My Trooper was busy assaulting a superweapon and he gets a call on the comm….
My Trooper was busy assaulting a superweapon and he gets a call on the comm….
I believe in the model that says you should get more from a Flashpoint than you’d get solo for the same effort. And you’d get more from an 8 man than you’d get from a Flashpoint. For 8 vs 16 the jury’s still out. However, I’d still like to see professions more useful in endgame than they appear to be, and more the what they were in WoW.
I haven’t had a lot of exposure to the Ops environment, so is post is partly a ‘from the outside looking in’, so if my basis is wrong feel free to point it out in the comments.
Looking at SWTOR professions, only one, Biochem, provides a continuing stream of crafting past reaching 50 and making the best pieces. In WoW there were a number of ‘improvement’ skills that modified new gear (Jewelcrafting, Enchanting, Blacksmithing/Tailoring/Leatherworking to a lesser degree), as well as the ‘consumable’ profession, Alchemy. SWTOR’s Slicing and Cybertech appear to be able to do that at first glance with mods and augments, but the reality is that Augment Slots only appear on crafted gear, and both Augments and mods can be removed, at a cost, from existing gear. This means that even if there’s a way to make customized gear even to Ops gear, changing base pieces doesn’t require crafting.
All quests were completed using a Smuggler Scoundrel. This affects the rewards and the companion affection gains, and using Stealth is noted where applicable. Also, this post will be updated as more information is discovered.
At Level 50, after completing your Class quest chain, you go into the Interlude. This is essentially the start of your end-game experience, and one of the major parts is doing the Dailies for gear and mods. Two chains, one on Ilum and one on Belsavis, lead you through the areas where you need to go for your daily quests, gathering Daily Commendations as you go. After the break I’ll detail the Daily quests and their rewards.
Overall, SWTOR continues to impress with a rich storyline and well developed game systems. I’ll cover a few of the bugs at first, but these are easily ignored in the richness of the rest of the game.
This is my list of crafting materials and items to craft for Biochem to 400. It isn’t ‘perfect’, but it focuses on the Stim abilities rather than Medpacs, as I figure if I’m going healing, I won’t need the packs, but reverse engineering for the advanced crafting items will be on my list of things to do.
1 - 20 Battle Skill Stim x 20
21 - 40 Battle Fortitude Stim x 20
41 - 60 Field Tech Skill Stim x 20
61 - 80 Surgical Medpac x 20
81 – 100 Field Tech Command Stim x 20
101 – 120 Field Tech Fortitude Stim x 20
121 – 140 Bio-Enhanced Med Unit x 20
141 – 160 Bio-Enanced Skill Stim x 20
161 – 162 Hyperneural Skill Package x 2
163 – 180 Bio-Enhanced Command Stim x 18
181 – 200 Bio-Enhanced Fortitude Stim x 20
201 – 202 Bio-Receptive Skill Package x 2
203 – 220 Physician Med Unit x 18
221 – 240 Experimental Skill Stim x 20
241 – 260 Optoelectronic Cardio System x 20
261 – 280 Experimental Fortitude Stim x 20
281 – 300 Hyperelectronic Cardio System x 20
301 – 320 Advanced Skill Stim x 20
321 – 340 Psychotropic Cardio System x 20
341 – 360 Advanced Fortitude Stim x 20
361 – 380 Mind-Bending Cardio System x 20
381 – 400 Hyper-Battle Skill Stim x 20
My Bioanalysis skill is going to get hammered to get Biochem done. All of the Green level items are purely from Bioanalysis and only the Blue and Purple reverse engineered patterns require items from Diplomacy. I’ll probably still use Diplomacy when I get a 3rd companion, but its less critical. I will need it up there once I get to the highest levels though, so that I can get the Blue components to make the Prototype items that can be reverse engineered into their Reusable counterparts.
Plus I expect that I won’t need quite so much since I get items back from reverse-engineering everything.
(Calculated on TORHead pre-release, subject to change)
Set to the sounds of much wailing and gnashing of teeth (and a few lamentations of the women) Bioware has announed that there will be no grace period for SW:TOR between the Early Access Program and the Release Date.
The two groups most affected are:
I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I’ll be delayed right in the middle of my leave, so I’m hoping that my copy arrives early rather than later, but I still have 10 days to play it non-stop assuming that it turns up on the 29th. But still… I mean really… BioWare… Do You Hate Us?
Well I managed to get into the last Beta weekend for SWTOR. This one appeared to be a stress test on the servers as there were only six own but with the extra Weekend testers we filled them many times over. 30 min to 3hr queues weren’t uncommon.
I took a different tack this time and leveled characters to L10 to try the other classes.
On the weekend, I managed to get into the Star Wars: The Old Republic Beta Weekend. TLDR – I liked it
Note: My major experience is WoW and single player games, I’ve really only dabbled in other MMO’s. So mostly WoW in MMOs. All my observations will likely be tinged by it.
I played a smuggler for 20 levels. From what I read of the classes it was the closest to an all-round character that I could find. (Yes I play a Druid in WoW.) The Smuggler class starts like every other class, with a DPS setup up till Level 10, after which you choose a specialisation. I chose Scoundrel to give the added healing ability as a survival component. I didn’t spec into the healing tree, as I would if I wanted to be a full-time healer, but the basic heals worked quite effectively in close situations.
One flaw I did see to it though was the indecision. The Smuggler has a basic move called Cover, from which one of their most powerful normal abilities can be used. Additionally, Cover protects them from incoming fire similar to a Dodge or Parry mechanic. Conversely, they have an almost Combo Point-like system called Upper Hand that allows them to use devastating attacks that consume an Upper Hand stack. Upper Hand stacks are lost fairly quickly after battle, and can’t really get moved from combat to combat. The only ways to get an Upper Hand are to kill an enemy (and you must land the killing blow, not your companion) or to use Blaster Whip. Finishing off an enemy is fine, unless you’re fighting an elite by himself, and Blaster Whip requires you to be in hand-to-hand range. I was torn between leaving cover and dashing up to people to use Blaster Whip, and hiding behind cover and hoping they’d come to me. Those that did come all the way up were dispatched fairly quickly, but for some elites, getting into melee range with aggro is a very very bad idea.
Other notes on the Smuggler and general gameplay:
The quests were your usual run of the mill in a lot of respects. Go get this thing, go kill that guy, go investigate this. Similar to the WoW proximity quests, there were bonus quests that turned up when you killed something, or moved into an area, tied to a quest that you had.
Bonus quests turn up when you kill something. Thus you are compelled to kill at least one of EVERYTHING. Their typical progression was “Kill X of the mobs in the general area.” Once you were finished, a bot appeared with a new quest, giving “Kill three times X of the mobs in the general area.” Finally, a “Kill this elite mob” quest would appear.
Something I discovered though was, you should never fall behind in these quests. Don’t get the attitude of “I’ll come across enough as I complete the quest” because you never do. I found after falling behind the third time that its better to complete the Bonus quests before you move on.
The quests themselves however, had one aspect which I initially wasn’t thrilled by, but eventually got drawn into, and will probably be the biggest drawcard for the non-MMO crowd. Most questgivers are similar to BioWare’s other titles, where you walk up and are brought into an interactive cutscene. The characters make sense, and have superb voice acting (Sorry Chris Metzen, and Bat-Boss/Alysrazor/Cigarette-smoking-woman) which feels very much like Gears of War or Mass Effect (so I’m told on the last one). During each interaction, you have options like “Flirt” which have real consequences (I had a female character with a male companion who got jealous and lost Affection stat if I flirted). The quests also have morality tests in the form of “You can hand the slave collars to the cops for destruction, or the Senator who ordered them” giving you Light and Dark points. The points factor later on with Light or Dark gear, which apparently is a big complaint in the community. If you a) redo repeatable questlines to see the other results or b) choose a middle line or an RPG choice structure, then you can be left short on having Light or Dark, and there’s not much ‘grey-side’ equipment available yet.
Probably the second most significant improvement I found was the interactive storyline. Each class has one, which threads its way through everything you do. By level 15, you get a ship, which is awesome, though its mostly a major zone movement thing. All the way from Level 1 onwards though, you get your own private areas to complete quests, and your own contacts and experience. The private areas also are instanced meaning that when you enter, you don’t have 50 other Smugglers waiting around the quest giver, or killing the mobs you need before you can talk to them.
As part of the story you pick up a companion, one for each class, that helps you along your way the entire path. They can be a real help while you’re learning, and as long as you gear them up as you progress, they stay just as powerful as you, if not more-so. My only gripe was that their specialised gear (tagged with the character specifically) came at a cost of passing on token rewards on the class quest lines.
SW:TOR hooks you in like a BioWare game. You get involved in the characters and their motivations etc, and you get the feeling that you’re really a part of it. Then the other players turn up. Instances have a quest stream and a lot of phasing, and it feels almost like the old PnP Star Wars days, but then you get someone who comes along and goes “Lol I NEED” on items that are completely wrong for them, and the player who its completely right for starts a diatribe and threatens to quit, and so on. Those instances totally broke the immersion and I ended up skipping Heroic (group) quests, and skipping Flashpoints (dungeons) because I felt better in the single player game.
Admittedly this may have something to do with the fact that I was racing to see if I could get to L20 before the Beta ended (I got in on Sunday at 11am, and was home Monday my time in Aus), because in the WoW open beta (omg yes 7 years ago) I got to L19 before it ended. All of the work finding a healer meant that Flashpoints were very hard to organise, and single player was just a better investment in time.
I’ll put a special section in on crafting because I really quite liked the system. You do not personally craft anything, your companions do it. When you’ve only got one, if you send him off to craft, then you’re running solo, but at L15 when you get your ship, you get another companion that can be used to do all the grunt work.
A character gets 3 professions. A Gathering skill (I chose Scavenging) that is used to collect items out in the world as you pass by. This forms the basis of your general raw materials. At lower skill levels you only need to Gather to be able to craft your items. The second skill is your Crafting skill. This is what you make items with, whether its Armstech (my choice) for weapons, Armourtech, Biochem or other item generating skills. This is where the end product comes from. The third skill, which falls in between is your Mission skill, in my case Investigation. As well as telling your companion to craft items, you can send them on missions to investigate certain things (at a cost to you), which if they succeed will bring back items. Investigation can bring back weapons tech, like chips that go with the raw materials, or companion gifts, to make your companions affection rise.
Once I got my ship, my Droid was eternally crafting or on missions, but this caused one unforseen issue. As items are crafted, or missions completed, the results end up in your bag. For me this meant having 20 odd blaster barrels in my bags until I hatched on a devious plan. The ability to reverse engineer items meant that I could turn the blaster barrels back into raw materials (albeit less than it cost to make) which took up less space. Once I got to a Cargo Hold Access (bank) I’d dump all the raw materials back into the bank. Your companions quite happily crafted out of the materials in your bag no matter how far they were away, and once those were used up, they’d start drawing on the stuff in the bank. All in all it meant a bit of bag juggling (the bag expansions are credit based, and relatively expensive)
Yeah, you knew it was coming, and the comparison to WoW was the major rantfest in General chat in most zones till I’d levelled above the pack. So here’s my breakdown of similarities.
Of all the MMO’s I’ve come across, this is the closest I’d call to a competitor to WoW. Unlike a lot of other games like Rift or Warhammer, this will draw subscribers away not because they’re bored with WoW, but because SWTOR actually holds the same shiny new joy that WoW did at one point for everyone. I didn’t get to see the end-game, so I can’t say whether it’ll be a long-term competitor, but with the speed I levelled, if the end-game doesn’t hold people’s attention, they’ll play the game 8 times through to 50 and leave it there. Hopefully that won’t be the case.
Whether it will draw me away from WoW, I don’t know, but I have gotten my pre-order in, so we’ll see.