Hyperspace Beacon: Community news round-up

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Hyperspace Beacon: Community news round-up
As I mentioned in the last edition of the Hyperspace Beacon, the Star Wars: The Old Republic community played a large part in what made PAX East so great this time around. It would also be silly of me to believe that I could catch every single tidbit at PAX personally or even that Massively could nab every granular morsel of the SWTOR pie. However, unlike some MMORPG communities, our TOR community isn't limited to just one site for all of its information. In fact, PAX East 2011 was probably the biggest showing of SWTOR fansites of any convention.

This week, I'm going to take a break from reporting news myself and instead give you a taste of some of the news that was released this week from other sites. As I've said before, I don't expect you to have read or to follow every site that is reporting on The Old Republic. In fact, I think that would burn most people out. However, there are great reporters on other sites, and I think it would be a mistake if I didn't let the Massively audience in on some of their great work.

Daniel Erickson at PAX East Interactive Dialogue Panel -- Have you heard? This game has story. I know, shocking, right? But how much of a role does dialogue play in the mechanics of the game? We all know Star Wars: The Old Republic will have dialogue that transforms it into a huge choose-your-own-adventure movie. Other companies have locked onto this BioWare philosophy of great story equals great game, but have they truly captured the player's investment? Daniel Erickson, who worked on a multitude of BioWare games before taking the reins as the lead writer on TOR, joins this panel of other excellent game writers to discuss the impact of dialogue in games.

Mos Eisley Radio: Open Bounty with Daniel Erickson -- If you don't follow the Mos Eisley Radio community, you should at least follow its podcast. One of the newest ventures for the Brooks and Zach team has been video commentaries called Open Bounty. They usually have a very unique presentation, mixing B-rolls with talking points. PAX gave them an opportunity to chat with Daniel Erickson in one of these Open Bounty segments. Although other sites had great interviews with the lead writer for BioWare, it seemed that Erickson opened up a bit more in this video to reveal a few things that you might not have heard before.

Darth Hater: Interview with Hall Hood -- For those of you who've not heard of Hall Hood: He is a writer at BioWare and the lead writer for the Jedi and Smuggler classes. He also was the primary writer for the Taral V flashpoint, which the visitors at PAX East played a couple of weekends ago. In this interview, Hood talks about the intricacies of putting together a diverging and dynamic story, and he especially mentions the complexity of multiplayer stories that are, for instance, in flashpoints.

AskAJedi: Conversation with James Ohlen -- I heard someone at PAX say that James Ohlen talks too much. I won't say who that was, but I will say that if Ohlen talks too much, it's because he's passionate about his game. There is not one aspect of SWTOR that Ohlen is not intimately involved in. With that involvement comes great knowledge about the game, and Lethality from AskAJedi was able to pull a bunch of that information from SWTOR's lead designer. This interview is a bit long, but it's worth it if you are interested in knowing about the current development of the game. If you are listening closely, you will find quite a few surprises and reveals.

TOROCast: Interview with Cory Butler -- I heard several people who had an interview with Producer Cory Butler say they didn't get much information out of him. TOROCast didn't seem to have any such issues. Butler handles the relationship between Lucasfilm and BioWare. He talks about the freedom that Lucasfilm is giving BioWare to explore its own storylines and what that partnership is like, but most importantly, Butler talks about game testing. Although he doesn't give any specific numbers, he does discuss how testing works and how the team generates feedback.

TOROCast: Interview with David Bass -- If you run a Star Wars: The Old Republic fansite and do not know David Bass yet, then you need to get in contact with him quickly. Bass is a lead community coordinator for BioWare who specializes in fansites and guilds. This gentleman is another passionate player working on your game. In the interview with TOROcast, Bass explains his job and the importance of guilds in The Old Republic. He also hints at the direction guilds will take in the coming months. Pay close attention!

TOROCast: Interview with Stephen Reid -- OK, besides the fact that I think it's hilarious that Sam had to step back several feet and aim upwards to get both Stephen and Musco in the same shot (yep, that was a poke at Musco's height -- we hate each other, remember?), this was a great interview. Stephen Reid talks about trying to "change things without breaking anything" and about why the Dev Tracker has been on fire since he joined the BioWare team.

TOR Syndicate: Community Cantina -- LordHammer from the TOR Syndicate did a great job putting names to faces in this short video from the Times Irish Bar in downtown Boston. If you're unfamiliar with the event, know that a large chunk of the fansites decided that the community needed a meet-and-greet for just the TOR community. This was a great way for fans to informally talk about the game they love without the pressure of the developers being there. If you want to know what the guys who run your favorite fansites look like, watch this video.

Darth Hater: SWTOR Meet and Greet live blog -- I totally didn't expect any sort of reveals or deep revelations to come out of a party thrown by the SWTOR Community Team. This shows what I know. Dover from Darth Hater blogged live from the Meet and Greet as Daniel Erickson and James Ohlen talked to the fans about the game. But the real question is this: "How did Dover blog from a very crowed room? Did he use a really tiny computer, his phone, or his mind?"

DarthTOROAskaCorellianSyndiCast! -- The last on this list is definitely the most important. Mos Eisley Radio put together an insane podcast. Right before the official Meet and Greet sponsored by BioWare, at least 12 podcast personalities gathered in Brooks and Zach's hotel room to talk about their experiences from the weekend. If you want a taste of how it really felt to be at PAX East this year, then this is the show to listen to.

The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to larry@massively.com. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!
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