The Old Republic's patch 1.3 is bringing some big changes to the game, including the much-begged-for group-finder tool and tons of new unlocks in the Legacy system. We sat down with the game's Lead Game Designer Daniel Erickson to get all the details on how these systems will work.
PCG: The new Perks added to the legacy system appear to be aimed at helping players level alts. Were there any additional goals for the system?
Daniel Erickson: The primary goal is one of customization rather than straight leveling speed. At the price points they're set, it will be far more common for people to pick and choose which upgrades they get per character then to get them all. Some people want to just PvP and still progress at a satisfying pace. Some want their speeders faster as they're seeing planets they've been to before. And some are going to want to use the new group finder to play a ton of Flashpoints they may have missed along the way before.
PCG: If I purchase all of the XP perks, will I be able to avoid all of the shared quests on planets? Would it take an absurd number of Flashpoints, WarZones, or Space Combat missions to make up the difference?
DE: If you're high enough legacy and want to drop enough credits to fully max out your XP perks, you absolutely could skip the side quests. There are also perks for Bonus Series quests, though, so if you want to go heroic and hit some planets you skipped before that's also an option.
PCG: Is there a specific % in efficiency that the design team was targeting for someone who purchased all of the perk upgrades?
DE: Yes, but we're not going to share it right now since it's still being tuned.
PCG: Do you want players who really, really love one particular type of content (Flashpoints, WarZones, or Space Combat) to be able to just level through that—or do you still want to encourage them to participate in all the types of content?
DE: Encourage, but not restrict. I should be able to just PvP and do my class quests if that's all I really love.
PCG: Will other players be able to interact with the repair droid that's summoned with perks?
DE: Yes, he is meant for social interaction and helping out the group.
PCG: Is the group finder available for Hard Mode Operations, or just Story Mode?
DE: Just Story. Pick-up groups for Hard Mode would be more frustration than anything else.
PCG: Will they be cross-server at launch? Is that planned for the future?
DE: They will not be cross-server as we are coming up on a huge move to servers with massively higher population caps than we have today.
PCG: The community seems to be fairly divided when it comes to adding a group-finder tool. What convinced you that it's the right thing to do for TOR?
DE: We watch player feedback, but mostly we watch player activity and movement patterns. Because of the nature of our quest flow, players don't spend a great deal of time standing in the same area as other players. You can craft on the move, run WarZones from anywhere, and basically never slow down—except when looking for a group. Ironically, it was our design decision to not tie players to one spot while they participated in optional activities like crafting and space that makes a group finder so necessary. People want to keep playing while they wait for a group.
PCG: What are the bonus rewards given for selecting a random FP/Operation: XP, tokens, credits?
DE: That's still being worked out in tuning.
PCG: Will there be codex entries, titles, or achievements tied to the Group Finder tool?
DE: All of the above are possible and on the table.
PCG: Do you expect the vast majority of Flashpoints and Ops to be run through the Group Finder tool?
DE: Flashpoints, yes. Ops will be less common and many will still be strongly led by organized guilds. What it will do is enable people outside their normal guild structure, or less guild-oriented players, to get in on a type of play they may never have experienced without it.
PCG: The adaptive gear system that lets players use more types of armor sounds awesome. Why only give this flexibility to certain pieces of gear? Is it a matter of art resources?
DE: Adaptive gear is actually easier for art resources since we get three outfits for the price of one. The reason we don't make all gear adaptive is the same reason we don't have social gear that looks like a Republic Trooper: Dressing up silly is fine, but dressing deceptively (like letting a Jedi dressed as a Trooper) causes chaos with PvP and other systems where the importance of visual identification is paramount.
PCG: What's the main determinant for whether a gear will be adaptive?
Things we identify as “social gear.” Which pretty much means anything that doesn't fit in a normal gear progression chain.
PCG: Can a piece of gear only have one augment slot at a time?
DE: Presently, yes.
PCG: Will we be putting augments into those slots? And if so, will the ones put in these slots be different from the augments that are currently equipped on the character page?
DE: Augment slots can be added at one of several different levels, which enables them to accept that level of augments. These are the same augments which are made by crafters, who will also be making the augment kits for use at the tables to add the augment slots.
PCG: Is the primary goal of adding these augment slots to have another endgame progression system for players to customize their characters?
DE: Nailed it.