Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars the Old Republic’

In SWTOR (Star Wars the Old Republic), once you hit level 50 you gain access to a level 50 only planet called Ilum. This planet has some daily repeatable PvE quests, but the main function of the planet is the world PvP area (in which there is a daily and weekly which you can get PvP gear from). The problem with this area is that its… well… boring and severely lacking in PvP! The cause of this problem, in my opinion, is that aside from those trying to grind for their PvP gear, there is really nothing there thats worthwhile. What ends up happening is that, especially on low population servers, the whole area is either empty, or completely one sided (usually in favor of the imps) so actual PvP either doesn’t happen, or is essentially a gang bang with many players of one faction killing a few of the other. What follows is my ideas for making Ilum worthwhile and fun!

 

Turn it into a level 50 hub

One of the main problems with Ilum is that its simply empty, and there really isn’t any reason to spend more than an hour at the most on Ilum (mainly to finish the PvP daily). What Bioware should do is turn this area into a Hub so players are drawn to it, or at least willing to spend a little more time than the time it takes to finish the daily. In order to make it a Hub, they could add a few things to the bases that you would only find in the Fleet or capitol city of the factions. These could be more vendors (specifically the PvP gear vendors at the least), a mail box, the PvPand PvE  mission box (so we can pick up the PvP daily/weekly here, as well as the PvE daily, since there are a few flash points on Ilum), the Galactic Trade Network, and more! Doing this won’t solve the fact that Ilum is empty, but it could help keep people on Ilum who usually just come for the daily, and then leave for the fleet immediately afterwards.

Change the PvP Daily

The Ilum PvP daily is one of the worst PvP dailies i’ve ever seen. You can complete the daily without even seeing a player of the opposing faction (and I often do, being on a low population server with a pretty severe faction imbalance). For those who don’t know, the PvP daily quest has you collect 30 “armaments” or kill 30 enemies (or a combination of the 2, like kill 5 people and collet 25 armaments). Farming item nodes is Not PvP. The simplest correction would be to revert the daily back to what it used to be, which is to take control of one of the assaults 5 times. Unfortunately, what used to happen is the two factions would sit in an assault (generally center from my experience) and basically trade control of it back and forth without even touching each other. To fix this, the developers could require that all enemy players (out of stealth, to prevent abuse by stealth characters) be eliminated before you can take control of the area.

Another possible change could be to require only kills, rather than having armaments or other quest items to collect. This would most likely be bad though, especially on low population servers where the opposing faction (usually the Republic) is always outnumbered. At the least the PvP daily would take MUCH longer, and would be much more frustrating.

If Bioware refuses to change the PvP daily, the least they could do is increase the spawn rate of the armaments, and have them spawn in other areas besides he central assault.

Add a Faction Wide Buff

Right now, as I’ve mentioned, there is really no reason to go to Ilum besides the daily quest. Even then, there is no reason to stay on Ilum once you have completed it. If Bioware were to add a faction wide buff for controlling Ilum, players  buff, and damage boost in PvE would suffice. They could have a Flash point that is only accessible to the faction that controls Ilum. Regardless of what the buff does, anything that affects the whole faction in a good way would be an incentive for going to Ilum. If you combine this with my idea above for changing the daily, I think you would definitely see more fights and PvP in general on Ilum.

 

Fix the Faction Imbalance

Now this is a difficult problem to tackle. You can’t force people to reroll, and you can’t just change someones character to one of the opposing faction. There are some solutions however. Merging low population servers would definitely help. Bioware could also lower the population cap on the PvP area of Ilum itself, so that if there are a bunch of one faction, and very few of the others, at least one phase could have some fair fights. Beyond that, I’m not sure what other solutions are out there, but the faction imbalance (which can be very severe on certain servers) really needs to be addressed!

 

There are more ways in which Ilum could be fixed, but I believe that the above suggestions address the most important problems of Ilum. If you have some suggestions, leave them in the comments!

Before I get into the actual topic of this post, I want to apologize to all my potential readers. I’ve been very bad lately about making posts, mainly because I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic almost nonstop since I got the game. So sorry readers, but I’m going to make it up to you, I swear!

First, a couple of notes about the game itself (I plan on doing a write up/review of the game at a later point):

I absolutely love the game, but it isn’t without its flaws. First a few good things:

  • The Story, in true BioWare fashion, is incredibly well done. The attention to detail for all the various story lines (not just the class story lines, which were admittedly incredible) is incredibly refined.
  • The combat is very dynamic and refreshing.
  • SWTOR has the best leveling/questing I have experienced in an MMO. Leveling and questing is exciting, and even after I have played through most of the non class stories once, its still enjoyable thanks to the fact that you can play through the quests differently (My main, a level 50 bounty Hunter, was light side, and my alt, a level 12 Imperial Agent, is being played through as dark side

And of course, as I mentioned there are some flaws. Here are a few things that need some work

  • The game gets quite laggy when you have a lot of different players on the screen
  • Not many graphics options/settings for optimizing performance
  • End game content is lacking a little bit
  • World PVP is almost nonexistant, especially if playing on a low population server

 

PvPing as a Mercenary

For those who don’t know, Mercenary is one of the Advanced Classes of the Imperial Bounty Hunter class (which is mirrored by the Trooper on Republic side). Mercenary’s can specialize in either damage, or healing. I will be focusing on using the Arsenal spec, which is damage, but I will touch upon Body Gaurd, which is the healing spec.

Tracer Missile. Good spell to use, bad spell to spam

Arsenal specced Mercenaries are capable of putting out some insane damage! However, many novice Mercenaries don’t quite understand the class, and especially the role that the Mercenary’s main damaging attack, Tracer Missile, plays in a Mercenary’s spell rotation. If you happen to frequent the SWTOR forums, you have undoubtedly heard a lot of complaining about “Tracer Missile spam”. Tracer missile, for those who don’t know, is a spell with no cooldown, and solid damage. Many novice Mercenaries, for lack of experience, will end up simply spamming this spell over and over again. This can result in decent damage, but those who do this are easily shut down by a smart player, whether it be through going around corners to break line of sight (hereby referred to as LOS) or interrupting/silencing the Merc while tracer is being cast.

There are many reasons why simply spamming tracer missile is a bad idea. The main problem is simply that if you only spam tracer missile, you are really missing out on most of your damage. Tracer missile, while it has pretty good damage, is actually one of the lowest damaging spells of the Bounty Hunter, beating only missile blast, and explosive dart (and maybe another one or two that have slipped my mind). The second problem is that, while Tracer only costs 16 heat, spamming it is a great way of running out of heat (or rather, generating way too much) quickly.

Using Tracer missiles correctly, fortunately, is very straight forward. Tracer missile is essentially a set up spell. It sets a Merc up to do a lot of damage with their other spells, specially Heat Seeker Missile, Rail Shot, and Unload. Tracer Missile adds a debuff called Heat Signature to the target that reduces their armor by 4% per stack . This debuff stacks up to 5 times (which results in 20% armor reduction at 5 stacks. This stacks with High velocity Gas Cylinder, which results in 55% armor penetration!), and if you are fully specced into the arsenal tree, it adds two stacks of this debuff per hit of Tracer Missile. In addition, it also adds a buff (that similarly stacks up to 5 times) called Tracer Lock, which increases the damage of the next rail shot by 6% (so 30% rail shot damage increase at 5 Tracer Lock stacks). And in addition to all of this, Heat Seeker Missile gets its damage increased by 5% per heat signature on the target (so 25% increase at 5 stacks). But wait, theres more! Tracer missile (assuming your are fully specced into arsenal) also has a 30% chance to finish the cooldown of Unload, and increase the damage of the next unload by 25%.

As you can see, Tracer missile isn’t for spamming, but rather to be used as an opener for the rest of your skills! At most, you should shoot 5 tracer missiles at a target (To get the max stacks of Tracer Lock), and definitely not 5 in a row. One of the problems with Mercs is their lack of mobility, and sitting and shooting more tracer missiles than necessary doesn’t help.

My personal preference is to start of with an explosive dart, and then shoot a most 3 tracer missiles at a target to start off my rotation (this assumes, of course, that I don’t need to move around) followed immediately by a Heat Seeker Missile. This gives you he full 5 stacks Heat Signatures on your target, giving you the max Heat Seeker Missile damage. Under optimal conditions (optimal being that i’m no being harassed or focused, and can stand still) I will follow this up with an unload. Because of the 30% chance for the improved Unload (mentioned above) you have a 90% chance for your unload to do 25% more damage! Tracer missile has a 1.5 second cast time, and unload has a 3 second channel time (assuming you aren’t damaged, and don’t lose one of the unload damage ticks), so in total, you can do this combo in about 8-10 seconds (4.5 for tracers, 3 for unload, and the global cooldown for Heat Seeker Missile cast, which is an instant cast spell). This Combo can do some Insane damage. My Bounty Hunter has Full champion gear (with a couple pieces of Battlemaster gear) and his combo can do upwards of 15k  damage on a squishy target if you get very lucky with crits! I’ve been able to essentially get a kill on low health/squishy enemies with this rotation. However,  I can pull off about 7-10k damage  fairly reliably if the target has low armor, 5-8k on a high armor/beefy target.

However, this assumes that I get lucky and have great positioning while being left alone (or focused by one or two enemy players) As I mentioned, mobility for a Arsenal specced Merc is a problem, especially in Huttball, where mobility rules! If I can’t pull off the unload after the 3 Tracer missiles and Heatseeker Missle, I will instead use rail shot. This allows me to still do some awesome damage (rail shot damage is increased by 15%, which isn’t the max increase, but is still quite good!) while having a lot more mobility.

Kite, Kite, Kite!

Another very important aspect of playing a Merc is being able to kite. For those who don’t know, kiting is basically running outside of melee range from a melee class, while still doing damage. Bounty Hunters have two knock back spells on fairly low cooldown. Rocket Punch and and Jet Boost. Jet Boost is the strongest push back, and will knock a player quite a ways away from you. The Rocket Punch push back is much shorter, but it also has a shorter cooldown. Using this spells correctly is crucial when trying to kite a melee enemy, especially a Jedi/Sith that have charge spells. One thing to remember is that Jedi/Sith can charge you twice in a very short amount of time. So you need to be prepared to use rocket punch right after Jet Boost if they end up recharging you after the initial Jet Boost.

Many Mercs simply don’t know how to counter melee who are in their face, especially if they recharge you after Jet Boost. Mercs do the most damage while standing still, but standing still against a melee will only result in interrupts and stuns, so you need to keep your distance. Here are a few tips for fighting melee as a Merc

  • Don’t be afraid to use Energy Shield in a fight with a melee! Kolto Overload is also a great spell to use (especially in conjunction with Energy shield. I generally pop energy shield against a melee when I hit about 50-60% health.
  • As I mentioned, always be prepared to rocket punch right after jet boost if the enemy charges you after a knock back.
  • If they don’t or can’t charge you after the initial Jet Boost (if they are an Imperial Agent or Smuggler for example) hit them with tracers while they try to get close. I can generally get 2 tracer missiles in before a melee can get back to me if they are pushed back the full distance.
  • If they DO  re-charge immediately after being pushed back, and you rocket punch, most good melee will be able to interrupt a tracer before you can cast it because Rocket Punch doesn’t push back very far. I have found that using Unload rather than tracer after a Rocket Punch is a good way to get in some damage without having your tracer missle interrupted.
  • Fake Cast! If they are all up in your Face, DO NOT CAST Tracer Missile outright. I like to cast Fusion missile instead to eat the interrupt, and follow that immediately by a tracer.
  • Use your Instant casts! Starting off with an explosive dart against a melee, followed by rocket punch is pretty good burst, and a crit with one of these spells can lead to a nice burst without having to stand still.
  • Don’t be afraid to use Power surge to turn a Tracer missile into an instant cast if you need to hit them with damage, or to turn Rapid scan into an instant heal if you are running low on health.
  • Use your Environment to your benefit. This is especially true in Huttball, where you can push melee of the edges of the rafters, or into one of the hazards. Unfortunately this tip can be somewhat difficult to follow in The Civil War and Voidstar Warzones.

 

Healing

I spend the majority of my time PvPing as a damage spec Merc, but I do have quite a bit of experience as a Healer. Healing as a Merc can take some getting used to, but Healing Mercs are one of the best combat medics! A couple of tips and tricks that I’ve learned.

  • If someone is getting focused hard, don’t be afraid to use Power Surge in combination with Rapid scan followed by an Emergency scan (the Instant heal spell) to give the person you are healing a boost.
  • Super Charged Gas is a GREAT way of not only reducing your heat, but also being able to heal faster and for more, and is great for controlling your cooldowns. Don’t be afraid to use it! It has no cooldown, and getting 30 stacks for the spell is very easy if you are healing alot!
  • When healing, try to heal your target with a healing scan followed by rapid scan instead of simply spamming rapid scan. Healing scan, when fully specced into Body Guard, not only reduces the heat cost of Rapid scan, but also increases the armor of your target.
  • Don’t forget that Kolto Shell can only be deployed on ONE target. Choose this target wisely! I tend to put this on myself unless i’m healing a ball carrier in huttball, or a high priority ally in Civil War/Voidstar.
  • Don’t be afraid to demand a guard from one of the tanks. Healers are one of the first people targeted by the enemy, and Guards not only let you last a lot longer, but is also somewhat of a deterrent to being attacked. Its extremely difficult to kill a healer while he/she is gaurded, especially if they are healing themselves
  • Kolto Missile is a great heal, is instant cost, and Costs NO HEAT! Use it as much as possible! Its not only useful for AOE heals either, its a great way to heal yourself when you are being focused and on the run.
  • Using rapid shots on an ally in between heals is a great way to manage your heat while keeping your players up!
  • The targeting system can be a bit of a pain, so always target an ally via the Ops box, rather than clicking their actual character.

 

I plan on writing a much more comprehensive PvP guide on Mercs in the future, but this has some good tips and tricks that I’ve learned so far as a heavy PvPer. Hope this helps newer and veteran Mercs out!

 

Anyone who is into MMORPG’s or video games in general should know about Star Wars the Old Republic, by Bioware. Many people have said that Bioware’s latest game will be a. WoW killer. While this is great from Bioware’s perspective, I sincerely hope that SWTOR doesn’t kill WoW.

Now, this may seem like a strange opinion, but here me out. In my opinion, WoW was best in its first iteration, before any of the expansions came out. Vanilla WoW was one of my best gaming experiences ever, and i’m sure this is true for many others. However, over the years the game play has gotten stale (even as the player base grew). So what happened?

Well, I attribute the above to WoW’s success. More accurately, as WoW got more popular it got worse. To further explain, each subsequent expansion (and even each subsequent patch) overall degraded the game play. Things that were once challenging had ceased to become a challenge, but rather a repetitive grind to chase the proverbial carrot on a stick, and new content was of similar, or the same caliber. This is of course because as WoW’s audience grew, Blizzard decided to continue making the game easier to play. At a certain point, Blizzard had to pick between the novice players, who wanted some sort of instant gratification or else they would quit, and the hard core players. Unfortunately, as far as numbers go, the novice members were Blizzards bread and butter, and the rest is history.

Think about it. WoW’s unprecedented success come from the fact that WoW is very easy for a casual or new player to get into. The term welfare epics, which has been thrown around the WoW community, comes to mind as an example of this. This dumbing down of the game to appeal to casuals and noobs is exactly what I don’t want to happen to SWTOR. I’m not saying that SWTOR shouldn’t Be easy for noobs or casuals to get into, but they shouldn’t make the game essentially give out gear for free, or dumb down end game fights. Wow used to be like a teens novel. Easy to read but had some depth and provided rewards for those willing to read through all the way. Now it’s like a children’s picture book, providing cheap and easy gratification without the need to read more than a few words.

Besides being dumbed down, I also don’t want to see world PVP become nonexistent like it became in WoW. Unfortunately, world PVP started its slow death once battlegrounds were implemented. The same kind of players who want instant gratification, rather than a greater reward after longer time spent, are the ones who made battlegrounds so popular, and as a result world PVP became non existent. Unfortunately Blizzard did nothing to make world PVP worthwhile until it was much too late. Now, I am not saying Battlegrounds are bad. In fact Battlegrounds were a whole lot of fun, and are a great way to get some quick PVP in, especially during non peak hours when world PVP is low. However, what I hope Bioware will do that Blizzard did not until too late is add incentive for both styles of play. And I don’t mean the same incentive (IE both grant you honor) because battleground like PVP will always win out in a race to grind honor.

Now you may be thinking, just because SWTOR is a WoW killer doesn’t mean that Bioware will have to dumb down their game, or appeal solely to casual players. However, if you think about it, they kind of will. In order to attract the WoW players, who are so used to the instant gratification, Bioware will have to either provide a game so compelling, that the WoW players completely forget about the WoW style of MMO, or play WoW’s game (which as evident by recently released MMORPG’s like Rift, you can’t beat WoW at the WoW game). Now, whether or not the game is compelling enough to kill WoW is another story, and if it becomes a WoW killer in that sense, I will be ok with that. However, given that the game has yet to be released, only time will tell. My only hope is, regardless of how compelling WoW fans find SWTOR, I hope SWTOR stays SWTOR.

In the latest Friday update, the folks at Bioware released the Galaxy map for the game! It shows all the worlds that are available in the game, as well as their position in relation to the rest of the galaxy. While this update isn’t the most exciting to come in the last month (its hard to top the release date announcement), its interesting to navigate for those star wars geeks and Bioware nerds! The map is available on their website, and can be reached here: http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/galaxy-map

Of course this update seems like a sort of filler until the next big update (and who knows what that will be about since they already announced the release date) Many people were probably hoping for more information about end game, or PvP, but patience is a virtue! Enjoy the map!

The news that everyone has been waiting for is finally here! On the 24th of September, Bioware finally announced (after months and months of anticipation) the release date for Star Wars the Old republic. The launch date is planned to be December 20th, 2011 in America, and December 24th, 2011 in Europe!

This is awesome news for everyone who is a fan of Bioware. Those who have been following this game since its inception have been waiting for the release date to come. Many people have grown impatient with Bioware and the lack of a release date for so long, but all those who have been negative and impatient can finally relax!

So for you gamers out there, keep playing whatever game you are currently playing to hold you over until December!

Along with the release date announcement, they also released the subscription details. It is the normal monthly subscription model used by most MMO’s, with bulk buying deals (IE paying for 3 months in advance is less than paying a month at a time). The details on the official release announcement is as follows:

Each copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic will come with 30 days of subscription time, after which you have the option to continue playing with one of the following monthly subscription fees:

  • 1 Month Subscription: $14.99 (£8.99/€12.99)
  • 3 Month Subscription: $13.99 per month (one-time charge of $41.97/£25.17/€35.97)
  • 6 Month Subscription: $12.99 per month (one-time charge of $77.94/£46.14/€65.94)
Personally, I think this is great news for gamers. There was some speculation on the forums that they may use a Free to Play model (similar to Lord of the Rings Online), which many gamers (including me) are strongly against (at least for MMO’s). Not to say that Free to Play MMO’s are inherently bad, but usually they end up selling power for money. Regardless of anyones feelings on the free to play model, i’m sure everyone is excited to finally have a date.

If you want to read the official announcement by bioware, navigate here: http://www.swtor.com/news/news-article/20110924

PS. Preorders are still available! If you preorder, you may get early access to the game, as evidence by the following from the news article:

Those who have pre-ordered the game and entered their pre-order code onStarWarsTheOldRepublic.com are eligible for Early Game Access. If you haven’t yet reserved your copy of the game, be sure to visit our Pre-Order page and secure your place in the Old Republic now!

 

EDIT: EA has also confirmed that SWTOR will not be released in Australia as of right now. I don’t imagine that this game will never be released there, but there is no planned release date as of right now.

This week’s friday update for Bioware’s latest triple A MMORPG, Star Wars the Old Republic covered the intro cinematic creation process, and had a Q&A about the music and sounds of SWTOR. The update included a couple of videos, and you can see the whole thing (including the comments and such) here: http://www.swtor.com/news/news-article/20110715

 

I will be posting the whole thing below if you don’t want to navigate to that page

In this week’s Studio Insider, Senior Video Editor Brian Arndt takes us behind the scenes on the creation of the opening cinematics for each of the character classes. Be sure to also check out the Community Q&A, where Senior Audio Artist Scott Morton answers some of your questions relating to the audio production in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.

Crafting the Class Intros

Hi, my name is Brian Arndt and I’m Senior Video Editor here at BioWare. I’ve been a huge fan ofStar Wars™ since I was a little kid, and the one thing that I always remember in the theater was when everyone would get really quiet as a black screen appeared. Then suddenly you would see that familiar blue text: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” There’s that moment of anticipation before you’re blown away by the giant Star Wars logo! The epic Star Wars theme music blaring throughout the theater! Then the text fills you in on the story so far and begins its slow scrolling across the screen. It still excites me every time I see it as I know THIS is Star Wars that I’m watching.

Well, we are all proudly working on a Star Wars video game, a lifelong dream of mine and probably all of the team. What does the player need to see first to know they are about to play a part in the Star Wars universe? You guessed it!

As a part of the BioWare Creative Services team, we get to spend all our time in The Old Republic filming and editing gameplay walkthroughs, character progression videos, taking screenshots and even creating the Timeline video series. We work around the clock to deliver these Friday updates for the community (and even read your forum posts to see what people are looking forward to seeing and try and get them in there!). It’s exciting and exhausting but a lot of fun, and the team is super passionate and proud to be doing it. So how did we end up crafting the class intro video assets for in-game, you might ask?

It began with a short discussion with Art Director Jeff Dobson where he asked if we could fit this into our (already insane) schedule. The answer was of course “We can’t repel an offer of that magnitude!” Okay, it was more like “yes!” We decided to work nights, weekends, and through lunches to make it happen. With that settled, we rolled up our sleeves and set to work.

First step, research. We sat down and re-watched the opening sequences for all six movies to review how they were put together on a second-by-second basis. For most fans, the Star Warscrawl is just some scrolling yellow text that sets up the story. What you may not realize is that the format of this text has very precise guidelines, from the exact shade of yellow used in the font to the width of the margins and even down to the speed of the scroll.

We wound up using the opening crawl from The Empire Strikes Back as our template. Using text written by the writing team, we rendered out the crawl, got the color right, set the margins, and even timed out the speed. You know what wound up being the toughest part? The angle. Getting the angle at which the text floats off into space turned out to be more difficult than we anticipated. It took several iterations to get it just right.

Okay. The crawls are done. Now comes the fun part. Each movie transitions from the opening crawl to the scene where the camera pans from space to reveal a ship or a group of ships heading towards a planet. Senior Environmental Artist Clint Young started with this idea and drew up some storyboards to show how this could work. After reviewing those, we brainstormed with Clint, other artists, and Lead Cinematics Designer Paul Marino to start planning out the sequence in more detail. Since this is the first thing players will see in the game, we wanted players to know the instant they saw it that they were about to play a part in the Star Warsuniverse. Just like everything else at BioWare, quality always comes first.

Click the above image for a larger view.

To get the best quality, we couldn’t create these cinematics inside the game engine. The camera tools are too limited. But this still needed to be an “in-game” cinematic, so Associate Video Editor Brandon Miletta took the models from the game and dropped them into a CG animation rendering package. Then we started discussing what kind of scene would match what the in-game cinematics team had created on the planet’s surface.

We wanted the scene for each class to have the traditional hallmarks of the Star Wars opening, but since each class in The Old Republic has a different story (and often start on a different world), the sequences were going to have to be customized. We decided to start with the Sith Warrior (and it wasn’t a Sith biased approach I can assure you! I plan on playing Trooper!). The Cinematics team had already created a beautiful opening scene on Korriban showing the Warrior disembarking from a shuttle, so we knew that’s where the cinematic had to end, but where would it start? As always, when in doubt, consult the movies. Turned out that the opening scene from Return of the Jedi was very similar to what we wanted: a shuttle comes out of a Star Destroyer and heads towards the planet’s surface. Reconstructing that with our models took some time to get right. Another thing we had to take into account is that the skybox developed for Korriban depicts several Star Destroyers in orbit, so for the cinematic we added additional ships to populate the scene in space – that way when the player is on the surface and looks up they can see where they just descended from!

Now the Smuggler’s opening scene was even more complex. The story starts with the Smuggler having just ‘run’ a separatist blockade to deliver goods for Republic troops on Ord Mantell. The scene in space needed to reflect that. This was going to be more complicated than just a little shuttle ride. Brandon had to add models for Separatist and Republic ships which we took from in-game models, animate them in battle, and then have the Smuggler fly through. Since the Smuggler is also an ace pilot, it made sense to have him do some crazy space maneuvers as well—there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned “barrel roll”. Brandon had to go in and animate all this by hand, but it paid off.

After Brandon rendered out the scenes, the ball was in my court for the last steps. Taking the “rough” sequences for each of the classes, I went in and added visual effects: blaster fire, explosions, background ship battles, engine glows, and even a few lens flares for the engines. Incorporating suggestions from the art team, I also had to tweak the lighting and colors for the planets and the starfields so that everything looked just right for the final export.

Even when something is “final” at BioWare, it’s often not—not if it can be improved. Once we dropped the opening cinematics into the game, we opened a thread on the Game Testing forums to get feedback and suggestions. While the feedback was really positive overall, the testers had some interesting suggestions. Taking this feedback to heart, we went back to some of the scenes to add extra ships and to incorporate other tidbits. To illustrate, for the Sith Warrior intro, several people pointed out that the Star Destroyers in the background looked a little too static. So we animated and rendered out some new Star Destroyer models from the game. Some feedback we got was that the scene wasn’t busy enough so Brandon inserted squadrons of Sith fighters, adding a new layer to the scene as a whole, and to drive it to be the highest quality we could.

Developing the text crawls and intro scenes for each of the classes was a blast for us. We so often create videos and trailers to show off all the awesome work our colleagues have developed in the game, so it was very cool for us to use those same skills to contribute something to the in-game experience as well. Like everyone else here, it’s amazing to just come into work every day and do what we do. We hope that you’ll enjoy the experience as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it.

Look forward to seeing you all soon in a galaxy far, far away.

Community Q&A

The Star Wars: The Old Republic community is eager for new information, and we want to answer as many of your questions as possible. Next month’s Q&A will focus on questions regarding player versus player combat (PVP) in The Old Republic. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask via our Forums or on Facebook. Make sure to get your questions to us no later than July 22nd if you want to be considered for the next Community Q&A.

Today, Senior Audio Artist Scott Morton answers a few of your questions about sound design in The Old Republic.

Q: Will the NPCs have monologues or dialogues with each other that players can hear while walking nearby? – mmZero

A: Yes, they will. As in other BioWare games, ambient conversation is a part of the world and will help the player tune into the general goings-on of his or her surrounding area. Companions will sometimes voice their thoughts and opinions as well, as you travel the different worlds in The Old Republic.

 

Q: Are the voices used in the class videos just a storyteller or is that the voice of the actual character in-game? – Verico

A: When a player class is speaking a line or narrating in the class videos, you’re hearing the voice of the actual actor who will be filling that role. We’ve worked closely with LucasArts to cast voice actors that are able to capture the essence of each class, and help players identify with their characters on a deeper level.

Q: Are we able to switch the different sounds louder and quieter as we please? For example, turning off sounds of voices while the background music is still on? – Blumilein

A: Yes. Players will be able to set their own audio levels when it comes to voice, music, ambience, and sound effects. Being able to customize your mix and your experience is important.

Q: How many voice actors voiced this game? – DigitalMaster

A: We are working with a very large number of voice actors… possibly more than any other game made so far. Recent counts put the number at over nine hundred actors across all three languages, and that number is still growing.

Q: What percentage of the in-game music is original for The Old Republic and what percentage has already been used elsewhere (movies, other games, etc.)? – Nahte

A: We’ve written a huge amount of original music for the game. There are over six hours of original score that have been produced specifically for The Old Republic, plus an additional hour and a half of brand new cantina music. In addition to the original score, you’ll also hear the scores for both Knights of the Old Republic I and Knights of the Old Republic II. Lastly, the game just wouldn’t be complete without John Williams’ material from the Star Wars films.

Q: Will special ability sounds change as you upgrade your weapons, or will they stay consistent throughout the leveling process? For instance, the Trooper’s ability that launches a grenade – you get this fairly early on with your basic equipment, but will it sound the same at end-game with an epic rifle? – Noobinator

A: Certain abilities will have fixed, signature sounds while others will dynamically change based on the weapons you have equipped. When you loot a new Lightsaber or blaster, you’ll notice that it almost always makes different sounds than the one you were previously using. We’re really happy about how weapon sounds can blend with your abilities to make your combat sound unique. Rare weapons are even more special – you may find a rare weapon that also has a rare and more powerful set of sounds associated with it.

 

Q: Does The Old Republic use any of Ben Burrt’s original sound effects from the films? – MorgonKara

A: We’re definitely tapping into some of Ben Burtt’s classic material and integrating it into the game in different ways, sometimes as a layering approach and sometimes processing it to make something new. You’ll definitely hear some of his original material from the films too (it wouldn’t be Star Wars without it)!

Q: Will the Mos Eisley cantina music be in the game? – ChavekToth

A: Peter McConnell, Jared Emerson-Johnson, and Steve Kirk have written an hour and a half of brand new cantina music for The Old Republic. The goal was to expand off of the existing material we’ve all heard and try to fill out the rest of the set list. If you were to hang out in the Mos Eisley Cantina, what would the remainder of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes’ concert have sounded like? What does a longer set sound like from The Max Rebo Band? What kind of music might you hear in an Imperial cantina? It all grew out of the cantina music in the original films. But, keep your ears open for those few classic tunes, too; I’m sure they’ll turn up somewhere!

Q: Is there any dynamic use of sound or music? Maybe on certain boss mobs, when your health gets lower (or the group’s total health), or when you come upon a certain viewpoint? – Unknown

A: Our music system is dynamic and very responsive to gameplay situations. We’re also doing some cool things with some of the combat sound to make movement, foley and weapons more varied and alive.

Q: Do bad guys (Darth Malgus, etc.) get their own cool theme songs? – ZeroGravTrooper

A: The music of Star Wars is definitely rooted in the tradition of representing characters with themes, and the music in The Old Republic is no different. The approach we’ve taken, however, varies slightly in that classes and locations have themes within The Old Republic, rather than trying to score every single specific character. As such, a Jedi would have a different musical experience than a Smuggler because they each have their own unique class themes woven throughout their stories. They also begin on different origin worlds which in turn have their own themes and unique music.

Q: How is the music “playlist” handled? For example, when traveling from one location to another, how does the music fade or change at the end of every song? – Altheran

A: Our music system is adaptive and is designed to respond based on what you’re doing and where you’re going. If you’re entering a cinematic conversation, the music will smoothly adjust and follow the dramatic events of that scene. If you’re exploring the world, music will highlight points of interest, and shift into a more ambient role when necessary. The music will also respond appropriately based on what sort of choices you make and actions you take in a conversation. Our goal with music is to always support the situation you’re in without compromising overall musical flow and integrity.

Thanks for joining us for this Studio Insider! We hope you enjoyed the inside look at the opening class cinematics from Brian Arndt, as well as the Q&A with Scott Morton. We know you have a lot of questions, so we’ve opened a new Community Q&A thread relating to PVP in The Old Republic.

 

 

 

 

I just found this 35+ minute video on the Bounty Hunter from the swtor.com forums! It contains ALL the information gathered so far on the Bounty Hunter class, and goes over its advanced classes, armor, weapons, abilities and much more. It’s long, but if you are interested in the Bounty Hunter class, then its definitely worth the watch! This video was created by FTWBroadcasting.

Actual Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7pu9yBGo5U

 

 

If you want to watch other Ultimate Walkthroughs for other classes, FTWBroadcasting covered the following as well:

Jedi Knight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eINdxmlmZ0M

Republic Trooper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1FZdMO0Fag

Sith Warrior: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9YSnpdlqVw

Sith Inquisitor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHsz9K5Rh0U

 

 

Don’t forget to add me on Google+, where I put these up also: https://plus.google.com/106519583230894020972/posts