Archive for December, 2011

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Spreading The Holiday Cheer

December 23, 2011

First of all, thank you to the wonderful Stargrace of MMOQuests who once again ran Gamers Secret Santa this year — it took a lot of planning and organizing, I’m sure!

Anyway, I was very excited when I received my gift from my Secret Santa Naylie, Community Manager of EverQuest II. I confess, seeing something for me in the mail with Sony Online Entertainment in the return address was already quite the thrill.

I love my gifts!

Before this, I had never heard of Steam Powered Giraffe, so the first thing I did was look them up on Wikipedia: “Steam Powered Giraffe (SPG) is a musical project formed in San Diego in 2008 that is popular in the steampunk subculture. The act combines the visual of robot pantomime with sketches, pop culture references, improvised comedic dialogue, and original music.”

I didn’t even know Steampunk was a musical genre. But I love trying new things and I have to say, it is awesome!

And that’s not all. I also got:

It’s a Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures lightsaber keychain that lights up when I press a little button on the hilt. It’s so sweet! Besides the fact that I love anything to do with Star Wars, I’m also happy that I now have something to keep all my MMO authenticators together. And by “all” I mean my all of two…but never underestimate my ability to lose things. Especially small things, like security keys. I keep the keychain by my computer monitor now, and it stands out amidst all the clutter on my desk.

So thanks again, Stargrace and Secret Santa! And to my readers, thanks for stopping by MMOGC. May your holidays be filled with love and joy, and I wish everyone a safe and happy weekend.

(Oh, there was also a candy cane…but I already ate it.)

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So…Was It Good For You Too?

December 21, 2011

Um. Launch, that is.

Now that December 20th, 2011 has come and gone, I think for better or worse the thing that made the Star Wars: The Old Republic launch stick out for a lot of players is the interesting “staggered” early access approach they employed a week before the game’s official release. For many, their in-game adventures actually began up to seven days before the actual launch date.

Personally, I considered my time in early access as part of the whole “launch experience” package. And as I struggle to catch my breath here, covered with a metaphorical sheen of lusty sweat and smoking my metaphorical post-release cigarette, I gotta admit that yeah…overall it was pretty good for me. I do realize, however, that everyone’s answers may differ, depending on their own experiences through early access and server choice, etc. Also, if the massive outcry we saw on the game forums on the 13th is any indication, I suppose it also depends on how tolerant you are.

It was the first time I’ve ever participated in a launch that used a staggered early access strategy, so like many others I was quite curious as to how it would play out. In the end, it worked out well for me, mainly for a couple reasons: 1) I understood what was advertised, that early access would be granted on a “first-come-first-served” basis, determined in the order of when you entered your preorder code. 2) I preordered my game in the wee hours of July 21st, so I had the added benefit of knowing when exactly I was going to be let into the game.

That said, I don’t know if I can bring myself to sympathize with those who knowingly preordered SWTOR a mere week before release and still bitterly whined about expecting to get into day 1 of early access. But on the other hand, I did feel for those whose main complaint was not knowing when they were going to get in. BioWare wasn’t exactly communicative on that front and while I can sort of understand why, I imagine F5ing your inbox waiting for that coveted email not having a clue when it might arrive couldn’t have been much fun, especially if SWTOR’s been something you were looking forward to for a long time and all your friends seemed to be getting in left and right.

I agree early access might have rolled out shakily at first, but then I also remind myself we were initially only given five days, and the two extra days were gravy. In the end, I think most people must have gotten their five days or close to it anyway. My own brother-in-law didn’t even preorder until the night of the 16th and still managed to get into the game the  next morning, so it couldn’t have been too bad.

As for the actual launch day, I did get a little worried yesterday morning when I logged in to find myself in line to get into my server. Number 300-and-something on a Tuesday morning. Holy crap. I dreaded coming home in the evening and seeing 5-hour long queues.

Surprisingly, it didn’t happen. Prime time and I got in without a queue. I have the population cap tweaks to thank, I imagine. Unfortunately, I’m aware that there are a few outlier servers (to my friends on The Harbinger, hang in there!)

So for me, I have to say it was a pretty smooth launch, just minus some points for mild communicative issues. More importantly, at least I’ve not encountered bad lag, client crashes or long unexpected downtimes (yet!)

What was your own SWTOR launch experience like? Good? Bad? Went off without a hitch? Complete fiasco?

And because in retrospect, I realize it’s understandable why some consumers would be reluctant to preorder a game months before its release without knowing anything about it — do you think SWTOR’s staggered early access approach for launch was a good idea? Would you be optimistic about it if future MMOs attempted the same?

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The Saga Begins…

December 20, 2011

It’s Tuesday morning, do you know your estimated wait time? Yep, it must be launch day.

I just encountered my first ever queue on Sanctum of the Exalted, and yet at this moment I can’t say I really give a flying Fosh. Queues are an expected part of launch day regardless, but at the same time I am feeling nothing but gladness and contentment. That said, I think I’m still just a bit numb from the disbelief at the fact that this game I’ve waited for since its announcement has finally officially launched. Of course, I also can’t guarantee that I’ll be this calm or that I won’t be pulling my hair out in a few hours when I hit the prime time queues. Ask me how I feel again in the evening.

Anyway, enough bad grammar and incoherent rambling from me. Congratulations, Star Wars: The Old Republic team, the years of hard work have come to fruition, and the saga is now a reality. Happy launch day!

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SWTOR: Asteroids Do Not Concern Me, Admiral!

December 19, 2011

Got some decent game time in with Star Wars: The Old Republic this weekend, played both my characters to or past that sweet spot around level 16-18 where they get their ships. You know what that means…

SPACE COMBAT!

I never thought I’d say this but, I’m starting to like it. Starting to like it a lot. Sure, the encounters are heavily scripted and on rails and heck, I even panned it during beta, but lord help me if I’m not finding it terribly addictive right now.

I’ve known for a while that space battles are meant as mini-games within SWTOR, but I don’t think I fully understood the niche they’re meant to fill until yesterday while watching football with the husband. Since most of his attention was glued to the television, questing was hopeless — what with all the voiceovers and story you had to follow while playing. So we jumped into space and did some flying and shooting. As most of these encounters end up being around 5 minutes or so, it was the perfect activity during commercials breaks.

I got really into them. So far, I’ve experienced about five scenarios. The objectives are varied, from straight-forward escort missions to shooting down enemies while dodging asteroids, so I’m never bored. Some of them can be tough, like the Archenar Interception where you do the aforementioned asteroid-dodging. While I’ve yet to fail a single space combat mission, I always, always end that particular one as a smoking ruin with just a sliver of life left on my ship:

Ugh, what can I say, I am no Han Solo. Maybe I’ll make a video of myself doing Archenar one day; I am apparently highly amusing to listen to while doing that one.

That said, the first thing you might want to do before engaging in battle with your ship is to outfit it with some upgrades — even just the rudimentary starter pieces at the ship vendor will help a lot. I was also floored by the amount of experience gained doing space combat, since they are tied to some dailies. If you’re looking to grind out some levels for whatever reason, it’s a very time-effective and entertaining way to go about it.

Those who have tried it, what are your thoughts on space combat? For me, it’s a part of the game I didn’t think I would enjoy at all but now I find myself slowly warming up to it. That doesn’t happen a lot, but it’s always a pleasant surprise when it does. While the space aspect of SWTOR still pales in comparison to the rest of the game, it does serve as a fun distraction when I need it. In that, it does the job really well.

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Pic: May The Fur Be With You

December 17, 2011

While I was plundering the treasures of our Star Wars: The Old Republic Collector’s Edition yesterday, one of my dogs seemed to have developed a sudden and unhealthy crush on the Darth Malgus statue.

Did I say crush? I actually meant to say she was utterly, obsessively, inexplicably transfixed with the dark lord of the Sith. Honey, either our statue was dipped in meat sauce at the factory, or I think Mara might be evil.

P.S. – It’s appropriate, I guess, that she was named after Mara Jade.

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SWTOR: Double The Pleasure

December 15, 2011

Staying away from my class(es) of choice during the Star Wars: The Old Republic beta was probably one of the best gaming decisions I’ve ever made. From the beginning, I’d resolved to save some surprises for myself for launch, and I’m glad I did it this way.

BioWare had a few surprises up its sleeves as well. Unless my eyes deceive me, I’m pretty sure they’ve added a fine polish to all the visuals. For some reason, I found myself completely mesmerized by the “butt-flap” on my Bounty Hunter’s new chest piece yesterday. I’d definitely not given my armor much thought before, especially at such a low level, but as she ran I was amazed that the fabric just looked and moved and felt like it had actual weight…like real leather.

As planned, I played my Bounty Hunter as my solo character and made it off Hutta yesterday. I was probably higher level than most others when I finally did, because I spent much of my time aiding random strangers with their heroic group quests, even though I had already done them. I can’t claim it’s all altruism — while I enjoy helping others, the extra XP from killing mobs and being able to gobble up the bonus from their quest completions wasn’t anything to scoff at either.

Before hitting Dromund Kaas, I was also able to complete the flashpoint Black Talon, a rite of passage of sorts. It was made all the more enjoyable by the company, which included my guild leader as well as Syp from Bio Break.

* * *

It was a much different experience with my Jedi Knight, the character that I have tethered to my husband’s Jedi Consular. I’m aware of my constant joking complaints about the Spousal Leveling Contract, but in truth there are huge advantages to being grouped up almost 100% of the time.

Tython. Oh, Tython. I’d avoided playing either of the Jedi classes all through game testing, so this planet and its quests were utterly new to me. I’m so glad, because being able to explore a new MMO together is one of the best things about playing with my other half, and so at least we had this whole world to do so together.

And I know this sounds so corny, but…finally being able to get my first lightsaber was definitely the highlight of my time playing a Jedi so far.

As a Jedi Guardian/Jedi Sage team, we’re already mowing down our enemies like wheat before the scythe. Throw in companions, and we’re decidedly even more effective, even though our team of Twi’lek, Miraluka, lizard man and astromech droid all dog-piling on a mob may look a tad ridiculous.

We ended the night with a wonderful run through the Esseles flashpoint, with fellow RMCers Drannos and Tramell, who were up to some very evil things…

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SWTOR: A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away….

December 13, 2011

You know what I love best about playing a new MMO? The first step — making your characters and naming them, and being able to put together intro posts like this one, which has been a long-standing tradition on this blog.

As you’ve probably heard, Star Wars: The Old Republic early access started today. For those wondering, the Republic Mercy Corps and our sister Empire guild the Imperial Mercenary Corps are on the server Sanctum of the Exalted. Look, I’ll happily play on server Jar Jar Binks if it meant being able to play with friends, but I was still tickled and a little relieved to see we lucked out with a pretty cool server name. I’m also happy to report recruitment is still semi-open for both guilds, so feel free to visit the links if you’re interested in joining the Corps.

For the Republic

Sha’lanni, Twi’lek Jedi Knight

Midway through the year, I think that’s when I came around to the idea of rolling a Republic force-user. Before that, I know I was pretty dead set on playing Empire exclusively at launch, but being a geek wife, I can also read Mr. MMOGC like a book — the guy’s an old school fan of the Jedi and keen on the idea of waving around a lightsaber (of course, helping found the RMC might have something to do with it too). In any case, Sha’lanni — I just picked the same name I used in beta — is the designated character chained to the Spousal Leveling Contract.

Again deferring to my dear husband, who tends to gravitate towards the caster archetypes, I let him choose the Jedi Consular while I’ll be taking up the tanking duties as a Jedi Guardian, which to be honest is my preference anyway. Guess I’m lucky I married a man who loves to heal.

So I was asking readers how they plan on tackling light side/dark side choices yesterday, while indicating that what I’ll do is probably roll my character, come up with a general idea of her personality, and see where to go from there. That said, I can kinda see it in her face already — a young up-and-coming Jedi, idealistic and perhaps a tad naive. Looks like I’ll be making light sided decisions with her at least for the next little while.

For the Empire

Xavindria, Human Bounty Hunter

I’ve dreamed of playing a Bounty Hunter in this game for so long, going so far as to completely avoid the class during beta to save myself the surprise, that the experience of creating this character and then getting to play her in-game felt a bit surreal.

When it comes to choosing an Advanced Class, I have no idea which direction to take her yet. Honestly, both Mercenary and Powertech sound equally appealing and I doubt I will mind whichever I end up with, so if anyone has experience with either ACs I would love to hear your thoughts and/or suggestions.

I have a feeling this class is going to be a hell lot of fun to play — for the brief time I had with my character, I was already bouncing everywhere with my light side/dark side choices. Fine, mostly in the name of fame and credits. My Bounty Hunter isn’t a bad person, but hey, fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.

I wish all the best to everyone who preordered and hope you will be getting into early access and the game soon. And if you ever find yourself adventuring on Sanctum of the Exalted, feel free to say hello!

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