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Apr 07 2009

Developer’s blog – awesome or clone?

Published by at 11:48 am under swtor

Daniel Erickson, Principal Lead Writer on SW:TOR posted another developer’s blog entry on the official site. He goes into depth on what and how certain design choices were made when creating the Bounty Hunter class. It is a very interesting read full of hints about what Bioware’s design philosophy is. Things feel a lot like KOTOR and Mass Effect, which is a good thing mind you. One thing is for sure, this game will not only try to copy Blizzard’s successful design choices. Bioware has enough integrity and faith in its game creation abilities to decide to take some “unorthodox” paths. For example:

There were a few decisions we made early on. First of all, there would be two distinct factions. This was Star Wars™, not Star Neutral Guy’s Adventure. When there is a war that spans an entire galaxy, nobody can stand on the sidelines … The war affects everyone, even if they’d rather it didn’t.

I like this non conditional approach. It is making you make choices, choices that will have distinct consequences and make your playing experience that much unique. I am just hoping they don’t go overboard and make it a directed experience instead of unique. A fine line they have to walk here.

Second, no story content would ever cross factions. Star Wars is a story about good and evil — it simply doesn’t make sense to have Jedi and Sith doing the same quests, answering the same calls to adventure, etc … Unique content for both sides was the only way to go—if a Player went all the way through the game playing a Jedi and then playing a Sith, he wouldn’t experience even one repeated piece of story content.

I must applaud this. This will keep that novelty factor going for a long time. People run through the content like crazy these days. Once they hit the end game it takes months to organize properly and for people other than the hardcore bunch to be able to take even a glimpse of it. Majority of players love starting alts to compensate and having completely new content to go through will keep players for much longer. Then again, Sith will probably not be able to create a character on the same server where a Republic character resides. Yet again, a fine line between awesome and riskee.

Which leads me to the third decision we made: No class would exist in both factions – at least at first.

This is controversial at best, and I’m referring to the “at least at first” part. WoW decided to introduce Shamans to the Alliance side and Paladins to the Horde side in their first expansion. They CBB™ (couldn’t be bothered) to balance the difference between the factions anymore. And all of a sudden it didn’t make any difference to me if I was playing the Horde or the Alliance. They were just skins and different 3D models from that point on. But than again, it’s only me that got disappointed and those 11+ million other people just kept on a playin’.

None of these are a make or break points for a game really, but they could define it as awesome new experience vs “another clone”. Make sure you read the whole blog entry on the official site, because it contains a lot more good information on the inner workings of the dev team and let me know your thoughts on it.

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