Flashpoints and Fixes: The Old Republic - Rise of the Rakghouls

Star Wars: The Old Republic game director James Ohlen brings us up to light speed on the massively multiplayer online game's first major content update, coming January 17.

A short time ago, in a very local region of our galaxy, developer BioWare and publisher Electronic Arts released Star Wars: The Old Republic. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game has proven a huge hit thus far, but BioWare's work is far from over. On January 17, the game's first major update launches. It's called Rise of the Rakghouls, and it includes a new flashpoint, more operation content, and other tweaks.

We caught up with game director James Ohlen, who shared with us what to expect in the update and talked about the general future of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

GameSpot: So tell us about Star Wars: The Old Republic - Rise of the Rakghouls. What are the key points that every player should know?

James Ohlen: Rise of the Rakghouls is our first content release. It includes an extension to Karagga's Palace, which is one of the operations in our release game. It's quite a huge extension. In the initial release of Karagga's Palace, we only had a single boss monster. It was a relatively short operation. Now we've expanded that by four boss monsters--it's significantly bigger, a lot more epic. We've added cinematics to it; it's an entirely different experience now.

We've added [Kaon Under Siege], which is actually part one of a two-part epic story that takes place in the galaxy. The second part's going to come out with our release in March. Those are the two content releases that we're giving. We're doing a few small tweaks to the system. We've added anti-aliasing with this first game update, and a few tweaks to PVP, but we've got a lot more game system changes and additions in the second update which comes in March. And then every single update after that will have in addition to new content, new game systems.

GS: What are the plans for story-based updates that continue in the vein of the storytelling that helps The Old Republic stand out?

JO: Oh yeah, obviously we know that's a selling feature. When you look at Rise of the Rakghouls, the flashpoint, it's very much in the vein of our story-heavy flashpoints. You'll notice when you start with The Old Republic we have two types of flashpoints. We have our story-heavy flashpoints, which are represented by the first flashpoint you went on, the flashpoints that dealt with Revan, and the flashpoint at the very end of the game that dealt with Darth Malgus. Those flashpoints were very story-heavy.

We have a team that is focused essentially on providing content and events throughout the galaxy.

Then we have the lighter story flashpoints. Rise of the Rakghouls is in the vein of the story-heavy flashpoints, so if you enjoyed those kind of flashpoints, you're very much going to enjoy Rise of the Rakghouls.

GS: So there will be a chance for the party to make an important choice along the line.

JO: Oh yeah. There's gonna be choices. It's much more like one of those story-heavy flashpoints. We wanted to--with each of our content releases, we're probably going to mix in, sometimes we'll do a story-heavy flashpoint, sometimes we'll do more story-light. But we'll lead off with story-heavy flashpoints.

GS: You talked a little bit about tweaks to PVP and anti-aliasing and things like that. What other kinds of small tweaks should we expect?

JO: We have a lot of bug fixes and small balance changes coming in. We're doing bug patches every week, almost. This last week we didn't do one because we're preparing for the big game update, but for the most part we're gonna be doing bug fixes on a weekly basis. Sometimes we'll do small balance changes and tweaks in addition to bug fixes, or we might add in some small change or option or tweak to a game system that might not normally go in that. For the most part, it's focused on bugs.

GS: For people interested in space combat, you've talked about changes--the reimagining that could come in the future. Any news on space combat?

JO: So the space team is working on creating additional space game levels. I should mention, that's another part of our game update plan. We want to continue to add hot spots to the galaxy map, essentially new space missions. In addition to that, we have another space project going on, but we're not really talking about that until we get further along. But suffice it to say we want to expand the space game beyond what we have in the current main game.

GS: Obviously, the update seems focused on people who have reached the level cap. Anything for people before that?

JO: So we have a bunch of different plans for that. One is, the game systems themselves that we're introducing are going to not just be for high-level players. For example, in game update two when we introduce guild banks, that's gonna benefit anyone that's in a guild, no matter if you're level 50 or you're level 20. You're gonna benefit from the fact that there are guild banks. In update two we're gonna introduce PVP ranking, so again, that's not something that's exclusive to level 50 players. You're gonna be able to see your ranking as soon as you start to participate in PVP.

In the legacy system, as soon as you unlock the legacy system at the end of chapter one, which is around the early 30s, you'll basically be exposed to the legacy system. The game systems are things that all players will experience. And the same thing for future game systems.

In addition to that, we have a team we're calling the events team, and I can't go into too much detail, but we'll be talking more about it in the future. We have a team that is focused essentially on providing content and events throughout the galaxy that make the Star Wars: The Old Republic galaxy a living, breathing galaxy where things are changing.

GS: In terms of the legacy system, how much can you say about the features we can expect out of that?

JO: So the legacy system, it's kind of inspired by the fact that the family dynamic is so important in the Star Wars movies. You have Luke being Anakin's son, the most famous father-son relationship in movies. We wanted to have a system that encouraged players to create alts and to play the game through the different story paths. So the legacy system is meant to do that. It essentially allows you to, instead of just having a bunch of alts that have no relation to each other, you can actually create a family tree where your alts can be related to your main character, either as, you know, a sibling, a son, a father, a family friend, or a husband and wife.

We wanted to have a system that encouraged players to create alts and to play the game through the different story paths.

You can actually choose the relationship your characters will have with each other. And then you gain legacy experience points and legacy levels, and with legacy experience points and levels, that gives you--that allows you to unlock abilities, perks, a whole slew of different advantages, essentially, that all the members of your legacy tree will be able to enjoy.

So it's pretty tight. I think people are going to really like it, and it's something we want to push towards players who enjoy the level-up game. It'll also be beneficial to the end game, but it really is going to have a lot of abilities that make leveling up even more enjoyable and allow you to customize your leveling experience.

GS: You talked about war zones. Any chances we'll see different game types coming?

JO: We're gonna be introducing new war zones, we have a new war zone coming with update two, and we'll have more in the future as well. Some war zones will have mechanics that are similar to the mechanics we released with the game. Some war zones will have entirely new mechanics. We're gonna kind of go between those two. Some of the mechanics we have are very classic game mechanics, and I think players would enjoy having a completely different fiction behind that mechanic, with some twists to it. And at other times players are gonna want to have a game mechanic that's completely different. We want to take some risks, because sometimes that can really pay off.

Huttball, for example, is one that was a big--it was a game mechanic that was quite a bit different than I think what players were used to, but it paid off in a big way.

GS: Beyond that, is there anything else that you think we should know that would catch players' interest?

JO: I think just, the main thing, it's that we're really focused on supporting this game in a big way. It's probably, it's looking to be BioWare's biggest release, and we want to make sure our fan base feels that we're in for the long term, that we're going to provide them with updates on an ongoing basis and continue to grow the universe, the Star Wars universe. So I think if there's one thing I want to say is we're very serious about continuing to grow the universe of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

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Discussion

49 comments
Kayweg
Kayweg

Space combat will not be saved by new missons, it's downright appalling. The ship flies itself and the rest is "click on it and it is dead". 1980's arcade 2D arcade shooter "Defender" was more complex than THIS rubbish ! Not to mention X-wing ! Dig that back out, polish it and make it TOR's space combat. If not, scrap and redo i say !

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

@DarthPlush I love the game and have a 32 Gunslinger Sab i would love to get further on.But i can't, the ability delay got worse with the patch.Pvp is now much harder and stringing the abilities together needed doesn't work. I don't know what they did since beta to make this happen but it makes the more ability intensive characters a pain to play. Im going to keep playing but i see where they are all coming from.There is tons of bugs and many of them were around in beta.Yet they went unfixed. Ill still play because the game is great but im pretty annoyed.

Bloodmoney09
Bloodmoney09

@DarthPlush you're simple if you think your idea of a game breaking bug is what everyone else should think. I stopped playing cause these bugs made the game not very fun for me, i don't need to mindlessly dedicate my support to a game that i don't enjoy as much as others. However I wasn't complaining here before now, people can have other ideas to what is game breaking than you. Specifically the unresponsiveness of the casting in swtor is why i don't enjoy the game. whether it's a bug or the way the game is supposed to be, it's not a job (shouldn't feel like "work" anyways) and it's not fun.

DarthPlush
DarthPlush

Wah wah wah I have a minor bug that I can work around but it's making me actually do work so well done BioFail how could you make such an unpolished game wah wah wah. Get over yourselves, your "game-breaking bugs" are minor inconveniences at best, and are by far not as serious as many other MMOs when they launched. Funny how people forget the good stuff and only focus on the tiny minor stuff. But that's what people who think they're privileged do. It's called first-world problems for a reason.

tiggerlu
tiggerlu

I'm impressed by how content-rich they are making this game, it is their strength and with regular updates this game will be richer in story than any other MMO i can remember playing. If they can re-work space combat into an X-Wing (for you old-timers) experience it will be really something special. I basically decided to play this game after seeing the space combat, right now it's very light in content and dynamics so looking forward to seeing that change.

Madbane
Madbane

@MamaLukuBuku : there was lvl50s at our server before game release mate at early access period, it doesnt take much time to reach 50 if you skip conversations (especially it is boring to listen same conversation when playing with alts, you mostly just spam spacebar...)

MamaLukuBuku
MamaLukuBuku

@impreza1a level 50, 39, and a 32 all on your 30 day free subscription still? That means you have sunk at least 10-12 accumulated days in playing times. Either you have no life, you are lying, or you really like the game.

DraconisRex
DraconisRex

lol. How about you fix the area, first? There are two game-killing bugs in this area. In one, you can't even get in the area. The ship is missing, the terminal is gone and even if you abandon the quest and re-take it, it's still broken. Then there's the more common "Kill You When You Load The Boss Area" bug. Yes, you get to the boss area and the games kills you... But, hey, SWTOR at least acknowledges that bug... They're still mum about their memory leak bugs (though they have fixed at least three), skill lag bugs and the bugs that keep your skills from even working no matter how you hot-key/button-mash them... How this game got an 8, considering it's not-even-as-good-as-arcade space combat game, its tons of textuer, emitter and DX11 bugs, plus lots of broken quests, poorly conceived classes, broken PvP and pointless crafting system just astounds me. And don't even me started on the single-player UI which is so badly designed it makes the real-time management of combat incredibly difficult for rage-build classes as constantly have to take your eyes off what you're doing in combat to check your rage. If anyone but BioWare released this dog, it'd have gotten a 6... If you want a good review of this game, read the Fallen Earth reviews and just substitute "SWTOR" when you read about all the bugs... It's the same level of half-baked, released-too-early garbage.

ExThanos
ExThanos

Here's the deal from my end, give me real space combat as we had in Star Wars Galaxies, and I will be more than happy to hand you over my money and not only that, I will do it with a huge smile on my face (considering how much of a cheap bastard I am, that is really saying something).

soccerpzn
soccerpzn

@phoenixboyz actually people infected with the rakghoul disease don't die but transform into rakghouls. So its more like Rakghouls = Werewolves in Star Wars Universe. But Their are zombies in star wars, read Death Troopers its a pretty cool book

keech
keech

A content update less than a month after release and another one confirmed for sometime in March, awesome. I haven't even hit the level cap yet. Looks like I won't be running out of things to do any time soon.

duncanpeters
duncanpeters

i would kinda like it if they went the direction of galaxies, space exploration, larger planets and housing on the planets for those who never played galaxies, peoples houses would dot the landscape it was pretty effing cool actually and the speeders were WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY cooler. also does anyone know if they are going to make the planet Kashyyyk in this game ??

danish-death
danish-death

"we have another space project going on" Let this be PvP Space Combat so the game can actually stand out from WoW other than being story driven.

MADMAFIA
MADMAFIA

hope they heavily improve on Space combat in the future. like just copy and tweak the space combat form Battlefront and add PvP to it :)

Otto81
Otto81

"Rakghouls, why did it have to be Rakghouls". I was so happy to leave Taris, because I was so tired of fighting of Rakghouls. The slogan for Taris should be: "If you like killing Rakghouls. You are in luck, because you will be killing hundreds of Rakghouls!"

USDevilDog
USDevilDog

@vishisluv7 They addressed the issue this week. The devs are making it one of their priorities to fix the ability delay. I hope it happens soon as well.

psuedospike
psuedospike

I usually hate MMOs, thought WoW was ugly and Star Trek Online was terrible, but I am really into this game! It's fun and gorgeous and I'm happy to hear that it will get a lot of love for the next few years!

iloveyourface
iloveyourface

i'm very happy to see that they're serious or "super cereal" about expanding the star wars universe. i canceled my preorder, but in a few months when the bugs get all ironed out, i'm gonna jump back in. looks like bioware didn't COMPLETELY go derrrrrr.

JSusie
JSusie

And here I got to 50 and thought I was finally rid of Rakghouls.

phoenixboyz
phoenixboyz

Rakghouls = Zombies in Star Wars Universe

michaelrjohnson
michaelrjohnson

@jhcho2 You don't have to pay extra for it, but with monthly subscription fees no fee based mmo downloadable content is technically free. It is just part of your subscription.

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

Ability delay may kill this brilliant game and that is criminal. Bioware must address that post haste.

Madbane
Madbane

there is too much bugs and problems in this game, most important one is ability delay and UI bugs, they are realy gamebreaking and I dont see much significant improvement with this update, also endgame is just joke, you dont need any skill to complate these flashpoints even hard modes just need some better gear to complate no challange at all, even we complated eternity vault at our first run in 5 hours with some pug players... leveling was fun and awesome but it is an mmo after all and it only gives a broken endgame experiance with full of bugs and I dont think it will get fixed any near future

wis3boi
wis3boi

Hope they make the casino on Nar Shaddaa worth visiting soon, there's plenty of slot machines and card tables just waiting for a tournament

ShoTTyMcNaDeS
ShoTTyMcNaDeS

I'd probably be close to 50 right now if I had stayed with one character. I have a level 16 Scoundrel, Level 18 Jedi Guardian, Level 18 Combat Medic, Level 12 Sith Marauder and Level 13 Mercenary. Needless to say, I find the game very enjoyable!

jhcho2
jhcho2

Is this is free DLC?

bobbo888
bobbo888

@impreza1 You have a 50, a 39, and a 32. You've obviously spent some serious time in the last few weeks playing the game, how have you not decided yet if you like it? I don't know any1 with that much free time lol. My highest level is 28 and I love the game.

Baselerd
Baselerd

Awesome, can't wait to get to level 50... im still on Taris fighting the original Rakghouls...

CarlitosWay
CarlitosWay

You guys are asking them to trash their current space system in favor of a much larger system, and expect it to be done in a few weeks. It took SWG more than a year just to add it to the main game, let alone the tweaking and fixing needed, as well as the creation of it. Give it time. I hate the space combat too, but thank god its optional.

Decessus
Decessus

I hope we get some more information about the legacy system soon. I recently finished Act I and I'm curious as to what this system is all about.

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

Damn, they are already coming out with new content. This game is looking better and better, and if they are gonna be giving it big support then I'll have to get this game.

JuanKing
JuanKing

i was skeptical about the game before i tried the beta, now playing and enjoying. they really sound like they know how to keep improving the game so the future is looking bright

iagbas
iagbas

I...hate RAKGHOULS

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

Sounds like a lot of good stuff to me. The current game is pretty well done, with a bunch of minor bugs that they are picking up on and patching as they go. End content isn't quite there yet, but all the storylines are pretty good, so a mix of dailies, pvp, and alt leveling is keeping me entertained for now. If they keep new content coming I can see playing this game for quite some time.

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

@kozzy the only downside you shouldve been on mind trick my friend..Bah we got a nice guild now called jedi counsil..Very cool people..Well its and open invite if you ever decide to join us kozzy )..Your right its one of the best mmorpgs ive had fun with since everquest and thats saying a lot..Ive not wanted to reach lvl 50 in a game in a very long time mmorpg wise that is..Daoc was a fun game also..How ever they nurfed my cleric an had to quit..This game though im enjoying eveyr minute of it that i can )...

ragnar320
ragnar320

well im stocked everything that was talked about im excited for. and all the improvements seem to be really cool. i also like the legacy thing. that my gunslinger could be the brother of my sith warrior is pretty cool cant wait to see what else they add im deffinelty is this for the long haul

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

Nice!! Game is awesome already, cannot wait for more content!! Its already got so much haha. Best mmo since Ultima Online for me personally. I was so worried about The Old Republic being a mmo and not a singleplayer game, but I am enjoying this as much as KOTOR1/2!

impreza1
impreza1

If they can remove the rails on space combat... even include pvp space combat -- then I'm definitely going to subscribe. It's about time they incorporated level bracketing in PVP, even though they buff out lower levels to match higher ones, the high levels will have access to abilities that would own lower levels. I'll wait for next week big patch update to see what's good. As of right now, I'm still on my 30 day free trial and not planning on subscribing yet. I have a level 50 Imperial Agent, 39 Sith Inquisitor, and 32 Bounty Hunter, but I feel something is "missing" to have me subscribe to this game.

jer_1
jer_1

More rakghouls? Man they were terrible on Taris (or maybe just the fact that it's about all you hunt on the planet), can't say I look forward to more of it but we shall see... I really hope that they plan on implementing a real space simulator of sorts into the game. I'd really love to be able to fly from any planet to another one all on my own instead of through 20 doors.

minijeffro
minijeffro

I am excited about this patch but, more importantly, I hope they address the numerous bugs that are still plaguing the existing content.

Alygator
Alygator

Rise of the Rakghouls trailer is soo awesome! Can't wait! Luv you bioware!

SilverWolfCezar
SilverWolfCezar

Hope they will introduce Cantina Pazaak and pod racing in the future as well :) spend a lot of hours playing in Kotor .

soccerpzn
soccerpzn

i do have to say it was really annoying fighting these in kotor. hopefully the ones in this dont have some uber poison attacks

holtrocks
holtrocks

there's already so much content its crazy i mean there are 8 stories and i have about 3 1/2 days with one character i and i am in act 2 of 3 and that 3 1/2 days of playtime and i don't think i am even halfway through the 2nd act i would say like 1/3 of the way.

kpsting
kpsting

More Rakghouls, just what this game needed ;)

jazilla
jazilla

There is so much content in this game. You would have to play every class to level cap just to see all of the story content because every class has unique quests to level 50.

jonmar
jonmar

What I'd like to know is if they have plans to add Pazaak or Dejarik in the game so we can play against other players for credits or just for fun. Could have tournaments even. Just another way to socialize in the game.

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

IF they are going to add this stuff this soon then i hope they will have plenty of new contend by summer. Cant wait!