Saturday, 27 October 2012

Hustlin' through the Old Republic: It's lonely in the galaxy, well this one at least

I was excited to go back into playing SWTOR this time around being away from it for awhile I returned to find my guild basically the way it was since I left with not many people on at all, before I had left last time I had befriended stacyj from the Republic side who I’d said if my current guild had not seemed to get any more populated I’ll switch over to the Academy Exemplar who she was part of. So since she was online I decided to take her up on the offer and joined, Academy Exemplar (along with their Empire Sister guild: Lyceum Narcissus) are a pretty good guild they have a guild website and possibly will be getting a Teamspeak channel soon. I can’t tell you how good it was to have people to talk to about SWTOR as I don’t really know anyone who plays it and the playerbase has unfortunately dropped even more since my last post and it’s becoming increasingly hard for players on our server to complete or even participate in end-game content.

There has recently been a large “Consolidation” or “Merging” as it would be more commonly known of the US and European SWTOR servers I only realised this when I came back that Bioware had gotten rid of a heap of US and European servers, where there used to be 20 or 30 servers for each of those regions this is now  8 for US and 9 for UK (3 each for England, France, Germany) What I think is that they've obviously had to do the cull as more than half of them I noticed when looking at the TorStatus constantly had a light population status. There has been some recent discussion and general buzz as well as apparently some formal communication with Bioware from Visz Alliance the main guild on the server, (well on the Republic side at least)

Oh no!, I'll never defeat that World Boss on my own, and with the population in the state that it is, who will help me? 
  I personally support a merge with Dalborra as I don't RP myself and I'm pretty sure most people on the server don't anyway. I'm certain that the small number of people who do RP could put up with some of the more rude or elitist players that can be found on normal servers in favour of a better game experience. That's probably the best I can hope for though according to TorStatus I noticed that the Asia-Pacific PvP server Master Dar'nala has the world’s lowest population so I don't know how Bio are going to solve that problem, Imagine if they merged all three AU servers into one and made it PvP! Ah wouldn’t that be fun, not.  However there is and was only ever 3 oceanic server, one PvE one PvP and one RP PvE and I highly doubt Bioware will merge the three into one or even two as this tweet %90 confirms.

Oh lordy lord the irony,

Believe it or not I actually originally chose to come to Gav Daragon around March 2012 (when the game came out in AUS) because according to TorStatus  the population rate of the Asia-Pacific normal PvE server Dalborra was actually quite heavy. Around that time it was actually the third most popular server in the world with an average population index of 2.52 (the largest at the time being the US "The Fatman" server with 2.56) and in some cases you had to wait to login. But unfortunately now it’s only reasonably populated making it ideal for play which is a cruel twist of fate. I reckon it's just people being unhappy with the game and moving on to others specifically things like Guild Wars 2, some people I know go through games at an insane rate and it's always "hey buy this game it's great! buy that game! what are you still playing that for? buy this and play it!" and I seriously cbf I mean I'm still happily playing GTA4 which came out in 2008, the only problem is with multiplayer games you like, need people to play it

Good thing I've got guildies!
Apart from a few issues, namely, no auto-attack, duel spec (yet) or allowance for player-made interface mods I'm fine with the game, I wanted a Star Wars version of WoW with a player storyline and that’s what I got, it's where people who were expecting greatness that were let down. Believe me I’m resisting going back to WoW as it seems a lot of people have done most probably because of this which I won’t mention but to be honest it is tempting going back to a large playerbase and a new expansion, but I’ve bought SWTOR and I intend to play until I can’t anymore, whether that lasts for as many years as WoW kept me occupied only time will tell.

But anyway, back to the latest in my Jedi/Sith ventures

Well If I can remember correctly on my Jedi I finished the whole planet of Quesh, which was even more of a monster ridden toxic waste dump than Balmorra so much so that before you went down they gave me some kind of injection to survive the hazardous environment though it was only a short stay as it’s only supposed to be a two level planet. 

Quesh, quite a messy place
I then went on to start Hoth in which for some reason I had continuous framerate issues whereas my FPS would go more than 30, this had happened before both in SWTOR and WoW and I only had to close and restart the game in order for it to go back to normal though I did this several times and it didn’t seem to work. After a bit of frustration I found that because I play in fullscreen windowed mode and I was out of the main screen when It loaded which somehow created the problem with the FPS, but anyway it hasn’t happened again so it seems to be fine. With Hoth the first thing I noticed that it was goddamn bright, I was even squinting at the screen in some cases because the entire landscape was white, though this was a given really cause Hoth as most people would know is an ice planet with a large amount of snow, first time I’d ever considered wearing sunglasses to play a game. 

Scene like this are particularly squint worthy.


The "Invisible Foes" heroic quest on Hoth, brightness and lightsabres everywhere, gah my eyes

I’ve noticed that Datacrons seem to be getting tougher to acquire especially the Matrix Shards, for example I have a RYY (one red two yellow 28 strength, 14 endurance) level 24 Matrix cube but in order to get the next one (YRR 29 str 33 end) I’ll either need to pay 18,000 credits to obtain another red matrix shard on Hoth or just wait to get to Ilum where I can get it for free, and I’m not even going to think about what I need to do to get a level 50 one (GGG 66 str, 56 end) as obviously the way the Matrix shards go you won’t be able to get three of the same colour until the end of the game.

Ooooo green glowy box!
 Well Hoth went pretty well I can’t really remember what the main storylines were or why I was there to be honest but I do know when I finished  that was the end of Act 2 which I now released I’ve forgotten to mention in my posts. The “acts” as I refer to them refer to different climaxes and crucial plot points in your characters storyline, I’m not going to spoil what happens but the second one of the Jedi Knight was pretty intense I can tell you and was a real “wow so how’s this going to work out?” vibe to it. There’s apparently 3 acts in your characters storyline with the last one ending after you are level 50, I’m quite looking forward to both the first one on my Sith Inquisitor and the last one on my Jedi Knight. I've also gotten full affecxtion with Kira and even "married" her if you can call it that, I must have banged her 7-8 times during that whole thing ka-chow anyway since I've got no more romantic options availiable I've had to decided to my next companion character and thats between: T7-01, Doc, Sergeant Rusk and Lord Scourge. And I'm happy to say I picked T7, he is a tank character, which I don't really need and relatively weak, but I can't help liking the little dude and watching him kick ass.

T7 and I, the Jedi Guardian and his faithful Droid companion (I bought the green custom color for him)
I’ve now started Belsavis on my Jedi which is some sort of mass prison complex, shortly after starting though I reached level 45 in which I decided to go back my Sith Inquisitor: Kxan.

Now I was at a crucial point with Kxan I’d just finished the Dromund Kass missions and was now on to either Balmorra or Nar Shaddaa now according to this chart of the planets in SWTOR and the suggested levels the lowest was level 16 but after Korriban and Dromund Kass I was already level 20. I may have mentioned this before in previous posts but I’ve had a continuous problem with what seems like I’m leveling too fast which can be dissected by  a number of reasons. When I played WoW all I needed to do was determine which zone/area of the world was the appropriate level for me and I would go there and level up, this was made much easier when I got the Cataclysm expansion as all the quests for the region were in the one questline which could be started from notice boards and NPC’s in the main cities which let you know where you could go at your current level. 

It looks pretty empty but I actually ended up doing some heroics on Balmorra (under duress of course) I even ended up tanking a heroic-4 in which I did pretty well.
 However WoW had no character storylines only area/zone storylines whereas SWTOR has both, I’m not sure exactly how it all balances out but it definitely adds to the xp you get. Also as well as flashpoints/instances SWTOR has Space Combat missions which aren’t mandatory but any SWTOR player would be insane not to try it. When I finished Coruscant on Jxan I was about level 20 same as Kxan and I found that I had two options: one to go to Taris with was level 16-20 and Nar Shadaa which was level 20-24. Now in WoW terms I would have gone straight to Nar Shadaa but it was apparent that I had story missions for both planets and couldn’t do one or the other. So when going to Taris I felt compelled to do all the missions I could find, inc the bonus series which are some sort of strange offshoot of missions that start in various level ranges for example the planet Alderaan supposedly goes from 28-32 but you get the quests for the bonus series around 35-36.


Doing the "Companion Dance" ability with Khem Val, looks quite ridiculous I can assure you
 
So it was an amalgamation of these reasons for you levelling up pretty damn fast so after some research and guildy discussion I decided that the best option as to go to Balmorra and try to do as little of the missions as possible apart from the main story quest, so instead of taking everything on I only did the story missions plus some others I decided to do which were convenient and or any heroics that people roped me into helping them with. It worked out pretty well though next time I might try and do less as even though I did that Nar Shadaa is 20-24 and I’m 25 and not even halfway through but anyway, it’s better than Jxan where I’m constantly trying to stop my quests going grey. Though there is one thing I’m worried about that that is credits, as in if I do less quests I get less credits and I get kind of low when purchasing speeders/etc and the other things is since I can actually send mail between the Republic/Empire factions I’ve been using the resources I’ve collected from Archaeology and using them for the Artifice skill that Kxan does, the one for all the Jedi lightsabre and trinket making. 

With the leftover resources I’ve been sending them to Jxan for making any gear he can to upgrade what Khem Val and I are wearing. Although these upgrade are sometimes quite large I can’t help thinking it’s just not really worth it as I’ve had pieces of gear drop which I’ve had to think about whether I want to replace or not in which I definitely would if I didn’t have it made, and the companion have their gear upgraded automatically through normal quests albeit slowly. All this drains the credits quite a bit though I’ve bought my first speeder now and seem to be back up to speed (bahaha!) with credits.

Having so many companions and then alts to keep track of their gear is no small feat, especially when you can send cross-faction mail.
Speaking of speeders, I've become really disappointed with the endgame level 50 ones, I mean they just look horrible, the hoverbike things you get at level 25 and 40 look reasonably fine, but these car-like things look pretty ridiculous and huge I might add. Like for example they look like they'd be a two seater vehicle except the other side has been covered over so it's just your character sitting on the left with just the rest of the ship on the other side. Does this mean their going to make the speeders dual seater eventually? and if not why not just model them with the driver's seat in the freakin middle of the thing it's look much better and be smaller I might add. I can tell you if they don't change I won't really be celebrating getting one of these.


Nice ride buddy, got room in there for two? oh nope that's ok would have been pretty suss anyway
Damn the traffic at this hour is terrible
Well I can really feel the effects of the server drop now as it’s getting harder to get groups together, I’m levelling along good on my Assassin and almost got my second companion now but I just can’t seem to get a flashpoint going without guildie help, especially on Empire side, I’m just going to have to see how it goes I suppose as long as I get some flashpoints done though I really don’t know what endgame is going to be like once I reach 50 on my Jedi Guardian. Well at least I’ve got a good guild, who luckily is in league with what is possibly the biggest guild on the server.Though because of my insistence on playing my Sith Assassin I joined the Academy Exemplar empire sister guild: Lyceum Narcissus, in which I left my previous empire guild and went from having a few people online to no-one online most of the time but meh, I may as well be on the sister guild of my main one in so people can find me.

Admiring the view while finally getting to do the Mandolorian Raiders flashpoint, guildy Terril was nice enough to run me through it. perfect loot run for me too got 4  or 5 new gear peices
I’ve had a brief look at the new free-to-play preview but I can honestly say I will stay a subscriber, I don’t actually buy many games anymore so I’ll at least support the ones I play online, plus I’ll be able to reap all the benefits they give to existing subscribers. I can only hope that this move will bring more people to (or back) to the game so we can all have a better experience.

JD

Trying to resist the Dark Side but this ain't helping

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