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Top 10 Dev Priorities - Leveling Game Experience


BlueDestiny

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OK, Top 12 - The suggested list of priorities that should be addressed for the PvE leveling game primarily:

 

1 - Music for the game - is almost non-existent, with the occasional sudden blare of music to snap us out of the fog of grinding endless quests to do that and kill 15-50 bonus mobs. Upon that realization, I loaded up the CE TOR soudtrack CD and found it very simple, commercial, and uninspired - and threw it away after pulling into the driveway. There's a huge missed opportunity to create thematic music scores to set the tone of each world, for combat, exploration, and background. Thus far, I found the redundant grind to be much more bearable (see point #7, below) when I loaded up a good gaming soundtrack, Homeworld(s), and play it with TOR music turned off; the latter to avoid any infrequent conflict with Homeworld's quality music.

 

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2 - Grouping and group management - suffers greatly from a lack of Global Chat channel spanning worlds, and from the ability to be summoned to the group. Not going to elaborate more, we all know what I'm talking about, so no need for additional text. Glaring ommissions.

 

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3 - Travel - is too cumbersome. Need more porting options, less cooldowns, and better ways to get to the Ship. Additionally, as a galactic Hero, it makes no sense that I'm hearing "schlop schop" of footfalls all the way through level 14, and "buzz" through the rest of the game only at level 25 (essentially our soundtrack). There's no reason we can't get Sprint at 5, and speeders to begin our 2nd world (level 10). Hero's have a stunning starship all their own by 16, but don't even have a beater speeder until 25? They're hero's doing heroic work, but have to walk? That's not good gameplay, especially when coupled with #1, above, and #7, below.

 

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4 - Names and Legacies - are a miss with players and Sith canon; the latter needs its own naming convention. Jacen Solo = Darth Cadeus. Anakin Skywalker = Darth Vader. Those are two prominent examples of how it should be. That's 4 name elements for Sith. Given and Surname. Title and Sith Name. The name I start out with (and should have a Surname from the start of character generation), at the point of taking on a Sith name and title, should provide an option to change our name to accompany the title. I can continue (or not) to be Anakin Skywalker, or I can be Darth Vader, but should not be allowed to be Anakin Vader, or Darth Skywalker - both would be incorrect. Nor would Darth Anakin, the Skywalker Legacy. Really, Team Bioware. This is a big miss. Finally, as an aside, but just as important to non-Sith players and players alike, is that one avatar should be able to choose a different surname/legacy than another. My human Bounty Hunter from Tatooine should be allowed to be completely independent from my zabrak Inquisitor from Korriban.

 

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5 - Player Ships - are quite a miss. They're inconvenient to get to, needs some port ability, needs to speed up the time it takes to get to it and get back to the action, no more running to and through starports every time, and then through and from starports. In ANH (Ep 4), on Tatooine, the Falcon was parked right off the street through a door to a launch bay in the middle of town. It should be that accessible, or give us a port option. There may be a technical game performance issue, but solve it, that makes us have to launch when we just wanted to hop on our ship for a minute, and didn't need to go through a launch and land sequence adding to the inconveneint delays of gameplay. And oh, small thing (NOT) but why can't we name our ships (see next piece about story being 2-dimensional and lacking charm... our ships should have a name.)

 

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6 - Overall Story while full of potential, is very 2-dimensional thus far, falls flat. It's like watching Star Wars, with only Luke and the Imperials, and all the ensemble cast stripped out. In TOR, there's only the protagonist and and endless stream of NPC "strangers" who give repetative "do this and kill 15-50 bonus mobs" quests. If that were a book, it would read like the worst of the Conan the Barbarian novels. A story needs an ensemble cast. It needs the Leias, the Hans, the Chewies, to round out an ensemble cast to give it the depth and charm we're familiar with in Star Wars (or any good story). The ensemble cast gives us story progression for the main characters, journeying with the avatar. We could have that with our crew, our Companions, but they're so underutilized that even though the story sparks to life when they speak up, its so rare that its non-existent. We could all do with less dialogue with NPC strangers in an endless string of "do this and kill 15-50 bonus mobs". If balancing dev resources, have more generic quests given from mission terminals, and have more dialogue development resources applied to crew and crew progression, crew quests to bring some real story depth to the game.

 

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7 - Pace of leveling - is so slow, its often mind-numbing. Like any MMO, TOR starts off with the pendulum swung way over to the extreme, and later, MMO developers inevitably speed up the leveling. Well, TOR is no exception. From the mid-teens and on, its way too long. It's great to give us pairs of planet themeparks to tackle, but let us choose one or the other, and give us the equivalent XP as we currently get from doing both of the pair. Let us go back to planets at a time of our choosing to explore it's themepark content, and make instances level to the solo player or group leader. But let us move at a brisker pace through mind-numbing "do this and kill 15-50 bonus mobs" to get to endgame. I don't need that long to learn a new skill before moving on to the next one. Lotro did this exceptionally well, letting players choose to do North Downs or Trollshaws, or Endallin or Fornost... you had choices to areas you preferred to level, and they also sped up leveling even more later on... it worked fabulously. Let's speed it up quite a bit.

 

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8 - Datacrons - eliminate elements leading to falling, such as was done to the gap between pipes in Coruscant Works datacron. The gymnastics are almost exclusively dependent on graphics and game performance (tested extensively) rather than on player challenge or player skill. I've proven this 100's of times playing on laptops and PC's, from testing through Live, where an avatar will do a faultless run of gymnastics, and turn to do the same thing on a laptop on a different avatar and fail to jump up on boxes or the simplest of leaps 20 failures in a row... then load up the same avatar a minute later on a good PC, and do it all on the first attempt again. While it's great to have the exploration element, and even keep things just where they are - though move things so that there's no falling repeatedly due to things out of the player's control, ie. PC/game performance (as you did in the adjustment of the Works). Nice idea, but not working technically to be remotely equitable between players of different hardware.

 

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9 - Customization of gear - provide mechanisms for color choices in multiple elements of a piece, such as main body, hems, collar/cuff. Short and sweet, that's all that needs to be said. Love the crafting system foundations, great start.

 

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10 - Sith corruption in non-Force using classes - needs to go quickly. Grandfather it in if you must for existing players who choose it, but the Zombie-Smugglers, and Walking Dead Troopers are just lame. It makes no sense. I don't like it for my Smuggler at all, and want it removed pretty quickly for anyone interacting with him.

 

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11 - UI Developement - needs improvement. Scalable, repositionable, more hotkey bars that can actually hold the number of items needed, without going to left and right hotkey bars for combat during combat. The Companion bar needs to not take up 25% of existing hotkey capacity and be independent of other hotkeys, and needs at least one more hotkey bar.

 

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12 - Factions at Guild Level - a strategic error on Team Bioware's part. Bit tough to explain without a wall of text.

 

A player is a person, not a faction. It's already very difficult for a person to find a good guild fit by nature, and often is trial and error moving from guild to guild. It is patently unreasonable to expect grown up adults to invest so much time to find guild communities for their avatar and gameplay experiences, and search and sustain it all over again with different people, tools and rules for avatars of another faction. Vent, TS, Mumble, Xfire, guildlaunch, enjin... bounce, bounce, wth.

 

We're people first, not factions, and people want "a" (as in single) good guild community. Bioware created a game where they acknowledge 8 classes with 8 stories, and within those, the classes play differently by LS DS with different companion experiences and different AC's on those dimensions that will continue to evolve - all leading to players creating multiple avatars among multiple factions.

 

The consequences of the current approach are bifurcated attention and efforts spent to a non-valued added search and maintenance, tools and rules, and all kinds of challenges that don't add value to the game, to impact a player's game enjoyment and game experience. It's a collosal drain and bifurcation of effort, impacting both players and guilds. It's a confusing, confounding distraction away from good gaming.

 

I am being frank and honest by stating that I have done my typical move from guild to guild, trying to find a good fit, moved from one guild to another, one faction to another, finding the usual 95% of guilds who say, "we're a family, we don't like drama, and have good leadership", only to find the autocrats who decide for thier communities what the rules are, how things will be, for your own good. That aside, and to the point, every single one of those guilds were all struggling with the faction-bifurcation issue, because as you would expect, almost all of their players intended to have avatars of both factions - OF COURSE! Some guilds went from one extreme of "we won't maintain any aspect of the other faction, so you'll have to join another community for that," to the other of "we started a guild on another server for our other faction, and here's the rules we've set for you," or even "we have a guild on another server, we don't run it or support it, but its a place for you to hang out."

 

The point is, its a problem spinning the wheels of all guilds out there needlessly. The point is, the factions shouldn't be bifurcating the communities, attention, and effort of players and guilds at all. Nothing is gained by this bifurcation. In short (relatively), its a strategic error that guilds were made to choose one faction or another, when at the People level, when we do finally find a good fit, a guild should house all of our avatars regardless of faction, and let the players enjoy the game together. Frankly again, I don't even know why on a PvE server, we're split the way we are on worlds in game, where trade and dialogue are bifurcated in strange and inconsistent ways, where Balmorra is a different Balmorra instance entirely depending on whether you're playing Empire toons or Republic Toon at the time. I much prefer the past where I may be on the dunes of Tatooine as a Republic Smuggler, and see a Sith Warrior go by on a speeder. Why all the needless bifurcation? Its a cumbersome and needless quagmire, an error of design at the strategic level.

 

To close this issue, I take it back to the fundamental premise - A player is a person, not a faction. It's already very difficult for a person to find a good guild fit by nature, and often is trial and error moving from guild to guild. It is patently unreasonable to expect grown up adults to invest so much time to find guild communities for their avatar and gameplay experiences, and search and sustain it all over again with different people, tools and rules for avatars of another faction.

 

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Final note - thanks for the game thus far, and thanks for the recent announcements about improvements and response to feedback - particularly the forums, a step in the right direction, but still not enough segmentation to allow for threads to stay up long enough for players to consolidate threads versus starting new ones only to be buried in the large pile of individual threads. No doubt in the mean time this thread will be buried on page 50 within 30 minutes. While the above is high on my list as a repeat player, that doesn't take away from what we have thus far.

 

Great game, thank you, Team Bioware, and if there was something missing from the list that I'd personally value, its Lifetime Subscriptions. 4 players in my household with fees rolling in on a monthly basis is often unpalletable to rational people; especially when one of those players is casual, and another hyper-casual, ie. once per week.

Edited by BlueDestiny
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1. Disagree, the music in this game is far better than any other MMO I have played.

 

2. Somewhat agree. I wouldn't say its glaring, but it is an issue.

 

3. I agree, we need a port to ship button.

 

4. The Legacy system is a completely new concept for MMOs and I think it is awesome. As with all new things, it needs some work, but you can turn it off or make it a title for each character separately. For example, that SI you mentioned could use the last name, while the BH could simply have the legacy title, or choose not to show it at all.

 

5. I disagree with you that ships are a miss, but do agree with your suggestions for improvement. You are wrong about the Falcon though, it was in a space port, the movie just didn't show all the travel they had to do to get there.

 

6. COULDN'T DISAGREE MORE! I love the story and can't wait to finish all eight of them.

 

7. Completely disagree. While leveling I find myself largely ignoring my XP bar, it was always a pleasant surprise when I leveled, but I didn't really care cause I was having fun. I can assure you this was never the case in any other game I have played.

 

8. They are supposed to be difficult to get. Please don't cry for nerfs to content (even if its something like datacrons) just because you have a hard time with it. This is what broke WoW. BIOWARE PLEASE DO NOT NERF THINGS THAT ARE TOO HARD FOR PEOPLE! Players will just get worse that way and then the game goes into a downward spiral.

 

9. Agree. I wish they wouldn't have scrapped the "match gear to chest" option.

 

10. You do know you can turn it off in preferences right? Going to disagree here, give players the choice of how they want their characters.

 

11. They are adding some of this in 1.2, and hopefully will add more.

 

12. Not really sure what you are asking for here. You want a guild that has both factions? Kinda breaks immersion doesn't it? I am guessing this is your first MMO. Disagree on this point too.

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I appreciate your thoughts Ice, and you're welcome to them. I would ask that you consider more of the points made, I think you blasted past some without thorough consideration of the impacts and consequences (such as 1 and 12). I've been gaming for decades, and many MMO's under the belt, in contrast to some of your suggestions to the contrary.

 

Regarding Datacrons, while entitled to your opinion, I think you specifically missed the point. It's not too hard for some players. It's hard based on hardware and game performance. Maybe the same thing in your eyes, but there is a difference. Core gameplay shouldn't favor one big group of players due to hardware/gameplay performance, as is the case here if you read the point more fully and consider.

 

Now, you may say, "Bioware, don't change a neat feature just because players with lesser hardware can't do it, its not enough of a core gameplay issue that it requires balanced opportunity for all players!" Can't argue with that premise (though take a different position on it), but don't write it off as, "Don't nerf it because some players aren't good enough!", because player skills aren't the issue - as stated in the OP.

 

Also, regarding Stories, I love the stories, too, that wasn't the point of the OP, maybe take another look.

 

Thanks for the comments overall, all food for Team Bioware's consideration. Thanks, too, BK.

Edited by BlueDestiny
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Regarding Sith corruption, of course its not just being able to turn off my own, but others see my Smuggler with Sith corruption. That's now how I want my avatar to be seen. I put on gear to have an appearance in a social game. The appearance of her face from "striking" Smuggler to "zombie" Smuggler is not what I want, nor is it appropriate.

 

I see other non-Force avatars with Sith corruption that makes no sense. In a group with Troopers and Smugglers, and its The Walking Dead. You understand that, right?

 

The matter is, non-Force users would not have Dark Side corruption to their appearances from being naughty. You do understand, right?

 

:cool:

Edited by BlueDestiny
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  • 3 weeks later...
OK, Top 12 - The suggested list of priorities that should be addressed for the PvE leveling game primarily:

 

1 - Music for the game - is almost non-existent, with the occasional sudden blare of music to snap us out of the fog of grinding endless quests to do that and kill 15-50 bonus mobs. Upon that realization, I loaded up the CE TOR soudtrack CD and found it very simple, commercial, and uninspired - and threw it away after pulling into the driveway. There's a huge missed opportunity to create thematic music scores to set the tone of each world, for combat, exploration, and background. Thus far, I found the redundant grind to be much more bearable (see point #7, below) when I loaded up a good gaming soundtrack, Homeworld(s), and play it with TOR music turned off; the latter to avoid any infrequent conflict with Homeworld's quality music.

 

Totally agree, we need a music loop option or something. No music totally takes the "soul" of the game away. It doesn't even feel like star wars to me, it just feels like a generic mmo. You take other star wars games like Jedi knight: Jedi outcast or Star wars: Shadows of the empire. These games are filled with music and really give you an emotional connection to the game. Even look at movies, in general music elicits a huge emotional response, its the same with video games.

 

no musics are is ruin my immersion! :csw_jabbapet:

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Couldn't agree more about Sith Corruption.

You can start by saying that corruption of that caliber only appears on force users. If anything, BW should re-design the corruption for non-users. Maybe add scars and slight bruises, I don't know.

It is also wierd seeing zombie-like Jedi, but that is tolerable, I guess.

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Its a really nice post you made here. And some of the things you wrote are totally true. However the game has so many loose ends, bugs, glitches and faults that need fixing that I seriously doubt any of these 12 things will be addressed any time soon.

If you ask me the game is still in its Beta stadium if anything. It was probably rushed by EA to get it out before Christmas. They could have invested a nother 1/4 to 1/2 year in devoloping and testing it wouldn't have mattered much to the community.

But its all just about profit as we can see on the crappy CE.

 

As you so nicely mentioned the Soundtrack in the box is absolute garbage. And all the extra ingame stuff from the CE you can buy at level 50 after an honest day of questing/farming.

 

now to your points.

 

1. In-game music is actually quite good i must say. Not perfect but not too boring. Still I must say that previous MMOs had better Soundtracks

 

2. Yes that really is stupid. Im not wishing for a dungeon browser or group-finding tool, but a global LFG Channel would do wonders.

 

3. Yes it is quite tedious to have to run till your 25 or walk until level 14. Here must come an improvement.

 

4. The Idea of having Surnames sure was a good thing especially if you RP.

But changing stuff like this isn't quite as important as class balancing or even a simple search engine in the auction house.

 

5. The ships are great and I really like Space combat. But you are right on the traveling from and to the ship. It takes ages. A zone door would have sufficed. Or not being able to mount up in the Hangar but having to walk 100 yards is just ill designed.

As for ships names. Who cares. The only one who is going to see it is you so why bother.

 

6. I find the responses given by your avatar and the NPCs to be quite repetitive. Also there a like millions of NPCs standing around you cant click on them or interact with them. They are standing around "talking" but not actually saying stuff. They are put there to give the places a touch of life, but fail to do so because you cant interact with them.

 

7. Why is leveling so important to everyone? I know you cant compare this to WoW but ill do so at this point.

Leveling in Vanilla WoW was slow but great, you got to see all places as you had tovisit most of them to get to max level. Now you progress through one or two lands and have the level experience of what was once 5-6 territories.

Quicker leveling doesnt make the game essentially better. On a side note I think the leveling is even to fast.

When I was finished on the second world and moved on to the third. I could have easily skipped one lower level planet without seeing a single quest there. However I went back and did all the quests, soloing 4+ Hero dungeons. I found that awful as it was mandatory to progress in my Characters story.

 

As mentioned above making the game easier and fast paced is what broke WoW in the first place. You need some skill to play. If you don't have why should someone else suffer for your lack of skill or performance. My PC is running this game barely above minimum specs. I dont do Raids I dont do PvP my system is to laggy . Why should someone suffer because my System is crap?

 

8. Yes that is a huge problem. Not only for slow system. But also because at one point I got kicked of a ledge into a pool of water. I could not get out because the ledge was 10 ft above me and my fast-traveling stuff was all on CD. All I could do was log out and wait till the CDs where finished.

 

9. Now here is something that really blows. And in my opinion the biggest fault in the game. Not so much the look of Items, but the moddability.

The best Skill atm is Biochem because it beats everything else in Endgame content. All the Mods, Armor, Weapons and such that you can craft are crap compared to the drops in Instances. A Lightsaber out of a HC Instance comes complete with mods like Hilt and Crystal. And they are way better than the crafted stuff. Hell even Quest items are better than some of the crafted stuff.

Make wepon drops without anthing in them and some Epic schematics that are way better and all the crew skills will make sense.

 

10. Here you are right. But since all the classes are essentially the same from talent trees. Or at least simillar in gamplay, they should have implanted that if you are to evil on rebel side you change factions to the corresponding role. I.e an Evil Smuggler becomes a BH.

That would have been great.

 

11. UI is a joke. No scaling, keybindings dont save for all avatars some keybinds dont work at all (ctrl+a for instance). No macro writing especially mouseover healing macros. Rearrangemnet of companion skills. Companion bars.

GUI is to clustered on smaller monitors low-power PCs.

 

12. Wouldn't work in a two faction based MMO. I get your point but it would also destroy gameplay. Think about Guild PvP. One Guild fighting against themself, maybe even in the same BG? It would totally unbalance the whole system.

 

 

Like I mentioned above. This game is way from being fully developed. I've already canceled my subscription and wont be renewing it for at least 1/2 a year if they don't make some serious Changes a to Endgame Crew scills User Interface and Bugfixes, I am likely to never play this game again.

Edited by batmobil
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Some comments were directed towards end-game, while this thread was directed at leveling. I've not reached end-game yet, as I engage with family members, and have 8 avatars of various classes, at the highest levels 4 of which are in the level 30's. Even in testing, highest I ever got was level 40's.

 

So don't know what end-game looks like yet, and part of that is due to boredom with classes/avatars, the repetition of grinding, and "looking for a change." The leveling process is too long, too much grind. Yet, the irony is that while I get bored with avatars and want a change, it perpetuates being stuck in the leveling game experience...

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Don't see any updates to any of these issues mentioned in the dev posts or the Q&A's, with the exception of the coloring of armor, issue #9.

 

Some good things announced with the Q&A's that will be most welcome, and also some things I'd add to this list, but they're lesser priorities and problems, so this list still stands as the big fish.

 

Would hope to see some addressed by devs soon.

Edited by BlueDestiny
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Good idea to list off top concerns.

 

IMO music should not be a top concern.

 

I also feel leveling is actually too fast, not too slow.

 

Agreed that traveling has too much loading. From planetside, load to orbital station, load to ship, lightspeed, load to airlock, fleet, elevator. Finally on fleet.

 

BH Sith corruption is odd in that it exists.

 

UI is being worked on.

 

I dont feel the need for mult-faction guilds. I dont see the problem with creating a 2nd guild on the same server for your opposite faction alts. I was under the impression that most players stick to one faction.

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Couldn't agree more about Sith Corruption.

You can start by saying that corruption of that caliber only appears on force users. If anything, BW should re-design the corruption for non-users. Maybe add scars and slight bruises, I don't know.

It is also wierd seeing zombie-like Jedi, but that is tolerable, I guess.

 

I think they basically ruined the concept of dark side corruption, but only by accident. The problem is not just that it's force-users vs everyone else, but more that dark side corruption only occurs through a very specific mechanism. It's not just doing evil things or saying evil things. A Jedi can murder as many people as he wants and not change his physical appearance at all. What damages a Sith's body is using the dark side of the force. Using force lightning, force choke, and similar force powers are not evil because they're used by the Sith, but because the only way to cause that kind of effect with the Force is to focus an incredible amount of negative emotion into the attack. The same thing happens when channels one's anger to increase strength, and then attacks someone. That person might not even realize he is doing it. That's essentially what happened to Anakin in Ep3 toward the end. He was so angry that he was just feeding that emotion through the force making himself stronger. His body started to react, and in that small amount of time managed only to alter the way his eyes look. Also in Ep3, when Palpatine fought Windu, you'll notice his face changed dramatically after he unleashed a massive burst of Force lightning. Personally I think the effect was exaggerated on-screen, but it reasonably displays what happens when one accesses the dark side of the force.

 

It's true that only Force-sensitives can get dark side corruption, but it's also true that there is a huge disconnect between the way the classes and alignments are designed in the game and the way corruption actually works. In previous Star Wars games (I want to say Kotor, but I'm not positive), accruing negative alignment points opened up new ability options to use dark side powers. This still isn't quite accurate, but it's closer. The only way for BW to have gotten it "right" so to speak would have been to allow Jedi to use dark side force powers, and prevent light side Sith from doing the same. It could have been done in the form of changing power animation depending on alignment, but I think that would have been difficult. Considering the game they've created, the best fix would be to limit dark side corruption to force-user characters.

 

On a related note, I think the way they've designed the art for corruption isn't really faithful to the canon. The veiny thing is true for many of the expanded universe Sith lords, and the glowy eyes now appears to be the norm, but if we look at the Original Gankster, the Emperor, Darth Sidious--his use of the dark side just accelerated his aging and made him physically weak despite his strength in the Force. It didn't make him look like a zombie. I think that design decision was a big miss. It's definitely possible to make someone look evil without making them look undead.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's true that only Force-sensitives can get dark side corruption, but it's also true that there is a huge disconnect between the way the classes and alignments are designed in the game and the way corruption actually works. In previous Star Wars games (I want to say Kotor, but I'm not positive), accruing negative alignment points opened up new ability options to use dark side powers. This still isn't quite accurate, but it's closer.

 

Good observations all around, but emphasis on the portion quoted. Thanks for contributing.

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