Star Wars: The Old Republic Q&A

GameSpot was able to chat with Star Wars: The Old Republic world designer Jesse Sky about "flashpoints", the game's solution to cooperative dungeon crawling.  Experience, loot, and boss fights ahoy:
GS: Let's talk about flashpoints in general. How many are intended to be in the game at launch? How will the game guide players toward them, and how important will they be to a player's overall experience? For instance, we understand that player-versus-player (PVP) battles are intended to let players play them continuously, gaining all their levels and loot through them--can we say the same for flashpoints?

JS: I won't get into our launch numbers, but flashpoints are a core part of the game experience and will challenge you from a relatively early level all the way to endgame. You could spend a large chunk of your time playing them, for sure, and there are plenty of incentives to do so.


GS: While flashpoints are clearly intended to be challenging experiences, once you've completed one, are you finished with it forever? What incentives are planned to get players to run a certain flashpoint multiple times? Alternate difficulty levels? Randomized loot? Some kind of points system that earns you prestige for successfully completing these areas?

JS: Flashpoints are repeatable by design, and we strive to include elements that keep them fresh for multiple play-throughs. The gameplay focus in a flashpoint is very tight, which contrasts a bit with adventuring in the open world, but it lets us empower players in some really interesting ways. For example, you might explore the area and discover a secret that changes the mechanics of a boss fight. Or you might make a story decision that alters the course of the gameplay.

Naturally, you'll find some of the best equipment in flashpoints. There will be other reward structures in place as well, but our main focus is making them fun. Fun is my favorite incentive.