Monday, June 27, 2011

Star Wars Galaxies set to close


A great darkness is set to consume part of the Star Wars universe in late 2011.
Sony has announced that its Star Wars Galaxies online game will be shut down on 15 December.
The news was broken in e-mails sent to players and via messages posted on the game's support forums and website.
Sony said the closure had come about because its contract to run the Star Wars game runs out in 2012, not because of declining player numbers.
In an interview with online gaming site Massively, Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley said the combination of the contract finishing and the imminent arrival of a separate Star Wars game made it "feel like it's the right time for the game to end".
The other Star Wars game is Bioware's The Old Republic that is currently under development. Sony also runs the free-to-play Clone Wars Adventures online game.
In the interview, Mr Smedley denied that the recent hack attacks on Sony had anything to do with the closure or that player numbers had shrunk to the point that it was no longer worth keeping the game going.
"Populations have stayed pretty steady for a long time now," he said. He added that Sony had taken measures recently to ensure that there were enough players on each server running a copy of the game.
Game changer
Mr Smedley said Sony would be running a series of events for players to ensure the game ends in a fitting manner.

Start Quote

It's amazing it's kept going for so long”
Alec MeerRock Paper Shotgun
All billing for the game will stop in October, according to Sony. Those subscribing at that point will be able to play for free for the last few months.
Launched in 2003, Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) helped to establish massively multi-player gaming which sees thousands of players adventure together in a shared online environment.
The game was set in the Star Wars universe and played out events following the destruction of the first Death Star but before those of The Empire Strikes back. Players could take the form of one of 10 different species, become a Jedi and fight battles with spaceships.
More than one million copies of the game were sold when it launched in June 2003 and it initially enjoyed great popularity.
However, player numbers have steadily declined as a series of updates alienated many established players and stripped the game of its complexity. Sony has since described some of the changes as a "mistake".
Games journalist Alec Meer, writing on the Rock Paper Shotgun blog said: "It's amazing it's kept going for so long, quite frankly."
He concluded: "Farewell then, Galaxies. You were always a bit of a mess - but you were also one of the most fascinating and ambitious MMOs there's ever been."
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SWTOR - Early June Patch Notes

The first patch notes for SWTOR has hit the internet. This is the early June Patch Notes - so keep in mind it's pre E3. Many things can have changed since then.

Enjoy!


Highlights

  • The User Interface has been reskinned, updated, and improved!
  • Act 3 is now available for play.
  • The new Nar Shaddaa Warzone has been added! In this Warzone, face off against the opposing team for Galactic glory in a deadly sport. Players on each team struggle to claim the ball from the center of the arena and must work together to run and pass the ball to the opposing team’s scoring zone. Dodge dangerous traps and be on your guard - this is a full-contact sport!
  • Speeders have been more fully implemented! New speeders are available, as well as a speeder selection tab. Players can train Speeder Piloting (Rank 1) at level 25.
  • All classes and their abilities have been adjusted and rebalanced.
  • Crew Skills have been overhauled and improved significantly.
  • Players can now form multi-party (raid) groups to take on tough challenges (like the World Bosses)!
  • Items, item mods, and loot tables have been updated and improved across the game.
  • Overall game performance has been improved!


Known Issues

  • The Sprint ability does not function correctly.
  • Resolution preferences do not always function properly.
  • Selecting a reply during a conversation using subtitles can cause subtitles to disappear.
  • Some conversations that should start automatically do not and require interaction with the mission NPC.
  • Water volumes are not fully implemented.
  • Some Cantinas are not properly marked as Rested Experience zones.
  • Cloth physics are not fully optimized.
  • Abandon, Share, and Track buttons can disappear from the Mission Log. This can be resolved by un- and re-tracking the mission.
  • Mission completion windows can stack (press the N key to accept each mission if this occurs).
  • "Return to ship" mission steps do not have map notes.
  • Ambient speakers' lines are sometimes cut off prematurely.
  • Players must now turn on the ability to participate in Multiplayer Conversations by opening the Main Menu, selecting Preferences, and changing the conversation mode to Multiplayer under Social.
  • Character Creation has been updated!
  • Faction and class movies now play as part of the character creation process.
  • Experience gains have been increased throughout the game.
  • Act 2 content has been polished, updated, and improved!
  • The difficulty of many areas across the game has been adjusted to present an appropriate challenge.
  • Players who die can now choose to revive where they died. After being revived, characters are granted 20 seconds of stealth. This ability is on a cooldown.
  • The Galaxy Map now displays recommended character levels for each planet.
  • Light side and dark side tiers now grant character titles.
  • Optimizations have been implemented to improve framerate.
  • Codex entries have been added through the end of Hoth.
  • Rested Experience is now functioning and is generated by logging off or spending time in Cantinas, which are marked on the map.
  • Guild Leaders can now abdicate leadership and promote another guild member to Guild Leader.
  • Players may now post 50 concurrent sales on the Galactic Trade Network (GTN).
  • The GTN can now be searched by seller name.
  • Searching the GTN by Quality now displays results of the selected Quality level or higher.
  • The mail system now automatically deletes mail from the GTN when the purchased item is removed.
  • The mail system now delays the payment of items sold on the GTN by one hour from time of purchase.
  • Skill trees and abilities for all classes have been updated and adjusted significantly.
  • Visual and sound effects for many high level abilities have been improved.
  • Ability and Skill mechanics and interactions have been improved across all classes.
  • Combat animations have been optimized and improved.
  • Additional restoration abilities are now usable in combat and reset the cooldown on some key class abilities.
  • Area of Effect abilities have been adjusted to be more useful.
  • Level differences now affect hit and miss rates and aggro radius.
  • Social points and dark side/light side scales have been rebalanced.
  • Companion pathfinding has been improved significantly.
  • Companion Missions have been improved.
  • The Affection System has been adjusted and improved.
  • Droid Companions now have their own equipment slots. Droid armor can accept the same item mods as humanoid armor.
  • Many new Companion gifts have been added.
  • The cost of Companion kits has been reduced.
  • Players may now summon Companion Characters in a full group if they are not currently in close proximity to other group members.
  • Players can now view other players' Crew Skills by targeting the other player, right-clicking their portrait, and selecting "View Schematics."
  • Material and quantity requirements for all schematics have been adjusted.
  • All crafted items have been re-itemized.
  • Increased the number of items that can be reverse engineered.
  • Increased crafting critical chances and research chances (from reverse engineering) for all skills.
  • Increased the chance to obtain rare crafting resources from Gathering and Mission Skills.
  • Crafting materials purchased from vendors have been reduced in cost.
  • Increased random bonus stats allocated to reverse-engineered crafting items.
  • Increased the sale value of crafted items.
  • The maximum stack size for crafting materials has increased from 20 to 100.
  • Skill trees and abilities for all classes have been updated and adjusted significantly.
  • Visual and sound effects for many high level abilities have been improved.
  • Ability and Skill mechanics and interactions have been improved across all classes.
  • Combat animations have been optimized and improved.
  • Additional restoration abilities are now usable in combat and reset the cooldown on some key class abilities.
  • Area of Effect abilities have been adjusted to be more useful.
  • Level differences now affect hit and miss rates and aggro radius.
  • Social points and dark side/light side scales have been rebalanced.
  • Companion pathfinding has been improved significantly.
  • Companion Missions have been improved.
  • The Affection System has been adjusted and improved.
  • Droid Companions now have their own equipment slots. Droid armor can accept the same item mods as humanoid armor.
  • Many new Companion gifts have been added.
  • The cost of Companion kits has been reduced.
  • Players may now summon Companion Characters in a full group if they are not currently in close proximity to other group members.
  • Players can now view other players' Crew Skills by targeting the other player, right-clicking their portrait, and selecting "View Schematics."
  • Material and quantity requirements for all schematics have been adjusted.
  • All crafted items have been re-itemized.
  • Increased the number of items that can be reverse engineered.
  • Increased crafting critical chances and research chances (from reverse engineering) for all skills.
  • Increased the chance to obtain rare crafting resources from Gathering and Mission Skills.
  • Crafting materials purchased from vendors have been reduced in cost.
  • Increased random bonus stats allocated to reverse-engineered crafting items.
  • Increased the sale value of crafted items.
  • The maximum stack size for crafting materials has increased from 20 to 100.


Mission Skills

  • Possible rewards from missions are now visible when selecting a mission.
  • Removed all Cheap quality loot from mission rewards.


Diplomacy

  • Recalibrated light and dark side balance and rewards.
  • Diplomacy missions can now yield light armor materials and Companion gifts.
  • Light armor materials and Companion gifts are now separate potential mission rewards. The player can select which kind of mission to undertake.


Investigation

  • Investigation can now yield Prototype schematics for all Crafting Skills.
  • Investigation missions can now yield medium armor materials and Companion gifts.
  • Medium armor materials, schematics, and Companion gifts are now separate potential mission rewards. The player can select which kind of mission to undertake.


Treasure Hunting

  • Treasure Hunting can now yield gemstones, lockboxes, Companion gifts, and gift fragments.
  • Gift fragments can be acquired by sending Companions on missions that potentially yield Companion gifts, and can be of Premium, Prototype, or Artifact quality. Fragments can be turned in to the Curator on Nar Shaddaa for an equivalent quality Companion gift.
  • Gemstones, lockboxes, and Companion gifts are now separate potential mission rewards. The player can select which kind of mission to undertake.


Underworld Trading

  • Underworld Trading can now yield heavy armor materials, spices, and companion gifts.
  • Heavy armor materials, spices, and Companion gifts are now separate potential mission rewards. The player can select which kind of mission to undertake.


Gathering Skills

  • Gathering nodes have been redistributed and are now better suited to each planet.
  • Gathering nodes now spawn in random locations.
  • Gathering nodes on planets are now more appropriate for schematics of corresponding levels.
  • All Gathering animations now display the Bioanalysis scan animation.
  • Gathering yields have had their vendor value reduced.


Bioanalysis

  • Added Biochem resource missions.
  • Added missions that can yield implant processors and medical supplies.


Archaeology

  • Added more variations of color crystals.
  • "Cultural artifact" and "historical record" nodes have been replaced by "archaeological find" nodes.
  • Added missions that can yield raw synthetic materials.
  • Clear crystals, color crystals, and artifact fragments are now separate potential mission rewards. The player can select which kind of mission to undertake.


Scavenging

  • Added missions that can yield vendor crafting materials (fluxes, etc).
  • Metals and synthetics are now separate potential mission rewards. The player can select which kind of mission to undertake.


Slicing

  • Removed all Cheap quality loot from Slicing rewards.


Armormech

  • Tech wrists and boots have been moved to Cybertech


Armstech

  • Color cartridge craftable items have been added.


Artifice

  • Minerals are no longer a schematic requirement and have been replaced by artifact fragments from Archaeology.
  • Force wrists and boots are now craftable with Artifice.


Cybertech

  • Added grenade and droid armor craftable items.
  • Tech wrists and boots are now craftable.


Biochem

  • Added craftable Med Units, which function as ranged Medpac heals.
  • Synthweaving
  • No longer uses Scavenging for resources, now uses Archaeology materials.
  • Force wrists and boots have been moved to Artifice.


Flashpoints
The leader of a group will automatically become the owner of a Flashpoint phase. If the leader changes, the new leader will become the owner of the phase.
The current owner of a Flashpoint phase is now indicated clearly at the top of the screen.

Itemization

  • Increased chances for enemies to drop items useful to a character's class.
  • Items now drop more consistently for a wide variety of Advanced Classes and roles.
  • Loot tables for a wide variety of enemies have been adjusted.
  • The mission reward system on Coruscant, Dromund Kaas, and Taris has been significantly reworked to offer more useful items to players of varying specs and their Companions.
  • New items have been created for Origin Worlds (Korriban, Hutta, Ord Mantell, and Tython).
  • Artifact and Legendary quality items have been adjusted.
  • Improved the density and distribution of random loot drops.
  • Added more types of random items, and improved stat assignment on random items.
  • Stat distribution across all items has been significantly changed.
  • A wide range of new high quality drops have been added to the game!
  • Reduced the drop rate for Premium and Prototype quality items.


Items


General

  • Mission reward wearables no longer have level restrictions.
  • Shields, foci, vibroknives, and scatterguns now drop.
  • Players may now toggle the appearance of helmets by opening the Main Menu, selecting Preferences, and selecting the “head slot” checkbox under Social.
  • Weapon colors now display appropriately in cinematics.
  • Added mission items, which grant the player a single use of a mission to send a Companion on.
  • Random Prototype quality vibroblades and electrostaves can now be found.
  • Players can now find lockboxes as random drops.

Item Mods

  • Item mod stats have been adjusted, and new stat distributions and combinations have been added.
  • Item mods that are dropped are now closer to the character's level.
  • All crafted mods have been updated.
  • More Premium item mods now drop.
  • Many now-obsolete item mods have been removed from the game.
  • Players will now find items with less modification slots early in the game. Later in the game, players will find items with more modification slots.
  • The levels at which items appear with item mods pre-slotted has been adjusted.
  • "Generic" modification slots have been removed. Items now have pre-set configurations of slots.
  • Added base mods, such as power crystals for lightsabers, which can upgrade the base properties of an item (damage, armor value, etc).
  • Red color crystals are now restricted to Dark Side 1.
  • Blue and green color crystals are now restricted to Light Side 1.
  • Added items with bonus modification slots.


PvP - Warzones
General

  • The "Queue for Warzones" button is now located on the bottom right of the mini-map.
  • Players are now automatically added to a raid group with their teammates when a Warzone begins.
  • Valor rank, PvP tokens, players queued as a group, and other information now appears on the Warzone queue window.
  • PvP bolstering in Warzones has been adjusted.
  • Same-faction matchmaking has been enabled for the Nar Shaddaa Warzone.
  • The damage power-up has had its buff reduced from 50% to 20%.
  • The Resolve bar on the UI wraps around the target’s portrait. This bar builds as the character is affected by crowd control effects. When the bar is white, the character is immune to crowd control for a limited time.
  • The Guard ability has new visual effects for guarded characters and the characters guarding them.
  • Players who accomplish feats of heroic PvP now have their names announced within Warzones.

Alderaan Civil War
  • The map now properly displays which faction controls a gun turret.
  • Center-screen announcements have been added.
  • Objectives appear on the Scorecard UI in the same compass direction as seen on the mini-map.


Voidstar

  • Messages now appear in the center of the screen to direct players through the Warzone.
  • Objectives appear on the Scorecard UI in the same compass direction as seen on the mini-map.
  • Objectives on the Hangar and Bridge must now be claimed and defended for 20 seconds before they are captured.
  • Art for platforms and Objectives has been updated.
  • The layout of this Warzone has been altered.
  • Timers for Objective capture have been added.
  • Characters no longer spawn in inappropriate locations.


Missions and NPCs
Missions General

  • Heroic Missions are now referred to as "Group Missions."
  • Group Missions now indicate the number of players recommended to complete the mission.
  • Group Missions have been added to Act 2.
  • Group Missions have been rebalanced, and many new Group Missions are now available!

NPC General

  • Enemy pathfinding has been significantly improved!
  • NPC cover usage has been improved.
  • Strong enemies have had their health reduced and damage output increased.
  • Droids of varying types are now properly susceptible to ability effects.
  • More powerful humanoid enemies now have more visible portraits.
  • Lower quantities of enemies now appear in mission phases and Flashpoints.
  • Enemies can be defeated more quickly overall.
  • Strong and tougher enemies now have access to more abilities, and will do more damage with those abilities.
  • Enemy healers are now more balanced.
  • New World Bosses have been added!
  • Existing World Bosses have been rebalanced and can now drop novelty items.
  • Boss enemies now have a chance to drop a Prototype item mod instead of a Premium item.
  • Strong, Elite, and Boss enemies now interact in more interesting ways with players in cover.


Space Combat


General

  • Space Combat Missions now reward Fleet Commendations that can be used to purchase Starship upgrades.

Bug Fixes

  • Invisible ships no longer fire at the player's ship.

User Interface

  • The UI has been updated, overhauled, and reskinned!
  • Bonus Objectives can now be displayed in the Mission Tracker even if they are not linked to another mission.
  • Mission failure is now properly announced via the UI.
  • The display of mission steps in the Mission Log has been improved.
  • A notification now appears when attempting to summon a Companion Character in a full group.
  • Customizable keybindings have now been implemented and can be altered in the Options Menu.
  • Strong enemies now feature a silver star on their portrait. Elites are indicated by a gold star, and Group Boss level enemies are now identified with a gold star with a red center

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