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BioWare, your bug-laden operations are driving players away from the game

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Flashpoints, Operations, and Heroic Missions
BioWare, your bug-laden operations are driving players away from the game

DarthTexas's Avatar

06.02.2014 , 12:29 PM | #1
There are countless examples of the plethora of bugs throughout the game, especially in operations. It's getting to the point that many in my guild are contemplating leaving and never giving another dime to BioWare.

Last night our guild spent a frustrating 3 hours on Draxxus in 16m Nightmare DF. We repeatedly had issues with people dying to Guardian slams that would slam in a completely different spot than the visual indicator. Our raiders continually said they were getting hit by slams despite being out of the purple slam area. I didn't buy the excuse until it happened to me personally and we went back and looked at the video. It turns out my raid members were right, and they were getting out of the slam area but still getting hit by slam, and we have video proof of it.

TL: DR version: the slam hits where the Guardian has aggro and NOT where purple indicator shows the slam will hit.

Here are some visual examples:
2:58:58 - Look at where the purple slam target is, look at the right of the screen and you see the tank Drekk'en has aggro, the slam hits the target with aggro and NOT the purple target area and kills 3 people that were outside of the purple
2:59:15 - same exact thing happens, the slam hits the area where the Guardian's aggro target is, NOT in the purple area marking where the slam should be, killing 4 people, including a tank and all remaining DPS
(same fight, different perspective:, the slams shown above start at 3:05:05)

There are probably multiple examples of this throughout the night, but this attempt has the most obvious examples of the problem, and we were especially upset about it as the boss would have been killed had the slams functioned correctly and not killed people that had correctly moved out of the purple slam area.

This bug is just one of many adding to our growing frustration with BioWare.

Here's a message I sent to BioWare months ago at their request after meeting them in Phoenix. After sending the message I never heard back from them, this is just another example of how poorly operations function in SWTOR.

Hello Eric, was great meeting you folks in Phoenix Friday night.

I spoke with both you and Ben about this issue and you both said you would look into, so I'm following up with a reminder, and hopefully some info that will help you.

In our operations we have a recurring issue where mobs and ground effects don't show up immediately after the 1st attempt on an operations boss. In other words, everything shows up for everyone perfectly the 1st try, but any try after the 1st there are issues with things appearing for some of our players.

Here is a video that is a perfect example of the issue:

The video is the perspective of one of our healers, so she doesn't have to worry as much about mobs not appearing. Some notes from the video:
0:10 - we start the fight
0:41 - the mobs appear on the screen for the 1st time for this player (over 30 seconds after the pull)
1:35 - our tank declares he can see the mobs now (they showed for him a few seconds before this), prior to this he was using AoE taunts and target of target to grab mobs

Here are some thoughts from one of our members that deals with this issue all the time:
I would ask if it's possible to prioritize certain things loading before others, I run on lowest setting and it seems I have no trouble seeing all 16 people in the raid and every animation their character is doing, but can never see the enemies spawning until about 10s late, or sometimes not even through the entire fight (like Dash'roode), or negative mechanics that appear on the ground (like the red circles/puddles in Bestia). Even if they could have just a health bar, name plate, and the cycle target arrow appear before attempting to load the enemy it would make an amazing QoL improvement for the low end machine raiders.

I'm also not sure if they can do anything about the occasional enemy's distance jumping around randomly between 0m and 250m, as that causes some frustration when you can't do anything on a class that no reticle AoE abilities.

There's also certain effects that always load regardless of what happens in the fight, such as the blue and orange portals in Calphayus, so maybe they could utilize that type of animation for the negative effects in other fights (like the red puddles).

It also seems like any negative AoE effect that drops under a player's feet has a very hard time loading on a lot of machines. Examples are the red circle and red puddle in Bestia, the Simplification and Inferno in Tyrans, the Red Circles in Calphayus, and the Teleport Circle in Raptus.
Negative Effects on the Ground dropped on Player locations
Keeping the Main Boss in range
Quicker loading for any adds after the initial pull Friendly and Non. (such as the Healing challenge target in Raptus)
I don't know a lot about programming, but if I had to suspect what was going on it would be this: The first time a player loads a boss encounter the game pre-loads all the assets for the fight so they'll appear just fine. When the group wipes the player has to load all the assets from outside of the instance again, and once they zone back in the game assumes the assets are already loaded for the player from the previous attempt, but they were pushed out when they had to zone out and in again. The game doesn't prioritize loading the assets again, so the player has to wait for them to load again, and it happens during the fight. In other words, the game should pre-load all fight assets for every boss EVERY time a player zones in to an operation, not just the first time.

I and my guild really appreciate you all looking into this. I would suspect this is a much wider-spread problem then just our guild, folks have just learned to live with it.

Any other info you may need we'll be glad to provide.
I'm still waiting for acknowledgement from BioWare on this.

My guild is full of players that love Star Wars and enjoy raiding, but our patience is almost run out.

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Levram's Avatar

06.02.2014 , 12:41 PM | #2
Yes, this problem regarding the Guardian slams has been reported twice, with videos, already.

Report 1, video in Post #12
Report 2

The bug is that the Guardians' Slam is being cast at whomever has aggro when the Guardian's channel is completed. It is not being locked into position when the channel begins and the Slam's cleave is marked on the ground. Therefore if your tank is taunting a Guardian back onto themselves after the cleave is marked on the ground but before the Slam channel has ended, you will have an invisible cleave to deal with that faces that tank.

The other bug with not being able to backstab Bulwarks has also been reported.
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ScicleX's Avatar

06.02.2014 , 05:24 PM | #3
Nightmare DF was released on 04.08.2014
First mentioned report was posted on 04.15.2014 , 11:13 PM; 1 week after release.
34 Hours until an official response from EA/Bioware.
04.17.2014 , 09:55 AM
I spoke with one of our designers and we're going to look into this. Thanks!
Second report was posted on 04.30.2014 , 05:03 PM.
and this report was posted on 06.02.2014 , 01:29PM.
Nightmare DF is going to be losing it's Nightmare buff and prospective Title reward on 06.10.2014.
Even if this somehow gets fixed during tomorrow's patch, that allows 1 week to try and achieve the Title reward with the mechanics working how they should have since release 2 months ago!

I don't know much about game coding, or business planning, or customer service, but looking at the list of events that has happened there needs to be some form of compensation for the amount of time wasting trying to beat a broken game and the countless amount of emotional frustration from people being blamed for dieing to the Guardian's Slam when it clearly wasn't their fault, but the fault of the programmers.

The game itself has turned it's focus off the MMO players it was marketed toward at launch, to the casual micro-transaction players that spend little time running end-game, but make purchases on the Cartel Market. There has been a substantial loss of subscribers since launch that have lost revenue for Bioware, and even though the Cartel Market has reportedly brought in more then their subscriptions have, I'm sure a lot of the Cartel Market purchases came from subscribers who are no longer with us today. The lack of concern in keeping the end-game content accessible and bug-free has been alienating and pushing away long-time investors, better known as subscribers.

The state of the game at current even though I'm hitting on a lot of hot topics at the moment, seems to be more toward getting money out of the Cartel Market, and creating Credit sinks for the wealthy players, again to promote them buying more Cartel Coins to get Cartel Items rather than using in-game credits on them. I have seen footage of the new event coming, and it appears to amount to:

I personally enjoy the game, and really hope that it could get back on track to reaching the potential we saw at launch of rivaling the big names in MMO. Realistically, the course the game is pursuing currently will draw it steadily away from that goal until it stops producing enough revenue and is shut down.

Please, Please, PLEASE listen to your player base Bioware, and make the game we all know you could. We have all invested so much into it already, including yourselves, to let it circle the drain this early. Let's see a bit more quality of life for the hardcore/committed players and less content focused on promoting the Cartel Market.
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JediJasonL's Avatar

06.02.2014 , 08:00 PM | #4
This particular bug is so well documented and so specific that it should not be this difficult to debug and patch. While I am not a professional programmer, I know enough about programming to know that the users that have so unfortunately experienced this bug have made it LOADS easier on the Devs to track down the specific string of code linked to this problem. It happens against a specific mob using a specific attack, so instead of looking at the code for the entire Op, they can look, just at that fight and it is further narrowed down to one specific opponent in that fight. So here, we've narrowed down the code to look at considerably. The fact that it can be narrowed down even more to one specific ability means that the devs no longer have to look at 100% of the code, but more like 5% in all probability. Where this becomes a problem is if the programmers did not document the code well then they, in all likely hood, do not know where that section of code is. <--- So here's a tip for you Bioware! Document your code so it's easier to fix problems like this! If you already do, then kudos to you!

What can help even more is if the sister ability in both SM and HM are functioning properly they have something with which to compare. However, if they simply copy and pasted the code over from the easier difficulties while at the same time changing the mechanics in even the smallest way, it could result in a problem like this.

So, what to do in the meantime and afterwards until they fix it? In my mind, they should close down DF Nim completely until after the problem is fixed. Releasing and allowing players to run in an Op of this difficulty that is this bugged is extremely bad for business and a great way to lose the majority of the long term player base. For those that have already managed to pull through Nim DF even with the bug, grant them a special Beyond Nightmare gift/title/whatever. For all others, the special gifts/title period should be extended after the Op is back up and running. If I were calling the shots, I'd start it again like it hadn't even been released yet, allowing the full time to earn those gifts/titles. This is only fair and it can help prevent a mass exodus of players and/or lawsuits from selling a faulty product if it ever came to that.

While shutting down the OP for the time being may be time consuming, extreme, and may result in lost revenue in the short term, the benefits in the long term would be well worth it for both Bioware as a company and for their player base.

Now, more in general, Bioware has been known to release great titles with little to know bugs in the past so I know they are capable of it here too, even if it is an MMO that is constantly changing. As for the reason why this is NOT happening, I can only assume that the leaders in charge of the SWTOR team are pushing their employees beyond the limit of realistic deadlines. PLEASE STOP DOING THIS IF THIS IS THE CASE! I would rather wait another few months, or even a year, for new content that is functioning properly than receive that new content and not be able to experience it anyway because it is so broken. In the first example, you may have some grumbles and upset players because the content is becoming dull. However, in the second example, you have irate players and a loss of player base. Firstly, because the content is broken. Secondly, because they cannot experience this new content anyway BECAUSE it is broken and therefore must go back to trudging through the same old content as before. In both examples, people are upset because new content is taking too long to come to fruition. However, in the first example, players know to expect that they will have to wait a little while longer, and I promise you, we can actually be patient, especially if it means the content will work correctly at release. But, if false promises continue to be made and subpar content continues to be delivered, your player base will get out of this game just like a bad marriage they've grown too impatient with.

In closing, I'd like to say that I love Star Wars in general, and I love this game. I also love Bioware as a whole and have greatly enjoyed many of the games you have released in the past. I do not however, enjoy the THOUSANDS of bugs that SWTOR has and will not continue to put up with it for much longer regardless of how I feel about the game and genre and I know that there are a GREAT number of players who agree with me. I do apologize for the short novel I have written here, but I feel it's only fair that you know how I and many others are beginning to feel. I hope that you take these suggestions to heart and determine a better way to deliver quality content to your players.

Best regards,


Fidelicatessen's Avatar

06.02.2014 , 10:34 PM | #5
You do realize that there is no Bioware anymore, other than a sign above an EA division?

EA, the company with the worst customer service on the internets.

Seriously, this is an awful bug. I expect EA to fix it within the next 2 years, as they are wooing casual gamers and really don't seem to care much about opsers or PvPers.

Shandellon's Avatar

06.03.2014 , 02:06 AM | #6
I watched first video and while there indeed is something buggy about, you yourself add a lot messiness to those phases, positioning them (or not keeping agro) so every second slams goes thru the raid anyway. Sure, there are bugs to complain about about but there is also a room for you to improve

As a sidenote, I never encountered this type of bug since ops went live, killing Draxxus every week, so bug is not 100% common
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Phyreblade's Avatar

06.03.2014 , 09:16 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Shandellon View Post
I watched first video and while there indeed is something buggy about, you yourself add a lot messiness to those phases, positioning them (or not keeping agro) so every second slams goes thru the raid anyway. Sure, there are bugs to complain about about but there is also a room for you to improve

As a sidenote, I never encountered this type of bug since ops went live, killing Draxxus every week, so bug is not 100% common
We have brought Draxxus down, actually. So it's not a question of incapability, here. Three hours we spent, reaching that part of the fight on multiple occasions -- nothing like standing literally behind the Guardian, seeing the purple cone in front of him and then falling over dead. We thought at one point we were dealing with an agro issue, perhaps on the second Guardian. But I died twice, far outside the visible reach of either Guardian. It simply didn't make sense.

There is ALWAYS room for improvement. But not when the game itself isn't working as it's supposed to, shrug.
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bolillo's Avatar

06.03.2014 , 09:51 AM | #8
Even though there may be some mechanics that need to be cleaned up that is no excuse for it working that way.

Furthermore, the op's are full of bugs and it is so frustrating. If it isn't right on SM / HM honestly how do you think NiM will go. Why would I even really want to try it.

Here is another example however I don't have video proof, but all the same I'm sure others will back me up on this. We were running a Dread Palace HM a few nights back and we were well into the fight. There were 3 DPS all standing about 3-4 meters apart from each other and the middle DPS, which was me of course, got the Dread pool mechanic and pretty sure the Corrupted Seed mechanic too but I'm not sure because the visual was never on the screen. Oh and I forgot to mention that it took the other 2 DPS out with me. I did finally realize that I had the pool, but by the time I realized it was too late. Only time I actually saw the mechanic was after I was dead.

The raid leader was very upset, but when the other 2 DPS both said that never showed up on our screens I felt a little bit better. But of course we wiped because we didn't have enough DPS to finish. Even last night I was in a pick up group DP SM and the raid leader announced don't stand in stuff even if you can't see it. Which I found very amusing.

I have already found myself playing less SWTOR these days. I want to run more HM operations, but I would only go in Guild. Because of the bugs I wouldn't dream of doing a HM DF or DP with a PUG. Tensions are high already when you wipe due to a bogus buggy mechanic it's just not worth it.

ScicleX's Avatar

06.03.2014 , 09:58 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Shandellon View Post
I watched first video and while there indeed is something buggy about, you yourself add a lot messiness to those phases, positioning them (or not keeping agro) so every second slams goes thru the raid anyway. Sure, there are bugs to complain about about but there is also a room for you to improve

As a sidenote, I never encountered this type of bug since ops went live, killing Draxxus every week, so bug is not 100% common
We have tried multiple strategies on the Guardians, in Wave 7 we rarely have a problem because we have 1 Tank on each of them and aggro is not an issue. On Wave 9 we have troubles with the Draxus Tank having a Guardian on them as he takes too much damage, and we also has trouble with the off tank grabbing both Guardians as it's tough to keep threat on them both even if just off of healer aggro. We decided for those attempts to have a Sentinel tank one of them to keep it still and control the Slams, which was working fine until the 1st Guardian went down and the off tank jumped over and taunted the 2nd Guardian which is where the bug occurred. We don't have the luxury of a DPS with a taunt for that phase so we have made due with what we have and have done fine in the past. While acclimating new people into the fight due to regulars not being able to make it from real life issues (we are a guild that believes real life comes first, we will fill in spots when we have to) would account for a handful of wipes in the early phases due to missed interrupts and poor positioning, but a handful of our wipes came from the Guardians slamming where they weren't supposed to. So while yes we like many other guilds have had our troubles in previous waves on Draxus, we all agree that a lot of our previous attempts would have been successful if not for the Guardian's Slams hitting the wrong position, which would in turn give us more Dread Master loot, and more time to work on other Bosses. So we feel like our progression has been greatly reduced from this single bug.

Wipe Log:
  1. Wave 8: Missed 2nd Interrupt on East South Corrupter due to Guardian Dot not noticed at the end of Wave 7
  2. Wave 5: Missed 3rd Interrupt on South West Corrupter due to Draxus' pull
  3. Wave 7: 2 Players were caught in a Slam (correctly indicated on the ground), then Aggro on the Guardian was lost and Thundering Blast hit the raid.
  4. Wave 5: Missed 2nd Interrupt on South East Corrupter
  5. Wave 6: Pushed phase 5 early and the confusion caused those on the Dismantlers to die
  6. Wave 2: Subteroths were killed too quickly and took out too many players
  7. Wave 7: Healer was in a bad position and died to Slam, which led to a DPS with low HP dieing to Ravage, which lead to not enough interrupts on Wave 8
  8. Wave 9: Healer was in a bad position and died to Slam, Tank lost aggro on Guardian and raid took Thundering Blast, which led to a Healer with low HP dieing to Ravage, then Guardian's Slam took out 3 DPS
  9. Wave 5: Missed 2nd Interrupt on South West Corrupter due to Draxus' pull
  10. Wave 8: 1st Interrupt was late on East South Corrupter and 3 people all Interrupted at the same time to compensate, causing the 2nd Interrupt was missed
  11. Wave 8: Missed 3rd Interrupt on East South Corrupter
  12. 2 Bugs @ 02:16:35 Here Wave 9: Slam Indicator clipped through the Middle West staircase and 5 DPS standing up top Middle West were killed by it, then the tank on the Guardians moved into a Slam and died, leading to a Healer being Ravaged and Thundering Blasted to death, the first Guardian died, the off tank was Battle Rez'd, the Main Tank had AoE Taunted the 2nd Guardian who then switched to a Healer for Ravage and was taunted by the off tank to face away from the Draxus Tank, then the Guardian cast Slam and placed the Purple Indicator toward the East Middle Staircase but Slam hit toward the Main Tank, killing him as well as 2 Healers, and 2 DPS that were standing behind the Guardian in the North Center of the arena and not in the purple Indicator, leaving the boss to kill the last Healer and finish off the rest of the raid.
  13. Wave 9: Alternating between Slam and Thundering Blast killing off everybody 1 at a time due to aggro loss on Off Tank's Guardian, then too much AoE damage to keep the Sentinel Tank on the 2nd Guardian alive, then the Off Tank died from taunting the 2nd Guardian while having the Boss at the same time.
  14. Wave 9: Main Tank on Draxus Taunted 2nd Guardian and got raid Slammed and Thundering Blasted. (Tycos)
  15. 3 Bugs @ 02:58:15 Here Wave 9: Strange aggro table on Draxus, was taunted twice by Main Tank, but he stayed facing Off Tank which got 2 DPS killed from cleave, 1st Guardian died, then 2nd Guardian was aggro'd on the Sentinel Tank facing the East Middle staircase and jumped to Ravage a gunslinger in the dead center of the arena, then casted Slam and put the Purple Indicator facing West where 2 DPS ran to the side of it, and I used High Tail It late and should have been caught by the slam (as indicated Here) before my roll took affect and placed me on the other side of the Guardian, where the slam actually hit, toward the Sentinel Tank that had original aggro was standing, killing the Off Tank and 3 DPS. Then the Guardian was aggro'd by a Gunslinger in the Center South and jumped to Ravage a Healer near the Middle East Staircase, then targetted the Gunslinger again just before being taunted by the Main Tank on Draxus in the Left of Center of the arena, who casted the Purple Slam Indicator facing North, and killed 3 DPS South near the original Gunslinger that had aggro, then the Guardian ravaged and killed the last DPS, and our 4 Healers and Main Tank on Draxus took the 2nd Guardian from 31% health down to 0%, then got Draxus to 21% before Enrage, and got him down to 18% before the Healers and Tank died.

So it did takes us quite a while to acclimate ourselves back into rhythm, we had taken close to a week away from Draxus due to a lot of regulars having to deal with real life issues and not having a full team able to face him, and for acclimating in a new DPS who hasn't seen the fight on NiM yet, and hasn't spent much time in-game over the past month other than an occasional HM DF/DP run once or twice per week. Even working with all that we would have had a solid kill 2 hours and 17 minutes into our 3 hour raid schedule, netting us 2 DM Head tokens and 2 random DT pieces, as well as being able to have a few more attempts on Grob'thok, or at the very least killing Draxus at the very end of the night and getting the gear, but no attempts on Grob'thok.
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Shandellon's Avatar

06.03.2014 , 12:02 PM | #10
If you find wave 9 difficult the way you do it now, or too taxing on tanks, you can try what we do. We have one tank on boss, one tank on guardian which every other dps but me is nuking, while I (gunslinger) position myself on stairs and dps other guardian. I keep him on me, with no taunts, until first guardian is dead. That usually takes 1 slam, 1 blast, he jumps and ravage, then jumps back on me and do second slam. After that first guardian is dead and a tank takes over

But as I say, I never encountered random threat lose on guardian, nor a misbehaving slam
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