I oringally posted this on the old TOR Syndicate site, but I've recently gotten into some discussions about this and went to look for the original article and couldn't find it - so I'm posting it again...
The game of 'Pazaak' was a common diversion in both the KOTOR 1 and 2 games and because of that, it has been theorized that it may also be a part of the online games as well. While I enjoyed the game and played them all until I won whatever 'top' honor you could in the game's story line, it was really designed to be a two player game (you and an NPC in the case of KOTOR) and the rules were fairly straight forward. As a leader of a smugglers guild, I'm personally hoping for something that would allow you involve more players at a time, and ideally, allow players to play against each other and gamble actual credits. A game that would actually take into account strategy/gambling/bluffing skill sets which a game as straightforward as pazaak does not do in my opinion.
Now, a game that is much closer to that kind of 'poker-like' card game and is a strong part of the canon of the Star Wars universe is Sabacc. It's the game by which Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian. While Pazaak may still make it into SWTOR, I think there have been some strong hints that we may have Sabacc at our disposal. The strongest hint to me has come in the "Blood of the Empire" web comic which has been known to have many other hints about game elements in it as well. In Act 2, Issue #1 and Issue #2, we see the 'companion character' "Maggot" playing a game of cards with other aliens in a space station. His game is later interrupted by a fight his master is having with another Sith that leads to the entire station falling from orbit and being destroyed. (And right when he had a good hand, too! Darn the luck!).
Key frames from that comic can be seen below:
There are at least three things in these panels that lead me to believe that the game they may be playing is 'sabaac':
1) There are multiple people playing the game at once. Pazaak does't seem to me to be set up to be played by many people around a table. Certainly our only experience with it is in a one-on-one situation and usually when that's done - it's done at a specialized pazaak table that displays the 'cards' and the game layout (see example of 'pazaak tables' below). This did not seem to be the case in the comic as players physically held cards in their hands (claws, tentacles, etc.).
2) The 'cards' in the web comic had varied images on them. Pazaak cards, or at least the only ones we've ever seen, were very straight forward with a single design and a numerical value. A sabaac deck, on the other hand is quite varied. Half-way between a deck of standard playing cards and a tarot deck (Sabaac cards were actually used in a tarot-like fashion by some to tell the future).
3) At one point Maggot says, "Cards are frozen. Show the hand?" This doesn't jive at all with what we know of the Pazaak game. Other than after you lay them down, you can't pick them up again - there is nothing in pazaak about cards being 'frozen'. However, 'freezing' cards to they cannot be removed from your hand or affected by a randomizing effect sometimes used in the game, is a standard part of Sabaac as is the concept of 'showing your hand' as the game is somewhat of a mixture of poker and blackjack.
So, what do you think? Is this speculation valid? If so, how far do you think they will let players use it to gamble against NPC's or even better, each other? I personally would love to have a system in game where players could bet not only money (and the system would make sure that bets were paid) but also that they could put up items/gear as a bet - if the bet was deemed acceptable by all other players in the game.
P.S. - If you want to get a feel for how the game of sabacc is played, we have an online version of the game on my site (www.mantellsyndicate.com). You can find it in the 'entertainment' section.
It feels more difficult at first than it is once you've actually played it for a bit. It's really a mixture of blackjack (which has pretty straight forward rules) and poker (where combinations of certain cards win over other combinations and it's not *just* a numerical total of the cards in your hand). One of the things the Sabacc engine on my site doesn't do is introduce the 'randomizing' factor of true Sabacc. According to the canon rules, at various points in the game, a players cards can all be shuffled or randomized, with the exception of the ones that are 'frozen'. This makes luck and bluffing a much bigger element. And really - I'd LOVE a card game that requires a bit of 'skill' as opposed to just being a numbers and an 'uber deck' game. There could be tournaments and achievements based around it. Heck, perhaps even a 'galactic' Sabacc Championship held on Nar Shadaa or something.
But what I'd *really* love to see is, in addition to credits, players being able to 'bet' items/gear - in an interface similar to most player-to-player 'trade' functions in MMOs. Both (or all) players would agree on the value of what was being put up to cover the bet and to the winner go the spoils.
Warmadden wrote 819 Days Ago (neutral)0I know there may be issues with a gambling system in an mmo but having pazaak/sabaac in TOR would make the Star Wars experience a lot more realistic.0 points Wufa wrote 822 Days Ago (neutral)0Good points about the risks involved. Hadn't thought that all the way through0 points Baraslan wrote 823 Days Ago (neutral)0I agree that Bioware would need to make any mini-game with a 'live' gambling element as hack-proof as possible and monitor it for issues. Players have to believe they have an equal chance of winning as the other guy or no one will play. I imagine it's a similar issue that online gambling sites have to deal with. But if they can do it successfully in an online environment - why can't Bioware? And, 'yes', I know that the online sites are dedicated to that *one thing* and may throw more resources towards creating the feeling of 'safety' in their electronic gambling sites, but if the technology has already been created for sites like that - all I'm saying is that there may already be off-the-shelf solutions that can be implemented fairly easily and relatively inexpensively that would provide the majority of 'security' needed.
Now, another argument I've heard tossed around that could potentially kill player vs player gambling has to do with the game rating. I've not validated this myself one way or antoher, but I've heard it said that you can't put live gambling in a game that's marketed with a "T" rating. I looked the definition of "T" rating up on the ESRB site and it said this:
"Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language."
The question is - does 'simulated gambling' mean gambling vs. NPCs or player vs player gambling? Or both? At a glance, it looks like PvP gambling would be legit in a "T" game to me...0 points
Sirious_Nora wrote 823 Days Ago (positive)1I think that having minigames would definitely be a great idea for SW:TOR. More and more, minigames can be a lead for people who are on the periphery to get into the game. Just imagine a Sabacc webgame on the main site that could lead to a Sabacc league in the game. I would guarntee that there would non-MMO players who would buy a subscription, just to play Sabacc.
On the issue of gambling however, I think that would open a Pandora's Box. If Bioware go down the micro-transaction route I wouldn't mind seeing gambling because they will be introducing an ecomonic element in the very fiber of the game. If they don't do microtransactions, I think that Bioware selling credits (which has been suggested in other forums), allowing or regulating gambling, or even in-game charging for AC switches should not be allowed. All of these different financial transactions risk jepordising the integrity of the games as whenever money is involved (there is a real link between in-game currency and real world currency) there will be people who cheat to gain a financial advantage. Gambling I think is just too big a risk, as first there will be people who blantantly cheat new and inexperienced users which will affect new user experience.
Second, when we think about bots and mods there will inevitably who use these automated programs to gain advantage of an in-game interface or other players to gain financial advantage. Bioware have to manage the risk of adding in game economics, but I feel that unless they are willing to really invest in the effort to regulate/control it, it will just be too much of a pain then it is worth.0 points
swtorcrafter wrote 823 Days Ago (positive)1I am so excited about the possibility of mini games and have been hoping for some time that this would make it in. Bioware has a unique chance to really kill it in SWTOR with minigames, I really hope they realize this.0 points