Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Why Nobody Wants to Talk

Posted: 2012/08/02 by Nick in Uncategorized

This is in reference to an article by Jason Schreier, which you can find here.  I’m gonna post this as an open letter to the author, since there is absolutely no way I’ll ever read, much less post on, one of Kotaku’s comments sections again.

You say that the gaming industry should communicate more with its customers and reveal more peeks behind the curtain so folks can see what’s going on back there.  I can understand the sentiment, I often feel that way myself, and since you’re a person who makes his living writing about this stuff, I can certainly dig where you’re coming from.  However, I think the gaming industry as a whole whould be foolish to do what you’re asking for.  Here’s why:

1. Pretty much anything you say can and will be held against you.  Any statement made by these companies carries with it a huge element of risk.  You can’t hint at a feature unless you’re positive that it will make it into the release.  You can’t talk about a release date unless you’re positive you’ll hit it.  Every word you type/say is poured over and analyzed for every possible meaning.  I’m just an observer here, I don’t work for a game studio or anything, but I have to think that if I got my teeth kicked down my throat every time I opened my mouth, I’d learn to keep my big yap shut.

2. Whenever investors are concerned, you have to be careful.  The same rules apply, you don’t want to hint at anything that might not later turn out to be true, but here it might actually land somebody in jail.  Hints and guesses become promises and expectations.  The rise of social media and a robust gaming press exacerbates the situation, as any tidbit that falls through the corporate wall quickly gets picked up and broadcast/re-broadcast.  Investors see this, and it doesn’t take much for them to get their expectations set to something entirely unrealistic.  If you work for one of these companies, I can guarantee you that your boss doesn’t want to get angry calls from investors.  You would be wise to keep all communications going through the PR bureaucracy.

3. I don’t think these guys treat the whole social media thing with the proper mix of fear and respect.  This puts them in an elite category of damn near every company in the world.  It’s a really new animal, and I think the business community as a whole is still trying to figure out how to spin/control/co-exist with this medium.  Quite frankly, I think a lot of businesses are hiding from this new animal.  I suspect that people who are really good at this are probably working in politics or for really big corporations.

To be honest, I don’t see any upside in communicating with the gamer community at this point. It’s impossible to compete with the negativity, the playing field is tilted in favor of the haters, and this whole concept of managing social media and communities is at odds with the core competency of making games.  In fact, I gotta think that if I was in the business, I’d shut down the forums, social media, etc. and operate like Willie Wonka, in complete secrecy.  If you want a peek behind the curtain, you have to buy the game with the golden ticket. 🙂

(This was cross-posted to my FB page, so if you get it twice, sorry)

(Edit: Added a title.  /embarassed)

With 1.3 coming down the pike, and the servers humming with new life, I thought it would be fun to start a new toon.  After seconds of soul-searching, I settled on rolling another smuggler.  I have a smuggler, Shekky, but I created that gunslinger to run with my funny little hunny, and since she hasn’t been playing much, the character is pretty idle.  So, She’Quii, the son of Sh’Eckee and Elara was born.

The problem is that I’m pretty tired of the planetary storylines.  So, after finishing Ord Mantell and Coruscant, I have limited myself to levelling in Warzones, Space Missions and Class Quests.  If I ever get the uninterrupted time, I’ll also do some flashpoints.  To keep things fresh, this guy’s a Scoundrel, and uses the Scrapper tree.

So far, it’s going surprisingly well.  You don’t level quite as quickly as you would if you maddogged quests, but I hate Taris and was very pleased to fast-forward past the place.  Space Missions are always fun, and I’m finding PvP as a Scrapper is a hoot.

The scrapper in general is an entirely different animal from the Gunslinger.  It’s an entirely different style of play.  Whereas a Gunny will want to get in cover and plink away at folks, a Scrapper wants to get a backshot and then throw away the gun and punch his victim to death.  It’s actually quite amusing, and in PvP it catches people by surprise.

Oh, the other good thing about this levelling strategy is that you _never_ run out of rested XP.  I’m not sure, however, how gear will work out.  There are defined bands of PVP gear and the lockboxes are pretty useless.  Usually I get Strength or Willpower gear, so they are not a viable strategy for gear.  I think I might have to rely on Flashpoint drops, which is fine by me.  Once 1.3 hits, the LFG tool should make getting groups easy.  The XP boosts for different game modes will be interesting, too.

Anyhow, I’ll post an update as I see how well this works.

Easy as Pi

Posted: 2012/06/15 by Nick in Uncategorized

And now, a brief message about the character transfers…

I have toons spread out across 3 servers.  My Republic toons were on Krayt Dragon, and my Imperial toons were on Bergeren Colony and Telos Restoration Project.  This week, BW offered me free rides off of KD and TRP, and is consolidating other servers to Bergeren Colony.  I know there’s a lot of worry out there about the transfers, so I thought I’d post my experience with the process.

The TRP toon, a Level 25 Warrior, moved right over.  Took all of a minute to do the move.  No guild, no legacy on this guy, so it was quite simple.

The KD toons were just as easy.  Fortunately, my guild, Covenant of the Phoenix, had officers on to handle ginvites, and all my names and legacy came across as easy as can be.  Literally, the transfer process took about 5 minutes.

After logging into the new server (you have to reset the server screen after the transfers, it doesn’t automatically update), I logged into each toon and had to re-do my chat setup, activate the correct UI layout and join chat channels.  Friends lists got cleared, but there’s no way to do anything about that.  Setting up my chat screens and channels took the most work, but still, I got everything done in under an hour.

Before moving, be sure to retrieve any items from the GTN and clean out your mailbox because these won’t follow you to the new server.  If your character or legacy name(s) are in use, you’ll need to rename yourself, but since nobody in their right mind names all their toons “Shekky” or some variant thereof, I had no problems at all.

So, my experience was very positive.  All my guys are now happily on servers with lively communities being built, people to sell to, and lots of fun to be had.  I give BW high marks for this one.

For those of you fretting about the move, I say do it.  If you’re part of a guild, make sure you have a plan.  CotP has a VERY organized officer corps, and they made the move very smooth on our members.

If you’re still worried, consider this.  BW is consolidating servers because nothing destroys an MMO better than the perception that you don’t have other people to play with.  With a player base spread out over more than two hundred servers, there were a lot of folks for whom this was the case.  I know that on TRP, Sh’Quii was often the only character on the fleet.  That’s not a happy situation to be in.

Furthermore, consider that this is a server merge.  They are giving you the illusion of choice, but if you don’t move, you will quickly find yourself alone in the galaxy.  There will come a point where you simply run out of things to do as a solo player, and they will probably close your server down.  Take my advice and make the move.

People bemoan the lack of “Open-World PvP”, but I never get a straight answer when I ask, “What is it?”  About the closest I get is some nostalgic talk about the Tarren Mill/Southshore battles that used to take place in WoW.  Apparently, these were fun.  Since most of the times I had the opportunity to see this “epic fun battle” I was leveling a toon through the zone and was easy fodder for pretty much everyone with  a red name over their head, I humbly disagree.  At best, my quest-givers were all dead when I hit town and I had to wait around for them to respawn, at worst, I’d find myself flagged somehow and ended up sitting in a graveyard for a the rest of the evening.

In short, my experience with Open-World PvP was not exactly positive.  I’m pretty sure when folks say, “I want Open-World PvP,” what they really mean is, “I want to roll around ganking lowbies until someone logs onto their main and gives me someone to fight.”  This is essentially griefing, and I realize that if there is no other way to get PvP, this might be all you have.  But, if you have other avenues, is this really necessary?  SWTOR launched with 3 and is soon to have 5 Warzones.  What’s the problem?  You can get a fight just about any time you want, server balance issues aside.  I know Ilum was a bust, but you can go their now and hunt people who are going after armaments.  You can go to Outlaw’s Den and go after people hunting chests.  There may not be a lot of people there, but there won’t be any until the PvP folks start going there… Is it that folks are afraid of a free fight?

So, am I wrong?  It could be I’m missing the point, but I think there are plenty of PvP options, other than you don’t get to grief lowbies.  I consider that a good thing.  Do you define Open-World PvP differently?

For my part, if you want a PvP fix, go get some in Mount&Blade.

Guys, seriously, calm down.

Posted: 2012/03/13 by Rabbi Shekky in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Yes, the new Legacy system features might allow your Smuggler to use Force Choke.  Get over it.

  1. You can only use it during the activation of Heroic Moment.
  2. This ability has a 20 minute cooldown.
  3. This ability requires that your companion be active.
  4. This means you have to be solo or in a 2-man party to use this.
  5. Seriously, when was the last time you used your Heroic Moment?  I think it’s been about a month for me.
  6. In the meantime, you’ll need to put the Force Choke/Orbital Bombardment/Whatever on your action bar.
  7. You have four action bars with 12 slots each.
  8. Your action bars are probably over-full anyways.

So, to break this down, I’d have to clog up my already precious action bar slots with skills that are completely dead until I run into a situation bad enough to warrant remembering where the hell on my action bars Heroic Moment is (It’s like, on one of the side bars and I’d probably be dead by the time I find it), at which time I can use an ability that originates from another class and probably does the same amount of damage per Global Cooldown as one of my own abilities that are already integrated into my rotation, easily accessible, and for which I’m geared to support (Tech and Cunning probably won’t apply a lot of bonuses to a Force power).

Guys, this is RP fluff.  It will be fun for some players, but for everyone else, this will never even be noticed because you’ll never use it and you’ll probably never see anyone else use it.