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Default SW: TOR - Interview @ MMOGamer

June 14th, 2009, 01:20
An interview with James Ohlen and Daniel Erickson, the Lead Designer and Lead Writer of Star Wars: The Old Republic that can be found at MMOGamer.
The MMO Gamer: Now,I just sat through the demo, and I have to tell you, I was very impressed by it.
I was impressed, primarily, with the storytelling aspects of the game. I’m sure many people would agree that storytelling has been a major neglected factor in the MMO genre over the years; where the story in most games can be boiled down to why Farmer X wants you to go kill ten rats.
Obviously, BioWare is a company steeped in storytelling tradition. But, just for people who are complete novices to your games, could you talk a little about the philosophy with regards to story that’s going into The Old Republic?
Daniel Erickson: Sure. Really, we tried to take the same storytelling traditions we’ve used in the rest of the games. A Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game is exactly what it sounds like. It’s just a role-playing game that you’ve taken, and allowed a lot of people to play in a large social space.
We always talk about the four pillars that create RPGs: You’ve got exploration, you’ve got progression, you’ve got combat, and you’ve got storytelling.
When we said, hey, we’re going to do our first MMO, the obvious one to talk about first, even though none of the pillars can stand without the rest of them, and none of them are more important than the rest of them, we’re talking about story first because story is the delta. It’s the thing we’re doing that other people have not done.
We’re approaching it the same way we’ve always approached storytelling in games, which is that you need to have a heroic, unique experience, with choice that affects what you do.
In fact, the MMO has given us a place to actually be able to do more unique storytelling than we could in an RPG, normally.
Baldur’s Gate is a great example. With Baldur’s Gate you had a huge, epic story, it’s awesome, but guess what? It’s a fairly every-man story. Because you might have rolled a Druid, and somebody else might have rolled a Warrior, and they had the exact same story, right? We had to make it work for everyone.
Because we did all class-specific stories for The Old Republic, we’ve allowed ourselves to basically make, “Knights of the Old Republic: The Smuggler,” its own game. Everything in there, when you’re playing a Smuggler, you feel like a Smuggler.
The adventures are crazy, and madcap, and you’re flying by the seat of your pants, and there’s romantic stuff, and you’re spouting off crazy one-liners, etc., etc.
Then, when you’re playing as a Sith, it’s a completely different game. Everything is from that perspective, you come from a very dark world, you’re on Korriban, you’re dealing with Sith politics, you’re dealing with some very, very dark people who are allowed to do anything they want.
It completely changes the way we do storytelling.
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June 14th, 2009, 01:20
I'm really curious about how the story-elements pans out.
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June 14th, 2009, 13:58
Originally Posted by hishadow View Post
I'm really curious about how the story-elements pans out.
Jedi Story: 'Please sir, I need your help. There are 10 rats in my basement that are eating my cheese, could you kill them please?
Sith Story: 'You need to kill 10 rats in that old man's house. The amount of violence generated will make the dark side stronger!'
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June 14th, 2009, 14:16
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
Jedi Story: 'Please sir, I need your help. There are 10 rats in my basement that are eating my cheese, could you kill them please?
Sith Story: 'You need to kill 10 rats in that old man's house. The amount of violence generated will make the dark side stronger!'
Of course a pure Jedi would chase them away !

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 14th, 2009, 20:05
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
Jedi Story: 'Please sir, I need your help. There are 10 rats in my basement that are eating my cheese, could you kill them please?
Sith Story: 'You need to kill 10 rats in that old man's house. The amount of violence generated will make the dark side stronger!'
LOL XD

In the end it will be an elaborate version of this. Homer's Ilias isnt anything else than "kill 10 rats and save the girl from the tower" fare. It seems most human stories boil down to… simple desires, teh.
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June 14th, 2009, 21:12
Yes, and while you do it you will see other players who dress up in the most silly costumes they can and speak in 1337 speak if you want to DOOL with their flavor-of-the-month or exploited character. Unless there's forced pvp, then they wont ask.

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June 14th, 2009, 21:34
Well, they're sort of promising us KOTOR3. It'll take more than 3x bad Star Wars movies to prove me wrong. lol
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June 15th, 2009, 15:54
The only MMO I might replace WoW with in the near future (that has currently been announced) is SW: Tor. So far, it seems that BioWare is doing a good job, but I am worried about game balance - Blizzard has created several games with near-perfect balance (pre-WoW), yet they've had serious balancing issues in WoW. BioWare, on the other hand, tend to always make certain powers and abilities way too powerful.

The story aspect of SW: Tor is interesting, yes, but when players are going to invest 5000 hours (or more) in a game, you can't give them a 5000 hour long story. The mechanics, balance and general content must be great. Personally, I hope they make raids somewhere around WoWs size and difficulty. Perhaps a bit smaller (15 or so) as the biggest, since big raids tend to get a little messy (but groups that are too small never get that "epic feeling" in massive boss fights). Add some interesting game mechanics and enough content, and I'll probably ditch WoW for SW: Tor.
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June 15th, 2009, 16:37
No system survives contact with the player base.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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June 16th, 2009, 02:28
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
No system survives contact with the player base.
QFT!!!

Sadly I also see entirely too many trivial black/white choices being dominant in the quests …

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June 16th, 2009, 15:22
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
The only MMO I might replace WoW with in the near future (that has currently been announced) is SW: Tor. So far, it seems that BioWare is doing a good job, but I am worried about game balance - Blizzard has created several games with near-perfect balance (pre-WoW), yet they've had serious balancing issues in WoW. BioWare, on the other hand, tend to always make certain powers and abilities way too powerful.
Balance depends too much on 'the eye of the beholder'. What you may look as imbalanced may not be so to others, and vice-versa. I've played MMOs long enough to realize balance is just impossible to reach. You just need to filter out the obvious bugs and don't worry so much about just general balance. It really is a neverending cycle of changing stuff that will inevitably piss off customers that used, then a wave of 'my class was nerfed! they're useless now, class 'X' can one shot me!!'.
The problem is even worse in PvP obviously. That's why I prefer MMOs with no PvP at all.
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