Tricky's Little Questions

This forum is to be used for all discussions pertaining to LucasArts and BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG.
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Tricky's Little Questions

Postby Tricky » Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:33 am

This game seems interesting, I am considering playing it after its release. There's something I'd like clear up before I take the whole series through another retro-playthrough.

1. Lots of talk about Revan. Did he or did he not go light-side before he's apparently killed at the beginning of this MMO?
2. Any mention of The Exile? What was his officially established alignment for the purpose of followup story?

I'm just going by what I recall from teaser videos. If I am very wrong about the above, please do tell me.
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby Xandax » Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:45 am

1) The canon ending of Revan in KOTOR is male light side.
This time-line might help clear things up.
Star Wars: The Old Republic | Timeline

2) The Exile is not mentioned much at all - although we know canon is Light Side female.
The mostly used argument from Bioware is that the Exiles actions where mostly done in the shadows and hidden from the public eye and therefore not many records exists.

My guess is that the Exile being a Obsidian invention is not expanded on much.
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Postby Tricky » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:16 am

Xandax wrote:My guess is that the Exile being a Obsidian invention is not expanded on much.


I just went through all the trailers on TOR's website and I was a bit appalled. Doesn't impress me in the graphics depardment and I very much regret that it shows that Obisian isn't being involved in the writing. Nearly all of what they promised new and unprecedented reminded me of things I have seen before. I think they have managed to create a very boring, very linear MMO game that plays like a LAN game. They claim to have a team of a couple dozen writers though, so I am hoping it will turn out well.

Is the Gamebanshee going to review it, since it's an MMO and all?
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby Tricky » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:47 am

Actually, I am a little confused. The little slide-show thing you gave me shows promising story, but the ingame dialogue I've seen is below the grade of even the 1st Kotor game. Especially those one-line wonders the mercenary character spouts. That team of writers needs to get its act together.

I am really concerned about the amount of world content outside of the main storyline. All the attention seems to go to the story, not so much to letting players organize their own things. By that I mean guilds and stuff. Competitions. Trading. If it really plays like a LAN game, I'm not sure if it will catch enough of my attention span.

Story vs multiplayer elements. Will the conflict never stop..
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby Xandax » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:11 pm

The graphics thing is a clear choice they've taken. Stylized realism as it is called, is a method of scaling down graphics to run on a wider array of machines and it helps keep the age of the game.
Whether they can get it polished enough though remains to be seen - but the graphic style is chosen as such.
It is opposed to the more realistic style which usually looks great when it comes out, but very quickly can ages fast. Plus there's the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley"]"uncanny valley"[/url] to consider. I know many seem to be unhappy with the graphics, but I can't say it bothers me. I do not mind the "cartoony" graphics and have played both WoW and Warhammer - for example - whereas games like Age of Conan couldn't keep me interested.

Obsidian is not involved in any way no, and well - in my book it is not a big loss. The Obsidian follow ups to Bioware games have always been terrible buggy and rushed.

As for "features", then Bioware have stated they're building upon traditional MMO but want to bring what they do well to the genre. Meaning story, companions, more choices and such similar stuff.
This rubs some the wrong way, others are happy - how it plays out remains to be seen, but they've been specific about those things. Just some people thought up all sorts of hooha and let their imaginations run wild and unchecked :rolleyes:

The story and writing will most likely be very similar to how it was in ME2 and DAO, and I think those games will be the best indicator for whether or not you'll like the class stories. It is a main focal point for the game, but they do claim to have many other MMO elements. EA buying Mythic have given Bioware some free resources and experiences to do the PvP thing, so that could possible be interesting. (Despite Mythic not doing well with Warhammer, they have good RvR/PvP ideas - they just lack the balancing and fine tuning). They've also said raids of some form and crafting will be in the game.
But they are trying a difficult thing here, fusing two different genres - sink or swim, I'm eagerly following the game if nothing else because this fusion is something I've been advocating for many years :D

As for whether GB will review it, I don't know. I do plan on playing it myself - just to try it out, so one way or the other, I'll give my personal feedback when the game launches. Whether I'll play for more then a month or only play to try out the class stories or actually play the game for years - well, I will have to try the game first :D
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Postby DesR85 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:01 pm

Tricky wrote:...Doesn't impress me in the graphics depardment and I very much regret that it shows that Obisian isn't being involved in the writing.

I didn't have any issue with the graphics but the art direction for some of their armour is questionable, particularly the beginner armour for both Sith and Jedi that look more like pyjamas than robes. :p

The one thing I didn't like about it is when Bioware called it 'stylized realism' when it just look like any other cel-shaded graphics, as if it is a 'unique' graphics style. Not that I want to kick up a fuss, but why call it something else when it just look like any other game that uses cel-shading? To quell rumours that it is consolised?

And about Obsidian being involved in the writing, I'm sure most of the crowd here wanted that, but which developer ever contracted the script-writing to an outside source instead of using their own writers? Can't think of any. Besides, Bioware already have their own writer(s), so why get someone else to do it?
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Postby Tricky » Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:26 am

Xandax wrote: I do not mind the "cartoony" graphics and have played both WoW and Warhammer - for example - whereas games like Age of Conan couldn't keep me interested.


I am in agreement now. At least, for the characters. I don't mind it too much on the environments, but for some larger rockfaces and plains it just looks a bit odd. I would have prefered the crispiness of the locales and objects as seen in The Force Unleashed.

Obsidian is not involved in any way no, and well - in my book it is not a big loss. The Obsidian follow ups to Bioware games have always been terrible buggy and rushed.


I think they could actually do really well on an MMO, if only for the lack of deadlines. No, yes, they have to deliver stuff, but in many senses the work done on an MMO is an ever continueing process. And all I'd really ask would be for some of their writers to step in really. Not anything else.

All previous Bioware games considering, I don't think the company can challenge me here. If the writing won't cut it, the combat had better.. well, be better.

As for "features", then Bioware have stated they're building upon traditional MMO but want to bring what they do well to the genre. Meaning story, companions, more choices and such similar stuff.
This rubs some the wrong way, others are happy - how it plays out remains to be seen, but they've been specific about those things. Just some people thought up all sorts of hooha and let their imaginations run wild and unchecked :rolleyes:


I am practised at thinking up hooba. :rolleyes:

I wonder how far diplomacy/intimidation/bluffing skills will play out in dialogue. It is hinted at that for example the sith lord can manipulate a bit, work things from the shadows, etc. It would be cool if we could sometimes take conversation paths OVER combat.

Futhermore, the developers make clear that everything you say will have an effect on the game world, but they don't tell if that's just you and your parties perspective on it, or all of the server. I suppose the latter is mainly wishful thinking on my side, but it would be cool if they could make something happen there. Like server/planetary events for parties that change things a little.


The story and writing will most likely be very similar to how it was in ME2 and DAO, and I think those games will be the best indicator for whether or not you'll like the class stories.


That is a hard one. I played a bit of ME1, but I got tired of it as quickly as during the first level. Not sure why. I found the combat a bit odd, the levels a bit linear and the story, at least the first two hours of it, a bit boring. I didn't think it was a bad game, but I just couldn't invest my attention to it. It wasn't a mind-opener, but it also wasn't Star Wars.

That might actually be enough. Star Wars, to me, is surrounded by somewhat lesser expectations than a game that promises to rival Baldur's Gate. If it can be at least as good at the first Kotor game, I will probably be happy with it.


But they are trying a difficult thing here, fusing two different genres - sink or swim, I'm eagerly following the game if nothing else because this fusion is something I've been advocating for many years :D


I didn't know. :)

I suppose I've begun to see MMO's as testing grounds for rulesets and such. If I wanted to experience good story, I would quit playing the MMO and fire up a single player game like Morrowind. It's not like I never missed story elements in MMO. The MMO's I liked the most were always games that had solid classes, innovative attribute/skill systems, etc. This is also very gratifying sustenance and not always seen in single player games.

I do plan on playing it myself - just to try it out, so one way or the other, I'll give my personal feedback when the game launches.


I'll keep tabs on your blog. :)

DesR85 wrote:I didn't have any issue with the graphics but the art direction for some of their armour is questionable, particularly the beginner armour for both Sith and Jedi that look more like pyjamas than robes. :p

I wore orange Kung-Fu pyamas when I was a kid. Think of all the children that will want to wear Sith pyamas to bed. ;)

The one thing I didn't like about it is when Bioware called it 'stylized realism' when it just look like any other cel-shaded graphics, as if it is a 'unique' graphics style. Not that I want to kick up a fuss, but why call it something else when it just look like any other game that uses cel-shading? To quell rumours that it is consolised?


I've seen them do that with several technologies. Nothing is new about using a lot of voice actors in a game. It won't add something to the players experience, because he has already experienced it in single-player games. Furthermore, they only 'work' if they go by unnoticed. So right now, Bioware is putting a lot attention to the quantity of voice acting while it will probably go by unnoticed. So long as nothing is wrong with it, though.

And about Obsidian being involved in the writing, I'm sure most of the crowd here wanted that, but which developer ever contracted the script-writing to an outside source instead of using their own writers? Can't think of any. Besides, Bioware already have their own writer(s), so why get someone else to do it?


They might be better. Kotor 2 might not have been a perfect game, but it was the superior to Kotor 1 in terms of story and character depth.
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby Xandax » Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:07 am

Tricky wrote:<snip>
I am in agreement now. At least, for the characters. I don't mind it too much on the environments, but for some larger rockfaces and plains it just looks a bit odd. I would have prefered the crispiness of the locales and objects as seen in The Force Unleashed.
<snip>

I've never played TFU because it doesn't interest me but from what I've seen many computers would struggle with such graphics in a MMO. Having to render possible hundreds of people of crips quality is a struggle for many.
One reason WoW was successful was the lower scale of machines it could run on - something Bioware have learned from.
It is easier to pump up specs for a single player game - but when you need to run a MMO and get people to pay subscriptions - it becomes more of an issue.

Tricky wrote:<snip>
Futhermore, the developers make clear that everything you say will have an effect on the game world, but they don't tell if that's just you and your parties perspective on it, or all of the server. I suppose the latter is mainly wishful thinking on my side, but it would be cool if they could make something happen there. Like server/planetary events for parties that change things a little.
<snip>

That does sound like wishful thinking indeed. If we look past the marketing speak - it is still a MMO so one person's choices can't really do much to influence the game world and change it for another - let alone cross different servers which are - for lack of better world - worlds.

I suspect what we'll see is that your quests and the choices you take within will affect your own personal story providing 2-3-4 branches down the story and choices taken in one story moment can affect another in that way.
As for the world story I struggle seeing you can have much actual impact on the world
The effect on game world looks to be isolated to your character and its story for all technical possibilities.
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Postby Tricky » Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:58 am

Yeah, I know you're right about that. I mean, I should know.

Some version of Unreal Tournament, an old online first-person shooter, had this team mode (I forget what it was called) where you'd objectively sabotage another team's base. But it wouldn't be a base in the sense of 'capture the flag' or anything like that. It would be more like a giant, linear level that one team could play as a single-player map, while the other team worked against them, taking the place of a single player games' defending AI. For example, you'd start out in a submarine, invading the beaches, then you'd conquer a town, siege a fort and finally destroy some howitzers.

In an MMO having constant events like that would be an impossible strain on writers and map designers alike. However, small-time monthly events in which a few, select teams (that perhaps managed to qualify through series of standardized quests) gets to blow up a building or repair a bridge that from that moment on stays that way, permanently in the game world for everyone to see.. that would be something else entirely. If the outcome of such rare events could also affect the developing story, if only by being mentioned in the 'Jedi holocrons' or some such.. that would be pretty damn amazing.

But I suppose considering the amount of work they put into polishing the details, such things would probably be a bit too wasteful. If such a server-wide quest event had three different outcomes, then no matter the outcome the company would need to scrap 2/3rds of the dialogue, story and design they invested in. I would say they're still a few decades away from creating content like that on the spot. :p

Ah, I hope you don't mind my daydreaming. I get usually greater pleasure out of that than actually playing games. ;)

Xandax wrote:One reason WoW was successful was the lower scale of machines it could run on - something Bioware have learned from.
It is easier to pump up specs for a single player game - but when you need to run a MMO and get people to pay subscriptions - it becomes more of an issue.


When Crysis was released nearly every review complained about the insanely high system requirements, while virtually none mentioned you could scale the graphics down to a level that made it look even more simple than their first game, FarCry. The best engine should be scalable into absurdity, but perhaps that is too much to ask for, as long as they're considering to release TOR on console systems with fixed hardware specs.

~

I wonder how playable this game is, alone. Some of the footage definitely shows players managing things on their own. It's nice to have that option.
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby Xandax » Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:25 am

Tricky wrote:Yeah, I know you're right about that. I mean, I should know.

Some version of Unreal Tournament, an old online first-person shooter, had this team mode (I forget what it was called) <snip>

Was called Assult.

Tricky wrote:<snip>
In an MMO having constant events like that would be an impossible strain on writers and map designers alike. However, small-time monthly events in which a few, select teams (that perhaps managed to qualify through series of standardized quests) gets to blow up a building or repair a bridge that from that moment on stays that way, permanently in the game world for everyone to see.. that would be something else entirely. If the outcome of such rare events could also affect the developing story, if only by being mentioned in the 'Jedi holocrons' or some such.. that would be pretty damn amazing.
<snip>

It is not as much a strain on designers and writers. It is a limitation of scripting events versus human ingenuity and adaptation.
And it is a fact of having thousands of players all wanting to play the game, and if you then only have 1 or 2 teams able to do something specific - why should the other pay for playing it?


Tricky wrote:<snip>
When Crysis was released nearly every review complained about the insanely high system requirements, while virtually none mentioned you could scale the graphics down to a level that made it look even more simple than their first game, FarCry. The best engine should be scalable into absurdity, but perhaps that is too much to ask for, as long as they're considering to release TOR on console systems with fixed hardware specs.
<snip>

The problem is that while you can scale Crysis down, it looks awful and then you might as well use graphics designed for that level of details that then will look nice.
Plus even though you can scale Crysis, I really want to see the engine perform on a "normal" gaming PC (games like Crysis usually targets a more hardcore gaming element with high end gaming computers) and a hundred people fighting it out.



Tricky wrote:<snip>
I wonder how playable this game is, alone. Some of the footage definitely shows players managing things on their own. It's nice to have that option.


The word from Bioware thus far is that the class story quests are playable solo - properly due to companions.
The world stories are unknown - but they have said that while you can solo a lot of the game if you choose, there will be content you do not experience if you solo.
So I think even if the game is not a good MMO that many might want to play it just for the class stories as a sort of KOTOR game in an online world.
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Postby Tricky » Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:54 am

Yes, that would be good. It's nice to have some other people working on something else in the background too, while you are busy questing on your own. It just gives the impression of a nice, full world.

Come to mention it, in all the footage I haven't really seen any of those non-hostile, sort of residential zones you had in the previous Kotor games. The ones that are mostly filled with non-quest 'fluff' npc's that leave the same kind of.. well, let's call it a worldly impression. Every MMO I've played had cities and such, but save the odd salesman and quest npc they would always be completely devoid of public life. I hope they don't manage to overlook that. It might actually make the entire game feel more like the Jedi Knight/Academy series than Kotor.

Ah. Speculation. :rolleyes:

And it is a fact of having thousands of players all wanting to play the game, and if you then only have 1 or 2 teams able to do something specific - why should the other pay for playing it?


Because there would still be enough cool, varying content aside from that? Singular events on MMO servers aren't uncommon, they usually just don't leave behind anything lasting and always have a fixed outcome. One extreme option would be to never let these server-wide event quests interfer with or distract from the main developing story line.

..

Hell, I don't know. When you think about it, Bioware is already playing on these sentiments by promising that the player's actions will for really real affect the game world (heh, almost up to the point where they make it seem like a new thing - a bit immature, IMO). But just because they haven't articulated that promise yet the way we have, doesn't mean they have already evoked the desire in their audience to see such things happen in an MMO. Some developer or another will rise to the occasion, I'm sure.


Well, I'm off to play some Kotor 1 as a male lightsider then. All this talk has made my hands twitch for a lightsabre. :laugh:
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby galraen » Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:04 am

The fact that Obsidian isn't having anything to do with it means I'm still slightly interested and will be looking forward to Xandax's review. Had what I consider one of the worst developers ever had anything to do with the game, then like Alpha P, it would have already been doomed to stay in the shop.
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Postby Xandax » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:34 am

Forgot to mention:

as long as they're considering to release TOR on console systems with fixed hardware specs.

There's no plans or consideration to release TOR on console systems as we know.
Every single statement thus far have been Windows PC only. If Mac, then Boot camp so they don't even plan on doing a native Mac to begin with (limitations of the Hero engine IIRC) .
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Postby Tricky » Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:03 am

There's no plans or consideration to release TOR on console systems as we know.


I first considered a possible console release would be the best reason for (any) company not to make their graphics engine too scalable. Only after that conclusion I did a quick Google search to see if it were actually the case. I found the odd reference to it around 2008, but not in recent times. I admit it was probably just Internet rumour. For the sake of not spreading disinformation to other viewers I should probably have said that right away.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention
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Postby Tricky » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:55 am

Xandax wrote:2) The Exile is not mentioned much at all - although we know canon is Light Side female.
The mostly used argument from Bioware is that the Exiles actions where mostly done in the shadows and hidden from the public eye and therefore not many records exists.

My guess is that the Exile being a Obsidian invention is not expanded on much.

I have a little more info on that from PAX. Daniel Erickson, lead writer stated:
[SIZE="1"](From the [url="http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=197869#close"]official SW:TOR forums[/url]: )[/size]
"People who preferred KOTOR 1 will likely feel more at home with the Jedi Knight story, and people who preferred KOTOR 2 will likely feel more at home with the Jedi Consular story."
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]