Friday, March 30, 2012

Light Side v Dark Side v Neutral

                As announced at the guild summit there will be legacy bonuses for Light Side V and Dark Side V characters.  At some unknown date Neutral alignment characters are also supposed to get some love.  The legacy bonuses for alignment will be in the form of abilities for all legacy characters.  Also some of these abilities will be combat abilities while others will not. 

Dark Side IV on a Cyborg
                So I am assuming that some social abilities will be available as well.  I guess at some pt I will need to work on a Neutral character.  The best approach for this is to have a set of standards like companions and turn off the show Light Side/Dark Side choices and just play “grey”.   But right now there isn’t much benefit to being neutral.

                The animation of Sith corruption on your character is pretty sweet.  I still think it looks best on Human and Cyborg models, since it pales the skin, darkens the eyes and sprawls the head with spider veins.   I miss the bright red of my Zabrak’s skin as he gets more evil ala goes to the Dark Side.

Light Side IV
                The animation for Light Side is a sweet nothing on the character models.  I would like to see my light characters have a soft white/yellow glow coming off them or something cool.  I have heard arguments that while there is fluff in Star Wars for the Sith Corruption on characters there is no precedence for any hard line Light Side characters.  I will argue that we haven’t really seen any hard line Light Side Jedi in the movies, expect for maybe on the Jedi Council but their characters aren’t deeply wrought in the movies to know if they are truly Light Side V.  But alas I shall have to wait and see what comes with legacy for Light Side V. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Am Not Done Yet

So I am back.  Due to being out of town, busy personal matters and playing Mass Effect I have had little time for swtor.  I am commencing play, well while posting this actually.
Captain Pratt looking sinister and such.

                So to give everyone an update the weekend before I stopped playing I did start my smuggler.  His name is Pratt and not only do I love the name but I like his look.  However I still haven’t played him much.  Side Note:  Congrats to Njessi for dinging 50 on her smuggler.  Last I looked, like a week ago, the group I was looking to level my smuggler with was levels 25-28.  Pratt is level 11.  He is woefully behind and I am sure it is a lost cause to try to catch up to them at this point.  So in summery I am keeping Pratt but staying the course with the Empire.

                My Bounty Hunter (BH) is breathing new life as I respecc’d him to Pyrotech and found that Player vs Player (PvP) is very fun with this spec.  Almost every MMO I have played I am always a healer and mostly do PvE (player v environment).  I don’t know why but I find healing in PvP to be dull.  Not being able to blow someone up is something I sorely miss as a healer.   I also think that when I PvP as a healer I have to rely on my teammates more.  The freedom my BH provides is exhilarating due to even if my team is uber bad I can still hunt down and kill prey on the side.  This makes loses not feel so much of a defeat.  I know I bested people and held my turret control despite the fact my team lost the other turret control because half of them got wiped out while the other half was fighting nowhere near an objective.   I would not feel like I was having much fun though if I was healing my teammates as they attack 3 on 1 and we just trickle our attack at an objective versus using massed assault, but whatever.  On my BH I feel much more control of my life and death, no one around to depend on but myself.  On a plus side, it’s not always a wash and hey winning is great.

                In other news one of my best real life friends will be joining me this weekend for the friend invite deal and my brother will be joining us sometime shortly after that.  I am looking forward to bringing these MMO veterans in to the swtor universe.  All in all it will shape up to be a good weekend.  See you out there. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Meters and Logs

                It seems that on the issue of combat meters everyone has an opinion.  Some people like them, and well some people don’t.  There are many reasons for this.

                Meters aside for a moment people like information.  In swtor, the information that the game provides to a player is very minimal to say the least with regards to combat.  When you get defeated you have no idea of whom hit you last, if you were hit by multiple foes or how hard they hit you for.  You are not given information on how much damage your armor reduced, or your passive damage reduction.  It also doesn’t tell you the damage your shield absorbed or the damage you dodged.  Nor for a PvPer does the game tell you the damage your expertise reduced.  That’s just on the defensive side of the game.  What about offensive moves.  There is no log on critical or how much surge is boosting them by; there is no telling damage boost from expertise.  Then the same goes for healing.  I will say that yes I do have all my fly text on but the fly text doesn’t break down the damage or defense or healing specifically like I am talking about.  Essentially the game does not even have a combat log.  You might be saying wait all this information you seek is in your character panel, and to some extent you are right but the character panel gives ranges and static values.  With a combat log you can see live data on all of these values not rather that just theorycrafting from the character panel.

                Combat logs are invaluable to players and would be a welcome addition.  There is no reason not to have combat logs, which can improve peoples’ personal games. Skipping over to meters, which tend to be lauded or seen with resentment. 

                The positives of meters are that on an individual basis you can see numerical data that shows how effective your healing, damage, or defense is.  From a healing stand point you can see your effective heals, overhealing, regeneration, downtime and criticals.  Some healing tends to be more situational than rotation based letting a healer see where they can use what heal to be more effective.  Granted as a healer you do not need to have meters.  Keeping people alive and in the fight is what gets the job done, however meters can help healers if they want to improve.  The same goes for dps (damage dealers) you do not need meters to do damage if the boss dies and you win all is fine.  On a personal level meters can help you improve your rotation to get more out of your character.  Or as a dps you could go look up a rotation that someone else has made.  They probably did this with meters and you won’t know if it’s working unless you see it on meters yourself.

                The negatives of meters result in each person being held to a standard.  If you are below this standard you are not good enough.  The problem with this is boss fights involve more than just straight damage; there are more times often than not, mechanics to overcome to defeat the boss.  If a player puts out amazing dps but dies 45 seconds into the fight then they aren’t really worth the spot compared to someone that puts out less dps but listens and survives until the boss is down.

From the guild summit they commented on meters and logs some.  From what I understood of what the Bioware team said there will be limited simply command so that you can see what defeated you and with what you defeated someone else with.  They also said that a detailed log showing everything your character does and everything affecting them will be out loaded so that it can be viewed but only out of game.  Also the detailed log is only on a personal level so you can only see your characters information not the entire groups.  Meaning some 3rd party would have to make a program to collect and view this information for groups or in game.

So it sounds like swtor will be getting very accurate out of game logs.  They said they were going for the middle ground with this idea but I still don’t see why having very detailed logs out of game coupled with some less detailed logs in game would be bad.  Having them out of game could be nice for making charts and helping convey the data in a more meaningful way.  But in game I still would like a little analysis of my gameplay and not have to pop out of game to view my data. It will be a nice addition to see what defeated you but even this will probably be given with minimal data.

Meters and logs have their place and are useful.  Some people don’t like meters and aren’t looking to improve themselves and that’s okay.  But don’t go looking to set server firsts with an attitude like that.   So if you are a casual player that’s fine don’t get discouraged by meters just play the game you want to play.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Republic Calling. Do I Pick Up the Holocall?

                I play on a PvP (Player vs Player) server and data has been collected and confirmed by Bioware that in general there are more imperials than republic players on PvP servers.   This is true on my server as well, and needless to say I play on the side of the Empire.  I still have yet to hit 50 on any character but I am working on it with a level 40 Bounty Hunter and a 36 Imperial Agent operative.   So I have spent practically all of my time in swtor on the side of the Empire.  My highest level Republic character is a level 11 Jedi Knight.  I really like the Empire classes and the storylines I have done so far.

                Recently a few friends, that I generally run flashpoints and group quests with, decided they were fed up with the Imperials and are rerolling Republic characters on the same server.  Being the healer of the group they naturally want me to reroll and come with them over to the Republic.  They are only in their teens in the leveling process so I am not far behind if I were to reroll.  Also, not having a 50 I might not be leaving that much behind but as slow as I am leveling if I reroll now will I ever make 50.  With legacy updates coming out with patch 1.2, which is slated for early April, a transition to the Republic would be easier, but waiting that long would leave me well behind them in leveling. 

                The other problem I have is I love my operative so much I can’t not play him, so if I reroll what would I even play as.  I could play the mirror of my class naturally but I just can’t find the appeal of playing a Smuggler scoundrel.  I find the Trooper story interesting but not liking the way my Bounty Hunter heals makes me not want to play a Trooper commando (healer).  I mean I like the class but if I hate how it heals it doesn’t make sense to level one if I want to be a healer in endgame.  Last option: Jedi Consular.  I have yet to heal as a Sith Inquisitor sorcerer or a Jedi Consular Sage.  The healing style is something different than I tend toward, but I’m sure I could adapt.   

                Basically all in all I really like playing Empire.  I have yet to find a guild that I really click with and that has the same goals as me; though not being a 50 yet I haven’t been searching super hard for a great guild.  The guys I like playing with are going to form a guild on the Republic side.  I don’t know what I am going to do.  Either way I won’t stop playing my Empire characters but do I start working on a Republic character.  Help me; I need some advice.

                Side Note:  It would be the best solution for me if my operative would stick to just being a double agent and actually defect to the Republic.  Then I would get to heal on the character that I love to heal on while playing on the Republic with the guys I want to be playing with.  It would be the best of both worlds. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Overuse of AoE

This post was meant to go with the post on crowd control, but as that post grew I broke it up into this second post.  I briefly touched on area of effect (AoE) usage at the end of the CC post. 
Death From Above

                The screenshot shows some Bounty Hunters using the Death From Above ability on me.  This AoE is quite powerful and BH’s get it pretty early on in the leveling process.  This AoE is also a notorious CC breaker as every BH seems to feel that urge to use Death From Above no every multi-mob pull regardless if there are only two mobs or six.

                I have found a growing trend in not only the increase in classes in MMORPG that have AoE abilities but also an increase in the number of AoE abilities.  It used to be that only certain classes and even then only certain specs were strong in AoE damage or healing or tanking.  This was at a point in gaming where CC was not only useful it was required for most pulls.  Only specific fights were set-up to require AoE.  Fast forward to more current MMORPG and expansions; the tank pulls everything and begins to AoE tank, if there was CC either the tank broke it trying to grab the other mobs or a dps jumped the gun to AoE (i.e. Death From Above) shortly after the pull started.  This generally leads to the tank tanking a few guys the dps tanking others and hopefully not, but commonly the healer having to tank mobs from his healing threat.  This common and chaotic pull results in nearly everyone in the group taking damage, which in turn results in a common practice of throwing more AoE heals to keep everyone up. 

                Game designers have tried to set up AoE abilities to cost more to use.  However this has not stopped the rampant use of AoE.  I find it takes less skill and strategy to use AoE all the time.  I personally enjoy coordination, strategy, teamwork, focus targeting and single target abilities.

                Side Note: I do not have a problem with tanks using or having a swipe/sweep move that hits three targets.  This is just a standard tanking ability.  I was a tank back in WoW when this was the only way to grab mobs.  There was a long cooldown oh crap AoE taunt but even that taunt was quite limited.  Now there are multiple AoE abilities that hit everything within 10 m.

                Honestly, what was wrong with single target dps?  I mean sure you had to pay attention and focus down targets, but how hard is that?  Is it that people don’t want to have to coordinate?  The last thing I would want to see happen to MMORPGs is that they start playing like First Person Shooters where you only talk to your friends and do your own thing independent of your objective and maybe this is the way PvP is going.  In swtor only four people can group together to queue for a warzone. 

                Maybe AoE is just the trendy abilities to put in the game or maybe I am coming from way out in left field.  What are your thoughts on CC and AoE use? And thanks to Tor'bac for helping me with the screen. 

Guild Summit is Today

            There is a lot of new information coming out today with the guild summit which EA is streaming live.  It can be found here.  Expect some posts later this week on what we learn and my impressions.  I am looking forward to hearing about what is planned for the legacy system and user interface changes.  Then of course I want to learn about the direction of end game content. The future of crew skills should be interesting as well.

And queue the lightsaber dancing. 
In other news I need to work on a new banner.  Mine is square and lame.  Also I am thinking of working in some screenshots or the likes to jazz up my articles.  The blog is getting a little to text heavy and I apologize for this.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Many Roads That All Lead to 50

               As previously mentioned I have been playing alts quite a bit.  Besides the first 10 levels or so before your toon gets to fleet the experiences are mostly similar and you don’t have sprint so you run and run and run and find yourself only half way to where you want to go.  Or maybe I have just been spoiled by the utility of sprint, which you get at level 14.

                The one aspect of swtor that I do like, since I have alts, is that leveling can be done in a variety of ways.  This can be a turn off to some people.  As when leveling there is just so much content that can be skipped, that is if you want to stay at level with content.  Leveling alts and leveling them differently can allow one to see more content.

                With my Bounty Hunter (BH) I have used all forms of leveling variety from normal quests, heroic quests, class quests, flashpoints (fp), space missions and PvP.  This lead me to doing about every other planet or so before I was just too over leveled and was just finishing class quest then moving to the next planet.

                On my Operative, who is now my main, I only run fp’s and do class quests with some PvP sprinkled in at slow server times.  As in when I can’t find a group to do a fp.

                On my Juggernaut, I am mostly questing and surprisingly enjoying it, as I don’t tend to like just questing that much.

                On my other BH, a Powertech this time I am just PvPing.  I am surprised at how beneficial PvPing can be for non fifty toons.  You get a fair amount of credits and experience in PvP.  My Powertech has been averaging about 6-7 medals a match since he got his Guard ability which allows one of my allies to take 5% less damage and 50% of their incoming damage to be transferred to me.  This ability improves one of my allies to survive longer.  See in swtor the PvP warzones split into two tiers levels 10-49 and level 50.  In the 10-49 warzone everyone gets a buff to make the players stats scale to a level 49 toon.  This puts everyone on a more or less equal playing field.  Really the only disadvantage to being low level in warzones is that your abilities are a bit limited.  PvP can be a real grind anyway so it doesn’t seem to matter that much. 

                Space Missions do offer a real change of pace and a solid amount of experience but they can become very repetitive.  I wish there was a little more variety.

                Class quests are definitely the meat and bones of leveling on all my characters.  They drive the story and guide the player on their journey to fifty.  The class quests are well thought out and fun.   These quests are what make me come back and start new alts.  

                I have enjoyed all the empire storylines so far granted I have only gotten through the first two planets on the Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor.  I am through chapter one on my Imperial Agent and up to planet Hoth which is somewhere in chapter 2 on my BH.  I will admit I have a Jedi Knight but he is only level 10 and just got to fleet.  I heard that story was good but until I finish my empire storylines or at least two of them my little Jedi won’t be seeing much action.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is This Too Orange

               In swtor orange gear is moddable gear that you get in flashpoints and through some quest chains.  Moddable gear means you can change the stats by changing out components in the gear itself while keeping the same look.   I like the idea of this because it gives flexibility of style without hurting your toon’s output whether it is tanking, damage, or healing.

                However, me liking the idea does not necessarily translate into me utilizing orange gear to its full potential.  I find it just not practically cost effective to change out my mods/components as I am leveling.  This goes for all my orange gear pretty much if I like the look or not because I know that a short ways down the leveling road I will be getting a new piece of orange gear to replace the old one. The other downfall with the orange gear is that I don’t want to vendor it.  I just can’t bring myself to get rid of my orange pieces even thought they are clogging up my cargo (bank) space.

                Is anyone else having problems dumping their old orange gear?  Is your ship cargo closet full of old orange you don’t wear anymore?