How The Old Republic Didn't Change MMOs

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Supernova2000:

animehermit:
That's a known issue and it's being worked on by Bioware. As it stands right now, most of the animations sync up properly but some special abilities break the sync, such as the Jedi Knight's master strike ability.

second, I don't care how good this guys computer is, he still had framedrops like no tomorrow.

True, and here I thought that the game wouldn't be that hard on the system, given the art style it went for. That doesn't bode well for me, were I to play it; I have 12GB RAM, double Snapwave's but a somewhat inferior graphics card.

It just seems odd to me that they would be properly synced in the class ability preview videos (like the ones of the Jedi Knight deflecting all those shots as opposed to unflinchingly taking them all in the face, Tank though he is) but not in-game but then again, those vids were made locally, at Bioware HQ, so it must be a lag issue, which I imagine could screw up even Arkham Asylums' flawless choreography.

The deflecting does happen in game, it happens quite often in fact. it just doesn't happen all the time. I would say the animations sync up 99% of the time just fine.

the game isn't super demanding either, I run it fairly well with a very middle of the road PC. It's an issue that guy was having on his end, probably with fraps as that can cause frame rate issues. Also, regardless of your rig you are probably gonna have frame rate drops some of the time, which is why the game went with the style it went with. having hundreds of people on in a large area is taxing for even the best of machines. Some of TOR's planets are quite large, and the hubs for both factions during peak hours could have more than 300 people in them, so your performance is gonna take a hit.

One minor nit-pick, Jedi Knights are not strictly tanks. Jedi Knights can tank through the Guardian advanced class, but that doesn't limit the base class and Guardians to ONLY tanking. In fact Jedi Knights do not start out by having the ability to wear heavy armor as only the guardian has the ability to.

animehermit:
-snip of comprehensive skill breakdown-

The animations may be different, but the way they play, right down to the tech trees is the same, with only name changes. You could argue that that makes sense, given their similarities, but if that's the case, why make it into two classes? I don't see the need to have a 'non-evil' force choke. Let the Jedis use Force Choke too. Keep the Force Stasis, and let the Sith use that as well. Make them slightly different, to make Force Choke more 'evil' through damage over time or something and give the players a choice. Give them a subtle way to play a good Sith, or a darker, Kyle Katarn style Jedi.

And to me, it seems a little strange that a passionate Sith will play the same way as a serene Jedi. Character should come from mechanics in a game, not just from animations. Warhammer had this problem too. A graceful elf sword master had the same mechanics as a dirty-fighting, hulking black orc.

I'd argue that the skills are not different enough from WoW and other games... but that's just personal preference. Yes they are different, but as they are now, it's like a student has copied something off the internet, changed a few words and submitted it as homework. I'm not saying that's bad, on the contrary, familiarity means it's easier for players to pick up and play. But for the longer term player, it's not really going to excite them.

To be honest, I think switching sides would make faction balance easier to manage. Just give incentives to join the struggling side! But that's not what I meant. I meant start with a common, neutral faction, or no faction at all, and let the player decide through the course of the story line which side they want to join. That's been a part of Star Wars games for so long, I can't believe they passed up that chance for the MMO.

beniki:

animehermit:
-snip of comprehensive skill breakdown-

The animations may be different, but the way they play, right down to the tech trees is the same, with only name changes. You could argue that that makes sense, given their similarities, but if that's the case, why make it into two classes? I don't see the need to have a 'non-evil' force choke. Let the Jedis use Force Choke too. Keep the Force Stasis, and let the Sith use that as well. Make them slightly different, to make Force Choke more 'evil' through damage over time or something and give the players a choice. Give them a subtle way to play a good Sith, or a darker, Kyle Katarn style Jedi.

And to me, it seems a little strange that a passionate Sith will play the same way as a serene Jedi. Character should come from mechanics in a game, not just from animations. Warhammer had this problem too. A graceful elf sword master had the same mechanics as a dirty-fighting, hulking black orc.

I'd argue that the skills are not different enough from WoW and other games... but that's just personal preference. Yes they are different, but as they are now, it's like a student has copied something off the internet, changed a few words and submitted it as homework. I'm not saying that's bad, on the contrary, familiarity means it's easier for players to pick up and play. But for the longer term player, it's not really going to excite them.

To be honest, I think switching sides would make faction balance easier to manage. Just give incentives to join the struggling side! But that's not what I meant. I meant start with a common, neutral faction, or no faction at all, and let the player decide through the course of the story line which side they want to join. That's been a part of Star Wars games for so long, I can't believe they passed up that chance for the MMO.

It's broken up that way because the stories for each class are different. Bioware set out from the begining to tell a story for each class, or, as they put it a trilogy for each class. Sith Warriors and Jedi Knights might share mechanics, but their stories are 100% different. I think there are several problems with giving them both abilities, 1. it would cause there to be an insane number of abilities in the game for each class, which already has a large number of them to begin with. 2. each class having different animations is kind of really neat, not only does it help visually identify the class in combat, but it helps give the player a sense that their class is unique. It feels different when you play each class, not because the stories are different, but because the everything down to how your character holds his weapon is different. Sith warriors are more deliberate and slow with their attacks, making their strikes seem to hit with raw power, while Jedi Knights use finesse and agility to deal many strikes over a small period of time. It doesn't matter than mechanically, underneath all that, that they are the same, what matters is the presentation, Warriors have a different story and different animations.

Same could be said for faction switching, you can't faction switch because the story doesn't allow for it. Doing good things as a Sith doesn't mean you are helping the republic or the Jedi, it means you're helping the Empire be a better place. Same with a Jedi going bad, you aren't helping the empire by being evil, you are doing evil things towards the empire. In fact, my Jedi Knight's class quest had him helping some imperial soldiers, they were being attacked by a bunch of insect-like creatures, and my light side option was to save them. The game is filled with moral dilemmas like that one. Having them start neutral is a bad idea, because, as I mentioned before, each class would feel less unique. Mechanically SW and JK may be two sides of the same coin, Agents/Smugglers and Troppers/Bounty Hunters are not from a lore perspective.

animehermit:

beniki:

animehermit:
-snip of comprehensive skill breakdown-

The animations may be different, but the way they play, right down to the tech trees is the same, with only name changes. You could argue that that makes sense, given their similarities, but if that's the case, why make it into two classes? I don't see the need to have a 'non-evil' force choke. Let the Jedis use Force Choke too. Keep the Force Stasis, and let the Sith use that as well. Make them slightly different, to make Force Choke more 'evil' through damage over time or something and give the players a choice. Give them a subtle way to play a good Sith, or a darker, Kyle Katarn style Jedi.

And to me, it seems a little strange that a passionate Sith will play the same way as a serene Jedi. Character should come from mechanics in a game, not just from animations. Warhammer had this problem too. A graceful elf sword master had the same mechanics as a dirty-fighting, hulking black orc.

I'd argue that the skills are not different enough from WoW and other games... but that's just personal preference. Yes they are different, but as they are now, it's like a student has copied something off the internet, changed a few words and submitted it as homework. I'm not saying that's bad, on the contrary, familiarity means it's easier for players to pick up and play. But for the longer term player, it's not really going to excite them.

To be honest, I think switching sides would make faction balance easier to manage. Just give incentives to join the struggling side! But that's not what I meant. I meant start with a common, neutral faction, or no faction at all, and let the player decide through the course of the story line which side they want to join. That's been a part of Star Wars games for so long, I can't believe they passed up that chance for the MMO.

It's broken up that way because the stories for each class are different. Bioware set out from the begining to tell a story for each class, or, as they put it a trilogy for each class. Sith Warriors and Jedi Knights might share mechanics, but their stories are 100% different. I think there are several problems with giving them both abilities, 1. it would cause there to be an insane number of abilities in the game for each class, which already has a large number of them to begin with. 2. each class having different animations is kind of really neat, not only does it help visually identify the class in combat, but it helps give the player a sense that their class is unique. It feels different when you play each class, not because the stories are different, but because the everything down to how your character holds his weapon is different. Sith warriors are more deliberate and slow with their attacks, making their strikes seem to hit with raw power, while Jedi Knights use finesse and agility to deal many strikes over a small period of time. It doesn't matter than mechanically, underneath all that, that they are the same, what matters is the presentation, Warriors have a different story and different animations.

Same could be said for faction switching, you can't faction switch because the story doesn't allow for it. Doing good things as a Sith doesn't mean you are helping the republic or the Jedi, it means you're helping the Empire be a better place. Same with a Jedi going bad, you aren't helping the empire by being evil, you are doing evil things towards the empire. In fact, my Jedi Knight's class quest had him helping some imperial soldiers, they were being attacked by a bunch of insect-like creatures, and my light side option was to save them. The game is filled with moral dilemmas like that one. Having them start neutral is a bad idea, because, as I mentioned before, each class would feel less unique. Mechanically SW and JK may be two sides of the same coin, Agents/Smugglers and Troppers/Bounty Hunters are not from a lore perspective.

You're right, and that's the logic Bioware followed. There's nothing wrong with it, and it's been successful in the past. It's a controlled experience, and easily balanced by keeping most of the core mechanics the same, and tweaking the animations to add diversity.

But this makes the class less unique. Because they are inherently the same.

This leads to the columnists problem... every one has the same story, everyone follows the rails. There are choices, which he found interesting, but the bits in between are stale. You can add variety by giving players options which will suit their mood of the day. One day I might be pretty happy with life, and use softer, probably more utility based skills. The next day I might have stubbed my toe and just want to Force Choke every mob I meet!

Guild Wars, and pretty much every Cryptic game post City of Villains lets you alter your character skills when you wish, by allowing tweaking outside of combat. WoW picked up this idea too, when they realised how restrictive their class trees were. So no disruption in overall game play... just a little more to play around with in the quest hubs.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea of a neutral start point. The last City of Heroes expansion featured a brand new starter area, which was neutral between Hero and Villain, and through the first twenty levels, you character developed into either side. This game also has very different classes for each side, which later merged into the anti-hero and vigilante shifting alignment system they have now.

Most Star Wars games were built on the conflict between Light and Dark sides. I'd be shocked if Bioware or EA didn't try to implement something similar later, and am just disappointed they didn't start out with it... or made the classes diverse enough with their mechanics to make it worthwhile later.

I think that gradual development of a character makes them more unique, than certain arbitrary choices they make. What I'm saying is that diversity and choice should be built into the core game play itself, not in menus or cut scenes. And it's not that hard to pull off... others have done it before, and are developing it now.

animehermit:
The deflecting does happen in game, it happens quite often in fact. it just doesn't happen all the time. I would say the animations sync up 99% of the time just fine.

the game isn't super demanding either, I run it fairly well with a very middle of the road PC. It's an issue that guy was having on his end, probably with fraps as that can cause frame rate issues. Also, regardless of your rig you are probably gonna have frame rate drops some of the time, which is why the game went with the style it went with. having hundreds of people on in a large area is taxing for even the best of machines. Some of TOR's planets are quite large, and the hubs for both factions during peak hours could have more than 300 people in them, so your performance is gonna take a hit.

One minor nit-pick, Jedi Knights are not strictly tanks. Jedi Knights can tank through the Guardian advanced class, but that doesn't limit the base class and Guardians to ONLY tanking. In fact Jedi Knights do not start out by having the ability to wear heavy armor as only the guardian has the ability to.

Yeah, that I know from Star Trek Online; Earth Space Dock slowing my framerate to a crawl whenever it was really busy.

What I meant was 'more of a tank than the Consular', given the emphasis on fighting up close.

Supernova2000:

What I meant was 'more of a tank than the Consular', given the emphasis on fighting up close.

The consular advanced class, Shadow, Has the ability to tank as well. Literally every class in the game is a hybrid, not all advanced classes are, but most of them can fulfill multiple rolls.

I watched video from GW2 and while the combat seems more action based, it really is built on the same system. Your character stands in front of a mob until it dies neither showing any reaction to damage taken. You both are stand there tanking until one of you die. GW and GW2 combat is faster but the base system is the same.

What makes Vindictus, Blade and Soul and TERA online different is that, the combat in those games can actually be played with a controller.

Now I'll be first to admit the best aspect of Vindictus is its combat system; the rest of the game as far as questing, and the game world are lacking. But in that game you never expected to sit in front a boss character and have a dps race.

If you start taking to many hits your armor takes damage and literally starts to break off (don't worry repair is easy). In Vindictus moves are done through combos using heavy and light attack buttons, not a quickslot bar where you click on icons of skills that you character then beings doing an animation for.

Now Blade and Soul and TERA Online are more traditional in that your character does do more of a stand in front and dps race with mobs, but I can forgive that because both of those games have persistent worlds. But the combat in those games is still far more engaging than what TOR and WoW offer.

http://youtu.be/mCO4fH-JBIk Lann twin spear gameplay

http://youtu.be/mNFjqF3QmeU Blade and Soul combo sytem with eng subs

http://youtu.be/GH6Q82JTJKk Tera Online an MMO archer that actually has to aim not just tab target

"It would be foolish to suggest that Bioware should have attempted or even had the financial resources to simultaneously challenge the status quo in MMO design on all fronts..."

Uh, why would that be foolish? ArenaNet is doing exactly that with Guild Wars 2, from all reports, and they don't have the financial backing of a company like EA. And by Dennis's own admission, the aspects of TOR that have become standard to most MMO's just get in the way of the parts that are new and innovative, which he seems to like a whole lot more. It sounds like Bioware SHOULD have attempted to challenge more of the status quo, because the innovations are what makes TOR stand out more, and it could have used more of them.

And I don't think it would have been that difficult with some of the standard practices. Take, for example, how Dennis said having all the companions for a given class identical broke the immersion of the game. That could have been easily fixed; just have the appearance and name of the companion randomly generated. It would make sense for each Imperial Agent to have an assistant or whatever assigned to them, but there's no reason they would have to all look like the Empire used the same cloning technology they use to mass produce stormtroopers to also produce assistants.

Voltano:
Yet my immersion to the game was instantly shattered when seeing other night elves killing off the creatures all around me, and some NPC telling me that they still have a breeding issue.

There are many many deer slaughtered each year in the US, yet there is still a breeding problem. Admittedly the panther breeding problem makes less sense then the boar breeding problem.

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