Gaming Journal: Winter Thoughts [SWTOR]

SWTOR - Winter Thoughts Header

Over the course of this late winter where I live, I’ve been jotting down notes to myself whenever an idea pops into my head or when I catch myself forming a strong opinion about something. I felt I should share them on my blog, since most of the time I was just using them to write longer pieces and I thought there might be another use for them. For now I’ll try talking one to three of these topics at hand and discuss them when I don’t have anything specific to talk about. Today’s blog post focuses on Star Wars: The Old Republic, I take a look at the Cartel Market, benefits of raiding, and upcoming content.

A lot of the more interesting gear and fluff come from cartel packs, which when broken down are pretty much packs you can buy that yield random goods. You open them up for a chance at rare loot(rare equipment, crystal colors, pets, etc…) and depending on your luck or how much money you invest you may or may not get the items you were looking for or items that are worth any value to recoup any of your initial investment. Essentially the packs plays on the gambling habit of the player.

At the end of the day, you are reduce to either waiting for the item to be put on the GTN at a fairly high price, good luck to you F2P players out there or, you can keep feeding money to buy cartel coins to purchase more packs. I have nothing against this particular method but it’s a real turn off for me when there is no alternative way to acquiring these items, and no, I personally don’t think paying an absurd price on the GTN as an acceptable alternative method.

The reason I’m particular bummed about this is that I’m a big advocate of having your character look like how you imagine it. So I love it when games have a system in place that allows you to tailor the look of your character beyond character customizations. The Secret World offers a ton of clothing available to your character, keeping stats on amulets, rings, etc… Guild Wars 2 has a skin system in place that allows you to freely get the desired look of your character albeit it has to be of the same armor class that your profession uses.

So I love the fact that you can purchase entire sets of gear on the market along with a handful of body pieces. The “but” here is that most of the skins are reused models of existing gear in the game. At best you can use iconic armor that you associate with a different classes on another class. It feels like all the good stuff is reserved for the packs and they put crap up for individual purchase, leaving me feeling down on the market because I feel nickel and dimed.

SWTOR - Imperial Agent Screenshot 157

One of the main benefits I’ve seen on raiding in SW:TOR is accelerating the time it takes to gear up alts, companion characters, as well teach you the more subtle points of playing your class.  With a little bit of help from the past world events and spending credits on legacy gear you can easily take time to have a set of tier 2, 3, and 4 set of raid gear for a freshly leveled alternate character. Just purchase legacy gear that you can share between toons, throw the mods and enhancements in them and send them away to another character. Boom! She/He is all set when they hit 50. There will be a lot more work to be done of that character but you can give them a nice headstart.

If you routinely complete the weekly operation and flashpoint quests you can quickly acquire a bunch of commendations that can be used to gear up any characters you see fit. If you are really on the ball you can also complete the weekly missions in the daily areas to earn some extra scratch as well as more commendations. Having a high level character allows you to decrease the hardships of leveling an alt.

You’d be surprised when you play with a lot of other people you don’t normally play with, and you see a lot of people don’t understand the finer points of their class. For example, most classes get an interrupt skill that cancels a channeling attack and prevents it from being used for a brief period. Using it at the right time can mitigate a lot of damage the tank or yourself would take. At higher levels of play these simple mechanics become a vital part of boss encounters or regular trash pulls.

SWTOR - Reputation UI Screenshot

Recently, BioWare has started the PR engine for their next patch 1.7 named, “The Return of the Gree.” In the upcoming patch we will be getting a new recurring event that will take place in the PvP zone on the planet, Ilum, which has been underused since they decided to shut down the original PvP event that people mostly exploited instead of playing it as it was intended. Since then, Ilum has been a black eye for the game since it didn’t meet the expectations of anyone as it was intended to be a major player that contributed to the elder game.

From reading the description of the new event it seems to be a mix of PvP and PvE elements. In the contested area of Ilum players will have to discover the purpose of an ancient Gree starship suggesting that there will be a world boss there. If that is the case I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I never liked combining PvE and PvP encounters together thanks to my days with Aion and people insatiable appetite to grief someone. Another element that caught my mind was that they labeled it as a “recurring” event and that leaves me wondering if there will be specifics times this event plays out or is it just an ongoing struggle between the two factions. There will also be special armor and weapons to be had to those who participate in the event.

Another addition coming to the game is the Galactic Reputation system, which is essentially their version of faction grinding found in other MMOs. It’s a nice touch and something to keep people busy. I assume the missions will take place of the higher tier planets such as Corellia, Voss, Ilum, and perhaps they will use the daily areas as well. I’m interested to see where the missions will take us and it would be a nice touch if we have to revisit areas we long moved on from. The last note here is that from the screenshot reputation is purchasable which leads to think that the rewards may not be super awesome but some nice additions such as unique armors, pets, mounts.

All and all, I like the steady flow of content but I ultimately wish that they take care of some of the bugs in the game. The bugs aren’t game breaking but, they are in your face constantly and it starts giving off a bad quality vibe for the game. Examples are companion saber light persistence, random crashes to desktop while performing some conversations, UI bugs such as companion previews and inspecting other players don’t work properly. I’m happy that they are piece-mealing content but it feels that the QA department isn’t getting enough time to fix things or refix something that was broken in a previous patch.

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