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  1. #1

    SWTOR: Interview with Gabe Amatangelo

    Source:

    On free-to-play:
    We’ve got the tech in and we’re fine-tuning it. But ultimately it comes down to is putting the variables into a data table and we can do that at the eleventh hour. Internally, we’re discussing things like, “Is it X per day, X per week?” Or do we limit it at all? Or do we do something like the rewards are limited instead of the content?
    There are different points of view at the office – and we debate in a friendly way – but we’re far enough along with the tech to get that feature enabled. We’d love to hear from the players what their point of view is on it. Personally, when I’m developing stuff, I leverage what the community speaks up about, and I use that to influence some of those debates.
    Free-to-play is something EA‘s been talking about forever. Even before we launched, we were talking about it internally. Obviously we couldn’t do something like League of Legends does, rotating what advanced class you could play each week [whew!], but it’s the future of online games. It’s just what it is.

    On the type of player they’re trying to attract:

    Leading up to the launch, we always talked about SWTOR as being a fully featured MMO. That means a broad player base. It’s like we’ve talked about, we’ve got a new raid coming out, a new warzone, and there’s crossover with the players there, but they are different types of players.
    We also talked (back at E3) about how we’ve got a new planet, Makeb, with new story, so we’re kind of rotating between the player types, if you will. But we do incentivise a lot of cross-play, and that’s where the accessibility of the different features come into play.
    Like, we see people playing warzones, a lot of people who aren’t necessarily “PvP players,” as our stats define them. But a lot of people get into them because they’re really accessible, especially as people are leveling up.
    So we’re focusing on all fronts. On the PvP front, we’re focusing on trying to get a better cadence with the new power progression so there’s not as much of a gap, and the ranked warzones, tournaments, things of that nature.
    With the operations, we’re always trying to do new mechanics, new exciting, thrilling encounters that are wrapped in story but really focus on the gameplay features. We’re continuing to go on with that puzzle kind of staple that we established in Eternity Vault, trying to continue that style of gameplay as well.

    On the PvP gap at max level:
    I talked about before launch how I wanted a 20% gap [between a “new” level 50 and a top-geared player], and we did not hit that for a number of development reasons; I could get into the boring details, but the goal and the intent is still a 20% gap.
    One way we’re going to handle that in the future will be a level 50 bolster. We’re going to introduce a recruit gear, mark II in the next patch, but a level 50 bolster will also bring things closer to that 20% gap.

    On ranked warzones:

    We’re making good strides on that. We’ve got a lot of exciting developments going on, but I’m not allowed to give details at this point. It’s something everyone at the studio is really amped about, and we hope to start dropping hints and teasers about that soon.
    We want to do more than simply “turn on” ranked warzones for season one. We’re looking into other PvP modes, as well. I can’t give exact dates, but it’s likely that free-to-play will come online slightly before ranked warzones.

    On Ilum:

    It was one of those last features we tried to tackle before launch, and when you’re launching a major MMO, emergent issues arise and resources had to be pulled from it. It was unfortunate, and we were never able to get Ilum to the design spec that we wanted.
    At this point, what we’re wanting to do is an event that revitalizes it. It’ll have something to do with an alien race crash-landing into it, and we’re targeting a January timeframe, which is when update 1.1 happened this last January.
    In addition to revitalizing the open-world PvP, we’re also looking at the obvious issues like faction imbalance and things of that nature, though I can’t get into the details of our approach right now.

    On Nightmare modes:
    We have them done on our development charts. It’s the near future, very SoonTM. We’ve got the Terror From Beyond and then Nightmare mode for Explosive Conflict, and we’ll have a new set of gear for PvE split between those two modes. So you’ll have two operations for that tier of gear, as opposed to all of it crammed into one operation.

    On his greatest challenge:

    As we’re moving into this faster cadence and the new development structure and tools we have, you’ve got to get your ducks in a row, so to speak. How long is it going to be on public test, when is there sufficient QA for the release, things like that. It’s lining all those things up to have the assembly line going with that process. Shifting process around is a big challenge.

    On revisiting old planets:

    It’s something we want. I mean, that’s part of the Star Wars fantasy. Even at max level, you want to go to Tatooine or Voss for something – and we’ve been speccing out some other systems internally to make use of those other planets, like bounty-hunting missions or other events.



    My opinion? I'm quite intrigued, really. It seems like Bioware is starting to kick it up a notch. What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    I didn't read a single thing I didn't like.
    and yes, I read it all.
    Lv50 (FF14) Paladin (Swtor) Agent, Warrior, Knight, Inquisitor, Trooper, Consular, Smuggler, Hunter
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    I didn't read a single thing I didn't like.
    and yes, I read it all.
    I had to re-read your comment to make sure I read it write xD Not use to seeing a (very) positive comment.

  4. #4
    All looks good to me, better than pet battles etc that aren't part of the normal game play and seem out of place

  5. #5
    Everything sounds good, I just hope that they can keep up the content pushes in the future. Trion has proved that if you have a lower player base you will need constant content to keep them content (which isn't a bad thing).

    With the recent changes to PVP and Commandos I might come back before the F2P move, although that all depends on my free time.

  6. #6
    Well they need to start doing all those things then.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Synche View Post
    Trion has proved that if you have a lower player base you will need constant content to keep them content (which isn't a bad thing)
    Playerbase size has nothing to do with the speed at which content needs to be released. A bigger playerbase will consume content just as fast, and in many castes faster, than smaller playerbases. Developers need to find a timetable that works for them and their playerbase. Trion has just proven that it's possible to have a rapid release schedule for major updates and maintain that pace for roughly a year and a half.

  8. #8
    Fluffy Kitten Azuri's Avatar
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    It sounds like good sunshine and rainbows and all but at the 9 month mark since launch and what about 5 months since a significant content patch? I'm still concerned with a few snippets I've highlighted below. I've said it elsewhere they need to deliver.....soonTM.


    We’ve got a lot of exciting developments going on
    but I’m not allowed to give details at this point.
    and we hope to start dropping hints and teasers about that soon.
    I can’t give exact dates
    but it’s likely that free-to-play will come online slightly before ranked warzones.
    It’s the near future, very SoonTM.

    I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade but at this point show me the money.
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  9. #9
    I don't think they can disclose much information until things hit the PTS (hopefully). Again, I'm just trying to stay positive with this whole situation.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jalek View Post
    All looks good to me, better than pet battles etc that aren't part of the normal game play and seem out of place
    Because having things to do other then PVE and PVP is good?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Silverocean View Post
    Because having things to do other then PVE and PVP is good?
    I see where this is going so lets stop this before it happens.

  12. #12
    They say a lot of good things, they need to start delivering on what they say now. I am still optimistic, but I can't say I am not worried for the future of the game.
    WoW having more subs than SWTOR is the same thing as Justin Bieber having more youtube plays than Tupac. Just because its more popular doesn't mean its good.

    Mitt Romney: Proof that Americans really are as stupid as the rest of the world thinks we are.

  13. #13
    Stood in the Fire Conzar's Avatar
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    They're going to struggle to get TFB tested properly with the exodus from the game that will happen when MoP drops. Our guild has taken a massive hit when GW2 launched, with the drop in numbers to GW2 making some people go back to WoW strangely enough. If they don't get the testing started before then, they'll have problems. You need good, organised Ops running in there to tune it properly.

    I'm staying with Star Wars, though only barely. I missed the boat for our guild's EC HM runs due to work commitments, and now my evening schedule is clear, we can't run them due to a lack of skilled players (even wiping in SM due to "that" pug you had to take, and people not playing their mains any more). Extra annoying that I only need Vorgath and Kephess to get the clear I need for the mount.

    Many other guilds I've tanked for on my fresh Vanguard through EV/KP SMs seem to be in the same boat, rebuilding their Ops teams. When WoW actually drops, and I'm still only doing EC SM, I'm probably out too.

  14. #14
    Still don't know why they couldn't have had some amazing stuff upon release day. It was so bare and bland. It might be too little too late now.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by sTyLnK View Post
    Still don't know why they couldn't have had some amazing stuff upon release day. It was so bare and bland. It might be too little too late now.
    New developers to the MMO scene tend to make this mistake a lot. Its a mistake that you have to make in order to progress. WoW or Rift didn't improve without first making a blunder. Its how you learn!

  16. #16
    Dreadlord Byrogan's Avatar
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    Nothing more then empty promises.
    Sell a man a fish, and he can eat for a day, teach a man to fish, and you lose a great business opportunity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Remnas View Post
    This guy could sell more Oxyclean than Billy Mays, and make you feel like a badass while using it.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrogan View Post
    Nothing more then empty promises.
    Please elaborate?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Conzar View Post
    They're going to struggle to get TFB tested properly with the exodus from the game that will happen when MoP drops. Our guild has taken a massive hit when GW2 launched, with the drop in numbers to GW2 making some people go back to WoW strangely enough. If they don't get the testing started before then, they'll have problems. You need good, organised Ops running in there to tune it properly.

    I'm staying with Star Wars, though only barely. I missed the boat for our guild's EC HM runs due to work commitments, and now my evening schedule is clear, we can't run them due to a lack of skilled players (even wiping in SM due to "that" pug you had to take, and people not playing their mains any more). Extra annoying that I only need Vorgath and Kephess to get the clear I need for the mount.

    Many other guilds I've tanked for on my fresh Vanguard through EV/KP SMs seem to be in the same boat, rebuilding their Ops teams. When WoW actually drops, and I'm still only doing EC SM, I'm probably out too.
    No one on my entire server is interested in mope, you're exaggerating. And so am I, to show how silly exaggerating is. It doesn't prove a point.

    But seriously, no one in my guild has any interest in mope, and our Ops team is doing just fine. We actually just recruited a couple new people and are gearing them up in HM Denova for TfB. We had a guy go from full Columi to full Campaign in two weeks.
    Last edited by iceberg265; 2012-09-07 at 03:24 AM.
    WoW having more subs than SWTOR is the same thing as Justin Bieber having more youtube plays than Tupac. Just because its more popular doesn't mean its good.

    Mitt Romney: Proof that Americans really are as stupid as the rest of the world thinks we are.

  19. #19
    I remember when we kept hearing, even pre-release, how rated warzones would be post launch. I knew I was right in assuming they would stretch post-launch as far as they could...
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Forsedar View Post
    New developers to the MMO scene tend to make this mistake a lot. Its a mistake that you have to make in order to progress. WoW or Rift didn't improve without first making a blunder. Its how you learn!
    If it was filled with new developers, sure. But the thing is BioWare Austin has been, and still is, PACKED with industry vets who have half a decade or more experience working on MMO's, with a lot of big names in MMO development (some of whom are gone). I'm not trying to doom and gloom or to be negative, but the fact is that this is not a "new developer" when you look at the staff. It's a new setup, but it's filled with VERY experienced devs.

    WoW and Rift blundered. WoW had the excuse in that no game had EVER seen that kind of success and had to deal with really pioneering a different direction for MMO's. They did great job of hitting their stride relatively early on. Rift had their blunders, andTrion absolutely busted their asses off to put out multiple daily hotfix patches and major content patches at breakneck speeds. They've done a great job of dealing with the issues.

    SWTOR started off rocky (with a pretty solid technical launch as far as their end went) and they were making good initial strides to get things back on track and moving in a great direction, but they faltered between the first and second major patches and haven't really picked up their stride again. I sincerely hope they do, because I've been looking to get into this game for a while (and the freemium transition is the perfect time), but I won't make any excuses for them like I won't make any excuses for a developer who hasn't dealt with their issues, especially one like BioWare Austin who have had nearly everything in their favor (short of a publisher that will let them do their job).

    I love where he says the game is heading, but I've ALWAYS loved where they've said the game is heading and what's in store. The problem is that I've yet to see them deliver on the majority of their promises. That's the big dealbreaker for me. I waited over 6 months to see if Trion could fulfill their promises with Rift, and they did. Unfortunately I haven't seen BioWare fulfill theirs yet. I'm hoping they can by November though, because this game deserves much better than it's had so far.

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