[SWToR]Bioware Unveils First New Game Update: Rise of the Rakghouls

Things have started exceedingly well for BioWare and its Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO.

The game was the quickest to 1 million subscribers in MMO history.  It’s been received well critically.  And it’s been heralded for its genre-changing innovations with regard to voice acting and story in the massively multiplayer online game space.

And the best news?  There’s more to come.

The ‘more to come’ was the basis of my conversation with James Ohlen, Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Game Director at BioWare.  We talked earlier this week about Game Update 1.1, which goes live January 17th and, among other things, adds a bevy of high-level content including a new Flashpoint called Kaon Under Siege and a new Operation called Karagga’s Palace.

We started the interview, however, on an question of procedure.

“How, exactly, do you guys pronounce the ‘SWTOR’ acronym,” I asked.

“Swo-tor, most of time.  We’ll occasionally throw a ‘sweater’ out there, but most of the time, we say ‘swo-tor’.

I then remarked how wonderfully Knights of the Old Republic’s acronym rolled off the tongue, which was followed by about 30 seconds of communal nostalgia for KOTOR, a game we both still carry a torch for to this day.

Back to the matter at hand.

“So in terms of hours of content,” I asked, “how much is included in this first content update?”

“If you’re able to complete the Flashpoint and Operation in one single try… which I don’t think anyone is going to be able to do… it’d be, say, four or five hours of gameplay.”

He continued.

“I would estimate most people are going to get a lot more time out of it, because they’re going to have to figure out how to defeat each boss monster and figure out how to complete each challenge.  Each boss in those flashpoints and operations… we put a lot of thought into how to balance them and how to make them a puzzle in terms of how you and your group go about trying to defeat them.”

Some background on the new content:

Flashpoint: Kaon Under Siege:  Groups of up to four Republic or Imperial players must race to Kaon to eliminate the rakghouls outbreak, securing the allegiance of the Tion Hegemony for their respective sides. This Flashpoint will be available for level 50 characters only and will feature Normal and Heroic modes.

Operation: Karagga’s Palace: A continuation of the game’s second launch operation. In the operation, teams of 8 or 16 players will face off against Karagga and the Hutt Cartel after the Hutts abandon their famous neutrality and breach agreements with both the Republic and Empire. Concerned by the threat of another combatant in the war for galactic control, both factions send teams of their most powerful heroes to confront Karagga and determine his intentions. This Operation will feature Normal, Heroic and Nightmare difficulty modes.

To be clear, the Flashpoint and Operation included in this first update are for high-level characters only–there’s a level 50 requirement.  And it should also be mentioned that Flashpoint: Kaon Under Siege is part of the ‘Rise of the Rakghouls’ story-chain, which is a two-parter.  The second part will be coming in the next content update, which is slated for March.

The inclusion of a flashpoint and an operation in this update is the beginning of a trend, by the way.  Mr, Ohlen said the plan moving forward is to “include a flashpoint, an operation, maybe a warzone in each content update,” to keep supporting the highest-level players.

So it seems a great deal of content is coming for the level-50 crowd.  But what about content for lower-level characters, like my level-7 Jedi Knight?

“We do have another team, which we’re calling the ‘Events’ team, which is going to be developing content that will not just be for high-level players, but for a wide variety of players, but we’re not going into those details at this time.”

I pressed him for a bit more here.

“Because we’re an MMO, we want to make players feel like the galaxy is a living place where changes are occurring as they adventure, so that’s the Events team’s job.  We do have game systems coming out in support of lower-level players.  For our game update two we have the legacy system (a system that provides benefits and bonuses for entire ‘families’ of characters), we have guild banks (more functionality for guilds), and we have PvP ranking.”

All of those systems will benefit players of every level.  Each system, according to Mr. Ohlen, has a specific team working on it.  So a guild team, a legacy team, and so on.

The conversation veered at this point to questions of challenges the SWTOR team has faced through the first few weeks of going live.  What’s gone wrong?

“Well, we launched right before the Christmas holiday, so a lot of people didn’t get to have Christmas around here [laughs].  The launch date probably wasn’t the best for the team.  It was pretty tough for those team members and we really appreciate the work they put in.”

What about the long queues encountered by so many players at the very outset of going live?

“You want to have a healthy population on every single shard (server) in the game.  The total population of the game is divided among different shards, and the goal is to divide it equally.”

So when a particular shard, or server was getting overpopulated, queues formed.

“If you don’t have any queues, that’s probably a concern.  It probably means you’ve spread your players out too thin across too many servers.”

When that happens, the particular server can feel lonely or sparsely populated, and that’s not ideal for the player.

“It’s actually not a bad thing to have queues.”

From there we got to talking about the more technical tweaks players might notice in Game Update 1.1  In addition to the new content, the SWTOR team has added anti-aliasing to the game and has addressed some balancing issues.

“We’re making balance changes and tweaks to essentially encourage open world PvP.  We didn’t get as much testing of open-world PvP as we would’ve liked because a lot of that happens at the higher levels.  But once we started getting some higher-level data, we made some changes and will probably continue to do so.”

Which character classes were underpowered and needed tweaking?

“We found the balance is really quite strong.  By mirroring the various Empire and Republic classes off of each other, their game mechanics in-game play very similarly.”

But…

“Right now we have a couple classes that are slightly underpowered.  The Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior are getting some tweaks.  It’s not too big of a deal at this point, but we got some feedback in the forums and backed it up with data that showed that, yes, we needed to make some small tweaks to those classes.  In playing the game you probably wouldn’t notice, but you might’ve in PvP.”

As my time with Mr. Ohlen came to a close, I couldn’t resist asking him which character classes he’s playing in SWTOR.

“I play a Sith Warrior and a Smuggler.  Sith Warrior is my favorite class because Darth Vader is my favorite character from the movie.”

As I’m playing a Jedi Knight, I can’t help but find Mr. Ohlen’s alliance with the Empire… disturbing.  Here’s to hoping we meet on SWTOR’s ever-expanding field of battle.

Source: http://www.gametrailers.com/side-mission/2012/01/12/bioware-unveils-first-new-game-update-for-star-wars-the-old-republic-%E2%80%93-rise-of-the-rakghouls/

 

1.1 PATCHNOTES:

Hello everyone! We are excited to announce that today’s patch for our Public Test Server brings you the first of many content updates for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. It includes some exciting content additions, including a new Flashpoint, Kaon Under Siege, and four new boss additions to Operation: Karagga’s Palace. You’ll also notice changes to Open World PvP on Ilum.

As with every update, 1.1 includes many high-priority bug fixes. We have corrected the issue that prevented some Jedi Knights from progressing in Kira Carsen’s affection conversations, made some previously inaccessible Datacrons reachable, and have made many fixes to various issues in Flashpoints and Operations.

We are looking forward to your feedback about the changes we have made, and we appreciate you using the Public Test Server forums to report any bugs you encounter while playing on it. Thank you for playing Star Wars: The Old Republic!

Note: The Public Test Server patch notes will be provided in English. The final release notes will be provided in English, French, and German when the content is moved to live servers.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Game Update 1.1

General

  • Anti-aliasing is now available and can be enabled in the preferences menu.

Classes and Combat

General

  • Healing caused by crowd control abilities no longer generates threat.
  • Tooltips for abilities modified by skill points now display correct damage values.

Guard

  • This ability now transfers to a new friendly target without requiring deactivation on the previous target.
  • Activating this ability while targeting a guarded or invalid target will still toggle the Guard ability off.
  • A distinct visual effect is now present on characters using Guard on another character, and another effect is now present on the guarded character if they leave Guard’s range.

Taunt

  • A new visual effect has been added to the user and the target of the Taunt ability for the duration of its effect.

Jedi Consular

  • Project: This ability no longer shakes the screen of onlookers.

Shadow

  • Battle Readiness: Now allows Combat Technique to trigger once every 3 seconds.
  • Combat Technique: Healing received through Combat Technique has been increased, scales properly at higher levels, and can only be triggered once every 4.5 seconds.
  • Slow Time: This ability’s damage has been increased by 15% and it now slows the movement speed of all affected targets.

Jedi Knight

  • Force Leap: This ability no longer functions on Portable Holo Dancers.

Sith Inquisitor

Assassin

  • Dark Charge: Healing received through Dark Charge has been increased, scales properly at higher levels, and can only be triggered once every 4.5 seconds.
  • Overcharge Saber: Now allows Dark Charge to trigger once every 3 seconds.
  • Wither: Damage has been increased by 15% and it now slows the movement speed of all affected targets.

Sith Warrior

  • Intercede: This ability no longer functions on Portable Holo Dancers.
  • Shatter: this ability’s tooltip now correctly reflects its damage; damage from this ability has not been adjusted.

Imperial Agent

Bug Fixes

  • Corrected an issue where activating cover, using Explosive Probe, and then using Snipe could cause Snipe to be interrupted.

Bounty Hunter

General

  • Incendiary Missile: This ability is no longer misclassified as an Area of Effect ability.

Companion Characters

General

  • C2-N2 and 2V-R8 no longer vocalize crafting commentary during combat.
  • The Carbonized Stream companion ability no longer breaks prematurely.

Companions

Kira Carsen

  • Fixed an issue that caused players to be unable to progress in Kira’s affection conversations. Players previously affected by this issue can now speak to Kira and progress normally.

Bug Fixes

  • Companions will now sell trash items when requested, regardless of group size.
  • Companion healing abilities no longer apply a permanent green effect on the character.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Companion Characters to sometimes have the incorrect appearance in cinematics.

Crew Skills

Bug Fixes

  • Corrected an issue that prevented recently completed Crew Skill missions from showing up in the next list of available missions.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Crew Skills a character didn’t have to appear in the Crew Skills window.
  • Players can no longer loot harvesting nodes they do not have the appropriate Crew Skill for after a group member harvests (but does not loot) a node.

Flashpoints and Operations

General

  • A new level 50 Flashpoint, Kaon Under Siege, is now available for play in Normal and Hard Modes!
  • The Gav Daragon and the Ziost Shadow have been expanded to accommodate the Kaon Under Siege gateway.
  • The difficulty of some non-boss enemies in Flashpoints has been adjusted.
  • Enemies now drop credits more frequently in Flashpoints.

Flashpoints

Cademimu

  • General Ortol’s rocket fire damage no longer occurs when the rocket is not active.

The Black Talon

  • Some enemies in this Flashpoint are no longer invisible.

The Foundry

  • Corrected an issue that could cause the final boss to become stuck at 10% health.

The Battle of Ilum

  • Krel Thak’s Allied Weequay Pirates have had their toughness reduced in Hard Mode.

The False Emperor

  • The Sith Entity’s affliction ability now properly deals damage in Hard Mode.
  • HK-47 now has the correct amount of health in Normal Mode.

Operations

Eternity Vault

  • Players are now able to successfully loot the chest after defeating the Infernal Council.
  • Perimeter Defense Cannons have been re-tuned and have improved targeting behaviors.
  • Soa’s Mind Trap and Force Throw abilities no longer target the same player multiple times; they now target every player in the group once.
  • Ball lightning enemies summoned by Soa deal damage in a smaller radius.
  • The Annihilation Droid’s rocket burst attack no longer deals double damage in 16-player Operations.
  • Soa now summons fewer ball lightning enemies during the final round in 16-player Operations.

Karagga’s Palace

  • Four new bosses can now be battled by players in Karagga’s Palace!
  • Players no longer get stuck attempting to exit the Karagga’s Palace phase.

Bug Fixes

Flashpoints

  • Corrected an issue that prevented some enemy NPCs from spawning in Flashpoints.
  • The correct error message now displays when a player attempts to enter a different Flashpoint than the rest of the group.
  • Flashpoint gateways no longer display as orange in incorrect circumstances.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented Flashpoint difficulty from being set properly.
  • Fixed an issue that caused mapnotes directing players to some Flashpoints to not appear correctly.
  • Corrected map issues that made locating mission objectives on the Gav Daragon difficult.
  • Fixed an issue preventing some players from opening a chest after a boss fight if the group was previously defeated by the boss.

Items

General

  • An Item Modification Table has been added to the Supplies areas of the Republic and Imperial Fleets.

PvP

  • Battlemaster Gear Tokens have been converted into Battlemaster Commendations, which can be used to purchase any Battlemaster gear. This allows players to purchase any piece of gear instead of requiring them to purchase the piece indicated by the token.
  • Battlemaster Bags now contain Battlemaster Commendations instead of Battlemaster Gear Tokens. They still also contain Champion Commendations.

Missions and NPCs

General

  • All Bonus Series missions and their required missions can now be abandoned.
  • Certain Wampas on Hoth that were preying on lower-level characters have had their level reduced.

Missions

Imperial

  • Pressure Points: The Lerantha Lurker no longer engages players in combat before completing its spawn sequence.
  • Geroya be Haran: Objectives related to this mission now glow when selected.
  • In Cold Blood: Enemies that use Armor Piercing Cell during this mission no longer each stack a debuff on the player.
  • Shadow Spawn: The Sith Spawn no longer knocks players down for longer than intended.
  • Thuggish Behavior: Corrected an issue that could cause the player to remain stuck in combat during this mission. The required kills to complete this mission have been reduced.

Republic

  • Climbing the Ladder: A conversation related to this mission no longer ends prematurely.
  • Droid Clean Up: Corrected an issue that caused the bonus mission to persist in the player’s mission log.
  • The Summit: The difficulty of the encounter with Sidone has been reduced.
  • Vivicar Awaits: Lowered the amount of enemies that attack the player during the step “Find a Way Past the Force Field.”

NPCs

Bug Fixes

  • Jilcoln Cadera’s abilities now correctly take into account whether a player is immune from knockbacks.
  • The “Primal Destroyer” World Boss on Belsavis is now “Overwhelming” as intended.
  • The World Boss “The First” on Dromund Kaas no longer inhibits Bounty Hunter’s Rapid Shots, and Imperial Agents will no longer be knocked out of cover during combat with it.

PvP

General

  • The shuttle room in Dorn Base Command Center on Hoth is no longer considered contested territory.
  • Ka on Voss is now a PvP Sanctuary.

Warzones

  • Level 50 players now participate in their own Warzone bracket and will not be matched with lower-level players.

Ilum

  • The daily and weekly mission objectives in Ilum now require defeating enemy players and/or collecting armaments from the center objective.
  • Players now gain increased Valor from player kills in Ilum.
  • Players now gain increased bonus Valor for kills based on the number of objectives controlled by their faction.
  • Increased bonus Valor is now granted for player kills when defending an objective your faction owns.
  • A notification is now displayed when a player gains Valor.
  • Three new respawn points have been added for each faction.
  • Companions are now restricted from the PvP objective area on Ilum.
  • Notifications are now displayed when enemy players are close to an objective.

Bug Fixes

General

  • The scoreboard value for “Highest Protection Per Single Life” now functions correctly.
  • Players who have left a Warzone can no longer receive an MVP vote from teammates.
  • Your PvP status will now be toggled automatically upon leaving a PvP region.
  • Additional feedback is now provided when a player attempts to toggle their PvP flag.
  • The Bolster tooltip now more accurately represents the buff’s effects.

Huttball

  • Corrected a rare issue that could cause the Frogdogs to be declared the winner in a 0-0 match even if the Rotworms held the ball last.

Ilum

  • Mountable turrets in Ilum no longer deal damage to targets behind them or outside their range.
  • Turrets no longer immediately dismount the player after use.

UI

Maps

  • Fixed a bug that prevented the minimap title from displaying when loading into the game or refreshing the UI.
  • Corrected an issue that caused some mapnotes to disappear from the minimap when other mapnotes were updated.

Items

  • Item hyperlinks now display stats for crafted research items properly.
  • Item hyperlinks no longer display erroneous additional information relating to schematics when examined.
  • Attempting to place a non-mission item into the mission inventory now displays an error message.
  • Dragging equipment onto the character paper doll no longer prompts an item deletion notice. Items dragged to the paper doll are now equipped if possible.
  • Item set bonuses now appear on the tooltip when viewing an item on a vendor.
  • Items that can be modified now display with the correct loot color in the loot roll window.
  • Comparative tooltips now correctly display stat differences when mousing over items in the Crew Skills window.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed the tooltip display for ability cooldowns over one hour in length.
  • The interface for splitting stacks of items now displays correctly.
  • Servers that are online now always display on top of servers that are offline in the Server Select screen.
  • Corrected a typographical error in the “Additional Commands” context menu option.
  • Players nearby a player who achieves a new Legacy level no longer receive the Legacy level-up notification.
  • Legacy name display preferences now persist when travelling between planets.
  • A new confirmation dialogue now appears when submitting spam reports in game.
  • Sorting now works correctly in the Guilds tab.

Miscellaneous Bug Fixes

  • The owner of a holocall conversation is no longer shown in the last frame of the cinematic.
  • The spacebar button is now recognized when a player presses it to progress after a loading screen even if the spacebar button has been re-bound.
  • Additional issues that could impact performance on Taris have been addressed.
  • Vanity pets can no longer be considered targets for any abilities.
  • Corrected an issue that could cause some preferences to reset to defaults upon area transitions.
  • An Aim Datacron on Ilum is now accessible and no longer repeats its initial cinematic once used.
  • A Datacron on Coruscant is no longer blocked by unintentional collision.

 

Source: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=141695