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.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Signs of War

Requires no introduction but here it is anyway

NYCC: 15 Flashpoints, More Than One Operation

The main Star Wars The Old Republic panel from the New York Comic Con (and also video games etc) certainly had some interesting information.

We learned that there will be 15 Flashpoints in the game at launch. There were 12 heroic dungeons in WoW Wrath, and 7 in Cataclysm, so 15 is a pretty good number, assuming that all of them are available at maximum level as heroics.

There is also at least one more Operation to be announced yet, which is good news, because a single Op with only 5-6 bosses will get old soon. Unless they are planning on releasing some new content PDQ.

It was confirmed that your character's appearance will change if they slip to the dark side. This is cool and if it is done like in Fable, will be very nice. I do have concerns that the changes might wreck my carefully selected character appearance, but I guess we'll have to see what they have in store before making any judgements. I plan on playing a nasty nasty dark side Sith character, so the toon looking as bad-ass as it is should be cool.


TORWars have a full audio play back of the panel, and Darth Hater posted a highlights video of the panel, so you can get the virtual experience. They also posted a live blog.



Later there was a Q&A panel, which Darth Hater has posted a live blog of. Not really much news in this one.

MMORPG.com have full videos of both panel on their site.

Friday, 14 October 2011

NowGamer Previews SWTOR

NowGamer have posted a preview of Star Wars The Old Republic, asking "Can BioWare topple World Of Warcraft with its Star Wars MMO?". It is more about popularity of the MMO rather than any game features or game play impressions.

The focus of the article is how will SWTOR compete against WoW, along with some thoughts on the Free-To-Play model.

Writing on his blog, popular MMO commenter Wolfshead asks, “Outside of killing monsters and taking their stuff, what else is there to do in WoW that is meaningful and of any consequence?”
This, perhaps above all else, is where Old Republic is best placed to take advantage. Though the bare skeleton of the game is very much in the WoW vein, BioWare has included many of the concepts that Warcraft players have been requesting for years, including ownership of a living space (in the form of the player’s own ship) and true role-playing elements, directly inspired by BioWare’s single-player RPGs, that enable the player to have an impact on the world around them.
 The F2P thing is interesting, clearly Bioware think the Star Wars license is enough to make people subscribe, personally I'd have to agree with them. They have dodged any questions about micro transactions however, which makes me thing some sort of "cash shop" is inevitably coming.

The MMO Report Has Failed Us For Not The Last Time

The latest MMO Report is out, talking about Star Wars The Old Republic at 2:50. They sort of imply that companions will be allowed into raids, but actually only talk about parties having companions swapped in and out. Still, it seems enough people thought they were announcing companions in Operations that Stephen Reid had to post a correction on Twitter.

Game Developer Conference Round Up

Bioware were at the Game Developer's Conference 2011 in Austin, Texas this week and participated in a few panels. Both Darth Hater and Gamasutra have coverage.

First up was a panel about localization. This was mostly about that they have to build in different languages (or the ability to have them) from the start. It did end with a surprising cost to add another language:
"The number to do one more localization in The Old Republic is a 'make another game' number for most companies. It's a 7 digit number."
That's like a million or more. Quite expensive but I guess in SWTOR they have to do all the voice overs as well as just translate the texts.

Next was a panel about how Bioware writers work with the development of a game. Darth Hater have an actual transcript. They talk about how theme and style is more important than characters, plot and dialog:
He explained, "Theme, style, and setting integrity are more important factors and require collaboration. …Theme is the oxygen of narrative. You don’t need to see it to notice when it’s missing…Theme is what gives a game a life."
Certainly the integrity of the theme of a game like Mass Effect makes it feel like you are in a living, real universe, not one that is constructed around the shoot-em-up you are playing.

The next panel was one on extending a game into the community, again Darth Hater have a transcript. Daniel Erickson has already said that Bioware want to get stuff like an API and armory-style features out quickly. They mention that they won't be leaking absolutely everything about the story lines:
2:03 - Question: What about audience burn out?

Erik Olsen: That is something we worry about at BioWare because we are doing a story based game. We try to withhold information so players don't get overwhelmed or lose the sense of discovery. We know the day a game launches that information will be on Darth Hater or another site but we still try to hold back.
The last panel on Day One was entitled "Double Coding: Making Online Games for Both the Casual and the Hardcore" and Massively have the details. Damion Schubert said in the panel that the model that Blizzard use, of "easy to play, hard to master", with hardcore and casual, is too black-and-white, and people are really on a continuum.

He then talks about how they try to get everyone to become an invested gamer, by front loading the fun. None of this talk was about SWTOR anyway, but it is interesting to see that they may be aiming away from the serious complexity of a title like WoW and for something more in the middle
ground, and maybe have lots of options at end game:
Endgame presents a whole new batch of potential pain points, such as a player hitting a progression wall or a feeling of extreme repetition. It's here, Schubert argues, that devs need to give players as much variety as possible so that choice can relieve these instances of pain instead of forcing a confrontation between the pain and that player's investment.

Finally on Day Two there was a panel on how Bioware can monitor what is happening in game, and do rapid content creation. One of the most interesting and "big brother" things to come out of that talk was:
2:25: Q: How do you stop or catch leaks?

A: With all the data tracking we have we can see a single ability used at a single location for every player. If a leaked video shows a player wearing a certain piece of armor or doing donuts on a speeder in a certain zone we can find them very easily
So yeah. Watch out, beta leakers!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

SWTOR Show S2 Number 9

Episode 9 of the SWTOR Show has appeared on YouTube, this one is titled "TORqued #5".

The hosts discuss the Friday update about Companions, plus the BH vs JK video.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

New France, Germany Testing Invites

Someone in France and Germany is getting lucky tonight, with the most recent news:

Sent Oct. 11: General Game Testing Invites
Who was invited: Testers from France and Germany
What was sent: General Game Testing invites
Server locations: EU servers
Invite status: All invites in this batch are now sent
source

Sadly no news on other countries yet. Also the Beta Weekend ended today, so here is hoping for news on another one.

TORWars article about the Bounty Hunter

TORWars have a pretty nice summary on the Bounty Hunter up on their site. They summarize both roles available to the BH; mid-range DPS & healing, or mid-range DPS and tank.


I am totally planning on playing Powertech. The combination of ranged DPS and tank has sold me, plus I am intrigued to play a ranged tank class.

I guess I am thinking of WoW here, but ranged DPS has the easier job in instances, so I am assuming that SWTOR will be much the same. I would love to be surprised if this is not the case, however. Still, I found in WoW that ranged DPS for instances plus tanking for raids was my preferred way to play. So for the Sith side, Bounty Hunter is looking like the character for me.

Finally I also like the “do anything for money” way I shall be playing my Bounty Hunter. Rather than worrying about climbing the Sith ladder, its credits all the way, baby!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

TOROCast Interviews Daniel Erickson, talks Social Hubs

TOROCast interviewed Daniel Erickson, Lead Writer, at Eurogamer. Sadly there was serious communications interference, making the audio very hard to hear. A communications disruption can mean only one thing...

Luckily TOROCast have posted a transcript of the whole interview, so you can read along. Daniel Erickson talks about the social hub they are putting into the game, where end gamers should be hanging out:
There’s—one, they are actually the segues off to most of the endgame content, and a whole lot of the Flashpoints and things like that. In addition, they are rest hubs, and we’re making it very easy to get to them directly, so what we’re hoping is that especially for elder game players, this is going to be where those players log on and off, and where most people come together to put groups together, to go off and do any of the elder game stuff.
This sounds cool, the atmosphere of hanging out in Ironforge or Orgrimmar in WoW is pretty cool, especially in Vanilla cos everyone was wandering around there, forming groups to go do this raid or that dungeon. What they are putting together sounds much like Dalaran was in Wrath; a social hub to do your professions, dailies, find groups and get to the bank.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Choose Your Side: Jedi Knight vs Bounty Hunter - A Historical Perspective

In a fun new series, Bioware are pitting various classes against each other, getting their development team to argue about which is better. First up is the Jedi Knight versus the Bounty Hunter.



So who would win? Let's take a little look at some history here.
Luke Skywalker vs Boba Fett
Ok so that didn't go so well, but Boba did go out like a punk. How about further back...

Mace Windu vs Jango Fett
Ok so I think we're seeing a pattern of genetic incompetence here in the Fett line. Surely all Bounty Hunters can't be rubbish?

Anakin Skywalker vs Cad Bane
Finally a decent Bounty Hunter. Cad did follow the advice of Bioware and kept those pesky Jedi Knights at a distance, after all.


Still, I don't think it's looking at all favourable for the poor Bounty Hunter.

Companion Characters Update - Part 2

Part 2 of the developer series on Companion Characters is now up on the SWTOR web site. What is interesting is William Wallace, Senior Game Designer, says that Flash Points may be too hard to complete using a Companion instead of a real player.
Take, for example, the fight we showed at PAX East, in which a group of players fought Captain Shivanek and his pet, Ripper. As we showed in the walkthrough video, the group had to split in two to complete this fight. As the first of several boss battles inside the Taral V flashpoint, it provides a moderately difficult challenge for a group of four players – three players and a companion will find this fight to be a far more challenging obstacle that may take several attempts to overcome. Two players and two companions may find it impossible altogether.
This is a shame, because being able to do max level Flash points with two players and two companions made the game less "massively" multi-player. This is good if you only have 1 other person online but want to hit some instances.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Class Design Philosophy in The Old Republic, 1.5 sec GCD

Georg Zoeller posted up about Class Design Philosophy in The Old Republic. This is a very interesting post, and I think will be referred to in future arguments on class balance.
Hey guys,

Because the Dev Tracker is a bit wonky again and doesn't show my post, and because translating my English post to German and then back to English isn't producing the most reliable results (Oh god, they did what???), here's the Class Design Philosophy post again, in original source:

"Just to chime in about our class design philosophy here. We've explained this a number of times already during development, but now that we've been running large scale testing for a while and have solidified a lot of the design, I think it's time to explain what we're doing and why.

In regards to class roles, we do things differently than some other games which people might be used to. That creates some anxiety and questions, so let me explain.

Of Class, Advanced Class, Roles.

Unlike other games where you pick a class and that defines your role, class in Star Wars: The Old Republic defines your overall story, your possible roles and your visual style / gameplay style (e.g. Force user vs. Tech user).

Due to the nature of the Advanced Class system, every character starts out in a DPS role at the start of the game, and they're about equally good at it.

By the time you reach level 10, you get to make your choice for Advanced Class, which narrows down which roles you could play, and yes, some Advanced Classes (Gunslinger / Sniper / Marauder / Sentinel) only have damage type roles available, while other Advanced Classes have access to two roles (e.g damage or healing).

What actually defines your role in our game, in terms of traditional MMO gaming, is how you distribute points in your skill trees. Specialize in the 'Combat Medic' tree and become a healer, specialize in the 'Vengeance tree' and become a DPS character.

By spending that first skill point at level 10, you start developing your character into whatever role you want them to play in the long term. Since it's your skill choices that define your role, it is a gradual process. You don't become a healer at level 10 or 11, you're growing into becoming a healer over many levels.

Our content is designed around that. The first Flashpoint assumes the group has only DPS roles. Even if you bring a healer, he'll have only a single heal available at that level as he has just begun his journey into his role, so there isn't too much of a spread in balance.

Over time, the game becomes more firm in the roles it requires for content like Flashpoints, but additional tools like companions still make it more flexible than many other MMOs in regards to what group mix can run group content.

That progression is quite different from how your characters work in other games, and we've certainly seen our share of people being surprised by it in testing ("I just took the Sage Advanced Class, but I don't feel like I'm a great healer").

Hybrids

Ultimately we don't do hybrid roles. You can do them (by mixing different skill trees), but by design, all our classes are meant to be fully capable in the roles they fill. The 'hybrid' tax would be the fact that you won't be able to get the top tier talents in one skill tree if you spread yourself too thin into others.

At high level, all roles have the same capabilities, in our game all healers are 'main healers' provided they are specced accordingly, etc.

Common Questions

So, what's the point of playing an AC that has only DPS options available?

That is a question you have to answer for yourself.

In a traditional fantasy MMO, if you play a thief or a wizard, you're locked to one role as well, so it's the added role flexibility that SWTOR brings to the table that is giving you second thoughts. I would look at it like this:

    If you really like the flexibility of non DPS roles and feel comfortable with taking on other roles, you might want to play an AC that has that option available.
    If you know you only enjoy DPS roles in a game (and based on our research, a sizable faction of players falls under that umbrella), a DPS only AC means you will get a three different styles of dps gameplay to select from.


So why do we do this? Why not go for a 'this Advanced Class only can DPS and therefore they are the best at it' approach?

    Because we want people to pick the class they want to play and reduce the likelihood of them getting told 'sorry, can't participate in this group because we want only the best DPS in game - that is a Gunslinger'.
    Likewise, we don't want the fact that a specific tank or healer AC is not available at a time from becoming a stopping point for getting on with your group content.


The truth is, not everyone is comfortable playing every role and shouldn't be expected to.

Players, as they get more familiar with the game, will no doubt find interesting ways of proving the superiority of a specific specialization in a specific situation, that's expected. With different gameplay styles and utility come different strength and weaknesses.

Should things outside our comfort zone be discovered in testing or after launch (e.g. Operations ending up requiring that one specific healer AC because they are deemed 'the absolute best and a must'), we will adjust the game accordingly. We want player skill to be deciding factor in your choices, not which class they picked hundreds of hours ago. That's pretty standard for MMOs.

TL;DR

Q: 'Why would I play a DPS only Advanced Class if I can play an Advanced Class that can respec to fill other roles?'
A: If that is your main concern, you shouldn't play that Advanced Class, because you are going to be unhappy about the fact that you cannot switch roles.

Q: Since I can only fill a DPS role, I should do the absolute best damage in the game!
A: Not in SWTOR. We give you get more variety in your DPS gameplay. We maintain balance between all ACs that can fill a role.

Q: What ever happened to being 5% better thing for pure DPS classes?
A: Given class utility and other considerations of why you might want to have someone in your group, 5% is not considered 'significant' for the purpose of this conversation.

I hope this clears things up a bit. I'm sure there'll be plenty of different and, of course, dissenting opinions on this topic, but at least everyone will be on the same page as what our design goals are in this situation and how we approach balancing classes."
I am very pleased to hear that they will be making all DPS specs equal, rather than this 5% rubbish WoW insists on shoving down our throats. This post increases my interest in Tank/Ranged DPS classes quite a bit, because now I know the DPS spec will be competitive.

In other news, there is a 1.5 second Global Cool Down (GCD) in TOR. Shame as a GCD is annoying as hell, but I can see why technically they need it.

More Beta Invites Out

Stephen Reid updated his invites thread, and actually made a new one and locked it, saying more Beta Testing and Beta Weekend invites have gone out:
Hello everyone -

First and most important notice:

This afternoon we sent out two more batches of invites. Half were general Game Testing invites, half were additional invites to this weekend's Beta Testing Weekend #2. These invites went out to USA, Canada and European countries (all of our launch countries). Adding more invites is pretty standard practice for us; it helps brings up our numbers so we hit our targets during testing.

Again, make sure you check your email, looking for an email from the exact email address of no-reply@bioware.swtor.com for your invite.

Please note: the email will just inform you of your acceptance to testing and will link you to swtor.com. There are no other 'requirements' to test The Old Republic, so don't be fooled by a phishing email.

If you're unsure if you've been invited, login to the site at www.swtor.com/tester to check - you'll be able to download the client from there.

Second and less important notice:

We're going to leave this thread locked as a purely informational resource. There was a little too much noise-to-signal ratio in the last thread.

When we send invites, I'll add a post to the thread and update the main OP above.
source.

Now to check my testing status in a hopeful manner. Remember you can just log in to swtor.com and go to www.swtor.com/tester to see if you are invited.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Facebook Image Of The Week

Don't sweep the left leg! I will find it hard to defend. Like my shoulder pads?
Yes it is Facebook image of the week, presumably captured directly from inside the game, in uber-high detail mode. This week a Sith Warrior faces off against a Jedi Knight. Maybe they are trading notes on being the melee DPS/Tank class on their respective sides?

MMORPG Columns On SWTOR

MMORPG have posted two columns on SWTOR in two days. First up is one asking people to wait until the game is released before condemning it, second one discusses the alignment system in SWTOR.

Personally I am looking forward to playing a Bounty Hunter as the scum of the galaxy, only out for credits. I am still deciding if I will also be out for power and influence, or just do the bidding of the highest paid. Still, having such choices in an MMO is another unique aspect to Star Wars The Old Republic.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Beta Weekends October 7 to 11th

An article has gone up on SWTOR.com saying that there will be a Beta Weekend on October 7th to 11th, the dates I speculated on in my last post in fact:
Beta Testing Weekends for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ began earlier this month and during our first weekend, we invited more players into testing than we’ve ever invited before in a single weekend! Now we’re getting ready for another Beta Testing Weekend, starting on October 7th and finishing on October 11th. With increased invite numbers from the first weekend, even more of you will get to play The Old Republic.
As if this wasn't exciting enough, they will be sending out invites this week!
Invites to the Beta Testing Weekend are being sent this week. If you are selected, an email invite will be sent to the email address associated with your Star Wars: The Old Republic account.
In fact today:
Invitations to Beta Testing Weekend #2 are going out over the rest of today, October 4th. The original post in this thread has been updated.
So where are these invites being sent?
Please note: Invites for the Beta Testing Weekend are being sent over the course of today, October 4th.

    * Who was invited: Testers from the USA, Canada and all European launch countries (see list here)
    * Please note - We will be re-inviting all testers from Beta Testing Weekend #1 (AKA 'Squadron 1020') as promised.
    * What was sent: Beta Testing Weekend #2 invites (October 7th to 11th)
    * Server locations: East Coast USA (all testers)
source.

So oddly they are inviting European testers, but not using the European servers. Maybe that Ireland internet pipe is still in need of fattening.

But when can I stop refreshing my inbox?
Guys and gals. Seriously. Invites going out THROUGHOUT THE DAY. ;) I'll let you know when we've stopped sending invites.
Aha ok.

Now for everyone to monitor their inboxes, until midnight today! PST!

Ned from TGN.TV talks about Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent Starter Experiences

Ned from TGN.TV has posted a Eurogamer round up, where he talks about doing some PvP, the Sith Warrior (11:21) and Imperial Agent (14:25) starter zones.




Ned promises an interview with Stephen Reid by the weekend, so subscribe to his tgnSWTOR channel if you're interested.

More EU Invites Go Out

Stephen Reid posted a new thread which will be updated when more invites are sent out. Happily it said that more EU invites were sent out this week. However, the content of this thread was not without controversy.
With that out of the way, here's the current status as of today, October 3rd:

Invites sent last week (ending September 30th)

    * Who was invited: Testers from the USA, Canada and select European countries
    * What was sent: General Game Testing invites
    * Server location: East Coast USA

Invites sent this week (ending October 7th)

    * Who was invited: Testers from the USA, Canada, France and Germany
    * What was sent: General Game Testing invites
    * Server locations: East Coast USA (North America testers); EU servers (France/Germany testers)

More to come.
What was odd about this update at first read is that this week the EU servers were open for Game Testing, but only testers from France and Germany were invited. Predictably there were complaints about this. Actually there were also complains that the USA East Coast servers were chosen, but that turns out to mean everyone in North American can be invited.

No the real thing here for the EU is that Bioware only invited, this week, testers from France and Germany and not randomly across the whole EU green zone.

Now remember that new client with French and German voice overs? That they wanted to test? Yep, that's why. They of course want to use their Game Testing program to test the game, and particularly want to test the new features they put in.

Now didn't they say they wanted to get this new client a bit of testing before Beta Weekends start, and this looks like testing to me. Unfortunately it is now Tuesday so I am not sure enough testing will happen for this coming weekend, but it depends if they wanted internal or external testing before proving the client. Inviting external testers means they have probably proven the client internally.

Anyway, here is me on beta weekend speculation again. I also hope they might want some English speakers to come.

Another potential issue is that of British English versus American English. Now in the UK we are used to getting American English products which are "good enough" for us, but there are distinct differences in spelling and terminology between British and American English. A search on google shows most of Europe seem to be taught British English.

So will the EU client be British or American English? Testers could have a load of fun submitting bugs saying the spelling is incorrect for "color" or "summarize", and annoying the hell out of Bioware who might think that British and American English is the same.

I am pretty sure the client will be American English, and so they won't really need that many more English speakers to do ongoing Game Testing. It would be good if it were British English, then they'd need a lot more European English-speakers to test it out. Not to mention those characters with an English accent, who surely need to be verified that they refer to Tea properly and use the correct Queen's English, right?

Monday, 3 October 2011

Daniel Erickson talks Huttball, Mature Content in SWTOR

While we wait for news of Beta Weekends and European betas, the French website [C]himera has posted a video from the recent community event held in France.

The video is in English with French subtitles. They ask a few questions and get some answers about companions (there are 5 roles but more than 5 companions for each class), some back story about Illum, plus more.


Saturday, 1 October 2011

Email Gate: An Apology Is Sent

This morning I found another email from Bioware in my inbox. Was it a beta invite?! No, it was an apology for the previous two emails I'd received, and an assurance that no one had hacked their site.

Certainly it is nice they sent this, and I guess they want to make sure no one thinks those two previous emails were due to their site getting hacked.

Anyone who doesn't keep up to date on the forums and/or twitter may not have known why the previous 2 emails were sent, so this is a good communication.

Pity those of us who jump the gun might have seen the email and thought that they were getting a beta invite, eh? :)