Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Universe on Sale

For anyone who may be on the fence about picking up Star Wars: The Old Republic, Amazon has it on sale today. The game comes with one month of free playtime, after that it's $15/month, or cheaper with a multi-month subscription.

I wanted to give a very quick update on my current activities:

Since we last spoke, I've joined a guild (gasp!) and have mostly been doing multiplayer end-game content. I've been running Black Talon in Hard Mode whenever I can, and have actually gotten pretty good at it... it's a surprisingly good feeling to have evolved from asking for tips on the boss fights, to a point now where I'm briefing fresh level 50 players on strategy for the flashpoint. Most of the rest of "my" guild is still leveling, but I'm hoping that once more of them reach level 50 we'll be able to get more people involved in these hard-mode flashpoints. I'm excited and nervous about the prospect of eventually running guild Operations - I may need to invest in a microphone once we get to that point. I tried running Eternity Vault in a pick-up group over the weekend, and we wiped hard even before making it to the first boss.

I've been amazed at the quality of the flashpoints, and now regret having skipped all of them while I was leveling. They're a higher order of complexity than single-player content, even Heroics, and do require multiple people not only fighting alongside, but actually coordinating. (Well, at least at level - I did a solo run through normal mode Black Talon at 50, that sort of stuff is amusing.) So the gameplay is awesome, but the story is what sells me. The flashpoint where I met my guild leader is called The Foundry, and I can't say anything about it without providing massive spoilers, but holy cow, it's stunning. It feels like the climax to Knights of the Old Republic 3. It also contributes to the incredible sense of scope that the whole game provides - here I was, saving the galaxy and doing awesome stuff in my single-player class storyline, but at the same time I was missing this huge, separate plot thread that was playing out in the multiplayer content.

There's a good sense of progression in the endgame, which operates along multiple fronts... you can no longer gain XP or new abilities, but you advance in a lot of other ways. I've been steadily upgrading my gear, and am now in pretty good shape for the flashpoints I'm running - I'm equipped with two Rakata implants, a Tionese belt and earpiece, and otherwise some custom weapons with artifact mods and armoring components. You get way more money than you know what to do with; I now have almost 2.5 million credits burning a hole in my pocket, and largely just use the money to repair damage to my gear, though I'll sometimes pick up something from the GTN or toss some cash to a party member. The social aspect is important as well... I'm getting to know my guild-mates, helping them out with flashpoints and difficult boss fights, and trying to help maintain a positive atmosphere.

I'm still interested in starting an alternate character, but I think now that I might wait until version 1.2 arrives, which should be sometime in March. Version 1.2 is supposed to offer new enhancements for the legacy system, like choosing new races for your characters, and I hope that this is also when they'll unlock new romance options. I'd hate to start a new character and miss out on story-related options. In the meantime I'll keep playing as Seberin Cirion, Master Conspirator, and see how far this endgame goes.

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