Oct 26th 2010 4:17PM Of course! I love being a guinea pig ;)
I'm of the general opinion that the trend of announcing games and launching their online presence 3 or 4 years before launch is just an awful idea. SWTOR, Diablo 3, and 40K: Dark Millennium are all culprits. It's the ultimate catch 22 situation: You've got this amazing title that you want to share with the world and around which you want to build a community, but it's so early on in the development cycle that you can't actually release any information that isn't going to change drastically over the next couple of months/years. What's the answer?
There isn't one. Without the forums I'm confident sites like Darth Hater, MER, and TOROcast would not have had the same level of pre-launch success we've achieved. But at the same time, that early launch puts the developers under the finest level of scrutiny, and any misstep (lightsaber hilts, space combat, lack of game mechanics) is widely lambasted and demolishes both community and studio morale.
So what's Bioware to do? The best bet would be to strike a balance of keeping their head down and focusing on the quickly approaching deadlines, but also begin to trickle out more info on game mechanics. Starting slowly with crafting...probably early December...and then evolve into a deluge of info regarding PvP and end-game content. It's a pretty safe bet that there is going to be a large number of re-subs from Cataclysm that may or may not be looking for the next big thing come January/February, and TOR has the perfect opportunity to spark their interest.
Oct 26th 2010 3:34PM I swear that AdeptStrain conversation is going to follow me around forever!
Still though, as much hype as the community (thanks for stepping up and including yourself, Larry) generates, I think the vast majority of us have done a great job of balancing our anticipation for this game against some of the very hard truths that the EALouse debacle brought to the forefront. The biggest of these, pointed out by TOROCast's fodigg, is that as much as we want to be able to defend this game against the very vocal naysayers, we simply don't have the facts. What is PVP, crafting, raiding, etc., etc. going to look like? Outside of some general basics, none of us have any idea.
It's a frustrating situation on a number of fronts. Long-time followers of the development cycle are beginning to become jaded from the lack of these announcements. The fanboys are running out of breath from screaming "FOURTH PILLAR!!!". And anyone who is on the fence is losing faith that their needs, that WoW and similar games meet hand-over-fist, won't be addressed in the manner they're expecting.
I believe that deep down, everyone wants this game to succeed. It's Star Wars, it's Bioware, it's the legacy of KOTOR. The formula is in place. But just as the dev team stepped up to the plate in addressing early concerns (Pringle-can-sized lightsaber hilts!), they need to take a HARD look at the state of the community and retool the announcement schedule to keep people keenly interested by answering some of the questions that have been hanging around for over a year, especially with the launch of Cataclysm just around the corner.
Oct 5th 2010 3:27PM Until Bioware feels comfortable enough to start presenting official news about specific game mechanics and begins a more open and forward-facing testing strategy.
Anyone following this game, particularly right after con season, is doing their best to find interesting material to share with and engage the community. Until the release of The Force Unleashed 2 LucasArts, who for all intents and purposes controls a large portion of the marketing for SWTOR, will be focused almost exclusively on gaining buzz around the big console title. Once Novemeber rolls around, and with the recent announcement of Cataclysm's Dec. 7 launch date, you can bet there is going to be a strong stream of announcements from the team to keep the game fresh in everyone's mind.
In the meantime, editorial pieces like this one that explore some of the more meta aspects of the game are a great way to tide the community over.
Jun 28th 2010 4:47PM It's true, thus far the following behind the game has survived on a heavy dosage of hype. The marketing and community teams have done a truly remarkable job at opening the siphon just enough...just a drop at a time...to stretch the news out as far as possible. The game has one of the largest pre-launch forum and fansite communities in recent history, and that comes with its own set of faults, which show up even in the comments here.
The problem with having such a rabid community that demands innovation is that any release of game features or mechanics is never good enough out of the gate. Remember the huge lighstaber hilts from two years ago? Those are gone now. Why? Those first shots were simply to show off that, indeed, there are lightsabers in the game and as part of the development process, their look will be refined when the focus changes. Calls for diverse class options have been met with Advanced Classes, the Trinity system has indeed been modified, and housing and ships have been met with a player ship system. All of these have only recently been announced, and both will be further explained and added to as launch nears.
The point of columns like this and sites like DarthHater, TOROCast, and Mos Eisley Radio (thanks for the link-love, btw), is to make at least semi-educated guesses on what the little news that is released will mean 2-4 months from now, and at launch. They're a place for the fanboys to gather their collective thoughts and discuss in a place far, far away from the thousands of voices on the forums suddenly crying in terror that X feature isn't going to be implemented in Y manner.....and in the grand scheme of MMO design, it probably isn't that big of a deal because it's either A) going to change before launch B) going to be introduced in a patch or C) not going to matter at all because it's Star Wars, it's Bioware, and you're probably going to have a damn good time.
Mar 15th 2010 1:22AM The Dev Dispatch 5 on designing the Dark Side has some footage of the game actually being played (PvP content, at that). It gives a clear shot of how you interact with the interface. There doesn't appear to be any "lag" at all. Watch it here... http://www.swtor.com/media/trailers/developer-dispatch-5
Also, it was stated (cannot remember where for the life of me) that each ability has its own set of animations. For example, a single saber strike ability might consist of four attacks on screen. If the damage from the third attack is enough to kill the opponent, the animation will stop (in a way that makes sense) instead of continuing. This prevents the age old WoW problem of starting an attack and looking ridiculous when your opponent has died and you're still carrying it out.
Feb 12th 2009 5:08PM This could pretty pretty cool to throw social networks on while getting some real work done.
Jan 19th 2009 7:02PM My apartment really could use some swagging up!!
Nov 6th 2008 5:02PM A great addition to my collection and one step closer to the Albino Drake!
Aug 24th 2008 3:42AM I'll be keeping 100% of it so Veronica doesn't have to