Bad Feeling Podcast hosted a Star Wars The Old Republic meetup recently in North Austin, Texas on the 10th of March and I had the privilege of attending it! It was a night of laughs, drinks and interesting conversation. There was even a Trivia contest with some pretty sweet swag as prizes!
There were around 10 Developers in attendance. Eric Musco and Charles Boyd were there of course. Matt Pucevich the Operations Lead was there (he was on the Game Update 5.8 Dev Stream) as well as Lou, the wizard who can fix stuff without downtime and fix a lot of other things, Jackie the Flashpoint Dev and a few others whose names and roles I didn’t grab.
— tankmikegolf (@TankMikeGolf) 14 March 2018
I spent most of my time just listening to the conversations and soaking in the atmosphere. It was quite a privilege to see the Devs in a casual environment. I really wish there was a way for more players to be able to meet the Devs and see their enthusiasm for the game.
The thing that impressed me about Musco the most was how often he swears in casual conversation. As an Australian, I can appreciate that. He answered all of the questions I heard quite well and was pretty open about the majority of topics discussed. He recalled many stories about Keith in particular which were all quite amusing. He recalled in particular how often Keith asks if they can squeeze something into an update. When told no, he then replies, ‘But could we?’ Lou chimed in emphasising that he is a player, like us and that he is on our side.
The more I hear about Keith, the more I can’t help but like him! It’s clear that the Devs hold him in high regard even if he does get a little demanding of them at times.
For the most part, I hung out with fellow PvPer’s TMG and Kogass as I figured we’d have more PvP inclined conversations and indeed we did. I was feeling pretty shy for most of the night so I let them do all the talking.
We managed to get Musco to tell us some tidbits about Game Update 5.9 (class changes, skank tanks) which we obviously can’t repeat (and I certainly won’t be breaking the circle of trust). But they should be giving us all the full details for Game Update 5.9 in 2 -3 weeks time anyway. So you all shouldn’t have to wait too much longer!
PvP hacking and cheating in Ranked came up as well. They do monitor it and have multiple ways of dealing with it (obviously I’m not going to go into specifics). But I will say this, Musco was literally able to name known PvP cheaters and hackers off the top of his head.
— The Alpha Sechari (@iamsechari) 11 March 2018
Class Balance was brought up too. Musco said that when they do Class Changes, they have to balance for the top 1% and the average player which can at times be quite tricky. Finding a good middle ground between the two can be quite challenging. You’ll see a couple of examples of this conundrum with the Game Update 5.9 changes.
We also had a couple of interesting conversations about streamers and streaming. If you stream or have streamed SWTOR, there’s a very good chance Musco has watched you, even if you have a very low viewership!
Galactic Command also came up in conversation. They were happy to admit the system was pretty bad when it launched. We even got Musco to rate the system. Needless to say, he gave it a very very low rating for when it launched and a decent rating for how it is presently.
KogASS also asked Musco and Lou if there was anything that could be done about items in the game that can no longer be used or turned in (Tokens of Enrichment, Old Gear Boxes etc.). Musco replied that absolutely they can! So if you have anything you can’t use, email or message Musco about it (or get me to on your behalf) and they will arrange to give you something useful in return! KogASS is going to exchange his 50 odd Tokens for Red Sparkle Powder.
#SXSWTOR was a blast! Got to meet some of the Devs and hang out with @TankMikeGolf @kogass_ @iamsechari and others! There was trivia and swag and some good conversations. Thanks for putting together a great time @badfeelingpdcst @BeardedApe! #SWTOR #swtorfamily pic.twitter.com/50Kmh18bIF
— ✨Xam Xam ? (@Rach_Games) 11 March 2018
We also had a particularly interesting conversation with Musco about the player base and player population. Specifically how 90% of the player base rotates in and out of the game constantly. Basically, if 10 people leave, 10 people come in and replace them. It’s a constantly revolving door. When it comes to ‘the game is dying’ topic, Musco pointed out that all MMO’s (bar WoW) are dying, which to be fair, is very true. The Devs don’t seem particularly worried about the player population or the state of the game at all. They find the notion that the game is dying quite nonsensical and are quite indifferent to it as they’ve heard it said 1000’s of times over the years (similar to Keith’s reaction when asked about it his recent interview on Bad Feeling Podcast Episode 190).
On a similar vein, someone asked how many players play the game. Legally they cannot discuss this due to shareholder legal innuendo which I didn’t quite understand. I took it to mean that if the info got in the wrong hands, it could affect share prices and make people mad or something. But either way, their lips are sealed purely for legal reasons.
Of course merchandising came up as well. Unfortunately, anything that involves making money off of SWTOR outside of Sub Money and Cartel Coins has to go down a ‘ridiculously long rabbit hole’ at Lucasfilm. It’s not something they can’t do per say, it’s just a very arduous and time-consuming process.
That just about sums up most of the conversations I heard or was a part of. I hope you enjoyed this little write-up. Brian and Chuck both did an excellent job of putting together and hosting this meetup (Musco was very impressed too)! It was a really fun night and I’m looking forward to the next one (there better be another one)! Maybe next time I will be less shy (haha).