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GameReactorTV Talks with SWTOR Senior Writer Hall Hood

Text below take from TorWars and writer Acea Engen, original article here.

GameReactorTV recently chased down Hall Hood, a Senior Writer for BioWare on Star Wars: The Old Republic. They were able to take a decent bit of time and chat with Hood, mostly regarding story and writing for SWTOR.

In the interview they primarily discuss story-related aspects of SWTOR, and what it was like to tackle the different storylines of the classes from Mr. Hood’s perspective. One particular point of note is Hood’s discussion on drawing players to Non-Force using classes; and how when it came to Imperial Agent and Trooper storylines; BioWare had plenty of story-telling freedom, as they are some of the least-explored classes.

Mr. Hood also talks about how the writers of SWTOR approach the job much like you would approach writing for a TV series, as they will have major story-arcs concluded; but unanswered questions will be left to keep players engaged. The video is inter-cut with gameplay footage and is worth a watch. Check it out below.

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New Operations Game Systems Page

The new Operations Game Systems page contains information on all of the current Opperations along with images and video. You can visit the page here.

Over the past several weeks we have talked more and more about Operations in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. Operations are high-level, multi-group missions where you and your friends will face the most menacing threats in the galaxy. The new Game Systems page offers more details about Operations and offers a look at one of the Operations that you and your allies will be able to explore.

Head over to the new Games Systems page to read up on the content that players have to look forward to with Operations in The Old Republic, and be sure to check out the developer walkthrough for the Eternity Vault to get just a small sample of the challenges that await you.

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Companion Characters Update – Part 2

BioWare has release it’s second part of the Companion Characters blog article. Senior Game Designer William Wallace talks about the Companion AI and Group roll. One thing he brings up is how the companion can fill a roll in a group if, lets say, one of your party drops out (max 4 people in a group, group leader summons companion, keep playing the flash point instead of stopping/taking time to look for one more player). It is a very interesting read and you also might want to read up on part 1. Both original article links can be found here:
Companion Characters Update – Part 1
Companion Characters Update – Part 2 

Companion AI
When it comes to the amount of control over their companion, players have different, often diametrically opposed preferences. Some players do not want to manage their companions any more than they have to, wanting instead for their companions to act autonomously without the need to manually trigger abilities or actions. Others want direct control over their companions, playing them almost as a second character.

Originally, our companions functioned almost entirely on their own, with only a few options for manual control. From both internal feedback and testing, we found that the integral nature of companions to gameplay in The Old Republic™ had many players wishing for more control over their companion’s behavior – they wanted more than what they had experienced in other massively-multiplayer games.

To address this, we’ve taken a page from other BioWare games and added AI toggles to each ability to control whether the companion should decide on their own when to use them, or whether they should be manually activated by the player. Players who are not interested in managing their companion can leave the default toggles on and let them run on autopilot. Skilled players can take complete control of the companion by expanding the companion bar onto their screen and using the abilities directly as though they were player abilities.

Many players will fall somewhere in between the two extremes, and will use the AI toggles occasionally to change the way their companion fights:

  • Players may choose to disable some area-of-effect abilities when using crowd control or when fighting tough single enemies.
  • Players may activate special modes or stances for their companion, causing them to focus more on damage or tanking, or on a single target versus groups of enemies.
  • Players may want to manually activate buffs and powerful special abilities on long cooldowns, as opposed to letting the companion pick when to use their most powerful attacks.

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Jedi Knight vs Bounty Hunter

In this trailer some of the developers give their insight to either the Jedi Knight or the Bounty Hunter and we get to see some sweet in-game action between the two classes. We also get to see some of the dialog and cut scenes in the game and all I can say is: NICE! Check it out, it’s well worth watching.

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Official “Invites Have Been Sent” Thread

Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Manager on the SWTOR forum, has compiled a topic on the Official Forums to update everyone on Game Testing/Beta Weekends on a regular basis. So to keep up on this topic, bookmark the page and visit often. Source.

Hello all,

Instead of posting new threads every time we send out a new round of Game Testing invites, we’re going to try and consolidate the notifications right here.

A few parameters first, so hopefully you know what to expect:

- This thread will track both general invites to Game Testing and Beta Testing Weekend invites. (Generally speaking: Beta Testing Weekend invites are for one weekend only; Game Testing invites are for a longer period which is sometimes time limited.)

- We’ll update this original post, but also post in this thread (or the inevitable restart) to remind people that we updated the OP.

- We’ll update here either after invites have been sent, or just before. (We’ll try to update close to when invites are sent, but can’t guarantee it’ll be on-the-dot.)

- Generally speaking, when a batch of invites are sent, they’re sent in one go. If you haven’t received an invite within a few hours of the batch being sent, assume you haven’t received an invite from that batch.

- As always, ensure no-reply@bioware.swtor.com is in your ‘safe senders’ list. Email invites will be sent from that email address.

- If you are ever unsure if you’ve received an invite, login to the site and visit swtor.com/tester/ to see if you’ve been accepted to testing.

- We do not discuss exact numbers regarding Game Testing invites, so please don’t ask.

- We may choose to talk about countries or territories invited, but we also may not. If we haven’t been specific, follow-up questions won’t be responded to.

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