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Star Wars: The Old Republic explains how the developers listen to community feedback

Feedback is important for every MMO, and that includes Star Wars: The Old Republic. But where does feedback come from? If the developers never ask you about your opinion specifically, how will they actually collect your feedback? Community manager Eric Musco chimed in on the forums explaining where the development team looks for feedback and how his job involves filtering and synthesizing that feedback from multiple sources, all of which serves different purposes and offers different inputs.

The official forums and Reddit, for example, offer the feedback of particular narrows slices of the game with a big time investment; Twitter, meanwhile, has much more breadth of feedback but less depth on individual issues. There are also focus groups and specific influential players courted by the development team just for feedback and information. Check out the full rundown if you’re curious about how the melange of feedback gets passed along to developers; this isn’t necessarily how every game does it, but it is how it happens for SWTOR.

Source: Official Site via Dulfy

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Hyperspace Beacon: A three-step guide to conquering SWTOR’s Nightlife event

Last week, Star Wars: The Old Republic brought back the Nightlife event on Nar Shaddaa. In a nutshell, it’s a gambling event. After all, Nar Shaddaa is an underworld haven, and if mob movies have taught us anything, it’s gambling and casinos go hand-in-hand with the underworld.

The sad thing is that I kind of like this event. It’s not because of the activity of the event; that part is the most boring thing to watch because you’re literally just clicking on terminals. And it can’t be because of the cost; a player can literally go through millions of credits in just a few hours.

It’s because of the prizes. They really are some of the coolest things that you can get without having to touch the cash shop in any way.

I was watching Sechari from the Passionately Casual Podcast hang out with his Twitch chatroom as he was playing through the Nightlife event when I realized that it’s possible that not many people know how to maximize their credits for this event. I’m going to give you the same advice I gave Sechari, in three easy steps.

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Perfect Ten: MMO grouping advice you shouldn’t bother giving

It’s time for a new expansion in Final Fantasy XIV, and that means for me that a lot of people are going to not know how to get through content. Heck, I don’t know how to get through all of the content; it’s new to me too. I’m still figuring it out, and while there are a few people who are progressing even faster than I am and know how to clear everything, they are in the decided minority. I mean, the expansion, counting early access, has only been out for five freaking days.

So that means I get to enjoy the old standby of offering advice when clearing group content. And some people are… let’s be polite and say that they’re better at it than others. An entire guide about how to give advice which will actually have a positive impact is a bit beyond the scope of this article, of course, but we can at least look at the advice that never, ever works. Or if it does, it is entirely by coincidence, not design.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the ideal group size for an MMORPG?

During this week’s Massively OP podcast (live this afternoon!), Justin and I tackled a detailed question about MMO group makeup, the trinity, and combat, and we took the opportunity to tangent a bit into praising City of Heroes, which not only managed to smash the trinity but did so in a way that increased the number of combat roles in a group over the standard, provided flexible difficulty modes at a time when that was unheard of, and scaled content to group size, meaning that you didn’t really need to take a full group of eight into most of the instanced content. You took what you had and that was enough. It was brilliant.

And while I’m not much of a fan of huge, methodical raids anymore, that’s more because I dislike them as the Only Thing To Do At Endgame. I do love massive group sizes, however, which is why I lamented the loss of the 20-man group in Star Wars Galaxies and adore the casual swarms of Guild Wars 2. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the formal group size is four or five or six; my guildies always seem to be one body short of what we need, and I constantly find myself wishing for City of Heroes’ ruleset.

What do you think is the ideal group size in an MMORPG? And do you base that on social balance or typical class configurations or something else entirely?

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E3 2017: Former SWTOR writer Drew Karpyshyn is working on Anthem

It’s still very early to get excited about BioWare’s upcoming co-op shooter Anthem, but the game is bringing in veteran talent for development. Drew Karpyshyn has confirmed that he’s working on the title as a writer, although he’s been quiet about his degree of involvement and any actual details of the writing.

Which… seems pretty obvious, considering the title is still early in the reveal process. Obviously.

Karpyshyn is best known as the lead writer on Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, but he has a lengthy history with Star Wars: The Old Republic as well; he penned two novels for the game, wrote much of Knights of the Eternal Throne, and had major input on the Jedi Knight class story. Of course, we currently know next to nothing about Anthem’s story, but we do know it’s being shaped by experienced hands.

Source: PC Gamer, VG24/7

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Battle Bards Episode 100: Centennial spectacular!

After four years and over 700 MMORPG music tracks, the Battle Bards have arrived at their 100th show! For this centennial spectacular, Syl, Steff, and Syp reminisce about the most notable shows, their best soundtrack discoveries, and their favorite tracks. This super-sized show gets wrapped up with a bout of listener emails and a promise of another amazing hundred episodes!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 100: Centennial spectacular (or download it) now:

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The Stream Team: Resistance is not futile In SWTOR

Last time in SWTOR’s Choose My Alignment adventures, the audience made a big decision that will influence the story going forward. What choices will it have to make today as Massively OP’s Larry and MJ continue building up the resistance? It all starts off with a nice little chat with Lana Beniko (good thing MJ on her good side, eh?). Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to continue deciding the fate of the Chiss Agent as KOTFE’s Chapter IX continues in…

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

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Summer of SWTOR kicks off with the return of the Nar Shaddaa nightlife event

The so-called “Summer of SWTOR” is officially underway now that BioWare has pushed out Game Update 5.2.2.

It’s not the biggest patch in the world, but it does reactivate the popular Nar Shaddaa nightlife event. Player gamblers are invited to descend upon the neon-tinted planet for some lighthearted gambling for some new rewards, such as the Gamorrean Guard companion. The event will keep the good times rolling through August.

The patch includes a few new legacy perks, such as higher tiers of speeder piloting and a command XP booster (yes, CXP is still a thing). You also can use crew missions to increase a companion’s influence, customize Shae Vizla and Theron Shan, and craft tier 4 gear. That should keep you busy for at least an hour or so!

Source: Patch notes

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E3 2017: Hands-on with Star Wars Battlefront 2

Electronic Arts’ pre-E3 event, EA Play, this past weekend afforded us not only the chance to scope out the details of what’s new with Star Wars: Battlefront 2 but the opportunity to play a demo of it. No, it’s not an MMORPG; it’s decidedly a multiplayer shooter, and this sequel is looking promising in key ways.

We covered the original Star Wars: Battlefrontand I’ve played it before for gaming outlets, but I was one of the people who did so and then closed their wallets. Despite the fact that the game was fun, many saw it primarily as an incomplete, multiplayer game. I bought and greatly enjoyed Titanfall, a similar game that emphasized multiplayer action, but that at least had a bit of a narrative and some really unique game design features. It also didn’t charge essentially twice the price of a regular game for DLC maps that split the game’s community. SW:BF1 was pretty and had a little immersion going for it when it stuck to locations in the original trilogy, but it didn’t feel worth the price of a finished AAA game, let alone two. It was Battlefield developer DICE doing Star Wars multiplayer lite.

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The Daily Grind: Have you picked up any bad habits from MMORPGs?

Star Wars Galaxies came close to wrecking my typing skills. Because semicolons functioned as linebreaks in macros and in chat in SWG, I got in the habit of not using them, replacing them with commas. This is a terrible habit to pick up for a writer, as those of you up on your grammar skills know that commas and semicolons do not serve the same function in a sentence. Using commas where semicolons go creates run-ons of doom.

Fortunately, I’ve managed to restrict this bad habit to casual chat and keep it away from my formal writing — like here! — so it only looks ugly when I’m “off the record” in texts or Slack or whatnot. But it’s still a bad habit I picked up for logical reasons in an MMO, and one I wish I could abandon.

Admittedly, this is not the world’s worst habit to have. Can you top me? Have you picked up any bad habits from MMORPGs?

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The Daily Grind: Do we deserve better damage models in MMOs?

For all of the changes, iterations, and evolutions that MMORPGs have undergone over the years, it still feels like we’re back in the 1990s when it comes to combat visuals. Other than mobs jerking or falling down when you hit them and the occasional game that throws in a puff of red blood, there’s little to show for our efforts until that seemingly fit and healthy mob abruptly falls down, dead.

I’m not a bloodthirsty gorehound by any means, but sometimes I wouldn’t mind if MMOs would go a little further in developing damage models for their mobs. It feels kind of ridiculous that I can be swinging away with my lightsaber in SWTOR and never even dent that droid that I just hit six times in a row. I sometimes prefer bow-users, just because some MMOs keep the arrows persistent when you hit a foe with them.

Do you want better damage models in MMOs? Would you like to see more happening in combat as you attack and perform spells?

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Massively Overthinking: MMO monetization run amok

Over the last couple of weeks, the monetization of unreleased games has become a pervasive and uncomfortable theme for the MMO genre. Just in brief:

The frustrating bit is I could go on, and this is just for games that aren’t even formally launched yet. So for this week’s Massively Overthinking, I want to take the temperature of alarm regarding these types of business models for unlaunched games. Is this all par for the course, in line with what we expect from the new MMO market? Have they gone too far yet? If not, what’s too far? How do we feel about this type of pre-launch monetization run amok?

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SWTOR lists class specs slated for Update 5.3 love

BioWare has informed players that some of Star Wars: The Old Republic’s advanced classes and disciplines will be getting some changes and love with this summer’s Update 5.3. While the studio listed which builds are being targeted yesterday, it hasn’t yet posted all of the specifics of what these changes will be.

The list of classes and disciplines to be affected goes as such: Sorcerers (madness and corruption), Sage (balance and seer), Powertech (pyrotech), Vanguard (plasmatech), Assassin (hatred), Shadow (serenity), Sniper (virulence and engineering), Gunslinger (dirty fighting and saboteur), Mercenary (innovative ordnance and arsenal), and Commando (assault specialist and gunnery).

“Between data and player feedback, these are the disciplines that appear to be most in need of change,” BioWare said. “Whether that is that they are too good, or not good enough, these disciplines need attention first. If a class or discipline is missing from this list it doesn’t mean they won’t be receiving changes at all, it is just that they are not receiving changes in the near future.”

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