Bioware Talk Specialisation In SWTOR

By Jim Rossignol on October 4th, 2010 at 8:30 am.


We’ve not heard much from The Old Republic lately, but they’re still chattering away on a regular basis, most recently talking about their “advanced classes” system, in which players get to choose how to specialise as they progress within one of the existing classes. The example that Bioware use in their blog post on the subject is the smuggler class, and they show how their system makes the various permutations of smuggler folk familiar from the Star Wars universe available within the game. Here’s the bit that interested me: “We identified roles for our game that are unique to the Star Wars experience: While the idea of a ‘ranged tank’ is hard to realize in most MMO environments due to the prevalence of melee combat, the ‘Vanguard’ Advanced Class for the Trooper is perfectly viable in the Star Wars setting where blaster fire and ranged combat dominate the majority of engagements.” Certainly could be interesting, and I am unable to guess how that combat is going to feel, despite all the previews and videos. It’s going to something I want to get my hands on, I think.

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32 Comments »

  1. Yfel says:

    I’ve already seen plenty ranged tanking in WoW, nil nove sub sole. Making an obvious change like this to the holy trinity of MMO combat doesn’t impress me. When they come up with another kind of role-based teamwork than “guy that gets hit”, “guy that hits”, “guy that makes healthbars go up” they’ll be due credit.

  2. Choca says:

    “Certainly could be interesting, and I am unable to guess how that combat is going to feel, despite all the previews and videos.”

    Ever played World of Warcraft ? Aside from the Assassin/Smuggler which have some original stuff and the Jedi which I haven’t played, it’s the same thing.

  3. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    Oh, and I thought there would be a “talk specialisation” in the game.

    Disappointed again.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I’d have been (even more) disappointed had there been a ‘talk’ specialisation. Although specialisations within a greater talking attribute/skill group could be neat.

  4. Tei says:

    Neal Stephenson, already warned us about a new “Victorian Era”. I seems this “political correct” thing is a witch hunt on language and art to remove any type of flavour in a crazy run forward to nowhere. You will never be safe from saying something to offend other people.

    • Guildenstern says:

      And this is related to this article how?…

    • J J says:

      Exactly?

    • Wulf says:

      More than you’d think.

      It’s long been known that SW:TOR is hardly a risk-taker. In fact, from all we know so far, it’s pretty much a Star Wars reskin of WoW. The thing is, you have games that are really insane risk-takers, like GW2, and then you have games that are just the same old again. The thing is, they want this to sell, so they’re making what sells well. What do you think sells well? Star Wars and WoW.

      I think people are afraid to say bad things about WoW like they’re afraid to say bad things about other popular but absolutely horrible games, like DA:O, for example. In doing so, the naysayer who talks more about their experience with the game rather than objectively considering the game is called a ‘witch’, gamers cry out for their blood, for their burning, for their death.

      Another fine example of this is Other M. Basically, one reviewer dared to write about her experience with the game, and she was burned for it by misogynist gamers who couldn’t handle her viewpoint. It’s interesting as well, because they couldn’t get past that she was a woman. If it had been a man that had slammed Other M, the comments would’ve been something like “Oh, so you couldn’t get past the awful story, then?”, but because it was a woman, the comments were more like “She’s a damn idiot feminist who should get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich.”

      http://g4tv.com/games/wii/61992/metroid-other-m/review/

      See for yourself.

      And that’s probably the way gaming is going to remain for a long time. This is why gaming can’t have nice things, and this is why games can’t be art. No one’s allowed to talk about their experience with the game, even I got burned for that by many people when I did talk about my experience with DA:O, people either have to objectively look at whether the game is competent, and whether it’s popular, and then say it’s good, or they have to prepare for a massive backlash.

      That’s what we’re known for as gamers.

      Essentially, gamers are still cavemen.

    • Tei says:

      Ooops… wrong thread. It can be applied to this one, but was not intended. Sorry.

    • K says:

      Wow, that review was brutal. I was sceptical of Other M, and I’m not going to buy it. To me, Samus Aran is the epitome of a powerful woman. Having her follow orders of a random guy? No, just no. That is pretty much treason of the character concept. Mysogynist bastards, wrecking one of the coolest characters in game history.

    • yves torres says:

      @Wulf

      What exactly makes DA:O such a bad game? I’m just wondering (I’m no fanboy) … I mean, sure it ain’t Baldurs Gate 1 (or 2), but it comes closer than anything has in a long while and I felt pleasently reminded of the good days of old. Unlike FPS’, games like DA don’t get developed very often so I’m going to be happy about the fact that they’re still getting made at all. Sure, this doesn’t justify it being called the second coming of christ but yeah, more than I could ask for really.

      I agree, the 9/10 or 10/10 ratings it got and all the hype that was generated wasn’t justified, but it was a pretty cool game with a few nice ideas (Origin stories were really cool!) and though it was nowhere near some of the classic titles of the genre, it offered a lengthy and somewhat interesting campaign, many side quests and characters (albeit very clichéd ones) to explore. I quite enjoyed it.

      Or do you have any recommendations for similar games in this genre which I’ve missed?

      Also, suddenly everybody seems to be bashing Bioware and I don’t understand why. I’m not trying to defend them, but in my book Bioware is still one of the better developers who yet has to develop a bad game. What other developer can claim to have achieved the same?

    • Ian says:

      Yes, I have never seen anybody say anything bad about WoW. Especially on the internet.

      Good spot.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      @Wulf: Star Wars and WoW sells. However, plenty of companies have made MMO’s based around the fact that WoW sells, and tried to mimic the gameplay, and they all fell flat on their faces. The only saving grace for Bioware in this equation is Star Wars. Will the Star Wars license alone be enough to make people quit WoW? Who knows.

      That’s part of the problem. Companies try to compete with WoW by being exactly like WoW. The only way these games trying to be just like WoW can be successful is if they do everything absolutely perfectly. Everything in that game is going to be compared to everything in WoW, so anything substandard will be blasted.

      If companies want to take a chunk of the mmo marketshare, they have to stop trying to emulate WoW. Guild Wars 2 seems to be taking the right approach and I hope it pays off in spades for them.

    • Danarchist says:

      WoW cloners fail because they keep missing two of the main selling points of it:
      1. Humor, not sly tongue in cheek subtle humor. Obvious, hilarious, and in your face humor.
      2. Easy mode. Although leety-McLeets complain loudly and often when a game is “too easy”, the fact of the matter is they are a very small yet loud minority of gamers (see also: Tea Party, USA). “The squeaky wheel gets the greasin’”. These other developers see these guys going nutballz on their forums while there in development and think they need to turn up the curve to make them happy. If you make them happy THEY will be the only customers you have! (See also: Darkfall). WoW is easy to play, easy to level and easy to show someone else how to play. I could never ever get my girlfriend or my aunt to play something like Eve. They would play exactly long enough to think of something else they needed to do. Wow is simple enough I can interest my non-gamer loved ones in playing it, making it an actual fun way to spend family time, sort of like monopoly used to be.

      Anyways thought id point that out. I have high hopes that Bioware will not suffer from the same short sightedness.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “I think people are afraid to say bad things about WoW like they’re afraid to say bad things about other popular but absolutely horrible games, like DA:O, for example.”

      No, I think it’s just that some people don’t seem to understand opinions, and think that because *they* dislike something, everyone who likes it just can’t think objectively.

    • Stromko says:

      Personally I don’t understand why there’s already a backlash to SWTOR, from the same people who are sucking GW’s d**k. We haven’t played moment one of either game, it’s all just hype at this point. They could both be terrible, they could both be good, we really have no way of knowing.

      I don’t think either one is a WoW clone. SWTOR has companion characters for one thing, and Guild Wars … well they got rid of their companion characters but it’s still GuildWars so it might be something special.

  5. K says:

    I am really looking forward to be able to install a skin mod for WoW made by Bioware!

    • Wulf says:

      Careful! You might hurt someone’s feelings, and we can’t have that.

    • Zogtee says:

      You don’t actually like WoW anyway, because it’s a horrible game. You’re just afraid to admit it.

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      Not enough “The Force”

      Need more “The Force”

  6. rollermint says:

    Well you can actually tank using range in Anarchy Online….about close to 10 year ago.

    Personally, I feel its going to be a lil stupid to have a class that’s using range to tank by just standing there and absorbing stuff. They should implement the cover mechanism on the trooper classes too but probably granting different bonuses as opposed to, say Smuggler or the Imperial Agent.

    Its not that bad though but I actually was hoping that they’d try something new to make range tanking more reasonable.

  7. bill says:

    I feel remarkably proud that I have no idea what a “Tank” is in MMO terms – much less a Ranged Tank.

    I fully intend to try and go the rest of my life without needing to know, and assuming that all tanks are ranged.

    • Aganazer says:

      Proud of your own ignorance? You might want to avoid anything categorized as “RPG” for the rest of your life if you wish to retain your bliss.

    • Dean says:

      I don’t know. I was never conscious of having a “tank” in Baldur’s Gate 1 or 2. I did though have a “guy that stands at the front and hits things a lot”.

    • MD says:

      It’s a bit of a wanky thing to say, bill, but I’m with you. I always feel mildly smug when I read about MMOs and have no idea what the jargon means.

  8. Dean says:

    It’s a fascinating contrast though isn’t it?

    Bioware say “we’re innovating by allowing ranged classes to tank” while the Guild Wars guys say “we’re innovating by not having tanks”.

  9. Daniel N. says:

    I keep hearing people complain about how it’s not going to change the trinity. Personally, I don’t mind. If they can take a lot of the RPG improvements that came in Mass Effect 2 and apply that to an MMO in the KOTOR mmo, that will be beautiful enough for me. I look forward to fulfilling my trinity roles as a healing consular and smuggler =D.

  10. Rii says:

    As someone who lost interest in this a long time back in favour of GW2, the rampant negativity here is still surprising and seems a little unfair. Hasn’t the big storytelling point for TOR always been Bioware’s storytelling magic? If that doesn’t interest you, fine, but then I’d wonder why you’re paying the game any attention at all at this point when there are so many other MMOs around to, err, not like.