A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

Category: SWTOR Page 2 of 5

SWTOR: Feeling Conflicted

old_republic_iconDespite my previous ranting about the half-assed free-2-play model Bioware implemented, I still often find myself wanting to play SWTOR. Usually that ends the moment I log in and immediately start to feel so constricted that I lose the motivation to play. When I see screenshots, news articles and Larry Everett’s blog posts I start to feel the urge to play again. Larry Everett’s geek enthusiasm is often quite contagious.

I think another point that makes logging into SWTOR difficult is that so many of my friends that use to play are so annoyed and upset about the bad implementation of the free-2-play model that I’m the only one that would play. A majority of the reason I play any MMO is to hang with my friends. Logging in to an empty friends list or guild just wipes out any desire to play.

I’ve thought about just starting a new toon (since I am a preferred member, as of the patch 1.6 I should have additional slots). Perhaps if I start a new toon and level up then I can better acclimate to the restrictions. Granted that still doesn’t resolve the issue of the lack of friends also playing the game.

SWTOR: Insulting My Intelligence

gus_facepalmI never thought I would be on a tirade about Bioware’s design decision for SWTOR. I was a huge supporter for nearly a year. I tried to think of their decisions from the developers perspective to combat the negativity and bad press the game was getting. I was really hoping that their decision to finally go Free-2-Play would resolve a lot of the harsh criticism. Instead it’s made it worse; even I am pretty peeved.

The concept of the Cartel Coins and Shop seemed like a good idea. Similar shops have worked for other games in the past. I was looking forward to spending the coins that I had earned from my past months of paying their subscription to play the game. When F2P launched, I found out that the only way I can get those coins that I earned would be to resume my subscription. Oh, and if I don’t resub by January 7th, I will lose all of them! By the way, when they show you the price to unlock something, that is only for the character you are currently logged in on. Double that amount if you want to unlock it for all your characters.

If you want to feel like you are making any progress on your character’s end game (i.e. completing heroic dungeons) its going to cost you weekly cartel coins. Someone actually did the math and determined that it would cost approximately $56 a month for a free player (the link is a 3-page article of a rather harsh, and deserved, criticism of Bioware’s F2P business model).

Apparently Bioware’s defense for their decision to nickel-and-dime players is to encourage them to purchase the subscription. Sorry, that’s not how I felt. In fact I feel like just uninstalling the game. I feel ridiculous for 1) having defended Bioware all this time and 2) for spending the money on the collector’s edition. They are clearly taking advantage of Star Wars fans. They must think we are all just a bunch of suckers! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

They are going to have to make another drastic change if they want to salvage this game (if its even possible to salvage it). Perhaps now that LucasArts is owned by Disney someone at Disney can slap some sense into their business department and find a better free-2-play model. I like Funcom’s model. In fact I think I’m going to be playing The Secret World now instead of SWTOR.

SWTOR: The Free-2-Play Option

It has been a while since I have posted about SWTOR. The primary reason, and this may come as a shock, is that I haven’t had an active account. I still love the game but it was fiscal reasons that I had to shut down the account and nothing to do with the immense scrutiny the game has been under since its launch. When the game became free-2-play, of course I was going to log in and see what is different.

I was elated to see that I can still play both of my level 50 characters. While Free-2-Play restricts players to only 2 character slots, if you have more characters created, and of races that are not part of the F2P, you can still play those toons, you just can’t create any more. For example I have two level 50 characters, a level 39 and a level 14. All four toons are available for me to play and all four are races that are not unlocked for Free-2-Play. Additional character slots and races cannot be unlocked using Cartel Coins.

The one thing I think the developers succeeded in doing was enticing the player to want to purchase either a subscription or the Cartel Coins because they have locked down quite a bit of features. If you are someone coming to the Free-2-Play option from having played as a subscriber you are going to really feel the restrictions. In fact I think I am leaning toward renewing for a month to unlock all the Cartel Coins I have earned so I can unlock more features.

What will probably bother me the most about the Free-2-Play is the caps on credits and Flashpoint commendations. I think this was something that Bioware said under their breath. Folks were probably more focused on when the game will be free-2-play and crying about locked action bars (which really isn’t that big of a deal because they can be unlocked very easily, a mere $5). Your credits are capped at 350,000 which is enough to get you level 50 speeders but you will not be able to buy any of the larger mounts (such as the land speeder that ranges somewhere around 2 million to 2.5 million credits). Also, all your Flashpoint commendations (ex: Tionese, Columni, etc) are capped at 40 and your Tionese Crystals are capped at 100. Neither of these caps can be unlocked with Cartel Coins (for now).

I am honestly worried about the future of this game, now. I really enjoy it but I think people are going to be just too put off by what things Bioware has locked down. Knowing Bioware’s slow response time to some of these concerns I don’t think they will make the appropriate adjustments in time to save face. As a programmer I understand that a company needs to make money on their titles, after all a programmer’s gotta eat. I am worried though that some of the items that you cannot unlock may drive players away.

I hope I am proven wrong.

Biggs On: SWTOR Going F2P

I have to admit, while I knew that Bioware would eventually go F2P with SWTOR, I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon. I know this game has been under very heavy scrutiny by players and gaming pundits since its release, and now they are all screaming “First” upon the Free-2-Play announcement. It does sadden me that this game has become such a flop because I honestly really enjoy this game, though I am beginning to understand the end-game criticisms.

What does Free-2-Play mean for me? Well I think I am going to try to maintain my subscription until it becomes Free-2-Play and then make the switch, especially since I will be playing Mists of Pandaria. I hope to have earned enough Cartel Coins to unlock some of the F2P restrictions so I don’t notice the changes so much. There are many that are saying that this will save the game, and in a way I hope it does. I know that the servers will likely become flooded with players and trolls.

Honestly its the trolls that have me most concerned.I know there will be trolls that will make it their purpose in life to grief players by trying to belittle Bioware and the game as much as possible. I hope that people will take advantage of the ignore list and other methods to diffuse the trolls instead of abandoning the game. Unfortunately all the trolls will also contribute to any login queues.

I hope the decision to go Free-2-Play is a success. I hope to see Bioware receive the same returns as SOE did with DCUO. I am excited that it seems several of my friends will be returning to the game when it does go Free-2-Play and the ability to use my Cartel Coins to unlock some of the restrictions is pretty cool.

SWTOR: It’s Gonna Be Around A While

There is so much doomsday talk around Star Wars The Old Republic that I think something positive needs to be posted out there (thank God for Hyperspace Beacon). It’s as if everyone wants SWTOR to fail, but it’s not going to fail! Just because subscription rates dropped 20% after the first couple of months (which is the industry standard for every MMO), or some executive leaves the company doesn’t mean the game is failing (unless your CEO is Curt Schilling). I am still playing SWTOR and let me tell you that it has a great player base and, since 1.3, I have had several of my friends come back to play it.

Bioware still holds weekly Developer Q&A sessions where they consider player ideas and questions and discuss what players can expect in the next patch or what tweaks the developers are working on. Clearly that is a sign its failing.

Bioware still performs weekly maintenance on all the servers for 4-6 hours (which is the same timetable for Blizzard maintenance) to improve server performance and stability. Clearly that is also a sign its failing.

Bioware is still introducing new content for players at major events (such as the recent HK-51 unveiling at Comic-Con – which, by the way, I am really excited about). OMG! Clearly they are going under!

All of these false prophets need to find something else to pick on and stop all this pathetic whining. SWTOR is a great game and its doing quite well. We should let the business people, that actually understand how business works, handle the natural functions of running a large corporation. I will bet real money that we will still be talking about content updates for SWTOR a year from now and all the lousy doomsayers will have moved on to the next “so-called” flop (which appears to be Elder Scrolls Online, so be ready Bathesda’s PR department).

By the way, if you haven’t tried the new features in 1.3, come back and check them out. Granted you have missed the free 7-day window but renewing for one month won’t kill you (unless you are republic scum and you’re on Corellian Run, mwahahahaha … j/k).

Cheers!

SWTOR: Patch 1.3 Impressions

Game Update 1.3 has been out for a week now so perhaps I should talk about my impressions of the changes to the game before I get too lost in the new content. I think its important to note that had Bioware not offered the server transfers it would have adversely affected the quality of this patch. I can actually complete the Black Hole heroic daily now, and oftentimes before I have finished the other quests.

I still think that the best feature in this patch is the addition of the Group Finder. I have now used it a couple of times and the only misfortune I have experienced (so far) is a tank that disconnected. Its great to be able to get Tionese crystals, Daily Commendations and Black Hole Commendations more consistently now. Gearing up for Lost Island Hard Modes and Operations should be much easier and create a better end-game experience for the casual player. Generally the queue times have been roughly about 10 minutes for my DPS toon, I haven’t tried it on my tank yet.The biggest concern that some people have voiced have been that since its not a feature that was available at release that nobody will use it but I think that isn’t entirely accurate. I do, occasionally, still see people advertising for a group in the fleet channels, but most of the time its followed up by other people suggesting that they use the group finder tool. I think its great that other players are helping to encourage the new tool.

I don’t pvp much so I can’t comment on the new ranked warzones but based on the activity of those in my guild I’d say its pretty popular. My guild has already assembled a couple of ranked warzone teams and there seems to be less complaining on the fleet channels about the lack of challenge in pvp and warzone queue times. I can imagine this is a very popular feature, and probably the most popular, among pvper’s. If anyone has some feedback they would like to offer about this feature, please feel free to post a comment.

I really like some of the new legacy perks, and not all of them are just for leveling alts. You can increase your companion affection gains from all sources by paying an increasing amount of credits (the bigger the increase, the more it will cost you). If you are an altoholic (like me) then purchasing increased experience gains is going to be worth the credits. There is a new legacy perk that unlocks speeder piloting at earlier levels which might make early Tatooine less cumbersome.

The new augment system is great. If you were struggling on a boss in an operation and you needed just a tiny bit of a DPS boost from your teammates, well this may just be the inch you need. All items can be equipped with an augment slot by using an augment kit appropriate for your level. I haven’t fully explored this feature yet but I think I may do a separate post once I get it all figured out. It seems like there are some that don’t quite understand how it works so perhaps I can provide some help.

As you can see this patch actually has a lot to offer and it didn’t even have new content (in the form of new flashpoints, warzones or operations). I really suggest getting back in there and checking out the new features and experiencing a much more populated universe.

Cheers!

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