[TOR] Hammer Station Flashpoint Video, NDA, etc.

Nifty new video about a flashpoint on SWTOR. It’s just too bad they had newbs playing while recording that trailer. I guess it’d be too much of a spoiler if adept players actually did it.

Yes, I know, it was intentional. They weren’t newbs, they were devs filming just for show.

It took me a bit of looking to find this (okay all of two minutes) and I do prefer to view an official location rather than just fellow bloggers saying the NDA is up, but it does seem the NDA has been lifted:


As of now, the non disclosure portion of our Game Testing Agreement is officially lifted. While all players must still accept the Game Testing Agreement, from this point on testers may now freely talk about their experiences this past weekend in the game, as well as post screenshots and gameplay videos of their testing experiences. We encourage you to come join us on the official Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Forums to share your experiences!

The Star Wars: The Old Republic community site will have a copy of this message on the forums and it will also appear in the Patcher. Players may not talk about nor reprint posts from our testing forums as they are still fully covered by the confidentiality portions of our Game Testing Agreement. And all players who want to participate in the upcoming Beta Test Weekends still have to accept all terms of the Game Testing Agreement. So, other than that, free feel to talk about and share your experiences in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

My thanks go out to everyone who has beta tested and continues to beta test the game. It has been with your help and feedback that Star Wars: The Old Republic is where it is today. We really appreciate your efforts.

May the Force be with you!

Greg Zeschuk
VP, Electronic Arts, BioWare Austin, General Manager

So I’m now allowed to say that I was in the previous stress testing weekend and I can dump out my impressions. The beta access came at one of the worst possible weekends I could have had it come at – which is why it was granted at that point – so it left me with less time to play than I intended.

First thing I did was plan which classes I would play and which ones I wouldn’t. My original thought was to avoid classes I was going to focus on playing on the actual release of the game (Sith Warrior and Smuggler) so I opened the first night with a Jedi Consular. I then proceeded to play from about 9:30pm until roughly 4am.

I’d like to say it was just that good, but a lot of my motivation was to finally get my damn lightsaber. I think I cut a few corners near the end as I could see I was getting closer. I ended up at level 9 when left the starting area with my precious… err… lightsaber. Overall, I found the quests mostly interesting and very true to the kinds of things that a Consular might do. There were opportunities to gain light and dark points, some moral questions you had to answer and even some group areas.

Two Consulars definitely don’t work well together at the lower levels. If you have one that actually knows how to play a game and another that is just mashing buttons heroic encounters will work like this:

  1. adept player CCs a target
  2. nubcakes breaks the CC on the big target
  3. nubcakes tanks the big target… with a caster class
  4. nubcakes is ineffective against the big droid getting healed by the three little droids
  5. adept player takes out all the healing droids
  6. nubcakes goes squish
  7. adept player finishes off the big droid
  8. adept player rezes the nubcakes

Overall, I did enjoy playing the class and the story line was interesting enough, though didn’t have as much variety as the other class I played. Still, I felt very Jedi..ish. I was running about doing the right thing and feeling all warm and glowing about it. I’d enforce the Jedi code and dig deeper into the mysteries of the Force. I suspect my only reaching level 9 before leaving the  planet was partly due to this, I was trying to respect life and be a good Jedi. Only defending myself instead of attacking anything I saw. I also rushed a little near the end because I really wanted my damn lightsaber.

I’m trying not to spoil anything here.

Next class I tried was the Bounty Hunter and all I can say about that is…


I think I might end up playing one as a main on release, but I’m not sure yet.

Once again, I found myself falling into the role of a ruthless, amoral, bastard who’d do anything for a quick buck. If it was hostile? I shot it. If it was neutral? I shot it. If it was my target? I killed it. If it was my target to bring back? I killed it and brought back evidence. If it was bait for another Bounty Hunter? I used it, killed it and claimed the bounty.

Really. I was a complete and utter prick.

And I loved it!

Thanks to the heavy armor, the class is really very durable and quite capable of soloing well, especially once you get your companion who can fire off some light healing when you need it. I was able to solo (with my NPC companion) all the group content successfully. It wasn’t trivial, but it was possible. I think there might have been more group content with this starting area than there was with the previous and I also felt I got my companion earlier than with the Consular.

The missions were right on and had no “beat up the new version of the droids” mission. They generally had opportunities for you to flip or be swayed by the target so lots of choices in the missions. No more simple, “Accept/Decline” and just kill stuff to hand the bits and pieces back into the quest giver. Well, unless the mission was to bring back bits and pieces of the target.

I actually enjoyed this class more than the Jedi Consular and I think the fact that I wasn’t playing a ‘in self defense only’ type of guy, I ended up with a higher level when I left Hutta. I believe I was about level 11.

I went Mercenary with his Advanced Class choice because I didn’t really like the sound of the Powertech which seemed more about tanking and less about the pewpewpew! I ended up with dual blasters and some minor healing abilities.

I then moved on to the next world by route of a flashpoint. When you leave the starting area, you are taken to a fleet or station and from there you can choose to just hop a shuttle to the next place or group and do a flashpoint on the way to the next area. I did the flashpoint – I believe it was called The Black Talon.

Spoilers ahead.

Vader is Luke’s dad.

Back to SWTOR.

My group for the Black Talon flashpoint consisted of a level 11 Sith Assassin tanking, two Imperial Agents (levels 12 and 9) and myself a Mercenary. As a Mercenary I had a single heal ability which seemed somewhat minor. The higher level Imperial Agent also had a heal ability which seemed a bit more effective.

The Black Talon mission starts with you talking a Grand Moff who says he’s tasked a transport captain with attacking a battlecruiser that has an Imperial traitor nicknamed, “The General” on board. He wants the General taken back or silenced. The transport is the only ship in range to attack so you need to commandeer it and lead the suicidal attack.

You fight your way through the crew and onto the bridge where you decide the fate of the captain of the ship. In a group, this means you pick the response you want to give, a roll happens and the one with the highest roll gets their response made but you still get the Light/Dark points for your chosen response.

My group, wisely, chose to execute the captain. I won the roll.

We then proceeded to attack the Republic ship, which was crazy given that we were a transport, but it seems the Republic decided to board us instead of simply blow us up so we fended off attacking droids and protecting our Engineering section. We then boarded them and started tearing through their defenses.

I admit, the Shadow as a tank was sort of bad. He lived, but by no virtue of his own. The Imperial Agent and I worked our butts off to keep him alive and he constantly broke line of sight on both of us as he was dodging around. I managed to divide my attention between healing him up and doing damage.

End result was a win. We found The General and had a choice of taking him back with us or killing him. The group, once again, decided to kill him.

Yeah, I won that roll too.

I didn’t get to play the Bounty Hunter too much farther and part of me didn’t want to because I wasn’t sure I wanted go through it all over again and I certainly didn’t want to spoil much more than that.

Spoilers off now.

My third class I looked at was more out of pity than anything else; the Trooper. I had a post where I wasn’t sure how it fit in and that it seemed like a filler class. Well, it’s the other side’s version of the Bounty Hunter only more orderly.

I didn’t get to play it too long, but it did seem to have a decent story starting up. I think I may have dismissed this class a little prematurely but with the fun I had as a Bounty Hunter, I don’t think I’ll end up getting to this class anytime soon after release.

I realize I’ve spent most of my time talking about the feel of the starting areas and not so much about the classes or their mechanics. I guess you can say Bioware accomplished their mission and story does have a big impact on enjoyment of the game. At least for me.

As could be expected, every class has a health bar and a resource bar. The resource bars work differently for each class though ultimately, they either fill up or empty out and depending on your class, it’s a good or bad thing. Every class seems to start with a rest-like ability which restores health and resets their resource bar at a quicker than normal pace. The regen rate for both seems pretty decent as it is in combat and it speeds up out of combat as well so this ‘rest’ ability really just reduces down time between fights.

The Jedi Consular depleted their bar as they used some of the more spell-like abilities. It comes back quickly enough that it wasn’t too much of a worry and you still have your lightsaber attack abilities to fall back on while it’s regenerating. As a Consular I had a few force abilities involving throwing large objects at people (nuke), pelting them with stones (channeled DoT) or lifting them off the ground and leaving them suspended there (CC). I also had a few different lightsaber attack abilities with nifty animations. I can’t remember the other abilities, I believe there was a buff or two.

The Bounty Hunter has a heat meter that fills the resource bar and if the bar is full you cannot use certain abilities. You do have an ability on a two minute cooldown that lets you vent heat. You have a buff that increases damage, a damage modifier buff for your ranged attacks, several versions of blaster fire (including a severe channeled DoT), a missile to launch (small AOE), an explosive dart (CC on weak targets and moderate AOE), jet pack powered uppercut (so cool!), flamethrowers and a ‘death from above’ type ability that jets you up a short distance while you rain down death in a targeted area (moderate sized AOE with big damage). Really, loved it.

The Trooper has an ammo meter that depletes the more they use certain attacks or abilities. I didn’t play it enough to really see what happens when you deplete all your ammo, I suspect it either comes back over time or you actually lose a few seconds reloading. Like I said, I didn’t get there. You open up with a few abilities involving your blaster and grenades mainly. You also get a health buff – I think.

As you can tell, the Bounty Hunter left the biggest impression with me.

And I liked being a bastard.

Overall, I have to concur with this post over at Blessing of Kings for the rest of the feel. I tripped up in the same areas he said (short of grouping) and I did provide a lot of in game feedback while playing.


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