Now that 1.2 has been released and we’re currently in the middle of uh, tossing around rakgoul infections, it’s time to gaze up at the horizon and wonder what BioWare has in store for its fans next. Some players were happy with game update 1.2, and others found it lacking, but both types of players know that SWTOR still needs a few major fixes and additional features. It’s a young game, and still has room to grow.
Everyone has their own personal list of what they feel the game needs to focus on. For many players, some kind of group finder feature (also known as looking for group, or LFG) is becoming increasingly important, and takes up that number one spot. This past week, James Ohlen, Game Director of SWTOR, asked for our player feedback regarding the group activities we’d most like to see such a system developed for. The poll on the official forums can be found here.
After the poll was posted, James Ohlen made this remark over Twitter:
This week’s question is about the Group Finder feature. Finishing the feature is a top priority at the studio right now
Excellent. That’s just the kind of update the fanbase needs when it comes to issues currently in the beginning stages of development. It’s also important to announce major developments like this at a time when players are happily digesting new content that was just released. Why? Players will already be paying attention during the times of major patch deployment, and will always want to know about what comes next. Gamers are a goal-driven bunch, for the most part. Let us know you’ve got our interests in mind, and we’ll keep paying attention.
These developer updates are awesome for a couple of reasons. First off, both the poll and the Twitter feed let us know that the group finder feature isn’t just being talked about– it’s being seriously worked on. It isn’t a feature BioWare would like to make one day, or is considering making. It isn’t on the back burner. It’s going in, and soon, hopefully.
Some players remain stubbornly opposed to such a system, but the fact of the matter is– we need something. Leveling players and level 50 players alike need a way to globally create and search for groups. Right now we’re limited to using the fleets, and in a universe that’s as expansive as SWTOR’s– yes, we need more than is currently available. The system doesn’t have to automatically form groups for us, but it does have to allow us to globally search for interested players. It also has to let us make ourselves available for groups no matter where we are.
Secondly, we’re able to garner little bits of information regarding this planned group finder system within the context of the post. Here’s an important note:
Originally posted by StephenReid (Source)
As a note; at this time the Group Finder feature in development is limited to searching on a single server only.
So the feature won’t be cross-server, at least for its launch. This means that BioWare is taking the system one step at a time– releasing the feature on servers, then seeing its results. This is the correct way of approaching the release of such a feature, I believe, because it’s important for the developers to create features that work for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and not any other game. What seems to work in World of Warcraft may not work here, and as many players would agree– just because it works, doesn’t mean it works well.
It’s entirely possible that a same-server group finder, when paired with server transfers, may be enough to assist players in finding groups. It may not be, of course, but in a game that’s still rather young, it’s definitely better to implement new features on a case-by-case basis.
It’s also great that BioWare is asking what exactly players would like to see assistance with finding groups for. So far, the majority agrees that flashpoints should be the first matter of importance. I agree wholeheartedly. It’s frustrating trying to find flashpoint groups, especially while leveling. Leveling players do not always have guilds yet, and are important in any MMO. SWTOR is no different. New players need to be drawn in, encouraged to keep leveling, encouraged to run flashpoints. Encouraged to stick around– breathe new life into our galaxy.
The poll runs for a few more days, so make sure and give your input if you wish to!