Today at 2 pm PDT, BioWare livestreamed a gameplay demo with Daniel Erickson. Daniel took questions and chatted as he quested on the deserts of Tatooine on his Bounty Hunter. Here are some of the highlights:
- Blizz, the Jawa Bounty Hunter companion confirmed!
- Speederbikes were scaled down to the current wave runner form because the bikes took up so much space in the cities.
More highlights and transcript of Q & A after the jump
- There is at least one more warzone that hasn’t been announced yet.
- All classes can visit Tatooine
- Companions are getting one more rehaul which will bring dramatic changes.
- Players do not have to return to their ships to get companions.
- Still undecided as to whether RP PvP servers will exist.
- Daniel is such a serious RPer, he prefers to walk rather than run.
- Medical probe allows fast rez after dying. Cannot use immediately again, have to wait for timer, which is still being adjusted.
- Cannot summon starship wherever you want.
- Daniel showed us the Bounty Hunter Skill Trees: approximately17-25 abilities in each tree.
TRANSCRIPT courtesy of KC-Cullen
Are Jawa companions empire only? If so, do the Republic get ewok companions?!
They are not Jawa companions. One of the things you guys always remember is that companion characters are class-specific. We have companion characters with all – with their quests, with their dialog, with all the stuff in a Bioware game, and we have different sets for every class. so Blizz is only for the Bounty Hunter. All of the different classes however have fantastic companion characters, just as exciting. […] There is, – there are no Ewoks. I can go ahead and confirm that now. Endor is not floating around yet in their time period.
Are there any speeders besides the one shown in the video? Like speeder bikes etc?
Absolutely. There is actually a whole bunch of different speeders. And in fact one of – […] originally we had the concept artists design a bunch of different speeders that were very specific to the two factions. […] Damion had asked that they not actually be specific that way but, in fact, have some ability that the other faction can get them. So even though the different ones are faction-specific themes, you can through a lot of hard work end up with something that really shows off you stole the other faction’s speeder.
Will there be different speed levels for mounts?
Absolutely. Different speed levels, different designs, different feels. We’ve got a pretty good variety for the vehicles.
At what level will mounts be available to the player?
Right now they’re setting in about 25 but as all things like that, testing, testing, testing.
Will Blizz be romanceable?
Blizz is not slated as a romance right now. That would involve us showing what happens, when Jawas – what’s under the Jawa robe. You may think you wanna know, but you don’t actually want to know.
What Advanced Class spec is the Bounty Hunter you are playing?
Right now I’m playing PowerTech which is part of my problem, because I usually have been a Mercenary in times past. So, I’m trying to learn what this guy is doing.
Is there an autoloot option?
If by autoloot you mean a right-click just handles everything: Yes, there is. There is not a “you don’t have to press right-click at all”-option. But yes, there is a – right-click just goes and takes everything or you can do the traditional shift and click to loot thing.
Is there a sarlacc to visit ingame?
There is in fact a sarlacc to visit in game. Jumping in it is sort of fun, but throwing somebody in it is really fun.
What will the level cap be?
Level cap right now is 50.
Blizz companion you can equip any newly acquired blaster on to the companion?
So, companions – one of the things people are a little bit confused. I know, when people saw the features video, they saw somebody they thought looked a lot like Mako, because they were wearing a very similar outfit. It’s important to remember that you actually can equip your companions entirely. So, we’ll go over the companion tab. You’ll see this guy [Blizz] has actually got a full set of gear. What we are doing with the companions that – it’s not a very nice thing to say, we call them freaks – the really, really really not humans like Blizz and Khem Val – we have set looks for them that you can unlock and we will talk later about how we do that, but you can actually put any sort of equipment on them. A little bit like Big Z was in the original Knights of the Old Republic. We don’t want you try to put together all of the ridiculous – like, you know you can’t cramp human armor on Blizz. We still want him to be upgradable. Also, like the original Knights of the Old Republic, droids are a different thing and droids actually do get their own unique items. You get armorplating and things like that for them.
Can you show us what your inventory looks like?
So this is the first time – obviously we spent a lot time telling people: “Hey, don’t look at the UI!”, because it wasn’t done. […] So, here is my inventory. You can pay to extend it out. We don’t actually have a – there is no backpacks or ideas like that. We don’t try to explain how you are holding thirty sets of armor. You just have inventory and you can pay to extend it out. Your character shows all of your different stuff.
[shown at that point: Charactername with eventual title, Valorbar, Socialrank short: Character screen and Inventory are combined]
We do have a different slot for quest items and this does not fill up. So, you really just keep it going.
At What level can you start to PvP?
Right now you can actually start PvP at level one. I don’t know whether or not that is going to be [inaudible, most likely: shifted or if we are going to do it]. It’s really fun, there are some small story perks around – one of the first PvP places you can go is Alderaan – and you haven’t really been introduced to it yet, but nobody seems to care. So, it’s very likely we just end up leaving it that way, because it’s really fun to go into PvP and get thrown into the various pieces. There is at least one more warzone we haven’t announced yet, that Gabe has tried to tease a little bit. It is one that few of us had been dreaming about doing it for a period of time.
Can you give Blizz a kit that gives him different looks? Like armor or another robe?
So, Blizz has a number of different set appearances. So, you can unlock different appearances for Blizz. And we’ll talk a little bit about how that works. For the people who are more human and can wear normal armor – saying for people like Mako, who – when you see her in the video, we always end up having her on her default clothes, because that’s sort of her look and it makes her easier to recognize. But she actually – you can put any suit of armor on her you want. I ran into somebody the other day who had worked really hard on getting a bunch of suits of armor. And, both the Sith Warrior and that were running around dressed like high level Imperial Officers. It made me giggle. They weren’t very good in a fight wearing that gear but there they were.
Will Tatooine be visitable by all classes?
Tatooine is absolutely visitable by all classes. And that’s what – when I was showing you the world map here. This area is where the Republic starts out [Northeast part of the map – Anchorhead, known from KOTOR] and this area is where the Imperials start out [southern area of the map, “Mos Ila” I believe – don’t quote on that]. By the time you are out of the starting areas, you start running across each other a lot. By the time you hit the dune sea it gets really, really dangerous on PvP servers. I, in fact the last time I was playing, ran into the wrong taxi station and realized right as I was there and the players who were playing there and the guards all came running up to murder me.
[On the Tatooine storyline for the Bounty Hunter Daniel Erickson played – no clue whether that’s World Arch or class quest]:
What we are actually doing on Tatooine is – we are trying to uncover the mysteries of what Czerka was doing here quite a long time ago [KOTOR reference] and why they are trying to cover it up.
Are the Story areas, like Daniel is in, phased/instanced or open to the world?
It really depends on the area. The one you saw me in right now is actually a fully public space [Daniel Erickson made a mistake here and corrected it later, the area shown at that time was a story instance]. There are instances. When we do instances however, we don’t do the instances where we are gonna cut you of from the whole rest of the planet. It’s really important for us that you are not having that moment where you say: “Hey Bob, meet me by the mailbox.”. Bob says: “I’m standing next to the mailbox but I can’t see you.”. So, we keep our instances small and tight. Even when there are big dungeons, there are places that make sense to be instanced. You’ve gotta group together, you got a story piece of your own, you gonna walk in and talk to somebody, you gonna see a piece – Anytime we can keep you in the public space […] – if we can do it, we do.
What type of companion is Blizz, IE: tank, healer..
He right now is a dps. […] Blizz has got also some tech abilities. His story is – he’s actually a cute, little, crazy mechanic. We have actually at least one more major [inaudible, pass on?] the companion characters that’s gonna bring pretty radical changes how we play with them. So, stay tuned for that. That’s one of the few systems that is still pretty strongly in flux.
On PvP will our lvl be buffed to a fixed cap?
Absolutely. So, PvP especially right now as we’ve got the population small – we may have different brackets for it, but whatever the bracket is, it buffs everybody up to be around the same place.
What transportation options are there in such a huge planet [like Tatooine]?
So, Tatooine has a very nice “speeder through the desert”-system. And then, obviously, your own speeders. […] When you actually look at the map, these are all taxi hubs. So, good ways to get around everywhere. Once you have discovered one, obviously you can go and get around all sorts of interesting places.
Can you switch companions? i.e. Can you remove Blizz and get someone else to take his place?
Absolutely. So, once each of your companions is unlocked, they live on your ship and you can use them in any fashion that you want.
Are there force using companions?
There are absolutely force using companions and they show up for a variety of different classes, some of which are very surprising.
Is Blizz just a companion for this particular quest?
No. Once you unlocked Blizz – to be clear, we let Blizz out here, because we wanted people to be able to see Blizz, because he is very cool. I shouldn’t actually have Blizz yet[at level 26], I am cheating – but once you get Blizz, you can take him out whenever you want. In fact, through the crew window, which doesn’t have anybody else in there, because we didn’t want to show off all the companions, but you can literally go here and flip out your companions any time you want. One of the things we did at the early days was a much more – like the original Knights of the Old Republic, where you had to go back to your ship. It was really not conducive to MMO gameplay. It’s very important to the MMO and the constantly shifting sort of groups that you form, that you can switch out your companions for, really, the situation that it calls for. Very often we said: “Hey” – Mako right now is specced as a healer, and we definitely had the situation where we said: “Hey, there is three of us and none of us is a healer. Somebody get Mako.”. And instead having you run back to your ship, one of the Bounty Hunters just pulls Mako out. All of the sudden we’ve got a healer in the group. We had a pretty hilarious bug for a while where Mako would just follow who ever she healed the most. So, when your group split up, one guy would walk away with your companion character. Now, that doesn’t happen any more.
To Daniel playing TOR. Any dark side options that you had trouble choosing or regretted making?
Yeah, yeah. There is definitely some – I first really decided that this is where I wanted to be when playing the original Knights of the Old Republic and doing the Big – you know, “Hey, we can make Big Z take out Mission!” [KOTOR dark side spoiler…]. And I remember that really effecting me and feeling guilt and sort of horrible about it. And it’s also one of the things that made me woe and want to get into doing Bioware stuff. So, we really try to push that feel in The Old Republic. There is a lot of places where we watched people who said they really wanted to be dark side, sort of step away and say: “I don’t think I can do that.”. The one that comes up very often, I think because it’s so early, is on Hutta – you guys may have heard where – there is a women who wants to sent her son of to Korriban for Sith training and the father, who had been on Korriban and managed to survive but not become Sith, is trying to leave with the son. Your options are to put the kid and its dad on the shuttle and lie to her and tell her that the kid went to Korriban and everything is good, or you gun down the father in front of his son. It’s one of those ones a lot of people hesitate about and even once they do, we see many players say. “Oh, I didn’t think that would actually happen.” and then start to got towards a lighter, nicer path.
Can I sell my companion for credits?
*laughs* No. You actually cannot participate actively in slavery. this is an ESRB issue.
Will sand people march in single file?
When they do march, yes, in fact they will.
Can you visit any planet you want no matter what chapter you’re currently in?
Once you have actually unlocked your ship, yes. Before that you need travel systems and things – kinda keep you contained for the first couple worlds, so you can figure out what is going on. But then yeah, if you want to march of to Corellia and just run around in the warzone and get completely destroyed, you absolutely can.
Story is a important thing, but we never want it to be something that limits the base used abilities of an MMO.
Will there be RP-PVP servers?
I don’t know, like we haven’t announced anything for it. But I like them. You know I always wanted a popup at the beginning that explains to them what it means, because a lot of times my RP-PvP servers are filled with guys killing me and go on: “What’s RP?”. But I think The Old Republic is a great place for roleplayers. We put a lot of work in to make sure that we have support for that sort of thing. I’m actually the guy who is walking in the game when he is actually playing, because it is not good roleplaying to run. So, I am in support. We haven’t made any official announcements yet.
What Happens if you die?
One of the things we did a lot of work on was really trying to shift what is in fact the death system. So, James Ohlen, you know, we are talking about the guy who has made Baldur’s Gate games and Dragon Age. And he likes to kill players. He has a very firm believe, that if you cant die then the game becomes very boring very quickly. So he wanted to make sure that we had a death system that would work for that, because the problem is, […] if you gonna let players die, if you gonna put them in situations where they have to think, where they actually not have to cakewalk through a combat, you have to make the death system pretty forgiving. When you are playing a single player game, you don’t even mind cracking up the death penalty on some of this stuff, because if you do happen to die, you’ll just gonna reload. Your penalty is as much as your computer handles the reload. So even in the worst case maybe 20, 30 seconds and you are back in the action. If every time that you’re gonna die you have a huge penalty, you have to walk back a long way, players are going very mad very quickly.
So, we are still offer return to med[center] and that’s what you can do, but we’ve also added a medical probe. And the medical probe takes a few seconds, and then here we go. I now have twelve seconds to run of to some place that’s not aggro. I’m fully stealthed at this point and it’s like a super, uber death stealth like players cant see it, nobody can see it, you are all cool. And obviously we know that every player class has an out of game heal. So, you can heal yourself right back up and get right back in the action.
It’s actually possible doing some funs tuff with this. Playing on our current build, me and one other guy ran a four men heroic by ourselves, using some clever “ok, we’ll die here and rez”. […] It’s fun and it gives you a lot of flexibility and it makes death less of a fear. The more you die, the higher – sort of the traditional old PvP way – the more you die, the higher the timer goes up. So eventually it might take you ten minutes for your med thing if you are dying constantly as we were.
Does Corellia serve any other purpose other than warzone? i.e. does it have quests and such?
Well, Alderaan has a warzone and has a full giant, amazing planet. […] Corellia is not a warzone. Corellia is a huge, amazing city that is the culmination of one of the biggest war scenes in all Star Wars and definitely the biggest one in our game.
Will there be any world bosses?
Well, there are world bosses. I’m not sure where the world boss in Tatooine is. I would go find him for you. I went and got to fight the one on Dromund Kaas the other day and it was really fun on the server, because the testers didn’t know where it was – I didn’t know where he was – this combat guy just put us in there. So we all wandered through a swamp, we formed a raid group. We had ten of us together, ran around, found the world boss and we spread out to try to fight him. I was part of the three guys who almost got stomped flat, because we were by ourselves. Luckily again I was an Assassin, so I just stealthed and hid under a rock.
Can you “summon” you starship anywhere you want ? Or is there a starport for that ? And are we still on track for 2011 for release?
We are on track for 2011. We’ll talk about the things that we had to deal with. In fact, many of the planets later on that we are doing for sheer size, do not have actual spaceports here, they have spaceports that are up in their space stations. Instead we land and take a shuttle down. One of the things we did in The Old Republic is, we made everything the actual size it needed to be. Unlike the Ebon Hawk, which was sort of a clown car – when you got out you noticed it was not very big. In The Old Republic the ships are actual the real size, they are huge. You guys have seen the walkthroughs on them where you are walking around the ship. These are enormous crafts, so you cant just drop them in the middle. You can of course bind yourself nearby your ship and pop back.
What kind of level range is Tatooine?
Tatooine, I believe, is around – and don’t quote me on this, anything could change – it’s around 24 to 28. They overlap a little bit.
Can you level and play solely through PvP?
You really can’t [solely], because all of your gating things are class quests. So you absolutely can level through PvP. In fact, there is something fantastic on finishing a PvP quest or PvP match and getting your level. But you’d be gated all of your primary stuff. So, once you are off the capital worlds – so, once you are past Coruscant or Dromund Kaas, you could do it, but it would be a pretty bad way to play.
Can you talk about bounty hunter advanced classes?
I can. The Bounty Hunter has two advanced classes, which are the Powertech and the Mercenary. The PowerTech has three trees. Advanced Prototypes, if you are the gadgeteer. Shield Tech, if you’re trying to go tank. And then Firebug, which, as it sounds, “I like fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!”. If you want to be just really, really good at your flamethrowers, at your explosions al of that stuff – more sort of control and aoe, you can go into this one. The Powertech is really about your gadgets and you utilities. It really goes into the Mercenary to be just your heavy, high powered: “I got two guns and do a ton of damage.”.
What happens if your companion die?
If your companion dies, you can actually – as long as you live, you can bring your companion back. In fact, one of the interesting things in The Old Republic is, again, trying to make group dynamics work well. Think of it as a traditional, old RPG: If anybody in your group survives, they can rez anybody else, including the companions. If your companion is the only one left that survived, you’re wiped.
The areas you’re traveling in look pretty barren, where are all the mobs/npcs?
Well, Tatooine is actually kinda barren. As you see there are mobs actually all over the place. But we are not really in a questing area so much here. Tatooine was a hard balance strike, because in one of the earlier builds we had it pretty mob full and it really didn’t look like Tatooine anymore. For Tatooine to really sell, you need to spread things out. Tatooine tends to be some pretty tight clusters – we are headed out to the Dune Sea, which you see a very different type of desert terrain now. Tatooine tends to be tight clusters, separated by a lot of space. And it really does sell the Tatooine feel.
Graphics during the presentation were turned down to maximize performance for the streaming presentation and will improve in the final game.