Bioware has the power of the force but is it strong?

by: Nathan -
More On: The Old Republic
The developer diaries kept by many developers and development teams do a great job of being informative and entertaining, but what happens when we take the analysis of the dev blog one step further? Mark How's recent entry on the BioWare Star Wars: The Old Republic Dev blog may reveal a current weakness in their MMO plans.

"Combat is extremely crucial to the success of most video games and Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ is no exception....Movement alone does not create great action, just as action alone does not create great character."

The blog was, essentially, about how the art team at Bioware practice beating up on each other in pretend lightsaber fights and how that practice helps the art team come up with new ideas. Mr. How is absolutely right when he says that combat is crucial to a video game and it is doubly so in a MMORPG. The Knights of the Old Republic games were great in their own right but how is BioWare supposed to take that style of combat plus the new moves being dreamed up by the guys beating on each other with plastic (hopefully foam) while keeping the combat balanced and enjoyable for all sorts of classes and play styles in an MMORPG? That's were this job post on Gamasutra Jobseeker service comes into play.

"BioWare Austin is searching for looking for a talented Combat Designer. This is a role which will be responsible for driving the look and feel of combat in a AAA massively multiplayer project [The Old Republic?]. You will partner with programmers, artists and other designers, driving idea conception, guiding design iteration and helping to manage playtesting. Areas of responsibility will include: combat control, ranged combat, AI design, class design, camera design, and boss creature design."

Hopefully BioWare will find the right person for the job who can take the art team's views of awesome new moves and meld them into a combat system that is fair, balanced, and not full of exploitations from the get go. Whoever they find though I sure they will be just as passionate and dedicated to the series as the rest of the team. May the force be with you, future combat designer for BioWare.

NOTE: Thank you to BioWare for keeping a Dev blog for Star Wars: The Old Republic and Gamasutra for being such an awesome resource to the industry.