Community Q&A 27th April: Transfers and Achievements

It may be just me but this week’s Community Q&A post by BioWare seems one of the larger ones. There’s a heap of info in there, including some responses on the issues of dual spec (not coming in 1.3), server transfers (coming ‘early summer’ US time) and an achievements system (it’s being planned, with no ETA).

Read on for the whole shebang:

Phyreblade: Loved the Rakghoul Plague outbreak event and seriously hope you have plans to include similar events in the future. I am sure you can’t specify what and when such events might occur in the future but anything you could say on the subject here would be welcome. Thanks for the great work!

Daniel Erickson (Lead Game Designer): We definitely have more surprises coming in the future but we don’t want to have the same format or become predictable. I will say that these surprises will come in a variety of sizes that range from the stealthily rolled-out magenta Lightsaber crystal hunt, to full on server-wide explosions like the Rakghoul Plague.


Trietxan: Is there a plan to make social armor adjustable to armor rating? For example, I would really like to dress my Powertech in the Imperial Trooper armor without losing the heavy armor rating.

Daniel: Yes, adaptable social gear that automatically changes to your character’s gear type is coming in Game Update 1.3.


wyllam: I love the new armor color “unify” feature. Will this option (as well as “hide head armor”) ever be available for companions?

Daniel: Definitely in the plans for the future.


WolfJHavok: I don’t know if this has been asked before, but could you possibly share the reasoning for only allowing 5 out of 6 companions to be sent out at a time at max level? It feels like a bit of a waste of a companion. Thanks!

Daniel: It was a combination of the maximum amount of economic power we wanted a player to be able to produce per hour, plus never wanting to put players in a situation where they felt like they had to choose between having their maximum missions going or actually adventuring where they needed a companion.


Lovarboy: Will we get dual spec with Game Update 1.3?

Daniel: Unfortunately, no. Game Update 1.3 is being kept a bit leaner to get the Group Finder and the next stage of Legacy in the game as fast as possible. After that we’ll be returning to some bigger updates and we’re hoping dual spec makes it for the next one.


JimG: Is there any sort of ETA on adding completely new playable species into the game such as Togruta, Mon Calamari, Nautolan, etc.?

Daniel: Can’t comment on what species you might see, but you can expect the roster of playable species to expand… this year.


Misiolak: The Datacrons are a nice addition to the game, but getting them for all the characters is simply not fun. Do you plan to include Datacron sharing in the Legacy unlocks?

Daniel: Long term we plan to move many of the game’s reward systems to be Legacy-wide and Datacrons are definitely on the list for consideration.


mr_ruiz: Smuggler/Operative Question: As the only classes without a stance/form of some sort (even all companions have a couple), is there any plan to add something like that to these classes for additional utility? If not, why?

Austin Peckenpaugh (Senior Designer): I’m personally a fan of stances for how they communicate to others and how they help add structure to the already burgeoning character advancement options, but those are developer reasons to love stances. As a player, it’s nice to be able to have a sense of someone’s spec at a glance by seeing their stance, but for me, the appeal ends there as long as the absence of a stance doesn’t mean I’m “missing” something. To answer your question specifically, adding stances to these classes is certainly an option in the future, it just needs to be appropriate and serve a purpose. We don’t want to introduce a mechanic for no other reason than to have it.


DarthTexas: Can you give some insight to the numbers behind crafting? What is the baseline crit chance for crafting? How does companion affection affect crit chance? Exactly how much of a boost is +1 or +5 critical chance in crafting? Having the Reverse Engineer % chance is a nice step in removing some of the unknowns in crafting; now we just need the numbers on the creation side to be less ambiguous.

Patrick Malott (Systems Designer): The baseline crit chance for crafting is dependent on the difficulty of the crafting action relative to your current crafting skill level. The difficulty is color coded in the crafting GUI.

Orange Difficulty: 10%

Yellow, Green, and Gray Difficulty: 15%

Companion Affection scales Crew Skill chance up to +5% at maximum affection.

A Companion Trait critical chance bonus of +1 or +5 is a percentage. Example: The Imperial Agent companion character Kaliyo grants a +2 bonus to Underworld Trading Critical. This is +2% bonus.

Using Kaliyo at maximum affection as an example, if she ran a green difficulty Underworld Trading mission for you, she would have a 22% chance to score a mission critical success.


Arymono: When will character transfers be available for everybody?

Dallas Dickinson (Senior Producer, Live Services): We will be rolling out our Character Transfer Service in early summer. First we’ll have some targeted free transfers from/to specific servers, but that will be followed with a broader system where you can either take advantage of free promotional transfers to specific servers or paid transfers to the server of your choice. We know everyone has more questions about character transfer, and we’ll reveal more details closer to the launch date.


DrakeAssaShin: What is being done to address low population servers?

Dallas: The Character Transfer Service, as mentioned above, will be offering free transfers from/to specific servers. This should allow the most motivated players to get onto a higher population server.


Alxandria: What was the design reasoning behind choice of mods/stat combination on commendation vendors during the leveling process? Most of what is available seems to favor +Endurance across the board with very few options for those who want to maximize their primary stat during the leveling process. Usually if someone wants a barrel, armoring or hilt that favors something other than Endurance, we must settle with a lower item score, if it’s available all.

David Hunt (Systems Designer): The mods you can purchase from commendation vendors are not intended to be optimal. They are cheap and probably too easy to acquire. If you want to optimize, you need to find a crafter.


Caizic: In the 1.2 Legacy patch notes there is a section under Items and Economy and General that says “Loot drops from endgame activities, such as Operations and Flashpoints, now take group composition into account.” Can someone please clarify what this means/how this works exactly? Thanks in advance!

David: Throughout the game, the composition of your group impacts the loot you get from defeating enemies. For the majority of content, the drops are skewed to favor whatever classes are present. This is a bias, but not a guarantee. In leveling Flashpoints, that bias is very strong, and will almost always give loot for the group. However, in endgame Flashpoints, there was no bias – drops were completely random. We’ve added a strong class bias to the loot drops for the endgame Flashpoints. In most cases, this guarantees a drop that can be used by someone in your group. The bias is an “opt-in” system for each character present. That means that you have the same loot playing as a solo Jedi Sentinel or a full group of Jedi Sentinels.


Raific: Could you please clarify and expand on the following patch note for Game Update 1.2:

  • Players can now remove Armoring modifications that have set bonuses from items and transfer those set bonuses to Custom (orange) items. These modifications can only be transferred to an item that is equipped in the same slot. This does not apply to all items with a set bonus, only those where the set bonus is attached to the Armoring modification.

I believe many people where under the impression that we would be able to pull set bonuses from most gear, not almost none. It seems like only the top tier set bonus can be relocated at this time. Any chance this will be expanded or lower tier? If not, what is the reason? 

David: We’re sorry if the note confused anyone. You can pull set bonuses from all new items with set bonuses going forward. There are not any current plans to expand this to old items. The tech that allows us to distribute set bonuses as part of the armoring is new, and there are limitations to how much we can change items that players already possess. That means we can have the set bonus on all armorings that were created for 1.2 or later, but that old armor still has the set bonus on the shell item.


Zannis: Any chance on allowing companions to show in the Operation frame? As a healer, I do a lot of questing with a friend, and I’m unable to replace Party Frames with the Operations Frame since we can’t see our party member’s companions with this option turned on.

Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer):  Funny, we were just talking about this the other day.  I’m working on the design now, but have no ETA of when this will get to you.


Capthxc: Any plans to improve your achievement system and/or codex? Right now achievements don’t seem to serve any purpose.

Damion:  We have big plans.  Too big to share prematurely.

Over to you: anything in here that’s got you particularly excited?

Community Q&A: A Bit ‘O Everything

A belated post with all the details from yesterday’s community Q&A. The last few have been very 1.2 dominated but now that it’s water under the bridge, this week’s covers a broad number of issues. The highlight for me is the potential for a guild uniform / ‘tabard’ in the future.

The full kahuna:

BlackMink: Could you please explain SWTOR’s threat mechanics? What exactly do the de-taunt abilities do, and how exactly is threat generated? Is threat directly related point for point to the damage you do, or does each individual ability generate a pre-set amount of threat?

Cameron Winston (Combat Designer): Threat is calculated based on damage done, plus or minus certain modifiers, with one damage translating directly into one point of threat. These modifiers are always called out in the abilities which adjust them. For example, Soresu Form increases your threat generation globally, while Crushing Blow or Hilt Strike specifically generates extra bonus threat when activated.

De-taunt abilities reduce your threat level by a flat percentage of its current value. Healing generates less threat than damage and is split evenly among all enemies you are currently fighting.

Keldain: Love the stuff for 1.2! I think you guys are doing a great job on addressing the issues of the community. Just one thing I would really like an update on: is there any movement on getting an option to toggle hoods on and off?

Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer): This is totally in the plan, but we are unsure at this time when it will get to you.

Pierre-olivier: Will it be possible to create a guild uniform or get a distinctive sign. I mean other than the name displayed above the character?

Damion: At some point, this will be possible.  No ETA yet, but we have a design fleshed out.

Irouven: What is the idea behind the selection at the equipment vendor for planetary commendations? Sometimes you get boots, sometimes chest-armor, never a potential “full” outfit.

Damion: We don’t want you to get all of the pieces of an armor set from any one source of gear.  We want you to do multiple activities in the game to build out a full set of gear.  This is a conscious decision on our part to encourage and reward playing multiple facets of the game.  So you should do other things — heroics, check the GTN, etc — the full set of gear is out there.

TheCritter: If I delete a character with Legacy unlocks do I lose those unlocks? For example, if I have a human female Sniper at level 50 with Act 3 completed will I lose the race unlock, Heroic Ability, and class emote for my other characters if I delete her?  

Damion: You will keep all unlocks that you have managed to unlock so far.

Zawny: Any chance there will be an effort to develop account storage somewhat similar in nature to guild banks so that characters on an account can access items rather than mailing them under what the current plan appears to be?

Damion: We have a plan for this.  However, since there is currently a workaround for this (mailing items to your alt), this is a lower priority than some of the other improvements we have earmarked for the legacy system.

DarthBloodloss: Why doesn’t ranked War Hero armor (or the new tier of PvE armor) have augment slots?

Georg Zoeller (Principal Lead Combat Designer): It is possible to obtain ranked War Hero appearance with augment slots from crafters on the GTN. The schematics for the those items can be found on the PvP vendor and a critical success while crafting them will result, as with other armor, in an additional augment slot.

It is also worth noting that we will be adding a way to add an augment slots to existing modifiable armor in a future game update.

Aikiyc: Can we get a clarification on how interceptions in Huttball work? Currently, it seems to be mostly random, with a somewhat increased chance of intercepting if all the allied receivers are stunned. Does the number of allies VS enemies factor in? Closest to the center of or edge of the passing zone?

Gabe Amatangelo (PvP & Endgame Designer): The player closest to the center of the landing spot circle who is not stunned or mezzed will receive the ball, regardless of what team they are on.

Grandmthethird: It seems to me like some companions have a hard time when it comes to gear. I’m sure there is more but I’m thinking specifically of Torian and Skadge. It seems impossible to get aim melee weapons. Is this an oversight? Or am I simply missing something?

David White (Systems Designer): Aim melee weapons are used by a very small subset of companions.  For this reason we tend to distribute those items through either vendors or class specific quest rewards.  Our goal is to make these items reasonably available without constantly putting essentially “worthless” items in front of players who do not care about them.  We also make the items customizable (orange) when possible to make it easier to keep them up-to-date by swapping out the Mods and Enhancements.  Ultimately it’s a delicate balance to make sure they can be reasonably found and maintained by the players who care about them without them becoming a nuisance to players who might not even understand why they exist.

Community Q&A: More 1.2 details

Below in full is BioWare’s latest round of answers to selected community questions. One of the interesting ones for me is the confirmation of special titles for anyone that levels a new character on the PTS to Level 10 and then to the end of their character’s Chapter 1 storyline. There’s much meatier stuff than that though, so read on:

Thangunis: Soon I will hit level 50 and was wondering what to do with my commendations. If I understand correctly the new Recruit gear set is more PVP oriented and has less PvE stats? Is the old gear worth buying or should I wait for the new Recruit? I would like to buy Battlemaster directly with commendations but I can only have 1000 commendations, right?

David Hunt (Sr. Systems Designer): PvP gear going forward has more Expertise than the initial PvP gear, which includes the Recruit set. The Recruit set is also purchased for credits. You have a few options for handling your existing commendations, but what you should do depends on what types of commendations you have.

Centurion, Champion, and Battlemaster Commendations: These currencies are getting deprecated in Game Update 1.2. There are a few miscellaneous things you can purchase in Game Update 1.2 that are currently on the vendors on PTS. Most players will be best served by spending any of these commendations that they have now before 1.2 goes live.

Warzone Commendations: The cap on Warzone Commendations is increasing in Game Update 1.2, and they buy many more valuable items. Characters that do not have Battlemaster gear will probably benefit the most by spending Warzone Commendations to stay below the cap, but should try to keep 1,000 commendations for 1.2 to spend them on Battlemaster gear.

Unassembled PvP Tokens: These currencies are deprecated and have no value in Game Update 1.2.

Giolon: I read in patch notes that sniper rifles will no longer drop for Republic players – what about Risha and Zenith? These companions use sniper rifles. How are we supposed to gear them up if sniper rifles no longer drop for Republic players?

David Hunt: There are still several ways to get sniper rifles for Republic players – this change primarily removed them from boss drops. Sniper rifles can still be crafted, purchased from vendors, and modded. And with Game Update 1.2, weapons that drop more frequently on one side can always be mailed across from the other side with legacy characters.


CamoCladn: If I reverse engineer orange items, will I be able to obtain the schematics for them in Game Update 1.2? It would be great if I can get schematics to attempt to get augment slots as this would grant the ability to look just like I want.

Patrick Malott (Systems Designer): While in reverse engineering mode, items that can provide research variations will display a ‘Chance to Research a Schematic: x%’ tooltip. Otherwise, the tooltip will read “No Research Available.” Reverse Engineering to get Armormech Schematics pertains to the new endgame tier of Operation items and PvP Battlemaster/War Hero items.


Ironcleaver: I was under the assumption that the three crafting classes would gain the new augment schematics through their trainers… but seeing what’s listed under Slicing, does this mean the schematics are only gained as critical rewards through Slicing?

Patrick Malott: Correct. Augment schematics are not learned via the crafting trainers. They are acquired as Sliced Tech Part mission critical rewards through Slicing.


Shaynae: According to the patch notes: The chance of researching schematics via reverse engineering has been significantly increased. However I’m not seeing this on the stuff I’m trying, in fact I am getting purples from blues much less often than on the live servers. Yes, I do understand that some of it is luck. I found the Tier one stuff came pretty easier, but now the Tier three stuff I’m having either a really long run of bad luck or there is something wrong.

Patrick Malott: As stated earlier, while reverse engineering, items that can provide research variation will display a ‘Chance to Research a Schematic: x%’ tooltip. This chance will currently either be 20% or 10%. Pre-Game Update 1.2, Artifact items (Purples) had as low as a 4% chance for research. In addition, the “You already know that schematic” bug we fixed for this patch was preventing some research variations from being learned. Research chances overall should be significantly higher in 1.2.


Babouine: Will you guys add new stuff to the VIP area on the Fleets?

Daniel Erickson (Lead Game Designer): We will definitely be adding new items to the VIP areas on the fleets in the future, but we can’t give you an exact estimate on when just yet.


Xsmspiffs: Could we get an option to allow others to see the Guild Ledger, and show the Guildmaster on it? 

Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer): The Guildmaster not showing will be corrected in Game Update 1.2. We will eventually allow the Guildmaster to set who can see the guild ledger via permissions – this will not make 1.2, but is definitely coming in a future update.


Alexbeav: I love the new Smart Camera toggle option! However, I have one observation to make: when you move (with smart cam off), the camera does not rotate, but when you use an ability, the camera resets back behind the player. The same thing happens when traveling by taxi. Is this an oversight or is it intended?

Damion: That’s a bug – good catch! I’ll get a bug into the system, and hopefully we’ll get a fix either in Game Update 1.2 or a patch shortly afterwards.


Mysquine: Whilst trying to do “/who x” (x being level) or “/who x-x” it does not return anything, if you type “/who x [planet]” then it will return the appropriate results. Is this intended?

Damion: That’s not intended. I will investigate.

Leonalis: When will we get the titles promised for playing on PTS? Will it be for all my characters?

Stephen Reid (Senior Community Manager): Short answer: after Game Update 1.2 goes live and yes! There are two in-game titles that will be granted to anyone who created a new character on the Public Test Server. Both titles will be placed after your character’s name. The first title is given for attaining Level 10 with any new character on PTS, and it is ‘First Line of Defense’. The second title is given for finishing Chapter 1 with any new character on PTS, and it is ‘The Cutting Edge’.

We’ll be granting these titles soon after Game Update 1.2 goes live, and you’ll receive the titles across your account for all characters, both existing and new. You’ll get the titles via in-game mail, similar to the Founder’s Medal, so keep an eye on your mailbox. In addition, these titles will still be available to be gained from playing on PTS in the future.

Daezihang: Are Mortar Volley and Death from Above actually functioning the same now? How much faster does MV start its damage?

Austin Peckenpaugh (Senior Designer): Yes, this was the motivation for the change. Mortar Volley and Death From Above now fire projectiles at the same time and those projectiles travel at the same speed, dealing the same damage. As for how much faster MV starts its damage – the answer is “much faster.”

Rystet: I have done extensive testing on the Training Dummies and I have spent over 2 hours beating on the Operation Training Target. I have not had any attack Dodged or Parried. Is this a bug?

Austin: Training dummies currently do not parry/dodge as intended. We are working on a fix for this.

PerfectDuke: Are you really removing the giggle/laugh for scoundrels when Upper Hand procs in Game Update 1.2? As a healer, having the audio cue is great for focusing on… well, healing. Especially if the proc comes off of my hot, slow-release medpac.

Austin: The change was intended to prevent sound fatigue when lots of these procs were going off in a small area (especially in operations). We are looking into ways of making this proc more visible going forward.

Zilvra: I have a level 32 Scoundrel Scrapper. I am already having problems killing my on level bosses due to the 1.1 nerfs. What will the 1.2 nerfs do to me in PVE? It seems really unfair to the purely PVE players when the nerfs hit?

Austin: Many of the class story bosses are intentionally very difficult. This is something that all classes face and is not unique to Smugglers. The fact of the matter is that Scrapper DPS is closer to target in 1.2. Understandably, if you were already struggling with an encounter, you may view this as an undesired change. For clarity, we don’t agree that this is “unfair” for “pure PVE” players as the changes are not meant to (despite popular perception) specifically target PVP over PVE.

Community Q&A: Lots o’ Legacy

BioWare have posted their latest swathe of answers to SWTOR community questions, with an emphasis this week on the imminent 1.2 update and the expanded Legacy functionality in particular.

The response on the SWTOR forums is mixed, with a bunch of people complaining BioWare haven’t clarified their approach to variances in server populations, but otherwise this seems a pretty chock full information update to me. Hell, I’d be a bit worried if the 1.2 update wasn’t BioWare’s primary focus right now.

Read on for the whole Q&A:


In this week’s Community Q&A we’ve searched out questions on Game Update 1.2, which is currently available to test on the Public Test Server, and coming to live servers soon.

With so much new content and additions in Game Update 1.2, we found plenty of questions – and got you plenty of answers! However, we’ve got so many questions and answers that we’re going to extend this Q&A into next week as well. After that, we’ll return to taking new questions from everyone. As always, we have edited some questions below for clarity or brevity.

If you’d like to discuss any of the answers in this week’s Q&A, please use this Forum thread.

Clone_troope: I still don’t get how the Legacy system works. I have a level 50 Jedi Knight Guardian and a level 50 Smuggler Scoundrel. With the Legacy system can one ‘inherit’ the abilities of the other and vice versa?

Daniel Erickson (Lead Game Designer): Each class has one iconic ability that can be unlocked for your entire Legacy, which means every character on your chosen server. This ability is only available for use during the Heroic Moment ability (which means you need to have your companion with you, and that you only have a limited window to use it). In your case, that means your Guardian would unlock Legacy Force Sweep and your Scoundrel would unlock Legacy Dirty Kick. Each could then use the other’s ability as could any additional Legacy characters you might have, or create.


Cylht: I don’t want to have to leave my guild mates and go play Empire to unlock alien species. Will credits be able to purchase all species or will I have to grind them?

Daniel Erickson: All species have an alternate unlocking method that requires a minimum Legacy Level and credits, making them all purchasable.


Lstn: If I hit 50 as a human, what benefit do I get with the Legacy system, as humans can be any and all classes?

Daniel Erickson: Reaching level 50 as a human results in a sizable Presence bonus to all of your Legacy characters, making all current and future companions more powerful.


Shaynae: Would it be possible to add companion icons to the Legacy family tree?

Daniel Erickson: It is not possible now but is definitely something we want to do in the future.


AetherMcLoud: Is the Legacy Rocket Boost usable in PVP? I sincerely hope not, because if it is that would extremely unbalance Warzones between stinking rich people and people with a more moderate amount of credits.

Daniel Erickson: The Legacy Rocket Boost is most definitely not available in Warzones.


Wesleycrushers: In terms of Legacy unlocks, what do we get for leveling the ship droid to max affection? Is he considered a healer, or is he a different type of companion? Also, do the unlocks carry across characters, so if I max affection with my companion character healer for one character, will I get that bonus applied when I play a different character?

Daniel Erickson: The ship droid is primarily a crafting tool so increasing his affection results in crafting bonuses, but provides no additional Legacy rewards. He is not considered a healer in relation to Legacy unlocks. Maximizing your first companion character healer – and your first of any of the five companion character types – provides a bonus that applies to all Legacy characters. Maxing out additional companions of the same type provides a small Presence bonus that also applies to all Legacy characters.


ViciousFett: Light and Dark active ability Legacy unlocks are obviously Alignment +/- 10000, but what about Neutral? Is it simply a matter of staying between light and dark 1? Or perhaps having at least 5k in each?

Daniel Erickson: The Neutral Legacy reward will not be coming in Game Update 1.2 I’m afraid, as true grey alignment advancement did not make the cut. It will appear as part of the full grey alignment advancement package in a later Game Update.


Aymi: You guys are including a whole bunch of things to motivate us to reroll and unlock stuff through Legacy, but if I’m playing on one server because the community is great, I’ll be limited to eight characters. You said during the Guild Summit you were going to think about it at some point, any update on that?

Daniel Erickson: We are 100% committed to providing more character slots per server in the future but unfortunately we’re not ready to talk about how that will work.

Players have expressed some dissatisfaction with endgame armor sets – can you comment on your plans for future endgame appearances?

Daniel Erickson: We have heard the community loud and clear when it comes to armor sets. What we’ve heard the players say is, “I don’t care how high level I get, I still want my core sets to look and feel like Star Wars and like my class – cooler but not crazy. Keep the crazy to optional gear.” I will warn that creating new armor is a part of our game with long lead times so it will take a set or so before players see a strong shift in direction but we’re already working on some stuff I love and I think players will too.

Asphen: Can we get an option to turn off the combat error text in the center of my screen?

Damion (Principal Lead Systems Designer): We will be looking at adding the ability to move and/or turn off banner text and error text (the two kinds of text that appear in the middle of your screen) as part of the GUI customization system in a future patch. This isn’t a trivial issue, however – in some cases, fairly vital information is given to the player here, and we’d need to be sure that in these cases the text gets rerouted someplace for a player to review. So short form, yeah, we’re thinking about it, but no ETA for you at this time.

What rewards do I get from the new dailies on Corellia?

David Hunt (Systems Designer): Daily Commendations, with a weekly quest that gives Black Hole Commendations. Some new items have been added to Daily Commendation vendors, and Black Hole Commendations come from multiple locations as a means of buying high end gear.

Magnalorian: I have been acquiring champion gear pieces for the sole purpose of pulling those nice level 56 mods and enhancements out of them to put in my sexy Jedi Battlelord set, which currently makes it roughly equal to Columni I have kept the hollowed out remains of the champion gear I have pulled these mods from, leaving only the armoring which currently can’t be removed. Will they turn blue right away in 1.2, remain purple as they currently are (cannot uneqip the armor slot), or will they remain purple and allow me to pull the armoring from them as well?

David Hunt: As a general rule for gear updates: Any mods that you’ve changed will remain changed. Any mods you haven’t changed will update if the gear changed.

In this case, it means your currently empty Champion gear will be purple and show a filled/extractable armoring and empty mod and enhancement slots. Those mods and enhancements will still be present in your Jedi Battlelord set.

Exaro – Will crit crafted orange gear with the tier 4 mods in it and an additional augment be required to get the best possible stats or will the stand alone purple tier 4 be just as good?

David Hunt: Augments are required for the highest possible stats, but augmented gear is not required for any existing content. A fully augmented set of endgame gear will put you above the stat curve.

ZudetGambeous – Is it possible to use Reverse Engineering on PvP gear and Operations gear in 1.2 to get the appearance shell for those items? If so, has the ability to trade bound items for Reverse Engineering been added, or can you only use Reverse Engineer on those items if you have them yourself… I.E will my alts have to start rolling need on my main’s Operations gear so I can use Reverse Engineering?

David Hunt: You can use Reverse Engineering on Operations gear but not PvP gear. You can purchase PvP appearance schematics for credits, but the appearance schematics may have additional equip requirements. For example, Battlemaster appearances require Valor even though normal Battlemaster items do not. This is because the recipes to produce Battlemaster appearances do not require PvP activity, while purchasing Battlemaster gear requires PvP commendations.

It is not currently possible to trade Bind on Pickup items for Reverse Engineering.

Arnathis: Can we please get an in-depth explanation of how gearing is going to work in Game Update 1.2? I understand that you can reverse engineer the gear and possibly learn the schematic but is that for everyone or just the people with the appropriate Crew Skills? Will this apply to the tier sets as well?

Georg Zoeller (Lead Combat Designer): This is a very broad question, but I’ll try to answer as comprehensively as possible, as the system is rather complex.

First off, in an ‘under the hood’ change to the game, end game items have more stat variety, allowing for significantly improved item customization for players that like to fine tune their stats.

The most important change for gear in Game Update 1.2 is that all previously modifiable purple gear has all their mods exposed, including the so called ‘base mod’ (Armoring, hilt, barrel). These can be freely moved into any empty (orange) appearance shell, giving you a lot more choices in your character’s appearance.

New end game gear (e.g. “Campaign Gear”) introduced with the Game Update has the added benefit that it keeps information about its set bonus on the armoring – but comes with the limitation that the extracted armoring can only be moved into an item of the same slot type (chest to chest, boot to boot, etc.). The reason for this ‘Bind to Slot’ behavior on armoring is that we do not want players to farm the initial boss of an Operation as the easiest way to obtain a full set of end game mods.

This means you can now take any custom (orange) appearance and imbue it with all the benefits of your end game set. As an added progression option, you can also acquire a critical crafted orange item with additional augment slots for even better stats.

Reverse Engineering has also received considerable improvements with Game Update 1.2.

For one, when attempting to reverse engineer an item (for which you indeed need the appropriate profession) you will now be able to see in the item tooltip what your chance to successfully reverse engineer a new schematic is (or if such a chance exists at all).

Many of the new end game items (and end game items going forward) can be reverse engineered to learn schematics based on the original item:

  • Reverse engineering an item with mods leads to empty orange equivalents of the end game items. This can be done after the mods are extracted and used in a different item!
  • The item you learn to create is commonly Bind on Equip, as we want to encourage a more lively market on the Galactic Trade Network.
  • Many different mods can now be reverse engineered which will grant you a schematic to craft that mod. (This is not possible on armoring that carry a set bonus.)
  • Reverse engineering non-modded items usually leads to a schematic for an equivalent item.
  • Reverse engineering an end game item also provides materials needed to craft these items. Operations materials are also Bind on Equip now, creating a more diverse market.
  • A crafting critical on these schematics will usually lead to an augment slot. For item mods, it results in an extra item.

Effectively, this means you can sell nearly full end game items (including augment slots on a critical success) one component at a time. However, doing so requires a significant upfront investment, it’s certainly not easy. This also means every profession now benefits from Reverse Engineering and can trade items.

  • Armormech produces certain Augments, Augmented Tech Armor
  • Armstech produces certain Augments, Augmented Weapons
  • Artifice produces Color Crystals, Enhancements, Augmented Shields and Relics
  • Biochem produces Augmented Implants
  • Cybertech produces Mods and Augmented Earpieces
  • Synthweaving produces certain Augments, Augmented Force Armor

Augment schematics (green) are found via Slicing missions and blue and purple variants of these augments can be researched via reverse engineering by the appropriate crafters. It is not possible to reverse engineer legacy augments obtained from slicing before the game update arrives, however. These are technically different items.

Because we do not want players to gamble with reverse engineering custom appearances (orange items) which are often unique quest rewards, the schematics for these items are obtained via mission discoveries for various gathering skills and are set to Bind on Equip to encourage active trading.

Finally, a word on augment slots: with Game Update 1.2, crafters are the only source of augment slots in the game, significantly elevating their ability to contribute highly desirable items into the more open trade economy while enabling players to engage in end game using an appearance of their choice.

We have also heard at the Guild Summit and through community feedback on the Forums that many players have built up a significant stack of custom appearances for future use in their cargo holds and would really like to upgrade these with an augment slot to make them fully competitive as end game gear. We absolutely support this and will be introducing the ability to do so in a future Game Update.

Over to you – anything that caught your interest in particular?

Latest Community Q&A: Punishing Corso Riggs

BioWare have posted the latest answers to community questions. There’s not a lot of gobsmackingly new info there but there is a good range of topics covered. Have a read for yourself below. I’m just about willing to roll a Smuggler to be able to Punish Corso Riggs as a Sith Pureblood (I got to know and hate Corso in beta).

Anyway, onto the Q&A:

Mksaccount: Are there any plans on adjusting rage timers in hard mode Flashpoints?

Gabe Amatangelo (Lead Endgame & PvP Designer): The team continues to tune Flashpoint bosses based on metrics and feedback. Bosses that are a ‘spike’ in the progression curve (e.g. when a second boss might be more difficult than the last) are being addressed in one way or another, be it increasing their enrage timer, decreasing their health, extending the cooldown of control abilities, etc.

Bendog: Are there any plans to make the lower level planet commendations ‘Bind to Account’? It would be nice to hand them off to another character.

Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer): We’ve talked about it, sure. It’s something we considered as we added in the Legacy System. However, right now we know that other aspects of the Legacy System will act to speed up the leveling experience for alternate characters. We want to see the state of the game in terms of leveling speed and itemization power after the core Legacy System goes live with Game Update 1.2 before we potentially make that change.

BurdoThePious: Is there a reason why the Commando / Mercenary Advanced Classes do not have an interrupt ability (eg. Mind Snap, Distraction, Force Kick)?

Georg Zoeller (Lead Combat Designer): Yes. The lack of an interrupt ability on these Advanced Classes is a purposefully designed weakness in their ability arsenal. At the current time, adding an interrupt to the Commando/Mercenary would increase their combat utility, especially in PvP, beyond what we are comfortable with.

That said, this issue is one we’ve re-evaluated with every major patch and will likely continue to revisit in the future. It is not inconceivable that an interrupt may be added to these Advanced Classes in a future update, especially if more PvE content is introduced that relies on a certain number of interrupts being available in a group.

Niktika: Can you please explain some of the reasoning behind the healing nerfs? It almost seems like every healer is up in arms regardless of their class.

Georg: Sometimes it’s hard to hear this, but the change to healers you’re referring to was, quite simply, a result of them being too good. When one healer is close to target performance and the others aren’t, it’s natural to think that the logical course is to buff the underperformer and leave the over-performers alone. I want to dispel that notion and explain why it isn’t always possible.

All specs for all roles have a target performance. This is what drives the balance of the game: soloing, Heroics, PvP, Flashpoints, Operations… everything. When those targets aren’t hit, we can’t just ‘bring everyone up’ to the highest performer without negatively impacting the balance of the game and creating unsustainable inflation in our combat system. Frankly, it’s also a lot more work to change all end game content in the game to compensate for an over-performing role than to bring the role back in line. The hard but simple truth is that Sorcerers and Sages had better Force management than we intended (e.g. a well-played Sage was almost incapable of running out of Force) and Mercenaries and Commandos were significantly over target in their healing performance.

After considerable testing, we’re more confident than ever that all healing roles are both closer to target performance and closer to one another than ever before, leading to a much tighter balance on end game content. The community will be able to confirm this using the new combat logging feature in Game Update 1.2.

I know trying to ‘sell’ a downwards adjustment (AKA nerf) to anyone affected is like selling the need for a tax increase to people. When you are on the receiving end of it, you’re not going to be happy about it. It may appear massive to you, even if the overall impact is limited. You likely won’t care that it’s ‘for the greater good of the game’ and, if you decide to disagree with our action, there’s little we can do to sway you.

Based on the feedback brought to us so far from testers playing on PTS along with metrics and combat logs gathered from our guild testers, we are going to make additional adjustments before Game Update 1.2 is promoted to the live servers. For example, we reopened the internal debate about having an in-combat resurrect ability for Mercenaries/Commandos based on PTS feedback regarding the new Operations, in light of the higher utility value this ability brings to the table in 1.2. We’re listening to your feedback, too, and rebalancing some of the changes made to healing based on data gathered from PTS. Look out for a future update to PTS for more details.


Pzljug: When are you guys going to finish the Timeline on the Holonet?

Stephen Reid (Senior Community Manager): When the Timeline series was begun we weren’t entirely sure how many timelines would be needed to detail relevant backstory for The Old Republic and left ‘blank spaces’ on the Timeline that, we thought, would all be filled in with Timeline entries. Ultimately, we feel we’ve detailed all the relevant backstory required, so no more Timeline entries going back into earlier history are planned. However, we know how much players enjoyed the lore details, style and presentation of Timelines, so we’re planning to continue that with a different series (currently unscheduled!) which will detail other aspects of the lore of The Old Republic.

Suzume_Bachi: If I unlock the Pureblood Sith species for all my future characters via the Legacy System, will I be able to create a Republic Pureblood Sith Smuggler, and will that Smuggler have Punish to I can smack around Corso Riggs?

William Wallace (Senior Designer): Players creating characters with the new species/class combinations allowed by Legacy will get that species’ unique ability. So yes, your new Sith Pureblood Smuggler will have the Punish ability, and can use it on Corso Riggs as much as you like. Poor Corso….

DevTheSith: Can Bounty Hunters get a [Name] The Mandalorian title (or if it’s already in game, where is it)?

Daniel Erickson (Lead Game Designer): Currently, there is no such title available for Bounty Hunters. It may be added as part of a future content update, but we’ve got no current plans to add it to the existing game.

Alericus: I am wondering how the ‘vote to kick’ system for PvP matches will work. I have a concern it will be abused by pre-made teams who want to control the team. Can you clarify how this system will work?

Gabe: Any player can vote to kick an AFK player through the Ops frame context menu. This will not initiate a vote prompt, but rather must be actively sought out by multiple players. Once a player has received several votes they will receive a prompt indicating that they’ll be kicked from the Warzone in a few seconds if they do not engage in combat or defend an objective. A player who is kicked from the Warzone in this manner will be returned to their original location before they queued, and will not be able to queue up again for several minutes. We’ll continue to fine tune the detection logic, but gradually, with an eye towards protecting the innocent bystander player.

Mataoh: A lot of guilds have a second alt guild for the opposite faction – is there any plan to allow some sort of cross-faction chat so both guilds can communicate with each other in game?

Damion: This was something that came up a lot during the Guild Summit and is an idea we’re taking seriously. However, no design is locked down in stone and I don’t have any sort of ETA as of yet for when something like this might happen.

joetacticSW: Can we have a ‘Loop music’ feature or some other way to make our experience less quiet?

Damion: Interesting idea. Let me give it some thought!

Weekly Q&A: companion loot rolls and new emotes

BioWare have posted their latest community Q&A and there’s quite a bit of meat in there. All the detail is shown below but the standouts for me are acknowledgement of future improvements such as companion loot rolls, new emotes and my favourite: quicker travel options back to your ship.

Here’s the full list if questions and answers:


Chyp: Can we expect to see any animation/damage timing consistency changes between factions?

Georg Zoeller (Principal Lead Combat Designer): Yes. The animation team has been working on a new set of animations for abilities like the Trooper’s Mortar Volley to provide closer matching of animation timings and improved combat responsiveness. We expect to roll these changes out with Game Update 1.2.

Zennis: Has there been any discussion to streamlining the Space Port process? Perhaps allowing speeders in the Space Ports besides the Fleet?

Brian Audette (Senior Designer): We’ve absolutely heard what the fans are saying and have been exploring options to address these issues. While we are still investigating allowing speeder use in Space Ports, we’ve also been looking for other ways to get people from point A to point B with greater haste. One such feature will specifically affect planets that have Orbital Stations instead of Space Ports such as: Tython, Korriban, Hoth, and Belsavis. We’ll be adding an option for players to go directly to their ships from the surface shuttles as opposed to having them run through the Orbital Station to their airlocks. This feature and some additional tweaks will start showing up in Game Update 1.2.

deusBAAL: Will you be providing a LFG tool? What will be its features? How will it be intended to work and when can we expect it to go live?

Daniel Erickson (Lead Writer): We are hard at work on a much more robust LFG functionality that will quickly help put groups together while still offering the flexibility to decide how you group and what sort of people you want to be grouped with. We’ll release more details as we get closer to release.

LthalSavy: Will there be any way to implement a quick travel to your ship?

Georg Zoeller: Not in the short term, but it’s something we’ve been discussing on and off. Currently, given how easily available fleet travel passes are on the Security Vendor, we don’t think adding this is necessary.

IsACoolGuy: Will any new emotes be added to the game? The Jedi/Sith meditation thing that NPCs do looks pretty cool, will emotes of that nature become available to players?

Damion Schubert (Principal Lead Systems Designer): We do have some new emotes planned. Even cooler, we now have tech that allows us to grant emotes as rewards for various game systems. In Game Update 1.2, we have several emotes planned as unlocked rewards of the Legacy System. My favorite is the special dance that is so inspiring that your companion feels the urge to boogie down with you.

TrueDND: Currently, the incentive to choose other Crew Crafting Skills outside of Biochem is minimal due to the fact that, once you reach max level, all gear that is acquired through PvE and PvP is better than all crafted equipment and mods (mostly through the Commendation and token vendors). Is this being looked in to?

Georg Zoeller: Absolutely. With the upcoming Game Update 1.2, we are adding endgame crafting for all professions. This includes augment crafting, the ability to crit-craft custom (orange) gear with augment slots, new endgame schematics, new color crystals, expanded and improved research and reverse engineering and much more (we’re up to 4 pages of crew skill related patch notes in 1.2. alone)

Combined with new features such as the ability to extract base-mods from purple items (including the set bonus) and the improved color matching feature, crafters of all professions will find themselves in a lot of demand once the update hits.

Toxin_Polaris: Do you plan to have mini-games like swoop races or pazaak? And if so what is the priority for this? Can we expect them this year?

Damion Schubert: We love mini-games, especially the ones that speak to the heritage of KOTOR. When would something like pazaak make its way to you? Hard to say – it’s not on our immediate horizon, and we’d most likely do it at a point where we want to make a large splash.

Twaggy: I find it troublesome to compare mods/enhancements/armoring/hilts/crystals that are installed in my armor or lightsaber. Will you be implementing something that lets you see the stats of what you have (like the comparability you can do of the boots – boots or jacket – jacket)?

Georg Zoeller: This is a convenience feature on our list of things to look at once the higher priority UI features and community requests have been addressed. We definitely think it’s a good idea, but where it falls in terms of prioritization makes it impossible to give you an ETA at this point.

TheJestersHat: What is BioWare planning to do about performance issues that people get with Warzone, open world PVP, and general FPS issues?

Damion Schubert: We have an internal strike team that is fully devoted to ensuring that the game runs better and faster, especially on low end machines, and we consider this team’s work to be a crucial internal initiative. You should see evidence of this work as soon as Patch 1.1.5, when we will be introducing a new ‘very low’ setting to shader quality, which should drastically increase the number of mid-to-low machines the game can run well on, especially in Warzones and Operations.

Frung: Have you considered adding a “companion” loot roll option?

Damion Schubert: We’ve discussed it and have a design for it – when we do this, we will make it so you can only roll ‘need’ on items that your advanced class is meant to use in one of its specs. I do not currently have an ETA on this feature.

Belthazaar: I like my ships but, I was wondering if or when we will be able to purchase, make, or steal a new and different ship beyond the one that we currently get from our class quest?

Damion Schubert: Unfortunately, the nature of our ships as central story areas for all of our class content, and all of the associated triggers and cinematics that must therefore be done on the ships, means that giving players new ship models, particularly interiors, is very, very hard for us. We will probably look at addressing this instead by providing a greater sense of ship customization at some point well in the future. But it’s someplace we definitely want to go!


Is there anything in there that’s piqued your interest?

Community Q&A: world events coming soon

The second SWTOR community Q&A is up on the official site, and it covers some good ground. The ones that particularly caught my eye were:

1. World events are coming soon

2. A mobile app for crew skills is something being looked at, albeit with no ETA

3. RP’ers rejoice – chat bubbles are on the way, but after GUI customisation is delivered

Here’s the full transcript:

DarthBelkar: Can we look forward to server-wide special seasonal / short-term events?

Daniel Erickson: Yes! Expect them to fit into the world and setting, involve a fair bit of discovery, and offer special rewards that will be there one day and then gone forever. And expect them soon.


Darthinfimus: Do you plan to implement a /roll or /random command for use in master looter situations?

Damion Schubert: Diceslingers of the world rejoice! /roll has already been implemented on our internal development servers and should be coming to you guys Real Soon Now (in an upcoming weekly patch).


Relayinabox: Are there any plans for a show/hide companion headgear option?

Damion Schubert: Yep, we have plans. It won’t be in Game Update 1.2, but is currently in the works.


NiklasWB: When will you make it possible for Force-using characters to pull up/down their hoods on their robes?

Damion Schubert: This is in the works now. It won’t be in Game Update 1.2, but should get done in the next major update after that. And yes, we will extend this functionality to your Force-slinging companions as well.


ehlnofey: Will there be any changes/improvements made to the Galactic Trade Network system, and when will it be implemented?”

Damion Schubert: We know that the GTN needs a lot of love, and work is currently underway to improve this. Watch this space for more news!


GnovaD: Are there any plans to introduce mobile apps to the game? Eg. Use smart phone/tablet to send companions on missions while offline.

Damion Schubert: Let’s just say that this has always been a dream of mine for crew skills – it’s almost as if this design was created specifically with this in mind, doesn’t it? Good news, sometimes dreams do come true! The bad news is that I have no ETA for you, though, as this is a significant technical endeavor.


Bobonar:  Will we be able to take the modifications out of our endgame pvp-sets and put them into a set that we like better (design-wise) and keep the bonuses?

Emmanuel Lusinchi: Yes, the set bonus will be carried by Armoring mods that work just like regular mods except that they only fit into specific types of items, such as chest items or boots items. So, for example, the set bonus from a chest piece can be moved to another chest piece, and the set bonus from a helmet can be moved to another helmet.


HollowPoint: There has been a large push in the community for chat bubbles, especially with a toggle option for those who don’t want them. Is a chat bubble system in the works? If so, when can we expect it to be implemented?

Damion Schubert: They’re definitely on the list. We’ve got many active roleplayers in the dev team and chat bubbles have always been important to us. We actually had chat bubbles in beta, but there was unfortunately some serious performance issues that our implementation caused that, for example, made things really suck in warzones and the fleet. They’ll be coming soon, but in priority, the GUI team is focused first on GUI customization. I’ll have a better idea of timing once we get past that. And yes, for people who hate them, whenever we do them, they’ll be toggleable.


RuQu: Can you provide some details on Healer class design philosophy? Commando/Scoundrel AoE does not scale with group size due to player caps. Are they not intended to fill the raid-healer role? Scoundrels can be highly efficient, but have no tools for doing a short burst of healing.

In short, what is the design intention for each of the healers, and is it intended for them to be balanced so that any possible combination is competitive in Operations, or is a certain mix expected?

Georg Zoeller: Our stance is that all full healer specs should be viable for all type of content, which is the case, even for 16 man Operations. Our own players have no issues clearing any of the content in the game, on all difficulty levels, with any healer spec. Data from the Live game shows Operations, at all sizes, being successfully run with Commando and Scoundrel healers. It is expected for certain Operations bosses to create challenges for different healer archetypes (e.g. due to mobility requirements), but overall, every healer archetype is capable of successfully healing through any Operations and Flashpoint content in the game (currently and in the future).

With regards to your question about Commando/Scoundrel Area of Effect healing not scaling to group size, please understand that no heal, on any class, scales with group size. The most powerful Area of Effect heals in the game (Salvation/Revivification) affects up to 8 players, but does not scale with group size. These abilities are very costly, have an activation time requirement and require the targets to stand in a localized area for ten seconds to receive the full benefit. We plan on improving the overall Area of Effect healing performance of the Mercenary/Commando in the next major Game Update (1.2) by increasing the number of targets affected by Kolto Missile/Kolto Bomb.

As for Scoundrels having no tools for short burst healing, we don’t agree with that assessment. A scoundrel, for example, is capable of producing rather significant burst healing output by using Upper Hand gained from Underworld Medicine or Kolto Injection to trigger an instant Emergency Medpack or Surgical probe when needed. That said, we certainly think there’s room for improvements (and our upcoming Game Update 1.2 has a sizeable chunk of such improvements). For example, we are shifting the healing created by the Kolto Cloud ability to be front loaded in 1.2 to allow it to act as an emergency Area of Effect healing tool.

Finally, the perception of a specific class being not desirable can also be affected by the desirability of other classes. For example, Sage/Inquisitor healers are currently able to exceed our intended healing performance at times by affecting multiple heals with the same Conveyance/Force Bending buff. Game Update 1.2 will remove the ability to do so.


Fu-bear: Can you please confirm the exact mechanics behind Taunts? The tooltips purely state that it forces a mob to attack for X seconds, yet I’ve read reports that the skill appears to equalise threat like a traditional taunt. Can you clarify this?

Georg Zoeller: Taunts work in two ways. First, they instantly put you on top of the target’s threat list. Then, they place a short duration effect on the taunted target forcing them to attack you. Assuming that you then lose threat (say, you just stand there) the NPC will be forced to attack you for the duration of the Taunt. Afterwards, the AI will resume attacking targets based on threat order. If another Taunt is applied after yours, the most recently applied Taunt takes precedence.

Please note this is assuming regular threat rules – there are certain situations in the game, especially unique boss fights, which may cause NPCs to specifically ignore targets. In these cases, an ignored target will not be able to gain threat even with a taunt. In general, these situations are messaged to the player through effects on their buff bar – something we’re looking to make more visible in the future.


Gladoss, titdiscus, Leoran: What do you plan to against Warzones’ AFK, more particularly about players who leave Warzones ? Will there be sanctions for this type of behavior?

Gabe Amatangelo: It is not sanctioned behavior. In Game Update 1.2 we will be making changes to the Warzone rewards system, which will de-incentivize this type of behavior. This will include the removal of the interim bag/quest system, the introduction of the direct purchase of gear from Warzone and Ranked Warzone commendations, 14 new objective-based medals and participation scaling the rewards. Additionally, players will have the option to vote kick idlers. Kicked players will not be able to re-queue for several minutes.


Lexiekaboom: 16 man Operations are much harder than 8 man Operations (to the point where most guilds can easily clear hard mode 8 man before being able to clear 16 man easy mode) but there is no loot difference at all to doing them. It’s better to send your 16 man raid force to clear two 8 man instances .Is this oversight or design? What will be done to offset this in the future?

Gabe Amatangelo: This is not per design.  The teams have been addressing this in the weekly patches to some degree and more so in Game Update 1.2.  It is intended that 16 player mode is slightly easier than 8 player mode due to the fact that getting and coordinating 16 players is a larger hurdle in and of itself.

 I want an iPad Crew Skills app, and I want it now dammit!