Jan 13, 2012

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Zlatto’s Bazaar: Gathering Etiquette – Answering Two Common Questions

Zlatto’s Bazaar is the one-third Wall Street, one-third criminal empire and one-half gossip rag. You need to keep up on the Bazaar if for no other reason than to keep an eye on your competitors. Don’t be a Ho-tah and visit often – I’ve got stuff I gotta sell.  Your comments are encouraged, especially if they make me credits…

I wanted to clearly state that fairness is an important character trait in Toydarians. Can you believe there is an image stating that we are thieves on wikipedia? You just can’t trust anything you read on the Internet). Who decides what is fair? Well that is the question that separates a guerful and his credits.

While playing Star Wars: The Old Republic this last week, I had a few incidents I wanted to talk about here with the readers of AAJ. I was clearing a strong mob on Alderaan that was standing right on top of a lovely barrel of Phobium. Out of the corner of my eye, a Sith Warrior swoops in and grabs it and then laughs via emote and flies off. I know I am on the Empire side, where Dark Side mentality abounds, but I mean really? I had hoped a good percentage of the umrons had stayed put in PandaWorld!

"I got this!"

The next incident was in a PUG, running a quick 4 player heroic. When I asked about who got to scavenge the strong droids that we were killing, the group lead stated he needed all of the materials and his guild mate agreed. Adding to the lack of support was his companion, which did not seem to come to my aid in the discussion. I left the jackwagons to find another player.

So I decided to ask a few players out in the community two questions. I’d love continued input on these topics, so keep your responses coming, but here are the responses I’ve received so far.

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Jan 11, 2012

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Ask A Jedi: Commendations, Reverse Engineering, And Game Settings

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!

To start us off this week, MammaGamer asks What has the best drop rate for Hutta Commendations? Well, unfortunately the game is too new to have definitive drop rates on items yet, but we do know that Hutta Commendations, and indeed all planetary commendations, have a chance to drop from most if not all mobs on a planet. It is probably safe to assume that commendations have a higher chance to drop from Strong or Elite mobs. So, get out there and get to “persuading” those mobs to give up their commendations!

R2-DB user Sakasa asks this question: Does reverse engineering have more then one path? For those that don’t know, when you reverse engineer a item, you have a chance to learn a new schematic of either higher quality (blue or purple) or learn a new schematic with a “prefix” that indicates the type of stats that the new item has. So the short answer is yes, there are many different schematics that you can learn through reverse engineering just a single item. For more information about reverse engineering (including what all of the prefix’s mean), check out this article from our very own Zlatto and this collaborative article from Slaign. They know way more about crafting and reverse engineering than I ever will!

Last up, ido-goldberg asked: Will SWTOR settings save for 2 PCs? Basically, he wants to know if SWTOR’s settings are saved on the server so that he can switch computers easily without having to re-enable a bunch of options. This is a tough questions because it seems that some settings are saved server-side while others are saved locally to your computer. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to (easily) copy those local settings from one computer to another.

The consensus is that keybindings are saved to the server, while UI options and graphics settings appear to be saved locally and saved per character. This means that you will have to set up those UI settings for each computer that you play SWTOR on as well as each character. I can testify that I have had to enable the extra quickslots for each character individually when I have created them and there is not a way to copy the setting from one character to another in game or to set a default layout for the UI on all my characters, newly created or not. Hopefully with the UI updates that BioWare is working on, we will see a some improvements for the ability to copy settings between characters and computers.

Remember, if you want your question answered, visit R2-DB’s question and answer web page to ask your question. If you get enough up-votes, I shall do my best to find an answer for you!

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Jan 5, 2012

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Zlatto’s Bazaar: Juggling 3 Gathering Skills – The Good, The Bad And The Profitable

Zlatto’s Bazaar is the one-third Wall Street, one-third criminal empire and one-half gossip rag. You need to keep up on the Bazaar if for no other reason than to keep an eye on your competitors. Don’t be a Ho-tah and visit often.  Your comments are encouraged, especially if they make me credits…

When you run past a resource node that you are unable to harvest because your skill is not high enough, do your teeth clench just a bit? When you run past a resource node that you do not even have the correct crew skill to harvest in the first place, do you still get that itch? If you answered yes to either of these questions you might be a candidate for a full gathering crew skills selection.

The Good

Have you thought about what it would be like to be take only gathering skills in Star Wars: The Old Republic? I not only thought about it… I am enjoying it, and I figured I would share some thoughts about it. I selected Archaeology, Slicing and Scavenging for my three options.  My reason was all about the utilization by my possible customers and … well, Slicing to help fund my other characters.

There are 3 Crew Skills that use Scavenging materials and 2 Crew Skills that use Archaeology, so the number of prospective buyers is greatly increased. Now this is just a theory of mine, and to be honest I am as unsure as a ferglutzing shop keeper.  Volume of prospects does not always lead to direct profit. Another theory would be  Scavenging and Bioanalysis.  Why, you ask? Well they are both skinning supported gathering skills. In my leveling efforts there are countless Strong enemies of both Bio and Droid origin.  The only thing more profitable than finding a node on a map is creating your own and getting XP for doing it!

What 3 would you take? Have you thought about why you would choose what you would choose?


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Dec 29, 2011

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Zlatto’s Bazaar: Level Your Crew Skills Remotely

Zlatto’s Bazaar is the one-third Wall Street, one-third criminal empire and one-half gossip rag. You need to keep up on the Bazaar if for no other reason than to keep an eye on your competitors. Don’t be a Ho-tah and visit often. Your comments are encouraged, especially if they make me credits…

Hi there. My name is Zlatto, and I have a problem. My addiction is Crew Skills, and its been …. well, only 3 minutes since my last fix because lets be honest: I have SWTOR up in another window as I write this and I am sending my crew out on missions whenever they become available.

What I wanted to share with the community today is the ability to level up your Crew Skills via your smartphone or tablet. 

Oh yes, it is possible with a little bit of planning and effort. I can tell you that my last ‘all staff’ meeting was far more entertaining as I sent out my crew on slicing missions while listening to the monthly speaker tell me about the need for us to me more focused on ….. hmmm I missed what the topic of our focus was.  WHO CARES?! I can level my Crew Skills up remotely.

To accomplish this feat of nerdvana there are a few requirements:

  1. A smartphone or tablet that can access the internet
  2. A program from the store of your device that enables remote control desktop
  3. A lot of patience

To better dissect the effort I will share my process. I am an iPhone user, so I happen to already own an app called iTeleport that I use for work. I can not tell you how cool it is to walk around during a presentation with only your iPhone in your hand and control your presentation remotely. Now, iTeleport work with both the Mac and PC for remote desktop control.  Since TOR requires a PC (or lets say Windows) you must download the Windows version. The process leverages your Gmail credentials and an internal VNC server to enable the connection from handheld to PC.  Below is what the screen looks like on my phone, you can see the full desktop including the Windows taskbar at the bottom of the screen:

Now comes the tricky part. I use the security key, so I must have that with me if I am going to login to TOR while on the go.  The screen is small, but I can stretch it using the reverse pinch command.  The app has a keyboard command to allow me to login. It takes some getting used to, navigating only a portion of your screen at a time, but its just a matter of patience to move between the screens, selecting the right menu items for choosing your missions and clicking ‘Send Companion’.  The image below shows a crafting screen.  It is more difficult to Craft then to send your crew on Missions remotely (imho) due to the smaller click-able area that you have to select the item to craft.  You can zoom in pretty close but its still a challenge to mouse over the specific hot spot on the screen.  As you can see below I run a dual screen environment, this is great for my home game play but an issue for when you are working remotely on your phone. You need to give yourself as much space and screen room as possible to make the selection of the steps you want to accomplish as easily as possible.

Sure it feels a little like a Wile E. Coyote setup, but hey I was able to skill up 10 points in slicing and was able to ‘net’ a few thousand in credits. (Editor’s Note: Here’s a video of AKAMikeB giving a demo of how he does the same thing!)

So now you have the way… do you have the will? It’s all about the credits! Let us know how it goes!

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Dec 26, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Should TOR Have An External Crew Skills App?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

As more and more of us finally get into the game and become familiar with our Crew Skills, we start to wonder about the best way to improve our crafting, gathering and mission skills. If you’re unfamiliar, BioWare created a very interesting system that allows the player to send his or her companions to complete these tasks, rather than the player himself. Although, you as the player can still get harvest a resource node out the wild, should you so choose!

While some crafting tasks may only take a minute or two to complete, other missions may occupy tens of minutes or longer which causes many players to queue them up while they take a break or even head off to work or school. Due to the relatively passive nature of the Crew Skills,  some players choose to level their skills in windowed mode while doing other tasks. Whereas other players use remote-client applications to access their main computer running the game from their mobile devices such as an iPad or iPhone.

What if BioWare actually expanded on what these players are already doing? What if we had a web-based “Crew Skills Client” that allowed players to give orders to their in-game companions while they were somewhere other than in the game? BioWare could even go all the way and create a fully integrated smartphone application that acted as a communicator between the player and the companions, reporting on the mission outcomes? This would definitely give the Crew Skill system a truly innovative dimension.

So what do you think? Should TOR have an external Crew Skill application? Do you think it would have a positive or negative effect on in-game economy? Let us know below!

Should TOR have an external Crew Skills app?

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