Thursday, July 28, 2011

Your Eleventh Assignment: Operational Control

Alpha Base, come in!  Agent Ancestor reporting!  We have confirmed enemy size, including Jedi.  Placing charges and starting orbital assault.  Engaging.

Lock and load, agents!  We've got some very exciting news today.  Operation (TOR version of raids) size confirmed at 8 and 16.  Should be much easier to round up a group get into raiding (which makes me happy).  Just remember, as of right now companions are not allowed in operations.  They can enter flashpoints (4-person dungeons/instances) however, and of course they will accompany you on your quests.  Even more exciting than the confirmation of raid sizes is the loot rules.  Oh Bioware, TOR will be the greatest game in the world if only for this ...

You have just nullified loot ninjas.

You heard that right.  Instead of loot dropping off the bosses and having to develop loot councils, rules, DKP, etc etc, TOR heads that all off at the pass.  When a boss is killed, a personalized loot bag will open for you and you alone.  In it will be credits and either gear specific to your class or badges to buy gear.

I'll give you a moment to absorb that.  Done?

Yeah, I thought so too.  How excellent is that?  No more going through dungeon after dungeon, or raid after raid, seeing everyone who wears goddamn PLATE getting ALL THE DROPS.  Now you get your own loot bag.  It may not contain gear, but it will at least have badges so you can go buy gear.  What an elegant solution.  It rewards everyone while simultaneously eliminating gear envy (which is a real killer ... trust me :\ ).  In fact, if you have more than one class present (and you will) then no one has to compete for gear.  It's an epic decision and I totally support it.

September beta tests still look like they are on target and a recent EA quarterly earnings call basically confirmed that TOR will launch in EA's fiscal Q3 (October-December).  None of this is really news.  I'm expecting a November launch with a release date announcement at PAX Prime in less than 30 days.  Comic Con was a virtual truckload of info and I'm still sifting through it all.  Everything seems to be falling into place.

So, after perusing my usual Old Republic sites, I've come to a shocking conclusion that everyone in the world has already figured out; Force wielders are going to outnumber non-Force users.  By a lot.  I mean, who wants to play some douchebag with a glowstick when you can play a bad-ass, blue-skinned, cold-hearted Imperial killer?  I'll never understand either, fellow Agent.

OK, since apparently everyone and their brother is going to roll a Sith Inquisitor, what can Bioware do to make sure us truly awesome players get our fair share too?  I've got some suggestions.

1) More spikes.  This is Blizzard's way of fixing things.  Reference shaman armor.
2) Make us OP.  This seems to actually be happening as Imperial Agents are, according to rumor, the most powerful classes in the game.  As in, one-shotting elites powerful.  Yeah, you heard me.
3) Polygamy.  Non-Force users should be able to mack as many ladies (or dudes, for you lady Agents) as we want.  Like, we should have a harem.
4) Boom goes the dynamite.  We should get an I-WIN button, a button that makes us about three times as powerful as any other class in the game.  You know, sort of like a WoW paladin.

Barring all of that, one of the way Bioware can make non-Force users as nifty as douchey glowstick throwers is by working on their story.  According to reports, the Imperial Agent has a fantastic story.  Just simply awesome.  Lots of James Bond moments, lots of very hard to choices to make.  I can't wait to dive into my story as I strive to save my beloved Empire from the clutches of the evil Republic.  And yes, I mean that part.  In my eyes (well, my Agent's eyes), the Republic allows weakness and entitlement to foster, putting everyone at risk.  My Agent would rather die than let his people suffer that fate.  I personally am excited to see how this plays out in-game.

But we're not just concerned with Agents here (well, we are, but we'll pay lip service to other non-Force wielders).  Bounty Hunters, Smugglers, and Troopers all have to have engaging storylines to keep them competitive with the lasersword crowd.  Let's hope that they are.

That wraps it up for now.  Fly safe, shoot straight.  For the glory of the Empire!

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