This is the transcript of the Day 2 of Q&A from PaxEast at 3pm. This Q&A covered a lot of things such as expanding space missions, combat logs, legacy system, and the resolve system. The original audio and highlights are from darthhater and you can see their audio recording and highlights here.
- 1.2 is coming very soon – when it is very soon? It is any day we give you. We will give you some amount of notification before it arrives because we have to tell you when the maintenance happens.
- Server/char transfer – worked on by the development team right now, it is a very high priority for us and we are working very hard on it. We are doing server transfers for Asia-Pacific players right after 1.2 ships and after that happens we will be looking at doing char transfers for the general population.
Present: Emmanuel Lusinchi (French, Technical Design Director), Damion Schubert (Lead Systems Designer), Cameron Winston (He nerfed your class and he is not sorry! (joking), he works on the Combat team), and Stephen Reid.
Q: Any plans in the future to take our origin worlds and give them level 50 zones to come back to rather than expanding on new planets.
A: Yes, we like it when players can see someone much higher level (on the planet). You have a bit of them going on with your class stories – you can be the guy on the big speeder bike and look good. I would be surprised if we don’t have a bit more of this going on, we are always looking for little places to put in stuff, maybe some secret stuff and so on. So yes probably.
Q: Ilum has being called dead. What is the immediate plan for Ilum and World PvP as a whole.
A: We are going to hold a funeral service for Ilum (joking). It is not a gameplay style we don’t want to do. It is just we want to make sure we can do it right. We are focusing on some of the problems that plagued Ilum the first go. When we felt that we solved these problems sufficiently to deliver an excellent experience, we are going to be releasing that to you. It is not going to be very soon, it is going to come the opposite of very soon.
It turns out that MMO players are obsessed with fairness and so we are trying to make sure open world stuff isn’t totally screwed up by faction imbalances on particular servers for example. It is a tricky problem.
Is the planet Ilum itself going to be removed from the game ? – NO, just disincentivized for the PvP side, for now.
Q: Obviously part of the SWTOR experience is the immersion in your characters, particular the animations. Force leap, force choke, force push, it is very cool but none of them actually affect any of the bosses in the raid and make you feel like a Jedi. Are you going to do anything to the raids to make you feel like a Jedi?
A: We try to work these abilities into the fight as much as possible but the problem is isn’t just you force pushing the boss, it is you and your buddy, and your buddy, and your buddy, and your budy, and your buddy and then it is back up on cooldown again. So the boss doesn’t actually get to do anything. So you can understand some scaleability issues with control on operation bosses. Where we can, we love to get those control/Jedi/Sith powers in there, I want you to use as many abilities as possible but the truth of the matter is that not every fight you can do that. It is a scaling problem and can get out of control quickly.
Q: Space combat, it is really a single player experience right now. Even chat isn’t available in it atm, I am wondering what is the plan in the future maybe for co-op on rails, instanced PvP like tie fighters vs x-wings ? I really noticed that there are sections on the galaxy map that says Republic space, Empire space, neutral space that have nothing to do with current gameplay that I think I can see them take some form in the future.
A: We have big plans, that is all you getting. James said we have a secret project for space. We have big big plans.
Q: Companions, are you going to add more companions? Secret companions? Something a bit different from the norm?
A: We have plans to add a companion here and there. The thing about companions is that they are a lot of writing and a lot of work. The thing that makes companions interesting is not only your quest with them but also how they react to the universe and your story. We don’t want throw in easy cheesy companions that don’t have any story/dialog cuz then you might take that one out and leave the companions that got a lot of cool insights on your ship. That is lame too. We want add in more companions but it is not trivial so I don’t want to get your hopes up.
That being said, you do have a companion that doesn’t have story, which is your ship droid. We are making it more useful – you can gain affection, get better crafting, among other things. We are still working on companions and there will be a few surprise.
Q: Question about the combat logs, I know Bioware is not too thrilled about the hardcore players and you don’t want hardcore players scare off the casual players. I was wondering how you will be able to utilize these combat logs in 1.2 to increase our DPS
A: In 1.2 the main focus is to get the information out to you guys. The goal of combat logs is more an offline thing. You record it and then look at it and then evaluate your performance. We don’t currently have any implantation in game that allows you to share information in game, no DPS meters or anything like that but the community have already came out with some great tools and I am sure as 1.2 goes live you will see better and better parsers out there.
Our goal with combat logs is to allow empower you to answer some questions you being asking yourselves, how am I doing, is it really better to use this ability or that ability, is this spec better than the other, and most importantly, what killed me.
What killed you will actually show up in-game so you can do the oh I died from this or that.
I work with a lot of external fansites and I have seen a number of projects already for combat logs, parsers. Just by uploading your combat logs it will give you all these cool graphs. I don’t know if any of them want me reveal their secrets yet so I won’t tell you who they are yet but I have seen a lot of them and I am sure they will pop up once 1.2 hits.
Q: With regards to the legacy system, you implemented things that give you things inside your ship. Any ability in the future to customize your ship look?
A: We have big plans – it is on the wall of crazy but we have a river of features right now and right now my job as the assistant game director is to make sure we do these features in the order that is most important for the game. What we do is take feedback from fans, forums, guild summit and constantly rearranging the list.
Q: Back to the combat log, any plans in the future to allow it to be parseable in-game, either via UI Mods or something.
A: Not for 1.2, whether if it will happen in the future, I can’t answer that question. But not for 1.2.
Q: I am interested in the game but I can’t pick it up, any promotion in the future, reduced prices or a month free or something?
A: Right now, this weekend, at this moment, we have a free weekend going on and we will probably have more of these free weekends in the future. Ask any one of those guys here to give you a buddy key and you can play 7 days for free but you can only go up to level 15 and to the 2nd planet.
Q: What kind of plans you have for the legacy system and what kind of benefits to people who already have it.
A: We will go over that tomorrow in more detail at 1 pm. Legacy is coming in 1.2 and it is one of the biggest and ambitious features ever and it is really designed to encourage you to play the game and design a sense of unity between your characters. Family tree that describe the relationships between all your characters and as you do various things on each of these characters, you will unlock abilities, emotes, benefits that all of your characters can use. For example, if you get a smuggler to 50, all of your characters will get the ability to use the Dirty Kick ability, which is the ability to kick people in the nuts. If you level a warrior, you get the Force Choke ability. We will also relax the restrictions a bit and allow you to force choke some of the bosses you can’t force choke with normal force choke right now in the game in PvE. We don’t want you to feel you have to max out everything so we limit these abilities – can’t be used in warzones/operations but can be used everywhere else your companion is present.
On top of that, we have various unlocks you can purchase based on the legacy level – reduce the cooldown on your fleet travel, quick teleport, get some cool boosters in your boots to allow you super sprint. We are going to put more and more things as the game ages.
One of the cool things I think is as of 1.2, through the legacy system, any class/race combo is effectively possible. Sith Jedi Knight is a possible combination.
Q: Any future of adding last names as a friend list so you get everyone on one name rather than adding each character individually.
A: We have talked about ideas in that general direction.
Q: About the legacy thing again. Does the legacy benefits characters you have yet attached to the family tree thingie?
A: Yes, pretty much everybody that is on the same server and on the same account are considered as part of the same legacy whether or not you join them or not. The family tree is just a cool roleplaying tool but has no real impact.
Q: A lot of us that PvP have made adjustments to compensate for the resolve system right now. But do you have any plans to make adjustments to it in the future patches. For example in Huttball, we have to carefully learn how to control our stuns so we can keep them in a fire etc. It is also got to a point where even having a completely full resolve bar, I still get rooted or things like that.
A: We have two completely off the resolve system effects, those are immobilize and snare effects. The resolve system is designed as a visualized diminishing returns system so the idea is that you can actually see when people are able to be controlled, and that really is the design goal of it. The resolve system is designed to minimalize the amount of time you are stunned, put to sleep, and knocked back so it only provides immunity to knockback/sleep/stun. Snare/slow, root/immobilize are intentionally not using the resolve system because from a combat standpoint we designed these effects to be part of a kiting/anti-kiting game which is completely separate from resolve.
Some classes that don’t have the need to establish range or establish closeness requires these abilities as part of their rotation in order to do their damage and be effective. Root/immobilize – stop you from moving. Stun – stop you from acting. Don’t get confused between the two.
So to be clear, root/snare/immobilize/slow are not part of the resolve system. They do not build resolve and they are not stopped by resolve. That was by design. We are working on ways to improve the visualization of the resolve system and make it easier to understand.
Q: Endgame – currently in EV and KP both Bonetrasher and Soa are ridiculously hard fights and not necessarily a challenge of the mechanics. For example, Hardmode Bonetrasher, you really can’t Hardmode Bontrasher, you can’t really dodge his attacks, he will randomly crit and kill one person and pretty much lose the fight. For Soa, the whole lighting ball thingie. Is this stuff working as intended, and if not, why it isn’t getting fixed? Cuz it is really frustrating.
A: You know I thought it would be funny, sorry (joking). The bottom line is we don’t like bugs anymore as you do. We are working very hard to get these fights bug free and as polished as possible. Believe me when I say it, I am extremely passionate about getting the bugs out of these encounters. Getting these fights to be fun, understandable, well choreographed and bug free. Really bug free – an absolute goal of my.
Operations in 1.2, we want them to be hard, but we want them to be hard for the right reasons (i.e. not doing DPS enough, not doing tactics enough). Operations that already exists should be the entry level operations and should not be prone to that level of whim on the part of the system. The 1.2 operation is meant to be a worthy challenge for top end guilds. Also look for a open world heroic encounter on Voss that will hopefully challenge you as well.
Q: Any plans to bring up some of the less popular tradeskills like Armstech to be level of the popular ones.
A: The best way to answer is to say that the actual metrics are not as bad as the forums would have you believe. The 2nd thing is that we want all crew skills to be equally useful but at the same time it is not our goal to say hey there are as many synthwevers in the game as say armstech. We want people who have their markets have interestingly competitive markets and allow people to pursue what they want to build. 1.2 has a ton of crafting changes in order to bring them all in line with each other and that is pretty much what we do every patch.
On the website there is a dev blog we posted a couple weeks ago that goes into a lot of detail about it – every single crew skill and what changes in 1.2. The patch notes for crewskill in 1.2 is ridiculous.
Q: I played WoW end-game for a while and one of the problems they had as they went through the tiers is that either people got left behind as things started stacking or people were skipping things too easily. As SWTOR starts to adding on more operation tiers, how do you plan to deal with the gap or the possibility of the people skipping content.
A: This will become more and more clear as we get past patch 1.2. It is important to us that people trying to assemble raid have a deep recruiting pool to recruit from. They are not forced to do content that have already “retired” in order to gear up new players. We have talked a lot about how crafting might be able to handle the problem of getting you caught up. There will be more details not in this patch but in the next operation we release.
Q: Since if you have a level 50 of a class, you unlock that race for the opposite faction. What happens if you are human?
A: You get a presence buff (+100 presence). Makes all your companions better. Cyborgs is cool there are a whole bunch of options that are class specific, once you get a cyborg to max, you will be able to play any of these options with any class. It is kind of hidden bonus, kinda cool.
Q: I have a question about performance, I have a lot of guild members who complain about low FPS in raids/warzones.
A: We have a strike team whose only job is to make sure performance better, especially on low end machines. Add in some options, especially to turn things down.
Q: Well it seems like the high-end PCs are having the low FPS issues, not the low ends.
A: Well remember that is going to depend on your settings. I was talking a couple people in the crowd that asked me where is PTS located because it plays really well. Remember, PTS right now has a lot of client optimizations, game optimizations that make your gameplay a lot better.
We want to get the game running on lower and lower machines because I know for a lot of people you want to get your wife, your husbaand, boyfriend, kid playing, who are often playing on hand me down machines.
For the good machines, you will be able to see much better textures on your characters in 1.2 I believe.
Q: I realized the answer to my question might be L2P, but where do Hardmode flashpoints fit into progresssion for players as they get to 50. Are you expecting players to have full Rakata gear to take on this content or is Tionese or Columi fine. I had a lot of problems with a lot of groups getting past the 1st boss in Esseles for example so clearly I think we doing something wrong.
A: Hardmodes – we expect you to be in normal green/blues. Obviously if you are struggling you can improve your gear via either crafting or storymode flashpoints. No, we don’t expect you in Rakata gear to be these. That is going to change with every expansion but I am just talking about right now.
Q: Any chance for Mac client?
A: Not at this time.
A: Any plans to add in more char slots
A: We are talking about it, it becomes more and more vital with the legacy system. We are talking about it, no ETA at this time.
Q: The amount of servers – we have quite a few of them. The server now when I first joined was heavy and now it has slimmed down and I see some servers are light. Will they be server merges in the future or the ability to transfer chars.
A: I am going to guess you came in late. Yes, char transfers is being worked on right now. We will be doing char transfers before we do that thing, which is not to be named.
Q: New races to be unlocked with legacy such as Voss?
A: Not at this time. We plan to add to the legacy system in the future, it is a good place to reward people for their devotion to the game. But at the same time, adding a new race is not a trivial amount of work. I won’t say never but it is not something we can just throw in.