Friday, October 31, 2014


Usually on Fridays I have a video to show.  I think I am going to take a break from doing them.  One reason is that I am pretty busy with Social Questing and playing SWTOR.  Another is that the videos are just not seeing the growth that I would like.  Thirteen weeks in a row is a pretty good amount though, so I am happy about that.

This week was a pretty good one as far as SWTOR goes.  I made a pretty big windfall on the GTN.  I found a Hunter's Planning Table on the GTN for the default price of 450 credits.  I quickly snatched this up and posted it for 400,000 credits.  I was quite pleased when it sold for a very nice profit.

By using the credits I made by selling warzone decorations, I made enough to buy a Massive Anti-Air Turret from the GTN for 2.25 million credits.  This guy won't fit in my Nar Shaddaa stronghold so I am going to have to buy the Tatooine stronghold.  Sounds like a plan for this weekend!  Of course, last night I checked the Turret pricing on the GTN and one was for sale for 1.5 million credits.  Oh well.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


It's a WAR shirt kind of day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SWTOR 3.0 Q&A with BioWare

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask BioWare some questions about the upcoming 3.0 expansion, the Shadow of Revan.  The questions were answered by Andrew Horitz and Jesse Sky.  Thanks to BioWare for taking the time to answer my questions.  I am very much looking forward to the launch of the Shadow of Revan on December 9th (December 2nd for pre-orders).

1)      Revan is the primary focus of the 3.0 expansion.  Can players expect to take him on immediately, or will the story develop over the course of the 3.x patch cycle?

3.0 is your showdown with Revan.  We wanted to close that chapter of the KOTOR book, and open it up for bigger and newer things.

2)      There are no new PvP/GSF maps included in the expansion.  Are there any plans to add them in subsequent patches?

We absolutely want to continue to support PvP content in the game, and we plan on creating more Warzones in the future. 

3)      In Rise of the Hutt Cartel a new playable race was introduced, the Cathar.  Are any being introduced in the Shadow of Revan?

No new species in 3.0, but that does not exclude us from introducing them afterwards.

4)      Anything of note going on with the Cartel Market and the new expansion?  

We have a new shipment coming, The Shadow Packs, chock full of cool new stuff that’s themed around the expansion. 

5)      Are Seeker and Macrobinocular missions making a comeback in the SoR?

We’re using the Seeker Droid and Macrobinocular gameplay mechanics in a few places where appropriate, but nothing to the extent of the mission series in Rise of the Hutt Cartel.

6)      Will 3.0 come with new housing decorations, besides the gigantic Statue of Revan?

It will – there’s a bunch of new 3.0 themed decorations going into the packs.

7)      There is some concern among the players about the new Discipline system.   They are worried that it will become too simple and cookie cutter.  How do you respond to that worry?

We think a better term is “improve.”  This is a superior system to the Skill Trees, which, fundamentally, offered you the same or less amount of meaningful diversity than the Disciplines system does.  The Disciplines system reduces unnecessary complexity.  We want to get players into the game and playing, rather than impeding them with an obsolete skill system, and the Disciplines system does that.

8)      Is there a change coming with 3.0 that you are especially excited about which isn't in the feature list?

The real change with 3.0 comes in the form of how we are treating story in our game.  We are truly excited about what we did with the story in Shadow of Revan, as it will be a jumping off point for the compelling content we plan on creating in the future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Making Credits from PvP

I spend a lot of my time in game doing warzones in SWTOR.  While I do enjoy doing them, they are not a great way to earn credits.  This is especially true if you tend to lose a lot, which I do.  That's a topic of another post though.  The rewards from most warzones are pretty paltry.  The exception would be winning an arena match, that can net you 14k.

There are two dailies which help, but even with them  the amount of credits you earn just doesn't compete with running daillies.  Or that's what I thought.  There is a very easy way to earn a decent amount of credits from warzones.

It turns out, buying stronghold decorations with warzone commendations and selling them on the GTN is a great way to earn credits.  By doing the dallies and selling stronghold decorations you can easily earn over 100k credits a day.  It also gives you something to do with those warzones commendations if you are at the cap.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Slippery Slope

I've noticed a slightly disturbing trend with myself.  Lately,  I have been much more willing to spend my Cartel Coins.  Prior to this, I pretty much hoarded them gaining up to 11,000 coins.  Now I am down in the 5,000's with plans to spend more.

I've spent them mostly on Cartel Packs and decoration bundles.  I still need to purchase the new Republic decoration bundle, and an armor set for my Inquisitor.  So that will drop me down even more.  I find that since I started spending the coins, the idea of buying more doesn't seem all that unlikely.

I have even given thought to buying a hypercrate, something which I would have never considered a few months ago.  So I pretty much 'broke the seal' when it comes to Cartel Coins.  Oh, and I want to buy the Tatooine stronghold with Cartel Coins.  So that 5k I have saved up will quickly vanish.  I even put some Cartel Coins on my Christmas list.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sneak Peek: Social Questing

For the last few weeks I have been working on a new projects:  Social Questing.  This is actually the next generation of Sites with Benefits.  The big difference is the new version is much more user friendly.  Social Questing is a system which lets you create quests (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Twitch etc) for your users to do.  They get points which they can spend in your reward store.  I put together a quick video that shows it off.

If you would like to help me beta test Social Questing, let me know!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cartel Pack Pricing

For the latest Cartel pack, Seneschal, BioWare decided to raise the price a bit.  Lately, they have cost 210 Cartel Coins per pack and ~4400 per hypercrate (24 packs).  The new price is 300 per pack and roughly 6500 per hypercrate.  If my math is correct, that's a 42% increase.

Eric responded to players concerns stating that the pricing is still cheaper than some previous packs which were priced around 320 cartel coins.  They were just raising the price closer to normal levels.

It is, of course, BioWare's prerogative to raise the price.  I do think it was a mistake though.  The hypercrate price especially.  With the old price, you could purchase a 5,500 Cartel Coin card for $40 and buy a hypercrate.  Now with the price above 6k, you may need to make a second purchase.  I think this will lead to less sales for them.  You want to make it as easy as possible for people to spend money.

I know I have been tempted to buy a hypercrate lately, but the new cost has done a good job in keeping me from doing that.  As for the individual pack price increase, I am less concerned.  I'll still buy a few of each.  Although, this does drop the amount a subscriber can buy with their stipend from 2 down to 1.

Has the new price affected your purchases?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's wrong with me?

By all accounts, I should be all over Elite Dangerous.  I love space trading games, well I used to anyway.  ED looks like the pinnacle of that type of game.  The graphics look amazing and the scope is just crazy ( 400 billion stars!).  It also supports a solo mode, which is right up my alley.  So why aren't I playing it right now?

Honestly, I start to get excited about it, then I think of the actual gameplay.  The act of trading just looks so tedious.  Docking and flying place to place looks like it will get old real fast.  Sure, you can buy a docking computer, but you still have to fly from point A to point B.  I'm just not sure I want to spend my precious free time doing that.

They are adding mining in Beta 3, but that looks pretty tedious too.  I like making decisions and planning, not doing menial labor.  So that is the main reason I haven't jumped on the Elite Dangerous bandwagon.  It is still tempting though, and I am always just one good story away from jumping in.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Turn Up the Radio

I love that song.  Yesterday, I posted about being stuck decorating my stronghold.  Well, that pretty much cleared itself up.  When I logged in, I found my item had sold for 750,000 credits on the GTN.  Not only that,  there was a Jukebox: Stellar Hits priced at 700,000 credits.  Needless to say, I scooped that sucker up right away!

I am really happy with my purchase. Turns out it has multiple songs.  I count 3 so far, plus two of them have vocals.  I was not expecting that, as I don't remember any cantina's with singing going on.  Now that the jukebox is installed, I am going to purchase the cantina bundle off of the Cartel Market.

A while ago I spent some time raising my CZ-198 reputations so I could purchase a pair of Info Screens for my stronghold.  Last night, I finally got around to purchasing them.  I had to first make a couple of Universal Prefab MK-3's.  The end result looks pretty good I think.

While on CZ-198 I did the dailies again for extra cash.  I figured I may as well since I was there.  This was the first time I did them while spec'd as a DPS.  It was quite a bit quicker when not playing as a healer.

Finally, I tested a theory.  I purchased another Seneschal pack figuring I was sure to get a Jukebox now that I had one.  Much to my surprise, I didn't get one.  I thought for sure the RNG would have a sense of humor.

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.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Endless Legend

On Friday, I gave into temptation and purchased Endless Legend on Steam.  It is a 4x fantasy strategy game kind of like Civilization.  I am a huge Civ fan, so the comparison made me take notice.  There are some pretty big differences between the game, but at their heart they are similar.  It was my game of choice over the weekend.

Overall, it is pretty good.  I still like Civ 5 better, but it is a decent game.  The graphics are quite nice and detailed.  The interface is very crisp/sharp,  if that makes sense.  You really do have all of the information ready and waiting.  Of course, the developer did the same for Endless Space.  I also own that, but it never grabbed me.  I think their combat system was the main reason why I was never hooked to the game.

I sprung for the Founders Pack (extra $10) because it had some added in-game items.  In total is cost me $45, so it is definitely not a cheap game.  You get what you pay for though.  Endless Legend is a polished, quality title.   If you like games in the same vein as Civilization you may want to consider purchasing it.  This weeks Werit at War will be about the game too if you want to wait and see it in action.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Episode 11: Arena

In this weeks episode of Werit at War, we fight in one of the arenas.  It was actually a pretty decent match.  They had stealthers, we had healers.  Who will emerge victorious?  This video is a bit shorter than previous ones.  My time was a bit more limited due to family obligations.  Next week I am going to change things up a bit and cover a different game.  Have no fear SWTOR, it is just a week break.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

When to start over?

I've been thinking about blowing up Sites with Benefits and starting over.  It's actually a couple years old now.  Overall, I wouldn't really call it a success though.  At times it has shined, other times not so much.  Technically, it works.  However, the administration side could stand to see a lot of improvements.  It's a big obstacle to other people using the system.

It is currently written in Python on Google's App Engine.  Lately though, I have been working with Node.JS and MongoDB, I feel they would be a better fit for the app.  Moving to Node would also let me rewrite the Twitch bot so it is hosted on my server instead of the users machine.  It would be pretty much a complete rewrite though.

Another feature I could add with a rewrite is to make use of PassportJS.  This library would let people log in with their Twitch account, among others.  Since Twitch and Youtube are two groups I want to focus on, it would be quite useful.

It would be a lot of work, but I'm not sure it is worth the effort.  The original version never took off, what makes me think the new version would?   Of course, I'll never know unless I try.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SWTOR and Data Mining

Some of you might remember that I used to do data mining for Warhammer Online and more recently, SWTOR.  I stopped doing it a while ago for a couple of reasons.  One,  I was just running out of time.  My interest was also waning at that point.  The second reason was there really wasn't a need.  swtor_miner, from Reddit, was doing a better job than me.  No need to duplicate efforts.

Recently,  some news broke that swtor_miner was put on BioWare's 'blacklist'.  Any fan sites that promote his work would also loose their 'official' status.  Oddly enough, I too received a bit of backlash, but not from BioWare.  I was denied entry to a guild because of my past data mining efforts even though it was a year ago.

I don't think BioWare took this step because just because he was data mining.  This all happened around the time he was making known possible ways to abuse the Conquest system.  In fact, he was on podcasts talking about how to do it based on data mined information.  Whether or not he should be punished for making these flaws known is a very old argument.  My personal opinion is that he should let BioWare know, but not make it public.

Swtor_miner is a valuable asset to SWTOR.  Where the community teams hands are tied to talk about upcoming plans, his are not.  We MMO players love our information about the future.  So in between official announcements, we have bits and pieces from data mining.  However, it also means that some discretion  must be shown by the data miner.