Posts Tagged ‘Redna’

Attending PAX Prime 2015: Saturday

pax

Last weekend I was able to attend PAX Prime 2015 in Seattle! I’ve attended other PAX events before in other cities, but this was my first time at PAX Prime. The last time I was in Seattle, I flew there for a SWTOR Community Cantina event. At that point of time, I didn’t even know what PAX was, but I quickly learned it was one of the biggest gaming conventions.

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Massively Opinionated vidcast: How Long Will SWTOR Remain Relevant?

massivelyOP

Hey guys! I recorded for Massively Opinionated, a video-cast show on Massively OP, last week about Star Wars: The Old Republic. I was given some questions prior to the show to prepare my answers, so I included my unedited notes at the bottom in case you wanted to see what I thought in writing (because I think I’m a better writer than speaker).

I also embedded the video here, which I hope you’ll enjoy! I’m on the show debating against YouTube content creator and Twitch streamer Vulkk, and podcaster/streamer Redna. The show is facilitated by Larry Everett, who runs Hyperspace Beacon as well.

Here are the questions I was given before the show to prepare, and my rough notes!

Question One: We will start with a general and positive question. What is the most compelling reason to play Star Wars: The Old Republic?

I could say what might be the “easy” answer, which is simply that it is a Star Wars game, an extremely successful IP that has a culture in itself greater than just gaming. However, for me personally, I didn’t start playing the game as a Star Wars fan. One compelling reason to play for me has been the stories, especially the extensive class stories while leveling and the companion romance aspects. Another compelling reason for me to play has been the operations and flashpoints, which I don’t play for the story, however. I don’t think this is the most compelling thing, but I enjoy mastering a character’s discipline and all the abilities that come with it. I like boss interactions and creating a strategy and method with my teammates to defeat a boss. That compels me to play now, after completing class stories. I think for people that don’t enjoy any of these things probably don’t like the game as much.

Question Two: (Fun question) Using just NPCs in SWTOR (not pulling from the rest of the Star Wars Universe), which two NPCs fighting each other would be the most interesting? (Example: Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker.)

Satele Shan vs. Theron Shan. They are both Republic, light side, and family, so it would be interesting to see in what situation they would be fighting each other. Satele gets her mind taken over by the emperor? Theron Shan decides to defect to the Empire? They simply just get mad at each other? I think there are a lot of story possibilities for this that would be very interesting, especially with the two of them being big “stars” and characters in TOR lore and in-game.

Question Three: Many SWTOR haters will give a death date for the game. But I would like to know how long you think the developers can keep SWTOR a relevant as an MMO at large? As an example, EQ is a great game and set the standard for many MMOs, but for the MMO community at large, it’s no longer actively making an impact.

SWTOR is a PvE, story-focused game. It blows other MMOs away with their stories and voice acting. This is going to keep it relevant for a very long time, unless another MMO can do better. Even then, unless that MMO is Star Wars, SWTOR will still be relevant.

With the new Star Wars movies comes out, I think there is definitely motivation to keep SWTOR relevant, by putting a lot time, money, and resources into the game. I really think they should tie the game more closely to the film’s marketing and take advantage of all these potential players. At least another five years. I think it could only be made irrelevant by a new Star Wars MMO. In five years time by then maybe another industry influencing MMO will come out, but it would really have to be special and doing something that existing MMOs are not doing to make SWTOR relevant. I’m not sure what “something special” would have to be.

Question Four: Normally, here I would ask you to build an MMO, but we already have one. So what I’m going to ask you is to add three new key features that would greatly improve the game over all. The only stipulation that I have is that it’s within reason. No rebuild-the-game-engine answers.

Within reason? I am not a game developer, so I’m not sure how “within reason” my ideas will be. Additionally, this is my first MMO. I have no prior experience playing anything else to the extent of SWTOR, so I’m unaware of what other games have. From just playing SWTOR with no diluted opinions or experience playing anything else, this is what I think:

  1. Cross-server queuing or mega server, or at least some server mergers. Possibly losing your character name is really a miniscule problem compared to the benefits you would get. Greater population for queues is always a good thing. PvP queues will pop more often because there are more people, you will have a chance to fight against different people and not the same all the time, and there is more competition.

HOWEVER if this is not technically possible, something that BioWare can do that is already in-game is create a PTS-like server where players can transfer their characters for free and PvP with each other. Combined with having account-wide legacy and achievements which is my next point, players can PvP on this PvP-hub server with everyone else that wants to, while still being able to play on whatever server they like for other content. You can still have regular PvP servers for open-world and things like that, but players can go to this PvP hub to queue. Since there already have been competitions on the PTS, this is something that they should look into. Not sure exact logistics, but this is something they could do in the existing game engine.

  1. Account-wide legacy and achievements and datacrons. It was hard work for me to get all the datacrons! I’m not a good platformer, but I’m glad I got them. Also, people like to play on different servers, and they might get different achievements on each, for example, a player that PvPs on the Harbinger but runs operations on Jedi Covenant. Would be nice if the game tracked everything and didn’t separate by server.
  2. More powerful guild tools:

Calendars – gives small or starting guilds without websites or any type of guild page to organize and show when an operation is, or when they are grouping together

Whispering from the guild list no matter where you are, guild-wide messages/e-mails (not simply a Message of the day) – increased communication aside from trying to “catch” someone when they’re online.

Guilds foster community and friendship, and being able to manage a guild more easily makes players happy because a more organized guild is running content and doing things together and simply playing the game more as I think a massively multiplayer game should be played. More people will want to join guilds because they’re doing stuff in the game, or even simply because there are friendly, familiar people to talk to in guild chat or voice communications while they complete missions with just their companions. More people will want to continue playing because they’re happy with their guild and who they play with.

I know I didn’t like the game as much when I had an inactive guild, and my world changed and my passion and happiness for the game ignited when I joined an amazing guild. I think improving guild capabilities is very beneficial and reasonable within the current game engine.

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!

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New Episodes of Corellian Run Radio & The Republic

Corellian Run Radio

Hello SWTOR community! This week I recorded episodes for Corellian Run Radio (podcast) and The Republic (Gamebreaker), which are both out and available to watch and/or listen! Here are links and videos and little descriptions about each episode:

Corellian Run Radio Episode 135: Predictions for SWTOR 2015

In this episode Jason and I talk about our predictions for SWTOR this year and the upcoming San Antonio Community Cantina! You’ll also hear me mention megaserver theories and “ewok genocide!”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJFB2G4i8mM&w=560&h=315%5D

 

The Republic Episode 196: SWTOR Sploits

Larry gathers Redna and I to talk about the exploit that has been “going around” as well as new features in the latest SWTOR Player Test Server!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxoJ2Nszka0&w=560&h=315%5D

 

Hopefully next time Corellian Run Radio (next live recording Sunday 1/18 at about 2:00pm Pacific) and The Republic (TBA)  record live, I’ll see you in the chatroom!

SWTOR 2015 Predictions & Wishes

brace for the worst

Revan: “Brace for the worst….”

Today I asked for some blog post ideas on Twitter! One of my followers (@UnholyAlliances) suggested that I could “play prophet for a day and predict what is in store for us in #swtor in 2015.” I can do that!

Obviously I can’t promise that I’ll be right (and some of this stuff is just obvious. Of COURSE they’re going to release at least one new flashpoint.), but I spoke a bit about this on The Republic last night (no YouTube video yet, will upload here on the blog as soon as I can), and I think it would be fun to have something in writing, especially if I turn out to be correct (at least just a little!)!

Here’s what I think will be happening in SWTOR in 2015:

More stories and cinematics:

pyramid revan

When I visited EA, one of the things that was said was that the developers would be going back to what BioWare does best, which is storytelling. Additionally, they said that if we liked Shadow of Revan, we will love what’s happening in 2015! This leads me to think that there will be more stories to enjoy, which is great! Although I am not a huge Star Wars lore buff, I still like the stories that they come up with, and I will at least play through them the first time without space-barring.

What this means, in regards to gameplay, is most likely more PvE content, especially similar to the Forged Alliances story arc with the flashpoints. So far, we don’t have a lot of level 60 flashpoints, so it would be great if they added more variety to the Weekly flashpoint missions and group finder queues.

I’m hoping we will see more of Darth Marr and Satele Shan, and also learn more about Lana Beniko and Theron Shan. BioWare has introduced these characters, and I would like to see further development. I hope this is what is in store for next year.

Operations:

At the end of The Ravagers operation

At the end of The Ravagers operation.

Last night when we discussed this topic on The Republic, Redna predicted that we will probably get Nightmare modes of the new operations (The Ravagers and Temple of Sacrifice), and three months after that, another operation, maybe two. I agree with this, since BioWare has said that we will never go as long as we have without a new operation again. A new operation (or two) six months from now seems completely plausible.

As far as the story in these operations, I think they will relate to what we have experienced in Shadow of Revan, but we will not be fighting “the big bad” yet. I think it’s too early for that. While I think the two factions have been stressed and frustrated after the “forged alliance,” I do not think that they will design a faction vs. faction operation, because then they would have to come up with two different versions. They have marginally done this, in Korriban Incursion and Attack on Tython, but I think an operation is a much larger undertaking, and they will just design bosses for both factions–a common enemy, as they have always done.

Since I don’t believe the common enemy will be “the big bad” from the end of Shadow of Revan, I have no idea what it would be in the meantime!

PvP

Oh, PvP–the redheaded stepchild of SWTOR. I said earlier in the post that the game is going to have more story, which seems to push PvP aside. I think that the developers are working on new warzones, since they asked the community to submit ideas for them much earlier this year. Hopefully, we should see what they are working on sometime soon.

BioWare says the new discipline system also allows for easier class changes and balancing, so we should see more of that. It will be fun to see an actual “Flavor of the Month” and not “Flavor of the Year.”

I don’t think they will be making a change to Arenas in Ranked anytime soon. However, if I could “wish” for something it would be 4-man objective based warzones in Ranked. I don’t think they will ever bring 8-man Ranked back, but this, they could consider, since we are constantly doing objective-based warzones in Unranked.

I also think they will release whatever they are considering to improve Ranked, which leads to my next prediction.

Megaserver:

They are also working on the ominous “better-than-cross-server” idea. At this point we still don’t really know what’s going to happen. Some have suggested a megaserver with different play-type instances, like separate instances of PvE, PvP, RP-PvP, and RP-PvE. I agree that this could and may happen, and people would be able to retain the gameplay type they enjoy, but also would be able to have a much larger population for queues, since what you do in operations, flashpoints, warzones, and arenas is separate from open-world gameplay.

Basically, I predict that people will be able to queue with all types of players, but in the open world, you only have to play with others in the type of instance you prefer (PvP, PvE, etc.). What would be interesting is if they also allowed you to switch the type of gameplay at any time you like. For example, if I’m feeling especially bloodthirsty and I want to pretend like my Sith Assassin is having a bad day, I could switch over to the RP-PvP instance of wherever I was and hunt some Pubs.

The larger population in queues, in my opinion, would lead to bigger and better competition in Ranked. I think it would also bring the community together by being able to play with anyone in game.

As far as the specifics with names, I’m not sure how they will work that out. I have a toon that is literally named just “Heather” on the Harbinger, so I would prefer to be able to retain that.

Galactic Starfighter

The last time I asked, which was a month ago, BioWare currently had nothing in development for GSF. If they come out with anything, it will be later on in the year. I hope they come out with at least a new game mode, and it would be great if they released a new ship type as well.

Galactic Strongholds

One of my guildie's strongholds!

Dianah crashing in a guildie’s stronghold.

BioWare is constantly adding more decorations to the game and the Cartel Market, and I don’t think they are going to stop anytime soon! I don’t think they have another stronghold currently in development, but that is something I would like to see next year. I wish that we could have an underwater stronghold on Manaan!

What are your predictions?

What do you think will happen in SWTOR in 2015? Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

New Corellian Run Radio Episode & Returning to The Republic!

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Hey guys! I’ve been really busy taking over planets in SWTOR, but I also had a bit of time to install and play Hearthstone and Skyrim this weekend too.

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In between all this, I did record a new episode of Corellian Run Radio! Click here to listen to me and Jason talk about guild conquests and how I thought my guild Despair was going to lose 1st place! (We ended up winning Tatooine big time with over 17 million conquest points.)

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In other news, I will be back on The Republic on GAMEBREAKER.tv this week on Thursday with Redna and Larry Everett! Make sure you tune in to the live show, but I will definitely post the YouTube video here on the blog when it’s available as well.

Happy gaming! (FYI I did this all on my iPhone 5s and have no idea if images are centered. Probably not.)

Guest Hosting The Republic on Gamebreaker.tv!

I’m back from vacation with a working PC! It turns out that the issue with the overheating CPU was that the pumps for the water cooler were no longer working and had to be replaced. Conveniently, I was able to pick up my computer today right after coming home, which is perfect because of an upcoming, important event!

I’m excited to announce that tomorrow night, Thursday, September 4th at 6:00pm PST I will be guest hosting The Republic, a Star Wars The Old Republic show, for Gamebreaker.tv . The best part is that I get to work with Larry Everett, who you may know as the Hyperspace Beacon columnist for Massively, and Redna from OotiniCast, who is also new and guest hosting this week as well!

If you want to watch or participate in the live chat, here is a link you can go to. However, you will also be able to view the final version of the video on Gamebreaker.tv and YouTube following the live show.

EDIT: Here is the YouTube video of the show! Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WrNTUZ7Xj0&w=560&h=315%5D

Gear Update: Full 180s!

Kudos to whoever can figure out where I took this screenshot in-game.

Kudos to whoever can figure out where I took this screenshot in-game.

A week or two ago I got the final 180 set piece armoring I needed to be at full 180s on my Assassin! I’m not sure if I told you guys, but I added in a Dread Forged Relic of Focused Retribution, which I didn’t have before. I also switched out some mods to add Critical Rating. Like I’ve written before, I’m not an expert at gear optimization, but listening to Redna’s OotiniCast interview with theorycrafter Oofalong a while back inspired me to try just a little bit harder.

When I’m more motivated, I’m going to try to bring down the Accuracy closer to 100%. I’ve had it as low as 100.28, so I’ll aim for that at least.

As far as parsing goes, I honestly don’t know how much of a difference everything makes, if adding the Critical Rating helped or if the relic helped… I don’t really know. I do know that my DPS is not an issue when we’re downing operation bosses!