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Ask John Smedley About Star Wars Galaxies 383

Late last week, Sony Online Entertainment announced a fundamental revamp in the way that the Star Wars Galaxies MMORPG will be played. The Everquest-like autoattacking gameplay and multitudes of player classes are being removed. This marks the most dramatic change ever made to a MMOG already live, and Sony Online President John Smedley is willing to take questions from the Slashdot community about the changes. One question per comment, and we'll send the ten best questions on to Mr. Smedley. We'll post his answers as soon as they're returned. More details are available below, as are some preliminary responses from Mr. Smedley about the broad picture they're aiming for.
For some background, Gamespy has a look at what the changes will be. Players are already checking out the new content on the test servers. f13 has an entire feature on the new systems. SWG Game Designer Jeff Freeman fills us in on the decision-making process used to decide to make the changes. As a note, Mr. Smedley and the folks at SOE are well aware of the sometimes critical nature of our discussions here, and they specifically want the chance to answer any concerns we might have about the new systems. Feel free to be as harsh or as hopeful as you are inclined to be: Mr. Smedley has promised to answer the questions come what may.

John Smedley: I was going to send you a Word doc, then remembered this was going to /. Including the text here.

Q: In your own words, would you like to lay out exactly what the scope of this overhaul will involve?

John Smedley:
There are two primary elements at the heart of this redesign: the re-focusing of Star Wars Galaxies's profession system and the introduction of what we're calling "Fast-Action Combat."

We are taking the 30+ professions and focusing them down to 9 "Iconic Professions." After the changes go live, when a player goes to start a new character in the game, they will see 9 boxes in the profession field. Those boxes will read Bounty Hunter, Commando, Entertainer, Jedi, Medic, Officer, Smuggler, Spy and Trader. Each descriptor will also have an image of an iconic Star Wars character, such as Han with Smuggler, Boba Fett with Bounty Hunter, Luke with Jedi, etc. These Iconic Professions will make it much easier for players to understand which type of character they're going to play and the type of activities and actions they should expect to find with their new profession.

Existing SWG players will be given a special item after the transition. This item will allow them to re-specialize ("re-spec") their character up to nine times. This will allow vets to try out each of the new Iconic Professions to determine which type they want to play.

The second major portion is the implementation of "Fast Action Combat." We're going to strip out the current SWG "select target, start macros, wait for combat to end" gameplay and replace it with a much more engrossing, entertaining control scheme. "Fast Action combat" controls will be similar to action games that our playerbase is intimately familiar with (Diablo certainly comes to mind, as well as our own Untold Legends game for the PSP). Now, every time a player clicks on their mouse button, they will fire their blaster, swing their lightsaber, shoot lightning bolts from their fingertips, etc. The pacing of combat has come way, way up, making the game faster and much more fun.

Fast Action really goes a long way towards making you feel like you're living the Star Wars experience, which is the primary goal behind all the enhancements we've been making to the game over the last few months. Instead of a passive, wait-and-see style of combat, you're now going to be much more involved with the action happening on-screen, which is even reflected in the music that you'll hear while fighting. Additionally, we've boosted the rate player's health regenerates, putting them back into the thick of things right away.

Q: Was there a single game element, piece of feedback, or event that prompted this re-envisioning? This is a very dramatic decision, and the reasons behind the changes seem almost as important as the changes themselves. What prompted you to give this plan the go-ahead?

John Smedley:
There are millions of Star Wars fans out there. SWG should be the game those players have always hoped for, a game that finally allows them to live inside the worlds and settings they know so well from the movies, the books, the comics.

Our main goal with SWG for the last nine months has been to make the game more "Star Wars-y," for lack of a better term. Our two latest expansions, Rage of the Wookiees and the new Trials of Obi-Wan have delivered players the kind of directed, hand-crafted content that they would find in our other titles, as opposed to just having open-ended "sandbox" style of gameplay.

The redesign comes about after hearing desires from our own players on forums and in person at the SWG Fan Fests, multiple focus groups, and our own design team's desire to create something much more grand and sweeping with the game. We have big plans for SWG in the months and years ahead, and we needed this new platform to use as a foundation for creating the vast Galactic Civil War that our players want.

Q: The immediacy of real-time combat certainly seems more 'Star Warsy' than the current system. What is being done to specifically ensure that combat recaptures the energy of the battles we see in the movies? How is this overhaul going to affect the space experience, if at all?

John Smedley:
Simple: by engaging the player, instead of having them watch combat from a distance. Fast Action is just what it sounds like. Players will find themselves jumping in and really applying themselves, interacting with the game like never before. Everything has been sped up in combat, including attacking, reloading, using special abilities, items and powers, even the speed with which health is regenerated. This allows players to fight with large numbers of enemies without having to take constant time outs to regen. This isn't like any other MMO out there.

The space elements of the game are going to remain as they are, since this action philosophy was already part of that experience. With this redesign, we're attempting to make the ground portion of the game as exciting and adrenaline-pumping as the space portion.

Q: For all of the Star Wars Galaxies players who already have time invested into characters, what plans do you have to transfer their existing characters to the new system?

John Smedley:
When the redesign comes to the live game, there will be rewards for our veteran players (they should be announced later in the week). As I mentioned before, all vets will receive an item that allows them to respect their character up to nine times, allowing them to dive into the new Iconic Professions and try them all out. Current Jedis will receive two enhanced items, a special robe and a lightsaber.

Additionally, anything non-combat related attached to the player's character will remain unaffected after the transition, including vehicles, property, collectibles, etc...

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask John Smedley About Star Wars Galaxies

Comments Filter:
  • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <shadow.wrought@g ... com minus author> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:26PM (#13999748) Homepage Journal
    Be able to use the Force to remove your Parent Companies rootkit, or will the Darkside of the Force remain to strong to overcome?
  • by Yerase ( 636636 ) <> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:32PM (#13999814) Homepage
    You've recently announced that you plan to give Jump To Lightspeed to previous subscribers who had not purchased it for Free, since it is required for the new intro Tutorial. This is similar to the decision to release the "Total Experience" pack for $30 that included the original game, JTL, and the second expansion "Rage of the Wookies", with an additional item (The Barc Speeder).

    Do you feel you have any obligation to reimburse the veteran players who payed the premium prices ($30) for each of these expansions when they were first announced (many times before they were even released)? Either monetarily or through in-game items?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is a really stupid question. Did you play JTL during the year and a half it's been out? You got more than your $30 worth through play.

      Should JTL purchasers have been reimbursed when anyone who bought The Total Experience got both the base game, JTL and Rage of the Wookies for less than the original game cost at release? Of course not, they'd been playing with JTL for over a year.
    • People are real happy about the 25 hour download over dialup.

  • OS X client? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <`jhummel' `at' `'> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:32PM (#13999817) Homepage
    I realize that this is a long shot, but with the rise of Mac sales and the upcoming change of Macs from PPC to X86, is there a chance if an OS X client? One of the reasons I believe that Blizzards WoW has done so well is because it allows both major desktop OS's to play together, rather than trying to partition on group on a separate server (or predenting they don't even exist, with all of those dollars itching to be spent).

    And please - no wishy washy "Sony is committed to evaluating blah, blah, blah" - if there's no intention, just say so, please.

    Thanks for your time.
    • Re:OS X client? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Golias ( 176380 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:57PM (#14000120)
      Also, if you are going to make it Available to OS X, will Apple owners be forced to play in a segregated "Mac Ghetto", as they were in the Macintosh port of EverQuest, or will you do it right this time, and let PC and Mac owners game together on the same servers?
  • combat update #2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jt418-93 ( 450715 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:32PM (#13999824)
    swg is rotating at increased velocity around the water disposal oriface...
    my question for smed-head:

    why are existing players being shortchanged in the Next Great Experiment? no level based rewards unless you regrind your template. swg has always been one of the grind = content games. why is this hated model being pushed again.

    and do you think it is acceptable that jedi are only viable if they discard the saber and use a ranged weapon? is master jedi rifleman your vision? because that's what will happen..
    • Re:combat update #2 (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zzzilla ( 930126 )
      do you think left mouse clickclickclickclickclickclickclick is what the players wanted? and the fastest clicker wins? where did you get this info from???
  • by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:33PM (#13999840)
    ...and start over completely with Star Wars Galaxies 2?
    • Would anyone on slashdot even consider giving them a cent? This is the company that installs a root kit when you play a CD.

      ...The company that is leading blue-ray, the DVD format that allows Sony to remotely update the firmware, has a kill switch, must phone home to get permission to play a disc, and won't let you play a disc at a friend's house.
      • They used to be just about the only game in town, when it came to MMORPGS. They've got Everquest, Everquest II, Planetside, and SWG.

        That being said, the only one of those games I played for any length of time was Planetside. That was a game killed by the fact that most of the players were hordes of 14 year olds...Imagine an epic battle with 100 people on each side, tanks, artillery, planes, all kinds of vehicles, weapons, the works.

        Then imagine 90% of those people are idiot 14 year olds.


        I stopped p
        • The only MMO's I've played are WoW and City of Villains. WoW has that 90% kiddies problem, it's the biggest flaw in the game. CoV didn't do much for me, It's only been out for 10 days and I'm back to WoW.

          I didn't know Sony had a policy of deleting your characters. That's absolute stupidity IMO. It's just one more reason you'd have to be an idiot to give a cent to sony.

          It's kind of funny. I used to think Sony was one of the best electronics makers around, most of my electronics came from them, but
          • It was sooo much worse in Planetside. There, it was REALLY important for people to follow the plan, and not Zerg in like retards. I remember an attack where we had three transports flying in, protected by 12 fighters, and as soon as we got sort near the combat zone, all the fighters bugged out, and we lost two of the transports to a mere three fighters. WTF?

            That kinda crap happened all the time. Pulling an assault down a hallway, and you pull out your grenade launcher to toss a few grenades around the corne
        • I stopped playing it after a while...I had a lvl 20/4 character, which was pretty high, but I've always had the "Only pay for one online game at a time" philosophy, so I cancelled the subscription. Got to wanting to play it again four months later, hoping the weenies had moved on to other things, and found that (of course) my character had been deleted. That was pretty much it for me.

          Sony has always had that policy. If your card lapses for an instant, your character is gone. City of Heroes still gets a m
    • ...because then it'd only get 40K subscribers and flop.

      ( EQ2, I'm lookin' at you... )
  • by puppetman ( 131489 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:37PM (#13999893) Homepage
    include a Rootkit?
    • You beat me to it, but I was also going to ask if the Sony Music rootkit would allow me to run game cheats.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KingVance ( 815011 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:39PM (#13999914)
    Are you implementing all these changes because WoW is kicking your asses in terms of marketshare?

    After reading TFA, it seems like you are basically implementing all of the rules that makes WoW a much better game, and slapping a Star Wars wrapper around it all.

    Also, didnt your focus groups tell you that all of these features is what people wanted before now? Or has peoples perceptions of online gaming changed since your release?

    • Well, Duh.

      Their initial plan was "Take EQ and slap a SW wrapper around it".

      When that didn't work and WoW kicked their arses, they decided to change course: "Take WoW and slap a SQ wrapper around it".
  • It ... is ... a .... game ... folks.

    Like OMG and ROFL and such, like no way they're changing the game!!!

    You're all acting like he's invented a new diet cola or something of importance.

  • by Spazntwich ( 208070 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:40PM (#13999931)
    Do you ever feel bad about making your millions playing off the social ineptitude of people worldwide?

    Surely on occasion you feel a twinge of guilt that you're nothing more than am electronic drug peddler, giving anyone who is willing to pony up the cash their month's worth of e-dope after you get them hooked with a free sample.

    I guess what I'm really asking is how do you live with yourself knowing you're primarily responsible for continuing the habits of poor lonely nerds who cry themselves to sleep at night clutching a picture of Princess Leia and moaning like a wookie?
    • "I guess what I'm really asking is how do you live with yourself knowing you're primarily responsible for continuing the habits of poor lonely nerds who cry themselves to sleep at night clutching a picture of Princess Leia and moaning like a wookie?"

      D00d! They were doing that long before SWG came along. At least now they have something to look forward to. Sure it is all virtual. But these poor wretches were never going to have more than a virtual life anyway.

    • clutching a picture of Princess Leia and moaning like a wookie?

      Never mind that, what about the people clutching a picture of Chewbacca and moaning like Princess Leia?!
  • responsibility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EddieBurkett ( 614927 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:42PM (#13999946)
    Can we have the name and contact information of the person who was responsible for the decision to withhold the release of information about the NGE until after the release of the Trials of Obi Wan expansion pack? I'm not saying I care what excuse that person will provide, but someone had to make that decision and I'd like to know who was accountable.
  • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:42PM (#13999950) Homepage
    Mr. Smedley, I have been told that the game was going to be shut down in January, yet your inverview stated that SWG didn't lose subscriptions over the first CU, and that it was growing faster than other SOE titles.

    I have heard from multiple sources that the subscriber base was collapsing rapidly, which is why the game was to be shut down, and that NGE is a desperate last gasp attempt to save it.

    Why, then, did you decide to do something very very radical, take away ALL our ability to customize our characters and abilities, delete whole professions, and worst of all, make the MOST sought after (took me many months) and iconic Star Wars character, Jedi, the weakest combat class in the new game (you say you play the game, go play a Jedi on TC), the ONLY one that has: No armor, no defenses, no rooting ability, that attacks at HALF the rate of ranged professions?

    Why did you do this rather than do what the community has consistently asked and BEGGED you do do, FIX the bugs, and BALANCE what we have?

    • Not being a Sony employee I can't answer why, but having played almost 3 years worth of another SOE product, Everquest Online Adventures -- probably THE most NEGLECTED MMORPG in the history of gaming -- I can tell you that you shouldn't have been surprised. For the first year of that game, it had frequent updates and it even had an expansion pack, EQOA Frontiers. After the Frontiers-specific quests were tweaked and bugs fixed, the quality of the game declined; a couple of corrupt GMs were caught giving r
    • by fallen1 ( 230220 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @03:28PM (#14001282) Homepage
      Keep the parent modded up. I know for a fact that SOE lost TONS of players when the first Combat Upgrade (combat downgrade more like it), Armor crafting nerf, and Weapons crafting nerf went into place. I personally canceled three acounts (hey, I needed the storage and lots for crafting :-p), multiple friends cancled theirs, their friends canceled and so on. I can say with confidence that at least 5000 friends and friend of friends left around the same time I did. That doesn't include all of THEIR friends and friends of friends who left as well. The Combat Upgrade and nerfing that SOE did garnered a Mass Exodus(tm) from the long-term player base and the only thing that kept SWG going was the influx of n00b players wanting to play Rage of the Wookies that was advertised during EpII. From what some friends, who drifted back to check out the ongoing Mass Exodus(tm) and slow demise of SWG, have said is that the Mass Exodus(tm) is ongoing and that the long-term players who had managed to hang around after the CU nerfage and further patches have now begun to leave in droves with some of the current changes announced (the NEW Combat Upgrade and class nerf, the fact that you MUST log on and pay maintenance for your house(s), factories, etc. at least once in a 3 month period or they go *poof* along with everything in them [this is JUST to keep players in the game or coming back for one month every 3 months since you can pay months or YEARS of maintenance into a house just so you DIDN'T have to worry about this crap], more crafting nerfage, etc.) to the game.

      Sony Online Entertainment fucked the duck with Star Wars from the get-go. Those of us who played beta (LOL) or started shortly after the game went live were basically STILL playing beta even a year into the game. There were hundreds of minor things that needed fixing that were simple code fixes that would have completed content already in the game and made it playable. The Combat Upgrade was completely useless as the only thing people wanted was the classes balanced a little better -- not a shiny new WTH do these Everquest icons mean? interface and whiz-bang graphics when you hit someone with your blaster (since when is THAT Star Wars??).

      My personal opinion is that SOE wanted to fuck Star Wars Galaxies any way they could because they did not OWN the world and licenses for it outright. I firmly believe that if LucasArts had held off on the game and brought in the talent to operate and run their own server farms and related works for SWG then the game would have been 300% better than it was initially and THEY would have listened to the player base. Possibly. At least more than SOE did.

      As much as I loved the original version of SWG, the intricate crafting, the thrill of finding a new "uber" resource, the great fun in both PvE and PvP (yeah, some folks had 't3h uberest' template and were a pain in PvP), and the loads of friends I had there I hope SWG dies a violent death and takes part of SOE and their frigging no-help customer service and non-listening devs and management team with it to a vivid MMORPG death.

      Then, from the ashes, LucasArts takes the feedback SOE tried to quash about the CU and goes back to SWG version 1, fixes what was wrong with it, and then puts out their own version, hosted by them, feedback directly to them, good customer service, and helpful in-game CS too and all is right with the SWG universe. Of couse, I also want the impossible - my toons from the current SWG converted to LucasArts improved SWG1 game with all my resources, weapons, armor, houses, and credits intact. *heh*
  • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:46PM (#13999978) Homepage
    Our community relations director, Tiggs, was fired yesterday. She has been the ONLY person who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to communicate with the community (staying up to 4AM and still showing up at work after little sleep).

    Why did you fire her?
  • What assurances do we have that we can expect a consistent game experience? With SOE getting ready to release essentially a third combat system, can I expect to not have to relearn a new system again?
  • About two years ago I played SWG for about three months. This is after having spent a couple years dabbling in DAOC, and wanting to try something that was a change from the fantasy genre. On first blush the game looked and played nicely, but in the end I sold my account and then returned to DAOC half a year later.

    As a single player I was able to completely "max out" my character in two months, completely unassisted. At the end I was a Master Engineer, Master Droid Engineer, Master Architect, and just shy
  • SWG NGE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:48PM (#14000004)
    In interviews you have stated that everyone who tested the new NGE is very happy about it and your are recieving very positive feed back. Me and about 20 other friends I have have tested the changes on the test servers. NONE of us prefer it to the old system. 16 of us have canceled our accounts.

    Why are you ignoring what your current community wants? Is your community not worth listening to? Are you planning to replace us with a new community? Are you aware that people are getting bored of the NGE very fast due to lack of depth and while you may recieve many subsciptions at the beginning many will quicky leave?

    Why havent you talked to your community personally via the forums?

    Do you care at all?
  • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:48PM (#14000009) Homepage
    NGE was dropped on us on 11/2, the day AFTER we were charged for the Trials of Obiwan expansion. Why did you deliberately withold this announcement until it was too late for veteran players to cancel their pre-orders so they could play on Test Center to see if they liked the changes?
    • That's a pretty silly question. We all know the answer. Whether or not people are going to like the new changes, you want as many people as possible to have bought Trials of Obi-Wan first. Maximizes your money: the people who don't like the new stuff already payed, and the people who held off but like the new stuff will end up paying too. Don't pretend for a second that SOE doesn't want your money. They want to make good games, sure, but money is important.
  • There's a lot of gnashing and wailing by veteran players, but as a vet player myself I have to say I think SOE is doing the right thing to the game. I'm going to have to adjust like everyone, but for the future of the game this is what had to happen.

    The most obvious change is combat. It is FPS-like (with a 3rd- or 1st-person perspective, similar to MDK), where you shoot at whatever your crosshairs are on. The previous combat was move-based, where you'd select a target and then issue a series of attack comma
    • Aw crap, this is an "ask" post. Well damn, I didn't mean to shill here. Honestly. I have nothing to do with SOE, except pay them. So let's see, what can I ask...

      With the release of SWG for XBox and PS2, will there be differences between the console version and the desktop version? I've seen with the new user interface that function keys don't seem to be used the way they currently are. Will the console interface design mean a "dumbing down" of what I can do from my computer with a full keyboard?
  • by fleck_99_99 ( 223900 ) <bela&maine,rr,com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:52PM (#14000056) Homepage
    I will preface the question with a little background. I played SWG quite heavily for the first 2 years of availability. I finally cancelled my original account in September, having played consistently since launch, built a guild and succesful player city, unlocked Jedi status, mastered piloting, run a successful crafting business, participated in player and roleplay events, and even earned an accolade badge from and talked briefly with the Events coordinator. (Suffice it to say, I've seen almost everything in SWG from launch through CURB, and have done my best to improve the SWG community.)

    The quality of the software released in SWG has been lackluster. This eventually led to the disinterest of most of my guildmates; once my play group fell apart, I slowly drifted away. But, some concrete examples:

    - Architect "Master Armoire" schematics were broken for quite some time after launch. The graphic was incorrectly the "furniture 2" image. Then this was "fixed" according to the patch notes, after many months. Oh wait, it wasn't! Now, the "Furniture 3" armoire was also set to use incorrect art (the "factional/tech" armoire), and the Master Armoire was STILL broken. Several months later, this was finally fixed...
    - Architects were unable to craft a vital component (I believe it was the "Harvesting Mechanism") for, again, several months after launch. This bug was not even acknowledged until well after launch.
    - City Management Terminals were broken for many months (and still broken when I retired from the game). A player could view the terminal menu once per access -- so, if I logged in during my semi-precious free hour at night, and checked the city's treasury balance, I was unable to make a deposit until the next day. Assuming I remembered....

    The list goes on. As a professional software developer myself, I understand the difficulty of making upgrades and bugfixes in a complex system. But, this level of bugginess was a constant -- and, in fact, bugs were frequently reintroduced after resolution (as in the case of Recycler crafting). The constant stream of bugs -- and, in particular, bugs that rendered significant game features completely nonworking -- is what led to most of my fellow players' exit from the game. What obstacles are there in the QA process at SOE that cause this to be such an ongoing issue? Is there an expectation that reducing the overall level of complexity (~30 -> 9 classes, etc) will improve this problem?
  • Popularity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuperRob ( 31516 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:53PM (#14000067) Homepage
    Star Wars is one of the most popular licenses in the world, and yet, Blizzard comes out of nowhere with World of Warcraft and takes ownership of the MMO realm.

    How do you feel about Galaxies failure to reach a mainstream audience, and has WOW influenced any of the recent changes made to the structure of Galaxies?
  • State of the Jedi Profession: NGE Conversion

    So far with this NGE we have seen numerous "nerfs" to our Jedi profession. In this context, the definition of "nurf" would be to reduce the effectiveness of a character class (in any form).Many of these have been quite devastating to what we have come to know as our alpha class over the last two years. Applying an alpha class to a mmorpg was a decision that Sony made f
  • by hsoft ( 742011 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:58PM (#14000124) Homepage
    I played UO for 2.5 years (from the year it was released), Daoc for 1 month, AC2 for 3 days, SWG for 2 months (I say this because I like to point out relative MMORPG mediocrity :) ). I can remember that ping times in UO was a huge factor in PvP. Because everybody was 7X GMs, the guy with the best ping usually won (of course, in faction wars (ohh, these were nice!), it was something else).

    How will you make sure that your new "Fast Action" change will not turn SWG PvP into a ping war?
  • In retrospect... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:58PM (#14000130) Journal
    In retrospect, do you think it was a mistake to hire Raph Koster as lead designer for SWG? He has a lot of great ideas about virtual world design, but SWG at launch was much more of an economic simulator with a Star Wars skin than it was a game.

    (For reference, I was in SWG starting in early Beta 1 -- Shuttle 3, specifically -- and played for about six months after launch.)
    • Re:In retrospect... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mikaelhg ( 47691 )
      Crafting and the economy were the only things that actually rocked in SWG.

      I enjoyed playing a Master Chef even while most of the foods were bugged because the design was good even if the implementation was sub-optimal because the developers were focusing on combat.
  • How do you deal with the people who are going to whine no matter what you do? Can you afford to risk just ignoring them, or do you try to address them knowing it will fall on deaf ears, or have you come up with a better plan?
  • by SpacePunk ( 17960 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @02:00PM (#14000152) Homepage
    Instead of putting bad money after good in developing the NGE why didn't SOE fix the bugs, and add content? I'm not talking loot drop schematic content, I'm talking changes in profession content? For example, there are a lot of furnishings in the game world that isn't available for the architect class to create? How hard would it be to add those items to the architect list?

  • Why are you only willing to answer ten questions, when the player population is so high and deserves a better coverage of their interests?
  • Hi John,

    Let me start by writing that I'm a player from the early hour: my account has been activated 2 days after the servers were put in operation - this delay being the consequence of my Frenchness.

    I lived through all the changes you put on SWG, being the Combat Upgrade, the many balancing changes of the skill trees, the Jump to Lightspeed space extention, etc, etc...

    What I'm currently wondering is how you would caracterize the NGE, considering the following facts:
    - pre-NGE, the character you had
  • SWG do over? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by portwojc ( 201398 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @02:05PM (#14000218) Homepage
    The biggest problem with this game besides the constant "do overs" with the game play is it's failure to make Star Wars it's own without upsetting the masses or breaking Star Wars. Have you ever thought coinsidered wiping the universe and starting over after RoTJ? That side of it is more open to change and wouldn't limit you as much nor have people as upset when you fiddle with Star Wars.

  • Resource Gathering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) <Satanicpuppy@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @02:06PM (#14000230) Journal
    I've played a lot of MMORPGs, and one thing that leapt out at me playing SWG is how slow and cumbersome resource gathering was. If you wanted to be a crafter, you had to commit to spending hours sitting around while your hapless character extracted minerals. I understand this got better in the late game, when you could afford expensive stuff, but in the early game it was a huge timesink of the sort that Sony is best known for, and that was one of many such time sinks I experienced in the ten day free trial that pretty much summed up my SWG experience.

    I suppose my question is this: Do you have any plans to make a game that's sole purpose isn't to keep people paying your subscription fees for as long as possible? That particular facet of Sony ideology has turned me off to every Sony game I've ever played.

    • For the cost of one or two short missions, you could buy a harvester machine to gather resources for you while you were offline. But I guess you might not get that far in just ten days.

      However, yes, the game becomes a big boring time sink. Attaining Jedi, particularly. No skill required, just obscene amounts of time. First it was grind out as many professions as you can, next it was grind out experience from a single profession (hope the one you choose has the most efficient XP-to-Jedi conversion, if no
  • by SpacePunk ( 17960 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @02:08PM (#14000268) Homepage
    Why the fuck are you answering questions here on Slashdot instead of answering questions in your own goddamn forums? Are you defective? Do you give enough of a fuck to talk to your players instead of going on these idiotic public relations jaunts? The fact that you are here answering questions instead of your own forums answering questions just shows how little you give a damn beyond reaping the subscription rates and ripping your players off by announcing a major game change the day after release of an upgrade.
  • How do you answer the security concerns being raised by people who have been burned by the DRM Sony has distributed on it's audio CDs?

    Will this practice be expanding to other product lines, such as game CDs or clients?

    How will the ability to hide a file from the OS by prepending $sys$ to the file name impact the anti cheating measures in SWG? Will this make the game more vulnerable to cheaters?

    How do you feel about a division of your own company creating a root kit that may enable rampant cheating in Star
  • Taking questions here, prior Gamespy interview referenced in the Article and I happened to see this almost simultaneously: 05/id20051109_602467.htm []

    Actors do all the Oprah's and Letterman's they can before their movies are released to drum up publicity, seems this is a similar tactic.
  • Just tell us why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by 1337speak ( 930122 )
    Why did you guys announce this "upgrade" the day after ToOW release? I mean heh... sounds a bit strategical to me, an "upgrade" like this would take months if not years to create, this total revamp is bigger than the normal CU itself (which by the way was announced months before) and will change the genre and remove very many reasons to playing this game. You have said that every upgrade will be on the "In development forums", and step by step be shown to the players. Was this "upgrade" too small to ever b
    • Yep, this was very unethical. I have (well, had, I cancelled them) 4 SWG accounts, a Jedi, a crafter, a bounty hunter, a pistoleer/combat medic, and a TKM/Pikeman to suit my tastes. I bought the expansion for ALL of my combat toons (3 copies).

      I think SOE broke at least several states fraud laws with the way they did this, particularly when they ELIMINATED certian professions (creature handler) that bought the expansion specifically for a certain reward (an item that let them tame higher level creatures t
  • by jenkin sear ( 28765 ) * on Thursday November 10, 2005 @02:22PM (#14000429) Homepage Journal
    Why should we trust any software that Sony wants us to install on our computers, after the recent well-known rootkit incident?

    What are you going to do to get out from under this rock?
    • They won't bother. No one will be cheating in NGE because I doubt there will be anyone to play. The combat system is a moronic, hand cramping fest.
    • To be fair, Sony Online Entertainment probably has nothing to do with those chaps who shoved a rootkit at us. Sony's a big freaking company man. The programmers are probably on different continents.
      • Nahh, I'm sure both sets of coders are in India, along with everybody else's coders.... :)

        But if a marketing droid shows up at /. the same week his company is busted for knowingly distributing software that can break peoples computers, particularly if their title is "president", I think it is entirely fair to ask him why we should trust ANYTHING that his company produces from now on.

        I don't think I'm blaming the coders- but he has a responsibility as an officer of the company that is different from line per
  • 3 Strikes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dmcooper ( 899820 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @02:32PM (#14000529) Homepage
    I don't mind game changes whatsoever. Even though I am a huge Star Wars fan - I will be cancelling after what I consider the '3rd Strike' from Sony Online Entertainment.

    I will be cancelling because while I do not mind signifigant game altering changes - I do not appreciate being lied to. The 3rd Strike Lie (bait & switch on expansion purchasers) did not even affect my character.

    As a matter of fact - by all accounts I'll be able to respect into a full template Jedi under the new system.

    The prior two lies were a result of underhanded publish changes that were not even listed in the patch notes for Publish 22 & Publish 23. I recall the uproar that forced SOE to remove the changes after they went live.

    I sold my Playstation 2, and I sold all my games. I will not be purchasing another Sony product. Sony's DRM technology is now being used to cloak game hacks and Trojan programs. Sony is reportedly in the works on removing the ability to play Playstation 3 games on more than one console - so that everyone has to buy their own copy.

    Sony is about the dollah dollah bottomline. They believe they can reach this via underhanded tactics and deceptive business practices.

    Not off my wallet.

    Oh and my question:

    Why don't you and your company go fuck yourselves?

  • >Those boxes will read Bounty Hunter,
    >Commando, Entertainer, Jedi, Medic,
    >Officer, Smuggler, Spy and Trader.

    What if my daughter wanted to be a diplomat? Something tells me that's not the same as Officer. You mentioned each class would show up as a familiar Icon, and I wouldn't call Princess Leia any of the things above. Only three out of the nine are even remotely "non-agressive" in nature. That doesn't speak well for a game that was once geared to be more of a world to explore than just a massive wargame.
  • []

    It's FUN and very Star Warsy! :)

  • My question is: What are you doing to rekindle old player's interest in the game?

    I loved and played SWG for about a year. Unfortunately, despite the dazzling variety in the game, I couldn't stay interested. (Even in spite of my strong desire to stay interested.)

    The proverbial straw was the original Combat Upgrade. It finally killed the last bit of my joy in the game.
    If you can bring back the original wonder and excitement, I would leave WoW in a heartbeat.
  • by Anonymous Custard ( 587661 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @03:06PM (#14001002) Homepage Journal
    What is your plan to reach out to all those players who left before the combat revamp, doctor buff changes, and now this new revamp? Do you hope to draw them back somehow? Will there be any incentives for old veterans to return?
  • by Snaller ( 147050 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @03:12PM (#14001074) Journal
    Where you can get from level 1 to 60 in a month of play, instead of the usual no life games which require 12 hours (and 50 other people) every day for 3 years to get anywhere?
  • Not really a question, but a comment.

    If you want to give existing players the chance to try out every profession in the game before deciding, then you need to give them 10 re-specs, not nine. The first 9 re-specs would be used to try out each profession, and the 10th would be used to switch back to the one you liked best.

    (Otherwise you can only try out 8 of them before making your final choice, right? :)
  • These changes fundamentally change the entire game, to the point where it seemingly invalidates all the work previously sunk into the game by your more devout fans. Sure there's the ability to respec, but especially for those who worked so hard to become Jedi, this shift tosses all that work to the wind. Sure there'll be the 10 level delta between existing Jedi and the re-spec'd Jedi, but that doesn't take away the sting for those who went and mastered every single profession in an attempt to unlock their
  • Can you say mass exodus? I guess you'd still have to HAVE a large player base to have it qualify as "mass" though. When I left 18 months ago my server was a ghost town. If I was told "Oh all that time you spent gathering materials and grinding out your crafting skills? Forget about it.", my head would have exploded. /glad I left when I did
  • I have played on the TC, and one of the things that stands out is the new UI needing two hands to operate (keyboard and mouse).

    There have been complaints from those with disabilities that the new keymap is unusable for them.

    The playstyle for my wife who is visually impaired has also been impacted by the new changes. Before, she would be able to target a groupmember (tank) and her character would fire at whatever the tank was targeted. Now she has to try to find the small crosshairs and aim at a moving targ
  • by RocketScientist ( 15198 ) * on Thursday November 10, 2005 @04:57PM (#14002210)
    I know some people who played, up until this week, SW:G. All are fairly hardcore MMORPG'ers who really liked the depth and breadth of character customization and crafting available in SW:G. With that gone, they've all cancelled their accounts, in the (probably vain) hopes that SOE will keep the old ruleset servers around and let n00bs play on the new ruleset.

    How many cancellations have happened since the announcement?

    Alternatively, how many would it take to change SOE's mind?
  • Returning players (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Minupla ( 62455 ) <minupla&gmail,com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @07:48PM (#14003810) Homepage Journal
    With the complete revamp of the game will there be a returning player incentive program? Something so that those of us who left earlier can come back with a minimum of pain and check out the rework and see if it's something that is compatible with our particular playstyles?

    Min (ex master doctor :) )
  • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:29PM (#14004970) Homepage
    Mr Smedley, you have made ONE post on the SWG forum. Why won't you make a greater presence there and answer your customer's questions there?

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth