Archive for the ‘The Old Republic’ Category

SWTOR Adds Player Housing

August 22, 2014

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Star Wars the Old Republic finally has one of the features I missed most from Star Wars Galaxies, player housing, the ability to have a personal house in the game and decorate it, and make it available to other places to admire.

Previously all that was available was each person’s personal starship, but these can’t be decorated, nor are they open to other players in general.

Early access to “Galactic Strongholds” for subscribers launched Tuesday. After trying to learn the ropes for a couple of days, I think the system seems to be a much improved version of the one used for Lord of the Rings Online, but falls far short of what Star Wars Galaxies offered.



A world beyond a galaxy far, far away

March 29, 2014

LOTRO Yule Festival


In mid-December I gave up playing Star Wars the Old Republic, and gave Lord of the Rings Online a new try. I had actually signed up for the game when it was new, and was so excited about it I paid for a lifetime subscription. But I never really got beyond the starting phase.

Partly I was disappointed there was no player housing, as this was what I was most excited about in Star Wars Galaxies at the time. But, many years later, SWG was gone, and SWTOR seemed to have run its course. There was nothing to do at the top level, and even the addition of five new levels with the Makeb expansion wasn’t all that interesting.


Space: Another step in the wrong direction

October 21, 2013


Star Wars the Old Republic continues to struggle. Now it is expanding into space, and once again the developers have gotten it wrong:

I play solo PvE, that is, I play by nyself, not in groups, and I don’t fight against other players. Sadly, all the developers seem to care about is grouping and PvP, fighting between players. The game has run out of gas, yet the most recent expansion/update is only about grouping, with nothing at all for solo players.

And now when they are trying to fix space, it is only PvP.

Star Wars Galaxies, a vastly better game at its worst than The Old Republic so far, started without any space element at all, very strange in a Star Wars game. But 11 months after the game started Sony Online Entertainment presented the expansion Jump to Lightspeed, which gave us numerous sandbox adventures in space. With a variety of ships and missions, the new pilot profession to pursue, and even asteroid mining, it was wonderful.

The Old Republic, to its credit, had space from day one. But it used, and still uses, an imbecile “on rails” mechanism, which isn’t worth playing. Now, well more than a year and a half after launch, space is being updated in a future expansion…but only for PvP. The only reason for this that I can see on the forums is that PvE would be too hard.

That’s just not good enough. EA and Disney would do better to buy the rights to Star Wars Galaxies and release it. Even the way it performed on its last day, more than 18 months ago, it was superior to the deadend alley that is Star Wars the Old Republic.

Was the Makeb Expansion Good Enough?

June 24, 2013

Archon Makeb

Update 2.1 has been with us for several weeks now, the first expansion to Star Wars: The Old Republic in the more than a year since its launch. For players frustrated at the level 50 ceiling, it offered a chance to play for another 5 levels. The question is, was the expansion too little, too late?

One important thing to remember about the expansion, it wasn’t a continuation of the class stories for the various kinds of characters, Smugglers, Bounty Hunters, etc. Instead it is a single path of extra quests for all, with a couple of side quests tacked on, and a bunch of the replayable “daily” missions.

Another thing that wasn’t delivered was the promise of same-sex companion romances. Characters in SWTOR receive a number of companions as they progress, of both sexes. One of them at atime fights beside you, and in various ways you can earn their “affection” which can offer advantages in the game. These can turn into “romances” with characters of the opposite sex, even leading to in-game marriage, although after the relationship is consummated, the only indication of it is that the companion sends three love letter e-mails. Outside of that, you would never know the companion is your spouse.

For months now, the developers have been promising they would add same-sex relationships. But all that has happened in Update 2.1 is that in every character’s further adventures, they gain a group of non-player character teammates, with the possibility through in-game dialog of flirting with one of the same sex. Apparently if pursued this leads to an animated kiss. In no way is this little flirt comparable to the development and romancing of companions prior to level 50.

There was mixed criticism of the update, many complained that they accomplished the extra 5 levels in a day or two. Others protested that the new levels required more xp to advance than was available in the content on the new planet Makeb. That is, they finished all the content and were still short of 55.

There’s an answer for both problems.

First, it was wonderful for a character stalled at 50 to have 5 more levels. But there’s absolutely no need to rush it. When I reached level 52 on the character I was playing in the expansion, I left Makeb and returned to the two level 50 planets, Corellia and Ilum. Before the expansion. after I had hit level 50, in the middle of my quests on Corellia, I had gone on to Ilum, played for a while, decided it was boring, and just stopped and waited for Update 2.1. So there was lots of content left on both planets, I was two levels above the max there, and gameplay there was easy, and fun.

After I had done about everything I could do on the level 50 planets I returned to Makeb, a couple of levels higher, and resumed the missions there.

The only problem with those missions is that their endings are beyond my kind of gameplay, which is solo PvE (that is versus the game and not fighting other players, which is PvP).

The two side quests involve using a “seeker droid” and a pair of “macrobinoculars”. After long and fun gameplay, one ended up in a mission that had to be done in a group, it was impossible to solo.

The other involved jumping boxes. There is a subgame in SWTOR where you go looking for “datacrons” which can give you extra strengths. This are in hard-to-find places and usually involve complicated jumping from thing to thing, with the risk that if you fall, you have to start over again. I’ve done a few of these, but I don’t really enjoy the jumping or the time it takes. But the end to the Update 2.1 side quest involved a series of jumps that was at least 20 times as hard and long as any I have experienced for datacrons. I must have tried it 30 or 40 times, and after every failure it was back to the beginning.

So that quest ended there.

The final regular quest on Makeb involves taking on an enemy that is so complicated and powerful you almost have to be in a group to do it. I googled for solutions, but those that I found didn’t really seem doable. So that character’s Makeb quests have ended.

The good news is that I have five more characters at level 50 I can take through those final 5 levels. But I’m not sure, having done them once, that I really feel like doing the same thing again several more times. Unlike Star Wars Galaxies, SWTOR is extremely boring when you get to the top level. You just keep doing the same things over and over again, with the only rewards being better armor, so you can do those same missions over and over again easier.

And it would seem we have to wait at least another year for more content…or by then LucasArts’ new owner, Disney, may have just pulled the plug on the game like LucasArts did with Star Wars Galaxies. We might even get a better online Star Wars game.

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