Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Galaxies Tuesday: CU2.doc

What didn't I copy from the forums, we ask?  I don't recall this at all.  It must be from just before the Combat Upgrade, right?  I don't recall much from the Combat Upgrade, overshadowed as it soon was by the NGE.

My first ever MMO character was a Galaxies Doctor. Not a Combat Medic, but that thrilling class who could cure you of anything, drag you to safety, and bring you back to life.  I also got so I could create really nice medicines which I sold successfully and happily.  With the Combat Upgrade, that character was so changed I stopped playing her.  I just couldn't bear to play her anymore.  Her medicines were turned overnight to trash though they were supposed to be made to something equivalently good in the new system.

I created my Ranger, then another.  I had long admired Ranger characters I knew, but you know, two characters per server and my Doc was needed by her guild.  I spent some months really so happy and free as a Ranger until the class was totally removed in the NGE.

This really sounds more like the NGE talking about the removal of classes.  I dunno.

Last week at the Austin Game Conference, John Smedley, the president of SOE, mentioned in his keynote address that their upcoming DC comics MMO would be real-time combat. We bumped into him later that day and asked if what he said was true and he assured us it was. He also happened to mention SWG would be going real-time combat as well. He asked us not to print anything until SOE unveiled some of their upcoming changes today.

From our man in the field, schild:

quote (schild):


Ok, so I'm here at SOE's Austin studio and I've played the new build of SWG which is going to be pushed onto test on Friday...with no real press. Basically they went through, ripped out 80% of the classes, left in the following: Force Sensitive, Bounty Hunter, Officer, Smuggler, Commando, Spy, Trader (all the tradeskills - 4 base sets now - Domestics, Structures, Munitions, Engineering), Medic and Entertainer. Here's the deal. Left click shoots - you have to aim. Right click fires off a special ability.

No more auto attack.
No more hotkey combat.

Once collision detection goes in, this will probably be the game I play. There's actual skill involved now. You can run from people and they can't just autohit you.

I don't know how else to explain it other than SOE has done the right thing. They've revitalized combat in an MMOG. It's a huge step in the right direction. Do I think they'll perfect it here? No. But it's by far the most interesting thing a studio has done. They've taken a gamble, and from what I've seen it's paid off. In other words, they've added the "Wars" back to Star Wars. It's been in the works for over a year now. In fact, the expansions could probably be called smokescreens for the launch of the real game. It'll shake things up.

Cons? 90 levels. The exp curve isn't bad though.
Good? Lots of neat skills such as Orbital Strike, theft from NPCs, working stealth for spies, fencing goods in the field for smugglers, and above all - combat based at least 75% on skill. It isn't quite Unreal Tournament, but it's nowhere near the crap combat we've dealt with for 10 years.

When it rolls out in a few weeks I'm hoping some of you will actually take the dive again with me and see where it goes, if for no other reason than to support innovation. In all seriousness, almost all the changes are for the better. Before anyone else says it - yes, it was shocking to me that SOE took this angle on restructuring an MMOG first. Even moreso that Lucasarts supported it. Ding. Grats.


Needless to say that left me wanting to know more, so I tried to follow-up with schild while he was busy playing an internal build of the overhaul.

quote (schild):


SOE and LucasArts are 100% behind this. The goal is to make the game more fun, to make you feel like a part of the Star Wars universe.

This is not something that will be done a week or even a month from now. From what schild can gather, we're looking at 6 months or more before this is rolled out to every server. The entire game is changing. No "classic" servers, everything will be the revamped game.

In order for them to implement collision detection, every art asset in the game has to be gone through. That's why we're looking at 6+ months.

Space combat will stay the same.

Like us, I assume many of you have questions and we'll do our best to answer them in the coming days, weeks and months. For right now I have a reason to re-activate my SWG subscription and that's something that one week ago I thought I would never have a reason to do.

[EDIT] Information is continuing to roll in.

quote (schild):


Think Diablo. You can also hold down left click like a machine gun. But uhmmm, yea. It's getting there.

As for weapons, here's the deal. The abilities are class specific, not weapon specific. You want to wield melee? Any class can do it. Etc. It's well done. Balance isn't one of the hugest issues here as once CD is in, the game will require more skill. For every bit of skill put into a game, you don't need to worry so much about balance. I'm interested in seeing orbital strike or a called in artillary shot during PvP. It'll be interesting.


quote (schild):


A lot of it is going in in 2 weeks. Collision detection will be the thing done in 6 months. Sorry for not being clear.

Shockeye said they aren't keeping the old servers. They are, characters and shit will be grandfathered in. This is a total combat restructure. It's a better core game, placed on everything that already exists. It's a change of monumental proportions that many would have refused to undertake. It's impressive to say the least. BUT IS IT GOOD? Have to wait for a couple weeks and try it out on live. Initial impressions: Promising. That's more than I've said about an MMOG in 6 months. So take it as you will.


I guess I misunderstood schild. My bad.

quote (schild):


Seriously though, here's more fun - the 3rd person aiming perspective was taken from Resident Evil IV. Admittedly. It's good stuff. It shows how much better RE4 would be with a mouse. Something important to understand though, if you are aiming at the guy and on him - you WILL hit him. There doesn't seem to be a way to miss if you can aim. So there's a good amalgam of games at work in this system. It'll be fun to watch the fireball when it hits, and hopefully it will be as fun in live practice as well.

Correct, they aren't going to DAOC the servers. Everyone gets these changes.

One of the things I've read on the boards that linked to us is that people thing this is a first person shooter. It's not, it has some in common - but at the end of the cycle after they add collision detection it will definately play more like how SW:G should have played at launch. These are good necessary changes. The combat was the shittiest of the shitty when the game came out. Now it's not. It's that simple.


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