Posts Tagged ‘Galactic Strongholds’

Despair’s Conquest Winning Secrets

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I know, I totally click baited you. There aren’t really any secrets. I can tell you that my guildies play the content that they enjoy, with just a little prodding from our guildmaster to earn points!

Last night we had a very close run against Ghost Infantry on the Harbinger server for Conqueror of The Black Hole! We had to make an extra effort since this particular “planet” has many PvP-centric conquest rewards, and Despair is not as focused on ground PvP as it is on PvE and GSF content. On the other hand, Ghost Infantry is one of the best PvP guilds on the server, in my opinion!

I participated by doing some of the flashpoints and operations that offered conquest points and crafting, which I don’t really like to do. I know a lot of our members did do more ground PvP than normal, but we had many of our troops running Galactic Starfighter matches all day and night!

I’m happy to see that we still won #1! Today is our day of rest, and we will prepare for taking over one of the new planets, either Rishi or Yavin 4 next!

 

SWTOR 2015 Predictions & Wishes

brace for the worst

Revan: “Brace for the worst….”

Today I asked for some blog post ideas on Twitter! One of my followers (@UnholyAlliances) suggested that I could “play prophet for a day and predict what is in store for us in #swtor in 2015.” I can do that!

Obviously I can’t promise that I’ll be right (and some of this stuff is just obvious. Of COURSE they’re going to release at least one new flashpoint.), but I spoke a bit about this on The Republic last night (no YouTube video yet, will upload here on the blog as soon as I can), and I think it would be fun to have something in writing, especially if I turn out to be correct (at least just a little!)!

Here’s what I think will be happening in SWTOR in 2015:

More stories and cinematics:

pyramid revan

When I visited EA, one of the things that was said was that the developers would be going back to what BioWare does best, which is storytelling. Additionally, they said that if we liked Shadow of Revan, we will love what’s happening in 2015! This leads me to think that there will be more stories to enjoy, which is great! Although I am not a huge Star Wars lore buff, I still like the stories that they come up with, and I will at least play through them the first time without space-barring.

What this means, in regards to gameplay, is most likely more PvE content, especially similar to the Forged Alliances story arc with the flashpoints. So far, we don’t have a lot of level 60 flashpoints, so it would be great if they added more variety to the Weekly flashpoint missions and group finder queues.

I’m hoping we will see more of Darth Marr and Satele Shan, and also learn more about Lana Beniko and Theron Shan. BioWare has introduced these characters, and I would like to see further development. I hope this is what is in store for next year.

Operations:

At the end of The Ravagers operation

At the end of The Ravagers operation.

Last night when we discussed this topic on The Republic, Redna predicted that we will probably get Nightmare modes of the new operations (The Ravagers and Temple of Sacrifice), and three months after that, another operation, maybe two. I agree with this, since BioWare has said that we will never go as long as we have without a new operation again. A new operation (or two) six months from now seems completely plausible.

As far as the story in these operations, I think they will relate to what we have experienced in Shadow of Revan, but we will not be fighting “the big bad” yet. I think it’s too early for that. While I think the two factions have been stressed and frustrated after the “forged alliance,” I do not think that they will design a faction vs. faction operation, because then they would have to come up with two different versions. They have marginally done this, in Korriban Incursion and Attack on Tython, but I think an operation is a much larger undertaking, and they will just design bosses for both factions–a common enemy, as they have always done.

Since I don’t believe the common enemy will be “the big bad” from the end of Shadow of Revan, I have no idea what it would be in the meantime!

PvP

Oh, PvP–the redheaded stepchild of SWTOR. I said earlier in the post that the game is going to have more story, which seems to push PvP aside. I think that the developers are working on new warzones, since they asked the community to submit ideas for them much earlier this year. Hopefully, we should see what they are working on sometime soon.

BioWare says the new discipline system also allows for easier class changes and balancing, so we should see more of that. It will be fun to see an actual “Flavor of the Month” and not “Flavor of the Year.”

I don’t think they will be making a change to Arenas in Ranked anytime soon. However, if I could “wish” for something it would be 4-man objective based warzones in Ranked. I don’t think they will ever bring 8-man Ranked back, but this, they could consider, since we are constantly doing objective-based warzones in Unranked.

I also think they will release whatever they are considering to improve Ranked, which leads to my next prediction.

Megaserver:

They are also working on the ominous “better-than-cross-server” idea. At this point we still don’t really know what’s going to happen. Some have suggested a megaserver with different play-type instances, like separate instances of PvE, PvP, RP-PvP, and RP-PvE. I agree that this could and may happen, and people would be able to retain the gameplay type they enjoy, but also would be able to have a much larger population for queues, since what you do in operations, flashpoints, warzones, and arenas is separate from open-world gameplay.

Basically, I predict that people will be able to queue with all types of players, but in the open world, you only have to play with others in the type of instance you prefer (PvP, PvE, etc.). What would be interesting is if they also allowed you to switch the type of gameplay at any time you like. For example, if I’m feeling especially bloodthirsty and I want to pretend like my Sith Assassin is having a bad day, I could switch over to the RP-PvP instance of wherever I was and hunt some Pubs.

The larger population in queues, in my opinion, would lead to bigger and better competition in Ranked. I think it would also bring the community together by being able to play with anyone in game.

As far as the specifics with names, I’m not sure how they will work that out. I have a toon that is literally named just “Heather” on the Harbinger, so I would prefer to be able to retain that.

Galactic Starfighter

The last time I asked, which was a month ago, BioWare currently had nothing in development for GSF. If they come out with anything, it will be later on in the year. I hope they come out with at least a new game mode, and it would be great if they released a new ship type as well.

Galactic Strongholds

One of my guildie's strongholds!

Dianah crashing in a guildie’s stronghold.

BioWare is constantly adding more decorations to the game and the Cartel Market, and I don’t think they are going to stop anytime soon! I don’t think they have another stronghold currently in development, but that is something I would like to see next year. I wish that we could have an underwater stronghold on Manaan!

What are your predictions?

What do you think will happen in SWTOR in 2015? Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

How Voice Comms Can Enhance Your Guild Experience

I read something the other day about how no one knows who you are in large guilds, that it’s not a welcoming environment or a place where you can develop and nurture friendships in game. My experience so far in Despair has not been this way.

A little story of when I first joined (pre-blogging!):  We were running some kind of group content, most likely a 16-man operation, with everyone in Mumble. My guild leader Filmadeus or some other officer decided to play a game and made everyone in the group introduce themselves to me, and I had to guess, by the short bio they provided and the sound of their voice, what their profession was. I will never forget this, because I had mistaken a helicopter pilot for a “banker,” which I think at the time was absolutely hilarious to them. The guild quickly embraced me, and not even a month after joining I met one of my new guildies at the Seattle Community Cantina.

I’ve been in the guild now for more than a year, and I’ve written quite a few pieces on what it is like being in the guild, including: My Guild As A Communist Society and How I Joined Despair. However, I would also like to say how important voice communications are. I believe this is how we are successful, for a couple reasons, including efficiency and effectiveness in group content, getting to know each other, and building comradery. (I would also check out: How To Find a Guild: It’s Like Dating).

Obviously, not everyone likes to be in voice communications, but if you are doing group content with the guild, we will always request that you connect to Mumble. Members don’t always have to speak, but it is necessary if you are going to be in an operations group, to at least be able to listen to the ops lead. I can live without hearing my guildies while we do a flashpoint, but most likely we are already chatting with each other in Mumble. Voice communications simply make gameplay more enjoyable; you don’t notice that you’ve had to run Hammer Station twice in a row when someone is cracking jokes in your ears. Additionally, it is so helpful to be speaking rather than typing to someone in the middle of a warzone or arena. No one has time to type out a sentence while they’re getting attacked.

Also, if you can hear someone talk, it’s easier to get to know them, know what they like to do in-game, and more easily be able to form groups for things. Thus, it’s easier to gather and motivate everyone to work towards a common planetary conquest objective. Personally, I keep the Mumble overlay on my game so I can memorize a voice and personality with a name I can see visually.

There are few exceptions to people that I’m extremely familiar with that don’t speak in Mumble (hello Zissou and Jurckad), but otherwise, if you aren’t in the channel, it’s really difficult to get to know who you are. This is fine, but I wouldn’t complain about your guildies not knowing who you are if you never familiarize yourself with the majority using Mumble. No one has complained about this as far as I know, but we have had a huge influx of new members since the advent of planetary conquests.

I highly recommend for guilds to use voice communications. Even if you are not actively running an operation, warzone, flashpoint, etc., it helps so much to get to know your guildies and to plan, strategize, and talk about things in and outside the game. I think you will find that the guild is strengthened, people are less flaky, and you will enjoy playing with your guildies more.

Grinding For Conquest Points

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My guild Despair has conquered CZ-198, its third planet in a row! How exciting! I’m especially thrilled because, while I still did not get a full week of gameplay (and I’ve been uncomfortably sick), this is the first week I’ve been able to hit my individual conquest goal, due to my computer being in the shop and going on vacation since Strongholds has been out.

As someone with only one character that I regularly play, hitting my conquests points goal of 25,000 this week was pretty easy. I completed it with a combination of group finder operations, flashpoints, crafting, planetary heroics, and more.

However, I did have a guildie that was trying to reach his goal on his fifth or sixth toon Sunday. That is a lot of grinding. Of course I helped, along with a few other guildies, and we queued for a lot of ranked and unranked PvP matches. I admit I did lose a lot of matches (carebear forever?), but in one match that we won I did blow everyone away at the top of the board with the most damage and kills, so that was a point of pride for me during the night! I picked up a new piece of PvP gear last night too, so I’m getting closer to having a full set. It’s almost about time for me to work on another outfit, because I don’t want to look funny when I go into a warzone or arena.

Simultaneously, I suggested that we complete the heroic missions on Makeb and get the 250 NPC kills while we were there. We also ran a few flashpoints and completed Toborro’s Courtyard in 8-man SM earlier in the day.

My guildie did end up making his conquest goal yesterday, so I don’t think it is unattainable to hit the threshold given an entire week. I don’t think it is as much of a grind to spread it out over a few days, and it’s fun having another incentive and goal in the game to play something you like. It is also definitely very helpful to be flexible in what you like to do in-game and to be ready and able to do anything. My guild is pretty active, and there are always groups forming up for something, whether it is for a quick operation, GSF, flashpoints, etc.

We are still winning, and I don’t believe for a second that my guildies are worn out. I think they are having a lot of fun with this new expansion being rewarded for things they already like to do, and I think that is one key to success that we have.

Corellian Run Radio Episode 125: Conquesting We Will Go!

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I’m actually a few days behind on announcing the new episode, but it’s a really good one! On the show Jason and I interview Filmadeus, guild leader of Despair on the Harbinger, a guild that has already conquered two planets so far since Galactic Strongholds has been out! Filmadeus gives some good tips and advice for other guilds and leaders regarding planetary conquests.

We also feature another guild in our Guild Ready Check Segment, Remnants of Hope, on the Jung Ma server!

Click here to listen to Episode 125 of Corellian Run Radio!

SWTOR Confessions: I Haven’t Decorated My Stronghold Yet

Game Update 2.9, Galactic Strongholds, has been out for a few days already, and I’ve logged almost every day since then. I have not decorated my stronghold yet.

I, a girl that likes to build and decorate houses in The Sims, who likes to casually role play (in-game), who had a beautifully interior designed condo in real life—have not decorated my house.

What madness is this? Every time I go to my Dromund Kaas apartment, I become overwhelmed. I don’t want to log into all my characters to get all the starter furniture. I don’t want to craft anything. I don’t want to spend any credits. I don’t feel like decorating.

And yet, I feel guilty that I should be contributing to my guild, which is doing quite well in the planetary conquests without my stronghold contribution. I feel guilty that I’m not playing part of the game. I feel guilty that this is the newest, shiniest SWTOR content, and it makes me panic looking at hooks and deciding what decoration or piece of furniture goes where.

Eventually I will get to it. I’m going to log in now and stare at my empty apartment a bit more, maybe until someone asks me to do something that requires killing opponents.

Time vs. Money: Why It’s OK Giving BioWare Money

Dromund Kaas decorating

With all the craziness going on for SWTOR’s release of Game Update 2.9: Galactic Strongholds, one particular topic struck me. Now there are furniture sets on the Cartel Market that you can buy for your stronghold. While the Cartel Market has been out for a long time, this definitely reminds me of The Sims Store, in which you can also use your real life money to buy hairstyles, outfits, and furniture for your sims. I admit, I have definitely bought a few things in both the Cartel Market and The Sims Store, and I don’t regret it.

As much as I play the game, I don’t feel like I have enough time or energy to spend trying to earn credits. I like to do operations, pay a bunch of credits for Nightmare repair bills, and maybe once in a while queue for flashpoints, GSF, or PvP. If I could’ve paid maybe $5.00 or $10.00 for the Xoxaan Armor Set instead of spending the majority of my credits (which I have yet to recoup after a few months), I probably would’ve. I don’t care that I’m spending real money. I could spend $10.00 on nachos I won’t finish at the bar, blow a fast $5.00 on an iced hazelnut latte or I could buy something I like in a game that takes more of my time.

Time is money, and I would honestly rather pay for something I like than spend time grinding in-game credits doing something I don’t like (dailies, crafting, what else do people do for credits?!). I certainly enjoy looking at this particular armor set on my character for hours and hours, and this is happiness that lasts much longer than poking around nachos or sipping a sweet latte, which is why I consider it to be worth the money.

Why do people complain about micro-transactions? Is it the philosophy that purchasable digital content should’ve been originally included in the game anyway? Perhaps. However, If purchasing digital content helps just a little bit to increase Bioware’s funds and allows them to hire more staff to improve the game (Bioware: please work on PvP because subscribers pay for Ranked), then why not? I like free things too, but Bioware is a business, and if they could charge for something that people will purchase, it would be foolish to not (especially since they are not requiring you to purchase the game.)

I do see the argument that no amount of income will fix all the issues in the game. Just like in government and taxes: it does no good to increase/decrease taxes if the money is not properly allocated or if it is spent unwisely.

I am not one to spend a huge amount of money on the Cartel Market. I buy the packs occasionally when we get our subscriber bonus every month. I purchased the rose-colored speeder when the Cartel Market was first released. I also bought some character slots on sale for when I finally have toons of every advanced class. I do not spend hundreds of dollars. I am not against spending a few dollars here and there if I want something (furniture/armor set), because this is digital content that I’m going to enjoy for a much longer amount of time than a silly piece of costume jewelry or coffee. I am a strong believer in getting value in what you spend your money on, and cost per use. “Wearing” an armor set in-game for an endless amount of gaming hours, and liking how my character looks, has a higher value to it than a bracelet I may wear in real life maybe a few times a month.

Preparing For Guild Flagships

Ever since guild flagships were announced, my guild has been saving credits so that we could purchase one when Galactic Strongholds is released! My guild doesn’t impose any type of tax, but simply asks you to contribute if you can. We will definitely be able to afford the base price of 50 million credits, and we can also afford all of the unlocks and upgrades at 130 million.

With the more recent release of information regarding guild conquests and crafting, we have also started to hoard materials. I finally feel more useful, having hoarded mats for two years in my cargo hold. I donated everything to the guild, because I actually don’t care to craft anything myself. Is that lazy? I’d rather just leave the crafting to people who know what they are doing.

When the guild conquests come out, I’m glad that we have a group of people well prepared to do everything. I’m happy we have crafters, GSFers, raiders, and people that like to do different aspects of the game. I’m on a carebear server, so for now I suppose we won’t have to do much world PvP. However, I think we should be able to hold our own if a situation ever arises.

I’m very happy to be in a large guild. Even though some players may come and go, a lot of players are consistently there every week, and it’s not hard to get something going if you need it. I haven’t been online as much recently aside from ops nights, but I’m very thankful that 15 other guild members agreed to run 16-man Nightmare Eternity Vault with me, because I needed the achievement! We could’ve completed it with less people, of course, but we had enough members on that wanted to play. Additionally, my guildmaster also said that we could farm the operation for low level mats as well. And now, I’m finally at 100% for the Eternity Vault operation!

It should be easy to get 100% on the other classic operations; I just have to organize some groups together to knock out the ones I missed (8-man Nightmare Explosive Conflict?). However, I wanted to emphasize how nice it is to have a fun guild that works together to achieve common goals.

Testing Out Galactic Strongholds

Dromund Kaas sleep emote

This weekend I downloaded the PTS to try out the Galactic Strongholds update! I only copied over my main toon from the live server, so I didn’t have a lot of credits to work with. However, I was still able to see all of the different stronghold locations!

Dromund Kaas

I purchased the Dromund Kaas apartment, which is priced cheaply at 5,000 credits. The thing I was most impressed with was the rain! I live in the desert and get excited when it rains just a little bit in real life, so this was awesome to me. It was beautiful seeing the rain from the different rooms and also when I went outside to the balcony. It was very gloomy and Sith-y, and I think there was more than enough room to decorate and hang out inside of it.

Coruscant

Coruscant stronghold

On the other hand, the Coruscant apartment has great lighting! I liked seeing vehicles zooming by, the skyscrapers, and the purple and golden clouds. If I ever take any screenshots of my outfit in the future, I will try to do it at this stronghold! The tricky part will be to get a friend on the Harbinger to buy it, unlock the balcony (which is 1 million credits, I think! Way out of my budget to spend just for screenshots), and give me a key so I can do that! I wouldn’t be able to visit one in the public listings with my Assassin, who is the only toon I ever care about taking screenshots of. Otherwise, the layout and pricing is exactly the same as the Kaas City stronghold.

Nar Shaddaa

Nar Shaddaa stronghold

The Nar Shaddaa stronghold comes with 5 rooms unlocked if you were a subscriber by a certain date, which is more than half of the rooms. My favorite area was the bottom floor balcony, which has three little balconies coming out of it. The only issue here was that in order to unlock all the rooms, you have to unlock two doors that go to this same area. I’m not sure if that is a bug or working as intended, but there weren’t other rooms to unlock. Essentially there are only actually 8, not 9 rooms in this stronghold.

Besides that issue, I liked seeing the circular billboard as well as the party barge in the Nar Shaddaa skyline! There is also a large “stage” area where you can place a ship. You can only get to this area by jumping off a higher floor and skillfully landing on it. I did quite a lot of duels with a friend here, and the amount of fighting space plus the city view was really great and made that a lot of fun.

Tatooine

Tatooine stronghold

This place is huge! It was really easy to get lost with the different levels and rooms. It felt like your own huge, desert compound. The garage is very cool; it’s a bit underground with an open ceiling, so you can see that beautiful Tatooine sky. This one is really nice, but I personally still like my cheap Dromund Kaas stronghold—small and easy to decorate.

Decorating and Interacting With Furniture

Dromund Kaas decorating

As far as decorating goes, I did a little bit of it in my Dromund Kaas stronghold. It was pretty easy to figure out the hook systems, the UI, how to click, etc. I felt a bit limited on the furniture that I had, but I hadn’t bought anything from the vendors and simply used the decorations that were given to me. I did feel a little giddy using the /sleep emote, which made my character curl up cutely on the bed! Additionally /chair makes it so your character sits normally on a piece of furniture, not the weird, sitting on the ground pose.

Keys and Inviting Others

Stronghold keys

In the PTS, you are limited on the amount of keys to other people’s strongholds. I think I was only allowed 5 or 6, which was a low number, especially if a friend gives you keys to all of their strongholds. I suppose on the live server people might just focus on one stronghold, so maybe the limitation doesn’t matter that much.

You can only invite and give out keys to a character that is of the same faction of yours. However, once a person has your key, it doesn’t matter what faction they are on. If you have unlocked the Coruscant apartment and get on an Imperial character to give your key to your Imperial friend, they can still visit your stronghold!  Keys are bound to your character, so be sure to remember to get keys for every one that wants to travel while your friends are offline or cross faction!

There are two types of keys that you can give out: silver and bronze. Silver keys allow your guests to invite others while bronze keys do not (both allow you to visit the strong hold when the owner is not online.) It will be interesting once Strongholds goes live to see how I utilize these different key functions, i.e. who I would even give a key to and if I would want them to invite others. I don’t really plan on having parties, but I may have to!

It’s easy to invite friends to your stronghold, and there is actually an achievement for doing so! The top tier achievement is for having 50 people at your stronghold at the same time.  I think I’m going to have to get a guild event in my empty stronghold if I’m going to be able to get this achievement!!

There is a lot of potential for a controlled PvP environment here! You would be able to create your own arenas by giving a friend in the opposite faction a silver key, and having them invite friends from their faction to your stronghold. Since they can visit your stronghold while you are offline, you might get a pleasant (maybe not) surprise when you log in and load into your house.

Killing Redna companions

You can kill your friends’ companion holos if they are the opposite faction!

Conclusion

I haven’t tried out the guild ships or strongholds yet, and I don’t know if I’ll get around to it before Strongholds comes out on the live server. I think this expansion has so much going on, so much for you to do and figure out, and I’m very excited to discover everything and make my stronghold look awesome!

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