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open letter to the Game development team at Bioware

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
open letter to the Game development team at Bioware

Frog_brains's Avatar


Frog_brains
01.28.2013 , 01:37 PM | #1
First of all let me preface my comments by starting with a little introduction. I've been playing this game since basically launch (1.05) and now have 6/8 classes at lvl 50, and active (missing smuggler, and inquisitor). I have all the crafting proffesions, I enjoy space missions (when they work) and i never, ever, ever pvp. I've always maintained an active subscription and have tried to stay active and involved in the community through the forums. I generally enjoy the game especially the story lines. The direction that the game seems to be heading in is starting to concern me a bit and I'd just like to share MY OPINIONS, on what's happening in the game.

Firstly Bioware please stop trying to micromanage the game. You can not be going back and forth changing this and modding that and buffing this guy and nerfing that guy. I know that a lot of these changes are happening because of balance issues (percieved or real) in the pvp areanas. As a PVE only player it is really annoying to have to periodically have to re skill and re tree my characters, just because pvp'ers are complaining they cant faceroll and win. Please Bioware do not pander to people who are unwilling to learn to play either their role, or their class properly. Please let them know that the same playstyle that they use on one character may not be successful with another character, and that they will have to get used to and learn how to play with it. Not just make all the characters play the same way.

I have 2 characters i tank with, a consular, and a jugg, they both have the same role but both play differently and i'm glad they do, im glad that I have to 'learn" to tank with one character then re learn with the next one.

I also have 4 dps that I use and even more than the tanks i'm glad that they all play differently, even between damage types ranged /melee. I enjoy the challenge of adapting the different playing styles of the different characters to get maximum damage out of them.

The healing classes I can't speak to as i haven't levelled any of them to end game yet, but from what i've heard from guild mates is that they play different from class to class and i'm glad of that as well.

I hope that when you are reading the "complaints" on the forums for example of "smuggler/operative dps isn't viable" or "shadows /sins can't hold aggro as tanks" or other gripes like this you can have access to the actual metrics of the people making these accusations before just going ahead and changing things willy nilly and not just taking their word for it! Please tell me you can look at their gear, and see how they set up their skill tree, can you see what their rotation is like. I would hate to think that character attribute changes are being made without some research first and just made to appease poor players.

The second point I'd like to address is please give us some consistency in the gameplay and combat mechanics. What I mean by this is let the same reaction happen to the same action everywhere in the game.

First example I'd like to bring up is the aggro and evading mechanic in the game. Can we kite or can we not! you have some NPC's in certain situations that will follow you around once you have aggro no matter what and others that you run 20 metres away and they completely forget about you. Could you please make this consistent!

This also comes into making use of terrain as a tactic, can we or can't we? in some situations it seems like we can and are encouraged to make use of the terrain to either hide behind for LOS ( maelstrom prison comes to mind) or to give us time to chanel abilites or self heal, and other times now where we are being punished for taking advatage of terrain (false emeperor, and KOS come to mind here). What I want to know is simply this:

A) yes they will keep aggro on you, and follow you around the entire map until 1) you kill them, 2) they kill you or 3) you use a get out of combat ability, and yes if you can find some terrain/spot on the map that you can take advantage of to kill that npc then go ahead. i,e yes you can aggro this gold or silver npc and make him follow you to a bridge or cliff then push him off to help defeat them. or

B) no they will not follow you once you are out of a certain area. If you leave (x radius area of that target) they will evade and return back to their spot and get back to full health always. ie we put that group of npc's or that gold precisely their for a reason and that's where we want you to kill them and not anywhere else.


With the above i'm not saying you can't have your debuffs for certain classes of boss's and such, you can make however many characters immune to pushbacks or interupts or whatever you'd like but please give us some consitency in the rest of the game play. Which ever way you do it please stick to one, sure in the short term you may upset one playstyle or the other, but at least they'll know what to expect going forward. As long as we as a player base know that the answer to the above is "yes" or "no" we can modify our play styles, and maybe even the classes we play to suit the situation.

The other issue dealing with consitency in the game is the application of alacrity to certain aspects of the game play and not to others. This is the big one that really got me to scribe this letter. Either it speeds up all activation times and channels or it doesn't period! that includes terminals, spells, and the lot. not just one thing and not the other. I don't want to hear about people complaining well that's not fair. he can click the terminal faster than i can its not fair. So what?! Just because if we both get to the terminal at the same time i can activate it faster than the other guy, doesn't mean that I can get to the terminal at the same time!!! there are other attributes that aren't tied to alacrity that can give one player or the other an advantage to getting to click a terminal faster than another player.

I can use rocket boots, or force speed if im a jedi, i can roll to cover to a place right beside the terminal if i'm a smuggler or IA then get up and click the terminal. Just because i've found a gear or environmental advantage in a game does not make me a cheat. Now what if now i'm a commando? I don't have a distance closing ability to use like a jedi does, so i only get to the terminal 0.5 or 0.7 seconds slower than the jedi at the same distance away, what's wrong with me stacking alacrity augments or equipment to get back that time? am i gaining an advantage in clicking the terminal? Maybe i am and maybe i'm not. What about his ability to use force speed to get to the terminal quicker than me? Am I gaining an advantage in combat? No i'm probably not at least not in a prolonged fight. Sure it'll give me a little bit quicker burst of dps but it's also going to deplete my ammo faster. But that's a choce that I made to sacrifice some attribute in favour of alacrity. I made the choice that clicking that terminal faster in that situation was a priority for me. I made the choice to stack an attribute that may hamper my ability to be effective in a long fight, but I made that choice. I didn't get that choice taken away from me or impossed on me by someone else. Furthermore to that i'm not keeping anyone else from doing the exact same thing as me.

Part of the attraction to this game is the fact that you have a huge variety of characters to play with. With that comes a variety of gear choices, and skill choices, and playstyle choices that will affect how you interact with the environment, and with other players. Some combinations of choices will result in outstanding results others will result in epic and utter failure. If you go around chopping people legs out from under them just because they were creative/inventive enough to find a combination of things in the game, skillwise, gearwise and tactics wise, that other weren't able to find you will kill the game, pure and simple.

If you wanted a game that was completely fair where no one would complain about "Balance" the game should have consisted of only 2 classes ( one imperial and one republic) everyone has the same gear and the same skills and everyone had to follow the same path (on rails like the space combat) then you wouldn't have all this issues. of course you'd also wouldn't have a game because no one would play it.

The fact is you have a game that is wide open and you have given people choices. With choices you'll have people make good ones and others make bad ones. Just because there are people who make poor choices in the game doesn't mean you have to, bring the rest of us down to their level. This happened with the elder game gear. you used to have to 'earn' your gear to get into Hard modes and ops, by grinding dailies by crafting gear, by getting your butt kicked by the boss'. Through this process which took time you learned your rotation, you develped tactics and by the time you geared up to be able to do the ops and the hard modes you knew what you were doing. Now by giving people the gear right away when reaching 50 what have you done? You've destroyed the gear value of "normal" lvl 50 gear, made the drops from boss's vendor trash, and worst of all you've given the people who started with the game a big middle finger, for all the work they needed to do to get where they are now!

I guess what i'm saying with all of this is please give us choices and please stop changing the rules on us just because there are a group of players who can't figure out the intricacies of the game, and begrudge the rest of us for figuring out easier way's to do things. Please don't screw up my PVE' build because a pvp'er things they're standing around to long. (make a pvp only skill tree then if its' that important) and please please, please do not continue to 'dumb' the game down! let us work for our rewards, don't just give us stuff.

i apologize for the length of this, but i felt i needed to express my thoughts on this matter. I don't know if i'm in the majority or in the minority on the point of view i'm expressing, but i do know i'm not the only one that thinks this way. Thank you for taking your time to read this and i hope that it has some value.

Signed a valued subsriber

micnevv's Avatar


micnevv
01.28.2013 , 01:46 PM | #2
SWTOR is the first "Hotkey MMO" you've played I take it

Frog_brains's Avatar


Frog_brains
01.28.2013 , 02:39 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by micnevv View Post
SWTOR is the first "Hotkey MMO" you've played I take it
First MMO period actually, and if it wasn't for the RPG elements i probably wouldn't have tried it in the first place. I guess your trying to tell me this is all part of the "working as intended formula" for MMO's.

Start off with really smart intelligent game, you get a core of people who get and understand it, then you have the fringe (unfortunately the vocal bunch) who complain about every other aspect of the game and then it gets dummed down for them?

Spoletta's Avatar


Spoletta
01.28.2013 , 03:01 PM | #4
Luckily for you pve players are greatly advantaged by metrics. This game is heavily controlled in every aspect, which is the reason why the pve is perfectly balanced and they can easily identify problems as soon as they arise.
For PvP it's obviously harder, metrics help but don't do the work for you.
Hopefully they learned the lesson and pvp will no more bring changes to pve.

opriv's Avatar


opriv
01.28.2013 , 05:46 PM | #5
Since this is your first MMORPG, I will share my thoughts. Most devs never stop tweaking "unbalances." Yes, these unbalances seem to ALWAYS be PVP related. Many a good game has been ruined for the sake of balance.

What is ironic about pvp, is that you almost never have a true 1v1/ neither side having an advantage or disadvantaged fight.
Dark Order of Amaranth
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Icebergy's Avatar


Icebergy
01.28.2013 , 05:58 PM | #6
My 'open letter' to the dev team:

Please take everything the OP said with a huge grain of salt. In fact, flat out ignore most of it.

No offense OP, but some of your ideas are just bad for MMOs.
Mikal'B, Battlemaster and Fleet Commodore of the Republic.
<Contraband Inc> 10/10 NiM, 4/4 NiM, NMP, 7/12 NiM, HM GF, 4/5 NiM
Jedi Covenant

Manifoldgodhead's Avatar


Manifoldgodhead
01.28.2013 , 06:05 PM | #7
I agree that they should carefully consider balance changes before they make them. However the second half of your rant is that alacrity does not effect console activation. That is dumb. No stat should change the speed with which you activate a console. Specifically for PvP objectives it would make alacricty an extremly important PvP stat for all the wrong reasons. If it did at some point then it shouldn't have, so you can stop crying.
ITS THE FUTURE

KariTalRathe's Avatar


KariTalRathe
01.28.2013 , 07:19 PM | #8
To maintain a healthy influx of players, the learning curve in every MMO is made easier with time. In SW:TOR's case with the dishing out of free L51 (whoopee) gear once a character hits L50. If this wasn't done, new players would feel the gap between themselves and the veterans in top tier could never be bridged. They would be held to a disadvantage for too long - not being able to join HM 2 or OPs for sure. Never being able to catch up - bearing in mind new content does get added - or taking too long to catch up would put many off and they wouldn't stick around.

And unless mechanics have been changed, this doesn't make the game easier, it just makes it faster (in the same way that adding a GF and increasing exp slightly makes it faster).

I hope some of what I have said makes sense to you, otherwise you will be bemoaning your hard work counting for nothing in the next MMO you play once it has been out for a year or less. Games aren't there to appease the highest and longest standing members, they are there for the average player and you may well not be that average man or woman right now.

Frog_brains's Avatar


Frog_brains
01.29.2013 , 10:45 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by KariTalRathe View Post
To maintain a healthy influx of players, the learning curve in every MMO is made easier with time. In SW:TOR's case with the dishing out of free L51 (whoopee) gear once a character hits L50. If this wasn't done, new players would feel the gap between themselves and the veterans in top tier could never be bridged. They would be held to a disadvantage for too long - not being able to join HM 2 or OPs for sure. Never being able to catch up - bearing in mind new content does get added - or taking too long to catch up would put many off and they wouldn't stick around.

And unless mechanics have been changed, this doesn't make the game easier, it just makes it faster (in the same way that adding a GF and increasing exp slightly makes it faster).

I hope some of what I have said makes sense to you, otherwise you will be bemoaning your hard work counting for nothing in the next MMO you play once it has been out for a year or less. Games aren't there to appease the highest and longest standing members, they are there for the average player and you may well not be that average man or woman right now.
See I disagree with you here, I think that's where it comes down to community involvement, joining a guild, finding some friends, grouping raiding out together. When i got my first character to lvl 50 I had guild mates some of who already had some rakatta pieces and columi, to help bring me through the first steps of what they now call "elder game". You get a helpful bunch of guys who are in the game to have fun and interact with others you can be geared up in full coumi, completey bypassing the tionese gear if you'd like in less than a week.

The issue i think is the veterans "longest standing members" as you put them are forgetting that responsibilty that they have to help the newbies out, and not just run through the game as fast as possible and screw everyone else. What i would have preffered to have seen is a mentoring system that would give incentives for high geared players to help new 50's, instead of throwing them some commendations and letting them fend forthemselves. If anything kills online games it's not lack of content or "balance" issues in pvp its this. It's the fact that the community stops being a community and just becomes a mob of individuals who are just looking out for their own interests. The farther the game goes down that road the less attractive it becomes to the average player


As for the never being able to catch up aspect as new content gets added does that mean that we should always keep the lvl cap where it is? I mean like look at some of the other games out there are people not starting to play them because the lvl cap is in th 90's now? or because you think people will not want to put the work into lvl 90 they should be able to fast track all the way up to lvl 90 skipping the rest of the game because nothing that happens before end game matters?

ancksunamur's Avatar


ancksunamur
01.29.2013 , 11:46 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Frog_brains View Post
The issue i think is the veterans "longest standing members" as you put them are forgetting that responsibilty that they have to help the newbies out, and not just run through the game as fast as possible and screw everyone else.
You see this is the kind of thing I just can't agree with. "Responsibility?" I don't feel a responsibility to anyone. Cause I don't feel like they have a responsibility to me. So what as a End gamer should I be doing? Critiquing everyone's play in flash point? Should I be queing for random ops for nothing? I don't feel the need to see SM EV when I run around with a Warstalker title, there's nothing in it more what black hole comms? I can't give those things away fast enough. Listen man that's what guilds are for. I understand the raise and fall quickly and finding a new one may not be the easiest thing. But to a certain extent you have to fend for yourself man.

You made yourself out to be a PVE guy. Well PVE offers you exactly what you put into it. have done every fp to death, and as a tank I only que if someone in my guild wants to do their daily and then yes am happy to drag randoms with me and they can take whatever they want. I don't even look at the rolls. But when they start complaining, yes am gonna kick them, cause my healing/ dps companion for some reason does better then them more often then not. If you want to put in the time your gear and your play will be rewarded.

And Bioware just doesn't put out enough content for you to say we are just blowing through it. They went 5 months with no new content at all, so with EC NiM being brought out most end game guilds new the fights from heart and had to make minor adjustments to learn them. There is no 11 boss raids, and this isn't the days on which when content was put out it took weeks to learn it. Even TFB HM when it came out only had 4 bosses and were pretty easily learned. And can you really call their puzzle bosses, a fight? I mean most of them are fun but still pretty much free loot.
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