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Monday Musings: Lightning Edition

Another week gone by, and another toon leveled to 60. This time it was my lightning specced Sorcerer.

  • I now have four level 60 characters, Mercenary, Marauder, Sniper and now Sorcerer.
  • I do have several pub toons that I’m ready to level, so I hope to get at least one of those done this week.
  • My decision to level my Socerer was once again Crew Skills based.
  • She’s my only Armortech and I wanted to be able craft Reflex and Skill augments. I was mostly looking to get the Reflex augments for my Merc.
  • I’m happy to say that in addition to being level 60, all her Crew Skills are 500. She has the aforementioned Armortech, Scavenging, and Slicing.
  • I like slicing now. Picking up the slicing containers is a nice source of free income.
  • The lockboxes can sometimes be rare quality which isn’t a bad chunk of change.
  • I like the way BioWare has handled income in this game. My Sorcerer started out with 27K credits.
  • She currently has 331K credits, and that’s after spending at least 100K on increasing my inventory, and pulling out all the mods, etc from basic 60 gear and putting those into her outfit.
  • When it comes to outfits I’m somewhat of a walking cliche. My Sorc. is decked out in Thana Vesh’s armor.
  • It’s a great armor set, and as I said somewhat cliche.
  • Actually I suppose it’s more suited for a Sith Warror than an Inquisitor. It does look awesome though.
  • Once again I dinged 60 in the middle of Rishi.
  • I’m always torn between continuing the story or halting everything and doing some housekeeping.
  • I opted to head to the fleet and buy whatever 186 gear that I could.
  • I love that training costs have gone away. The next step will be to automatically give us our abilities when we ding.
  • I do like having a use for my Dr. Oggurobb statue though.
  • The lightning Sorc is one of my favorite advanced classes.
  • It has so much lightning, and it is so much fun.
  • I’ve heard some people say that it a fun class once again.
  • I didn’t know that it had become un-fun.
  • In my defense I didn’t run any Ops. or Flashpoints on her during Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
  • I mentioned that the Lightning Spec has a lot of lighting.
  • Seriously, we’re talking a lot – a lot.
  • According to the guide it looks like it has too much.
  • I noticed that Force Lightning and Shock don’t fit into the PvE single target rotation.
  • I was going to talk about how abilities that aren’t used should be removed, but then I read the tooltips and see how they could fit in with PvP.
  • As a general rule it’s a good idea to read the tooltips on all abilities, talents, etc.
  • After I dinged 59, I started to notice that Affliction was getting refreshed on my targets.
  • I wasn’t sure if this was bug, or something I just didn’t notice before.
  • I could swear that I saw it’s duration running out and having to re-apply it.
  • It turns out at level 59 you gain a passive ability called Charged Reaction. Direct damage from Chain Lightning and Crushing Darkness refreshes Affliction.
  • This plus Force Lightning and Shock not being part of the rotation really makes for a simple and fun rotation for Lightning.
  • Force Storm is pretty awesome too. I think Death from Above has the best AoE animation, but Force Storm is a better AoE ability.
  • Suffice it to say, I’m glad I leveled up my Sorc. and will definitely do more with her this time around.
  • If you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the story. I’ve a bit of rescuing to do, and I’ve let certain people remain captive longer than they should.

May the Force Be With You!

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You Win Some, You Lose Some

It’s been my experience that players are very good at identifying when something in an MMO is too good be true. So when I read Eric Musco’s response to the Contraband Slot Machine, I knew right away I must have one. In a strange turn of events though, it was the player base complaining that it was overpowered and it was BioWare defending it. Here’s a bit of what he had to say about it.

 Eric Musco

We know that there have been many questions about the Contraband Slot Machine and its intent. Here are a few notes on it:

  • The Contraband Slot Machine is not bugged.
  • It is 100% not an exploit to use the Slot Machine.
  • If you feel the desire to sell access to your Stronghold, that’s totally up to you. As a reminder, do not scam people as that is against ToS.
  • We added the Slot Machine as a fun idea based on the positive feedback from the Nightlife event, so spend those credits to your heart’s content!

I dumped 3.6 millions credits into the GTN, and was soon pulling the virtual lever and shouting, “winner, winner, orobird dinner!” over and over again. The slot machine was amazing. It was as if I had found a leftover relic from the ancient Rakata empire that was made out of pieces of the Starforge.

The win rate was down right absurd, as it should be. In typical gambling establishments these machines are rigged in favor of the house, and I had put the slot machine in my house. Ergo, I was the house, and therefore should win; and win I did.

So let’s talk about what made (note the past tense here) the slot machine so awesome and apparently game-breaking. Well game damaging anyway. Here are the prizes you could win.

  • Cartel Market Certificates – These are used to purchase items from the various cartel market reputation vendors.
  • Contraband Resale Corporation Rep. tokens – These are used to raise your reputation with the Contraband Resale Corporation.
  • Scavenged Scrap – Used to purchase common quality crafting materials.
  • Assorted Droid Parts – Used to purchase rare quality crafting materials.
  • Jawa Junk – Used to purchase Artifact quality crafting materials, including grade 11 mats.
  • Contraband Cartel Chip – Gives you a free roll.

What you have to keep in mind is that the win rate on all of those items was (again, note the past tense) exorbitant. If you sunk twenty coins into the machine you were bound to win at least one of every item in that list, and likely multiples of everything.

What got most players in a keruffle was the Jawa Junk and easy access to the grade 11 crafting materials. You know, the mats you never get from running Diplomacy, Investigation and similar missions? Jawa Junk is anything but junk. It’s real credits, and the slot machine was dispensing it freely. It also had the side effect of people talking excessively about Jawas and their junk in general chat, but then again when was general chat ever anything but inane chatter.

The Contraband Resale rep. was a nice perk in it’s own right. For players like myself who didn’t have the reputation, it granted access to a cornucopia of items that could have only been acquired if you had a Hutt sized bank account.

Head over to the GTN and get a price check on hover chairs, command thrones and, Revan and Darth Nihilus’ masks. Well done, if you have the credits on hand to buy one of each. With the reputation and a few Cartel Market Certificates you can get these items for a fraction of the credits you could on the open market.

The reputation also grants you access to purchase chest pieces from the Embargoed Items vendor. That’s stuff you can’t find anywhere but here.

Given the rate at which Cartel Market Certificates were dropping, you were pretty much guaranteed to be able to buy any of those items for any toon. Remember too, the certificates are good for any Cartel Market item that you have the reputation. Normally you could only get the certificates from Cartel packs. This was going to change that.

And what if you didn’t need the Contraband rep? No problem, because tokens can be sold for credits. Enough credits in fact, to pay for the Contraband chips you need to play the slot machine, which were only 500 credits (once more I point you to the past tense).

So that’s what the developers gave us, and it’s also what they took away.

On Wednesday a patch was released and maintenance workers from the Star Cluster Casino sliced all of the machines and nerfed them to ground. The cost for the Contraband chips was increased to 750 credits. The drop rate on the scrap items and certificates is next to nothing. Factional walker mounts were added as rewards, but as someone on reddit pointed out, it’s quite possible that drop rate on those is’nt next to nothing, but may very well be nothing.

Just a quick aside here, but that’s some serious credits in that screen shot.

Still not sure if there is really a slot maschine mount or BW is just trolling usw

Now when I pull the virtual lever I either lose, win a chip, or get a rep. token, but not enough tokens to pay for my chips. I’ve gotten one piece of scrap, and one certificate, and it’ll probably take a few million credits to win a Walker.

So, was the slot machine overpowered? Did it need to be nerfed? If the goal was to make grade 11 artifacts cheap and readily available, or if the goal was to diminish the need to run crew skill missions for those artifacts, then job well done. The slot machine was indeed working as intended.

If the goal was to create a steady supply of Cartel Market Certificates without needing to buy packs, then mission accomplished.

Alas, that wasn’t the goal for those items, and so yeah, while I had no issues with the slot machine, I understand why it needed to be changed.

I knew going in that purchasing a slot machine in it’s pre-nerf state was a risk. As Gault is fond of telling me, “you win some, you lose some, and you just lost some.”, and it’s now time for me to try and recoup that 3.6 million credits as best I can.

*sigh* Back to work.

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Dressed to Kill: The Imperial Agent

Spoiler Alert: This post contains plot details from the Imperial Agent story. If you have not played that story line, and don’t wish to know any details from it, then you may wish to skip parts of this post.

One of my many obsessions with this game is finding the right look for my characters and their companions. Looking good is no easy feat and can easily consume both time and credits. Lots of credits.

The folks over at TOR Fashion do an amazing job collecting ideas from the community on how to make our characters look great, and that’s exactly where I found the look I wanted for my Imperial Agent. Props to Cillyan of the Jedi Covenant for submitting this incredible armor set. It’s a mish-mash of different armor sets that blend perfectly together that give the Agent a look that says I’m still loyal to the Empire, but with an edge.

Okay, here’s the part where I tell you why this outfit suits me, and I dive into the Agent story line; specifically the end of the Agent story. Feel free to jump straight to the table that lists the gear in this outfit if you don’t wish to be spoiled. The Agent was my first character and as I went through the story, I played him as someone that loved being a part of Imperial Intelligence, and hated the Sith. Well maybe not hate, but someone who thought Imperial Intelligence was the reason that the Empire stood any chance of winning a war against the Republic. As Keeper states,

This isn’t glamorous work. We’re sanitation workers—we clean up after the military and the Sith and do the jobs no one else will. Without us, though, the Empire falls apart. So we do whatever is necessary—even if it’s thankless and ugly.

I totally bought into that philosophy while leveling up my Agent, and I totally paid for it in the end. You see, at the end of the story Imperial Intelligence is dissolved. There are several options you can choose for your next path. I chose to be a free agent. I felt it was the best of nothing but bad options.

As we fast forward to Makeb and now Shadow of Revan there is a place for the Agent in today’s Empire. Sith Intelligence has replaced Imperial Intelligence, and there is now room to see the Agent in a different light. Someone who is loyal to the Empire but free to operate in the shadows with complete autonomy.

To that end I wanted to give my character the classic look of an Imperial Agent, but with a darker tone. Something that conveys Imperial loyalty with a touch of free lance special ops. I feel that this outfit does just that.

Let’s talk about the gear. Here are the items that make up this set.

Slot Item Unify Colors Dye/Crystal
Head Shock-Dispersing Headgear Yes
Chest RD-03A Recon Jacket Black & Deep Red
Hands Juhani’s Gloves Yes
Waist Casual Vandel Belt Yes
Legs Darth Sion’s Leggings Yes
Feet Arkan’s Boots Yes
Wrists Diabolist Bracers Yes
Weapon Cademimu Marksman Eliminator Your Choice
Offhand

And here is how it all comes together and looks.

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Sold on the look? Here’s how you can go about obtaining all of these items. Prepare to make your wallet cry though. Most of these items can be found on the GTN. Bear in mind that this is a mix of gear, so if you want to outfit your companions with the same look, there’s not much you can do other than assemble a separate set for them. Getting all the pieces in your collection will take some work, and it won’t be cheap.

The jacket is the centerpiece of the uniform. There are essentially two styles of Imperial Officer chest pieces. The one that you see in the Clandestine set is a little more ornate. It has the tassle on the front. The one used for this set is the Recon jacket, and it has a cleaner look. Another chest piece with the same look as the Recon, is the Hammer Lookout’s Jacket which drops from normal Hammer Station. This can be easily soloed at high levels.

The jacket isn’t adaptive gear. It’s medium armor. Keep that in mind if you want this look on a companion or non-agent character. You can find a list of Imperial uniform jackets and accessories over at Chemayla’s SWTOR Styles. I happened to have what I was looking for in my inventory, and of course you can find them on the GTN.

The great thing about this jacket is it doesn’t have much in the way of a secondary color. It’s really just the collar pins, which means almost the entirety of the chest piece will have the primary color of your dye. That means you can get an entirely black outfit for cheap. Take that greedy Cartel Market!

Darth Sion’s leggings are part of the Bounty Packs. On Shadowlands you can get a full set of his armor for 325,000 credits. Getting the full set gives you the option to add it to your collection and the pants will always be available to you. The pants themselves can be had for at little as 50,000 credits. I like the solid color and slightly baggy look. My agent looks comfortable.

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Juhani’s armor set was part of the Starfighter packs. The gloves go for around 75,000 credits. I’ve seen the chest and legs sell for 10,000 – 25,000 credits, and other pieces sell upwards of 200,000 credits. As of this posting there were no bracers for sale on the GTN, so getting a full set to add to your collection may prove difficult.

The Casual Vandal armor was also part of the Starfighter packs. I lucked out and found a lower body armor crate on the GTN for 14,000 credits. Individual belts sell for around 100,000 credits though.

The Arkan’s armor set was another item from the Starfighter packs. This is a pretty small armor set containing chest, belt, pants and boots. I found the boots for 10,000 credits, and an upper body armor crate for 20,000. Someone who had a vague understanding of pricing put the pants up for 45,000, so I bought the whole set. If people are being smart about the GTN, the boots will run anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 credits.

The Diabolist armor was from the Contraband packs, so it’s the oldest armor in the set, which means it will be harder to obtain and expensive. The bracers will cost you about 80,000 credits. A crate containing the full set of Diabolist armor will cost about 300,000.

The head piece is medium armor, and can be found on the GTN. It has the same look as the Adept Scout head piece, which is of course adaptive, but much more expensive. I’m a big fan of head pieces that allow you to see the character’s face, and this certainly allows that. It’s also looks like something an Agent my wear.

The weapon used by Cillyan is the Infiltrator’s Compact Sniper Rifle, available on the Cartel Market for 400 coins. I’ve seen it on the GTN for close to 1,000,000. That’s more than I’m willing to pay, but the Cademimu Marksman Eliminator has a very similar look and drops from General Ortol in Cademimu normal. Easily solable at level 60 and even lower. I got mine in two runs.

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Finding the right look for your characters can really enhance how you feel about them when you play. If you’ve got an Imperial Agent in your list of toons, consider this look as you fight the evils that threaten the Empire.

May the Force Be With You!

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Monday Musings: Here We Go Again

My resolution to blog more about about SWTOR? Yeah, I just might achieve it. I’ve been spending time leveling up various characters and reacclimating myself to the game. In the couple of weeks that I’ve been back here are some things I’ve noticed.

  • I’ve leveled three toons to 60 now – Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior and Imperial Agent.
  • The Sith Warrior was my least favorite.
  • I only chose to level him because he’s my only character with the Artifice Crew Skill.
  • This time Artificers can craft the level 192 relics, and since I’m not running Operations yet, I could use those.
  • This meant I had to level my Sith Warrior, which was my least favorite.
  • He’s my least favorite in part because his gear sucked. He’s 60 and still has level 20 relics equipped. No joke.
  • He’s my least favorite in part because his companions’ gear also sucks. We’re talking mid level 45 gear on most of them.
  • He’s also my least favorite because I have no clue how to play him. I just mash buttons, and prioritize hitting the glowing ones.
  • Given that I have no clue how to play him, and that his companions have crappy gear, I did surprising well while leveling. Only a couple of deaths that I can remember.
  • My Warrior of course got good gear as he leveled, but that did not help my companions.
  • I chose to level with Quinn because he was a healer. I don’t have HK-51 or Treek on my Warrior.
  • The problem with Quinn is he doesn’t share gear with my Warrior.
  • In retrospect I should have leveled with Jaesa and given her my gear as I upgraded.
  • This is something I’ll fix when I get to my Jedi Knight.
  • I did not have this problem on my Bounty Hunter mostly because he was in 180 gear and his companion was in 168.
  • My Bounty Hunter is a Mercenary and I leveled him using Gault.
  • I play well enough on most toons such that I don’t need a healer all the time, so I like to play with my favorites.
  • Gault is definitely a favorite. If you’re in the market to level a Bounty Hunter I highly recommend that you use Gault throughout the story. It’s very entertaining.
  • I hit 60 on my Imperial Agent last night.
  • The IA was my first character. I thought he’d be my main, but I like the Mercenary better.
  • One of the turn-offs with the Sniper was cover.
  • I noticed that a lot of my IA’s abilities can now be fired out of cover. When did this happen?
  • My reflex of course is to always enter cover, but I like the fact that I can DPS out of cover.
  • I’m not sure how big a fan of this my healers will be when I start running Ops.
  • I leveled up using Dr. Loken as my companion.
  • I used him in healer mode, but I may start to use him more in DPS mode.
  • If you’ve never used him as DPS, he turns into a Rakghoul.
  • The other IA companion I like to use is Ensign Raina Temple. She’s a Force wielder that uses blasters.
  • How uncivilized.
  • Both Loken and Temple share the same gear as my IA. I’m a big fan of this.
  • It makes it so easy to give them hand-me-downs and have decently geared companions.
  • Of course the best class in this regard is the Trooper. All of their companions use heavy armor and have Aim as their primary stat.
  • All of his except the droid.
  • I’ll save my thoughts on droid gearing for another day though. Spoiler alert – I’m not a fan of how it works.
  • BioWare did a really good job providing gear for characters as they leveled up through Shadow of Revan.
  • Of course if they just gave us a GSI battle droid to level with we wouldn’t need any gear or companions.
  • I’m hoping that BioWare adds an HK-51 customization kit that will make him look like a GSI droid.
  • Even if he’s not an actual GSI droid, enemies will run away in fear at just the thought that he might be one.
  • Seriously, if the GSI ever decide to take over the Galaxy we’re all finished.
  • On that note, I’ll call it day.
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Out of the Shadows

Happy New Year everyone! Let me just say if you visited this site at all during 2014, congratulations, because that’s probably one visit more than I made last year. I’m not big into New Year’s resolutions, but I have resolved to start blogging again about SWTOR. I still love and play this game, and I think I’m now poised to strike a good balance between it and World of Warcraft.

As a reminder, if you play World of Warcraft and love Hunters you can check out what I’m writing at The Brew Hall, and hear what I’m saying on the Hunting Party Podcast. Of course if you’re here then you obviously play The Old Republic, so let’s dive into that, shall we?

The last post I made was back in May right after BioWare released it’s latest insider video highlighting the then upcoming Galactic Strongholds. A lot has happened since then including the release the of the Shadow of Revan expansion, which is where I’d like to begin.

If nothing else, BioWare knows how to tell a good story, and Shadow of Revan is no exception. They’ve done an outstanding job cultivating new characters and segueing from one major story line to the next. I won’t go into any spoilers here, but I enjoyed the new story even if it felt a bit short.

I hit level 60 on my first toon within a day of starting the expansion. I wasn’t expecting it to be long a journey, but I felt it was a much shorter journey than Rise of the Hutt Cartel (RotHC). Unlike Rise of the Hutt Cartel though, there were enough story quests to get you to level 60. In RotHC I finished the main quests on Makeb and needed to do daily quests to reach the level 55 cap. Not the case in Shadow of Revan. In fact, if you never did the pre-revan tactical flashpoints, you can now do them solo, and you can easily find yourself at level 58 before starting the expansion.

Of course if you haven’t finished Makeb, and are level 55, you can always use that as a starting point. Fear not, there is plenty of content to get you 60.

I mentioned the ability to do the pre-Revan tactical flashpoints solo. This tech. carries over to the two new tactical flashpoints as well. I like that BioWare allows you to experience the entire story without having to stop, find a group, or skip parts of the story in the name of hitting the level cap.

It’s a quick journey to the end and to the end-game which is ultimately where you want to be. I had a lot of basic comms going in, so when I hit 60 I was able to get a full set of 186 gear (the level 60 starter gear) for myself and a companion. My only complaint is that because I was over the basic comm cap, I couldn’t earn any more until I spent them down below the cap. The only items I needed to get were the basic level 60 gear, which you can’t purchase unless you’re level 60. In other words, there were a ton of basic comms that I missed out on while leveling because I was capped. Would it kill BioWare to let us purchase the gear, but not equip it until we’re 60?

Mob density and aggro is better than it was on Makeb, but there are still some quest bottlenecks due to slow respawns and lack of specific mobs needed to complete quests. For example there is a quest to kill Stonerays. There is a cave near the quest giver full of Stonerays that respawn very fast. Unfortunately, they are not the right Stonerays needed for the quest, and you are forced to ride around finding the right Stonerays which appear in limited quantities.

BioWare also hasn’t discovered mob sharing yet. This is something that WoW has implemented for certain quest mobs, and I believe Wildstar has a similar system. The idea is simple, as long as you hit the npc you get credit for the kill, regardless of who hit it first. This wouldn’t need to be done for all mobs, but there are definitely some where this would be of great benefit.

Case in point, on Yavin 4 there is a quest to kill some specific leaders. They aren’t hard to kill, but they suffer from very long respawn timers. We’re talking 5-10 minutes here. This creates an unnecessary bottle neck, and leads to players camping spawns and behaving badly.

The solution to this isn’t complicated. Have them respawn in 30 second or less, and allow mob sharing. There problem solved. Thankfully this isn’t a daily quest.

One other thing to note is that BioWare took the time to add a small questline specific to each class. I’ve done the Bounty Hunter and Sith Warrior thus far and enjoyed both. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for the other classes. It’s nice that they took the time to give each class a call back to their original story.

Once you hit level 60, it’s pretty much the same as it was in RotHC. Try to get comms, and run Operations to continue gearing up. I haven’t stepped into either of those yet, and thanks to the 12x XP pre-order event I’ve got an army of alts to level up.

Overall I’m pleased with the Shadow of Revan expansion, and look forward to writing more about it the coming days.

May the Force Be With You!

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Sky Palace? Yes, Please

Following on the heels of Producer Bruce MaClean’s Summer of SWTOR roadmap, Eric Musco and Jack Wood presented the lastest Old Republic Insider video.

Galactic Strongholds is still a way off, but players subscribed by May 11th will get a Nar Shadaa Sky Palace with five rooms unlocked.

My main toon is a Bounty Hunter, so a Sky Palace high above the seedy world of Nar Shadaa is just perfect him.

The closest thing we have to strongholds right now is ships. I spend a fair bit of time in my ships. They have everything I need to conduct business in a small covenient space, and it’s away from the distraction of other players.

I hope the Sky Palace offers this and much, much more. I’m very much looking forward to this.

I’m also curious to see how strongholds compares to the Garrison feature coming in World of Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor.

2014 is shaping up to be a great year for player housing in both my favorite MMOs.

Star Wars™: The Old Republic Insider™ Video — May 2014

 

 

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A New Look

The search for good a looking armor set for my Mercenary continues. You can check out this post for previous iterations of my gear.

My current gear set is the new Interceptor armor. It’s a Cartel Market set, that you can purchase from the GTN for less than 20K credits. Look for the crates that contain multiple items, they usually sell for less than the individual armor pieces.

I’m only using the chest, gloves, belt, legs and boots from the set. The helmet is the Bounty Tracker’s Hat, a rep. reward from the Bounty Contract event. The blasters are also rep. items from that event.

I’m using the White/Red dye module, but I’m going to change it, as it’s a little too bright for my tastes.

Here are all the pieces of my current gear.

The outfit was inspired by a guildmate who posted this picture of her Mercenary on Twitter. Her chestpiece is from the Elite Regulator armor set. It’s tied to the Cartel Market Contraband Resale Corporation reputation which is not easy to obtain. Her belt and blasters are different from what I’m using as well.

I’m pleased with this set for now, but who knows when the winds will shift again.

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The Summer of SWTOR 2014

Senior Producer, Bruce Maclean announced BioWare’s plans for the Summer of SWTOR 2014, and it does not look to disappoint.

 Bruce MacLean

Hi again everyone!

I’m here to provide an updated look at the upcoming Summer of SWTOR in light of our recent Galactic Strongholds announcements. The biggest changes to our Summer plans outside of Galactic Strongholds are Game Update 2.8. Here’s a look at the next four months including that update (and not including the May 4th, May 11th, and July 15th rewards deadlines already mentioned in Galactic Strongholds letter):

Game Update 2.8: on June 10th

  • Nar Shaddaa Casino. For the first time, players are invited to the casinos on Nar Shaddaa to try their luck on the slot machines. Credits can be used to purchase tokens, which in turn can be used on slot machines. Lucky winners will receive certificates that can be traded in for unique rewards that will only be distributed during the Nar Shaddaa Nightlife event. This event will run from June 10th to August 19th.
  • Double Fleet Requisition, Warzone Comms, and Credits from PvP matches. For three weeks at a time, events will run that yield increased rewards for participating players. Galactic Starfigher will grant players double the Fleet Requisition and double the credit rewards they would normally get. Warzones will similarly give players double the standard Warzone Comms and double the credit rewards. The increased rewards only apply to the rewards on the scorecard at the end of matches, not the rewards you get from daily/weekly missions. The Starfighter event will run from 2.8 – 2.8.1. The Warzone event will be active from 2.8.1 – 2.8.2.
  • Groupfinder Operations Overhaul. Story Mode Operations will be more accessible to endgame players (levels 50 – 55). The Operations section in the GroupFinder window will list available Operations on a pre-determined schedule, rotating in different Operations every few days. Players who meet the level requirement of the Operation will be Bolstered, removing the requirement for endgame gear. Rewards have also been improved, making this a great opportunity for players to earn Ultimate Commendations and experience new content. These operations will also be for 16-man mode to ensure faster queue times (both 8 and 16 man need 2 tanks and that is typically the gating factor). 16-man is also more forgiving to mistakes and should increase the chances of a successful group.
  • Nightmare Mode Dread Palace. Face the ultimate challenge, the Dread Masters in their palace with new Nightmare Mode mechanics and difficulty.
  • Nightmare Dread Fortress update. The NM Fortress difficulty buff will be removed. All of the new NM Fortress mechanics are still in place but it should now be more accessible to larger groups. Fair warning: the unique title for defeating Nightmare Fortress with the buff present will never again be available to those who don’t unlock it prior to this game update.
  • Two New Starfighter Variants will be available to pilots on both sides of the conflict. The Skirmisher Gunship fills a sniper role and brings dogfighting capabilities to the table, while the Assault Bomber is a heavy fighter that focuses on either mines or drones.
  • The usual host of additional features, including some graphics improvements and class balance changes.

Events! We will be running every one* of our major recurring events over the period between 2.8 and 2.9. Events include:

  • Double XP Weekend
  • Gree Event
  • Bounty Contract Week

*Except the Rakghoul Resurgence. Obviously, the Rakghoul plague was completely eliminated the last time, and the galaxy is absolutely safe from another outbreak. Right?

Game Update 2.9 is still on for August 19th with our expanded feature set for Galactic Strongholds Subscriber Early Access. The team is making great progress on Strongholds and we are very excited to share this with you. It’s worth noting that Game Update 2.9 will include the next exciting chapter in the Forged Alliances story arc, and we have a lot of folks working on something very big for later this year that I have yet to give details on.

May the Force be with you,

Bruce Maclean

 

Here are my thoughts.

Gambling on Nar Shadaa – I love it, I just wish it had been Pazaak and not slots. Oh well, there’s always the Pazaak Cantina.

The Group Finder overhaul is interesting and it sounds like players will be able to run Story Mode Operations without having to grind out gear first. This means newly leveled players can earn comms and jump into higher level gear faster. Works for me.

Nightmare mode Dread Palace will also be made more accessible to players. My guild tends to be a bit more casual. This may be enough to get us into harder content.

Bounty week and the Gree events will be coming back. I’m especially looking forward to Gree event as I’m close to Legend rank, and want that shiny blue hamster ball.

Two patches will be out this Summer, 2.8 and 2.9 along with the much anticipated Galactic Strongholds.  I’m really looking foward to the Nar Shadaa Sky Palace.

Summer is usually a dead time for MMOs, but the Summer of SWTOR is shaping up to be a lot of fun.

backinthesaddle

Back in the Saddle

I’m slowly working my way back into SWTOR. I like to play both this game and World of Warcraft, but I have a hard time focusing on both of them at the same time.

I have to say it’s rough coming back after a couple of months. I noticed that the 180 mods, enhancements, etc. can now be crafted and sold. This includes the level 180 relics. I’m very tempted to purchase a few items from the GTN. They’re pricey though.

Ten million gets me into great relics, and won’t break my bank, but it will set me back a few credits and the ability to earn that back has diminished as this expansion has wore on.

Given that my guild doesn’t typically run heroic Ops, I’m not too far behind the gear  curve. Full 168s with a smattering of 180s. Set bonuses are still 162 though.

Overall stats aren’t too bad for what I’m running. It also looks like Pyro is the flavor of the Month for Mercs now. I’m going to have to give that a serious look.

It’s good be back, but miles to go…

welcomehome

Welcome Home!

BioWare announced their next free digital expansion, Galatic Strongholds. It introduces two highly requested features in player housing and guild flagships. Lots of details are still pending, but it looks like player housing is more than just a new version of player ships. It’s not likely to be as robust as SWG housing was, but you will be able to decorate and customize your home.

Items for your home can be bought from vendors, earned as rewards, purchased from the Cartel Market, and crafted. That’s right crafted! No information on how the crew skills will factor into all this, but I was excited to read that on the official site.

The guild flagship looks to be a group effort to create, which is awesome because guild don’t get much better than TORWars, so I eagerly work forward to helping with that effort.

One other feature coming with Galactic Strongholds is Legacy Storage. I assume this means storage accessible to all characters on your account. A feature long overdue in any MMO.

Players will be able to acquire multiple houses, and it sounds like homes will be upgradeable by purchasing additional rooms. June 14th is the early access date for subscribers.

This Galactic hero is paid in full and ready to move in.

New Galactic Strongholds Announcement Trailer