Feb 12, 2012

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Wild Space: Companions, Lightsabers, and ATI Performance Tips

It’s a big galaxy out there, and Wild Space can be a dangerous place. Worry not, explorer – each week we’ll navigate you safely through the lost hyperspace routes of the Deep Core and track down the great articles and entertainment from around the SW:TOR fan community, all in less than 12 parsecs, of course!

First up this week, is a really well done editorial from Darth Hater. Titled “Companions: The Good, The Bad and The Broken” the article goes on to describe the bad stuff about the companion system, the broken (i.e. bugged) stuff that needs fixing ASAP, and the good stuff that truly makes the companion system unique.

For starters: the bad. Tanking companions are the primary complaint here with the main problem being that they don’t…well…tank too effectively. They tend to need lots of healing after a battle or two or just flat out die during fights with Champion level mobs. Speaking from experience, tanking companions in flashpoints also don’t work too well. It would be nice to see tanking companions get a buff or two so that they can tank effectively in PvE content.

In “the broken” section, the author talks about the difficulty for some classes to actually get damage dealing companions to engage in combat:

…more than half of [Sniper and Gunslinger] attacks don’t cause their companions to engage the enemy. Players have to either remember to manually activate their companion each fight, or make the conscious decision to use an ability that activates their follower, usually at a substantial DPS loss. 

But overall, we love our companions, don’t we? As the author says, companions provide us with a really great crafting system that allows to fulfill our crafting needs without spending all of our characters time on it. But the most amazing thing that companions do is get us to care about them. Even if we hate the way a certain companion acts, *cough* 2V-R8 *cough*, we still feel something about all of them. And that is a feat worth celebrating.

Check out the full article over on Darth Hater.

Next up, do you like lightsabers? I know I do! SWTOR Strategies stumbled upon a really cool fan-made diagram showing many of the lightsaber hilts found in game and their corresponding icons. The idea being that you can see what that new lightsaber will look like since, you know, you can’t view weapons in the dressing room window in game (yet). Thanks to SWTOR Strategies for finding this cool image for us.

A couple weeks back, I posted some tips from the Red Rancor folks about improving your computers FPS. Unfortunately, those tips were only for those with Nvidia video cards. This week, I stumbled upon some (older) tips for our ATI/AMD bretheren over on the MMO-Junkie forums. You’ll definitely want to scroll to the bottom of the initial post and see how the author configured his Catalyst Control Center for maximum TOR performance. Check out all the tips here!

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Feb 6, 2012

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Yellow Posts: Guild Summit, More on PvP Gear, And BioChem Changes

Well, BioWare tried to put me out of a job this week, but little do they know that if they strike me down I shall become more powerful than…no, I’m not going to do it. First up this week is a post by Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Manager, about the upcoming Guild Summit. Unfortunately, BioWare does not have unlimited space for the event so not all guilds who applied will receive invites. This inevitably leads to controversy as some people think that they were unfairly or even intentionally left out. Here is and excerpt of what Mr. Reid has to say on the selection criteria:

Guilds were selected with the ultimate aim of ensuring we had a broad representative mixture of guild sizes, playstyles and geographical locations at the summit (with the assumption that no-one might turn up of their own accord). We have guilds from all types of playstyles, large guilds (2,000+ members), small guilds (20 members) and guilds from across North America and Europe. (Note: many guilds are multi-national; our invites were for guild leaders, who were mostly located in NA/EU.) Guilds were also selected because of their constructive and critical feedback during testing of The Old Republic, both pre-launch and post-launch.

If you read Wild Space this week, then you know that PvP rewards are getting some changes in the near future. They are doing this in order to correct a perceived over-gearing of some lucky players who got a lot of good loot in PvP reward bags. Some have thought that to fix this imbalance BioWare should retroactively reduce the stats on that gear. That isn’t the current plan according to Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer. Check out this excerpt:

To spell it out: We currently have no intention to modify the stats on existing PvP gear downwards (which I assume you mean by ‘nerf’). Nobody has talked about eliminating the gap between old level 50s and new level 50s either.

Last up this week, another major change coming in the 1.1.2 patch is that BioChem is getting some more changes. Specifically the requirement that you have to have the BioChem skill to use Energized and Exotech BioChem products. This change was put in place for the following reasons, per Georg Zoeller:

This was done to (a) remove pressure of players to pick up BioChem for optimal combat performance and (b) to open up the sale of BioChem products to a larger audience on the Galactic Trade Network.

To me, it sounds like BioWare is really trying to keep BioChem from being a “required” crew skill for end game players. They really want all skills to be viable at the end game. Here’s more from Georg Zoeller:

It is our intention to gradually, over multiple patches, reduce the impact of situational consumables on endgame combat resolution and shift the factors which determine the outcome of combat more towards personal skill.

Check out the full article for interesting insights into the future of BioChem.

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Feb 5, 2012

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Wild Space: PvP Rewards, Legacy Info, And Leveling Path

It’s a big galaxy out there, and Wild Space can be a dangerous place. Worry not, explorer – each week we’ll navigate you safely through the lost hyperspace routes of the Deep Core and track down the great articles and entertainment from around the SW:TOR fan community, all in less than 12 parsecs, of course!

It seems that BioWare is constantly trying to update and improve the PvP system, the open-world PvP zone Ilum getting the rancor’s share of the changes. This is obviously a good thing that BioWare is constantly trying to improve the system, but some people are understandably frustrated that the zone was released in the state that it was: not ready for primetime.

In a post over on SWTOR Face, author John Gatt thinks that BioWare is “patching PvP with duct tape”. He goes on to describe that the overall PvP experience needs to be improved and he doesn’t know if the changes that BioWare is planning to implement in the upcoming 1.1.2 patch are going to alleviate the problems that he has with PvP.

Specifically, the way commendations and tokens are rewarded is changing in the upcoming patch. As I understand it, BioWare is greatly reducing the drop chance for tokens that can be traded 1-for-1 for a piece of PvP gear from daily and weekly PvP reward bags. In exchange, they are increasing the amount of commendations (aka PvP currency) that you are rewarded for completing PvP daily and weekly quests. BioWare says, per Georg Zoeller, that this was done at the request of players and it should reduce the randomness of acquiring PvP gear. In other words, lucky players will not be able to level up any faster than unlucky ones.

Check out the SWTOR Face article for a good overview of what this patch is going to do for PvP rewards in the near future.

Over on the TOR database site Knotor (the TOR database sites really do have the best names, don’t they?), they posted a really great overview of the Legacy system. From a description about the upcoming plans for the Legacy system, to the exact Legacy experience that you need to increase your Legacy level, this article has it all! Check it out now for all your Legacy system questions, including information about the upcoming changes in the 1.1.2 patch.

Last up, OldRepublic.net has posted a really cool graphic for all of us to enjoy. This time it describes the leveling path for both Republic and Empire as well as all of the flash points and when you can access them. Lots of useful information can be found here so be sure to check it out over on OldRepublic.net.

Thanks must be given to the TOR sub-Reddit for pointing me to these last two articles!

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Feb 2, 2012

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Ask A Jedi: Class Quests And Speeders

Stand aside Master Gnost-Dural! The Ask A Jedi crew is here to answer all of your burning questions about Star Wars: The Old Republic! Powered by R2-Db’s question and answer feature, we will answer the highest rated questions each and every week. So sit back, relax, and let us drop some knowledge on you, Ask A Jedi-style!

Just a pair of questions for you this week. First, Winterborne asks: “Can other people help out with class quests?“. The answer to that question is comprised of two parts. To begin, yes, as with any quest in the game, you can group up with someone to make your class quests a little bit easier. However, since your class quests are your personal story, the player that you group up with will not be able to participate in the dialog options for any of your class quests (but they can listen to the dialog).

Your choices for your class quests are your own and no one can force you to watch a cutscene or make a choice that you do not want to make. By contrast, you can be forced to watch a cutscene that you did not want to see during a normal group quest Flashpoint, depending on what dialog options your group mates selected.

The second part of this is that if the player you are grouping with is the same class as you, they will need to go into the game settings and enable an option to allow them to enter class quest areas of a player that is the same class as they. The main reason for this is that your character may be farther along in the story than the player that you are grouping with. In order to prevent story spoiling, the game will actually disallow a player from entering the class quest area of another player with whom they share the same class, unless they specifically say that they want to be able to enter those areas. Be careful of spoilers if you plan on going into a class quest instance of a friend who is playing the same class as you!

Lastly, gnarf posted this question on R2-DB: “Where can I buy 110% speeders?” If you just recently hit level 50 and bought the highest level speeder training, you may be on the lookout for vendors where you can buy better looking 110% speeders. Credit must go to DevliN who found this terrific article on OldRepublic.net that lists most (if not all) of the 110% speeder models available in TOR. This compendium describes where all of the speeders are located and how much they cost or what is required to obtain them (some drop off of Operation bosses). You will definitely want to check out this article if you are in the market for a new 110% speeder.


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Jan 30, 2012

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Yellow Posts: More FPS Tips (Soon), PvP Flags, And Bug Fixes

Yesterday, I wrote about some suggestions from the Red Rancor guys on how to improve your FPS in TOR. Well, in addition to those suggestions, BioWare is going to post some official tips on how to improve your FPS in the near future. From Joveth Gonzalez, Associate Online Community Manager, we have this post:

Hi folks, I apologize for the delay in updates on this issue, but as I mentioned before, we needed time to gather data and put all of our information together in one digestible format. 

We just finished editing a document that we hope to be able to publish as a forum post here in the CS forums as early as tomorrow. [Ed. Note: This release estimate was revised to today, Monday, Jan. 3o]

I can tell you that it’s going to be a guide on optimization performance (which includes FPS) for your PCs. 

Thank you all for sharing your experiences here and for your patience as we work to continually improve your gaming experience.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the Dev Tracker for when this post comes.

Forum poster _Darkstar, created a post called “Why oh why can I hurt other players if I am not PvP flagged?”. In it, he notes that he rolled on a PvE server to avoid PvP but some other players on his server have been playing an old MMO trick on him. An enemy player will PvP flag himself, run up to Darkstar and wait for him to use an AOE ability which then causes Darkstar to become PvP flagged and subsequently caught unaware and killed. The thread has grown to 94 pages of posts.

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