Tag Archives: SWTOR

Breaking the Funk

Things have been quiet around here, eerily quiet. Has a fog come in and taken me away? Have I been fighting a zombie uprising? Not quite, I’ve just been in a bit of a MMO funk for the past month.

In early July I entered waiting-on-Guild-Wars mode. It might be the hype, I might have been spoiled by the the GW2 beta weekend events (specifically GW2’s action bar/combat system), or it might be something completely different; but I found myself not only bored with SWTOR but also having lost the desire to return to Rift (or any other past MMO).

So what have I been playing? A little bit of World of Tanks: I finished the AMX 40 grind and unlocked the AMX 12t  before the release of  patch 7.5, while reconnecting with my German tier V mediums (I’ve missed you Panzer III/IV). I’ve also played some World of Warplanes beta, but can’t share anything other than it’s really fun but I’m a horrible pilot. Steam summer sale: I finally played Portal 2 and also picked up a copy of Quantum Conundrum.

But then this past weekend I broke the MMO funk. As you may have guessed from the first paragraph, I’ve joined The Secret World. I’ve been interested in TSW for quite some time but was leery for two main reasons: I’m not much of a horror fan and I kept getting flash-backs of the buggy, but fun, mess that was Age of Conan at launch. At first I wanted to take a wait-and-see approach but as more and more positive word-of-mouth crossed my Google Reader I started looked into the game more and became enticed at the thought of playing it. The class-less skill advancement, the deck system, the modern setting, investigative missions. They all called to me.

By the end of July I had decided that I was going to pick up TSW, at some point. I was all ready to buy it but one question held me back. Is it wise to buy a new subscription game only one month before the release of, an already paid-for, Guild Wars 2? I said “no, I’ll wait until that new-game-smell wears off of GW2 before jumping into TSW,” and was satisfied with my decision. That was until Funcom went ahead and threw a free-trial/celebration weekend into the mix.

I installed the client, logged in, created Chester “Cheka” Kasorski, and entered London. My first thought was that the game runs significantly better than I had expected from my experience in one of the beta weekends and AoC. I picked my starting weapon and, taking some “I wish I knew this when I started” advice from the forums, I then grabbed one of each weapon from the Crucible and headed off the Kingsmouth.

TSW has really impressed me. All of the little things that enticed me are there but what really makes the difference is the quest log/system. I enjoy the investigative missions; I didn’t think I’d like googling clues to solve puzzels but it feels very organic and natural. I’ve found that the one story, one dungeon, one active and three side mission quest log encourages exploration and makes you focus more on the mission at hand, which greatly adds to immersion. The mission system is truly new and different, it gives the game a very unique feel and I can’t but to think that this is what MMO vets must have felt when WoW was fresh and new with the great innovation of quest-based gameplay.

I was sold. While it may be a little stupid to pick up a new MMO only weeks before I’ll be starting another one, TSW is offering me a unique enough experience that I feel comfortable being able to get the most out of both TSW and GW2 at the same time. So, with my MMO funk broken, Sunday night I bought a game key and subscribed to The Secret World.

So the question left now is “what is an altoholic to do in such a single-character centric game?” Well, that’s a post for another day.


Good Job Catching Yourself

“Good job catching yourself” is a phrase I found myself repeating every time my 2-year-old daughter stumbled when we started our family walks. She’s quite a bit more stable these days.

The same phrase came to mind when I heard the news of SWTOR’s impending F2P transition. It should come as no surprise to anyone who keeps up with MMO news since for the past couple of months Bioware and EA have been hinting at a pending F2P transition, and by hinting I mean directly stating that they were looking into it. Between the layoffs and declining subs, SWTOR has been stumbling but under this new model it looks like they’re doing what they should have been doing from the start: selling a box to the casuals while getting the hardcore to subscribe.

So good job catching yourself SWTOR, I really hope that this works out well for you.

Will I return for F2P? Assuming that free players aren’t too restricted, I’ll probably jump back in here and there to finish leveling some characters and see the story lines unfold while fulfilling my duty as a free player: cannon foder for Warzones and a warm body for LFG flashpoints.

Rumors of my Demise

Yeah, so there aren’t any rumors but it has been a while since I’ve posted. The past month has been rough but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Without getting into the gory details: the problem I’ve been having at work has been fixed and I’m happy with the solution, a family incident that occurred recently will never be resolved but at least there’s some closure now, and my home improvement project is now on track to be completed next week. Soon enough I’ll be back to a normal gaming schedule.

So what has the schedule looked like lately?

Goodbye Yellow Lightsaber

I’ve officially cancelled my SWTOR account. I don’t hate the game or anything, I just haven’t been having much as much fun and wasn’t logging in. I’ve got a couple of weeks left in  my sub so I’ll give the LFG tool a try before leaving but it’s time for a break. I hope to give it another try sometime in the near future, and would still highly recommend it to anyone considering giving it a try.

Bioware sent me a survey asking why I was leaving and what it would take to get me back. Two of my reasons are thing I’m sure they’ll never “fix”: playable Yodas and Wookies, damn you Lucas! Other than that I stated my disappointment in the Legacy system: I was really hoping for an alternative advancement for altoholics rather than a credit-sink and incentive for bored 50s to re-roll. I also requested that they add my favorite GW2 feature: downranking. At the end of the day I kept burning out on characters because I was out-leveling content faster than I could complete it so any kind of downranking or mentoring system would be much appreciated.

Roll Out (How did I never before notice that WoT stole the Autobot’s catchphrase?)

I’ve adjusted my focus in World of Tanks yet again. Mediums, with a side of TDs. I’ve got my M4, PzIII/IV, PzIV, and AMX40 all in rotation along with a T82, M8A1 and Hetzer. As soon as I elite the T82 I’m going to pick up a BT-2 and start on the Soviet medium line.

I dread the AMX40 every time I login. It has replaced the M3 Lee as my most hated tank. Even fully upgraded it’s slow and can barely damage anything, it doesn’t help that most of the time I’m matched up against high tier tanks as the tier IV light. The big difference between the two tanks for me is that somehow I actually did pretty well in the Lee. It seemed that I would get at least one metal in every match, even getting a Billotte’s Metal on my last match with it (my only epic metal to date). So even though I wasn’t having much fun with the Lee there was some consolation in the fact that I was at least doing well, not so much with the AMX40. I’ll just keep plugging along until I can trade up to that AMX 12t and the reasons why I’m playing the French line.

Which Road?

I’ve been interested in getting back into Rift and have even been playing Rift Lite lately. I’m still enjoying my little forays into Rift but keep finding that I’m really not enjoying the Cleric. My old main was a Cleric and I’d like to get him ready for Storm Legion but every time I try playing a Cleric I find myself logging out with little-to-no desire to log back into Rift at all. If I go back to Rift I’ll probably be playing a warrior and trying to get him to 50 before the expansion comes out but I’m a little weary about my feelings toward the Cleric right now. The experience has me thinking about another game I’d like to get back into and get ready for the up coming expansion.

I like to start by saying: I like Pandas; I didn’t see the Mists of Pandera announcement and think “oh, Kung Fu Panda in WoW,” I saw Kung Fu Panda and thought “oh a movie about Pandaren, I wish they were playable in WoW.”

The primary reason I stopped playing WoW and have had little desire to return was that the design direction of the Druid class had hit the tipping point, for me, from the “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” type of hybrid to the “can specialize in any role” hybrid. I even missed having spell power and intellect on my feral gear. While they’re not turning the ship around, MoP is seeming to re-introduce some of that overlap between specs that I used to enjoy so much. It’s worth a look and that has me wanting to give the game another try, level my Druid to 85 (and see how things stand with my Shaman, Warlock and DK), mess around a little at 85 (since I never did that) and get prepped for MoP.

I do want to pick both games back up sometime this year but the question is “which one now?”. I want to return to Rift as a more long-term gaming plan, something I will play until GW2 releases (and maybe continue after since there’s no sub for GW2). I just want get back into WoW to prep for the next expansion with no intention of staying long-term.

So does it make more sense to take care of my business in WoW and then move onto Rift to stay there comfortably, or should I just jump back into Rift, with all the cool stuff in 1.9, and then get my WoW house in order when the pre-expansion world events start happening?

The Feral Assassin

What a beautiful holiday weekend. Great weather, good food, wonderful company and tasty beverages (every grocery store in town had New Belgian beers on sale, now available in cans!). The only hitch was two little thunderstorms that both miraculously timed themselves perfectly for when I was grilling dinner on two separate nights, but at least they helped keep me cool. Between the holiday and coming off a busy week at work I didn’t have time to blog, hell I’m even behind on reading blogs right now, but I did get some gaming time in.

Khem Val Hates Me

So my Assassin has crossed level 20, 22 to be exact at this point, and moved onto Nar Shaddaa. Belsavis was fun, slow to start but I enjoyed it in the end. I got to “enjoy” the greatest affection change I’ve yet to see from a companion: -160 Khem Val for a light side choice, and that was right after we had a little chat about mercy. Sure I could have just dismissed him and avoided the lost but that breaks immersion and cheapens the experience.

Leveling has been proceeding well. I’m still not doing Flashpoints and Warzones, skipping Heroics and Bonus series, and not exploring and I’m almost not out leveling content faster than I can complete it. I still had a quest log full of greens when I finished Belsavis but I’m sitting with proper-leveled quests right now. I still think it’s absurd that I have to skip so much content just to not out level zones; I can’t wait for Guild Wars 2 and their downranking system.

I think I’ve also figured out why the Assassin is clicking so well with me: it plays a lot like a feral Druid. Sure there’s no “John Madden rotation” but the same “feel” is there. I realized it one day when I was thinking: “it’s so nice to have a pocket tank so I can actually shred instead of mangle.” Yeah, so there’s that.

I also gave Commando a try. I had leveled another Trooper through Ord Mantel a while ago and stopped after picking Commando as an AC. I picked it back up last week but it just wasn’t working for me. I’ve always been more of a melee player but can enjoy ranged classes if they’re very mobile, the Commando seems to be just the opposite of that. I’m not deleting this character just yet but I won’t be playing a commando as my healer.

Defying The Cleric

We are go on Rift Lite. I patched up my client and jumped into Rift Lite. Picked a new shard and then created a Defiant Mage and a Guardian Cleric. With the cleric I instantly started falling into my old Cleric ways: Shamicar. The Mage captured my attention though. I never got far with a Mage when I subscribed so I just picked one of the soul templates and went with the flow. My limited previous experience with a Mage was as a Chloromancer so I chose one of the DPS templates, the mobile one, and just fell into it. I was shooting lightning left and right and the next thing I knew a couple of hours had flown by.

The soul templates are a great idea. I was able to just pick it up go without having to worry about exactly how I’m going to spec my character from the start. I can get the feeling of the class first and then take it from there. Sure I’m missing out on the “accomplishment” of unlocking the different souls but that felt more like a grind rather than an accomplishment, especially after they removed the quests in favor of purchasing them.

I’m looking forward to playing some more of the Mage but I might be rerolling the Cleric as a rogue: the other class I have little experience with. My desire to come back with a subscription is only being fueled by the news of a possible expansion, but that’s a discussion for another time.

On A Second Thought…

I miss how all the TV channels used to play old war movies all Memorial Weekend long. It was nice being able to turn on the TV at any time and find either The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape or Kelly’s Heroes on, but no more. So I decided to jump into some World of Tanks for a WWII fix. And then I looked at my garage: German, German, German, US, German, German, etc. Yeah, maybe rolling around in a panzer isn’t the best way to celebrate Memorial Day. So one match in my Panzer III and I was out.

So that’s about it for last week. Now time to start planning what to do in the recently announced Guild Wars 2 BWE.

A Fissure In the Force

For many years I was less of an MMO gamer and more of a WoW player. I’d give other games a try from time to time by WoW was always my home, I guess the proper term is “WoW tourist.” That was until I pickup up Rift. Like many other players, I saw Rift as somewhat of a dark horse. I wasn’t really following it and wasn’t expecting much of anything from it. I guess that’s why it impressed me so much.

After picking it up I was swept away by the open classes,  rift/invasion system, Trion’s update schedule and their dedication to their customers. Sure, the quests were nothing special and rifts often ended up feeling like more of the same after the umpteenth time but the game is incredible fun and well-made. Last fall I decided to take a break. My Cleric had hit 50 and I started to settling into my typical end game groove of battlegrounds, but then the gear grind reared its ugly head. I found myself essentially committing suicide by R8 PvPer in order to farm gear to compete. There’s nothing fun in that and so I decided to play something else, at least for the time being.

Fast forward 6 months. Trion’s been working hard at adding new things and generally improving the game. I’ve heard some good things about the current state of the game and I’m very intrigued by the newly announced Conquest system. The itch to pick it up again is here. But it’s different from my typical urge to give a game another shot, it’s the desire to go home. I want to go home again but home has moved: it’s not in Azeroth anymore.

I’ve still have quite some time left on my SWTOR subscription so I’m not resubbing to Rift anytime too soon but I might patch up the client and give Rift Lite a try with a new alt. Maybe when my SWTOR sub is up for renewal I’ll find myself in Telara again.

You’ll never catch me Copper!

…Oh no. So, uh, Ravanel called me out on only writing about one character when I’m calling myself the Altoholic. Fair enough, it is a bit odd to start a blog about being an altoholic while I’m settling into playing just one character. So here’s a little background on how I got to my Sith Assassin.

I started SWTOR during early access with a Jedi Knight and a Trooper. I knew I wanted to roll a Republic tank and the Knight is just too iconic to pass by while the idea of playing a non-force wielder had great appeal. I just couldn’t decide which one so I figured I’d go both. The Trooper ended up clicking more. As an aside: I’m always drawn to warrior-type characters from a thematic standpoint but can never really get into playing them. I mostly stuck with my Trooper, a Shield Spec Vanguard, while PvPing with a Sawbones Scoundrel (up to the early 20s) and constantly rolling Troopers, Knights, Consulars and Smugglers to level 10 only to delete them.

By the time I finished Act 1, at level 36, on my Vanguard I had started getting burned out with that character. I was tired of fighting mobs 5 to 10 levels lower than my character and tired of being “forced” to skip content. I focused more on trying to pick a new alt but I was burned out on low-level Republic content, I even tried to spice it up by creating a Consular that I was going to role play as a Vulcan very logical, emotion-less human.

So I tried Empire. First attempt was a Bounty Hunter: I liked the story and how it worked well being more of an independent contractor and I especially loved how it was more fire themed than my Trooper but it was too similar and made me feel like I should go back to my Trooper. So onto the Imperial Agent, with a Scoundrel already there I decided to go Sniper. By level 12 I was regretting my AC choice and not logging in anymore. So that brings us to today and my Sith Assassin.

So what about other potential alts? I have two big interests right now: Sage or Commando. I really enjoy PvPing with my little Sawbones Scoundrel but I do not like questing/leveling with him, even less since Corso lost his harpoon, so I’ve been wanting to try another healer. So why Sage and Commando rather than Sorcerer and Mercenary? First, I don’t really care for the purple lighting and prefer the aesthetic of the Sage. Secondly, Autocanon. So it’s just a matter of time before I roll up one of those two and give another healing class a try.

Maybe I’ll live up to my name an roll one of them tonight.

Temptations of the Dark Side

Sith Assassin aboard his Fury

Done with Dromund Kaas, off to Belsavis.

Things have been going well for my little Sith Assassin. I’ve actually stuck with just playing him for the past week. Sure I was tempted to bounce around some, I had an itch to play a Smuggler, but I just reminded myself that if I stick it out with this guy then I can roll a Sith Pureblood Smuggler (and Jedi, and Bounty Hunter, and …).

I’ve been having the most fun in SWTOR since I started playing. I’ve previously stuck with Republic characters so everything Empire feels new. I’ve also been doing something a little out of character for myself: skipping stuff. I typically take my time through zones, exploring, searching for datacrons and generally making sure that I do and see everything. I’ve been a little more laid back this time around. I’ve been skipping heroics and flashpoints, I’ve only run a couple of Warzones and the only datacrons I’ve found have been the ones I passed along the way. It feels weird to be skipping so much but I’m enjoying it. Most of all because I’m not outpacing content. I finished Dromund Kaas at level 16, where all my Republic characters finished Coruscant around level 22. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable the game is when the content isn’t so far below me that it’s trivial, I might not have to skip multiple planets before finishing Act 1 this time.

I’ve stuck with light side but have found that there are few conversation choices for a Sith that cares little for the Empire or the institution of the Sith. The way I’m handling the situation is to be all nice and friendly when civilians or slaves are involved and and evil bastard if the focus is military, political or Sith. It worked well on Dromund Kaas but I’m finding that it’s leading me to a lot of dark side choices on Belsavis. I’ve also decided that my activities on Dromund Kaas have gone to my character’s head. He’s becoming more power hungry and arrogant; the dark side is tempting him. We’ll see if he can fight that temptation and stay on the light side of things.