Monday, January 3, 2011

MMO Madness

Star Wars: The Old Republic

- The Hero Engine - Smooth as butter - at least on my machine.
- Aesthetics - The world looked amazing. One could tell the game was polished and had a lot of effort put into it.
- Crafting - Biochem and Slicing were great. The ability to reverse engineer made Biochem even better. Ingredients could be re-obtained via this method as well as new blueprints.
- Star Wars - BioWare did an excellent job of making the game feel like Star Wars.

- User Interface - On one hand I had no issues with the interface; it responded nicely, looked clean and did just about anything I required of it. Not one thing - beyond the group window - could be resized or moved. Lack of hotbar space for extra abilities.
- Ability Diarrhea - Too many abilities. Some unnecessary abilities. Is that whopping 10% damage reduction going to save me when I'm hit for 1000? I doubt it.
- The Hero Engine - The version SWTOR runs on was made for Directx 9. I'm not going to fault the development team entirely, but it's 2012, you would hope some sort of Directx 10/11 compatibility would be there.

Guild Wars 2

- ArenaNet's in-house engine - Works great and looks great. I, by no means have a top-of-the-line machine however, the game ran well in beta. A few hiccups here and there, but what I'd expect.
- Aesthetics - The world is alive and looks fantastic. The game currently runs in DX9, but is said to support DX10/11.
- Weapon Swapping - I haven't been able to weapon swap in combat in an MMO in a long time. The ability to go from staff to sword and board and back is fucking awesome.
- Abilities - There's no ability diarrhea. There are a lot, yes, but I don't have 10 hotbars full of them. There's one hotbar. Slots 1-3 are for my mainhand abilities, slots 4 and 5 are for my offhand, 6 is my healing and 7-10 are for my elite and utilities. Hotbars 4 and 5 change according to my offhand weapon or my two-handed weapon.
- Classes - Well thought out and each one feels different. The Guardian is one of my choosing. Nothing like being able to create a barrier and toss people whilst healing myself and allies.
- Combat - Played like a balanced mix between FPS and MMO.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Be careful how you spec!

MJ: Is the Advanced Class choice that a player makes a permanent one? Or can they switch back and forth with another class at will?

JO: We did intend for it to be a permanent choice, but massive multiplayer games often change as they get older. With other MMOs there were certain aspects that were permanent at first, but after months and years of testing, those choices were unlocked and you were allowed to change them. Right now the choice is permanent, but after play testing, we might allow players to change this at a high cost. But the great thing about an MMO is that it’s constantly evolving.

That's right! The choice you make will be PERM-A-NENT!

Update: A friend put this into better perspective. I am okay with the decision now.

Ask a Jedi Q&A

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Developer Blogs - Star Wars:ToR

Creating Worlds: Voss

"They're a meditative people. They're communal, not individualistic, and they’d create symbolic art--pattern-based and preferably monochromatic to contrast with their amazingly colorful skin."

“For skin colors and patterns, poison dart frogs as a starting point. Something that jumps against the background of the planet. These people don’t blend or quite belong on their world.”

"The Gormak are running down a tech path unseen in the galaxy. It's important that we see the ship that they're creating and it jumps out as foreign, wrong for Star Wars™. Anything we see that is Gormak should be slick, impressive and create a sense of wrongness in Players."

"The Voss must at all times feel isolated. Voss-Ka is high above the rest of the planet but it's an island in a sea of Gormak. Every other outpost is overrun or threatened. The Republic and Empire see the Voss as standing on the roof of their last building in a losing war but the Voss never reach out for help. They are not looking to be rescued."

Community: The Third Element

"Massively multiplayer games are not new. The first true massively multiplayer game was a text-only virtual world called MUD, put together by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw in 1978. This little window of dizzying text descriptions was a far cry visually from the seductively lush 3D virtual worlds of today, but it was enough. Enough to get the genre started, and enough to get armchair designers across the world to imagine the possibilities, and debate philosophical matters of game design. One of these questions, still asked today, is whether or not massively multiplayer environments should strive to be games or to be worlds."

Finding Balance in the Force

"My favorite Star Wars™ film has always been The Empire Strikes Back™. But while the battle of Hoth will keep me glued to the screen for that second when the AT-ATs appear out of the snow, the film’s defining moments are on Dagobah, while Luke struggles and trains with Master Yoda."

The Sith Inquisitor

“Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me.”

"How to explain the Sith Inquisitor? I could tell you that the Sith Inquisitor is the Emperor Palpatine to the Sith Warrior’s Darth Vader, but that sells it short. The archetype is just inspiration. It’s not the destination, or the road we take to get there, but the guide. The Sith Inquisitor is Raistlin. The Sith Inquisitor is Lucifer. The Sith Inquisitor is Julius Caesar. The Sith Inquisitor is what you make him."


Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hope Trailer

Note: I'd have more to discuss, but the SW:ToR site is currently down due to a large volume of traffic.

As a gamer I tend to sit on the fence lately. It should come as no surprise that some gamers may be apprehensive about Star Wars: The Old Republic. Why should they, we, I, be apprehensive?

Example number one - Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
A game poised to go head-to-head with the MMORPG giant, World of Warcraft. EA, Mythic and Paul Barnett did an amazing job to hype this game up; unfortunately, that is all it had - hype. The game released unfinished and buggy. The client and server weren't syncing correctly and this led to some issues. With each new patch more problems cropped up and what began as a mass influx turned into a mass exodus.

Example number 2 - Age of Conan
While I personally haven't played this game, I knew early on to steer clear of the company producing it. From what I understand is that AoC fell short in the content department. Players were hitting 80 without anything to do. Many I've spoken to agree that if the entire game had been like the starting zone, they would still be playing today.

On to the juicy part of this blog - Star Wars: The Old Republic

Classes:Republic - Jedi - Tank or Melee DPS
Smuggler - Crowd Control/Jack-of-all-trades
Jedi Consular - Melee/Healer
Republic Trooper - Ranged DPS
Sith Empire-
Sith Warrior - Tank or Melee DPS
Bounty Hunter - Crowd Control/Jack-of-all-trades

Sith Inquisitor - Melee/Healer
Imperial Agent - Ranged DPS

Advanced Classes:

Each class has a talent tree, or 'Advanced Class' where the player can choose to specialize in certain skills and areas.

"Advanced Classes are specialized careers that your characters can choose in
Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. As your character becomes more seasoned through adventure, you will be given the opportunity to undertake one of two Advanced Classes. This decision is equally as important as when you originally created your character. This is because your choice will not only make your character more distinct and powerful, but it will also help further define the role you wish to play in The Old Republic.
In addition to your Class-specific Skills and Abilities, your chosen Advanced Class will grant you access to role-defining Abilities that represent additional areas of expertise and some may even grant new weapon and armor types. Additionally, each Advanced Class will also have three sets of Skills available to further customize your character."
Companion Classes:
"Every Star Wars™ hero needs a companion. Han had Chewie, Luke had R2-D2 — even Jabba had the cackling monkey lizard Salacious B. Crumb. These characters complement a player’s strengths or weaknesses, and provide company for the epic journey you will inevitably undertake. Whether they’re combative, friendly, flirtatious, or even just good for a laugh, companions always contribute to your adventure."
Appearance/Ships and Housing:

Every player, regardless of their chosen class, will get a personal starship. Yes, you can walk around in these, bring a friend and show off your badass lil' pecker package. Of course, when you have an entire galaxy at hand, everyone having the same ride would be pretty boring. Most games allow you to customize your character, Star Wars:ToR allows you to customize your ship. Will it be little fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view? Who knows. BioWare has yet to comment more on this.
Not only will you get a neat starship to pick up some green chicks (see right) in, but you'll get an apartment to bring 'em back to and have your way.

As for the player character, every one of us - in every game - will start out in basic gear. The player can do PvP goals to obtain better gear (BioWare hasn't commented much on this), and as always you may PvE for better gear. Some gear will be aesthetics (eye-candy), but most will be useful, beneficial to the player.

BioWare advocates grouping, but says it's entirely possible to play the game solo. Grouping will be rewarding, fun and beneficial. Not to mention that some instances in the game will require a group.

Speaking of PvP, it was stated there will be group PvP in 'areas of war' and that Alderaan (Princess Leia's home) is rumored to be a PvP planet.

I think I jizzed in my pants...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pink For Tink

I've known about this for a while now. Only recently did a friend suggest, as a guild - group of friends - we change our colors to pink and our character's last names. I am completely for this.

Pink For Tink

This goes far beyond WAR. As gamers we all share a similar goal and a community; and it is good to see that community to come together in a time of need.