Lead Writer Charles Boyd gave us the opportunity to ask him a few questions about Makeb, particularly about the story. Here they are!
Drew: First the uncomfortable question: the unpopular decision not to have new individual class stories. We understand that it will be an “Avengers-style” story, but what can you tell us to quell our fears about losing our classes’ identities? How do you plan to infuse the best elements of each class into the story?
Charles Boyd: The concern you mention is something we’re very aware of, and it’s very important to us that your class identity is never lost regardless of the content you’re participating in. Story-wise, we always insert class-specific Player lines and NPC commentary into every group quest we write, so hopefully you’ll never stop feeling like a Jedi or a Bounty Hunter as you explore Makeb.
More from the interview with Charles Boyd after the Jump…
Drew: A lot of us will have multiple alts that will go through the expansion. Are there any things you have done with the story to keep it different enough to enjoy four times on each side?
Charles Boyd: Aside from all of the class-based variant lines mentioned above, there are quite a few light side/dark side choices and roleplaying decisions as well as a ton of extra content outside of the World Arcs to give you choices in how you want to level your characters through to 55.
Drew: Do you at some point intend to bring back the class-specific stories, or will it be more ensemble-style going forward?
Charles Boyd: Creating class-specific quest lines for all eight classes is a colossal undertaking. It’s some of our favorite content, but it’s also far and away the most expensive and time-consuming stuff we create. We’d love to make more, so I’ll never say never, but sadly it’s just not something we can pursue right now.
Drew: Is the Makeb story “Chapter 4?”
Charles Boyd: Yes, Makeb is the next chapter of the SW:TOR story, meaning that it picks up the storyline from the aftermath of Ilum and post-release content and carries it forward, and that future content will continue from where Makeb ends.
Drew: Is there a World Arc that is separate from the “main story,” or are those one and the same?
Charles Boyd: They are one and the same. Each faction has a world arc and a number of individual side quests (regular and heroic) as well.
Drew: When planning out Makeb, what made you decide to go with a completely new planet instead of exploring an already known planet?
Charles Boyd: We felt that we had already covered quite a few planets that fans are familiar with, so we decided to use our first digital expansion to give them something new and unexpected to explore. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t planning to add more well-known fan favorite planets in the future!
Drew: Did you have a particular inspiration or “feel” you were going for when you planned out Makeb’s totalitarian government?
Charles Boyd: The Cartel takeover of Makeb is all about greed, so we tried to reflect that everywhere we could. Their primary enforcers on the planet are mercenaries who chose credits over loyalty; the Hutts are only concerned for the locals’ welfare insofar as it keeps them working the mines and other economic necessities; and so on. A ruthless regime, but one that’s motivated by profit rather than politics.
Drew: Your inclusion of SGRs has been a hotly-debated topic. Do you have intentions to retroactively fit previous storylines and romanceable NPCs with SGR content, or will it simply be only in content going forward?
Charles Boyd: Our focus right now is on providing quality SGR content in our future releases. Unfortunately, retroactively changing past content to add SGR is vastly more complicated than it first appears, as tweaking the systems involved in stuff like companion romances could very easily cause unforeseen issues with players who have already progressed through them, or are actively progressing through them now. Again, never say never, but changing the existing content isn’t a feasible solution at this time.
Drew: Are there any new Flashpoints in the works story-wise?
Charles Boyd: Yes! We are currently planning out our next series of flashpoint releases, which will play an integral role in progressing the story of SW:TOR after Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
Drew: I have noticed and enjoyed the correlation between new Operations and PvP Warzones. Novare Coast and Explosive Conflict, Ancient Hypergate and Terror From Beyond. How do these Warzones fit into the story with the Operations? Are they a continual battle, or a snapshot of a period of time, such as right before the Operation?
Charles Boyd: I’m glad you enjoy them! It’s very fun for us to expand on these scenarios through multiple gameplay types. I don’t believe there is a canon ruling on how long the individual battles represented by the warzones last (ie, snapshot versus ongoing). Honestly, I’d be hesitant to apply one; I think it’s more fun for players’ own experiences and impressions of these conflicts to stand paramount as much as possible.
In terms of “when”, I believe Novare Coast and Ancient Hypergate would both take place in the immediate aftermath of the Operations they relate to; Novare being a consequence of Republic and Imperial forces both assaulting Denova and coming into conflict with each other, and the discovery of the ancient hypergate on Seline following the factions’ interactions with the Gree in Terror from Beyond.
Thanks to Charles for answering our questions! What do you guys think about the answers? Let us know in the comment section below.