Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

We Seem To Be Made To Suffer

Posted: March 14, 2012 in Misc
Tags: ,

Before we go any further, let’s all just take a good long look at the following picture of the new tier 2 gear available in the upcoming 1.2 patch.  Sitting comfortably?  Here it is, Imperial side first.

Not entirely sure what’s going on with the Sith Inquisitor, their Tier 1.2 gear seems to be “a purple fart”, but it could just be a poorly timed special ability going off.  The other classes seem to be sporting the usual spiky/badass look you expect from the Empire.  The shoulders even seem to be relatively under control this time around.  Now for the Republic…

The whole “Get the shoulders under control!” theme seems to be extending to the Republic side too, the Consular in particular has gone from one extreme (My shoulderpads are a launch platform for moon missions) to the other (Dude, where’s my shoulders?).  Troopers look as badass as Troopers always do, Jedi Knights seem pretty HOLY FUCK WHAT’S THAT ON THE SMUGGLERS HEAD GET IT OFF BEFORE IT KILLS HER!!!!

Really, Bioware?  Seriously?  You couldn’t just go with a pair of pants, a low-slung holster and a vest?  That’s really all the Smugglers actually want, you know?  Instead we spent this entire raid cycle looking like this:

And we’re now condemned to spending the next god-only-knows-how-long looking like Beaker from The Muppet Show.


The good news is I’ll at least be able to strip the mods out of that stuff and stick it in the gear I levelled up with.

That I got from Coruscant.

At level 15.


When The Sith Hits The Fan

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Guild, Misc

Just to put the following into some sort of perspective for those of you didn’t come here from Pewpewlazerz, I played World of Warcraft for six years in a raiding guild.  We weren’t world-beaters by any stretch of the imagination but got a couple of server firsts and if there was heroic 25-man raid content out there, we were beating it on a regular basis.  Eventually, however, the magic wore off and I quit WoW a few months before the release of The Old Republic.  I was tired of being on the hamster wheel, grinding the same daily quests, smacking my head against the same raid bosses in different skins…  you know the drill.

I wasn’t alone.  A couple of guys from the guild felt the same way and had been playing less and less, and when I quit one of them contacted me with the news that he was setting up a SWTOR social guild and would I like to join?  And so that’s what I did.  The idea of story-based levelling appealed to me, and the idea of not being in a semi-hardcore raiding guild with people who felt the same way appealed even more.  We decided that we were in it for fun, would just run flashpoints and the occasional 8 player normal mode Operation once we reached the level cap.  Having considerably more free time than most, I hit 50 on Calli pretty quickly and settled down to level alts and explore the galaxy while I waited for the tanks and dps to catch up.

And waited.

And waited.

And then two tanks hit 50, having already gathered a few level 50 dps characters amongst us and so I waited for them to gear up and get ready for flashpoints.

And waited.

And waited.

It turned out that one tank hit 50, did one flashpoint, then logged off and started levelling alts, never to be seen again.  The other, whenever he was on, which wasn’t often, couldn’t be prised out of warzones for love nor money, despite all his grand promises of taking on pve content at 50 while I was running him through Maelstrom Prison and Taral V.  So I thought to myself “screw this” and started levelling my own tank.  Enter Aluriel stage left.  Jedi Guardian tank, never stepped foot inside a level 50 flashpoint yet and has 16.5k health.  I’m tanking Flashpoints for you now, who’s with me?

Guys?  Hello?

So yes.  Seriously pissed off right now.  Of course I could just PuG flashpoints, except I had some truly horrific experiences early on doing that.  Allow me to give you an example.  Let’s say there are five bad guys, three of them are elites, two are not.  Two of the people in your group have very good crowd control, so you use it before the pull and now there’s just one elite and two strong mobs.  Out of those three, which do you think the tank should initially grab aggro on before gathering up the rest?  Yes that’s right, obviously.  The elite.  Except this tank decided the way to do things was to jump on top of one of the non-elites, do just enough area damage to break ALL the crowd control but not enough to beat healing aggro and then tank just one of the non-elites, leaving yours truly to “tank” the other four mobs, three of which, I hasten to remind you, were elites.

It didn’t end well.

And in case you’re all thinking “well anyone can make a mistake once”, this retard did the exact same thing not just once but three times on the same group of bad guys before my sanity snapped.  So thanks to mouth-breathing window-lickers like this moron, I don’t PuG flashpoints.  All of which leaves me with precious little to do other than run Ilum dailies to gear up companions or level more alts.  So I levelled more alts.  And then that started to get seriously boring around about the time I got my fourth character to Hoth, because no amount of story-based levelling can distract you from the fact that you’re on a planet where it takes 15 minutes of driving to get to the next quest and another 15 minutes to drive back and hand it in, and I realised I just didn’t have the willpower to do it anymore.  I needed to be in a guild that actually did stuff.

So I’m now on trial in a small guild of nice folks who raid four times a week on Nightmare modes.  Funny how no matter how much things change, they just stay the same.

Hello, folks!  First, let’s get the obligatory boring introduction out of the way.  Welcome to my Star Wars: The Old Republic blog, the spiritual successor to my now-defunct World of Warcraft blog, Pew Pew Lazerz!  I started playing MMOs with Ultima Online, moved briefly onto EVE Online, played Star Wars Galaxies for years until Sony destroyed it, then spent over 6 years having a metric ass-ton of fun in World of Warcraft while dabbling in a little Warhammer Online before finally growing bored with Warcraft and moving here, to Star Wars: The Old Republic.

I like SWTOR.  I like it a lot.  It does a lot of things very, very well indeed.  It’s impossible to avoid comparisons with World of Warcraft, it’s the biggest elephant in the room, after all; and while the two games are very similar there are enough differences for SWTOR to feel fresh enough for me to not feel like I’m playing a WOW clone.  We’re at the stage in SWTOR now where people are over the gee-whiz! stage and are starting to complain about stuff, and while there certainly is complaint-worthy stuff in SWTOR, it’s easy to take for granted the things that it does better than anything else out there, so it’s time for a recap.

1.  Every class gets the ability to resurrect (but healers can do it without a cooldown) out of combat.
2.  Every class has a unique group buff.
3.  Every class has an out of combat regeneration ability.  No sitting around for two minutes between fights because you ran out of food/water.
4.  Each class has a storyline that you follow throughout the game.  You progress as you follow the story around, not just because the next zone is where the next series of pickup quests are.
5.  Every quest has seriously, ridiculously good voice acting.
6.  Gear that you can customise from early on, and keep upgrading until endgame if you prefer the way it looks.  No need to wear your clownsuit while levelling.
7.  Companion characters that can dps, heal or tank for you.
8.  No requirement to grind crafting materials.  You can simply send your companions off to harvest things while you play the game (if you wish to).
9.  Reduced lag in busy areas by automatically opening new world instances while still keeping chat channels global so you can find groups for tough quests.
10.  Quest rewards are specific to the class you play, no Smuggler loot for Troopers.
11.  Instance drops are heavily weighted to whichever classes are in the instance.

And there’s more.  Admittedly, not all of the above is going to ring everyone’s’ bells and that’s fair enough.  The voice acting is seriously good (It’s impossible to think of the female Trooper as anything other than Commander Shepherd from Mass Effect) but some people may not care for it at all.  That’s fine, press space to skip dialogue if that’s what floats your boat, although I suspect most will listen to it all on their first play-through because it really is that good.   The voice acting is part of what I consider to be the best feature of the game, however, and it’s something that Bioware have always excelled at, and that’s the storytelling.

Are You Sitting Comfortably?
Each class has its own storyline which you follow throughout the game.  This gives it serious replay value if you care even remotely about story.  The Jedi Consular is on a quest to track down and eliminate the source of a mysterious Force Plague that’s afflicting Jedi Masters, and later in Act II of the game focusses on building a diplomatic alliance of independent worlds to fight the Empire.  The Smuggler hunts down clues to reclaiming the lost treasure of an infamous underworld crime boss.  The Trooper tracks down and captures or kills members of an elite Special Forces unit that defected to the Empire, and the Jedi Knight is on the trail of an Imperial superweapon project.  The quests on the Imperial side are totally different for their comparable classes, too.  You absolutely can ignore the storyline quests if you wish, but engaging with them gives a point to the levelling process beyond the usual “complete quests in zone A, move to zone B” that every other game lacks.

Everything plays differently depending on the choices you make, too.  Even within the same class.  As an example, I have two Smugglers.  Kessler is a Scoundrel, and a low-down dirty backstabbing son of a bitch, to boot.  Jocasta is a Gunslinger, and generally does what’s right, especially if there’s profit in it.  At one point of the storyline quest on Tatooine you’re in a Cantina where a bunch of gangsters are about to pick a fight with the wrong Jedi.  Jocasta stepped in and helped out in a show of female solidarity, Kessler stayed lounging against the bar cracking one-liners while the Jedi carved up the opposition alone.  The choices you make affect how your companions feel about you too, and this opens up (or shuts off) new companion quests that you wouldn’t get otherwise.  Jocasta gained brownie points with her companion Corso for stepping up to defend a lone woman in distress.  Meanwhile, Corso hates Kessler’s guts.

I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This.
Nothing’s perfect, of course.  There are some glaring disparities between the classes that, in my opinion, definitely need looking at.  The rate at which you collect companion characters gives some classes a definite advantage over others, sometimes to an extent which has serious repercussions on gameplay.  The most obvious example would be Troopers and Jedi Knights.  As a Trooper you’re going to have four companions by the time you leave Nar Shaddaa (the third quest world after your starting planet).  Aric Jorgan, a  Trooper Commando, C2-N2 your ship’s steward droid, Sergeant Elara Dorne, a Trooper Combat Medic and M1-4X, a Trooper Battledroid tank.  The important one here is Sergeant Dorne.  With a pet Combat Medic following you around, not only is there absolutely zero downtime whatsoever but you can also handle fights that other classes without the benefit of a healer would have to think seriously hard about getting involved in.  Another factor is the fact that with the exception of your ship droid, every Trooper companion is also a Trooper.  This means when you get a gear upgrade you simply give your old gear to your companion. Finally, with three spare companions plus the one you quest with you can always have the maximum of three companions deployed on crewskill missions while you’re questing.

By contrast, Jedi Knights have a bit of a slog.  Your first companion is T7-01, an Astromech droid and a fantastic little tank.  The only problem with T7 is that droid upgrades are only made by people with the Cybertech crewskill, otherwise you’re having to choose between quest rewards for yourself or T7.  Also if you’re a Jedi Guardian you have little use for a tank.  Luckily you get Kira Carsen, a Jedi  Shadow padawan very early on at the end of your second world, Coruscant.  Kira is melee dps and she can do some pretty hefty damage, but again she uses different gear to you and needs decent gear to be effective.  Finally, in common with every other class, you get C2-N2 (who unlike every other companion comes with zero gear) once you gain your ship sometime during the Coruscant questline.  So by the time you complete the second quest world you have have three companions, two of them are droids and while C2 is technically a healer, he has zero gear whatsoever and is totally unsuited to combat unless you put some serious effort into finding gear for him, which you won’t be able to afford since you’re only around level 16 at this point.  C2’s good for running crewskill missions and that’s about it, so you have two effective companions and neither of them can heal you.  You’re either a Jedi Guardian (tank) or a Jedi Sentinel (melee dps) and you have no healer companion until you get Doc.  But you get Doc soon, right?


It goes like this.  Tython (starting world) – Coruscant – Taris – Nar Shaddaa (troopers have dps, tanking and healing companions who all share the same gear at this point) – Tatooine – Alderaan – Balmorra and NOW you get Doc, your Smuggler healer, and you’re going to be able to see level 40 from here.  Up until the end of Balmorra, levelling a Jedi Knight is a bit of a slog.  Once you get Doc it’s like playing a whole different game.  Of course, he’s a Smuggler so he uses completely different gear to you, naturally.  Another point to note is that you can deploy up to three companions once you’re at the level  where you start doing Tatooine but since you need one of them with you to quest effectively you’re gimped doing crewskill missions compared to Troopers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m making it sound like playing a Jedi Knight is hard work.  It’s really not.  It’s just that playing a Trooper Commando or Vanguard is completely effortless by comparison.  They’re both enjoyable, but until you get Doc playing a Jedi will require a little more thought than just charging in, guns blazing, which you absolutely can do all the time with a Trooper.

Also, Troopers look awesome.  Really.