Thursday, July 2, 2015

Is SWTOR Crafting being cut?

Back from a mini-vacation!  It was fun, we went to the beach.  Had pretty good weather the whole time, which is pretty much critical when going to the beach.  I also did not get sun burned.  Yay!  SWTOR is still swirling with possibilities since the Fallen Empire announcement.  I've been thinking about crafting, and I think it is going bye bye.

Crafting, as it stands now, is tied to companions.  They have special bonuses and are responsible for doing crew skills.  In the expansion,  you lose all your companions initially.  You'll also have a lot more flexibility in how you build your roster of companions.  In fact, there is some Alliance system which will handle it all.  Crafting is also affected by your companion affection, which you have to work at to max out.

Not all opf this makes sense in a new world where companions can be killed, and you have choices in which companions you can take on.  It'd be strange to login to the expansion and find you have no more access to crafting since you have no companions. That's why I think a big change is coming to the system, possibly it being removed.

In one of the interviews (Polygon I think), the word 'streamlined' is used a few times.  We all know what that is code for:  simpler.  Crafting, while already simple, is one of those systems that could be removed.  Seriously,  what good is crafting right now?  It can make a couple of useful things.  It also isn't very fun or engaging.  The last serious update it got was with the Galactic Strongholds expansion.

It's not a secret that BioWare is making SWTOR more Mass Effect like.  And why shouldn't they?  Mass Effect is a very successful franchise.  I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting a Star Wars game in the Mass Effect style.  Did Mass Effect have crafting?  Sorta but not really.  You could upgrade things.  That seemed to work out for them though.

I love crafting, when done right.  The whole Wow-style kind of crafting has never been fun to me though. While I would hate to see systems removed from the game, I won't shed a tear if crafting is one of them though.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Power Problems

It's been a rough week here at the Werit household.  Rough is relative, of course.  It was actually pretty good all things considered.  But lets not let that get in the way of this post.  We had some thunderstorms on Tuesday and lost power.  We did get it back until last night.  It's hard to say how elated I was to have electricity again.

Modern technology is interesting.  I was still able to get some work done without power.  We used a cell phone as a mobile hotspot, and our new van as a charging station.  It wasn't ideal, but workable.  Nights were rough though, as it was hot and we had little airflow.  Plus, I had a Northern Mockingbird outside my window keeping me up.  I eventually scared it away for a little while and got some sleep.

We sadly lost all of our cold/frozen food.  It was quite a bit too since we recently stocked up.  Not happy about that.  It brings up the question of a generator.  I have long wanted a whole house generator with automatic switch over.  What holds me back is the noise those things make.  I don't really want to subject my neighbors to that 24/7.  It's pretty annoying especially when people need to sleep with their windows open.

Things are back to normal though. Just in time for the Marvel Heroes Big Ten event! Plus, I've been missing SWTOR with all this hype going around.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Writing on the Wall

Since the announcement of Knights of the Fallen Empire, people have been twisting themselves into knots trying to justify their chosen gameplay and make a case for why it should be supported.  There is nothing wrong with that,  but the writing is clearly on the wall for what BioWare wants to do going forward.

I'm not going to make up any numbers, which a lot of people are doing.  BioWare has all of the data, we pretty much have none.  That hasn't stopped people from saying they know the data, of course.  Or that BioWare is wrong about how they are interpreting this unknown data.  I'd be rather insulted if I was BioWare.

One thing that is nice about businesses is you can usually see their intentions pretty clearly.  That is to make money, so they will go where they think the money is.  If they thought they could make more money by catering to raiders or pvpers, you can bet they would.  They have to feel that the best way forward to to concentrate on their strength, which is the story telling.

That doesn't mean there won't be group content, just look at Ziost.  It had mini-bosses, world bosses, and an Operation boss.  There just wasn't a traditional raid, and there may not be for a long time.  Everything hinges on BioWare delivering quality monthly content to keep people subscribed.  That has to take a lot of resources.  It isn't like a new raid or PvP map just happens, it takes resources which now must be redirected to this new initiative.

If BioWare gets the time, or more resources based on success, I'm sure we'll see movement in these other areas.  No one is denying having that other content would be a bonus for the game.  It's just a question of resources.

Friday, June 19, 2015

KotFE Pricing

I was quite surprised to hear that the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion was going to be given out free to all subscribers.  Does that really mean it's free, or worth $15?  Do you come up with a value of all the subscription benefits and subtract it from that price?  Anyway, it kind of worries me a little.

I do think the main reason they are not charging extra is that the Shadow of Revan expansion came out less than a year ago.  While I wouldn't have a problem shelling out more money, I imagine other people might.  So, we have a 'free' expansion.

What concerns me is how can they afford to make it free?  They also spent a pretty penny on that Blur trailer.  Does that mean that the expansion was cheap to make?  Are we getting something pretty short with corners cut?  I'd honestly feel better being charged extra for it.

Meanwhile,  Guild Wars 2 is charging $50 - $100 for their expansion.  I have no idea if it is worth it as I don't pay much attention to the game.  But, my consumer trained mind thinks that must be 'better.'

BioWare pretty much had guaranteed money from me if they had something to sell.  Did they miss out on an opportunity, or was not charging twice in one year more important?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

SWTOR Unshackled

Have I mentioned what a big week this has been for SWTOR?  In a way, it's a new beginning for the game.  Not as in a reboot, there is no wipe or anything like that.  But the news of the week could mean big things for SWTOR in the future.

When SWTOR launched, it was quite ambitious.  Eight huge class stories, each different.  5 companions with their own style, dialog, and quests.  Cinematic side quests by the boatload.  It was pretty crazy.  Untold millions spent over a number of years.  As great as all of that sounds, it was also a huge weight weighing SWTOR down.

I'm sure I am not the only one who thought, "How can they possibly expand on this?"  Adding two new classes (can't add just one), would be an enormous and expensive effort.  Never-mind trying to add a new Chapter to all 8 of the stories.  I really wonder how BioWare thought they were going to be able to do it.  Did they assume it'd be a runaway hit and they could just throw money at the problem?

So we never saw the type of expansions most of us probably wanted to see.  However, with the Fallen Empire announcement, that may all be about to change.

The key news is that players can now create a level 60 character, and optionally do all of the class story content.  That actually puts the possibility of new classes back on the table.  BioWare is no longer constrained by the massive class story requirement.  Each class also does not need its own set of companions anymore, so another requirement gone.  I think, if Fallen Empire is successful, we may actually see a new class in the future.

Would I have liked to see BioWare's original vision work out?  Of course.  Eight different Star Wars games being constantly expanded would have been amazing.  It just was not to be though.  So hopefully this new direction works out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wow, BioWare

So yesterday was a huge day, not only for SWTOR, but for all of gaming.  I'll just talk about SWTOR though.  They released, officially, the details of the new expansion and a spiffy new trailer.  The trailer was great.  It was done by Blur, and was like the pre-launch trailers we got.  It really setup some of the new characters we will be meeting in Knights of the Fallen Empire.  Give it a watch!

Ok, now head on over and read about the expansion:

We're going to have a lot to talk about!

Monday, June 15, 2015

SWTOR Takes a Leak

Wow, that's about all I can say.  SWTOR started releasing some still images from what looks to be a CGI trailer.  They were pretty neat.  I mean, just the fact they are paying for a CGI trailer is great to hear.  But that was soon trumped by THE LEAK.  Someone discovered that the Fallen Empire webpage was publicly accessible.  On it was the expansion, described in good detail.

If you want to read about it, go here:

This is not a simple new quest laden expansion pack.  It looks like a fundamental change to the game.

Today, at 4ET is the EA conference.  We will likely see the new trailer.  I don't know if we'll get anything more than that though.  I hope we don't have to wait until the Cantina in mid-July to hear about everything we saw on the leaked page though.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Housing vs Conquest

BioWare made an unannounced change to the SWTOR PTS this week.  They increased the amount of decorations you can place on Tatooine (and the upcoming Yavin stronghold) by around 100%.  That is a huge change, one which I like quite a bit.  You would think everyone would be happy about it, right?  Wrong.

SWTOR has this Conquest system, which you do stuff, get points, get rewards.  The points happen to be affected by how full your Strongholds are.  So a big increase in the amount of decorations you can place, lowers peoples Conquest effectiveness.  I can't really blame them for not being happy about the change.

The situation is just bad, a great change like this should not have an adverse impact to players who really don't care about housing.  I think the bonus should be uncoupled from the housing system.  It is just going to cause angst between two groups of players where there shouldn't be any.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

BioWare, Please

On Monday (June 15th), there will be something special happening with SWTOR.  During a previous event, which the name of escapes me, they gave out little wristbands that had Fallen Empire written on it and that particular date.  It happens to coincide with EA's E3 press conference.  So it is reasonable to assume that we will be getting some information, likely as a trailer, during the conference.  My guess is that its a teaser for the next expansion.  What else could it be at such a big event?

BioWare, I want you to do something for me.  Please, give me a reason to give you lots ( more than $20) of money.  Shadow of Revan was very well done, but it was short and rightly only cost $20.  I want a $40 or more expansion.  Heck, I'd even like a deluxe edition where I could get some neat stuff.  I wouldn't hesitate to drop $60.  So please BioWare, take my money :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

7th Birthday

A reader pointed out that today is the 8th birthday of this blog.  A big thank you to him, as it completely slipped my mind.  I can't believe it has been that long.  So much has changed in my life during that time, but the blog has pretty much remained the same.  I didn't have kids when I started this, now I have two.  I'm at a new job, and the game that led me down this path has been closed.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without people like you actually reading and interacting.  I would have likely given up long ago without some sort of feedback.  I'm not the greatest writer (shocking!)  out there.  I consider myself more of a programmer, and we all know programmers don't write (comments).  But, overall, the experience has been good to me.

So where do we go from here?  I'm not really sure.  I've kinda lost focus in recent months with the blog.  I'd love to throw myself back into it and do 5 posts a week again, I just need to get that motivation.  We'll see what happens I guess.

Thanks again for reading throughout the years!

EDIT:  I guess it really is the 7th bday, that makes more sense.  Math was never my strong suit ;)