I often see SWTOR's devs and community team get accused of not communicating very much with the player base or not doing a very good job at it. I honestly can't tell how true that is because I find it hard enough to keep up with everything going on on the forums and on fan sites as it is - I never feel like nothing is happening in this community, and I'm more likely to miss out on important information than to sit there going: "You're not telling me enough!"
Also, and I know many people may find this weird, but I actually kind of like it when MMO devs keep certain things close to their chests and refuse to talk about them. For example, I love a good surprise. I really enjoyed the way Bioware tried to build up suspense via the Forged Alliances story arc when it was first released and I loved seeing people speculate about which villain might be behind it all. The big reveal in Legacy of Rakata felt very satisfying, even if it wasn't completely unexpected. But of course you can only achieve that by withholding information from the player base until they can see the content for themselves (and if the data miners respect that stance and don't go around spoiling things for everyone else). Those of us who've played since launch may also remember how completely out of the blue the first Rakghoul event came - and it was great! Compare this to Blizzard for example, who posted all the in-game cinematics for Warlords of Draenor on their front page, spoiling the entire storyline two months before the expansion even released. (That sure saved me some money.)
There is also the saying that it's better to stay silent and be considered a fool than to open your mouth and prove it without a doubt. How does this apply to MMO devs? When they introduce something that I consider awesome, I'd like to think that it was all planned that way and that the devs are really good at their job. I'd rather not hear that this feature was slapped together within a month and with no resources, and that my favourite part of it is actually an unintended bug. Conversely, if I don't like a change, I'd rather imagine that the devs only had the best of intentions and simply made a mistake. If they come out saying that they love the change and that they are sure players will consider it the most fun thing ever, that's probably going to contribute more to losing me as a player than the change itself. Basically, it's easier to enjoy a good meal if you don't spend too much time talking about how the sausage gets made.
That said, every now and then I can appreciate a good, non-spoilery look behind the scenes, especially if it doesn't include anything that I consider bad news. And there's been quite a few of those over the past week or so!
First off, Chuck and Brian from the Bad Feeling Podcast interviewed PvP developer Alex Modny and Eric Musco about upcoming PvP changes. Now, the Bad Feeling Podcast is always fun to listen to and you shouldn't miss an episode anyway, but this one is particularly informative as some pretty juicy bits of info were dropped. If you just want a summary of the important parts, Xam Xam has one here. Basically, it's a lot of good news for casual PvPers, with warzones becoming more rewarding in terms of XP and credit gains, PvP gear having its cost reduced by a huge amount, and warzone comms becoming easily transferrable between alts. There was some stuff about ranked too, but that doesn't really affect me. They were also discussing adjusting the way AoE works in warzones so it doesn't interrupt node caps anymore, which could be a pretty big game changer in a good or bad way, but we'll have to see.
On the same day this interview was released, Olib from SWTOR Network posted a (written) interview with Alex Tremblay, Bioware's Manager of Analytics. I think this interview hasn't got nearly enough publicty, even though it's really interesting and includes some well thought-out questions. There weren't any huge and shocking relevations, but for those of us who love hearing about statistics and such, there are still some interesting tidbits (such as which colour crystal is the most popular at the level cap right now).
Finally, on Wednesday Bioware held a developer stream to show off the upcoming new stronghold on Yavin 4 and the new Togruta species. You can watch most of it here. Personally I watched about five minutes of the recording and then stopped, because unlike an obviously large number of people, I actually find it pretty boring to watch others play a game that I'd rather play myself. Fortunately there are parts of the community that are willing to provide summaries for people like me, so you can find a breakdown of all the facts that were revealed on Dulfy as usual. If you want some more opinions on what the stream was like, Mae and Xam Xam are happy to provide.
I'm quite excited about the Togruta, even though I'm not a huge fan of the species - I just like having new character creation options to play around with, so I'll probably create a Togruta alt at some point just because I can.
As far the new stronghold goes, I have mixed feelings. From an emotional standpoint I'd have no issue with dumping my Nar Shaddaa stronghold for it as I never liked it very much anyway, however I've been using it to boost my conquest point gains (basically I filled it with random trophies, pets and speeders) and losing that would be a bit annoying. Not that my guild has been doing much with conquest lately.
Also, apparently they kept emphasising that we can look forward to an exciting announcement on the 15th of June. I'm fine with that as that's my birthday and I already happened to book the day off work anyway. This better be good!
What are your thoughts on the newest bits of information to come out of Bioware? And is it enough or are you one of those always craving more?