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Archive for February, 2011

Blaine Christine MeMe

Published by under humor on Feb. 28. 2011.

February 25. brought a special Friday update to the official SWTOR site. It is a dev blog by The Old Republic’s Live Producer Blaine Christine. He is also well known as host of several SWTOR presentations and a generally funny guy. In his dev blog he talks about what he does as Live Producer and also shares some insight into what the game testers are saying about the game so far. There is one thing in his article that I just couldn’t get out of my head.

… I’m happy to report that all of the mental images you have of us working at a world class RPG development studio are true. Yes, we have rivers of chocolate running down the hallway, yes, a live animatronic ogre lives in the basement and of course, yes, we have LARPing parties from 5PM to midnight every weeknight. (I usually dress up as Princess Amidala and practice my diplomacy skills on Daniel Erickson, who pulls off a very convincing Gungan ambassador.) …

I had to expel the mental images this quote created in my head, so, in spirit of the Daniel Erickson MeMe I did a few months back here are the demotivational posters dedicated to Blaine Christine and his dev blog entry.

Daniel Erickson is not amused

Argument Invalid

Gift of gab - he haz it

Hurrr Durrr

Amidala vs Blaine

In the gallery below you will find all the original images I used to make these, just in case you have some inspiration of your own. You can send me your finished work and I will publish it on the site.

Amidala source 1 Amidala source 2 Amidala source 3 Blaine source 1 Blaine source 2
Blaine final Blaine final 2 Gungan jar jar

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How can a guild best support their crafters in Star Wars The Old Republic, part two

Published by under SwtorCrafter on Feb. 25. 2011.


Swtorcrafter Bounty Hunter!

How can a guild best support their crafters in SWTOR, part 2


With the small amount of material available on the crew skills system it is really hard to speculate on what I think will be important for a guild to focus on when trying to support their crafting efforts.  I am going to speculate anyway though because it can’t hurt to guess at this stage.

Read on!

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Numbers Analysis – SWTOR vs Rift vs WoW

Published by under Editorial on Feb. 24. 2011.

My main motivation behind this post is the fact that very soon official forums will be hitting 1 million registered users. At the moment of this article being written the number of users is 999296 (you can check this by entering and incrementing the number at the end until you get the message “Invalid User specified”). This made me wonder how does The Old Republic fair against the market leader, World of Warcraft, and a popular newcomer that is about to be released this week, Rift. Please note that all of these numbers do not necessarily mean anything, because we are looking at three products in different stages of their lifecycle and the numbers come from “unreliable” sources. They are unreliable because they depend on how active a company is on a certain social network. There are however some trends showing up that I just couldn’t look away from.
NOTE 1: The number of forum members is a bit tricky because just having a WoW account makes you a forum member. SWTOR forum member number is based on reading the URL and it is actually a number of created accounts and not active accounts. Rift is about to be released and I think their current forum number is based on preorders and not all of the people that purchased the game. I will revisit this in a month or so to see how the numbers changed.
NOTE 2: Included are traffic rank stats as well. There is a problem with World of Warcraft traffic rank because prior to the release of Cataclysm expansion they moved their main community site from domain to domain. I am providing a graph of both these domains traffic ranks where you can clearly see the change in traffic rank for and At the same time traffic rank also includes rank for other Blizzard games. That is why I chose WoW’s traffic rank prior to Cataclysm which was around 1000. Rift’s traffic rank drastically rose around beta time. Prior to that it was at around ~40.000.

  World of Warcraf Rift Star Wars The old Republic
Facebook Likes 1,145,267 138,228 253,228
Twitter Followers 113,224 15,244 28,473
No. Forum Users Unknown 179,055 999296 (estimate) traffic rank ~1000 6,450 12,494 traffic rank 6 month comparison

I wouldn’t want to draw any solid conclusion from this but The Old Republic is doing very good for a game that hasn’t even entered pure beta stage. It is already approximately two times as popular as Rift, which can be contributed to the awesome promotion Bioware has been doing and I think mostly thanks to the Deceived and Hope trailers. We’ll revisit these numbers in three weeks when Rift should be at its peak to see if choosing this particular moment had an effect on Rift’s numbers. I welcome all your comments on the subject and suggestions and interpretations.

2 responses so far

Fan Made Run/Walk Animations Video Compilation

Published by under video on Feb. 23. 2011.

LogunOne – remember that name – He is a fan of the Old Republic and creates awesome videos on Youtube. He uses all the released videos and screenshots to examine how far the game has progressed. His video compilations of certain game mechanics are awesome looking with great editing skill and insightful comments. His latest video is a fun little compilation of run/walk animations he gathered from all the material released so far. He has that great ability to make something so common, as run animation, seem very cool. Check out his YouTube channel here and make sure you subscribe and you can watch his latest video bellow.

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How can a guild best support their crafters in Star Wars The Old Republic MMO?

Published by under SwtorCrafter on Feb. 22. 2011.


Swtorcrafter Bounty Hunter!

(A topic suggested by my loyal blog reader Daelda, thanks!)

The question I want to pose to you today is:

How can a guild best support their crafters in SWTOR?


One of the things I absolutely hate to see in a guild group is a lack of optimization of equipment.  When I see guild groups in game and I mouse over their equipment and they are wearing shoddy, mismatched gear that is tiers below the optimization that I as a crafter know is available, it makes me sad.

It could be this way for many reasons, either they don’t know any better, or possibly their guild crafters are failing in gearing up the guild.  If it is the latter then possibly it stems from a lack of support from the people they need to be gearing up.

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Compilation of last week’s developer answers

Published by under news on Feb. 21. 2011.

Despite being a Fan Friday, this Friday update also brought us another Q&A with the developers section. Along with that, the developers have been very active on the forums lately and they have been answering various questions from the fans. Here’s a compilation of the most interesting Q&A from all of these sources.

Q: I would like to see an option to merchant sell all gray loot items in your inventory at once. Going a step further, if there was a way to mark items in your bag as you loot them so that when you sell them off everything that was marked is sold.

A: In TOR, you indeed have the option to command your faithful (or scornful) companion to make a trip to the nearest market to lighten your backpack and fatten your wallet by selling objects of purely monetary value.
Answered by: Georg Zöller, Principal Lead Combat Designer

Q: I really hope they give us access to on-ship storage. Our personal vault should be there rather than some imaginary bank system for items that we access from everywhere in the universe.

A: Your ship’s cargo hold is, indeed, your bank.
Answered by: Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer

Q: I hope Bioware has a Beta test just for PvP, I’m worried about balance…

A: Have no doubt, we aim to ensure every Advanced Class has at least one spec that has its place in competitive PvP. The PvP team is already diligently tuning classes based on testing results and will continue to do so as new functions come online. By functions, I mean things like enabling Smugglers in cover to be immune to ‘charge’ and ‘pull’ abilities.
Answered by: Gabe Amatangelo, Lead PvP Designer

Q: Will armor be HP based? wich means you can loose your armor due to wear and tear?

A: Armor takes damage during gameplay, but still offers full benefits until such time that it is completely broken. Armor can be repaired for credits. No, we are not looking at permanently destroying items.
Answered by: Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer

Q: In this game, we know the reasons why the Jedi hate the Sith so much. And most of us recognize that the Jedi are a pretty “good” organization. But what hasn’t been talked about a huge amount is why the Sith hate the Jedi. How do the Sith view the Jedi? Why do they think they would make better rulers? Do the Sith actually think that the Sith themselves are “evil”? Do they believe that Force has two sides, a dark side and a light?

A: Sith are evil.

The Sith philosophy is evil and encourages evil in its participants. We can get into endless philosophical discussions about whether anything is actually evil or actually good but if we are speaking from our modern, western view on the concept of evil then the Sith clearly qualify. They are encouraged to put the personal over the group, power over compassion and to judge everything’s worthiness to survive on its ability to fight for that survival. Mercy, sympathy, generosity, these are seen as weaknesses. Anger and rage are seen as strengths. These are not people most of us want to work with or have as neighbors.

That does not mean, however, that the Sith see themselves as evil.

In the Star Wars universe, followers of the Sith philosophy genuinely believe that these things we deem evil, are actually in the best interests of a society. They look at the disorder, corruption and infighting of the Republic and they scoff. “What those people lack,” an Imperial thinks, “is strong leadership.”

It’s equally important to remember that you don’t have to believe in any of this to play on the Empire’s side in The Old Republic. You can be the exception to the rule. You are merely making a choice to be someone who was born on that side of the fence. Or, in the case of the Bounty Hunter, someone who tends to work in that part of space. The light side Sith who works tirelessly to make his Empire a better place is a deeply compelling character.
Answered by: Daniel Erickson, Master of the Universe
Editor Note: I highly recommend you go and read all of Daniel’s answer because, as always, he was very detailed in his explanation.

You can read the full Q&A from last Friday update by following this link

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Overview of Instance Mechanics in SWTOR

Published by under Falshpoint,Game Mechanics on Feb. 16. 2011.

Past two official Friday updates concentrated on the group content in the Old Republic. Bioware decided to call its small group content Flashpoints, but if you hear people saying instances or dungeons they are talking about the same thing. Here is all the information I could gather up about this game mechanic so you, our readers, can know what to expect.

We first were introduced to flashpoint content back in 2009 at E3 and Gamescom. The next big group content was revealed last year as a multiplayer demo that was played by Bioware staff (at E3) and fansite members at Pax. At Pax 2010 we also saw a video called “Mysteries of Knights of the Old Republic” showcasing a late game flashpoint/dungeon that hints at an old enemy – Darth Malak – known as the villain in the KOTOR game. With the addition of the two Friday updates solely dedicated to the flashpoint mechanic we now have enough information on what to expect from small group content in SWTOR.

Important Flashpoint Information

  • Maximum number of players that can enter is four (plus companions).
  • Flashpoints are repeatable.
  • Flashpoints are much more challenging than single-player missions, but they offer valuable loot and rewards.
  • There might be choices associated with a flashpoint (save the captain/kill the captain). When running multiple runs of a flashpoint it is still not 100% clear whether the last choice you made counts, or the first choice you made counts. This feature is being fine tuned in the game testing.
  • Based on your dialog choices and bonus objectives you perform, the flashpoint can change so that you get access to more bosses or more ways of beating the dungeon.
  • Types of enemies, AI and mob abilities are connected to the story the flashpoint is trying to tell.
  • You will be able to take companions into the flashpoint, which means that if your group has no healer you can have 4 healing companions to compensate.
  • There will be heroic versions of Flashpoints

Flashpoints that are known to be in the game so far

  • The Esseles – Republic Only, early level
  • The Black Talon – Empire Only, early level
  • Taral V – Republic Only, mid game, ~90 to 120mins for completion, Level 32+
  • Boarding Party – Empire Only, mid game
  • Directive 7 – Both, late game
  • (unofficial) Darth Revan’s Complex – higher level flashpoint

Important Links

Flashpoint gallery

Taral V The Esseles The Black Talon A Sith Inquisitor and Imperial Agent battle mutinous Droids, seeking the source of their mass malfun Sith Warrior launches himself at a group of ill-prepared Republic defenders
Directive 7 Boarding Party An elite Imperial strike team defends the Black Talon from a Republic assault.

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What if your class choice affected your crew skills ability in Star Wars The Old Republic MMO?

Published by under SwtorCrafter on Feb. 16. 2011.





My question to you today is:

What if the class you choose affects your crew skills ability?

In past games that I have played I have found that sometimes the class I choose to play affects the potential I have to use the crafting system to its fullest amount.  By using certain mechanics of a class system sometimes you can gain advantage over other aspiring master craftsmen looking to advance to grandmaster craftsman status.

Some examples of this to let you know what I mean would be like one of the characters I used to have in Ultima Online. 

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What can we do to make crafting more fun in Star Wars The Old Republic MMO?

Published by under SwtorCrafter on Feb. 03. 2011.


My question to you today,

What can we do to make crafting more fun in SWTOR?

For some people in MMO’s today crafting can sometimes be looked at as simply more than a utilitarian function, a means to help the overall leveling process.  As something you do as merely a side thought when you need some type of item in-game.  Some people would go so far as to call crafting “boring”, or something they do out of boredom.

To us that thoroughly enjoy these types of systems in MMO’s, we know them to be capable of so much more.

So what can we do to make crafting more fun in SWTOR?

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EA Boss Talks Release and Reveals Nothing

Published by under news on Feb. 02. 2011.

Lightsabers vs swords

February 1. was a big date for EA shareholders because that was the day when Electronic Arts Q3 2011 Earnings Conference Call was held and EA CEO John Riccitiello and CFO Eric Brown gave reports on how the past quarter went and what can be expected in the upcoming period. Among other things The Old Republic was discussed. TOR fans were expecting to maybe hear a more precise estimate of the release date in the form of we are expecting a rise in profits in this quearter because TOR gets released that day but none of that happened. The best we got was that TOR will ship in Fiscal 2012, but calendar 2011. Translated this means April 2011. – December 2011. Tell us something we didn’t know, eh? Here is a summary of other TOR related statements:

  • EA is incurring significant development costs for the Star Wars MMO
  • I will say the following things though, one is we previously described to folks that half a million subscribers or so the game is substantially profitable but its not the kind of thing that we would write home about it, anything north of a million subscribers, it’s a very profitable business.
  • The second thing that I would tell you is that the game is looking very good, a number of you will have seen it in a variety of our consumer shows, it’s only gotten stronger, we feel very good about the title. We’re currently testing it with a wide-scale consumer type thing but not sort of at the beta scale level-wise over the coming months.
  • Western markets, you know we estimate that the leading competitor has six-ish million subscribers, paying subscribers, and that they’ve got approximately half of the market that seems to be growing in the five percent per annum based on the number of subscribers. So call it 12 million people paying for subscription based gaming in the way that we review as competition. We’ve previously indicated that sort of a million subscribers or more rings our bell, that’s very well for us economically. So it’s our view that we can be very successful without fundamentally challenging the market leader, cause we think we’ll probably hit the smaller competitors harder when we get out there. Of course we have no particular ambition to be a distant number two, our ambitions are higher than that, but we’ve throttled back a little bit relative to our financial projections
  • I think what you’re pointing to is it might be getting tired after so many years. I don’t know that to be the case. I have not seen them announce that their western market numbers are coming down. But I do think that the market would be absolutely receptive to something fresh and new and differentiated. If you will, lightsabers vs. swords. I think there’s a marketplace for us here and we’re going at it aggressively

I would also like to reflect on a few things here. First is the best quote of the year “lightsabers vs. swords“. The second thing is something that I did not include in the important list above as it generally is not important, but I find it interesting in “the way industry works” sense. Here’s the quote:

… a fair amount of what you’re asking about is either subject to NDA with our partnership with Lucas …

Lucas Arts obviously has a great deal of control over what information gets released when. Keep that in mind the next time you whine about lack of information and blame it on George! I can’t remember where I read it but someone said that the best thing George Lucas could do to the Star Wars franchise is leave it to the fans and get his greedy paws off of it (opens his flame retardant umbrella and prepares for impending DOOM from fanboys).

You can actually listen to all the most important parts of this conference on the Tor Syndicate site here.

Ask a Jedi had a live blog event about the conference and you can read some of their notes here.

News spotted via Corellian Run Radio – thanks Kathy.

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