14 Oct

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

Games, MMOs, SWTOR by Tramell

SWTOR - Kalani Sincliar Header 03

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.


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

SWTOR - New Year Header

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.


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.


21 Jun

Packing up and Settling In [SWTOR]

As you might have heard, BioWare have started implementing server transfers for both the EU and NA servers. They are hand selecting a bunch of server to transfer to a particular server thus trying to carefully create high population servers. My guild and all my characters have moved from the Sanctum of the Exalted server to Ebon Hawke server. Ebon Hawke seems to be the default NA East RP-PvE server since all of the other NA East RP servers have Ebon Hawke as a destination server.

Though I am not sure how other servers are faring, the majority on SoTE made the switch as soon as it was available. Most concluded that since the server was designated as an origin server that can transfer to a destination server, that server would eventually bleed out and making a switch now would be for the best. Although the messaging from BioWare may have contradicted itself, the actual process of transfers seems to indicate they are trying to downsize with a plethora of servers being selected to transfer over to two particular servers of the same type.

Since my guild and I have made the switch, the game feels like it did a couple of months ago. People are shouting for groups, from hard mode flashpoints to daily quests. During the first few days of transfers Ebon Hawke’s Imperial Fleet actually had two instances, there was so many people hanging out on the fleet, one instance couldn’t contain them all. The server transfers have rekindled interest in the game, BioWare just needs to polish up 1.3 to give people the flexibility to form groups and finally have a system in place to give PvPers to take competition to the next level.


08 Feb

Endgame Minutia [SWTOR]

Gaming Journal, MMOs, SWTOR by Tramell

Being level 50 in any MMO is quite an achievement. Now that I am at the tip of the iceberg in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I see that it is not all sugar and rainbows. While going through the motions of transitioning from level grinding to focused group content and player vs. players, I noticed a few flaws in the elder game. They have created an inconsistent approach to progression in terms of gear by relying too much on a random number generator instead of a steady progression. In addition, the crafting system has a few holes and cracks in it. The crafted items available at the higher levels shows favor to certain crafting skills.

I personally have always had a slight problem with endgame in MMOs. Sure, I like to do raids and doing challenging hard versions of various dungeons. What I never liked is the pace slow down. From the beginning until you hit max level it has usually been about going from place to place, hub-to-hub experiencing unique stories while your character got better and better. When you hit max level, you are done and the only thing that is left is to get better gear.

This is where I have my first major issue with SWTOR. The gear progression is just wacky. There are three tiers of PvP and PvE gear that becomes your new goal depending on your preference. The issue is that the tier one gear, your ‘starter’ gear is hard to obtain even with recent patches to rewards. In addition, the gear is also virtually already obsolete with the ability to customize orange gear and slotting high-level mods you acquire from completing the daily missions.


20 Jan

Game Journal: One Sweet Journey [SWTOR]

Gaming Journal, MMOs, SWTOR by Tramell

It has been awhile since I hit max level in a MMO. I am usually the person who dabbles in a game long enough to figure out what it offers. If I like it, I tend to stick with it awhile, otherwise I drop when I feel I got to most out of the experience. With the recent holiday releases, there is still plenty of games out there I need to wet my whistle on but I have been focusing on a select few.

One of my games of choice recently has been Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have been playing the game since I got my invite into early access late in December, going full steam ahead ever since then. Sticking with my Mirialan Smuggler I reached 50 earlier this month and had time to reflect on the journey; a crucial piece of an MMO.

Not once did I ever get bored playing my character or found myself frustrated at any given point. For the first time in a long time sans Skyrim, I really enjoyed myself and got lost within a virtual world. Many things attributed to this with BioWare story being one of them. Aside from that, the smuggler gunslinger class was a joy to play and the design of the planets kept the experience new and fresh. Another component was the way they designed their quests. In retrospect, you are doing the same thing repeatedly, but the context and objectives to each quest alleviate the feeling of repetitiveness.


23 Dec

Game Journal: A Galaxy Far, Far Away [SWTOR]

Gaming Journal, MMOs, SWTOR by Tramell

It has been a long time coming but the it has finally come. Servers are filling to the brim. EA and BioWare CS offices are churning at max capacity. The website is taking a beating and people are desperately trying to get a CC on file so they can hop back into the game. Yup, everything seems to be just right.

I myself was fortunate enough to pre-order early and got in on the first wave of invites during early access. I was also extremely blessed to receive the Collector’s Edition for a fraction of the cost – legitimately mind you – and been ogling all the goodies that came with it.

I am primarily on the Republic side with the Republic Mercy Corps guild as a smuggler and I am possibly thinking about breaking away from the norm for an alt. I might create a DPS version of the Jedi Guardian, or perhaps give the Jedi Consular a second go; the story did not really stick with me when I tried it during beta.


13 Dec

Decisions and Early Access [SWTOR]

We have all seen the SWTOR reports coming out of different blogs and news outlet; I even pumped out two articles of my own about the game. Early access is here and it’s time to make a decision about what class I want to start out as, what race, look, and how exactly I want to progress my character.

I have decided that my main class with be the Smuggler. The species type will be Mirialan since I loved the look of my beta character of the same species. I think I am going to continue the trend and at some point down the road, I want to pick up a Jedi class. Whether that will be the Jedi Consular or the Sith Inquisitor remains to be seen. However, I am leaning towards Sith because I enjoyed that particular story more than its counterpart. On the other hand, however, the consular does get Nadia, a Mirialan apprentice that is easy on the eyes and a handy DPS companion.  Oh, the decisions! I digress though; this particular decision will be made a later point in time.

Doing a little bit of light RP, I thought about what exactly my Smuggler would invest in as a trade. The first thought that came to mind was obviously he/she sells goods on a variety of markets, why not dive into Underworld Trading. Doing a bit of research I found out Underworld Trading supplements a lot of the crew skills such as, Armortech, Cybertech, and Synthweaving. I am going to go with Cybertech because I want to be able to make mods for the customizable gear. As I level up, I may take a liking to some of the fully customizable orange gear.