Global Chat: Exuberant over SWTOR’s combat styles

    
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The recent announcement of this fall’s Legacy of the Sith expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic has (as expansion announcements tend to do) reinvigorated the game with a lot of interest. One talking point that seems to be on many gamers’ lips is that of the new “combat styles” that allow players to mix-and-match class skills with class storylines.

Galactic Antics took some time to chew over the possibilities: “While thinking about this new system, part of my mind also turned – as it often does – to how I would have used styles had they been an inherent part of the game at the start, even if only just for class-specific advanced classes. With hindsight, I can say that I would have more than appreciated it, but I am simultaneously pleased that it is only becoming a thing ten years down the line.”

Contains Moderate Peril: Defining immersion in video games

“For me, immersion in video games is something I find when I am on my own and free from interruptions. I can spend as much time as I like following the narrative, or reading the various lore books I find. It’s about stopping to take in a view and reflecting upon its beauty. It’s about watching the hustle and bustle of both NPCs and players in major cities. Immersion is the sense of satisfaction, achievement and joy I feel after beating a boss, completing a major quest arc or simply travelling round a virtual world.”

Priest with a Cause: Casual 9.1 impressions

“Nonetheless we felt kind of exhausted and like we hadn’t actually achieved very much by the end of the quest chain. I find it hard to say why… I do find the current story interesting but… I guess not that emotionally engaging?”

The Ancient Gaming Noob: The burden of returning to Middle-earth

“On the one hand, this is an long time veteran problem.  No new player is going to have to juggle this much stuff on entering the game.  On the other hand, I am going to guess that this is why other games I could mention…  a couple of Norrath MMOs come to mind… have a redemption interface that lets you go and claim things when you need them.”

GamingSF: Different approaches to using an IP and Magic the Gathering

“It is of course understandable that the original ambitious plans of launching the game as a MMO(A)RPG was ambitious in the current climate: we’re not seeing many ‘AAA’ MMORPGs launching nowadays. Nevertheless the Magic IP has a lot of reach beyond the usual MMO audience, if the game had been good it could maybe have attracted a substantial audience.”

Starshadow: LOTRO’s Treebeard legendary server

“It’s been really fun with the low level areas being very busy. Although this does have the downside of crafting nodes being swiped and occasionally having to wait for everything to respawn if you get to the area at just the wrong time. Lots of ad-hoc grouping though, which is really fun.”

Occasional Hero: Dear MMO devs, please stop nerfing complex classes

“I’m all for good balance, but good balance doesn’t mean that every class needs to do the same amount of DPS. If it did, you could effectively put different graphics on the same set of abilities for every class and call it a day. Some classes should put out less damage because they provide other utility, and some classes should reward complex play with more damage output.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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Shane Mitchell

Until they see how many skills are being ‘pruned’.
I’m really not keen on that idea…

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Minimalistway

First link is not working, this is the direct link to the post:
https://galacticantics.blogspot.com/2021/07/reflecting-on-combat-styles.html

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NeoWolf

It just seems like a workable IF somewhat messy way of dealing with the original design oversight of linking classes and weapon choice together so that people can use whichever weapon they want.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

The skills are not mix-and-match. Now you can play any Force or Tech story as any corresponding AC. Essentially you can play the Trooper story as a Sniper and the Consular story as Juggernaut (if you have enough DS points).

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Bruno Brito

How does that solve the issue of for instance, you playing a BH with Trooper skills? Will you use BH weapons like the pistol?

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NeoWolf

That I really do not like, giving access to the abilities in order to use a different weapon is one thing, but changing stories too.. no I don’t like that. The class stories are the one thing I love about that game.

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Bruno Brito

No no, i don’t think they’ll change the stories. You’ll be able to play through all of them i think? But they themselves don’t change, at least from what i recall.

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Witches

They would need to have different class stories to change them.

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Sykes

Class stories aren’t going away. Here’s an example:

I want to play all the class stories but I hate playing melee classes, and the Sith Warrior only offers melee in its advanced classes right now. With the new update, I can roll a new Sith warrior, but select from any of the 6 advanced classes previously available to the Sith Warrior OR the Sith Inquisitor, even though the story I play through is still the Sith Warrior. This could leave me playing a healer advanced class Sith Sage while experiencing the Sith Warrior storyline.

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Bruno Brito

My problem comes to how classes interact. For instance, Force classes? Ok. They use lightsabers. But what about Tech classes? How would a Pyrotech Trooper work? Is he using a rifle? A cannon? Pistol? I really want them to move away from forcing weapons outside specific specs that rely on them like Operative, Mercenary and Commando.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

My limited understanding is that you just pick from either the Tech or Force classes. So you play the Smuggler storyline, but you’re using one of the Bounty Hunter advance classes? So you play exactly like a Bounty Hunter, except that you’re a Republic character. Dual pistols, rocket launchers, full Bobba Fett package, but you have to listen to Corso Riggs during cutscenes.

IE, my (probably wrong) understanding is that you still can’t mix and match weapons. If you want Trooper powers, you use a rifle/minigun. If you want dual pistols, you have to use one of the the Bounty Hunter advanced classes.

I’m almost certain they won’t let people mix and match, because they pruned the heck out of the skill trees once already to *prevent* people from making hybrid builds. A Sorceror that combines skills from the Madness and Lightning trees? Unacceptable! A Trooper that is DPS but can switch to “second string healer” in an emergency? UNACCEPTABLE!

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Sykes

I haven’t tried the PTS yet and don’t know for certain, but would guess that changing weapons within advanced specs is unlikely due to the animations involved. A ‘shoot green healing gunk out of a hand cannon’ animation for a trooper heal would need a new animation for pistols/rifles/sniper rifles/double pistols. That’s 4 new animations for every tech ability that uses a weapon within every advanced class. I have no clue how much work that would be, as animations already exist for all the weapons, just not for the right abilities. And the majority of abilities don’t actually use the primary weapon.

I don’t think it is likely, but I also don’t think it is impossible. If we said that there are 10 primary weapon animations per advanced class, then that would be 12 tech advanced classes times 10 weapon animations per class times 4 new weapons that aren’t already animated for that ability, or 480 new animations needed to allow all tech players to use all tech weapons across all classes. If we guess that this launches in 150 days in early December, then the animation team would need to average about 4.5 animations per workday to finish on time.

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Sykes

Going further: If we assume that a single animator can complete all the animations for the new weapons for all tech class abilities in a 6-month period without accounting for 2D graphic design work for new icons or programming work to make each existing item available to slot for all tech classes, I would make a completely uneducated guess this would cost Bioware at least half of a senior animator’s annual salary + benefits costs. Glassdoor says a senior animator at Bioware makes around $90,000, so this will cost around $50,000 after benefits.

Financially, is it worth it? We would need 10,000 tech-class players to purchase a $5 “tech classes weapons unlock” cosmetic option to fund it directly, or 3,334 additional 1-month subscriptions we would not have gotten otherwise to break even and cover the cost. Anything additional would be profit.

Time-investment wise, is it worth it? We would be pulling a senior animator for a half-year, potentially losing cinematic work. Players who purchase the unlock and only use it to change weapons on one character to a single preferred weapon would only ever experience (1/12 advanced class animations)*(1/4 new weapons) = 1/48 of the animations they purchased.

Still….If I was Bioware, I’d bite. Everyone would see others using the animations even if not used themselves, and it’s work that is likely able to done from home without the need for the close collaboration I imagine is necessary for cinematic work. I don’t think 10,000 sales is out of reach if the cartel market option is used, and they’ve had some success with other cosmetic options marketing as specials for subscribers at launch (Nautalin – a job that may have needed a similar amount of animations – was free for anyone that subbed for the launch month, and purchasable afterwards. A hybrid model like that might recoup animation costs more easily and seems historically viable).