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Players understandably assumed that all three settings

In an exhaustive post on the SWTOR forums at http://www.swtor4u.com/ , Senior Online Community Manager Stephen Reid explains that the high-resolution textures--which players were able to enjoy before the game's official public launch--were removed due to a "deliberate decision by the development team."

Apparently the decision to remove high-resolution textures rendered outside of the cinematic cutscenes was due largely to the fact that in an MMO, it's not really possible to know how many characters will be on screen and viewable at a given moment. Reid explains that in the case of SWTOR, "we discovered that using our 'maximum resolution' textures on in-game characters during normal gameplay could cause severe performance issues, even on powerful PCs." Places like "popular gathering places," "Operations with large teams," and Warzones were particularly affected.

Given that the same rules don't apply to cinematic dialog sequences--since the developer has "control over exactly how many characters are rendered and can ensure that the game performs well," those sequences still support the beefier textures.

Perhaps the only real surprise is how Reid addresses what he refers to as a "UI bug," which led to much of the confusion. The "bug" pertains to how players can still select "Low," "Medium," and "High" graphics options. The UI should just reflect "Low" and "High" options, wherein the old "Medium" is the new "High." Players understandably assumed that all three settings would reflect themselves appropriately in-game. It's an oversight that's let to some completely avoidable fan-frustration, and it's not unreasonable to expect that a future patch will remedy this issue.

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