Massively's exclusive SWTOR interview: Starships, PvP, and crafting!

E3 has been abuzz with the latest news about LucasArts' and Bioware's new MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Yesterday, they teased us with an exciting fully rendered trailer called "Hope." The trailer showed a battle which is a precursor to one the players will be able to experience in game. Unfortunately, this trailer didn't have many answers. In fact, it seemed to present us with even more questions. So we at Massively sent our own Sera Brennan to talk to the designers of SWTOR to see about getting some answers.

Rich Vogel, the executive producer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, was kind enough to sit down with Sera for a few minutes in EA's gameplay booth in the LA convention center on Tuesday. Perhaps we could get some of our burning questions answered about PvP, groups, space, ships, housing, and crafting. Follow after the jump to see what they had to say!
Massively: So, Rich, we got a lot of question from the readers. We put a call out for questions. Hopefully we can get some of those answered.

Rich Vogel: What we try to do is not talk about things that are not finalized yet because we don't want to over-hype things. That's kind of why people are frustrated because we haven't revealed a lot. A lot of people hype things that just don't come to fruition and get people very frustrated.

Oh yeah, we see that.

We are trying to prevent that.

One of the things people have been asking -- especially since the ships came out yesterday -- can you fly them through the galaxy? Do you fly them? Can you go through space? How is space implemented in the game?

As far as space goes we are not talking much about that. We talk about the player ships. Every class will have their player ship. Which is really cool -- kind of their central base for things. That's pretty much where we like to have it because we are actually working right now on some cool stuff for space, and we'd rather talk about it when we get it finalized. If everyone thinks about Star Wars there are always components we have to have. We have ships! We may have other things.

Ooh... That sounds interesting. Now the ships, they are going to work like player housing, right?

They are bases for you very similar to player housing. We haven't talked much about customization. and the reason we [haven't] is because we haven't really implemented a lot of those systems in the game yet. We are working with other things with your spaceship other than that. About customization, you will have to wait and see. Other than player housing? Yeah, it's your base.

You can bring your friends in and socialize in your own personal little instance?

Yes. There will be places to go. Think of the map in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. That's kind of what our navigation will be for traveling around in your spaceship.

That sounds really cool. I love Mass Effect.

The ships are awesome, very unique for every class. It is a very good place for you to just hang out and just chill.

Now with the PvP War Zones, they are going to be instanced as well?

The PvP War Zones are very similar to what you see in WAR and WoW.

Will there be any instances of open PvP or is that something you have on your map?

Well, we haven't really talked much about that yet, but I'd rather not say much about that. But since other games have that, it's a likely assumption.

So you are looking at it?

We will have open PvP play and we will have instances, I'll just put it that way.

With instances, especially the storyline instances and housing instances, people are very concerned that this will be a single-player game with MMO features.

One of the things they are working very hard on is we have a lot of aspects in our design that encourage PUGs, pick-up groups. That is one of our main focuses. We believe if you have to go adventuring, it's with a smaller group. We feel that most people play with four to five people. That's what we like to design a lot of game mechanics around.

Will there be questing with small groups?

You'll be adventuring. You'll be adventuring with a party, absolutely.

Would it be required?

No, it's not required, but like anything you get better rewards. But it's not required. You can play our games single-player, like you can with WoW. The issue is we like to encourage people to group, and we'll have a lot of mechanics in our game that will actually do that.

Will the instances be scaling?

We are not quite ready to talk about that.

Raids were mentioned today, which will be high-end content. I know you can't talk too much about raids. Will they be integral to the storyline of the game? Will players find themselves being lead to them? Or will they be more stand-alone, you-can-do-them-if-you-wish?

You can do them if you wish. That's the way they're designed. In WoW you have your raids and they are scaled on basically what you're fighting, right? We will have areas like that in our game, scalable to different sized groups. Again, we are not forgetting the MMO. We are not Massively Multiplayer Single Player Game. That is not what we want. We have a lot of good mechanics to promote grouping, socializing, and we have crafting in our game, yes.

What does crafting entail? Is there going to be a lot of crafting, or is it going to be very focused?

The big thing about crafting is that it will support combat in our game and it is very important. We haven't talked much about crafting, but we will in the future. People will be pleased with what we are coming up with for crafting. I think very pleased actually. It will not be to the extent of some of the games out there, like [Star Wars] Galaxies. It will be very similar to what WoW has. But it has some really cool twists that WoW doesn't have that I think people will like.

Is it more action-y or something?

When I say crafting I mean it is just what you can make, right? Crafting is about the cool items people can make and the ability to sell. And some people really get into that. And people like me who don't want to grind sometimes go and make stuff and sell them on the auction house. That's how I get my money to go out and do things. I love crafting, and it's going to be an important part of our game.

Well thank you for your time today.

I wish I could give you more time today, but that's all I have.

Thank you, Rich!

This article was originally published on Massively.