Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Class Choices

Launch day has been and gone, and Christmas with it. I chose my class I will be playing, and that is... Sith Warrior and Jedi Knight. Juggernaut and Guardian respectively.

The eagle-eyed might spot that these are actually the same class, with mild flavour differences in their abilities. Why the same?

Let's start with the Sith Warrior. Now I tried Bounty Hunter, Sith Inquisitor and Sith Warrior in beta. The story line of the BH just didn't grab me as much as the Sith stories - all power seeking, killing and being quite horrible. The BH story line on the other hand wasn't as compelling for me.

Secondly, why Warrior and not Inquisitor? This was mostly due again to the story lines, but also fight mechanics. Although the SI has the better resource system imo, with force power being full at the start of a fight, the clincher was indeed Force Leap/Charge, which is just the best ability in the game hands down.

Also, the Sith Warrior story line gives you plenty of opportunity to be quite the maniac, a sort of force-wielding Terminator. I prefer that to the odd mystery investigations that the SI story line was steering toward.

So, Sith Warrior, I kill everyone who gets in my way, or dares try to kill me. No mercy is shown. Why then Jedi Knight for the Republic?

This is partly because having knowledge of the SW mechanics pays big dividends for the JK. I have all the skills in the same places, so I can mash buttons without even thinking, no need to learn a new combat system. JK has a force leap too, which is of course awesome.

However, my Jedi Knight will be a dark Jedi, like Anakin Skywalker, taking dark side decisions, taking revenge and showing strength whenever possible. Playing it this way is already more interesting than being all goody two shoes.

So essentially I have chosen a dark-side, force wielding, melee tank type class on both sides. Bonus.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Star Wars: The Old Republic "Your Saga Begins" Launch Documentary

So SWTOR has launched today, and predictably there are still queues on the servers which were added for Early Access and we were put on. Therefore while you sit in the server queue, why not watch this video which details how they developed the game. Maybe even including the queuing code :)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Game Face: Top 10 Reasons To Play SWTOR 3

Yes the almost final reasons to play SWTOR, except the last one. I bet its server queues, right?


Choose Your Side: Sith Warrior vs Smuggler

While you sit in a 1 hour queue trying to get onto your server during Early Access, why not review this video, featuring the Sith Warrior versus the Smuggler. Although to be honest, The Server Queue will beat either!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Amazing Grace

Seems Bioware have relented and will grant us a 2 day grace period, so on the 20th you have until the 22nd to enter your code.
Hello everyone,

While we've worked closely with our retailers in the launch territories to ensure copies of Star Wars: The Old Republic are available from our launch date of December 20th, we understand that for those of you who’ve pre-ordered, there may be a concern about getting your copy on time. We’ve heard you want a 'grace period' where you can continue to play without having to enter a final product registration code (AKA 'game code').

We've been listening, and after doing another deep review of our platform infrastructure, we're taking action. Today, we're announcing a two day grace period for Star Wars: The Old Republic customers.

This means that everyone who pre-ordered and is in the Early Game Access program has forty-eight hours from launch in which to enter their product registration code, which will be found inside the physical Standard and Collector's Editions of the game; for digital editions of the game from Origin.com, the registration code will have been emailed to you after December 16th and will arrive before December 19th at 11:59PM EST. After December 22nd 12:01AM EST, you will be required to have a valid payment method and a product registration code registered to your account to continue to play. We strongly recommend that you register your product code as soon as you are able to do so (rather than waiting until the last minute) to ensure a seamless entry into the game, a smooth experience on the account website and to collect any special gifts and items you may be entitled to based on the version of the game you purchased.

We understand that for some, your copy of the game may still arrive on or after December 22nd. Unfortunately, we cannot extend the grace period any further. We suggest you contact your retailer to discuss shipping options, if this is a concern.

You may be wondering if your 30 days of game time (included with your purchase of the game) will be affected by the grace period. The answer is no. If you redeem your product registration code during the grace period, and add a valid payment method to your account, you will begin your billing cycle from then, and you will be entitled to 30 days of game time. If you redeem your product registration code before December 20th, your billing cycle will begin on December 20th at 12:01AM EST (the official launch date and time of the game).

We know this has been an issue for some of you, and we apologize for the concerns. We're looking forward to welcoming all of you to the official launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic!

Thanks,

Ray and Greg

However, Amazon shipped my copy of Normal Edition on the 15th so it should be here on the 16th.

I think this is for people who ordered the Collector's Edition, which is massive and so a lot of places wouldn't get it until the 22nd. For something that cost you 130 pounds just for a load of cosmetic stuff in-game and out, also getting it too late to play on the 20th was indeed rubbish.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Security Key Out for iOS

Thanks to AskAJedi, I now have the security key app for iOS, registered on my account.

The EU one I got from:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/star-wars-the-old-republic/id488420295?mt=8

The US one is apparently at:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/star-wars-the-old-republic/id488420452?mt=8

Now registering it was interesting. The website was asking for a key from the authenticator app at some points, and others it wanted me to enter a value from the site into the app. Tip: the app serial code is in the Information tab on the app, click Security Key Information to see the serial.


Now I am all secure, so hopefully this time my account won't get hacked!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Security Key App and Fob

In among the SWTOR early access, EA have slipped out that you can buy an Authenticator like key for your account.
Increase the security of your Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ account with The Old Republic Security Key! Available as a physical or mobile security key, this optional security key takes only a few minutes to set up and gives your account an additional layer of two-factor authentication, providing much greater protection against unauthorized access even if your computer becomes compromised. Each time you log in to the game or to the website, your security key will generate a unique, eight (8) digit, one-time use digital code to use in addition to your regular Star Wars: The Old Republic password.
Plus, secure your account now and receive access to the in-game security key vendor station!
Now an in game reward is certainly intriguing. The key fob is only available in North America at the moment, but wait... there is an app!

Yes, following in the footsteps of Blizzard we can soon download an app for "iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and select Android and Blackberry devices", all for free!

The reward in game is for either the physical key OR the free app, so really there is no reason to not add one, if you have a device that can run the app. There is the promise of some unique items and gear if you add a key to your account:
Only available to players who have purchased or downloaded a security key and linked it to their Star Wars: The Old Republic account, this unique vendor sells exclusive gear and items

Now my WoW account was hacked, despite me having a crazy password, by the hackers getting my email account AND guessing my secret answer. After that, I am sold on authenticators and am very unsure of running an MMO without one.

The iPhone version of the security key cannot come soon enough, and I will be applying it to my account as soon as it is available.

And We Are In


Early Access started at 12AM GMT today. I received an email in the second wave saying I can start at 1:50PM GMT. I originally registered my pre-order code a day after the pre-orders begun. So that is not bad, a 1 hour 50 minute delay for a day's worth of delay originally.

I've also been logging in with my SWTOR client every time they said they had invited people, and that showed me I had access far sooner than my email. The email may have been sent at 1:48, but it took quite a few minutes to arrive.

Now I know what I will be doing this evening :) Good luck to all those waiting for their emails!

Advanced Space Combat Guide

Just 40 minutes to go before the first wave of Early Access gets to play Star Wars The Old Republic. I am super excited!

In the mean time, check out the awesome advanced space combat guide SWTOR Face have posted up. This is for levels 45-50.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Video Round Up

Only two days to go, then Early Access begins for SWTOR for the lucky few. Still, while we wait, here are some videos to tide us over.

Ned from TGN.tv is continuing to play the Bounty Hunter:


SWTOR Basics guide:


Jedi Consular basics:


Athiss Flashpoint Walkthrough:


SWTOR Face have a nice crafting guide:


BrBrainerd posts his consular video, Part 8:


BFF report features SWTOR:





The Old Republic Beta Thoughts ft. Etalyx:


Saturday, 10 December 2011

So be it... Jedi! Sith Inquisitor Progression

Get your Emperor Palpatine on with the skirted Sith Inquisitor!


In time you will call *me* master.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Game Face Number 14: Top Ten Reasons To Play SWTOR 2


In the second part of a three part series, Pokket details more of her top ten reasons why she will be playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. Pokket starts with Number 7 and continues the downward count as the days to SWTOR's release nears.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Reid Shocks SWTOR Fans With Lies!

Stephen Reid admitted to lying to millions of Star Wars The Old Republic fans last night - over Twitter.

Star Wars fans waiting excitedly for news of a grace period after launch were shocked and horrified as Stephen Reid admitted there was no such thing.

Reid said on the official forums "There will be no ‘grace period’ post launch in which those who are in Early Game Access will be able to continue to play the game". Angry fans posted over 172 pages of complaints, demanding justice for their lost grace period.

One fan said "Disgusted. I feel miss lead and now I leave this topic contemplating cutting my losses here with my Collectors edition purchase and going to another game. Because at this point, I feel as though any money put into this game would be a bad investment. Really, really, really disappointed. The game hasn't even been officially released yet and I feel betrayed by it."

Stephen Reid later apologized for "misleading" fans over the grace period.

An angry fan responded with "Yet even more broken promises. We were not 'led to believe' anything we were told directly. You yourself were even involved in this. Yet another slap in the face before it's even released."

A representative from the Republic commented "We are assisting the police and can confirm we will be ready to hand out quests come the 13th of December". A representative from the Sith was unavailable for comment. We hope they will return our reporter later.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Toms Hardware Benchmarks SWTOR

Further to my ramblings about the performance of Star Wars The Old Republic on slow hardware, Tom's Hardware have posted up a benchmark article.

They go into detail about the various quality settings in SWTOR, try various settings such as no Anti-Aliasing, various AA levels, and also test what happens when you change your processor speed and number of CPU cores.

What is really interesting is that an Intel i3 (with 2 real cores and 4 virtual cores) is almost as quick as an Intel i5 (with 4 real cores), despite the i5 costing up to 50% more.
At low detail settings you’ll want at least a Radeon HD 5770 or GeForce GTS 450 for smooth 1680x1050 frame rates. At high settings, even with 4x MSAA, the game doesn’t need much more, and a Radeon HD 5770/6770 or GeForce GTX 550 Ti can handle 1920x1080.

With texture transparency anti-aliasing enabled, this MMO is much more demanding. At 1920x1080, only AMD's Radeon HD 6970 was able to provide slightly more than a minimum of 30 FPS, although the GeForce GTX 570 was only a little behind.

When it comes to platform requirements, the game is much more forgiving. Really, any quad-core chip will suffice. Or, you could go with a dual-core processor running faster than 2.5 GHz.
So as they put it "Low CPU requirements, but mid-range graphics recommended".

Check out the full article.

Monday, 5 December 2011

SWTOR On Minimum System Specs

SWTOR on an almost-minimum spec system
In a galaxy far, far away, a long time ago, I bought a PC. I've kept that PC by my side for years, but last weekend it faced it's sternest test yet.

The specs of my system are:

Windows XP Home
Intel Core 2 6600 @ 2.4 GHz
2.75 GB RAM
Geforce 7800 GTX 256 MB RAM

Now let's take a look at the minimum specs for SWTOR:
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz or better
Operating System:
Windows XP or later

RAM:

Windows XP: 1.5GB RAM
Windows Vista and Windows 7: 2GB RAM

Note: PCs using a built-in graphical chipset are recommended to have 2GB of RAM.
Star Wars: The Old Republic requires a video card that has a minimum of 256MB of on-board RAM as well as support for Shader 3.0 or better. Examples include:
ATI X1800 or better
nVidia 7800 or better
Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics or better
So I am sitting just above the minimum system specs.

So how did the game go? In a word: okay. In the last weekend build, the graphics somehow improved a lot, with everything looking sharper. Now I've taken screen shots for before and after and I can tell no difference. Still, it felt better. I suspect they increased the texture resolution on NPC faces, so cut scenes look decent.

I had everything on minimum settings - that's Low for everything, shadows disabled, no vsync, and at 1900x1080 resolution.

The game ran at a general average of 25 frames per second (FPS) (using the Ctrl-Shift-F shortcut to show FPS), sometimes more, sometimes a lot less when there were many player characters around. In space combat I was getting more like 15-20 FPS.

That frame rate is ok, it is certainly playable but won't be winning any awards for graphical prettiness. With low resolution textures things look ok but not really sharp.

Space combat certainly looks good at any system spec
Memory
One caution, SWTOR on my system really did need all of the free memory available. With even Firefox loaded, the game was constantly disking to the swap file, even when my toon was stood still. With nothing whatsoever loaded (apart from Windows XP), there was no disk access unless needed, the 2.75 GB memory was enough. I don't think 1.5 GB is enough RAM really.

Laptop Play
I also tried SWTOR on a laptop which was an Intel Core 2 Duo t9400 2.53 GHZ, with 2.99 GB ram and some ATI mobility graphics card. That also ran at 1920 by 1200 at much the same speed. Certainly playable.

Now that is interesting, because the Geforce 7800 certainly out-performs the mobile chip in the laptop. However the CPU in the laptop is faster. So is SWTOR somehow dependent on CPU as well as GPU?

SWTOR Performance Analysis
Helpfully the chaps at PC Games Hardware have taken a look at Star Wars The Old Republic, and here is their report, and translated into English.


What they found is that High-end graphics cards run at the CPU limit, making all the most powerful cards close to each other in FPS. For example, a £100 Geforce GTX 260 ran their 1080p non-AA benchmark at 42 FPS whereas the more powerful £400 GTX 580 runs at 81 FPS. Now 42 FPS is no slouch and is perfectly acceptable.

They discovered that with dual-core CPUs the game runs almost double the speed of a single core CPU (37 FPS vs 66FPS) with a top-end card (GTX 580), but having a 4-core CPU doesn't give much more of a boost (only 73 FPS). Therefore a dual-core CPU is fine for SWTOR, and it may be that the clock speed of the CPU and/or faster architecture is more important than having more cores. Perhaps the game engine will only use two cores, and more are only used for background programs like Windows.


An upgrade is quite certainly required, captain
Conclusion
Although based on beta versions of the SWTOR client, this is certainly interesting reading. It means splashing out for an 4 core Intel i7 is unnecessary, a dual core i3 is perfectly fine or a 4 core i5 would allow for more slack for a web browser/video capture in the background, while being cheaper than the i7. Going for the newest chip architecture and fastest Ghz speed looks like it is better than getting more cores.

Getting a top end graphics card is also unnecessary, a one hundred pound GTX 260 managed 42 FPS, which is fine, whereas for 4 times as much, you might see almost double the frame rate. The data suggests going for some mid-range card or something like a GTX 260 would do fine.

More RAM is better, and I would say 3 GB of system RAM is an absolute minimum, so best make it 4 GB just to be safe.

I will probably stick with my current system for a while, then maybe pick up an Intel i5 or i3 system with something like a low-medium end graphics card, and 4GB of RAM.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Friday, 2 December 2011

GamePro Review SWTOR



What is most exciting about this review is that it features one Julian Rignall, ex-editor of ZZAP!64. Now that takes me back a long way. What is interesting is that they criticise SWTOR quite a bit, and some of it is valid, and some is down to them not being MMO gamers and thus loving the grind. For example the starter zones are compared to the Death Knight zone in WoW Lich King, and I must agree that the DK start experience was epic, whereas the Sith Inquisitor starter area is less so. It's still pretty damn good tho. Apart from the tomb raiding.

Some of the criticism is a bit silly, like complaining that there is role play plot in a massively multiplayer roleplaying game. Some of the reviewers really want to skip the quest text, and just play the game like some sort of guided grind-fest, being told where to go and what to do. I never understood people who play games like that, but they are out there, so this review does show that some people won't like the cinematic conversation stuff in TOR.

Anyway check it out if you want a less than glowing review of SWTOR.

Game Face 13: Top Ten Reasons To Play SWTOR



Hillary "Pokket" Nicole brings us Game Face #13 where she talks about the top ten reasons she will be playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, starting with numbers 8 - 10.

You Tube Videos (Spoilers)

Spoilers!

Space Combat from Ned:


5 pros and cons of SWTOR from Mafia Monkeys:


Brbrainerd posts a 2 new parts of his Jedi Consular video (mit commentary):



Playlist for all parts.

A quest line from later Bounty Hunter game play (level 13):

Part Uno Dos Tres Cuatro Cinco

Swtorface.com posted up an informative guide to how weapon modifications work:


A full run of the Black Talon flash point (Sith):

Thursday, 1 December 2011

New Beta Testing Weekend 2nd Dec to ?

Hot off the forum is this news:
Sent Dec. 1: Final Beta Testing Weekend Invites

This is our final test before launch! We have invited a smaller number of testers than in our previous Beta Testing Weekend to assist us in testing a new build of the game. If you participated in the last Beta Testing Weekend, check your e-mail to see if you've been invited. All you need to do is open the launcher and begin patching – you'll be able to play at the time stated in the e-mail you received.

  • Who was invited: Selected testers that participated in the previous Beta Testing Weekend
  • What was sent: Final Beta Testing Weekend invitations
  • Server locations: US East Coast, US West Cost, and EU servers
  • Invite status: All invitations have been sent! Check your e-mail to see if you have been invited and for instructions!
I got an email with an invite, although it only says the start time is 1PM CST (7PM UK) and no end time. Hopefully its something like 1PM CST Monday, which would be 7PM Monday.

Still, I thought my SWTOR experience was over until live, so this is certainly an exciting and welcome surprise!

Ultra-Spoilers Videos

Now these videos are what I call ultra-spoilers, being that they are just the class story line for various classes. They effectively spoil everything about playing that class, well apart from side quests, but the main thing for a class is the cool class quest.

So why view them? They do show that certain classes have better quests than others for sure, and might give a flavour for the sort of play that a certain class has. For example, after watching these the Imperial Agent looks awesome, and the Sith Warrior class quests are just totally great.

Sith Warrior (female) quest up to the end of the starter planet:
Play list for the Sith Warrior class quests.

Sith Inquisitor:


Imperial Agent:

Play list for all parts

OMfGeeks have posted up a video they keep up to date with all the class story line videos:


Trooper play list.

Imperial Agent play list

Smuggler play list

The Republic Episode 67

The Republic 67 SWTOR Beta Weekend, are you a Jedi? How this pre-launch launch stacked up against other MMO releases. BioWare released Republic class progression video: the Jedi Consular.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Tomb Raider: Sith Inquisitor Impressions

Over the large scale Beta Weekend I played a Sith Inquisitor to level 15. Here are my thoughts on the class, without major spoilers.

Story line
The storyline was good, and I found it a lot of fun to be evil and chose the dark side options all the time. I was presented with a moral choice to betray someone, which was great fun too. The dark and light side choices seem to boil down to kill someone you beat is dark side, whereas sparing their life is light side.

The general theme of the Sith Inquisitor story line was one of rising through the ranks in power, and when I stopped playing it was continuing in that line. There were a few twists along the way which I won't reveal here.

However, Sith will have to like tombs, because a lot of the quests involve trolling through one of the 3 tombs. There is even a line in one of the conversations where your character remarks that you are being sent into a lot of tombs. Which is entirely correct! The starter planet quests seem to involve at least 3 tombs, and its all just collect this artifact, collect that artifact. Luckily the starter planet has non-class quests which do not involve tombs.

The light saber bears mentioning. When you get your first light saber, it is not the epic moment I was hoping for. After reflection, I think it is an epic moment when you get your companion, and this makes up for the saber. The Sith Warrior is the opposite - epic light saber acquisition and non-epic companion acquisition.

Game play
Initially the combat is like WoW, apart from the lack of auto attack, which takes some getting used to. The resource for the SI is Force, which starts out full at 100 and each special attack uses some. It regenerates over time but you do get a basic attack which uses no force called Saber Strike. So essentially you go into combat with full force and can do a few specials before having to spam Saber Strike. Some abilities that were real fun were Shock which immobilizes the target for a short time and does damage, and Overload which does an AOE knock back, and can be used to blast enemies off high cliffs.

The Sith Inquisitor itself seems to get less powerful up to level 8-9, some of the packs of that level required crowd control and were still tricky. Then I got my companion and suddenly could mash through mobs with ease. Also at level 10 I got the choice of an advanced spec, and chose Sith Assassin, with some melee spells.

The Assassin has stealth which is of course really useful for skipping mobs, but it is based on melee so you need to get in close. It does have a positional attack called Maul which you need to be behind the mob for. Luckily your first companion is a reasonable tank, so you can go DPS.

My main issue with the SI was the lack of a closer move, you had to run in to do combat, only Shocking a mob before you were in range. The Assassin spec doesn't help this. Later on there is Death Field and Force Pull, which look useful in damaging mobs while you run in.

One warning here is that the class trainer does not pool all trainable spells on the same page. In fact they have two tabs on their window, one for base SI skills and one for your advanced spec. Therefore I noobishly failed to train my Sith Assassin spells for a level or two, which is embarrassing.

The Sith Inquisitor armour is interesting, it actually looks good. Each quest upgrades your gear and the look of the gear is coordinated, so you never end up looking like a clown. You also get only given 1 choice of gear, which is gear for your class. I also played the Sith Warrior and the exact same quests were giving me armour for a Sith Warrior, not a Sith Inquisitor. This is a major improvement over WoW, because at every stage of the game (so far), you look like a Sith and not some clown.

Companion
The companion does not speak English, so you have to read subtitles. I thought this might be a pain, but it is fine and there is a lot of fun to be had from the banter between the SI and Khem. Several times in conversations you can threaten people with the massive, monstrous Khem, treating him almost like an attack dog. This is also great fun.

There is currently a problem where your companion gets in the way a lot of the time, he will be there where you want to right click to loot, or in the way when you are trying to click an NPC to start a conversation. This can get quite irritating, and sometimes I sent him off on some mission while I was in a city, just to get rid of him.


Crew Skills
I wanted to try the trade skills, called Crew Skills in TOR, and I managed to have a small crack at them. They only seem to be trainable once you get to the space fleet, however I read you can leave the starter planet at level 1 and go do so. I did not. You can have 3 crew skills, but only 1 crafting one.

Still, Crew Skills are pretty cool, because it is your companions who are doing all the work. You don't need to find a crafting place to make things, just select the item in your skills window, click Craft and your companion will disappear and go make the item. I assume when you have people on your ship, you can order them to make stuff at any time.

You need materials to do a crafting skill. I picked Synthweaving and I needed things like Rubat Crystals, which luckily the gathering skill Archeology can find for you in crystal nodes around the world.

With the gathering skills Slicing and Archeology you can also send companions off on missions, which cost credits, and they will return later on with some findings, and some trade skill points. For example, I send Khem Val off on several Slicing missions, each cost 80 credits, took 3 minutes, and when he returned he had a lock box which gave 70-80 credits when I opened it. It also gave slicing skill, so the missions can be used to level the gathering skill instead of grinding on nodes in the world. This is a form of gambling where I assume at some point you get lucky and get some awesome return. Sending the companion off on missions is a curiously good diversion while your main toon is running around a city handing in quests.

When you do find a node in the world, you right click it and your companion goes off to gather from it. So you can be doing other things while they are gathering for you, plus would a Sith really dirty their hands doing gathering? I think not.

Speaking of which, being able to right click on the companion and tell them to sell all grey items is awesome. They disappear for a minute, then come back with some credits.


Slicing is still over powered - you get a credit box for mining a safe in the world, and each box was giving me 70-100 credits a time. I had 9000 credits by the time I hit level 14 and got my ship, so I think I will definitely take Slicing in live, despite the fact that Underworld Trading is a better fit for Synthweaving and Archeology.

Space Combat
I also wanted to try space combat. To do this, you need your own personal space ship, which you get when you complete the class quest chain on the second planet. For the SI this is Dromund Kaas. At level 14 I completed the chain and was able to find some space combat missions on the galactic map. The Sith ship looks very cool, a sort of enlarged Tie Advanced.

Firstly some ship upgrades were need, because your ship comes with slots for various things, but they are all empty. Yes, a visit to the Imperial Fleet Space Station later, I had found the Ship Upgrades vendor. I was only allowed to buy a couple of level 1 items, because they are restricted by character level. I could afford level 3 upgrades, but was not allowed to buy them.

Anyway I grabbed what I could and entered the space combat mission, by going to the galactic map and looking in the Hutta space area. The space combat itself was fun and the graphics looked good even on my system! I can see this mini-game being a fun diversion from the main game.

Conclusion
The Sith Inquisitor looks like a really good class. The class story line is very good, the combat abilities are a mixture of standard stuff and some really cool moves, plus it can tank or DPS in Assassin spec. My only hesitations are the slight squishy nature of the assassin, the lack of closing moves, and that the other Sith class looks a little bit more fun.

There are really 2 problems I have with SWTOR. 1 - I have to wait for 3 weeks to play again. 2 - I haven't decided which class to play yet.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Beta Weekend Starts Today!

Very exciting, its 9am in the UK, so we have 7 hours to wait, then us weekend testers will be able to try Star Wars The Old Republic. I am totally hyped at this point, but yet I am expecting queues and delays. Finally I will get to join in the fun with all those lucky people the Bioware random number generator picked for beta.

Much has changed since I last posted about the weekend. It was revealed, through the Force, that testers will get access on Friday at 4pm in the UK, and the weekend closes on Monday at 6am. Now forgive me for being silly, but that is not really "Friday to Monday" in spirit. Sure it is technically Friday and Monday, but yeah, like I am going to skip sleep to play a game in which my toon will be deleted when I go to bed!

USA peoples get a better deal, their access is from 10am Central Standard Time till midnight Sunday. Now I can see why this was done, if Europe got some servers at 10am GMT, what do you think would happen? All of America on the EU servers, that's what.

I hope it is different at launch. Early access which starts at 4pm on a particular day cannot be counted as giving you that entire day, more like the evening of the day. I think any American who rolls on a European server just to get a few more hours in, is quite crazy, because they will then have to dump that toon and reroll on their own servers if they came up later. Or, Bioware could use the location information for testers and give them access times which suit when their own local servers come online.

Still, given at this point I am detecting some US-centricity from Bioware, I don't hold out much hope. I suspect Early Access will be 4pm UK time on whatever day I get in. Sigh.

Anyway, despite all this timezone rubbish, it's sure exciting to finally get my hands on the game (queue)!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Game Face Episode 12

Pokket from MMORPG posted another episode of Game Face, again talking about the non-NDAed SWTOR!

TORqued Episode 9

Weekly news from TORqued!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

More YouTube Videos (Spoilers)

Yes, everyone and their dog who are in the Beta are posting up some YouTube videos. These all contain spoilers.

I have found some Sith Warrior videos, which make the class look like awesome:

Part One Two Three Four

Another Sith Warrior starter play through:
Part One Two Three Four Five

Towelee is back with a many-part Juggernaut series (and some swearing):

Playlist for all parts.

Hengest continues his series on the Jedi Knight with parts 3, 4 and 5.

Part One Two Three Four Five Six

Hengest posts a new series, this time the Sith Inquisitor:

Part One Two Three Four

First Light Saber as a JK:


Mr Total Biscuit has beta access, and has started to post videos:


Jedi Knight ship tour:


Total Biscuit plays through the Imperial Agent:


Most importantly, you can sit in chairs now!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

YouTube Round Up (Spoilers)

All these YouTube videos contain spoilers, for the game play and story lines. Having said that, knowing that a certain class has a cool story in sections gets me interested in playing said class.

Brbrainerd continues his Jedi Consular series, with commentary, with Part Four and Five:




Part One Two Three Four Five

Redrancor Directive 7 Flashpoint Parts Two and Three:


Part One.

Early Bounty Hunter game play:


Bounty Hunter Advanced Class choices and Crew Skills:


Jedi Knight gets some romance in the story line


Trooper levels 12-18 game play:


Space Combat guide:


More Space Combat:


Ned from TGN.tv doing a Bounty Hunter play through:


Monday, 21 November 2011

SWTOR Client Available For Download

The SWTOR client is now available for download. I went to swtor.com/tester, logged in and was asked to accept the test. I was then presented with a download link for the client.

I haven't received any email yet, but the portal does not lie!

Furthermore, I have access to the Beta Test Forum, so that's cool. But the content of the Beta Forums is confidential, so that is all I will say about them :)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

YouTube Video Round-Up (Spoilers)

There are way too many videos to post individually, so... here is one big-ass post. Of course all these videos contain spoilers.


Jedi Knight:

Part One Two Three

Gamespot post 2 hours of game play in one video! Although it is both the Sith Inquisitor and the Smuggler. Alas there is waffle over the cut scenes, which I don't really approve of.


Crafting and Companions:


Sith Inquisitor commentary, during wandering around killing stuff:


Sith Inquisitor videos

Part One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten

Commando ship and space combat


Jedi Knight play through

Play List of all 13 parts

Republic Trooper


Jedi Consular starting game play and commentary


Bounty Hunter starting game play and commentary


Imperial Agent chapter 3 intro (mega spoilers)


Jedi Knight play through with commentary

Part One Two

Trooper level 1-10 game play

Part One Two

Pretty sweet, but what's with all the Jedi Knight love?

You Don't Know The Power Of The Dark Side

However, Bioware will show you with the Sith Corruption feature which Ned from TGN.tv shows off here. Pretty neat, although alignment won't be obvious for classes like the Bounty Hunter, who hide their heads behind helmets all the time.

Luckily the feature can be toggled, so when you want to look all good and stuff you can, and be all evil behind closed doors. Although no one noticed Anakin's eyes glowing or anything, so clearly the Jedi Council are pretty dumb when it comes to spotting Sith. For the Sith, on the other hand, this feature is awesome cool. Sith can make truly horribly nasty decisions, knowing it will make your toon look even more Sith-like.

Jedi Consular Play Through Videos (Spoilers)

Now the NDA has dropped, I can share these videos I found on YouTube. First up, BRBrainard shows us his experiences in the Beta Weekend just passed. He plays a Jedi Consular. The commentary is quite good on the first two, and I spotted the third has appeared just recently.

Warning, these videos contain SPOILERS. Plus some minor bad language. Enjoy.



Friday Update: Stop. Hammer Time!

Yes I went there.

Friday, 18 November 2011

OMG SWTOR Info Explosion

Yes, the NDA has been lifted. So I now expect a terrifying explosion of information about SWTOR on YouTube, fan sites and the news sites who are in the beta.
Folks,

As of now, the non disclosure portion of our Game Testing Agreement is officially lifted. While all players must still accept the Game Testing Agreement, from this point on testers may now freely talk about their experiences this past weekend in the game, as well as post screenshots and gameplay videos of their testing experiences. We encourage you to come join us on the official Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Forums to share your experiences!

The Star Wars: The Old Republic community site will have a copy of this message on the forums and it will also appear in the Patcher. Players may not talk about nor reprint posts from our testing forums as they are still fully covered by the confidentiality portions of our Game Testing Agreement. And all players who want to participate in the upcoming Beta Test Weekends still have to accept all terms of the Game Testing Agreement. So, other than that, free feel to talk about and share your experiences in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

My thanks go out to everyone who has beta tested and continues to beta test the game. It has been with your help and feedback that Star Wars: The Old Republic is where it is today. We really appreciate your efforts.

May the Force be with you!

Greg Zeschuk
VP, Electronic Arts, BioWare Austin, General Manager

This is of course a good thing, except that it is likely to get very difficult to keep up with everything. Still, I would love a look at the Sith Warrior and Bounty Hunter classes, so hopefully I'll find some game play videos on YouTube soon.

MMORPG have already posted up a preview of the 4 Sith classes; Bounty Hunter, Warrior, Inquisitor and Imperial Agent. Darth Hater were spotted putting up a live stream which went down again, presumably because the NDA drop announcement didn't happen when they thought it would.

Still, now when I get into the Beta Weekend I can join the crush and post my impressions and stuff about what I played!

Directive Seven Flashpoint Playthrough

As part of the Fan Site Summit news which is spilling, Red Rancor and TOROCast have posted part one of their video of a Flashpoint. A level 50 Flashpoint called "Directive Seven". Meanwhile a live Darth Hater stream allegedly of SWTOR game play appeared, then was taken down again. This lead to speculation that the NDA was dropped, or may be dropped at the Friday Update. Which still has not appeared.

Fan Site Embargo Over

Well in 15 minutes the Fan Site embargo is over and there should be a load of info posted. As well as a Friday Update I hope.

One little leak Google Reader caught was the reveal of a new PvP zone called Outlaw's Den. Nothing much else is known about this, but I'm sure a certain fan site will be posting all about it soon :)

Friday Update: ?

Mysterious hints abound about this Friday Update:

RockJaw: Tomorrow's update will be interesting. Sadly I'll be flying so doubt I'll see your reaction until later... ah well. Hope you like.


UndeadJest3r: @Rockjaw I just got an e-mail beta invite from Origin for a friend and I, but I'm already in beta. Can I give both invites away? #SWTOR

RockJaw: @UndeadJest3r Yes, but they need to be redeemed quick.

Let the wild speculation begin!

Could it be the announcement of when people are getting into the Beta Weekend - maybe it is random, or earliest registered on SWTOR.com get in first?

Could it be the announcement of a drop of the NDA?

Could it be that you can no longer redeem beta keys after the Friday Update goes live?

Have they sold out of all normal editions of SWTOR and everyone who hasn't pre-ordered one by now has to wait until some time after launch?

The anticipation is killing me!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

SWTOR Preview from Game Face

Pity this is for the Republic only, but I guess this preview is from the recent press beta.


Hillary "Pokket" Nicole takes a look at the Republic side of the equation from Star Wars: The Old Republic and offers her unique take on game play and more.

Beta Weekend Aiming 25 - 28th November, NDA?

This just in, the Beta Weekend is aiming for Friday 25th to 28th of November, via twitter and web.

Updated the FAQ with this question and answer:

When will the Beta Testing Weekend start?

We are targeting November 25-28 for our upcoming Beta Testing Weekend. Exact timing on when you will be invited will be specified in your invite email.
Now this last part leads to the speculation that they are also testing Early Access, by rolling people into the weekend.

These dates are "Black Friday" to the Monday, so they did at least avoid Thanksgiving day itself.

Stephen Reid tweeted that the Beta client for this weekend may work in the live game, without any re-downloading. Apart from patches, but a few hundred megs is better than 20 gigs. Right?
Will I need to re-download the game client after the upcoming Beta Testing Weekend, or can I use it during Early Game Access?

You may have to re-download the game client, but we are hopeful you will not have to. This will be confirmed after the upcoming Beta Testing Weekend.

source.

This is code for, if there are many changes to make, they may make us download it again. But if there are small tweaks, they may just patch it.

There is also a tweet which hints that something may change with the NDA for the Weekend Beta:

Reedyn: @Rockjaw Will I be allowed to have mates over and try the #betaweekend so I can lure them into #swtor - or would that be breaking the nda?

Rockjaw: @Reedyn Stay tuned....!

One would assume this could mean the NDA will be dropped, or limited.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Weekend Testing Aims


With the news that everyone registered on SWTOR.com will be in the next Weekend Beta Test, I have begun to think about my aims for the weekend. The weekend may only be 3 days long, and for some of that I may well be busy, so what can I realistically achieve during the weekend?

Playing My Main
Recently an article went up on a fan site arguing that you should play your "main" class during a beta test. The argument goes along the lines that you want to give feedback on a class you're interested in, plus make sure it is for you. This is a good enough argument to convince me.

However, will I play through many levels on a main class? No, I think I will play enough to get an idea of whether I like Bounty Hunter or not, but I do want to try other classes. SWTOR looks like being quite an alting game, with the amazing story lines for all the classes, I want to play through a few other classes on the side. So I need to decide which ones that will be.

The Sith Inquisitor story sounds pretty cool, rising to power and manipulating things behind the scenes. The Imperial Agent story sounds awesome, that you are under cover in some sort of spy movie. The Sith Warrior is the one I am not too sold on, I've only heard you are a rage monster smashing stuff up, so I am actually wanting to try out Sith Warrior and see if it has more depth.


Trade Skills
As a crafter in WoW, I definitely want to check out some trade skills. Now you can have 3 trade skills and apparently one crafting and two gathering. I definitely want to check out how much credits Slicing makes, but I am interested in the Jedi gear making skills. So on the Sith Warrior: Synthweaving, Archeology, Diplomacy or Investigation. For the Bounty Hunter I'll try Slicing, Artifice and maybe Archeology or, if I can mail stuff from the other toon over, Treasure Hunting.

Of course that list is based on my best guess as to what gathering and mission skills might play together with crafting skills, part of the fun will be to find out. I hope it becomes quite obvious, or even that the NPC trainers will give you a hint. "Hey want to Synthweave? Then you'll need Archeology to get the mats" sort of thing would be very handy.

Space Combat
I am quite intrigued by space combat. It seems that one needs merely unlock one's space ship and space combat is available. Posts on the SWTOR.com forums suggest that you get your ship when you finish the starting planet, which can be from level 10 upward.

So it may be worth burning through the class quests on the starter planet just to get off it and get my hands on the space ship, on one class at least. Given I intend on playing a Bounty Hunter, I will likely "rush" the BH so I don't totally spoil everything on the starter planet.

Level Aim
So what level is a reasonable one to aim for? Advanced class, Star ship? Advanced class I think is at level 10, so that should be a reasonable one to get to, but ship is likely after that, if I dither around on the starter planets.


Again I'll have to limit what I do to fulfill my aims, so I'll only try to get a ship on one toon, then try some space combat if I can when the ship is unlocked. On the other toon I will get it to level 10 so I can see the Advanced Class choices.

PC Performance
Now a big thing is how well will SWTOR run on my PC? It is at exactly the minimum specs for SWTOR, so I am somewhat nervous. I really want to try the game just to see how it runs on minimum settings, and whether that is acceptable. Running a Flashpoint would be good, because my PC is as slow as it gets during raids in WoW.

Happily just getting the game client and getting logged in will be all I need to get a good idea of whether I need an upgrade or not. Getting a toon off the starter planet and into the Esseles Flashpoint would be a bonus.

Conclusion
With all this to do in merely one weekend, I just hope I don't get rolled into the beta on the last day. If so, I'll just be looking at the game performance and little else!

The Republic Podcast talks Beta Weekends

Star Wars The Old Republic Post Beta Weekend, Bioware drop more news on Ilum, and the new Trooper / Inquisitor video.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Credit Sellers Already?

A recent post on the blog by a "gold seller" got me thinking, has the gold selling industry started to gather around Star Wars The Old Republic already, like the vultures they are?

The answer seems to be yes. A google search on "SWTOR credits" shows 7 pages full of sites offering to sell them. Despite SWTOR not even being launched.

Prices? One site offered 1000 credits for 3 dollars, one 500,000 credits for 1000 dollars. It's amusing that they don't know what a credit is worth in SWTOR, and do not have any yet, but they can still be offering them for sale.

One site even lists endorsements from customers, because apparently they already have customers. Maybe in beta? Likely these sites are just trying to get top of the search results from Google. With such lies, I wouldn't trust any of them.

So the vultures are gathering. Remember, don't buy credits/gold from sellers, you just encourage account hacking and theft. Go and earn the credits yourself in-game honestly.

Although I have no solid credit-earning tips yet, it has been discussed on Game Breaker TV's The Republic podcast that the Slicing skill is over powered. It seems this is a very good one to pick up while leveling - you can unlock safes, terminals and other things you come across while questing, and receive pure credits from them. In massive amounts, although I expect Bioware to tune that before launch.

Once the game launches I'll be trying to make some credits from trade skills, and discuss that on this blog.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Friday Update: All Inclusive Beta Weekend

In a cunning move, Bioware's latest update is quite the doozy:
When we started our Beta Testing Weekends, we told you that each weekend would include more testers than the last. We’re excited to announce that later this month we will be conducting our largest Beta Testing Weekend yet, specifically designed to help us stress test our servers in preparation for the launch of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.

How can you take part in this coming Beta Test Weekend? Well, for starters we are happy to announce that anyone who has signed up for our Game Testing Program prior to today, November 11th, will get invited! Invites will be sent in the coming weeks.
So anyone not signed up can try to win codes from various sites, but let's say if you're not signed up to test by now, why on earth would you be interested in testing with merely 2-3 weeks to go?

My money is on the weekend of the 26/27th November, which those in the USA call "Thanksgiving weekend". The next weekend seems too close to the current Beta Weekend, although I would be fine with that too :) Plus there are only 2 more weekends left in November.

Now an intriguing thing raises its head if it is Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving day is Thursday 24th, which usually everyone in the USA has off, and they also generally take Friday 25th too for a nice 4 day weekend. So if the Beta weekend is that weekend, might it run from Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th?

Of course, it's a little rough if it is that weekend, because then tech support staff and maybe the developers will have to work during the one period of the year that everyone is off in the USA. Which isn't a problem for those in the Galway server center in Ireland, but I guess those in the USA will be less than impressed.

Anyway that's my speculation, but I guess we will find out more soon. Given I was registered for testing since Bioware allowed it, I should definitely get in this one!

The Republic Podcast Episode 64: Sniper OP?



We take a look at the Imperial Agent video, Early Game Access, and is the Sniper OP?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Smuggler Ultimate Walkthrough

EU Game Testing Invites

So good to his word, Stephen Reid reported that EU game testing invites are being sent out. This is to the ongoing test, which has like 5 weeks left to run, maybe less if they shut the test servers down before launch. Anyway, beggers can't be choosers and all that.

This is somewhat exciting, but less so than a Beta Weekend with the EU included. See, general game testing seems to include a whole lot less people, thus your chance to get in is much better on a Beta Weekend. This is of course tempered with the fact that a general beta invite means you get to play for more than just one weekend.
General Game Testing Invites are now being sent to EU testers.

Sent Nov. 10: General Game Testing Invites

Who was invited: Testers from all European launch countries (see list here)
What was sent: General Game Testing Invites
Server locations: EU servers
Invite status: Invites will continue to be sent during today. E-mails can take some time to be sent, so please check your www.swtor.com/tester page to be sure!
source

Personally I am hitting F5 on the swtor.com/tester page right now.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Beta Weekend Number 3 This Weekend (12/13)

Some exciting news from SWTOR.com, this weekend of the 12th and 13th is Beta Weekend number 3! Well, that would be exciting if you live in North America, as the thread only mentions that testers from NA are being invited.

So erm EU invites anyone? Is this the case that the thread will be updated when EU invites go out, or are they going to move EU Beta Weekends to another weekend.

Invitations are being sent for a weekend test this weekend!
Sent Nov. 8: Beta Testing Weekend #3 Invites

Who was invited: Testers from North America
What was sent: Beta Weekend #3 Invites
Server locations: US East Coast
Invite status: We are currently in the process of sending these invites, and will continue throughout this evening.

Update: This weekend is not for EU because Bioware are stressing their USA servers, but but Mr Reid says there will be some EU testing ASAP:
Yes, we can, but when we send our next batch of testing invites it'll be to every EU launch country.

One of the reasons for this weekend's Beta Testing Weekend is to specifically stress test servers in our East Coast data center. To help achieve this aim, we're inviting North American players (USA and Canada), who'll be playing in a similar timezone to each other, to help max out the server capacity.

We're absolutely aware of how anxious Europeans are to test The Old Republic, and we're going to be inviting many more Europeans to testing ASAP. I'm not going to suggest a timeframe, but we'll let you know as soon as invites are sent. The next batch of invites for Europeans will be to general Game Testing, which will persist beyond a weekend.
I also hope that they will want to stress the hell out of their Ireland servers too, so there might be a big EU test at some point.

Cyborgs Are Go

One nice piece of news from the Fan Site Summit going on at the moment, is that Cyborgs are in SWTOR as a race. Various fan sites such as TOROCast have this information, from the James Ohlen Q&A, so it is true.

Now TORWars posted a video with quiet audio, but SWTORFace have boosted the audio and uploaded a new version of the Q&A. Watch it for a virtual experience of being at the summit!



Now having cyborgs is very cool, famous cyborgs such as Cad Bane, Darth Vader, General Grevious, will now be joined by your character. Who knows what sort of options are available for a Cyborg or which races they are, but hopefully we will get more information soon.

Monday, 7 November 2011

TORqued Show Number 8

Hot on the heels of the SWTOR show comes TORqued number 8.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Joining a Sith and Republic Guild

Guild formation phase 3 is upon us, and my Republic guild already has the pre-req 4 pre-orders to get a green check box. The Sith guild I want to join also is a go.

However, on the SWTOR.com website, I am unable to join both my Republic and my Sith guild. The site cheerfully tells me that if I apply to a Sith guild, I will be withdrawn from my current guild. Which is frankly rubbish.

Given the game has such a lot of quality class stories, it seems obvious that people will want to play both Sith and Republic at some point. If SWTOR.com is to grow into a guild site rivaling Guild Portal (to pick an example), they are going to have to let one account be members of multiple guilds. Not just one Republic and one Sith guild either, but multiple of each.

But for now I have to be content with a promise of a slot in the Sith guild, and an actual slot in the Republic guild.

In other news, early access was teased by Mr Reid as "quite soon" we will have some information. Hopefully that grace period will also get expanded upon, as this directly affects which sort of postage I pay for, for the boxed copy of SWTOR.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Strange GAME Release Date Worries, Grace Period

So an official forum thread which concerned GAME has gotten a yellow post. In the thread the OP says GAME had told him Star Wars The Old Republic was released on Friday 23rd December, and would be in store then. Oddly the GAME website also lists SWTOR as released on the 23rd.

Stephen Reid gave a response:
We'll investigate this, but there has been no change to the release date for The Old Republic - December 20th is the release date for our current launch countries.

While we ensure messages are communicated at the corporate level, we can't be responsible for making sure every member of a big organization like GAME is aware of things like this. We rely on retailers to get that information out to their staff.

Regarding the GAME website, it's possible that their system doesn't automatically allow for a release date that's not a Friday. We will look into it, however, and if there's any specific date change for GAME we'll let you know.

What is interesting is the OP asked if the grace period for registering your key would extend to the 23rd, but Reid did not respond. There was then speculation that the grace period was 10 days, but we have had no confirmation about this anyway.

Given the game is out close to Christmas, a traditionally busy time for post (ie post is broken badly in the UK), the grace period would be a week or so, so those of us who have mail ordered can get time to receive our SWTOR packages.

Update: It was just a glitch and the GAME website is back to showing the 20th. Still no word on that grace period Mr Reid...

Monday, 31 October 2011

Gamebreaker TV Press Embargo Beta Reveals

Gamebreaker TV's Star Wars The Old Republic podcast has posted not one, but two, episodes discussing the recent press beta. It turns out that Bioware dropped the NDA for the press for any game play up to when they got their ship. So The Republic podcast spent two episodes discussing and talking about the Beta! Which is quite seriously awesome, and some of this information is quite in depth and new.



Sunday, 30 October 2011

In-Game TOR Impression

In-Game from MSNBC have posted a brief video with their impressions from (presumably) playing the press beta of Star Wars The Old Republic. In the video the narrator describes how much fun it was to play a "bad" Jedi, taking all the evil or morally questionable choices while still being on the "good" side.

Their impressions, along with every one else, seem to be good. It would be nice to see some actual in-game footage rather than clips of the various videos Bioware put out, but hopefully Bioware will drop that NDA soon. I am getting somewhat good at spotting each clip when I see it!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Friday Update: Voidstar and Warzones

Now I am not much of a PvP fan, but the video for the Voidstar Warzone has me all excited. I think the story line and the idea of fighting on an abandoned ship in space is very cool.

I did do some PvP back in WoW, but it was usually to grind for some PvE item or another. The PvP in Star Wars The Old Republic is looking very interesting at the moment.

Along with the video, Bioware also added a Warzones page to SWTOR.com, which just collects the information they've released so far.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

NYCC Catching Up

What a week to go away, what with the Star Wars The Old Republic press embargo lifting, there has been a serious amount of posts about the game. Luckily Darth Hater summarized them all. From what I read the reaction has been very favourable from all media outlets.

Massively spilled the beans on the crafting system.

The Hater then posted not one but two game play videos:




In a cunning attempt to get us to pony up for the massively expensive Collections Edition, SWTOR showed the beast being unboxed:



While the goodies all look very nice, especially the Collector's in-game store, I think I'll just take my colour stone for the preorder and be done with it.

Then Force Junkies posted the Q&A from the New York Comic Con in its entirety, which is very nice:










MMORPG.com posted a recap of the Q&A as well, along with their video of it.

Next I find an excerp of the new Star Wars TOR novel, Revan, from Random House.

TORWars delivered a nice interview from NYCC with David Bass:


TOR-Talk interviewed Daniel Erickson, featuring Daniel swearing!


Still what is mysterious is there has been no mention of another Beta Weekend. With only 2 months left to go before release, Bioware are fast running out of time to get all the 1 million people signed up into testing. Now given they said everyone who was signed up to test would get a look at a Beta Weekend at some point, I do hope they are not going to dismiss this promise and go back on their word. Once is bad enough (they said Beta Weekends would be all throughout September and delivered exactly one), but twice? Say it ain't so.

Ned's Profession Guide

Ned from TGN.TV has posted a professions guide. This is generally taken from information on SWTOR.com, but it doesn't hurt to hear it again (the first time anyway).


I am thinking Artifice and Synthweaving might be good, because they make items for force users, who will be very popular.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Jedi Knight Origin Worlds Gameplay

A short video from TORWars showing off a bit of game play. This one is the Jedi Knight in the starter area.



Now there is longer beta footage out there, but this is not violating the NDA.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

NYCC Interviews

There were quite a lot of interviews at the New York Comic Con, let's get digging!

Force Junkies interviewed Cory Butler, Live Producer:



TORWars interviewed Stephen Reid, Senior Community Manager:



TORWars interviewed Daniel Erickson and put the transcript on their site. The interview is very awesome and goes into depth on the creative process behind writing the dialog. Having witnessed the great dialog in Mass Effect, I find background on how they write it is very welcome.

Corellian Run Radio interviewed David Bass about the lack of a dungeon finder, Weekend Testing, and the NDA. David Bass said if you group with someone else, the game will ask if you want to join the same instance together on the origin world. So the instancing they have in place in the open world will not stop you playing with a friend, which is nice.

Sadly no one who was interviewed would drop any details about future Beta Weekends, other than there will be some more before launch.

Monday, 17 October 2011

TGN.TV Interviews Stephen Reid at Eurogamer

Ned from TGN.TV interviewed Stephen Reid at the Eurogamer Expo 2011. Because the audio was bad, Ned took the time to subtitle the video, which is why it is out when it is, although it sounds fine.

One question touched upon is why announce the release date at Eurogamer. I am glad to see that Mr Reid is honest and tells us that it was because they were worried about leaks from the game stores, given we now know this to be the case.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Daniel Erickson Facebook Q&A

Just after the New York Comic Con, Daniel Erickson took questions over Facebook, then answered them an hour later. For those who do not do Facebook (I can hardly blame you tbh), here it is in its entirety:

Thomas Haugeberg: Is there going to be an end for this game's story? Will one side rule in the end?

Daniel: We know where the galaxy ends up in the next 3000 years but there's a long way to go until we get there and hopefully (since we all like our jobs) that story won't be ending anytime soon!

Jason Trent: Are all "romances" with non-companion NPC's one night stands or are some of them fully fleshed out romances?

Daniel: Some of them are long term romances, some actually spanning across several chapters.

Travis Clay Henry: What character in ToR has been your favorite to write thus far?

Daniel: Vette. Writing a complete character from start to finish is one of the most self-indulgent things we get to do as writers and Vette's strange romance path with a former master was an interesting challenge.

Benjamin French: out of curiosity, will Advanced Class effect story? as an example, would a scoundrel play the same story a gunslinger would? or are the stories for scoundrels and gunslingers different?

Daniel: Advanced classes are purely for gameplay. We didn't want players to restrict their gameplay choices due to story. The idea, in fact, was the opposite. We wanted people to be able to choose any class story in the game and then choose from a broad range of gameplay choices. Which is why we have six classes that can tank and six that can heal.

Eric Baker: What advice might you have for someone interested in writing for video games (or even just writing in general)?

Daniel: Write. All the time, as much as you can and in varied formats. Study screenwriting and classic dramatic structure. Get your basic craft and skills together. Join a writing group online. Having a smart group of people telling you how terrible you are will sharpen your skills infinitely faster than having your friends tell you how good you are.

Matthew Myrick: Besides having fully voiced characters and a huge story, what would you say is one of the most exciting or unique aspects that cannot be found in any other MMO on the market?

Daniel: Star Wars. From the ships to the companions to the operations, every minute of the game oozes Star Wars love. It really feels like you're in your own movie.

Chris Cox: What was your first job and how did you get into the industry. Do you have any advice for people studying games design right now?

Daniel: Well my very first job was McDonald's. I told them I was a vegetarian and I wouldn't work in the back and somehow they still hired me. I got written up three times more than was allowed before you were supposed to be fired and was still begged to stay when I left. Fast food memories. I got into the industry as an intern game critic, then a writer, than an editor, then to EA as an assistant producer, then designer, then lead designer then over to BioWare. If you want to get into the industry decide how badly you want to. More than friends? Family? Hometown? Set your priorities and then take every chance. Find small projects on kickstarter and volunteer your time. Make your own mods, work on your craft and take any job that can get you in the door.

George B. Thomas: is there a chance that you can rebel from your initial alignment? ie: Jedi going dark or Sith going light in the future?

Daniel: Yes, there's always time to fall or be redeemed.

Daniel Fowler: @Erickson: Who is your favorite writer? What inspired you to become one?

Daniel: I go through books so quickly it's hard to say. The ancient Greeks would have to be my first inspiration as I read the Greek mythology books over and over as a kid. If you want to write, read everything great from every genre you can stomach.

Jessica Alexis: Will there be some "perk" at the end of your storyline depending on which path you take? Be it absolute Dark or absolute Light.

Daniel: Nothing that affects gameplay to such a point as to make a "wrong" choice for raiding but there will be some cool stuff waiting for you.

Russ Beardmaster Roach: From what I've seen, the dark side/sith is very well written and has multiple "epic" feels to it. How does the light side/jedi story differ, does it offer the same epic feeling to the lightside players and do you think the two are equally balanced in quality?

Daniel: Absolutely. I think more attention from both fans and press have been paid to the Sith simply because the version of the Sith Empire we're presenting is new and therefore sparks curiosity. Our Jedi class stories are some of the most popular in testing and they have an amazing diversity both between them and inside each story for light and dark side approaches. These choices affect companions, story lines and even what titles you can gain and what position you'll eventually hold in the Jedi Order.

Robert Diaz: Will there be a cosmetic costume option for players, so they can appear one way, and yet have the best equipment?

Daniel: There is a route to do this, though not through the traditional appearance tab approach. We use the modding system to enable players to choose the core attributes of special sets of armor and cosmetic outfits so it's not only possible to keep that one really special set of Jedi robes all the way through the game, you can also, with a ton of work, be the person in the raid dressed as a slave girl or a sandperson.

Dylan de Klerck: How do you feel now that the launch is right around the corner

Daniel: Like an expectant father whose wife has been pregnant for six years. Nervous and bemused.

Steve Sherring: Hello, will alignement be reflected on your characters face and posture as in Kotor 1+2 or will it only be represented by gear? thanks

Daniel: Darkside changes will happen to your appearance as well.

Anthony Humes: Is there really 200 of gameplay per class? And does that really mean there is 1600 hours of gameplay?

Daniel: Some people have taken much longer than that to finish a single class story, some a bit less. We always avoid hard numbers for just that reason. Remember that only about 15% of your content later on is class content so the other content on your side will be the same. Which means it would take somewhere around that much time for the average player to play through all the classes but they wouldn't be doing all unique content for if it was all unique you couldn't play with your friends. What you do get, however, is unique class choices and dialogue even in the non-class content and, of course, 100% unique content between the two sides.

A.j. Artiles: Will there be a "hardcore" difficulty for Flashpoints?

Daniel: Yes, all of the 15 announced flashpoints are also playable at end game with harder difficulty modes and end game gear.
All 15 Flashpoints will be available in harder end game modes, that is very cool. Also Daniel worked in Mac Donalds, so can likely ask you if you'd like fries with your MMO.