Posts Tagged ‘SWTOR’

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SWTOR free to play ‘coming this fall’ finally here

November 10, 2012

As per Massively, it lands on the 15th, next Thursday. From what I’ve read, going from subscriber to free is a big downgrade – a lot of game features are lost, and some can be bought back temporarily. I’ll have to keep looking for a good explanation of all the differences, because I can easily find the basics but I keep hearing about more.

I am sure to go FTP after it arrives, not sure what we’ll do with the game after that. Sue and I have made it to 50 on our Imp mains, and I was left somewhat disappointed with the scoundrel/operative classes because they carry guns but just don’t have any incentive to shoot them. There was no happy medium.

As for where my money goes, who knows? We’re entertaining going back to WoW and buying into Pandaria, how bad is that?

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A quintessence of code

May 30, 2012

To stab, or not to stab…that is the question.

I haven’t written much about my SWTOR adventuring, and after pondering it (instead of writing) I think I finally know why. When I started blogging about WoW, I was really into it…speed leveling characters, maxing out an entire support group of alts for my main character, running dungeons and raiding nearly every free day to build a stronger toon, to see the content. Raiding seemed like the natural end of PvE gaming and I saw no reason not to play it to the hilt. Plus, I had years of WoW already played and a nice connection to my death knight; I didn’t just like playing him, I liked the death knight class, and the legacy of Warcraft gaming that I’d been part of for years.

Skip ahead to the future in SWTOR, and it’s just not there. I have had zero interest in speeding to level 50 on anything. All of the classes are fun, but none of them have dazzled me. I have found no community to be part of, not that I really tried. Flashpoint hard modes and operations nearly make me shudder. So in spite of maxing out a Scoundrel, being fairly close to maxing out an Operative, plus a few other classes I’ve tried…well, playing a Scoundrel and an Operative was a mistake, they’re just the same thing and at long last, I ended up not liking their style.

It’s unfortunate that the advanced classes can’t be changed, because every Scoundrel must pistol-whip you rather than shoot you with it, and every Operative must stab you repeatedly with knives rather than hang back and shoot whatever fancy rifle is hanging off his shoulder. And if I had gone the Sniper route, that would have been ok, but then I’d never get to shoot my friends in the face with kolto darts. And the lightsaber classes? Oddly enough, they seem to be the ones I am least interested in – kind of self-defeating, as I’m sure the devs spent the most time polishing them.

Anyway, I’m supposed to be online this evening, so off I go.

Maybe this would make it cooler…

It works on everything.

Everything.

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Busy SWTOR weekend

April 17, 2012

It was only a long trek to 50 because I made it that way, but finally the Dark Schneider made it to 50 last night. Although I am not sure I will keep playing him a lot at 50 – wanted to try out Scoundrel healing but the server population made it impossible to try – it was definitely worthwhile to play through the end of the stories on Corellia and the smuggler’s class story. Props to the Wookiee Bowdaar for sticking it out with me, responding quite affectionately to…most of my choices! After a long history of being the good guy, making the light choices, and sparing folks, working with shady types, and getting betrayed repeatedly for it…Daku went on a dark-tinged killing spree on Corellia. Darmas Pollaran, who made the Republic privateer job sound so good before he twisted it all to serve the Empire? Contemptuously asking for a price to spare him? Blam! Senator Dodonna, who recruited you for the privateer job before throwing in with the Empire? Ends up a kitchen slave? Even plays the True Love card? Blam! And the Voidwolf, the beneficiary of all that betrayal…well, let’s say his plan to unite the underworld to work for the Empire backfired, along with the grenade that he should have had on a shorter fuse. Oops.

So that’s the wrap-up on 50 levels of scheming, plotting, finagling and flirting. The smuggler becomes the hero of the Republic for freeing Corellia, and ruining the Voidwolf’s plot, and getting the other smuggler types to work for the Republic…at least, for a while. A nice final touch was hearing from the entire crew, most of which I sadly hadn’t seen much of since I started working with Bowdaar, my kick-ass melee partner. And after a little chat, the crew heads back to the ship for more adventure…and there is more. How much more I don’t know yet. Clearly not enough for some, but plenty for me, so far.

Besides, still haven’t finished courting Risha, and that simply will not do.

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On the likelihood of Trandoshan PCs

January 11, 2012

Based on what I read today, I would peg it as ‘low.’ And for a reason that makes sense to me; a writer for Old Republic has the words to express it that I couldn’t think of.

Q: Would you be excited by the possibility of bringing in new playable alien races, as right now you’ve stuck to rather humanoid looking races without touching on the likes of Wookiees or Sullustans?

AF: So, again I can’t speak specifically for future content. You know, the reason for our humanoid range of species, it’s a matter of relatability to a large degree. The further you get from human the more difficult it is for players to get into their mindset, the more difficult it is for all the other characters in the game to relate to them the same way. There are enormous technical obstacles, there is building all the lip synching, all the emotion into the face of the human is incredibly difficult and time consuming, doing that for something like a Wookiee – and we couldn’t half do it, we couldn’t let Wookiees be only a third as expressive as humans. At that point we’re just giving up. We’re building a game designed to do these things, we can’t do it in half measures. Same with customising appearances. Adding one dramatically different alien, we still need as much variety as we would need for humans. Between the relatability aspect and the technical aspect it seems best to focus on what Star Wars has always done best which is people who look like us.

Relatability. Now, I can just hear Dave telling me how he relates to cold-blooded reptiles better than people, and maybe I’d agree, heh. But I can see where it would be a problem writing story and doing animation and expressing enough personality with the resources they have. Could you get into an alien character and do quests where your end of the conversation is a series of Star Warsian gibberish, to the point that you begin to recognize the phrases and can finish sentences?

The writer had some more to add:

AF: Yeah, and there are a lot of people who are really into playing the incredibly alien stuff but I think what a lot of those people are into is the fact that they are strange and different. So if we can’t pull that off in the storytelling. If we can’t make you feel like yes, you are a Wookiee, everyone is going to look at you differently than if you were human, your entire background is going to be very different, that’s going to shape everything you do differently. If you were doing humans with Wookiee masks in the story then I don’t think it’s going to satisfy most of the people who are going to play Wookiee.

It’s not the aesthetic of it, it’s the whole package. It’s being the barbarian from some planet who is stronger and wilder than everyone else and who is only half understood. That’s what people love about Wookiees. We don’t have anything against that storytelling, it’s not a moral opposition to not having inhuman characters but in order to do it right you need to write a story around that character.

So, having done the intro content in SWTOR a few times, would it lend itself to the Trandoshan PC? What classes would they be? Would you feel shortchanged if, say, they couldn’t be Sith because the Empire has an anti-alien bias? Would it feel right to be doing the same series of quests that the more human, more ‘relatable’ races are doing? Could the short list of canned responses at each point of conversation adjust to a truly alien mindset? Would you care about the hapless Coruscant refugee who’s lost his mate to a gang of corrupt merchants?

I mean, I never liked him anyway, but…could be trouble if you go to pick up quests and you think, half of these, my Trandoshan wouldn’t give a damn.

Seems a fair question to me, and perhaps in the future, they could have alien-exclusive starter worlds for new races, kind of like how WoW handled blood elves, draenei, worgen and goblins. But maybe the more alien – as in less relatable – races are better off as NPCs and somewhat  baffling, mysterious companions.

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Old Republic beta adventures

November 26, 2011

Now that the non-disclosure restriction has been lifted, I can finally write a bit about my adventures in beta testing. Although this has been off for a little while now, being sick and busy at work have made things difficult. Anyway, on with the show.

This is one of the many little treats you can run into in TOR. Doesn’t look like chess — pazaak I think. But the lesson is the same. Let the Wookie win. He shrugs and hoots and hollers and gets up and stomps around and pumps his fists, while the hapless dis-armed droid just sits there. I spotted this yesterday while re-playing the intro zone with the Imperial Agent class; that’s my Chiss agent gawking at the spectacle.

And yes, way off on the other side you can see the Twi’lek dancer on a stripper pole…doesn’t matter if they’re clothed or not, the female Twi’leks dance like night elves. Doesn’t even require a mailbox. It does help to be in a cantina in Hutt space, though. This screenshot was from the main Hutta world; later on Nar Shadaa is an adventuring option.

I’ve tried out a variety of classes in SWTOR, and dabbled with all of them. But the one I leveled the most was the Republic’s Trooper. Here is my trooper flying a whale on Alderaan. It was interesting to get to Alderaan, while completing the first big chapter in the trooper’s story. Her squad on Ord Mantell defected to the Empire by the time she reached the end of the quest line there. The first chapter, crossing many levels and several worlds, chronicled her efforts to bring them all to justice.

I found myself a bit sad adventuring on Alderaan. Knowing the end of its story was destruction and all. But it was neat to see it, not just intact, but before it became such a staunch defender of the Republic. At this point in time it has seceded and is up for grabs, and on Alderaan I got to work for the Organa family/house. Contributing to a piece of Star Wars history; nice touch.

Also, nice to have such interesting stories to pursue with the shooter classes. After the experience with Star Wars Galaxies, I went in expecting the non-lightsaber classes to be lackluster and unenjoyable compared to the shining stars of Jedi and Sith characters. Hardly! I have no doubt that I will be playing an Imperial Agent/Operative when the game finally arrives around xmas, and I’m not sure what I will choose on the Republic side, but the Trooper/Commando has been a lot of fun. I’m not sure which I like more, crushing my enemies with gravity effects or setting them on fire with plasma.

Also, I found on this last go-round that the variety of races available is class-based. The test server I was on this last beta build has gotten stuffed with new players this weekend, so I’m wandering. I had thought there was just one simple set of four races, but it’s a set of four for each class, and they vary. It appears the Chiss Bounty Hunter is still an option (awesome). And the Miraluka was an option for the last Jedi Consular that I tried.

Still no playable Trandoshans that I can see, though.

Also on Alderaan…look out, it’s a Stray Nerf! Run for your lives!

Seriously, I could not help but laugh when I found the origin of the ‘scruffy nerf-herder’ line. Never mind that similar cow-ish beasts populate other worlds. This is the vaunted Nerf. Sadly, no one was herding it.

Well, enough for now. I expect maybe another WoW post or two, but it’s going to fade to black for me as I move on to SWTOR — at least for awhile. Maybe time to give the Smuggler a decent try and see if I like that more than the Jedi Consular, which has been interesting in either advanced version.