Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Smugglin', Mists of Pandaria, and Targeter's Heart-Wrenching Story

An accurate representation.
First off, the most important news.  I have now achieved level 50 on my second character in TOR.  That's right, Targeter is now joined by the infamous Outlaw Targeteer!  I haven't finished the third chapter yet (got to 50 through Belsavis dailies and some rather outstanding guildmates), but so far I have to say that the Smuggler storyline is every bit as interesting and fun as the Agent's.  It's not as good obviously, but it is very well done and chock-full of humor.  Unfortunately, I don't have a screenshot of Targeteer with his ridiculous Columi hat on, so I'll just post this representation of him.  That's pretty much what he looks like, 'cept blue and has less straw on his hat.  I also participated in my first operation with him last night; my guild rewarded my blitz to 50 with a pity run through Eternity Vault.  How nice!

The second line item for today is a more in-depth view of the Mists of Pandaria expansion, releasing September 25th for World of Warcraft.  As you may (or may not) know, I've re-upped to World of Warcraft since Bioware's updates for SWTOR have been few and far between.  Very far.  Oh my god it's a content drought.  This however has left me with ample time to check out other games.  Now, here's some full disclosure:

I played World of Warcraft from 2007 till 2011.  I came in at the end of The Burning Crusade and never really got to experience any end-game content of any note in that expansion.  Hell, I barely knew what I was doing!  My Dwarven Priest (Fear Ward HELL YES) stacked ludicrous amounts of stamina, whacked people with his staff as his primary attack, and put 5 points in Wand Specialization (remember that?!).  So I was what most people would call a 'bad.'  When Wrath launched the next year, I was in a much better place and able to compete at the highest levels; this included getting lost in Naxx, shamefully asking in Ventrilo what hit rating was, and not knowing what white or yellow damage was.  This got much better later on when I stopped Death Knighting (I had abandoned my Priest and the Alliance early in Wrath) and went Shamaning instead.  During my reign on Blackwater Raiders as Neverender, and later Ancestor and Brewtotem, I became almost competent as a raider and definitely a top 100 player ... on my server.  If you just count shaman.  Horde shaman.  Horde shaman who's names start with A, N, or B.  Look, I knew my way around a shaman and I was pretty decent at it.  Was I the best evarz?  No, of course not.  But I was pretty good and proud of it.  So, in Trial of the Champion (patch 3.2) I really hit my stride; I joined a 'hardcore' 10man guild, became an elitist asshole, and started thinking my shit didn't stink.  We did all the hardmode stuff in Ulduar and TOC, and then moved on to ICC where my hardcore guild of elitist assholes exploded, to nobody's surprise.  I later fell in with some friends I should have never left in the first place and we had more fun.  Then Cataclysm came.  Oh, how aptly named.  I was promoted to raid leader and had a grand time for the first three months.  To be honest, I was having so much fun that I didn't even mind that we weren't killing any bosses.  That's right, it took us almost three months to get Halfus down.  But I didn't care; the team was fun and we were having a blast.  Then it happened.

Loot drama.

My raid team and our guild exploded one night over a hat.  Long story short; main healer got herself locked out of the raid we were trying.  She brought another character (her third healer) to the raid.  Halfus dies.  Hat drops for a shaman.  I award the hat to our faithful shaman healer who has been showing up week in and week out, doing all the right stuff.  Third healer girl (also a shaman) blows up.  She wants the hat too.  Drama ensues.  GM and disgruntled party get drunk and blow the whole raid team up over Vent and toss me out of the guild.  Welp, that pretty much did it for me in Cataclysm.  I left the game and never really looked back, instead focusing all my efforts on the upcoming game THAT WILL CHANGE DA WORLDZ FOREVAH!  That's right!  Hello Kitty Online Adventures!  No, wait, I mean SWTOR!  Totally SWTOR!  Not Hello Kitty Online at all!

Considering that particularly messy end to my WoW career, I honestly never figured I'd ever be back.  Cue the siren call of kung fu pandas.

Ok, that's not totally accurate.  It's not really Kung Fu Panda.  But it's pretty close.  I was always one of those ardent defenders of Pandaria; "It's not really Kung Fu Panda, guys.  Pandaren were in the original Warcraft games!  Get educated!"
The years were tough on Donatello.


Then I played the Pandaren starting zone.  There is a particular part of the starting zone that is suspiciously familiar ... there's a Master Oogway moment.  Remember him?


Wongding comes for you!
Maybe it's disingenuous to call it a 'Kung Fu Panda' moment, because in reality, this a moment that happens in nearly every kung fu film.  The master passes knowledge on to the student, and then he passes on to the next life.  I liked how they handled the whole zone, to be honest.  It had a very distinct eastern feel; the architecture looked right and had the correct coloring, the enemies were interesting (ape-men whom I hated, bunny-men who I hated to kill, even dragons randomly appearing!), the tone of the quests was spot-on.  Heck, the zone was even difficult!  Once you reach level 7 or 8, you get into the area where the Horde and Alliance are, and the enemies are so tightly packed that you can't really help pulling two or three at the same time.  I enjoyed the difficulty and strategy required to complete the area, but I'm fairly confident that the zone will be nerfed to hell before release ... and I'm ok with that.  It's a starter zone, dammit.  You probably shouldn't have to utilize all your cooldowns and get lucky to survive it, well at least Blizzard probably thinks that.

I did, in fact, roll a monk.  I sorta hated the class.  The mechanics felt off and the abilities didn't seem to make sense.  I never felt comfortable playing it, but then again, it is the beta.  I was also playing the Brewmaster specialization (the tanking spec) and it just didn't feel ... right.  Once the game hits live, I'll go in and try the monk once more.  Probably a windwalker, cuz Targeter don't tank, baby.  Targeter don't tank.

Welcome to the Wandering Isle.



 So far, Pandaria has been pretty impressive.  I'm not going to lie; the graphics in MoP took me by surprise.  For a nearly 8 year old game, the vistas are nothing short of impressive.  The draw distance seems to have been lengthened considerably as well.  Close up visuals reveal the truth (leaves still render poorly, old race models remain laughably bad) but overall, the graphics of MoP are stunning.  I'm pretty pleased.

For me, Pandaria seems to be hitting all the right buttons.  I'm making sure that I don't experience too much of the new content in the beta ... I want to avoid the problems I had with TOR (9 months of intense beta testing burned me out before the game even launched).  But I can safely report that MoP is injecting things into the game that I like to see; more lore, more factions, more stuff to do.  They have Pokemon (which I refuse to use), and also a faction called the Tillers that allows you to have your farm (it's very similar to Harvest Moon).  There are others too, but I haven't seen them yet.

All in all, I can't wait.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wars And/Or Guilds: The Second

So, like, apparently some game is headstarting today?  There are people excited about it.  I'm not.  Don't get me wrong, it looks like a great game with a beautiful visual style.  In fact, it looks exactly like the type of game I would love to play.

But I'm not going to.  Not yet.

Call it the 'TOR Effect.'  I simply cannot let myself get excited about another game.  Not for at least six months.  I guess I'm just so gun-shy of diving into yet another MMO after giving TOR as much love and attention as I could spare.  I've been following TOR developments since 2007 and the past few months have been pretty rough on me.

So yes, Guild Wars 2, you look interesting.  You look like fun.  Hell, maybe even one day I could play you.  But not right now.  I'm still too wounded, too raw.  Jesus, I sound like a Twilight character.

Anyhoo, I do plan on checking out Guild Wars 2 at some point, but I'll wait for the inevitable 6 month sale at Amazon.  They get to work the kinks out, I get a lower price, and I don't get emotionally crushed by my lofty expectations again.

Next week, I'll be posting my impressions of the Mists of Panderia beta.  And of course, I'll be reporting any and all Old Republic news that I can get a hold of!

**UPDATE: Of course, as I write this, there's some SWTOR news!  Looks like extra character slots are on the way.  I fully expect them to be part of either the F2P conversion or the huge HK-51/Cathar patch.**

Monday, August 20, 2012

Free to Play Fuckcrap: SHUT HICKMAN UP Edition

Oh sweet baby Yoda on a biscuit, please someone SHUT JEFF HICKMAN THE FUCK UP!

You answered a lot of question about the F2P model that you are going to be providing, but there are still some small things that we would like to find about. Will subscribers have to play for any kind of content? So, while it was just a subscriber game you would pay for a major expansion, but right now; I am guessing you are currently focusing more on smaller content…

Yes

What (if anything) will subscribers have to pay for after F2P launches?


I wish I had a solid answer for you on that. We’re still in discussion about some of the larger content updates that we’re planning. Great example is the planet Makeb. We’ve talked about Makeb, we have a lot of plans around Makeb. I wish I could give you more details, but I can tell you that I think the playerbase is going to be really, really pleased. More story content. New and interesting things for the players to do. More systems and interesting functions in the game … I can’t go into a lot of detail, but around things like that … This is a pretty big piece (of content). It is probably all that I can say. It is definitely still for discussion whether we sell that to the subscriber or the subscriber gets that for free because it is a big beefy chunk of content.

Yeah.  He just said that for realsies.  Subscribers look like they'll be paying for content right alongside the free to play folks.  Yeah, you just heard that.  He, like actually said this to a website that covers TOR.  Where people, most likely TOR players, will read it.

Subscribers will probably have to pay for Makeb and other story content.  Gonna be honest ... don't love this idea.  And by 'don't love', I mean 'I fucking hate this idea and I think this is the worst idea since the Maginot Line.'  Oh, but it gets better!
The major question about F2P; when any F2P project is announced or talked about is what’s gonna be in the cash shop? Lets just put this question out there in as plain and as simple form as possible. What’s your stance on Pay to Win?

Pay to win is not something that we like. I don’t want to unbalance the game by putting things out on the store that somebody can walk in on day one, buy and be the winner. Having said that, there will be some things that we put out in the store that do enhance power value in some way, but not at the top end. Trying to think of a good example. We may put a medium level blue piece of armor on the cash shop for example. We might do that. We haven’t decided and we’re still talking about this, but it’s one of those things it is like … most players will have something better than this anyway, but if you don’t here’s the way that you can get a leg up to at least make you equal with the normal players. That is kind of where our thinking is at, but we are still discussing it. But we do not believe in Pay to Win.

Paying for story content AND getting stat gear from the shop?  I'm going to be in the corner.  Crying.

Friday, August 17, 2012

RAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!

In honor of my rage-boner over Sunny's podcast.  I am a frothing fanboy.
**UPDATE!  MR. SUNNY RAVENCOURT RESPONDED AND MADE IT VERY HARD FOR ME TO BE PISSED OFF.  DAMN HIS REASONABLENESS.  CONSIDER ME COOLED OFF, I GUESS.  BALDERDASH.**

Well, this sucks.  My favorite podcast on the planet, Sunny's Diner, is shutting down.  Citing the need to 'move away from TOR,' Sunny is moving on to a multi-gaming podcast.  This is sad.  Very sad.  I enjoyed Sunny's Diner to an IMMENSE degree.  Sunny and Radicool were podcasters 'for the rest of us.'  They explored the game from the casual point of view, with an eye towards the cerebral part of the game.  Sunny, the host, was just fantastic in both charisma and demeanor.  Radicool was the offbeat counterpart that perfectly complemented the show.

Now they're gone.  It leaves me to wonder ... how many more SWTOR podcasts will fall to the wayside?  Sunny's Diner joins the long list of TOROCast (although no one really misses them), GPR, TOR-Talk, Mos Eisley Radio (still hanging on, I guess), TORMonger, among others.  And more importantly, are podcasters dropping off because they are no longer interested in the game or because the game wasn't "IT" for them?

Sunny cites unrealistic expectations for his departure and a feeling of 'being done'  and 'bored.'  He also stated that he doesn't really roll alts, which is sorta like, what TOR is all about.  I can't say I blame him, but it still makes me sad.  I know I've had my frustrations with the game, and at times have gone frothing rage-boy all over the place, but I've not really ever entertained thoughts of leaving the game.  Even if I stopped paying my sub (which I haven't!), I'd still hang around and check in on TOR.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to truly 'quit' TOR ... this game has supplanted WoW as my must-have adventure.  It just simply scratches my itch.

Sunny lists a couple of things that would have kept him around:

Playing Alts - Sunny doesn't do alts.
End-Game Raiding - Sunny isn't a raider
Compelling Market - Sunny likes to play the GTN/auction house

Sunny and Radicool promise not to bash TOR and then spend the first 20 minutes or so ... bashing TOR.  Oh, it's not overt bashing.  They mainly just take issue with a lot of faults with the game, faults that they themselves have created with choices they make in the game.  If you choose not to roll alts in this game, you absolutely gimp yourself.  If you want world PVP and don't roll on a PVP server, then that's a 'you' problem.  The GTN problems ... well, that's pretty true.  The GTN was pretty awful at first, but its picked up quite a bit since 1.2.  I don't mind listing your problems with the game (hell, I do it all the time), but the feeling of 'over' these two guys have with the game is just saddening.  Especially since they portrayed themselves as such champions of the game for so long.  It annoys me.  It also annoyed me that Radicool laughed so hard and so long at the "TORtanic" comment.  Well, we know where he stands.

Sounds like Sunny and Radicool are moving on to the 'next great MMO', Guild Wars 2.  They never state it boldly, but it's what it sounds like to my ears.  I think Guild Wars 2 will be a good game, but I honestly doubt its status of "MMO JESUS" that so many have lumped on the game.  It looks like fun, I suppose.  It seems like more of the same.

In the end, it seems to me that Sunny and Radicool are bailing while they can.  Sunny seems to have greater designs for his podcast, something more 'general' and 'multi-game.'  Hey, that's great for them.  Good luck with that.  But, I won't be joining you.

Frankly, I find his reasons for leaving (and his entire 'Farewell' podcast) to be insulting and ridiculous.  They portray the game as no fun and tedious.  Glad they feel that way.  Glad they made 32 podcasts about the game they apparently dislike playing.  Glad they so arduously defended the game and then turned about-face so quickly.

Frankly, I'm glad I found out about how they really feel before I traipsed off to support them on their new podcast.  Oh, by the by Sunny.  I won't be following you on your new podcast.  Not because you left TOR ... because you showed us a false face for far too long.

I can guarantee you, readers, that the very moment I feel like I want to leave TOR, I will let you know.  I let you know how I feel about the game all the time anyways, really.  Just a recap of my current state of TOR:

F2P scares the shit out of me.
TOR is fun, but not as fun as I would like.
TOR operations are good, leveling is great, PVP is balanced, and post-launch content is piss-poor (quantity-wise).
TOR's planets are dead.
TOR's story is amazing.

There you go.  If any of that changes, you'll be the first to know.  You can take Sunny's Diner off of your favorites list now (or leave it on because Sunny's so damn nice.  Damn him.).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

EA @ Gamescom - TOR News!

Well, well, well.  New Bioware Austin GM Matthew Bromburg (creator of the MGL and successor to Bioware founder Dr. Greg Zeschuk) introduced a few minutes of TOR news at the EA presentation today.  Apparently, we're getting the new operation, TERROR FROM BEYOOOOOND! (yes, I will capitalize it every ... single ... time) next month!  And more space missions and a new warzone (Ancient Hypergates) in the coming months too.  He reemphasized the need to produce 'more frequent updates' but let's be honest; we've heard this song and dance before from the boy and gals in Austin.  I'll hold judgement until they can prove that they're capable of doing it.

Here's the video (fast forward to 51:00 to get to the TOR stuff):


Looks promising.  Let's hope BW can deliver!


Needs some TLC.

Those aerial fins aren't really all THAT useful.  Right?

Only one engine means it reduces the carbon footprint.  Al Gore would be so proud.
**UPDATE!  Thanks to Cykryst of <Syndicate> on Ebon Hawk, I was able to snap some screenies of the new event speeder, the Hyrotii Scrapper, a 90% Level 1 speeder (level 1, really?) that actually looks really awesome!  It's all banged up and smoking and coursing with electricity!**

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Grand Acquisitions Race!

Looks like SWTOR's second live event, the Grand Acquisitions Race, is going live very soon (if not already)!  The Chevin are hosting the intergalactic scavenger hunt on the Smuggler's Moon of Nar Shaddaa and promising huge rewards for those 'capable of interstellar travel.'  We've known for a while that the scavenger hunt was in the works, but this video from MMO-Mechanics.com is the first official acknowledgement.  Looks like they timed their live event with Gamescom (happening in Cologne, Germany this week) and are preparing an onslaught of content for us!

Best of luck to all those who participate in the race!  I'll see you on Nar Shaddaa!

**UPDATE!  As of 6:00AM EST (8/14), the GRAND ACQUISITIONS RACE is live!**

**UPDATE 2!  I've just completed the available quests & items and had a blast doing it!  There are still 3 items that are unobtainable at the moment; the mask, the jar, and the sphere.  Those will probably be unlocked in the coming days.  I had enough comms (which are tradeable, by the by) to purchase the rating 130 'sniper rifle' bowcaster.  Here it is in action.**

Rwaaarwwwarrraarrrr!

My armor hides my Wookiee fur well.

Ready to lay down some Wookiee justice.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bioware's Broken Promises

Now, if you've been following me for any amount of time, you'll know that I'm several things: up-beat (generally), an ardent defender of SWTOR, an unrepentant Bioware fanboy, and all-around smart-ass.  But I'm going to go ahead and be completely honest with ya'll.

I don't trust Bioware anymore.  Not one fucking iota.

If you read my post earlier concerning James Ohlen's Lie-apalooza in December, you'll see a bit of what I'm talking about.  You can also see what Joveth Gonzalez, Community Manager said yesterday as well.  I'm sure Joveth's a good guy and all and I certainly appreciate his effort, but this is exactly the same fucking thing he said in May.  Almost word for word.  More communication was promised.  A re-emphasis on the community.  'Hey, we're listening!'  So, Bioware, why should I be any more inclined to believe you now?  You've not listened to use for a long time, and I'm almost positive as this game transitions to a free-to-play cash shop that you'll listen to us even less.  We'll just be walking wallets to you by then.

Yeah, you read that right.  Targeter's officially fed up with this bullshit.

You could say that I got a little angry when I read Joveth's little missive on Wednesday.  That would be an understatement.  Understatement of the fucking year, actually.  So how many times are we, the loyal, paying customers going to be fed the same line of shit?  How many times are we going to take the bait while Bioware VPs laugh all the way to the bank (though less of a bank than what they expected to have)?  How many times must we pitiful few, the only ones we actually stood by Bioware as they faltered repeatedly, be shit on?  How much are we expected to take?  How much, Bioware?

You've got writers teasing us over Twitter with new content, only then to have it pulled back with the dreaded 'Soon!' caveat attached.  We've been wallowing without any content updates since April.  APRIL.  Think about that shit.  APRIL.  That's four goddamn months.  And even then, 1.2 introduced Explosive Conflict (which is currently bugged, ROFL, and doesn't feature a Nightmare mode) and a couple of flashpoints (which were actually pretty good).  That's about it.  Sure we got a group finder and ranked warzones, yippy fucking yay.  What's the point to a group finder if we have jack squat to do? 

Oh and then there was this gem.

Yeah, you saw that right.  The CE I paid $150.00 for in November is now $29.99 at Gamestop.

OH FUCK THIS GAME.

I've reactivated my World of Warcraft sub and picked up a Founder's Pack for MechWarrior Online.  I plan on getting Mists of Pandaria too, because as douchey as Blizzard can be, I've never felt that they've lied to me constantly.  SWTOR, it's now on you to make me want to play your game.  You've had 9 months and done a decent job but now you have competition.

Good luck, Bioware.  You're gonna need it.



EDIT: I'm not quitting TOR, obviously.  I'm just saying that Bioware is no longer infallible in my eyes (I told you I was a fanboy ... er, former fanboy) and they're going to have to earn my custom just like everyone else.  And I'm raging a bit.  It's my blog and I can rage if I want to.  So neener neener.

Feelin' Blue

Sometimes, TOR makes me sad.  Look at this post by James Ohlen from December 13th, 2011.


12.13.2011

What’s next for The Old Republic

Welcome to Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. It’s been many years in the making and the team is very proud of what we’ve achieved. Since we’re an online game we are going to continue building on the game for years to come. You can count on us to diligently expand the game and service to surprise and delight you. We’re going to not only respond to your feedback, but also hopefully exceed your expectations on how Star Wars: The Old Republic will evolve over time.
Many of you helped make the game what it is today by participating in our testing programs. You’ve watched the game grow over the past year and have been very vocal about things you’d like to see in the game in the future.
A team is never finished building a massively multiplayer game, so we’d like to take this opportunity to reveal a little information on what the team is working on for patches coming in the near future. Our priorities have been, and will continue to be, based off of the feedback we receive from our players.
  • New Content – We will be adding new content to the galaxy on an ongoing basis. These worlds will include Operations, Flashpoints and solo content.
  • Guild Functionality – Guilds are important to the long term health of any MMORPG. We have a huge list of guild centric features. This will be an ongoing effort that will probably never end. Guild banks are the first thing we’ll be delivering in our plans for increased guild functionality. Eventually we even want to deliver on the promise of the long hinted at “Guild Capital Ships”.
  • UI customization – You like choice. We hear you! SWTOR is all about choice. Being able to choose how you interact with an online game is something we feel is very important. We are going to be giving more control over the UI as an ongoing effort. This is a very big priority for us.
  • PvP – We have an entire team dedicated to adding content and features to player vs. player. We have some of the most experienced PvP developers in the world on this team. So far very few people have seen, or know much about the stunning Open World PVP on Ilum; when you get to the high levels prepare to be blown away! In addition to that high level PVP content, expect new Warzones and new PvP features on a regular basis.
  • Space Combat – We will continue to add missions to the space game. We also have a special project going on right now that will expand space gameplay in a significant way... for now the details will have to remain under wraps.
  • Legacy System – The ability to select a surname for your character is just the start of something much bigger. Soon, the Legacy experience and levels you earn will grant your characters access to powers, objects and other cool benefits.
  • And more – We have an entire team of developers working on future content. Right now we are focused on nothing else but Star Wars: The Old Republic, so expect new and cool things.
It is fair to say that we’re just as excited as you are about the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Not only are we launching one of the largest and most impressive games ever created, but we’re also excited about the prospect of continuing to work on the game so that you, the fans, will always have something heroic and amazing to enjoy. Thanks for playing.
James Ohlen
Game Director
How many broken promises can you count?

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Cooling-Off Period

Now that I've had a chance to cool off for a couple of days (and gotten totally famous thanks to the MMO Melting Pot), I think I've come to grips with the TOR transition (or gone through the 5 stages of grief).  I'm in the acceptance stage right now; fully aware that there is absolutely nothing I can change about what happened and determined to soldier on.  I'd like to share with you my thoughts and inner struggle as I went through the stages of loss over the past two days.

Denial and Isolation

"No fucking way.  Not possible.  It's not even been a year yet.  Clearly, this EA financial call is a goddamn practical joke.  Those asshats at EA.  What cockholes."

Anger

"You cannot be SERIOUS.  Did those assholes really mean that?  How DARE they say that The Old Republic failed!  JACKWADS!  THIS IS THE BEST MMO, EVER!  CRAWL UP MY ASS AND LICK MY BUTTHOLE FROM THE INSIDE!"

Bargaining

"If only I had told more people about TOR.  If only I had trumpeted this game more, let more folks know.  I swear, Bioware, I will do more!  I will save this game!  Don't worry Daniel Erickson, I'll help you!"

Depression

"This is the end of TOR.  They will never, ever recover.  Ever.  This game is done and so am I.  I'm quitting MMOs altogether.  I literally have nothing left in the tank.  My MMO life is over."

Acceptance

"Well, maybe it won't be so bad."

So, at the end of the day I think I'm going to be 'ok' with TOR's F2P transition.  Just 'ok' though.  Not ecstatic.  Not happy.  Not depressed.  Just 'ok.'  I think it doesn't bode well for the type of game that I wanted, but I guess the game I wanted isn't what many MMO players wanted.  Change is a scary when you're as deeply invested in TOR as I am, but I really have no choice in this matter.

So what's my future in TOR?  I don't honestly know.  I play F2P games but not religiously.  It's not that I don't like the F2P model, it's just that I'm completely apathetic about it.  I don't care about it.  And I generally don't care about the games that are F2P.  I have a DDO and LOTRO account that I play sporadically.  I played Forsaken World too (briefly).  It's probably incorrect, but I view F2P games as a wrung below 'real games.'  It's a terrible prejudice to have, but I won't lie: I think F2P is reserved for games that either fail or were never good enough to be subscription MMOs.  Only time will tell if I change my viewpoint.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Free to Play Fuckcrap Version 2.0

So, I was wrong.  Really wrong.  Like, totally and completely wrong.  Not only was Free to Play on the agenda, it was right around the GODDAMN CORNER.  The above post was made a grand total of forty days ago.  Forty fucking days.  FORTY.

**WARNING - BRIEF WHINING AHEAD **

And here we are, on the precipice of Free to Play-mageddon.  Oh, it's not right around the bend (scheduled for November), but for right now we subscription players are left in limbo.  After all, when someone hears that their MMO is going F2P, the natural reaction for the paying playerbase is despair, right?  I know that's what I feel.  Oh, I'm not upset about the Free to Play transition.  I knew it was coming (although, not THIS quickly) so I was mentally preparing myself for the day this would turn into a space station cash shop.  What I'm despairing over is this: the F2P conversion is the final nail in the coffin of a once promising game.  I had such high hopes for SWTOR (still do, but F2P dashes a lot of it).  Converting from sub to Free to Play is the final admission from the guys and gals in Austin that, yes, SWTOR has failed to deliver.  Utterly and completely failed.

And that part makes me sad.

It has so much damn potential.  There are some truly GREAT gaming moments in SWTOR.  GREAT moments.  Earning your legacy.  Defeating Soa.  Ending Chapter One and realizing that, wow, you have two more chapters to go.  Getting your ship.  There's just such a wealth of story and actual RPG elements in an MMORPG that it's breathtaking.  For the guys at Bioware to come out and say that it was essentially a failure ... well, that's a hard pill to swallow.  Fuck.

** WARNING - BRIEF WHINING ENDED **

Ok, let's get into this Free to Play fuckcrap.  What's included, what we know so far, and what we can expect.  First, a few links.  Here's a my blogpost of what's going to be included in the F2P conversion and the announcement itself.  Here's a good interview over at MMORPG.com with Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer of Live Services at Bioware.  In it, it pretty much details what's going to be included in each payment plan.  Subscribers will get access to all content and will receive a stipend of Cartel Coins each month to spend on vanity stuff.  Free to Play players will have access to the 1-50 content as well as limited access to the GTN, flashpoints, warzones, character slots, inventory and bank space, and character creation.  All of this will be (presumably) unlockable with Cartel Coins.

Speaking of Cartel Coins, they haven't released how much they'll retail for.  I imagine that it will be very similar to LOTRO's store (since the announced features so far seem to be incredibly similar to Turbine's F2P conversion) and the coins will run about $20 for 1500 coins.  New content and expansion packs for LOTRO generally run about 1500 - 2000 points, so I'd expect the same price range for SWTOR's cash shop.  Of course, subscribers will get access to all content for free ... as far as we know.  There aren't any particulars about what will be accessible or not.  I'll update as I find out more.