14 Oct

Screenshot Stories: A Bounty Hunter’s Tale [SWTOR]

Games, MMOs, SWTOR by Tramell

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Star Wars: The Old Republic is known for its storytelling if nothing else. Within the game there are 8 classes to choose from with each of them sporting two advanced classes options. Regardless of which advanced class you pick, each class has a story to tell and your dialogue choices influences the flavor of the story being told.

Today in screenshots I present you Kalani Sinclair, my Mirialan Bounty Hunter. The story begins with Kalani being chosen by Braden, an older Bounty Hunter whose goal is to form a team to win the Great Hunt, a prestigious bounty hunter event to determine who is the best of the best in the bounty hunting trade. The Great Hunt is an event that pits Bounty Hunter against Bounty Hunter by giving them the same contract. The winner needs to complete the contract and “deal” with the competition. The last one remaining is the declared the Champion. As a promising hunter, he wants you to be the muscle of the team while the rest of the crew, Mako, Jory, and himself provide the support you will need to be successful.

Soon things take a turn for the worse as a fellow competitor, Tarro Blood, a Mandalorian who was severely injured in the previous Great Hunt decides to bend the rules and have his lackey kill off the competition’s support preventing from advancing so that he himself can take the glory that is rightfully his. In a resulting fire fight, Braden and Jory pay the ultimate price and the only people left are yourself and Mako. To salvage what’s left of the team you are left no choice but to continue your adventure on Hutta and gain the support of Nem’ro the Hutt and acquire a token that will allow you to participate in the Great Hunt.


16 Apr

A Tailored Buffet [WildStar]

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Every since WildStar was announced in 2011 I found myself intrigued by the game. Perhaps you could attribute this to the art style but, I was genuinely interested in their design approach. Over and over, Carbine Studios stated that they just wanted to make a fun game and cater to as many people as they could. To create an environment that not matter what the played did, they could enjoy themselves. This lead to development of content rich areas, unique play experiences and, sandbox-like features that enables players and guilds to create their own footprint.

When I played the game at Pax East this year I was able to experience some of that philosophy first hand. Getting a taste of the Dominion faction in the Dredune starter are, a Draken tribal area, I started out playing as a Cassian Spellslinger who specialized in the Solider Path. Right out of the gate, I seen the wealth of content and how it all melding together. The first quest I received tasked me with proving myself by hunting nearby creatures, a basic quest to introduce combat. However, since I chose the Soldier’s Path during character creation, I also had the opportunity to test stick grenades on the same wildlife I had to hunt. Essentially I was completing two quests at once but I was receiving a tailored experience from my path.

The combat varies with each class but the fundamental rules apply, don’t stand in the fire and be aware of your situation and surroundings. The game has dodge mechanics as well as, free form moves that allow you to DPS as you manuever. Do note however, that there are skills that will root you in place. Monsters will telegraph any big moves they are about to unleash, they vary from conal attacks, charges, and some skills randomly target the surrounding area. There is a mix of strategy and on your toes reactions. Utilizing your skill set, you slowly learn what a monster is capable of and adjusting the way you do combat to take it down efficiently.


27 Mar

Pax East 2013: The Giveaways – Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Beta Key

FFXIV A Realm Reborn Logo 02

Update: A winner has been picked. Thank you all for participating. The turn out was great!

Another giveaway, same deal, send an e-mail me Tramella1 -at- gmail dot com letting me know which giveaway you want to be a part of  and the best way to reach you in case you are one of the lucky winners. This can be a twitter handle, dummy e-mail, anything you feel comfortable with. If you are coming here from a social media site, you can leave a comment with the same details on the post and that will also act as an entry to one of the two giveaways.

On Saturday, March 30, 2013 around noon time, I will draw names from a hat for each prize.


23 Feb

Return of the Gree and Galactic Reputation Impressions [SWTOR]

Games, Gaming Journal, MMOs, SWTOR by Tramell

SWTOR - Return of the Gree Header

Over the past week we received some fresh content for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Version update 1.7, Return of the Gree brought about a reputation system as well as, a fancy new world event that will recur over the year. The reputation system which BioWare calls Galactic Reputation adds organizations that you can earn a reputation with and receive special rewards and titles the farther you progress with them. The Return of the Gree event helps tell the story of the ancient race. The Gree are known for their technological prowess and they have arrived on Ilum to collect data on the two factions. The event consists of a number of daily and event specific missions that help players ease into the reputation system.

The system has 6 tiers of progression and by completing missions, you earn trophies that allot you a certain amount of reputation points. They vary in quality, the higher it is the more points you earn. There is a weekly cap to how much you can advance, so those of us with multiple characters don’t gain a significant advantage outside of earning trophies at a faster rate for the weeks that follow.

One thing to note however, reputation is legacy bound and transfers across faction. As an example, if you are playing your republic character and level up with the Voss, the same rank will apply to your character allied with the Empire. Also some organizations are mirrors of each other, such as the Republic Hyperspace Armada and Imperial First Mobile Fleet and the same example applies to them. I don’t have a strong opinion about the reputation system but, I like there is something else to be accomplished when I’m tired of my usual routine of completing flashpoints and operations or leveling my other lowbie characters – my children.


19 Jan

Gaming Journal: Winter Thoughts [SWTOR]

Gaming Journal, SWTOR by Tramell

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.


04 Jan

A New Year with Renewed Vigor

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A new year begins and it ushers in a fresh start, a beginning of another of those many journeys you take in life. Before the New Year hit I’ve spent time reflecting and what exactly it was I wanted to achieve this year and use whatever goals I strived for as a foundation as I move forward. For a while now I feel like I’ve been stuck in a rut. I’m not in a bad place but I feel I owe to myself to achieve something higher no matter how long it takes or how hard it may become. Been prepping for this since the later months of 2012, hence the lack of posts which will pick back up significantly this year and I look forward to seeing what I can do in a year. I’ll try to post my progress along with the usual content you’ll find on my blog.

Gaming activity wise, I’ve been knee deep in my MMO of choice, Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’ve found myself doing a lot of things that I thought I would never do. I’ve leveled up multiple maxed-leveled characters and even went through the process of gearing them up and making sure they are raid ready. I’ve made it a side project to gear my companions as well so I would be able to complete and participate in content that would require four people with just a friend and myself.

I’ve even explored multiple crafting and gathering trades, though most of my characters focus on Biochem since it saves me money when I want to raid with them as well as, make me a tidy sum of money from time to time by selling the higher quality stims and medical packs. That being said I shouldn’t discount the other crafting professions as my Smuggler who is invested in the Cybertech skill allows me to break down mods and armorings for the high quality materials I need to craft most high level modifications such as weapon barrels and hilts as well as armorings she cannot craft yet.


04 Sep

The Beginning of a Long Journey [GW2]

This past week has been all about Guild Wars 2, well mostly anyways. Since I pre-purchased the game, I was able to hop on for headstart and I never looked back. Starting off, I was unable to get the names I wanted but I was able to tact on a last name to remedy that situation.   Although, I named my human necromancer Cáde, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea since if I’m talking to some in PMs, I need to talk to them first or they need to dig in a menu for my name since most people are not familiar with alt key shortcuts for special characters.

Naming conundrums aside, I’ve been having a ball with the game. After reserving a name for a cherished friend I moved on to create a necromancer and norn thief. The human necromancer was a no brainer for me with the story I had setup for myself – street rat, lost sister, attuned to Grenth – but I made a bit of a gamble choosing a Norn to go with the Thief profession. I love the class a lot but, my early adventures with the Norn race during beta let me very disappointed.

During the early betas, all the dialogue felt like it was forced bravado. Everyone was gun-ho 110% of the time to the point where they all felt really one dimensional and it didn’t feel real. However, they a lot of changed that overall made the race feel a lot better while retaining that gun-ho super positive attitude that represents the Norn. So for the moment I’m enjoying my Norn Thief and sometime down the line I will pick up the Asura since I really enjoyed my time with the race during BWE 3.


19 Aug

Videos of the Week: WildStar Gamescom 2012 Footage

Gamescom, News, WildStar by Tramell

Ever since Pax Prime 2011, Carbine Studio’s MMO, WildStar has been quietly being developed. Aside from the WildStar Wenesdays and #Wsuplink on Twitter information has been pretty sparse over the year. At Gamescom 2012, they held private demonstrations showcasing combat, world design, philosophy, and teasing future content. What I came away with after watching all the videos and what really impressed was their mentality of “keeping the experience fresh.”

The world design is expressive and varied. As the developer flew around you can see the environment constantly changing along the way. The monsters found within have unique way of attacking and with the way combat being very movement heavy, the environment you fight said monster in can offer a different experience. There are places where you can interact with the world such as, blue crystals embedded into the ground that allows you to jump higher and reach new areas that may have hidden gems. You can set off a box of fireworks to destroy enemies in the vicinity if you’re a stealth class. I really like that type of interaction, it makes me feel more connected to the world  because it break away from the “kill stuff, loot and repeat” mindset you develop as you play creating that dreaded laundry-list playstyle.

One thing that does worry me though is that they added tons and tons of content. I hope it is all meaningful and not just the same thing with a simple word swap. It’s inevitable but mask it a bit. Instead kill 17 this or collect 72 of that, I would like see a “research this node over here” objective and I just happen to kill 20 of tigerbear-magi pigs along the way. Perhaps something in the way of Guild Wars 2 and  provided varied objectives for a given area or simply hide the number count and players fill up a progress bar instead. Hopefully they can mask the grind well with varied objectives, visual elements and gameplay.


03 Aug

Not Just The Payment Model [SWTOR]

Games, News, SWTOR by Tramell

After just 8 months in, EA announced during their earnings call that Star Wars: The Old Republic will transition to a free to play hybrid model in the fall. Shortly after BioWare updated the game’s website with a slew of information going into some of the details of their free-to-play model. A cash shop along with its own set of currency called Cartel Coins, which I’m sure their conversion rates will milk an extra dollar as well as, rewarding current and past subscribers when the shop launches. With the transition the subscription will not disappear but, will act as the highest tier of service by granting you access to all the game’s features. Free-to-play players will be restricted in the usual convention means.

Those of you invested and the game and continue to pay monthly for access your experience won’t change. Those of you who are grandfathered into a free account will have limited access to the game. You’ll be restricted to how many characters you can create, how many space missions, warzones and flashpoints you can take part in per week. You will not have access to Operations or special travel features. Fortunately, if you can stomach the restricted access you will be able level up your character to the current level cap of 50. After that, they seem to hint that you will have to pay for additional content. If you have to pay piece meal or have to pay monthly after that I don’t know, those details aren’t available.

In the realm of things, I think we all could have guessed that SW:TOR at some point would adopt a free-to-play model. What the switch in revenue model does tell us is that people want options and when the only way for you to have access is to pay you judge the product based on what you release over time. Although BioWare have done well in putting together some major patches to the game that introduced new content and game changes, it wasn’t enough for most people to keep investing $15 into the game.


27 Jul

Video of the Week: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Trailer

FFXIV, Games, MMOs by Tramell

Ever since the poor release of Final Fantasy XIV back in September of last year and the restructuring of the team, there was constant talk of a revamp for the game dubbed Version 2.0. It wasn’t long ago that Square Enix released new screenshots of Final Fantasy XIV version 2.0 to the public shortly after E3 to start the PR hype for the rerelease of the game that will transition in beta sometime in September. With the release of the new trailer, a proper name has been given to 2.0 in the form of, A Realm Reborn.

A trailer and screenshots can be found below showcasing some of the new CGI being made for the game. I’ve also included some of the screenshots showing off the new engine, monsters, and UI features found in the new version of the game.

For current players, a new blog post was added today detailing some of the discontinued features that will not carry over to a Realm Reborn. The item to summon a legendary Goobue mount will no longer be available. Guild Marks will be cut from the game as well as, some achievements, character history on the lodestone and reviewing current cutscenes.