Category: SW:TOR

Questing in Dromund Kaas

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Well, I certainly didn’t hold out long. After reaching level 10 as a non-subscriber I decided to subscribe for a month. This eased my mind when it came to all of the restrictions that F2P players get stuck with, and it allowed me much more enjoyment while playing. I re-created my Sith Inquisitor as a  Twi’lek which was what I wanted to create from the start. I picked Artifice as my craft with archaeology and treasure hunting to supplement it. After that, it was back to questing in Dromund Kaas. I enjoyed being out of the desert of Korriban, the landscape of barren wastelands has never really appealed to me. One thing I noticed is that my UI had turned off tracking for all quests that were not main story quests. I turned this back on so I didn’t miss anything, and that’s how I found myself level 25 in the level 15 area. None of that matters since the game levels you down to an appropriate rank and I’ve always been a fan of games that had this mechanic.

I’m playing my character as an egotistical daredevil who knows that she’s great at what she does. It’s an odd experience for me, but I’m loving the story options so far.

Next up? Balmorra!

Free Player? Lets Make Things Difficult..

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A lot of friends of mine are playing Star Wars: The Old Republic lately, whether it’s inspiration from watching the latest movie or just an urge of theirs. That’s how I found myself downloading the client last night. The game is free to play, but it has been a long time since I felt so incredibly shunned as a free to play player. First, there are tons of race restrictions. Even as a subscriber there are race restrictions for certain classes that you have to unlock through various ways. You can’t sprint until level 10, subscribers get this at level 1. Whether or not you can sprint isn’t going to necessarily make or break the actual gameplay, but while you’re questing through wide open spaces and everyone else is running past you it can be painful. You also can’t hide your helmet graphic unless you subscribe. That one bugs me a lot. You can’t use group chat until level 10, even if you’re on friends lists, so that meant I couldn’t actually talk with any of my friends playing. At least not yet.

You can’t choose your quest rewards, they’re already designated to you. None of this is new and the comments and discussions have already happened, but as someone who has never played before it’s very off putting.

As a Canadian gamer, subscriptions are a prickly cactus. They’re typically charged in US dollars, and the Canadian dollar is worth less than 70 cents to the US one these days. That means a regular $14.99 subscription actually costs me $21.71 and there are rumors about it falling to around 50 cents to the US dollar before the end of the year. A failing Canadian dollar means my groceries get more expensive as they’re imported, and so I have less money for things like subscription games. Not a big deal if you’ve only got one subscription game on your plate, but if you play more than one subscription game, or your a multi-gamer household, it gets expensive, fast. That’s why games like WoW, EVE, and EQ2 appeal to me. I can earn enough in-game currency to purchase a token to continue playing. Of course that means casual games are almost nonexistent, you need to be able to dedicate x number of hours in order to raise the funds.

I did manage to get to level 10 last night and unlock sprint as well as the ability to talk to people. The game is pretty, the story amazing. Whether or not I continue to play however will depend on how many more limitations I come up against and whether or not I decide to subscribe.

 

Thoughts on Staying Power #MMORPG #EQ2 #SWTOR #WoW

 

This post may come off a little negative, but that’s not how it’s intended. I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to why SWTOR didn’t grab me, or rather, it did, but couldn’t keep me. One of the major issues I had wasn’t really an issue at all, but is just how gamers perceive things. There are a lot of ‘things’ that I’m used to having in games, thanks to those who have been around for 5+ years. I realize it’s incredibly unfair to judge a game that releases today against a game that has been around for many years because after all that game has had time to grow – but – as a gamer, we are not interested in how things were 5 years ago, or how they will be 5 years from now. What we are interested in (and I use the term ‘we’ loosely here before someone throws a fit) is what is available NOW. At this exact moment that we are playing. If I can play a game that offers me 5 things that I really want from my video game, as opposed to a game that offers me 9 things that I really want from my video game, which game do you think I’m going to play? It doesn’t matter how old or how new a game is – in order to KEEP me playing, it’s going to have to appeal to those things on my list, and lets face it, the older games have had more time to work out what those ‘things’ are and to add them.

I feel very strongly that in order to actually compete with games that are 5-10 years old, games that are being released today need to take that progress into account. Dusty made a very good point yesterday regarding SWTOR – if you are leveling alts you can’t simply say “well, I leveled in Balmorra last time, so this time I’ll go to planet X instead.” There’s no alternate rout for you to bring your characters, where as (as an example) in EQ2 if you leveled in Thundering steppes last time, you’re more than welcome to head to Nektulos Forest. Or Butcherblock Mountains. Or do dungeons. In WoW you also have the choice of where to spend your time. In Rift? Not so much. SWTOR? Also not so much. Again this is an unfair comparison and I know it is, because the two later games are much newer, and thus haven’t had the time to add new content – but that’s simply how it is. In order to compete with games that are 5-10 years old, you must think of yourself as one of those games. I realize that there’s only so much manpower a company can dedicate to a game, and I also realize that this is pretty much an impossible task – but for us selfish gamers, that’s how we’re thinking. We’re going to constantly compare any new game to those we have played previously. Those older games have already gotten their hands on us, we’ve already got ties to them – new games need a way to get those hands on us in a MUCH faster way, so that we’ll stay.

When it comes down to it, that’s why SWTOR didn’t have the staying power required for me to keep playing. Were the stories amazing? Sure they were, I loved them. I loved having choices for my characters to make. I experienced very few bugs (personally, I know others have a long list of bugs), and datacrons and exploration were fun. The problem is (aside from the story lines and character choices) I can get those things in any other game on my list, plus more sandbox features which is key to me sticking around in any game. I play alts, they need choices that will be different from my mains. Sure, I can choose a different *story* for them, but they’re basically doing the exact same things (as long as we’re the same factions) as my main, minus the class quests. They’re visiting the same zones, collecting the same datacrons, and when I dislike a zone like Balmorra (those lifts.. that map.. OUCH) I have no alternate rout. Now, maybe game companies have given up on trying to retain players and instead are working to build up their first-time sales, which is completely fine if that’s the way they’re trying to operate. Obviously that’s not how I’d prefer things done but hey I’m not a gaming company trying to make money, I’m just a player.

Anyhow, those were just some of my thoughts on player retention. As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

 

A Sith Corruptor’s Cape, Balmorra, and Crafting #SWTOR

First of all, a VERY happy new years from me here at MmoQuests. I spent my evening sleeping which was probably the best present ever, teehee. I didn’t make it past 10pm but I did get 8 full hours of sleep and that’s something I treasure a whole lot these days.

I also got a lot of gaming done yesterday, my little operative is level 23, almost 24. I’m still on Balmorra, finishing off the bonus quests. I saw some players advertising in channels looking for a Sith Corruptor’s Cape and paying 20,000 credits for one so I decided to try and farm one. If you play on the Empire side you may have seen this object, it’s a long black cloak that players can mod (which means it’s basically appearance gear you can always keep and have useful stats on). I didn’t get one to drop, but maybe I’ll have some better luck today. One can always wish.

My crafting is going well but I’m learning the pitfalls very quickly. Due to orange gear there’s very little need for some crafting classes. There’s a high demand for cybertech created items because you only need to mod the gear you’re wearing, you never have to replace it. If a piece of looted gear looks like it will be better than your orange gear, chances are you can upgrade a mod and ta da the orange gear is better again. Biochem is another largely popular craft spec, as is the class that makes lightsaber hilts and crystals. The ‘core’ professions that we’re used to (weapons and armor) are not needed as much especially with the amount of gear players can find from questing and turning in tokens. They’re nice classes to make temporary upgrades, but not the huge money makers that I find the other crafting classes to be.

I made one last ‘splurge’ for 2011 last night and upgraded my account to the digital collector’s edition. With it came one of the most useful items I’ve seen so far, it’s a clicky item that will take a screen shot of the area directly in front of your character. It even removes the UI hub, so basically it’s a one click screen shot button where I don’t have to alt+z to remove the hub. Great for when I’m in combat, although I do wish it included my character (which wouldn’t really make sense for the item, it basically acts as a camera). I also got a mount, so that will save me a little money when I am able to use it at 25 – although at this point in time I doubt very much that I’ll be able to afford the 40,000 credits required. Leveling cybertech is expensive. Especially when you’re unable to farm the components required by hand due to your low level and have to rely on your companions failed missions.

How is everyone else getting along in game? What’s your favorite zones so far? Least favorite? I must admit, I really dislike Balmorra. The lifts complicate everything and more often than not I have no idea how to get to a particular section without running in long awkward circles around giant mountains. The next zone I’m headed to is apparently the ‘Vegas of SWTOR’ so we’ll see how that goes.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Post-Christmas.. Post. #SWTOR #Christmas

My Operative managed to obtain her first space ship last night as I sailed into level 17. This means I also earned a second companion, one I can send out on crafting missions without having to sacrifice my safety. I actually enjoy crafting in SWTOR, even though it’s not very hands on and can take a lot of time if you haven’t earned standing with your crew members.

Santa was very good to me this year. I got a new video card, a Radeon HD 6950, which replaces the two crossfired 4850’s that I was using. There was nothing technically wrong with the cards, I’ve been able to game just fine – but they were INCREDIBLY loud. It felt like a jet was flying overhead any time I started up a game. This new card is a dream, silent, and powerful. I used to use Nvidia cards, but one year I burned through three of them so I switched over and haven’t looked back. I moved all of the settings up to high quality and it runs very well.

I’m still playing WoW despite the lack of posts lately. I’m doing the Twilight dungeons, and this week I won three pieces of gear from the LFRaid tool on my shaman. She had not won a single thing before now, so I’m quite pleased. I have been taking a small break from leveling up the druid, I was a bit burnt out after getting her to level 70. I’m sure I’ll get back to leveling her once the holidays have calmed down.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas, filled with lots of loved ones. As always, happy gaming. No matter where you find yourself.

 

Exploring Cybertech Crafting #SWTOR

There has been a lack of blog posts lately, I know. It’s that time of year when everyone is busy with their holiday cheer – and me? I’ve been playing SWTOR. In fact I’ve surprised myself with how much I enjoy the game. I didn’t follow it through development at all, I had no idea what any of the classes were, how crafting worked, or any other details. My Imperial Agent is now level 11, and I’m done with Hutta (but I’m still there at the moment, farming crafting supplies). I ended up choosing Cybertech and the two ‘harvesting’ skills that are suggested to go with it, scavenging and underworld trading. Guild mates have chosen a few of the other craft categories, and we are trying to round things out as much as possible. Crafting is.. weird. Your character doesn’t technically craft, your companion does. In fact even though you can train your crew skills at level 1, you can’t open the crafting window until you have a companion. Your companion goes away on these crafting missions (leaving you with a moment of peace, alone for once) and returns with supplies – or without. Crafting  missions cost a bit of coin, consider it a fuel cost. The more your companion likes you, the higher chance they’ll come back with something useful. So far my companion is not that fond of me. Our personalities don’t mesh at all and she frowns at a lot of the choices I make in conversations with NPC. I know you can gift them items to increase your standing with them, but that costs money and I don’t really see the need at this moment.

Cybertech creates items like droid armor, earpieces, grenades, armoring, and mods. So far I’ve made a few mods, and one of the final items I received before leaving Hutta was a new weapon with four mod slots. I quickly headed over to the machine used to mod pieces, and made use of the crafted items I had been making.

While I have technically been playing SWTOR as a ‘single player’ game, I do belong to a guild with a handful of friends and I fully believe that it is up to the players to decide whether they play the game single player or otherwise. I’ve grouped up for some of my more difficult quests, and I expect as I level up I’ll continue to do so. When I don’t want to play with others I have the option to remain solo, which I’ll admit, is quite refreshing.

I’m looking forward to starting my class quests, and moving on from Hutta. While the zone was good at introducing me to the world, it’s also very dismal and brown. I could use a change of scenery.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Two ‘Free’ Levels, for Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent #SWTOR

 

I’m not all about the race to end game (my highest character is currently level 8), but being a little higher than the quest area you’re in comes in handy for easier kills. I’ve been completing every quest I can find, and spending loads of time roaming around pointing my grenades at anything that moves. That being said, for the bounty hunter and imperial agents that start on Hutta, there is an easy way to gain two ‘free’ levels.

** Spoilers**

First you have to wander your way to the Jiguuna Spaceport. This is just to the right hand side of Nem’ro’s Palace. Take the first right, and follow the hallway down to the end. You’ll find yourself in an open space with some ships you can use for transport. Fly to the Imperial Fleet. Once you’re there you’ll see a quest just ahead of you that offers to teach you about crafting and about social points (which I still haven’t gotten into yet). The crafting quest requires you to speak to crafting trainers and you earn experience for every one you talk to. There are approximately 12 NPC to speak to in total. You don’t have to actually train with any of them, you just need to speak to them and rack up the experience points. Once you’re done and you have your levels you can fly back to Hutta and continue on your quests.

Velours, Imperial Agent #SWTOR

I’ve been taking my time in SWTOR, especially since I know nothing about the world. After visiting with the guy pictured above a few times, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t especially like the Hutt. I suppose that’s not very surprising for a race that seems to thrive on greed and gluttony. My nick name in game is ‘the red blade’ and I think it’s fitting that my Cyborg has red hair to match. I played a Bounty Hunter for a bit yesterday but it didn’t appeal to me as much as the Imperial Agent, so I created a new one (the old one wasn’t on my account). Ah, that’s right, I’ve also got my own account already. It didn’t take long. Even if I only play for a month or two I’ll have gotten my money’s worth.

The voice acting and stories continue to suck me in. I can’t stress enough how refreshing it is to have choices that not only affect my character but affect the responses from NPC. This morning I received mail from a father who was grateful to me for allowing him to escape the planet with his son. See, when I first did the quest I killed the father in front of the kid, and I felt so bad after watching this kid burst into tears that I really wished there was some sort of rewind button. While I’ve been doing these quests I haven’t paid any attention to the little symbol that shows up indicating whether the response will give you points in light or dark. I’ve just been responding with whatever my gut told me was the ‘right’ answer for my character. In all of the quests I’ve done so far that was the only answer that I regretted giving, and wished I could have done differently. This time around I made sure not to kill the boys father. Of course it meant lying to his wife but she didn’t seem that nice anyhow.

Why would a member of the Empire care about being ‘nice?” Well. I’ve been thinking about that. It’s exactly as the introduction movie indicates. Revenge. Revenge fuels my character, Velours. She was told by her grandmother (I haven’t decided if it’s true or not) at a young age that her parents were killed by Jedi. Sure, that’s like saying a monk wiped out an entire town, but hey why would her grandmother lie to her. So Velours doesn’t see the Empire as being evil at all, and she doesn’t feel the need to be unnecessarily cruel  to those around her. It doesn’t matter if someone is ‘good’ or ‘evil’ there is always the potential for one or the other. Anyhow. Yeah. I’ve been working on a back story for her. It’s difficult but fun to create.

I’ve inched my way to level 8, and killed a bunch of thugs who were trying to figure out what I was doing in town. Always pleasant to walk into your own room and find a few undesirables rummaging around in your personal belongings. Needless to say, they didn’t stick around.

I hope everyone has been having a wonderful weekend, no matter where you have found yourself. As always, happy gaming!

So About That Game I Wasn’t Going To Play… #SWTOR

I didn’t mean to. My finger slipped! Some how I found myself typing in the user name and password to my other half’s account, and before I knew what had happened, I had created a Chiss Imperial Agent. Before today I didn’t even know what a Chiss was. In fact before today there were many things I didn’t know. Like the fact that Anakin is Darth Vader. Or that the Empire is the bad guys (technically) and the Republic is the good guys. I’ve only seen one Star Wars movie, and apparently it was “the wrong one” to watch (I think it was episode one, and the one that’s labeled episode one, not the REAL episode one). I’m working on fixing that as we speak.

All of my posts involving SWTOR (and I don’t know how many there will be, I don’t have my own account and I’m leery of purchasing a copy of the game for myself) will no doubt have many errors and come from the perspective of someone who is still learning so please have a little patience.

Anyhow.

I created a Chiss. Character creation followed the path of every other MMO out there, and I found the options a bit limiting. It felt odd to go back to a race / class restriction after going without in many games, but I assume that this is due to the ‘laws’ of Star Wars. After browsing through the class options (which I knew absolutely nothing about) I decided to just go with an Imperial Agent, which is a sniper type class (so far at least). I get to use rifles, and I throw bombs and for the first 7 levels at least I’ve taken great delight in hiding behind every little object on the ground while I pick off mobs one at a time.

The story so far is fantastic. I love having options in my responses and I love that they influence my character. I also love the voice acting. I may not know anything at all about Star Wars, but I do know about MMOs, and I know what I like and don’t like. So far, I like this.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

So Very Excited About A Game I Won’t Be Playing #SWTOR

 

I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty left out. See, a lot of my good gaming friends are playing SW:TOR as we speak, reserving their character names and making their claim to servers and guilds while I sit here writing this blog post, looking at my usual ‘GoC’ (game of choice) wondering “Why didn’t I pre-order?!” and then remembering that I really just don’t enjoy science fiction, and I don’t know anything at all about Star Wars (or Star Trek). It has taken ALL of my willpower not to give in and blow $60 on a game that I know from the get-go doesn’t interest me, because guess what, my friends are fantastic at sharing their excitement for all things shiny and new. I think the fact that they’re making me so excited about a game that I know doesn’t actually interest me at its core is amazing.

So as I browse through my twitter stream, my RSS, and my G+ feed, I hope you all have an amazing time and keep that excitement spilling over to us non-players! I really hope the game has an incredibly long life span, and I hope the guilds that I see forming up last longer than the ones that I saw in Rift (no offense to Rift, great game, but didn’t have the staying power we all wished was there). I’m looking forward to reading numerous blog posts about the early access, and I hope the official launch on the 20th goes as smooth as everyone wants it to. Just because I’m not playing it, doesn’t mean I want it to fail! Keep the excitement coming, folks!

As always, happy gaming no matter where you find yourself!

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