Category Archives: Star Wars: The Old Republic
And it’s been almost 2 months again. I’ve just not been in a writing mood lately it seems. Such is life, no?
Anyway, Warframe released a new frame this week, and I had a bunch of plat kicking around, so I used that to buy its “package” that also included a cosmetic helmet, a syandana, and her “signature weapon” — the Fulmin. There was also a pack with a sniper rifle and a pistol that I bought and ranked up. They didn’t feel like anything special (and I don’t even remember their names), so I ranked them each to 30 and then put them away as MR fodder.
Wisp though… holy overpowered, Batman!
Her basic stats are high health, moderate armor, low shields, and high energy. She’s also got a fast sprint speed. So her survivability mods she just needs the typical Vitality + Adaptation and she’s good. Primed Flow gives her 850 energy at rank 30, and TBH, I’m not sure she needs that, so that may be a mod that can come off in favor of something else. This is how I’ve got her built right now:
Her passive ability is that any time she’s in the air (not wall latched, but actually “flying”) she’s invisible so if you’re ever in a little bit of trouble you can just jump or bullet jump and the mobs lose track of you. One oddity about this is that visually instead of going see-through like the other frames she just goes a little fuzzy — almost like Baruuk when he’s got his avoidance shield on. It’s a subtle effect, so it was a bit confusing when I was in a group with Octavia and I crouched in time to the music to get her full invisibility buff and it really wasn’t obvious when it was in effect, so that’s something to watch for perhaps.
Her #1 drops one of 3 selectable “reservoirs” that provide a buff to anyone who runs inside their buffing range. Buff 1 is a health boost (300 base) that also provides a health regen effect of 10% of the boosted amount per second, so 30/s at base. The 2nd buff is a haste — it buffs both sprint speed and attack speed. The 3rd buff is a lightning mote that tosses out a microscopically low damage lightning pulse every so often. Seems like about every 10 seconds, but I never actually timed it. But it’s not there to do damage, it’s there to proc the lightning status effect which gives a lovely 3s stun to any mob affected, so it’s a very nice CC. The reservoirs themselves have no duration, just a limitation that you can only have a maximum of 6 out at a time. Any frame standing inside their buff range has no duration on the buffs they receive either. When they move out of the buff range is when duration comes in to play. At Rank 3 (reached at frame rank 18) it’s a 30 second buff though, so it’s plenty long even without buffing duration with your mods.
I think this buff is the main source of the “holy overpowered…” comment I made above. Perhaps making the reservoirs have a duration or be an actual object that mobs can target and destroy — or both? — might help reduce some of that OP-ness. Perhaps some reductions to the effects are in order too, as they’re just very very strong right now and infinitely available without any action on any player’s part other than a brief check-in at the site of the mote every 30-40 seconds.
These are the stats of the #1 using the build above:
Her #2 is a decoy that flies forward away from the frame, drawing fire. At max rank it lasts 4 seconds unbuffed. You can hold 2 to make it fly faster and then teleport to it when you release the key also. Solid defense buff.
#3 says it’s a “surge.” It seems to be a radial blind using your target as the center of the affected area. You can target an enemy or one of your reservoirs. If you target a reservoir it will double the range of the blind and also teleport you to the reservoir. Affected mobs are not only blinded (and thus open to finishers), but they also take a damage multiplier. The description and little video of the ability in use also mention “surge particles” that are released when you damage an affected mob that seem to spread to more mobs, so it almost seems to be behaving like Saryn’s spores and spreading when you hit affected mobs also. Going from memory the base duration seemed to be about 15 seconds, as with my build’s 128% duration it was about 20 seconds and a 3.58x damage multiplier at the 179 power.
#4 is a long ranged (58 meters on my build) continuous fire beam. It does base radiation damage, and if you have the electrified buff from the reservoir it adds in a corrosive component also. In my build it costs about 6 energy per second (adding more duration reduces this, of course), so it’s not super fast drain, but enough that you don’t want to leave it on all the time either. Also, as a courtesy to the people you’re playing with, make your energy color black, otherwise it’s utterly blinding to everyone else. For yourself it always looks kinda orange regardless of your energy color. I experimented a few times and it always looked the same to me — the game actually washes out all other colors making the whole screen have a darker cast with an orange tint — I assume DE did it to help with your won ability to see while using the skill. Other players don’t get that benefit, though. I’ve been in groups with other Wisps and when they used their beams you couldn’t see anything near them or their beam and the one time I had my energy color as white so I could test if there really was a difference in what I saw as opposed to that orange look other players in the group commented about how blinding it was for them. But anyway, you can’t use your 1 or 3 while 4 is running, you can’t jump, and you move at walking speed, so it’s not really fast (though your haste buff and Volt’s speed buff do boost this a little), but it’s not bad. You can use your 2 to fire off decoys while 4 is running for a little defense and I didn’t try it but I assume you can use the 2’s teleport feature to add a little speed also. You can also hold the mouse button to boost the beam’s damage, though at a significantly higher energy drain.
All in all, this is a very powerful kit, with healing, haste, 2 different forms of CC and a high-damage ultimate. I won’t say she’s my new favorite, but she’s definitely a candidate for top 5 or so.
And then there’s her signature “Fulmin” rifle. This is my new favorite primary weapon. It has 60 ammo max and reloads itself automatically without ammo (and it does it fast too). It has 2 fire modes — semi-auto and auto — that you swap using your alt-fire.
In semi-auto mode it is silent, so it will be good for Loki and Ivara to use. This mode is a projectile, but it’s very fast so you don’t need to lead targets much. It’s also a large projectile, so you don’t have to aim perfectly either, which is nice, and it hits multiple mobs on a single shot and appears to have a 3m AE explosion when the shot terminates on the ground or a wall. It uses 10 ammo per shot, so you only get 6 shots before needing to let it sit a couple of seconds to reload itself. It reloads very quickly, so it doesn’t feel onerous to wait for it.
In playing with it on an outdoor map, I discovered that there’s a max range on the weapon like it’s a beam, though. I would have guessed 25-30m, but when I looked it up on the wiki, it says 20m and that there’s falloff going from 10-20m also, not that I noticed it in play. On indoor tile sets that’s not really an issue, but in big rooms or out in PoE or OV it could be a problem. The weapon does electric damage, so it easily can be made to do Corrosive or Radiation damage. It also has a high crit chance, so it works really nicely with the Hunter Munitions mod to proc additional slash damage.
I’ve got mine built like this:
Automatic fire is hitscan, makes noise, and seems to do the same damage over time as the other mode, but there’s no AE component to its shots. There didn’t seem to be a max range, and it now fires 1 ammo per shot rather than the 10 used in semi-auto mode. In this mode, it’s a perfectly serviceable automatic rifle, but doesn’t feel significantly different than any other auto-rifle in the game. It’s the semi-mode that I really love. That said, going vs a Nox in Hydron, semi-auto doesn’t seem to work well even with good headshots, but automatic fire took the mob right out, so take that for what you will. It’s nice to be able to swap on the same weapon to do that — though my main secondary is still my Rattleguts kitgun that also takes out Nox without even trying, so I don’t really have a need to make that swap….
But anyway, I really like the Fulmin, so y’all should try it out too!
In re: Tera Online — I played it to pass the time, and got to the point where I didn’t care to play it anymore, so I’ve stopped playing and uninstalled it. It was ok, but it never quite felt “right” with how the controls worked. Everything about it screamed that movement should be fluid and seamless, but it wasn’t — every attack stopped you cold in an animation lock, regardless of whether you were melee, ranged, or a caster. The result was a very clunky feel to the combat, and it grated more and more as time went on, so I just felt done, so done I was.
A few bloggers who I read have recently given SWTOR a go, and that inspired me to give it another look also. Shout out to Bhagpuss most especially.
When I stopped playing, the level cap was 50, crafting skill cap was 400, and your companions were a specific class, so some of the classes were considered easier to play as they got their healer companion earlier in the story. Each class also had specific gear with a main stat unique to that class, and there were also heavy, medium, and light armors stat’d for each class as appropriate. You also got skill points as you leveled up and could choose to mix and match where you placed them among 3 skill trees. Generally one went “deep” in one tree, “shallow” in a 2nd, and ignored the 3rd.
The level cap is 70 now, crafting skill cap is 600, and any companion can be whatever you want it to be (and they all default to healer). Gear is mostly “adaptive” now, so you mostly don’t need to worry about whether something is heavy, light, or medium. All classes simply use a consolidated “Mastery” stat now, instead of strength, or agility, or what have you, so the only real gear concern is tank gear vs “everything else.” And the skill trees are now absolute paths that you select and it tells you how to play. Over the course of the 70 levels you get 8 skill points to allocate into a shared “Utility” section, but as with all such system, there are really only about 6-10 “decent to good” places to put the points (class dependent, of course) so there’s not that much variation as to where you’d want to put those points anyway, so pretty much all build customization is gone. No more talking about “0/7/28 or 7/7/17 builds” or whatever.
XP gain has been massively increased. I never had trouble with getting to be 4-5 levels higher than a given planet was designed for before, but now I can get to the 40’s while still on planets designed to go up to 24. They scale you down to a cap for each planet though, so everything’s “always a challenge” and you also get level appropriate XP for kills and quests regardless of the planet that you’re on.
But as with when I stopped playing almost 7 years ago (my final post on SWTOR before this was August 2012) — there’s no challenge in the leveling game. If anything it’s even easier now than it was before, as I recall Heroic missions being scary to try to solo and now they’re simply soloed as a matter of course as credit pinatas. But as I said then “all the challenge has been sucked out of the game, regardless of what class you’re playing. . . . [S]ince the “balance” was so perfect, the game didn’t really feel different from class to class, so only the “4th pillar” could keep it interesting, but that story was sprinkled far too lightly between all the planet/side quests.” This is still true and in spades, since it’s even easier now than it was then. Most dungeons seem to have been redesigned for 2 players plus their companions and have healing items littering the floor of the boss rooms so you don’t even need a healer to do them.
So… I’m playing it for now. I shelled out the $30 for the 2 month non-repeating subscription so I wouldn’t have things locked away, with the plan being that when those 2 months are up I’ll be done again. Or maybe even just finishing the 8 class stories. 6 down, 2 to go… I’ve actually declined guild invitations, telling the recruiters that I’m not planning on staying long-term.
It’s been ok — I mean… I play to relax not really to have a challenge, after all. But this game almost seems designed to be boring. So much of it is “Go halfway across the zone, kill 10 rats, and come back. Now go to this other spot allllll the way across the zone, which we purposely designed as a maze to make it take longer for you to get there. While you’re there we’ll call you and update your instructions, but then when you’re done you have to run alllllll the way back through the maze to get back to me for the turn-in, in spite of the fact that we have these nifty communicators that we even use during the mission.” It couldn’t be more annoying an inefficient if they tried… so I assume that they did indeed try to make it the way it is to give an illusion of size, but the reality is that it simply creates boredom as it just take soooooo loooooong to get to where you need to go. There are some quick travel options, but those are generally just to go back to *kinda close* the to the quest giver, so even quick travel still involves a lot of pulling out the mount and heading on over. It’s made it so that when I’m trying to simply blow through the rest of a class story since I hit 50 already so I’m ignoring all quests but the story that it still feels like it’s taking forever, in spite of only needing something like 4 or 5 quests per planet for the story, so I find myself thinking “I just want to be done.” That’s not the thought of someone who’s really enjoying the game, is it?
So yeah, overall, I’d say “it’s fine” in the same way I said Tera was “fine” — it’s enjoyable to pas the time, but there’s just no weight behind it that makes me think I’d really like to stay in and poke around with all the endgame things once I actually get a character to 70. I mean sure…. I got my old “capped at 50” Vanguard to 59 now. My old “Tankassin” is 54. I’ve got a Sith Warrior to 65 — that class with the Vengeance spec actually really clicked with me but even that hasn’t been enough to make me get it to 70 yet — my old level 39 Sage is 64, my formerly 37 sniper is in her 50’s now and has completed her class story, and I didn’t like how my Sentinel looked anymore so even though I didn’t delete him since he’s my Synthweaver, he’s still languishing at 25 and I created a new sentinel that I took from 1 to class completion (and it’s level 59 in spite of only having done class story quests since I hit 42 on Nar Shadaa so I have tons of content I could go back and do on her if I feel like it).
She’s really the one that I was just thinking “I want to be done” with and I really noticed myself thinking it on Corellia as I was finally almost done. Part of it was also that I’d tried out the Combat and Concentration specs on her and just didn’t like the play style for either of them. I’d avoided the Watchman spec as the guides indicates it’s not the best for leveling since it’s DoT based and so really only shines on longer fights in dungeons and raids. Since I wanted to be able to say I’d given Sentinel the old college try, though, I also spec’d Watchman and oh hey, now I’m actually enjoying it. Go figure, right? But her class story’s finally done so it’s time to start working on the the last 2 class stories — Bounty Hunter and Smuggler are what I’ve got left.
And I’m up to 3100 words on this post, so it’s way too long, but hey, that’s me rambling after 2 months of not posting, right? Happy gaming out there!
My subscription to SWTOR is ending on Friday and I’ve canceled it. I’ve enjoyed my time playing, but find that the game is so “balanced” for pvp that when you’re a pve player like I am that all the challenge has been sucked out of the game, regardless of what class you’re playing. The small groups of mobs all die in a few seconds and represent no threat to you at all, regardless of your class. The silver mobs all hit pretty hard, but still fold quickly. The gold mobs will take you down to about 50% health if melee and your companion to about 50% health if ranged. The only real challenge seems to be in trying to do Heroic missions while solo. It got old after a while, and while I liked the various stories being told, there really weren’t all THAT many class quests, so all the side quest repetition got old as well.
So.. overall, I enjoyed my time in the game, but the very “balance” that so many gamers claim to seek is what made it stultifying for me. And even though I have capped level toons, as is my wont, they hit cap and then didn’t get played again. I’m just not into daily quest grinds and gear grinds, so once a toon hits cap, it tends to fall by the wayside, but then since the “balance” was so perfect, the game didn’t really feel different from class to class, so only the “4th pillar” could keep it interesting, but that story was sprinkled far too lightly between all the planet/side quests.
Now, I’m moving on to TSW.
As you can see on the left there, I finally got my 1st 50 in SWTOR. It’s my “tankassin.” This in spite of getting my Vanguard to level 48 about 2 months ago. The Assassin clicks better with me, though. I actually went back this weekend to finish the Vanguard up to 50 also, and it just felt. . . off. . . . somehow. It didn’t take long to pick it back up, but it felt like it did a lot less damage and since I’m running with a healer companion, not a dps one, it felt that much slower on the kills. Totally safe, just. . .kinda boring.
It doesn’t help that my Vanguard is in a 3-person guild where the other 2 people have now unsubbed either, while the Assassin is in a rather active guild on the Imp side. How active? Active enough to run 16-man ops and almost nightly guild events. Though since most of those tend to be pvp and I just can’t for the life of me get excited about pvp, well. . . . . yeah.
That said, the +10 holocron run was kinda fun. We had enough sorcerers along that they could go pre-position with the MGGS devices, then yank everyone else to the door in a 2-step yank process. Went fairly quickly.
I’ve worked a bit on some lower-level toons as well, but what can be said other than that I’m enjoying their stories and looking forward to (eventually) finishing them all? I’m still enjoying the game immensely, and I’m not even finding the grinding out of the daily missions to be especially onerous either. That will probably change soon, but for now, I’m still having a ton of fun.
Still playing on the Juyo server. . . would say “with friends” but it’s mostly solo. My friends aren’t on as much as I am and tend to be on earlier than I am too, so there’s not all that much crossover. I’m half tempted to head back to Sanctum of the Exalted and the RMC/IMC guilds there.
Even so, my Vanguard’s level 48 now and working through Voss. At the rate I’m going, I think I may just make level 50 before leaving Voss. Considering I’ve done no flashpoints, no warzones, only a couple of space missions right after I got my ship, and have skipped 2 full planets, half of another, 3 bonus series, and was actually “at level” when I got to Hoth at 38, the fact that I’m now 2-3 levels “high” and might hit 50 before even getting to the last world should tell you that there’s a metric ton of XP out there in this game (as evidenced also by other characters who I haven’t skipped anything with being 4-5 levels “high” while in their 20’s and 30’s), and yet one of the more common threads in the New Player Help section goes like this: “I’m too low for this planet I’m on, but I’ve done every side quest on every planet. how can I get more XP?” When I bother to respond to threads like that I tell them to actually go back and do every side quest, since they’ve obviously missed quite a few. . . . .
I decided to work a bit more on my “Tankassin.” Sent her some cash from my vanguard to afford the obscenely priced Imperial Trooper armor off the CE vendor. You can see the results above. I am using a mod-able level 19 player-crafted helm, though, since I like being able to see the toons’ face during the cutscenes.
Still enjoying the game, though I’m a tad burnt out too, which is why I didn’t do the push to 50 on the Vanguard yet and went for the different playstyle and story of the Assassin for now.
My only comment about the 1.2 patch is: I like that I can send mail between all my alts regardless of faction now. Other than that, I’ve not noticed much difference in the toons I play.
I’ve re-subbed to Vanguard for a bit for a change of pace also. I’m only really playing it on Saturday mornings for a couple of hours, so don’t have much to report other than it’s kinda nice to have the slower leveling pace of that game to relax with. I’m trying out several classes I never did before — blood mage, necromancer, shaman, dread knight — to see if something appeals to me more than I thought it sounded like it might. I love my disciple and paladin, the druid’s interesting, but hasn’t truly grabbed me, etc. Overall it’s fun to try the new things out and see how they work together. After SWTOR it does feel a little odd not to have a companion. Kinda weird how expectations need to change from game to game, no?
I did the Tera Online beta this past weekend in place of my normal Vanguard play session. I made a sorcerer for my 1st character to figure out the controls and such. For all that it says “you gotta always move” any time you cast anything, even your instant-cast spells you still stop cold, yet the sorcerer is listed as tied with the Archer class for “easiest to play.” Go figure. I made that character a high elf female, and while I thought the breasts on it were grotesquely over-sized and the standing pose of the character was quite overdone, the sexuality of that race didn’t bug me. The world chat was full of people saying that the Elin race was for pedophiles only and that the Castanic races was actually “the best one” looks-wise, though.
In the afternoon, I decided to try out the Mystic class, as that sounded like it had a bit in common with the EQ2 coercer, which I love to death. I made this one a Castanic female, and on the character creation page it looked nice and the breasts were probably “only” a D-cup, which is actually fairly small in the MMO world. Then I got into the world and the way it ran. . . .geez, it was horrid. Bent double, flashing its ass in the air while flailing its arms in a caricature of the “runs like a girl” stereotype. And tbh, I actually didn’t much like the Mystic gameplay after all. Ah well.
At that point, I kinda wanted to check out some of the warrior-type classes, but I felt like I was “done.” Other than the movement style forced on you by the controls it was a very standard MMO, so it didn’t have anything to draw me away from any other game I’m already playing and enjoy. For all that it calls itself an “action game” the only thing that made it such was that I couldn’t lock a target and had to aim my reticle at it in mouselook mode. Other than that. . . been there and done that. I’ve uninstalled that game client from my pc and won’t be looking back.
On the other hand, while I know I don’t particularly care for the horror/goth genre of anything, I’ve pre-ordered The Secret World. It sounds like it’s got just enough elements of similarity to Shadowrun, which game world I love, that I think I’d still enjoy it, and the skill-point-based advancement with synergies between trees sounds enough like SWG (which I loved pre-CU and pre-NGE) that I’m willing to plunk down in advance for it. I’m not sure what direction I’d like to take the character in the beginning, but that sounds like the beauty of the skill wheel is that you can dabble easily and find out what you like, then specialize from there, and then over time add more and more specializations. Concepts sound cool to me, anyway. I hope they’re implemented well. Beta weekends start on May 11th, so I’ll know more after that, I suppose.
Speaking of Shadowrun, there’s a Kickstarter project out there for a small-time 2D turn-based Shadowrun game out there. I’ve kicked in a bit and hope it won’t turn out to be vaporware.
So the SWTOR 1.2 patch is on the Public Test Server, and the Patch Notes released. I don’t play on the PTS, and don’t plan to, so I’ll have to wait for it to go live before I see what really happens, but based on what I’ve read, here are my thought ons the things from the notes that jumped out at me:
Legacy Stuff: Cool, but seems self-contradictory. It’s designed to help you play alts, but the best way to level it up so that you can do things with those alts is to not play alts. Add in that to get the race unlocks which are probably the biggest “cool thing” right now you need to either have a lot of money lying about on you level 50 toon(s) or you need to level each race up to 50, which would fill all your character slots, and since the Legacy is server-specific, you’d then have to delete a level 50 to make a new one and do it all over again with the race/class combo you really want on that server since you couldn’t “take it with you.” Doesn’t really seem well thought out.
UI customization and Target-of-target: About damn time!
Class balancing stuff: The Smuggler stuff sounds good. The Commando and Sage nerfs to both healing and dps seem to be a bit heavy-handed. I didn’t see much that looked like it would affect my Vanguard, but my dps Sage is going to lose the ability to have the Telekinetic Wave get boosted by the Power of Mind proc, which kills the purpose of having the hybrid spec, since those procs are so useful and there’s really nothing else to use them on. Sadly, the level 31 top tier talents aren’t being improved, so there’s no real reason to go fully up a tree still, so it looks like 7/7/27 just might be the new way to go for a dps sage rather than the old 0/13/28 or 0/17/24 specs. Time will tell, though. Zoeller did say a lot of stuff “under the hood” is being redone and this may change how it all shakes out, so. . . we’ll see.
Crafting changes: These I’m pretty excited about. On the “new server” I mentioned in my last post I’ve got my Vanguard as a pure harvester providing materials to the lower level alts so that they can still keep their crafting up to the VG’s level. It means I’m keeping the Vanguard more “level-appropriate” to the content, so he’s level 38 now and about to head to Hoth (right on schedule) while my also level 38 Sage is just barely starting Balmorra (supposed to be level 32-33 when starting there). But anyway, the changes here sound like a big improvement, so I’m sure that I’ll enjoy exploring the changes once they go live.
Gameplay update: As mentioned a little bit above — I’ve got a Vanguard to level 38 and a Jedi Sage to 38 as well. I also have a Sawbones spec’d Scoundrel at 22, but it’s only used for crafting anymore. After 1.2 and the Sawbones updates, that may change. My friends are level 34 Gunslinger and level 30 Commando now, so we’re a little spread out, but we still get together to run some of the flashpoints and help with heroic quests and holocron hunting and such. We play to have fun, not to challenge ourselves or even to worry about loot or xp or anything. We’re very laid back about it all.
About a week ago in order to give them both some time to catch up to me in levels, I started up a Sith Inquisitor. Yes, that’s her to the left. Since I already have a Sage I went with an Assassin so as to still get the SI story, but the different play style. Through use of the HTN on Nar Shaddaa I’ve been able to get some credits to her so she could buy the orange social gear and then also transfer over all the mods for it crafted by my cybertech alt. Haven’t run out and done anything yet combat-wise since getting the upgrades slotted in, but I expect that combat’s suddenly going to feel quite a bit easier, and it wasn’t hard in quest greens, so. . . . should be fun anyway. Just equipping the new pieces added 25% to my HP totals and another 5% mitigation on the defensive side, plus higher Willpower for more damage done.
Something I’m not really happy about, though, is that when I looked up the companions for the SI, I found that I don’t get a healer companion until Hoth at about level 40, unlike the Jedi Consular that gets theirs on Nar Shaddaa at about level 24. Just means I’ll have “less safe” gameplay, I suppose. I really doubt it will matter much, especially after I get a dps companion instead of Khem Val’s tankiness. I’m spec’d as a tank, so I’ve got Khem in dps stance, such as it is, but I’m looking forward to an actual dps companion instead. As it is, though… I love the Empire’s armor looks in preview, and I’m finding the story line for the SI to be far more compelling than the Consular, so I think I’ll be playing a bit more on the Empire side now whenever my friends aren’t also online with me.