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Thursday, November 5, 2015

May The Force Be With Us

Earlier this year I unsubscribed from The Elder Scrolls Online. It was a fun and challenging MMO. But after a year it was time to move onto other games, namely Elite: Dangerous and World of Warships. And I'm still playing those games, but the newness has worn off and I'm not playing them as often. In fact, with World of Warships there has been a steady influx of the same trolls that plaque World of Tanks, and that has taken some of the fun out of it for sure. I'll still play it, but I am limiting myself to two nights a week, and even at that I might cut it off early as I did last night. I just wish I could turn off the stupid chat window at times, but that's not what this post is about.

This post is about something I've been resisting for a long time, well two years actually but that is a long time in most instances. It all started after I left Eve Online and started looking for another MMO to try. I eventually settled on The Elder Scrolls Online. But there were two others recommended to my by readers and I seriously considered both. However, I decided to wait for Elite: Dangerous to scratch my sci-fi itch, and so it did. But life is change, and I found the itch reasserting itself because though Elite: Dangerous is grand and beautiful, you can't get out of your spaceship. :/

That brought me back to thinking about the other two MMO options. Those are, of course, Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) and Star Trek Online (STO.) Between the two, we all know which is getting all the hype at he moment. I am as vulnerable to that hype as the next person who stood in line for HOURS (unheard of at the time) to see Star Wars the day it released. And to this day the MMO I've had the most fun in hands down was Star Wars Galaxies (pre-nerf.) And then Jingles on Monday's mingle had to go on and on and on about playing Knights of the Fallen Empire all weekend long.

Well, I just couldn't take it. He just kept going on and on about how good the story line in Knights of the Fallen Empire is, and it reminded my so much of Dragon Age (a game I thoroughly enjoyed) that... well... this happened.

Mabrick'bat

Am I enjoying it you wonder? Well, I created the account, subscribed (so I could get into Knights,) and started a new first level character to learn the game (because I wasn't going to just dive right in with a 60th level anything in a game I've never played) and now I'm at 13th level. And all I've done is follow the smuggler's primary story line to here:

Smuggler Prologue

I don't like my name. Mabrick by itself was already taken so I resorted to a sort of Mabrick with a number suffix system I've used before. For some reason it just doesn't "look good" in the fonts they use in-game. It's a personal preference for sure, but I have to look at it all the time and it's gotten to be annoying. Fortunately I get a free character rename and that will solve the issue - mostly. I still need to be me in the game though and I've always had a Mabrick in there somewhere. Fortunately the tutorial system taught me about the legacy system when I got to the level where that feature became applicable.

And as an aside, I really do like how the tutorial system works. It feeds you game knowledge a little at a time as you need it. The first time you encounter an enemy for instance it will give you the option of running the tutorial. A glowing, pulsating question mark appears in the lower half center of your screen and persists until you click on it. If you feel you need help, you can do that and read one to several screens of information with illustrations if necessary. Or, if you've already figured out how to blast away with your blaster you can just ignore it. It's not forced and the pulsing question mark is not all that annoying (though it is a little) and out of the way so it doesn't interfere with the user interface. If you run through a whole series of events that trigger a tutorial, they will simply queue up for review later. It's informative ans unobtrusive and that's worth gold.

But back to the name issue and the legacy system. SWTOR has eight different character classes and you can play all of the story lines for all eight, though depending on if you're subscription or free-to-play you may have to purchase slots. I'm not sure about that; SWTOR noob here. But it's a really nice feature. And what's more, all of your characters are related through the Legacy System. If I've got it right (still a noob,) you pick a surname and all your characters share that surname. And in a really clever trick, if your first characters become really famous and skilled, your subsequent characters will receive certain bonuses and skills themselves because of their elder relative's exploits. But don't think of this like a traditional biological family. That's be silly as you can play many races in SWTOR. No, this is more like a household where not everyone need be related. Like in the Ancillary trilogy by Anne Leckie. So I'll chose an appropriate Mabrick inspired surname, and change the name of my current character.

So what else do I like about SWTOR. I like the story line. It's been fun. It hasn't been terribly difficult mind you, it's just been fun. Like in Dragon Age, you get to select your answers and those answers have a direct bearing on how events unfold and what the various NPCs think of you. Also like Dragon Age, SWTOR has a companion system. Your actions matter to the story and that is one of the things I really enjoyed in Dragon Age. I am enjoying it in SWTOR just as much, and when I do get to Knights of the Fallen Empire, I think I will like it even more as Bioware's evidently kicked it up a notch.

Something else I quite enjoyed, and lost an hour of sleep to last night, :D is the Flashpoint mission. I'm not really sure how to explain Flashpoints. I suppose I'll start by telling you how I got into my first one. As part of the story line, I had to go here:

Coruscant

You see, this scoundrel stole my ship and fled here with it, and I aim to get it back. When I arrived at the star port to hop a shuttle to Coruscant, I was given a choice. I could take the ordinary every person shuttle, or I could take the rebel VIP shuttle. Of course I took the VIP shuttle. It was a free ticket and I know a free first class upgrade when I see one. Everything seemed fine until Empire forces attacked the ship in search of an "ambassador" of whose activities they did not approve. That launched me into a whole series of sub-missions to secure the ship, board the Imperial Star Destroyer that had us in a tractor beam, disable the beam, kill a Sith apprentice and rescue the ambassador. Just that Flashpoint took me from 10th level to 13th. And it was hella fun to boot! The body count after that one was easily over a hundred. :)

There are so many other things I could write about from just my few hours of playing SWTOR. But this post is already over 1200 words, and I try to keep them around 1000. I know we've all got day jobs... well some people don't but their the exception to the rule now aren't they? So I'll just wrap this up by throwing something to all of you. Have you played SWTOR? What should I look to be doing in it? What did you find most fun? Leave me a comment and let me know. I've lots of reading to do on just how the game works, so any advice you give about goals and aspirations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks if advance, and, because I must, may the force be with you!

4 comments:

  1. I'd still recommend STO instead of SWTOR.
    My 3 biggest reasons:
    1.) I'm playing STO.
    2.) Both can be played for free, but STO does not restrict you as much as SWTOR did when I last tried if you don't want to pay. I don't mind paying for something I like, but prefer when the free/pay aspect is more honest.
    3.) SWTOR is like WoW in sci-fi setting. I played a helluva lot of WoW and I'm bored of that. STO ground is similar, but still a bit different and there's the space part which is a very good mix of simulator action (eg. Star Conflict) and ship fitting strategy (eg. EvE or any other RPG).

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  2. A long time ago in a place not that far away I installed SW:TOR and played the imperial agent, it was enjoyable but I never returned to it after failing to solo that first flashpoint? 'instance' :)
    Although I managed to get past the first two or three bosses.

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  3. I found out later that wasn't what I was supposed to do. In fact, I completely missed the story line mission back on Ord Mantell. I had to circle back around to Ord Mantell to pick it back up. Oops.

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  4. […] as I’m on that subject, I did settle on a new name for my character. You remember from my initial and only post last week, I was unsatisfied with the name I’d picked, especially after learning of the legacy […]

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