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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.

32 comments

  1. Ha, see! Glad you enjoyed it too. My first ship upgrade purchase was extra missiles since I just love blowing through them quickly.
    It has been a great way to synch up XP with my hubby’s and my paired up characters. We’re planning on finishing up XP thru the end of 24th level to 25th with space missions so we can save all the side quests on Nar Shaddaa for our alt characters to do fresh.


    • I just loaded up on the grade 1 upgrades. The missiles are great too, and I think they upped the number that we can have since beta. I used to run out of missiles all the time during testing, but not finding I have that problem anymore which is nice because I love blowing stuff up with them!

      Doing these space missions as well as the flashpoints, I’m finding it’s so much XP that my husband and I are in danger of outleveling content. We are almost to level 24 and just finished Taris yesterday, minus the bonus series. We decided to skip that, and just move right on the Nar. Heck, some people are on Tatooine by 24.


      • OMG! I did the mission where you are flying through the asteroid field last night before bed. Didn’t have time to play it again and try NOT to bounce my ship off multiple rocks. That one is CRAZY!


      • Yeeeep. I did a lot more “bouncing” off rocks than flying the first time I did that one too! XD


  2. i’m looking forward to space combat too (when i start hopefully tomorrow); so besides exp and money, are there any other rewards for space combat?

    do you see what the benefits are from social points? (appearance, titles…?)


    • Social points grant you titles as well as access to some specialized items. None if it is going to be game changers, so min/max players won’t get sucked in, but it is nice stuff. Social stuff mostly, since it is social XP. Decorative RP gear, sparkle powder you can toss on other players, and even a unique speeder when you get to the maximum social ranks.

      The best item in my opinion is the target marker. There is a way without this device to mark targets in game, but this marker is the best way to do so on the fly. For a player who prefers the hectic environments of group content and PvP, this is the best way to call out focus targets on the fly.


    • Unfortunately, Ryan, I don’t think social points give titles anymore. Neither do light side/dark side ranks. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I asked around and people are finding the same thing, no one is getting titles, at least not at every rank anymore. I love titles, so this was a disappointment :(

      But yeah, there are some vanity items you can get for social points. For my social rank (II right now), I was able to purchase a slave girl outfit for my Jedi Knight. I ran around questing in it for shits and giggles, but since the slave girl bottoms are currently my only modable legs I have right now, it’s actually better than any of the pants I have at the moment :P


      • My favorite vanity item so far is the dress from the social vendor on Coruscant. Not because it’s awesome looking or anything but because my female toon can wear it at social 1 while my male toon has to get social 2. Cracked me up when I realized what they did. :)


      • Yeah, I love the headdress that goes with that outfit! Of course, I had to tell myself not to buy everything that looks remotely pretty in this game, have to save up for my first speeder after all XD


    • Your first mission awards a level 1 ship upgrade for armor, so don’t buy the ship armor from the ship vendor.
      My smuggler is now going by the wonderful title of Flygirl.
      I’m getting a special kind of token, but I haven’t checked yet to see what I can spend them on.


      • I knew that but I did anyway. Guess just for completion’s sake and the marginally added edge I get for the first mission, even though yeah I probably didn’t need it. :P The tokens I think can be used for other ship upgrades, I personally haven’t looked closely at what can be bought with those either. I just know you need quite a lot.


  3. I just LOVE the title you chose for this post :) Brought back so many powerful memories just with one line! Now I’ve got to convince some of my friends to watch ESB on Blu-ray with me this Christmas break… :D That, and Walk the Line (that movie just grips me)


    • You know me, I love using Star Wars quotes for my titles :D

      Ooh, and speaking of ESB, there was a Spike TV Star Wars marathon last night, so I was able to get my fix :P


      • Well, don’t stop! :P

        And ha ha, yeah, Spike TV has been really making use of their Classic SW movie rights over the years


      • But I am so disappointed, they always show the “re-mastered” versions! Probably Lucasarts insisted, since George Lucas seems intent on making everyone forget the “original” originals ever existed.

        Saw a bunch of commercials for SWTOR while watching the marathon too!


  4. During beta I was, along with just about everyone else, a vocal critic of the space system. We pushed and prodded, suggested revisions and changes, but what we really wanted as a full 3D open space experince in TOR, and this was not doing it.

    But now beta is over, and I don’t have to care about providing feedback for the game anymore. I can just play it, and have a good time. And with that burden lifted, I am all of the sudden having a blast in space. I find myself adding my own personal sound effects when I make a particularly spectacular dodge, and cheering myself on when I take out an objective. Its still not the space that we should someday be granted, but for the time its engaging enough, and as you said the perfect little time waster when you can’t get engrossed in regular questing.


    • Even when I first saw the first reveals of the space combat system, I knew they wouldn’t be making big changes to it despite the feedback they received in beta. It was so clearly going to be just a side thing, and their priority was rightfully in the main game. As much as 3D open space would appeal to me and while it was fine to throw out suggestions, I had a feeling it was going to be a lost cause to push for anything huge. It just wasn’t going to happen at launch. Perhaps in a future expansion.

      And LOL at you making sound effects. I mostly just swear :P


  5. I am really digging space combat. Like you, I find it a nice, light distraction from the hardcore plotiness of the main game.

    Also, you are so on the mark with the rudimentary ship upgrades — they make a big difference, especially having a larger missile capacity! That said — having only a few missiles meant that some of my missions were nailing-bitingly close. “I have one missile, and I absolutely have to head this Red Talon fighter. Stay on target… stay on target…”


    • Yeah, I try to save my missiles for my objectives, and even then I hoard them and try to take it out with my lasers first. And then when I’m all done I just go all out and drop the bombs.


  6. I love the space combat. I love rail shooters and I love mini games and this is a very polished little game. Sure I loved “X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter” too, but I wasn’t expecting to find a recreation of that inside an MMO. I think if people take the space game for what it is, they will really enjoy it. Just don’t ask more from it than it can give.

    Frankly I think that is the best attitude towards SWTOR in general. This game doesn’t rewrite the book, but it is a very well written book. Just enjoy the ride. :)


    • Absolutely. Some of us were okay even if there wasn’t any space combat in the first place, and I knew as a side part of the game I could take it or leave it…the main part of the game, i.e. the stories and quests were really well done, and that was what really mattered to me.

      They haven’t made any drastic changes to space combat since beta, but I’ve seen a ton of improvements to the gameplay nonetheless. Love how missions can be challenging, and how nice the graphics are in space.


  7. [...] space combat, but GeeCee already took ‘Asteroids do not concern me, admiral!’ as her post’s [...]


  8. just curious; can all your crew skills be, say gathering, or do you need to pick one gathering, one crafting and one mission?


    • You can take three gathering skills, or three missions skills if you so choose. The only limitation is that you can only have one “production” skill (ie, armstech, cybertech, etc.)


      • Yep, on my BH I picked up slicing, and two mission skills. Not going to be crafting on her, just picking up credits, schematics and selling off/giving away mats to guildies.

        On my JK, I’m doing synthweaving and also picked up investigation and underworld trading. Should have gotten archeology, but my husband has that covered and no sense in both of us taking the same gathering skill when we’re always on together. He’ll just have to share :P


  9. I was never really worried about space combat. Not because I wouldn’t like to see something a tad more robust but because I know that anything more robust than what they’ve given us would be like developing a whole new game. We’ve already waited ~5 years for this one, let’s get it out the door and in our hands and worry about Bioware making a 3d space shooter later, mmm’kay?

    With that said, I love space combat as it is. Quite often what I use it for is filler at the end of the night when I’m waiting for the last of my crafting queues to finish. Hell, sometimes I just hop in my ship and craft/fly space missions. Immediate access to my bank and a nice mini-game to pass the time. Perfect!

    As for how I play it? BUY ALL THE THINGS!!! No, really, they all have a place. The most useful, for me, have been the shield and shield recharger. I thought it sucked at first until the game slapped me with a clue-by-four in the form of a loading screen tip. Shields don’t charge when your lasers are firing. That was a bad habit I picked up on the first two which made the asteroid mission dang near impossible to pass. Even with that tip and the best mods I can find the mission where you take on a large SD head on really taxes my ship and wits.

    And what an eye opener that mission was. Before that it was, “Oh, a little space adventure.” Then, “Woot, where’s John Williams when you need’em? Never tell me the odds. But that SD mission my reaction pretty much went like this, “I’m in formation with some hammer heads. Ok. HOLY CRAP, dodge the SDs! Wait, take out the shields, ok, no, AAAACK I’m flying close formations with SDs! HALP!!!!”


    • Very true. I wouldn’t have wanted them to put launch off any more just to develop a whole new thing for space combat. Just like KOTOR, the space component was supposed to be just a side thing anyway…and what we have right now is much more fun than that too!

      I’ve gotten into the habit of doing the space combat dailies. I have five so far, so in less than half an hour doing them back to back I end up with a pretty big chunk of XP. My husband and I did that last night to fill out a level before heading off to Nar Shaddaa. Now we’re actually in danger of outleveling our content and will have to consider skipping quests soon! :P

      And yeah, shields don’t charge when your lasers are pew pewing. Even knowing this, of course I still kept firing — those interceptors are just too tempting just to let them fly off. I love blowing up enemy fighters, even though I’ve paid for that each time I do the Archenar Interception when my shields are gone and I’m bouncing off the asteroids! :D


  10. In most MMOs that I play with my wife we do the opposite of what you call a spouse leveling contract. We level separately and then come together for dungeons and end game content. But with SWTORs social points I didn’t want to level without her so when she got sick the other day I decided to work on some things I had been neglecting like crafting, pvp and space battles. Wow, I didn’t know what I was missing. I started out playing a huttball game and realized that I didn’t care for pvp. Next came crafting. I was enjoying it for the most part but ran out of money quite quickly. So with just enough credits to pay for the fuel I took on my first space battle mission. I am completely hooked now. I spent hours doing the missions and upgrading my ship then doing the missions again just for the fun of it. The xp is nice. The credits are even nicer. I literally went from having less than a hundred credits to over 10k in a few hours including a ship upgraded to grade 1. This will definitely keep me busy during those down times between leveling. Oh who am I kidding I’ll just level in space….


    • Yeah, I didn’t realize you can make good credits doing space combat missions until last night. I was shocked when I looked at my inventory afterward and discovered significantly more credits than I had before hopping onto my ship!


  11. I never understood why people were so set on disliking the space combat. Sure a free range tie fighter like game would have been epic, but how can you really expect that from an MMO that is entirely based on ground combat? Not realistic, so just getting any space combat is good. And what you get is a fairly strong experience that over the years many people have enjoyed in other games like star fox or whatever.


    • Yes, rail shooters aren’t all bad — I enjoyed the heck out of games like the old Rogue Squadron and of course, Star Fox. Even bought the latter for the 3DS, to relive some of my fond memories of that game.


      • I loved Star Fox 64 and Rogue Squadron! Rogue Squadron was mostly a 3D arena, though. Star Fox 64 was too at certain times. Shooters on rails and linear storylines do have their appeal, though… less stressful and less “thinking” required :P (I hate getting stuck on puzzles or trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do next)



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