Posts Tagged ‘Eric Musco’

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!

Operation Victory Tournament.. Canceled!

SWTOR Community Manager Eric Musco has announced that the Operation Victory Tournament has been canceled due to issues with the Coratanni encounter in The Ravagers operation.

My first reaction was literally a tweet to Musco saying, “whaaaat,” but then I came to my senses and gave a more thoughtful response, which is that I totally understand and agree, because it was something my guild was worried about, as I wrote in my post a few days ago.

However, I hope they can come up with another similar competition (not necessarily PvE or Operations related, but something with real life prizes), because I thought that it got the community very excited! However, with over-excitement comes possible disappointment, and I’m not surprised to see people acting negatively to the decision. I feel bad that people are disappointed, but I do think it was a wise decision from BioWare to cancel the competition if there were not going to be fair circumstances (some groups encountering bugs, some not).

Personally, I did try out a speed run of The Ravagers in 8-man story mode with my guild, but I think we definitely would have needed just a little more practice to compete with the top guilds.

How do you feel about the decision? Did you practice the speed run with your guild? Leave me a comment 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…)

Exploits in SWTOR

Community Manager Eric Musco released an announcement yesterday regarding an exploit in-game that has been going around. Basically, he said it is their policy not to talk about an exploit until it is fixed, so that less attention is drawn to it.

At first, I agreed that if BioWare didn’t talk about it, it would be better, because maybe less people would go looking for it. I personally chose not to talk about it and not to encourage others that would be following me to look for it or wonder what it was. (And at this point if you do not know what I’m talking about, I would urge you not to go looking.)

However, I’ve changed my mind. I think BioWare should actually mention it immediately once they realize there is an exploit. If they had immediately notified the community that they knew it existed and that action would be taken against those that partook in it, then I think less people would have done it for fear of retribution on their account. In this particular situation, BioWare did not acknowledge it for weeks, so it has become widespread due to no indication from BioWare that any action would be taken against those that do it.

Obviously it’s in the Terms of Conditions, and it’s against the rules, but after the situation with Nightmare Nefra, and nothing happening to those that used that exploit, I think players have felt that if they don’t do it, they are gimping themselves from free gear.

I’m glad that BioWare has said something now, but I think they made a mistake in delaying a public acknowledgement. At this point, what I think would be best, since the exploit is widespread, would be to issue a warning, give further ground rules for addressing exploits in the future, and issue temporary bans to those they consider the worst offenders. Alternatively, they could take away what was gained from the exploit without bans at all, and with a warning for stronger punishment if an exploit situation happens in the future.

I do not think they have the manpower or a system in place to be able to identify every player that has used the exploit. Even if they were able to identify all players who participated, I absolutely do not believe that they would issue permanent bans. That would be like killing your dog for peeing on the carpet too much, but you didn’t train him not to.

At the Boston Community Cantina last year, I talked to Eric Musco about how they were catching and issuing punishment to cheaters in Ranked PvP. What it seemed like he said was that they looked at possible offenders on a very individual basis, and that people were considered innocent until guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It would be worse to punish players who were innocent versus letting some guilty people get away with it. Of course, the latest exploit is quite a different situation and definitely more concrete, but I don’t think BioWare wants to ban people on a widespread basis.

This is all my own personal opinion, but I guess we will find out what happens next Tuesday!

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

SWTOR Expansion 3.0: Shadow of Revan

SWTOR Expansion 3.0 Shadow of Revan

Surprise! SWTOR Expansion 3.0: Shadow of Revan has been announced! I couldn’t resist the 12x experience bonus, so I preordered about a minute ago. I plan on logging in and leveling my Shadow toward level 55. Early Access for people that pre-order is on December 2nd, which is earlier than I expected! Community Coordinator Hillary Nicole has also e-mailed new information, including highlights of the new expansion:

Highlight of things to come in Shadow of Revan:
– 5 more levels (level cap now 60).
– 2 planets: Rishi and Yavin 4.
– Disciplines
– 2 new role-neutral Flashpoints.
– 4 Hard Mode Flashpoints.
– 2 level 60 Operations.
– Limited time XP boost for Subscribers.
– And more!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga46ILw7iaY&w=560&h=315%5D

I’m not surprised at all by the two operations and two planets. I’m guessing one planet will be like Makeb, and the other will be a small Daily area like CZ-198. I’m really hoping that the four Hard Mode Flashpoints aren’t simply HM versions of the current Tacticals, but I’m afraid they probably will be. It also looks like we’re getting two new Tacticals on top of that.

Another interesting and huge change is the new Discipline system, which I’m looking forward to trying. I find that I use a few points as filler in the Deception skill tree, and it will be nice to have a bit more freedom.

Unfortunately, Eric Musco has verified in the forums that there will be no PvP content, space or ground, in the new expansion. However, he wrote that the changes with the Discipline system and set bonuses will directly impact PvP.

It’s also interesting that Bioware delayed this announcement for a subscriber perk, when the only subscriber perk announced was an experience bonus.   I don’t think that should have been reason enough to not meet the deadline promised to their players/customers.

What do you think? I’m really excited to try out new level 60 operations, but a bit disappointed that a $20 expansion has no concrete (new maps/modes) PvP content, especially since I find that PvP is one of the weakest aspects in the game.

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