03/02/2017

Taking Stock

I've been feeling a bit aimless in game lately, and thought that I might as well write about it. Warning: incoming ramble!


I've been rather annoyed with Galactic Command from the start. I pretty much hated the idea when I first found out about it. Nonetheless, I tried to give the system a fair shake when it actually came out, and I won't deny that I had fun during the first week at least, if for no other reason than that my inner explorer enjoyed jumping into different activities to see how everything worked. However, I was already tired of it by week two, for all the reasons I won't rehash here. I was very relieved when Bioware did at least some partial backpedalling in regards to how much we have to rely on those random Command crates very quickly. I'm happy to say that since 5.1, I 've pretty much been able to stop worrying about my Command rank at all. Instead I'm thinking about how to make the most out of combining operations drops with the new PvP gear upgrade system. Neither requires my constant focus, so I'm also free to play alts again.

Somewhat to my surprise, I'm not feeling very motivated though. For all the high level characters I already have, I've only taken three more up to 70 so far, even though levels 65 to 70 go by very quickly. I'm just lacking an incentive. What reason is there to even level up this far? I can actually only think of very few:

1) Difficult operations and challenging solo content like the Eternal Championship. Considering that you need gear for those and even with the already implemented improvements to gearing, gearing up at max level is still very grindy, it's still better to focus on one main for a while instead of spreading yourself too thin across multiple alts.

2) Starting the "Knights of" expansions requires level 60 (I think?), and questing your way through them sort of levels you up automatically. However, as I've said many times before: I don't like repeating such linear story content too often in too short an amount of time. Playthrough number three, only two months after launch, is already dragging a bit.

3) To do other content that is only accessible at 70. Um... uprisings? I think they are OK, but not so exciting that I want to level up additional alts purely to play them on different characters.

In fact, a lot of the things I enjoy in game don't require a very high level at all. The classic levelling game is by its very nature the domain of low-level characters, as it's not repeatable. You can access (nearly) all the classic flashpoints in the game from level 15. Story mode operations become accessible from level 50, which is somewhat higher but still a benchmark that most of my alts reached a long time ago. PvP is a go from level 15, GSF even from level 1.

I would even go so far as to say that a lot of this stuff is more fun when you're lower level. Lowbie PvP is a lot more straightforward and you don't have to worry about the gear gap that awaits you at 70. And regular flashpoints are a lot more fun when they actually challenge you and you get XP for running them!

Also, even after having been freed of the worst "shackles" of Galactic Command, it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth to constantly be reminded of it at level 70. It may be a bit irrational, but I'm actually a little annoyed when I log on an alt and the game reminds me that I'm "only" Command rank 10 on that one or whatever. Stop judging me, game!

It seems that SWTOR really is living up to the dream that is the opposite of something that sometimes gets criticised about WoW: that all the fun is focused on being at the level cap. In SWTOR, all the fun really is at the lower levels.

In many ways I appreciate that, but as I said at the beginning of this post, I'm also feeling a bit aimless right now. If I don't have something to strive for on my alts, what do I do with them? Other than log them once in a blue moon when I feel a sudden urge to do PvP as a dps Commando or run a random flashpoint as a lowbie Merc?

I think it's telling that the time I had the most fun with the game last year was probably during the much maligned Dark vs. Light event, because it gave me goals related to levelling. I also kept busy a lot by using lowbie characters for various "projects", such as my flashpoint levelling experiment or researching specific flashpoints once a fortnight to wrap up my Flashpoint Friday series. I guess I need to find myself some new projects for those alts below max level.

9 comments :

  1. I beat the KOTET story three times, and I'm on hold for now as well. It's a great story, and I will do it again in the future, just not chain-running it 18 times in a row.

    On a side note: you get "sudden urges" to do PvP? :) I have to be bribed to run random flashpoints. There was an American football coach who once said: "I hate losing more than I love winning." That's true for me, which means randomized PvP matches will always drive me nuts.

    They just announced more gearing changes coming in 5.1.1 and 5.1.2. There was an interesting idea in the mix: You can now give your mission completion/ boss drop CXP packets to alts. It won't be long before Shintar has all the gear she needs, and running an Op will be working your alts.

    Now we just need unassembled components to be legacy wide and drop from things that aren't PvP and we're in business!


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    1. I actually enjoy unranked PvP quite regularly, the "random urge" part was more about taking alts into it that I usually wouldn't.

      I'm in favour of more changes like that. Just wish we didn't have to go through all this in the first place when people were saying from the start that the initial implementation was very badly thought out...

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  2. Hi Shintar, hope you are well.

    I don't know whether it is on topic if I ask the following questions..but I think the best way is to prop them here in the comments section for your latest post.

    I am thinking of changing servers.
    I am living in Malaysia (Southeast Asia) and have been all this while playing on the US server Jedi Covenant.

    My main issues for changing servers...because i read somewhere that the ping/lagging issues during your gameplay are affected by the distance of your home to the servers...so I figure out that since European servers are closer (?) to my region..it might solve some of my lag issues. Is this true? My average lag at Coruscant is between 300 to 500 ms. Currently I can achieve a decent 35 FPS while soloing and 20 FPS while raiding. My timezone is GMT +8.00 btw.

    Secondly, my reason of thinking to change servers is due to the significant time difference (approximately 12-14 hours)...which means that basically I will be working while everybody else is playing and vice-versa. I usually play at night...at which time it is afternoon in London (approximately).

    Is it true regarding the time lag theory? And is it difficult and costly to transfer your characters between servers? My 9 characters are exclusively on Jedi Covenant and nowhere else.

    And since you have experience in playing in multiple European (?) servers...which one you can recommend? I am focused on finishing class storylines at the moment (6 remaining, doing them simultaneously)..and after finishing the storylines I intend to engage in the occasional weekly raids and flashpoints, and the occasional GTN crafting and selling. I am not a hardcore/competitive gamer...and I enjoy the social aspects of SWTOR more than anything else. Basically a casual social gamer. Can you recommend to me a suitable server?

    Sorry for the long post. Some pointers from you (or other readers) will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

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    1. Hi Muhammad,

      Not on topic, but no worries! I'm happy to help in any way I can. ^^

      It's true that your ping is affected by how close you are to the server's physical location, but since Europe is still pretty far away from Malaysia, I'm not sure how much transferring to a European server would help. However, I know someone who might know! You might want to get in touch with Haffle from Game Reviews Malaysia, who I know has played SWTOR and should know that kind of thing (plus his channel might be of interest to you in general). Also, you could always simply create a new character on a different server for testing purposes; that doesn't cost you anything.

      I'm not sure about the actual price of server transfers right now. The standard price is 1000 CC per character, which is quite expensive, but they've run it at a heavy discount of only 90 CC per character for quite a while now. I'm just not sure if that has ended by now or not yet.

      Should you decide to go ahead with a transfer to a EU server, The Red Eclipse, my home server, is probably your best bet. As much as I hate to say it (as it seems to have become a bit "trendy" as of late to transfer to TRE for some reason), it's the busiest English-speaking EU server by far, and would therefore be your best bet at getting things like flashpoints to pop even while playing at "off hours".

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    2. After having a bit of a fiddle around on the character transfer page, the price still seems to be 90 CC per character for now.

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    3. Thanks for your promt reply, Shintar!

      Now that you mentioned it, I do come across Haffle's Youtube vids before, and it might "disappoint" him/her that his/her fellow countryman didn't come to him/her first!

      TRE have a mostly positive reputation from what I gather...and if I do make the jump to European servers TRE will be my choice, and I will be sure to say hi to you and (The Twin Suns Squadron? or is it another guild of yours?).

      My main is a cute Jedi Sentinel named Rifana Zanadri.

      Thanks for your help/advice.


      p/s:Not all Sentinels are twitchy/have a short attention span. :p LOL.

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    4. Yeah, Twin Suns Squadron is the guild I've been in for the last four and a half years. :) Good luck!

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  3. I really miss the old leveling flashpoints that required the trinity to complete. I guess the question time for those was too long and little interest in them. I am not a fan of making a tactical version of every flashpoint or atleast I don't like to run them. I used to level a tank by running FP's along with the class story when XP wasn't as easy to aquire as it is now aND had a lot of fun doing so. But bringing a tank to a tactical with out a healer is rough. It's easy to grab the aggro of too many adds and not have the proper defense stats or abilities to survive long. Plus the trouble of trying to click kolto stations when the bosses hit box covers the station and will not regester. So I level as a dps and switch my spec to tank at max level.

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    1. I've actually really enjoyed levelling as tank in tacticals. The early levels are rough regardless of what class or role you play, but once you get a cooldown or two, trying to aggro things while also staying alive without heals is a fun little challenge. And the thing with the kolto stations can happen to anyone (someone's gotta click them after all).

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