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[Suggestion] More player choices in Flashpoints and Operations

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion > Suggestion Box
[Suggestion] More player choices in Flashpoints and Operations

Woetoo's Avatar

03.13.2012 , 06:07 PM | #1
For me, as long time warcraft player, when I first played through Black Talon during the beta - I was sold.

The conversation decisions and their consequences were the "something new" I was looking for in a new MMO. And the supporting voice acting was the glue that held everything together and ensured I was actually interested in the story.

I stopped playing Warcraft after 6 years at Xmas to concentrate on SW:TOR, because of the differences - and elements like this were a huge factor. After all, SW:TOR can never be better at being warcraft than warcraft. The more they are the same, the more people are just going to question whether to return.

There are huge story elements to Flashpoints like Hammer Station, Boarding Party, Directive 7 and lets face it... all of them. But Black Talon felt like I was living the story. Whereas the others, I felt I was being told it. The choices I got to make had two positive factors for me. It created a feeling that each time I did that flashpoint, it was never the same as the previous time and the difference wasn't random - it was linked to players around me. Secondly, there was the friendly teasing factor when a decision didn't go someone's way. Both factors solidified the interaction with my team mates beyond just simple success and failure. Maybe it's just that I felt to be missing elsewhere.

More so with operations. The cut scenes at the start of Eternity Vault and Karagga's Palace are now the things that have me frustrated at them being there. I can't hit <space> quickly enough to bypass them. I never wanted to do that in SW:TOR and the fact that I am makes me think that somehow things have gone wrong. Same sort of thing with daily quests, where I randomly choose options because I have no interest any more what the NPC is saying.

To me, it feels like a huge portion of originality was abandoned after BT in favour of a more traditional/practical linear feel. But then as I say, maybe it's not the linear aspect, maybe it's just the social one.

For me, level 50 content is too similar to warcraft right now. In direct contradiction to the feeling that levelling was so different. I'm not suggesting that I'm not enjoying level 50 content, but the aspects that keep me interested are also in warcraft along with mix of other positive and negative elements that will be different for everyone.

Quickly, off the top of my head...
  • - Creating extra bosses for alternate "routes" through operations maybe one solution.
  • - Maybe a puzzle of some sort that locks and unlocks doors, so that you approach bosses in different order and maybe that order has consequences.
  • - Maybe having choice between clearing trash droids and solving a "puzzle boss" like door would be another.
  • - Maybe have a conversation which deactivates one boss ability or deactivates turret adds.
  • - Maybe a choice that results in one boss assisting you to fight another one.
  • - Maybe a pressure plate that activates some (trash) automated defences if stood on. (I'm thinking Indiana Jones type stuff here).
  • - Maybe opening some seemingly random valves activates or deactivates a gas filled corridor between encounters.
  • - Maybe triggering a poison or an EMP that weakened some trash mobs while leaving other unaffected.
  • - Maybe a choice that sends specific people down the left garbage chute and others down the right one. Where everyone meets at the bottom, but see difference scenery on the way down.
  • - Even stuff with no long term consequences, like varying a lift speed between slow, normal and "lift-of-doom".


Something to vary the encounters as a result of player made choices. Especially where making that choice adds an element of fun between players. Even if it only affected trash.

Clearly not something that made one preference strategically better than another. ie. Differences are always going to be imbalanced. But that imbalance should never be so great that every group, everywhere would always make the same choice. Likewise no choice that could be used to "grief" runs by inconsiderate players (though well thought out design choices that reinforce positive interactions should limit that sort of behaviour for a while)

I'm not suggesting lightside or darkside points. Social points would be nice though. Maybe even things that impacted reputation with specific companions. Nothing negative and nothing too positive - just a way of bolstering the reputation points without endless repetition. (yes, I know companions aren't present in operations - that's not to say that Vette wouldn't be pleased by you freeing the slaves or Quinn wouldn't be pleased by following a clearly stupid order).

Woetoo's Avatar

03.15.2012 , 07:04 PM | #2
A variation on some of these themes also occurred to me.

Have computer consoles dotted around the corridors or panels on the walls that require multiple players to click them in the correct sequence to actually do something.

Then have a huge computer screen somewhere behind the final boss in the instance and when you kill him, a sequence or code appears that can be used next time through. If nobody notes it down quickly enough - you've got to be quicker noticing next week.

Then maybe that code can be used to bypass some of the trash.

Or entering the "right" code(s) as you enter/progress through the instance results in a 2nd (then 3rd then 4th, etc.) code on the final screen. Since each the progression of codes requires killing the final boss (or again *something*) to get a new code for next week. Maybe some of the codes could be randomly bogus. Maybe they could switch something on/off without explaining to players exactly what - adding an extra sense of exploration beyond "let's go kill Garj again". 8 digit codes (assuming at least 8 players in any given raid to press 8 symbols should make them complex enough not to be guessed and short enough to be stored in a DWORD register).

If there were a progression of codes, maybe those codes could require a timer - ever decreasing to access the next code. Adding an extra element of challenge to each evening's raiding (though care would be required to make something like this work with raiders who raid over multiple nights).

Take it a stage further... maybe we could remove "normal", "hardmode" and "nightmare" from the raiding configuration and the difficulty level could be accessed via entering the right code at the console immediately inside the instance. Sure, the codes would become known on the internet very quickly if they were fixed - so make them semi random and store them against the player and only be able to use codes stored against players in the active raid. Though may the loot lockout system would prevent this? (Are players regularly doing normal and hardmode/nightmare in the same week?).

Whilst the code system is probably asking a bit much in terms of development resources, the logical "action to consequence" mechanics were already demonstrated in Black Talon.

My imagination is fairly limited, I've tried to keep to elements that fit within the SW:TOR architecture. I suspect a console at beginning of EVERY raid instance or a trash shortcut in EVERY raid instance could be just as dull as not having them. I'm sure someone can come up with more imaginative solutions than I've quoted.

So anyway... more conversation wheels within FPs and OPs please. And more consequences and impact as a result.