Posts Tagged ‘Community Cantina’

Going to San Diego Comic-Con & PAX Prime!


I will be attending San Diego Comic-Con this week and PAX Prime at the end of August! I wasn’t planning on going to either, but I was able to obtain a full weekend pass for SDCC and a Saturday pass for PAX Prime.This will be the first time I’m attending either event! I’ve been to Seattle during PAX Prime for the SWTOR Community Cantina Tour, but I didn’t have a pass to the convention. However, I have been to other PAX conventions in Boston and San Antonio.

I’m extremely excited to go to Comic-Con though! I’ve been looking up the schedule and the offsite events, and there is so much stuff going on and so many people and things I want to see! I know several people that will be going, so hopefully I can meet up and hang out with a few of them.

Also, I will be attending the SWTOR Community Cantina this Saturday as well in San Diego! BioWare is doing something they haven’t done before in their cantina tour, which is a story panel and meet and greet with SWTOR developers and staff prior to the actual cantina. I wonder if this is exclusively a SDCC thing or if they will do the same on all future cantinas as well, like the upcoming one in Seattle during PAX Prime in August.

With the community cantina in August, I will have attended four SWTOR community cantinas this year. I remember writing here on the blog that I expected to only attend one! I expect this will be it for me this year as far as cantinas go, unless someone flies me out to Germany for Gamescom or New York Comic-Con!

If you have any questions you’d like me to bring to the cantinas, let me know! I can’t promise that I’ll get them all answered, but I managed one at the last cantina. I do prefer to go to these events to meet players and have fun, and I’ve realized that asking questions at these types of events is a bit futile. However, it is not futile to continue putting ideas and suggestions for the game into their heads, so I will try my best to do that at least!

Sharing The Love: Call For SWTOR Q&A Questions

leslie knopeI finished watching the television series “Parks and Recreation” and a while ago, and I loved it! If you are not familiar with the series, a woman named Leslie Knope (who works in the parks and recreation department in her city) works very hard to make her city a better place for everyone. Unfortunately throughout the series, she receives a lot of criticism and a lack of gratitude from the residents of Pawnee for the good things she has done. Eventually she works her way out of this and is very successful by the end of the series, but it made me consider a few things.

While I like most of people within the SWTOR community, I also have felt less passionate to talk or write about the game recently, due to some of the people I’ve run into. I would much rather just log into game and play with my guildies, who are fun, kind people. Although I can block and mute and avoid as much of the bad stuff as I can—and I do receive positive feedback—thinking about the bad, for me, overwhelms the good and makes me less happy to do anything. (FYI this is not about Facebook; I really like the Facebook people!)

Then I thought of The Princess Diaries. If you are unfamiliar, it is a book series and a movie in which a teenage girl named Mia Thermopolis discovers that she is a princess born out of wedlock to her prince father (who has died) and artist mother. She is not a genius nor is she extremely charismatic—simply average. And at first she does not want to be a princess. There was too much responsibility, she didn’t want to let anyone down, and she didn’t think that she could do it. However, her friend Lily, who runs a fairly unpopular public access television show discussing politics and social issues, says that Mia has a huge opportunity to make a difference in the world, whereas someone like herself tries very hard to do so but has no clout or people listening to her message.

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I’m certainly not saying I’m a princess, but I am saying that I have somehow made my way through the SWTOR community, and I do have a voice on Corellian Run Radio, on my blog, and whenever I’m not busy on Thursday nights to be on The Republic. I have an opportunity this weekend to bring questions directly to the developers of the game, and I know that players have many things that they would like to ask. It would be a shame if I let something like a voice go to waste because of “haters,” and I would still like to help people as long as they let me or would like me to.

If you would like me to bring a question with me to the Anaheim SWTOR Community Cantina and any other opportunities where I can speak to a developer, please leave a comment here, tweet me @Heather_PLS, or e-mail me heather@prettylittlesith.com.

Upcoming Tait Watson Interview + Life Update!

Hello everyone! I am alive! I have so much going on in my life right now; it’s unbelievable. I’ve been preparing to move to my new house, which has almost completed construction. I’ve been searching for the perfect dog to adopt (no adorable cats unfortunately, because my boyfriend is allergic, and apparently cats don’t love you the same way?!). I’ve also been working really hard at work and at the gym. And my grandma is visiting from Hawaii, and I’m so excited to see her, along with my boyfriend who is visiting in a couple weeks! Plus Easter with my family last Sunday, my nephew’s huge birthday party this weekend, Brian from Bad Feeling Podcast coming into town…. On top of that, I am not playing SWTOR any less!

Conquesting With <Despair>

This week my guild <Despair> is going after Belsavis AGAIN because for some reason we have not gotten #1 on this planet yet! I’m glad there are many opportunities to get points with operations and flashpoints (my favorite things to do because I am a carebear). On Tuesday I did quite a lot of both with my Assassin and even played with Vengeance Juggernaut a bit!

Upcoming Tait Watson Interview

Also, I wanted to let you guys know that on Sunday, April 12th at 2:00pm PST, Community Production Coordinator Tait Watson is going to be live on my podcast, Corellian Run Radio! We will be streaming live on Corellian Run Radio’s Twitch channel.  I would like to emphasize that this is an interview to meet and get to know him—not a SWTOR Q&A. That blog post about asking serious game questions will come sometime after the Star Wars Celebration Community Cantina in Anaheim, which I will be going to next weekend! (On that note, if you have any questions you would like me to bring to Anaheim, please let me know!)

Eric Musco Interview Video

In the meantime, I realize I never posted about the interview I did with SWTOR Community Manager Eric Musco, so here’s the video! You can also listen to it directly on CorellianRun.com or download it on iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sB-ZblGmEY&w=560&h=315%5D

I love my readers, listeners, watchers, and followers very much, and I love contributing to the SWTOR community. I have a few very special SWTOR things coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

SWTOR 2015 Community Cantina Tour Schedule

Yesterday Lead Community Coordinator Courtney Woods e-mailed some of the SWTOR of BioWare’s plans for this year’s SWTOR Community Cantina Tour! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I really enjoy attending these Community Cantinas, and I’m excited that we have a rough guide on when and where the events will be.

The next one will be at PAX East next month in Boston, MA on Saturday, March 7th at the Hyatt Grand Regency, which is where it was last year! I attended that one, and I’m glad I was able to meet lots of people from the Prophecy of the Five server. More details, like the exact room location in the hotel, about this year’s PAX East Community Cantina will be released soon.

For the rest of the year, we were provided approximate months and conventions that the Community Cantinas will be centered around. Keep in mind these plans are still subject to change, so don’t buy your plane tickets or convention passes yet! Here’s the list so far:

April

  • Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, CA

July

  • San Diego Comic-Con

August

  • Gamescom in Cologne, Germany

September

  • PAX Prime in Seattle, WA

October

  • New York Comic-Con

Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be able to attend any of the Cantinas for the rest of the year! I’m buying a home and I need to put as much money as possible toward a down payment, and it is a little difficult and expensive to travel. I’m very glad I was able to go to the San Antonio Community Cantina though!

Based on the schedule do you think you will be attending any Community Cantinas this year? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @Heather_PLS!

SWTOR Community Cantina: PAX South – San Antonio 2015

Community Manager Eric Musco

Community Manager Eric Musco and Redna

On Friday night, I attended the SWTOR Community Cantina at the first annual PAX South in San Antonio! I can imagine what you’re thinking—the community cantina was three days ago, and I am behind on reporting! Actually, I have quite a lot to write about for the blog this week, but I wanted to put this post out first, since I know it’s what many people are waiting for.

Flash Drive Files

First, if you are interested in the contents of the flash drive provided at the cantina, I have them at the very end of this post! However, nothing new or groundbreaking was included in the flash drive but I did like the images that you can use for Facebook covers or Twitter banners. The other images were items that have already been released in existing Cartel Packs, so nothing new. (My guildie Sleeth said he had everything that was pictured already!)

Q&A Session

Second, here’s the important information about what was mentioned at the cantina. Honestly though, I didn’t pay as much attention as I usually do, because I was much more interested in having fun and meeting and talking to friends I hadn’t seen for a while. Anyway, here are some of the new things we can expect from BioWare Austin this year for Star Wars: The Old Republic:

  • New planet: Ziost
  • Outfit Designer
  • New playable race: Togruta (this was known about for quite a while, but they are finally “officially” announcing it)
  • New stronghold
  • Story Arc continuing cliffhanger that ended Shadow of Revan expansion

I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the Q&A (I was probably one or two beers in at this point already, and loudly said “Oh my God,” when someone asked if Pazaak would ever be in the game), but there was one question in particular that I wanted to mention here on the blog. Someone asked about the Contraband Slot Machines and why they were nerfed so hard. Basically, the answer from Community Manager Eric Musco was that players were correct that the cost to reward ratio from using the slot machines was way out of balance and that it would have serious long-term effects on the game economy. They saw that players were simply not running crew skills anymore because using the slot machines was better, and they could not have a huge segment of the game ignored because of this item.

Meeting and Greeting the Attendees

Honestly, I should’ve said something about this on the blog prior to the cantina, but I simply wanted to attend and have fun without “working” so hard on keeping track of the Q&A and asking hard-hitting questions to the BioWare staff. I think I accomplished my goal of doing that, but if you watched my Twitter, you can see I slightly tried to pay attention to what was going on!

Me and Larry Everett eating sandwiches

Me and Larry Everett eating sandwiches

I arrived about an hour before the cantina started with my friends from The Republic on Gamebreaker.tv, Larry Everett (Hyperspace Beacon, Massively) and Redna (OotiniCast, Twitch). For some reason as we were walking, I turned around, saw Lead Community Coordinator Courtney Woods with some other BioWare folks, and started a conversation! We spoke with them for a few minutes before heading toward the line, which had lengthened quite a bit while we were chatting.

I met up with my Despair guildie Sleeth, who I had gone out to dinner with along with his wife the day before at Texas de Brazil (and who I’ve written prior blog posts about which you can read about here and here). He had just come from work, but he had enough time to check out the PAX South exhibition floor prior to the cantina.

Also in the line, I immediately spotted Michael (Death & Taxes), who is not only very tall, but was wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat! I’ve also mentioned him before on the blog when I attended the EA Press Event in Redwood City.

Additionally, I met quite a few readers of the blog and Corellian Run Radio listeners and watchers of The Republic! I was so excited to meet people that enjoyed my work, and I’m very thankful and flattered that people recognized me.

At this cantina, Eric Musco and Lead Community Coordinator Courtney Woods were there as usual, like I mentioned earlier, but this time I was able to meet Community Production Coordinator Tait Watson as well! Before the cantina started, Courtney said to keep an eye on him since he tends to sneak away from people. This is absolutely true! After I tracked Tait down and spoke to him for a bit, he snuck away from me as expected. I did feel slightly like a creepy stalker “tracking Tait.” Here’s a picture of us together:

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Me and Community Production Coordinator Tait Watson

Other BioWare employees that were “officially” there were Ben Irving, Matt Pucevich, and Jesse Sky. Later in the evening (and probably three or four beers down), Ben Irving, who I’d met at the Las Vegas Community Cantina, asked for some feedback about the cantina events and which ones I liked the best. I said I liked the Las Vegas cantina the best because there were a lot more tables and chairs to sit at. Also, servers came around to serve hors d’oeuvres in Las Vegas too. There was a noticeable lack of chairs and tables at the San Antonio cantina, which is why you see many people sprawling on the ground in front of the stage.

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There were quite a lot of other BioWare employees there, past and present, though I can’t remember everyone’s names! My friends and I ended up at a table in the corner with BioWare Austin General Manager Jeff Hickman, who I saw at EA Redwood City, but I was too nervous to say anything to him!

I met Luther, who worked on the game pre-launch and pointed out to me the man that worked on Ilum (“The PvE part!” he assured me.). I also met Lead Narrative Designer Paul Marino (“I follow you on Twitter!” he said when I introduced myself.), who works on the cinematics of the game! I told him my favorite cinematics in-game were the end of the Imperial Corellia planetary storyline and another one which I cannot remember.

Larry Everett and Lead Writer Charles Boyd

Larry Everett and Lead Writer Charles Boyd

Former Community Coordinator Hillary Nicole AKA Pokket was also there and spoke for quite a while to Michael and me at our table about streaming, gaming, and post-cantina plans! I was able to get a picture with both of them as well:

Hillary (Pokket), Michael, and me

Hillary (Pokket), Michael, and me

Throughout all this meeting and greeting, I obtained a lot of free drink tickets and had enough to get enough beer for myself and a few glasses of wine for Redna! I tipped the friendly bartender after a while because I kept going back! I also really liked the Amber I was drinking, which had a Texas logo on it. I don’t remember the name.

Finally, I wanted to mention that Redna got nachos, and I thought the “green stuff” was relish so I didn’t want to eat it. It turns out it was actually salsa verde, or “green salsa” in English, which I am actually extremely familiar with. I’m really not sure why the first thing I thought of was relish. It must’ve been the booze.

I would highly recommend attending a SWTOR Community Cantina if you are a fan of the game, because they are a lot of fun! You have a chance to personally make your voice heard to BioWare staff and meet those who are working on the game you play. I also think that the BioWare staff made a conscious effort to provide more information about upcoming plans for the game at the beginning of the Q&A, and I think in the future they will continue getting better at connecting with players at these in-person events.

Continue reading to see the files from the cantina flash drive!

(more…)

SWTOR Las Vegas Community Cantina Tour 2014

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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.

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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!

WOOK Guildies!

WOOK Guildies!

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.

Producer Andrew Horowitz and me Andrew Horowitz and me[/caption]

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?).

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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.

Eric Musco and me

Eric Musco and me

Courtney Woods and me

Courtney Woods and me

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!

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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.

SWTOR_RevanThemedGearConcept

SWTOR_LergoMountConcept

SWTOR_ShadowofRevan_Screen_02

SWTOR_ShadowofRevan_Screen_03

SWTOR_ShadowofRevan_Screen_04

SWTOR_ShadowofRevan_Screen_05

SWTOR_ShadowofRevan_Screen_06

SWTOR_ShadowofRevan_Screen_07

SWTOR_ShadowofRevan_Screen_08

SWTOR_ShadowofRevan_Screen_01

SWTOR_SoR_Massassi

Las Vegas Community Cantina Date Announcement

It’s been a few days, so I suppose I should let you know that after months of writing about the SWTOR Community Cantinas, and why you should go, and what they are all about— I should tell you that the one here in Las Vegas is scheduled for Saturday, November 15th, a week later than originally anticipated.

I will definitely be attending since I live here (and at this point people are expecting me to be there). However, for me, it won’t be as fun or as great an event, because my SWTOR playing friends won’t be there with me. Quite a few purchased plane tickets way in advance (as they should have), because the prospective dates for the cantinas were announced earlier this year, and so far, BioWare has never deviated from these dates. This is why people thought they could trust BioWare with the dates that were still “subject to change.”

Unfortunately, three weeks before a cantina, in a city that is specifically a tourist destination (AKA people must make their travel plans well in advance to come here if they’re coming from far away), the date was changed. I’ve been to a few cantinas, and I know that one of the questions they ask the crowd is “Who traveled here the farthest?” I had looked forward to hearing the answer to this at the upcoming cantina.

I haven’t spent any money on traveling, but I have very close friends who did, and I feel that is an insult to me to disrespect my friends who went out of their way to attend this event. I’m not sure why the date was announced so late, because people plan and reserve things like weddings a year out. I think the planning should have been done for this earlier, so that BioWare could keep their word on the original date range.

Perhaps the issue here is putting too much trust in BioWare. Personally, I won’t make plans to attend another cantina in the future, and that is actually pretty unfortunate, as I am someone that did like to specifically travel for the Community Cantinas.

Honestly, this situation made me think that I cared too much about the game. It feels like having a boyfriend (SWTOR/BioWare) who is friends with all your friends (other SWTOR players, members of the community), and these friends applaud and enjoy the fact that you are together (me writing/podcasting about the game). Unfortunately he doesn’t care about you as much as you care about him. Even though you know he doesn’t give you enough attention, you still continue liking him because he has control over your heart and mind, and you think you’re happy with him, and once in a while he throws you a bone to make you think he cares. One day, he does something that is not completely reprehensible but is still pretty bad. And while you still like him, it’s hard to trust or support anything he does in the future because he broke what you thought was a promise. He makes you feel like you should apologize and forgive because it is your own fault for being a victim.

(I know that was a really weird analogy. But, don’t worry about me, I don’t actually have a boyfriend that is anything like what I just described!)

Anyway, if you are still going to Las Vegas during the original date range set for the cantina (November 7-9), you can join me and my friends at the Ootini Cantina on Saturday, November 8th organized by OotiniCast! More information about that will be announced later.

FAQ for Community Cantina Prospects

Las Vegas

Earlier this year SWTOR.com posted approximate dates for the Las Vegas SWTOR Community Cantina, November 7-9, and one of my readers sent me an e-mail to ask some questions about attending! I thought my answers would be helpful to more people interested in going to a Cantina in the future since I’ve been to two of them so far. Here is a bit of what I sent back to Terry, who plays on the Harbinger server!

Question #1: How do I find out WHERE in Vegas it will be?

Answer: Usually SWTOR announces the exact date and location a few weeks before the actual event, however they did post something earlier this year that gave approximate dates, so that you could schedule your life/travel around it. We won’t know where in Vegas it will be for a few weeks to a month from now!

 Question #2: Will it really be taking place over 3 days?  Or will it just be for a few hours on one of the days?

Answer: The cantinas are only for a few hours on one of the three nights, and they usually have them at bars or hotels, somewhere they can serve food/alcohol and hold a lot of people.

Question #3: How much time will I actually get to ask questions?

There’s a Q&A session in which the devs and community team answer questions in front of everyone, but what you may want to do is talk to one of them after the Q&A is over. They go into the crowd and they are pretty easy to talk to! I spoke with [Eric] Musco and Courtney [Woods] when I went to Boston, and they’re very nice and approachable, but of course, many people want to talk to them. I think if you get a hold of one of them you will have plenty of time to ask questions.

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The Las Vegas Community Cantina is coming up soon, so if you’d like to go I would start making some travel plans! I will definitely be there since I live here, and I hope to see some blog readers and listeners there as well!

And, if you are really interested in reading about my Community Cantina adventures, here are more blog posts by me about them:

SWTOR Community Cantina Guide

Why You Should Go To a SWTOR Community Cantina

SWTOR Community Cantina Boston: Q&A

SWTOR Community Cantina Boston: Bonus Questions

 

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