Feb 12, 2012

Posted by | 1 Comment

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!

Read More
Feb 5, 2012

Posted by | 0 Comments

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!

Read More
Jan 29, 2012

Posted by | 7 Comments

Wild Space: Improve Your FPS, Matrix Shards, And Content Locusts

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!

Over on Red Rancor, they have been posting a ‘Video Tip of the Day’ series for some time now, but the tip they posted on the 26th really caught my eye. It’s titled, “Improve Game FPS and Performance,” and offers three suggestions to do just that. The three tips are as follows:

1. Update your graphics drivers
2. (If using Windows Visa or 7) Run TOR in compatibility mode
3. Disable GPU scaling (Nvidia graphics cards only)

I highly encourage you all to check out the video to get the full instructions on how to complete each of these steps.  Curious to see if these settings would make a difference, I tried them on both my desktop and laptop computer. My desktop has some pretty decent hardware so it didn’t really see any improvement. However, my laptop definitely saw a 10fps increase as a result of turning on compatibility mode (it has an ATI video card so I couldn’t try the GPU scaling). I call that a success!


Read More
Jan 22, 2012

Posted by | 0 Comments

Wild Space: Attributes, Interview, And Flashpoint Loot Info

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!

Are you new to MMOs? To the uninitiated, the deluge of different statistics and acronyms may seem quite daunting. Fortunately, the folks over on Force Junkies have got you covered. As part of a new column called “SWTOR Mechanics 101″, they go over, in detail, all of the attributes in TOR as well as some of the common abbreviations that are helpful to know when playing an MMO.

The information on the secondary attributes (Power, Defense Rating, Critical Rating, etc…) is particularly helpful since it may not be immediately apparent what some of those attributes do. I didn’t even know what “Alacrity” attribute was (or even how to pronounce it) until I read this article. For those that want to understand what attribute they need to focus on for their class and role, I would really encourage you to check out this helpful article on Force Junkies.

Read More
Jan 15, 2012

Posted by | 0 Comments

Wild Space: Patch 1.1 Roundup, Jedi Knight Armor, and “Pro 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!

Our first major content patch, Rise of the Rakghouls, is only days away! A ton of minor updates and changes are being made to the game in addition to a new Flashpoint and Operation. The good folks over on SWTOR Arena have a great roundup of all the changes in the forthcoming update. As you would expect from a round up, all of the interviews that James Ohlen, Game Director, gave to other major gaming publications as well as choice patch notes and RP “fluff text” are included. For anyone that is looking to find out exactly what is being added in the upcoming patch, definitely check out SWTOR Arena for the details.

On the official forums, a thread has popped up about the end-game PvP gear for Jedi Knights and how it looks. More specifically, the OP, Alexious, doesn’t like the look of the armor at all. Since the post has grown to 21 pages, SWTOR Face decided to weigh in and posted screenshots of the armor in question. To me, the armor looks similar to that worn by Obi-Wan in the 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series (sans cape, obviously) which is awesome! Is the armor flashy or avant garde? No, but neither are Jedi (at least, they aren’t “supposed” to be). To me, the armor perfectly describes the Jedi Knight from a story sense: someone who is supposed to get in quickly, get the job done with the least amount of violence possible, and get out. What do you guys think? Check out the article on SWTOR Face and let us know!

Lastly this week, I wanted to make you guys aware, if you weren’t already about an awesome recurring feature on Force Junkies. “FJ Pro-Tip” is a short feature where the Force Junkie crew offers up one tip that they feel the community can benefit from. Personally, I have learned some great tips from this column, including this one from January 11 about refreshing your crew skill missions:

Quick tip today for those who might get frustrated by not having the Crew Skill missions that you want. When you board and exit your ship, the missions available to you are reshuffled and different ones are available. So if you see missions you don’t want and don’t feel like waiting for them to shuffle back in, just walk in and out of your ship and.. Voila! You will have a new set of missions to choose from. 

I will definitely be doing that once I get back online! Check out Force Junkies for even more FJ Pro-Tips.

Read More
Jan 8, 2012

Posted by | 7 Comments

Wild Space: Immersion, “Digital Disappointment”, And Companion Gifts

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!

Over on Corellian Run Radio, they have posted an interesting column that deals with immersion in TOR with respect to pop-culture references. BioWare has mentioned in the past that they don’t want to include obvious pop-culture references in TOR because they feel it would break immersion. In contrast, World of Warcraft has made a living with all of the pop-culture references that can be found in their game. The author of the CRR article, Thom, describes a rather elaborate reference featuring the A-Team that can be found in World of Warcraft.

By now, you almost expect a new cultural reference in World of Warcraft whenever you play it, so much so that pop-culture references have become part of the experience of playing the game. It can almost be considered its own game feature. TOR, on the other hand, seems to be keeping references to a minimum. Thom has only seen pop-culture references appear as part of quests and they are often quite subtle. Personally, the only references I have found have been Star Wars related (check out Nem’ro’s cantina on Hutta, there are a few good ones in there) and those types of references only serve to enhance my immersion and pull on my nostalgic heartstrings.  What do you all think? Have you found any pop-culture references that are immersion breaking for you? Do you like or not like pop-culture or Star Wars references?

Be sure to make your opinion known on those questions below and check out the full article on Corellian Run Radio.

Read More