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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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New video playthrough – Huttball PvP match

In this new video playthrough, TotalBiscuit plays a Huttball PvP match in Star Wars: The Old Republic. The video is well worth watching. You get a good overview of the fight, the graphics (and we must say, it looks very nice indeed!) and the overall feel of the PvP setting and game. He also uttered these words (that are very true):

I have a light saber, why do I care about the ball, damn it!

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The Galaxy Map

The Galaxy Map is a new edition to the official SWTOR page. It is an interactive, 3D and 2D map and viewer. You can explore the galaxy, read up on planets and even check out the starships in full 3D. There are also short non-narrative videos for each, mostly containing footage you’ll have seen before.

The Star Wars™ galaxy is massive and you will be able to visit numerous worlds during your travels in the The Old Republic™. To give you an early taste of what the experience will be, we’ve added a new feature to the website, allowing you to explore the Galaxy Map for yourself. You’ll get to see the five major sectors of the Known Galaxy, check out profiles of the planets, and even examine interactive models of the player Starships.

You will need the Unity web player plugin for your browser to be able to use the map.