Posts Tagged ‘Speculation’

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SWTOR: Friday Grab Bag

June 3, 2011

Quite a lot of Star Wars: The Old Republic updates to cover today, not just from the game site but from all around the net, which is something of a surprise considering how close we are coming up on E3. Granted, nothing earth-shattering, but I had expected things to get a little quiet. Or is this a sign of things moving forward, since by all accounts SWTOR is still on track for a 2011 release?

Advanced Class Page Update

First from swtor.com, the webpage for Advanced Classes has been overhauled so you can see their information laid out nicely without digging through all the regular class pages. You can view how a particular class “branches”, as well as the various skill-sets that become available as you level. A bunch of passive class abilities can be gleaned from this update, but otherwise it’s purely an improvement to the official site. Still, it’s much more informational than what we had before, and just look at all the pretty colors now!

New Lost Suns Comic

Another comic that will tie into the story line of SWTOR, taking place at the same time as the start of the game. The first issue of “The Lost Suns” will be available from next Wednesday, this time not as an e-comic, so I’m going to have to make the trek to my neighborhood comic book store.

I think this is going to be a good one. Written by the same writer who did the “Blood of the Empire” (which I enjoyed a lot), “The Lost Suns” will star Theron Shan as a Republic spy sent on a mission to discover secrets of the Sith Empire. Yep, another Shan. Glad to see Bastila’s line has been so prolific. Theron, however, is apparently the estranged son of the Grand Master Jedi Satele Shan — but he himself is not a Jedi. From the moment “a secret son” was translated from the Aurebesh found on Satele’s biography page, the identity of this young man had been shrouded in mystery, making me wonder if the title of the comic is also meant to be a clever play on words.

Ah, the delicious mystery — this is why I love comic and book tie-ins. The Q&A also states that Theron’s story will have profound repercussions on the plots in the game, along with “about a hundred pages’ worth of aliens, outfits, spaceships, and landscapes based on game content”. Sounds good, though I would probably pick this one up even if it had zip to do with SWTOR. I can never turn down a good Star Wars comic after all.

SWTOR at E3

E3 is right around the corner. This new article pretty much lays out what to expect — sneak previews of an encounter with the Eternity Vault on the planet of Belsavis, the struggle to dethrone a usurper on Alderaan, and a battle with Sandpeople and more on Tattooine.

Signs also point to the possibility of a new cinematic trailer, just like the last couple of years. If you get the swtor.com newsletter, you might have noticed an image at the bottom of the email teasing something happening on the site June 6:

If the image looks familiar, that’s because we’ve already seen snippets of it from the novel trailer for “Deceived“. As Jaramukhti has already pointed out months ago, that seemed like a hell of a lot of work just for a book trailer, no? His hopes that the footage will turn out to be the making of a new cinematic may pan out after all. Me, I’m hoping it will be a release date trailer! Too optimistic, maybe?

MMORPG.com Interview

A pretty comprehensive interview with Georg Zoeller on the subject of Advanced Classes, going over the system and looking more closely at specific abilities and details of the classes. I think the reason why there’s so much information on these ACs is that they’re really trying to emphasize the point that it’s really more like 8 classes per faction rather than the 4 — each branch will have its own story, the AC choice will not be optional, and as far as I know, once you make the decision you can’t take it back.

EA Launches Origin

EA debuts Origin today, their new direct-to-consumer gaming platform for gamers to purchase and download EA games and other content. They’re clearly gunning for services like Steam with this, which is both bad and good I guess, since I do all my digital game purchases through Steam exclusively at the moment, but buying stuff like DLC and other content for Mass Effect, Dragon Age etc. and keeping it all together could be easier with Origin.

In addition, “digital downloads of Star Wars: The Old Republic will be available exclusively on Origin later this year”. What this means for me, I don’t know. I was always planning on getting a boxed Collector’s Edition, but the idea of no-hassle digital delivery is also very appealing. But what to do, what to do, when both avenues will no doubt offer “exclusives” to tempt me?

More…?

I’ve been keeping an eye on Twitter all morning, and the forecast was calling for scattered SWTOR updates throughout the day from everywhere. There may be more coming, I don’t know, but they’re definitely ramping up for E3 and when next week rolls around I’m sure things will get even more crazy.

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Weighing In On SWTOR Space Combat Rumors

August 9, 2010

Here’s generally my rule regarding rumors and hearsay when it comes to high profile games — take everything with a grain of salt. Unless it is information that has come through official channels or has been talked about or confirmed by a dev or the company, I don’t usually write about it until more has been substantiated. That said, there has been rumors over the last few days about the state of space combat in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it all started from a write-up about an upcoming article on PC Action, a German magazine (Google translation of it can be found here).

The story has led to an explosion of speculation and interpretation, people claiming SWTOR space combat will be “on rails” or nothing more than a “tunnel shooter.” While devs have not made anything official yet, what they have done is acknowledge the discussions and encourage feedback on the forums. That’s not a confirmation by any means, but it does give me the impression that there might be something to this story. That’s part of the reason I’ve decided to write about this, but the main motivation has been of course Hunter’s post on his take on the topic.

Back in June, Hunter and I made a friendly bet with each other about whether or not there will be space combat in SWTOR. A few weeks ago, it appeared victory was mine! But little did I know that our simple little wager would become so much more complicated. The crux of the issue, of course, is defining what space combat actually is. And for the most part, I agree with him — there has to be a line drawn somewhere. For example, I think we would both agree that a turret based shooter, space combat is not. That’s why I was a bit concerned when I heard the first murmurings of “on rails”‘ and “tunnel shooter”, because I started wondering what this might mean for our bet. Hey, on the bright side, at least I’m not QQing about the actual game! I’ve got 10 credits and my pride riding on this, people!

Okay, all joking aside though, Hunter and I can at least rest assured space combat will not play out like, in his words, a “duck hunt.” From the community manager’s post on the official forums:

UPDATE [1]: To clarify, Space Combat is not a Turret Shooter (this is probably obvious after seeing the screenshot but some people were mentioning it in the other thread).

That’s great news for both of us. And my own prediction for space combat remains the same — most likely scripted and instanced, possibly including cinematics, at these designated “hot spots” that players can travel to in order to initiate the action. The information in the PC Action write-up hasn’t really refuted that. To be honest, I think most people expected a polished and worthwhile space experience, but nothing overly elaborate. After all, SWTOR is first and foremost an MMO, not a flight simulator. The main game is driven by the individual class stories; space combat is and has always been a “side game” in my mind, perhaps even optional. Predefined paths, limited weapons, or repeatable quests be damned, I think as long as the gameplay doesn’t feel trivial, or that it’s thrown in as an afterthought, I would consider it space combat.

The problem is that it’s just so subjective. Realistically, Hunter and I might not even be able to settle our bet until the game launches and we get to try out the space content for ourselves. But I think that’s okay though. The most important thing is, I consider Hunter a good blog friend, and what has come out of our friendly wager is an opportunity for me to discuss news about SWTOR with someone else who seems just as passionate about the game as I am. That’s always a good thing in my mind, because God knows the blogosphere is the only place I can find others with whom to share my enthusiasm and love for SWTOR. No doubt we’ll both be keeping our eyes out for more information on this subject. I for one am not giving up convincing him that I’m owed my 10 credits!

Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, let’s take some time to think about the PC Action write-up. Even if it all turns out to be true, is space combat being on rails and pushed along from behind really that bad? Jaramukhti, a commenter on this blog, has likened this style of gameplay to Star Fox, which like he pointed out was an awesome game with some pretty fun flight mechanics.

Like I said, and like what Hunter has already alluded to, if you were looking for game with a huge emphasis on space combat and free flight, an MMO probably isn’t what you should have been looking for in the first place. Bioware has never claimed SWTOR would be a game centered around space combat, so why demand it to be? On the contrary, what they’ve always emphasized is story and we should expect all development to be built upon that. Personally, I’m happy enough with the fact that space content is even included. Hence I’m neither excited nor disappointed about the article.

It’s truly perplexing to see words like “ruined” and “deal-breaker” when it comes to the discussions I’ve seen pop up in the last couple of days about this topic. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I can’t help but wonder how people can be so affected (read: freaked out) by the new information that’s come out about space combat, authentic or not. In my view, misgivings should be reserved for bigger things instead of wasting energy complaining about something that’s an “extra” and that has never been touted as a main feature. A few weeks ago, we didn’t even know for sure if there was going to be any content based in space, let alone space combat. If the game excited you before then, why should these new rumors change anything?

For what it’s worth, I am looking forward to seeing the upcoming issue of PC Gamer that’s due on newsstands in another week or so, now more than ever. Hopefully, some answers about space combat will be provided there.

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Space Combat In SWTOR Confirmed

July 23, 2010

Whoa, wait, wait, wait. So I predicted something…and was right for once? Sweet. And you know what else this means? Hunter, I love ya, but you owe me 10 credits!

From an announcement today on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic website:

If you’ve been following the news coming out of the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ panel at Comic-Con International, you’ve heard the announcement that we will indeed have Space Combat as part of the TOR experience! But what does that mean? Space combat is an alternative gameplay experience to the primary game of storytelling, questing, and ground-based combat. In space combat, you fly your personal ship to various “hot spots” on your galaxy map. From there, you will blast your way through asteroid fields, enemy fighters, frigates, destroyers, and a variety of other obstacles that will evoke memories of some of the great Star Wars™ space battles.

Like I wrote in my ship speculation post, I predicted some form of space combat, but wasn’t expecting a full-blown simulator type experience, nor did I think space combat would be end up being a trivial mini-game type encounter. My prediction was something that would fall between these two extremes, maybe something scripted and instanced — and perhaps that’s what a “hot spot” means? I’m grateful to Mr. Sean Dahlberg for giving us a hint of  to expect, but apparently, more will be revealed on these “space battles” in the October issue of PC Gamer which will become available mid-August. Since I’m so emotionally invested in this whole space combat thing, my guess is I’ll end up picking it up.

I guess this was the news Bioware wanted to unveil for their “Comic-Con Reveal Mission.” They didn’t quite get the numbers, but what did you expect? History has shown that special reveals generate community hype, not the other way around. And I’m sorry, but as much as I love SWTOR, nothing’s going to make me “like” something on my Facebook profile after I’ve worked so hard to keep it a clean slate for the past year and a half. But I guess it’s all moot in the end anyway, because no way they could have sat on this doozy and not reveal it at some point or another! OMGWTFBBQ SPACE COMBAT, WOOHOOOOO!!!!11!! Pewpewpepewpewpew!!!

Yeah, it’s just finally sinking in.

I always had faith in you, Bioware, thank you for this reveal of epic proportions. Even though I was pretty sure of space combat in SWTOR, the news still made my day. Hell, my week. Cheers on the Fan Friday as well, check out the cool fan creations and the Cathar models.

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Ships And Speculations

June 15, 2010

An IGN preview yesterday confirmed that yes, we will be getting player ships in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Like everyone else, I got pretty excited about this and the “robust customization package” that will allow me make my personal starship unique. But I gotta say, another part of me already expected all of this. After all, you can’t expect anyone to make a Star Wars MMO in this day and age and not provide spaceships and a ton of customization options in it, especially not after an announcement that you’re EA’s “largest ever” project in the history of the company.

That said, I also speculate that player ships will have a much larger role in SWTOR than simply being pieces of eye candy that we can ogle and show off to other players.

Space travel? This  is probably a given, seeing how it’s such a huge part of the Star Wars experience, not to mention there’s also more than a dozen planets we can travel to and explore. I mean, it’s entirely possible that it might all just boil down to a few cut scenes and atmospheric space flight, but I strive to be a positive thinker — I think there’s actually going to be a much bigger space component involved.

Player housing? I’m thinking Knights of the Old Republic here, where the Ebon Hawk served as a hotspot to interact with and choose your companions before a mission. Still, I think player housing should be more than just a place to stash your junk and companions. Now I’m thinking Star Trek Online, where my bridge was nothing more than a non-functional space where I would sit in the captain’s chair and watch as my bridge officers went about their tasks while completely ignoring me. That’s just not true “player housing” to me, not without the functionality and ways to customize and interact with the ship interior.

Nothing in the IGN article says anything about interiors, but I’m optimistic here as well. Star Wars Galaxies is purported to have one of the best player housing systems out there, and we know for a fact there are former SWG devs working on the SWTOR team, so at least someone over there should know how to do it right. Also, when it comes to the matter of functionality, I have to wonder if we’ll be getting areas used for crafting on our ships. I’m thinking about KOTOR again, of course, where we were given a workbench aboard the Ebon Hawk to modify our weapons and equipment.

Space combat? Well, that’s the million dollar question now, isn’t it? I’ve made a friendly wager with Hunter over the topic, and I’m just going to reiterate my predictions here. My guess? There’s going to be some form of space combat. Again, this kinda goes back to the whole “you don’t make a 100 million dollar game without planning for this sort of thing” thought that I had (and especially not if you’re going to take on an IP like Star Wars) so the only question that remains for me, really, is: If there is going to be space combat, how well will they pull it off?

Will it be minimal? A KOTOR type activity where you spend a few minutes with a gun blasting at other ships behind a view port? Or will there be more elaborate space encounters that will actually involve ship maneuvering and complex strategies? My guess is that we’ll probably see something between these two extremes. All I know is, if space combat’s going to make it into the game, it probably won’t be trivial. I would expect it to be on par with the rest of the content, even if they’re just going to be heavily scripted space fights in instanced areas, but I’m certainly not expecting a full-blown simulator-type experience either.

This quote in the IGN preview also piqued my interest when I read it:

While the E3 demo didn’t let us go off-world, obviously a smuggler will have some advantages aboard a ship that a Sith Inquisitor will not.

This along with the details in the article that there will be ship classes (such as “Vanguard” and “Fury”) in-game are just a couple of other things that make me suspect there will be space combat in SWTOR. After all, if there was no combat, what would be the point of considering advantages and disadvantages when choosing a particular ship with which to traverse a galaxy that’s “ripe for exploration”? Granted, it’s possible this could all  just be wishful thinking on the author’s part, a sentiment I can certainly relate to right now as I’m sitting here poring over the available information and over-thinking things.

Anyway, just my thoughts. Of course, I’m well aware that I may be completely off-base here, in which case, I’ll owe Hunter 10 credits.