Friday Feature 10/20/2017: A Chat with Kelta!

Woo hoo! Another chat with one of the Empire in Flames Staff! Enjoy getting to know Kelta!

EiF: Which versions of SWG did you play? pre-CU, CU, NGE?

Kelta: I only played NGE. Unfortunately, I was a late comer to the game.

EiF: Which server did you play on?

Kelta: I played on Starsider!

Kelta: I played a LS Jedi and a Commando/BM. I tried to do Jedi/BM, but when they put my tanking heal at the bottom of the tree, I had to give up my narglatch.  I also had–at various times–a tailor, dancer/image designer, and a medic/BM.

My jedi was my favorite because I really enjoy tanking, but my commando was a close second. Who doesn’t love to set things on fire? Plus, my commando had pets!

EiF: How many accounts did you own/manage?

Kelta: I had two accounts. They both started out as my then-boyfriend’s  and then became mine.

(He paid for them though, so I guess that made them technically his!)

EiF: What type of gameplay style do you most enjoy?

Kelta: I was and am mainly an RPer. Tanking during instances was a close second, and gunning during space events was third. I also enjoyed just playing the game. I loved exploring the planets, following the quest lines, and fighting with my various pets.

EiF: What’s a typical gaming session for you, what activities?

Kelta: My gaming sessions vary. I have a tailor that I horribly neglect–when I get the crafting or decorating bug, I play her and start some wild scheme like creating a swimwear line! Mostly I hang out on my rangers and play with my pets. I spend a lot of my time hunting, taming babies, or running missions with my friends. I’m slowly getting into the RP scene. I have lots of ideas and not so much with the time right now.

EiF: What do you most enjoy about SWG?

Kelta: I love the pets!  I usually run with a pack of cats, but the variety of species I can tame is awesome!  I enjoy ferreting out the new tamables that have been added and searching for the super rares. I’m very excited that now I don’t have to be a bio-engineer or have a ton of money if I want specific pets; all I have to do is go find them and tame them! Taming is probably my favorite change from the NGE.

EiF: What do you enjoy most about Empire in Flames?
Kelta: Cat mounts! xD
It’s having all my friends gathered back together in one place and getting to see familiar names popping back up both in-game and on Discord, honestly. When Galaxies shut down, we tried to find another game that we could all make a home and nothing ever clicked. Now I have my closest friends back creating a game together, while other friends come back to check out and enjoy what is being created. And I’m gaining new friends as well!

EiF: When you are not ingame, what do you enjoy doing?

Kelta: Sleeping mostly. 🙂 But I also enjoy cooking, baking, gardening, reading, writing, gaming, and spending time with my family.

EiF: What do you do outside of EiF / do for a living?

Kelta: I’m a high school English teacher. ( 1) No, you won’t hear me correcting your grammar. I only do that if I’m teaching, you’re a student, or you ask me to. 2)You probably have an urge to check for grammatical errors now. Go ahead. It’s okay!)

EiF: What is your role with EiF? What does that entail?

Kelta: I’m the wife of the owner and I have no programming skills whatsoever. Pretty much, I offer suggestions when asked, serve as a sounding board as needed, enjoy playing the game, and point out bugs as I find them. Occasionally I make wild suggestions that are either shot down or considered.  I also yell “Shuttle” whenever I miss them–which is frequently–and try to help the actual programmers remember to enjoy the game too.

Oh, and I enjoy being a helper when I’m in-game!

EiF: If you could have ANYTHING instantly in EiF, what would it be?

Kelta: Everything finished to the point where the team could play a bit more and my husband could RP with me!

EiF: What gives you Developer’s Crack?

Kelta: Ummm…Bringing one more person over the “Dark Side” and watching them join the CH fold! Or visiting the awesome player cities and observing the way they mold this virtual world into their own(which always gives me more ideas for decorating!) Or rping!

 

Friday Feature 10/13/2017 – A Chat with Abi/Gail!

Continuing the Empire in Flames staff interviews. This week we get peek into the life of Gail! Enjoy.

EiF: Which versions of SWG did you play? pre-CU, CU, NGE?

Abi/Gail: All, but I preferred the CU.

EiF: If you played in the pre-CU live, approximately how long did you play in the pre-CU?

Abi/GailI played from June 25th 2003 until the bitter end. There were a number of times where I wasn’t in game for long stretches due to real life, but mostly during the NGE because it wasn’t as interesting to me.

EiF: Which server did you play on?

Abi/Gail: Starsider. For life.

EiF: Which classes and which was your favorite?

Abi/Gail: 

PreCU – Doc/TKM (Dizzy & Knockdown!)

CU – Bounty Hunter/Pistoleer/Combat Medic

NGE – Spy

EiF: How many accounts did you own/manage?

Abi/Gail: I had one that was my primary, but at the peak of the CU I had three.

EiF: What type of gameplay style do you most enjoy?

Abi/GailPvP, difficult PvE, and Space PvP

EiF: What is a typical gaming session for you, what activities?

Abi/Gail: There isn’t really a typical – Sometimes I’m in EiF crafting or running missions with friends, sometimes I’m being dragged into an RP – sometimes I’m playing another game like Battlefront or Skyrim. My gaming time has decreased a lot since having a kid. Now I can only squeeze in a little time after about 1930 when my daughter goes to bed.

EiF: What do you most enjoy about SWG?

Abi/Gail: Being able to do things with my friends – secondary to that is the ability to do what I want how I want. I also like that you are not forced to play one specific class in one specific way. You can be or do almost anything you want in a way that you enjoy.

EiF: When you are not in-game, what do you enjoy doing?

Abi/Gail: Spending time with my little girl and making costumes. I’ve been a member of the 501st for 12 years now and I’ve been making costumes ranging from Star Wars, to Star Trek to Firefly and many more.

My goal is to make it as movie or screen accurate as possible – to that effect, I own two screen used costumes (Starship Troopers and Stargate) and one screen used prop (The Dark Knight).

Time with my daughter involves going to the park, playing in the yard, coloring and watching either Star Wars, My Little Pony, Pokemon or Tangled.

EiF: What do you do outside of EiF / do for a living?

Abi/GailI am a systems administrator for NASA. I also run a small decal business on Etsy.

EiF: What is your role with EiF? What does that entail?

Abi/Gail: The best description of my role is ‘Gap Filler’ – I do a little with textures, a little with code and as a sounding board for ideas from Halyn and Anishor. Occasionally I help Sandi with the community, but not very often since I think everyone would prefer I not interact with the community as much – I’m a grumpy guy.

EiF: If you could have ANYTHING instantly in EiF, what would it be?

Abi/Gail: CU Combat Medic – but just for me.

EiF: What gives you Developer’s Crack?

Abi/Gail: I am not a professional developer or programmer, so it’s a learning opportunity for me. Working on EiF is a chance to experience something that I don’t normally do day in and day out at work. That being said, I’ll keep my day job. Coding wasn’t for me in college and it still isn’t something I’d want to do to pay the bills.

EiF: Feel free to add anything else?

Abi/Gail: It is interesting to go all the way back to Pre-CU SWG. I really did the most in the CU, so to have the system be the older version is like going back to when I very first got in to the game with my friends. It reminds me of the person I was back then and how I’ve changed.

Also, I’m looking forward to having a TRE file full of stuff I’ve done to be added to the game and for players to start finding them. Don’t expect it this week, but the first things are on the horizon.

Friday Feature: 10/6/2017 RP on EiF!

Plopping down heavily into a chair in her work area, the station manager leaned forward to fold her arms on her desk and laying her head on them. A sigh escaped her lips while recounting the events of the past few days. It all started with the arrival of a quirky droid who apparently was, and still is, looking for teams to help protect the shipments of his master’s cargo. In an of itself, that wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a space station such as Port Jato. Jato was really more of a shadowport, turning a blind eye to illicit activities, clandestine meetings, and the like. Heck she was working to create some private meeting areas to facilitate such activities, including sections where special cargo could be safely secured.

Shortly after the droid’s arrival and solicitation of her customers for escort and protection services,  the group out to harm the droid arrived in the Mistell demanding the droid be turned over to them. The type of clients she catered to didn’t take too well to being interrupted with a possible job being negotiated and the firefight broke out. A fire fight! Dammit! Not on her station! It was one of the few things Halyn made sure she understood, keep the activities to things that wouldn’t destroy his station!

“Meh,” she muttered into her arms, “Gotta get the new security team trained and settled. Get the new meeting rooms set up too, maybe that would have kept the scum away from the business activities being conducted.” A little bump against the blue hair covering her head startled her. Looking up she found a durni had landed on her desk. “Gah, seriously? My desk now?” Looking about she noticed several of the durni’s had escaped their pen and were nibbling on the fruits and veggies she was attempting to grow.

“Ugh! I’ll deal with you bunch later, right now, I have to get some secure rooms set up.”

Empire in Flames successfully launched its first roleplay campaign last Sunday. The story continues on Sunday with the droid, Custos, looking for teams of 3 to help escort his master’s cargo and keep it from being stolen while enroute to it’s destination. Two teams have formed so far and more are encouraged to be created. Each team will split a 1 million credit payment for services rendered at the successful completion of the campaign.

The staff of EiF are all avid roleplayers themselves and we are excited about bring the campaign to our community.  While EiF does not consider itself a roleplay server, it does think of itself as a friendly roleplay environment and it attracts a large number of people interested in roleplaying.

Port Jato is developing into a joint effort between the staff and community. The nearly completed arena has been decorated entirely by a member of our Community, Doreen. She has also set up Megan’s work area, complete with a test kitchen, working stills for her custom brews, and a garden. Other players are creating other sections of Jato, such as our arrival checkpoint and medical center.  (see this Friday Feature to learn more about features and plans for Port Jato http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=474 .)

Join us Sundays at 9:00 PM EST for more in the ongoing story. The storyteller is our very own Halyn, who has created a lot of epic story content not only in SWG Live on Starsider, but is also a published author with two books to his credit and has had his work included in a complilation with other authors.

Sandarie
Community Manager

Friday Feature 9/29/2017: Invasion

Today’s Friday Feature is our first look at the upcoming GCW system. All features are subject to change in testing and due to community feedback.

The Galactic Civil War system in SWG was always a bit of a bust. Due to technical limitations, the SWG team was always nervous about too many people congregating in an area – players from live will recall massive lag and slowdowns in areas when large numbers of players gathered. (Think 100+. Yes, I broke Rori during Pex’s farewell tour. It was hilarious, and I’d do it again.)

The technical limitations imposed limitations on design as well – one of the worst being the Galactic Civil War.

A Civil War Without Battles

“Not all battles are fought with lightsabers. Some battles are fought in back-alleys with vibroblades.”

The GCW went through several iterations over the lifespan of SWG. The original implementation was all based on player bases, acquirable from faction recruiters. Planet control was determined by GCW score, in turn determined by the number and type of player bases owned by each faction.

PvP bases were worth more than PvE bases, with larger bases being more valuable than small ones. (Costs scaled appropriately.) PvE bases were always vulnerable to enemy player attacks; PvP bases only had windows of opportunity.

Out of this system arose a weird cat-and-mouse game, with bases dropped at weird hours to limit their vulnerability windows and skirmishes seldom exceeding 10 v 10 or 20 v 20. Rather than epic battles between opposing armies, the GCW was more akin to backalley fights between gangs.

During the NGE, the dev team implemented “zone control” – active factional players in a zone would slowly “take control” of an area and it would align more strongly with a given faction. Instead of concentrating combat, it spread it out even further, with PvP players looking for fights seldom exceeding 1v1 or 2v2.

Finally, the devs did implement a few control elements that encouraged grouping up – namely, the city invasions. At first, players heavily participated in these invasions, with crafters building up defenses and combatants taking the line to defend or attack. Quickly, though, the charm was lost – with battles running every couple hours, it was impossible for players to keep up with the demand.

 

Player Solutions

“Hand them a problem without directions and they solve it in some strange fashion.”

The player base rose to each challenge, but also wasn’t content with the unfocused approach SOE had provided. Players tried differing ways of providing that focused combat that the player base (or at least the PvPers) wanted.

The most successful and famous approach was one that the EiF devs participated in (and, at various times, planned and led): Starsider’s famous pilot events.

Events were held weekly on Saturday evenings at the same set time every week. Players who weren’t much into piloting still joined up and filled gun turrets on freighters and gunships. Non-PvP pilots would set aside that hour or two for time to group up and engage in team combat. And PvPers planned and prepared for it with strategies that ranged from basically unplanned to intricate details that didn’t survive contact.

An interesting aspect emerged from the space events – the planned PvP events led to more activity during the week. Pilots spent more time planning, practicing, and grinding equipment. General activity in the Deep Space PvP zone climbed as well. The planned events led to a spike of unplanned activity as players spent the week doing support activity to maximize their chances of victory during the planned times.

The Empire in Flames GCW system is heavily based on using old game mechanics in new ways, as well as learning lessons from the past. We can also take advantage of a smaller population to create content that might not be feasible with 1000+ players online and participating.

And with that, we bring you: invasions.

 

Invasions

“Wars are won by boots on the ground.”

Planetary control is always a key element of the GCW system – the difference has always been in how is control determined. As has been traditional, players will determine control of a planet, but passive activities won’t help here – this is all about boots on the ground.

Invasions are regularly-scheduled combat events – an invasion happens every three days, with offense and defense flipped each time. In other words, every six days your faction will be invading an enemy-held world; and every six days, you will be defending one of your worlds from an enemy invasion.

The system is setup to run on US-friendly times (exact kick off times to be determined, but we’re looking at 9 PM EST as very likely). Sorry, European players, but this is designed for when the most players are available.

Controlling given planets will provide various perks to your faction – crafting, combat, travel. Those perks have not yet been implemented on test and the list has not been finalized.

 

Anatomy of an Invasion

“Control the skies, control the world.”

Invasions take place simultaneously at each NPC starport city on a target planet. An invasion of Corellia, for example (which I suspect will be a common offensive target) will have battles taking place in Coronet, Tyrena, Kor Vella, and Doaba Guerful. It will not have combat in Bela Vistal and Vreni Island.

Defending forces will rally inside the cities at the starports. Attackers will have a beachhead camp nearby but outside city limits.

Attacking forces have the objective of advancing to the starport, breaching the defenses there, and performing a base bust on the target starport. If they succeed, the starport flips to the attackers’ faction.

However, those gains are only temporary. To maintain control of the starport at the end of the invasion, the attacking faction must seize all starports on the planet during the invasion window (currently being tested at 60 and 90 minutes). As a result, more heavily traveled planets, like Corellia, are harder to flip than, say, a little-visited world like Dathomir with a mere two outposts to seize.

 

Players Make the Difference

“It’s the tipping point.”

Invasions are designed intentionally with lopsided forces and objectives. Defenders boast turrets, walls, and NPC defenders capable of holding the line against players. They also have the advantage of the clock – if the attackers don’t move fast enough, the defenders win by default.

Invaders have a larger NPC army at their backs to offset the challenges of invasion. In a striaght fight, invading NPCs will eventually overwhelm the defenders, but they will do so slowly, and without player intervention, cannot seize the starports via base busting mechanics. They will also struggle with defensive turrets, which are vulnerable to blast damage but deal out extraordinary firepower.

Invaders also get the unique perk of assault walkers – mobile siege weapons with extraordinary firepower, but only at a player’s command. These mighty weapons will be the subject of their own Friday Feature further down the line.

 

Control the Galaxy

“We’re about evenly gunned, and our people are better-trained and better-motivated.”

While each faction will maintain an un-attackable “fortress world”, a determined faction can seize control of the civilized galaxy with teamwork and superior firepower…and superior strategic decisions. The Galactic Civil War will be player-driven, not just because players are required for invasions to succeed, but because players will select invasion worlds.

How?

We’re not quite ready to pull the cover off those secrets yet. Look for it soon!

Will you fight for the fledgling New Republic? Or will you crush all resistance under your heel as a proud fighting member of the Empire? The fate of the galaxy may very well be in your hands!

 

Friday Feature 9/22/2017: A Chat with Anishor

Continuing the Empire in Flames staff interviews. This week we get peek into the life of Anishor! Enjoy.

EiF: Which versions of SWG did you play? pre-CU, CU, NGE?

 Anishor: I played all versions of SWG.

EiF: If you played in the pre-CU live, approximately how long did you play in the pre-CU?

Anishor: I played pre-CU beta 2 through the CU, So I’m not sure exactly how long that was.  That being said, I followed SWG since it’s first press release in 1999.

EiF: Which server did you play on?

AnishorStarsider primarily, though starsider at launch was full and had stability problems so I played on Ahazi and Starsider 80/20% for the first two months..

EiF: Which classes and which was your favorite?

AnishorPre-CU : Squad leader, Rifleman, Bounty Hunter and Swordsmen, Medic, CH.  With the squad leader being my favorite. I enjoyed helping the base busts or saving Jedi from BH’s with the few squad leader buffs that worked. 

CU: Squadleader, Rifles, and Fencer. Was a lot of fun, OP at times too.

NGE: Squadleader, Melee Smuggler, LSJ.  Squadleader and Melee smuggler being tied.

EiF: How many accounts did you own/manage?

AnishorAt the height in the NGE I had 5 accounts, two were for buffing purposes. I had a main account that was for my wookiees, and another for my other RP toons.  With the final account being for secret alts. 😉

EiF: What type of gameplay style do you most enjoy?

Anishor: That’s a really hard question for me to answer, I love PvP on both the ground and in space. But RP is always right there so it’s hard to say.

EiF: What’s a typical gaming session for you, what activities?

Anishor: I check my vendors on my merchants, I check my housing maintenance, then I see if there’s anyone I want to RP or just do missions with.  If not, I just run missions by myself and talk about EiF’s direction.

EiF: What do you most enjoy about SWG?

Anishor: Living the Greatest Star Wars Story ever told, mine.

EiF: What do you enjoy most about Empire in Flames?

Anishor: Seeing other people enjoy the work we’ve put in and just enjoying the game. After that, I  like the hybrid skill set / profession system we’ve created and the balance we’re working towards.

EiF: When you are not ingame, what do you enjoy doing?

Anishor: I play three sports – I fence sabre, soccer, and ice hockey. Though I haven’t played hockey in a bit.  I also I enjoy playing CoD Zombies with my GF or playing the various battlefield series with my brothers.  I also enjoy eating out and working out.

EiF: What do you do outside of EiF / do for a living?

Anishor: I’m a senior software engineer who focuses on User Experience design and user interface implementation with an additional role as a semantic modeller. Though with this focus, I do embrace a full stack approach and am comfortable with a large variety of technologies, languages, and development approaches.

EiF: What is your role with EiF? What does that entail?

Anishor: I provide engineering support to Halyn as well as being the primary designer responsible for our combat/profession balance.  What that means is I spend time helping Halyn get passed server code bugs, figuring out how to implement some new features on the back end  if Halyn can’t. I also created our launcher, though not from scratch, I forked another team’s launcher and edited to suit our needs.  This is what good engineers do, don’t rebuild the wheel if you can just reuse and modify.  I also created our skill calculator beta.

From the designer perspective it means looking at numbers and doing a lot of play testing on my dev environment. To not only get balance right, but ensuring all the skill sets have a good/unique feel to them, don’t’ want to have cookie-cutter.

EiF: If you could have ANYTHING instantly in EiF, what would it be?

 Anishor: B-wings and JTL.

EiF: If you could find out one thing about our EiF Community, what would it be?

 Anishor: What incentives for PvP would everyone like?

EiF: What gives you Developer’s Crack?

AnishorDepends: in EIF – seeing people read the new plans for skill sets and changing minds about long held ideas or must haves. You must stack Fencer with Pistoleer for example.

In my real life job – Seeing a noobie pick up my user interface and they’re able to understand and improve their job in less than 7s.  Also creating a semantic model of complex real world concepts that people were unable to accurately describe without idioms.

EiF: Feel free to add anything else?

 Anishor:  Wookiees > Zeltrons  > Zabraks > Everyone Else. But really I enjoy seeing our server community grow and look forward to the heights of we can climb together.

Clearly Not Combat Princess!

Community Manager, Empire in Flames