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SWTOR: Official State of the Game 6 NOV 2012

Here it is:

 

http://www.swtor.com/blog/star-wars-old-republic-%E2%80%93-state-game

 

Discuss.

 

_______________________

11.06.2012

 

 

Star Wars: The Old Republic – State of the Game

 

 

Hello everyone,

This is the first of many regular “State-of-the-Game” postings to you, the players. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and finally have the opportunity to get it started. I’m hoping to use these postings as a direct way to address some of the top unresolved issues that most concern our community. I won’t get to everything all at once, but I’ll try to hit some of the big ones, and talk about these topics as openly as I can. It’s my hope that you’ll respond with more comments, questions and concerns. As you do, I will then take these and either roll them into my next update, or have the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ community team answer them directly as we usually do. Sound good? OK!

Before we begin, let me introduce myself for those of you who do not know me. My name is Jeff Hickman and I am the Executive Producer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have been working on the team for about 2 years now and was responsible for most of the Live Services and ultimately the launching of our award-winning game. Twelve years ago, I joined the industry as the Director of CS for Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC) with Mythic Entertainment. In the years since then, I have engaged in just about every role you can imagine on an MMO team (except art, because I suck at art). In the early days at Mythic, I helped design several expansions for DAoC, produced and ran their daily operations and in 2005 was given the opportunity to become Executive Producer for that beloved game. Between then and now, I built, launched and operated Warhammer Online and I was also Executive Producer for Ultima Online. I’ve devoted my life to MMOs and the people that play them, and have some cool tattoos to prove it:  

 

image

When we decided to go Free-to-Play earlier this year, we had weeks of discussion with everyone on the team about where we thought the game was going, what we thought was going right and what was going wrong. We uncovered a lot of issues, but three things really stood out:

1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.

2. The subscription requirement was driving away huge numbers of people who do not want to commit to paying monthly.

3. The frequency of our Game Updates was way too slow. People were leaving because we were not releasing new content fast enough to keep up with the pace at which it was being consumed.

You are now seeing the results of these conversations. Free-to-Play goes live this Fall, and we are dedicated to getting Game Updates out to you every 6 weeks or so. Though each of these efforts is incredibly challenging for the team, they have accepted that challenge and have tackled them head on!

But we know there is more we can do, more you want us to do. So today, I thought it might be more useful to dive into some more granular and “hot” topics.

Topic #1: Staff: Why are some developers leaving The Old Republic™? How will the game be affected?

Answer: People leave for a lot of reasons. Some have worked on the project for 6+ years and are simply tired and want to go work on something else. Others may not agree with the direction that the game is heading – Free-to-Play is not for everyone and requires a big shift in thinking and culture within the studio. Still others do not have the right skills for the roles that we have as the studio evolves and changes. When any single person leaves, whether we make the decision or they do, it is difficult, but the studio and game live on and thrive as we change, actually thrive because we change. The core of what makes the game and studio great are still here; quality in our game and in our workplace, people that are passionate about both, a camaraderie with each other that helps us support one another, and key people like James Ohlen (who was at BioWare from the very start) who continue to help us carry the banner of BioWare and who are dedicated to help evolve and improve Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Topic #2: Bugs: How does testing work? Why do bugs get through? Why did Game Update 1.4 have so many of them? What are we doing to improve the process?

Answer: MMOs are undoubtedly one of the most complex games on Earth. We employ hundreds of QA professionals to ensure that our game is high quality, but sometimes bugs get through. We test every step of the way as we develop the game or change to the game. We have many, many development environments that work in a sequence to push updates from initial construction, to code and content integration, to internal end-to-end testing, to player facing testing on Public Test Servers and then on to the Live servers. Sometimes (like in Game Update 1.4) we make changes that have unintended (and undiscovered) consequences on completely different parts of the game (the performance issues that showed up in the update are a great example of this). These unintended changes happen more often than you would think (or we would like), though we usually catch them before they go live. We have recently put new measures in place both on the development teams and in QA, as well on Public Test Server (where we should find many of these types of issues), to catch things like this in the future. I am not saying it will not happen again – bugs will always happen – but we will strive to give you the best, high quality, bug-free experience that we can. As a side note, we finally got a lock on the last of the major issues from Game Update 1.4 and appreciate your patience with that one.

Topic #3: Oceanic populations. Are we doing anything about them?

Answer: We are very aware of the concerns with the population levels on the Oceanic servers. The problem is pretty complex, as the solutions we have either split the populations further (like allowing Oceanic players to move to North American servers), or would force players to go to server types (PvP or RP, etc…) that they do not want to be on. Our current plan is to wait for Free-to-Play to launch and see what the influx of new players does to the populations of these servers. We will give it a little time and if we do not see significant improvement, then we will move ahead with the solution that offers the best playing experience for the Oceanic community.

OK, that is it for now. Please keep your comments and questions coming and I will try to answer the biggest, unresolved questions in these “State-of-the-Game” posts. I want to thank you all for the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing game like Star Wars: The Old Republic. I will do everything in my power to take care of the game, and help guide it to a great future.

Jeff Hickman
Executive Producer

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Comments

  • BurntvetBurntvet Baltimore, MDPosts: 2,938Member Uncommon

    "And if I could make a personal request, if former players would stop mailing bags of poop and pipe bombs to our office, we would really appreciate it..."

     

  • ElikalElikal ValhallaPosts: 8,063Member
    Originally posted by Burntvet

    "And if I could make a personal request, if former players would stop mailing bags of poop and pipe bombs to our office, we would really appreciate it..."

     

    LOL xd

    People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert

  • TokkenTokken Portland, ORPosts: 1,153Member Uncommon

    "Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."

     

    LOL. made me laugh

    Brad McQuaid Quote:  So, God-willing, the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen team and I will be able to make or allow that magic to happen a third time, and it too will be not just a great game, but also that catalyst again that brings people together, sometimes out of their comfort zone, learning how to work together not just tactically in a virtual world but also socially in the real world.
  • yorkforceyorkforce DoncasterPosts: 160Member

    [quote]1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.[/quote]

     

    If that were so then numbers 2 and 3 would be void.

  • jacklojacklo BlackpoolPosts: 570Member
    Originally posted by yorkforce

    [quote]1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.[/quote]

     

    If that were so then numbers 2 and 3 would be void.

    C'mon, he can't speak the truth, he's employed by them!

    For anyone with a vested interest, it's important to read from the same hymn book - when your options are limited.

    It seems that those with options have left or are leaving, before F2P proves beyond a doubt that it's the game that sucks.

  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,926Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by 7star

    Before we begin, let me introduce myself for those of you who do not know me. My name is Jeff Hickman and I am the Executive Producer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have been working on the team for about 2 years now and was responsible for most of the Live Services and ultimately the launching of our award-winning game.

    When we decided to go Free-to-Play earlier this year, we had weeks of discussion with everyone on the team about where we thought the game was going, what we thought was going right and what was going wrong. We uncovered a lot of issues, but three things really stood out:

    1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it.

    2. The subscription requirement was driving away huge numbers of people who do not want to commit to paying monthly.

    I'm not a SWTOR hater.  I enjoyed leveling my character but felt the game was severely lacking to pay a sub for.  I didn't think end game was "awesome" at all.  I will return as a F2P player to level alts here and there.  Something I refuse to pay any  company a sub for.

     

    What the fuck is this guy smoking?  I assume he's posting this misinformation in hopes of keeping his job.

     

    Many people thought leveling their first character per faction was great.  Leveling an alt of the same faction was 90% repeated content.  That is NOT awesome.

     

    The game released with horrible ability delays.  PVP was far from awesome on release.

     

    The game released without  group finders.  That was not awesome.

     

    They patched Ilum and hundreds of players exploited it for massive "honor" or whatever they call it.  There was no rollback.  Not much awesome there.

     

    Their model was based on massive amounts of voiceovers.  Even using them for simple fetch/kill quests.  It proved unsustainable.  Not so awesome.

     

    They allowed players to customize their appearance until they hit end game where if you wanted the best gear, you had to look foolish.  Not an awesome to be found.

     

    They released a star wars game with the limited single player, "on rails" space combat.  The lack of space combat onm release hurt SWG, why make the same mistake?  Space combat in SWTOR is not awesome.

     

    I could list tons more but I won't.  The fact is that the game was not awesome enough for me to pay them a monthly sub just to level alts.  Going F2P won't change my opinion on that.  There is literally nothing in SWTOR that is worth a sub of any price to me.  SWTOR at the level cap is far from awesome.

     

     

     

     

  • moguy2moguy2 Saint Peters, MOPosts: 337Member
    Originally posted by Tokken

    "Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."

     

    LOL. made me laugh

    I smoke the same stuff he does!! HAHA!! WHAT?!?!

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Jeff hickman is in charge

    Oh dear
  • JonokuJonoku Cool, PAPosts: 645Member
    lol........

    Looking at: The Repopulation
    Preordering: None
    Playing: Random Games

  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,923Member Uncommon

    Lets face it, its not an awesome game, its generic. To be fair... I... oh god... I actually liked the personal story portions. If it focused more on that and lessened the mostly dule side quests I'd probably of enjoyed the game more and been distracted from the generic nature of how they made 'classes' to fit a generic mmo system rather then doing something original that would of actually made the game good. 

     

    I mean the personal story in many of the classes (not all) is pretty entertaining, not able to reach the levels of most single player games but much better then some games out there that paraded Personal story and ended up giving a rather lack luster product that made me cringe more then it awed me *glares at GW2*.

     

    Anyways, I am in some form excited for F2P.  The personal story is entertaining enough even if a lot of it the rest of the game is not. That and lightsabers, it helps me over look a lot of issues. It will be a good time filler when I'm bored of rift and whatever other games I'm messing with at the time.

  • YizleYizle Atlanta, GAPosts: 517Member
    Originally posted by Burntvet

    "And if I could make a personal request, if former players would stop mailing bags of poop and pipe bombs to our office, we would really appreciate it..."

     

    This is better then anything he actually said.

  • GwapoJoshGwapoJosh Auburn, INPosts: 989Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Tokken

    "Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."

     

    LOL. made me laugh

    Funniest thing I've read in a long time lol.  I can only take that as sarcasm. It has to be..

    "You are all going to poop yourselves." BillMurphy
    image

  • KhinRuniteKhinRunite ManilaPosts: 879Member
    Originally posted by GwapoJosh
    Originally posted by Tokken

    "Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."

     

    LOL. made me laugh

    Funniest thing I've read in a long time lol.  I can only take that as sarcasm. It has to be..

    I guess he meant awesome for a F2P game. If the game is truly awesome then number 2 (and 3 to some extent) shouldn't exist.

    It's like you have a piece of art and I said, "that's awesome, I'd love to have it on my wall!"

    You: "Will you pay for it?"

    Me: "No."

     

  • ignore_meignore_me Apple Valley, CAPosts: 1,987Member

    #1 The "our game is awesome" language is something that leaked out of one of their meetings a while back. It was probably someone saying, ok name some good things, and that "awesome game" bit was dutifully written on the white board.

    They clearly focused on #2.

    #3 will never be solved.

    Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  • KertKert Hinton, ABPosts: 69Member
    Originally posted by Tokken

    "Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it."

     

    LOL. made me laugh

    Me too.

    How out of touch with reality do you have to be to make a statement like that? When over 2 million people buy your game, and at best 25% are left less than a year later.... that is a lot of people who didn't "love it" or "want to play it".

    What a moron.

  • GruugGruug Chillicothe, ILPosts: 1,311Member Uncommon

    I love the questing in SWTOR more so then any other "themepark" type MMO. I do not care at all for about 80% of the so-called "end-game" content. Repeatable quests are boring. PvP (in most MMOs) is just not much fun. OPs (raids) are too few and again suffer from that feeling of repeatitivness.

    With that said, I would renew my current sub except for one thing..free-to-play and the coming cash shop. While I am sure there will be items that will be desirable, I just have to wonder as to why those items are not being added to the game as part of my subscription. Why do I have to pay extra? So, the answer is....I won't. Further, I will not support the game so that "freeloaders" can play (albiet in a much limited way) while I help pay the bills. When so-called f2p goes live....I will be done and won't return.

    Let's party like it is 1863!

  • Not_KhaerosNot_Khaeros Monroe, NYPosts: 31Member
    My game is awesome, just check out my ink, bro.
  • GhavriggGhavrigg Halifax, NSPosts: 775Member Uncommon

    Jeff Hickman is not someone they should have placed in charge of this game. He's not going to take it anywhere good, for sure.

    Jesus, he says the game is awesome and peole want to play it -- yet if that were true, people wouldn't actually MIND the subscription fee.

    Also what's the point of having a F2P version of this game, when you have to play as casually as like one session a week to finish everything you're allowed to do in a week, because it's basically forcing people to subscribe anyway, shoudl they want to play more than two days of the week and still be rewarded.

    It's so goddamn terrible... ugh.

  • LachyFTWLachyFTW Miami, FLPosts: 181Member Uncommon
    State of the game: Failing.
  • SuperXero89SuperXero89 Amory, MSPosts: 2,544Member Uncommon

    I don't believe SW:TOR's new F2P model will retain former subscribers.  It's one of those models which functions very well as an extended free trial, but it's too restrictive to enjoy the game at the level cap.  The F2P model should help make lower levels areas appear more active and EA should make some money out of the cash shop.  Beyond that, it's a wash.

    Content updates have been too slow.  After the conversion to F2P, I do hope they can maintain their supposed update schedule, but they need to add more than new flashpoints and operations.  They need to add additional quest hubs, space missions, and features in addition to endgame content.

    As for the number of people leaving, it's hard to believe there would be so many people leaving BioWare if the game met expectations; however, I don't believe that the game is as bad off as people say.  First of all, it's still one of the most popular MMORPGs on the market, and people are no longer leaving the game in droves.  The problem was that people had wild expectations for SW:TOR that BioWare failed to meet.  As a result, there are a lot of spurned MMO fans out there, and the tide of public opinion has turned against EA and BioWare.  It's now "cool" to hate on SW:TOR, and most of the people hating on the game don't even have legitimate arguments to raise against it.

     

     

  • DenambrenDenambren Montreal, QCPosts: 320Member Uncommon

    I love all these games that go F2P when there are so many players who wouldn't play those games if they were paid to do it.

     

  • AtrocitusAtrocitus Oa, CAPosts: 77Member Uncommon

    This guy lied all over the place about WARHAMMER, and was called out on it then.

     

     

    He was a very disliked person in that community. Him and his loudmouthed counterpart English partner........

     

     

     

     

    Enough is enough.....Stop with the damage control/backpeddling..........This game has been over for close to a year.......

     

    Stop trying to make excuses for it Hickman........

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,439Member Uncommon

    What a elequently written apology letter that reads as an insult.

    Don't tell me... this guy is going to be like Jay Wilson and give a big *F*ck that loser!* to the original BW devs that come out and say what are it's true failings.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,714Member Uncommon

    It's only my opinion, but:

    1. Our game is awesome. People love it and want to play it. The story part is. The rest of it... as the others said, Lol.

    2. The subscription requirement was driving away huge numbers of people who do not want to commit to paying monthly. It wasn't about commiting, a singleplayer game doesn't worth a monthly fee. Period.

    3. The frequency of our Game Updates was way too slow. People were leaving because we were not releasing new content fast enough to keep up with the pace at which it was being consumed. True, way too slow updates.

    And a +1

    Our current plan is to wait for Free-to-Play to launch and see what the influx of new players does to the populations of these servers. LOL. New players? Everyone who were at least a bit interested in TOR already bought the box, or tried it with the unlimited lvl1-15 trial. You can see the numbers every day, how many of them subscribed. A very few from these group will return (I will for example, to finish the class quests, but none of my buddies plan to...)

    But new ones? Who didn't saw the launch campaign, and later missed the unlimited trial, but now the restricted fp2 will catch his/her eyes, and willing to give it a shot? Again, Lol.

  • achesomaachesoma Portland, ORPosts: 1,000Member Uncommon
    Am I having deja vu?  Didn't SWG start a weekly "State of the Game" after the NGE?

    image

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