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SOE explain why NGE came along - finally


Guest DarthMaulUK
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Guest DarthMaulUK

This was posted from John Smedley - a man who knows what he is talking about as he makes his FIRST post on the official forums.

 

Hello Everyone,

 

Obviously the NGE has stirred up a lot of strong feelings among the SWG playerbase. There is no denying these changes have upset some of our players. While I can certainly understand and respect these feelings, I assure you we approached them with a longer term strategy in mind and with the best of intentions. That strategy is to lay the foundation for a longer term vision of the game that will keep people playing for the long haul. Yes, many of our long time players are upset... and we do understand why. We're not sitting in our offices thinking of ways to upset our paying customers.. we're trying to bring Star Wars Galaxies to a broader audience to make sure that it's viable for the long haul.

 

Why?

 

Many of you ask "Why did you have to make such a sweeping change rather than just fixing the things that were wrong?" - well, to put it bluntly - everyone had different ideas of what we needed to fix. Trying to balance 34 professions, and add compelling content to make everyone happy proved to be a very large challenge. Many design decisions made early on in the game's creation were boxing the team in to the point that we were never going to be able to really make this game rise to the level it needs to as both a great experience AND as a business. We have consistently kept the SWG team as one of the largest teams within SOE (around 70 people). Even with a team that size getting new content done along with maintaining the live game, along with developing new systems for SWG just proved to be tougher than it should have been. We've got a lot of experience doing MMO's, and SWG has always proven to be the game that was the toughest for us to make changes to. So, along with our partners at LucasArts we did a very lengthy look at just what the fundamental issues with SWG were. We spoke to many of you, read the forums and conducted numerous focus group tests with both existing players, people who have played MMO's before (but not SWG) and people that haven't ever tried MMO's before.

 

The consistent feedback we recieved through this research showed us where the problems were. Here are the top 3 issues:

 

1) Difficult to get into - too complicated. People didn't understand what all the professions were, and the interface was just plain hard.

2) Combat wasn't exciting enough

3) Game wasn't "Star Warsy" enough. The professions issue also showed itself here.

 

In order to make the changes neccessary we examined just what we would have to change, and quickly came to the realization that reducing the number of professions was the single most important thing we had to do. Many of the professions overlapped and when we looked at what would make a really fun Star Wars style game, we came up with the profession list that's in the game now. Equally important to making SWG a viable game in the long term was addressing the fact that combat just wasn't fun enough. I recognize that some of you will disagree here - and I hope you can recognize this is a very subjective thing.. but the research we did was extremely clear on this point - the old combat system wasn't up to snuff. We tried different things and landed on the "fast action" style of combat that's in the game now.

 

We couldn't make changes of this magnitude without changing some things that people loved - creature handlers for example are among the most upset. This was an example of something that was near and dear to people (including myself btw). It's one of the coolest parts of the game. It's one that's only gone in the short term - we'll be bringing it back in a different form in the near future once we work through the consequences of how we can make this core system work within the new framework. It won't be a profession in and of itself, but something people can do as part of the existing professions.

 

One last thing I'd like to discuss in this explanation is the business end of things. Many of you question the logic of the decision to do this NGE.. stating that many of the existing players will quit because we're changing the game so much. From our standpoint we have to look at the game for the long haul. EverQuest is will be 7 years old on March 16th. We HAVE to think that long-term. With the game the way it was we knew we would never be able to attract enough people to really keep SWG viable as a business. It certainly would have kept some portion of our existing playerbase for a good long time, and we would have put out new expansions and new content as well as fixing bugs.. but it wouldn't have appealed to the really large Star Wars fanbase out there.. and frankly over time the existing userbase would have churned out as happens in any game like this. We just didn't have the game we needed to have if we're going to really grow this userbase. It might surprise you to know that after the first combat upgrade, we actually added new subs. We took a step in the right direction, but it just wasn't enough. So what we're doing here is obviously risky.. we're betting that we can make this game a whole lot more fun to our existing userbase AND make it appealing enough so that we can grow that userbase in a major way. Right now I think it's fair to say we have work to do on both ends. I hope you understand that we absolutely value each and every player. You pay the bills around here, and that's not something we are forgetting. None of us like seeing people cancel..If you think this change is about "acceptable losses for a bigger goal", that's simply not the case.. nor is it how we view things. We have a clear plan to make this game a whole lot more fun, for everyone.. and that's the gamble we're making.. that we can pull this off and get you, our players to help us make this the Star Wars game we all want.

 

And that brings me to the really important part of this post - the path forward.

 

 

The Path forward

 

The real purpose of this post is to ask for your help. In this thread, could you please list the top issues you see needing to be addressed in the short term. Any big problems from your perspective - what's really keeping the NGE from being a postive thing from your perspective. We will be watching this thread carefully and taking notes, and posting an ordered list of stuff we'll take care of (and we'll try to say how quickly we can do it as well). Please keep this thread on point. We have to move forward - asking us to pull the NGE out isn't going to be productive. If you really want to help, here's your chance.

 

From our perspective, we're focused on the following:

 

1) Fixing actual bugs

2) Adding new skills to differentiate the professions much better, and particularly the advancement path (i.e. making cool new skills the higher you rise through a particular profession).

3) Working on making crafting a much more important part of the NGE.

4) Cool new content - particularly focusing on the Galactic Civil War

 

As for the future expansions.. we have a lot of ideas (wouldn't it be cool for a guild to have a Star Destroyer?)... but for now we want to focus on what YOU want us to focus on. So please add a lot of constructive thoughts to this thread and let us respond by taking care of as many issues as we can.

 

A few loose ends -

 

I would like to specifcally address a few consistent things people have been emailing me - No, we aren't making these changes in order to bring SWG to consoles. This is simply untrue. Noone is working on an Xbox 360 or PS3 version of SWG (Or PS2, Xbox or PSP), nor is one on the drawing board. Would that be cool someday? Sure... but it's not on our radar at all.

 

Unfortunately we also can't put up a pre-NGE (or PRE-CU) version of SWG. That would require us to support 2 separate versions of the codebase and we're just not able to do that. We couldn't simply put up a version like this unsupported.. what if someone found a really bad exploit?

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this.. and please join in giving as many constructive ideas as you can (preferably in a list form ordered most important to least important).

 

John Smedley

President, Sony Online Entertainment

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Guest DarthMaulUK

I felt that the old interface was probably the games biggest strength. You could customise it and do just about anything. One of the things that put me off World Of Warcraft was the awful interface, which Galaxies has copied.

 

Its certainly an interesting post from SOE towers but they must honestly be extremely worried and those supporting the game have left and servers are extremely empty. A massive gamble by SOE which doesnt look like paying off

 

DMUK

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I remember buying the game and the $19 guide the day it came out. After months of downloading and watching every mpeg teaser before release I don't think I've ever looked forward to anything more. I still remember how excited I was to read the entire book and all the different classes to play. That's was half the fun! It was involved, intricate, detailed. Something for everyone. I knew people who never went into combat at all. They'd socialize and shop for clothes and home decor. This wasn't a 3D console game with few choices, one storyline, one ending. This was an infinate universe with unlimited potential and adventure. The game felt larger then life. I enjoy RPGs for this reason, and Everquest and Dark Ages of Camelot were loads of fun, but this was Starwars! I feel like the NGE is taking away of lot of this. Why simplify? Why can't I open up the combat log to see what my new weapon is hitting for, did my buff and armor work, or just examine fighting styles. Why can't I concentrate on my attack plan instead of concentrating on where my mouse pointer is on the screen. Major muscle memory is going to have to develop for me not to freak out and button mash cause an enemy won't stand still. I don't know how I'm going to manage 30 second buffs, hit the right buttons at the right times, and keep the cursor over the target. What if my connection isn't fast or I lag out? At least with the old system (pre-cu) I knew my attacks were in my que and /follow was on so it could lag all it wanted. Why do they want another SW Battlefield? There already IS a Battlefield game. Two of them!

 

I also remember wondering how to become a jedi, what I'd have to do to hear and see that lightsaber ignite in my character's hand and wield force powers. (goosebumps are coming back just thinking about it). After a while of learning the game (again, half the fun for me) I mastered 16 professions during the Halowars, a veteran of the FS Village, Padawan trials, Completed Template, and Knight Trials. This took me the last 2 years to complete and this is the reason I'll never delete my account. What bothers me is reading post where new players and SOE are making light of the way Veterans are being treated with NGE. Can you imagine any other MMORPG out there where one day everything you're proud of and worked hard for for years was taken away? That's what happened to us. We were an elite profession that was hard to obtain and harder to see to completion. Uphill the entire way...Impossible XP requirements, impossible weak weapons and force drain, impossible restrictions like soloing the entire way, and then BH missions and XP loss. Only the truely stuborn and dedicated made it. Had to be cause it was obvious SOE kept the pressure on to keep the numbers down. We had a right to feel special and proud. Now you can become a jedi at the beginning. Jedi, a beginning profession like Scout! And, grind and work your way for years to the top and you'll still be...normal...Balanced. I feel raped. Perhaps it would have been different if you knew the outcome from the beginning but we were consistantly changed the entire time with this being the culminating insult and nerf. If I knew Jedi Knights were to be like this, no way would I have endured what I did. Who would?

 

Sorry for the long vent. Guess I'm just upset that my favorite game and a very proud accomplishment is now just a common online FPS and it seems after 3 years I haven't accomplished anything at all.

 

Kitkat

Jedi Knight

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Risks don't always pay off in the "short term". Stock market, real estate investments, sacrificing toward a goal. Just a few scenarios that come to mind. Perhaps this man is looking at more long term effects. Whether you like the NGE or feel it is a travesty, you have to admit, the man makes some valid points.

 

Just put aside your animosity for a moment and actually read what he is saying. and no, I'm not saying the implementation was infallibly executed.

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Guest DarthMaulUK

The funny thing is, I found Smedleys second post and that more or less said the same thing when they brought in the combat upgrade (CU) 6 months ago. And here he is again having to explain his companies actions.

 

DMUK

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I honnestly think that this games looks more and more like a console game now. Been watching my brother play this game for over a year now (and played a bit under his name to get a feel for the game), and I was going to buy it.

Now I'm not to sure... Less professions.. Don't need to work and play hard to become a Jedi ( didn't Yoda talk about training and the deepest commitment to become a Jedi :) ). Boom of the bat, you're a Jedi, that turns me off...

Espescially since it took my bro 6 months of playing to become one...

 

For some reason, don't ask me why, SOE is changing the game entirely so they can fit it on one of the new game consoles.. XBox 360 and the up coming PS3 and still play online...

 

my 2 cents...

 

LoneFerret

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I honnestly think that this games looks more and more like a console game now. Been watching my brother play this game for over a year now (and played a bit under his name to get a feel for the game), and I was going to buy it.

Now I'm not to sure... Less professions.. Don't need to work and play hard to become a Jedi ( didn't Yoda talk about training and the deepest commitment to become a Jedi :) ). Boom of the bat, you're a Jedi, that turns me off...

Espescially since it took my bro 6 months of playing to become one...

 

For some reason, don't ask me why, SOE is changing the game entirely so they can fit it on one of the new game consoles.. XBox 360 and the up coming PS3 and still play online...

 

my 2 cents...

 

LoneFerret

 

The bold area is where I am responding to....

 

 

No

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Actually it probably boils down to they gave up. They couldn't handle all the work it took to balance and fix so many professions and skills. It was too ambitious and is probably why all the other games out there have fewer classes.

 

The new UI and combat system sucks ass. There isn't any thinking involved or strategies. Everyone is going to be pressing the same 2 buttons over and over. No diverse skills. Trim the classes if you must, hell keep the CU, but wow. They really went out there this time.

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The bold area is where I am responding to....

No

 

ROFL, just re-read my post.. LOL boy did I write that down wrong.

What I wanted to say, It wouldn`t surprise me why they are changing the whole game the way they are...is to fit it on the game consoles with on-line capabilities...

 

Another thing... Ìf there reason for changing a whole bunch of stuff on the game is because it's too hard to manage. Isn't that like admitting they can do the job? Or just poor project management on their part for not realising the implication on the long term? LOL

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Well in response to Mr. Smedley I have a list of some short term bugs and some ideas for future development. I like the direction that the new quest system seems to be taking and I really like the intent behind having objects that spawn quests like the ancient jedi artifact that I received at level 26 which allowed me to get a training saber very early. I was told I could not get it until level 38 which apparently isn't true anymore.

 

1. many of the quests are broken right now. For many of them it is due to changes in the user interface such as an inability to get a radial menu when right clicking on objects. A small list of those I have encountered is:

Curing The Great Tree in Kashyyk

The Big Cover Up (also in Kashyyk)

 

2. The profession quests for jedi appear to be broken. I did my training saber quest before doing the Anger and Harmony quest which apparently has left me unable to continue. I have to go to Sol Windtide to get my reward and all he says is that I am on the next step and the quest never ends.

 

3. This appears to be more of a combat bug but even though the buffs seem to have a longer time that they last they actually seem to make me worse in combat. I have tried this many times, but if I use force hardening to increase my defense I usually end combat with less health than if I did not use it. I know its weird, but it seems to be true. The only sure fire combat moves are usually the direct damage moves.

 

4. I cannot wear any armor together. If I wear a backpack it removes my robes, or if I wear boots it does the same thing. In fact without this issue being fixed there really isn't any reason to issue a class specific backpack because I would be naked with a backpack on.

 

5. Another combat/item issue is that I keep getting these nifty stims that drop from Mobs. The only problem is that when I use them they don't seem to help me too much in combat like the force hardening I actually seem to be doing worse in combat when i use them.

 

The last things are for possible long term additions to the game

 

I think that first of all the game bugs have to get fixed, but I would like to see more random events taking place and some of the things one would expect in a real vibrant universe. Real war is one of them. It seems like having the empire and the rebels actually fighting more often would be one welcome addition. Likewise I think it would be interesting if bounty hunters still came after people, not just for instance if you are a force user, but also if you are on a particular side in the war. This would add a little spontaneity. I also think it would be interesting to add some elements into the game like the ability to make unique uber items for crafters or for adventurers to find unique items that could be combined with others by a crafter to create new and unique items from ships to weapons.

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Another thing I would like to see more of in the game is more interaction from the GM's in plot lines. I know I hate to compare this game to Everquest, but in that game there was a lot of interaction in the game by the GM's and it seemed to make the game much more interesting. I remember walking into a city and seeing that the city was under seige by dark elves. You could even participate by helping the city or the invaders to gain faction with one or the other. I think scenarios like this would be really fun, also I said it before on a different thread, but I think it would be cool to have unique quests that spawn for particualr individuals and are tied to other quests that some other people may have thereby tying them all together. This kind of thing would involve people in the game more and maybe one would have to have the help of a particular player to finish a quest or the help of a GM. ( I don't know how you would work all of that but those are just a few ideas.)

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Creature handler and all of its skill sets have been removed from the game. any mastery badge one received pre NGE was retained with the word "elder" in front of it.

 

there are no "side" professions atm, but there is talk of implimenting a "skill" or "talent" set in the "soon"

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