Doc: Uh… It looks like you got something in your eye.
Doc: I’m going to take that as “No, I don’t need help Doc. Go wait on the ship.”
One of the most common complaints I see every single time a new video or pics come out for Star Wars the Old Republic it’s that nothing in the game “looks” or “feels” like Star Wars. People demanding that everything adhere to lore, despite the fact that Star Wars lore is such a complete cluster-@#$% that pretty much anything flies there. Don’t believe me? Look up Marvel’s old Star Wars comic with the giant green bunny. Generally, when people say they want something to “look” like Star Wars they mean the movies – more specifically the Original Trilogy only. However, it seems like a bad idea to me. Why? Because you’ll end up with this:
Yea. Operation after operation to get what amounts to roughly the same outfit over and over with varying shades of brown or black. That sounds like raid gear I can get behind. But what about on the Sith side? Surely the Dark Lords with a fashion sense would have a wider array of ‘traditional’ Star Wars looks:
Well… uh… At least black goes with everything? Okay, that’s a bit cruel of me. Surely there are plenty of outfits in Star Wars lore to draw inspiration from. Like Darth Maul which has a black tunic under the giant black cloak. That’s a bit different. Oh and for the ladies, there’s always Darth Talon’s “ensemble”:
Yea. That’s gonna be a big crowd pleaser. No one’s gonna complain about that lore-inspired get up at all. Just make sure it’s classified as “heavy armor” to maintain the MMO Armor B.S. quota.
Honestly, you might not like the armor that Bioware adds to the game. But it’s a hell of lot better in my opinion than the same outfits over and over for the sake of staying true to a movie series that – once you include the B, C, D and E canon of the Expanded Universe – makes up a very small portion of the overall design aesthetic of the franchise. Just remember, if you want SW:TOR to be more like the movies, you’re are just BEGGING for Gungans to show up. Do you want that, Internet? Gunguns in TOR? Yea. Thought not.
So here we are again. Another class in my sights. This time I’ve decided to do it a bit differently, and I’ll probably try to keep these reviews more so in this format than the previous one with the Sith Inquisitor. Namely it will be more of a general overview of the story, with much less detail on the individual worlds that they take place on. There will still be some spoiler-ish material, so please be warned, but I won’t go into the individual world story lines and instead focus on the general story of each act and my opinions of it. So let’s see if this works a bit better for people.
So, the Jedi Knight – a classic hero archetype if there ever was one. I personally played a very, VERY light side Jedi Knight because they really appeal to that idea of the self-sacrificing heroic lawful good paladin. I only racked up a total of 150 dark side points and most of that comes from skirting the Jedi Code with Miss Kira, but we’ll get to that later. For now let us set our sights on the prologue of the Jedi Knight’s tale.
The first twenty levels are a very slow build up. A mysterious fallen Jedi has been rabble rousing the local flesh reavers into a frenzy and its up to you to stop him. The story on Tython doesn’t really play too much into the overall story much at all really. All it does is establish you as someone who knows how to get the job done to the Jedi Council so they can send you off to your first relevant mission. But it’s not a bad little self contained story. The mystery is somewhat interesting and the interactions give you a lot of chances to be a goody goodie or a mister bend-the-rules-Jedi. Including a chance to flirt with some of the locals. There’s some nice minor twists in the plot that keep it somewhat interesting for the extent of the ten levels you’ll be going through it.
During your time on Tython, you’ll meet fascinating characters like your master, Master Whats-his-face. No seriously, this guy has next to no personality other than his fabulous voice acting. He’s gruff, he believes that the Force has a plan for all of us, and you’re first padawan in some time. Other than those details, you don’t get much from him. Hell, I got a better impression from Kira’s former master, Kiwiks, than I ever did from my own master. Yet despite only training under him for a short time before you are made a knight and sent off to Coruscant, you’re supposed to develop this deep Father/Child like relationship with him that plays out. I guess this is a lot like Obi-Wan in the original films. Luke trusted the crazy old man in the desert a wee bit too quickly in my opinion. Even if he hesistated on the idea of coming with Old Man Kenobi to Alderaan, he bought the whole “I knew your dad.” thing without a second thought, and do we really need to remember the first in a series of overdramatic NOOOOOOOO’s we get in the series comes from Luke seeing Obi-Wan get smacked by Vader after only knowing the guy for what seems like maybe a day or two. Crap, Luke didn’t even get that worked up about his Uncle and Aunt dying and they freaking RAISED him. Anyway, in short, Master Whats-His-Face is Obi-Wan.
The other couple of characters you meet include your first introduction to Kira Carsen – your soon to be padawan and potential love interest for the guys (Fetish here! Get your Teacher-Student fetish here! Only 15 levels in! Get it while it’s hot!), Master Satele Shan, daughter of Gary and Mary Stu, and the best companion in the entire storyline: T7! Which I am sad to admit I didn’t get to use nearly as much as I wanted because I was a Guardian advanced spec. Seems to be my lot in these games, I never pick the right abilities to use the cute companions. Didn’t need Blizz for my Powertech either. But T7 is hands down one of the most delightful and entertaining companions in the game. Perhaps it’s the simplistic nature of his DroidSpeak? “T7+Jedi=Best Friends Forever” is a pretty darn adorable way of communicating. Plus T7 is always so eager to help, optimistic and cheerful. I honestly felt a bit bad when T7 would give me a -1 Affection eye roll. I mean, if Kira or Doc does it – screw it, have a gift – but for T7 I felt like I let the little guy down.
Anyway, after busting the bad Jedi, getting your saber, and becoming “Your Name Knight of the Republic” – a title that has no punctuation, so it seems like your last name is Knight, which is even funnier with a legacy name since that becomes your middle name (Vrykarion Vrykerion Knight… of the Republic) – you are finally sent on your way to Coruscant. Coruscant is more or less the actual prelude to act one of the story, but it comes off as completely unnecessary. You spend 6-10 levels wandering around the city attempting to track down a Sith lord that has stolen the files on several secret military weapons around the galaxy. There’s a bit of twist at the end when they reveal who the Sith lord actually was, and even more so that he’s the son of a bigger and more important sith lord. This essentially gives the Daddy Sith Lord a reason to hate you for the whole of act one and to send his goons after you.
That however is where the problem for me lies. He doesn’t NEED a personal reason to come after me. I am a Jedi Knight that is on a mission to stop him and his plans to build a doomsday device. The whole “you killed my son” plotline does nothing but bog it all down. Instead of fighting off his servants to save the worlds from military experiments turned against their former masters, you get a bunch of nitwits picking fights with you over their bosses personal baggage. Was being a threat to his plan not enough of a reason to want me removed from the picture?
As for characters, the Jedi gets the most companions the quickest out of any character I believe. Getting T7 on your starting world, and then Kira Carsen part of the way through Coruscant. While it seems weird to be having your own padawan before you hit level 20, it’s fun to have Kira around. She has a nice rebellious Jedi thing that works well with both Light Side and Dark Side Jedi. The Light Side has a pupil that you can teach, and the Dark Side has what essentially amounts to an enabler. Kira also has probably one of the biggest interactions with the actual class storyline I’ve ever seen during Act One, but I think we’ll save that for when we actually discuss that storyline. However, because of that heavy narrative interaction it makes sense that you would get to know her early. Heck, you actually first meet on Tython when she’s sassing off with her then-master Kiwiks. On that note, is it normal for Jedi Knights and Masters to just pass around padawans like interns? Kira essentially gets handed off to you and suddenly she’s YOUR padawan. What happened to training with Master Kiwiks? Do I need to fill out some paper work?
T7 on the other hand is just an adorable yes-droid/cheerleader. I love him. That’s all I have to say about that.
In the end, the prologue for the Jedi Knight is decent at best. I have often compared to be the inverse of the Bounty Hunter. The Bounty Hunter starts amazingly and kind of dwindles in the second and third acts, where as the Jedi Knight starts simple and can be borderline boring but ramps up the epic storyline the further you get. Because of this, I supposed it’s a bit hard to judge the prologue on it’s own. There’s a lot of people I’ve seen get turned off on the class story because of this first bit, and it’s sad. All I can really say is – Yes, the storyline is a bit dull at the start. It’s the Fellowship of the Rings, lot’s of walking and talking and only a few colorful dashes of actions. But believe me, you’ll hit Two Towers/Return of the King territory soon enough and you will not regret playing this story at all by the end. But that’s a tale for next time when we delve into Act One. See you then!
And as always, I appreciate any feedback on these posts as I figure out a good formula for them.
Doc: Uh… It looks like you got something in your eye.
Doc: I’m going to take that as “No, I don’t need help Doc. Go wait on the ship.”
This post is a review of a class storyline in The Old Republic. If you hadn’t already assumed so, please expect spoilers.
Welcome to my new series, where I look back, review, discuss, joke about and rip apart the different class story lines in the Old Republic. For the WoW readers who haven’t messed around with TOR, allow me to explain. Throughout the leveling game in TOR, you have several types of stories. There are one shot mission stories, overall stories for each world you visit and there are your class storylines. The first two are things that everyone does. They have a little extra flair here and there that are tossed in for your class. Usually in the way of some changed lines of dialogue or unique choices on the dialogue wheel. The latter on the other hand is the exclusive storyline of your class only. It’s what makes playing the game 8 different times worth while. Now which class stories shine and which crash and burn? Well that’s what this here series is about. I’m going to go through each class as I level them, break down the stories of the prologue and three acts, and then write about what I think their strengths and weaknesses are. I hope you enjoy!
First up is the inquisitor. The Sith inquisitor was one of the first classes I really latched on to as a concept. For me it wasn’t necessarily the ability to shoot lightning as much as it was the idea of a secretive, scheming Sith who liked to play chess master all over the galaxy. Yes, I dreamed of manipulating my foes, setting traps, and executing masterful Xanatos and Batman gambits. What I did not dream of was blindly stumbling into my station in life while working for someone who does all that. /sigh. Welcome to the world of the Sith inquisitor.
After your opening crawl, you will find yourself on the ancestral territory of the Sith, Korriban. Where you are quickly brought in and abused by your overseer. You are a slave, and not exactly well-respected by the Empire, and doubly so if you are any race other than human or a Sith pureblood. Actually, I’ve played through this entire world a few times. All as different races. The interesting thing I noticed is the number of conversations on Korriban and to a lesser extent Dromund Kaas that actually change depending on if you are an alien or not. Oh, you’re treated like dirt no matter what. Even if you are a distinguished Sith pureblood, which are normally held up as measuring stick to all others. I’ve often wondered exactly how a Sith pureblood would end up in slavery. My first inquisitor I had constructed a lavish back story that mirrored the Count of Monte Christo. A betrayed pureblood was exiled and captured by slavers after being framed by a rival. Seemed plausible enough.
The general storyline of Korriban is that you and a bunch of other slaves are being tossed into the Sith academy in an attempt to weed out one individual to become the new apprentice of Lord Zash. You’re put through trials by Overseer Harkun, who seems to be passionately rooting for a Sith pureblood named Pfon to win the prize. It’s been commented a dozen times across the web that there may be something to Harkun’s almost idolatrous fawning over Pfon. Some have read potential sexual undertones to the whole thing. I honestly just saw as a fanatic worship of the pure blood, something the Sith seem to have going for them. At least on Korriban. (This theory is extremely weird and hard to believe if you are leveling a Sith pureblood however. Might just wanna go with the sexual idea. Why not?) I haven’t seen it turn up much anywhere else so far. Needless to say, Harkun is quick to praise this ‘rival’ and punish you. He will routinely assign Pfon easy assignments and send you into death traps, and when you succeed he accuses you of cheating. The general idea, as explained by the crazy old Sith in the tombs during your first mission, is for you to hate Harkun and Pfon. In this regard, it absolutely succeeded.
During your various trials, you eventually are met by a blonde woman in Sith robes. This is the mysterious Lord Zash. Which your character – who has never met or seen an image of Zash at this point – immediately recognizes. The only reason I knew this was because I happened to have the subtitles on during this scene. I can’t tell if I – the player – was supposed to know who this was. If I was, it’s really poorly established. She never says her name. In fact, I doubt I would have caught it without subtitles until the next conversation with Harkun when one of the dialogue options is to mention that you were chatting with your ‘future master’. Honestly, out of everything, this is probably the biggest problem with the entire Korriban segment of the storyline. Why doesn’t she just introduce herself? It would be simple! “I am Lord Zash.” There. Done. Ambiguity removed. WHY IS THIS HARD?
The conclusion of your trials have you freeing a creature known as a Dashade and retrieving a star map. You are able to triumph over Pfon, who had a head start, by Lord Zash appearing and revealing the secret to freeing the monster after he had left. Finally, a lucky break for your beaten down… uh… hero? You go into the tomb and free the creature, who calls himself Khem Val. He was a servant of Tulak Hord. Which begs the question of why Tulak Hord sealed him away in the Tomb of Naga Sadow. I honestly haven’t the clue. It gave me pause originally, but in all likeliness it has more to do with the fact that once you go back a few thousand years in Star Wars history, I stop giving a damn. Of course, if Khem was IN the tomb of Tulak Hord, he probably would realize that his former master was dead, instead of sitting there waiting for him to return.
The story on Korriban wraps up with you returning with the star map that Zash wanted and the Dashade following your command, as Harkun tries to pull the fast one on Lord Zash and attempts to convince her that Pfon obtained the map instead. In a move that royally ticked me off, Zash kills Pfon. Really? You couldn’t give me that? After dealing with that annoying punk for 10 levels, I have to sit there and watch my new master kill my rival? Oh whatever. If anything it gives me a reason to hate the eerily nice and cheerful Zash even more. Your new master invites you up to her office, where she tells you to meet her on Dromund Kaas, hands you her old lightsaber, and you are quickly introduced via henchmen to a new rival – Darth Skotia. Have fun pronouncing that one. It’s pronounced no less than two completely different ways during the next 10 levels. Also, she just hands you a lightsaber. That’s it. Nothing else. There’s no fanfare or celebration. I know this doesn’t seem like a big thing, but that’s because this is the first one of these posts. I’ve played every force class to the point where they receive their saber, and they always have a nice dramatic cinematic for it. The Jedi use the force to assemble theirs, and the Sith warrior breaks open an ancient tomb and claims one from a dead Sith lord before battling a half dozen mummies. But the inquisitor? You get one handed to you. Zash keeps it in a drawer of her desk. I suppose there’s some sentimental value because it was HER old lightsaber. But really? That’s IT? C’mon!
When you first arrive at the homeworld of the Empire, you immediately are greeted by the very Darth Skotia you had just heard about. He is a giant, mostly robot, Sith lord who gets a nice reverb to his voice that makes my cyborg characters insanely jealous. He drops a warning to you that he ‘knows what Zash is up to’, which is either foreshadowing of what is to come in act one, or old news if you are a paranoid sort who doesn’t trust Zash from the moment she called you over in Harkun’s office. You then go to meet up with your master and deliver Skotia’s vague threats. Zash immediately lets you in on the plan. Or part of it, at least. Zash needs a secret relic for her ritual and a fancy new office, so you’re going to kill Darth Megatron. Oh. Okay. Well, that was blunt.
The plan to destroy the Darth is two-fold. First you are sent to find an ancient tablet that will force his trandoshan bodyguards to stand down or obey. This is, of course, kept in a super secure secret facility under a mountain. It’s actually a relatively simple smash-and-grab operation, only really spruced up by the side missions you get while you are the giant mountain being carved into a statue. However this tablet will really prove to be more fun later. The second half of the plan is to find a scientist that is being imprisoned by the rogue Sith lord Gratham. The scientist has developed a tool that will severely damage Darth Skotia’s mechanical parts. Naturally, the scientist doesn’t have it on him, so you have to go down into the lab to get it. Again, other than the choice of what to do with the scientist, this is just another smash and grab job. There’s not a ton of suspense, just you playing fetcher monkey to Zash. This actually sets a good tone because that last sentence can be used to describe about 90% of the next act of the Sith inquisitor’s story. Not that it’s dull. There’s fun to be had in the process. At least you can actually mouth off to Zash about being her gopher. I appreciated that.
After you’ve retrieved the doo-hickey and the thinga-ma-bob, it is time to face off against the Darth and get the boss a promotion! Zash, being smart enough to establish an alibi, goes off to a party with some other Darths and Lords in town while you meander down the hall to find Darth Mega Man. You first get to take control of his body guards with the tablet you retrieved earlier. The choice is ordering them to stand down and leave or tell them to kill Skotia. I always chose the latter, not because Skotia has any sort of affection for them but because I like the idea of him destroying his own defenses. I’d like to think he’d learn a lesson before I kill him but I know he doesn’t. Then as soon as the fight has begun, you ‘taze him bro’ with the thing you got from the scientist and then just wail away on him. Despite being a boss level mob, he goes down pretty easy after you zap him. Now that Darth Robocop is dead, you can join Zash at the party to celebrate (or more so give Zash a reason to leave the party as she seems bored out of her mind).
It’s at this point you are introduced to Darth Thanaton who has a brief and angry exchange with Zash. In a great deal of foreshadowing, Thanaton will not be relevant to you in any way until you’re in the 30′s. I really liked the fact that you get a few good looks at him early on, and establish that he doesn’t much care for Zash or her plans. You rendezvous back with Zash at her new and roomier office to find that she’s been promoted to a Darth! Nice! What do you get? A mission befitting Mystery Inc! Yay? Zash wants you to go the Dark Temple (Okay, we really need these to have better names. How many Dark Temples have I been to in my 20+ years of video games?) and pacify a ghost that is haunting the tomb with yet another relic she needs for the ritual.
Finally, you get an interesting twist during one of your tasks and discover that you do not actually need to fight the ghost. Because you get to have your own Skywalker moment when the ghost appears and explains that you are his great, great, great, great, great, great-grandchild. He calls himself Lord Kallig, a rival of Tulak Hord (and a part of me always laughs at Khem Val when he mentions it), and he has come from the beyond to assist you in reclaiming your family’s once proud position. And oh boy are you going to need it. He also informs you that Zash seeks to betray you! Which isn’t exactly shocking, because both Skotia and the in-game codex have pretty much already told you that. Of course, you can happily choose to deny it. After all, Zash has been pretty cool to you since you became her apprentice, and this ghost just claims to be your grandpa and now you have to trust him? Riiiight.
Dromund Kaas wraps up with the Ghost of Kallig’s warning, returning the relic from the tomb, and Zash giving you a new ship and some orders. The star map you retrieved from your last trial on Korriban has helped Zash track down the location of two more relics on Balmorra and Nar Shadaa. Which fortunately happen to be the next worlds you are within the level range to do! Pure coincidence, I am sure. And of you go on your amazing new giant, TIE fighter looking thing! For adventure!
Despite my constant joking, the Sith inquisitor prologue does an amazingly good job of setting up the status quo for the class. You are introduced to several key characters, are given a solid purpose from both Zash – who explains that she has had visions of you becoming all-powerful through this mysterious ritual – and Kallig – who wants to see his family line restored to their rightful place. The idea of rituals is an important one and is established prominently from the get go with the gathering of relics and items to reinforce your power, including freeing Khem Val who becomes your first companion and bound servant.
Zash is not nearly the mustache-twirler my humorous retelling would paint her to be. She is actually very good about establishing a solid level of trust with you early on. Unlike Harkun or Skotia, who treat you as some lesser being because you were a slave (even more so if you were an alien slave), Zash is kind and encouraging. The first time you meet her she calls you a slave and then quickly corrects herself by referring to you as an acolyte instead. She congratulates and compliments you on your victories, were as Harkun was quick to accuse you of cheating. She honestly seems to be the only person you ever meet that appreciates you. If I didn’t know what was to come, I’d write off Skotia’s warnings as sheer jealousy. The story does a great job of actually making you like working under Zash.
That being said, there is a good amount of just being a gopher. You don’t exactly feel very important in the grand scheme of things quite yet. There are a few attempts to create a sort of “chosen one” mentality with things like shooting lightning at a holocron to get it to open which you’re told is something no one has done in thousands of years apparently. It’s fine though, a lot of class stories feel that way in the prologues. It is after all, a prologue. My real frustrations with the Inquisitor’s story don’t start to further down the line.
Anyway, that’s my first entry in what I hope to be a nice full series. As always, feedback is appreciated and feel free to leave your own opinions on the story in the comments. I would love to hear them! Hope you enjoy my thoughts and retrospectives on the stories of SWTOR.
There comes a time in every MMO that you hit a plateau. A time of stasis, when there are no more levels to gain. This mythic place is known to many as ‘Endgame’. A fitting title many of the times, because it can often represent the end of the game, and the beginning of the work. Gearing up, perfecting your rotations, grinding your reps… it’s a completely different world than the ‘level up game’, and definitely takes getting used to. No matter how long I’ve played World of Warcraft, reaching an expansions level cap is always met with a stunned moment of “Okay… now I gotta figure out what to do next.”
However, WoW has been around that block a few times. It’s endgame is currently a paved and well-worn path known to many. Dailies/Rep Grind, Heroics, then Raids. Or if you’re a PvP fan, battlegrounds then arenas or rated battlegrounds. The formula almost feels beaten to death for some, and probably one of the reasons it seems that Mists of Pandaria wants to shake things up. I know I am watching MoP news pretty closely to see how well that works out, because if there’s one thing that playing The Old Republic has shown me, it’s that having things to do at endgame is important!
SWTOR, at the moment, has a fairly limited list of things to do at level 50. Even more limited if you don’t want to look around for some other options. There’s a small handful of normal level 50 flashpoints, a slightly larger selection of Hardmode flashpoints, two operations, and war zones. Though it seems from TORHead’s sneak peek (leaked?) look at the future of the game, there is definitely a lot more solo content, flashpoints, and operations coming. But I thought I’d take this chance to make a few other suggestions for things to do:
Unlock Your Dailies: As soon as you finish your class missions and close out Chapter Three, you’ll be getting a breadcrumb mission to Ilum. Ilum is the notorious PvP world that has had more than its share of controversy since the game launched. However, beyond the PvP component, there is an actual storyline here. Along the way, you’ll start gathering Daily Commendations that can be traded in for high level artifact gear (purpz, y’all) and mods. This is actual a fairly cool storyline that sets up the two level 50 flashpoints – Battle for Ilum and The False Emperor.
However, there is another set of dailies you can do on the prison world of Belsavis. This doesn’t give an obvious bread crumb trail as far as I know. I actually didn’t get the mission until I arrived at Belsavis at level 50. This ‘bonus series’ will also unlock several dailies for you to help bridge that gap between leveling gear and operations.
Complete Missed Heroic Missions: If you’re like me, you may have had a hard time finding people to do heroic missions on planets with and just decided to skip them. Well, here’s your chance to go back and do all of those. Many I’ve bumped into award moddable oranges that will be useful to have to further customize your appearance when Bioware updates the moddable gear to include all the endgame gear, so that you can truly look the way you want.
Finish Those Bonus Series: There are a LOT of bonus series in the game. Especially towards the end of the leveling experience. Most of these can reward you with anything from item boxes that you can sell the contents on the GTN, or more orange moddable gear (I collect the stuff like crazy. I love being able to change my appearances.) Not to mention for the story enthusiasts, many of these bonus series will expand, extend or conclude some of the events that occurred in the main storyline of that world. Can’t go wrong with a bit more story!
Datacron Hunting: Datacrons. I can’t even begin to go into my love/hate relationship with these wannabe companion cubes. They provide an excellent puzzle for those who want to searching for them. I usually use a guide to find their locations, but then I try to solve how to get to them myself. It’s a fun activity that can actually take quite a while. However, there are a good number – more than I would like at least – that often require 2-4 players to actually obtain. So now you not only have to solve a puzzle, you have to get another person to help solve it. Grouping up for things a lot of people like to do is a pain at the moment in the game! Now I have to find someone who actually cares about Datacrons?! Possibly an entire RAID GROUP!?! Give me a break! Curse me and my rabid completionism… /1 LFM Datacrons…
Complete that Pokedex… I mean Codex: If you open your codex (it’s a tab at the bottom of your mission log. Go ahead. I’ll wait… Neat, huh?) you can find entries for each world you visit. In these entries, there will be a breakdown of how many codex entries you have from that world, and how many you are missing at the moment. Now is your time to shine Lore Nerds! Go forth and fill those bars! But be warned, a lot of the codex entries are bugged. I do mean A LOT. On top of the fact that many of the titles mentioned are not obtainable in game (They were in the beta. They removed them for some reason. I am VERY cross about this.), many others are not obtainable at the moment either or can only be obtained by certain classes (Such as the Deshade entry for Korriban is only obtainable through an Inquisitor class mission. You must play as an Inquisitor, or group up with one, to get this entry). Fixing the codex appears to be a low priority for BioWare at the moment, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t get 100% currently.
Kill the Avatar of Sel-Makor: The final gold elite on the Voss story missions SUUUUUUUUCKS. The amount of ridiculous line of sight tactics you have to pull off on this thing is a ridiculous ramp up in difficulty. I just skipped him until I hit 50. Then came back and finished the story line. I hate this monster. With a deep loathing of a thousand burning suns. It is probably the closest I’ve ever come to smashing my keyboard. Skip it. Come back at 50. Be at peace.
Level an Alt: I know. This is a tired and beaten down one. My years of WoW have made me very cynical to this response to the “what should I do now” question, and I don’t blame you if you gave me an eye roll as soon as you saw this on the list. But hey, SWTOR has a lot of great reasons to roll an alt. There are 8 class stories, and 8 advanced classes (if you include the fact that the mechanics are roughly mirrored on both sides. Yes, I know about the animation lag on some abilities. Don’t bother dragging that up here.) This gives you a reason to enjoy a new story line, make different choices on shared story lines, and experience a new class mechanically! And yes, the different choices thing is sometimes just an ‘illusion of choice’ resulting in the same. But not always. I’ve been surprised but how the opposite choice will sometimes give new objectives, skip battles or reduce the number of enemies I have to deal with. It’s definitely worth doing if you enjoy the story of the game. But here’s a tip to help with your sanity: Alternate doing republic and imperial alts. It will make seem WAY less repetitive.
Wait for More Things to Be Added: This is just a snarky response. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t holding out some hope for less ‘standard MMO fare’ at level 50. Some more interactive and dynamic content, like playing Pazzak in cantinas or Nar Shadaa’s casinos. It’s an easy game to learn, fun to master, and can be done against an NPC or other players! I’ve heard other suggestions like bringing swoop races into the game, which would be another fun one. I realize I might have to wait a while on these, but a guy can hope can’t he?
I know that there will be many people who will see this list and see this as a pointless gesture to find something to do in the “horrible and dull” endgame of SWTOR. All I can say is – is this really any worse than unlocking the molten front or getting your reputations all to exalted? Those are the exact kind of activities I filled my time with in WoW. They were fun and entirely optional. This list is pretty much the same. If it doesn’t raise your ship from the swamps of Dagobah, fine. But hopefully someone will see this list and go “Oh! That’s something I hadn’t thought of before!”
Recently, I’ve been indulging in my alt-itis and playing lots of alts up to level 10 to leave their starter planets in SW:TOR. It gives me a bit of fun in exploring each classes nuance, checking out new servers where potential new guilds reside, and generally exploring the different options in dialogues. It’s interesting how some choices are purely superficial and others can actually add or skip additional objectives. It’s neat to find out that ‘Hey, if I choose the Light side option here I won’t have to fight those guys’ or ‘If choose light side I have to go report this to a guy way back there or if I do dark side I get to run around and collect some doodads really quick’. Mostly, I’ve just been going with whatever my character does. I don’t think I’ve played a single character thus far that hasn’t racked up some mix of dark or light points. Most lean one way or the other, with a dash of the opposite tossed in for flavor.
Back to the point! I recently started leveling a trooper. She’s a bald, Asian cyborg with a huge gun. I love that I can say that with a straight face. It’s like an utter indulgence of my love of cyberpunk gushing out through ever slider on the character select screen. Early on in the trooper’s story – the second class quest I believe – you are quickly introduced to Aric Jorgan. He’s one of the guys ordering you around. He’s a big bald Cathar. Which are cat people. So if you hear “Tough-as-Nails Cat Person Named Jorgan” and immediately think of this:
I like the way you think! But sadly, he instead looks more this:
Anyway, he’s one bad ass kitty and channels a serious Panthro vibe. He doesn’t mess around when the safety of the Galactic Republic is at stake. But when I first met Mr. Jorgan, I got a slightly different version instead. Apparently, the game glitched during the cut scene and instead I got introduce to Mini-Aric instead:
The whole cut scene was like that. It was AWESOME. I couldn’t stop laughing. The best part is when my trooper is supposed to look at Aric in the cut scene, she actually looked down at the ground. So apparently the animation was designed to lock on to him or something. Even the cameras repositioned themselves to include Tiny Jorgan!
Sadly, after the cut scene ended he returned to his regular size and has stayed that way since. Still, for one glorious and hilarious moment I got to watch Chibi Jorgie try to be an imposing bad ass superior officer. I will never be able to respect him. EVER.
This week a patch rolled out on The Old Republic that set the forums ablaze with rage and cheering and cherry soda. Okay, there was no cherry soda. Well, there was. But I am fairly certain that was just at my desk. Not a feature. Along with that cherry soda, I can confirm I was definitely not in the camp that was cheering. However, readers beware! Those of you seeking an outlet for your rage and confirmation that this change was a foolish action that proves that Bioware doesn’t know what they are doing will find themselves sorely disappointed. For I was not in the raging camp either. I am actually fine with this change. My bounty hunter with 400 slicing is fine with this change. Just fine. Not happy, not mad. It’s a middle ground. Like Ohio.
Wait! Come back! I know that’s not what you wanted to hear! You wanted to be mad. You wanted vindication. I understand that, but please come back here and I will tell you why I think that this is so not the change worth abandoning your slicing skill for. For I am here to tell you that – yes, Virginia – slicing is still profitable. Just maybe not in the way you were doing it before.
The first and most important thing to understand before we go any further with this is that slicing is a gathering skill and not a mission skill. That means we need to think of it in terms of things like scavenging and archaeology. What does that mean? Well for one, you can send companions out to do scavenging missions. They’ll come back with a handful of whatever material, and it will probably not be as much as a quick trot around Coruscant will get you for no cost. It’s a bad investment. Really, I think it’s only worthwhile if you’re stuck on the fleet, need just one or two more items to finish crafting something, and the GTN is ridiculously priced. That’s about the only time I can think of it to use those missions. If you can think of another, that’s good. I still don’t think it’s really worth it.
So how then, when lockbox missions are only returning a portion of their initial cost and putting you in the red, is slicing suppose to return a profit? Simple. You do the exact same thing you do with any other gathering profession: Do it yourself. Throughout your adventures you’ll find slicing nodes. There’s locked safes, holographic computers, data terminals… all sitting around in completely random and nonsensical places. ‘Cause the radioactive swamps of Taris are exactly where you wanna leave your laptop. These slicing nodes provide you with lockboxes. The same lockboxes you can nab from missions, only these don’t cost you anything. That’s pure credits with no cost.
In this way, slicing is still profitable but it actually requires you to go out and do stuff, not just sit in the cantina and rake in cash. I’ve been able to find slicing nodes in large clumps around inhabited areas. Why just running around a quick area on Taris the other day netted me a quick 5000 credits. That’s in 5-10 minutes. Sure, I’ll go without for a while and not see a single node, but overall it’s still a steady flow.
So where does that leave missions? Why have them? Well, as I said, they hold about the same value as the scavenging missions or bioanalysis missions. Not much value. But wait! Don’t those missions at least give you something? Well yes. So do slicing missions. But it’s a bit of a gamble. Really, I like to think of slicing lockbox missions as a scratch off lotto ticket. You spend money to send out a companion, then you’ll get a lockbox. This lockbox will probably only contain maybe 75-80% of what you spent to send them off (those numbers are in no way legit. This is just an example.) Now that’s no profit, but sometimes you might get more and make a little profit. You also might get a cybertech schematic or a mission item (that unlock a bonus mission for a profession, usually with excellent rewards.) So you might actually get quite a bit, but it’s a chance. A gamble.
There are also augment missions. These mission you don’t get ANY money back, but the trade-off is a guaranteed augment. In fact a trade-off is probably the best way to describe how slicing works now or at least a better term than gambling.
So that’s all I really had to say. It’s really just a matter of perspective in my opinion. If you treat slicing like any other gathering profession, I think it’s still a pretty good crew skill to have. It’s just maybe not THE crew skill to have and that’s fine too. If you HAVE to take something, then that’s less fun and interesting that something you can choose to take. Then again if something is pointless, there’s no reason to have it in the game in the first place. I don’t think slicing is pointless. My bounty hunter with 400 slicing is still making good money as he levels with it. I’m just glad my Jedi knight can do something else now too.