Daniel Erickson was interviewed a few times on Wednesday, the second full day of E3; building on what we learned during the gameplay demo and Q&A yesterday, a few more morsels of SWTOR goodness have been gleaned.
In an interview with Gametrailers, Daniel confirmed that operations (i.e., raids), which he refered to as multiple group content in a structured environment, is for the end-game only. Raid groups can be formed before level 50 to take down world bosses, which will need multiple parties to defeat.
The holocall system was mentioned, which allows a player to remotely participate in a shared dialog that has been initiated by a member of their party. We’ve seen this in previous demos, but the name for it may be new.
Daniel once again sang the praises of SWTOR’s immersive story, saying that again and again they are seeing players who swore they had no interest in the story end up knowing all the details anyway. All that voice over sounds like it was worth the investment!
Next was an interview with Machinima, with lots of good questions answered.
Daniel went into some detail about the epic encounter that is the end of the world story arc on Alderaan. You get to fight Bouris Ulgo, a former Republic general who started a civil war on Alderaan, eventually declaring himself king. In the final confrontation inside Castle Panteer, you engage the king in a multi-phase fight. Initially he is protected by a shield, with the players required to collect shoulder-mounted rocket launchers to blow up the shield generators. After that, the king has a few more tricks up his sleave. Sounds like fairly complex (and fun!) encounter.
He elaborated on how each planet that you visit as part of your long-running class story arc has its own separate world arc of quests, each of which culminates in a final major event (such as the fight with the king on Alderaan).
Another example is Tatooine: you need to find out why the Czerka Corporation were there, why they abandoned the planet, and what mysteries they were searching for in the dig sites they tried to keep everyone away from.
In an attempt to keep players centralised through the levelling process, it is a linear path from planet to planet. As we discovered yesterday, Tatooine is for levels 24-28. Once you’re on the planet, there are plenty of things to do besides your class quests: lots of side quests, and heroic quests which require groups to complete.
On PvP servers, there is nothing to stop higher-level players from returning to lower-level planets and ganking lower-level players. The guards in the various safe areas on all planets are universally high level, to provide at least some protection for those levelling.
Briefly touching on operations, Daniel said that what differentiates BioWare’s offering from other MMOs is a bit more story, and a bit more context. However, he emphasised that they didn’t want this to slow the raid down at all; any story or contextual stuff appears at the beginning and end of the raid. There is no attempt to incorporate multi-player dialog—as soon in flashpoints—into operations, due to the headaches this could cause with a large group of players all rolling on which option to choose.
In an interview with Gamespot, Daniel answered a wide range of questions put to him. As has been reported elsewhere, he said that there would probably be no open beta, and if there’s a closed beta, it would occur shortly before release. So any announcement of an invitation-only closed beta would probably coincide with also announcing the actual release date.
Amongst SWTOR’s Advanced Classes, all the melee wield lightsabers; however, some companions will melee with weapons other than lightsabers.
There is no day/night cycle! The time of day remains fixed, though is different on each planet.
The system requirements for the game have not been finalised, though they are “pushing them down” as much as possible before launch.
Cross-faction communication is currently enabled, but a final decision has yet to be made. If it leads to too much griefing, this will switching it off for launch.
There are 8-9 currently announced species for player characters. Wookies, and any other species that strays too far from a human physique, will not be available.
A question was asked about whether a player could leave the Jedi Council. This led to an interesting comment that indicated that no such story option was available at launch in the shipped product, but that they were planning cool storylines to expand out the politics of the Jedi later. The obvious implication is that they are already planning expansion packs, and that these will include new story arcs.
If your ship is destroyed in space combat, you simply return to where you started. No other consequence was mentioned or implied.
There is no limit to the amount of time you can play per day, but as SWTOR will support rested XP, you are rewarded for the time you spend not playing. As has been noted previously, there may be limits on how many times you can run flashpoints per day.
There are lots of romance options with your companions, if that’s something you’re into. You can make your companions (at least some of them) cry.
While levelling, the additional sources for XP beyond class, world and heroic quests include warzones and space combat. There are currently no mini-games planned for launch.
Daniel confirmed there is no RIFT-style AoE looting, but mentioned that loot doesn’t necessarily appear on every corpse. The example he gave was that if you killed three mobs, only one would have loot for you to take.
We are certainly learning plenty more about SWTOR as E3 rolls on. Not as good as being there playing it, of course!