Revan is Back in SWTOR

If this doesn’t get you interested for a new Old Republic expansion I’m not sure what will:

What do you say – will these draw you back to the game?

Seeker Droid Quest on Voss: Still Glitched

voss21

Welcome to Glitch Swamp

For those SWTOR players trying to complete the Seeker Droid quest line, I’m afraid you may be in for some disappointment. I’ve been slowly working through the quests and had gotten up to ‘Where Madness Takes Root’.

Voss is the location and it’s just another case of using your seeker droid to capture a rage seed. The only trouble is, in this location your seeker droid doesn’t work. When you enter the area it will tell you your seeker droid detects something, but after a few seconds say it no longer doesn’t. If you activate your seeker droid before that notification, it starts the seeking process but doesn’t progress.

Given this, I lodged a ticket (after searching the net and finding this is a common issue) and got the following response from BioWare support:

seeker-droid-glitch

So basically – if you experience this issue you can’t complete the quest line. There’s no fix in the works and nor is there an ETA on when there will be. Frustrated much?

UPDATE: As of Game Update 2.8 this issue is now resolved. Yay!

SWTOR Galactic Strongholds Delayed

I want my Tatooine Homestead with this view

I want my Tatooine Homestead with this view

Bioware’s Senior Producer for SWTOR, Bruce Maclean, has announced that the next SWTOR expansion, Galactic Strongholds, will be delayed close to two months.

The reasons given below are well explained and the upside is that some previously unannounced features will be available at the later launch date.
Have a read for yourself:

For the past year, we’ve made it our goal to share updates and information on what’s happening in the studio and our upcoming plans for the game. We got the message that you appreciate transparency and want to know what we are working on. With that in mind, we wanted to share a change in plans to our most recently announced digital expansion, Galactic Strongholds.

We have been listening to what you, our players, were hoping to see from the Galactic Strongholds expansion. When playing early builds of Galactic Strongholds it became that clear that our June Early Access date was simply not enough. For this to truly feel like an expansion, it needs to include the full set of features, including those originally coming later in the year. So what does this mean? We are moving the start date for Subscriber Early Access from June 24th to August 19th in order to deliver to you the most features at the highest level of quality. The result will be a far more compelling experience, including additional features such as the ability to place your vehicles and pets in your Stronghold and for Guilds to conquer planets . To conquer a planet, Guilds must complete weekly Conquest events earning points to place at the top of the Guild Leaderboards. Conquering a planet gives the Guild special perks and rewards. This means that Subscribers will be the first to play the full slate of expansion features (everything!) at the start of Subscriber Early Access, a month before everyone else.

This additional time allows us to add:

  • Conquest Events: use the power of your Stronghold to dominate these events and earn rewards
  • Guild Flagships will now offer expanded functionality for Guilds:
    • Provide powerful buffs to Guild members from orbit
    • Transport entire groups to your personal coordinates instantaneously
    • Compete in Conquest Events to conquer entire planets
  • New Stronghold: Tatooine Homestead
  • Vehicles, Mounts, Pets, and Companion Characters can be placed as decorations in Strongholds

 

Combine that with the original feature list…

  • 3 unique Player Strongholds, one on each Capital World plus the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace
  • 2 faction-specific Guild Flagships (Valor-class Cruiser for the Republic and Harrower-class Dreadnaught for the Empire)
  • Legacy Stronghold Storage
  • Ability to gain Prestige tracked on Prestige Leaderboards
  • Hundreds of Decorations to discover and collect

 

…and the result is an expansion that’s worth waiting for!

The additional features and time shift means some adjustments in other parts of our plan:

May 4th remains the Subscriber deadline for Bonus Cartel Coins Grant to the sweet tune of 1000 Cartel Coins!

May 11th is no longer the deadline for Strongholds Early Access rewards but as a thank you to all of our Subscribers as of this date, we are giving you the following rewards:

  • Exclusive Subteroth minipet (delivered in Update 2.7.2)
  • Two Character Titles “The Intrepid” (delivered in Update 2.7.2) and “The Illustrious” (delivered in Game Update 2.9)
  • A sprawling Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace with five additional rooms unlocked
  • Stronghold Name “Galactic Stronghold”

 

July 15th is our new deadline for Subscriber Rewards for Early Access, and you must be a Subscriber by this date to claim the Subscriber Early Access Rewards:

  • The luxurious Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace with three additional rooms unlocked
  • Stronghold Name “Galactic Stronghold”
  • Character Title “The Illustrious” (delivered in Game Update 2.9)

 

August 19th is Game Update 2.9: Galactic Strongholds Digital Expansion Subscriber Early Access!

Preferred Early Access and the Official Launch will follow in September and October. Be sure to visit www.swtor.com/galactic-strongholdsfor more specific dates and details.

 

Over to you: is the delay a good things or a frustration that could have been avoided? I for one will be fascinated how you have vehicles / mounts logically stored within an indoor stronghold…..

Rise Of The Hutt Cartel: More Details

tatooine9In the post-Christmas lull I thought it was worth rounding up any further snippets of info BioWare have released on 2013’s SWTOR expansion, Rise Of The Hutt Cartel. So here we go:

1. Story/Lore in Rise of The Hutt Cartel

Allison Berryman at BioWare:

We think players interested in lore are going to really enjoy the story in Rise of the Hutt Cartel, and I’d like to share a few more details – this seemed like a good thread for it!

The people of Makeb have remained neutral in wars between the great political powers in the galaxy. Relying on their wealth, isolation, and an army of mercenaries, the citizens have enjoyed centuries of prosperity. However, in the midst of the current galactic conflict, the Hutt Cartel has recognized the planet as a crucial stepping stone to increase their organization’s standing and reclaim the strength of their ancestors’ empire. They’ve hired Makeb’s mercenaries away and have made the citizens prisoners in their own homes, forcing them to reach out to the Republic in a desperate bid for rescue.

The Republic recognizes the Cartel’s seizure of Makeb as a bid for galactic power. With victory over the Empire seeming possible for the first time in decades, Supreme Chancellor Saresh is determined to respond to Makeb’s request for aid to stop the Cartel before they can become an even greater threat and compromise the Republic’s chance for victory.

Taking advantage of the chaos erupting between the Hutt Cartel and the Republic, the Sith Empire makes their own bold play for the hidden power of Makeb, seizing their chance to regain some of the strength lost to internal struggles and at the hands of the Republic’s military resurgence. They plan to outmaneuver all their enemies to usher in a new era of Imperial dominance.

2. Talent Trees In ROTHC

Allison Berryman again:

We know you’re all very interested to hear about how the new level cap is going to affect your class, and I wanted to share a little information about the upcoming changes with you. As part of the new content, every skill tree will be expanding and you can expect significant updates. Players will earn a new skill point with each level, and new skills will be available in each skill tree. Additionally, a new active ability will be introduced for each Advanced Class. We’ll have more details about many aspects of Rise of the Hutt Cartel as we approach launch, so keep your eyes on the website and dev tracker!

3. End-Game Gear and the Level Cap

This time… Allison Berryman:

Hi everyone! While we can’t address every concern raised in this thread right now, we can reassure you that the gear you’ve obtained in our current endgame will continue to be relevant after the expansion is released, and it will provide a great bootstrap into the higher-level content offered by Rise of the Hutt Cartel. You won’t be replacing your Dread Guard gear with gear you pick up as you level, and thanks to improvements in the way item power is calculated, we won’t be handing out any entry-level gear at the new level cap. You’ll hear more about RotHC as we approach its launch, and we’ll continue to answer questions and provide more details!

4. Size of the Expansion

Some person called Allison:

To give you all a better idea of Makeb’s scope, it’s a planet of equal size to our larger planets and it contains a variety of areas – sprawling mesas, underground caverns, garden estates, and more. It introduces faction-specific storylines, new Heroic missions and bosses, repeatable mission series, and new Datacrons! The 5 new levels will occupy players for a fair amount of time, and there’s plenty of content to get you there (including a lot of stuff tucked away for the explorers out there). Keep in mind that this announcement is just the start – as we approach Makeb’s launch, you’ll see more details about the content coming with Rise of the Hutt Cartel!

There you have it: I’d expect to see more detail fleshed out in the next month. What’s your take on the statements so far?

SWTOR: More Info On Terror From Beyond

Mega Garden Slug Will Slime Your Ass!

BioWare have posted a developer update on the latest piece of end-game content coming in Game Update 1.4: Terror From Beyond.

Here’s a brief snippet:

This Operation introduces the next tier of progression in Star Wars: The Old Republic, including a new set of PvE gear. The hard difficulty mode for Terror From Beyond is balanced for players wearing a full set of Campaign gear, which can be acquired from Operation: Explosive Conflict. Augments will become increasingly more important the deeper you get into Terror from Beyond. Story mode will be available for players who just want to see the sights, but it’s no walk in the park.

Read the whole thing here. There’s no word as to when this will be on the PTS but be assured we’ll let you know when it is.

Over to you: is there anything in this info that has you interested in particular beyond the fact it’s new end-game content? Share your thoughts!

SWTOR Space Combat Popularity: Some Stats

For those who play space missions in SWTOR, there was an interesting snippet of information released by BioWare in the past day.

In response to a forum thread on how many people actually play space missions, Allison Berryman responded with this:

To address the question in the title of this thread, I talked to Jonathan Crow, a Gameplay Telemetry Analyst here. The data that we have shows that nearly half of all currently active players have played at least one Space Combat Mission in the past 30 days.

So there you go – I’d expected the numbers to be a little lower than that.

Over to you: did you realise so many people played space missions? Did you actually think the stats would be higher? Let us know.

Enter The Chevin: SWTOR’s Latest World Event

BioWare have release a teaser video via the Imperial News Network, plus this one sentence of interest:

Rumor has it that the Chevin are making their move and that their presence will soon be felt on the Smuggler’s Moon, Nar Shaddaa

The video:

So – what do you think? There’s not a huge amount of information to go off, but does this look good to you as SWTOR’s next world event?

SWTOR Goes Free to Play

In one of the biggest non-surprises of the year, BioWare have announced that SWTOR has gone free-to-play.

Even though in recent weeks there have been more layoffs, including departures of some of the big names involved in the development of the game, it hasn’t stopped BioWare plastering their front page with the excited “The Old Republic Is Expanding!” as the lead for the F2P announcement. Cynicism aside, there’s a bunch of related content announced with the change:

1. Players can still choose to pay a subscription, which gives them access to everything and also earns them ‘Cartel Points’

2. The F2P option will go live in August, when you can buy the game for only $14.99 which includes 30 days of game time.

3. A range of new content is coming as well:

The full press release from BioWare/EA:

BioWare™, a Label of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA), announced today that it will be expanding the story-driven, massively multiplayer online game Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ by adding a new Free-to-Play option this fall. This option will give players access to each of the eight iconic Star Wars character class storylines, all the way up to level 50, with certain restrictions*. Unlimited game access, including new higher-level game content and new features will be made available through individual purchases or through a subscription option.

“Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic™ universe,” said Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin.

Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer of Star Wars: The Old Republic added, “Since launch we have been adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace based on the feedback from our fans. We believe we are in a position to help improve the service even more, not only by continuing to add new content, but also by expanding the game to many more Star Wars fans, increasing the populations on worlds and the vibrancy of the community.”

Starting this fall, there will be two different ways to play Star Wars: The Old Republic:

Subscription – A service designed for players who want unrestricted access to all the game features via ongoing subscription or by redeeming a Game Time Card. In addition to gaining access to all game content as our current subscribers do now, Subscribers will receive ongoing monthly grants of Cartel Coins*, the new virtual currency that will be introduced later this fall. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase valuable items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.
Free-to-Play –The first 50 levels will be free-to-play, with some restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.
As the first step towards adding the new Free-to-Play option this fall, in August at retail Star Wars: The Old Republic will go on sale for $14.99 USD, including one-month of free subscription.

Current and former players will also find additional benefits as part of this program. BioWare will be increasing the frequency of game content updates, with the first of many new releases coming in August. In addition, current subscribers will receive Cartel Coin grants and qualify for access to special in-game items. Even former players who re-activate now will qualify for special benefits. To learn more about these rewards, please visit www.StarWarstheOldRepublic.com/FREE.

We’ll be covering this is more detail today as our team of writers dissect things. In the meantime, what’s your take? A great move that will grow the game, a desperate measure to keep the game viable, or somewhere in the middle?

Solo Malgus Kill: Go The Assassin!

I’m sure it’s not unique, but I’m always fascinated by solo kills and this SWTOR solo kill is no different.

This time it’s a Sith Assassin called Stevoo on the Master Dar’Nala Server, knocking over Darth Malgus in the False Emperor Flashpoint – in hard mode no less.

Having a healer companion doesn’t hurt obviously, but it’s still an impressive feat.

Have a look for yourself:

Over to you: have you pulled off a similar feat or does it seem a little too much like hard work? Post your thoughts below!

[Thanks to Jedi Consulars for the heads-up]

SWTOR Community Q&A: 27th July 2012

A short few days after the delayed Q&A from last week, BioWare have covered off answers to another handful of questions. This week, there’s even some lore thrown in for good measure!

The Q&A in full for you:

Skendra: Question about Legacy! Under Character Perks -> Travel, at 1.2 there was buff for Sprint Speed but locked and now in 1.3 it was changed to Priority Transport. Why?

Will Wallace (Senior Designer): There were both internal and external balance concerns about allowing players to purchase upgrades to Sprint speed, especially as it related to advantages in Warzones. We don’t want someone to feel like they have to have an optional purchase to be competitive in PvP. The Priority Transport perks were created as a replacement since they are beneficial for all players without upsetting the balance of the game.

Char_Ell: What is the backstory of the seven pillars on Corellia commemorating the heroes of The Jedi Civil War in BTC 303 (Revan, Bastila, Carth, Canderous, Juhani, Mission, Zaalbar)? How did the people of Corellia arrive at the decision to build the pillars?

Hall Hood (Lead Writer): Monuments to these great heroes who saved the entire Republic were constructed on multiple Core Worlds after the war’s end. The motivations behind these memorials differed from planet to planet. Some were built by politicians cynically displaying their patriotism, while others were created by artists and refugees seeking to honor their saviors. Corellia’s pillars, like its many museums, were built as much for tourism as a sincere display of Republic solidarity. Trivia note: a beautiful monument to the heroes stood outside Coruscant’s Galactic Senate building for nearly three centuries, but was destroyed by Sith Empire forces during the planet’s sacking.

Republicmeat: When the in-game event of the Rise of the Rakghoul plague was taking place, there was that vendor in Tatooine who you could sell DNA samples to. Will we ever get to sell our remaining DNA samples if we still have some or are they obsolete from now on since the vendor was removed?

Rick Burton (World Designer): I’ll give the nebulous answer of “It is certainly possible that the DNA samples will be spendable again” with the caveat of “We have no plans at this time to reuse the DNA samples.” While this does not help you decide what you should do with your left over DNA samples, it is the most honestly accurate answer to the question. I’ll throw in one slightly less vague bit of relevant information. For future events, we have made tweaks to the design based on player feedback that should lower the odds players are unexpectedly stuck with “no longer spendable” event currency.

LNSSnorkle: We know players that don’t migrate by themselves will have their chars automatically moved. The thing is, how can we know where they will end up?

Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer): Once we do automatic transfers, we will be doing everything possible in order to maintain the basics of the current ruleset as possible – PvE vs PvP, regional choice, language (for Europe); so in many cases, you should have a good idea of which populations you are likely to end up with. Another top concern is trying to help the populations that result have a good factional balance. We will give out a specific list once we are closer to implementation of this plan – watch for more info soon!

MayoJar: Lately you have been implementing “Server stability” fixes. Can you explain what exactly that is? I keep visualizing some intern sliding napkin shims under a corner of the server. Is this to fix lag issues, log in times, or transition screen load times?

Damion: I can see how this might be confusing to some players – SW:TOR servers, since launch, have enjoyed a reliability of greater than 99%, and since 1.3 went live, we’ve actually improved that to be greater than 99.97%, which means our servers pretty much never crash. However, Game Update 1.3 introduced a server bug that resulted in some players disconnecting randomly from the game, and the server team worked diligently after 1.3 went live to find this issue and stamp it out. This patch note refers (in vague terms, admittedly) to those fixes.

Rich Vogel Leaves BioWare: more layoffs?

Just a quick heads-up on an article over at Gamasutra, stating that SWTOR’s executive producer, Rich Vogel, has left BioWare. There are also reports of other layoffs but it’s unclear if it’s part of the original layoff announcement back in late May:

Amid reports that BioWare Austin is laying off staff today, Gamasutra can confirm that Star Wars: The Old Republic’s executive producer Rich Vogel is no longer with the company.

Vogel was instrumental in the development of SWTOR, overseeing all aspects of the MMO before and after its launch in December. The online game, though, has lost around 400,000 paid subscribers in recent months, and BioWare Austin recently said it’s considering free-to-play options for the title.

Reports also emerged on Tuesday morning that the Austin office is laying off workers, but it’s unclear if this headcount reduction is part of the restructuring plan BioWare announced in May. Though its parent company Electronic Arts didn’t specify then how many employees would be affected, the publisher said those layoffs were necessary in order for the team to maintain and grow SWTOR.

There’s nothing much to be upbeat about in regard to this announcement and we’ve had no official communication from BioWare on the changes at this stage.

We’ll have more as we find out ourselves, what’s your take on the situation?

HK-51: More Details Released

BioWare, following up from the San Diego Comic Con, have provided a trailer and a brief snippet of text on the HK-51 assassination droid, which will be available in “the very near future”:

Buried deep beneath the icy surface of Belsavis rests an army of the deadliest, most feared machines in the known galaxy. Thought to have been lost when an Imperial freighter was destroyed, they have recently been rediscovered by a group of renegade Sith Lords. Now both the Sith Empire and Galactic Republic seek to control these dangerous weapons for themselves. Those who are brave enough to venture into the wreckage will emerge with a powerful new ally.

We are excited to unveil the dangerous assassination droid HK-51! Cold, calculating, and ruthlessly efficient, HK-51 will stand by your side and loyally follow your command as you and your allies continue your journey. Journalists were given a brief preview of HK-51 at E3, but now we are happy to be able to show everyone at San Diego Comic-Con, and all of you at home, the full trailer.

Here’s the trailer (you now can’t embed the vids from what I can see – thanks BioWare!)

Over to you: is access to HK-51 something you’re dead keen on?