Monday, October 20, 2014

SWTOR Problems

I have to admit, I have not done too much decorating of my Stronghold lately.  The Officer's Club, which is what I have planned to do next has stalled.  This is mainly due to me missing one item: a Jukebox.  What kind of cantina does not have some music?  A pretty poor one.  It would really tie the room together. The dude abides.

The Jukeboxes are obtained through Cartel Packs, and I have not been lucky enough to get one.  They can also be bought off of the GTN, but generally run around 900k credits on my server.  I'm just not prepared to spend that much.  I did get a nice tunic, I forget the name, from a Seneschal pack which seems to sell for ~800k.  So if I manage to sell that,  I'll spend the credits on a Jukebox.

So these are the kinds of problems facing me in SWTOR right now.  It's funny what a housing system can add to the game.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Episode 13: Seneschal Packs and 12x XP

This week, a new Cartel Pack hit the market.  In the Seneschal Pack, there are a few items that look pretty attractive to me.  First is the Massive Anti-Air turret which looks amazing.  The next is the always just out of reach jukebox.  I ended up opening up 5 packs, did I get anything that I want?  During the second half of the video I talk a bit about the 12x XP bonus which came with the Shadow of Revan pre-order.

P.S.  Seneschal means:  the steward or major-domo of a medieval great house

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Discipline Calculator

SWTOR is changing from a skill tree system to a more streamlined version called Disiplines.  But why talk about it, when you can see for yourself?  Data miner swtor_miner from reddit put together a very neat calculator based on information from the recent live stream.  It looks pretty much like the in-game version.  That kind of UI work is beyond me, so I am pretty impressed.  Go give it a try!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Too much of a good thing?

I am a big fan of the 12x XP boost for class missions in SWTOR.  However, I do wonder if it is actually good for the game.  It clearly has upside, I have seen a lot of people jumping back into the game to do their class stories.  This is sure to fill the BioWare coffers at least in the short term.

But how many of these returning players will stick around beyond  December 1st?  This really isn't a downside, as some portion of them will stay who probably wouldn't have otherwise.  Then you have players who spend their time creating alts.  They'll be able to level them up much quicker.  Will they run out of things to do and quit the game?

I really hope the latter does not happen, as alts are a big part of SWTOR's draw.  Keeping those players around is important to the health of the game.  Other games have introduced level boosting, which completely bypasses the leveling process.  So maybe I am just worrying over nothing?

Do you think the 12x bonus will negatively impact the game?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How much would I pay?

Yesterday, I wrote about SWTOR's 12x XP bonus for class missions.  In that post, I mentioned that I'd like to see that boost in the Cartel Market.  So the question is, how much is it worth?  I'd like to see it at 1,200 Cartel Coins per character.  That comes out to be around $10.  Not coincidentally, it is around the same price as a book.

BioWare could also go the route of rewarding the boost in the game.  On Twitter, two different ways were mentioned.  One was the boost could be a legacy level 50 reward.  My only problem with this is that a lot of folks at that level may already have full grown alts.  So it may not be very useful.

The other idea was to split the bonus among leveled classes.  So when you reach 55 on a Trooper, you get a 3x boost.  Once you level four, you have the full 12x boost for the other four.  I think this is a better idea than the Legacy level, but it still wouldn't benefit me fully.

So I am going to be selfish and stick with the Cartel Market.  I estimate BioWare would get $60 worth of Cartel Coins from me if they added this to the store at $10 a pop.

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Raining XP

One of the perks of being a subscriber and pre-ordering the Shadow of Revan expansion is that you get a 12x XP bonus from now until December 1st.  This bonus applies only to class missions, but is enough so that you can level solely by doing them.  This is a pretty amazing bonus.

I'm the kind of player who only likes doing content once.  The same goes for books and most movies.  Once I see or read them, I don't really go back to them again.  The same goes for the majority of quests in SWTOR.  I go through the content once and have a hard time doing them again on alts.  That's the beauty of class missions, it provides a new experience.

With this boost, I can just do new stuff.  That is pretty awesome.  It's not perfect though.  Since the boost has an expiration, I feel rushed.  I don't want to force all of the class stories into a tight window.  Instead I'd like to take my time. During this bonus XP period, my goal is to get my Imperial Agent to 55.  If there is time left, I'll start on another character.

I really hope BioWare puts this bonus in the Cartel Market.  That way I won't be rushed to take advantage of it, and BioWare will make some extra money.  Sounds like a win win to me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Episode 12: Endless Legend

This week I decided to switch things up a bit.  I was in the mood for a strategy game, and Endless Legend was recently released.  I went with the Founders Pack on Steam since it provided some more in-game content.  Overall, it is a pretty decent game.  It feels very polished and the in-game interface is impressive.  The video below provides an overview of the game, hopefully it proves a little useful :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Is Disciplines good for SWTOR?

As I mentioned yesterday, Disciplines is taking the place of skill trees.  There are three disciplines per Advanced Class representing each of the former skill trees.  Once you choose a discipline, you gain skills from it as you level.  All of the key abilities from the previous tree are contained in the discipline.  You also gain Utility Points which you can spend on a common pool of skills for your class. That last part is where the customization comes in.

Hybrids are Dead.  This is true and the developers said as much.  You will no longer be able to obtain key abilities from other skill trees.  I hate to see choice taken away from the player, but the fact is that some of the hybrid builds were never meant to be and that causes balance issues.  Players will still be able to semi-hybrid based on the Utility skills that they take.

The Long Run.  Skill trees just don't work as the game advances.  It's not that the developers are lazy,  it's just not a sustainable model.  There is a reason why WoW and even Rift moved away from expanding skill trees.  Making the skill trees larger with every level increase just doesn't work.  Can you imagine what it would look like 5 years from now?

The Future.  With this new model, BioWare can expand our options by simply adding skills to Disciplines or to the Utility pool.  No rebuilding and expanding of skill trees necessary.   Balancing should be easier from now on as well.  That benefits us all.

In the end though, this change will be a tough pill to swallow for people who played hybrid builds.  I can't blame them for being upset at this new direction.  For me though, it will open up more possibilities.  I never played as a hybrid, so the new Utility pool will offer me more options.  So yes, I feel this is a good change for the game.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

SWTOR Disciplines

TL;DR:  Skill Trees are going away.  All key choices from the trees are going to be baseline depending on your choice of Discipline.  You gain points to spend as you level on a pool of 21 Utility Skills.  That is where your customization comes in.

Yesterday,  BioWare did a live stream which detailed how the new Discipline system worked.  It was very nice to see it in action and get an idea about the types of abilities they are adding to the game or making into Utility Skills.  The stream is an hour long and can be found below.

Watch live video from SWTOR on Twitch

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Shadow of Revan Revealed

Yesterday, BioWare surprised us all with announcing the details about the upcoming Shadow of revan expansion.  They had just delayed the announcement a week ago, so I don't think anyone was expecting an information drop so soon.  I'm not one to complain :)  So what does the Shadow of Revan have to offer?
  • 5 new levels
  • 2 new planets:  Rishi and Yavin 4
  • Skill trees are getting blown up, Disciplines replacing them
  • 2 new Tactical Flashpoints
  • 4 Hardmode Flashpoints.  These are likely existing Tactical's being upgraded
  • 2 new Operations
Pretty much what I was expecting, except I figured there would be only one Operation.  That's not all the news though.  Subscribers who pre-order get a 12x XP boost to class missions.  That means you can level just by doing class missions.  This starts immediately and ends on December 1st.  

Of course, I pre-ordered right away.  Can't wait to get some leveling done with the 12x bonus.