As part of our Fan Site Summit experience at Bioware offices in Austin, Texas, we got a chance to participate in two Q&A sessions that were organized with Damion Schubert, Lead Systems Designer, Daniel Erickson, Lead writer and Blaine Christine, Live Producer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. We managed to ask one question to each of them and I am providing you with a transcripts of these questions and answers along with complete audio recording of the Q&A sessions so you can hear what other sites asked and got answers for.
I would also like to mention that the impression you get when asking these developers questions is that they are really smart and approachable. I thought that the Imperial Agent question (that we actually got asked by one of the community members on the official forums) was going to catch them off-guard, but they had an answer right off the bat. They want to tell you everything about the game that they have been building for so long and it always take an effort for them to constrain themselves to not spilling the beans on not-yet-released information.
Oh, by the way, if you want to find the full transcript of the Damion Schubert Q&A David Moore of TorWars.com was kind enough to stay up to 4am to transcribe the Q&A in its eternity. On to the transcription of our questions…
Q: The last crafting and crew skills information was released back in December and there are a lot of question marks left there (referring to the Holonet crew skills page), but I would like to ask a specific question about the released info. What kind of drops can we expect from the Treasure Hunting Mission skill? Do we get items, or do we get crafting components that we can use to craft much more powerful stuff, or how does that work?
A: That is a great question and it is one that we’ve iterated on greatly from build to build, so I must stress that the answer I give you today may be completely different in the next build. The goal for the Mission system was to make it something that was sort of catty-cornered with crafting. It sort of fed the crafting system a little bit, but it was really something that you could do if you didn’t care about crafting. So, the Mission System is designed to be much more highly variable in its reward system. Very often times you will get nothing, you will send off your companion character and he/she will return with nothing. Right now, what they are bringing back are companion gifts and some other low impact things. Every now and then they have a chance of bringing blue and purple crafting materials that are used to make really high level crafting stuff, so the idea is you’d take this stuff and put it up on the Auction house. We’re still playing with the percentages and whatnot. In the last build that we did, we were not entirely satisfied with how it felt. It didn’t feel like it was worth the money and we really want to work on giving you something that you can immediately use. In the very first version of it they, pretty much, just gave you high value grays that you could sell and all it felt like they were doing was littering your inventory with useless stuff. I anticipate this being a place of heavy iteration. One of the things we want to be careful of is being sure that they don’t become another faucet for gear that competes with all this other gear faucets that we already have. For example, if they (the companions) start bringing back epic chest pieces they compete with the crafters and the light side/dark side system and the social system that we already have to maintain for delicate balance to make sure that all these systems are important.
Q: Hi, Serge from SWTOR Life. I actually have to ask this question so don’t mind me. So, fat body style Imperial Agents, how did they ever pass their physical exam.
Blaine Christine: That is a great questions. Can I take this question?
Daniel Erickson: Sure.
BC: If you picture a Sumo wrestler, right? Sumo requires some agility, it also requires a lot of physical fitness. So, if you think of a SUMO wrestler as an agent it is certainly possible.
DE: Yeah, one of the things when you look at the fat body type, obviously you’ll notice is, there’s a huge amount of muscle actually on these guys. Their arms are bigger than my body and they are not big flabby dude (Daniel looks at me and cackles 🙂 ). But also, especially for the Imperial Agent, the whole point of being a spy is that somebody doesn’t guess (big grin on DE’s face).
Q: My question is more towards Blaine. We’ve seen TRION having problems with their Rift launch because of hacking of their accounts and than we have hacking in PvP in DC Universe Online … that’s the most recent case. You’re probably gonna be in charge in preventing such stuff. Can you talk more about that or elaborate a bit about it.
A: Sure, without going into specifics, I hate to be general about it, but I mean, obviously going back to my previous answer. We understand the expectations around our game. We’re certainly watching the launches of all those other games, seeing the problems that they have and fortunately we’re at a place in development where we can actually look and that and say: “How do we make sure that does not happen for Star Wars: The Old Republic?”. So, security is extremely important to us. We’re gonna make sure we do everything we can to make sure that we are as secure as we can be at launch, so we don’t experience those types of problems if it’s at all avoidable.
Q: So, the thing is, the team you got for making the game is really huge and so, I’m guessing, there are a lot of resources that you have to put into other stuff that people never think about and that is anti-cheating.
A: Sure, absolutely, and that is something we’re aware of and with the experience on our team, various members that have launched lots of other games have experience in this area, so it’s something that we did place importance on very early in development and so we have been looking at it all the way along. We want to make sure that we have the best possible launch from a security standpoint as well.
Thank you very much!
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