To begin with, it’s been a busy few weeks with the release of Darth Malak and Jedi Knight Anakin. Darth Malak was, and remains, a very difficult event. The intention was to create a longer-term chase character outside of fixed-rate events like raids and territory battles. Many people went after Darth Malak right away and 882 players got Darth Malak on his first go around who have never spent a single cent in this game. It was, I imagine, significantly more challenging for them than those who had, but as we were told by many players at Star Wars Celebration, they read the tea leaves, anticipated what was coming, and made specific choices about how to invest their resources. That represents a balance in this game that we want to continue to facilitate.
Jedi Knight Anakin, and the tune-ups of General Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano, reflected a different type of release, where old characters were updated to the current state of the game. Finding where Anakin sits both with the tune-ups and where he will sit with the release of Padmé and his zeta ability, is an ongoing balancing act that we will monitor over time. As Erik mentioned in his post last week, we are constantly evaluating these releases both from a data and sentiment perspective and will make changes as needed, doing everything we can to respect investments (time and money) and maintain game health. So our monitoring of JKA is ongoing (as with all characters)and is dependent on the numerous behaviors that come from millions of hours of playtime from millions of players. Based on our findings, he is going to be even more powerful with Padmé, so we have restricted some of Anakin’s power to work only with Galactic Republic characters. You can read these specifics with his updated kit reveal which we’ll post shortly.
Based off the back of those releases, there are some things we are going to endeavor to do to rectify some recent issues we have had. We’re going to try a few things and see how they work out before we adopt them permanently, but our interest is in sharing how we are responding to feedback.
Testing: We’ve always utilized player feedback and testing on top of our internal testing groups, but as the game gets older and exceedingly more complicated, the methods that worked before don’t seem to be holding up. To that end, with Padmé, we did a slightly larger character playtest, consisting of a group of about 35 members of the community to hammer on different permutations of the character and squads and where she sits. This group provided a lot of helpful bugs and feedback, and we intend to use testing groups like this in the future, with an end goal of a public test server.
Notice: While we don’t intend to pre-release info about all characters far in advance, we’d like to dial back on the feeling that you have no idea what’s coming. To that end, we wanted to let you know that later in May, we are going to be releasing reworks of Count Dooku and Nute Gunray as a part of the lead up to the Dark Side Geonosian Territory Battle. These characters are meant to fit into the Territory Battle, specifically, and Nute Gunray is getting a significant rework that we will share closer to his rework and may result in some manner of refund for current investments.
While we won’t be able to reveal every character well in advance, we’ll endeavor to do it when we can, which will hopefully give you all some understanding of expectations. I’ll note that there was a new marquee/galactic chase character planned for May, which will likely get moved out, so at the moment absent of that single marquee/chase, there are no other characters planned in May, so you can use that time to focus on gearing up the characters that you have acquired recently and planning your next in-game moves.
Response: As may be apparent with Jedi Knight Anakin (and many other releases), there can often be strong and extreme responses both at the time of the kit reveal and the launch of the character. With JKA, we wanted to let you know that we are actively investigating a character’s power, and while that is always the case, we will try to do a better job of communicating when it’s happening with hot topics, so that you know. Often as the dust settles (as has with JKA), we find that the character is performing near where expected, and changes if needed, are minor. What we ask of you is some consideration of that when evaluating new characters, and when in doubt, don’t get them until you’re confident and sure you want them.
We hope you enjoy the May the 4th gifts which we will be announcing tomorrow. Also, starting with the Padme event we are going to be trying an experiment where we’ll be moving character releases to the following morning PST, instead of midnight PST releases. This is to ensure we’re in the office if any issues arise. The duration of the event will remain the same length.
Keep the feedback coming, preferably productively, and we’ll do the same as much and as often as we can. And as always, we’ll see you on the holotables,