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Archive for the ‘ToR’ Category

Testing the waters

So I’m sorta, kinda back to some MMO playing. Notice I’m saying some because I haven’t put a lot of hours into it but I’m playing and I’m enjoying it so that must count for something.

I’m currently playing Swtor on the Sith side and I’m again blown away by the story this game has to offer. Sure it’s not the best when you’re doing it for the 4th time but that first time around it’s pretty amazing which lends some weight to the arguments that maybe Swtor would have been better off as a single player game. In any case, right now things are good which is the most important.

The one thing I’m noticing though is that I’m playing with a sort of wary attitude. Yes, the story is good but EA does a fantastic job of reminding me every 5 minutes about me needing to subscribe and it does suck. Completing a quest that only offer credits as a rewards and then finding out I can’t take the reward because it’s subscribers only does sour an otherwise great quest.

So there’s good, there’s bad and I guess we’ll see how it goes from here.

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My quest to find myself some quality MMO time has brought me back to Swtor where me and a few friends are planning on leveling little sithies for fun. It also happen to be home of the Snarkers and the infamous Njessi. I’ve been derping a bit on a new bounty hunter and it’s been fun, but also weird.

The fun part is simply the leveling Swtor has to offer. Going through the story after a long while being absent from the game feels fresh and new and it’s actualy fun. The weird part is the cash shop you have in your face all the time and the numerous reminders that life would be so much better if you were subscribed.

The CSD (Credit Sign of Doom! I just made this up) moment of the day came when I learned that certain quests rewards, like credits, are only available to paying subscribers. It just so happened that after successfully negotiating my bounty money with the Hutts, my bounty hunter couldn’t take the only reward offered… the credits I had just argued for.

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I am not going to make friends today. I was supposed to talk about me finishing RE4 but the recent Swtor news demand that I write. Usually I try not to rant on games I’m not playing anymore because I don’t want to ruin it for people who still love that game but today I’m breaking my own rule. Why? Because BioEA keeps making things worst for Swtor and it’s making me angry. I still care about this game and I still want to see it succeed and it pisses me off when I see them make decisions like charge subscribers for new content.

I’ve already talked about how I feel Swtor cash shop to be restrictive to the point of making the game unplayable at endgame. Pay to be able to raid, pay so you can equip items, pay for quests rewards, pay pay pay… Before one could argue that if you subscribed then all was fine. You had access to everything and you didn’t have to bother with all the restrictions. The cash shop then became more about fancy options and not an absolute necessity. Although I still think that Swtor system is bad for business long-term because it’s too restrictive, there was an argument to be made about subscription solving all your problems.

And then today I learn that Makeb is going to cost money to subscribers… While it’s called a “Digital Expansion” to try to bring it in line with the expansions of other games let’s not be dumb here. It’s one planet, one raid, one pvp zone and probably some space stuff. Unless Makeb turns out to be a gigantic multizone place, it shouldn’t be considered an expansion. It’s a DLC addon, simple as that. Now if Swtor was F2P I could understand them charging for DLC but all the other games with subs give away their DLC for free… not Swtor…

And I firmly believe that Swtor should give it away to their subscribers. Swtor has been riddled with issues since the start and subscribers deserve something for all their troubles. Not being gouged out for even more money. The explanation is rather simple. They know the game is having trouble and they want to suck every penny out of their customers as fast as they can. I think the history of the game points to this too.

  1. Swtor cost a lot to make and they didn’t get the subscriptions they were needing. So it not unreasonable to think that they need to cover their costs.
  2. This interview in late July, promised new content on a frequent basis and also that subscribers would never have to pay for new content. Quote from the interview: One of the chief things Jeff and Matt expect folks to spend money on if they’re not subscribed (subscribers will always receive every bit of new content, regardless of CC)
  3. Said new content is more often than not Cash shop stuff. Most of the life day additions are Market items and the trend seems to be holding for Makeb. Another example would be the recent space combat additions.

So, if we go with the premise that the game cost a lot of money and that it’s doing badly, thus not covering its costs, it doesn’t take much of a leap to think that EA wants to get its money back as soon as possible and I so far, every action they make seems aimed at making more money out of the cash shop.

So here’s why I’m so angry. They have one of the best IP in the world and they know they are going to have people playing only because the name Star Wars is attached. But so far, it’s been one disappointing update after another and  BioEA seems more interested in finding ways to ask for money rather than making the game better. It’s ugly brand exploitation, not the first time Star Wars as suffered under it, and I hope that EA gets burned bad for this.

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My swtor status

So I haven’t been entirely clear here or with others what my Swtor status is. Am I gone for good, on break, planning a glorious comeback?

To make things clear I’m on hiatus right now. I’ve had time to think about things and there’s a few things that have become clear to me. First, I don’t hate Swtor. At some point I wasn’t sure if the game was getting me down or if it was something else but now I know that Swtor itself has only a really small part to play in this. The storyline is great, the endgame is average and I wish they would fix performance.

Second, I do plan to return in some capacity at least to do the imperial storyline once and also to annoy the Snarkers. I don’t want NJessi to get too comfortable.

And lastly, I’m pretty much done with raiding as a weekly activity I commit to and this is the main reason I’m now on hiatus. Committing to do the same raids over and over every week is not worth the time invested for me anymore. I like having my weekend end nights back and being able to go out or just do something else without worrying about letting the raid down.

So that’s my status and I’ll promess I’ll have some more relevant content soon!

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Swtor f2p view from a new player

Through a strange combination of time I had accumulated and my three months sub that renewed itself on November 15th (suspicious) it seems I am subbed to swtor until May 13… how did that happen I have no idea but my idea of seeing how the game played as a F2P player is out of the window for the foreseeable future.

Fear not! I have asked a close friend of mine who was waiting for F2P to come out to tell me about his experience playing the game and how he felt about it. Luckily for me, this guy doesn’t follow game news or blogs so he’s often my sounding board when I need someone not tainted by the internet opinions. To put things into perspective he pretty much played the entire weekend, has never played before and started from a new account. To make this easier to read I’ll call my friend Jay (not real name obviously)

Friday

Right at the start Jay is faced with a problem. He wants to make a Sith juggernaut and really wants to make it a Pureblood but the race is locked.  He tells me he’s a bit miffled but he sorta expected to have to spend some cash so he spends a 20$ and gets 2400cc minus the 350 for the Pureblood and he creates his Sith pureblood juggernaut.

Then he’s off to Korriban and he told me he pretty much had a blast there. Lots of people, the quests are fun and he really digs the storyline. Then store rears it’s ugly head again. Soon enough Jay realizes he needs more space in his inventory so he’s off again to the store and finds out it will cost him 175cc for 10 inventory slots. Then he notices the “for  account (375cc)” option and he gets a bit pissed. He tought 175 was for account and he figures that at 375 it’s a bit pricey for only 10 slots. But he really loves the story and he wants to see more and try more classes. He asks me over gtalk how many he would need until max level and I tell him that 20 more slots should do it, 30 if he wants to be comfortable.

In the end he spends another 750cc for 20 more inventory slots account wide and end the night ready to start Dromund Kas and with 1300cc left.  I ask him what he thinks about the game and he tells me that he loves the story but he hopes it won’t cost him too much.

Saturday

When I get up, Jay is already plowing through Dromund Kas at lightning speed and really loving the story. To my surprise, he didn’t mind  much about the restriction on crafting. He’s not much of a crafter so while it bothered him a bit it wasn’t a big deal.  However, he did buy additional quickbars for his account so there went another 540cc.

And then tragedy strikes at about 4pm. Jay had just gotten his ship and heads out to do space combat which he likes so far but quickly he can’t do it anymore because he has used up all his space combat allowance, and then he realizes it will cost him 240cc to do more of these…. he’s really not happy.

And that’s when he starts really looking at all the items in the store and realizes that he will have to pay for raids, to not display his helm, to unify color and Jay writes me this on gtalk: “C’est des criss de voleurs!” which translates as “They are f***** thieves!”

I ask Jay not to give up and that the story is still worth it and he tells me he’ll get back to it tomorow.

Sunday

Sunday is pretty uneventful. At the end of the day Jay is just starting out Tatooine and he hasn’t spent a dime in the store. When I asked him what he thought about the entire experience he told me he thinks he will finish up the story on his character, maybe do the Republic side once but that’s pretty much it.

His reasons were pretty much that he thought it was too pricey and that it wasn’t worth the cost.

Conclusions

I won’t make any because I want this to stand on its own. If any of you were wondering what a new player would think then here’s the experience of my friend. I’ll just end by thanking him for being my test subject.

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WoW, why I came back

I was supposed to talk to you today about my Resident Evil marathon (finished RE3, moving to Veronica) but I stumbled upon Kurn series of reasons for quitting and it resonated with me, especially the last part because not so long ago I felt like she did and I was pretty certain that I was done forever and ever with WoW, having done all there is to it and having satisfied my curiosity.

I have a few words of wisdom for Kurn that were passed down to me by Foton of now defunct afkgamer.com

WoW is never out of the question.

A detour with Swtor

Last year at about this time I was waiting for Swtor like a kid waits for its Christmas presents. I was tired of WoW, burned out of raiding and I wanted a change of scenery… badly. I knew WoW quests and raids by heart and there was no more excitment playing it. I figured that after 7 years of playing the same game (2004-2011) I was done for good.

And Swtor came out and it was all great for a while. But Swtor turned out not to be the perfect game I envisioned. I got myself to blame for setting my expectations too high because Swtor turned out to be like all other new MMOs, with its strengths and weaknesses.

Then the Swtor endgame began and I learned a valuable lesson. Toward the end of 2011 I thought I was tired of WoW because it was WoW. Certainly playing the same thing for a long time didn’t help but what I failed to realize was that I was tired of the endgame formula. The grind gear, do raids everyweek and repeat ad nauseam formula.  Swtor uses the same formula and it got to me. Suddenly, all the bugs and annoyances were magnified and my experience soured. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy raiding with the people in Snark and some of the encounters are very enjoyable but Swtor didn’t reinvent raiding and the burnout I felt with WoW I started to feel in Swtor.

What I came to realize late this summer is that I’m tired of the current model of endgame design.  I love the actual raids and the challenge but I hate the commitments that come with it. Maybe its age or I just did it for too long but I hate having to grind gear and set aside time to be able to raid. I find it boring and it’s getting me down to have to do all these things.

It’s a bit weird to explain but it’s not even the grinding or the dailies themselves that get me. It’s that feeling of being forced to do the same thing over and over and over… or not having the freedom to decide what I want to do and not set my  own goals….

WoW in a new light

Now comes my time for a bit of wisdom. You don’t play an MMO multiple years without loving something fundamental about it. Raiding alone couldn’t have kept me in WoW for seven years and it’s always been my default MMO. I couldn’t even tell you why that is… just that’s the way it is.

So with raiding out of my mind and me wanting to try out a ton of crazy ideas, I saw WoW in a new light. For the sheer volume of content and the opportunities to do crazy stuff on a whim, WoW is still the king. It’s not that the other games are bad… just that WoW allows me to step in, do whatever I want for 30 mins and then log off satisfied.

And right now that’s what I want.

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My thoughts on swtor F2P

Attentive readers will have noticed I’ve been keeping somewhat quiet about my MMO playing for a while now. It’s not because I haven’t been playing MMOs, in fact I’ve been playing quite some WoW but rather it’s been because I’ve been having trouble figuring out exactly my thoughts about Swtor F2P details.

As I said before, I’m not a fan and I think Bioware is shooting itself in the foot long-term but I struggled with expressing the why. Luckily, ControlBlue, a commenter on Darth Hater,  expressed it in simple terms for me.

They are clearly made to convert demo players into subs THROUGH frustration.

Well said my friend. I think this sums up nicely my issue with swtor F2P. Why make the player experience miserable until they pay? Why….

… I give up…

Although it’s tempting to go into speculations as to why exactly Bioware made things this way, either sheer stupidity or greed or plain evil… they are doing it. I do believe short-term it will bring about a revival of sorts and an influx of cash but the core issues will not be solved.

So there’s my thoughts on Swtor F2P. I just don’t understand the strategy anymore…

 

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