Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Official End ... or not.

Well, it's done and done.

I've not logged into SWTOR too much recently as it's just been ... well, SWTOR.  I was excited about the Super Secret Space Project, but sadly, after playing the beta I was less than impressed.  It's a twitchy, min-maxxing nightmare of PVP.  I'm sure loads of folks will like it, but it's simply not for me and that's ok.

I loaded it up today, just to give it another shot; one more chance for SWTOR to shine in my eyes.  It failed.  Miserably.  The space combat just isn't ... it's just not what I was hoping.

So, I've cancelled for real this time.  I'll be uninstalling soon, I think.  I don't even feel like playing it as a free-to-player, to be honest.  SWTOR, for me, has sunsetted.  I'll be eagerly awaiting the next iteration of Star Wars in the gaming space, whether it be the long-gestating DICE Battlefront product, or the rumors of a new EA-produced Star Wars open world game.

Either way, it was fun while it lasted.  Fare thee well, SWTOR.  You made me love you, made me hate you, but ultimately ...

You just made me not care anymore.

/tiphat

See ya'll 'round the bend.

Whatever, I'm back.

- Targeter

Sunday, September 1, 2013

SUPER SECRET SPACE PROJECT?!

I think we're getting freeform spaceflight, guys.

SWTOR, I've drifted from you lately.  If you do this, I'll be back.  Totally back.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

EverQuest Next Blows Targeter's Mind (Part Deux)

In my previous post, we spoke about destructability, enemy AI, and the lack of leveling (*wink wink*).  But those topics do not encompass all my thoughts and feelings about EQNext.  No, fellow agents, I have many, many feels for this game.  Let's lock and load.

Dave Georgeson spoke of the new art direction that EQN is striving for, a heroic 'rough and tumble' look.  Many, many fans have decried this as 'WoW-cartoony graphics!11!!111eleventyone!'

Ready for tumblin' and/or roughin'.

They point to the Kerran Warrior as the 'WoW-ified' Everquest.  Tell ya what folks ... if my WoW Warrior looked as good as THAT, then I'd be a pretty happy camper.  What most folks miss in this is that Rosie Rappaport, Art Director for EQN, specifically chose this art style so that EQN will remain playable for decades (and has stated so on her twitter).  Let's take a look at the original EQ and the newer EQ2 (which launched basically alongside WoW):

EQ1: We are driving cars in the garden of our minds!  (RIP Mr. Rogers)

EQ2: We'll agree to disagree.
They haven't exactly aged as gracefully as we'd like.  Granted, I'll give EQ1 a pass since it's 14+ years old, but EQ2?  C'mon.  Yer not even tryin'.  EQ2 was trying for an edgier, more realistic approach to character models.  It's not aged as well as it could have; now, EQ2ers, don't think I'm bagging on your game!  In the interest of fairness, I downloaded EQ2 from Steam last weekend and made an Ogre Shadowknight.  He looked pretty decent and the armor he was wearing was actually pretty nice.  So, it's not all bad.  Your environments ... those needed some love.  But the character model wasn't as animated as it could be.  My ogre didn't feel connected to the ground and when I strafed sideways, my character's bottom half didn't rotate to face the proper way ... I ran sideways with while my feet steadily pumped forward, gleefully unaware of this new change in direction.  Compare that to WoW's character design where direction changes are mirrored by the avatar.  Also, a more exaggerated WoW look has lent itself well to the game's longevity.

WoW: Ok, so maybe this doesn't make my point all that well.
But you understand where I'm going with it right?!

Fast forward to Everquest Next and their models.  Holy shit.  There's an exaggerated style there that really pops.  The faces are well-animated and easy to read.  The emotes are fantastically rendered.  This could actually prove that SOEmote was a good idea (remember laughing about it back when it was launched for EQ2 ... yeah, no one's laughing now).

I did have a few problems with the characters and animations, though.  Firstly, that vaulting.  Parkour style 'heroic movement' as Georgeson called it was pretty nifty ... except when the characters got to a vaulting move.  They were gracefully running along, fabric and cloth textures flying!  It was glorious!  Oh no!  A low rise ahead!  Without the player having to prompt the character, they automatically went completely 90 degrees into a static sideways motion and then plopped straight back down.  Graceful running, wtf sideways, graceful running again.  They're gonna need to work on that.

The other problem I had was, honestly, with the armor on the Kerran.  It was way too bulky and large, almost too detailed for a piece that size.  His bracers alone looked like shields.  My fear is this ... most of the armor will follow the same path, and as it gets better and better, and the characters get more and more powerful, we run into the World of Warcraft Orc Shoulder problem.  The problem, WoWOSP as it is known (by me only but whatever it's my blog so shut up) basically turns regular shoulderpads on any other race into ridiculously oversized dining platters fit to serve entire armies.  During Burning Crusade and Lich King, orc shoulders grew so expansive that they were absolutely ridiculous.  I fear the same curve for EQN.  In the quest for providing the coolest armor possible, the elements of the armor will become so comically large that we'll dip into that dreaded 'cartoony' look.  I'm sure the good folks at SOE won't let that happen, but I worry nonetheless.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the style that EQN is using; exaggerated but not WoW-ified, Fable-esque yet familiar.  I think it will service the game well for years.

On the next installment of 'Imperial Intelligence: Norrath Division', Targeter downloads Everquest 2 and plays it.  And doesn't hate it!  Oh, quite the opposite in fact.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

EverQuest Next Blows Targeter's Mind

What the fuck.  It has taken me 6 days to process what I saw last Friday at 3pm Eastern.

Dave Georgeson just dropped a nuclear load on our collective heads, spreading his arms wide afterwards as if to say, "Are you not entertained?!"

Unlike many MMO players, I didn't get my start in EverQuest.  I missed that train by a couple of years (fun fact, my first 'MMO' was Puzzle Pirates!) but got caught up in the WoW juggernaut.  I still log into WoW occasionally, believe it or not ... for all its foibles, there is some solid gameplay there.  Yes, it tends to fade quickly after that initial rush of nostalgia, but it still provides a good experience.

Many of my friends (including many in my SWTOR guild, Vanguard of Norrath) *DID* get their start in EQ though, and when they reminisce about it, I'm enthralled.  Truth is, I've never felt a kinship to an MMO like they do with EQ.  It was more than likely due to a few factors: 

  • EQ was the first game of its type (commercially successful Western MMO)
  • EQ was incredibly social
  • EQ burst onto the scene when the internet really began to take off
  • EQ was a completely different type of experience than RPGs of the day
  • EQ was pretty damn hardcore

They speak with such reverence about EQ that I can't help but want that for myself.  Sure, I'm attached to WoW but there's no real emotion there.  I like the people I play with (mostly) and I like the game (mostly), but if I quit tomorrow ... who cares?  I'd probably log back in at some later point again because WoW's such a sticky drug, but I'd feel no real connection to it.

Same with SWTOR.  It's a fantastic game, and although I'm on a break from it at the moment (only log on once a week when I get time), I can't say I'm all that devoted to it.  If the servers were shut off tomorrow, I'd feel sad but there'd be no real loss.  My friends and I would just move on to the next game.

But when my buddies talk about EQ, they speak as if the actual game world was their friend.  The world was a character and they just happened to live on it.  And it's so fantastically amazing to me.  I want that type of experience!

Friday, August 2nd.  A day that may have well changed ol' Targeter's perceptions about what an MMO is and what it could be.  Everquest Next is the newest iteration of Norrath from the boys and girls at SOE.  Let's just run down what I found interesting about the game:
  • Destructible environments
  • No leveling (seriously, there are no levels in the game)
  • Multi-classing (with no artificial limit on how many classes you can have)
  • Radiant AI for enemies
  • Persistent, player-driven change to the game world
  • Multiple strata of the world (that can all be explored)
  • No button bloat (8 ability slots only)
  • No holy trinity (roles can be played, but aren't required)
  • Crafting that matters
  • Hugely social
  • Free to play
Yeah.  If you need some time to process this, or just need to see it for yourself, I highly recommend seeing the debut video (skip to 26:30 if you want to head straight to the reveal ... but I highly recommend watching the whole thing), the lore panels, and the class panels.  Lots of good info there.  Plus, it'll keep you busy for about four hours.

What the videos cover is an MMO, basically, that I've never seen before.  Ever.  Oh, there have been tidbits here and there, scattered across other MMOs; multiclassing is vaguely like the souls in Rift, static action bar is similar to what Guild Wars 2 has, the lack of a trinity reminds me of the new experiment SWTOR is trying with the Czerka story modes, crafting reminds me of what WoW crafting used to be like back in vanilla and BC.

But when you throw in radiant enemy AI, fully destructible environments with multiple layers of the world that can all be explored, the lack of leveling (although it may just be dressed up and called 'tiers'), player-driven change through world-wide Rallying Calls, the intense social experience that EQN will require, and all of that wrapped up in a free to play package with a subscription option?

Holy shit.

Now, let's put on the practical hat real quick.  Can they really deliver on all this?  Can they really just 'release orcs into the world' and let the enemy AI provide a compelling gameplay experience?  Can mobs really display the behavior in-game that the debut video mentioned?  We'll have to wait and see.  But if they can deliver on only half of what they promise ... well, that'd be a helluva an MMO.

Now, let's get on to stuff that really impressed and/or worries me:

The enemy AI is of particular import.  They say that they will generate enemies and then release them into the world.  When released, they'll follow their own AI paths to determine where the best place to place down stakes and be nuisances.  Now, in theory this sounds AWESOME.  It will be like a living, breathing world where enemies react to their environments and shift strategies appropriately.  My biggest fear is that the AI will not be as smart as they claim, and the enemies will wind up just patting back and forth between two points.  And how will the AI react if there are tons of adventuring groups start pounding on them?  Will they see this as a trigger for releasing a massive attack?  Will better equipped players be able to 'sabotage' new player areas by modifying the attack patterns of mobs?  And will this all even work?  Or will it just be a mish-mash of standard AI constructs that are masquerading as advanced AI?

Destructible environments are absolutely amazing.  In games like Battlefield 3 and Red Faction, you can modify the battlefield by destroying the environment around you.  EQN plans to bring this to MMOs with destructible terrain via voxels.  Furthermore, this destruction can open up brand new areas of gameplay located below the surface world, providing new adventuring opportunities.  This opens a wealth of adventuring that players can take part in, both above- and below-ground.  And the neatest thing is that with destructability comes constructability.  Players will have the option of using server-wide Rallying Calls, basically huge public quests that folks can participate in to create or destroy new cities, forge new empires, attack enemy forces, etc etc.  They will also have access to magic that builds structures around them to prevent attack; the enemy then has to go around (or through) that structure.  This type of gameplay has all sorts of ramifications for players ... what are the opportunities for griefing?  Can this be exploited in PVP?  Can this be exploited in PVE to create an 'ultimate' combo for killing mobs?  And exactly how much of the world can be destroyed before it 'heals back?'  Will the devs have to curtail how much we can blow up in order to keep the world together?  And if they do curtail it, then does destructability then become a gimmick to be used at certain times at certain places in the world?

EQN gets rid of levels.  We won't have to grind to max cap in order to participate in cool stuff.  This, honestly, has been the biggest gripe of mine for a long time.  It takes so long to level up to get to the 'real game' that the leveling experience just becomes an annoyance.  Now, according to Dave Georgeson, EQN will have a horizontal progression as opposed to a vertical progression, represented in multi-classing and tier sets.  You'll gain power as you go all Pokemon on those classes (collect 'em all!) and then you'll have opportunities to power up some of your abilities by completing certain requirements.  So, hooray for no leveling?  Or ... does EQN just very smartly hide its leveling behind tier sets?  They claim to have horizontal, not vertical leveling, but I don't know if this is actually the case.  I see it as more of a hybrid.  You've got a cap for each class, aka the highest tier available in the game (let's say it's five).  So, a cap of five in each class.  Now the goal is to tier cap in each class that you like to play, thereby 'reaching max level' by gaining as much power as you need.  They've not really talked a whole bunch about what this means for gamers, but we can infer a few things:
  • All content will be available for play as soon as you find it
  • You won't be able to do all the content if you are a low tier player
  • You can play with your friends of lower tiers by switching from your high tier classes to a lower tier class
That's very exciting to me.

I've got some other issues, like character models and the graphics in general (very busy combat graphically, and characters have poor vaulting animations/don't seem connected to the ground), the combat demo was over the top and not representative of what you'll see in-game, and other stuff, but we'll save that for another post.

All in all, EQN looks intriguing.  It definitely has ol' Targeter's eye.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Itchy the Tauntaun

Me and Itchy, we're a team, you see.  We're both dreamers and fighters, lovers and scoundrels.  He's got that scratchy voice, those strong legs, that mount hither look.  Me, I got charm, a blaster at my side, and my own cargo hold full o' luck.  Me and Itchy, we're headin' places, you understand?

When I found ol' Itchy, hell, he'd been hanging out on Hoth his whole life, waitin' for fate to find him.  He wanted to see the stars, be somethin' more than just another lost tauntaun.  He'd seen that tundra, that mountain, the gorge, and a bellyful of wampas.  He'd seen all there was to see on that iceball.  He had dreams.  A thousand yard stare and a back made for saddles, Itchy was destined for more.  More than Hoth or some wampa's meal, that's for sure.

Itchy ain't never seen the sights of the galaxy, so me and him, we're gonna go raise some hell.  Meet some chicks, show 'em the ole 'Uttini Two-Step.'  Maybe we'll even give them Imps somethin' to think about.

That's me and Itchy.  A Chiss and his tauntaun, tearin' up the galaxy.

Still a better love story than Twilight.

You can find your own special tauntaun on Hoth, near Aurek/Dorne base.  There will be two vendors standing there, one with the Tundra Tauntaun (like Itchy), the Tauntaun Data, and Tauntaun Lures, and the other with just the Brown Tauntaun.  It takes 15 data to get the Tundra, 20 to get the Brown.  Reports from on-planet put farming up 15-20 data taking 2+ hours.  If you wish to just buy the data (15 for Tundra, 20 for Brown), it'll run you 1.5 and 2 million creds respectively.  I think this may the coolest vehicle in the game.

I named him Itchy.

He is my tauntaun.

I will pet him and love him and call him Itchy.



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Steam Summer Sale

What's the butcher's bill for the latest Steam Sale?  Why, let's take a look what ol' Targeter bought.

Sengoku
X3: Terran Conflict
Defiance
Surgeon Simulator
Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3
Kerbal Space Program
Galaxy on Fire 2
Port Royale 3
Sid Meier's Civilization V

Ick.  My wallet appreciates the end of this sale.

Friday, July 19, 2013

"And I thought they smelled bad ... on the outside!"

At SDCC (San Diego Comic-Con), Bioware teased the TOR playerbase with these beauties.

That's right.  Tauntauns are coming to TOR!  Cartel Market item, I should think.  Maybe in both the packs and a straight up purchase.  Either way, they look sorta awesometacular.  And this means more live mounts later!  Maybe gundarks, veractyls (Obi-Wan's mount in Revenge of the Sith), banthas ... the list is pretty long and varied.

This is a step in the right direction ... one that will make TOR feel much more Star Wars-y.  Good on ya, Bioware!  Maybe this will get me to log on some more ... I'm sort of on a playing hiatus since the last double XP weekend.  It's just too dang nice outside to spend all day cooped up playing internet wizards, you know what I mean?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Revan's Heir Title!

Don't forget to pick yours up today!  It's only available on 7/15 (or 15/7 for you Europeans) in the Cartel Market for a grand total of 10 CC.  It seems to be shareable across your account via the Collections screen as well.  Hooray!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Double Experience Indecision

We're finally through three weeks of double XP for SWTOR and I've got a confession to make:

DOUBLE XP WEEKENDS SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF ME.

Oh, they're lovely and all, but the sheer amount of potential XP brings about a nut-wracking paralysis.  Which character?  Which faction?  My Knight or my Bounty Hunter?  Should I start a new character?  I've already got altitis, can I really afford to have a new Shadow?  Eventually, the choices weigh me down and I barely play at all.

Targeter is afraid of more experience.  What the hell.

The prospect of double XP weekends is just so daunting to me; limited playtime, too many characters, indecision on my own part.  It's like a huge stress-out to me.  I worry about playing who and where and then I get nervous and I wind up watching Top Gear and eating bell peppers on the couch (no junk food here, I'm trying to be healthy ya know!).

In my own personal world, I'd like Bioware to give us something a tad more permanent.  And in my head, this is how it would go:

Permanent Subscriber Benefit: Player-Determined XP Boost
  • All subscribers will be granted a 50% XP bonus to all missions of one variety, selectable by the player at will.
  • A toggle will appear in the character sheet that the player can change at will to the following options: class, planetary, flashpoint, warzone, space, exploration, or none.
  • This allows the player to determine which style of play he wants to engage in while enjoying the boost of being a subscriber.
  • The toggle allows the player to modify his experience boost ... or turn it off completely.  This allows him to stay at level and play with friends without outleveling them.

In a perfect world, that's how the XP boost would work.  I still like the weekends, don't get me wrong, but this style allows me to play my way, when I want it.  No pressure, no fuss!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

To the Vanguard of Norrath ...

Back in my WoW days, things on the Horde side of the fence weren't altogether peachy for large stretches of time.  During those times, I escaped to the Alliance (where I started as a dwarf priest) to just coast around and have some fun.  One morning I met a Draenei named Diamnae.  It was during one of these times that I met some folks who would change what an MMO meant for me.  Thus began my long love affair with the boys and girls in the Vanguard of Norrath.


The Vanguard is an old guild.  And when I say old, I mean ancient.  It was formed in the early 2000s by two friends; Boltac and Sharaya.  These two had been lifelong friends and began playing Everquest together.  Over the years they added others to their EQ guild; Herby, Costa, among others.  When WoW came out, they all jumped over and began playing there.

That's where I met them.  Well, specifically, I met Joe in a cave near Dun Morogh.  We hit it off instantly; he, the wily MMO veteran, and me, the wide-eyed upstart who had no clue what he was doing.  And I mean NO CLUE.  Jesus, my priest was stacking stamina for cripes' sake.

Anyway, Herby let me into the guild (much to his dismay) and here we are five years later.  In short, the Vanguard of Norrath is my true home away from home.  These guys and gals always welcomed me with open arms, no matter how long I'd been away.  We've stuck with each other through multiple games and keep in contact through a ridiculously long email chain.


So, what makes VoN so goddamn awesome?  The hardcore operating?  The playstyle?  The l33t lewtz?

Not really.  I mean, all that is important ... well, minus the hardcore operating.  We operate, but on our time and level.  No, the most important aspect for VoN is the family.

I mentioned earlier that they always welcomed me back with open arms.  I'm not exaggerating; I'd spend upwards of a year away from these fine folks, and the minute I cam back it's like I never left.  My disappearance wasn't even a topic of discussion.  They made sure I was alright, asked me how I was, and boom!  We were off to the races again.

When my SWTOR guild imploded, VoN was there for me.

When I had my latest fling with WoW (Mists of Pandaria), VoN was there for me.

When I endured some ridiculous guild drama on the Horde side, VoN was there for me.

Every time I log on, I'm assaulted by a chorus of greetings.  Vent is always raucous and welcoming.  Somewhere between that cave with Joe and now, y'all became part of my MMO family.  No matter how long I've been offline due to real life, be it work, social, or vacation ... you guys are always happy to see me, and I in turn am always happy to see you.

So, yes, this is a big ol' sloppy love letter to my guildmates.  Shut up.  I can write what I want!  And yes, Targeter has feelings ... and sometimes these feelings don't manifest themselves in frothing rage (well, SOMETIMES).  Sometimes they come out saccharine and dripping with happy tears.  Sometimes I just have to let my guild know that I lerv them in inappropriate ways.

So, to Herby, Dave, Costa, Puck, Chuck, Bolty, Joe, Lenny, Ian, Veldt, and all the wonderful folks who make up VoN ...

I LERV YOO GUYZ.

Ok.  I feel better now.  I need to find something to get mad about now.
JESUS, HAVE YOU SEEN HOW THE ECONOMY HAS CRASHED ON THE EBON HAWK!?  SHIT FUCK FIRE HELL BAWLZ! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why SWTOR Makes Me Happy

I finally got back online last night in ye olde SWTOR.  It felt good, to be honest, like falling into the warm embrace of a long-lost ... pixelated ... virtual ... er ... uh ... well, it was nice, ok?

The loveable rapscallions of <Vanguard of Norrath> were kind enough to help me traipse through story mode Scum and Villainy, and booooooy howdy.  That's a damn fine operation.  A DAMN FINE operation.  The fights were fun, the mechanics varied, nothing was so overwhelming that my wrist locked up (ahem, WoW), but it wasn't so simple that my brain switched off.  The instance itself was just beautiful to behold.  Fantastic stuff.  And the fights were new yet familiar to an old raiding veteran like myself.  New and exciting, familiar and homely.

In short, SWTOR was designed for folks like me.  Or, is that Bioware wants me to think?

I spend a significant amount of time thinking about The Old Republic.  Why does it keep pulling me back?  And when it does, why is it so ridiculously easy to merge right back in?  I think that's by design and I love Bioware for it.  I think the boys and girls in Austin know what they have, what they don't, who plays the game, and how best to serve them.

Let's get something straight.  Despite the launch hullabaloo (most of it crowed by Bioware staff themselves), this game isn't going to challenge WoW.  It's just not that type of game.  We may have thought it was (hell, a certain author shouted from ramparts about it for a loooong time), but when push comes to shove, SWTOR just isn't the twitch-filled miasma that WoW is.  And that's ok.

SWTOR is an MMO for people like me and you; we're probably on our 3rd or 4th MMO.  We've been raiding for years now.  We know how to level, what loot to grab, how to do our roles, and we probably don't have a ton of free time.

That probably describes a lot of WoW players too, to be honest.  Except SWTOR is a game that caters to us exclusively.  And it's a great feeling.

I was able to get into the newest raid (albeit Story Mode) after a few weeks off, with only one Arkanian piece and the rest of my gear filled out with non-set 162 rating gear (for the most part).  I held my own, but because we don't have DPS meters I can't tell you how much I did or did not suck.  The fights were glossed over for me on vent, but since I've been raiding for so long, the mechanics came easily to me.  Step here, don't go there, watch out for reticles.  The first boss was a hoot.  Getting lost in the desert was an interesting twist.

Titan 6 was great fun, since we kept comparing him to XT in Ulduar.  Vent constantly cracked up with dozens of XT quotes.  "It doesn't bend that way!"  "You are very bad toys!"  On top of that, Titan 6 was a well-designed encounter with multiple phases, but nothing overwhelming.

Thrasher was a pretty simple tank and spank with some add management; nothing too special.  I thought it was almost too plain.

The storming of Oasis City ... ok, so THIS was a great encounter.  Having to take out the fire teams and move through the city without being spotted, coupled with the add management and constant burn phase on the boss ... that was a hoot and a half!  I loved the way this was laid out; it was fresh and innovative.  It reminded me a lot of the solo fight in Eternity Vault, which was a spectacular encounter.

The puzzle boss was sort of annoying, in that it took a looooong time to complete.  I liked the advancing waves, but I felt the time it took to burn down Oolok was a tad much.  Interesting fight, though.  I always appreciate Bioware for putting in a puzzle boss in each operation.

The Cartel Warlords were also a good encounter.  A little simplistic, but maybe that's because we're all seasoned vets and the fight was instantly recognizable to us.  Kiting the Mando got a little hairy, and the Trooper's Spray and Pray got exciting, but nothing too bad.  I think this fight could use a little spicing up.

Dread Master Styrak was a bit of a letdown, to be honest.  The fight was long and boring in the middle.  Well done, but it seemed to drag towards the end.  I didn't really feel too much in danger, but that may be because of our bomb-ass healing team.

I know, I know, you're going to say, "Well, Targie, if you want a challenge you need to try Hard or Nightmare!"  I know.  And you know what?

I don' wanna.

I've done the 'bleeding edge' raiding before.  And sometimes I just want to show up, have fun on vent, kill some bad guys, walk around a beautiful operation, and get some loot.

SWTOR allows me to do that.  And goddamn, does it feel great.

Before I go, I'll let you take a look at the ridiculously good-looking new CE dye pack (1 of 2):

My new chestpiece with the Black and Yellow dye pack from the CE Vendor.

That is one hot fuckin' Smuggler.  Not gonna lie.
Fly safe, shoot straight!

(P.S. - My guild played a trick on me by telling me there was an achievement to be gained by jumping in the sarlacc pit in the middle of the operation.  I did.  I died.  Many laughs were had at my expense.  I highly recommend you pull this prank on all your newbies.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

An Objective Viewpoint of TOR's Patch 2.2

JEEBY CREEZY LEMON SQUEEZY!  BY THE MOTTLED BALLS OF PALPATINE!

Does it really have to be 600MB?!

That concludes our objective review of Patch 2.2, Operation Download Nightmare.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Yikes!

Three weeks since my last post?!  Lordy!

Well, unfortunately for you, I, Targeter, lord and master of all things agent-like ... well, smuggler-like ... well, lord and master is a bit of a reach, really ... actually, more like lounger and hanger-on of some thing pertaining to the agent/smuggler style of play ... am not dead.

What I am is working a new job.  Promotion, to be exact.  So bully for me.

Whilst I perform my new duties, I shall be rather busy and whatnot.  Forgive my lapse in posting.  Or don't.  Either way, I've got something planned for this week entitled "Why SWTOR Makes Me Happy"; a post celebrating the casual-friendliness of TOR and why it's so damned great.

Eh, it'll probably devolve into a Red Stripe fueled rant by the end.  C'mon, you guys know me.

Also!  Shame on you all!  Thirty-four years on this green Earth and nary a one of you ever told me how great Red Stripe is!  Unforgiveable.

Anyways, that's all for now.  And noooooo, this post isn't beer-fueled.  Well, mostly.  Well, look, it's been a hard week ok?  You deal your way, I'll deal mine.  K?

Toodles!

Fly straight, shoot blah, something something Empire.

Nailed it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pretty Sure It's Not But ...

... I'm gonna roll with it anyways.


Targeter gear at a vendor near you!  Comes complete with 100% sexiness guarantee.  And yes, I'm painfully aware that this gear is for level 50 characters.  Shaddup.  I was out of the game when this cropped up.  But I'm celebratin' now, boys and girls.

Get your Targeter gear ... TODAY!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Updated* Notes: EA Financial Call - Q4 Results

SWTOR leads the financial call this time around!

Apparently, SWTOR delivered 'solid results' in EA's financial Q4 2013 (Jan - Mar 2013).  They sound pretty pleased.  $224 million for the F2P sector, including SWTOR, FIFA Ultimate Team, and Bejeweled Blitz.  No specifics, but I can guess that SWTOR took the lion's share of that revenue.

EA states that they learned their lesson regarding server demand with the new SimCity title.  "It won't happen again."  Famous last words.

SWTOR is leading the charge in the F2P market.

The Sims 4 ... featuring a new, completely original offline solo play option!  So innovative!  /eyeroll

Battlefield 4 looks to be a real tentpole for EA's financial success this year.  Definitely understandable as they booked revenue for the BF3 DLC/Expansion packs this year ($121 million) and buoyed the company for the quarter.

DICE, Bioware, Visceral and  other studios will be putting out new Star Wars games for the new consoles with the brand spankin' new (and dead sexy) engine, Frostbite 3.  EA owns rights to produce Star Wars games across all platforms.

SWTOR F2P gaining traction.  1.7 new million accounts since F2P transition.  Subs up to 500K and steady.  Average monthly revenue has doubled since F2P inception.  New content cycles: 6-8 weeks.  Rothick performing and reviewing well.  Very pleased with transition so far.

Star Wars IP complements, not supplants, wholly EA-owned IP.  Look for new releases (non-Star Wars) alongside new SW games.

Update:

Listening to Activision's quarterly call as well, and just heard that WoW has dropped from 10 million at the last call to 8.3 million in the most recent quarter.  That's a 14% drop.  That's pretty substantial.  Most of the loss happened in the East ( ... yeah, right ... ), but Kotick admitted that the West saw substantial drops too.  They cited heavy competition from other MMOs, particularly F2P MMOs (hmmm).  They also fully expect to see lower subscribers counts this year than last throughout the rest of the financial year.

I think we'll begin to see WoW get more and more into the F2P business, perhaps unlocking the 1-85 content for free.  I would heartily suggest it; just look at the wonders it did for DCUO, SWTOR, LOTRO, etc etc.

Here's a graph of WoW's subscriber numbers.  It shows an incredibly healthy curve, particularly given how old the game is.  SWTOR should aspire to this type of customer retention.

The Most Important Blog Post I Have Ever Read

GoRead now.  NOW.


A snippet to whet your appetite:

To start, Collections is a special new interface that will show you well, things you collected! Stuff you got from the Cartel Market (Packs and not in packs) and Special Promotions, things you still need, how much percent you’ve completed, and even let you preview these items. You will even be able to track certain items.

So yes, you essentially have a portable checklist–but that’s not all. Let’s say you wanted to have an army of characters with the Revan Mask, but were only able to get one. Well, with Collections, one is all you need. For a fee in Cartel Coins (depending on the item), you can unlock this item account-wide. Yes, ACCOUNT-wide. Not faction-wide, not server-wide, ACCOUNT.

OH.

MY.

GOD.

Thank you Pink Lightsabers.  THANK YOU.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Makeb Impressions and a Money Shot!


Mission terminals?  Thank god.
Smuggle this!  Last week, I completely the Makeb storyline and got to 55 (after about 5 dailies).  I was pleasantly surprised with how good the Makeb storyline was ... can you sense the 'but' coming?  Let's face it folks, this was a glorified planet.  Nothing more.  It was beautiful ...

Death Star mining lasers?  Seems a bit like overkill!

But it was only one planet ... 

Even the friggin' bases are awesome!

One beautiful planet, though.  There were some really great moments during the questline; I won't spoil any, but the final showdown was well worth it.  Couple things bugged me, though.

  • Companion characters stay silent.  There was no VO for the questlines for your companions.  They just stood there, like window dressing.  Heavily armed window dressing, but mute nonetheless.  Even when my smuggler, who married Risha, was hitting on Lemda, the apparently sexually ambiguous lady researcher. 
  • And let's talk about those SGRs.  Uh, where are they?  Maybe I missed the opportunities?  Maybe they were eliminated from my view because my character was already tied in marriage to another person (even though it didn't stop me from totally hitting on Lemda at every opportunity)?  Targeteer wanted to test the waters!  He wanted to experiment like it was college!  Now he feels cheated.  He's listening to The Cure right now.

The romance options were more akin to a planetary romance, a 'wham-bam-thank ya ma'am' type affair than a true romantic arc, too.  A few cutscenes and a smooch and that does it.  Kinda disappointing.

So it sounds like I'm bagging on Rothick, and I totally don't mean to.  It was fun and well-done (even though it was really only one planet), and there are other things to do too (seeker droids and macrobinocular missions), and apparently Scum and Villainy: The Operation (not to be confused with my old guild ... which I founded ... which BioWare ripped away from me during merges ...) is one of the best they've ever done, but damn it was really only one planet.

Granted, it was only $10 ...

Still just one planet.

If I had to assign a grade to Rothick as an expansion, I'd give it a  B+.

Pros:
- Beautiful
- Great planetary story
- Seeker/Macro missions are different and fun
- S&V is apparently amazing
- Only $9.99 for subs ($19.99 for F2Pers)

Cons:
- Romance options are very limited
- Storyline can be a tad short
- No new flashpoints
- Companions largely stay silent in cutscenes

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Guild Wars 2: Free Weekend Impressions

Because I have a bit of malaise regarding SWTOR at the moment, I decided to take advantage of ArenaNet's GW2 promotion for a 'free weekend.'  I've heard a lot of things about Guild Wars 2, some good, some bad.  I decided to find out for myself.

First off, GW2 is gorgeous.  Not like, 'Oh hey, that's a good looking MMO'-gorgeous; the real, true gorgeous of a well-crafted videogame.  GW2 is stunning, even on medium settings (I played on high ... it was remarkable).  Draw distance is impressive, character design is amazing, environments are bewildering.  This is, quite simply, one of the best looking games around.  And that it's an MMO is mind-blowing.
 
Near the Black Citadel

Character creation is fun and different.  I instantly became attached to my Charr Warrior; almost everything was customizable (even tooth size!).  You answer a little questionnaire at the end that helps round out your backstory and some of the NPCs you can interact with give you one of three conversation options. based on how you made your character.  It's a pretty neat way to handle creation and I think other MMOs should take heed.

Combat is fast and ... frankly, infuriating.  It plays like an action game with MMO trappings.  Some may think this is a good thing, and I'll agree that it's very different, but not for my tastes.  The action-oriented fights reward those with highly-developed twitch based skillsets.  Dodging blows is a clunky affair, requiring to you either dodge back with 'V' or double-hitting whatever movement key associated with the way you want to dodge (w, a, s, d).  It never works as well as it should and it rarely works as intended.  Several times I dodged straight into oncoming fire.

I found two-handed hammers my favorite, by far.
And let's talk about combat, fire, and the general feeling of it.  Muddy.  That's what I would call it.  The movement and attacks aren't crisp and responsive.  Sometimes, I felt my character was running in quicksand and the ability delay between button press and ability activation was occasionally intolerable.  Several times I died due to ability delay or poor movement response.

And oh boy, let's talk about dying.  I consider myself a pretty veteran MMO player.  I've had characters in LoTRO, WoW, RIFT, SWTOR, DC Online, Star Trek, Forsaken World ... I pretty much know what I'm doing while leveling, and died very, very minimally.  But in GW2?  Yeah, I was dying left and right.  Combat is super fast and the spell effects block a lot of what's going on.  The game is also very brutal, using a level-down component that lowers your effective level to match what you're facing.  This is designed to keep things 'challenging.'  What I find is that it keeps this frustrating.  I'm level 10, so why is this level 6 imp kicking my ass?  Why am I getting ram-rodded by this low level pack of beasts?  Oh, because I'm functioning as if I'm level 4.  Gotcha.  That sounds like fun, right?

I fought this level 3 worm as a level 11 Charr Warrior.  Oh, I mean a level 4.  Silly me.
The story of GW2 is pretty good; I only got to level 10 with the Charr Warrior, but I also made an Asura Engineer, a Silvari Elementalist, and a Norn Ranger.  Got a level or two with each, just to see what it was like.  They were competently done (the Asura was especially awesome), but none of them really grabbed me like the Charr.  Those beast-men are like the Klingon/Mandalorian/Tauren combo that I've always wanted.  To be frank, the Charr are better Tauren than the Tauren of WoW.  There's a bestial savagery there that's pretty awesome to behold.

The Charr does the haka.  The awesomeness of this cannot be denied.

Overall, I find GW2 to be a competent, beautiful, but occasionally frustrating game.  The combat really needed to nail the action component, and I feel it came up short, critically in some areas.  Other than that, it's a wonderful game full of atmosphere and art.  I always told myself that if GW2 went on sale one day, I'd pick it up and give it a shot.  Now that I have, I'm glad I didn't try it at full price.  In fact, the free weekend has pretty much cemented my assertion that GW2 just isn't for me.  And you know what?  That's ok.  I can definitely see why many people play, and love, Guild Wars 2.  I hope Guild Wars 2 stays strong and healthy; we need these type of games to push the envelope of MMOs.  I may not like everything they did, but I definitely respect what they have accomplished.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Scum and Apathy ... Why Am I Not Playing Makeb?

So, I was pretty excited to get the new Makeb digi-pansion or whatever they want to call it.  When Rothick opened for me on Sunday, I was online and ready to go.  Played a couple of hours, fiddled with my talent trees, got to Makeb, took a look around, marveled at the sights, did the intro quests, and promptly logged off.

I've been back a couple of times, but not for any reasonable amount of time.

And I don't know why I'm not playing Rothick.

To be sure, the new digi-pansion looks great.  Makeb feels alive and vibrant and everything I wanted in a SWTOR world.  You have a real sense of place there.  The story so far is interesting and fairly grand in scope (at least for the residents of Makeb).  The vistas are stunning.  The visuals are breath-taking.  So why am I not spending more time there?

I wasn't ultra super-duper excited about the launch, but I was pretty impressed with what I'd seen up to that point.  I was moderately excited about getting to a new world and seeing new things.  Hutts aren't a great motivator for me, so I thought the overall villain of the digi-pansion was a tad weak; the Hutt Cartel basically going all 'open war' on people doesn't make a lot of sense.  That'd be like Al Capone outfitting his gangsters with flak jackets and trying to attack San Francisco in commercial airplanes (ok, so the analogy makes sense in my head).  The Hutt threat just doesn't carry the implied menace required to fully engage me in the story.

But truly, I think the main problem I have with Rothick is that it's just one planet.  One measly planet.  A big one, to be sure.  But just one.  And while it may be massive and beautiful, it really encompasses everything I thought I wanted in TOR.  A massive, breathing world.  One area to focus on.  Because, you know, that's what other MMOs do.  And that's what I thought I wanted in TOR.

Turns out, maybe I don't.  I miss the galaxy-hopping.  I miss the planets I visited, adventured on, and left a conquering hero (or villainous bastard).

In being more like other MMOs, to me TOR has become less like itself.  And maybe that bugs me.  I'm sure, in time, I'll really come to appreciate Makeb.  But I think for now, I'm in a sort of mourning period.  Will we ever see the galaxy-spanning MMO we all have come to love?

Always in motion is the future.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Worst Thing in the World ...

... is a barrel full of diesel-soaked puppies being lit on fire.

The second worst thing?  Pre-ordering Rise of the Hutt Cartel 1 week after the early access promotion stopped.  And not realizing it.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

/headdesk

I guess I can check out Rothick with the rest of the plebes this weekend.  Dammit.

Monday, April 8, 2013

SWTOR Patch 2.0 - Rothick Inbound!

It is here.  By the balls of the Force, it is here.  Today (tonight really, but hey, gimme a break) launches patch 2.0 and the whole bevy of changes that are coming with Rise of the Hutt Cartel, also known as RotHC, or phonetically ... Rot-hick.  Tomorrow starts Early Access, also known as "Neener-neener I'm playing new TOR and your tears are like delicious, precious, delectable fuel to my inner rage nerd!"

In order to help your new Makeb (aka the 'Gay Planet') transition, the fine folks over at TOR-Wars have prepped a little guide.  I suggest placing your optical orbits on it.

'But, dear Targeter, whatsoever shall you do?' you opine.  'How will your magnificence handle the new 2.0 Makeb-y TOR?'  Good question, agent!

I, Targeter, Leader of Imperial Intelligence, shall issue ...

NEW ASSIGNMENTS!

Yes, in a move that absolutely no one cares about, I will reinstate the 'Your XXth Assignment' posts!  I'll wait a moment for the cheering to subside.  /royalwave *elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist*

Looks like I left off with Assignment 53, though I may just go in a whole new direction.  My latest dilemma is actually pretty simple ... Gunslinger or Sniper?  Which character should I blast through Makeb with first?  On the one hand, Targeter, my first character and renowned Sniper, should get preference because, well duh, IMPERIAL Intelligence.  But Targeteer, my spunky, quirky lil' 'Slinger is very fun to play (and shaddup about the 'lolz same specz r u dum').

Or, should I 'flip the script' as the kids say nowadays and go for my freshly minted 50 Warrior?  Or even my brand new Trooper?  O, the agony!

Nah, who am I kidding.  Sniper for the win.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Super Secret Double Final XP Weekend Bazooka Happy Time Blowup!

Don't forget that this weekend (actually starting right NOW) is the last super secret double probation experience point weekend before the big early access release on Tuesday!  Grab them alts!  Level them levels!  Murderate them mobs!  Assimilate them XPs!  Ok, that's all I have.

Also, if you're like me, then you really haven't played much since the last super duper extra double secret xp weekend.  When you patch your patcher, launch your launcher, and gamer your game, you may encounter some trouble with a crash to desktop.  If so, check my post out below.  It has information which may be relevant ... to you.  And only you.  No, not that guy.  Fuck him. No, you.  With the eyes.  The deep-set, lustrous eyes.  Those deep .. dark ....

Anyways, have fun!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crash to Desktop Fix

Having problems logging into SWTOR?  This may help!

DA FUQ!  I GOTTA LOG ON TO GET MY PLANET COMS, YO!

First, go to your program files and locate your SWTOR folder.  My pathway is Program Files x86 -> Electronic Arts -> Bioware -> The Old Republic.

Compatibility window ... not to be confused with OS Mingle.com, the dating site for operating systems.

Once there, right click on the launcher.exe file and go to Properties.  Then click on the drop-down menu and select your operating system.

Repeat this step for the main game file as well.  My pathway to that was Program Files x86 -> Electronic Arts -> Bioware -> The Old Republic -> SWTOR -> Retailclient.

Y U HAF 2 FIELZ WIT DA CLIKZ!

Find swtor.exe, right click, and set your compatibility to your OS.

Hopefully this will work!  Happy hunting!

SEE YOU ON BELSAVIS, BLITCHES!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Exclusive Reveal: TOR Space Combat Revamped

Howdy folks!  Do I have a treat for you today.  Over the past week, other TOR sites and blogs have been showing sneak peeks of upcoming content for Star Wars: The Old Republic and their newest expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel.  Luckily for me, I was able to also speak to a developer and snag my own exclusive interview, but it's not pertaining to the new expansion.  Well, not directly.

I got to talk about the new, ultra-secret space project.

So without further adieu, here's my interview with one of the lead space combat designers for Bioware, Gull Abell.

Targeter: Wow, thanks a lot of spending some time with me today.  I'm really very excited about what you're gonna show the kids.

Gull: Oh, it's no problem.  This has been a project we've been working on for a while, and frankly we're all excited to sort of take the wraps off of it.

T: Alright, let's get down to brass tacks.  What can we expect with the the revamped space combat?

G: Free-form atmospheric and space flight.  Cockpit UIs.  A new talent tree dedicated to piloting.  The ability to pilot anything up to a capital ship, if you can afford it.

Czerka KR-51 Freighthauler


T: Wow.  Let's let that soak in for a second.  I still can't believe it.

G: Yeah, it's a big one for sure! (laughs)

T: Ok, so, you're talking completely free-form?  Like, we hop in and just go?

G: Eventually yes.  For right now, it works in the way that you can board your ship from the orbital docks and take off from there.  Atmo flight is still in the works, because we'd have to really revamp how you approach a planet, some of the cutscenes.

Corellian Blockade Ship

T: Yeah, I had a question about that.  We usually just have a scene where we land; will that stay?

G: Well, that's an idea we've had.  Do you just jump in the your ship and the 'start-up sequence' is your liftoff?  Or do we allow you your own liftoff experience?  It's up for grabs right now, honestly.

T: So let's get into the big thing, combat ...

G: Yes!

T:  (laughs) Looks like that's a big discussion in Austin as well, eh?  So, what's it going to be?

G: We want to replicate the free-form flight experience of the 90s with X-Wing and TIE Fighter, really.  It was such a high point for flight sims and we want to bring that back, you know?

T: Definitely!  Can I get a TIE Interceptor?

G: No no, but maybe something analagous.

Mandalorian Patrol Fighters

T: Ok, so, in-cockpit fights?

G: Yes, definitely.  We want you to have the ultimate Star Wars experience, and that means hotdogging it around in space as the pilot.  Real-time cockpit fights included.

T: Does that mean PVP ...

G: I'm not allowed to talk about our plans for that.

T: Ok ok, I understand.

G: We're excited about where we're taking space combat.

T: So, will the on-rails game still be around?

G: As a legacy game mode, yeah.  It won't get any more support.  But the crafting will still be there, obviously.

T: Oh, so the ship parts we craft?

Kyramud Republic Defender-class Warship


G: Will be able to be traded and crafted for your fighter, freighter, corvette, or capital ship, yes.  We don't want to damage the crafting market so that's all something we're taking a look at.

T: Speaking of capital ships, any word of the guild one?

G: (laughs) No no, we're not ready to talk about that yet.  It's still on the Wall of Crazy though.

T: Well, that's something.  So you mentioned a couple of classes of ship there, will we have variety?

G: Definitely!  And talent trees for each class.

T: For what, like faster speed, more maneuverability?

G: Weapon power, better shields, all that stuff.  It'll be a smaller tree than normal, but will still function the same.

T: So, we'll have points?

G: It'll operate like the Valor rank; you'll earn Space rank via missions; Search and Destroy, Escort, Assault, some other modes we're finalizing.

T: What about space raids?

Cockpit view of Czerka Systems Patrol Craft

G: We're still working on the details.

T: Cartel Market ships?

G:We're not ready to talk about that either, but it's not something unreasonable I think.

T: Especially given how successful the Market's been.  Awesome!  Well, Gull, thanks for stopping by Imperial Intelligence and letting the good folks know about the new space project.

G: My pleasure.  We're so thankful to fan sites for the support you give.  And thanks to all the players!

T: Thanks Gull!


Big thanks to Gull Abell, space combat design lead for Bioware.  Tune in later for more details!

(FYI ... APRIL FOOLS!)

Monday, March 25, 2013

BIG NEWS REVEALED! *Update*


At noon eastern, a few TOR sites will be releasing big news!  Makeb release date?  The long-rumored 'secret space project?'  Cathar?  More Cartel packs?  Barbershop functionality?  Server transfers?  2.0 launch details?  WHO KNOWS?!!?!

Stay tuned here for the best and most hilariously overblown reactionary report coverage of the reports that will be reported on after the report deadline related to the reporting of reports!

STAAAY TUUUUUUUUNED!

*UPDATE! 9:13am ET*

We're less than 3 hours away from the reporting deadline pertaining to the reaction of reported reports about TOR.  TORGate is in full swing.  Here at Imperial Intelligence, we're dedicated to bringing you the absolutely most up-to-date information regarding any sort of release made about TORGate.  Keep checking back to see the most ridiculously overblown coverage of this ever-expanding scandal/revolution.

Will we find out the release date for the new expansion?  Will we finally have server transfers?  Will we ultimately know the sexual orientation of jawas as it pertains to the new same-gender romance options in the digital expansion?  Will Master Satele Shan respond to the scathing reports of Republic indifference on Balmorra?  Will Darth Malgus wear Armani at the premiere of Makeb?  Will we finally get to axe-murder Tharan Cedrax, winner of the latest "Most Annoying Thing in the Universe" poll after narrowly beating herpes and George Lucas?  And we'll have new Makeb cooking tips from everyone's favorite chef, Bowdaar!

STAAAY TUUUUUUUUUUUUNED!

*UPDATE 11:59am ET*

ITS ALMOST HERE OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

*UPDATE 12:01pm ET*

MAKEB RELEASE DATE OMG OMG OM GOM GOMGOGMOGMOGMGOGOMGGOMGOG

APRIL 9TH EARLY ACCESS!
APRIL 14TH LAUNCH!

AND THAT'S IT REALLY!

OMG INFO WE ALREADY SORTA FIGURED OUT TOTALLY CONFIRMED BY BIOWARE OMGOMGOMGOMGOGMGOMGMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

*UPDATE 12:33pm ET*

So, I was reading a snippet from this article over at Darth Hater, and I saw this during the interview with Bruce Maclean (no relation to John Maclean of Die Hard fame).

  • Where does the development team stand with regards to individual class stories?  Are these still a priority for upcoming content?
Great question.  The way you choose to overcome your own personal villains is a crucial part of what defines your character, and once you’ve gotten closure on your personal story, you’re ready to be a key player in the larger conflicts that threaten the Empire and the Republic.  Moving forward, we’re focusing on those stories – conflicts that decide the fate of the entire Galaxy and demand the attention of other living legends like yourself.  You can still put your personal touch on these stories, and you’ll develop relationships just like before, but now the stakes are higher, and the experience can be shared with your friends.
So, basically, fuck your class story.  Fuck it in its tender, sweet asshole.  So ends the grand class story experiment in TOR.  Guess it was fun while it lasted.  Now we're gonna have 'awesome stories to share with our friends!'  HOW AWESOME.

owait its not.

It's the TOR version of Zoey Saldane!
Targeter News Network, reporting in!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Makeb? Hello?

It's been a while since we've heard anything concrete on Makeb.  It makes an agent ... twitchy.  Sure, we've gotten dev blogs and a couple of videos and some rampant speculation, but when was the last time we heard anything concrete?  The PTS is up and there's neat stuff on there, including the new operation Scum & Villainy (oh, how I *RUE* the day I lost my Scum and Villainy guild name), there's not really been one peep about the actual planet Makeb.

We've got info on 2.0 and the changes we can expect.  We've got gear sets (which I think are cool, by the by).  We've got some 'making of' videos.

That's about it.

What's the release date?  We can infer from the 'March to Makeb' promotion that these double experience weekends serve as a vehicle to get us ready for level 50-55 content in the new expansion pack.


Could this be the long-anticipated Makeb release date?  Methinks yes!  I guess we'll find out on Monday!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Boostin' the Weekend!

Well!  This is interesting.  Apparently, SWTOR is having double experience weekends!  Isn't that interesting.  Looks like I'll be spending some more time playing this weekend ... and the next ... and the next ... and the next.  And they stack with your cartel market XP boosts as well!  Who doesn't want 125% extra XP?  (Cue the Capital One baby saying "No!")

Darth Hater is right when they state that this feeds the speculation that RotHC will drop sometime in April or May.  Personally, I think it'll be the Tuesday after the last double XP weekend (April 9th).  That's right!  Write it down!

We're headin' to Makeb for some serious SGR* action on April 9th!  Whooooo!




*Imperial Intelligence neither condemns nor condones SGRs and their inclusion in the game.  Imperial Intelligence is fine with whatever you want to digitally love because OMG he soooo has a crush on Doc Loken.  Because the Doc feeds the rakghoul in his heart.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Scalevelene?

Patch 1.7.2 notes ...

Galactic Reputation

    • Players may now gain reputation with the Contraband Resale Corporation, a group loosely affiliated with the Hutt Cartel! Reputation Trophies for this organization are now available in new Contraband Packs, and a new vendor has been added to allow players to capitalize on this reputation.
    • Companion characters can now equip gear earned through Galactic Reputation
    • Players will now receive a message when ranking up with an organization.
    • The Galactic Reputation Window will now update properly to indicate when players rank up with an organization.
    • Added the text "Next Rank:" to better clarify Galactic Reputation progress.
    • Cosmetic gear rewards from Galactic Reputation have had their required levels reduced to 10. This affects:
      • Voss Ambassador's gear
      • Hyperspace Hotshot gear
      • Section Guardian gear
      • Blue Scalene gear
      • Red Scalene gear
      • White Scalene gear
      • Gray Helix Weapons

 But all I saw was ...

Cosmetic gear rewards from Galactic Reputation have had their required levels reduced to 10. This affects:

Blue Scalene gear
Red Scalene gear

SOOPER DOOPER GIGGLE SQUEEEEEEE

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Sublime Pleasure of Not Raiding

Oh, don't get me wrong.  Raiding (or operating) in TOR is a blast and I'll gladly fill in if my compatriots need me to, but the absence of pressure from my TOR family is turning into my favorite thing about the game right now.

It's not pressure that they apply to me, to be fair.  It's pressure I apply to myself; to be as ready as I can at all times for operations, to not drag down the team with my failure to grind just one more daily.  Realistically, that's what my WoW experience is for; the adrenaline rush of downing content and killing pixel dragons, combined with the soul-crushing grind of dailies and dungeons so I can be 'teh uber l33t warrior.'

Now, compare my WoW experience to my TOR experience.  In TOR, the only person I play for ... is me.  I log on to have personal fun, with or without my guildmates.  If they're online, bonus!  Maybe we can do a flashpoint.  If not, that's ok because this is 'me' time.  I can work on my little Trooper with a bad attitude, or my Pureblood Sentinel (who also has a bad attitude).  I can leisurely stroll about collecting datacrons on my Smuggler.  Or heck, even check out my long-dormant Sith Warrior.

Compare this to WoW: I log on and immediately need to decide what I can stomach.  Do I try LFR?  Do I work on dailies to get valor gear/valor capped?  Jump in the queue for a random?  What do I need to do today to make sure I'm ready to raid?  Any of those options will suck up an hour of my time, at the minimum.  And generally, I only can complete one to two tasks per sitting.

Sounds like work?  I thought so too.

It's not work, really.  The two games provide very separate, distinct experiences for me.  WoW is my 'buckle up, let's kill pixel dragons' game.  TOR is my casual, laid-back experience, providing me with a fun, story-driven experience.  Both fill a niche in my gaming circle.  Both are very good at what they do; providing unique MMO experiences.

But I'd be lying if I said the WoW grind didn't get to me.  It does, sometimes.  Ok, a *lot* of times.  The endless reputation grinds, the endless gearing grinds.  Capping valor for three weeks just to afford a single chestpiece because, yes Virginia, my LFR luck is literally that bad.  It does get all so tiresome occasionally.

Conversely, let's take a look at TOR.  Sure, it's what I consider the 'easy-breezy' MMO compared to WoW's grindfest, but I'm also much less invested in it.  TOR provides excellent MMO stories for my characters, but that's really all I care to do.  Logging off TOR feels to me like hitting the pause button on a single-player RPG ... I can just log in and quest on another time.  There's no permanence there, at least to me.

So, what does this all lead to?

Nothing, really.  I just wanted to ramble.