Category Archives: Star Wars: The Old Republic
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.
Since my last post, I got my Commando up to level 41. He’s still working through Quesh. But I re-rolled to a different server due to a friend starting to play and even though he knew I was on Sanctum of the Exalted, he has a couple of nephews playing on Juyo, so he rolled there in order to be able to play with them from time to time. Though I’ve never seen him say they were online with us ever, and he’s not mentioned ever playing with them at times when he and I aren’t on either. Ah well.
Another mutual friend rerolled over to Juyo also as a result, and he’s only played Empire up to this point, so it was actually quite fun to run through all the quests on Tython in a group with them. Got social points, got to chat. . . it was a lot more fun than soloing it. When we all started there friend J1 started a Jedi Knight to go Guardian with, and since I don’t like the JK play style I rolled yet another Consular. Friend J2 also rolled Consular and since he planned to go Shadow, I went Sage.
Out of all of that, J1 decided he doesn’t really like his Guardian, so he’s now got a Gunslinger. J2 decided he didn’t like the Shadow and now has a Commando. And I’ve got my Sage to 19, my Vanguard to 23, my Scoundrel to 21, and an SI Assassin to 11. J1 also has a variety of other alts on both Empire and Republic side as well. Can’t tell we both play more than J2, can you? 😉
But anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing in SWTOR the past few weeks — redoing what I’ve done before, but enjoying it more since I’m doing it with friends. BioWare’s been patching it up and making things improve slowly but surely, so overall I’m enjoying this game just as much as ever, even with still being such a lowbie all the time 😉
I do think the starter planets are a bit out of whack, though. Tython seems to take most people around 9 hours of playing time. I’ve done it in 7 since I’m so familiar with it anymore, but there’s just so much running around that it takes a while. Ord Mantell I am done with in about 5 hours whenever I run through it anymore, so it’s already a lot faster than Tython. 2 days ago when I ran the SI through Korriban. . . .I was level 11 and done with the planet in 3 hours and 14 minutes of /played time. I have no idea how long Hutta takes for BH’s and Agents, but if it’s as small as it looks on the map, I can’t imagine it’d be more than 4-5. I can’t help but wonder if this is supposed to be BioWare’s way of literally putting the whole philosophy of “Dark Side is faster than Light Side” that we heard Yoda tell us in TESB into the game?
So yesterday the weekly patch notes included a line saying something like “mostly got rid of the combat delay bug.” And in my playing yesterday, it did indeed seem to be the case. Controls were responsive, cast bars didn’t suddenly cancel and restart themselves anymore, queued abilities fired off almost all the time. . . . It was vastly improved.
Now if they would just make it so that mobs don’t instantly respond to your “instant” spells that delay applying their effects. Yes, I’m looking at YOU, Project!
Finished up Alderaan with my Trooper at level 37 — only 5 levels above where I “should” be. And now I’m back on Nar Shadaa finishing up the bonus series there that is rated level 31-32, just like the end of Alderaan. Got my Legacy unlocked, so all my characters have the last name of “Le’fey” which is a carryover from EQ2, where nearly all my characters had the same last name so that people who saw me running around would know it was one of my alts due to them all having the same last name. Of course, characters with names like “Gotter Dammerung” were fun too, and I do have a “Gotter” in SWTOR as well. And my Commando’s really supposed to be “Wahren Peese” but yeah, he’s stuck with “Le’fey” now also. Such is life.
Still and all, I can’t help but wonder what exactly these Legacy Levels I’m getting will actually do once they’re implemented.
In other news, my Consular Sage re-spec’d out of the Seer line for healing and is now rocking a hybrid Telekinetics/Balance dps build. It can be downright brutal in the damage output at times, and can still spot-heal in a pinch if necessary. At level 29, the build looks like this so far, and at the eventual level 50, I think this looks like it might be interesting. I’ve not researched any dps builds anywhere, so I could be up in the night as to its effectiveness, but I think it looks fun, and if not. . . respecs are still fairly cheap for me, so I’ll see what I think later.
So in my last post I made a quickie comparison between the tank stats of my Shadow vs the tank stats of my Commando’s tank pet, and even though the Shadow’s gear isn’t completely up to snuff, it was still better than the not-terrible pet’s stats. Well silly me, I decided to actually get the Shadow up to 29 and do a complete upgrade of its gear and see how it went there. I was close enough to spit on 29 as it was, and in fact gained that level by doing the daily space missions.
I took screenies of the stats, but since the tank pet is a a ranged class I don’t think the damage stats are an apples to apples comparison. So, I’ll just list off the relevant defensive stats instead:
. Level 29 Shadow Level 35 M1-4X
- Armor: 3392 2998 (in-combat 3247)
- Mitigation: 33.95% 27.76% (in-combat 29.4%)
- Defense Chance: 18.39% 10.54%
- Shield Chance: 20% base, 35% buffed 27.46%
- Shield Absorption: 24% 21.58%
Same as before, obviously — the Shadow’s stats are definitely superior, in spite of being 6 levels below, and yet, the droid’s sufficient for everything I’ve tried to do with it so far, so take that any way you like it.
So anyway, after getting all the upgrades I decided to see what kind of trouble I could get into with the bonus quest series on Tatooine in order to see if the Shadow seemed “weak” in comparison to the Commando. I had some old heroic quests sitting in the journal too, and figured I’d perhaps try to group up and clear those out.
I ended up in the Dune Sea and decided to clear out the Sarlacc quest by just stealthing past the mobs around the Sarlacc pit and tossing in the grenade. AfterI did that, there’s that champion mob standing there which I know is a part of the quest’s bonus part, and I figured I can always do a stealth break of combat if it didn’t go well. But it went fine. Tharan kept me healed up like a champ, and a lot of the mob’s attacks were avoidable ground-targeted AE’s anyway. He dropped some nice moddable light armor robe-style leg gear that I promptly gave away to the next Consular that I saw since my level 29 mods in my little bikini were already better than the level 25 piece of gear.
I decided to uncover the rest of the Dune Sea map, which found me that champion-level scyk to kill for the codex entry update and also the Ancient Sand Worm in the SW corner of the map. I soloed both of them without any trouble. Butthen there was Warlord Nekra the Geonosian champion. I was even-level to it, so I figured it’d be tough if it was doable at all. I attacked, and it became clear very quickly that I wouldn’t be able to solo it. Not at that level, anyway. Fortunately for me, a level 37 combat medic with his 4X out came up right then, so I stealth-broke the combat, invited him to group and we duo’d the thing instead. Since he was at +8 levels the xp wasn’t nearly as good as when my “merely +3” commando soloed it, but one can’t have everything, right?
I returned to the Jundland wastes section and looked at my heroic quests and realized that the Search and Rescue (Heroic 4) quest didn’t actually have a kill requirement, so I wondered if I could just stealth it. And yes, I could. What surprised me was that clicking on the prisoners you’re supposed to free didn’t break stealth, so I didn’t have to use my 3 minute cooldown combat breaker each time, but could get away with just plain stealthing up and hitting my 1 minute cooldown stealth-increaser if something gasped that it was about to detect me. Seems a little exploit-y to me, so I don’t plan on doing so again. Plus it just gives a crappy looking moddable helmet for the reward, and I’ve already got a good looking moddable helmet, so. . . I took the commendation reward, not the item.
And then I kept playing along, working the bonus series, thinking I was doing great and planning to be logging out at midnight, and suddenly “the servers are coming down in 15 minutes” maintenance announcement for patch 1.1 popped up, meaning it was 12:45. I’d completely lost track of time.
So in spite of me still being willing to call the game a buggy mess (and probalby will for months to come — it’s a new game, after all. . . . ), it’s also a really fun game that can suck me in well enough to make me forget to look at the clock.
I do a bit of reading on SWTOR’s official forums here and there. A common thread for the various classes asks the question “Which companion should I use?” Responses then generally say “This one rocks, but that one is really weak, so don’t use that one.” Further drilling down as threads on this subject get longer, plus other threads that have people complaining of weak companions reveal the answer to be a bit more nuanced, though. Generally, the “best” or “strongest” companion will be the one that most complements your play style. For example, a Sage Seer is usually best served by a tank companion that it can heal when needed. But a Kinetic Shadow is probably better served by a healer companion to keep it up while it takes all the aggro. Or maybe even a dps companion so they can burn the mobs down quickly.
For the Trooper, it seems that the most liked companions are Elara Dorne (healer), or the one you get toward the end named Tanno Vik (melee tank). Yuun (melee dps) and Aric Jorgan (ranged dps) are well regarded too, but the ranged tank M1-4X seems to generally be regarded as “weak” or “bad.” There’s an occasional shout out for him saying that if you keep his gear up to date that he’s really good, or that those who think he’s bad aren’t using him right or something along those lines.
Since my Trooper is a Cybertech crafter and this includes the ability to make droid parts/armor, I decided to see what I could do with 4x, since I like how the thing looks. Plus I’m spec’d as a full Combat Medic healer, so in my eyes having any kind of tank companion should work well. I was already level 30 on Nar Shadaa before I got far enough in the story line to get him as a companion, and the “full set” of gear for that level range needed level 31, so I didn’t start using 4x until I got to Tatooine. And I love him to death and think he’s quite awesome. He grabs aggro like a champ and then keeps it. He can take quite a bit of damage, but. . . I’m a healer, so damage isn’t really that big an issue. His dps is decent also. Groups of “weak” mobs I can still AE down before 4x picks a target. Strong mobs he can solo, and Elite mobs we can take down together usually without me needing to heal, though sometimes I will if he seems to be getting unlucky with his avoidance chance.
As for results, well, check the screenie to the left there. That’s a Champion difficulty mob designed to be difficult for a group of 4 to take down. For comparison, group quests usually have a boss at the end with about 30,000 HP — this mob had 78,000. But yeah, it’s dead in the picture after having been hit up by the tank/healer combo. It was a long fight, and I did spend a lot more time healing than dps’ing so 4x did all the real heavy lifting as far as the killing went, but he was just fine. I also killed a few other Champions that were around the Dune Sea, though they were all in the 30K hit point range again. Got a nice Codex update for the Scyk to boot.
Down in the screenies at the bottom of the page, I have a shot of 4X’s tank stats vs my Shadow’s tank stats. Their levels are different so the HP totals reflect that, but the actual tank stats themselves look to be quite comparable when both tanks are fitted out in blue gear, though the Shadow’s still got a couple of pieces at the level 23 upgrade range, so once I get her to 31 and fully upgraded, her armor rating would probably be much nicer, especially since the 4X shot was taken while in combat with him having his 20% armor buff active. So yeah, player tank better than companion tank, but you’d really expect that wouldn’t you?
On the game play front — I’ve made it past Tatooine and am now on Alderaan, in case the 1st 2 screenshots didn’t let you cotton to that fact. I’m so over level already that I’m breezing through it and when I stumbled in to a “Heroic 4” area and thought I was pulling a single gold that turned out to be a group of 3, I still managed to CC one of them, and 4x could tank the other 2 just fine, so that worked out. Though I still don’t plan to try to solo that quest. That’d just be a pain.
Anyway, my plan now is to push through Alderaan as quickly as I can in order to finish Act 1 and unlock my legacy stuff. I was going to simply do the story quests and more or less skip the planet, but I’m enjoying the exploration too much, plus the gear I’m picking up from quests and kills and such I can send back to my alts so that they have gear appropriate to their level, rather than to the area they’re questing in. So yeah, still doing all the quests and thus still way over level for the area, but. . . such is life. Happy Gaming! And enjoy the other screenies that follow —