Saturday, September 14, 2013

Update - Moving on to a New Blog

Hello All,

I know I haven't updated in a long long time.  As you may have guessed I have stopped playing SWTOR some time back.  I have however started a new blog that isn't game specific but rather just focused on gaming in general.  So if you stop by this old blog and are looking for something new to read head over to Eli The Gamer.  In my new blog I am keeping you up to date with what I am playing and my adventures with the games.  I am covering Xbox 360 games, Xbox One games, PC games and maybe even some tablet/companion gaming content.  I just set the site up last week so expect to see the look of the website change as I get it going.  Hope to see you there. 



Monday, April 16, 2012

A Trial by Force Lightning (The Story of a Free One Week Friend SWTOR Trial)- Part III

Sith and Sword Fights

Author: Cob
Flying Sith.  Saber Flaring. 

So far I had shot people in the face and thrown some rocks around. Some of my opinions on the game had begun to crystallize; I liked the Empire since they were more confident and less preachy, using the force is just too sweet to pass up, being sarcastic is fun, and I prefer the light side of the force. Wanting the get the most out of my trial that I could I think my next choice of character was clear. So are you cognizant of what I’m considering? The time had come to beat things about the head and shoulders with a laser sword, Sith style.
Never having been a big fan of melee classes, I still had fun with my Sith Warrior. I only made it to level ten but felt I had a healthy variety of ways to hit things in the face. Vette was also my favorite companion that I used (I like a girl with some spunk). I also confirmed my preference for the Empire. From my limited experience, Empire questing seems more active and aggressive, while the Republic is passive and defensive. When I go questing I want to blow stuff up, get things done. Additionally, being sarcastic is fun, but being sarcastic to a Dark Lord of the Sith is an absolute blast. I only finished the questing on Korriban, but it had locations that I recognized from the old KotOR games and I enjoyed that (if you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of KotOR references). Without playing as an advanced class I don’t have any firm opinions on the class, but I was planning on becoming a Marauder, just because I’m not really one for tanking.

In conclusion, with the game in general I was very impressed. It was a solid dialog driven RPG and an accessible MMO at the same time. The world, characters, and story seems just as deep and interesting as the previous KotOR games, but even bigger this time around. Gameplay was also excellent. Questing seemed varied and engaging, PvP was fast paced and rewarded player skill, and the limited amount of group content I explored was easy to get into and rewarding. The community was something I didn’t really experienced, but that also means that I didn’t run into any glaring negative aspects. All in all a stupendous game, worthy of the Old Republic name (no let-down sequel here). The only thing that I regret not getting to experience was having a ship, but I wouldn’t trust a level 15 with a starship either. 

I would like to thank Eli for sending me the friend trial and playing with me, and also for letting me post on his blog. I would also like to thank BioWare for making another great game. Last but not least, thanks to anyone who reads this ridiculous string of KotOR references and babblings. 
Getting blown up trying to kill some bounty hunting fool
That’s the final part of the guest post and I want to thank my friend for writing it up for my blog.  I had a great time running around and playing the starting planet three times with him.  I will note that having recently been on the Public Test Server earlier before he started his trial, having a character that has sprint at level 1 is very nice and I missed it dearly during the Friend Trial.  If we had had sprint we might have gotten through four or maybe even five characters.  I mean seriously not having sprint for the vast majority of our adventuring experience is a pain but those long runs make for good banter I suppose.  I was pillaging money and deleting all my alts as soon as we hit fleet, because frankly I only have 1 character slot still open and I probably won’t continue on with any of those alts anyway.  At least I was getting legacy experience and a little bit of money from the alts I deleted.

I also wanted to mention at the end of this post that sometime around the beginning of May, Cob and I will be launching a new Diablo 3 blog where we will be discussing our thoughts and adventures on that game.  If you are interesting in checking it out I will be posting more information about it as the time draws nearer. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Trial by Force Lightning (The Story of a Free One Week Friend SWTOR Trial)- Part II

Goggles and Gravel

Author: Cob

It was now time to stop messing around. It was time to forget about a good blaster and start thinking about hokey religions. That’s right; it was time to use the force. I wanted to try the Republic and a Jedi Consular seemed the obvious choice since I stereotyped it as a bit of a “mage class,” and mages get all the cool spells. Now armed with the knowledge that races are kind of pointless, I picked a Miraluka in honor of Visas Marr from the second KotOR. I always thought that Visas was the last of her race, but since I sexed her up as well (boo-ya) I guess I can not only take credit for the existence of Satele Shan, but all the Miralukas as well (you’re welcome).

First impressions are as follows.

1.          Jedi are cool
2.          A spray of pebbles are not as cool as lightning
3.         Huge rocks to the face totally make up for the pebble thing

I also realized how exceptional the character voice acting was. My agent did some nice work with different accents, but I thought that my Jedi had a voice that really nailed the character.

Out of all the characters I played (all three) during my trial, my Sage Jedi Consular was my favorite. With interesting skills and a variety of stuns, combat was very active and fun. I also liked the way she ran with a lightsaber out (it’s the little things that matter, and one thing that I have learned about MMO’s is that character animations are a big deal when you can play a character for hundreds of hours). I never tried any PvP but I can remember getting smashed by a few Consulars on my Agent so I don’t think it would be too bad.

I did get into the crew skill aspect of the game on this character. The fact the resource gathering and crafting could be done anytime and anywhere was classy. I went with Synthweaving, and the armors I could make were pretty good to use at my level. Reverse engineering for better recipes and some material returns was a very tidy way of getting rid of all the extra items that get crafted while grinding levels. My skills capped at level 40 but up to that point I found crew skills to be useful and satisfying. 

        Final Impressions on the Consular

1.     A little bit of the overinflated importance with the whole level five Flesh Raiders threatening the Jedi Temple
2.      The super boring unemotional Jedi personality was restrained to minor characters, unlike the movies (Oh Qui-Gon Jinn, your voice was so gravely, yet your personality was so plain)
3.     Goggles are sexy

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Trial by Force Lightning (The Story of a Free One Week Friend SWTOR Trial)- Part I

          In the last week I invited my old real life buddy to Star Wars with the Friends Trial.  We have been gaming together going on a decade now and we attempt to play as much co-op content as we can get around to.  The weekend before he started his trial we were mixing it up in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer but with his new computer I thought pushing him back into an MMO would be some fun.  I also invited him to write a guest post about his experience he had with the game.  He took up my call to write a post and due to its length I will be splitting it up over 3 parts this week.  So without further ado here is part 1 of the guest post Trial series by Cob.

Snipes and Sarcasm

Author: Cob

I’ll start with a little background to establish my credibility in this quasi review. I am a big fan of the first two Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR) games and BioWare games in general. Kicking Jolee Bindo in the face after joining Bastila on the Dark Side is still one of my fondest gaming memories. I also have a history of disliking the sequels to my favorite games (see Halo 2 or Oblivion). I also played World of Warcraft (WoW) for almost two years during my escapist days in college, so I have opinions on what I like in a massively multiplayer online game (MMO). All that said, I enjoyed my time in the Old Republic, and consider it a solid game.
Cob's first character:  Imperial Agent Sniper

                My first experiences were as an agent for the Galactic Empire with aspiration to train as a sniper. I chose this class because I played a Hunter in WoW and figured I would be comfortable in a ranged damage roll. I chose the Cyborg race since I thought that the “keen cybernetic eye,” from the Scan racial ability, that was advertised would aid me in my sniping, I was later disappointed to find that it only meant I had a lame social skill, but no matter. I was joined in my adventure by my good friend Eli. We have been gaming together since the golden days of the Super Nintendo, so a rhythm was quickly established. Once I got through the initial trails of key binding and figuring out the quest log, I notice something. I was playing a dialog driven role playing game (RPG), and one with some solid co-op besides (I really enjoy the conversation roll system). This games definitely seems like it was designed as an RPG first and an MMO second (not meaning that the MMO side was lacking). The story actually makes fairly good sense and all the dialog had good voice acting (at least everything that was in Galactic Basic, the Rodian was an over actor).

It seemed no time at all before I had expanded the Empire’s influence on Hutta, acquired a companion who shared my love of sassing authority, and was ready to head into the wider galaxy. I left without the feeling that I had only accomplished what had already been done by hundreds if not thousands of people before me. This was good and an uncommon MMO experience for me. The fact that all the meaningful quests were class specific, and occurred in my very own instance, left me without the feeling that I was beating any dead horses. The Datacrons hidden around the planets were a nice feature, as I am a fan of exploration and collection, and stat boosts are nice.

Arriving at fleet I was treated to my first Flashpoint (FP) by the level 17 Sith Inquisitor that Eli had brought out to simplify the experience. The first thing that I noticed was that it could be run with two to four people, giving a good range between two player simplicity and four player craziness (be it good or bad), which is cool. The second thing that I noticed was all of the dialog. Yep, I’m definitely playing a dialog driven RPG. I don’t know if it is normal for most parties to just skip through dialog as fast as possible, but as a guy who likes dialog and story when I can get it, I enjoyed it. Other than one death from my early pulling of a boss (I couldn’t resist tossing a grenade into the five pull), we breezed through the FP without troubles. We then ran through it again with an even higher level Sith Warrior of Eli’s to run me through, but this time we ran it with dark side choices. This led to a refreshingly different experience and is another cool feature (a strong argument for the dialog). From my first Flashpoint a gained the feeling that something interesting had just happened (without the overinflated level of importance that some games try to attach to low level content), through meeting with Satele Shan (I knew sexing up Bastila was a good idea), and a shiny new chest piece.

Now I was ready to show the Old Republic my PvPness. The ability to gain experience and credits meant that I wasn’t wasting my time, and the bolstering of my level meant that I wasn’t being a tremendous letdown to my team. These are outstanding features. Even if I was operating with a very limited skill set (sprint was certainly pined after), I felt that player skill was the main deciding factor in my victories or defeats (mostly defeats, I hadn’t quite mastered my skills and key bindings enough for PvP yet). The game types were varied and fun to play. Huttball is an interesting twist on the CTF (capture the flag) archetype, even if I sucked especially badly at it. My only complaint was not being able to queue into a specific game type, but being able to queue from anywhere is very handy.

A few quest on Dromund Kaas later, that I was now over leveled for (thank you PvP experience!), and I was now level 15 and my time with my sniper had come to an end. My impressions of this character were mainly that 15 levels wasn’t quite enough time to really get the character figured out, while also learning how to play the game in general. I did enjoy playing the character and wanted to play more. The character and story was interesting and I liked the way my skills were panning out. I didn’t quite crack the nut that is using cover effectively, but given more time I think it could have led to some interesting play options.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

PTS Adventures in PvP and UI Customization

                Starting about two weeks ago I have been braving the crash heavy Public Test Server (PTS).  Originally I was doing this to see patch 1.2 and, I confess, to get the title for getting a character to level 10 on the PTS.  There is also a title for getting a character to the end of chapter one as well, but let’s face it I am still not quite 50, so probably won’t be getting that title. Source: PTS 1.2Patch notes under general > second bullet point down. 

Novare Coast
Novare Coast Scorekeeper
               Once I hit level 10 I started PvPing (player v player) so I could get a look at the new warzone.  Novare Coast is the new PvP Warzone.  The game is described as “Majority 3-point Domination.”  The goal of the game is to hold at least 2 points.  How is this different from the current Alderaan Civil War Warzone?  In Alderaan Civil War you are taking the opposing team’s ship shield/health down as long as your team controls a turret.  In Novare Coast your team needs to hold 2 points to start taking down the enemies’ bunker.  The points represent artillery posts.  One point is needed to knock the shield protecting the bunker down and a second point is needed to damage the bunker when that shield is down.   Capturing (or capping)  the points also works different such that the more people capping the point the faster your team can cap.  Also note that disrupting the person/people capping does not reset the cap.  Capping of the points works more like a tug-of-war type match.  The map is fairly open but with rugged, hilly terrain.
A look at the terrain
New PvP Queue Interface

Another shot of the PvP queue but scrolled down
Charging up the hill to take the bunker. 

               Being a low level character I didn’t check out much else on the PTS, which coupled with the fact that my game crashed every ten minutes if I was lucky.  After logging in for the fifth or six time I was done with the PTS for the day. 

                However I did get to mess around quite a bit with the new User Interface (UI) customization.  I have some screenshots of the various default plates.  Click them to enlarge. 
To customize your interface

Default Layout

Default in Interface Editor

Extended Bars Layout

Extended Bars in Interface Editor

Retro Layout

Retro in Interface Editor
My Custom Layout

Custom in Interface Editor

Then the last screen is of my new custom setup which is a hybrid of retro and extended bar.  I actually like, or maybe I am just used to, the way extended bar is set up.  I haven’t used an Interface like retro in years and with it I find myself looking at the wrong part of the screen and hunting for the information I need.  I do like my new hybrid of the two interfaces.  I like my chat box down at the bottom better.  In PvP and open world combat elevation changes, i.e. the target being on higher ground, has me often clicking in my chat box and trying to kill enemy by shouting binary mixed with some w’s at them.  SIDE NOTE: Binary does not seem to be an effective way of killing others.   I am still tweaking my custom UI as I go though.

                Here are some more screenshots of my interface with party and operation frames. 
Party Frames.  Unfortunately I only have one person in my group.

Operation frames from a PvP match

Tips for new UI Customization
Moving secondary windows

  •  As mentioned before to show additional bars it is under the UI Editor and not under user interface options anymore.
  •   To move the secondary menus, i.e. inventory, character sheet, etc., toggle on moveable secondary menus in the UI Editor.
  • To enable target on target select the target on target frame in the UI Editor and toggle the enable option.
  • Adding health information
    Target of Target
  • To show health text on health bars select the frame/frames you want to show health text on and toggle on show information text.

Multiple secondary windows open and moved around

These are just some questions people have asked while I was on PTS and I thought others might want to know.  If anyone else has any questions about the UI feel free to ask below in the comments and I will try to get back to you with an answer. 

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.