Facebook fans of the Star Wars: The Old Republic page received quite a treat when Daniel Erickson, Lead Writer – BioWare stopped by for an impromptu Q&A on Sunday.
Steve Sherring: Hello, will alignement be reflected on your characters face and posture as in Kotor 1+2 or will it only be represented by gear? thanks
Daniel: Darkside changes will happen to your appearance as well.
Anthony Humes: Is there really 200 of gameplay per class? And does that really mean there is 1600 hours of gameplay?
Daniel: Some people have taken much longer than that to finish a single class story, some a bit less. We always avoid hard numbers for just that reason. Remember that only about 15% of your content later on is class content so the other content on your side will be the same. Which means it would take somewhere around that much time for the average player to play through all the classes but they wouldn’t be doing all unique content for if it was all unique you couldn’t play with your friends. What you do get, however, is unique class choices and dialogue even in the non-class content and, of course, 100% unique content between the two sides.
A.j. Artiles: Will there be a “hardcore” difficulty for Flashpoints?
Daniel: Yes, all of the 15 announced flashpoints are also playable at end game with harder difficulty modes and end game gear.
Russ Beardmaster Roach: From what I’ve seen, the dark side/sith is very well written and has multiple “epic” feels to it. How does the light side/jedi story differ, does it offer the same epic feeling to the lightside players and do you think the two are equally balanced in quality?
Daniel: Absolutely. I think more attention from both fans and press have been paid to the Sith simply because the version of the Sith Empire we’re presenting is new and therefore sparks curiosity. Our Jedi class stories are some of the most popular in testing and they have an amazing diversity both between them and inside each story for light and dark side approaches. These choices affect companions, story lines and even what titles you can gain and what position you’ll eventually hold in the Jedi Order.
Robert Diaz: Will there be a cosmetic costume option for players, so they can appear one way, and yet have the best equipment?
Daniel: There is a route to do this, though not through the traditional appearance tab approach. We use the modding system to enable players to choose the core attributes of special sets of armor and cosmetic outfits so it’s not only possible to keep that one really special set of Jedi robes all the way through the game, you can also, with a ton of work, be the person in the raid dressed as a slave girl or a sandperson.
Dylan de Klerck: How do you feel now that the launch is right around the corner
Daniel: Like an expectant father whose wife has been pregnant for six years. Nervous and bemused.
Thomas Haugeberg: Is there going to be an end for this game’s story? Will one side rule in the end?
Daniel: We know where the galaxy ends up in the next 3000 years but there’s a long way to go until we get there and hopefully (since we all like our jobs) that story won’t be ending anytime soon!
Jason Trent: Are all “romances” with non-companion NPC’s one night stands or are some of them fully fleshed out romances?
Daniel: Some of them are long term romances, some actually spanning across several chapters.
Travis Clay Henry: What character in ToR has been your favorite to write thus far?
Daniel: Vette. Writing a complete character from start to finish is one of the most self-indulgent things we get to do as writers and Vette’s strange romance path with a former master was an interesting challenge.
Benjamin French: out of curiosity, will Advanced Class effect story? as an example, would a scoundrel play the same story a gunslinger would? or are the stories for scoundrels and gunslingers different?
Daniel: Advanced classes are purely for gameplay. We didn’t want players to restrict their gameplay choices due to story. The idea, in fact, was the opposite. We wanted people to be able to choose any class story in the game and then choose from a broad range of gameplay choices. Which is why we have six classes that can tank and six that can heal.
Eric Baker: What advice might you have for someone interested in writing for video games (or even just writing in general)?
Daniel: Write. All the time, as much as you can and in varied formats. Study screenwriting and classic dramatic structure. Get your basic craft and skills together. Join a writing group online. Having a smart group of people telling you how terrible you are will sharpen your skills infinitely faster than having your friends tell you how good you are.
Matthew Myrick: Besides having fully voiced characters and a huge story, what would you say is one of the most exciting or unique aspects that cannot be found in any other MMO on the market?
Daniel: Star Wars. From the ships to the companions to the operations, every minute of the game oozes Star Wars love. It really feels like you’re in your own movie.
Chris Cox: What was your first job and how did you get into the industry. Do you have any advice for people studying games design right now?
Daniel: Well my very first job was McDonald’s. I told them I was a vegetarian and I wouldn’t work in the back and somehow they still hired me. I got written up three times more than was allowed before you were supposed to be fired and was still begged to stay when I left. Fast food memories. I got into the industry as an intern game critic, then a writer, than an editor, then to EA as an assistant producer, then designer, then lead designer then over to BioWare. If you want to get into the industry decide how badly you want to. More than friends? Family? Hometown? Set your priorities and then take every chance. Find small projects on kickstarter and volunteer your time. Make your own mods, work on your craft and take any job that can get you in the door.
George B. Thomas: is there a chance that you can rebel from your initial alignment? ie: Jedi going dark or Sith going light in the future?
Daniel: Yes, there’s always time to fall or be redeemed.
Daniel Fowler: @Erickson: Who is your favorite writer? What inspired you to become one?
Daniel: I go through books so quickly it’s hard to say. The ancient Greeks would have to be my first inspiration as I read the Greek mythology books over and over as a kid. If you want to write, read everything great from every genre you can stomach.
Jessica Alexis: Will there be some “perk” at the end of your storyline depending on which path you take? Be it absolute Dark or absolute Light.
Daniel: Nothing that affects gameplay to such a point as to make a “wrong” choice for raiding but there will be some cool stuff waiting for you.