Rob Chestney, and Neil Pollner

Is the woman in the Hope Trailer Satele?
RC: Hope trailer is Satele.
HH: Satele is a fashionista, she changed up the makeup/clothes.

RC: What role does the emperor play in the game?
HH: No one knows. The Sith Empire is a dictatorship. If emperor doesn’t want you to know, you don’t know. He’s very mysterious. “When you do meet the emperor it’ll be terrifying”

How do you adjust the pace of storytelling for MMO?
HH: Dialogue is as punchy as possible to keep you active. Everything happening at a location add up to a greater tapestry.
JS: Group dialogue is one of the great pleasures of the game, different points of view in the conversation.
RC: Just like in original trilogy, there is a war going on and each char has own story that evolves simultaneously.

Will emperor be revealed before launch or in-game?
HH: Wouldn’t it be better and far more exciting to meet him in game?

Will you know him when you see him?
HH: I see what you’re doing. Not answering that.

How much will dialogue change mission/flashpoint experience?
HH: We’re always trying to maximize player choice. You get to assemble the puzzle pieces.
JS: Even when you get outvoted though you get points for your intentions.

Is it challenging to write for a persistent experience?
HH: There are no lines for boss mobs in the world. If you kill a guy, he’s dead, it persists.
RC: Time elapses throughout story, things aren’t happening in one instant.

From a cinematic perspective, will you see unique situations that key off player choices?
HH: Yes.
NP: There’s some stuff in the Sith Warrior story I didn’t that I didn’t think they could do and they it pulled off.
RC: Cinematics in ME top level, same guys working on this.

Is there going to be anything for guild stories (Hammer)?
RC: Can neither confirm nor deny. Was discussed internally.

What do you think of guild member congregation? (Windstriker)
Bass: Not at launch but lots want it, devs included.

How do you keep everything organized?
HH: Lots of documentation.
JS: Lots of communication and breaking things into detail. Challenging with a game this size.

Will different characters of different levels be phased for story reasons?
RC: You can enter his low level story but he can’t fast forward in time to yours.
HH: It’s not about going back, but always moving forward in space and time.

If you choose dark side choices consistently as republic, do you eventually flip sides?
HH: No. Your choices have context. As Light Side Sith, you’re trying to reform from within. Dark Jedi = Anakin route.
JS: Dark Side Jedi are in minority, people will notice/comment.

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