Gameplay

Choose Your Side, or Rather Class

The puzzlingly named Choose Your Side features have continued today, as fans count down the days until release, with a match up between Imperial Agent and Jedi Consular taking place.

Always keen to make their employees seem like real people to the public (rather than the un-sleeping computer maniacs we know they really are) some light banter was put up on The Old Republic’s website detailing the hot topic of debate in the Bioware office, which class had the upper hand in a Consular vs Agent battle.

Now, seeing as many of these fights have happened already during testing the developers are somewhat playing coy with the population, because as released seven weeks ago, we already have the number for one on one combat that has taken place.

Originally the article was to be found here , but due to the need for more content to go into the weekly news it has been removed, and hypothetical ‘class Matchups’ have been added instead.

But thankfully as we have the official site’s news archived here at SWTOR Republic we can look up the numbers to see which has the upper hand.

The real numbers show a slightly different side of the story as the “they are balanced” message sent in the Choose Your Side feature. For all one on one fights that have taken place so far the current winner is the Imperial Agent, but a 69% success landslide.

Perhaps this should not be surprising. A solo class matched up against a group play style class is always bound to present some imbalances, however generally we would have expected things to have been slightly better than we have seen.

As the release grows nearer, now only 13 days away, many are racing to pre-order the game to secure their cheaper, and fully featured copies. If market research done so far is anything to go on, the game may be scarce in standard retailers for quite some time.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - December 7, 2011 at 19:09

Categories: Gameplay, Misc, Testing   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Last Chance Guild Changes

Phase 3 of the SWTOR guilding program, now officially in full swing, has made its impact on player associations over the last few weeks felt near and far.

For months now players have had time to organise themselves and their friends into guilds pre-release, so that they are assured of being on the same servers, and being on the same servers as their enemies. This has meant we have seen a wild grab for players, a guilds try to judge who will be good months ahead of the game, with only reputation to go on.

Now that the final phase is in effect, this is all set to wrap up, with players being stuck where they stand and any enemies and allies being locked in for the long hall.

The advantage of this system is that it shall see people which know each other all put on the same server, but at the same time, this tells us just how Bioware plans to run the different game servers.

As it stands at the moment players will not be able to specifically choose which server they want to be on, it shall be chosen for them. This is very different to games such as Star Wars Galaxies and World of Warcraft where there was a comprehensive list of servers or realms which could be chosen when making a character.

The way that Bioware has chosen to do it does away with this system, which hopefully will not be to the detriment of the game. One thing is for sure, which is that it is vitally important to have everything in order before guilding closes off in a few days time. Otherwise, players will only be able to request a few of their friends, with only a small chance of getting into the server if it has heavy load or a far-off geographical location.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - December 1, 2011 at 12:50

Categories: Gameplay, Testing   Tags: , , , , , ,

Beta Numbers Swell Pre-Release

Troopers, quite a force to be reckoned with as they currently stand.

Troopers, quite a force to be reckoned with as they currently stand.

In the largest recruiting drive attempted thus far the Bioware executives have decided to more than double the number of current Beta testers of the past fortnight.

This has included the addition of the first batch of overseas players, including a large number from Australia and Europe. Supposedly this is with the hope to find flaws in the game’s combat system which will be exaggerated by the latency such locations entail, but far more likely is to bring news of the game to countries where it may not get quite as much direct advertising.

With the recent lift on confidentially clauses imposed on testers, we have seen a flood of screenshots and videos of the game make it onto social media sites such as Facebook and Youtube. Whilst this has not caused any problems so far, it has revealed that the game is not quite as flawless as it may have seemed from the early testing.

There are evidently quite a number of bugs with the player combat system, meaning so far battles have been far from balanced.
Trooper is the pick of the bunch as of now, with each being more than a match for 2-3 of any other class. This isn’t helped by the fact that classes such as consular are far from perfect, with many abilities misfiring right when the player is counting on them.

With more than two months to go before the game is released there is still plenty of time to iron these last bugs out. Lets hope this is done with plenty of time to spare, or players might be quite under-impressed after parting with their hard earned money.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - October 20, 2011 at 21:17

Categories: Classes, Gameplay, Testing   Tags: , , , , ,

Companions in SWTOR

Now that just about all of the companions for SWTOR have been finalised, we can finally see just how this system will play out for the average player.

People that have enjoyed games such as Mass Effect and KoTOR will be quite familiar with this system, as by in large companions will function in the way that they did in those previous games.
Throughout the story players will meet new companions, and fortune permitting, they may join them on their adventures across the galaxy. There are many different possibilities for each class, and they will generally take the typical stereotypes we are used to from Star Wars films and Games.

Each class will have their own romantic interest, their droid companion, as well as general fighters that should compliment each professions play style. This will mean high DPS sidekicks for Tanking professions such as Jedi Knight, and strong damage-takers for more fragile Sith Inquisitors.

Unlike in the previous games, Companions will take on whole new levels of customisation in Star Wars The Old Republic. Their behaviour will be controlled (to an extent) by the player, so as to maximise their effectiveness in combat, and their appearance will also be changeable, so we should not have every single player walking through Mos Eisley with identical HK-47 models.

As the developers revealed in their recent release, Companions in SWTOR will play a huge part in the story telling, and many of the quests and adventures players embark on will be due to their interactions with their party. This will mean players will grown very close to their in-game sidekicks, and everyone will certainly have a favourite among them.

For some this might be the useful alien that always have their back in combat, whilst others might prefer a master-craftsman Twi-Lek, even if she gives them a lot of back chat.

Blizz, a Jawa companion from SWTOR, sure to be a favourite.

Blizz, a Jawa companion from SWTOR, sure to be a favourite.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - October 12, 2011 at 12:17

Categories: Gameplay, Misc   Tags: , , , , , ,

Strong Pre-Order numbers for SWTOR

In an annual report released yesterday by Bioware, among the pages of budgeting and productivity reports, discerning fans of Star Wars The Old Republic saw that the game, still months from release has already broken 36 thousand subscribers.

In a somewhat surprising move it seems the developers of the game have neglected to mention this on their website, even though it seems like a very impressive statistic. However, this may be just a temporary business decision, as they may wait until the number reaches another substantial milestone, such as 50 thousand.

With the date for release officially ‘set in stone’ for the 20th of December, it is somewhat surprising that so many players would be interested in securing the game so far ahead of time. Previous games, even ones as large as World of Warcraft, did not have nearly this many subscribers such a distance before they would actually enter the game.

It is probably no coincidence that the release date has been scheduled for the 20th, four days after the planned shut down of the previous Star Wars MMORPG, Star Wars Galaxies. Perhaps Lucasarts’ juggling of these dates is why it took so long to have a confirmed release for SWTOR, as they want to transfer as many players as possible straight from one to the other.

Since the announcement of SWTOR there has been almost continual speculation as to how the two games will coexist, which has thankfully been put to rest with the conclusion of one chapter in the Star Wars game-saga, and the opening of another. Lets just hope the strong subscriber numbers will reflect the strength of Star Wars The Old Republic when it is released, or we may find a lot of players wishing to move back to their previous game, which will no longer be there.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - September 28, 2011 at 12:09

Categories: Classes, Gameplay   Tags: , , , , , ,

Hutt Ball

One new announcement for SWTOR that has created a lot of controversy recently has been that of Hutt Ball, which is set up as a PvP zone on Nar Shaddaa for higher level players.

The game of Hutt Ball is something akin to American Football in outer space, a floating ball spawns in the middle of a trap-ridden field, and each team has to try to take it to the opposing team’s end zone. Although there will be helmets and armour, unlike the NFL Hutt Ball will feature Lightsabers, lasers and the force. There are evidently no rules in this particularly barbaric sport, and as such the prime tactic seems to be just blast the enemy apart then stroll casually to a touchdown.

Aside from being something of an out of place mini-game, what has also caused a stir is the fact that it will create factional in-fighting, and perhaps even encourage it. Draws for games are entirely random, so it is very likely that same faction teams will come up against each other, and be after the scalps of allies they usually rally behind on the battlefield.

On the SWTOR forums there have been a lot of complaints of this particular instance being a joke, or not a serious addition to what is meant to be a canonical star wars game, but these complaints have generally been ignored by great effect by the developers.

Beta testers that have enjoyed the instance already have come away with glowingly positive reviews, which seems to have halted the cries of many critics, however with upcoming updates on the horizon there is still plenty of room for changes in the way this particular mini-game works.

That aside, so far Hutt Ball looks like a very entertaining endeavour for any keen player, and it should give the often grinding gears within factions to one up each other.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - September 15, 2011 at 22:47

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Eternity Vault

Recently released by the developer team at Bioware was a new theatrical video about one of the latest additions to Star Wars The Old Republic, the Eternity Vault instance.

This particular adventure will be aimed at players from the Sith Empire, and they will attempt to storm the Eternity vault in groups between four and twenty four.

The Eternity Vault is a hidden away portion of SWTOR’s own Jail planet, which was recently (within the timeline of the game that is) discovered by the Sith Empire’s scouts. Inside is said to be remnants of the Alien Civilisation that built the planet wide metropolis, and prototypes of many technologies they never got around to producing en mass.

However, seeing as it was built on a planet theoretically covered in criminals, the mysterious civilisation left it very well protected. So much so in fact, that the Vault’s defence system was easily a match for the first scouts, and activated a more serious defensive network to prevent further attacks.

Eternity Vault should be an entertaining PvE instance for high level Sith Players, and give them valuable experience and items. As has already been stated by the SWTOR developers, we will not have a return to the vanishingly small loot drops of games like WoW, with a more bountiful approach taken to all PvE encounters. This will mean players will not need to repeat raids such as Eternity Vault copious numbers of times, although it will certainly be a possibility for those keen enough.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - September 10, 2011 at 22:32

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The Esseles Flashpoint

The main new insight into SWTOR at the most recent Comic Con was that regarding a new flashpoint, the Esseles adventure.
As one of the more challenging flashpoints, the convention gave players their first chance to test out the high level player combat which until now had not been seen by the general public.

In the Instance a small team of players must work together to protect an extremely high ranking Republic Diplomat, after his ship is boarded by a heinous Imperial party bent on destruction. Videos have shown that this will be quite an exciting adventure, somewhat similar to the ones seen in previous release videos, such as the one where our friendly smuggler saves the day.

As players learnt from the video, in large groups team work is the name of the game, which means that the grouping mechanisms of the game will be more important than perhaps anybody had imagined.

For some time now we have known of the flashpoints in Star Wars The Old Republic, but it is only recently that the true extent has been shown to players. There are now numerous encounters suitable for each range of levels, and there are many even accommodating of widely varied groups, so the days of only allowing the ideal team to pass are certainly over.

So, as another group mission is released to the players of SWTOR we have found out yet more about the undertakings of everyday players when the game is released in a few months time.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - September 4, 2011 at 23:48

Categories: Gameplay, Testing   Tags: , , , , ,

Pre-Order Bonuses

A weapon colour change stone given to players that pre-order.

A weapon colour change stone given to players that pre-order.

Before the official launch of the SWTOR Pre-order pack there was a lot of speculation within the community as to what exactly it might contain. Previous games have often gone to great lengths to encourage players to part with their money before playing, and it was hoped that Star Wars The Old Republic would be no exception.

Star Wars Galaxies for example gave out substantial in game gifts with purchases, such as the AT-RT for the complete adventures, and the Grievous wheel bike for the online download. These were both extremely popular, however they did come with their downsides. Both were profusely farmed by the more untoward members of the community, which did work to the detriment of the community at large.
However, these are generally problems that should be easy to avoid, so assuming the developers at Bioware have their wits about them it should pose no issue.

The current planned gifts for players keen and confident enough to pay for SWTOR, months before they have first played it, are quite numerous. All packs feature a free colour stone to be used on players’ weapons, and there are two special editions currently planned, the Collectors Edition and the Digital Deluxe Edition.

The Digital Deluxe Edition alone contains a free Flare gun, Training Droid, Holodancer, Holocam and STAP speeder, which should be more than enough to tempt dubious buyers into dishing out the extra cash required.

The Collectors Edition goes one step further, including all of the Digital Deluxe’s gifts, as well as as a Mouse Droid and Item Store in game, along with a wide range of collectable memorabilia such as a soundtrack CD, statuette and Galaxy Map.

All in all there is quite a large assortment of goodies up for grabs if players are confident enough to pre-order the game, and so far it looks like quite a number will do so.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - August 28, 2011 at 23:19

Categories: Gameplay, Items   Tags: , , , , ,

Galactic Cartography

A map of a spaceport.

A map of a spaceport.

Recently released by the Bioware landscape designers was a developer spot on the map making for the galaxy.

Just like real-life map making, where cartographers go to an area and survey it from many angles, the developers of Bioware have been converting their virtual environments into topographic (and non-topographic) maps for players to use. This is set to make the game quite comfortable to navigate, and give it that added futuristic feel, as surely anyone in a galaxy Far Far Away would have long since mastered the art of mapping.

Like we find in many other games, there are a range of transportation options which allow players to traverse the environments faster than going on foot. These, along with other points of interests (such as space ports and towns) will be found on the maps, which will actively update as the player moves to different locations.

A map of a large hunting ground.

A map of a large hunting ground.

The interface maps are currently differentiated from the overhead map (HUD) in that they are more detailed and will show a wider range of features. This means they should be very helpful, and maybe some female players will get a valuable lesson in how to actually read a map (not that they are by far inferior at the present time!)

One final feature which has recently been added to the mapping (after a review of the system) is the ability to see group members’ missions and targets on your own heads up display, which should make team play a breeze. This was addressed as it was a previous issue in Star Wars Galaxies, and led to team members having to send out copious amounts of in-game mail just to transfer to their team the waypoints of targets.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - August 16, 2011 at 12:00

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