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Sr. Hickman - The DEFINITIVE ISSUES Thread - Needs Attention

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion > Suggestion Box
Sr. Hickman - The DEFINITIVE ISSUES Thread - Needs Attention

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BlueDestiny
12.15.2012 , 04:04 PM | #1
Preamble: This thread is redrafted from another originated from a prior account, of 4 total accounts held in my household since cancelled, and am down to this last remaining account. I've updated it for the few items that have been fixed since it was originally posted in April, 2012, tightened it up, and added a prologue about what works well in TOR. Most of these fundamental issues have not been scratched.

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I – STORY, The 4TH PILLAR, IS STILL CRUMBLING

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II - SURNAMES - BROKEN MMO EXPERIENCE

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III – BROKEN ELEMENTS THAT SIGNIFICANTLY ADD UP

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IV – COMPANION AFFECTION, AND DIALOGUE TRIGGERS

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V - COMMUNITY EFFECTIVENESS – SWTOR FORUMS INADEQUATE

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VI – PLAYER GUILD SUPPORT – OCCUPY SWTOR

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VII – ENDGAME GUIDANCE

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VIII – BROKEN CLIENT/SERVER SYNC UNDERMINES GROUP COMBAT & TAB TARGETING

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IX - GEAR GRINDING ≠ ENJOYABLE END GAME

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X - SPACE ON RAILS
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XI - MMO ON RAILS

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XII - GAME/SERVER SERVICES

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THAT'S GREAT, BUT WHAT IS GOOD?

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BlueDestiny
12.15.2012 , 04:08 PM | #2
Will post updates here, and thoughts on sandbox vs. themepark that impact many dimensions of gameplay in the above. Always a great discussion

Also, let me be the first to say, for those so inclined...

"To OP, too many words"
"Wall of Text"
"Didn't Read"

Yeah, yeah.
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Tordos
12.15.2012 , 10:49 PM | #3
Where to begin... well I went through your entire post and here are some of my thoughts/comments.

Part 1: Unfortunately, there is only so much that can be done in an MMO setting where story is concerned. Killing mobs are a part of the mainstream MMO experience and while stories with longer or more involved steps may be appealing, there is a framework that is hard to stray from without taking certain risk. I think there are a healthy number of companion quests but I would welcome more. When it comes to story I would like to see legacy related quests, where the character you play meets other characters in your legacy.

Part 2: Legacy Names (or family names) are no longer unique. You should have no problem having the same Legacy name for all the accounts in your household. That is assuming you have a legacy rename option available or have yet to create the legacies. Your legacy characters can be unrelated by hiding the legacy name. The way I understand it, legacy names can be family names though they are not necessarily family names, if that makes sense to you. They are only considered a surname if you choose them to be, legacy title or surname. You can show your legacy when you start a new character, assuming you have already created the legacy. I think there is a reason it is called Legacy instead of Family system, because it is not the same as real life, thus your comparisons are somewhat unnecessary. I have no comment on canon names.

Part 3: I'm sorry but I don't know what you are talking about here. There are themes for each world, music is triggered in combat, cutscenes, flashpoints, etc. What do your percentages mean? They have already improved travel significantly from launch, and added the quick travels for the daily areas. I don't see how the pace of leveing is slow in any shape or form, there are xp boosts, quick travel reduction times through legacy unlocks, the rocket boosts can now be purchased, etc. The entire color system could be improved for gear as can the crafting system. The whole idea of lightside darkside options for non-force users show that it doesn't matter if your character is jedi/sith or not. Apparently the force surrounds everything, I don't know, take your pick. Datacrons are optional, while they can give you a boost at end-game they are meant to be a challenge to get, at least this is my view.

Part 4: I don't know what you're trying to say here exactly. Triggers are necessary because the idea is you complete your class story as you complete your companion story arcs. You can still gain max affection with companions regardless of where you are in your class story. Nobody said you have to buy companion gifts either.

Part 5: I think there are already enough sub-forums and categories to post in. Too many sub-forums seperate the community. Also they are only as effective as how people use them. Notice many people will simply post in General when a lot of the topics posted there could fit in one or more of the sub-forums.

Part 6: Sorry, I'm against your guild charter toolbox idea. Sure you could have people fill out these forms and answer general questions about the guild, and let people find a guild that matches their criteria on the list, but they will only know what the guild is really like once they join them. In the end, I would say it would be a waste of resources. The rating system would not work the way you wanted either, people would just get their friends or close allies to bump up their reputation, or worse give credits to those who give them high praise, it would simply be a popularity contest. What might work though, is to have an in-game leaderboard to display guilds that have cleared certain content, achievements etc. that way Guild X can't simply claim to be the best on the server without the hard numbers being open for public scrutiny. People could draw upon their own conclusions on guilds from these figures. Such leaderboard would also need a toggle option for guilds that don't want to be public or competitive.

Part 7: I would like to believe that end-game is an aspect of the game that keeps changing. There are tutorials for beginners, I'm not sure what you're getting at. Video guides seem like something more suitable coming from actual players and groups. I would rather see a guild run of an operation then a generic video from SWTOR with 'tips' on how to clear it.

Part 8: Tab targetting works fine for me, I'm not sure I follow your stone analogy. If tab target doesn't respond the way you want, it could be the way in which you position your character, that said, tab targetting has it's uses but is not the only way to target things.

Part 9: You have a gripe against grinding, that much is clear, but some people find it tolerable, even fun. If the model is broken as you suggest, then why do many players play these MMOs that utilize the grind? There must be something right with the system. I'm not saying it is the best or even the ideal way MMOs should work, to have players grind for gear, but are there better alternatives? Nobody is saying you need to spend 80 hours a week playing. Just because the game offers dailies, weeklies, does not mean you are expected to do them all.

Part 10: Space Combat can be improved but I think for the time being it should be seen as a mini-game and nothing more. I know many people are concerned with the addition of grade 7 ship upgrades and their inclusion in the cartel market and I hope they address these concerns and make appropriate changes to the game.

Part 11: This is how the game was designed. Many people would prefer more open areas and player created content but changing the overall design would not be an easy task at this point. I do agree though that this game could really use some sandbox elements but whether they are willing to implement this or can achieve this are two separate barriers.

Part 12: What is a sacred cow? Character renames and server transfers are something I would like to see answered properly but things change where money is concerned. As we have already witnessed, things that are said in the past aren't always how they turn out.

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BlueDestiny
12.16.2012 , 08:27 AM | #4
Thanks for reading the entire material, and for your post. Though the initial response seems to be paraphrased as, "can't do much about those," or "not sure I see it that way", I might suggest you give it some more thought. Alot of the responses skim the surface without asking for the root causes, or what the opportunities are - which makes sense with a first pass. I think the material might resonate more with the devs, who as leaders should know what a sacred cow is (what with TOR full of them).

I'll touch on one of the response points as an example, and selected Guild Tools (Section VI) as it matters to any MMO more so than any other gaming genre. You didn't see the value in helping guild leaders provide more clarity for their charters, that ratings might be rigged (abused) by guild leaders.

Remember the needs that the guild tools would be designed to address:

  • Help leaders better clarify for themselves and for their members - what they want for and of their community

  • Help players better define for themselves what they're looking for in a community

    (Fair to say that both stakeholders in the two points above could use a little more clarity in MMO's today, to help find better community fits)

  • Help players search for guild communities

  • Help players land in better suited communities

  • Help leaders and players, both, be among like-minded players with like-minded needs


That said, here are some considerations to your points:

  1. With the above purposes, all stakeholders would benefit from the system. This means that it would be appreciated for the value it brings for all involved, better thriving guilds of like minded players having better clarity of what their guild is designed for, and likewise what it's not designed for. To misuse (game) the tools would be counter-productive to the success of the entire guild, for both leaders and members.

  2. Learned in business long ago that you don't forgo "providing great service" or suboptimize the "design of systems to provide great service", for the sake of abuses. Yelp and Tripadvisor seem to do just fine. I contribute to both. While I don't believe we'd need more than self-monitoring of the tools, since the search would be on charter points, not ratings, leaders have the opportunity over time to effect the outcome of ratings, and the final accountability or consequences of gaming the tools would be by departing players, see next bullet ...

  3. Example of how it would benefit all stakeholders and why trying to game the tools doesn't work: Joined a guild once that was rare in that it did have a lot of material speaking to its activities and purpose (case of abuse by false advertising). It didn't live up to any of it. After some time and observation, being an adult in a guild of adults, I discussed this with leaders. They said, "well, its a work in progress" or "we used to do that" and alot of other reasons why the charter material was not remotely accurate. What they did was post alot of things that "sounded good" as a charter, with no tangible plans or attempts to execute. So, they had a revolving membership door like any other guild, with alot of unsatisfied members, and were not thriving as a community. They had stated their charter, they just didn't deliver on it - might have been more acceptable if they were delivering on any of it.

    This period of time was a "learning moment" for their leaders, having a good charter and getting feedback from many, and their go-forward success derives from their ability to learn from those moments. Kudos to them for putting a clear charter out there, and hopefully they learned from setting expectations, underperformance, and feedback. At least they had going for them that they started from a base of like-minded players who all wanted what the charter described.


With each of so many clans and guilds I've endured over the decades, the tools would have "spared" me and infinitely countless other players months of dissatisfying MMO experiences (hey, if we log off dissatisfied from the game, from gameplay or from guild experiences, it's still a dissatisfying feeling on logging off that reflects directly on the enjoyment of the game itself) if we had known that before joining. Fact is, after decades of clans and guilds, I've been without a guild for ... oh, six months or so, and gave up looking.

It's a huge shame, and huge missed opportunity related to TOR and endgame, but I'm so tired of the blind guild "jumping in." Talking to others ingame without a guild badge, they say the same thing. A huge suboptimized group waiting for better service, as well as the countless other players who are in guilds, but are not satisfied. Wake up, MMO developers.

Believe you me, I have no compunction in sharing my ratings (as an avid Yelp and TripAdvisor user) and constructive thoughts. Why? Because by doing so helps make everything "better", raises the bar for all stakeholders. More clarity, accountability, opportunity to see weaknesses and address them, more visibility, promotes better communication on charter tenets. As a leader, I'd be a fool to circumvent such valuable tools, or not take advantage of them, as it would be to my own detriment.

Frankly, these tools would revolutionize guilds and MMO satisfaction for any MMO, and would blow your minds after seeing the effects on player satisfaction surveys. It would give those thinking about starting a guild a sense for expectations and what leading a guild means - to get ready to learn and evolve as a leader! If some developer wakes up and provides these services, the landscape and success of guilds would change dramatically.
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BlueDestiny
12.23.2012 , 11:26 AM | #5
To the above, in support of Section VI, the weakness of guilds' charters and definition, and serious challenge for players to find and settle into a good guild fit, I prototyped a Charter Builder toolbox with Topics and (drop-down) Selections in another Thread, see URL in sig. Would like people's input on those topics and selections in that thread to refine it. Thanks.
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BlueDestiny
12.29.2012 , 02:38 PM | #6
regarding Section VI, Guild Tools, and see sig for Guild Charter and player's Guild Support tools:

Joined a guild again, and like any time in the past, went from running dailies solo, to:
  • Full Rakata and Black Hole gear in a matter of days
  • Running HM Flashpoints and SM/HM Ops within days
  • Alot of knowledge about how mechanics and endgame works
  • Big shift in focus from dailies to FPs and Ops.

Basically, what you expect when you are part of a guild that uses voice, and is active, right? No surprise.

We'll see how the personalities mesh, but that's the problem... have to be in a guild to enjoy things like the above, and have to put up with a guild to enjoy the above. Be great if Bioware would provide the tools necessary to get more people into good guild fits, and more guilds with tools to build better charters and expectations for gaming communities of adult players.

So more people can enjoy the game... alot more.

P.S. regarding Section IX, gear grind, find that its alot of activity for activities sake. A real grind. However the things the groups like to do are not gear oriented, but things like masks, vehicles... get the most enthusiastic engagement. All corresponds with what's said in the OP, redirecting good content and loot, that isn't hung on a gear grind and gates.
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BlueDestiny
02.06.2013 , 01:59 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by AgentJacen View Post
I skimmed through it and thought most of your ideas were good. I'd like to talk about the voice chat idea. I'm okay with it, as long as it's optional. I would prefer not to reveal my voice, especially since I probably won't have met most people, and I'm sure others agree with me. Other than that, your ideas are mostly good. I didn't actually notice any other ones I disagreed with, but as I said, I skimmed through it.
LOTRO currently has this feature. I don't know what other MMO's do, but have seen others mention it in forthcoming MMO's.

It works effectively in LOTRO. The way it works is generally 100% of players who group, especially PUG's, have voice chat active, but many or even most don't talk, they just listen. It only takes 1 player in a group of 4 to talk, and generate teamwork and coordination. In fact, it's even better when 1 talks, and 3 listen. The norm was that you'd see the voice feature indicator "live" among all members of the party, but rarely would see most players actually talk, but they're listening when needed.

Examples:

"turn the boss around so his back is to us"

"Mojomaker, can you cc the Troll?", to which Mojomaker either replies or types, "yes"

"It's imperative that everyone interrupts the bosses heals, everyone got that?", to which they say or type "yes"

Having voice elevates the teamwork 500%, or in the absence of voice, handicaps teamwork 90-98%. It's critical.

Games like LOTRO demonstrate how it works effectively, is adopted nearly universally by players, even though most players don't ever say a word, but they listen, and they type responses.

Of course, guilds could care less, because most use their own voice tools (of course they do because its so fundamental to teamwork) for groups, but for everyone else, PUGS, or mixed groups of Guilds/PUGS, they need to be able to communicate to raise group activity from chaos to teamwork, and enjoy the same level of gameplay that guilds do with their voice servers.

For any modern MMO to have group content, and not provide voice, is a fundamental failure in design. For a game like TOR that claims innovation with Voice story, to not include Voice among players... well, it's like comparing color movies today, to black and white silent films.
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