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Up, Up, and Away

Day 8

I won’t be posting much this week since I haven’t been playing much this week thanks to my schedule.  Most of the things I’ll address in this post are items that I came across last week but haven’t posted for one reason or another.

Hammer Station

My friend and I attempted to duo this flashpoint at level 19.  The flashpoint suggests 4 players but the companion that each character can bring does add quite a bit of flexibility.  We were hoping that the companions and our higher than average levels for the instance would make it possible.

The first boss we stumbled through, I’ll admit.  Looks like the trick is to take out the little adds.  We’ll do better on that if we do the boss again.

The second boss went flawlessly.  My friend mez’d (mez as a generic term for crowd control — World of Warcraft players might call it Sheep and I’m sure it has a name of Force Something but it’s mez to us) one of the adds and I Charged the boss and then attacked other add.  Kept focus on the add while occasionally throwing a Sunder on the boss and Thunderclapping to keep aggro.  When the first add died I dragged the boss over to the second and was ready for when mez broke.  Taunted the add and switched to it, keeping the same tactics as before.  Then took the boss down.  I never lost aggro.  First time in this game to actually feel like a tank.  Pretty sweet.

At first the Jedi Knight felt like playing a combination of Rogue and Warrior from Warcraft.  As I get more levels it feels more and more like just a Warrior.  This is playing a Guardian and it makes me wonder if a Sentinel would feel like a Rogue.

But the skills are very similar.  Charge = Force Leap, Thunderlcap = Force Sweep, Taunt = Taunt, Sunder = Sundering Strike.  Especially that last one.  Come on, Bioware.  You can be more creative than that!

The third and final boss kicked our butts.  It basically comes down to the pets not being smart enough to avoid damage and too many adds.  Players better at micromanaging the pets could probably pull it off but we gave up after half a dozen times.

Found Bug #10 during our attempts on the last boss.  If a boss fight is still going and one of the characters dies and re-enters the instance before the rest of the party is down then the boss will aggro on that character.  My friend went down first during one of our attempts and re-entered.  After I went down I saw the boss acting oddly before I released to the med center but didn’t think too much about it.  As soon as we got back in sight of the boss it immediately slaughtered my friend’s character.  We were too far away to attack it but it had no trouble damaging us.  Needless to say, that was a very fast wipe.

Space Combat

Once you have your personal spaceship you have the option of doing space combat areas.  They give xp and “Fleet Commendations” which I assume can be used to upgrade your ship.  They do not seem to be tied into the normal questing in any way (which is a good thing).

These space battles are pure arcade games.  There’s nothing RPG-like about them outside of being able to upgrade your ship.

The biggest disappointment is that these are solo only.  There is no way to bring your party members into the fight.  This feels like a huge oversight for an MMO.  They could have had over party members flying their own ships on different routes (you don’t have control over the route that your ship flies, just control over which part of the screen your ship is in) or they could have had them manning secondary weapons on a single ship.

Bug #11.  Not directly related to the space combat itself but if you enter the hanger of a party member (it’s an instance) then you can board their ship.  We had a bit of trouble with getting booted out of the ship and hanger at times but it mostly works.  When you exit your party member’s ship, however, you will then find yourself in your own hanger/instance standing outside your own ship.  Really odd.  Though I can think of a few reasons it might be done that way intentionally it has the feel of a bug.

Getting Stuck

I mentioned before that I’ve had problems with getting stuck in just about every 3D game I’ve played.

I’ve never had this many problems, though.  You can jump onto a stack of crates and get stuck between ones at different heights.  You can get stuck between pipes that are intended to be run on and the walls that they follow.  You can get stuck on groups of rocks.  In short if it’s something that you can jump on, you can probably get stuck on it.

In the picture above, you would think that either I would fall through or I would be able to jump back onto the pipe.  Nope.  The game thinks that I am falling but there’s not enough space between the bits of landscape for me to fall through, so I’m just sort of hovering there.

If you go into the help screen you can use the “Character Stuck” option and it will return you to the nearest safe (?) position.  This actually works fairly well and can be used about every half minute, so Bioware appears to be aware of the problem at least.

How Different?

Voice Acting

I’ve seen a lot of talk about how “revolutionary” Star Wars: The Old Republic due to the fact that all the quests are voice acted.

In fact, not all of them are.

Some you simply get a dialog box when either accepting the quest or turning it in.  This doesn’t bother me and the majority of the quests are voice acted but it makes me wonder.  Were these quests added at the last minute?

Quest Choices

Also, I’ve seen a lot of players praising the choices you have during the quests.

There are the obvious light/dark side points that you gain during some quests but aside from that I haven’t seen any evidence that these choices have a larger impact on the game.  Maybe have to play through the class quests multiple times to see it (in other words, roll the same character class multiple times) but from every indication I’ve seen you still kill the same mobs, receive the same rewards, and continue on to the same quest hub.  The only difference that the choices really make is in the dialogue.

This game feels more “on rails” than Dragon Age 2, which so many people complained about.

Leveling with a friend, I’ve seen quite a bit of the Jedi Consular quest line.  Perhaps when I roll my own I’ll make weird choices just to see what can happen.  Can you really choose not to save your sick Jedi master for instance?  Can you annoy your companions sufficiently that they will abandon you?

I need to roll at least one character to simply screw around with and not worry about the consequences.

Classes

From what I can tell so far the “Advanced Classes” in The Old Republic correspond most closely to what a class would be in World of Warcraft.

For each of the 4 classes that you select from when you create the character you have two advanced classes.  These learn different skills and have their own talent trees.  You can respec between talents apparently but you cannot switch advanced classes.

So it looks like there are 8 classes in the game.  But wait!  The Sith side has its own classes!  So aren’t there 16?

No.  The classes appear to be perfect reflections.  A Sith Warrior is the same thing as a Jedi Knight.  The animations and the names of abilities are different and they will certainly have their own story, but gameplay is the same.


A Sith heals by getting angry instead of remaining calm.  That’s about as different as they get.

I even wonder how different a Guardian and a Sentinel are since they share the same basic class and a lot of abilities.

Summary

I’m not trying to be critical of the game.  I am, after all, having fun.

But I like being honest about the game and some players seem to be overawed at the moment and turning a blind eye to the game’s shortcomings.

I’ll try to find more things to be positive about for my next post.

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