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Ingmar
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on: March 23, 2013, 05:52:21 PM

http://www.swtor.com/info/news/blog/20130321

Quote
Hi everyone,

With the launch of the Relics of the Gree event behind us, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the general state of the game and the launch of our Free-to-Play option.

Judging by the conversation in the forums and elsewhere, there appears to be a level of curiosity among many players to learn how things are going at the studio since the launch of the Free-to-Play option. Of course, that’s natural. We’re now about 120 days post-launch and more than 5 months into our new series of content updates, so we’re just starting to get a feel for it ourselves. In our commitment to improve the overall player experience, it’s important to reflect on all of the changes that we have made since last year.

Last spring, there was some uncertainty surrounding Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ as we were starting to lose subscribers and players were growing frustrated. In fairness, many of the complaints and worries were justified. In an effort to try to address everything, we just weren’t sufficiently focused on improving the core experience.

At the end of the summer, we announced that were going to make the game more enjoyable than ever before by working to improve three key aspects of the game: making it easier to find friends to play with (via Group Finder), increasing the cadence of our content updates (so players wouldn’t have to wait around for new stuff), and bringing back vitality to the game by reaching out to new players via a Free-to-Play option. In addition we introduced some cool new items for everyone to check out via the Cartel Market.

So how did it go? Well, you can see for yourself when you log in to the game. Our new, high capacity servers are teeming with people. Since launch of the Free-to-Play option we have had over 2 million new accounts created and have thousands of new players jumping in every single day. This means more people to play with, more growth for your guilds, more Warzone matches, and more ways for players to continue to advance their characters.

Even though there’s bound to be dissent about every aspect of MMOs on the internet these days, player feedback, in general, has been very positive about the new things in the game. We’re committed to continuing our 8-week new content cadence, and are looking forward to the launch of the first Digital Expansion: Rise of the Hutt Cartel this spring.

And I’m happy to announce that we’ll be introducing several new features along the way, like a new customization feature, which will allow you to change your character's hair style, eye color, body type, or even species (including the upcoming Cathar!) using Cartel Coins. Look for it in early summer.

We know that there are still a lot of things we need to do to make playing Star Wars: The Old Republic the best experience it can be. We hear you on features such as hood toggle (as one example of many), Asia Pacific server populations (we are actively looking into solutions that make the most sense given our current tech and should have an announcement soon), continued improvement to the Cartel Market pricing and content, and the need to keep working on performance improvements and bugs. In fact, our major focus after Rise of the Hutt Cartel launches is going to be on "quality of life" improvements. We will keep at it, I promise. We’ll keep listening to your feedback and continue to dedicate ourselves to making the game the best it can be. Nothing is more important to us than getting it right.

Thanks for your continued support and see you on Makeb!

-Jeff Hickman
Executive Producer, Star Wars: The Old Republic

The Transcendent One: AH... THE ROGUE CONSTRUCT.
Nordom: Sense of closure: imminent.
Miasma
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Reply #1 on: March 23, 2013, 09:30:56 PM

Did they ever reduce the amount of health mob lieutenants had in the 40+ range?  Or make levelling those last ten levels less grindy?
Nevermore
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Reply #2 on: March 23, 2013, 09:36:55 PM

Personally I never thought the game had any level grind, and I leveled as a tank.

Over and out.
Ingmar
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Reply #3 on: March 24, 2013, 12:30:48 AM

Yeah, I never noticed that as a particularly annoying issue.

The Transcendent One: AH... THE ROGUE CONSTRUCT.
Nordom: Sense of closure: imminent.
eldaec
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Reply #4 on: March 24, 2013, 05:21:00 AM

Last 5 levels or so I found a bit annoyingly grindy, but even then, we aren't even in the ballpark of the weeks spent at single camp...

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koro
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Reply #5 on: March 24, 2013, 11:39:21 AM

The last five levels aren't helped by the fact that the planet you're on, Corellia, isn't that great.
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Reply #6 on: March 24, 2013, 12:51:55 PM

I didn't find levelling particularly grindy (as a subber anyway), but I did sadface a bit at having to redo the 'stock' planet quests on an alt. I'd say it's still possible to level an alt playing 90% different content from the first character (by using FPs, pvp, and bonus series), but a third character on the same faction is going to run into repetition.

Raguel
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Reply #7 on: March 24, 2013, 01:02:17 PM

I didn't find levelling particularly grindy (as a subber anyway), but I did sadface a bit at having to redo the 'stock' planet quests on an alt. I'd say it's still possible to level an alt playing 90% different content from the first character (by using FPs, pvp, and bonus series), but a third character on the same faction is going to run into repetition.

Speaking of which, I think I finally burnt out on the game; obviously only after buying the expansion.  why so serious?
Fordel
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Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 02:47:09 AM

Did they ever reduce the amount of health mob lieutenants had in the 40+ range? 


Not directly, but all of my alts are so twinked out these days I hardly notice. That and my 10 billion presence on my companions now.

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
Tannhauser
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Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 04:51:46 AM

Games doing well.  Was playing last night and the server was packed.  The games much more polished now and I'm glad to see all of the patches.  Still don't have HK though, been lazy.  Packs are still too expensive for what you get out of them but they have really righted the ship.
ajax34i
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Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 08:13:23 AM

Some of the ship.   Their customer support system still sucks.  I haven't seen any improvement since release in terms of how they handle the tickets.
Fordel
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Reply #11 on: March 26, 2013, 05:17:58 PM

I've never understood how so many people seemingly need so many support tickets, in like, any mmo.


Out of like, ten years of MMO's, I've had maybe 5 tickets total.

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
Nevermore
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Reply #12 on: March 26, 2013, 05:21:15 PM

Yeah, I've rarely had to use support in MMOs.  That said, I had by far the best support experience with City of Heroes.

Over and out.
Soln
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Reply #13 on: March 27, 2013, 12:06:06 AM

 Ohhhhh, I see.  Ok.   Didn't they end up giving back 3/4 of their launch servers?  And grind or not, I still remember being stuck for solo content on Hoth and being the only player around on some other planet.  There's a lot of useless zones that were way too spread out.  And way too much travel.
Ingmar
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Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 01:24:45 AM

Ohhhhh, I see.  Ok.   Didn't they end up giving back 3/4 of their launch servers?  And grind or not, I still remember being stuck for solo content on Hoth and being the only player around on some other planet.  There's a lot of useless zones that were way too spread out.  And way too much travel.

FWIW I was on Hoth on Ebon Hawk last weekend, and there were so many players they had two instances of the planet running. Nar Shaddaa had 4.

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Nordom: Sense of closure: imminent.
Jherad
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Reply #15 on: March 27, 2013, 05:07:16 PM

Yeah those double XP weekends have a lot of people grinding out alts. You may have noticed a plethora of snipers/gunslingers running around, which might give you some idea of the new expected flavour of the month for 2.0.
VainEldritch
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Reply #16 on: April 01, 2013, 05:21:58 AM

Yeah those double XP weekends have a lot of people grinding out alts. You may have noticed a plethora of snipers/gunslingers running around, which might give you some idea of the new expected flavour of the month for 2.0.

 Ohhhhh, I see.

Looks like my Sorcerer will be spending even more time looking for LoS only to be knocked out of it like a skittle by bowling-balls with guns.

That said, the game has improved immensely and I find it most enjoyable. PvP remains an interesting "balance of imbalances" but it's more fun than anything else out there.

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Reply #17 on: April 01, 2013, 07:06:52 AM

To be honest the game probably would've been better served being F2P out of the gate, just with less obnoxiously $-Gated stuff like the interface features.

"The world is populated in the main by people who should not exist." - George Bernard Shaw
koro
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Reply #18 on: April 04, 2013, 01:11:35 PM

I don't recall seeing it linked anywhere here, but James Ohlen had a pretty candid thing at GDC regarding TOR.

Some highlights include:

- The majority of the game's budget never went toward voice acting and scripting as everyone assumed. It mostly went toward getting that shitty HeroEngine to play nice with a 300+ person dev team as well as QA work for all the storyline stuff.
- TOR is now the second-largest Western MMO in subscriber terms, though that doesn't mean all that much. It's also more or less tied with FIFA as the most profitable thing in EA's portfolio.
- Bioware apparently honestly had no fucking clue  people would rush to the level cap, because who pays attention to the pitfalls of past MMOs anyway? Not surprising, considering that questions at trade shows about end-game and the people who rush to it leading up to the beta and launch were typically met with a smirk and a dismissal.
- The subscriber base is actually still growing steadily, which is kind of surprising this far into an F2P conversion; subs have usually leveled off by now.
- We will never see class-specific storylines again. They simply cost too much to do thanks to the level of QA involved.
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Reply #19 on: April 04, 2013, 01:22:59 PM

Aw, that sucks about the class stories.

Also ahahah confirmed my suspicions about HeroEngine sucking shit.

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Ingmar
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Reply #20 on: April 04, 2013, 01:26:45 PM

I can't find the bit about the class stories in the articles, but certainly I think if we read between the lines it is unlikely. They'd have to do SOMETHING to replace it if they ever added a class, though.

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Nevermore
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Reply #21 on: April 04, 2013, 01:46:23 PM

So news of the death of TOR was greatly exaggerated?   why so serious?

I didn't see the thing about no new class missions ever either.  I would hope they'd still add some in the future for the simple fact that I'd play a planet 8 times for class stories, but I'd be hard pressed to bother doing a planet more than once without class stories.  Having more reasons to encourage people to have alts means more time subbed and/or buying more micro-transactions so it seems like it would be worth the extra expense to do them.

Over and out.
koro
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Reply #22 on: April 04, 2013, 01:51:09 PM

The class story stuff wasn't in the article, but was either mentioned after the panel in conversation or maybe I'm thinking of someone else who said it. Either way, it was mentioned on the TORWars podcast, which is where I got it from. I'd have to listen to it again to find when exactly it was said.


Aw, that sucks about the class stories.

Also ahahah confirmed my suspicions about HeroEngine sucking shit.

HeroEngine doesn't suck per se, but it basically breaks down and shits the bed once you get more than a few dozen people working on it at the same time. It's virtually a guarantee that Zenimax Online's had to sink tens of millions of dollars into the same problem with ESO.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 01:54:06 PM by koro »
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Reply #23 on: April 04, 2013, 02:30:18 PM

The class story stuff wasn't in the article, but was either mentioned after the panel in conversation or maybe I'm thinking of someone else who said it. Either way, it was mentioned on the TORWars podcast, which is where I got it from. I'd have to listen to it again to find when exactly it was said.


Aw, that sucks about the class stories.

Also ahahah confirmed my suspicions about HeroEngine sucking shit.

HeroEngine doesn't suck per se, but it basically breaks down and shits the bed once you get more than a few dozen people working on it at the same time. It's virtually a guarantee that Zenimax Online's had to sink tens of millions of dollars into the same problem with ESO.
Which is odd because the major selling point of HeroEngine was the whole collaborative editing thing. Or at least that was one of the huge features they pushed really hard.

Anywho- ESO actually isn't using HeroEngine according to them at least. They said they used it to "rough out concepts" or something in an interview and that they're using their own engine for the actual game.

"The world is populated in the main by people who should not exist." - George Bernard Shaw
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Reply #24 on: April 04, 2013, 02:51:21 PM

So they bought it, tried it, it shit the bed and they said, "Well it'll be cheaper to write a goddamn engine than throw money at this piece of shit. What parts of the code and concepts can we legally cannibalize?"

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Reply #25 on: April 04, 2013, 03:50:49 PM

Even though I don't play atm, this stuff about F2P turning it around for SWTOR is pretty heartening. Even if it's just the Star Wars Effect™.  awesome, for real

I can also understand the class story thing... and honestly, I'd be fine with just having planet stories from here on, as long as they are actually good and/or there was enough of them so that you could level 2-3 alts and not have to do the exact same content from 55-60 or whatever.

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Reply #26 on: April 04, 2013, 04:16:46 PM

Two million new accounts since f2p.  Nice.  Very glad it's doing well.  If they keep the pace up with new content, that would be the main appeal to me to keep playing.
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Reply #27 on: April 04, 2013, 04:28:15 PM


If there's no more class storyline (and if I'm being honest I mainly care about the IA) I just don't see myself playing much longer. As it is I've only logged in once in 30 days or so.
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Reply #28 on: April 04, 2013, 05:05:49 PM

- The majority of the game's budget never went toward voice acting and scripting as everyone assumed. It mostly went toward getting that shitty HeroEngine to play nice with a 300+ person dev team as well as QA work for all the storyline stuff.
Vindication!  I knew the voice acting wasn't as much as people assumed.

Hahahaha!  I'm really good at this!
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Reply #29 on: April 24, 2013, 03:02:11 AM

I would love someone informed to fill me in, if possible about PvP:

- Is it still Warzones only? Did they ever put any resource back into any PvP zone or open PvP aspect?
- Are there any new Warzones? Last time I played there were only 3 of them. Huttball, destroy the gates and advance, civil war and the newest was the one with three control points on three huts on hills.
- Did they introduce some crazy mechanics for PvP gear, like a need to buy Cartel Packs, get random drops, or forced PvE reputation, or anything like that? Did they make it insane? What's the tier of PvP gear now?
- Did they put leaderboards in? I remember they added "ranked" warzones, but you couldn't really check ranks anywhere and it was hard to get into ranked matches anyway. What's the state of that now? So basically, is PvP still just Warzones after Warzones? Are there tournaments? Can you actually see someone else's PvP rank?
- Are the Warzones still server locked, or the queue is shared with all servers?

Even if you don't reply to every question, any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

DraconianOne
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Reply #30 on: April 24, 2013, 03:21:22 AM

I would love someone informed to fill me in, if possible about PvP:

- Is it still Warzones only? Did they ever put any resource back into any PvP zone or open PvP aspect?
- Are there any new Warzones? Last time I played there were only 3 of them. Huttball, destroy the gates and advance, civil war and the newest was the one with three control points on three huts on hills.
- Did they introduce some crazy mechanics for PvP gear, like a need to buy Cartel Packs, get random drops, or forced PvE reputation, or anything like that? Did they make it insane? What's the tier of PvP gear now?
- Did they put leaderboards in? I remember they added "ranked" warzones, but you couldn't really check ranks anywhere and it was hard to get into ranked matches anyway. What's the state of that now? So basically, is PvP still just Warzones after Warzones? Are there tournaments? Can you actually see someone else's PvP rank?
- Are the Warzones still server locked, or the queue is shared with all servers?

Even if you don't reply to every question, any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

Answers:

1. Nope, not really - not beyond putting an occasional reputation event on Ilum which had PvP quests that really didn't work that well (everyone just queued neatly).
2. There are 5 warzones now: Huttball, Civil War, Voidstar, Novare Coast (the one with the three huts on the hill) and Ancient Hypergates (a team DM and node capture game)
3. Not really - they've introduced new level 55 gear to grind to but their story is that it, even without it, you should still be competitive thanks to the new bolster mechanics (Yeah, right!).  I don't think it would take long to get a full set - they cut the grind for full gear at 50 quite significantly at one point.
4. Don't think there are leaderboards and I pay no attention to ranked warzones so can't really answer - doesn't seem to have made much of an impact from my perspective but could be wrong.
5. Still server only - but after server merges, there's a large population to draw from. I haven't encountered much issue with queues - but I also never really play top bracket warzones.

Speaking of which, there are now three level brackets: 1-29, 30-54 and 55. Not that it's relevant if you're only interested in top bracket pvp.

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Falconeer
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Reply #31 on: April 24, 2013, 03:36:16 AM

Yes, I was very involved with top bracket and I thought it was really fun, the fight itself. Sadly, over time it faded due to not enough maps and nothing that really supported "competitive" play, so even as an arena only PvP game it couldn't hold my attention forever. Looks like they really didn't put much into it, which is sad cause they kind of nailed down a certain degree of fun in the high level battling (except for some excessive CC).

Anyway, thanks a lot for the answers.

koro
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Reply #32 on: April 24, 2013, 04:13:10 AM

It should also be mentioned that PvP in TOR is currently in a pretty heavy state of flux thanks to the bolstering changes that they still haven't totally nailed down yet. Intended to make your normal PvE gear auto-convert to a baseline of PvP gear similar to the old Recruit stuff, it's been kind of a clusterfuck of stuff either working too well (going in naked) or not working at all.

Today's patch is supposed to fix much of it, but I don't think it's quite perfect yet.
ajax34i
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Reply #33 on: April 25, 2013, 05:02:47 AM

I don't understand what the problem was with "You want to PVP?  Here's some FREE entry-level PVP armor, go nuts."
Fordel
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Reply #34 on: April 25, 2013, 06:32:34 AM

The old Recruit Gear was a joke. It was marginally better then just going in whatever random crap you had on at the time.

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
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