Community Q&A: March 23rd 2012
We’re back with some answers to your questions from the development team. As always, in some cases we’ve combined multiple questions into one. We have also edited some questions for clarity.
We’ve seen lots of questions throughout the community focused on the release of Game Update 1.2, especially after its release to the Public Test Server. To help answer some of those questions, next week’s Q&A will be devoted to Game Update 1.2, with questions drawn from across the Forums. With plenty of questions to choose from, we won’t be opening a dedicated Q&A thread for the subject. After next week’s Q&A, we’ll open another thread as usual.
Looking forward to future Q&As, we had some feedback from the development team which we wanted to share. While questions about future potential features in the game are always welcome, many times the answers will be non-specific, as development is always fluid. We don’t want to disappoint you with continuously saying ‘soon’ in reply to these questions.
Instead, the development team would appreciate more questions about features or systems currently in the game, or questions about the philosophy behind why development decisions were made. The development team feels they can really give you some in-depth answers to these sorts of questions, and overall we feel they will be more interesting answers than talking in vague terms about future features. This is not an attempt to shy away from questions about any aspect of the game, but rather a request to delve deeper into design philosophies and to get some more information on how things currently work in-game.
To sum up: a special Q&A next week drawn from existing Game Update 1.2 questions and back to the usual Q&A format the week after. As for this week, if you want to discuss any of the answers in this Q&A, please use this Forum thread!
Gabe Amatangelo (Lead Endgame & PvP Designer): The team continues to tune Flashpoint bosses based on metrics and feedback. Bosses that are a ‘spike’ in the progression curve (e.g. when a second boss might be more difficult than the last) are being addressed in one way or another, be it increasing their enrage timer, decreasing their health, extending the cooldown of control abilities, etc.
Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer): We've talked about it, sure. It's something we considered as we added in the Legacy System. However, right now we know that other aspects of the Legacy System will act to speed up the leveling experience for alternate characters. We want to see the state of the game in terms of leveling speed and itemization power after the core Legacy System goes live with Game Update 1.2 before we potentially make that change.
Georg Zoeller (Lead Combat Designer): Yes. The lack of an interrupt ability on these Advanced Classes is a purposefully designed weakness in their ability arsenal. At the current time, adding an interrupt to the Commando/Mercenary would increase their combat utility, especially in PvP, beyond what we are comfortable with.
That said, this issue is one we’ve re-evaluated with every major patch and will likely continue to revisit in the future. It is not inconceivable that an interrupt may be added to these Advanced Classes in a future update, especially if more PvE content is introduced that relies on a certain number of interrupts being available in a group.
Georg: Sometimes it's hard to hear this, but the change to healers you're referring to was, quite simply, a result of them being too good. When one healer is close to target performance and the others aren't, it's natural to think that the logical course is to buff the underperformer and leave the over-performers alone. I want to dispel that notion and explain why it isn't always possible.
All specs for all roles have a target performance. This is what drives the balance of the game: soloing, Heroics, PvP, Flashpoints, Operations... everything. When those targets aren't hit, we can't just ‘bring everyone up’ to the highest performer without negatively impacting the balance of the game and creating unsustainable inflation in our combat system. Frankly, it's also a lot more work to change all end game content in the game to compensate for an over-performing role than to bring the role back in line. The hard but simple truth is that Sorcerers and Sages had better Force management than we intended (e.g. a well-played Sage was almost incapable of running out of Force) and Mercenaries and Commandos were significantly over target in their healing performance.
After considerable testing, we're more confident than ever that all healing roles are both closer to target performance and closer to one another than ever before, leading to a much tighter balance on end game content. The community will be able to confirm this using the new combat logging feature in Game Update 1.2.
I know trying to ‘sell’ a downwards adjustment (AKA nerf) to anyone affected is like selling the need for a tax increase to people. When you are on the receiving end of it, you're not going to be happy about it. It may appear massive to you, even if the overall impact is limited. You likely won't care that it's 'for the greater good of the game' and, if you decide to disagree with our action, there's little we can do to sway you.
Based on the feedback brought to us so far from testers playing on PTS along with metrics and combat logs gathered from our guild testers, we are going to make additional adjustments before Game Update 1.2 is promoted to the live servers. For example, we reopened the internal debate about having an in-combat resurrect ability for Mercenaries/Commandos based on PTS feedback regarding the new Operations, in light of the higher utility value this ability brings to the table in 1.2. We're listening to your feedback, too, and rebalancing some of the changes made to healing based on data gathered from PTS. Look out for a future update to PTS for more details.
Stephen Reid (Senior Community Manager): When the Timeline series was begun we weren’t entirely sure how many timelines would be needed to detail relevant backstory for The Old Republic and left ‘blank spaces’ on the Timeline that, we thought, would all be filled in with Timeline entries. Ultimately, we feel we’ve detailed all the relevant backstory required, so no more Timeline entries going back into earlier history are planned. However, we know how much players enjoyed the lore details, style and presentation of Timelines, so we’re planning to continue that with a different series (currently unscheduled!) which will detail other aspects of the lore of The Old Republic.
Suzume_Bachi: If I unlock the Pureblood Sith species for all my future characters via the Legacy System, will I be able to create a Republic Pureblood Sith Smuggler, and will that Smuggler have Punish to I can smack around Corso Riggs?
William Wallace (Senior Designer): Players creating characters with the new species/class combinations allowed by Legacy will get that species’ unique ability. So yes, your new Sith Pureblood Smuggler will have the Punish ability, and can use it on Corso Riggs as much as you like. Poor Corso....
Daniel Erickson (Lead Game Designer): Currently, there is no such title available for Bounty Hunters. It may be added as part of a future content update, but we’ve got no current plans to add it to the existing game.
Alericus: I am wondering how the ‘vote to kick’ system for PvP matches will work. I have a concern it will be abused by pre-made teams who want to control the team. Can you clarify how this system will work?
Gabe: Any player can vote to kick an AFK player through the Ops frame context menu. This will not initiate a vote prompt, but rather must be actively sought out by multiple players. Once a player has received several votes they will receive a prompt indicating that they’ll be kicked from the Warzone in a few seconds if they do not engage in combat or defend an objective. A player who is kicked from the Warzone in this manner will be returned to their original location before they queued, and will not be able to queue up again for several minutes. We’ll continue to fine tune the detection logic, but gradually, with an eye towards protecting the innocent bystander player.
Damion: This was something that came up a lot during the Guild Summit and is an idea we're taking seriously. However, no design is locked down in stone and I don't have any sort of ETA as of yet for when something like this might happen.
Damion: Interesting idea. Let me give it some thought!
Thanks for all of your questions, and thanks to the team for answering them. Remember you can discuss this week’s Q&A answers in this Forum thread.