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Author Topic: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!  (Read 1309 times)

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Offline Colton

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San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« on: 07/25/14, 11:32:13 PM »
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San Diego Community Cantina 2014 is officially over, and just like last year, it was WILD. I got to meet some of our fellow players from different servers (and one from our server, who plays an Imp named Aphelion) and party it up with our people. Food and drink aplenty were had, and it didn't take long for our SWTOR dev team to launch into the Q&A/Giveaway portion of the event. I was at the ass end of the bar for most of the Q&A, unfortunately, and the guy who was answering most of the questions was too soft-spoken to be heard from way in the back, even with the microphone. Still, I got some tidbits from the Q&A and managed to steal a good chunk of time from Courtney Woods, the Lead Community Coordinator at BioWare. (You may have seen her name pop up on this site in conjunction with whatever crisis control message SWTOR has to give from time to time.)

Before I get into writing up that whole info dump, I'm going to brag about being the proud owner of a new pet, the M8-3R Astromech Droid (or, as Saura will call him, Mater) and a new SWTOR USB drive with the logo emblazoned on the side. It looks exactly like last year's USB drive, but with new goodies. What sort of new goodies? I'll let this copy/paste of the text file on the drive speak for itself:

Quote
Check out exclusive new gameplay assets coming to Star Wars™: The Old Republic™!

 • Get ready to dive head-first into the new Manaan Flashpoint, coming August 19th!

 • In this next installment of the “Forged Alliances” storyline, major heavyweights in the Empire and Republic have slipped away to the ocean-covered planet Manaan to advance a secret plot against their respective factions.
 • Infiltrating a deep-sea research facility, you’ll discover an array of bizarre scientific experiments being performed for an unknown organization.
 • Along the way, you’ll also meet a Wookiee smuggler, Jakarro, and his Droid with an attitude, C2-D4.

 • Plus, take a tour of a Dromund Kaas Skyrise Apartment, located in the heart of the Imperial capital as you check out new screenshots of pre-decorated rooms as well as an example of empty rooms you’ll be able to customize to your taste!

 • Finally, take a look at a few of the Stronghold decorations available in the upcoming Digital Expansion, Galactic Strongholds and don’t forget to join Subscriber Early Access beginning August 19th to get your own Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace!

May the Force be with you!
The Star Wars: The Old Republic Team

Indeed, there are three separate folders, and I raced home to plug it into my computer so I could check them out.

The Manaan Flashpoint folder has 16 images - 15 screenshots and a page of concept art for Jakarro and C2-D4. There's images of the droids that trigger the Flashpoint and images of what looks like a research facility and a [SPOILER REDACTED] which is very intriguing.

The Dromund Kaas Stronghold folder has 11 images, all screenshots, two of which show empty rooms of the DK stronghold while the others show what it might look like as a furnished space. Furnishings include chairs, couches, stone/metal/crystal sculptures, banners, datacrons, ancient artifacts, holo-shrubbery, real shrubbery, tables, paintings, and light fixtures. It definitely has that swanky Imperial style.

Finally, the Galactic Stronghold Items folder has a mere 5 images, but they're all pics of items with their actual item name: Blue Gree Light, Bomb Shell (that one seems made for Lien), Canister of Isotopes, Cantina Loveseat and another Blue Gree Light are all represented.

I think that taps me out for tonight. Tomorrow, I'll write up everything I learned from the Q&A and talking with Courtney.
Saura Colton - Former Republic slicer/spy
Jace Colton - Captain of the Second Star (retired)
Drexa Nahir - Akar Enclave Master (deceased)

Offline Colton

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #1 on: 07/26/14, 10:18:38 AM »
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Q&A Part One

I'll merge both the official Q&A stuff with what I was able to find out from Courtney Woods. As stated, some of the early Q&A stuff was pretty hard to hear from the back, but I was able to catch more tidbits as I made my way closer to where the devs were. I also followed up with Courtney on some of the things that they touched on in the Q&A, so there's some significant crossover here.

First of all, Courtney Woods is a very lovely lady who, it turns out, is a fan of roleplayers and the kinds of things we are able to accomplish within their game. She loved the fact that I came to the event with a notepad full of questions, and was more than happy to move to the fringes of the bar so we could talk more clearly. (Ironically, we were two steps from where Cali and I grilled Damion Schubert last year.)

Much of what follows is paraphrased as my shorthand is atrocious and there was a lot to discuss. Even so, this is what I was able to glean from BioWare's Lead Community Coordinator:

Chat logs and Chat bubbles
This is something that has been on their list for quite a while, and they're still determining how best to integrate it without breaking something else in the game. (Chat bug, anyone?) Chat bubbles is the most problematic of the two, as there are performance issues to take into account when you have a lot of people in one place and graphical bubbles are popping up everywhere. They haven't given up on these features, however, it's just taking them longer than they thought it would.

Hood toggle
In the works! Courtney gave a bit of insight into why it's taking them so long - going in and changing the functionality of every piece of hooded armor so it can toggle to up or down is a time-consuming process. Given that they still need to create other new content for SWTOR, this still isn't a high priority for them, but it's something that they are working on implementing.

"Lie down" and other emotes
As always, they welcome community feedback on the forums when it comes to what emotes we want to see in the game. If there's something you desperately want to see, such as an emote where you can lay down in the bedroom of your swanky Stronghold, find pics of Star Wars characters laying down that you would want to see added to the game and post 'em! The devs are still monitoring those threads, and visuals help them implement the idea better.

New races and classes
Courtney made it pretty clear that we will not be getting new classes anytime in the foreseeable future. Maybe much further down the line, but it's not something they're actively working toward due to the amount of work needed to implement such a thing well. New races, however, are something that they're keen to implement through the Cartel Market, but she couldn't say more on that particular topic right now. On a related note...

Hairstyles and eyecovers
Courtney said there will be new hairstyles, and responded well when I asked her about the possibility of opening up racial styles across the board. She had a tentative maybe when it came to Miraluka veils, but likely because she was unaware of an interest for that. Now it's on her radar.

New planets
When I asked if they would be including more of the KOTOR worlds into SWTOR to expand our playable galaxy, she laughed and made a coy comment on how cool that would be. She couldn't say more on that subject other than to look for an announcement toward the end of the year!

SWTOR and Disney/Legacy status
This one, I'll admit, is a question I'd been wondering about for a while now. Courtney made it very clear that Disney has zero say in what happens in SWTOR, and said that the dev team found out about Disney's plans for Star Wars with the rest of us. Disney has no say in how SWTOR is run, and they're not looking to align with the official continuity, sticking instead to what they've built going back to KOTOR. So no, Korriban will not be getting a name change.

I'll let you guys digest part one while I work on writing up part two...
Saura Colton - Former Republic slicer/spy
Jace Colton - Captain of the Second Star (retired)
Drexa Nahir - Akar Enclave Master (deceased)

Offline Crimsen

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #2 on: 07/26/14, 10:57:45 AM »
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SWTOR and Disney/Legacy status
This one, I'll admit, is a question I'd been wondering about for a while now. Courtney made it very clear that Disney has zero say in what happens in SWTOR, and said that the dev team found out about Disney's plans for Star Wars with the rest of us. Disney has no say in how SWTOR is run, and they're not looking to align with the official continuity, sticking instead to what they've built going back to KOTOR. So no, Korriban will not be getting a name change.

Good. Someone is putting duct tape on Mickey Mouse's mouth... I'm glad they're sticking with what Bioware started in KOTOR. So as far as I'm concerned, this history is the official back story to the movies :D.

Offline Colton

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #3 on: 07/26/14, 11:10:56 AM »
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Q&A Part Two

Almost done with the first page of my notes...

Communication/emote/ticket issues for Preferred/F2P status
I made it very clear that communication is important, not just to our community but to all communities, and they get it. Part of the restriction behind things like giving unlimited chat/mail/ticket access to F2P players is that spammers will inevitably abuse it. (I know, we're all responsible people here who would never do that, but let's face it, spam happens.) I did broach the subject of making a differentiation between F2Pers who become Preferred just because they spent money to get Cartel Coins vs. Subscribers who, for whatever reason, are not currently on monthly payment, and that struck a chord with her. All in all, they are working on improving the communication options for chat and emote for Preferred status, but there's no ETA on when that will be implemented. Following the Preferred status line of thought...

Eliminate/change the Preferred/F2P escrow and payment reminders
Sorry, gang, there are no plans to change this anytime soon. If it makes you feel better, she looked a little nervous when I asked this question. Apparently, it's not the first time that question was asked, and I don't think she's particularly fond of the answer she has to give, either.

Class/planet story
Courtney and I talked about this for a bit. (It might have something to do with the fact that I'm a writer, and story is important to me.) From here on out, SWTOR story is going to be divided up more by faction and less by class. What that means is that we'll have more content like Makeb, where the story is told in two parts - the Republic side of the story, and the Imperial side of things. While this means that we aren't getting dedicated class story that's separate from a planet's story, the devs are working on incorporating more options into those larger stories that are determined by the class you're playing. How that will work exactly is anyone's guess at this point, but they're aware that people want to have more personal stories, too.

Modular building process
This one is for Aolanni. :) Courtney said that could become a future developer blog entry on the main site!

Other cultures and Force traditions
There are no plans right now to delve deep into the wealth of cultures, Force or otherwise, that Star Wars has to offer. Not to say that they're not aware of an interest in such, but I get the feeling that total immersion is not something that's within their current story scope. They seem to be shooting more for the bigger picture of war, not the smaller, more personal angle at present.

Cross-faction locales
Well, there's good and bad news on this: The answer from Courtney is yes, we will have more cross-faction areas coming, but they're largely PVP areas. I then asked if we could get more areas like Nar Shaddaa's Promenade in the game, and while she couldn't give me an answer on that, we may get it with future planets introduced in expansions.

Level cap
Our level cap will be bumped up with the next Makeb-like release. Could be the one she was hinting at being announced toward the end of the year?

Next new raid
Courtney laughed and said that she wouldn't be able to say anything without giving away massive spoilers. Intriguing...

I'll let this bit sink in while I finish up writing the last of my notes...
Saura Colton - Former Republic slicer/spy
Jace Colton - Captain of the Second Star (retired)
Drexa Nahir - Akar Enclave Master (deceased)

Offline NovaZero

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #4 on: 07/26/14, 11:19:32 AM »
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Yeah, I figured as much. -.-'

Still, it's extremely useful that you gave us your own observations. It gives good context as to where Devs are mentally at.

Thanks again for chiming in. Now. Coulson pics.
Heads up! Most of my roleplay is done over Discord!

Hit me up there if you're keen!
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Offline Colton

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #5 on: 07/26/14, 11:58:56 AM »
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Q&A Part Three

We're in the final stretch!

GSF plans
Good news, fighter pilots, new content is incoming! She couldn't give any details about what's in the works, but there are more locales and customization options on the horizon. As to whether or not there would be integration with Strongholds, Courtney said there are no current plans but that was an interesting suggestion that should be brought to Damion's attention on the forums if it's something you'd like to see. (They were hungry for feedback on what has been revealed about Strongholds thus far so they can determine what to add to them.) On a related note...

Guild flagships
Yes, PVPers will get the most out of them, especially because of the Conquest aspect of the flagships, but Courtney said you don't have to PVP for them if you don't want to. It'll be rough, but there will still be options for the smaller RP heavy guilds. Moderately good news for those of us who aren't gung-ho PVP players, but there's still this next bit...

Stronghold/Flagship pricing
So, the pricing that is seen on the PTR is what they have in place right now, but just like anything that hasn't been implemented in the final game, it is subject to change. They're taking in the feedback from the PTR now, along with many other factors such as server economy, and will arrive at a final price point based on that. (I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind you to frame your feedback when posting to devs on the subject as constructive criticism, not trolling. Our devs are people just like you and me, and they're more apt to respond to polite feedback about pricing suggestions than a wall of text that includes profanity and name-calling. Pull back on the "WTF THIS SUCKS YOU GUYS SUCK" and give them an idea of what you would consider fair pricing.)

Our custom channel /who list
I told Courtney how much we as a community relied on the list of people in custom channels to pop up when we log in, and asked if we could get that back. She confirmed that this is definitely a bug, and they're working on getting that back to us.

PVP queues and /ignore
To the concern about extending group finder's functionality toward people on your ignore list to PVP queues, the reaction I got was one of bafflement. This is something that's already a part of PVP queuing, apparently, and if you're experiencing something different, it's definitely a bug that you should report.

Some extra tidbits gleaned from the event
Hey, you guys remember that Collector's Edition vendor that's in the VIP area of fleet? They're finally going to add more items to it!
Oh, and guild emblems are in the works.
Also, if you're holding your breath for custom Stronghold names, don't. They already nixed that idea because people are dumb and immature.

And that's all of it! Major kudos to Courtney for being a champ and not balking when I showed her my pad of questions. If you get a chance, show your appreciation on the forums at some point. She's got a hard job to do, especially in the wake of the chat bug fiasco, but it was a lesson learned and she showed some genuine appreciation for the roleplay community and what we bring to their game.
Saura Colton - Former Republic slicer/spy
Jace Colton - Captain of the Second Star (retired)
Drexa Nahir - Akar Enclave Master (deceased)

Offline Orell

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #6 on: 07/26/14, 12:05:43 PM »
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Also, if you're holding your breath for custom Stronghold names, don't. They already nixed that idea because people are dumb and immature.

...yeah, we have a term for this at work: Swastika-Penis.

Basically that if we gave players the option to have a custom-something that will be automatically displayed to other players, a large number of them will automatically be Swastikas, Penises or somehow both.

I wish I was kidding.

But, thanks for all the info, Jace! :D
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Karmic

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #7 on: 07/26/14, 01:19:17 PM »
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Always fun to see what a dev or comunity person says, "Oh we didn't know this was wanted..."  But then turn around as the answer for all things they really prolly aren't working on that much -

"Hey we're monitoring those threads! Post what you want there!  We watch those we swear!"

Are you serious? Two years and its still the "We didn't know you wanted lay down emotes?"  A year after we get new hair and its "oh more new hair is coming and we might open it up - is that a thing?"...

Dev double talk...  we wait.

History Posts:  Her Backstory , Darth-Hood

Offline Sotar

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #8 on: 07/26/14, 02:18:42 PM »
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Thanks so much Colton!

Sounds like we have a lot to look forward to! It's good to know that Disney isn't going to make waves that would potentially contradict what the dev team is trying to do for us.

Great work on giving us the inside scoop!  :dance:

Offline Semah

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #9 on: 07/26/14, 03:44:22 PM »
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The chatlog answer was pretty much the non-comment that was to be expected from the community tank---what else can someone not in a technical-power position say, really, beyond "We're aware"? Note the clever reference to the chatbug frustration. She is really VERY VERY good---but thanks for asking in any case.

Offline Hawking

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #10 on: 07/26/14, 04:03:16 PM »
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Thanks a lot for the info, Jace!
Much appreciated as ever.

Characters:

-Hawking Shatari, Master of Myserty
-Aspasia Maguire, Smack Talker
-Rieko "Boogie" Black, Agent of the Empire

Offline livia

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #11 on: 07/26/14, 04:45:07 PM »
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PVP queues and /ignore
To the concern about extending group finder's functionality toward people on your ignore list to PVP queues, the reaction I got was one of bafflement. This is something that's already a part of PVP queuing, apparently, and if you're experiencing something different, it's definitely a bug that you should report.
It has never worked like that for pvp, only for pve queueing.

Edited to add: I should have asked you to ask about expanding the size of the ignore list.
« Last Edit: 07/26/14, 05:01:30 PM by livia »

Offline Auryn

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #12 on: 07/26/14, 05:55:41 PM »
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WOW Jace, this is amazing, I had no idea you'd get the chance to be so thorough and be able to provide so manY answers!! Thankyou so much for this, I feel incredibly well informed. ESPECIALLY for slipping my mostly irrelevant question about building in there! XD

Seriously, so excited for what's coming now. You have my gratitude :aww:

In the meantime, totally going to sketch some Miraluka hair and veil designs and get them on the official forums :D
My drawing was not of a hat.
It was of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant.



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Offline Colton

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #13 on: 07/27/14, 12:49:37 AM »
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I feel like I should address a few things in this thread, for clarification's sake:

Good. Someone is putting duct tape on Mickey Mouse's mouth... I'm glad they're sticking with what Bioware started in KOTOR. So as far as I'm concerned, this history is the official back story to the movies :D.

From what I gathered from Courtney, the whole Legends thing is a non-issue to them. They're happy with the freedom that they have, and likely will have even more freedom moving forward knowing that they don't have to adhere so strictly to canon given the whole Legends thing. While Korriban's name change is moderately problematic for anyone trying to reconcile our game with official lore, there's nothing saying that the planet couldn't have changed its name in the thousands of years between SWTOR and the film/TV canon, or even that there are multiple Sith homeworlds. Ziost, anyone? :)

Still, it's extremely useful that you gave us your own observations. It gives good context as to where Devs are mentally at.

The great thing about talking to the devs face to face is that you can immediately get intent that you can't from a forum post or social media update. You can see and hear tone and body language, and you can ask for clarification right on the spot. Which leads into...

Always fun to see what a dev or comunity person says, "Oh we didn't know this was wanted..."  But then turn around as the answer for all things they really prolly aren't working on that much -

"Hey we're monitoring those threads! Post what you want there!  We watch those we swear!"

Are you serious? Two years and its still the "We didn't know you wanted lay down emotes?"  A year after we get new hair and its "oh more new hair is coming and we might open it up - is that a thing?"...

Dev double talk...  we wait.

It's not that they don't know we want it. It's that they can't read our minds and know HOW we want it. What do you imagine a lay down emote would look like? Can you find a pic of it? Post it on the forums so they have a frame of reference. These guys aren't magic, they can't miraculously know what it is we want and incorporate what you imagine into the game without feedback. I don't consider that double-talk, I consider that being open to community input.

The chatlog answer was pretty much the non-comment that was to be expected from the community tank---what else can someone not in a technical-power position say, really, beyond "We're aware"? Note the clever reference to the chatbug frustration. She is really VERY VERY good---but thanks for asking in any case.

The clever reference was mine, based on what I inferred from our conversation on the topic. She didn't address the chat bug outright, but it was pretty clear to me what the reference was. She did state it's something they're working on, so at least they're trying and haven't just given up on adding it altogether. We'll see what happens in a year's time.

It has never worked like that for pvp, only for pve queueing.

Interesting. Then I don't know if she was just confused by my question, or if it really is a bug that they're unaware of. Either way, I'd report that shiz in tickets and forums if you can, or maybe ask someone to report it for you if you can't.

EDIT: Oh, and I forgot one more thing that I'd overheard that night...

Alderaan housing
While this is not something that will be available right off the bat, someone else asked about this and the possibility of housing on other planets as well. Courtney's answer was that she would love to see housing on the other worlds, too, and that player feedback on housing will determine which planets, if any, will see housing in the future. If you want a royal suite on Alderaan, or housing anywhere else in the game, let them know!
« Last Edit: 07/27/14, 12:52:32 AM by Colton »
Saura Colton - Former Republic slicer/spy
Jace Colton - Captain of the Second Star (retired)
Drexa Nahir - Akar Enclave Master (deceased)

Offline NovaZero

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Re: San Diego Community Cantina 2014!
« Reply #14 on: 07/27/14, 03:25:43 AM »
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Edited to add: I should have asked you to ask about expanding the size of the ignore list.
Thank you. I almost died laughing. :)

Here's hoping we don't get Belsavis housing.

Because I know prisons that have their own housing... they just don't call it that.
Heads up! Most of my roleplay is done over Discord!

Hit me up there if you're keen!
Check profile for plot.