Friday, December 4, 2015

SWTOR: The Light Side

My Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) subscription lasts another couple of weeks, so I decided it's time to try the light side. I picked a Jedi Consular. After playing as a self-serving bounty hunter on the dark side, the selfless Jedi seemed like a fun and different direction. Doing this made sense for trying some of the multi-player aspects of the game, too. I named him "Ineffablebob" because I have no creativity whatsoever.
Not actually my character, but I liked the image.
As you'd expect, much of the game unfolds in very much the same way as a Republic citizen as it did as an Imperial. A short prologue on your opening planet, a trip to the center of the Republic, your own story to follow as well as planet-specific story-lines, companions joining your little band, your own ship, and so on.

Heroic missions are also present, and I even completed one in the early going with another player who happened to be in the same area. I had one false start...the first guy I invited disconnected almost immediately. The second one worked out, though, and fighting through the tougher monsters was fairly easy with two of us. I wasn't too impressed with the way grouping handles the story aspects, though. There was a lot of waiting involved, and it randomly chooses which one of you responds to conversation prompts.

When I did this early section on Eltaix, I wasn't a subscriber, and the difference is noticeable. The most useful difference with a subscription is the ability to use the fast travel shuttle every few minutes. Instead of completing a mission and running back across half the planet to my contact, I can use the shuttle after just about every mission. It's still annoying to have to run through the gigantic buildings where the contacts like to hang out, though. The Senate building on Coruscant is especially bad.

The Jedi starting planet of Tython and the Republic capital of Coruscant were new places to me, which makes sense as an Imperial would have little reason to be on either. After completing my story-line there, though, I moved on to familiar territory on Taris and Nar Shaddaa. The missions I was doing were almost entirely new, though. I recognized the terrain and planet descriptions, but otherwise it was very much a new experience. I'm sure if I played a second character on either the Republic or Imperial side, it would feel much more similar.

I decided to try a Flashpoint with a group before I moved on to Tatooine. As I've mentioned before, random groups in MMOs are often frustrating, but I wanted to give it a try since I'm going beyond soloing with this character. Sadly, this instance proved the point. Finding a group was easy enough with the group finder function, and we got through the first sections of the flashpoint without much trouble. But then one guy dropped out...another joined, then dropped out...another joined, stuck around but was doing horribly dumb things...we died to the same boss four times in a row because that guy couldn't figure out how to move out of the big lightning AoE and three people wasn't enough damage...eventually after more than an hour, I gave up. Not an experience I'm eager to repeat.

I've also dipped into the crafting system, which I pretty much ignored up to this point. It's similar to other MMO crafting in that you need to make a whole bunch of stuff to level up your skill, then learn how to make better stuff, make a bunch of that, repeat, repeat, repeat. It's different than most other MMOs in that you can craft pretty much anywhere at any time, because it's not actually you doing it; rather, your companions are out doing the work. It takes time for them to complete the tasks. That's good in the sense that you can craft as you go about your business around the galaxy; it's bad in the sense that you have to re-assign your companions to new missions every few minutes in order to keep things moving. I chose to become an Artificer so that I can make my own lightsaber, which is pretty cool. I don't know if I'll have to patience to get the skill all the way up to the max level of 500, but at least for now it's more interesting than tedious.

The first half of the personal story for this character is now done, after traveling to Tattooine and Alderaan, and defeating a fallen Jedi master. Just what you'd expect for a Jedi on his way up in the galaxy.

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