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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's Greeeee-eat!

In case you were living under a space rock, the Relics of the Gree event opened up with the release of patch 1.7 yesterday.

Fan-fuckin'-tastic.  Another grind.  Yippee.

So crafty ol' Targ heads over there post-haste to recon the area.  Hey, a new daily area (ugh, dailies).  Oh boy, hours of endless grinding on quests ... oh wait?  There's only 6 or 7?  Really?  Oh, and there's the vendor with the armors and stuff and OH HOLY SHIT IT MAKES ME LOOK LIKE A TRON CHARACTER.

Dear Bioware,

I know we've had our differences in the past.  It's been rocky.  But right now, I'd slobber your space-cock so hard for a chance to get some Tron armor.  Straight up slobber.  As Penny Arcade once said, 'There is a hyperspace heaven for penises and I will take you there.'


P.S: Seriously.  I will suck the eyeballs out of your head.

The other rewards are pretty bangin' too.  Cool sabers and guns with damn antennae sticking off of them and JESUS FLAPJACKS CHRIST THAT DAMN TRON ARMOR.  Did I mention the armor?  Yeah, that armor.  The BIND ON LEGACY, USABLE AT LEVEL 1 ARMOR.

So, wha's it take to get ol' Targy in some of that armor?  Huh, a 'Friend' faction stance with them for the blue OR the red stuff.  That's right, two separate Tron sets.  Well, hell, I can get that in two or three days.  Literally.  And the best part?


Take your Valor grind and shove it up your ass, WoW!

So, you're telling me that all I have to do is a couple days of dailies?  Well, I probably have to do it on each side so I can get rep for each faction OH HOLY SHIT WAIT.  REPS ARE THE SAME AND ALL REP IS BOUND TO YOUR LEGACY.  There's also level 50 weapons that are just ... I mean ... I can't explain.  Go look.  No words.



I gotta go to Ilum guys.  Bye.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"I've got a bad reputation, baby ... "

Last week's financial call was short on info and long on avoiding the topic of SWTOR altogether.  They really only mentioned SWTOR twice; once to say that it was far too early to tell if the F2P transition has helped the game as much as the early telemetry shows (here's a hint ... it has!) and that SWTOR was the main contributor to the $185 million in revenue amongst EA's F2P titles.  That's about it.  Not much to go on, so I'll patiently away the Q4 (financial Q4 for EA) call in May.

Reputation, the grinding portion of most MMOs, is coming to SWTOR!  OH JOY OF JOYS!  Even more groan-inducing grinding to be done in an MMO!  We surely don't have enough of that!  No sirree!

Ok, so it's not that bad. The blog post gives a lot of detail for the rep system so far, including some rather nice additions that'll make rep grinding much, much, MUCH less of a pain in the ass in SWTOR.  Let's dive in!

First of all, tying reputation to your legacy?  Pro move.  This negates most of the tedious alt-grinding that folks in other MMOs (*cough cough WoW cough cough*) have to do.  It also ensures that the rep will be tied to your account, not the characters, should faction switching ever become a possibility.  There looks to be 4 distinct reps you can earn:

The Gree
The Voss
Space Missions (Armada for Reps, First Fleet for Imps)
Section X faction (Imperial Guard or 5th Assault Battalion)

But, Targeter, that's six reps!  Not really, my friend.  The Fleet and Section X reps share the same bar, so you can earn rep for the Armada doing space missions and then hop over to your Imperial to knock out a few for the Fleet.  Both types fill the same reputation bar.  Pretty nice, eh?

Let's talk  about *how* you earn rep.  You mainly get it through bound items, as far as I can tell.  No rep awarded just from doing the quests.  The bound items can be activated to award a specific amount of rep varying according to item quality.  They follow the same quality rules as all other items in the game; epic will award more than rare, etc etc.  Now, why items?  Why do they want us to collect stuff?  Because each individual rep will have a weekly cap you can earn.

Oh no.

Well, that sucks.  It's not as sucky as say ... oh, I dunno ... FUCKING VALOR CAPS IN WOW.  But still, mildly annoying.  But, here's where Bioware tosses us a bone.  You may be capped per week for each reputation, but there's no cap to amount of items you can use.  Oh oh oh, that got your attention?  Yeah, let's say we go bat-fuck crazy one week and collect 20 items or so.  Well, let's say we can only use 10 per week (I don't know how many we can use, I'm just sayin').  That means you have 10 left over.  That you can use next week.  Huzzah!  I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing bound items show up in cartel packs, and then those items be traded on the GTN.  It'd bolster an already healthy economy.

Also, subscribers seem to get a 50% rep bonus for all gains.  Eat it, F2People!

The reputation system also allows you to unlock legacy titles (some of which are actually fairly cool - Hero of Deep Space) that will reside where your legacy title would normally go.  So, that's kinda neat!  And it's spread across your whole legacy too, so your new Bounty Hunter, Boba'Phatty could actually be Boba'Phatty, Hyperspace Legend!

There are also reputation vendors to boot!  Now, they didn't really detail what would be on them (only mentioned 'special rewards') but I imagine it'll be adaptive gear, speeders, perhaps some epic level stuff that requires the highest reputation threshold to attain, that sort of thing.

Let's go over the highlights:

+ Reputations are legacy-bound
+ Reputations give titles!
+ Reputation earned through items, not actual quests
-  Reputation capped each week
+ Reputation vendors
+ Subscribers get a 50% rep bonus!
+ Did I mention cool-ass titles?

All in all ... hell yes!  Bring on the rep!