SWTOR has bugs. Shocking, I know… Today it’s time to set my fan boy hat to the side and delve into the dark side. The fact of the matter is that SWTOR has been bungling up some pretty basic things about MMO’s. And while there are other peripheral issues that need to be addressed as well (such as the terrible GTN), today’s focus is exploits and bugs.
Want to know more about Ops bugs, PTR issues, and the ever borked Ilum? Click on “Continue Reading”. Or else…
This is honestly where the majority of the issues with SWTOR are coming from. New patches are going up on the PTR and are then rolled out to the Live servers within 2 weeks sometimes. This is why you see fiasco’s where BioWare has to take the servers down a 2nd time one or two days later to issue emergency patches.
The concept of using pre-made characters at max level or using a character copy tool to get an existing character onto the PTR isn’t news. It’s an old concept and a requirement in order to get things properly tested before release. However BioWare didn’t bother to get this in, so new patches just introduce new bugs.
I wanted to also address concerns about the Public Test Server. We’re working towards enabling character transfers so you can move your own character across and test new patches. Other ideas to allow the testing of high-level content have been explored, but ultimately character transfer is what we want to allow for everyone.
That is all fine and good, but the fact remains that this should have been in for release. BioWare is using their paying subscribers on Live servers to test these patches because it’s not getting done on the PTR. And that isn’t acceptable from either a business or customer service standpoint.
So lets start with January. We’ll give BioWare December as a grace period since the game just launched.
- 1.0.2 – Released 1/4/12, then required 1.0.2a (1/4), 1.0.2b (1/5), and 1.0.2c (1/6) to be rolled out. I can’t confirm if the servers went down 3 times total, but they did at least once. 1.0.2b was the infamous /getdown patch.
- 1.1.0 – Released 1/18/12, then required 1.1.0a on 1/19 bringing the servers down. This was when players were farming the opposing faction players at their respawn points in Ilum.
- 1.1.0b – Released 1/24/12, then required 1.1.0c on 1/28 bringing the servers down. This was to fix player disconnect issues, but was also done on the weekend when more players are on than is typical.
- 1.1.1 – Released 1/31/12, then required 1.1.1a on 2/2 bringing the servers down. This was to fix freezing/hitching issues.
- 1.1.2 – Released 2/7/12. then required 1.1.2a on 2/9 bringing the servers down. This was to fix player kills not properly rewarding Valor and mission credit in Ilum.
So in less than one and a half months, the server has been brought down 5 times for an emergency patch if not more. These are simply the times I can account for with 100% accuracy.
That’s bad any way you cut it. Don’t just look at it as server downtime. These are also *MAJOR* issues that have to be addressed immediately because of the negative impact they are having on the entire game community.
These emergency patches typically occur early am (typically 2am CST/GMT-6), so you may be thinking that at the very least this won’t affect too many players. However you forgot to account for not just the late night US players, but also all of the overseas players as well.
At a reported 1.7 million subs, if only 10% of the players played at that time, that would still be 170,000 players being frustrated by the server downtime alone. And I’m just making that number up. It is entirely feasible that the amount of players being affected by that time frame is larger than 10%.
It’s bad. Can you honestly describe it any other way? Because not only does the entire zone suffer from poor design, but it’s also been riddled with exploits and bugs since release. The most recent exploit is players go there in pre-formed raids and trade kills for hours on end, farming Valor at such a massively ridiculous rate that it’s possible to earn 10 or more Ranks post-Battlemaster (Valor 60) doing this in just one day.
If you’ve played PvP even a little bit then you’ve most likely suffered from a bug or exploit at some point. To list just a few:
- Ability Delay stopped you from using an ability when it would have made the difference between living or dying…
- Knockback and Air Vent collision in Huttball making you 100% immobile until you either died, got pulled, or pushed again…
- Leaping to someone or getting pulled to someone caused you to fall through the world…
- Someone on the opposing team leaped over the starting wall in Voidstar, capping the door before the match even started…
- Someone in Voidstar stood inside the door to cap it making themselves untargetable for a free cap…
- Someone in Voidstar AoE’d the red wall so you couldn’t activate the controls to open it for the final door stage…
I could go on for quite some time, but you get the point.
A few of the end game PvE Ops bugs that I experienced myself are:
- Bonethrasher’s AoE cleave was hitting players behind him on Nightmare Mode.
- Mindtraps had ridiculous amounts of hit points on Soa Nightmare Mode.
- Dying randomly while running back from a Gharj wipe. If you stood in the lava and wiped you would randomly die afterwards.
- Trying to reenter an Op, but the game wouldn’t let you because it bugged out. So you’d have to reset the instance and reclear all of the trash again.
And just so many more… Which doesn’t even get into all of the other bugs that have shut down or frustrated countless other guilds out there as well. And while people have referred to bosses as guild killers because of the endless wipes they have caused, you can also apply that concept to bugs as well.
Reality Setting In
The fact is that many of the bugs in the game have been addressed, or are being addressed. However instead of players being happy about this they are instead further frustrated and aggravated by all of the new bugs introduced in each new patch release.
This is exacerbated by the Emergency Patches putting this into the forefront of player’s minds, blowing these issues even further out of proportion. Making these problems go beyond simply bug and exploit issues into a public relations disaster waiting to happen.
BioWare needs to test their patches better before releasing them to the Live servers and avoid causing themselves issues which result in Emergency Patches. While new content arriving at a rapid pace is wonderful, when you keep releasing new bugs at the same time people tend to just remember the negative.
What do you guys think? Leave a comment below telling me *YOUR* experiences with bugs and exploits, and what do you think BioWare should do about it?!
-Suffer Well Brothers and Sisters…