Friday, October 2, 2015

KotFE Livestream Reactions

Howdy, fellow Fallen Empire inquirers!

Well, SWTOR's September 30th livestream was eventful, eh? We got info on level syncing, chapter 1 spoilers, crafting and gathering, a different style of companion, and so much more!  Ok, well, not a lot more but some more.

I think the main stars of the stream were clearly the gathering/crafting info and level syncing, but overall Musco did a fantastic job with the whole stream.

Actually, let me take some time out right now and thank Eric Musco for his spectacular work on the streams of late.  He's always been a fan favorite, since he used to be one of us (former host of TOROcast) and his stream work has been both engaging and informational (well, as informational as Bioware allows it to be).  I really enjoyed the pace and presentation of this 2-hour stream and Eric's style is exactly what I like.  Now to business.

REACTIONS OMG - I'll be cribbing off of Dulfy's list, located here:

  • UI Changes - Snap to grid, keybind importing.  I cannot stress how happy I am about snap to grid.  My UI is a motley collection of horribly aligned bars.  BIOWARE FIX PLZ.   
    • HYPE METER 10/10
  • Legendary Nameplate - Completing all 8 class stories gets you a little yellow thingy on your character name that can be toggled on/off.  A nice bonus for folks who leveled all the classes the old-fashioned way back in the before-times, or for slackers like me who waited for x12 to basically cheat our way to 60.   
    • HYPE METER 3/10
  • Collections Changes - Collections can now be sorted, searched, and can be listed an Earned or Incomplete.  Ever want to find a specific speeder?  Yeah, me too.  But scrolling through 14 pages of speeders is annoying as shit.  This will be fixed.   
    • HYPE METER 11/10
  •  New Level 60 Characters - The UI to create a new level 60 is quite nice; there are plenty of nice touches for a new player as well.  The tutorial experience to teach new players the ins and outs of the game is well-crafted.  Advanced options for us old pros are also available, which is ultra nice, and the gear for the new 60s is also legacy-bound blues (no mods, just stats) and adaptive!  The ability to switch the default spec to a spec you want to play is also nice; kinda required or else there'd be pitchforks, but nice that they thought of it ahead of time.   
    • HYPE METER 10/10
  • New Companion Type - Ever want an akk dog as a companion instead of Quinn?  Yeah, me too.  We'll be able to add DPS-only companions with no influence rating or sidequests, like akk dogs and probably cats, tauntauns, wampas ... owait, maybe not wampas.  We'll see.   
    • HYPE METER 6/10
  •  Temporary Ability Bars - When you toggle Heroic Moment, do you frantically have to open your skill window to use your Legacy stuff?  Or are you like me, and position all the Legacy actions on one bar, surrounding the Heroic Moment ability?  Well, has Bioware got the thing for youuu!  Now when Heroic Moment is activated, a temporary bar shoots out and has all your unlocked Legacy abilities!  OMG.  I never knew how much I needed this.  Temp bars will also display for Huttball and other activities!   
    • HYPE METER 15/10
  • Commendation Changes - Pretty simple re-name here.  Basic Comms become green Crystals.  Elite become blue, Ultimate turn purple.  All comms carry over at current rate (ie, you have 255 basic comms, you now have 255 green crystals).  Also, weekly cap on comms is now gone.  Grind to your heart's delight.   
    • HYPE METER 5/10 (mainly for the cap removal, that's dope)
  • Crafting/Gathering Changes - Ok, this may have been the co-star of the show.  Gathering is finally getting un-stupid.  Your skills now have a max level of 500 out of the gate.  You no longer have to train to 400, then 450, then 500.  Also, your skill directly determines the output of nodes.  No longer will you have "INSUFFICIENT SKILL TO ACCESS THIS NODE, NOOBCAKES."  Finally.  If you have low skill on a high-level node, then you won't get much.  If you have high skill on a low-level node, then you'll get lots.  All crafted gear will now be a minimum blue quality to make it more useful to us.  Also, crafting mats have been simplified.  Also, any mats you have right now that are getting phased out (will be listed in a blog coming next week), those will be converted at a 1:1 rate for newer mats.  So nice.
    • HYPE METER 20/10
  • Level Sync - Ok, this is the one that's been on my mind the most.  Ever since Reddit datamined the sync feature, I've been very, very afraid of what this would do to the game.  Thankfully, those fears were mostly unfounded.  Firstly, level sync is NOT a toggle.  It's forced, whether you like or not.  You'll  be synced down to the highest possible level of the planet.  Don't worry, you'll still be OP as hell ... just not '1-shotting World Bosses' OP.  The reason for this syncing is actually pretty good ... heroic missions now grant the green crystals and XP equivalent to your level.  Remember how there's no weekly cap on green crystals .... yeah, this is why.  Hey, you want to grind out 1000 green crystals in a couple of days, 20 at a time?  Yup, planetary heroics.  Go grind 'em out.  Oh, they're all over the place, right?  Well, there's a handy mission terminal on the fleet.  And it not only gives out all the heroic missions (soloable if they are lower level than you), but it also provides you a priority transport button that takes you straight to the planet.  Yeah.  Fuckin' a-mazin'.   I was worried before.  Now I am not.
    • HYPE METER 100/10
  •  Legacy Changes - Retroactive, legacy datacrons unlocked for all your characters.  Random mount/pet buttons.  Speeder training via legacy at level 1.  *ejaculates*
    • HYPE METER 100/10 
  • Cape Clipping - Capes no longer clip through speeders.
    • HYPE METER ∞/10

I just can't.  Like, this whole thing.  I can't.  Story looks amazeballs.  Changes are bonkers.  I just can't.

You done good, Bioware.  You done good.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bounty Hunter - Hitting 60

Finally hit 60 on my Bounty Hunter ... first time I've had a max level character since Makeb released.  Powering through Makeb and getting to Rishi was a pretty good rush; I'd forgotten how Makeb's quest design really stepped up from the 1-50 experience.  Rishi though was a total shock.

WTB vacation home in Rishi.  PST srs offers only.
I wasn't really sure what to expect, but what shocked me most was how beautiful it was.  The spaceport/market was laid out and sprawling; it seemed to have its own vibe and existed because that's what the inhabitants there would have built, not just that the game needed a hub to put players in.  Having it stretch into three sections, complete with an 'underbelly full of pirates' really made the whole area come alive.  And the vistas and foliage of the outer zones?  Yowza.  My screenshots don't do it justice.  It's a marvel.

I can tell a difference in the questing too; less plodding, less grindy.  They're fairly quick-hitters and clustered well so that questing doesn't seem like a chore.  Maybe I'm just looking at it with fresh eyes; on my 4th or 5th playthrough my tune will probably be different.  But for right now, Shadow of Revan is impressing.

I'd also like to mention how much I enjoyed the Prelude to Revan solo flashpoints.  My goodness, were those well-constructed and entertaining playthroughs.  Like Rishi, I'm sure they dull with repetition, but from my experience they were some of the best dungeon content I've seen in a long, long time.

Bad droids, bad droids, whatcha gonna do.
That GSI combat droid could have probably run all the instances by itself; I'm pretty sure me and Treek (or HK-51) were just window dressing.  Good god, that robot kicked ass.

Also, a shout-out to Larry Everett's guild on Ebon Hawk!  It's a MassivelyOP guild, so there's tons of folks on all the time.  They do operations, both new and old, and were nice enough to take this bounty hunter unit on a run (which dinged me 60).  Good times are had by all.  If you'd like to check it out, head over to their website!

Scum and Villainy 'old timey' raid featuring me, your friendly neighborhood droid bounty hunter.
Quick note!  SWTOR launched a new gameplay trailer a couple of weeks ago to show off the KotFE expansion!  I'm obviously super excited about it.  FYI!  Here's a GAMESCOM 2015 CANTINA CODE!  Usable up to 50 times, so feel free to snag it while you can.  And if you'd like to get back into SWTOR, use my referral link!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hot Take: KotFE Companion Changes

Miss my old, angry, profanity-laden posts?  Where you're gonna get one now.

I've seen a significant amount of hand-wringing and caterwauling over the upcoming companion changes in Knights of the Fallen Empire.  Just to be clear; I think this is all bitching and moaning for the sake of bitching and moaning; neckbearded losers are getting their anime underwear in a twist because THEY'RE DUMBING DOWN DA GAME, OH NOES.  The forums are a cesspool of whiners, constantly grinding their teeth at every little change (no real surprise there).  Coming from a game community (WoW) that considered this type of verbal diarrhea to be 'valuable feedback,' I am more than disheartened to find some of the SWTOR fanbase shitting all over the companion changes without taking a moment to assess what they really mean.

Just to be even more abundantly clear; I am ecstatic about the changes.  Musco did a great job outlining all changes they were willing to talk about and Dulfy masterfully wrapped up all the pertinent questions and answers.  Those links will direct you to the source of the info; I think the changes will be welcome and will streamline a fairly tedious portion of the game.

I'm also glad Musco got some good questions; he certainly had to wade through his fair share of shitheads and asshats to glean those few queries worth answering.  Here are some of the things the community had questions/bitchfests/incessant forum diarrhea about.


DEY TURK ER CUMPANYUNZ: No, Bioware is not taking your companions away, you ignorant fuck.  Musco cleared this up during the Q&A Wrap-Up post.  This is the way it will work; if for some reason your companion leaves your storyline for KotFE, then they won't be available for future chapters.  However, that companion will still be available for other non-story related activities.  For example, you decide to kill Vette because you are a soulless bastard during the KotFE storyline (this is an example, we don't know if this will even be available in the story).  If you're doing non-chapter stuff (like running dailies or doing old flashpoints or whatnot), then Vette will still be available for your use, because hey, whining like a moron works.

I'd prefer it if they just stayed dead, but I'm sure Bioware literally couldn't handle the influx of dumbass "U TUK MAH COMPANYUNZ Y U MAEK EM DEDZ" forum posts because people who don't care about the story do something in the story that has story ramifications but fail to recognize the story playing out and instead just open their stupid faces and spout off dumbfuckery until the devs capitulate because they literally can't take anymore shit from fucktards.

DEY TUK GEARZ FRUM CUMPANYUNZ LOLZ:  God, if you really think buying all new gear, mods, armoring and barrels/hilts for your companion every time you want to swap to a new companion (because hey, it'd be fun to take Gault instead of Mako) is fun, please do everyone a favor and jump off a high-rise.  Or go play Excel Online, I mean Eve.  Seriously.  That's some tedious-ass shit; I wanna play Star Wars, not fuck with mods and armoring and market pricing and spreadsheets and all this other horseshit when I want to make a change.  I mainly play DPS characters, so my default companion is nearly always a healer.  I'm sure there's some OMG PRO MLG XXx420NoScopexXX players out there who can dual DPS everything for 60 levels and never have any problems ever at all not even a single time (seem to be a ton on the forums saying "GIT GUD BRAH"), but I'm bad at life and suck at this game.  So I nearly always use my healer companions.  In fact, I buy Treek on every character just so I can have that early healer if I need 'em.  Once I get gear going on a companion, it's relatively hard for me to switch gears and swap to another character as well.  This 'gear going away' on companions is a god-send for me.

But, for those old-school Bioware RPG folks that like the min-maxxing on all the companions, dudes I totally get you.  And if gearing weren't so damn complex, I'd be with you.  But as-is, you need hat, chest, bracers, gloves, legs, boots, waist, earpiece, implants x2, weapon, and offhand, and all of those pieces (save earpiece and impants) require 3-4 modifications each if you're using custom gear (and why wouldn't you, really).  If there were less gear slots, I'd love the companion gearing to stay, but jesus!  Swapping from Mako to Gault is a pretty major undertaking and generally involves my CPA.  The idea of just swapping to Gault and adventuring with him without all the rigamarole?  Lovely.

DEM CUMPANYUNZ AINT A HEALAR N00B:  If you really have a problem with companions doing all three roles, I just ... fuck off.  Seriously, fuck off.  If you have an RP reason for not wanting Scourge to heal, just pretend he's tossing you a medpack.  I mean, for fuck's sakes ... really?

I can understand some of the RP folks having issues with certain companions performing roles that aren't totally compatible; Mako jumping out there and tanking or Scorpio healing is gonna feel weird as hell.  But the ability to roll with the companion I want for the reasons I want (not because I'm locked into a healer as a DPS player) is priceless.  I can roll with Scourge all the time if I like!  That's amazeballs!  And, as I've been told so many times before when I whined about being locked into a healer companion ... you don't have to use the healing role for that companion; the game's not forcing you to HURRR DURRRR.  Got a problem with Mako tanking?  Fucking switch her role, asshat.  Welcome to my world where the standard answer seems to be: "If you don't like it, you don't have to use it.  It's not required, u bad get rekt bro." *neckbeard fart noise*

So, there's an old-school Targeter angry rant-post-'roid rage.  I sincerely like the companion changes coming in KotFE.  The only real change that I'm iffy on is the removal of specific companion crafting bonuses; they'll be based off companion level and Influence rating (just Affection under a different name).  That takes away some of the flavor of each companion.  But it's not a huge change and I really never paid attention to them anyways, so I personally won't notice that they're gone.  But the rest?  I'm cool with.  Just don't ask the forum neckbeards.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Knights of the FROZEN Empire (Spoiler Post)


Well, we got about 20 minutes into the stream and it died.  This is an appropriate image.  I'm putting in a jump cut just in case you don't want to see spoilers; I'll do systems stuff before the cut and leave the stuff after the jump for story spoilers.

Update: And the stream's back! 

Overall, I'm pretty happy with what I saw, even if the team was light on the details (again).  Some companion questions were answered, though most seem to have been left open.  Still don't know how many companions we can max out at, who's coming back or not (they won't spoil the story for us ... bravo to BioWare for that), specializations for companions weren't talked about either.  Musco said there'd be a thread up that you could post questions in; word of warning, they won't be talking about who's dead or who can be killed or anything like that, so don't bother asking.

Systems and Mechanics:
  • Developers will not 'punish' players for their work on companions
  • All or nearly all companions will return, though maybe not in the way we are used to?  I'm guessing not all of them will be summonable companions.  Maybe they'll hang around the ship?
  • BIG ONE: Companion gear no longer provides stats; it's basically dress-up
  • This means that you no longer have to farm gear for comps!  You can just pull 'em out and they're the appropriate power level for your character.  No more trolling the GTN looking for upgrades for a companion you haven't touched in 20 levels.
  • Companions can do all 3 roles now - CONFIRMED
  • This prevents players from being forced into 1 specific 'best companion' for their playstyle (think Bounty Hunter and how much you rely on Mako)
  • Treek and HK won't be taken away at all
  • Any gear on companions that are missing/killed will be returned to you
  • Some chapters may lock you into specific companions during the story
I do like the companion changes A LOT.  I always felt hemmed in as far as companions went; as a mainly DPS player, I relied heavily on healers like Mako and Treek.  There were companion moments I know I missed out on because of my chosen role.  This new direction will definitely help alleviate all that pressure to choose the 'correct companion.'  Musco stated that they'll be talking more about crafting, pvp, etc etc 'soon.'  It better be real soon, cuz we're closing in on 2 months till launch!


Questions for the SWTOR Livestream (8/26 at 8PM ET)

Remember that SWTOR is doing a livestream event tonight at 8pm ET (5pm PT, 12am GMT)!  It purports to answer questions about the basic game system changes and companions.  We'll see how it goes.

Larry, my new guildmate and SWTOR writer over at MassivelyOP (pardon that name drop), wrote an excellent article about the questions we should ask during the stream.  Here they are in handy bulleted form, verbatim:

  • Will we still be able to run the same number of missions as we currently can?
  • Are companions still going to have specializations?
  • Will there be achievements and bonuses attached to certain companions?
  • Will future seasons present life-changing decisions regarding current companions?

Fine questions to ask.  I think I'd like to add some more, though.

  • What will our companion limit be?  How quickly can we expect to hit that companion cap?
  • Are there going to be some companions spread out in remote areas?  Will we be able to hunt some of them down and add them to the crew or will it be a straight-forward process?
  • Will certain companions be class-locked? (No spoilers, just want to know if the option will be there) Or are they all open to every class?
  • How will purchased companions work?  HK-51, Treek?
  • Can I romance Treek?
  • What do you mean, "Ewwww?"

Apart from other companion questions, I also have general questions!
  • How will the stat revamp work?  How will 'Mastery' be applied to gear?
  • Will old operations flex up and down in level, or are they locked at 60?
  • Will we be able to score some new starships?  Stands to reason if we're doing the Big Chill, we've probably lost our rides, right?
  • Will there be new models for Galactic Starfighter?

So, that's a lot of questions.  I'll update with answers when I can!

Quick note!  SWTOR launched a new gameplay trailer this week  to show off the KotFE expansion!  I'll have some more thoughts on that next week as we learn more.  I'm obviously super excited about it.  FYI!  Here's a GAMESCOM 2015 CANTINA CODE!  Usable up to 50 times, so feel free to snag it while you can.  And if you'd like to get back into SWTOR, use my referral link!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cash Money Gillionaire Ya'll

Do YOU want to make 10,000 gil a day with no money down, no effort, no time, and no life?  Call me now for my investment opportunity information packet of informational information!  Get the FFXIV life you DESERVE!
I finally hit over a million gil on my little ninja.  Excuse me while I celebrate in a rambunctious fashion.

Now, I'll preface this by saying: I know a million gil in FFXIV isn't a whole hell of a lot.  But it's a lot to me, dammit!  And for the amount of 'effort' I put into it, it was relatively easy to do.  My method consisted of selling vendor gear on the market.

That's it.

I know a lot of other folks do this as well.  I won't pretend like I'm the first guy to ever do this, either.  It's a trick that's as old as MMOs are.  But in FFIXV it seems to be a very lucrative way to get modestly wealthy in a relatively short amount of time.  The idea is to target the level brackets that are just now coming into some decent gil and procure gear that's ideal for them.  With the influx of new players (like me!), I found the 25-35 bracket is particularly good for cashing in.  Right about that time, the idea of spending 15-20K gil on a hat or a chest or boots or leggings isn't so bad compared to the quest items you're receiving at the time.  Keeping players just a step ahead of the leveling curve is pretty good business.

I've still got a ways to go in questing, and apparently Heavensward is where the *real* money is at, so I'm sure I'll continue to be a cash money gillionaire for the foreseeable future.  But I was pleasantly surprised to get into the market and instantly be competitive.  Part of this is owed to FFXIV's retainer system, and the ability to keep things on the market for a while.  Most of my sales came a week or so after I originally posted the items, which provides a nice, steady drip-feed of gil.

Next project for me is to make enough gil to buy a house (small plots on my server are going for 2.5-3 million gil), so I've got a long ways to go.  But that's ok, cuz this Miqo'te is gettin' PAID.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Zakuul Armor is Totes the Tightest Guys


She's a month old and UGH GET A JOB ALREADY.  Freebooters and ne'er-do-wells!  Lazy, the lot of 'em!  Can't expect handouts yer whole life!  It's been 30 days since you were born, GET OVER YERSELF GAWD.

I know this month's MMO plan was the be all Inquisitor, all the time, but uh ... that didn't work out so well.  Like, zero percent progress on that dude.  If I could actually have negative progress, that'd be more accurate.

So instead what I did was make a new Togrutan agent (Togrutagent?  Trademarkin' that bastich) and level her for a bit, then I decided that I don't like having any Cartel Coins at all, no sirree, so let's waste 'em on a 1440 CC armor set.

Solid plan.

I bought the Zakuul armor set and DAYYYUUUMMMM it's tight; so tight I rolled a new Sith Warrior just to wear it.  Then named him Zakuulian because LOL ALL FOR ZAKUUL.  For 1440 CC it better be tight.  But like, it's still tight in the overall sense as well, even factoring in the cost.  Until you realize that 1440 is the cost for one set.  And the account unlock is 720 CC.  That comes out to a price point of $17.83 for a full account unlock for the armor set (based on $19.99/2400 CC conversion rate).

Damn Biowurrr, yo prices scuuury.

It's a blastergunsaber.  Like that dude off Rebels.  Totally.  DON'T RUIN MY RP, DAMMIT.
Still, no buyer's remorse (yet).  I didn't take a screenshot of my new warrior cuz like WHY WOULD I DO THAT RIGHT.  Jesus, not sleeping and stuff is affecting my brainparts.  So here, just imagine this screenshot instead, 'cept a lightsaber instead of a gun and gray/black dye instead of the standard gold.  Use your imaginationilizers, dammit, that's what Geordi LaForge would want you to do.

Take a look, it's in a book, that you can't read in SWTOOOOOOOOR

On other fronts, my FFXIV time is dwindling down not cuz I don't like the game but I've got KotFE fever, but OMG NEW EPISODE OF TABLETOP BRB GUISE

Quick note!  SWTOR launched a new gameplay trailer this week  to show off the KotFE expansion!  I'll have some more thoughts on that next week as we learn more.  I'm obviously super excited about it.  FYI!  Here's a GAMESCOM 2015 CANTINA CODE!  Usable up to 50 times, so feel free to snag it while you can.  And if you'd like to get back into SWTOR, use my referral link!