Random musings: SWTOR event, MoP trailer, and GW2 fanboism

I was hoping very much that Bioware would be able to use the SWTOR world event (that had been hinted at by dataminers after the last patch) to regain  the community’s confidence. Demonstrating the ability to keep putting out good quality updates  would do a lot to win people over to the future of the game in the upcoming F2P environment.

Things began with the news bots on the fleet, directing players to Nar Shaddaa to pick up the first part of the quest. The second part followed via in game mail, which led to another questline that runs in parallel. Basically the A questline involves characters trying to find various items in a scavenger hunt. The B questline involves trying to figure out whether the scavenger hunt has a nefarious underlying purpose.

Some of the scavenger item quests are supported by actual quests telling you where to go and (vaguely) what to do. Others are hinted at via in game conversations. I’m not entirely sure what the clues are since I didn’t personally see any, I may not have been hanging out in the right area, or not for long enough. I imagine a lot of people are using websites to find their items. Dulfy, as usual, has a great summary for anyone who is interested in running through the event.

Rewards are mostly cosmetic, with a couple of weapons included with purple mods that only cover a couple of classes.  If you finish the grand acquisition quest there are some titles and light side/ dark side points up for grabs also. We have also been informed that the event will last only for one week.

Rohan wonders if the event was designed to allow hardcore players to run through it quickly with slower paths for more casual players. This would have been cool if true, it was a good idea on his part; but it turns out one of the ways for players to complete things fast was a bug and the quests don’t actually expand slowly to include all the items eventually.

I was hoping for something more similar to the rakghoul world event, which included dailies, explorations, collections, and so on. This is an event with a smaller scope. I would personally give it a resounding ‘meh’ so far and have not really heard much in guild chat about the acquisitions after the first day or so, so I don’t think they are very excited by it either. The event has also been plagued by bugs, particularly one early on which rewarded players with ALL the items if they did a particular space mission.

I can’t feel this bodes well for the future. I’ve nothing against small scale events, but it would be nice if they were … a bit more fun? Anyone else tried to solve any of the item locations themselves?

And then the over powered new race/new class beat everyone else up!

moptrailer

So as is becoming the norm, Blizzard released a short trailer for the upcoming expansion. Apple Cider Mage does a shot by shot feminist analysis :

…the fact of the matter is that this trailer is literally and utterly masculine. It features male power fantasies and counterpoints them with a more wise, agile man. It’s all men! All men, all the time. Just the way we like it, eh?

She’s not wrong.

However I quite liked the trailer and here is why. From the very earliest days of Warcraft as a RTS game, the theme and in fact the subtitle was Orcs vs Humans. I feel that what Blizzard have done with this trailer is present a very classic Warcraft scenario (ie. an orc vs a human) and then thrown a panda into the mix to show how it changes everything. That’s it. That’s the actual story of the expansion. Portrayed in one short, and very pretty, cinematic. The butch male orc and butch human in the new trailer do look reminiscent of the box art from the old Warcraft games.

warcraftboxart

So I think the trailer does a good job of setting the scene, with callbacks to the very core of the WoW lore and backstory, and then showing what’s new in this expansion. I would have personally preferred to have also seen some fly bys of the new zones, dungeons, bosses, creatures, and so on. I want to see how pretty it is.  I preferred the Cataclysm cinematics from that point of view.

The GW2 backlash to the backlash starts on time

It is an incredibly normal part of the MMO cycle for a new MMO to be hyped to the stars and back during beta, for the backlash of criticism to begin shortly before launch, and for die-hard fans to decide that arguing with critics IS the hill they want to die on … still before launch.

It is also true that criticising a game that everyone else loves, or waxing lyrical about a game that the majority seem to hate will tend to get a lot of page views. It’s called being contrary; but that doesnt mean that people raising contrary points are wrong, per se.

Azuriel has drawn the wrath of the GW2 fanbois by listing some features of the game that he thinks are merely OK. He also comments that he has pre-purchased his copy and has every intention of playing it. But that won’t stop the tide of haters once the fans decide to strike.

It will be interesting to see how views pan out on this game on release. I expect to be playing next week, assuming the servers hold up, and I agree with Azuriel that dynamic events are not the be all and end all of PvE. I think I did like the WvW much more than he did, but he has also played the beta for longer than me. Time will tell. Hopefully the fans will stop piling on any views of the game that are not 100% enthusiastic once they are actually busy playing the thing.

[SWTOR] New world event rumours, LFD, and other patch related chatter

First up, there are rumours flying around the fleets of a new world event. I believe the source of the rumours was from someone datamining the new patch but since the website is down for maintenance at the moment I can’t provide a link for that. What I do know is that people on guild chat last night were guessing it might start today. So not long to wait to find that out, at least.

If true, t would be a welcome addition to a patch that is otherwise strong on functionality but weak on content.

What I’ve been up to

I have been quietly levelling my consular this week, and have rather enjoyed Act 3 of her story. Also the romance is quite sweet; it comes late in the game for female consulars, with Lieutenant Iresso. He actually has a first name, unlike Lieutenant Piece (Sith Warrior companion) which you could take as a sign that he was always going to be more fleshed out, so to speak.

The consular story is curiously impersonal compared to the agent or sith warrior, it’s cool but I never felt a personal link between my character and most of the NPCs. I think that sense of emotional distance, together with a slow Act 1, go a long way towards why it’s considered not to be one of the better stories. I have enjoyed it though, and it does come together neatly at the end. You also get to be quite heroic and have a nice “everyone loves ME!” scene at the end where Satele Shan tells you and your companions that you saved the Republic. It is a cognitive dissonance that no one else seems aware of this; the jump between single player storyline and endgame on this class is very weird for that reason. (The warrior came out top from some secretive Sith infighting and carries on serving the emperor, the agent makes some career choices but basically is still doing his/her thing, but where do you go after saving the Republic exactly?)

I will also miss having the squabbling diplomats on my ship. My other comment on the consular storyline is that there are a lot of tough fights. I don’t remember finding so many of the bosses this tough on alts. They aren’t unfair, the fights are doable if you’re careful and use all your crowd control abilities, but just something to note. There was at least one occasion where I wanted to try using a different companion but of course they weren’t very geared up.

My new guild continue to be a friendly bunch, and are also usually quite busy with flashpoints, warzones, and operations. I am not used to being in this size of a guild (it’s not HUGE but bigger than I’m used to) so trying not to find it intimidating. Since hitting 50, I’ve already been joined by a guildie to do dailies together and invited by someone else to come for a guild hard mode run. I did say that I doubted my gear but they said “don’t worry about it” and we headed off to whomp Taral-V, which I’m assured is the easiest hard mode on Republic side. So they’re all quite keen to help newbies, and I’m hoping to gear up a bit, get to know people and be less carried in future. I’m also toying with signing up for a story mode EV run, as soon as I decide if I want to play as dps or a healer.

I have successfully tried out the new LFD tool. Finding groups for levelling characters can be slow, although I’m told it’s fast for tanks (as you might expect) and the tool can be a bit restrictive as to which flashpoints it allows you to queue for based on level. Still, I healed through a Fallen Emperor run at level 48 that went well. Since hitting 50, I have upgraded some mods in my gear via daily commendations and queued for one hard mode via LFD. It threw us into Maelstrom Prison (one of the other republic-only flashpoints) and the group managed it fine. The tank left in the middle but we were able to requeue for a new tank and someone came in and neatly finished the run.

The other bonus is that I’ve now seen all the flashpoints and have the Republic half of Revan’s story. It is at this point clear that Taral-V/Maelstorm happen before Boarding Party/Foundry. Also Republic don’t get to fight HK-47 before the Fallen Emperor instance (he features in The Foundry), but they do get to kick the shit out of Grand Moff Kilran, which makes up for a lot.

So that’s 2/2 random groups which have been perfectly fine for me. I do find it strange that you can pick multiple roles to queue for, given that there is no dual spec in the game. For levelling flashpoints this is fine, and I’ve tanked plenty of instances in SWTOR on my warrior in dps spec, but I can’t see that working too well for a healer. And while I suppose you could run off and respec between finding a group and porting to the flashpoint, that could be a long delay depending on where you are.

I am also told that LFD may not work well if you have the breadcrumb quest for a flashpoint in your quest log. Daily or weekly quests are fine. I haven’t experienced that personally though.

The other thing of note in the LFD is that after the instance is complete, it doesn’t port you back to where you came from. You will end up outside the instance.

Free credits/ PvP gear for level 50s, and upgraded tutorials

I am not sure if this is new in patch 1.3 or if I had just not noticed it before, but when you hit level 50, you can pick up a quest from the PvP quest terminal on the fleet which will give you a free set of starter PvP gear, some of which is probably also better for PvE than your levelling outfit. If you don’t want this gear, or have some PvP gear already, you can opt for an alternative quest reward which is a token that you can sell to a vendor for the equivalent cost: 320k credits.

swtorcredits

This is a screenie of the quest, and of the quest rewards. You can also pick this quest up on an old level 50 if you haven’t taken it yet, so there’s free credits out there for the taking!

The in-game tutorials have also had a reworking, and are now much more graphically appealing. They show screenshots as examples of how to do things, and are context sensitive (eg. the first time a new alt ran through a fire, I got the tutorial about hazardous environments) which they also were before. As a newbie I think I would have liked these. MMOs are so deep that it probably wouldn’t be possible to provide up to date tutorials for everything, but I appreciate the attempt.

groupfinder

This is the tutorial on how to use the group finder, for example.