You have to admire Bioware putting in a special cutscene for the +10 Datacron of doom.
One of the explorer type things you can do in SWTOR is collect datacrons, each of which gives your character a small permanent stat boost. They are hidden in the gameworld – some are easier to find than others and they tend to get more tricky on the higher level planets. So for starting planets, you may need to just follow hidden paths, or explore just over the next slightly awkward hill to see that familiar glow in the distance and think “ooo, datacron!!” Later on, you may find yourself doing complicated jumping maneouvers, waiting for special lifts or mechanisms, or having to use special items that must be bought from hidden vendors in the middle of nowhere.
If that sounds weird then… yes, it is a bit weird. But when you go datacron collecting (probably with the aid of a guide), you will quickly realise that Bioware put a fair amount of effort into this aspect of the game. It isn’t for everyone, especially the parts with the more annoying jumps, but it is pretty cool to follow a complex set of steps to see a part of the gameworld that you know won’t be found by everyone.
Some datacrons require more than one person working together in order to unlock the door sequence that leads to them. This might require people hitting buttons simultaneously, for example. I have found that this encourages co-operation between random players — I was stopped the other day on Quesh by a guy who wanted help getting a Datacron for example. I said ”sure!” and he showed me where it was and what we had to do. But the +10 to all stats datacron that is hidden on the Empire/Republic fleet is the big kahuna, requiring at least four or five people acting in some kind of harmony to unlock. There are buttons to press, bridges to unlock, narrow girders to edge across, slightly awkward jumps, and areas where you need to use grappling hooks in a carefully timed sequence. On Empire side, you also have to suicide on a laser at one point.
It’s nuts. We did it in guild last week and people were saying that the datacron hunt was one of the more exciting/ scary things they’d ever done in a game. (This is probably due to the part at the end where you have some careful edging along girders to do, knowing that the rest of the team is relying on you being able to do it and if you fail they will have to go back to the start.) But finally you get there, to the last door. People cheer. You open the door and click on the datacron … and you get a special cut scene where all the different coloured datacrons dance around your character and you get your +10 stat boost. That was a great use of cut scenes as an extra reward for players who managed the thing.
I’ve said before that Bioware do include puzzles in some of the raids/operations and instances/flashpoints as part of their design. This is an example of how it changes the feel of the game. It was crazy exciting and fun, and we’ll do it again when Arb gets back from holiday sometime.
In which PUGs explain tactics to us
I’ve also mentioned before how we have picked up PUG members for our raids when we didn’t otherwise quite have enough people to fill out two groups. Previously these have tended to be well geared raiders who were ‘slumming it’. Last night we picked up a healer who actually hadn’t completed EV Normal before. Bit of a change there, we thought, not used to hanging out with players who are less progressed than us.
But sure enough, before we were very far in, he was also advising us on how to avoid some of the trash mobs and giving smart tactics for some of the others. “How did you ever get past this on your own?” he sighed, as I fell off a ledge and aggroed the pack we had just been avoiding. (Gee I dunno, maybe it’s my AWESOME DPS….)
We did clear the instance and get some decent drops for him (and for me, yay!), and left the parting comment that if he or his guild wanted to raid with us more regularly, we should stay in touch.
If anyone is playing in Empire side on the Nightmare Lands EU server and is looking for a chilled out guild that does stuff together including naked dance parties and normal mode raids, feel free to check us out. Warning: there may be dick jokes on voice chat.