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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:38pm 11/09/12 | 22 Comments
We recently had a chance to catch up with BioWare Austin General Manager, Matt Bromberg, to talk to him about the ups and downs of The Old Republic and what the team plans to do moving forward with their new free-to-play model and supplying exciting new content to bolster current players, while bringing in new players as well.

"We’re committed to: about every six weeks, doing a major update for the game -- which would be a new Warzone, a new Operation, a new Flashpoint, a new event -- and to doing that on a really frequent cadence, every six weeks. So we’re going to stick to that," Bromberg told us regarding the team's plans moving forward.

"As well as the free-to-play launch -- which is coming in the fall -- we announced that subscribers who have lapsed are already qualified to get Cartel Coins, which will be the in-game currency in the game once free-to-play launches," he added of bringing back lost players. "So you get credit, not just for becoming a subscriber now, going forward, but also for all the time that you were a subscriber, you get more credits and more coin. So we’re hoping that that will encourage people to come back to the game and try it now."

The rest of the interview talks about free-to-play hurdles, the current vibe out at BioWare and hints at new developments on the horizon.

Click here for the full video interview and transcript.

biowarestar wars the old republicvideo interviewfree-to-playausgamers
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Latest Comments
Posted 05:01pm 11/9/12
What they really need to do is overhaul the hubs, they are the most depressing virtual world locations ever. :/
Posted 05:13pm 11/9/12
This comes in response to SW:The Old Republic subscribers earlier commitment of a 10% reduction in their own numbers every six weeks.
Posted 05:36pm 11/9/12
I really enjoyed it, just ran out of things to do :(

And nothing they're adding is really enough to keep me occupied enough long term to have me consider going back to it. Hopefully they're working on a big expansion or something that has a tonne of new content, I'd come back to it for that.
Posted 05:55pm 11/9/12
I reckon they'll wait and see how their free to play strategy pans out before committing to any expansions or big investments. Right now ToR is a f*****g expensive bomb and I bet EA want to forget it ASAP.
Posted 06:17pm 11/9/12
They have been working on Makeb for some time, new planet and level cap it's somewhat of an expansion, they have been previewing it around (gamecom) it continues the class stories too
Posted 08:43pm 11/9/12
The voice acting and class designs are top notch, and I think that the game could be saved with a map overhaul.

The world design just blows a big one, especially for an mmo. It's just a series of mission spaces which you will never ever return to, and could be a procedurally generated set of hallways for all that I can tell. There's nowhere interesting or memorable, it's just tents with droids and mission givers in slightly different biome themes depending on the planet. No memorable towns/cities/landmarks/vistas/etc, just flat rat-maze right angled paths, quest hubs, slow ass speeders getting around and if you try to go off the path, you're generally f***ed by the terrain and mobs. And as I mentioned, the hubs blow a big one.

And who the hell builds all these giant walls which players have to spend ages backtracking around, and amazing paths with street lamps and all, which only ever lead to more tents? It's like the entire galaxy lives in war tents and has no actual buildings.

Still a very good game, but piss poor world building. The only thing I remember about each planet aside from the story, was whether or not it had visual lag.
Posted 06:38pm 11/9/12
Personally my favorite MMO to date, was ruined when they brought in another 2 tiers of gear in the 3rd and 4th month.... Turned it into a huge grind.
Posted 06:44pm 11/9/12
I enjoyed playing TOR one of the things that really bothered me was that it was pretty much a game that encouraged alts but made the classes play otherwise very similar, so the repeat experience was quite boring imo. It was probably made worse that you could only play humans or some very minor variation of a humna - this one has face tatts! this one has a shrouded face! completely different!

The big problem for me though, as in cataclysmically big, the space combat blew it was not very fun and required not a great deal of skill. I hope they do a JTLS style expansion for space, as that was the best part of SWG for me.
Posted 07:33pm 11/9/12
I mean, what the hell is this? Not-Imagination-Hour?




If you stare you eventually realise that there are walls on the map, endless walls around the road which they never want you to go off... All leading to just more tents...

Balmorra and Voss were pretty decent.
Posted 08:36pm 11/9/12
Yeh if they had a more open world thing going on it would be a lot better.

Main thing for me tho was the lame space element, its star wars ffs and you give me an arcade game I could play on my phone?
Posted 09:05pm 11/9/12
Sounds like it suffers from typical Bioware level design.

I don't know why but every time they release a new game I'm surprised to still see the overly restrictive maps as though for some reason I just assume that they would have noticed how bad they were in the last game and fixed it for the next.
Posted 09:15pm 11/9/12
Yeah I was worried about Bioware map design syndrome going in, and it's not quite as bad (it is a fully explorable world in which you can jump), it's just part way there still. It's definitely no skyrim/WoW.

Still a f*****g awesome game though, for the usual bioware reasons. The classes which I've tried are awesome too, tons of abilities to use in interesting rotations. The gameplay somehow feels more repetitive than WoW though, it's just either kill a pack of weak mobs, a weak mob and a silver difficulty mob, or an elite mob, over and over, which you can always deal with. There's seemingly no quests except kill your way through a s***load of stuff quests, and very little goofy/fun stuff.

Then because of the constrictive hallway pathway nature of it (every cave is just a winding linear path) you have to fight your way back out through all the same spawns after talking to somebody at the end of the cave (had to go through the same long hallway cave both ways twice for one quest, but want to see this story ended dammit).
Posted 09:37pm 11/9/12
I dunno, I found some of the environments pretty memorable, I loved Nar Shadaa and Hoth was sweet cos it was Hoth, but yeah there were some pretty bland ones too. Voss was awesome too, actually, Voss was probably my favourite. Alderaan was probably one of my least favourite, I don't blame the Empire for blowing it up.
Posted 09:49pm 11/9/12
i hated hoth and tatooine. they just felt so bland compared to all the other planets.
Posted 09:59pm 11/9/12
Yeah I struggled with hoth, it was so huge and slow to go over. It was open, but not interesting...
Posted 12:11am 12/9/12
I dunno, something about Hoth appealed to me, it was stark and barren, but kind of beautiful with all the huge ice mountains and glaciers and stuff.

In other unrelated MMO news, played some Secret World tonight during WoW maintenance and holy s***, its completely dead, and I'm on one of the busiest servers too (or at least, it was at launch). Same deal as ToR though, fun game, just not enough to do. They probably should have looked at a free to play model right from the start imo, because they didn't really have the content to keep people subscribed long-term.
Posted 10:02am 12/9/12
ahhh those crazy bioware guys.
Posted 10:04am 12/9/12
ahhh those crazy bioware guys.

Haha, you out?
Posted 10:26am 12/9/12
And who the hell builds all these giant walls which players have to spend ages backtracking around, and amazing paths with street lamps and all, which only ever lead to more tents? It's like the entire galaxy lives in war tents and has no actual buildings.

yeah i have to agree, i really liked nar shaddaa but i think they could have done more with it.
Posted 10:59pm 12/9/12
"and what the team plans to do moving forward with their new free-to-play model"

Just a friendly language tip Steve: "moving forward" means nothing when used this way. It's just business world weasel words to try and make something sound like it's "being actioned".

If you try the same sentence without those words, you'll see what I mean: "and what the team plans to do with their new free-to-play model." Same meaning, less words, less bulls***. ;)

Anyway, thanks for the report.
Posted 11:31pm 12/9/12
Haha, you out?

Nah I'm still floating around. Just jealous that Ausgamers has never interviewed me! I guess they don't realize how important I am ... oh wait, on second thoughts seems like they know exactly how important I am.
Posted 11:33pm 12/9/12
Can you please innocently raise the issue of hiring an art person to draw some sweet maps? :P
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