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Ask John Smedley About Star Wars Galaxies

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the galaxy-far-far-away dept.

Star Wars Prequels 383

Late last week, Sony Online Entertainment announced a fundamental revamp in the way that the Star Wars Galaxies MMORPG will be played. The Everquest-like autoattacking gameplay and multitudes of player classes are being removed. This marks the most dramatic change ever made to a MMOG already live, and Sony Online President John Smedley is willing to take questions from the Slashdot community about the changes. One question per comment, and we'll send the ten best questions on to Mr. Smedley. We'll post his answers as soon as they're returned. More details are available below, as are some preliminary responses from Mr. Smedley about the broad picture they're aiming for.For some background, Gamespy has a look at what the changes will be. Players are already checking out the new content on the test servers. f13 has an entire feature on the new systems. SWG Game Designer Jeff Freeman fills us in on the decision-making process used to decide to make the changes. As a note, Mr. Smedley and the folks at SOE are well aware of the sometimes critical nature of our discussions here, and they specifically want the chance to answer any concerns we might have about the new systems. Feel free to be as harsh or as hopeful as you are inclined to be: Mr. Smedley has promised to answer the questions come what may.

John Smedley: I was going to send you a Word doc, then remembered this was going to /. Including the text here.

Q: In your own words, would you like to lay out exactly what the scope of this overhaul will involve?

John Smedley:
There are two primary elements at the heart of this redesign: the re-focusing of Star Wars Galaxies's profession system and the introduction of what we're calling "Fast-Action Combat."

We are taking the 30+ professions and focusing them down to 9 "Iconic Professions." After the changes go live, when a player goes to start a new character in the game, they will see 9 boxes in the profession field. Those boxes will read Bounty Hunter, Commando, Entertainer, Jedi, Medic, Officer, Smuggler, Spy and Trader. Each descriptor will also have an image of an iconic Star Wars character, such as Han with Smuggler, Boba Fett with Bounty Hunter, Luke with Jedi, etc. These Iconic Professions will make it much easier for players to understand which type of character they're going to play and the type of activities and actions they should expect to find with their new profession.

Existing SWG players will be given a special item after the transition. This item will allow them to re-specialize ("re-spec") their character up to nine times. This will allow vets to try out each of the new Iconic Professions to determine which type they want to play.

The second major portion is the implementation of "Fast Action Combat." We're going to strip out the current SWG "select target, start macros, wait for combat to end" gameplay and replace it with a much more engrossing, entertaining control scheme. "Fast Action combat" controls will be similar to action games that our playerbase is intimately familiar with (Diablo certainly comes to mind, as well as our own Untold Legends game for the PSP). Now, every time a player clicks on their mouse button, they will fire their blaster, swing their lightsaber, shoot lightning bolts from their fingertips, etc. The pacing of combat has come way, way up, making the game faster and much more fun.

Fast Action really goes a long way towards making you feel like you're living the Star Wars experience, which is the primary goal behind all the enhancements we've been making to the game over the last few months. Instead of a passive, wait-and-see style of combat, you're now going to be much more involved with the action happening on-screen, which is even reflected in the music that you'll hear while fighting. Additionally, we've boosted the rate player's health regenerates, putting them back into the thick of things right away.

Q: Was there a single game element, piece of feedback, or event that prompted this re-envisioning? This is a very dramatic decision, and the reasons behind the changes seem almost as important as the changes themselves. What prompted you to give this plan the go-ahead?

John Smedley:
There are millions of Star Wars fans out there. SWG should be the game those players have always hoped for, a game that finally allows them to live inside the worlds and settings they know so well from the movies, the books, the comics.

Our main goal with SWG for the last nine months has been to make the game more "Star Wars-y," for lack of a better term. Our two latest expansions, Rage of the Wookiees and the new Trials of Obi-Wan have delivered players the kind of directed, hand-crafted content that they would find in our other titles, as opposed to just having open-ended "sandbox" style of gameplay.

The redesign comes about after hearing desires from our own players on forums and in person at the SWG Fan Fests, multiple focus groups, and our own design team's desire to create something much more grand and sweeping with the game. We have big plans for SWG in the months and years ahead, and we needed this new platform to use as a foundation for creating the vast Galactic Civil War that our players want.

Q: The immediacy of real-time combat certainly seems more 'Star Warsy' than the current system. What is being done to specifically ensure that combat recaptures the energy of the battles we see in the movies? How is this overhaul going to affect the space experience, if at all?

John Smedley:
Simple: by engaging the player, instead of having them watch combat from a distance. Fast Action is just what it sounds like. Players will find themselves jumping in and really applying themselves, interacting with the game like never before. Everything has been sped up in combat, including attacking, reloading, using special abilities, items and powers, even the speed with which health is regenerated. This allows players to fight with large numbers of enemies without having to take constant time outs to regen. This isn't like any other MMO out there.

The space elements of the game are going to remain as they are, since this action philosophy was already part of that experience. With this redesign, we're attempting to make the ground portion of the game as exciting and adrenaline-pumping as the space portion.

Q: For all of the Star Wars Galaxies players who already have time invested into characters, what plans do you have to transfer their existing characters to the new system?

John Smedley:
When the redesign comes to the live game, there will be rewards for our veteran players (they should be announced later in the week). As I mentioned before, all vets will receive an item that allows them to respect their character up to nine times, allowing them to dive into the new Iconic Professions and try them all out. Current Jedis will receive two enhanced items, a special robe and a lightsaber.

Additionally, anything non-combat related attached to the player's character will remain unaffected after the transition, including vehicles, property, collectibles, etc...

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Will my Jedi (5, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999748)

Be able to use the Force to remove your Parent Companies rootkit, or will the Darkside of the Force remain to strong to overcome?

Since it is from Sony (0, Offtopic)

Tamerz (702147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999760)

Does it also come with a free rootkit? Maybe when its own cheats are hidden they will listen to people.

The latest "Freebies" (5, Interesting)

Yerase (636636) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999814)

You've recently announced that you plan to give Jump To Lightspeed to previous subscribers who had not purchased it for Free, since it is required for the new intro Tutorial. This is similar to the decision to release the "Total Experience" pack for $30 that included the original game, JTL, and the second expansion "Rage of the Wookies", with an additional item (The Barc Speeder).

Do you feel you have any obligation to reimburse the veteran players who payed the premium prices ($30) for each of these expansions when they were first announced (many times before they were even released)? Either monetarily or through in-game items?

Of course they shouldn't... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13999910)

This is a really stupid question. Did you play JTL during the year and a half it's been out? You got more than your $30 worth through play.

Should JTL purchasers have been reimbursed when anyone who bought The Total Experience got both the base game, JTL and Rage of the Wookies for less than the original game cost at release? Of course not, they'd been playing with JTL for over a year.

Re:Of course they shouldn't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000382)

What about all of the people that purchased the Trials of Obi-Wan expansion TWO FUCKING WEEKS AGO????? Have they got THEIR money's worth?? Perhaps the original question wasn't so "stupid" after all, and just perhaps your replay was even more stupid for not knowing that...

OS X client? (5, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999817)

I realize that this is a long shot, but with the rise of Mac sales and the upcoming change of Macs from PPC to X86, is there a chance if an OS X client? One of the reasons I believe that Blizzards WoW has done so well is because it allows both major desktop OS's to play together, rather than trying to partition on group on a separate server (or predenting they don't even exist, with all of those dollars itching to be spent).

And please - no wishy washy "Sony is committed to evaluating blah, blah, blah" - if there's no intention, just say so, please.

Thanks for your time.

Re:OS X client? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13999894)

and what about the 2+yr vets....we get the same as a jedi that unlocked 3 days before NGE? the blue glowy should be for vets that are TRUE elders...not just pre NGE unlockers

Re:OS X client? (2, Insightful)

Surlyboi (96917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000373)

and what about the 2+yr vets....we get the same as a jedi that unlocked 3 days before NGE? the blue glowy should be for vets that are TRUE elders...not just pre NGE unlockers

Screw that.

One of the most annoying things about SWG is the sense of entitlement the jedi have. I'm a two year vet AND a jedi and I couldn't care less what others get. Seriously, get over yourself.

Re:OS X client? (4, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000120)

Also, if you are going to make it Available to OS X, will Apple owners be forced to play in a segregated "Mac Ghetto", as they were in the Macintosh port of EverQuest, or will you do it right this time, and let PC and Mac owners game together on the same servers?

combat update #2 (3, Interesting)

jt418-93 (450715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999824)

swg is rotating at increased velocity around the water disposal oriface...
my question for smed-head:

why are existing players being shortchanged in the Next Great Experiment? no level based rewards unless you regrind your template. swg has always been one of the grind = content games. why is this hated model being pushed again.

and do you think it is acceptable that jedi are only viable if they discard the saber and use a ranged weapon? is master jedi rifleman your vision? because that's what will happen..

Re:combat update #2 (2, Interesting)

zzzilla (930126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000339)

do you think left mouse clickclickclickclickclickclickclick is what the players wanted? and the fastest clicker wins? where did you get this info from???

Nice to hear.... (0)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999839)

Late last week, Sony Online Entertainment announced a fundamental revamp in the way that the Star Wars Galaxies MMORPG will be played.

So, I assume that you made the game interesting and exciting....

Wouldn't it be easier to scrap the game... (4, Interesting)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999840)

...and start over completely with Star Wars Galaxies 2?

This is Sony we're talking about (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999903)

Would anyone on slashdot even consider giving them a cent? This is the company that installs a root kit when you play a CD.

...The company that is leading blue-ray, the DVD format that allows Sony to remotely update the firmware, has a kill switch, must phone home to get permission to play a disc, and won't let you play a disc at a friend's house.

Re:This is Sony we're talking about (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000092)

They used to be just about the only game in town, when it came to MMORPGS. They've got Everquest, Everquest II, Planetside, and SWG.

That being said, the only one of those games I played for any length of time was Planetside. That was a game killed by the fact that most of the players were hordes of 14 year olds...Imagine an epic battle with 100 people on each side, tanks, artillery, planes, all kinds of vehicles, weapons, the works.

Then imagine 90% of those people are idiot 14 year olds.

*Shudder*

I stopped playing it after a while...I had a lvl 20/4 character, which was pretty high, but I've always had the "Only pay for one online game at a time" philosophy, so I cancelled the subscription. Got to wanting to play it again four months later, hoping the weenies had moved on to other things, and found that (of course) my character had been deleted. That was pretty much it for me.

Sony has always had that policy. If your card lapses for an instant, your character is gone. City of Heroes still gets a month out of me here and there, because they never deleted my characters. Blizzard has a firm policy saying they'll never delete characters. To me thats the big dividing line between a company that cares about its customers and return business, and a company that just wants your money. Until sony kills that policy, I'm never subscribing to another one of their games.

Re:This is Sony we're talking about (1)

Prophet of Nixon (842081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000181)

Blizzard sure loves deleting Diablo II characters. I thought about playing it some more when they released the last patch/update, but all my characters were long dead. Of course, they're nice enough now to taunt you with pictures of your deleted characters, but not let you load them. Bastards. A shame they've gone down the lame 'MMORPG' path, I'm afraid that I can never take them seriously again.

Re:This is Sony we're talking about (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000291)

Oh HELLZ YEA! I lost a 70 druid, and a 92 sorc, and that was it for me and DII. I could kinda understand that though...I mean, it was a free service...

Still, for WoW, they have a written policy not to delete inactive characters, which is a hell of a lot better than Sony.

Re:This is Sony we're talking about (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000265)

The only MMO's I've played are WoW and City of Villains. WoW has that 90% kiddies problem, it's the biggest flaw in the game. CoV didn't do much for me, It's only been out for 10 days and I'm back to WoW.

I didn't know Sony had a policy of deleting your characters. That's absolute stupidity IMO. It's just one more reason you'd have to be an idiot to give a cent to sony.

It's kind of funny. I used to think Sony was one of the best electronics makers around, most of my electronics came from them, but I haven't bought a single product of theirs in the past 5 years because of all this crap they pull. They've lost about $15,000 in sales on stuff I bought from other companies. I can't be the only one who's stopped buying anything from them.

I won't even go to a movie if it's made by Sony. I'd probably have seen Zathura in theatures for example, but since it's sony I'll wait and borrow it from netflix.

Re:This is Sony we're talking about (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000380)

It was sooo much worse in Planetside. There, it was REALLY important for people to follow the plan, and not Zerg in like retards. I remember an attack where we had three transports flying in, protected by 12 fighters, and as soon as we got sort near the combat zone, all the fighters bugged out, and we lost two of the transports to a mere three fighters. WTF?

That kinda crap happened all the time. Pulling an assault down a hallway, and you pull out your grenade launcher to toss a few grenades around the corner, warn everyone to stay back, then pull the trigger and watch as some moron STEPS IN FRONT OF YOU, and you get the novel experience of watching a full volley of plasma grenades BOUNCE OFF HIS BACK, and fall at your feet, and at the feet of the 20 guys around you.

Getting repeatedly killed by your own artillery. Getting griefed by bored 13 year olds while you're defending a base. It was pretty pathetic, which was sad itself, because it was a great game.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier to scrap the game... (1)

spxero (782496) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999936)

This would seem to be the normal game process, wouldn't it? Release version 2 for another $50- but then you would have to support two different server types (Galaxies & Galaxies II).
From the consumer standpoint I don't want to spend another $50, but if I can play 1 or 2 (if I liked the first one better, etc.) that would be beneficial.
From the company standpoint if a game is released and updated, then there doesn't have to be a seperate server setup for each game.

Personally I like playing Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, but every now and then I just want to run around with a SAW in the original Delta Force.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier to scrap the game... (1)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000003)

...because then it'd only get 40K subscribers and flop.

( EQ2, I'm lookin' at you... )

One suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13999853)

Could they make the game so it doesn't completely suck and fail to represent the excitement and adventure of living in the world of Star Wars? I somehow doubt people aspire to vendors that sell trinkets in stalls in Tatooine and spend their free time killing womp rats with gaffi sticks. Just a thought.

Star Wars Galaxies v1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13999854)

Where nobody shoots first because you fell asleep from boredom!

Mac OS X (0, Redundant)

Zobeid (314469) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999877)

When will we be able to play the game on a Macintosh?

Re:Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13999964)

Why an obscure machine hardly anyone has? I'm sure they'll get to it once they port it to the Sega Dreamcast.

Re:Mac OS X (1)

markm (23762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000435)

Hear hear!

democracy in MMORPG's (1, Insightful)

doyoulikegoatseeee (930088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999878)

it seems to me that if you are paying a monthly subscription to play a MMORPG you should have some say in the administration and changes to the game. after all you have a lot at stake in it, monetarily and time spent. why aren't more of these MMORPG companies allowing for more democracy? i for one would be pissed if an update broke my months of time and money spent developing my character etc. furthermore i think the introduction of a little democracy could very well make it more interesting.

Re:democracy in MMORPG's (2, Informative)

daeley (126313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999958)

it seems to me that if you are paying a monthly subscription to play a MMORPG you should have some say in the administration and changes to the game. after all you have a lot at stake in it, monetarily and time spent. why aren't more of these MMORPG companies allowing for more democracy? i for one would be pissed if an update broke my months of time and money spent developing my character etc. furthermore i think the introduction of a little democracy could very well make it more interesting.

The democracy lies in that if you are dissatisfied with the product, and your expression of that dissatisfaction goes unheeded by the developers, you can stop sending them money. ;)

Re:democracy in MMORPG's (1)

doyoulikegoatseeee (930088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000201)

but then you would be forfeiting your whole experience and investment, thus making it not worth it. they have you. i see what you are saying and i realize there is nothing to hold them accountable unless there is actually one of these MMORPG's out there with a contract providing for democratic control by it's users, but what i am saying is there should be. it only makes sense it seems. voting with your dollars in the case of a MMORPG doesn't really make sense when you get locked into a particular one. its not like switching shampoos.

Re:democracy in MMORPG's (1)

databyss (586137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000389)

It's exactly like switching shampoo.

You don't like the game anymore, then don't play.

You don't have time invested in your character... you have time wasted on your character.

I've wasted many hours developing a character in Metroid, but when I don't want to play anymore, I don't play anymore.

There's no obligation to feel I must keep playing it.

No (4, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999967)

You pay a subscription to use a health club. You don't get any say in who they hire, their usiness practices, etc.

o wait... this is /. ... you probably dont.

-everphilski-

Re:democracy in MMORPG's (1)

Halthar (669785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000169)

While not specifically what you are talking about, A Tale In the Desert was somewhat similar. While you didn't get to vote on say, alterations to the graphics used for the interface, you did get to make changes to the gaming world based on proposing laws and then allowing the other game players to vote on them. It worked for ATITD, and I don't see why the same thing couldn't be applied for a change such as this. If they can add a pop up on login that tells you about a new expansion, they could definitely create one that would allow you to vote on sets of changes, or abstain from voting if people chose to do so. If I am not mistaken, they did do a few surveys like this for Everquest, I don't remember them being of any importance (as this rather large change to game mechanics would be), but they do have the ability to do it.

hmm (2, Interesting)

kevin.fowler (915964) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999880)

If the focus is on getting players back into the game, would a price level change be in order? Less money per month/deals for longer-term plans?

Why again? (1)

blumpy (84889) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999890)

Approximately 6 months ago, you guys did what was supposed to be the holy grail combat upgrade. Why didn't you guys do what is happening now back then?

Alot of people dedicated a lot of time and spent a lot of money to embrace and adapt to the new system 6 months ago and changing again now is a slap in the face to them.

Even finally now that many of bugs from the first CU are starting to be cleaned up.

Response from the test servers all indicate that this is as buggy if not more buggy than when the first CU was launched... basically just throwing away 6 months of development time, and as well 6 months of time and effort from a very dedicated player base. How is this a good business decision?

Re:Why again? (1)

dresgarcia (251585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000144)

Why would you move so quickly to replace something with a buggy release? Test the release until its stable and then replace the current system would be the way to go. I never understood this, my previous company did the same thing it drives people away. You don't have to change things immediately. Why don't you let players who want to try this out and learn it and test it for you and let people who have adapted to the old system continue to play on those servers until all the bugs are worked out?

Will this update... (5, Funny)

puppetman (131489) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999893)

include a Rootkit?

Re:Will this update... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13999969)

Why not, WoW includes one, it's called "Warden" and Slashdot hasn't bothered reporting on it for some reason. I guess, despite all the bnetd outrage, Slashdot really is just for Blizzard fanbois.

Re:Will this update... (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000008)

I don't play WoW. I played a bit in beta, but foudn it boring. Cancelled my DAoC account years ago. Play no MMPOG (unless BF2 counts).

So not really a WoW "fanboy".

Re:Will this update... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000195)

I wasn't refering to you, just the Slashdot editors. The WoW rootkit? Not covered. The WoW expansion? Covered.

Re:Will this update... (2, Insightful)

Osrin (599427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000025)

Warden isn't a root kit, and it is no secret - the details of Warden are spelled out in the EULA that players agree to before subscribing. The privacy nuts seem to think it is a bad thing, many of us actually playing the game seem to like it.

Re:Will this update... (5, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000163)

... that makes the question all the more legitimate. I don't think it should just be "funny"... I would like a serious answer to the question:

Given the recent bad press surrounding some of Sony's intrusive software, what changes, if any, are you planning for the copy-protection and cheat-prevention aspects of the game's software. During these change-overs, are you planning on putting in any special software that will monitor the users, and/or software that will attempt to prevent copying the game? Can you guarantee that such software will not "cross the line" and do things not directly related protecting the game itself?

Re:Will this update... (1)

dargon (105684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000430)

Uhm, you really need to look first to avoid sticking your foot in your mouth, there was a couple stories about warden on Nov 1st and Nov 3rd

BBC Tells World About The Warden
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/01/17 58256&tid=158&tid=209&tid=172 [slashdot.org]

Blizzard's Warden Thwarted by Sony's DRM Rootkit
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/03/18 7215&tid=158&tid=206 [slashdot.org]

Re:Will this update... (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000438)

1, Warden is no big secret and 2, it was talked about here on /. when it was found that Warden and Sony's DRM didn't play well together.

Re:Will this update... (1)

digidave (259925) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999973)

You beat me to it, but I was also going to ask if the Sony Music rootkit would allow me to run game cheats.

Re:Will this update... (1)

rock217 (802738) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000135)

Odd that this post got a +5 funny while the first [slashdot.org] got -1 offtopic...

Re:Will this update... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000341)

Most Mods don't look at that low of a level. Hence why 3 and 4 will go to 5 and then 5 modded to -1 but once at 0 and below it stays there because no one is looking.

Hmmm (5, Interesting)

KingVance (815011) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999914)

Are you implementing all these changes because WoW is kicking your asses in terms of marketshare?

After reading TFA, it seems like you are basically implementing all of the rules that makes WoW a much better game, and slapping a Star Wars wrapper around it all.

Also, didnt your focus groups tell you that all of these features is what people wanted before now? Or has peoples perceptions of online gaming changed since your release?

Sounds very familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13999919)

Played much Guild Wars?

Question: (-1, Flamebait)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999923)

1) Do you think the blatant lies and fabrications regarding SWG features told during its development helped or hurt the game upon release?

2) Regarding Quality Assurance: Have you considered hiring someone who would actually play the game and give feedback during its development? For example, "This game isn't fun." "This is a bullshit way to become a Jedi!"

3) You limit the number of characters per account, and charge for additional slots. Back in the day, you claimed that the characters were SO customizable that the storage requirements are too high.

Assuming each character has:

-255 points of customization (they do not)
-Each with 255 points of granularity. (they do not)
And each character has an average of 1000 items (ha!) with over 4 BILLION options for each item (HAHAHA).

That adds up to:
  1 byte per character customization = 255 bytes.
1000 X 4 bytes per item = 4000 bytes.

So, that is approximately 4 meg per character, uncompressed.

My question is:

Are you complete bullshitters, crappy programmers or greedy fucks? Please detail your answer with additional examples.

Re:Question: (1)

Anonymous Custard (587661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000149)

I think the main difference is that in SWG, every single item is unique.

In WoW, for example, every Dazzling Mithril Raiper [thottbot.com] is the same as every other Dazzling Mithril Rapier. The only variants are, what single enchant has been added to it and how much durability is left? So when one drops, the game just adds one more simple record to your inventory, and it's done.

In SWG, every single item is different from every other one. Very few items can even stack because they can differ ever so slightly. The quality of the resources that you use to craft, the skill of the crafter, and a bit of randomness luck make each item unique. You can do factory batch jobs to craft multiple identical items, but those max out at 1000 or so (and far less for items which rely on other facotry runs to be made first). The database requirements must be enormous.

Also, in SWG, you can interact with and change the environment. You can build houses, place harvesters, start towns, have passive and active defenses, etc. In WoW, there's none of this at all. Except for the players, every WoW server is exactly the same. You can't build player cities, can't place harvesters, can't craft an especially high quality Dazzling Mithril Rapier, etc.

So SWG really is much more intricate (for better or for worse) than WoW, but I think the revamp is going to reduce this unneccesary complexity.

Re:Question: (1)

Gleapsite (713682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000159)

if by meg you mean Megabyte [google.com] , then your math is off.

This message brought to you by Food (for trolls) not bombs.

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000189)

Actually it should be...

1 byte per character customization = 255 bytes
1000 x 4,000,000,000 bits = 500,000,000 bytes

So half a gigabyte of storage per character (not the 4k (It was 4k not 4M) you computed).

I think you meant something along these lines...

1 byte per character customization = 255 bytes
1000 x 200 bytes for 20 10 byte floating point attributes.

For around 200k per character.

Of course I was always under the impression that they limited character slots because of the limited number of lots to build on.

just breath... (2, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999926)

It ... is ... a .... game ... folks.

Like OMG and ROFL and such, like no way they're changing the game!!!

You're all acting like he's invented a new diet cola or something of importance.

Tom

Interesting question #1 (5, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999931)

Do you ever feel bad about making your millions playing off the social ineptitude of people worldwide?

Surely on occasion you feel a twinge of guilt that you're nothing more than am electronic drug peddler, giving anyone who is willing to pony up the cash their month's worth of e-dope after you get them hooked with a free sample.

I guess what I'm really asking is how do you live with yourself knowing you're primarily responsible for continuing the habits of poor lonely nerds who cry themselves to sleep at night clutching a picture of Princess Leia and moaning like a wookie?

Re:Interesting question #1 (1)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000157)

"I guess what I'm really asking is how do you live with yourself knowing you're primarily responsible for continuing the habits of poor lonely nerds who cry themselves to sleep at night clutching a picture of Princess Leia and moaning like a wookie?"

D00d! They were doing that long before SWG came along. At least now they have something to look forward to. Sure it is all virtual. But these poor wretches were never going to have more than a virtual life anyway.

Drug peddlers... (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000388)

Surely on occasion you feel a twinge of guilt that you're nothing more than an electronic drug peddler, giving anyone who is willing to pony up the cash their month's worth of e-dope after you get them hooked with a free sample.

You want to go home and think about your life... And don't call me Shirley!

responsibility (3, Interesting)

EddieBurkett (614927) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999946)

Can we have the name and contact information of the person who was responsible for the decision to withhold the release of information about the NGE until after the release of the Trials of Obi Wan expansion pack? I'm not saying I care what excuse that person will provide, but someone had to make that decision and I'd like to know who was accountable.

Game was to be shut down in January (5, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999950)

Mr. Smedley, I have been told that the game was going to be shut down in January, yet your inverview stated that SWG didn't lose subscriptions over the first CU, and that it was growing faster than other SOE titles.

I have heard from multiple sources that the subscriber base was collapsing rapidly, which is why the game was to be shut down, and that NGE is a desperate last gasp attempt to save it.

Why, then, did you decide to do something very very radical, take away ALL our ability to customize our characters and abilities, delete whole professions, and worst of all, make the MOST sought after (took me many months) and iconic Star Wars character, Jedi, the weakest combat class in the new game (you say you play the game, go play a Jedi on TC), the ONLY one that has: No armor, no defenses, no rooting ability, that attacks at HALF the rate of ranged professions?

Why did you do this rather than do what the community has consistently asked and BEGGED you do do, FIX the bugs, and BALANCE what we have?

Re:Game was to be shut down in January (2, Interesting)

planetoid (719535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000150)

Not being a Sony employee I can't answer why, but having played almost 3 years worth of another SOE product, Everquest Online Adventures -- probably THE most NEGLECTED MMORPG in the history of gaming -- I can tell you that you shouldn't have been surprised. For the first year of that game, it had frequent updates and it even had an expansion pack, EQOA Frontiers. After the Frontiers-specific quests were tweaked and bugs fixed, the quality of the game declined; a couple of corrupt GMs were caught giving rare items to certain players (not from events or quests, but just because they were close buddies), some of the programming team was relocated to work on -- you guessed it -- SWG and EQ2, and updates were few and far in-between. They seem to be trying to pick themselves up yet again with new epic quests, but it took them way too long to do something like this, and there's still unlocked content on the Frontiers CD they're taking FOREVER to get live; also most of the recent updates are targeted to those who are in large guilds who are capable of downing uber-tough bosses -- even though EQOA was originally touted as "Everquest for the casual gamer" it seems to no longer live up to that qualification. That, combined with the fact that this was by a company whose affiliate publishes music CDs that root peoples' computers against their consent, I don't think I'll ever spend any more money on Sony game titles (or any Sony media for that matter).

Don't be surprised to see the quality in SWG decrease now that it seems to have lived through and past its first year, and the best they'll do is keep it on life support once they, like they seemed to have done with EQOA, make the software itself out-of-print.

So... (1)

slackingme (690217) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999957)

Who wants to bet his responses will be closely vetted by the marketing droids and have all substance removed, in place of typical lame-o marketing speak?

SW:G is a fat failure, they know it, and they're trying to sucker everyone back in with talk of "altering the game dynamic in new and radical ways!" (read: "Fixing" it. But that would imply it sucked in the first place... marketing droids to the rescue!)

Why did you fire your community relations director (5, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999978)

Our community relations director, Tiggs, was fired yesterday. She has been the ONLY person who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to communicate with the community (staying up to 4AM and still showing up at work after little sleep).

Why did you fire her?

Re:Why did you fire your community relations direc (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000197)

She was late to work one morning?

All kidding aside, that's a very good question. I personally look forward to seeing it addressed.

Remember, people: If you disagree with the policies of these mega corps: hit them where it hurts. Don't send them money. Don't buy their products, consume their media, or support their advertisers.

If you can't help yourself because you've _got_ to consume their content, then you have no self-control and therefore are ripe for the pickings. Can't blame them really. Blame yourself.

Re:Why did you fire your community relations direc (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000242)

Well duh, this is Sony we're talking about. They fired her because she was fooling the players into beliveing that Sony gave a damn.

Re:Why did you fire your community relations direc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000280)

Because she had the guts to stand up for us players, because she worked her arse off for SOE, and like the players she got shafted despite her hard work and dedication.

Is it done? (1)

p7 (245321) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999987)

What assurances do we have that we can expect a consistent game experience? With SOE getting ready to release essentially a third combat system, can I expect to not have to relearn a new system again?

It's... too late for me... my son. (2, Insightful)

synth7 (311220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13999990)

About two years ago I played SWG for about three months. This is after having spent a couple years dabbling in DAOC, and wanting to try something that was a change from the fantasy genre. On first blush the game looked and played nicely, but in the end I sold my account and then returned to DAOC half a year later.

As a single player I was able to completely "max out" my character in two months, completely unassisted. At the end I was a Master Engineer, Master Droid Engineer, Master Architect, and just shy of Master Merchant. Granted, I wasn't going to be in combat any time soon... but I wanted a change from the combat grind I'd pursued in DAOC.

Part of the problem is that the trade skills are learned in lieu of combat skills. Most mmorpgs have tradeskills seperated, such that you don't give up the classical "leveling" and combat for being a crafter. I can't say this is bad, but it means that making a character like I did results in absolutely no gameplay after spending all of my development points. Sure, I can make guild halls, craft all kinds of gear, and spend time running to and fro gathering up raw materials from my mining installations and making trades... but that has very little in the way of ongoing excitement. In short, there were several ways to make a character that would have no endgame at all, and couldn't directly contribute to the "empire divided" overarching plot.

Granted, this was my choice. But part of that choice was made after experimenting with the mechanics of the combat system. There were so many things I didn't like about their implementation of combat that I was driven away from that choice. For example, I found that kiting a mob (forgive the parlance) was easier in this game than any other... but there was this odd "feature" about doing so: Killing your target made your character suddenly stop in his tracks and pause for a second before you could start moving again. This would typically result in the BAF'd mobs catching up with you and beating you to a pulp on the spot. I considered it very poor design or coding or logic or whatever... and simply abandoned combat-based characters.

I think that their complete overhaul of SWG is an indication acknowledging that they really didn't know what they were doing in the first couple years of creating and expanding their mmorpg. But, then again, I've got some pretty specific ideas about where I want the mmo genre to head, and I've yet to see anyone who's willing to abandon the old tabletop RPG conventions that have been translated over to CRPGs and move onto something more suited to large, highly-detailed, persistent worlds.

But that is material for a long, long discussion.

Re:It's... too late for me... my son. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000222)

Right. And kiting in itself is pathetic when it comes to combat design.

Kiting?

Christ. "OMG LETS RUN AFTER THAT GUY WHO IZ RUNNING FASTER THEN US BUT NOT RELLY RUNNING AWAY BUT SHOOTING AT US OMG LOLZ IT'LL BE GR8!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Your ass should be fried by an airstrike.

My kingdom for mobs that aren't dumb as shit.

SWG vs WOW (1)

tont0r (868535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000000)

how do you intended to get any hold in a market in which you a) have already tried with the same game and b) has the mighty 800lbs gorilla known as WoW sitting in the corner? it will be tough to uproot a lot of those dedicated players.

SWG NGE (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000004)

In interviews you have stated that everyone who tested the new NGE is very happy about it and your are recieving very positive feed back. Me and about 20 other friends I have have tested the changes on the test servers. NONE of us prefer it to the old system. 16 of us have canceled our accounts.

Why are you ignoring what your current community wants? Is your community not worth listening to? Are you planning to replace us with a new community? Are you aware that people are getting bored of the NGE very fast due to lack of depth and while you may recieve many subsciptions at the beginning many will quicky leave?

Why havent you talked to your community personally via the forums?

Do you care at all?

Why, again (1)

w1mp (210200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000005)

Why was this change announced 1 day after all the pre-orders got charged for the latest expansion? Are you dumbing the game down for a console release? Why are you removing all the complex interactions that your hard core star war fans and veterans loved (see: crafting)? Are you worried about class action lawsuits regarding the latest expansion, and California law that concerns advertising a product you have no intent to sell (see: items advertised for ToOW, now removed from game)? I played this game for quite a long time, learned and adapted to the new system, previously. These most recent changes make me sick. I will say, I tried them, and after playing them for a bit, I immdiately went and cancelled my account. People are leaving in droves, including the real SW fans that made this game fun. Also, did Tiggs quit or get fired?

Why wasn't NGE announced on 11/1 (4, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000009)

NGE was dropped on us on 11/2, the day AFTER we were charged for the Trials of Obiwan expansion. Why did you deliberately withold this announcement until it was too late for veteran players to cancel their pre-orders so they could play on Test Center to see if they liked the changes?

mod 3ow8 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000033)

create, m4nufacture

NGE (New Game Experience) (1, Insightful)

kherr (602366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000043)

There's a lot of gnashing and wailing by veteran players, but as a vet player myself I have to say I think SOE is doing the right thing to the game. I'm going to have to adjust like everyone, but for the future of the game this is what had to happen.

The most obvious change is combat. It is FPS-like (with a 3rd- or 1st-person perspective, similar to MDK), where you shoot at whatever your crosshairs are on. The previous combat was move-based, where you'd select a target and then issue a series of attack commands. No matter how you moved you'd keep your target locked. It's too early to tell what this will really play like since the test servers have some lag issues, but overall it seems to work well. The combat players will cry a lot because you can't sloppily just shoot when you feel like it. But hey, they all complained about the last combat upgrade and then adjusted to it.

The "iconic professions" is really not an accurate way to describe the changes to professions. The SWG concept of professions is being replaced with character classes. Currently in SWG, you could change what your toon does by dropping professions and learning new ones. With NGE you have to delete your character to change classes. Once a smuggler, always a smuggler. You want to be an entertainer now? Delete your character and start over, losing not only your skills but your equipment and, most significantly, your actual toon's physical design and name. I think this part absolutely stinks. SWG players grow attached to their virtual identities, and now we're facing a change that forces us to sacrifice those identities.

The professions themselves aren't going away (well, Creature Handler and Bioengineer are), but rather being combined for the classes. Every trader now becomes artisan, merchant and two crafting professions. Marksman, Pistoleer, Carbineer and Rifleman are rolled into the new "ranged combat" tree, which a number of classes have. Melee combat professions are similarly combined.

Jedi is now a starting class, which has veteran jedi up in arms. But seriously, this is why people play Star Wars games. And in NGE the starting jedi are simply melee fighters with pole arms. A lightsaber doesn't come along for them until they get to level 30, and even then it's not a great lightsaber. Testing has made this seem somewhat like a kung-fu movie, with a few masters and a huge horde of minions running around.

One of the very cool things about NGE is the player tutorial. New players actually play in a separate introductory area on a space station. There are lots of quests that walk players through learning the game, and there's plenty to do there in terms of earning money and even traveling to another station and going into a dungeon. Once a player decides to leave the starting area, they can never go back. But the area is rich enough that there's no rush to leave. This is so much better than being dumped into the world and having to find your way through the advanced players and the communities they've created.

All in all I think NGE is going to breathe fresh life into SWG, providing the kind of interest in play that WoW has. It's clear this is what the gaming market wants, and SOE is delivering a very worthy update to achieve this.

I only look like a shill (1)

kherr (602366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000105)

Aw crap, this is an "ask" post. Well damn, I didn't mean to shill here. Honestly. I have nothing to do with SOE, except pay them. So let's see, what can I ask...

With the release of SWG for XBox and PS2, will there be differences between the console version and the desktop version? I've seen with the new user interface that function keys don't seem to be used the way they currently are. Will the console interface design mean a "dumbing down" of what I can do from my computer with a full keyboard?

Yes, but does it support Ogg Vorbis? (0, Offtopic)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000047)

I won't buy it unless it support Ogg!

Base Level of Quality (5, Interesting)

fleck_99_99 (223900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000056)

I will preface the question with a little background. I played SWG quite heavily for the first 2 years of availability. I finally cancelled my original account in September, having played consistently since launch, built a guild and succesful player city, unlocked Jedi status, mastered piloting, run a successful crafting business, participated in player and roleplay events, and even earned an accolade badge from and talked briefly with the Events coordinator. (Suffice it to say, I've seen almost everything in SWG from launch through CURB, and have done my best to improve the SWG community.)

The quality of the software released in SWG has been lackluster. This eventually led to the disinterest of most of my guildmates; once my play group fell apart, I slowly drifted away. But, some concrete examples:

- Architect "Master Armoire" schematics were broken for quite some time after launch. The graphic was incorrectly the "furniture 2" image. Then this was "fixed" according to the patch notes, after many months. Oh wait, it wasn't! Now, the "Furniture 3" armoire was also set to use incorrect art (the "factional/tech" armoire), and the Master Armoire was STILL broken. Several months later, this was finally fixed...
- Architects were unable to craft a vital component (I believe it was the "Harvesting Mechanism") for, again, several months after launch. This bug was not even acknowledged until well after launch.
- City Management Terminals were broken for many months (and still broken when I retired from the game). A player could view the terminal menu once per access -- so, if I logged in during my semi-precious free hour at night, and checked the city's treasury balance, I was unable to make a deposit until the next day. Assuming I remembered....

The list goes on. As a professional software developer myself, I understand the difficulty of making upgrades and bugfixes in a complex system. But, this level of bugginess was a constant -- and, in fact, bugs were frequently reintroduced after resolution (as in the case of Recycler crafting). The constant stream of bugs -- and, in particular, bugs that rendered significant game features completely nonworking -- is what led to most of my fellow players' exit from the game. What obstacles are there in the QA process at SOE that cause this to be such an ongoing issue? Is there an expectation that reducing the overall level of complexity (~30 -> 9 classes, etc) will improve this problem?

Popularity (2, Interesting)

SuperRob (31516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000067)

Star Wars is one of the most popular licenses in the world, and yet, Blizzard comes out of nowhere with World of Warcraft and takes ownership of the MMO realm.

How do you feel about Galaxies failure to reach a mainstream audience, and has WOW influenced any of the recent changes made to the structure of Galaxies?

Why was Tiggs fired? (1)

MSantiago (645345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000075)

Tiggs was the community relations go-to person on the official SWG forums. Why is it that she parted ways with SOE only six days prior to the deployment of these changes? Does this signify some sort of internal conflict over the direction of the game?

Tiggs spent many long nights and odd hours doing her best to keep the community informed. Though people often disagreed with her, she was undoubtedly very dedicated and tightly-knit with the community. In spite of this, we received no goodbye post from her. Our only official notice was a vaguely worded message located at: http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?b oard.id=communityrelations&message.id=15830#M15830 [sony.com] .

Statement from our Jedi Correspondant (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000080)

State of the Jedi Profession: NGE Conversion

Introduction
                        So far with this NGE we have seen numerous "nerfs" to our Jedi profession. In this context, the definition of "nurf" would be to reduce the effectiveness of a character class (in any form).Many of these have been quite devastating to what we have come to know as our alpha class over the last two years. Applying an alpha class to a mmorpg was a decision that Sony made for SWG and unfortunately players are not only asked but expected to adapt and adjust according to the decisions Sony makes without taking into consideration its effect on long term players. A basic philosophical discrepancy exists here between Sony, Lucasarts, and the customers of this game. That discrepancy is the issue here. Public announcements stating that the players think the game is too complicated and difficult is a farce. A majority of the players that have been playing for a length of time continue to play because of the diversity, and complication. The "instant action" style of play has (up to this point) never included RPG as a primary component. The reason for this is because most "instant action" players are not interested in content, storyline, or quest based playing.

                      With the last two test center clones we have been able to shed some light on certain portions of the conversion process and how unbalanced our profession will wind up when its all said and done. To most of you I am sure this has been a tremendous let down from what we have come to know and for many of you this will be the end. Our profession is about to be utterly destroyed by the unbalances put forth by this New Game "Enhancement". An Enhancement that will soon take away all the diversity we had, resulting in the Jedi profession being nothing more than a Starting profession.

Combat Level Conversion
                        On both TC-Corbantis and TC-Ahazi we have seen characters Pre-NGE converting to CL80. This is totally unbelievable. Most of use Vets are finished templates by now and to be converted to CL80 is an insult. It just means one more thing; back to the grind. As a Jedi we have ground out numerous templates from double masters to dabblers and back again. Why should we be forced to grind again. We also have been without the FRS for countless months and from what Tiggs said a week or so back, we will be without it for the rest of our time in this game. Again this is unacceptable.

Experience (xp) Conversion
                        Again on both TC-Corbantis and TC-Ahazi our negative xp is being cleared to zero. For some Jedi who are in the negative due to numerous BH encounters, FRS deaths, and/or PvE deaths this must be great. But to the Jedi that have been careful throughout their life as a Jedi this must be a downright slap in the face. To have survived all the hardships of being a Jedi and still come out on top is a great accomplishment. This great accomplishment will mean nothing in the end if we don't get a reward for it. Show us what our time and effort was worth. Give us our xp so that we can convert above CL80. As it is our grind will be hindered due to lack of weaponry (no 4th Gen until CL86). Getting nothing for our time and efforts again is completely unacceptable.

Abilities from new Skill Tiers
                        Most of us are use to the many diverse templates that we once accomplished. With the new NGE we will no longer have that ability. We will no longer have any of those abilities. To quote a player from the community "I am not upset about the new NGE, it actually seems pretty cool. What I am upset about is what we (Jedi) are losing. We are losing all of our skills. We Jedi are being watered down to a nothing profession. Every single thing that makes being a Jedi fun is being taken away. Normally when a game is enhanced or upgraded you add things to it, not take them away from us or water them down; look at force run for example." Again this is completely unacceptable. Don't give us varying ability levels; give us our abilities arsenal back.

Armor
                        Where is it? Jedi in the new NGE do not get any, it has been taken away from us. How about adding some armor to our robes? Make them worthwhile other than just cool looking Veteran Reward. Please make it something that is actually a New Game "Enhancement" not just another nerf. In my book, taking armor away is just another nerf to add to the list of countless nerfs that have made our profession nothing more than a starting profession; the worst nerf of all.

Pearls/Crystals
                        On both of the TC servers I have seen countless premium and flawless pearls/crystals that have converted to equals. Most if not all pearls/crystals have converted to 8/9 and 9/9. Everyone who had less than adequate pearls/crystals will love this because it puts them on par with everyone else but what about the people that had perfect tunes. What a slap in the face yet again with this new NGE. All those hours of Krayt and Crystal hunting just got washed down the drain. In the conversion thread Tiggs wanted to know if there were any that tuned over 20. Have any tuned over 10? Come on Devs, balance us. Don't make us a crafter with a Lightsaber.

Second Character Slots
                        Till now this was one of the great bonus's that Jedi had from being Pre-NGE. We would be the only character accounts to have multiple players on a single server. This was a great reward for taking the time to unlock during the various systems of previous. Now we get yet another slap in the face. Stop making us totally equals, give us some edge, and I don't mean just some robe that looks cool or a new color crystal. Give us something that will allow us to gain an edge.

Rewards from each CL in new Skill Tiers
                        When you log in and respect to your new template you will browse through the trees to see that you have not been given any of the CL rewards. Just because we didn't have to do the grind over again does not mean we don't want them. Grant us all the rewards from each level. We may not want them but at least give us the option. I for one would love to do the quests from the items that can be inspected. A lot of those items have skill mods as well. What makes you think we wont want that? Give us our CL80 and below rewards.

States (snares, roots)
                        In the Jedi trees there are No root ability. All of the Combat classes have a snare and root, some have multiple. Jedi Currently has 3 snares and no root abilities. How does a melee class strike down their opponent when we can't stop them from kiting us? A Jedi needs to be able to root their opponent so we can catch up and fight them. Not chase and heal all day long. How is this "As Designed - Blixtev"?

Conclusion
                        With the launch of the NGE just less than a week away I see one big nerf coming for Jedi. We are getting some new abilities, mixed with some old abilities. Most of the lower level abilities are completely useless. Pearls and Crystals are tuning to sub-par stats, Lightsaber stats are worse off with each new TC-Clone(server name) and we are being forced to grind a finished template yet again. Not only that but we will now be a starter profession, which will be joined by all the respec-Jedi who never went through what we did to unlock and new comers. What I see is a NGE of unacceptable changes and this disturbs me. What has SOE done to our profession and what are we going to do about it? Use this thread to voice what opinions you all have of the new NGE now that we have seen it in action from two server clones. Tell the Devs how unacceptable these New Game "Enhancements" really are. We need to be more vocal than we ever have to stop the negative effects of what is hitting our profession ten times worse than others. If you want to have your voice heard you'll need to express yourself in a constructive manner. A plausible argument really helps matters but no m

Re:Statement from our Jedi Correspondant (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000211)

cool, so you can start as a Jedi now? I might go back to SWG! I'd feel right at home since they sound like the Paladin class in wow anyway.

Re:Statement from our Jedi Correspondant (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000234)

"cool, so you can start as a Jedi now? I might go back to SWG! I'd feel right at home since they sound like the Paladin class in wow anyway."

You won't like it. We are the only melee class (4m range), while ranged professions (the other 6 combat professions) can shoot at us 4 times per second at up to 60 meters away.

Jedi won't even be the echo of a shadow of what they are currently when this hits live on TUESDAY...

Dropping professions (1)

HarvardFrankenstein (635329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000099)

Will players be able to drop whatever the new analogue of skill boxes are in order to go back and try something new? Or will class choices now be permanent like in other MMORPGs?

Is it going to be a ping war? (4, Interesting)

hsoft (742011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000124)

I played UO for 2.5 years (from the year it was released), Daoc for 1 month, AC2 for 3 days, SWG for 2 months (I say this because I like to point out relative MMORPG mediocrity :) ). I can remember that ping times in UO was a huge factor in PvP. Because everybody was 7X GMs, the guy with the best ping usually won (of course, in faction wars (ohh, these were nice!), it was something else).

How will you make sure that your new "Fast Action" change will not turn SWG PvP into a ping war?

In retrospect... (2, Interesting)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000130)

In retrospect, do you think it was a mistake to hire Raph Koster as lead designer for SWG? He has a lot of great ideas about virtual world design, but SWG at launch was much more of an economic simulator with a Star Wars skin than it was a game.

(For reference, I was in SWG starting in early Beta 1 -- Shuttle 3, specifically -- and played for about six months after launch.)

Ooh, Sony! This game is going to be awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000131)

I'm going to name my character $sys$Skywalker. I'll beat you all and you'll never even know what hit you!

Jedi invisibility, biatch!

Vocal Minority (1)

VaderDad (930121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000134)

You claim that we are vocal minority, why has my guild seen fallout form your doings for the last 2 years we went from 250 at launch to 180 first Combat Upgrade to 60 (New Game) in the last month So I guess what alot of us bought the game for to play and be apart fo Star Wars to live our Saga, (Remember the adds?) Is Gone. So Hows about opening up the Testing Forums to the General Press! Let them all come in and see what the hell is really happening ole chum. Anyone who puts another signle penny into this fiasco should have thier heads cat-scanned and if you like it, well you deserve it. My Two Cents..

Can't please the haters... (1)

eison (56778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000143)

How do you deal with the people who are going to whine no matter what you do? Can you afford to risk just ignoring them, or do you try to address them knowing it will fall on deaf ears, or have you come up with a better plan?

Why the NGE instead of fixing bugs? (4, Insightful)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000152)

Instead of putting bad money after good in developing the NGE why didn't SOE fix the bugs, and add content? I'm not talking loot drop schematic content, I'm talking changes in profession content? For example, there are a lot of furnishings in the game world that isn't available for the architect class to create? How hard would it be to add those items to the architect list?

why (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000160)

Why are you only willing to answer ten questions, when the player population is so high and deserves a better coverage of their interests?

6 Questions For Smedley (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000178)

1. Why do you bald-faced lie when you say that the majority of players who test the NGE like it? If you read the forums in a cursory manner, you will see this is not true. Any journalistic source (like SlashDot) should do a little homework before accepting propaganda. Anyways, back to the question for Smedley, does lying make you feel good in your naughty place?

2. Could you please make a public pledge to continue adding your secret sauce to SWG which consists of: (a) ignoring 99.9999% (six sigma efficiency) of feedback on the forums (b) rarely adding any free content (c) dramatically re-writing the rules of the game mechanics every 6 months so as to render all high end loot/weapons/armor accumulated/bought COMPLETELY useless. You did it to us with the CU. You are doing it again with the NGE. I fervently plead with you to try to do this again 6 months from now. Otherwise, the game is too easy.

3. How many more devs and CSRS (like Tiggs, the Director of Community Relations) will you be laying off in the next 6 months?

4. Which Indian offshoring firm created the new NGE application for you? a. InfoSys b. Tata c. Wipro d. Other

5. How soon can we expect this new revamp to fail resulting in the closing down of SWG entirely due to a total loss of subscribers? 3 months or 6 months?

6. How soon can we expect you to be promoted for your brilliant management of SWG, brilliant conception for EQ2 and brilliant acquisition of MxO? I know that if were the President of Sony, I would be itching to promote you further ASAP.

Bait & Switch ? Say it ain't so! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14000191)

Mr. Smedley,

Day 1 customer here. Love Star Wars, love SWG.

This NGE revamp has to have been in the works, under design and development, for quite some time now. Yet, you failed to announce it until literally 48 hours after selling the latest expansion pack, "The Trials of ObiWan". Many of the selling points of this expansion pack (i.e. loot items for Creature Handler) are for professions that are about to be DELETED from the game.

How do you respond to your loyal customers, those who have paid their monthly dues for 2.5 years and bought your expansions, who feel they were misled into buying an expansion with loads of features & items you knew were about to be scrapped? Why the secrecy around this NGE? The previous combat upgrade was announced long before its release.

Sony, Lucasarts and the customers... (2, Interesting)

Arkan (24212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000209)

Hi John,

Let me start by writing that I'm a player from the early hour: my account has been activated 2 days after the servers were put in operation - this delay being the consequence of my Frenchness.

I lived through all the changes you put on SWG, being the Combat Upgrade, the many balancing changes of the skill trees, the Jump to Lightspeed space extention, etc, etc...

What I'm currently wondering is how you would caracterize the NGE, considering the following facts:
  - pre-NGE, the character you had on a server was free to be whatever the player wanted. The player could pick a little bit of everything, or choose THE one destiny for his character. Post-NGE, the "class" of the character will be fixed for the life of the character
  - pre-NGE, and I'd even say pre-Combat Upgrade, the combat system was in line the RPG expectations of the players: a good slice of strategy, another good slice of knowledge of your character's strong points and weaknesses, a bit of luck and nice equipment. Post-NGE, it will be more like a good aiming, and a very, very low ping
  - pre-NGE, crafting was something... crafty. An item could (and in the beginning of the tree, often did) failed to be crafted, and each and every item could be customized in a few specific attributes: fast or powerfull weapons, strong or long-lasting armors, etc... Post-NGE, only 4 trades are still available, with the aim of simplifying the game, I'm sure.

So, the MMO part of the game is definitly apropriate, but I doubt about the RPG part. The post-NGE Starwars Galaxies looks not completely unlike a themed Planetside (for the combat), with some chunks of World of Warcraft (for the classes).

Now, my question is: do you think that your current customers will be following you in this adventure, as it really looks like a dumbing-down of the game, making it more like the mainstream online games, and removing from it the parts that were making it unique?

Thanks,

Arkan

SWG do over? (4, Interesting)

portwojc (201398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000218)

The biggest problem with this game besides the constant "do overs" with the game play is it's failure to make Star Wars it's own without upsetting the masses or breaking Star Wars. Have you ever thought coinsidered wiping the universe and starting over after RoTJ? That side of it is more open to change and wouldn't limit you as much nor have people as upset when you fiddle with Star Wars.

Jason

Resource Gathering (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000230)

I've played a lot of MMORPGs, and one thing that leapt out at me playing SWG is how slow and cumbersome resource gathering was. If you wanted to be a crafter, you had to commit to spending hours sitting around while your hapless character extracted minerals. I understand this got better in the late game, when you could afford expensive stuff, but in the early game it was a huge timesink of the sort that Sony is best known for, and that was one of many such time sinks I experienced in the ten day free trial that pretty much summed up my SWG experience.

I suppose my question is this: Do you have any plans to make a game that's sole purpose isn't to keep people paying your subscription fees for as long as possible? That particular facet of Sony ideology has turned me off to every Sony game I've ever played.

Another important question from a player (4, Insightful)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000268)

Why the fuck are you answering questions here on Slashdot instead of answering questions in your own goddamn forums? Are you defective? Do you give enough of a fuck to talk to your players instead of going on these idiotic public relations jaunts? The fact that you are here answering questions instead of your own forums answering questions just shows how little you give a damn beyond reaping the subscription rates and ripping your players off by announcing a major game change the day after release of an upgrade.

DRM on the CD or in the client? (1)

doublem (118724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000279)

How do you answer the security concerns being raised by people who have been burned by the DRM Sony has distributed on it's audio CDs?

Will this practice be expanding to other product lines, such as game CDs or clients?

How will the ability to hide a file from the OS by prepending $sys$ to the file name impact the anti cheating measures in SWG? Will this make the game more vulnerable to cheaters?

How do you feel about a division of your own company creating a root kit that may enable rampant cheating in Star Wars Galaxies?

Running the interview circuit (1)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000330)

Taking questions here, prior Gamespy interview referenced in the Article and I happened to see this almost simultaneously:

http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/nov20 05/id20051109_602467.htm [businessweek.com]

Actors do all the Oprah's and Letterman's they can before their movies are released to drum up publicity, seems this is a similar tactic.

Just tell us why? (2, Informative)

1337speak (930122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000345)

Why did you guys announce this "upgrade" the day after ToOW release? I mean heh... sounds a bit strategical to me, an "upgrade" like this would take months if not years to create, this total revamp is bigger than the normal CU itself (which by the way was announced months before) and will change the genre and remove very many reasons to playing this game. You have said that every upgrade will be on the "In development forums", and step by step be shown to the players. Was this "upgrade" too small to ever be put there? You knew well that very many players wouldn't ever have bought the expansion if they knew the game was going down the trashcan 2-3 weeks later. If not illegal, this is fraud and you are cheating your players... I doubt I will get an answer to this, and if I won't, I will take it as my statements in this post are correct (I know you read all of them so no response will mean as much as a response really...). By the way... people probably have cancelled their accounts, and most responses you have been getting have probably been negative, do you really think that I should believe you when you say that most people are optimistic about this? What do you take people who play this game for? Don't you think they play it for a reason, that they are happy with the current system? Of course some people may want the NGE, however I don't believe the majority of the subscribers enjoy complete revamps which take time to get into and fix bugs etc... each 6 months. Just my thoughts, I really have lost all my trust to SOE/LA for first removing the original combat system pre-cu and then removing what's left of the fun from it from CU1 by adding CU2. I am sorry to say this but it's the way I feel... Thanks.

Re:Just tell us why? (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000395)

Yep, this was very unethical. I have (well, had, I cancelled them) 4 SWG accounts, a Jedi, a crafter, a bounty hunter, a pistoleer/combat medic, and a TKM/Pikeman to suit my tastes. I bought the expansion for ALL of my combat toons (3 copies).

I think SOE broke at least several states fraud laws with the way they did this, particularly when they ELIMINATED certian professions (creature handler) that bought the expansion specifically for a certain reward (an item that let them tame higher level creatures than they previously could).

What kind of rootkit will you be installing? (5, Interesting)

jenkin sear (28765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14000429)

Why should we trust any software that Sony wants us to install on our computers, after the recent well-known rootkit incident?

What are you going to do to get out from under this rock?
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