SWTOR Las Vegas Community Cantina Tour 2014
Tonight I attended the SWTOR Community Cantina here in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center! I arrived a little over an hour early, and there weren’t a lot of people there yet. I sat down by GasGuy who I’ve met a few times at Ootini events, and also Terry, a reader of the blog. There was plenty of seating around where the ballroom was located, so most people hung out until Community Manager Eric Musco showed up and said we could get in line! I ended up towards the front, but unlike the Seattle Cantina from 2013, there was plenty of room for the attendees.
When we were finally let into the Cantina, I was excited to see that in addition to the pet code, flash drive, and free drink ticket, Lead Community Coordinator Courtney Woods was passing out thick black wristbands that read, “Star Wars The Old Republic: Shadow of Revan.” I was super giddy about this, since it was my third cantina and I had not previously gotten something like it before. I used (perhaps wasted?) my drink ticket on a bottle of Bud Light, made my way to the front, and sat down with some players from WOOK, a great guild on the Shadowlands, who I was told were going to be there from Cyberelf!
I would like to preface that I went in with very good intentions, to record the Q&A session on video and audio for the developer interviews. That is not what happened. My phone ran out of space for videos about three minutes into the Cantina, and the first question was barely completed.
However, I do have some excellent news. I was the second person to ask a question during the Q&A session (as you may have seen from the video, Musco said that I would get to ask the second question, followed by some giggles). My first question, above everything else, was for my guild Despair, because they make the game worth playing for me. I asked:
“What future development do you have planned for Galactic Starfighter? Will there ever be an infiltration ship? Ranked GSF? New game modes/maps?”
Eric Musco passed the microphone to Producer Andrew Horowitz, who saw my paper filled with questions and asked to see it! He ended up giving a pretty diplomatic answer, that there was nothing currently in development for GSF but they do want to work on it.
I tracked him down once the Q&A was over, since he asked about my long list of questions, and I told him that I would be attending the EA press event next week. He said he would be there too (along with Eric Musco), and that he could answer all of the questions on my list at the Cantina, but they wouldn’t be “real” answers. He advised to hold them for the press event, and that’s what I’m going to do. So, stay tuned for some really good answers from me next week!
I did pay a bit of attention to what was going on around me concerning the other Q&A questions that were asked.
Is there a possibility of a crew skills app? – Unlikely, but they do want to create something for the website to engage the players, keep them thinking about the game, and able to do things in the game without actually being in the client.
Will there be more class stories? – I was a bit perturbed that someone asked this question because it’s “known” that Shadow of Revan will have individualized class stories. Obviously the answer was yes, there will be more class stories in 3.0, but since there is so much involved in class stories, any more in the future would be very small.
Is there a way that we could see some class demographics info? – Someone asked if we would be able to see some demographics information about what classes people were playing and how many, and the Bioware representatives said that this could definitely be released sometime in the future.
Will there be any more on-rail space missions? – By the dev’s answer, this seemed to be a big “NO.”
Can the guild ship key interface be fixed? – This was also unlikely, but they can try to make it a higher priority. The Bioware representatives said that anything we talked about that night becomes more important in their minds because we asked for it.
Will there be more classes in the future? – This was kind of a “Wall of Crazy” question, and I even think one of the developers joked that they will add 14 new classes.
My friends in WOOK asked one of my other questions during the Q&A session, which was,
“Can you elaborate on what you are developing that is “better than cross-server” for ranked PvP? What can we expect in the future regarding PvP?”
Musco immediately said that technically he did not say that! The answer, coming from Development Director Ben Irving, was that they were “working on something that will fix many of the queuing issues.” And that was all they could say. However, he did say that they will try to tell us more about it in the next two weeks. Musco was quick to correct him, to avoid definite deadlines, they will give us more information by the end of the year (maybe?).
There were also many prizes given out for answering SWTOR trivia questions, including four Revan books, one SWTOR encyclopedia, two t-shirts (one Republic and one Imperial), a Star Wars lego set, and a GSF poster signed by the developers! The poster was the big prize since there are not a lot of people outside the studio that have the poster (maybe 150 I think they said), and even less that actually have it signed. I wanted to try to win it for my guild master, but I didn’t know what the answer was anyway.
A question I asked Andrew Horowitz after the Q&A was about being able to toggle the graphical effect lighting up an ability with gold trim when their relevant proc came up in 3.0. I personally found this distracting, and we have other similar preferences that we’re able to turn on and off. He said this wouldn’t be a problem at all, and should be something easy to implement. I also asked about whispering from the guild menu, and this is definitely on their priority list!
Another question that I asked was concerning legacy levels being increased to encourage people to keep playing, or to reward people that were already at level 50, such as having a 12x experience boost bonus option. He said it was unlikely that the legacy level (and crew skill levels) would increase, but the idea to reward people who achieve legacy level 50 is a good idea.
Again, I didn’t go hard on the questions because I knew they were going to give me better answers a few days from now, so I relaxed and had some fun! I don’t know if I should repeat what Musco said about what happened the night before when he and the other Bioware employees went out, but I can say that it was his first time in Las Vegas, and he said the city rocks!
Other random factoids:
Courtney Woods is from Georgia and the dress she was wearing is from Kate Spade.
Ben Irving is from Australia and his wife is also named Heather.
Eric Musco has not shaved his beard for 12 days. I asked if he minded people talking about his soul patch, and he said that in real life no one noticed he shaved it, but the internet sure did!
Finally, here are the flash drive contents from the cantina! I will absolutely get more exciting answers when I visit EA next week, but I’m glad I had a little fun tonight hanging out with SWTOR players and Bioware employees.