It’s time for a Star Wars: The Old Republic State of the Game address and the guys of The Republic have plenty to say about it.

Bioware’s Executive Producer Jeff Hickman covers the recent transition of SWTOR to free-to-play as well as the introduction of a special PvP area in update 1.7.

For those of you interested in The Old Republic’s first expansion, Hickman hinted at work being done on Rise of the Hutt Cartel and also states that the SWTOR development team has a plan mapped out for the coming year that will help keep the game “fresh”.

And players who have been waiting on these two things rejoice, because live character copies to the PTS are in testing and same gender romance is also in the works.

So join Larry Everett, Justin Lowe and Gary Gannon for an in-depth analysis of the SWTOR State of the Game address.

  • Lord Steve ‘Ashar’ Spain

    I play from Australia, but I’ve taken a look at the EU servers and they seem fairly empty, even accounting for time differences.

    • Matt Cipriano

      I believe it’s a waste of resources because the game has tons of bugs still from launch, not because it’s not important to people. I don’t think Gary was trying to say that Lesbians and gays shouldn’t have a little something to escape to for themselves. 

      Plus, you need to take what Hickman said into context and note that when Bioware says something like NPC’s will have lesbian and gay relationships what most likely is going to occur is you are going to see two npc’s of the same sex together in a cutscene or something which still has nothing to do with you personally.

      I wouldn’t get your hopes up for it being a companion change because Bioware just has a track record with this game of not delivering..and it’s not personal.

    • rippled

       I PLAY on the EU servers and I can tell you that you’re mistaken. Each prime time they all hit heavy/very heavy and full and virtually all planets have multiple instances running.

    • Fornix

      I play on the EU servers, and if primetime having roughly 800 ~ 1000 + players per fleet, over 600 players on Dromund Kaas and other planets packed as well is your idea of fairly empty, I suppose there simply are no MMO’s with packed servers to you.

    • InvaderMig

      It has little to do with the support of anyone, and alot more to do with the state of the game.  I don’t think romance arcs of any kind should be a priority in the current state of the game.  Open world PvP is non existent and it seems nothing will come of it in 2013.  There still isn’t ranked PvP.  If anyone is getting the shaft it’s PvPers, and PvPer’s come in all shapes, colors, and sexual orientations.  For god sakes they still don’t have character transfers on the test servers.  

      I completely agree with gary, this kinda thing is not a priority.  The priority is making a good game with lots of content and fixing the things that are broken.  

    • Gavin Morgan

      Eu servers empty? not at 7pm-Midnight GMT.

    • Lord Steve ‘Ashar’ Spain

      Very happy to be wrong on the EU front, very, very happy that people are getting to participate in something they enjoy.

      Stayed away for a while to get over my own knee-jerk reaction on the same-sex thing. Don’t get me wrong saying fixing same-sex romance, a bug-bear for an entire section of the community, is a waste of money is still on the offensive side. However same-sex attracted players also have similar gripes about other mechanics being a priority, but are flabbergasted by Bioware and EA not getting it right from the outset. After some breathing space my issue, I think, is that, as a community, we seem to have to compete for attention, we have to stand divided by such issues so that we can hope to have a decent game, relieved of stupid flaws that make us go “WTF” to the devs.

      What I would like out of presenters/journos like Garry is rather than words to the effect of “it’s a waste of money” is something along the line of Developers need to stop making these basic mistakes and causing unnecessary grief, and I am pretty sure he does that, but don’t go and defend dev’s poor behaviour by talking about them wasting money on something that is relevant to a significant portion of the community. Because whether it’s same-sex romances, animation loading times, or bugs from launch, the more sensitive, and possibly helpful statement might be along the lines of “Why are the community throwing their money at companies who consistently get fundamentals wrong, and take far too long to address them?” I know he has said that at times, and I’m sure other MMO news/infotainment sites do too, but why is the gaming industry so switched off that they keep repeating basic mistakes, again, and again?

  • Robert Caliolo

    Let’s look at what makes an MMO good, not even great, just good. It is not romanceable companions. It is not Companions that have a storyline though if done right might fly in the storyline part of this game.
    Players want substance in their MMO, be it gear progression, Raiding, More levels, more skill points, PvP, open world PvP. Having romanceable companions is such a waste of resources it is mind boggling.
    SWTOR at least does have content updates and what players are not seeing , they have been pushing out content at a reasonable pace. We are spoiled and expect content way too fast and way to often are upset that it does not happen. Free content instead of expansions. Then we complain that we should not have to pay for an expansion.

    But SWTOR does once and a while push out crap instead of good and does not fix but pushes out useless content.

    The game needs to look at themselves and take a better direction then what the plan is set at the bigining and now present timetable. Ilum threw that timetable out of wack for sure but that could have been easily blown to pieces but they did not, maybe they will.
    Players in MMO’s want NEW not replacement content. New as in New places, new levels, new gear, new skills, new thought’s. maybe the Gree can be it but romance should be left to the players not a companion.

    Make NPC’s romancable… make it NEW. make it so that new content develops and introduces the player to NEW npc’s that will not be a companion per say but a partner. NEW storylines that have quests attached to that new npc but maybe does not have to be specifically a companion.

    BTW Jedi are not supposed to have relations. Droids sure but screwing R2D2 is not my idea of a relationship for a Jedi. Maybe a Dark Side player but still… Let’s keep the cannon ok

  • Jonnara

    The servers are rocking……

    Master Dar’Nala has all of 5 people on fleet.

    • Gavin Morgan

      Our EU servers are full to the brim every night.

  • rippled

    As far as “waste of dev resources” go, I predominantly pvp but don’t say its a waste of dev efforts to add in lame daily areas. A SGR arc with an npc burns up such a trivial amount of actual resources complaining about poor allocation of resources is laughable.

    I’d sooner advocate the SSSP being one giant waste of resources. all due respect to x-wing and JTL fans, but free roam space sims are about as niche as it gets and you’ve moaned hard enough to get BW to revamp their space minigame, with the amount of devtime sunk into that surely eclipsing the few hours it takes to record some VO. And it’s not as if the VO guys are ironing out bugs in the code when they’re not recording. Devs coding space project could be.

    • Matt Cipriano

      such a small amount of resources yet..took so much time to implement..and not even in the way people expected (companions).

      ” all but 2 classes I think have 1 romance option atm, you don’t like it, tough.” That’s funny coming from someone saying it’s a good use of resources to implement more…lol

      • rippled

        What’s funny about it, it’s a fact. Most classes only have 1 romancable companion and that’s that. I didn’t fancy kira that way, tough for me. What’s justin smoking when he’s talking about keeping stuff “fair” in terms of everyone getting a likable companion to romance ergo the need to re-do all of them?

        In the end Makeb NPCs in question will simply have a [kill] option substituted with a [flirt] one. In essence every convo in the game is 2/3rds wasted dev resources cos tbh, precious few reroll to check out the other options. If you never pick the lightside option that’s one giant hole of redundant content from your POV. Yet only now do people kick up a fuss about “misappropriation of dev resources”. Wth do I care which conversation options I won’t click?

        The whole assumption that somehow bug squashing and other features went on the backburner cos BW added a couple flirt lines for SGR to NPCs they were gonna do anyways (since they’re part of the world arc) is again, laughable.

        • Matt Cipriano

          Well to be honest I agree with you that it’s not a huge deal but I do think it’s a little more time consuming for the Swtor dev’s than people are assuming just because if it were sucha  small fix they should’ve been able to do it a long, long time ago. However, I would like them to work on the space project instead of this.

        • Justin Lowe

          What I was saying was that they would have to bring in the voice actors and record new dialogue that never existed when the game first launched. If they go through and just make it available for new content going forward in Makeb, that would feel cheap to the people who actually care about that content.

          • Tudor Simu

            That’s not how these things work and you should have a little more insight in this matter.
            Considering most expansions/major/minor content releases are generally produced (or at least partially worked on) before actually being announced, it is really not that hard to come to the conclusion that it was just a matter of time before it would happen. Resources tend to be spent earlier than the product hits the masses. It’s also not unheard of to book the VO actors. Some of the voices we heard in this game are quite famous and have done VOs for many very famous games/movies/cartoons/etc characters….
            It can be quite hard to bring in the VOs exactly when you want them, more so when you think about it that these people may have other VO contracts they need to attend to. It’s also ultimately the agent that keeps track of their schedules not the actors themselves.

  • Mark Bradden

    great show shame its swtor

  • Thuggy

    Honestly, It is a problem when you have a panel of 3 heterosexual white males in a panel discussing any topic that revolves around discrimination issues. I don’t say this to imply that Gary, Justin and Lary are in anyway bigoted they clearly have a track record to prove otherwise, however, they also have lack real perspective on what it’s like to be placed in the margins when not being actively discriminated against. I’m not gay, but as a minority, I can at least tangentially relate to the issues they face.
    Yes, you can make a very reasoned and logical argument as to why development resources should not be applied post launch to SGRs. However, gaming is about escapism. Bioware’s brand of this revolves heavily around the ability to interact, develop relationships with and even romance your companions. And the fact Bioware has released a product that says to a segment of the population “You do not count” …followed by “well, fixing this mistake is a waste of resources, so, you still do not really count, but here’s a sticker” Strikes a very raw nerve for many LGBT people, understandably. 

    I also disagree w/ Lary’s stance on how DA2 handled it’s romances. I felt it was very much in line with how games are overall designed. Once again  escapism and player choice are at the core of Bioware game design, Game worlds, especially narrative heavy ones, are built to revolve around the player. So why is it ok to allow game mechanics adapt themselves to how the player wants, have story augment itself to how the player wants, but it’s not ok to allow the companions themselves bend their sexual preference to what the player wants? None of it is “realistic,” but that in itself is what makes it so engaging. 

    Then juxtapose that with Justin’s griping about Scorpio, a robot companion who would be his class’s THIRD romance option, when most players really only get one option, sometimes really crappy ones ( /comfort female Sith Warriors)

    • sheduur

      When did games stop being games and turn into a platform for politics?

      Its just mindboggling that some people get such a boner about companion romances and put such an importance into this crap…

      If there arent many gay options in a game, well thats tough luck. Look outside, the world isnt all rainbows and sparkle ponys, sometimes you dont always get what you want. And that goes for anyone, gay or not. I would rather like a game that is playable and not something that is not an essential part of the game.

      • Thuggy

        A platform for politics? I’m just engaging in a discussion relevant to this episode. I’m not randomly going off on a soapbox. 

        As to answer your question, politics have been a part of gaming since people started making games for other people, as politics in some form is just simply the underlying relationship between people that establish the framework for society. They’ve only recently started to be controversial, as gaming leans away from being made for and marketed exclusively towards the narrow demographic of suburban, heterosexual white males.

        I’m sorry if this makes you feel uncomfortable. But it’s also this same trend that allows a suit at EA to willingly greenlight a 200 million dollar project like swtor.

    • Matt Cipriano

      I don’t understand, so unless they are gay they don’t have any business tackling this subject? By the same token, how do you know if Bioware even has any gays or lesbians or transgenders working on this game? If they don’t do they have any business diving into these waters? 

      And to your comment below, it doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. Sure that’s a nice excuse that a lot of gays and lesbians use to try to justify a heterosexuals differing viewpoint, but it doesn’t carry any weight. Sorry, Thuggy. Just because someone says they’d rather have Bioware working on content that will be beneficial for everybody and not something so small doesn’t mean that they are homophobic or a gay-hating monster, even though I know you would love to paint them as one. It just means they want something else.

      • Thuggy

        I’m hesitant to respond to this, because you exaggerated and are twisting my points to the level of hyperbole (seriously, when did I ever throw around accusations of hate or bigotry?)…but I’ll bite

        When a panel lacks diversity…discussing any topic that revolves around diversity issues, the perspective on the topic is very narrow and unproductive. There’s nothing wrong with having a heterosexual having an opinion on gay rights issues (again, I’m straight), a man discussing women’s issues…ect, but when these types of discussions are held, there needs to be some sort of counterbalance. I have no idea on what it’s like to be a gay man, but I do know what it’s like to face discrimination (especially when it lacks direct malice or intent). That gives me a different perspective on the issue, one the panelist couldn’t possibly have…not because they are bad people, but because we all are a summation of our life experiences.

        As for the “content” point. I’d rather Bioware work on this type of content than re-stuff EA’s coffers, because the reality is the inclusion of SGRs has no real affect on Bioware’s resources in terms of man-hours from the content we all want in an MMO. I highly doubt pulling away your audio tech to redub some voice overs and asking your animation guy to re-polish some already completed romance cut-scenes has any tangible effect on the development of raid content, new daily zones (which are entirely mission terminal based anyway) or improved and expanded pvp content.

        • Matt Cipriano

          After reading what you replied to shednur below with I got a sense that you were trying to say that just because he doesn’t agree with the topic that he’s uncomfortable or something, as if the only reason to disagree with this move is to be against Gays and Lesbians, which is completely false so I do hope that wasn’t what you were trying to imply. Otherwise I apologize for the heated response.

          Now, it is just an assumption that this would be a little task for the bioware dev’s to do, and with any other company I would agree with you, but fact is they cut it at launch, they haven’t touched it since..and my feeling is that it wasn’t because of the social issue of gay rights, it’s because it’s going to be hard for them to do. Now hear me out… Bioware has put SGR in other games(ME3), so the exclusion from launch isn’t because they are against it, if anything it was due to technical difficulties…which also could explain why it has taken them up to this point to even address it. 

          My guess is you will see NPCs in the Makeb storyline that have SGR and that it will not be anything to do with you personally. Because I just don’t see them putting time into individual companions. I’ll eat my words if I’m wrong.

          • Thuggy

            Nah, I meant that people are often made uncomfortable when “new” groups of people are introduced into their communities. The gaming community is still in it’s infancy and experiencing some of these growing pains. Just look at 2012’s gaming controversies  It’s basically nonstop diversity issues with the Mass Effect ending.sprinkled in. 

            I apologize if I didn’t make that clear enough =/

  • Michael Ponte

    My only real questions is this: Gary, why are you keeping a Wine bottle opener at the office?

  • Allan Kanemori

    I agree that SGR should have been implemented from the ground up. However, I fear that adding it at this point and only to NPCs in Makeb (if not all planets at time of expansion release) is that it will be called the gay/liberal planet (which I’d be fine with as well).  I can see the forums will be all over this when it comes out.

  • Clint Casey

    Three Faction PVP.

    People on both factions will have the option to help the Gree.

    • Shawn Hargrave

      i wish they made the hutt cartel a 3rd faction i hope they dont screw ilum up a 2nd time its why i left in the first place hope they get it right this time

      • Keenan

         Don’t you worry Shawn, I’m sure they’ll swing and miss twice, just for you. <3

  • Nathiest

    I logged in just randomly and cities where busy and quest hubs had players bouncing in and all around em. More players I’ve seen since actually launch day. That said game is still boring as heck.

  • Zerix

    As far as a PvP area like Justin said, how about a area like Tol Barad from WoW. An area that you fight over over so often then if you win it you get access to quests, resources, etc in that area.