After much advertisement promoting the upcoming major expansion to Bioware’s Star Wars MMO The Old Republic, fans have learned that starfighter combat will be PvP only. This was confirmed on Unnamed SWTOR Podcast – NYC Community Cantina 2013 where Bioware representatives Damion Scheubert, Andrew Horwitz and Eric Musco outlined their reasons for this decision.
According to their statements creating a 3D script for starfighter AI would be too consuming of manpower and time. Something which Bioware had neither in any great amount at the time of its creation, and the shift in setting would create too many variables. To quote the developers’ specific words:
“The good thing about PvE is the good scripting. Getting the ability in at the right time makes it interesting and fun, but not unfair. You know, getting those enrage timers right. Getting like a DOT thrown out at the right time. Stuff that has to be done really well for PvE to work right. And for them to do that in space would be a lot of work. So problems with scripting and AI would be reasons that we won’t be seeing PvE Galactic starfighter.”
Unlike the on-rails space sections which The Old Republic featured, and might as well have come from an arcade machine, players will have full control over their craft and how they fight.
Despite disappointment of fans, this is somewhat understandable. If AI programming were proven to be too simplistic then they can be easily farmed for resources and experience, resulting in game imbalance. The more reliable option, at least for the moment, is to utilise player skill and their ships. Bioware has yet to state they are completely ruling out a PvE mode for Galactic Starfighter, only that it will not be present upon release and they have no plans at that time. This at least leaves a slim possibility for players to fight swarms of AI fightercraft sometime in the future, along with the team-based combat it will feature on launch.
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