In light of the most recent news coming from Electronic Arts, Bioware and Star Wars: The Old Republic camps I have come to the conclusion that it is time to change the direction and the intensity of my involvement in the SWTOR community and my support for the companies that made this game.
We will stop posting up-to-date news about the game on SWTOR Life. I would like to thank Joshrooms for working diligently these past months to bring you all that news goodness and I thank all who visited us because of that. We will also steer away from trying to be a column driven fansite or any kind of serious fansite for that matter. I intend to turn this into a personal SWTOR related blog where I’ll share a blog post or two when inspiration hits me and I hope I’ll make a few webcomics that have been floating in my mind for a long time now and that I never was able to do because there were “more important” things to be done. I am telling you all this so you are not surprised with all the incoming changes on the site.
We are now back to where we were in June 2009. when the site first started. This is again my very own, personal pet project, just as it was back then. In the past two years we tried to make SWTOR Life one of the most prominent TOR fansites on the internet. Considering the funding we had ($0) I am very proud with what was accomplished. This is all thanks to a lot of great people that joined and left SWTOR Life over the years. Thanks to SWTORCrafter, Mr. Warlock, Flagg, BorukBH, Dalqak, Rosie, Daelda, MJ and Josh we were able to bring the SWTOR community interviews with the developers, reporting from events, amazing weekly columns and tongue in cheek articles consistently over a long period of time. I had nothing to do with this – it is all accomplishment of the people I just mentioned and therefore I am in their debt forever (and I think the SWTOR community a bit as well).
Sadly, in light of all the things happening with the game and the fact that none of the above people are with SWTOR Life anymore (my fault mainly) I had to make a decision and scale down SWTOR Life considerably. From now on it will be a “if I feel like it” thing. I have overextended myself working on SWTOR Life and SWTOR Spy for a very long time and that has to stop yesterday.
I want to make one thing very clear though (in before the trolls). I believe that Star Wars: The Old Republic is a great game that has a lot to offer to any true gamer. There are so many things done very well that it is a shame if you do not attempt to experience at least a part of it. Personally, I will be enjoying the game for what I hope will be a long time to come. I believe with all my hearth that the Bioware, Austin crew stood by their product to the best of their abilities and tried providing us with the best game possible. I hope they will be able to get out of this hole and break the chains that bound them. Even if that does not happen I am proud and happy to have been a part of this amazing journey that waiting for and launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic has been.
Weird sequence of events led me to have my main SWTOR character on a PvE server called Dune Bantha. I initially started playing Republic with my wife on a server some of my SWTOR Life buddies played on, but my wife soon quit due to annoyances in the game she couldn’t pass over and I needed an Empire character to discover some things for our SWTOR Spy Database. That is how Zarmelesh, a demented Twi’lek Sith Assassin came to life – a female character with a randomly assigned name and no ambition whatsoever.
Dune Bantha was chosen because it had low population at the time and I didn’t want to wait for queues nor did I want to have my game investigations hampered by random PvP (so PvE server was chosen). I was power leveling my assassin, with exception of class quests which had such great cutscenes and story that I just couldn’t speed past those. Two unexpected things happened. I started loving my demented assassin and some of its companions (Khem FTW). I also started playing loads of PvP warzones. So much that I mostly level through PvP from level 30 to level 49. I was rank 49 in PvP and I had to level to 50 to be able to get to PvP rank 50 – meaning – my PvP rank leveling curve was ahead of my actual experience leveling curve.
The consequence of so much PvP was that I’ve started seeing the same faces in PvP and getting familiar with their play styles. We soon started sending each other /wave-s and /hug-s as on Imperial Fleet hallways. The thing about pre-50 PvP is that there are a lot of people that play it just a few times and those that play it all the time. Soon we had a team of regulars that you knew the tactics and were tough to play against. By that time though there was already a big decline in active players and we started seeing less and less PvP matches pop. Nevertheless, I remember this one Sith Warrior called Narfle - he was my PvP God at the time. He was unbeatable and I always wondered how did he manage to survive everything, score regularly and be first on the score board. Cheers Narfle – it was always a pleasure losing to you .
Reaching level 50 changed the game for me because PvP suddenly became a different game. There were people with PvP gear and knowledge of tactics. Very few noobs existed or were so humiliated that they either practiced to become better or left never to return to PvP. Server population became even smaller and we had perhaps 40-50 players both republic and imperial side that regularly played PvP. I started seeing always the same faces. It was a lot of fun because we all played PvP for hours with the same people and we really bonded – may it be through rivalry or camaraderie – but we kind of bonded. I always knew that if I played with fat and bald bounty hunter Egg or sorcerer Zyntharia or Sith Warrior Morgoth in the group I would win because they were so good at what they did. There were republic players that we knew we would lose against because they were so good (Syth , Kitven, Gilgamesh, Valery, thejedi, Emi (which is Zyntharia’s rep character)). I started learning from these greats and started getting some better PvP gear and sooner rather than later I was getting to be one of the veterans as well. I specced into tanking PvP build and started showing up in the top of the score board more often than not. Tanking build also made it possible to do PvE.
PvE was not so good for a very long time. The first three months I barely ever found a group for a HM flashpoint. The server was low pop as it is and people started leaving very soon, which made things even more difficult. I was in a zerg guild that had 15 members online out of 500 all the time (and none of them were level 50). In a surprising turn of events I got an invite one night form a Danish guild. They needed an off-tank to help them in their EV raid. I was ecstatic. I think some of their members knew me from PvP or I was the only tank online. Whatever the case I was soon experiencing my first raid content in SWTOR and not just watched it on livestreams. Things went really well and I even got some gear. Thanks to the Danish Invasion I had my first SOA kill and raiding PvE experience in SWTOR 3+ months after the game launched. We raided several more times in the next month and it is the most fun I had in SWTOR beside some great PvP matches. I would like to take this opportunity to thank P’nes, Aeonkazza, Rion, Rambo, Glikus, Greken, Taball and the rest of the gang for taking me in and putting up with my complete lack of knowledge of Danish language and lack of any tanking skills. You guys made SWTOR a memorable experience.
For a few weeks now it has been very hard to get a raid going. Some people got fed up with Bioware’s inability to react to problems. Others left as soon as Diablo 3 launched. Some still persist and try and get a raid going every now and then with the help of two other crippled guilds. It is still fun hanging out with these guys and playing together, but the occasions have become seldom. Zyntharia is still kicking ass in PvP. I enjoy it whenever it happens. Unfortunately it can be hours now before a match pops. Besides, there are so few of us playing now that as soon as one side loses they never reapply for PvP and we go into a waiting mode for an hour.
I wanted to tell you my story of the server Dune Bantha and the people I enjoyed playing this game with. I wasn’t planning on it. I always thought I would be a raiding and healing smuggler on the Juyo server. Instead, I became a demented PvP Assassin in a Danish guild. Now that many have left I feel that I need to put this story in writing. I want all of you that stumbled upon this blog entry to know that from January to April 2012 there was this game Star Wars: The Old Republic that we all thought is awesome and that there was this server Dune Bantha on which I found people that gave me hours and days of gaming heaven.
I had an enormous privilege to walk the halls of Bioware, Austin development studio in its best days. All the razzle dazzle aside (so much cool stuff could be seen) there was one thing that made me feel certain we are going to have an amazing game on our hands. It was all the hard working people there producing diligently worlds of Star Wars: The Old Republic. We were walking by one of the rooms and there were world designers placing various objects onto one of the planets right at the moment we were passing by. I thought to myself – my character will be running around there in no time.
Yesterday, we learned that a lot of the people have been hit by a wave of layoffs (Click to read the announcement by Bioware foudners). On behalf of SWTOR Life and its staff I wanted to extend my best wishes to all those affected. Thank you for all your hard work and trying to give us fans the best game possible.
Rich Vogel, Executive Producer and member of the original development team, posted a lengthy blog post today entitled “Busting Bugs and Fixing Exploits”. As you can imagine the post is all about how the team at BioWare goes about fixing bugs in their system; what gets prioritized, how they attempt to discover them, and more. It is chock full of great information on how the team at BioWare works.
More after the jump. Continue Reading »
Players who have played since launch already know the order of the planets near the beginning of your epic adventure. The Empire starts out either on Hutta (Imperial Agent and Bounty Hunter) or on Korriban (Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor) then moves on to the capital planet of Dromund Kaas. The Republic starts out on either Ord Mantell (Smuggler and Trooper) or on Tython (Jedi Knight and Jedi Consular) then moves on to the capital planet of Coruscant. These are the sanctuary planets. The opposing faction can’t visit these locations. So where does PvP start? Continue Reading »
Part 1 can be found here
I’ll start off from where I left off. Just remember these are all just my personal preferences. You may find another way to do things, so consider this just a heads up.
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With the NDA lifted in TOR, I decided to take a big hit for the team and amassed around 70 hours of play time in the past week to get a good feel for the solo game-play.
First things first. Playing solo, or mostly solo, works very well. You will be faced with challenges that will need more than one player, yet these tend to be outside your story quest lines and, as such, can be bypassed.
Also, some content can only be completed solo when you gain your first companion at around level 8 or 9. For those wishing to be companion-free and still play solo, you are going to have a real hard time at this game. Each companion is tailored for your class needs, and as such, will hit you hard if you try and play without them by your side.
I played solo on every class apart from the Imperial Agent. I had major concerns about the cover system on both the IA and on the Smuggler. After playing the smuggler, however, I have to admit I enjoyed it greatly. Its not all about sneaking up from behind cover. You have some good AOE skills early on that makes it play different from what I expected.
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Yeh that’s right that is me saying that and I still have the hate, a hate relationship with everything about the game. Blizzard may have done a great deal right yet this is no excuse for doing other things that are so wrong.
Leveling is a grind with little to no fun to be had until you reach the end-game. Gear being junked after every expansion and all your hard work gaining those items washed-out from one day to the next.
Dumbing down of content so anyone playing 3 hours per week can have epics when you slogged you guts out getting them.
Then there is the other side, the side of the players. We on the outside only really see the bad points. Constant bitching in the forums and in-game. QQing about things being to hard which force Blizzard to dumb down yet more content. And when someone has a different opinion than those of the masses they get shot down as if there is only one view and flame anyone that sees the world in a different way.
Above all I hate anyone who has only every played WOW and thinks everything WOW has to offer was invented by Blizzard.
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This will be my second time at getting this post out. The first I went too much into how other games have handled macros in the past.
But after 3000+ words it was plain to see that other games can not and do not make a case for or against TOR having macros.
I’ve played many mmo’s in the past that have had no macros what so ever, then games like Ultima online and SWG which had vast amounts just so you could play the game. Without them your existence within the realm would result in constant pain and anger.
Yet the games that had macros needed them and without some sort of macro system the game was unplayable. Take Ultima Online. The lack of a skill-bar you have to make a macro for every spell, heal and simple things like mining.
Yet that game could see you complete a wealth of tasks that would run for hours just by the click of a button.
With my limited time with TOR, its clear that how other games handled macros has little to no relevance on how macros would be beneficial to the game.
So just looking at TOR what stands out first is the lack of an auto-attack and lets not forget that 1.5 seconds global cool down (GDC). Now you may think that 1.5 seconds ain’t too long, but let me tell you I can bash a skill an average of 3-4 times before the next skill shoots off.
This was at low levels with around 7 skills on my bar.
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As far as mmo’s go time-sinks come in many forms. Raids, crafting, PvP and among the most popular. While these can be very entertaining and fun to boot, all they do is to serve one purpose and that is to keep the player playing.
This article will be complied from my knowledge of past mmo’s, and what information we have about how TOR will approach this.
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