MMORPG – Interview w/ Jeff Hickman & Bruce Maclean

swtor interview

MMORPG.Com had the chance to interview Jeff Hickman & Bruce Maclean from BioWare, about Star Wars: The old republic. The article contains lots of new great info, and here is the most imortant information from the article put together by Thrives:

  • *Both warzones and GSF will see updates, GSF in the form of new maps, new ship roles, and new ships, new Huttball arena (Quesh), will be a more vertical/three dimensional space to maneuver through.
  • *Class combat team is very busy.
  • *They offered the interview because of her previous article, the slightly negative F2P review posted here a few weeks ago. They disagreed, responses from player with no prior SWTOR experience were characterized as ‘generally super positive’, they have metrics to support this statement. Subscribers are their priority but they’re always looking for opportunities to improve the F2P experience.
  • *Interviewer thought the tour stops weren’t a huge opportunity to ‘drop some revelations and make them super-special for the attendees’. Bruce Maclean stated that the tour stops were more about developers hearing feedback in person. They’re expecting they’ll do more than last year. ‘In particular, DebySue Wolfcale remarked that the February Tour stop would be pretty awesome, and the one in March would be even bigger, so much so that she didn’t even put an adjective to it’. She suspects it’s related to the two digital expansions.
  • *No new class story in development, not that they wouldn’t like to do more, but it’s a lot of work. ‘They went on to say that story is a pillar of the game, and that last year’s additional story wasn’t an overall linked arc. This year, they commented, would be a continuation of a cohesive story arc, that the work just done in LA was amazing and they couldn’t wait for us to see it.’
  • *When asked if the sub model was still viable Jeff Hickman said he thought it was, the key points being making it fun for the players and listening to them. He added SWTOR F2P and sub revenue was great. ‘ Jeff went on to say that he felt that lowering the barrier to entry is a better methodology, so a $60 USD box is a huge barrier to players getting in there and having fun. He said that going free-to-play without a box is a great idea and studios should let the players choose how much to pay. His final comment was to respect one’s players.’
  • *On the subject of all the competition this year, ‘Bruce immediately pointed out that his team’s plan goes out 15 months and we saw that some of this plan was revealed in his Producer’s Letter published on Monday. The big nugget of information contained in that letter was that there would be two digital expansions this year. In the interview, Bruce said that they were roughly the same scope as RotHC and GSF. Jeff went on to say that last year’s expansions were both learning experiences and that the team was extremely excited over this new content to expand and change SWTOR.

Here is a snippet:
Monday saw the answer to a question many fans of Star Wars: the Old Republic were having, which was, “We know you have the full-on Galactic Starfighter launch on Tuesday, but what’s going on for the rest of the year?” Senior Producer Bruce Maclean published a letter on on Monday that laid out a roadmap for the future of the game for much of the rest of 2014. To add further context to the information in the letter, MMORPG was given an exclusive phone interview with BioWare Austin’s General Manager Jeff Hickman, along with Bruce himself, and Senior Marketing Director DebySue Wolfcale. We discussed the past year for Star Wars: the Old Republic, its present reality, and they teased us with some hints for the future of the game beyond the contents of Bruce’s Producer’s Letter.