Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SWTOR Happenings

Today should be an interesting day!   At 5pm EST, BioWare will be having a live stream to go over the game changes coming in Knights of the Fallen Empire.  Prior to this, the streams were just showing off gameplay.  Now we get into the functional changes.  I expect we will have A LOT to talk about tomorrow.  The timing of the stream doesn't really work for me, of course.  My daughter has softball practice during it :(  I'll try to see if the wife will go, but I hate to miss it.

We are only 20 (ok, maybe 21) days from the launch of the expansion!  I'm really behind in what I wanted to accomplish before then.  My Trooper's companions are still not maxed out in affection.  I may not make it in time!  I just get too distracted with other activities which are actually engaging.  This week I did a bunch of Bounty Contract missions, just for the currency.

In non-SWTOR news, I fired up STO last night for a change of pace.  I was in the mood to blow stuff up in my Romulan Warbird, so I did.  They announced their Admiralty system yesterday too.  I don't know, seems kind of boring.  I don't really enjoy the Duty Officer system, and this is pretty much the same.  DOFF's don't provide interesting choices or results most of the time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SWTOR Livestream Impressions - No Spoilers

Over the weekend at Twitchcon, BioWare was there showing off the Fallen Empire expansion.  They had a bunch of guest streamers who all played through a chunk of Chapter One.  I ended up watching a couple of the run throughs.  Some players knew what they were doing, others did not.  Overall, it seemed like a fun event.  Now, on to my spoiler-free impressions.

Quality.  First, the positive.  What I saw was really well done.  BioWare has really stepped up their game.  The cinematic scenes, voice acting, story, and environments were well done.  I really liked what I saw and can't wait to play for myself.  And the decisions we had to make?  They were interesting too.  It really gives me high hopes for the expansion.

Length.  Sadly, it may all not be positive.  It took streamers around an hour to play through most of Chapter One.  I think it is time to accept that might be the average length of a chapter.  That means when it launches, we might get ~9 hours of story content.  When the monthly content starts, it might be just one hour per month.  That will probably not cut it for a lot of people.  Maybe this chapter was just an aberration, but there are indications that it is not.

To BioWare's credit, they are giving players more to do than just story content.  So maybe it'll work out fine.  How long did it take you to finish Rishi and Yavin IV?  I'm going to guess around 9 hours?  I just hope the monthly content is good enough to convince a lot of people to pay $15 a month.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Stronghold Tours: Tamujin's Sith Academy

This time, I hopped on my Bounty Hunter and took a trip to Dromund Kaas to check out Tamujin's Sith Academy (The Ebon Hawk).  Overall, it was a really cool Stronghold with an Imperial vibe.  Lots of neat decorations and layouts.  I especially like the use of dividers in the Med Bay, which I forgot existed.  Sadly, those suckers are expensive on the GTN!  Check it out.

Some decorations from this tour:

Diagnostic Console:

Massive Anti-Air Turret:

Mentor Processing Core:

Office Divider:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Impending Doom?

There is an interesting issue going on in the entertainment world.  Voice actors (for video games) are contemplating going on strike.  Now, I won't go into what they want or the usefulness of unions as that really isn't the point of this blog.  But it might have a major affect on MMO's and especially SWTOR.  I have no idea how their demands would affect the game financially.

BioWare uses union voice actors, so if the union goes on strike that is going to be a pretty big deal for the game.  With the game so focused on story, a strike will certainly delay production, and thus story content.  MMO players (subscribers) don't take content gaps well, so it could be really bad depending on how long it goes on.

I remember the Writers Guild strike a while ago, that screwed up some movies (ahem, Quantum of Solace) and TV Shows (Heroes).  I really hope that it doesn't adversely affect SWTOR.  It's possible they have all the voice work for Season One (Fallen Empire) completed already.  Who knows what other projects they have going which will need it though and Season Two, of course.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The wait is almost over

We received a surprise announcement from BioWare that there will be a two hour SWTOR livestream on September 30th to discuss some major features of Fallen Empire.  This has been long overdue.  There is so much we don't know about the expansion and at that point it'll be 20 days away (early access).  But that's what we got, so I won't complain.

If you are a reddit user, you have no doubt seen some interesting information popping up.  Some via datamining, and some via NDA leaks.  I certainly don't support the latter.  But in about a week we'll  see the official information about all of it hopefully.

I am most excited for [REDACTED] to be discussed.  It's a rather big change that offers a lot of potential.  It will also cause a lot of consternation in the community.  I'm also excited to finally hear about the Alliance system.  It'll play a big part of the game, but we know so very little about how it'll work with the game as a whole.

Reminder: tomorrow starts the SWTOR livestreams at Twitchcon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

SWTOR Happenings

It's going to be an interesting week for SWTOR.  Starting Friday, BioWare will be hosting a live stream at Twitchcon, where they will show off some of Chapter One of Knights of the Fallen Empire.  They are having guest streamers, which likely means each one will play through the same part of the demo, just using different classes and making different choices.  So it's really not for us, but more for the streamers followers.  That's ok, new blood is a good thing.

My plan is to watch one of the runs and that is it.  I do try and limit the spoilers, but a a few are alright.  We are only 27 days out from early access too!  I'm keeping pretty busy in game on alts, doing the Stronghold Tours project, and now Bounty Contract week.  This is actually the first time I have done it.  It just never really interested me before.  So far, it is neat.  I like that it is only one mission a day, it makes it very manageable.  There is quite a bit of travel though.

There was a new patch yesterday, which brought a lot of new optimizations to the game.  Nothing really stood out to me while playing though.  Of course, I never had many issues anyway, so hopefully it did help out some people.  The patch also brought some new direct buy items to the Cartel Market.  Really happy to see more of these instead of things just in Cartel Packs.  Hopefully that means it is working out financially for them.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Stronghold Tours: Teevu'nas' House of Light

In this weeks episode, I looked around Coruscant for some interesting Strongholds.  I eventually came across Teevu'nas' House of Light which was pretty nice.  It's more of an elegant and serene Stronghold.  The builder did a neat thing with his trophies to make what looked to be stained-glass art.  You can see it on the thumbnail below.  It was really cool.  This time I had my UI turned off for most of it, so you should be able to get a better view, enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Interesting Times

Well, it has been an interesting week for SWTOR.  Sadly, I won't really go into it due to the methods involved.  I'm still pretty positive about the expansion though.  I really wish we had some official news to talk about.  We're getting class changes, but those generally don't interest me.  I'll adapt to whatever changes are made.

On the official news we do have side, BioWare did announce they are doing a live stream at Twitchcon starting the 25th.  It looks like they will have guest streamers who will play some of Fallen Empire Chapter One.  While I really don't want any more spoilers, how can I resist watching?

Game wise,  I am doing this and that.  Still working my way through Chapter 2 on my Jedi Knight, and doing some decorating.  I also want to do more on my Bounty Hunter, oh, and start a Vanguard and play through the Trooper story again.  I'm really starting to wonder if I'll ever finish everything I want to do.  It's amazing how long content lasts when you have limited time.

Episode 2 of Stronghold Tours should happen soon.  I'm going to make more of an effort to provide links to some of the interesting decorations I see doing the tour.  I know my first question is often, "Where do I get that?"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Things I Miss in SWTOR

I'm mostly ok with the changes SWTOR has made throughout the years.  I'm also pretty hopeful for the future.  There are a couple of things I do miss which have been removed from the game though.  Sadly, I think the chances of seeing either again is very slim.

1)  8 vs 8 Ranked PvP.  I like PvP quite a bit, but I really don't enjoy 4 vs 4 ranked arenas.  There used to be ranked 8 vs 8 which is much more my style.  I'd love to try and get the Ranked PvP rewards, but I just don't see it happening if I have to do arenas.  It's a shame it didn't work out, because I'd be more involved with PvP if they were still around.  With the new rewards, it may get better traction.

2) Ilum.  Coming from Warhammer Online, open world PvP was a big part of my gaming life.  I love roaming around and getting in skirmishes.  Sadly, Ilum was plagued with performance and design problems.  BioWare determined they couldn't fix it, or it wasn't worth fixing.  So it was removed from the game.  It's tough though, I really think a game needs to be designed with that kind of system in mind, rather than just having it was a distraction.

Those are a couple things I miss in SWTOR.  

In other news, I got the Cryogenics Tank from Lost Island :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

SWTOR Worries

While I am really excited for Knights of the Fallen Empire, I still have worries about the game.  Most of my concerns centers around whether or not BioWare has really thought things through.  This isn't limited to BioWare of course, I have felt the same about almost every game.  They all have ideas that are neat, at first.  But when you think of them long term, they get less neat.

I thought like this about SWTOR originally.  Eight class stories, awesome!  Hmmm, how could they ever expand on this in the future?  We all know how that turned out.  New RvR system for Warhammer Online, yay!  Hmmm, it was a lot of fun the first time, but over and over?

Now, back to Fallen Empire.  The new 16 episode story with monthly content sounds awesome.  However, what happens after that in Season 2?  Do any of our choices cross over?  Will any of the new companions have roles in the new story, some may not be around?  What about the major characters that become companions,  will they play any part?  If we look 5 years ahead, will we still be on this track?

I just really hope BioWare has answered these kind of questions.  My fear is that they just made it future BioWare's problem.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Stronghold Tours: Pilot

I've been looking for a new game video project for a while now.  I used to make a bunch for WAR and SWTOR.  After I finished Shadow of Revan, I kind of lost focus.  SWTOR can be tough for videos as so much is around stories and I'm not into spoilers.  I did come up with a totally unoriginal idea for a video series though, Stronghold Tours!  I'll just go around and check out other peoples houses.  For the first episode, we'll take a look at one of mine.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

More than meets the eye

So, I will do this as spoiler-free as I can.  More data-mining information came out as the TOR Community DB was updated for 4.0.  That means we got a look at a lot of potential new items in the game.  There were certainly some surprises in there.  Of course, this info is subject to change and may never happen.

New Packs.  No surprise, but new Cartel packs are coming with some interesting decorations.  That includes Zakuul stuff.  Theron lovers will also be happy.  Plus, new kinds of Cartel Packs.

New Content.  Some of the items and achievements pointed to two new types of content. It is unclear whether or not they are group content or solo. They have not been mentioned by BioWare yet either.

New Crafting.  Seems there are new things to craft, besides the normal.  The one i saw had to do with Operations, and took Conquests rewards as ingredients.

New Music.  There is some excellent new music coming in Fallen Empire.

So yeah, there is more going on with Fallen Empire than just Story it seems.  We'll have to see how extensive the 'new content' is.  It could be really short for all we know.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Imperial Command Center

One of the items I really wanted from the Wild Space Explorers Cartel Pack was the Imperial Command Center.  I love the technological assets in SWTOR.  They just have a great look to them.  So I was really happy when I got not one, but two, of these decorations.  I set one up in my Tatooine Stronghold which my Imperial Agent calls home.  It is kind of setup like an Imperial Base, but lots of works still needs to be done. Check out a clip of it below.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

42 Days!

We are 42 days out from the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion.  I'm just pretty much playing the game as usual.  The only exception is I am trying to get my Companion Quests done for my Trooper since he'll be the first into the expansion.  I'm almost finished with Aric, who is the one with the actual quests.  Then it is on to the rest and their conversation quests.  Imagine if they all had actual quests.

I've also been running Flashpoints solo lately as a change of pace.  I just did the Tion pair (Kaon and Lost Island).  They were pretty neat,  plus I made some decent credits.  I also managed to get the Cryo Tank decoration to drop from Lost Island.  I'll miss the option of doing Flashpoints solo when Fallen Empire moves to a scaling system.

I have plenty to keep me busy for the next 42 days, can't wait!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Buyers Remorse?

Yesterday, I bought my first ever Hypercrate (24 Cartel Packs) in SWTOR.  It's pricey, so do I regret it?  Not really.  It was fun and I did get some cool stuff.  It isn't something I am going to do regularly though,  it's just too much to spend on gambling.  I'd really be in trouble if BioWare started to sell more cool stuff directly as that is hard to resist.

So, what did I get?  Sadly, no jackpot items.  Those would be the Malgus Statue and the Jetpack.  I would have sold them and retired to some island on Rishi.  I did get some Havoc armor pieces, which are nice looking and valuable.  I have not decided whether or not to keep or sell them.  They would not change my Troopers look all that much.  I also got some Ravager pieces which I wanted for my Sith Warrior who doesn't exist yet.

Decoration wise, I got some cool stuff.  Top on my list was the Imperial Command Center, which I received two of.  I may just keep both since it is so cool.  I also got a pair of Dark Honor Guards, you know the red armor guys.  Add in a pair of Imperial Ceiling Lights which make the room a nice shade of red, and it was a good haul.  I did not get an Imperial Security Console, so I'll have to pick that up off of the GTN.

Overall, it was fun.  Between this and the Zakuul items, I spent quite a bit on SWTOR the last month.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Search for More Money

I used to play the Auction House in WoW, and traded a bunch in Eve.  Economic PvP can be a lot of fun, plus getting virtually rich is nice.  That was many years ago though.  Recently,  SWTOREconomics (aka Andrew) posted an article about cornering a market which rekindled my interest in the GTN.  So I started to look around a bit.  I'm a bit too risk adverse for his methods.

I've fallen into bad habits.  I basically rely on the Cartel Market for credits.  I don't buy much except for Stronghold decorations, some of which can be pretty expensive.  So I'll buy a pack and toss it on on the GTN.  Can easily earn credits that way.  It does suck though and still feels like 'cheating.'  It's just so easy and takes very little time.  I'd much rather earn them through in-game means though.

I'd like to use crafting as a means for credits, but have not been having much luck.  The margins just seem to be so small.  That means it'll take a lot of time, which I'd rather spend playing.  I used to make good money crafting Barrels for use during leveling, but 12xp has made that a less viable strategy.  The end-game components require high-end group content (grrr).  

I refuse to do dailies.  So,  I'll keep poking around to see if I can find a good market to get into.  I'm not the brightest bulb when it comes to money making opportunities.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Expensive Week

Yesterday, SWTOR released the Wild Space Cartel Pack.  This is one of the better ones they have done in my opinion.  There are a few interesting armor sets, and a bunch of cool decorations.  It's actually good enough for me to buy my first Hypercrate (24 packs).  Only took a couple of years to get me to buy one.  I'm still preparing for my purchase, as inventory space is key to unpacking everything.

Not only do I want the Hypercrate, they also put Treek on sale (50% off).  Treek is considered one of the best companions, functionally.  However, I care not about that.  I do not like Ewoks, so I never bought her.  Little Teddy Bears defeating the Empire, come on!  However,  it does feel like my collection is lacking something so I'll pick her up too.  So we are talking ~6500 Cartel Coins going out this week.  Yikes.

At least they aren't really charging for Knights of the Fallen Empire, so I guess it evens out.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SWTOR Isn't Changing That Much

Ever since information started coming out about the Fallen Empire expansion, I have seen comments that 'the game they love is changing too much.'  This feeling is partly BioWare's fault due to the way they have been releasing information.  I think a lot of it is misunderstandings though.  The game really isn't changing that radically.

Questing.  Doing quests in SWTOR is going to be the same as it was before.  Still voiced and with cinematics.  Leveling will be almost all about your class story, like it is now with 12x xp.  It is unclear what will happen with the one-off side quests.

Combat.  Still the same, with some minor stat changes.  New ability for each class.

Classes.  No major changes, just 5 more levels.

PvP.  No changes here (sadly).

Companions.  There are mechanical changes with companions, but overall they are staying the same.  You'll still get them while you'll level up and they'll still have their quests.  There will still be romance, if that's what your into.  You'll now just be able to use them in any role, and also be able to get more of them.  You don't have to lose any companion from your class either as BioWare made a way for you to obtain them again.

Flashpoints.  They aren't going anywhere.  In fact,  they will all now have solo modes, and be available to the level cap.  So if you missed them while leveling, they are still there for you to do.

Strongholds.  Still there.

Crafting.  All indications are that it remains basically the same, but more streamlined. You'll still be doing crew skills too.

Operations.  They will now all be available at the level cap.  So if you missed any due to playing later in the games life, they'll be useful to do again.

Fallen Empire.  We'll be getting a new story, with monthly updates.  There will be some 'break' with the pre-60 game, but you'll still be able to go everywhere you could before.

Oulander.  Just a name, there will still be class specific dialog/flavor.  Although no class specific quests :(

BioWare has been building towards this since Shadow of Revan.  So I would not expect something radically different than that and Ziost gameplay wise.  There are a lot of changes, but the way you play the game will still be pretty much the same.  You may have to think on choices more :)