Tag star wars galaxies

What It All Comes Down To Is That Everything’s Gonna Be Fine Fine Fine

Lalafell

La-la-la-lalafell! Hugs!

I think I’m on a roll on this whole positive outlook-thing. Despite my last post about MMO companies and their relationship to betas (it was not only directed at Square Enix), the MMO genre is still a source of happiness and pleasure. I’m doing great in Star Wars Galaxies, I’m giving Final Fantasy XIV a try and I recently resubbed to Lord of the Rings Online to be ready when the F2P version goes live in a matter of weeks.

It became a bit more obvious to me today, when I read Rankvile’s blog entry about Final Fantasy XIV. Don’t get me wrong, he’s got a lot of things right. The UI is horrible, the menus convoluted, the patcher a nightmare, the quest system non-intuitive at best. I’ll repeat what Pete said about it – Final Fantasy XIV won’t be for everyone. But when Rankvile writes that it’s an “advancement of sorts for it’s own predecessor, Final Fantasy XI” (compared to an advancement of the MMO genre in general), I feel happy. Because that’s exactly what I want from it. Final Fantasy XI fascinated me, but I burned out on forced grouping. I mostly solo in MMOs, and would love a FF-MMO where I didn’t have to group up only because I want to level.

That’s not to say that I’m sure I will play Final Fantasy XIV for a very long time after launch, the game does have its issues. But I am not cancelling my preorder yet.

Ewok Love Familar

Seriously, I want one on my ship in SW:TOR. They are cuddly!

The second time it struck me today was when I read Heartless’ post about the latest Star Wars: The Old Republic-video released by Bioware. Heartless (man, he’s grumpy these days) thinks the combat looks terrible in TOR, with a traditional “trash pull”-mechanic. It has looked that way for a long time, there doesn’t seem to be anything truly innovative about combat in TOR. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much innovation in the game at all. The “epic storyline” and the fully voiced cast might be cool, but in general it’s looking to be a classic MMO. Levels, trash pulls, dungeons, etc. And you know what? You probably guessed it – that’s exactly what I want from it.

I want to play a MMO set in one of the coolest time periods of the Star Wars mythology. I don’t care about innovative combat mechanics or the storyline. I just want to play a MMO where I can team up with my friends and go explore the world of the Old Republic. I don’t even care about the fact that TOR’s space missions are on rails anymore. That minor disappointment eroded as soon as I remembered that I have the space-system I need in SWG anyway.

It’ll be alright. Because I got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is swinging a lightsaber. And I look good doing it.

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Is That An Elite Harvester Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Tugg Back in Bestine

Tugg Back, being confused in Bestine. Look, a dancing Stormtrooper!

Earlier today on Twitter, some people seemed to react when I mentioned that I planned to do some AFK-mining with my trader in Star Wars Galaxies. I can understand that, doing things AFK are almost the same as botting in other titles. I thought I’d return to the culture of AFK that is present in SWG in a later post, but inspired by Stargrace’s writings on Vanguard, I thought I’d take a look at crafting in Star Wars Galaxies.

Crafting in Vanguard is awesome. Crafting in Star Wars Galaxies is a science, at least for newbies like me. Poking around in it can be pretty fun, but if you’re going to try to make any credits out of it you’re in for a ride. Something I noticed when I decided to take my poor trader out of early retirement a few weeks ago. He went from simply pulling up worthless materials for easy credits to trying to wrap his poor Ithorian head about the finer details of weapon crafting…

Bear with me, because this might get a bit long.

Tugg Back, my budding crafter, was luckily already level 90. I grinded him to cap through the usual means – going for a structure trader, picking up a grind kit of materials and making statues until my eyes bled. It was horrible, took about three hours of insanity, and I don’t ever want to do it again. Sadly, a trader beneath level 90 is more or less worthless to the current community, seeing how old it is, so it was pretty much needed.

Re-speccing him to a munitions trader, putting my expertise points into weapon smithing (our guild city already has an awesome armor shop), I took a look at what I could put together. From the list of weapons I picked the Advanced Laser Rifle. It sounded basic enough, and “advanced” sounded better than the normal laser rifle. For it, I would need a frame, a receiver, a grip, a barrel, a core and an optional scope, stock and elemental chamber. Reasonable enough.

Then I started to take a look at what materials I would need, and that’s kind of where I am right now. In a state of miserable shock, trying to figure out if this project is worth the effort or not. For the frame, receiver and grip I will need some rather easy stuff – link-steel aluminium, non-ferrous metal and polymer. But the full list of stuff I will need to gather is a bit longer…

Rhodium Steel
Duralloy Steel
Duranium Steel
Ryll Amorphous Gemstone
Polysteel Copper
Carbonite Steel
Crystalline Gemstone
Inert Petro Chemical
Reactive Gas
Chromium Aluminium
Green Diamond Crystalline Gemstone
Corellian Deciduous Wood
Varium Carbonite Ore
Phrik Aluminium
Tolium Reactive Gas

This will get me an Advanced Laser Rifle with an acid elemental chamber. Sweet! Just go out and mine the stuff, right? Run up to a Reactive Gas-node and get the good old mining pick out? Oh, no. I’m just getting started.

Tugg Back and harvester

Tugg Back placing an elite harvester... in a swamp!

You see, there is Rhodium Steel and there is Rhodium Steel. Materials in Star Wars Galaxies have stats. A freaking ton of stats. All of them don’t come into play when you’re going to craft something, for most of my stuff I just need to keep my eye on Overall Quality (OQ) and Shock Resistance (SR). But I still need to find the darn materials, and they need to have spawned somewhere in the galaxy in the first place. Different spawn, different stats. Luckily, some brave souls keep updating the list on the wonderful website SWGcraft, so lazy traders like me don’t need to scour every planet to find what they need.

All of the stuff on that list isn’t available at any given time. They might spawn, they might despawn, they might pop up when I least expect it and disappear before I have time to get my harvesters there. And then, of course, there are planets like Mustafar where you can’t even place harvesters so you have to rely on sampling – pulling up small quantities of materials from the ground. Which is where my trader is right now, AFK-mining away to get his hands on some sweet high-statted copper. Yum yum yum. I had plans to AFK-mine that really nice gemstone that had spawned the other day, but of course that was already gone…

Are we done yet? No, we’re not. Here comes the whole “you need money to make money”-thing. Because when you finally have the materials needed, you need to put it together. And to get the best result, you need to pray to the Gods of Chance – you will need to “experiment”. And to make sure that the Gods are smiling in your favor, you need to stack up on crafting gear. Which I surely don’t have right now, and can’t afford anyway. During Empire Day, they hand out a nice bandoleer with a lot of bonus Luck, but that’s about it for me right now.

Tugg relaxing at home

I'm just going to sit here and stare for a bit...

So this is pretty much where I stand right now, confused and scared and excited at the same time. It might sound like I’m complaining. I’m really not. I’m looking forward to getting this project off the ground, slowly building up a nice stock of materials (I haven’t even mentioned things like weapon augmentations…) and trying to put up a small weapons shop in some corner of our guild city. It won’t be the fanciest shop in the world, but I’m going to sell some really nice weapons to my customers. That’s the plan, at least.

Wish me luck. I’m still trying to bend my head around all the concepts at play here. It’s an amazing system, with a nice depth. It’s light years ahead of other titles, and together with Vanguard it has one of the most interesting crafting systems of all time. The only games that come close is Ryzom and in a way EVE Online. And I never managed to get much crafting done in those two…

Or perhaps I’m just making it more complicated in my head than it actually is in reality. Hopefully that’s the case.

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What A Long Strange Journey It’s Been

No, I’m not talking about E3. I know that the last time I posted, I was packing for LA. But that was weeks ago, E3 is over and we’ve all internalized and processed all the information. Let me just say, for the record, that I had a great time. It was stressful, and at the end I was a tired mess, but it was wonderful. Now to get ready for Gamescom…

Anyway, what I’m talking about is Star Wars Galaxies. I started out in November last year, planning to give the game a month to see if all its bad rep was deserved or not. I ended up falling in love with it, and the week after E3 I hit level 90 – the cap. During that time I have been a Jedi, a Bounty Hunter, a Smuggler and back to Jedi. I have grinded a Trader to level 90, I’ve picked up a second account where I got an Entertainer to cap as well.

Now I am getting ready for “endgame”, which in Star Wars Galaxies I’m not sure really exists. At least not in the traditional sense. I’ve put my foot in one of the heroic dungeons, the Temple of Exar Kun, and I’m hoping to finish up the few remaining heroic pre-quests I have left this week and see the rest of them soon. I’ve started to dabble in invasions, I’m trying to re-decorate my new house, trying to learn about crafting enough that I can actually use my Trader for…well, for something.

I feel at home in Star Wars Galaxies. It’s a great game, with a long and sad run. Seven years of constant controversy. But also seven years of sandboxy goodness, with a dedicated playerbase and ideas that haven’t been seen in other MMOs. I plan to stick around for a long time coming, even if I’ve started to feel the call of the classic fantasy MMO. My Lord of the Rings-account is still active, and Vanguard’s server merge has put it back on my radar…

What a long strange journey it’s been. And what a long strange journey I have yet to look forward to.

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Give Me Variation Or Give Me Death

Terminal mission

Die, stupid flag!

Since I resubscribed to Star Wars Galaxies I’ve only managed to ding 8 levels. What burned me out last time was this obsession about getting to level cap, and I got stuck on doing terminal missions until my brain bled. They are not very fun, trust me. So this time I gave up on that, even though I do look forward to reaching level 90, and I’ve been doing whatever I’ve felt like at any given moment. Such as…

  • Hunting on Kashyyyk. The design of the Wookie planet is a lot different from the other planets I’ve visited so far, and the long quest chains serve to slowly unlock different areas. I’ve so far gathered three different hunting trophies that are now hanging on the walls of my house. I’ve also ordered myself a new mount from a beast master in my guild, since my regular means of transportation are not available in the forest and I have to rely on my really slow (and ugly) cliff-jumper. A crafter in the guild is also buying any hides I might gather, which is a small cash bonus.
  • Decorating my house. Moving stuff around, hanging new paintings and putting some things on display on top of my aquarium. Hanging a huge bantha hunting trophy next to my bed. Dear me, that will give me nightmares.
  • Flying around in space. I’ve been moving up through the space tiers, currently working for Jabba the Hutt. Space is awesome, and I do hope that Bioware will include something similar in The Old Republic. I doubt they will though, unless it’s planned for an expansion in the same way Jump To Lightspeed was for Star Wars Galaxies.
  • Finding random quests. If you don’t count the Legacy Quest-chain, there are no big arrows pointing out where you should go in SWG. You can run into a quest more or less anywhere. If it sounds interesting, and I believe I can pull it off, I’ll accept it and see where it takes me. I got my fancy clone trooper armor that way. I’ve also started to make my way through the Meatlump theme park, investigating the largest criminal gang on Corellia.
  • Taking part in PvP invasions. Sure, I’m only level 55 right now, so I don’t go full PvP and fight other players. But I’ve joined forces together with a couple of guildies and attacked Bestine a couple of times. Epic and a lot of fun, with walkers and stormtroopers everywhere. I haven’t turned off my flag since last time, so I constantly get to fight stormtrooper NPCs while in Mos Eisley.
  • Doing smuggler missions. I respeced from Jedi to smuggler and I don’t regret it at all. Doing smuggler missions for the Underworld faction might not be the most exciting activity in the world, but it’s a nice distraction and adds flavor.

I’m also considering taking my trader out of early retirement, perhaps respecing him to a chef or giving him an instrument and turn him into an entertainer, playing music and buffing others for tips at the Mos Eisley cantina. We’ll have to see about that, so far I haven’t had any money problems. Sooner or later I will, though.

Pew pew in space

Twitch-based pew pew in space. Eat your heart out, landlubber.

What Star Wars Galaxies has taught me this time is how shallow games like World of Warcraft is. I need at least some sandbox elements to stay happy. I haven’t logged into Lord of the Rings Online in the last couple of days and I don’t really feel like doing so either. I have to log into Age of Conan, since I’m reviewing Rise of the Godslayer, but I seriously doubt it would be able to keep me occupied over a long period of time.

Cataclysm, despite all the cool screenshots, has never looked as uninteresting as right now. I know I will never get my friends to play Star Wars Galaxies with me, since they only tend to go back to what they know or only see flaws where I see merits. That’s fair enough. But more than ever I’m quite sure that I want more sandboxes, more immersion. I want Vanguard more than I want Warcraft, I want Galaxies more than I want The Old Republic (of course I’ll play it when it comes out, it does look awesome).

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A Horse And An Aquarium – All A Guy Will Ever Need

I has pretty horsie!

I’ve had a really bad day today, which culminated with a long discussion/argument with Openedge over Twitter (no hard feelings though). But instead of being a typical MMO-blogger/player and complaining about something game related on my blog when I’m in a bad mood, I’m going to do the opposite. Instead, I’m going to be all happy! See, I did promise a happy post on DFTM!

You know what, I am happy when it comes to the MMOs I’m in right now. I’m truly to starting to feel at home in Lord of the Rings Online, for example. My rune-keeper has hit level 36, which is way beyond anything I’ve reached in the game before. He’s a ton of fun to play, and getting the horse from the Spring Festival made me even happier about him. There is something about getting a proper mount in a MMO that always makes me feel that my character is more…well, real.

The kinship I’m in has been nothing except great, even though I hardly ever see any of the bloggers that’s in it as well (I’ve seen Syp once, still no sign of Blue Kae or the Casual Stroll-guys – damn your make-believe time zone). I’ve started to dabble a bit in skirmishes, trying to figure out which soldier will work the best together with my rune-keeper. So far, the warrior has been working better than the protector. It’s tricky to try to do both healing and some extra DPS with a rune-keeper…

I also decided to re-sub to Star Wars Galaxies the other day. It was a combination of the producer note for April which details some really cool changes, the neat stuff you get during the 30th Anniversary of Empire Strikes Back, and a brief discussion about the game with Ark. I was happy to find my house intact and myself still guilded. All I’ve done so far is putting some decorative things on top of the aquarium on the upper floor of my home, but it felt nice seeing Prometheus, our guild city, again.

Aquarium

And a cool aquarium. Beat that, World of Warcraft.

I’m considering respecing my Jedi as well. That’s the nice thing about SWG – you can actually respec over to other classes and retain your combat levels (it comes with an increasing cost, of course). I’m considering a bounty hunter, or a smuggler, but I have yet to decide. I’m also thinking about deleting my level 90 trader and replacing him with an entertainer (don’t want to respec him, he wouldn’t look too good on the dance floor).

To be honest, I’m actually pretty confident that MMOs will come out alright in the end, despite money grabbing F2P-games and sparkly ponies. I’m with Syp, the APB business model gave me back some confidence that it’s all not doom and gloom. Everything will be just fine.

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Sunday Multi-Subject Post!

Rebel Walker from Star Wars Galaxies

The Galactic War is on in Star Wars Galaxies this week. So many Jedis for people to get upset about!

Multi-subject post! I don’t always have time to blog that much, so here’s a summary of the stuff I felt I should have written about, but didn’t.

Star Trek Online - Seems like everyone on my Twitter-list are playing STO these days. I am not, since my review code has yet to materialize. Not sure if there’s been a mix-up, if they are simply not sending out review codes (I am not the only one that have yet to get one) this time around or if they want to sort out most of the problems during head-start before letting the press in. I am bouncing up and down here, there’s a new MMO on the market and I’m not playing it. I feel naked.

Mass Effect 2 – The other game on everyones’ lips right now is Mass Effect 2. While I still feel a bit uncomfortable about some of the changes they’ve made to the gameplay, I am completely in love. If  you loved the first game, you must get Mass Effect 2. If you haven’t played the first game, then you are not a real human being and should get it right now. I love seeing Commander Shepard again, it’s been too long. So long that I’m actually playing through Mass Effect 1 as well.

Dante’s Inferno – The review copy of Dante’s Inferno turned up this Friday. It’s complete and utter madness. I adore it. Gameplay is solid enough to be entertaining on its own, but DI is all about the design. And the madness never, ever let up. I’ve played for around 8 – 9 hours of it, and it manages to keep the intensity up at all times. Good going, Visceral. You guys make me proud.

Mining copper in Lord of the Rings Online

Redthir the Rune Keeper, proudly stealing hobbit copper since 2010.

Lord of the Rings Online – I’ve really started to love LotRO. My rune keeper is a lot of fun to play, I love the atmosphere and the environments. While the quests are pretty standard, and I have to go into complete leveling-denial to keep myself going, I’m really enjoying myself when playing. I have fun, which is great, and I managed to get my first mount yesterday. I’m also starting to enjoy the crafting, having emptied the Shire on copper and animals dropping light hides. Sadly, the sub ran out today and since my economy this month is as bad as it more or less can get, I don’t feel like I have the funds to re-activate a P2P-account right now. I’ll be back next month, if not sooner, when everything looks a lot more stable.

Star Wars Galaxies – The Galactic Civil War update, also known as the more exciting title “Game Update 15″, was released this week. Haven’t had much time to play around, since I’m only level 47 and can’t really do much during the attacks on various cities, but I logged in and took a bunch of screens. Guild chat had some people complaining, but there was quite a lot of action going on from what I could see. Hope it works out and gets some people back to the game. It deserves it.

The future - The future does indeed look a bit brighter right now. It seems like I’ve fixed a stable freelance cash flow over the next couple of months, hopefully longer, so I should be OK economically for the moment. We’ll see how everything works out, but I feel more positive right now than I’ve done for a long, long time.

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Hello Leveling, My Old Friend

Motivation. I don't have it.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I downloaded the World of Warcraft-client today. I have yet to resub, but the client is installed and ready to be played. For some reason, the cold weather we are having in Sweden makes me want to play again – that, and this post at Spinksville reminded me about how much fun raiding can actually be.

The tipping point came when I logged in to Star Wars Galaxies this morning. My Jedi is currently stationed in Anchorhead, where she does terminal missions for the rebels. That way I don’t have to bother with the Legacy quests and can ding about one level a day, if I do 8 – 10 missions. They are easy, fast and not terribly boring.

But then it hit me – I am so sick and tired of leveling.

My other running sub right now is Lord of the Rings Online. I got a 30-day key for the American servers from Stargrace, which I am really grateful for, and I am enjoying my rune-keeper (“Mister Smirky”, as I like to call him – his facial expression is one of constant arrogance). But I can’t stand leveling him.

In a way, I guess it’s World of Warcraft that ruined the whole thing for me. It’s not that level cap in any way has to be where the game actually starts, but the freedom of being maximum level is undervalued. All around me are people who keep saying that they enjoy the journey to cap, that they don’t rush, that leveling is fun in itself. But at some point, having had my gnome rogue at cap with brief moments of XP-gathering when a new expansion hit, I got spoiled.

In many ways, a MMO starts at level cap because you are suddenly free to do whatever you wish. I can raid, I can do instances, I can PvP, I can gather gear, theorycraft, focus on crafting, poke my nose, gaze at my navel. That goes for most games that use a leveling system, which – let’s face it – is more or less every MMO on the market.

I’ve reached level 47 in SWG, I have 43 levels to go. In guild chat, everyone is busy discussing heroics, PvP, crafting. They have the whole game in front of them, they can do whatever they feel like. Me? I can poke around my house or level. It’s driving me nuts.

People like to compare MMOs to single player games (there was a lot of talk when Dragon Age was released, for example), so let’s compare a MMO to a game like Modern Warfare 2. If you play it in multiplayer, there are levels. You unlock new ranks, new weapons, perks, attachments. The more you play, the more variety you get. But as a new player, coming in at level 1, you are still playing together with the people 50 levels above you.

I am not saying that a system that uses levels in the way most MMOs do is inherently broken. It’s a tried and tested system that’s been around for decades in various forms and shapes. To me, it doesn’t really matter – right now, I can’t stand the sight of a new XP-bar. Especially not in games where the community is already set, where level cap is the norm. Yet another reason why I have yet to use my retail code on my EverQuest 2 account. I can’t be bothered to level my assassin to enjoy the game the same way the rest of the people in my (lovely) guild do.

I want to explore new worlds, I want to explore new games. It’s not that. I love discovering a new MMO, I love learning a new system of crafting or combat.

I miss my gnome.

I will keep giving LotRO a chance, I owe it to the game (and the kindness of certain people). I am very much looking forward to seeing Star Trek Online launch, a brand new game with a pretty cool level system and fun space combat. I am still cautiously keeping my eye on Allods Online and I don’t plan to drop my SWG-sub. What I have to evaluate, though, is where the fun stops and the grind – even if the grind is only in my head – starts.

I guess I will join the choir of people who vowed to not keep playing when something starts to bore them. Leveling, for the time being, you have to go. I want the freedom to explore in a way I see fit, not being forced to either grind mobs or quests to reach a point where that freedom is available.

That’s what I mean when I say that most MMOs really start at level cap. Not raids, not gear. Freedom.

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The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Best Developer Friend!

Scott Jennings, aka Lum the Mad, has posted a fun blog entry over at MMORPG.com, with the oh so controversial title How PvP Can Break Your Game. Scott is a great writer and it’s always fun to read his insights into MMO-making. Syncaine, of course, took offense because Scott mentioned Darkfall, and made some stuff up and Tobold took offense that Syncaine took offense and dug up some old arguments that he probably doesn’t believe himself so he could bash Darkfall (again). All very funny, and quite sad at the same time.

No matter, that’s not really the point here – the point is the description of the forum warriors in Scott’s post. For many forum posters on MMO forums, it seems like the developers are the great enemy. They are the evil that plagues their game, shifting game balance and nerfing classes left to right. We see it all over the place, visit any MMO’s official forums and you’ll find them. Often, the subject line is in caps, so you don’t have to look very hard for the posts I’m talking about.

Nerfed!

Arena is doing what now? Where did my class go?

I agree that the developer can be the great enemy, especially when they bring a huge change to a game that you’ve played for ages. When World of Warcraft introduced the arena, and Blizzard tried to make an e-sport of a game where PvP was an afterthought, well…for me, and many like me, the developers were the enemy. They were ruining our home, our world, because of a small, small fraction of their player base.

But sometimes, especially if you’re a player in a smaller MMO, the developers are not your enemy. Usually, they are trying their best to fix a game in order for the game to stay afloat. Sometimes, they should be seen as your buddy, you should try to work with them instead of against them. Sometimes, you should just play nice, thank them for the stuff they are actually able to deliver, and either thank them for their time and leave or hang around and see what happens.

It’s pretty rampant in the Star Wars Galaxies forums, where a thread about the upcoming (and pretty major and cool) Galactic Civil War-update turns into a flamewar about how relevant Light Side Jedis are in PvP. Instead of understanding that the game is actually struggling, with the executives (that don’t care about your petty abilities or PvP survivability) breathing down the devs’ all too exposed necks, and trying to keep the criticism valid and creative, the forums warriors’ arguments tend all to degenerate into “yur idiots lol”. Seriously, it has to stop.

Attack!

Proud Vanguard forum warriors stand united against this horrible...oh, they are only trying to help? What?

What got my blood flowing this time was this thread on the Vanguard forums, as pointed my way by (the always amazing) Dusty. In it, Silius tries to explain to the players that the dev team is low on resources and that they are trying to do as much as possible with the little they have – which includes scrapping some stuff in order to create a better game in the long run. It’s one of the most honest dev posts I’ve seen on a forum in a long time and it’s not every day a dev comes out and says “look, we’re short on cash, please have patience”.

The bitching starts with the first comment. Already on the first page, people start talking about SOE shutting the game down.

This is really not the time to paint the developer, who actually comes out and says more or less exactly what is going on behind the scenes (something many players ask for in most MMOs), as the enemy. It’s the time to pat him on the back, tell him how much you appreciate the game and that you understand that you don’t have all the data, all the numbers, all the logs, all the knowledge. It’s the time to either come up with some creative criticism, enjoy what is on offer or leave the game behind.

It is not a good time for insults. That developer, who probably had to go head to head with the PR-apartment for evening mentioning stuff like having “tried to do more with what [they] have and it has not always panned out”, has just done you a huge favor. But as a forum warrior and a pro-complainer, I suppose it is hard to see it that way.

It makes me sad, to be honest. I feel for the Vanguard devs. They are working on a gem of a game with one of the coolest crafting systems in the industry and an alternative advancement system that at least tried to do something new (diplomacy). They are probably under a lot of pressure, knowing full and well that if they don’t turn the game around, it will go the way of Matrix Online.

And that means that perhaps that special feature that you were looking forward to will get scrapped. Sorry, the new AA system won’t be available soon. Sorry, no new 24 man raids (any idea how hard raids are to design, not to mention code?) until enough bugs have been fixed and new content is in. Sorry.

I feel with you, Silius. A lot of us do. We’re your buddies! A lot of people that are only playing the game and not complaining on the forums love Vanguard. Keep up the good work, keep making hard decisions for the good of the game’s future. We love you for it.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to hug people.

/hug

Update: Beau, of Spouse Aggro, places the blame for Vanguard’s struggle on the community.

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One month of Star Wars Galaxies – the summary

Big, hungry, not very cuddly.

Big, hungry, not very cuddly. Soon to cut into pieces with my lightsaber.

One month. Wow, that was fast. Time is speeding up, man. Nothing beats keeping track of time like checking your MMO subs and finding out that the next billing cycle starts today. Calendars are so outdated and clearly not Web 2.0. In other words, my month of Star Wars Galaxies ends today – it’s actually been that long since I started.

But this post is not about me getting older by the minute. I haven’t had time to blog as much as I would have liked over the course of the month, but that’s how it goes sometimes. But I think that a summary of what the time in SWG has been like is in order. After all, I feel that I can now, at least partially, answer the question I asked a month agois Star Wars Galaxies really such a bad game as its reputation would have us believe?

I’ll break it up in two parts, the pros and the cons of the game, starting with the cons. I’ll also add a TL;DR at the end, in case you’re lazy or feel like flaming me no matter what I write. I aim to please.

Disclaimer: Do keep in mind that I only have a Jedi at level 39 and a trader at level cap (after a grueling grind). I have not experienced the game fully, including things like heroics and PvP.

Hit the jump to find out the good stuff! Read more

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Dance your worries away (and buff up!)

Busy evening in the Mos Eisley cantina.

Busy evening in the Mos Eisley cantina.

How do you gain experience points and levels when you can’t get it from killing mobs? How do you progress your character when combat is more or less pointless?

You dance.

Enter the entertainer. Just like the trader, the entertainer does not gain experience points from killing monsters. But where the trader gets XP from crafting, the entertainer gets XP from…well, entertaining. You got the choice of dancing or playing music, you perform songs or string together dance flourishes. You do light shows, create your personal dance floor or put on your smoke machine.

Compared to the standard combat classes in Star Wars Galaxies, the entertainer is a buff class. Most of them hang out in cantinas (or in cloning stations, the game’s “graveyards”, as far as I’ve gathered – never seen one there, though), sell buffs to the people that watch them (by using the /watch-emote), get tips and socializes. More than anything, the entertainer is a social class.

Not that! Not that!

Not that! Not that!

It’s a fascinating concept. I’ve talked to a couple of entertainers (or “ents” as they are called, quite confusing at first), and they all seem to love their class – one called it the perfect class to “get to know the server”. They meet new people constantly, as most players flock to the cantinas for buffing before they head out into the field (don’t miss out, they got a bonus XP buff). If you’re not a very social player, and don’t like standing in the spotlight (literally), then the entertainer is not for you.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever encountered a class that focuses on social interaction as much as the entertainer (anyone out there who knows?). I’d love to see something like this in other MMOs. Combined with the music you’re able to put together in Lord of the Rings Online (which is really impressive), this could be an awesome idea to include in other games. So many players use their games as fancy chat clients from time to time anyway, give them a reason to flock to the bars/cantinas while chatting away.

Ironforge needs a proper nightclub, Blizzard.

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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