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  1. #1

    State of the Game

    Originally Posted by SWTOR
    11.06.2012
    Star Wars: The Old Republic – State of the Game

    Hello everyone,

    This is the first of many regular “State-of-the-Game” postings to you, the players. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and finally have the opportunity to get it started. I’m hoping to use these postings as a direct way to address some of the top unresolved issues that most concern our community. I won’t get to everything all at once, but I’ll try to hit some of the big ones, and talk about these topics as openly as I can. It’s my hope that you’ll respond with more comments, questions and concerns. As you do, I will then take these and either roll them into my next update, or have the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ community team answer them directly as we usually do. Sound good? OK!

    Before we begin, let me introduce myself for those of you who do not know me. My name is Jeff Hickman and I am the Executive Producer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have been working on the team for about 2 years now and was responsible for most of the Live Services and ultimately the launching of our award-winning game. Twelve years ago, I joined the industry as the Director of CS for Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC) with Mythic Entertainment. In the years since then, I have engaged in just about every role you can imagine on an MMO team (except art, because I suck at art). In the early days at Mythic, I helped design several expansions for DAoC, produced and ran their daily operations and in 2005 was given the opportunity to become Executive Producer for that beloved game. Between then and now, I built, launched and operated Warhammer Online and I was also Executive Producer for Ultima Online. I’ve devoted my life to MMOs and the people that play them, and have some cool tattoos to prove it:

    When we decided to go Free-to-Play earlier this year, we had weeks of discussion with everyone on the team about where we thought the game was going, what we thought was going right and what was going wrong. We uncovered a lot of issues, but three things really stood out:

    1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.

    2. The subscription requirement was driving away huge numbers of people who do not want to commit to paying monthly.

    3. The frequency of our Game Updates was way too slow. People were leaving because we were not releasing new content fast enough to keep up with the pace at which it was being consumed.

    You are now seeing the results of these conversations. Free-to-Play goes live this Fall, and we are dedicated to getting Game Updates out to you every 6 weeks or so. Though each of these efforts is incredibly challenging for the team, they have accepted that challenge and have tackled them head on!

    But we know there is more we can do, more you want us to do. So today, I thought it might be more useful to dive into some more granular and “hot” topics.

    Topic #1: Staff: Why are some developers leaving The Old Republic™? How will the game be affected?

    Answer: People leave for a lot of reasons. Some have worked on the project for 6+ years and are simply tired and want to go work on something else. Others may not agree with the direction that the game is heading – Free-to-Play is not for everyone and requires a big shift in thinking and culture within the studio. Still others do not have the right skills for the roles that we have as the studio evolves and changes. When any single person leaves, whether we make the decision or they do, it is difficult, but the studio and game live on and thrive as we change, actually thrive because we change. The core of what makes the game and studio great are still here; quality in our game and in our workplace, people that are passionate about both, a camaraderie with each other that helps us support one another, and key people like James Ohlen (who was at BioWare from the very start) who continue to help us carry the banner of BioWare and who are dedicated to help evolve and improve Star Wars: The Old Republic.

    Topic #2: Bugs: How does testing work? Why do bugs get through? Why did Game Update 1.4 have so many of them? What are we doing to improve the process?

    Answer: MMOs are undoubtedly one of the most complex games on Earth. We employ hundreds of QA professionals to ensure that our game is high quality, but sometimes bugs get through. We test every step of the way as we develop the game or change to the game. We have many, many development environments that work in a sequence to push updates from initial construction, to code and content integration, to internal end-to-end testing, to player facing testing on Public Test Servers and then on to the Live servers. Sometimes (like in Game Update 1.4) we make changes that have unintended (and undiscovered) consequences on completely different parts of the game (the performance issues that showed up in the update are a great example of this). These unintended changes happen more often than you would think (or we would like), though we usually catch them before they go live. We have recently put new measures in place both on the development teams and in QA, as well on Public Test Server (where we should find many of these types of issues), to catch things like this in the future. I am not saying it will not happen again – bugs will always happen – but we will strive to give you the best, high quality, bug-free experience that we can. As a side note, we finally got a lock on the last of the major issues from Game Update 1.4 and appreciate your patience with that one.

    Topic #3: Oceanic populations. Are we doing anything about them?

    Answer: We are very aware of the concerns with the population levels on the Oceanic servers. The problem is pretty complex, as the solutions we have either split the populations further (like allowing Oceanic players to move to North American servers), or would force players to go to server types (PvP or RP, etc…) that they do not want to be on. Our current plan is to wait for Free-to-Play to launch and see what the influx of new players does to the populations of these servers. We will give it a little time and if we do not see significant improvement, then we will move ahead with the solution that offers the best playing experience for the Oceanic community.

    OK, that is it for now. Please keep your comments and questions coming and I will try to answer the biggest, unresolved questions in these “State-of-the-Game” posts. I want to thank you all for the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing game like Star Wars: The Old Republic. I will do everything in my power to take care of the game, and help guide it to a great future.

    Jeff Hickman
    Executive Producer

    (Source)
    Last edited by Arlee; 2012-11-07 at 02:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Okay.

    1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.
    2. The subscription requirement was driving away huge numbers of people who do not want to commit to paying monthly.
    I love this game.
    But they must have realized that 2 contradicts 1. If people were crazy about this game 80% of them wouldn't have unsubbed.

    Don't get me wrong. I love the game.

    But don't be so god damn cocky about making this game when most the people who've tried it walked away.

    edit: You know what irks me most about that? It's something blizzard would write. Like "Everyone loves arena and we are bad ass mother fuckers for thinking of them. Arena participation is at an all time low."
    Last edited by Bardarian; 2012-11-06 at 11:32 PM.
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  3. #3
    do you now the requierment for swtor if you do can you answer my question i just posted it

  4. #4
    Pit Lord Razael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    Okay.



    I love this game.
    But they must have realized that 2 contradicts 1. If people were crazy about this game 80% of them wouldn't have unsubbed.

    Don't get me wrong. I love the game.

    But don't be so god damn cocky about making this game when most the people who've tried it walked away.

    edit: You know what irks me most about that? It's something blizzard would write. Like "Everyone loves arena and we are bad ass mother fuckers for thinking of them. Arena participation is at an all time low."
    I actually noticed this whilst reading and i was like "Whoa what?" i had to re-read it and it still didnt make sense

    Anyways, i thought there were bigger topics to adress instead of answering why bugs happen. Like when F2P is released, when do we see actual Story content instead of more Ops, WZ, FPs (i do know theoretically we could count HK-51 as story content but i want more meaningful stuff, Makeb and shiz.) , Etc.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    edit: You know what irks me most about that? It's something blizzard would write. Like "Everyone loves arena and we are bad ass mother fuckers for thinking of them. Arena participation is at an all time low."
    Blizzard's ghost writers are better though.

    It's a fairly standard calm the masses "letter" that doesn't really say anything people don't already know, very similar to Morhaime's D3 letter.
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  6. #6
    High Overlord Freeasacar's Avatar
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    Players don't want content faster. They want meaningful content that will sustain them until the next patch. The lack of this meaningful content is why so many players left. It had nothing to do with the subscription model and going f2p won't bring them back.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Freeasacar View Post
    Players don't want content faster. They want meaningful content that will sustain them until the next patch. The lack of this meaningful content is why so many players left. It had nothing to do with the subscription model and going f2p won't bring them back.
    Well what other games have meaningfull content in the same engaging depth as swtor, and brings it out in the same, captivating splendor as swtor in regular intervals? Where are they going wow? - GW2?
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  8. #8
    Link to the orginal Post, just because it needed 3 mins to actually find it o_0

    http://www.swtor.com/blog/star-wars-...%93-state-game

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  9. #9
    Nice Written, but there is something going on my nuts.

    1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.
    ignorant and a lie. The numbers melted away that fast after launch....now the game may be good...but I still do not see lots of people wanna play it

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-07 at 11:24 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethorien View Post
    Well what other games have meaningfull content in the same engaging depth as swtor, and brings it out in the same, captivating splendor as swtor in regular intervals? Where are they going wow? - GW2?
    pretty much to these games, or just staying out of the MMO Genre

  10. #10
    He is just a slave of EA and must follow their rules and commands, no point reading such "state of the game" letters really. You can see the reality by yourself. And the reality is: (copy from one of the comments on massively):
    STAR WARS MMO with no minigames or animal mounts.
    Bad class balance, only half AC wanted in rated and no cross server
    Bad game engine and coding.
    PvP is a stunlock hell and with low TTK makes it very unheroic.
    Expertise destroys gear progreassion.Recruit gear stinks and is butt ugly
    Lifeless worlds with to many mobs all over and exhaust zones with no day/night cucles
    Lack of star wars outfits.
    Space combat doesn't exist, beyond fail.
    Fleet, all players hate standing around on fleet !!!!
    They refuse to take feedback.
    Almost a total lack of communication from the "community team"
    No reason to do open world pvp.

  11. #11
    I could refute a lot of what you wrote, such as:

    *Space is a minigame
    *Animal mounts are a ridiculous thing to complain about... not many people care
    *Class balance is fine for PVE (maybe not for PVP)
    *Game engine is fine and works
    *PVP is a stunlock hell (yes) and they appear to be working on it (to mixed reviews)
    *There is no real "gear progression" in the game like you are thinking from other MMOs. It's all moddable gear. It's much different than in WOW (how many times have people explained that "NO THAT CAMPAIGN BELT IS NOT BETTER THAN YOUR MODDABLE ORANGE BELT" lol). IDK if it is better or worse, and I'm not comparing, because they're different systems. I just know it works, it's different, and I'm not complaining.
    *Lack of Star Wars Outfits? Exactly what is it that you want? Your force-users get all sorts of robes, hoods up, hoods down, with all sorts of colors. Your troopers get all sorts of plastoid armor styles, in lots of different configurations and colors. Your smugglers get lots of "stealthy" looks, leather jackets (Han Solo-style), and headgear. The weapons are all pretty cool as well (the double sabers with the center section lit up are my favorites). Not sure what you're wanting here. I certainly don't want to see 400 people running around Fleet in Darth Vader's mask. Especially since Vader doesn't exist at the current time.
    *Space combat exists, it's just not what you want. It's a minigame.
    *Everyone stands around the major cities in MMOs and does nothing. Nothing different here. How many people ever did a dragon mount "sit-in" in Dalaran for 3 hours, or jumped on the fountain for 45 minutes in Stormwind? It's a part of MMOs, probably not going to change. You can always go do something.

    My point is not that that I'm trying to be a dick, I'm just not real sure what you want, because all you did is create a list of complaints that you copied from another site without really saying anything about them. You're not creating any discussion, just bitching.

    I'd love to talk about how to make things better, especially since you seem like you like the game, but bitching for bitching's sake is pretty ridiculous, especially when some of your bitching is incorrect.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Keren View Post
    Link to the orginal Post, just because it needed 3 mins to actually find it o_0

    http://www.swtor.com/blog/star-wars-...%93-state-game
    Bloody hell, idk how I forgot to include the link >< Adding it now though, thanks

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Freeasacar View Post
    Players don't want content faster. They want meaningful content that will sustain them until the next patch. The lack of this meaningful content is why so many players left. It had nothing to do with the subscription model and going f2p won't bring them back.
    Tens of thousands of people quit the game because the game was release when it shouldn't have been. The SW franchise has a gigantic following world wide, these people would have waited a year for content of the game had been really ready for release. Sure the game has improved in the last year but between horrible customer service and a buggy shit game at launch that took nearly 5 months to sort out some of the base problems, yeah many folks aren't sticking around for that.

  14. #14
    Star wars, yeah, played it long enough to:
    1, Get tired of running all the time all over the place, hand a quest in and get another in the same place, run back, kill stuff and run back to quest giver and get another quest in the same place, come on, Im grown up, I can handle multiple requests in the same place at the same time. The game was a time sink.

    2, Cookie Cutter Quests, It seemed to me that you approach a quest giver and get given a quest to go kill 10 or 12 mobs, then another quest giver along side gives you a collection quest, collect ten of these things and oh, please kill seven of them things. I seemed to see this process repeated ad infinitum.

    3 Puzzles. There were none, nothing to make the brain matter work. Once you learned how to spam the same few buttons to kill whatever was in front of you, you were done, simple, 5 year-olds can do it.

    4. Soundbites. Gee... same sound snatch over and over and over, enough already.

    5, Main reason I left was the fixed linearality of the game, you had to do each quest in order to get the next quest. I got so bored sometimes running, killing and collecting and running back, over and over.

  15. #15
    Titan Kelimbror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    Blizzard's ghost writers are better though.

    It's a fairly standard calm the masses "letter" that doesn't really say anything people don't already know, very similar to Morhaime's D3 letter.
    I thought the overall content of the letter was a much higher standard than they have been putting out lately, though the caveat being that it did start incredibly overconfident and douchey. I don't think EA/Bioware has the reputation now to admit failure without getting jumped all over and it hurting the bottom line.

    The big difference with Mike's letter about D3 is that he came as close to admitting that the game they made was utter garbage as possible in their coporate world, while repeating adamantly that they are going to fix it. I much prefer that approach. If EA/Bioware ever comes out to say they 'dun goofed', but they are going to make it right I would feel better for their candor.

    Overall it was a positive read and I can see why they would release this now, with the 'delay' in F2P.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyvicious View Post
    Overall it was a positive read and I can see why they would release this now, with the 'delay' in F2P.
    That's kinda what it's there for, the only developer letters I read that felt truly sincere was from Trion and CCP.
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    That's kinda what it's there for, the only developer letters I read that felt truly sincere was from Trion and CCP.
    Check out the letters from Yoshi P. in FFXIV. Say what you want about the quality of the game, but he's be absolutely amazing with regards to communication and having meaningful state of the game updates.

  18. #18
    Pit Lord philefluxx's Avatar
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    Eeeeek

    Im not sure they want this guy as their front man. Not only does he say that people love their game and want to play (total bullshit). He is also boasting that he built, launched, and operated WAR which was a complete disaster. Thats like saying "hey look at me, I helped develop FFIV".

  19. #19
    That "State of the Game" worries me. Either they are knowingly BS'ing us, or they really don't understand.

    People generally liked the game. They didn't stop paying the sub because they don't like subs. They stopped playing because they ran out of content and no new content appeared to be coming out in a timely manner. Who wants to pay for a sub when there is nothing new to do?

    Now they are rushing out a F2P model for a game that wasn't meant to be F2P, and it shows. Limiting action bars? Really? REALLY? In a game that already could use more action bars because there are so many abilities? I suspect that the F2P folks they might have been able to keep in the game will be driven away by a market system that doesn't encourage them to spend for fun and convenience, but encourages them to spend to avoid blatant INconvenience. That's a poor, poor model, and I think it's going to bite them pretty hard.

  20. #20
    Willful BioWare ignorance as usual. I understand you're not going to come out with "Look, we know you think our game is crap!" but be a bit more subtle man.
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