Archive for February, 2012

An open letter to Empire for Life

Posted: 2012/02/29 by Nick in Ranting

In Episode 9, Rich went on at some length about how certain features are missing, such as LFG, Guild features, Guild Housing/Spaceship, and some other stuff.  You suggested that Bioware could have cut back on the cost of developing the story, perhaps, to pay for these features and have them available at launch.  I almost blew a gasket trying to prevent myself from yelling at you, which would have been really weird as I was at work at the time and listening to your podcast through headphones.  This would have been a Bad Thing.  So now, if you’ll be so kind to permit me, I’m going to vent a bit.

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m loving your show, and the enthusiasm you and Ron show for the game, and the fact that you’re not super negative.  I also don’t want to try and negate your “feelings” on this or any other matter.  That said, on this topic, I think you could not be more wrong without opening a rift to an alternate universe where it is possible to be more wrong.

I think it’s obvious to everyone that the original specs from SWTOR were more or less lifted whole-cloth from WoW’s Burning Crusade expansion, to which were added story elements drawn from Bioware’s own wheelhouse.  It is these story elements that form the differentiating factor that justifies SWTOR’s existence.  Without them, SWTOR really is just “WoW in space”, and I don’t think would be as successful as it has been to-date.  I think any change to the formula could well have resulted in less of a splash out of the gate.

As for these other features (I’m just comparing to WoW, because as I hypothesized, SWTOR’s feature list is based on it):

  • LFG, I’m pretty sure, didn’t hit WoW until well in to Wrath.  Therefore, it probably wasn’t part of the original scope for SWTOR
  • The guild tools in WoW didn’t come along until Cataclysm, right?  I mean, until then, the WoW guild interface was a hellish mass of bugs and reduced me to a gibbering wreck more than once as a guild leader
  • Housing still isn’t in WoW, and I think the reasons it isn’t are valid in SWTOR as well.  In an MMO, we are content for other players.  If we all hang out in little enclaves it will make the game seem “dead” to those passing through what are supposed to be high-traffic areas.  Once folks get the idea that the game is “dead”, they’ll bail.

So, rather than criticize BW for lack of features, I commend them on developing a vision and sticking to it.  In Project Management, we call this “Scope Management.”

Anyhow, all of the items you discussed are stuff I want, too (well, I’m not all that worked up about housing, but I get why others want it).  LFG is critical for me.  I’m not the type to spend my time online in the Fleet, spamming for a group.  I play at odd hours, nobody else in my Guild is at the level cap (they’re a serious bunch of altaholics, if you ask me) and it’s pretty rare for me to even get a group for the Heroics on Illum and Belsavis.  As such, I’ve actually levelled one toon to 50 and another to 40 and I still haven’t hit most of the flashpoints.  It was the addition of this feature (and dual specs) that kept me in WoW beyond Burning Crusade.  At some point, if it’s not added in TOR, I’ll probably have to make a decision.  But, I’m pretty confident that these features are coming so I can sit tight for a bit.

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Just out of curiosity

Posted: 2012/02/09 by Rabbi Shekky in Shek'Kee

Why is it when I arrest a villain, as opposed to killing them, in the cutscene they are still armed as they’re being led away.  Heck, half the time there’s nobody around to take ’em to Jedi jail or whatever.  They just seem to “turn themselves in”.

 

Life at level 50

Posted: 2012/02/08 by Rabbi Shekky in Endgame, Jedi Knight

So, I hit the level cap and have begun the long process of figuring out the endgame.  I don’t have anything real good to go on, so I’m kinda making it up as I go along.  There are, of course, several write-ups from the various large blogs.  I’ll see if I can find some of the links and reference them when I post this.

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve managed to figure out.

There are three level 50 Flashpoints:  The Battle for Illum, The False Emperor, and Kaon Under Siege.  So far, I’ve managed to tank the first two, which were a lot of fun.  I’d say they are definitely doable once you’ve gotten some moderately decent gear, probably whatever you finished leveling in and maybe do a couple of dailies for mods.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to visit Kaon soon.  Be advised that there’s a non-trivial quest chain involved with Battle and False Emperor, both on Illum, so be sure and go through the quests so you can run these extremely fun instances.

There are two daily zones, Illum and Belsavus.  Both have a quest chain that walks you through the zone (and the one on Illum will open up the aforementioned Flashpoints), and you’ll pick up the dailies as you go.  Both of these chains are an excellent starting point for getting your gear sorted out for level 50 shenanigans.  Between the quest rewards and the daily badges, I think you’ll be ready for the flashpoints.

Daily quests basically give daily commendations, which you wil mainly get armor and hilts/barrels.  The vendors do not supply Enhancements of Mods.  They have some other gear available, implants, earpieces, etc., but those are very expensive, so I’ve focused on upgrading the gear I have.

Finally, there are daily Heroic quests in these zones that you should really give priority.  This is where you get your Mods and Enhancements, and since there’s no other way to get them, you’ll want to hit them every day.  One of them also gives you companion weapons, so you’ll definitely want to go through it at least 5 times.

My understanding is that you need to gear up a bit for the hard mode dungeons, so I haven’t given them a tumble yet.  I have heard mixed reviews on how hard the raids are.  I’ve heard that they are so easy that you can jump right in and solo them at level 20, and that you really need to grind hard modes to be ready for them.  Freakin’ gamers.  Hopefully, I’ll get some better data on this soon.

I’m also told that PvP is a big part of gearing up in that you can get gear good enough to start raiding via warzones and Illum.  I don’t know how true this is.  I can tell you that as a fresh 50 on the Republic side, the PvP experience is not fun.