Patch 2.1 was released yesterday bringing much wanted and needed customization features. I had a blast reconfiguring my characters, and now that coins are spent, and the credits are gone it’s back to business as usual. It’s weird how a simple makeover can make playing a character that much more enjoyable.
Going into it I had a pretty good idea of the changes I wanted to make. Let’s face it, when it comes to species in SWTOR there is a decided lack of diversity to choose from. There’s Human, Blue Human, Green Human, Red Human, Blind Human, Robot Human, Pale Human, Horny Human, Twi’lek, and now Thundercat. I find that I’m very partial to Chiss right now. They did a heck of job with Cathar although I think I liked the original models slightly better, but they’re a nice addition none the less. The two big changes I was looking to make were to red0 my Mercenary and change my Powertech to Cathar.
I did the full makeover with my Mercenary, and he’s a Cyborg no more. I have to say though, BioWare introduced some cool new cybernetic parts that made me rethink things for moment.
Here is the before and the after.
Let’s walk through the changes.
I did a species change from Cyborg to Chiss. This was 792 Cartel Coins (CC). They added a new hair color and a couple of skin color options for Chiss. I really liked one of the new skin colors, but not enough to spend an addition 240 CCs on it. So all of the options I chose were readily available if you were to create a Chiss Bounty Hunter from scratch. Once I found the look I wanted, I then updated all of my gear.
For the armor set I went full Eradicator for the bracers, belt, chest, gloves, legs and boots. For the helmet I chose the Pathfinder’s Visor. For the pistols I went with a pair of D-200 Military Enforcers, and for my ride I’m using the Gurian Shadow, although I’m considering a Praxon Xeno. The only thing I don’t like about this set is that the guns clip through the robe when holstered. I guess the Empire didn’t have Bounty Hunters in mind when they designed the outfit. Other than that, this is a nice assassin style look.
This is me…PewPewPew
The other big change is I converted my Powertech from Chiss to Cathar. One of the downsides of the server consolidations is that a lot of names are no longer available. When I created this character I spent at least thirty minutes trying to find a name. Eventually I started looking and random words that fit well with my legacy name (Fox) and settled on Fursona. I had no idea that Fursona was a thing. Bottom line is, you can’t have a character named Fursona and not have it be a Cathar. ‘Nuff said.
So that was my fun filled yesterday, how did you guys fare?
Game Update 2.1 – Customization will hit the servers tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. This update introduces Cathar, the Appearance Designer Kiosk and armor coloring to the game.
I spent some time on the character creation screen experimenting with potential looks for my characters. Barring any cool new hair styles, I have a pretty good idea of what my Mercenary will look like after tomorrow. I’ll do some before and after shots of this extreme makeover in the next couple of days.
Uncommonly good looking and deadly in one convenient package.
With the completion of my daily quests today, I replaced my last piece of entry level 55 gear. Okay, I still have the Campaign main hand, but other than that one piece – I’m ready to raid! I’m full 162 including both Arkanian relics.
Elite comms just get me side-grades and slightly better stat optimization, and running FPs just gets me a side of headaches if it isn’t a guild run.
In no way am I min/maxed right now, but I am geared for Terror From Beyond HM, and Scum and Villainy HM as well. I’d love it if our Ops team jumped straight into hard modes, but you know what they say, good on paper is one thing, good in practice? Now that’s something else. Best to test the waters in story mode.
So what do you say team MXC, are we ready to save the Galaxy? I sure am!
As I write this the SWTOR servers are being brought down to apply the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion patch. While the servers get a reboot and a fresh start, I would like to remind everyone that expansions are a great opportunity for you to get a fresh start too.
I’m taking this down time do a little self reflection and think about the things I didn’t do but wished I had. Overall I’m pleased with what I was able to accomplish in 1.0. The one thing I would’ve changed is making a point to experience the end-game content sooner than I did, which includes running more Flashpoints and doing Hard/Nightmare Operations.
So while the server team works their magic, here are a few things to contemplate for when they come up tomorrow.
Wished you had run more Operations? Perhaps you wished you did more Nightmare modes? Seek out an Ops team with that goal in mind and go for it.
Wished you had played a DPS instead of a tank or healer? Play a DPS. You pay decent money for this game, you should do what you think is fun.
Wished you were running your own guild? Then start a new guild. Just be prepared to do all the work that goes into running one.
Unhappy with your current guild? Find a new one. In case any of my guildies are reading this, this does not apply to me. I love my guild.
Don’t like your current class or advanced class? Then switch to one you like.
Wished you had run more Flashpoints? Run more Flashpoints then. I know I didn’t run them nearly enough and there are some I still haven’t seen.
Wished you had done more PvP? Then do more PvP, or do ranked PvP.
Wished you had spent time learning how to play the GTN? Then learn how to play the GTN and become a gazillionaire.
If you want to get the most out of playing an MMO it’s good to set some goals, and then do what you can to achieve them. Expansions are great equalizers as everyone is more or less on equal footing when they start. It’s a great opportunity to catch up and make the game all you want it to be.
Okay kids, grab your calculator, slide rule, abacus, fingers and toes, or whatever device you use for doing math, because it’s spreadsheet time!
In RotHC, BioWare is completely revamping the commendations system. The conversion process is a little murky, and has left many people trying to figure out if they should spend those comms now or wait until the expansion goes live.
So what’s the big concern? Conversions and caps. Here is what BioWare has to say on that.
I’ve noticed a lot of questions about the upcoming changes to Commendations. To help you make your spending decisions before Game Update 2.0, here are a few of the patch notes:
Commendations from individual planets have been converted into a single “Planetary Commendation” type. Vendors that previously traded items for specific planet commendations now trade the same items for Planetary Commendations.
Tionese Crystals have been converted to the new “Planetary Commendation” type and no longer drop from any content.
Daily, Tionese, Columi, and Black Hole Commendations have all been converted to Classic Commendations. Missions and loot that previously awarded these commendations will now award Classic Commendations instead.
Daily, Tionese, Columi, and Black Hole Commendations in your inventory will be converted to Classic Commendations at the following ratios:
Tionese Commendations – 6:1
Columi Commendations – 4:1
Daily Commendations – 4:1
Black Hole Commendations – 1:1
The Patch Notes will include the following weekly limits for each Commendation type, which will reset at the same time as the weekly Operations lock out reset schedule. Please note that these have been updated and are not the same numbers that were on the PTS
Planetary Commendations – Unlimited Weekly; 50 Maximum
Classic Commendations – 200 Weekly; 400 Maximum
Basic Commendations – 300 Weekly; 600 Maximum
Elite Commendations – 200 Weekly; 400 Maximum
Ultimate Commendations – 150 Weekly; 300 Maximum
Additionally, with Game Update 2.0 there will be a one-time “overflow” limit in place that will allow players to go above the maximum. Planetary Commendations will have an overflow limit of 100, and Classic Commendations will have an overflow limit of 800. Basic, Elite, and Ultimate Commendations do not have overflow limits. The overflow limits are not in addition to the maximums amounts above; they’re the total number of Commendations of that type that players will be able to hold after Game Update 2.0. Anything converted above the overflow limit will be lost. Players who have used the overflow limit and have more than the maximum number of Commendations will not be able to gain new Commendations until they fall below the maximum amounts.
The big take away here is that you will be allowed to have a maximum of 800 comms when the conversion happens. Anything over that will be lost. Therefore, you should add up all of your comms to ensure you won’t go over that cap. If it looks like you will, then buy something.
One thing that wasn’t mentioned in the above posts is that you can also turn-in unassembled Campaign/Rakata/Columi pieces for commendations. This won’t happen automatically, but rather there is a vendor that you’ll go to for this (for Imperials it’s on the Ziost Shadow).
Here’s the rub, while I’ve been told the converted comms won’t count towards the weekly cap of 200, the comms that you receive from the unassembled items will. Let’s go through an example.
It’s release day, yay! You logon and all of your comms were converted and you have 800 Classic comms. Congratulations, you can almost get a full set of Campaign gear. Additionally you have 300 comms worth of unassembled items in your inventory.
At this point your weekly cap on comms is zero, but you can’t earn any more comms until you drop below 400. Let’s spend some comms shall we? Bam, you drop all 800 comms on Campaign gear and you almost have the full set. Time to turn-in those pieces.
Although you have 300 comms worth of turn-ins, you are limited by the weeky cap and can only turn-in 200 comms worth of pieces. Enough to finish out the Campaign set, but you’ll have to wait a week until you can turn in your remaining pieces.
I think for most people the goal will be to fill in gaps in their own gear and maybe upgrade their companion’s gear. Everyone’s needs will vary. Mine? I don’t need a full set of gear, but I do have some holes to fill.
All told I have about 600 comms between actual commendations and unassembled items. Due to the weekly cap I won’t be able to turn in all my unassembled pieces. My priority will be to get the main and offhand weapons, and then maybe one piece after that.
I really wish that unassembled items were not beholden to the cap. They can’t be used for gear, and I would think that BioWare would be glad to see these items disappear from the system as quickly as possible. Things could change, but for now this is a limitation we’ll have to live with.
One final thing to note is that hitting level 50 in 2.0 is no different than, say, hitting level 45. It’s no longer special and you won’t receive any free PvE or PvP gear. If you just hit 50 I would definitely get the free PvP and Tinonese gear. It’s not the greatest, but it’s probably better than what you were wearing when you hit 50, and it should be okay to level in, and it’s unlikely that you’ll have a stash of comms to convert.
So, in summary, a full set of Campaign gear costs 1000 Classic Comms. You can convert up to 800. If you have unassembled pieces you can turn them in for additional comms. You will have to spend down your 800, to get below 400, before you can earn more, and your unassembled turn-ins will count towards your weekly cap.
If you’re like me and you pre-ordered the Rise of the Hutt Cartel (ROTHC) expansion, then this time next week you will be playing your way through Makeb on the journey to 55. With only a week to go there is still time to clean-up house and get yourself ready for ROTHC.
Expansions are game changers, and while it doesn’t have to be a race to get to 55 you need to understand that 50 is no longer max level and you will have to work your way back to the elder game. You’re not level one per se, but you are leveling again.
Anyone familiar with the story of Sisyphus? Sisyphus is a character from Greek Mythology. He was an evil and clever king who, when he died, was sent Hades. His punishment was that he had to roll a giant rock up a hill. Just as he was about to reach the top of the hill, he would lose his grip and the rock would roll back down to the bottom, and he would have to start over. This is the nature of expansions in progression oriented MMOs. Lucky for us that Makeb is way cooler than pushing a rock up a hill.
Now that you understand that ROTHC represents a fresh start, here are some things you can do to make that climb all the more pleasant and easy.
Declare a Main
Expansions are a great time to switch roles and/or toons. Got roped into healing, but hated it? Switch to DPS, or become a tank. Whatever it is you like, that’s what you should do, and expansions are the perfect time to make that change. Just inform your Ops leader of your intentions ahead of time. This will allow him to plan as he may need to find a new healer, or manage an over abundance of DPS. The goods new is your Ops team is on hiatus now and you won’t be hurting them by making a change.
Level Your Crew Skills
In ROTHC there will be a new max level for all Crew Skills. If you have any that aren’t at the current max level, you should get them there so you can train to level them to the new cap. Nothing worse than going to Makeb and being unable to scavenge metals, crystals and other materials because you aren’t at a high enough level.
Ready Your Companions
Max out their affection and finish out their quest lines. Doing this will shorten the time it takes to level up Crew Skills and and you’ll get a nice increase to the Prescence stat which will help when fighting on Makeb. Decide now which companion will be at your side and make sure their gear is up to par.
Army of Alts
I have seven level 50s. Right now this is great because I have one of every Crew Skill maxed out. I’m extremely self-sufficient. Once the expansion hits I’ll have to level up each one of these toons and their associated Crew Skills. That’s not going to happen overnight. In fact, that can easily be a 2-3 month process. Additionally if you run Ops on multiple toons then you will have to gear up each of those accordingly.
Depending on when your Ops team is planning to roll, you may have your work cut out for you in getting all of your toons Ops ready. If you’re an Ops leader be prepared to have main toons only in the beginning and don’t count on any team members having alts they can bring to fill a role if someone is missing.
Clean Out Your Inventory
Organize your inventory, sell any crating materials, companion gifts, and other items that you don’t need. You’ll be getting new stuff from Makeb and you want to make sure that you have the necessary room to hold everything. You might just make a few credits in the process.
Empty Your Quest Log
You’ll want to complete and/or delete any lingering quests in your log. You want to hit Makeb with as close to zero quests as possible. One trick I learned from my WoW days is that you’ll want to used daily quests to get a wee head start. The night before the ROTHC goes live, complete a full set of daily quests, but don’t turn them in. When the expansion drops start by turning them all in to get some “free” XP.
Save Your Credits
Every purchase you’re considering, should be made with ROTHC in mind. Whatever you think you might need right now, you probably don’t. Try to bank as many credits as you can. You’ll need them in ROTHC. You’ll be spending money on new skills, new schematics, and new materials. There will be new levels of augments so at some point you will need to re-augment all of your gear. All of those one-time costs you incurred when you first leveled you will incur again.
Expansions are exciting and fun, and this one is loaded with lots of new content and cool things to explore. It’s also a reset in terms of gear,crew skills, talents and abilities. You’ll be spending a lot of time and effort to essentially get to the point your are at now. It’s just the nature of things, but hopefully we’ll all some fun and create some new MMO memories along the way.
When it comes to MMO’s I’m a sucker for the quality of life features. My ship has all the amenities including the repair bot, Ops training dummy, mailbox, and GTN. I have all three levels of rocket boosts, the field respec, repair droid, and field mailbox. When I learned that Bioware was reintroducing reusable stims, medpacs and adrenals in Rise of the Hutt Cartel, I immediately dropped Cybertech and power leveled Biochem on my Ops toon.
Now, Before you get up in arms about Bioware repeating the sins of the past with reusable items, they are making some changes from how this was implemented at launch.
The reusable items will be Biochem only, but both the consumable and reusable items will have the exact same stats. The consumable stims will have a 120 minute duration and will persist through death. The reusable stims will have a 60 minute duration and will be removed upon death.
What this means is that anyone who runs Ops will have access to the best buffs in the game, but if you have Biochem it will be much easier to manage.
For me, making this switch on a toon that runs Operations was an easy decision. Having reusable items means I’ll always have a medpac and adrenal available for each pull. I’ll never have to worry about remembering to go to the GTN and restock after an Op. I won’t have to buy them for inflated prices because I waited until the last minute to restock. I might also make a credit or two crafting and selling the consumable items on the GTN. Reusable items also allow me to have max buffs and burst when running flashpoints, heroic quests, and even daily quests.
The only downside I see here is that you a have to remember to reapply your stim every hour, and if you should die during an encounter, and are deemed worthy of a combat res., you will need to reapply your stim along with your buffs. A trade off that I’m certainly willing to make. And with that I’m off to power level Cybertech on my new level 50 Powertech.
It’s official, Rise of the Hutt Cartel will launch on Sunday, April 14, 2013. If you pre-ordered and qualify for early access you’ll be able to start playing on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. You can see the full announcement here, but highlights include,
To qualify for early access you needed to pre-order the game on or before January 7th. It’s too late to get early access.
There is still time to pre-order the game and receive the pre-order rewards such as the Seedling Mini-Pet, the Dr. Oggurobb Hutt Holostatue, and the “Scourge of the Hutts” title, if you order by April 13th.
So that’s it. You have about three weeks to level those alts, and stock up on credits and comms, before you journey to Makeb to experience the next chapter in the Old Republic.
It was one year ago that BioWare invited over 200 guild leaders, fan sites and media down to Austin, TX for the first ever The Old Republic Guild Summit. It was truly a singular event, and something that I shall always look back upon with fondness.
A lot has changed in that one year, and I don’t see much point in recapping promises made, kept and broken, but looking back I realized that I never took the time to write about the event and what it was like to attend and cover it.
I had the opportunity to go to the Summit because I was writing for Force Junkies and they were invited to send someone down to cover the event; I eagerly volunteered. After the event the editors were very kind in their thanks and praise for the job I did and for that I’m grateful. The truth is, I was in way over my head and couldn’t have done a worse job covering such an awesome event. In fact I probably could have done a better job covering day one if I had just been home watching the internet stream and taking notes. As they say, live and learn.
I arrived at the hotel around noon on Sunday before the event. After checking in, I headed straight to the registration table where I was warmly greeted by Stephen Reid and David Bass. It was the first of many surreal moments. I definitely wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
Upon registering, I proudly hung the event badge around my neck, grabbed a beer and took a seat on an unoccupied sofa. Then I waited. I waited for any random passer-by who was also attending the event and when it happened, I glanced up and said, “Hello, are you here for the Summit?” And thus it started, a simple one-on-one conversation with another fan of the Old Republic. A conversation that would soon get the attention of another passer by who asked to join in. On and on it went until there were a good dozen of us sitting around, drinking beer and talking about nothing but SWTOR. It was one of my favorite moments of the Summit.
Attendees wrap-up a three hour conversation about everything SWTOR!
The event was scheduled to begin on Monday, March 5th, but BioWare had planned an awesome event for Sunday evening. They bused everyone to the Alamo Draft House for a 3-D screening of the Phantom Menace. While arguably the worst of the Star Wars films, watching it with a theater full of Star Wars fans somehow made it, well, every bit as bad as it was originally. Even pizza and couple of pints from a local micro-brewery couldn’t save this one.
The highlight of the evening came before the film started when R2-D2, Darth Revan, and a brigade of Imperial Stormtroopers escorted a beautiful young lady to the front of theater where, TORWars Brian Waggoner proposed. Awesome, awesome stuff. I didn’t fly home until Wednesday so I had the pleasure of dining with Brian and his fiancée on Tuesday evening. Truly great folks.
Fans eagerly anticipate Jar-Jar Binks in 3D
Monday morning marked the official start of the Summit. I got up early, grabbed breakfast and got in line to enter the conference hall. I was about an hour early, and I was not the first one there by any means. Now most of the attendees were not such early birds, it was mainly those of us from the various fan sites.
Indeed I think we all felt a bit special. At least until the doors opened and we had to wait as the “official” media crew, invited to cover the event, were let in first. Granted they had to sit in the back the room while we got to arm wrestle one another for seats in the front.
Day one was all about the state of the game and update 1.2. All of the panels were streamed live over the internet and you can still watch them today (see videos below). One of my favorite moments came at the conclusion of one of the panels right before the internet feed was turned off. Holding the microphone, Stephen Reid said, “Okay, now we can talk about secret stuff”, and zap off went the feed. I can tell you first hand that there was no secret stuff, although some folks out there actually thought there was.
The morning sessions wrapped up around 11:00 am and we were then bused to BioWare studios for a tour. That’s right, we actually got see where the magic is made, and dreams come true. It was a real treat, and were it not for the security guard who followed us everywhere I’d have walked out of there with a life-sized statue of Darth Malgus stuffed in my pants.
After the tour we returned to the hotel for the afternoon session. All I remember is that it ran long and it didn’t leave much time to write and publish an article before the evening events. It didn’t help that many of the developers hung out in the lobby where we were able chat with them about the game. I did manage to get an article out before dinner, and I was able to do it without burning up my keyboard. It was close though.
The evening event was dinner with BioWare and trivia. The dining hall was filled with lots of small tables and seating was a free-for-all. Seated at each table were various employees from BioWare. They ranged from co-founder Greg Zeschuk, to members of the design team, to members of the community team. We were treated to some real Texas BBQ, and some real, honest conversation about SWTOR.
I had the pleasure of sitting at a table with Joveth Gonazalez, who recently left BioWare. He was an exceptional person and completely unflappable, and unwilling to give up the goods, as we grilled him to find out what really happened with the white lightsaber crystal exploit. It’s no wonder he made a good community manager.
While a member of the community team may not sound as glamorous as eating with Damion Schubert or James Ohlen, our table did manage to come in third in the Star Wars trivia contest. We would’ve come in first had my team listened to me when I said the “Sh!tty” planet shown in the Clone Wars video snippet was Illum. Hoth? Really? Hoth!?
The final day of the Summit was a bit of a let down. Nothing was streamed and instead of meeting with the developers we had a session with the marketing team, and some additional Q&A with Stephen Reid and David Bass. After that session we were invited to play test game update 1.2.
It was definitely an event that I’ll never forget. As cool as it was to meet the developers and tour the studio, I’ll mostly remember the great people that I met and the passion we all shared for The Old Republic.
I know a lot of the developers have left, many of the players have quit, and the game has seen many ups and downs since the Summit, but I guarantee you that there are at least 200 players out there who’ll be there until the end.
May the Force Be With You!
Below are a few photos I snagged from the event. Unfortunately my camera and photography skills were not up to the lighting challenges presented by conference room and other areas.
“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of geeks suddenly cried out in terror… I fear something terrible has happened.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi (?)
Last week, during a press conference on Sequestration, the President of the United States made a science-fiction faux pas when he conflated the Star Wars and Star Trek universes by using the term Jedi Mind Meld.
A number of folks have come the President’s defense by referencing things like this Wookieepedia article on the Force Meld. Stop! Please Stop! Let’s not think for a moment that the President is such a Star Wars fan boy that his knowledge on the subject runs deep into the expanded universe. Let’s accept this for what it is, one of the greatest geek trolls known to mankind.
Even the White House is admitting that it’s a mixed reference via this image they posted not long after the press conference.
Now that J.J. Abrams is at the helm of both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, fans need to accept that this type of melding between the two may occur. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, Obi-Wan gave Jar-Jar the Vuclan nerve pinch in the Phantom Menace. Trust me, it won’t be long before we see the likes of this.