Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Rakghoul Plague and vendor gone

April 24, 2012

As announced, the Rakghoul Plague has disappeared from Tatooine. The wreck of the Stardream cruiser remains, but has now been filled with Sand People, rather than infected survivors.

The Rakghoul vendor is also gone, and that has caused a bit of a stir, at least on PvP servers. It seems that in the final hours before the game closed for the patch, members of one faction or the other surrounded the vendor on some servers. That made it impossible for those from the opposite faction to cash in their hard-earned (and now useless) DNA samples.

Obviously we didn’t have this problem on PvE servers, Imperials and Republicans were working the ruins of the ship side by side (and sometimes helping each other out with hard conflicts, like Captain Magnus).

PvP enthusiasts are arguing this is the essence of playing on their servers. Others, who missed the end of the event for any reason, wish the Jawa vendor could have remained after the event ended, and there are calls to place him on the Fleet stations (and a weak statement he “may” return). I don’t know if the DNA samples can be sold on the Galactic Trade Network, but they ought to be, with a vendor handy to cash in the DNA.

The Rakghoul Plague event in SWTOR can be compared to the annual holiday events in Star Wars the Old Republic. Empire Day/Remembrance Day, held around the 4th of July, is the nearest in the calendar (I had always hoped for an Alderaan Spring Festival but that never happened). In SWG, PvE and PvE were mixed on all the servers, if you wanted to play PvP you opted to be Special Forces. In both Empire/Remembrance Day and Wookiee Life Day, you got many more tokens if you turned on Special Forces.

I always did, which was usually safe, as many others did the same thing, and there was usually an unofficial truce.  Occasionally someone of the opposite faction would hang out in the area, attacking unwary players who had gone for Special Forces for the event. You got killed, but that was the game. You could keep going without the Special Forces bonus. And you could do the holiday events without combat if you preferred. It’s too bad SWTOR lacks both of these options.


Campaign supports same sex relationships in SWTOR

April 21, 2012

A clash over respect for gay rights has reached Star Wars the Old Republic.

In the game, characters slowly put together a crew of non-player characters for their starship. Any one of these Companions can accompany the player in the game environment and are extremely useful. I play a healer, and several of my Companions are “tanks”, strong fighters. I spend much of the inevitable game battles keeping them healthy. Couldn’t survive without them. Other players choose to be tanks themselves, and choose to use Companions who are healers.

There are a number of ways to increase the “affection” of the Companions, which in turn can lead to more experience points (xp) and sometimes side missions. These relationships can remain purely platonic, or in the case of Companions of the opposite gender, the right choices can turn them romantic, and one can even “marry” a Companion in the game.

But so far, only one of the opposite gender. However, Electronic Arts and BioWare have said they have plans to open up the possibility of same sex romances. Note that these would not be forced on the player, any more than the current opposite gender romances are forced. You would have to actively choose to go down that path. Nevertheless, conservative Christian groups are launched protests against the plans. writes that something called the Family Research Council (designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) claims “the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists,” and EA says they’ve received thousands of hate letters decrying their decision. According to the report, EA’s Vice President of Communications Jeff Brown says, however, that they refuse to back down — and weren’t, contrary to right wing opinion, pressured by gay activists.

Famed comedian Stephen Fry has even entered the fray and has supported a petition by a gay rights group called Allout, which says it submitted 68,681 names to EA before hackers interfered with its site, forcing Allout to temporarily take it down.

The topic has been widely discussed on the game forums, with one suggested option being that in the game preferences players could opt in or out of same sex romance:

In February, then the idea was first mentioned, Conan O’Brian faked what he said was footage from SWTOR with same sex relationships:

Rakghoul Plague – Tracking the Origins

April 18, 2012

Tracking the Origins starts with a news report in Anchorhead

BioWare sprung the Rakghoul Plague on Tatooine as a total surprise, and there’s very little about the plague at Googling “Rakghoul Plague” brought up a number of interesting links, including:

…which is a wonderful walk-through of a quest called “Tracking the Origins”.  While it takes on time to do it, it’s worth it, because the reward is a cute little Rakghoul pet that follows you around. The quest starts outside the Anchorhead Starport, where you click on either of the two screens outside the entrance, for a news report:

Clicking doesn’t up as anything but when you have done so, you have a limited amount of time to click on two more objects inside Anchorhead. Because of the time limit, I actually checked out the location of all three ahead of time, then went ahead and clicked on them. When you’ve clicked the third, you get sent to a terminal next to the taxi station (you have something like 58 minutes to do this part), when you get a mission to collect 12 fragments of the crashed cruiser Stardream, ground zero of the Rakghoul Plague.

These are all over place, and there are no map indications where they are. Somehow the author of the walk-through has found all 12 locations, and passed along x,y waypoints, with advice on getting to some of them. (This was an amazing achievement!)

One of the fragments

It was fun wandering around Tatooine, I discovered several areas I had missed when I was there before. But one place where SWTOR is far inferior to Star Wars Galaxies is with locations and waypoints. In SWG you could type in an x,y location and get a waypoint that would show up on your onscreen map display. Even better there was also an arrow in the middle of the screen showing you the way to go to get to the location. Plus, above the little circle map display, the x and y co-ordinates were always on display.

None of this is in SWTOR. You can see your x,y location by hovering the cursor over the circle map display on the screen, but to do this you have to stop moving. You can’t run or drive a speeder and follow your program and make course corrections. It is very irritating!

Now I just wish there was a way to name my new pet.

Getting our new pet

Smuggler Diary – Fighting the Rakghoul Plague

April 17, 2012

Ground Zero for the Rakghoul Plague, the wreck of the cruiser Stardream

Rather than the boring Dailies on Corellia, or the more interesting unfolding class quests on Ilum, I’ve returned to my favorite planet of Tatooine to help combat the sudden outbreak of Rakghoul Plague. This is a special event, and as such is a little like the annual holiday events in Star Wars Galaxies, like Wookiee Life Day and the Galactic Moon Festival. But so far there is no indication how long the event will last. It does have special rewards, like the SWG events, in this case Rakghoul DNA which is supposed to be turned in for special items.

The fun begins in a Tatooine outpost called Thorazan (Imperials start instead at Zaroshe station). You head north of the outpost and find the wreck of the cruiser Stardream, ground zero for the infection. Most of the infected creatures one finds around the wreck are the proper level 27-28 for Tatooine, but when you start fighting in these quests, appropriate level enemies spawn.

The quest to defeat Captain Magnus

There seem to be three quests. One involves checking terminals and power cores around the ship, and then taking on Captain Magnus to recover his access codes. This was the hard part, he is an Elite (in my case level 50), and was very hard to defeat. In fact, I only did so because there were lots of people playing when I was and someone attacked my version of the Captain while I was fighting him (I repaid the favor by attacking several other people’s versions of the Captain for them).

Another quest involves taking blood samples from infected creatures to another outpost, and then taking a vaccine to local Sandpeople, after which you strangely turn on the Tuskens and kill a few to recover their infected wrappings.

Yet another quest takes you to an escape pod where there’s a fierce fight against those escaping from within who are infected. After that you fight infected livestock to recover samples, and examine a series of murals.

I bought Rakghoul vaccine from a medical droid before venturing out, which mostly worked. It was supposed to last six hours, but for some reason after less than an hour and a half I got infected with the Rakghoul Plague. Fortunately I had bought a second dose, which cured me. So stock up on vaccine (it is also given as loot during the quests).

Of course one quest is supposed to involve allowing yourself to get infected and blow up, giving you points if you infect enough other people. Haven’t tried that one.

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