Community Q&A: July 6th, 2012
We’re back with a selection of answers to your community questions! Please note that in some cases we’ve combined multiple questions into one, and we that have edited some questions for clarity.
As a reminder, we previously suggested a shift in focus in your questions. As development plans are always subject to change, questions about future features will often get vague answers which can be repetitive and sometimes annoying. With that in mind, the development team is more interested in questions about current in-game features or systems, or questions about why development decisions were made. You’re still welcome to ask questions about future features and we’ll continue to answer them where appropriate – just expect the occasional ‘soon.’
We have now opened an official thread for next week’s Q&A, which will stay open until 2pm CDT on July 9th, 2012 (12pm PDT/3pm EDT/8pm BST/9pm CEST/5am AEST). We welcome your questions in that thread and hope you enjoy the answers below.
If you want to discuss any of the answers given, please use this Forum thread!
CelCawdro: If Cathar are successful, what kinds of species can we expect to see? May we see anything beyond the current selection of near-humans? What is the process behind selecting new species and gauging community interest?
Daniel Erickson (Lead Game Designer): We’d like to open the selection of future species to the community as a whole with clear positives and negatives provided for each selection. That way we can go a bit further afield in our species selection.
Alex Freed (Lead Writer): The short, unsatisfying answer: it depends!
The longer answer: The class stories tend to weave in and out of one another--they all happen (nothing's "out of continuity"), and they all happen roughly at the same time (chapter 3 is chapter 3 for everyone, for example), but there's not a set correspondence that runs all the way through. For example, you couldn't say "the Jedi Knight is always half a planet ahead of the Imperial Agent." But you could say "the Bounty Hunter chapter 3 finale takes place before the Trooper chapter 3 finale."
For the world stories, it's a little more complicated. In some cases, only one of the world stories can happen--the Republic and Empire can't both defeat King Ulgo on Alderaan, or the villain of the False Emperor Flashpoint. For story purposes, we know these characters were defeated... but we don't know by whom.
In other cases, different factions' world stories happen roughly at the same time--aside from the final defeat of Ulgo, the rest of the Alderaan missions can be contemporaneous. Other world stories are, as you suggest, time-separated--Republic Taris takes place significantly before Imperial Taris, and Imperial Balmorra takes place significantly before Republic Balmorra.
For the most part, it's best not to worry too much about ordering individual world events unless they actively reference one another--and if they contradict one another, you can assume that we won't be writing future stories that depend on one faction's participation at the exclusion of the other. (For example, you'll note that the Corellia "Black Hole" storyline reconciles the events of the Imperial and Republic Corellia storylines so that going forward, we know roughly the state Corellia is in!).
caravaggio: The last few major patches have seen significant changes to the Sniper/Gunslinger Marksman/Sharpshooter tree. Can you talk a little bit about how you guys envision the class and what was not working that caused you to decide changes needed to be made? Do you think that 1.3 brought you closer to where you want to be or do you still see areas in the tree that need improvement?
Austin Peckenpaugh (Senior Designer): Marksmanship and Sharpshooter have been a challenge to "get right" to be sure. Apart from cover and cover gameplay in general, Marksmanship and Sharpshooter have had a few specific hurdles for us to overcome. Thematically, these guys are high weapon damage specs, and that means that they can be easily countered (or even shut down) with a cooldown like Deflection. On the other hand, when their target is defenseless, their high weapon damage can actually become a little overwhelming.
These specs are also highly cover-dependent, and it has been a difficult task to communicate to players that in most cases they're better off holding their ground than kiting like a Sorcerer or Sage would. Of course, even that depends on having chosen a good cover spot to begin with. We face the issue of rewarding clean shots from cover while not making extended stays overpowered.
To answer you more directly, our vision for these specs hasn't changed, but I think we're striking much closer to that target than we have in the past. I'm really quite happy with Marksmanship and Sharpshooter in Game Update 1.3. Prior to this update, these skill trees fell apart at the top tiers, so we really wanted to address that and reward the full-spec Marksmanship and Sharpshooter. They now have the tools to stand their ground when they need to, they have better energy management than ever before, and their gameplay is smoother, simpler, and more rewarding. That's not to suggest there aren't issues, but I expect most issues can be addressed with minor tweaks in the future.
Austin: I'll bring up the issue with the rest of the team and see if increased survivability and threat is something we can afford to give them. Without me revisiting our goals for what tank companions should do, off the top of my head, it certainly sounds like they could use some adjustments. Thanks for raising this issue.
Taitsuo: Would you guys consider adding root effects to the Resolve bar? At the moment, 3 well-coordinated Gunslingers could permaroot someone (5secs duration, 15 secs cooldown). With ranked warzones, that could mean a lot…
Austin: Resolve is meant to put a lid on effects that take control away from you, the player. It's meant to limit the effectiveness of chain stuns, sleeps, and knockbacks. However, it is not meant to impact the ranged and melee (kiting and anti-kiting) balance of the game. This was a very deliberate measure taken to separate these two different aspects of control. I won't say that we won't limit the "chainability" of roots in the future, but given the amount of skills and abilities that break and cleanse roots and snares at the moment, it's not something we're very concerned about. Of course, we will be keeping an eye on how ranked warzone teams use the tools they have.
Thanks for all of your questions, and thanks to the team for answering them. If you’d like to put forward a question for the next Q&A, please visit this Forum thread!