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Star Wars: The Old Republic

SWTOR dishes out punishment for a major exploit

Sci-Fi, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

Last last week, BioWare community manager Eric Musco wrote a detailed post regarding a recent exploit that's plagued the PvE endgame for Star Wars: The Old Republic, explaining the planned punishments and the team's reasoning behind them.

"We didn't take these actions lightly," Musco posts, "and reviewed every account to determine where we could be lenient. From our end, this was a no win situation. We feel responsible for allowing the exploit to occur and remain in the game for an unreasonable length of time, but we also cannot and will not condone cheating."

Penalties applied to the affected accounts ranged from a warning and one day ban to even full and permanent suspensions. Musco finished up the post by encouraging players to continue to report potential exploits as soon as they are found.

Hyperspace Beacon: Examining SWTOR's producer letter

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Let's take apart SWTOR's producer letter
At the community cantina that Star Wars: The Old Republic held this past weekend at PAX South, community manager Eric Musco said that the community team was going to do something different in 2015 during the cantinas. He said that he wanted to reveal some tidbit at each and every event. And this cantina yielded us an early look at Producer Bruce Maclean's roadmap letter to the community.

In the letter, he talks about where the SWTOR story will take us, what's on the horizon for flashpoints, personal stories, planets, and the outfit designer. But what is all this new stuff, and should it get people excited about the coming year? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for that. If you play for similar reasons as I do, then there is plenty to be excited about. However, there are certain players, like PvPers, who might be a little frustrated by what they are seeing and not seeing in the letter.

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PAX South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plans for this year

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Races, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries, MMORPG

Pax South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plan for the year
When Eric Musco, the Star Wars: The Old Republic community manager, took the stage at the Community cantina last night at PAX South, he revealed that in 2015 the team wants to do something a bit different with this and future cantina crawl events. In the past, it has been policy not to reveal anything at the cantinas; they were intended to be social events where players could get some face-time with the developers of the game that they both enjoyed. However, going forward, the community and development teams have decided that each cantina will reveal that had not been mentioned before.

The reveal at this weekend's cantina came in the form of the yet-to-be-published producer's letter by Bruce Maclean. The completely made-up story is that it was stolen from his computer while he wasn't looking and printed out to share with us at the cantina.

After the break, you'll find a copy of that letter as it was dictated to cantina goers. The caveat, of course, is that this is not the final version of the letter that will appear on the official site in two weeks, so everything is subject to change.

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SWTOR Q&A mentions 12x, soloable flashpoints

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Werit has posted a Q&A with Star Wars: The Old Republic's community team. It touches on the well-received 12x experience boost, which BioWare says it will be discussing "later this year." There's also a bit about making older flashpoints soloable and while BioWare says it doesn't want to make all group content accessible to single players, it does have "some major story moments that [it] would like every player to see."

Star Wars: The Old Republic will address balance and ranked PvP for update 3.1

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Subscription

Locked in mortal staffblade combat, as always.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is launching update 3.1 in about a month, and the developers are using this patch to address some standing issues. The patch also kicks off the game's fourth ranked play season, which is scheduled to last about three months. This season will be used as the basis for some new ranked play adjustments, such as implementing a "floor" rating for picking up the lowest-tier season rewards in Season 5. The season's titles will also be class-specific based on forum feedback.

Designers are also looking into balancing classes, starting with the Darkness Assassin and the Kinetic Combat Shadow, addressing issues with survivability and damage in the class. If you've been feeling squishier or less resilient or noticed oddities with abilities, you can take part in the thread yourself. Early versions of these changes have already been rolled out to the test servers for the coming update.

[Thanks to Mikey Moo for the tip!]

Hyperspace Beacon: Handling SWTOR exploits

Sci-Fi, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Handling SWTOR Exploits
On this week's Hyperspace Beacon, I'd like to discuss the exploit issues that have popped up in Star Wars: The Old Republic as of late. Admittedly, the widespread exploit that SWTOR recently experienced wasn't gamebreaking, and it certainly didn't fracture the economy as exploits in other games have. In fact, I don't even think that a rollback or anything severe was even considered for this particular exploit. However, the community team mentioned some things in its handling of the situation that made me wonder about exploits and cheats that violate the intent of the game designers.

I don't know that I will have all the answers in regard to how to handle specific situations, but I really intend for this to be a conversation starter. I want to read your thoughts in the comments.

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SWTOR devs looking at lag issues, prepping 3.0.2 and 3.1 updates

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare reps are all over Star Wars: The Old Republic's official forums as the week winds down. Thus far we've gotten an announcement about the game's 3.0.2 update which is scheduled to go live on January 13th. We also got a heads-up regarding the 3.1 update currently on the test server.

Finally, community manager Eric Musco chimed in with a lengthy post detailing what BioWare is doing about the prominent lag issues introduced with game update 3.0.

[Thanks Mikey Moo!]

Hyperspace Beacon: Five SWTOR predictions for 2015

Sci-Fi, Classes, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR predictions for 2015
It's that time again to make my educated guesses on what BioWare will attempt to accomplish in the coming year with Star Wars: The Old Republic. In the last Hyperspace Beacon, I gave my grade card for how I think 2014 went, but now I extinguish the Force ghost of Christmas past and get a visit from the blue-glowy of Christmas yet to come.

I don't always get everything right, but I like to make a guess anyway. When you've finished reading my predictions, let's continue the discussion in the comments. I want to hear your thoughts as well.

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Celebrate SWTOR's sacred Life Day by launching frozen orbs of water at each other

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Humor, Star Wars: The Old Republic

If there's a Christmasy holiday in MMOs these days, you can bet your bottom credit that there will be a snowball fight somewhere in it. Apparently, MMO developers worldwide got together in 2009 and signed a sacred pact to feature snowball fights in all of their games in December. And so it is with Star Wars: The Old Republic and this year's Life Day.

SWTOR's Life Day celebration begins today and will go through January 6th. It will feature snowball fights that have a chance of awarding parcels that can be traded for rewards, grumpy parcel droids that need a good cooling off, and several new cash shop items including a mini Wampa pet.

Get in the spirit of Life Day by listening to Princess Leia's legendary song from the Star Wars Holiday Special and downing some Wookie eggnog.

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR's 2014 report card

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Roleplaying, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR's 2014 report card
In 1996, Richard Bartle published a study of MMO gamers that eventually led to his 2003 book Designing Virtual Worlds, which was at the time the de facto MMO genre's design bible. Of course, this was before World of Warcraft hit the scene, but many of the principles Bartle laid out still hold true. In fact, if you don't believe me, take it yourself: GamerDNA still has an online test based on the Bartle study.

Bartle categorized players based on their interests in the game; I would like to do the same this year as I did last year for Star Wars: The Old Republic since it's a good way to measure the game against the average expectations of certain types of players. Bartle divides us all into Achievers, Socializers, Explorers, and Killers. I'll explain what each of those means as I discuss the different aspects of SWTOR. If you know what that means and so you have a point of reference, my profile is SEAK, which means that I interact with all types of players.

For fun, I've added a grade-card-style of rating system: A, B, C, D, or F. Just remember the information I give about that score counts for more than the score itself.

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One Shots: It came from the comments section!

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Culture, Vanguard, One Shots, Star Wars: The Old Republic, TERA, Miscellaneous

In addition to sending in your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, some of you have taken to the comments section in these columns to share your pictures and stories as well. That's totally fine with me, by the way, as long as the email submissions continue as well! However, today I'd like to call attention to a few of these comments section shots and give them a little more attention up above the line.

Our first entry is from commenter Ausj3w3l, and I have to admit that it made me laugh. I think it's something about the way that this character is standing. Fat and proud, just like Mother Nature intended! "Most of the armours in TERA are completely over the top but fabulous, but eh... nothing beats the fuzzball in swim pants," she posted.

The fun doesn't stop here! We've still got three more smashing pics to go!

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The Daily Grind: Do you fill out MMO cancellation surveys?

Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

I cancelled my Star Wars: The Old Republic subscription this week. Given my history with the game I'm sure it's only temporary, but for now I got what I needed out of the 12x event and I'm off to greener pastures.

I told BioWare as much in the post-cancel survey thing, too, but I seriously doubt it'll be removing the gear grind just for me! What about you, Massively readers? Do you think cancellation surveys are a formality? Do you fill them out?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

SWTOR turning three, giving away anniversary decor

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Anniversaries, Housing

Star Wars: The Old Republic is turning three this month, and BioWare is celebrating by making the game's Coruscant and Dromund Kaas Stronghold housing instances available for three credits.

Which isn't as cool as it sounds, since their normal 5,000 credit price is pocket change that you can earn in 30 seconds. But hey, three! Fortunately the devs are doing something else that is actually cool. Namely, they're giving away slick-looking decor for your player house including a holographic projection of the galaxy, paintings, and a fireworks launcher.

You can pick these up at the Anniversary Personnel vendor in the Strongholds area of the Fleet from December 16th through January 13th.

SWTOR releases Shadow of Revan trailer to celebrate official launch

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Launches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Early access for Star Wars: The Old Republic's Shadow of Revan expansion technically opened last week, but for non-subscribers, the formal digital launch date is today. Predictably, BioWare has released a new trailer to coincide with the official launch. Spoilers: Revan, lightsabers, ominous proclamations, etc.

Massively's Larry Everett explored the plotline and soloability of the expansion in his column last week. Enjoy the trailer below.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic axes skill training costs

Sci-Fi, Economy, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic

SWTOR penny-pinchers rejoice, for the oppressive tyranny of skill costs are about to become history. In a post on the forums this afternoon, BioWare announced that it will be abandoning skill training costs as of next week.

"One thing has become clear from the player feedback in not only this thread, but since launch: players do not like training costs. It is a situation where every level you will see your hard earned credits go to a holographic Hutt doctor in order to make yourself a bit stronger. We have been talking about this topic internally for quite some time and when you add player feedback to the mix one thing becomes clear... We should make training costs a thing of the past," the studio said.

[Thanks to the five million people who sent this tip in!]

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