Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cash Shop!

The Cartel Market is live on the PTS!  Darth Hater has a wonderful write-up about it, as well as a bevy of screenshots.  It looks ... well, to be honest, it looks quite interesting!

It's been no secret that this Free to Play stuff has worried me greatly.  We all know EA; we saw what they did to Warhammer Online.  I feared the same for SWTOR, and justifiably so.  But after perusing the Market ...

Guys, this thing is going to be a homerun.  Seriously.  The prices aren't ridiculous.  The items are neat.  They are all fluff, save for the armors (which we can talk about in a bit), and they're all fun, useful, or just downright cool.  Most gamers seem to be coming down hard on the 'Cartel Packs,' basically randomized loot bags, but I think they are BRILLIANT.  Bioware has basically copied the same system from the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer mode; you buy random packs of stuff and you're guaranteed a couple of drops that are rare or even super rare.
An exclusive sample of the finest goods from the Cartel. Each Pack contains very rare bonus items found nowhere else! Two rare bonus items with a chance of a Super Rare! Chances of a Super Rare bonus item are greater than from a Black Market Cartel Pack. One boost item, for either Experience or Social Points. One crafting material of at least Prototype quality. One companion gift of at least Prototype quality.
That's an example of a Cartel Pack.  That's available for 360 Cartel Coins.  Other packs are priced similarly as well.  Guys, those look like fun.  You can even earn titles from packs, like Blockade Runner, Crime Lord, Space Pirate, Cartel Collector, and Skip Tracer!  Speeders aren't $20!  If the 1:1 conversion rate for pennies to coins is used (as we think it'll be), the speeders are about $7.  Armor is $12.  Boosts and bonuses are $1-$2.  This isn't the insane pricing structure I was expecting.  The armors are a minor gripe in this; they are statted but the mods can be removed.  They are recolors of existing armor, but we were expecting that anyways.  Most of them are adaptive, so that's good.  All in all, the statted armor sales irk me a tad but not nearly as much as I thought it would.  Overall, the Cartel is ... well, it looks like fun.

Guys.

GUYS.

They've made the Cartel Shop into something fun

This is a GOOD thing. It's not mandatory.  It's not required.  It's for sheer fun.  Some of the items in the packs have bound decay timers.  That means after 3-5 days, they are no longer bound to you.  That means you can put them on the GTN.  My god.  It'll go crazy.

I'd be hard-pressed to argue a Free-to-Play user isn't getting sort of shafted.  They have to spend money to unlock certain sections, to unlock warzones for a week, to unlock species, flashpoints, etc etc.  I guess that's the downside of playing for free; expect to be nickel and dimed ad nauseam.  To get around most restrictions, they'd need to subscribe.

And to be frank, it'd be a good deal.

I think that was Bioware's plan all along.

Bravo, Bioware.  You could have gouged us.  Instead you chose to make it fun.  You chose to take our side.  For the first time in a LONG time, I can look at SWTOR and say, "Yes.  You are on the right track."

Feels good, man.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TOR & WoW: The Balancing Act

Agent, where in the hell have you been?

Busy, Kaliyo.  You know how it is.

I most assuredly do not, agent.  Where's your gun?  And is that a ... rice ball?

I can explain, Kaliyo!

This'll be riveting.

So there's these bears that know martial arts ...

*SLAP*

Lock and load, agents!

I'm sure you can tell by now that my TOR posting has been a little ... uh ...sparse.  I'll freely admit it.  I'm not playing much TOR right now.  Oh, I checked out 1.4; the moods, the LFG tool travel fix (super nice), the new raid (the first 3 bosses; currently working on the 4th), etc etc.

And then I promptly logged off and went back to WoW.

It's a weird thing, you know.  I don't hate TOR.  I don't dislike TOR.  I'll be honest, there are a TON of things I love in TOR.  A TON.  I love to play it.

But shit, I've been playing it exclusively since July of last year (starting in beta).  Kinda burned out.  Sorta taking it easy.  There's not an incredible amount of new content out there for me to do.  That's not to say there isn't a lot of content out there ... just pretty much the same stuff we've had since launch.  Datacrons, flashpoints, companion affection grinding, and others.  Sure I could roll a new class if I wanted ... I've only got 2 50s and a 47, with others hanging in the 30s and 20s.  Sure I could go all-on on PVP, but ...

I've been playing TOR a long time.  Time for something a bit different.

Enter ursine martial arts.

It's not that WoW is better than TOR (it most definitely is not - I see them as pretty equal in fun factor).  It's that WoW right now, is different.  It's a different flavor of that delicious MMO ice cream that I love so much.  So I'll indulge myself for now on Pandaland and have some good ol' fashioned fun.  I'll eventually return to TOR simply because it has almost everything I want in a serious MMO ... just not right now.

Does that make sense?

Friday, October 5, 2012

To Quote Portal ...

Here's my review of Mists of Pandaria.

This was a triumph.
I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.
It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.

No, seriously, I'm having so much fun with the expansion that it's ludicrous.  It's why I haven't posted in a while ... I'm actually, like, playing the game and stuff.  I've got some screens to share and some stories to tell and some laughs to generate, but that'll be next week.

I also stepped foot into Terroooor Froooom Beyoooooond and ... holy shit, is that a good-lookin' operation.  Like, no seriously, it may be the most aesthetically pleasing raid instance I have ever stepped a virtual foot in.  Really.  Stunning.

I've also been busy in Torchlight 2 because that game is WTF GOOD.  It's every Diablo 3 should have been and nothing that Diablo 3 is.  It's fan-fucking-tastic.

Pile all that gaming on top of an increased RL workload, and there's been a posting drought here.  That should be remedied next week!  I've got some 1.4 patch thoughts (including moods and whatnot), a TL2 review for ya'll, and some MoP stories as well.

Till then ...

FLY SAFE, SHOOT STRAIGHT!  FOR THE GLORY OF THE EMPIRE!