In preparation for the upcoming Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion, Bioware is increasing the pace of news releases and event participation across the US and Europe. This time around, SWToR Senior Producer Blaine Christine , Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert, Executive Producer Jeff Hickman and Production Director Dallas Dickinson hosted a panel discussion during SXSW 2013 – an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, Texas.
A 22-minute recording of the panel discussion was made available by youtube user “Acoustic Atman” and offers a better insight of what the near future holds for SWToR.
Rise of the Hutt Cartel Expansion
- Internal testing is well-underway for the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion. An announcement about when the expansion is going to be released will be made very soon.
- Story remains an integral part of the game during the expansion. Even though there are only two storylines (one for Republic, one for the Empire) the story offers some minor personalization that makes it feel like an individual-class based story.
- Some limited companion interactions will be part of the expansion but not as extensive as the original content. Bioware is looking into ways of expanding that but that’s not going to be happening soon.
- Pre-order players get three exclusive items (1) Dr Oggurobb Hutt Holostatue, (2) exclusive “Scourge of the Hutts” title, and (3) Makrin Seedling mini-pet.
- Four (4) major cartel market updates have been made so far. Next major update is this coming Tuesday where brand new items are going to be made available.
- New light saber color crystals will be coming out with the next patch.
- Making cartel market items available to the GTN was a very good decision according to Bioware. It allowed them to test the popularity items by analyzing hard data off GTN sales.
- Cartel market items that are based on the original Kotor series tend to be most popular items.
Regular Server transfers
- Regular server transfers are coming – it’s “close” according to Bioware.
- Bioware has “big plans” for space that are not going to be implemented in the upcoming expansion. The Austin-based developer realizes the importance of space combat in Star Wars.
Free-to-play (F2P) challenges
- Bioware has no regrets on changing to the F2P model – it was the right thing to do and market dictated the change.
- Greatest challenge of F2P was maintaining the value of the game for subscribers.
Lucasarts and EA support
- Lucasarts and EA continue to be extremely supportive of the game.
- Most promotional activities of SWToR are currently focused with internet marketing not the broader form we saw during the game’s launch.