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SWTOR…and I’m Done (Sort of Review)

2 February 2012 | 11 Comments » | LHStaff

I was planning on writing a full review for SWTOR, but Pherephassa did such a great write-up on her SWTOR reivew, that I figured I’d skip mine and get straight to my likes and gripes. I’ll give you a hint, it’s going to be mostly gripes.

Undoubtedly the best part of game is the journey to endgame, after all this is what BioWare does best. Having said that, as a MMORPG player I found myself beginning to skip dialog as early as the mid teen levels and before I hit level 30 I was skipping it all with the exception of the main storyline. Even that I began to partial skip or you can say fast forward by the time I hit the early 40′s.  It’s not that I didn’t find it interesting, I just wanted to get on with things.

As a player who has never seriously crafted before, I actually enjoyed the crafting system in SWTOR. I didn’t have to waste my time grinding it out looking for resources or spending hours killing the same mobs, however while I enjoyed the mechanic of crafting, the entire system is broken since only a few professions can actually make any money.

For one, crafting is way to easy and fast. One of the main reasons I never pursue crafting is because of how much time it takes to master. In SWTOR I hit the max in all three of my crew skills within 3 weeks without really trying. Now nothing is wrong with the system itself, they just need to make the crafting time much much longer. While it took me 3 weeks to master all my crew skills, if you take the actual crafting time, it was probably only 3-4 days.  It should take at least 1 month of “crew skill time” to master a skill.

Secondly, they need to make craftable items better, not the best, but close. There should only be a handful of items that are better then the best crafted items and those items should be harder to get. Right now you can spend a few days in PvP or grinding flashpoints and obtain some of the best gear out there making crafted gear worthless.

Moving on to PvP which we all know is broken across the board, from open PvP to the PvP planet Illum to Warzones, it’s a mess. While Warzones recently got a lot better with the separation of level 50 characters, they still need to introduce at least one more bracket to divide 1-49. Open PvP and Illum need a full overhaul to become worth while since  currently there’s zero reason to participate in open PvP and nearly none on Illum as you can obtain the same rewards from warzones at an unmatched rate.

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EA Q3 FY12 Earnings Call – SWTOR Sells Over 2 Million Units

1 February 2012 | No Comments » | LHStaff

The good thing about being a public company is that they have to release their subscription and sales numbers, so while we can only guess how many subscribers games like RIFT and LOTRO have, we only have to wait for a quarterly report for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

It seems SWTOR did better than EA expected, the numbers are below then some interesting Q&As during the conference call.

  • 2,000,000+ copies sold – 40% sold through Origin
  • 1,700,000+ active subscribers – 1 million concurrent

Q: Are these 1.7 subscribers paying?
A: Active subscribers means anyone paying or in their trial period. Most of those 1.7m are paying at this point

Q: You’ve previously said you need about a half million subscribers to be profitable, is that still the case?
A: At 500,000 subscribers, we’d break even. At a million, we’d be making a profit but nothing worth writing home about. As it scales up from there, we’re talking about a nice profit. At this point with the successful launch, we can take the worst case scenarios off the table.

With well over a million pre-orders, I have to say these numbers are not at all surprising. What will be interesting to see is which direction these numbers go next quarter and how many players they will retain. Then I’ll have something to write about.

TERA Pre-Orders Now Open + Beta Schedule

1 February 2012 | No Comments » | LHStaff

En Masse Entertainment has opened up pre-order sales on their website today for their upcoming MMORPG TERA, giving players three options to choose from, Standard $49.99, Collectors Editions Digital $59.99 and Collector’s Edition $69.99. Regardless of which you you select you’ll have access to all closed beta tests as well as a three day head start. The full beta schedule is below.

  • Closed Beta Test 1: February 10 – 12
  • Closed Beta Test 2: February 24 – 26
  • Closed Beta Test 3: March 9 – 11
  • Closed Beta Test 4: March 23 – 25
  • Closed Beta Test 5: April 6 – 8
  • Open Beta Test: April 19 – 22
  • Head Start: April 28 – May 1

Players who pre-order will also received in-game items to help them get started, you can check out the details below.  I’m excited!  :)

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TSW: The Secret War is Coming "Very Soon"

1 February 2012 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Remember The Secret World beta registration? The strange Facebook application The Secret War that would supposedly grant the coveted closed beta access? That same one that failed to launch, and then after a big community fuss, seemingly vanished without further word? A recent post from Tarib, the senior community manager indicates that they are still hard at work on this fabled minigame.

“The plan is to get The Secret War into the next phase and fire it up fully. We sometimes felt ourselves a bit like some hidden society tried to prevent us from launching it but the way it currently looks we are getting really close now. We hope to have more information and details on this very soon.”

I’ll admit I have my doubts, but I am hoping so! I’ve been watching this game for years now, it looks like everything I’ve ever wanted in a game – if they can pull it off. So here’s to hoping they really mean it this time! :)

RIFT Lite Announced

1 February 2012 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Today Trion announced Rift Lite, a new unlimited trial where players can play all they want up to level 20 at no charge. RIFT Lite will be available staring today as it will be releases along side the launch of patch 1.7 the  Carnival of the Ascended.

Really no surprise here, just about every MMORPG today is doing some sort of unlimited free trial, so it was only a matter of time for RIFT to join in. Now the real question is does this mean Trion is softening up to the possibility of going free-to-play?

YASWTORR: Yet Another SWTOR Review :)

31 January 2012 | 2 Comments » | LHStaff

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It’s been a little over a month since the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I have multiple characters at level 50, have seen all 4 empire stories, and the string of colds and flu that have been kicking my ass since the holidays is finally on its last legs, so it’s time for me to blare my thoughts about this game. I had originally intended to leave it to Mike, since he’s already written up a few thoughts, and I wrote up a beta impression, but my views have changed slightly and are different than his, so I changed my mind. I’m a woman, I’m allowed to do that, right? :)

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My overall impressions of this game do remain positive, although in many ways it’s a muddle. BioWare is new at the MMO genre, and it very much shows. I generally think ‘balanced classes’ is an MMO myth, but there is very little of it in SWTOR; classes just play unevenly in both skillsets and companion acquisition, crafting is… well, I’ll just say it’s bolluxed. Patches and updates aren’t staying long enough on the test server, BioWare isn’t listening to the testers’ feedback, and has now displayed a pattern of knee-jerk over-nerfs that have seriously hit my enthusiasm for playing. I really have to wonder if anyone at BioWare has ever played an MMO at endgame, or participated in serious pvp.

And yet, my overall impression remains positive. I’m treating this game like it’s single player, or rather, like it’s a LAN. As a single player or LAN, it is a great game.

But on to the specifics.

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Everquest Going Free-to-Play

31 January 2012 | 1 Comment » | LHStaff

Following in the footsteps of Everquest 2, the original online gaming crack, Everquest will be going free-to-play this March, only 2 months from now.

Everquest will give players many options to choose from including a premium subscription, Silver and Free membership levels, item unlockers and more.  New players will also receive a Welcome Pack containing items to help them get started.

Pretty exciting news for veteran EQ players and even people like me who’ve  never played EQ. With same themepark MMO games being released every few months, I might give EQ a try as long as D3 or GW2 doesn’t come out before it.

SWTOR: Ding Level 50…Ding Illum Sucks

30 January 2012 | 11 Comments » | LHStaff

Last week I finally hit the level cap in Star Wars: The Old Republic, but didn’t have a chance to get to Illum until this weekend and holy crap does it suck.  Now if you’re already level 50 and have traveled to Illum, you probably already know what I’m about to say, but if you’re not, seriously take you time leveling, you don’t want to be on Illum.

To start, Illum the “PvP planet” isn’t even dedicated to PvP, half of it is PvE, which blew me away when I got there and I had to spend the next few hours completing more story missions. Yay!? =\

When I finished off those missions I finally made it to the other side of the planet where I was greeted with on-screen notification messages of players who were near certain control points. It seemed like there were a lot of notifications coming up, so I started to get excited that I was in for some good PvP action, however as I neared my first control point, I saw no one. I proceed to another point, controlled by the Republic (Im Empire) and again saw no one, so I figured I’d try to take it over.

To take over a control point, you have to destroy the enemy vehicles in the area, which by the way don’t attack you so after about a min, by myself, I took over the point. I though, ok, that was boring, what next? Finally a Republic player found me as I was leaving the control point and decisively thrashed me.  While I don’t like dying, at least it was something.

I continued to travel around from control point to control point for about 30 mins, seeing a few players here and there and getting my ass kicked a few more times until I finally found where everyone was. It seems about 100 players were lined up standing infront of a narrow bridge staring at each other. I hung out for about an hour getting some kills and valor points, however the lag was too much and I finally logged out in frustration.

Visting Illum has now fully convinced me no one working at BioWare has every played a PvP MMORPG. By far SWTOR has the worst PvP system I’ve every played and makes games like WoW look like the grand-master of PvP.

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