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Monday, August 29, 2011

SWTOR @ Pax Prime

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Back in March this year I posted about all the TOR updates given at Pax East. Well, this week Pax Prime, the big brother of Pax East, took place in Seattle. Once again Bioware had a strong presence at the show and were giving daily demonstrations of the end game and allowing visitors to the show to get some hands on time with the game.

Most of the information given out was news that those of us following the game already knew, but there was some really exciting new updates as well, which was a bit of a surprise considering how close we potentially are to launch. Open world PvP and new Game Testing details were revealed at the main panel on Sunday. Read on for all the details.

Open world PvP
Bioware revealed that there will be open world PvP objectives, even on PvE servers. As well as PvP lakes (apparently 11 of them on 11 different planets) there will be PvP specific worlds with PvP objectives, such as Ilum, a big open PvP planet. Ilum will involve territorial control. Players have to collect armaments such as rocket launchers and use them to take out the planetary defenses so that bombing runs can be called in. The ultimate objective is to take down the enemy's base. PvP rewards will be commendations that can be spent on PvP-specific gear.

Game Testing
The September testing weekends will be starting next weekend! They will be invite only but they will be inviting drastically more people into the beta testing. EU invites will begin shortly after those in the US.

askajedi.com have a nice video of the announcement that shows some of the open world PvP action, including some awesome looking turret and bombing-run action! You can find it here.

Miscellaneous Information
The following information was gathered at various presentations and Q&As throughout the show.
  • Every world will have an world boss that requires a raid group to defeat and wanders in the open world (not an instance).
  • Target marking is confirmed.
  • Item statistics have changed. You can now make a level 8 item as powerful as a level 50 item by using the right modifications, allowing a greater variety of looks at end-game (if you like the look of an item you can keep it and just upgrade the mods, or if want to emulate the simple robes of Obi Wan for example, you can do so).
  • Guild levelling and guild banks will be post-launch features and are high priority.
  • You can't queue for warzones in groups of 8, only groups of 4. This is to stop pre-mades steamrollering the opposition as seen in other games.
  • There is no faction grinding.
  • Crew skills (crafting skills) can have an impact in Flashpoints. For example, Bioanalysis may allow your group to pass over a toxic stream, Archaeology may open up a hidden chamber, etc. What a great idea!
  • All three character morality traits (light side, dark side and full neutral) will allow unique cosmetic looks.
  • In early development of the game there was a third (underworld) faction. It is currently on the Wall of Crazy so it has a chance of showing up in future.
  • Changes to your character's appearance based on morality (e.g. scars if you are an evil Palpatine-alike) won't be in for launch but are being considering for post-launch.
  • Different companions will no longer have different crew skill (crafting) bonuses as in testing it lead to people having to decide whether to take their favourite companion on adventures or leaving them back at their ship to craft.
  • Work has already started on the next batch of post-launch content.
  • No mentoring system at launch.
Also this week, Bioware also ninja-updated their crew skills page, which now has full details of every crafting profession.

Finally Bioware released a full HD video and developer walkthrough of the first encounter in The Eternity Vault operation (raid). If you are interested in seeing how raids will work in TOR it's a great watch. I've embedded it below.

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