Soofoo the Republic Commando reached Level 25 on Nar Shaddaa while doing secret service stuff and helping the population fight their drug addiction by cutting off the supply. Levelling in these levels is still pretty fast- about two hours for a level is a reasonable amount of time for a level-up. Of course, when this happens at level 24/25, one can only assume what the levelling curve will look like in the 40s. On Nar Shaddaa, i stick to the class story questline but take on every quest i find, as well- i’m just not following up on them. If they are in my path, i’ll clear them. On the other hand, fixing the drug problem involved quite a bit of travelling, but it was for a good cause, after all.
I think SWTOR does this story- and “why should i care” thing pretty good. The stories and the characters involved aren’t really ‘better’ than, say, the questlines in Lord of the Rings Online, but there’s voice over and communication. These two things do have an influence on me- suddenly, i want to cut off the drug supply (we’re not talking about substances with medical use here, after all)- or even when i’m not immersed, i want to follow through- i like to see how the dialogue/quest/debriefing develops. And maybe- i don’t think so, but maybe i’ll meet the same characters later on.
One thing that’s really interesting for me when playing SWTOR is that i know practically nothing about it. The game and i have a history, though. When i applied to a german guild for the game Global Agenda in march 2010, i noted that i wasn’t playing any “real MMO” at that time and that i didn’t expect that to change until SWTOR would release. So i was interested in early 2010. In 2011, Rift happened and kept me busy for about 6 months. When i didn’t like my experience in Rift that much anymore (Level cap options were quite limited then and when i asked my fellow guildies what to do and they answered: dailies, hardmode dungeons and raiding i was done with the game) and then the first news trickled in concerning Guild Wars 2. From the very moment i saw the design manifesto and read about ArcheAge, SWTOR became everything that is wrong in the genre to me. You know, ever shrinking group size, heavily instanced content, even companions so you have even less incentive to look for a group and socialize with your fellow players- and of course i predicted the f2p transition. And so on. Of course, at that time i thought either GW2 or ArcheAge would do everything right. Turns out they didn’t.
So following a small spike of interest when they announced the game, i focused pretty much on the features of the game that were lacking, in my opinion. I didn’t read up much on it, i didn’t follow the hype. When it released, i bought it (GW2 was a ways off, still), went in to see what i expected to see and, of course, wasn’t disappointed to see i was right- in my opinion, of course, that i had formed already in the months prior to release.
In my defense, i don’t think it would be fair to compare the SWTOR from early 2012 to what it is today, but it still goes to show how expectations can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.
Nowadays, i’m quite happy that i don’t know jack about the game- it makes me experience it in game. So i’m hoping to at least some degree of character development from npcs and some regular cast of characters that i’ll meet throughout the game. And there are indicators- why would EA/Bioware advertize today’s patch by writing something along the lines of “reunite with NPCs Lana Beniko and Theron Shan” if they weren’t recurring characters?
Rise of the Emperor
All of this serves as an introduction as to why i’m both baffled by and interested in the coming content of SWTOR. OK, Revan i could understand…somewhat. But “Rise of the Emperor” and the possibly coming expansion “Fallen Empire”? Hm, i thought there was but one emperor? And how is an emperor able to rise when an empire falls? Is there more than one empire? Possibly, but i don’t know. That’s intriguing.
Rise of the credit sink
Today’s patch contains some storyline, a new planet (Ziost, for all who know what that means) and, of course, the new outfit designer, where even putting items into it costs about as much per item as Soofoo owns. Yes, living on Nar Shaddaa, but no money for furniture or clothes. Now i don’t know why the Bioware devs didn’t follow the lead of, say, Lotro or Rift or GW2, but if you’re guessing i don’t like them charging for that stuff you’d be wrong. I love it. As for prizing- you can take a look over at Massively Overpowered for that. Spoiler alert: it’s expensive. At least for me. But i’m still excited to see how it works out and we’ll get one slot for free, after all.
Fall of the planetary questlines
On may the 4th, 12XP will be activated and it’s going to last until fall. I don’t understand why that might be- if you’re going to keep it running until fall you might just keep it on forever. Well, except if you’re planning something. A major expansion? Something that’ll somehow try to rake in cash in combination with the coming movie? That might be it, but why take 12XP away then?
Subscribers will be able to toggle the 12XP with a free ingame-shop item, which is a good thing. My strategy will be to get one character up to level cap as quick as possible and have at least one character in each faction where i’ll take it slower. 2XP is fine and works very well in my favour- it accelerates the levelling process just for the right amount to experience the planets and leave them before i get sick of them. 12XP, well….it will allow for the same, but if i were to keep it active all the time, i’d miss so much. And right now, i really like exploring this game.