This will be the third and final volume of Great Threads in Smuggler History. But in fact, this is the opposite of the original premise - it is Smuggler history, as it has been written by the Devs.
For Volume III, I will present a compilation of all the significant posts the Devs have made concerning Smugglers in SWG, allowing you to trace the progress of the profession since launch. I'll primarily let the threads speak for themselves, though I'll provide context wherever I think it might be useful to readers.
Please refer newer Smugglers to this thread if they'd like to get an in-depth understanding of the way in which Devs and Smugglers have interacted since launch.
26 August 2003 - Devs make their first detailed promise to overhaul the profession
Smuggler We are going to look at and probably revise the Underworld skill set. We'll fix bugs with slicing 4. Spices will get experimentation values (for withdrawals, etc). Feign death causing the player to take too much damage and to be unusable when moving will be fixed. We'll add more stuff to the master box. (Probably additional slicing features) The bug with not being able to eat spice will be fixed.
9 September 2003 - Devs promise action after a 1,010-post filibuster by Smugglers on the old SWG Discussion Forum
On his way out the door, he tossed this over his shoulder:
1. Underworld Branch
- I think we are going to try and replace most of these skill boxes with something more usable, since these just aren't very fun. The main issue is finding the time on the schedule to implement some new smuggler skills.
- We'd like to add slicing code to more types of terminals.
- The problem with weapon slicing giving better results than advanced weapon slicing has been fixed. Slicing 2 had a bonus that Slicing 4 was supposed to have.
3. Dirty Fighting
- Some unarmed moves would be good to add and probably fairly easy. We will look into it.
- We will look into adding combat bonuses to this tree.
- We'll fix last ditch to be balanced with similar moves and we'll look into the other smuggler moves to improve their usability.
- Experimentation never had any impact on spices, so the UI stubs for these were removed. Adding experimentation systems to crafted items takes time, but we'd like to add one to spicing at some point.
- The effects of spices still need to be balanced to other buff consumables. Also, effects like burst run, etc, can be added, but require more development time.
- 25% off faction perks is very very useful to any smuggler in PvP, but we will look into possibly adding nonPvP bonuses to this box.
16 September 2003 - Smugglers are distinguished as needing the most love
We're dedicating a designer (Green Marine) next week to looking into fixing some of the bigger issues of the smuggler. (Yes, we are also looking at issues with the other professions, the smuggler just seems to be the one needing the most love at this moment).
6 November 2003 - Devs tell Smugglers that the profession will be "augmented" "immediately"
There is a lot on our plate, and we are regularly going to provide you with as much information as we can about what is going on. Our priorities and tasks feed in from a variety of sources, and there are very many items on the design priority list. We will not be able to get to all of them with the next few pushes, but we want to take on a number of things that will make the game better, immediately. These include:
Professions Augmentations Droid Engineer Smuggler Merchant Chef
http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/team_comments.jsp?id=59306&page=Team%20Comments [look for Gary Gattis's Letter to the Community" at the bottom of the list]
5 December 2003 - Devs state that "Smugglers are getting some attention soon."
Smugglers are getting some attention soon. Everything is getting more attention now that Player Cities, Mounts and Vehicles have been added.
20 December 2003 - Devs state that Smugglers will be overhauled, and that the community should offer some ideas on what we want
Both San and I agree that you guys need more of an answer and here it is. The smuggler isn't going to be just "fixed". Its in re-development. Smuggler is an important profession and needs more than a little attention.
Here is what I need from you folks. Since Smuggler is "In Development", I hope you folks can work together to put together some reasonable ideas together for the types of directions you would like to see the Smuggler profession change/develop. . . .
. . . I will take that information to the producers so that your desires and ideas can be accounted for when the development process moves to the next stage.
The best recommendation I can make is to keep your ideas realistic. Come up with ideas using the system as you know it as opposed to inventing things from a "blue sky" approach.
23 December 2003 - Devs say that contraband scans are too tough to implement
The thing is that smugglers essentially are a "space based" profession (at least the way we think of it) and given the inherent client/server limitations, its a tough proposition any way you look at. For instance, lets say Imperials do a search for contraband at starports. Can you imagine the lag if we even did an item check for everything in every player's inventory as they entered and exited a starport? And then there are the guys that run back and forth across that threshold just to lag things out. This is one tiny piece of a larger puzzle. It has to be a cool game mechanic and work in the game system and in a big MMO environment.
The key here is that while I was in beta and I knew everyone (I actually have almost all of it saved on my hard drive, but doing a search on "smuggler" with 12 gig of materials would be insane). Further still, that was a while ago. I want to hear YOUR ideas and Ive worked with the devs and correspondents to focus communication so that correspondents can get me information and also in a way that I can both share it with the devs AND catalgoue it.
Its all a process and we're working on it and its going to take time. The devs want to make a good game, you and I want to play a fun game and as a community, I believe we can make this whole experience very cool.
21 January 2004 - Devs promise revamp post within the week
"Smuggling" really is a spacey kind of profession and doing something on the ground really needs to be thought out.
With that being said, Im working on the Smuggler and Squad Leader profession revamp posts this week. Im just taking the time to put together some really nice posts so that the answers that players put forth can be easily handled and used by the dev team.
Currently, people don't say, "hey we're going out hunting, lets make sure we have a smuggler". That shortfall is something that needs to be included in the revamp thread.
27 January 2004 - Devs institute contraband scan idea that had been dismissed as impossible 5 weeks prior
... I pushed very hard (I spent a couple of days pushing this issue) and the devs added bonuses to the Smugler Underworld Tree
A small victory, but you asked and its in. Here's how it works:
1. The system counts up your contraband and does the "scanning roll". 2. If the system "sees" the contraband (having made a successful scan roll), it checks to see if you are a smuggler. Depending on what level of Underworld a smuggler has, they get a progressive chance to "escape the scan". If the smuggler roll succeeds, then the player will get a message that reads, "You have successfully avoided the scan."
So if you want to get spice or sliced armor and weapons from one place to another and not get harassed by the Empire, then smuggle it
3 February 2004 & 11 February 2004 - Devs thank the Smuggler community for endorsing a system whereby Imperials move contraband better than Smugglers despite the fact that there was no such endorsement on a community level
Based on community input, we have made the following changes to the Imperial Crackdown penalty schema. Thanks go to San Tsu and the Smuggler community and Jester and the Galactic Civil War community.
[Thunderheart then proceeds to describe the system -- hugely controversial and now known to Smugglers as "Imperial Immunity" -- whereby anyone who invests some Imperial Faction points is able to bypass contraband scans better than a Master Smuggler. I would post it all, but Thunderheart used a strange script and it takes forever to clean it up for posting purposes.]
8 March 2004 - Devs reiterate the idea that selling trash counts as "smuggler stuff"
... the change to smuggler's [adding the Fred Sanford Trashman minigame] was a small one. Its just me working with the team to fit smuggler stuff in where we can until the revamp - - thats when the beefy changes will occur.
13 April 2004 - Devs propose special transportation powers for NPC Smugglers rather than players
With Publish 8, the shuttle times will be reduced to 5 minutes. For the Spaceport times, this will all change with the GCW revamp.The GCW revamp vision includes a great many dynamic world features.Basically, depending on who is “winning the conflict” in any given area will effect the travel times.
Additionally, plan on seeing Smuggler NPC’s that will take you from “anywhere to anywhere”. http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=dev_archive&message.id=37856&highlight=smuggler#M37856
14 April 2004 - Devs claim they intend to create player-based smuggling "in some incarnation"
Do the DEVs ever intend for us to smuggle for the player base?
Do they intend it? Yeah. They are doing whats possible. Im hesitant to just ramble on because when I do things get taken out of context and blown out of proportion. I dont know whats possible yet, but its soemthing we would like to see in some incarnation.
20 April 2004 - Devs say player-based smuggling would be "not so fun" but advocate a minigame and promise several new Smuggler features for the Space Expansion
The Smuggler revamp moved into its early discussion phases last week. Smuggler_Caylin, the dev working on the revamp and myself have all been in close contact. We've also been reading the In-Concept Smuggler thread and a lot of the big proposals. We're looking at a lot of enhancements to the existing tree to make spices more useful, to make slicing a bigger, more integrated challenging and making the smuggler combat skills more formidable. Its just a question of hoe much is technically possible. When a crafting profession is revamped, its a matter of making new craft items, maybe some new wearables and other things that are more localized.
Smugglers, on the other hand, have a different type of profession. The spice and the fighting are pretty easy to change, but the most anticipated items are difficult to address. Lets look at slicing for instance. Slicing gives bonuses which effect all related game objects in the world. Thats more interface, more dynamics and a lot more low level coding. Its also very vulnerable to exploits and other tactics that make rapid development very difficult. What we want to do, is get a good system in place and grow it as the game continues to grow.
Another example is the act of "smuggling" itself. We would love to integrate smugglers into some sort of object delivery service to smuggler things, but its way open to grief and its also technically difficult. For instance, to have "smuggling", you need a choke point. At that check point is when some NPC would "scan" or investigate players. Any time you have a choke point, players gather in large groups and suffer wait and lag. Also at that choke point, you get some players who like to try and lag everyone out for some reason. So the obvious grief there is to find check points and lag out everyone in an area to try and beat the system some way, so instead of having something fun, it ends up being "not so fun".
We do want to add a kind of smuggling mini-game, but I dont have any details since its in progress. The developer, myself and Smuggler_Caylin are in close contact though. There will be many additional opportunities when SE comes, but I can't talk about any of that just yet.
29 April 2004 - Devs announce most of the long-awaited Smuggler Revamp Plan, which addresses virtually none of the concerns that players had raised for a year
What will smugglers gain in the upcoming revamp in regards to actually smuggling?" where you could go in detail about how you are making missions and such, giving an XP system it seems, or other things that will be good for them to know.
We are in the midst of putting together the design doc and looking at the alternatives now. The current plan to increase the fun-ability of the Smuggler Class is to enhance the existing skill onion. Since the communities focus is the desire to increase smuggling, the focus of the revamp will be on the underworld tree. We want to start with specialized delivery missions that provide both monetary and itemized rewards, but also special favors from the travel system NPCs. This would make smugglers an important hub in smuggling people from place to place by helping them get around the 10 minute Star Port wait, generate some cash flow and create a real value for Smugglers. The other edge of that sword is that tying into the travel system and creating new missions is a huge effort. Once that is accomplished, we will tweak the spices (and hopefully add a couple of new ones). After that the priority hits the Smuggler’s melee abilities. We want to increase the smuggler’s ability to use melee to move in and around superior forces and be able to work his or her way out of a tough spot. We can also further tweak the Smuggler’s combat role in the combat balance. That’s a pretty good overview of the current approach.
I’ll offer you some more details here, but ultimately, they will create more questions to which the answer is, “that work is in progress”. Some of the details for things we want to include are:
Slicing features that would be a kind of equipment buff programs Datadiscs to further adventure similar to treasure maps Ethical decisions that effect the smugglers reputation (basically, the new smuggler missions would be XP based and focused on…well…smuggling So the smuggler would have to “smuggle” phat loot from one NPC to another without getting caught and if the smuggler chose to deliver the item, the get the XP. If they didn’t, well, it would be an XP hit, but they would keep the item…) Adding new spices. Glitterstim: (Master Smuggler); Boost to Health, Strength, Action, Quickness, Mind, Force Power Max Force Power Regeneration Liik: (Spice III): Mind Poison Mitigation
Slicing: Adding a vehicle durability slice. / A smuggler mission loot item might be required.
This is a peek at what we are working very hard to get into the game….
5 May 2004 - Devs delay the Smuggler Revamp announced six days earlier
This morning, the team made a decision to delay the Smuggler profession revamp to Publish 11.
As it stands, we have a heavy amount of resources dedicated to the Combat Balance, the Jedi Revamp, Space, and new content. That leaves us thin on resources for something as massive and as important as the Smuggler Revamp. Because the core of smuggling is mission based, it really is a big project. In order to incorporate elements of smuggling for PvE and PvP elements, it and enhance slicing, large amounts of code have to be done to make this happen.
I know many of you are eagerly awaiting this revamp and I'm sorry it is going to be delayed, but looking at all the different aspects of this situation, this is simply the best choice. By doing this, we will be able to make the Smuggler's experience more of what it should it be and work with you to find out what your ideas are and how we might incorporate them.
Myself and the developers involved in this portion of SWG development will be reading this thread and we will be talking internally about different courses of action, so we are looking forward to hearing your feedback and in helping to organize the smuggler community ideas on what you think smuggling should entail.
Again, I know what this means to you and how important it is, but to do the Smuggler revamp the way it needs to be done, this schedule delay has to happen. http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=smuggler&message.id=84573&highlight=smuggler#M84573
6 May 2004 - Devs vow to decrease communication with Smugglers if they don't like the tone of players' posts
Ekhben wrote: The community would love to give input, and we'd love to give feedback on your designs for Smugglers. Unfortunately, communication is a two way street, but the only traffic we're seeing coming down from your end of the street is a kid on a skateboard, chewing some gum. Let us know what you're thinking of doing, and we'll let you know if we think it's a bad idea. We might occasionally get a bit too enthusiastic about letting you know, but that's only because we care about the game too. Otherwise, it's just us talking into a black hole, and that's not communication
Guys, don't forget, discussing these things has been one of my favorite personal activites since April 2001. I am dying to kick these concepts around and champion your ideas, but I need your help. My number one concern is that the tone of the boards stays somewhat reasonable. As long as the tone stays reasonable, we have much more latitude to discuss different kinds of ideas and really brainstorm. On the contrary, if the tone of the boards sink, I can't endorse negative behavior and what happens is that we read through threads looking for great ideas instead of interacting. Interacting is better, but when it turns into a flame fest when a red name shows up, we have to step back and remain observers. When that happens, I work with and through the correspondents.
6 May 2004 - Devs say that making players sit through contraband scans "is not something that is fun at all" and says that the Devs need input from Smugglers in order to find solutions to problems
We do want player smuggling and we do want all the cool things everyone wants, but there are technical and design issues that make it very tough. For instance, its a very big game world. If we make starports "pinchpoints" for smuggling inspections, it opens up the possibility of many types of grief and also technological concerns. Making people sit in starports while stormies scan their inventories is not something that is fun at all. It also causes lag, etc. Even still, this is one random example. What we really need to do is work together on a unified doc to present to the dev team. Something we can focus on.
Player smuggling missions, imperial scan points and even slicing are things that everyone wants to be cool and fun, but they are very tricky. Everyone involved would definately benefit from strong discussions, but they have to be reasonable. For instance, if I come back and say, "we cant have slicing on item X, because of Y", this isn't me deliberately trying to make things un-fun (that doesnt even make sense...), this is just me presenting you with the obstacles I have to overcome when I communicate things to the dev team.
I need your help and input to overcome these challenges, but we have to work together to come up with great solutions and when everyone gets in adversarial situations, we all lose...
4 June 2004 - Devs acknowledge that the previous proposal for Smugglers was scrapped because "We did not want to rush out some crappy revamp for you"
I totally understand how angry you are right now. I can't tell you how difficult it is for us to have to move your revamp back... but I really do feel that it is the right thing to do for all parties concerned, and for the overall state of the game. The large systems we are revamping really need our full attention. We have been absolutely killing our designers, and they need to have a life. This means not crunching them 7 days a week for months at a time.
We did not want to rush out some crappy revamp for you in order to fulfil our commitment. We also strongly feel that some aspect of smuggling should be done in space, so it makes sense to do it after JTL. I am so sorry, but I think it is better to be straight up with you guys than to mislead you about what we can do, or put out something that we, and you, are not going to be proud of.
Again, my apologies, but we want to make your profession all it can be. We can't do that right now, but we will.
6 June 2004 - JustG says he will try to task GreenMarine with the Smuggler Revamp once the Space Expansion is finished
... I've been keeping up with your boards. I know you guys are still plenty upset But I may have some good news for you.
While we were out here GreenMarine got to spend some serious time with alot of smugglers. He listened to alot of great ideas. He really really cares about your profession.
He is locked up on Space right now, but he wants to put together a proposal and start running it by you guys soon. The timing could be great. I am willing to try to find a way for him to be the one that revamps you as soon as Space goes out. I have to run this by Runesabre, but it seems to make very good sense to me.
He is an amazing developer that is truly passionate about Smugglers... you really could not ask for a better one to do your revamp.
Things are not going to happen as fast as you want them to... but they will happen. FF is over. I am getting ready to crash and then head back to Austin tomorrow. It is going to be pretty freakin' busy next week but I do want to spend some time with you. I am going to be pretty focussed on Publish 9 in the near-term, but I will keep an eye on things here. You will be hearing more from us soon.
7 June 2004 - Devs vow "No more broken promises" and "no more smuggler B.S."
Why should I, or anyone else in the Smuggler community, continue to pay for this game?
At its core, SWG is still a fun game. The next few publishes are focused on fixing major elements of what makes the game frustrating. Eliminating hologrinding, improving the Jedi experience, balancing combat, and introducing new GCW features. All of this promises to improve the overall SWG experience.
JTL is coming. Jump to Lightspeed is adding a completely new experience to the game. It's a lot of fun and its very different.
Smugglers will get a revamp. I can't say when. If I did, and we missed it, you'd kill me. A revamp will happen.
No more smuggler B.S. No more announcing a date and not delivering. We're going to put together a plan for smuggler and post it here so you guys can review it. We'll have a plan determined before we start writing the code so you know whats going to happen to your profession.
Because we will do a lot of stuff you asked for. Better spices. Spice experimentation. No more pistol requirement. A lot more new stuff as well.
If they do answer, another question I would have would be... why should I, or any other member of the Smuggler community, believe you this time after so many broken promises?
No more broken promises. I had some very frank discussions with several smugglers at Fan Fest. I KNOW you guys are frustrated. We aren't going to string you along. There will be a revamp. It might happen after JTL, but it will happen. There will be a public plan for the revamp ahead of time (possibly soon) that you guys can start tweaking for implementation.
I take this profession very seriously. I know its flaws. I'm going to level up a new smuggler character, myself. It's very important to me that Smuggler is improved and turned into a fun, rewarding profession.
7 June 2004 - GreenMarine: "I will pour my soul into making the smuggler revamp kick ass"
A smuggler revamp is still probably not going to happen until after space, but I will be able to start work on an official revamp design. I'm going to write something up and have it posted on this forum, so you guys can begin to discuss it.
I can't give you a timeframe for the revamp. In fact, you'd probably kill me if I did and we missed it. I can say that I will pour my soul into making the smuggler revamp kick ass. It's very important to me that smuggler, ranger, and squad leader are made to be top notch professions.
You would have been proud of Fishbrains and Veela. They both pulled me aside at different times and made it very clear they didn't want any b.s. They made strong arguments and very solid feature suggestions. I know a lot of you have been contributing to the new design proposals. It's good stuff. If you can hang in there a bit longer, we'll deliver.
15 June 2004 - GreenMarine presents an overview for the Smuggler Revamp
The smuggler revamp is still scheduled for "post space." In the mean time, I've been working on a smuggler revamp design proposal. I wrote a similar document prior to the Chef revamp. The goal is to identify and define a series of key changes to the profession that will enhance the game's fun factor. When I have a draft that I like, I spend time discussing the ideas with other designers and integrating the suggestions that I like. Once the final document is complete, I get approval to have it scheduled. I break down how long each section will take and create a personal schedule for implementation.
The documents tend to be somewhat more ambitious than the final implementation. There are a couple reasons for that. 1) I might find out that something was easier than expected and I have time to add something extra. 2) I might find out that something isn't technically workable and I need to replace it with something else.
I draw a lot of my design from player feedback. I've read the "Smugglers in SWG History" threads. I've read the "Smuggler Revamp Community Vision" document. I also read other misc threads on the profession (as well as PMs, external discussions of the profession, and so forth). Not all the ideas for the profession are inspired by the community, but community interaction is important.
So with that long introduction, it's time to start discussing some of the details of the revamp. Remember, I cannot give any dates on when the revamp will happen. We are going to be working out details well advance of the implementation date. We should avoid getting too detailed...talking about specific numbers, recipes, or system details isn't necessary at this point. We want to identify and categorize the goals for a revamp.
First, let's set overall goals for the profession revamp:
The first goal of the revamp is make all of smuggler fun.
The second goal of the revamp is to make smuggler more thematic.
These are very much the same goals the Chef revamp had. First, we want the profession to be more fun and offer smugglers lots of options and interactivity. Second, we want the profession to feel more like what a smuggler is all about.
The second step is to realize that we do not need a consensus to accept a feature for the revamp. Not all smugglers will agree to everything in the revamp document. Just saying you don't like something isn't sufficient grounds to kill an idea! Explain why you don't like it. Think about and describe how you think the game would change as a feature is implemented. The best thing you can do as a smuggler (or aspiring designer) is to be clear, concise, and creative.
I have several areas defined in my design document. They are:
Over the next few weeks, we'll discuss each of these areas and try to work out a common plan for smuggler that addresses as many of these areas as possible. I'll create seperate threads for each section and introduce discussions over time. I have a lot of responsibilities in my day to day work, so if I post everything today, I'd be hard pressed to keep up with the discussion.
So keep your eyes open for "Revamp Discussion" posts.
15 June 2004 - Devs promise improved control over slicing
Why do they not? What is the reason to craft a better quality tool then, if it does not matter? Shouldn't you redesign the crafting a bit, huh?
They don't because I didn't have time to implement it back before SWG went live. We had so much stuff to do and so little time to do it! We'll definitely be improving slicing and the smuggler's control over slicing at some point in the future. A revamp discussion thread on slicing will show up at some point, but I think that we'll probably talk about some of the general issues first.
15 June 2004 - Devs highlight sidekick idea as something they "might not have time for"
As for sidekick... are we talking an NPC or some kind of benefit we can bestow on a person? Maybe both?
Sidekick is probably the last thing I'll post about...many weeks from now. I still have lots of ideas to think about. I posted it on the list to get more conversation stirring. I have ideas for either an NPC style sidekick or a player style sidekick. The idea is that a smuggler is a lonely profession, you can't trust anyone. Through many years of smuggling, eventually the smuggler will meet someone they can trust. Someone who can watch their back. Han had Chewy. Lando had Lobot. This isn't to generalize that all smugglers have to have a sidekick, but its certainly a profession where an extra set of eyes pays off in the end.
Sidekick is an optional idea we can develop. Enhancing the core profession takes priority over implementing a sidekick system and so it might not be something we have time for. Doesn't hurt to brainstorm and see if we can design something that is doable, though.
15 June 2004 - After one year, 729,046 questions from rookie Smugglers, and 295,524 statements to the contrary by unethical charlatans, the Devs confirm that slicing percentages are affected only by skill level
The Master box improves slicing, but the tool quality and other things do not.
17 June 2004 - GreenMarine proposes a revamp of the contraband system
This is the second in a series of posts on a smuggler revamp. The goal of these posts is to discuss ideas that can be integrated into a final profession revamp proposal.
In this thread we're going to talk about the contraband system and the idea of smuggling missions. These two issues will be discussed together, because they affect each other.
I've thought about and written down my own conception of how a contraband system update and a new type of smuggling mission would work. These ideas aren't necessarily refined or complete. I want to create a debate through which we can work out a reasonable approach to improving the smuggler profession.
Everything here is debatable, so feel free to question, discuss, or add any ideas you have.
The game’s contraband system will be changed to include a greater number of illegal items, a range of legality levels, and increased penalties for being found with illegal items.
Legal Ranges & Punishment
Items will now have a range of legality. The following legal ranges will be implemented.
Quasi-legal. A player caught with quasi-legal goods will be attacked. Banned. A player caught with banned goods will be attacked. The player’s visibility will increase slightly for each violation. Highly Illegal. A player caught with highly illegal goods will be attacked, the goods confiscated (if the attacked player is defeated), and the player’s visibility will increase. Highly illegal objects cannot be transported via the standard travel system by anyone other than a smuggler. The player must use the new smuggler travel system in order to move highly illegal goods. (This new system will be discussed later.)
Illegal objects will display their legality in the examine properties list.
A faction aligned player who is caught with contraband will lose a percentage of faction appropriate to the degree of the crime.
Imperial aligned players will now only be immune to scans regarding quasi-legal goods if they have the rank of corporal or better.
Old sliced weapons and armor will be converted to have the legality level of “banned.”
Contraband scan frequency will be somewhat increased. Scan bottlenecks will be introduced at various locations in major cities, such as starport entries and medical centers.
The game's "visibility" system will be expanded. Any player can now accumulate small amounts of visibility for a contraband infraction. The amount of visibility will be dependent on the severity of the infraction.
Smugglers may attempt to find out or reduce the visibility of any player by slicing a bounty hunter terminal. Failure to successfully slice the terminal will result in the smuggler being immediately added to the terminal. Clamps cannot be used in this form of slicing. (This will be a new type of slicing, not wire cutting.) More information on this is available in the slicing section.
Various criminal organizations throughout the galaxy have found financial success in moving illegal substances and goods from one place to another. The vehicles of these transfers are the smugglers, men and women who store their morality along side coffers full of questionable goods. The smugglers are brave and often brash individuals who risk their lives for monetary gain on a daily basis.
The smuggler revamp will introduce new missions to simulate the smuggling underworld.
Smuggling Missions are received from various underworld bosses, called ‘suppliers’. Jabba, Lady Valarian, and other key criminal characters, as well as new characters, will offer smuggling missions. Smuggling missions are only offered to smuggler characters. The difficulty of the mission will scale to the average tier level of the smuggler’s skills.
At its core, a smuggling mission is similar to a delivery mission. The player is given a crate of illegal goods to move to another contact. The player must then return the payment for the goods to the source of the mission.
Ex: Jabba gives the player a crate of 50 narcostims to deliver to a cantina in Mos Eisley. After the player delivers the narcostims, she receives a payment of 12,000 credits. The player then returns to Jabba and delivers 8,000 credits, pocketing 4,000 as payment for the job.
There are no skill boxes specific to smuggling missions, but the smuggler’s skills in scan avoidance and slicing will come into play.
Smuggling mission cargo is highly illegal. Any non-smuggler caught carrying a crate of any item to be delivered from a smuggling mission will be attacked and have the cargo confiscated.
Due to the illegality of the cargo, the authorities may occasionally hear about a particular supplier’s intent to move goods. Smugglers on a smuggler mission may encounter attacks from planetary or Imperial authorities, depending on the difficulty of the mission. Killing these enemies is not necessary to complete the mission.
The target for a smuggling mission will only wait so long to receive the delivery. If the player does not deliver the goods within a reasonable amount of time (dependent on mission difficulty), the mission will be lost and the player will receive some visibility.
The player may choose to withhold part of the delivery. In the above example, the player may choose to only deliver 30 of the narcostims to the contact in Mos Eisley. If the player chooses to withhold cargo, s/he will only be paid a portion of the actual delivery fee. The amount of the payment will be directly proportional to the amount delivered.
In order to split a container of mission supplies, the smuggler must successfully slice the container’s locking mechanism.
The player may also choose to withhold part of the money to be paid to the supplier. For example, the player might deliver all 50 narcostims, but only pay Jabba 6,000 credits.
Withholding cargo or pay will result in the smuggler earning a small bit of visibility. Thus, a smuggler who chooses to defy the crime lords who supply her with jobs faces the possibility of execution at the hands of a hired Bounty Hunter.
The more difficult the smuggling mission, the greater the visibility gained for cheating.
Smuggling mission cargo often contains items that are components for smuggler crafting. Narcostims, for example, might be a component used in the creation of the spice, Glitterstim. Thus, a smuggler will need to occasionally withhold some of the cargo from a mission if they wish to enter the spice business.
In the interests of the player economy and current game balance, spices will remain craftable. Now, however, smugglers will "assemble" various components into spice packages, instead of chemically brewing them. Experimentation will be added...more details later in the spices discussion.
Smuggling cargo may also include crates of low or mid level spices. The player may choose to withhold these spices and resell them to other players if they wish.
There will be elements of smuggler missions involving space zones & space gameplay, but I can't discuss many space details. The player may have to pick up or deliver goods in space. Players without JTL will not be required to go to space. This is an "after space ships" feature.
I can't stress enough that this is very preliminary design work. This isn't a guarantee of implementation. There is no timeframe, except "sometime after space." This is all subject to potential change. If we find out one system is going to be more work than expected, we might have to replace it with a different idea. Keep an open mind.
The goal with the changes to visibility is to add more risk to the smuggling profession. Smugglers who play fast and loose with their suppliers will find bounties on their heads. Visibility will scale to the nature of the violation. Sifting a few components off the top of a delivery will only result in a minor increase, where as keeping an entire crate to yourself will result in more. The goal is to allow players a choice and scale the risk to their play style.
17 June 2004 - Devs noodle with a visibility system for Smugglers
"Visibility" is the system by which players go onto BH terminals. I don't have plans to add arbitrary player bounties as a part of the smuggler revamp. But smugglers (and other players) will now accumulate visibility points as they deal in illegal goods. Smugglers will now be able to gamble at looking to see how visible someone is (how likely they are to receive a bounty) at the risk of being caught snooping around bounty hunter computer archives (highly illegal).
This will require a reworking of the visibility code, which is currently specific to Jedi. I don't think that will be too much of a technical effort, though. It's an area I have to research.
17 June 2004 - Devs state that Smugglers will not have to buy the Space Expansion to enjoy the benefits of the Smuggler Revamp
...a popular question lately has been "Will Smugglers have to buy the JTL to get access to some of the Smuggler revamp enhancements?"
The answer is NO. You will not have to buy JTL to get the smuggler revamp content. The smuggler revamp is not a part of space, but something to follow after space. There will be space features involved in smuggler mission content, but it will only be offered to players that own JTL.
17 June 2004 - Devs warn that the Smuggler Revamp will take place after the Space Expansion
Just keep in mind that this is going to be a somewhat protracted process. The plan is smuggler after space. In a way, this whole thing is an experiment in MMO design. You give us your patience, understanding, and participation. We discuss the revamp design process much more openly than we have ever done before.
Part 1 reached over 1200 posts in less than a week. Clearly the smuggler & bounty hunter professions care deeply about the design of any kind of smuggling system. I'm really happy with the level of response. A lot of people who don't normally post are chiming in with their opinion and, in general, the discussion has been civil.
I want to try and distill the discussion down and start to find solutions. Here were the three big issues that turned into long discussions.
Summary 1: The key argument was over the impact of "visibility" punishments for ripping off suppliers or failing smuggling missions. There is a portion of the player base that desires PvP and a portion that does not. The main issue is the possibility of "involuntary PvP" or a player gaining a bounty who wants to be a smuggler but not participate in PvP.
Solution: The solution I like most is to have the mission suppliers offer two types of mission for each skill level. The punishments for failing or cheating a mission then become:
Normal Mission: You lose NPC faction with that supplier. You lose a small amount of GCW faction if the supplier belongs to a faction. You could possibly be ambushed by thugs from that supplier.
Critical Mission: Harsher versions of the above + you gain visibility.
The rewards for critical missions would be somewhat higher than normal missions. Also, some types of illegal cargo would only be available via critical missions. The RISK is possible PvP as well as other penalties. The REWARD is rare components (if you cheat the supplier) or better cash.
What about normal players scanned with illegal items? For now, it seems reasonable that we don't add visibility for normal players. That's too much to ask of the player base as a whole. Later, we could possibly add a level of illegality above Highly Illegal (say, Military Class) that gains visibility. It seems wise to leave this area open for future discuss, but not include it in a revamp.
Summary 2: The second major issue revolved around the punishments for being caught with contraband:
Some players feel that dying isn't enough of a punishment.
Some players recommended a faction hit.
Some players feel that storm troopers are too weak.
Players don't like that only storm troopers scan.
Solution: The solution obviously has several parts. We need to discuss more what the punishments should be. There are a few types of punishment that we can draw from:
Loss of GCW faction.
Loss of NPC faction.
Combat & risk of death.
Confiscation of the illegal goods.
One possibility might be to make it so that the scanning NPC isn't the NPC that attacks. Instead he "calls for backup" and the backup is relative to the player's level. This brings up the possibility of a group of players using a low level smuggler to spawn lower level faction targets. The solution to stopping faction farming of scan spawned NPCs is to prevent them from giving GCW faction. There are many other legitimate ways to gain faction. Even if it seems inconsistant, it does make some sense that the Rebels aren't necessarily going to reward a player for killing troopers just doing their job.
This also means that high level smugglers would be dealing with security forces tougher than your average Stormtrooper.
It seems that we should make more factions other than Imperial scan. Why can't the Rebels scan in a Rebel controlled territory? They aren't going to like spice abuse much either. Rebel commanders could then have some immunity from scans in their home regions. Naboo's Royal Security Force (a neutral faction) might also scan and have their own forces to deal with violators.
Summary 3: The third major issue was that smugglers are worried that increased punishments for using illegal items, like spices and sliced gear, will cause a depression in their markets.
Solution: Actually, I disagree with this premise. I don't think there will be a market depression. On the contrary, if I do my job right, there will be a market increase. If spices become reasonably competitive with chef food, or complement chef food in some way, more players will buy them. Similarly, we should be able to modify slicing but also retain its value.
This is an issue I need to think about more before I develop a complete opinion.
At this point, we know the arguments from every side in the debate. There have been enough posts for us to understand the views involved. In this thread, let's talk about possible solutions and compromises. Instead of perpetuating the debate on PvP vs. PvE, look for ways that the two views can be reconciled. This is the next key in effective game design for massively multiplayer games.
22 June 2004 - GreenMarine discusses concern regarding Smuggler bounties
I mean, how hard is it for you guys to make a NPC that has hit points greater than a Player fully buffed? That can see through FD? That can go through any wall? That can have twice the firepower than any player can have?
The point isn't to create an insurmountable challenge. We can ensure the PvE smuggling missions will be fun and challenging for all players according to their skill level.
The addition of missions with a visibility/PvP/bounty aspect is to enhance the game for the players who are interested in pursuing that kind of gameplay. It doesn't exclude PvEers from anything but what they want to be excluded from.
So, why are we going to be stuck with lesser missions with a lesser reward?
All due respect, but that's a very loaded statement. The quality of the missions and the quality of the reward will be worthwhile. The only difference is that there is a path for PvPers and that path includes additional rewards. Why? Because of the increased risk. While not every bounty hunter is awesome at his job, some will be. In my original post, I also pointed out that the other punishments will also be more severe. The increased risk doesn't only include the potential PvP.
Visibility decreases over time. There's nothing preventing you from occaisionally taking a high risk mission. If you manage your visibility well, you won't have to be involved in PvP. But you would be walking the line...and getting improved rewards for your increased risk.
No matter how tasty the Devs try make the GCW PvP look, the PK mentality of PvPrs will poison it for the rest of the Players.
This simply isn't true. While you may not enjoy PvP, or you may have had bad experiences, a large number of the player base regularly play PvP. You know it's important for the devs to have a realistic view of the game. It's just as important that you have one.
We make an effort to design systems that appeal to both PvE and PvP players. You have to find a way to compromise your view with that of the PvPers, because they aren't going away, just as you like to remind PvPers that you aren't going away.
30 June 2004 - GreenMarine says he will post a thread on Underworld skills next week
Tomorrow let's start a conversation on the underworld skill tree. I think based on the conversations we've had in these first two giant threads, I can come up with a compromise system. But let's worry about hammering out more specific details later (we have a lot of time).
28 August 2004 - Caylin corners GreenMarine in his Texas office and forces him to acknowledge his whereabouts and vital signs
All of the Correspondents are here at SOE-Austin and I was trapped in my office by a large roving pack of them. Smuggler Caylin was at the lead and he was able to corner me for a few minutes discussion. Unfortunately, he was quickly dragged away by Tigger to attend the next part of the conference. I hope to get another chance to touch base with Caylin prior to the end of the conference. He wanted me to post a message saying that I am alive and I do exist. I apologize for not participating on the boards much lately. I've been as busy as a Kuat mechanic on inspection day, with all the JTL development going on. Eep!
15 September 2004 - Devs announce that despite what players had been told since Beta, slicing weapons has no effect on decay
Thunderheart wrote: Weapons decay with usage; each time you use it, the item decays.When the condition of the weapon reaches 25% of the item's maximum total condition, the weapon’s minimum and maximum damage starts to decay.The item reaches a decay threshold at the 25% mark.
For every 1% below the 25% condition threshold, the weapon’s minimum and maximum damage is decreased by 1%. This usage decay will drop a weapon's effectiveness down to 0.
What you can do when your weapon reaches 25% is to "roll the dice" and try to repair your weapon.It's a long shot, but it is a chance to get your weapon repaired. A weapon repair kit is an old fashioned dice roll chance to repair your weapon. If you "get a good dice roll" and repair a weapon (or have it repaired for you) back above the 25% threshold, the weapon’s initial min/max damage is restored. For smugglers, slicing in no way effects the rate at which a weapon decays, but a sliced weapon will make the weapon repair even chancier than it already is. Weaponsmiths have a slightly greater chance of repairing a weapon than other professions. Additionally, trying to repair a weapon with less than 25% gets more and more risky with each percentage point and will probably destroy the weapon outright.
NOTE: Thunderheart's post was a clicky linked to one of GreenMarine's former posts.
26 September 2004 - Devs condemn concern over the historically-shifting Smuggler Revamp date as "silly rumors and conspiracy theories"
HeHeHe, TH replyed to almost all of the posts, but he skipped right over that one about the Smugglers. Par for the course.
I actually posted a link to this in the Smugglers forums. Your right.. he skipped right by it. I've been waiting to see if he would come back to it or not.
Please stop propagating silly rumors and conspiracy theories. It just isn't true. After JtL, GreenMarine will be going forward with the Smuggler Revamp (schedule unannounced). Early on, one of the main reasons we didn't want to talk about it is for just this reason.
29 October 2004 - Devs announce that Smuggler Revamp will happen after the Combat Upgrade
I would also like to add that is was said that after JTL, us smugglers were going to get some love. Now we are looking at after January.
Quoting from the message: " major any before do typically we period testing beta open the be will of phase final>We will put the Combat Upgrade publish on our Test Centerso all customers have access to it prior to it being published to the Live service."
We are approaching this development carefully and methodically. We are starting small because it will need some focused iteration and testing that simply can't be done in a mass forum. We will try our design and implementation in alpha, and as we see it working we will open it up to ever larger numbers of people, taking feedback all along the way. The design as it exists today will change, possibly radically to make sure we have the fun factor SWG should have.
In the end we expect our combat to be "is to make game play more strategic, more interactive and ultimately more engaging and fun for players of all levels". That is what we are committed to, and this is what you should measure the result against.
And unfortunately non-combat professions will need to wait for this to be complete, since the context of the final Conbat Upgrade will be what sets our bar for the other profession revamps.
29 October 2004 - Devs affirm that each of their previous promises was true and valid at the moment they were made, but that they did not in fact have the authority to make those promises
And unfortunately non-combat professions will need to wait for this to be complete, since the context of the final Conbat Upgrade will be what sets our bar for the other profession revamps.
so that is that a statement that our smuggler revamp will occur after thus combat upgrade thing? Time to take sides and feel responsible, Tyrant (or anyone in charge), we've been too much lied or mislead.
From the original message "Once Combat Upgrade is done, we will immediately work on upgrading all the non-combat professions in another series of publishes.".
That paragraph lays out our high level Live development strategy. I'm sure every time in the past a mention was made of something we intended to do it was true -at that moment-. But the team does not set all the priorities for the game and things have changed quickly and often since launch. LucasArts and we are aligned on this development strategy and we are going to make it happen by hook or crook. If anything holds us up or slows us down, we will let the community know.
Combat Upgrade is the basis we need in place before revamping the other professions. And we need all the professions to be solid to build a complete and compelling GCW, because it will affect everyone. We will do all this as quickly as we know how, but it will be high quality first and foremost.
*sobs* whhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy *sobs* devs why do you tempt us with your evil evil lies...*whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy* sobs sobvs sobs* we are all such good people.....i'll prove it in one point
THE ONE POINT WHY WE ARE ALL SUCH GOOD PEOPLE:
Everyone in the SWG universe trust us SMUGGLERS the most. out of any other perons in the game or profession they trust us the most....they trust smugglers the most. They give us their KRAYT PISTOLS to slice....the give us millions of dollars of armor for free.....
*sobs* someone hold me...*sobs*
Then the dev's said: "what's a smuggler"
(Smuggler Correspondent)Calyin: I don't know i havn't seen one myself
Okay this is off the topic but if this revamp is what our corrospondent is saying it is...then....we shall revolt. I saw we all BAND TOGETHER and raise slicing prices. the one thing the devs care about is the economy. we need to throw it off. LONG LIVE THE SMUGGLERS!
Then the dev's said: "what's a smuggler"
(Smuggler Correspondent)Calyin: I don't know i havn't seen one myself
Honestly, I think part of the revamp should be a name change for this prof. Its clearly not a smuggling class. People shoudln't be duped into buying this game if they want to be smugglers. Like Solo said, imagine Jedi without force powers or lightsabers (well lightsabers that aren't kinetic anyway). They would only be Jedi in name.
Imagine a Mario game where Mario doesn't jump. A legend of Zelda game with no swords. A Bond game with no guns. Thats what this class is, a smuggler who can't smuggle.