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Author Topic: Star Wars: The Old Republic  (Read 38716 times)

Hypodermic

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2010, 03:33:24 AM »

I'll probably break my "wait until after 2 months for new MMOs" rule for this one
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Raktus

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2010, 10:00:33 AM »

Finding Balance in the Force

Quote
My favorite Star Wars™ film has always been The Empire Strikes Back™. But while the battle of Hoth will keep me glued to the screen for that second when the AT-ATs appear out of the snow, the film’s defining moments are on Dagobah, while Luke struggles and trains with Master Yoda.

Before that, the Force was just a word that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader used, for a power whose glory days were long over. But on Dagobah, with Luke, we saw the Force differently; not as some simple trick that made Imperial Stormtroopers look the other way, but something greater. The Force™ is a living energy binding the galaxy as a whole. It is something that, in the hands of a master, could raise a lost X-Wing from the depths of a swamp. And after the cave where Luke faced his greatest fears, we understood the most important lesson for a Jedi: you can’t solve every problem with one stroke of your Lightsaber.

The Jedi Consular knows that lesson better than anyone. Trained in the arts of the Force, driven by curiosity and the search for knowledge, the Jedi Consular sees that through the Force, all things are connected.


As a Jedi Consular, your journey begins among the ruins and forests of Tython, still full of dangers and secrets after so many centuries. But the business of the Jedi Order is never confined to one world. You may find yourself inching through ancient ruins seeking proof of lost cultures, discovering and mastering forgotten Force techniques, planning an assault on an enemy base with Republic armies waiting on your unique insights, or even representing your order to a strange alien culture, whose first question is: “What’s a Jedi?”

And as your knowledge and experience grows, so does your reputation. The Jedi Council will entrust you with its most dangerous and delicate missions. Among the Sith, there will be whispers in the highest circles of a powerful new enemy. Maybe you’ll even get the chance to teach a new generation of Jedi, just as your master taught you.

But the Jedi Consular, more than any other Jedi, constantly walks a fine line. The Force has two sides; truly mastering it requires an understanding of both darkness and light. And a Jedi Consular’s natural curiosity can often lead him or her into trouble. Walking the balance between light and dark can give a Consular incredible power… but that’s when the treacherous thoughts begin creeping in. Don’t worry about falling to the dark side. You’re so smart and powerful, you can resist petty temptations. And even if you discovered some ancient secret that could make you stronger… surely you, with your superior intellect and understanding of the Force, know what’s best?

When developing the story for the Jedi Consular, these were themes we wanted to address – power and wisdom, how Jedi face the dark side, and how they work toward the ideals of the Republic. But the key element of the Consular’s story is mystery, using intelligence and courage to seek the truth. We wanted to capture the journey of Obi-Wan Kenobi – someone who begins with unusual insight and talent, but who is still growing into those powers, learning about the galaxy, and choosing what path to take in life.

For me, the challenge – and the fun – of writing the Jedi Consular is keeping a sense of balance between intelligence and arrogance, between what’s right and what could win the war against the Empire. A Jedi Consular must sometimes accept the grayer path, the less perfect choice. He or she must make the decisions the Republic can’t, in order to save it.


Will you delve into the greatest mysteries of the Force, to master abilities few Jedi ever dream of? Maybe you’ll be driven by a hunger for the past, to explore new horizons and reclaim long-forgotten lore for the Jedi Order. Or you could look to the future, rubbing shoulders with ambassadors and heads of state, and fighting alongside the Republic’s boldest generals.

Then again, perhaps you’ll seek power for yourself, use your wisdom to bend others to your will, and mercilessly destroy all threats to the Republic… even knowing what the cost of victory might be someday.

The choice is yours, Jedi Consular.

Joanna Berry
Writer

http://www.swtor.com/news/blog/20100305_001
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Capt. Insane

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2010, 11:20:47 AM »

I had heard good things about it a while ago but I cant afford any more games at the moment.
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Edrac

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2010, 09:26:46 PM »

I had heard good things about it a while ago but I cant afford any more games at the moment.

well get to saving then, It's still a year out!
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Raktus

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2010, 02:55:44 PM »

GDC: BioWare's Walton on Adding Space Combat to Star Wars Galaxies & Customer Retention

One of larger portions of BioWare Austin's Co-Studio Director Gordon Walton and consultant Scott Hartsman's GDC session, "MMO Retention -- Learning From The First 25 Years," highlighted some of the game change management issues MMO developers encountered trying to retain existing customers. Although we plan on issuing a more comprehensive article on how some of the topics discussed in this session may relate to Star Wars: The Old Republic, we decided to release this very telling quote about Walton's experience with introducing space combat in an expansion for Star Wars Galaxies.

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Gordon Walton: So when I worked on Star Wars Galaxies, we did an expansion called Jump to Lightspeed, which added all the space elements to Star Wars Galaxies. It was a huge expansion and an awesome space experience, actually.

But what we found was that a lot of the players who were playing the game that we had were not thrilled by us having space -- because they knew it came at the expense of adding more stuff to the stuff they were already playing. So it wasn't positive for retention, because the game was a very different game. It was a 3D space game. And in fact, a whole lot of people who play RPG type games don't really do the 3D thing that well -- it isn't their strongest suit. That was part of what we found out. The control scheme had to be different; everything had to be different. It was not as advantageous to us as we had hoped.

And in fact, we had a backlash of some anti-retention from the current customers that we already had because they were enjoying the game they were playing and wanted more of that, or wanted that fixed more than they wanted to fly around space in the Star Wars universe. It wasn't that flying around space in the Star Wars universe wasn't cool: the problem was that they wanted more of what they were already doing.

So all things that you do, no matter what you do when you're changing the game, you're going to have hopefully intended (consequences), and you're also going to have some unintended consequences. The rule that we kind of violated there, for me, was that we did too big of a jump from what was available. So customers want change, and they want the game experience to change over time, but they typically react badly to huge changes to the game. You leave people behind, and they don't have the time to kind of warm up to it.

I think it is about the on-ramp. The on-ramp is a big, steep, huge set of stairs that you kind of have to climb up -- where if you walk up gradually, then you tend to bring more of the audience along with you. Because again, it isn't one audience that we have; it is a whole bunch of little micro-audiences that are motivated completely differently from what we think on the side of those of us who make the game. They are motivated differently. The ones that are just like us we understand perfectly, and unfortunately they are a minority.

Taking Walton's words into context, we can probably develop some speculation of how space combat could be seamlessly integrated into Star Wars: The Old Republic... and without turning the people who don't jive with the Z axis into a perceived failure.

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Raktus

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2010, 03:03:49 PM »

Dr. Ray Muzyka on Content Updates And Sequels

BioWare co-founder and CEO Dr. Ray Muzyka participated in a GDCSF session yesterday entitled "Fireside Chat: Building a Blockbuster Franchise," along with Bungie Creative Director Joseph Staten. We had the opportunity to ask Dr. Muzyka about his views on content updates versus expansions or sequels.



When building a franchise, what is the threshold to decide to patch something, issue a DLC, or another title versus a sequel?

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Dr. Ray Muzyka: Our future portfolio is much more oriented around a service mentality where we launch products to get people into the service, then we do everything we can to retain them and grow them and recruit new customers through acquisition and retention. We do it in our MMOs with Mythic studios and Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer and Ultima Online. Well do it obviously with Austins SW:TOR.

And with our other products, Dragon Age or Mass Effect, were doing it as well releasing post-release downloadable content. We have the free Cerberus Network for Mass Effect and were viewing this as an ongoing experience. We have a franchise team for all those products; dedicated to short term and long term initiatives where people move back and forth. There is a new expansion pack coming out for Dragon Age right away, and we obviously started on that way before Dragon Age got launched in the fall last year. So we had long term plans for that and were now able to launch because we had that vision to get it out within 6 months after [Dragon Age] launched.

It is all about having a plan. You may doubt the plan because of what the consumers say, so our post-release download content plans are very dynamic. We have something coming every month for our products. Maybe big updates every six to twelve months and full products every twelve to twenty-four months, but to have that vision you have people working on things and taking feedback and dynamically adjusting the plans in real time. But really, it just comes from a service orientation of an ongoing product spread. Its not just one discrete product anymore -- it is a longer term thing. And it expands beyond games to advance all your products.

We're working on larger pieces with our view on how this and other GDCSF sessions may all relate to Star Wars: The Old Republic, but we found it interesting Dr. Muzyka stated expansion content is worked on prior to initial release.
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Edmunt

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2010, 12:06:09 AM »

First of let me say I love Star Wars, and I mean LOVE it.
Now I will probably try this game out, and honestly it can't be any worse that Galaxies. But I don't see me sticking with the game.

Why?

Well I have a question for all the REAL Star Wars fans here. What is it you really want? Answer: To have the real Star Wars experience! To be anyone of a hundred different species. To fight among the stars! To visit the cantinas of Tatooine. To join the military of the Republic or Empire. To be a powerful Jedi or Sith. To be a crafty smuggler, an intergalactic spy, or a feared bounty hunter. To Prove yourself worthy of being a Mandalorian!!

And to be able to get that in an MMO, well its just impossible right now. Thats what Galaxies tried to do, and combined with bad decision making on part of a man WHO STILL REFUSES TO SEE WHAT A MESS THE GAME HAS BECOME AND WILL PROBABLY NEVER TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MONEY HES LOST THE COMPANY, it just fell apart.

The only way we'll ever be able to get the real experience is if we find a magical portal that can transport us into the Star Wars Universe... really if anyone finds one don't be greedy!

Anyway sorry for the little rant but thats what I would want from a Star Wars MMO and I don't see us ever getting it. And if I can't have that I really just want a true KOTOR 3 that ties together the first two.

Regardless it still looks to be a good game.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2010, 12:07:54 AM by Edmunt »
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Raktus

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2010, 03:12:23 PM »

Charting a Path to Class Customization

As the news coming out of Austin continues to pick up speed, mining information is becoming much more exciting. The response to our recent speculation articles inspired us to delve deeper into what we were previously told about Star Wars: The Old Republic with surprising results. We used our recently acquired knowledge to give context to older news items, and realized BioWare was giving us hard facts all along.
 
A few years ago during the 2007 Austin GDC, Gamastura covered a speech by Gordon Walton, the co-studio director at BioWare Austin. It focused on how developers should approach making MMOs in a post World of Warcraft market, and towards the end of the presentation, Walton made the following comments to the crowd:

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"The places to innovate are endless, but what do players want? Innovations have to be substantially better to be noticeable. Their game has eight classes, my game has 16. Who cares about classes? Do something Ive never done before. If nine out of 10 people cant tell its an innovation, its not an innovation."

In retrospect, this quote reveals a great deal about Star Wars: The Old Republic in light of what we recently learned about class skills. Given the fact that we know there are eight classes, and we speculated each class has two distinct paths of damage and support, we can now see why Walton mentioned the number 16 in 2007. BioWare is supplying many more classes then we previously believed.

Additionally, the focus on recognizable innovations by making them substantial allows us to speculate that the depth within these 16 classes will be far beyond what many MMO players are accustomed to. We should remember that this speech was based around developing games in a WoW-dominated world. In order to stand out, Dalton states a game would need to do more than just supply a little more of the same. We believe this means you will see far more customization within each TOR path then what we currently see in a single set of WoW class trees.

Using this hypothesis, we created a possible class progression chart based on what we knew of the Smuggler's paths:



We believe the class customization options will be extremely deep once a player chooses their particular path. So deep, in fact, a single specialty could contain the same relative complexity as an entire World of Warcraft class. Instead of three talent trees, you may have as many as nine talent trees to quickly move between when you want to adjust your play style. Such an intricate level of customization would fit with Gordon Walton's desire to stand out in the eyes of the MMO community, and fulfill BioWare's promise to give gamers a different, defined play experience.

This is how we arrived at nine talent trees per path: first, we looked at what we already knew about the two Smuggler paths, noting the Scoundrel had both a focus on Stealth and Medicine. With all the developer talk about not forcing you to do something, such as solely specializing in healing to be viable for group play, we arrived at the conclusion that there had to be a third specialty that enhanced the Scoundrel's ability to do damage.

We then went back to the trusty Holonet and noticed something in one of the Combat Tactics videos: a Smuggler quickly moves to get into closer range and wields a single weapon. Since we already said the Gunslinger was longer ranged, utilized Cover, and duel wields blasters, we hypothesized the third specialty in the Scoundrel path would focus on single weapon damage.



Referring back to Walton's quote again, we concluded only developing three talent trees would be much too limiting for the level of character customization BioWare was aiming for. To account for this, we gave each specialty the same multiple of three to get to nine talent trees. The result is an array of so much variety, depth, and versatility that we could imagine quickly re-arranging talent points for a particular situation, and then with equal speed, do the same for a different one.

We then added a possible alignment focused skill for each specialty. We were told previously that characters would have specific abilities linked to whether they are light, neutral/grey, or dark. A single skill for each specialty would fit, and allows each character to access three possible skills based on their class, path, and alignment.

While this is extremely speculative, we believe the information received from BioWare and LucasArts strongly points to such complexity. This elaborate customization would be a significant undertaking for any development studio, but the response would be amazing from players tired of limited options. If this is similar to the class design of Star Wars: The Old Republic, we could be looking forward to a future of astonishing theorycraft.

Update: Ginnel, a member of the official forums, created a thread earlier today that contains an interesting quote from the latest issue of Edge. The quote, shown below, further endorses the conclusions contained in this article. The emphasis on deep character development is seen in this excerpt, as well as restating how dramatic the choice between the Gunslinger damage path and the Scoundrel support path will be.

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There's a dramatic amount of variation within classes. Using the example of the Smuggler, BioWare guided us through three or four paths of character development; every couple of levels brings with it a specialization path. Smugglers, for instance can specialize early on as Gunslingers with dual-wielding and coercion abilities, or Scoundrels with stealth and healing aptitude. Class choice affects the story arc far more than the actual gameplay it reflects who you want to be within The Old Republic's universe, not what you wish to do.
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Raktus

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2010, 03:16:11 PM »

And just as a follow up to that article I'll post another Smuggler important one...

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Smuggler Class Trees

Character advancement and customization are integral parts of all RPGs and many titles have succeeded or failed solely because of their approach to these mechanics. For over a year now, we have waited patiently for the first hints of how we will customize our characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic and now the first official clues are being revealed. During our time at LucasArts we were able to see a small example of how advancement and customization will be handled in TOR.
 
Buried between the Imperial Agent demo and Sith Inquisitor/Jedi Consular reveal, we were shown one example of how players will be able to customize the Smuggler class. The presentation consisted of a single, simple image we have attempted to recreate below.


The presentation continued with Blaine Christine, producer from BioWare, explaining what the different routes meant for players. He focused first on the Gunslinger path, explaining that a Smuggler following this path will focus on dual blasters and will be using the cover mechanic frequently. He also mentioned that this type of character could use persuasion more then the second path, possibly leading to different dialogue or story options unavailable to Smugglers following a different specialty.

The second path, called Scoundrel, is vastly different then its dual oriented counterpart. This specialty focuses on abilities that have only recently become associated with the Smuggler class. The first ability Blaine mentioned was the Scoundrels affinity for stealth and how this allows them to move close to their opponents, possibly implying they have a skill similar to the Imperial Agents Shiv. He then noted that this path also gave the Smuggler access to healing abilities. However he failed to note any specific ability or skill names associated with either of these paths.

Later in the evening we were able to talk to Jake Neri and ask a few specific questions about these paths and how they could work in the final product. The following is an excerpt from the interview, specifically the area that focuses on the Smuggler skill and advancement in general.


Dover: You you also showed us the Skill Tree idea, the ability to go into the customization of the characters and make it your own. We saw the Smuggler starting off as a Smuggler and then possibly branching off into two different directions, one being a Gunslinger and the other being a Scoundrel. How does this split work out?

Sado: Are they set defined paths or is there room for customization?

Jake Neri: There is definitely room for customization. We didn't show tremendous amounts of detail on that because it is really in development right now. The concept of being able to go into those directions and have a different, defined play experience is what we are trying to show. We know we will have people that go, hey I'm in love with being a smuggler but I just prefer to stay at range. Or I like to be more of a stealth class, I want to sneak around and do things, I don't want to fight. Or maybe I want to sneak up on people.

In Smugglers, the different trees allow you to do that. Trees are the best way to describe them now. We don't have official nomenclature on how we are talking about these but you guys get the concept of skill trees. You go down a path, you're applying certain skill points in there, and you're going in a direction you like to play.

What we are trying to show with Medicine is that maybe your in a situation where you need a healer type to get through. Smuggling doesn't necessarily immediately make people think about healing. People say, wow. That is weird. But at the same time we always try to stretch into the Star Wars cannon and do things that aren't conventional and that was one of those things we talked about earlier with Leland Chee.

We went to him and said, We have smugglers and we want to do something interesting what do you think? They have this whole lore around black market medicine and organ leggers that are in touch with different spices and other things, and through that, Smugglers are in touch with underworld medicine. Because, like Blaine talked about, you cant always be heading to the doc when you're a Smuggler because your running around. You're doing dirty deeds.

Dover: You also talked about cutting open the tauntaun. Field medicine.

Jake Neri: Yeah, field medicine. We've been joking a lot about that. I don't know if it totally works, but Blaine has stuck with that and we appreciate him for that. The main thing is that we are trying to do interesting things with the classes by making sure that you can be that range class you want to be and in a pinch you can also be useful to a group. That is sort of why we chose that to show you.

Sado: You talked about persuade in those branches as well, that the gunslinger would be the one with extra points in persuade to be able to possibly activate more story. Does that mean that somebody will have to go that way if they want to experience more story or will there be some way of counteracting that?

Jake Neri: I don't think you have to do anything. If you're a fan of story and you're looking to drill into that the most, that fits along with what we are saying with choose your playstyle. It doesn't mean that you should have any more or less an experience as anyone else, but that it should be the experience you like. And if you're a fan of story and you're trying to find new and interesting things, then you should be trying to win conversations if that appeals to you.

I imagine that the guy who wants to be the Scoundrel first may re-roll another character and go down that path because he wants to try persuade. Or maybe he just doesn't care about it because he wants to be more of a stealthy guy who wants to run up behind people and shoot them in the back.

I get nervous of the words you have to do something because that is sort of the opposite of what we are trying to say. We really want people to play the way they are dreaming about it. We cant cover every possibility but we are trying to bring a lot of options so that people do have choice.

Dover: Two more quick things about that before we let you get back to all the other things going on here in San Francisco. First, at the end of the presentation you said, Players should be able to quickly get into the role that they want to get into. Did that comment have to do with the possibility of switching between paths? Or does that mean at the beginning of the game you can quickly get into the play style you want to get into?

Jake Neri: Without going into a ton of detail on that, because that system is still in development, a key goal is that once you reach a certain level and you enabled those certain paths, or you experienced whatever it takes to enable those paths, you can go in between them quickly. That is the heart of what were saying. You cant do everything all at once, you need to earn some of these things, but once you have done that and you are in a situation where hey, I need this type of a gameplay/class build, you'll be able to go into that quickly.

Dover: Awesome. Last one before we let you go. You mentioned the Scoundrel of the Smuggler branch has Medicine. We were able to see the Sith Inquisitor with an actual heal that is able to use it on themselves or another person and we also saw the Benevolence ability for the Consular. Are we going to see healing options for every class if a player wants to go that direction?

Jake Neri: I don't think every class. But I do think you guys are picking up on the idea that when it comes to grouping we don't want you to always be frustrated because you cant find the right group. We want you to have utility in order to be successful in a solo experience or in a group. Now Smuggler, Inquisitor and Consular are three examples of healing.

I think if you would have played the Jedi Knight you wouldn't have seen that same stuff. Instead, you would have seen a rejuvenate ability for most classes, which is in support of us wanting to have quick-paced gameplay. It is similar to Bandage, an out of combat ability, where the other heals you have seen are more in combat. You guys are simply picking up on some of the classes that might be able to so some healing in the game.


Many interesting game facts are found in the interview, including possible respecs, branching dialogue based on skills, and the fact that many classes (not just Consulars and Inquisitors) will have true healing paths. This small peak into their approach to skill customization answers many questions from the community, and undoubtedly generates quite a few more. As we look forward to the new year we cant wait to have these new questions answered as well.

As a reminder to all of the information hungry fans out there, we were told repeatedly, as you can see in the interview, that the current state of skill trees in The Old Republic is far from finalized. Although multiple, vastly divergent paths would be welcome in our eyes, they should not be expected in the final product until otherwise stated by BioWare and LucasArts.
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Raktus

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Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2010, 04:57:34 PM »

Damion Schubert on Balancing Group & Solo XP
by Zenkei, posted March 21st, 2010 at 3:11 PM

A post from Star Wars: The Old Republic's Damion Schubert gave some insight on balancing XP gains for solo and group players:

Quote
We increase the XP pool for each group member in it, and then divide that pool. I don't have the number in front of me, but its something we'll be tweaking as we play anyway.

The general gist is that we want to reward grouping, but not so much that grouping is the only way to play the game (something that is very easy to do if you tilt the table too much, and then balance the levelling curve to that rate gain). That being said, as some have mentioned, grouping with another person increases your killing efficiency and reduces your risk of death substantially, to the degree that being in a group of two is vastly more efficient than 2X killing efficiency (this is like most MMOs). Still, you want to reward grouping enough to help ensure that you overcome the friction associated with grouping (finding groupmates, getting to them, tolerating idiots, etc).

Other notes:

Yes, we have anti-twink measures. Yes, high level players get shut out if they kill creatures too far below them. This is a fine line - you want to let high level players help their new friends, but you really don't want high level players hunting in low level areas, as that can be disruptive to the lowbies.
Yes, compared to other MMOs, we give you more XP for completing quests and less for killing creatures. These numbers will also likely be continually tweaked.
Yes, harder things give more experience.


Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xavior
Group of 5 level 10's killing a level 10 mob: 100 xp each
Group of 3 level 10's killing a level 10 mob: 100 xp each
Solo person of level 10 killing a level 10 mob: 100 xp

no one gets screwed, no one is forced to group and everyone is happy.

Balancing it's not that easy. Instead, you need to look at XP gain per hour. A group of 3 can kill (let's say) 5X the creatures than a solo player can in an hour, which means that if you give everyone the full XP value, grouping is 5X() more efficient than soloing. If you balance the curve to that, the solo player gets screwed.

In our curve, we push that towards being closer to 2-3X. Still a significant advantage, but the grouper has to deal with all of the inertia of forming a group.
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