Tuesday, December 12, 2017

SWTOR Rant - Pet Peeves and Changes I'd Love to See

SWTOR (Star Wars: The Old Republic) just got its 5.6.1 update today and again things are newly broken or still broken. Such as no Conquest rewards -- again.
Time for a rant. Things I'd love to see happen, and not just bugfixes.

  • Bug fixes.
    • It's painfully obvious that there are more and more bugs, of increasing severity, as time goes by. I really feel that instead of crushing out new content in the hopes that the ever-complaining subscriber base will actually like something, they should take a long time out and fix every bug they can find, both big and small.
    • The Prince teaches us that, human nature being what it is, people will remember bad things longer than they remember the good. So do all bad things at once and spread out the good. Right now, SWTOR is letting a seemingly never-ending schedule of bad things overshadow any good they are doing.
    • Take Action:
      • Have a long time out on new content. Systematically fix bugs till the game is stable and updates ship out bug-free.
      • In the meantime, give out little, safe, recognition rewards for persevering through this period such as legacy-wide Titles, Achievements, or Character Flairs for staying in the game. For example, just completing one quest everyday on any character, and do so for increasing periods of time to earn more and more recognition. At the highest tier, give a 7-day subscription code redeemable any time.
  • Credit Spammers
    • Apparently it's hard work to stop them, but a simple action that could be taken is to protect new players, who are naive and vulnerable, as evidenced by the relentless chat-spamming on starting planets.
    • Take Action:
      • No player can trade, e-mail, use the Galactic Trade Network, or join a Guild with any of their characters until they have a Legacy on the server. By then they should have played enough to understand that excessive credits at the start is really not necessary. This applies whether they are subscribers or free-to-play.
      • Anyone posting a credits-for-sale link has their account immediately suspended for 7 days and 100 Cartel Coins taken out of their balance. If the account turned out to be one that was hacked, then they should have secured it with a Security Key.
  • Referral Links
    • Just as bad as credit spammers and sometimes even more devious by hiding the fact that it is a referral link.
    • Also, the rewards stack into so many Cartel Market Coins that the game is basically giving far too much of the Cartel Market away for free.
    • Take Action:
      • Discontinue the program immediately. No reason really needs to be given but abuse by having non-friends and total strangers use your link is reason enough.
      • If players really want to support others (for example, fan sites that previously had referral links), allow them to gift Cartel Coins to each other by buying certificates in denominations of, say, 100 CC. As a little reward and incentive, let the buyer have 1 CC free at time of purchase.
  • Cartel Market and Credit spend limits
    • Recognize that the game has become so inflated in credits and take advantage of it! Cartel Market goods cost millions of credits so no one in their right mind would subscribe or use Cartel Coins to access Escrow just to buy it with credits.
    • Once effectively-free Cartel Market items start to dry up because referral link abuse (see above) ends, goods on the GTN will come from real money being spent on the Cartel Market. At that point, we won't care that they are re-sold on the GTN because ultimately credit flow means real money entering the game through the Cartel Market.
    • Take Action:
      • Some time after Referral Links are discontinued, stop the system of Escrow and let all players, including free-to-play and Preferred, spend their credits directly from the Legacy Bank and in unlimited quantities.
      • Make the Cartel Coin certificates (see above) tradeable on the Galactic Trade Network to further encourage in-game credit-generating activity to lead to sales in the Cartel Market.

Monday, December 11, 2017

SWTOR Grade 10 Mission Discovery - Investigation

Ever since SWTOR 5.0 (Star Wars: The Old Republic), Crew Skills were expanded to Grade 10. Previously we showed Grade 10 Slicing, Treasure Hunting, and Underworld Trading. We recently chanced on some BLUE Mission Discoveries for Investigation and ran them under update 5.6.

Mission Discovery: Investigation (blue grade)
Might be cheap on the Galactic Trade Network since they are outdated mission discoveries, so give it a shot. We ran the mission with a Companion Level 50 Mako and got a non-critical result. For the mission price, obviously the best part is the guaranteed pink / artifact-grade materials instead of trying your luck with regular missions.

2017-Dec-12 Mission Discovery Investigation 110

2017-Dec-12 Mission Discovery Investigation Grade 10 Trelli Secrets

2017-Dec-12 Trelli Secrets result 1 no crit

Sunday, November 19, 2017

SWTOR Command Level idea - end game respawning

It looks like SWTOR's direction with Galactic Command -- a system loaded with complaints from the get-go -- is basically this:
  • Appease players by improving rewards.
  • Appease players by making it easier to get Command Levels.
  • Appease players by making it easier to get Command Levels across legacy toons.
All this is short-sighted.
The results will be:
  • Pointless to continue playing once best-in-slot gear is obtained. Grind-frustration when they bring in the next tier of gear.
  • Pointless to continue playing once maximum Command Level is reached for a toon.
  • Continued appeasement when players frustrated with the grind keep complaining about all their legacy toons not reaching a satisfactory Command Level.
Since we are so entrenched into Galactic Command, the existing system will probably have to stay one way or another. However there is still time to stop the madness and introduce a test system aimed at end-game activities.
Sure we can keep Galactic Command. We can even keep the Galactic Command level. Hell, we can make that level unlimited. Just stop the existing rewards and introduce character improvements that actually last -- not just a gear chase that is good only until the next Tier comes out when people are bored.

By End Game this article means two things: Ranked Player-versus-Player, and Operations. The idea is to gently enhance these activities. The exact enhancement can be tweaked as playtest results come in.

Ranked Player-versus-Player
Your Command Level is used in a formula that reduces your respawn time.
Obviously the better players won't rely on this too much since getting killed is rarely a useful strategy, but it can mitigate bad luck.

The total Command Level of the team is used in a formula that gives the Team Leader the ability to immediately respawn to full health any team member, including themselves if they are defeated.
This may still not save a raid from wiping, but it does give a bit more leeway, especially when training newcomers.

Legacy Toons
It' a bit late to change Command Levelling from individual toons to something Legacy-wide without committing to a drastic change. However, the process can be halted by changing all direct Command Level rewards to stackable Legacy-bound CXP inventory items. This way, Command Level gain can be focussed on particular toons and away from unimportant ones.
Remember that under the aforementioned scheme we are also suggesting that gearing no longer be tied to Command Levels at all, so it is not important to open a bunch of crates looking for gear.