It’s December 31 and I can’t help but be a little nostalgic. It’s been an exciting year for SWTOR, and me too, and I can’t help but look back and forward to reminisce and contemplate the good and bad. So, even though every other Blogger has beaten me to it and posted their 2014 Wrap-ups and 2015 Wishes, here is mine. Appreciate the sarcasm (or don’t) and writing style my English teachers hated. And remember, it may not seem like it, but I love this game.
The Good, The Bad of 2014
1. Exploitgate 2014
This is one we’ve been talking about a lot lately, and one of the more controversial, so I’ll ruffle feathers right off the bat. 2014 was the rise of the exploit cartel. Like the Ragkoul virus it kept springing up every throughout the year to varying degrees and impact on the game. We saw implant farming on Nefra, Mand Hands being given out like candy through misuse of the ticketing system, Flashpoint and Operation farming in context with Conquests, and the newest Ravager HM lockout exploit.
The topic of exploits is also one of the reasons (obviously not the only one. I’m trouble maker all on my own) why TOROCast and myself are not in the best standing with the CM team. I don’t buy into idea that lack of official information and hiding the problem is the best solution to the exploit problem. The more people who know it’s going on and are looking to turn in their fellow players, the better it can be evaluated and fixed. Added to this “it doesn’t exist” mentality is that there are little to no punishments being given to players for these exploits. After the Nefra bug, many players simply took to the saying “Bioware doesn’t ban subs.” Which, seeing the lack of consequences over past exploits, I can’t really blame people for doing them without any fear of punishment. I mean, jeez. I’ve seen screenshots of Fleet General Chat with people selling the lockouts, with mats and gear, for 1.5 mil. In game. On fleet. WITH NO FEAR!
I hope going into the New Year when the decision makers with a higher pay grade come back to work we’ll see some sort of resolution on exploit. Otherwise each patch, with their new bugs, will be exploited to the furthest degree. Negating the gear grind, progression, and, really, all the hard work the Devs put in.
One of the highlights for me this year was definitely Galactic Strongholds. I wasn’t so sure how I felt about SWTOR Playhouse when it first came out, but now I’m hooked. News Flash, this is me admitting I was wrong…I’ve spent Kephess knows how many millions already (30 mil minimum I’m sure) unlocking three homes, countless Hypercrates, and decorating with my prodigious interior decorating skills. The hours upon hours I’ve spent placing and picking up. It’s become a sort of ritual for me after I’m done Raiding or PvPing to work on my Stronghold before I log off. It’s therapeutic and relaxing.
I never cease to stress my friends out though with lists of things they should do when they ask me advice. They, and I, would both love the ability to get a decorating key so trusted players can decorate for a friend. I mean, not everyone is as fashionable and gifted as…well…some…
Shadows of Revan was really lackluster for me and continued to trend downhill as the weeks went on. I had accepted it with my usual begrudging aloofness, but Day 1 I had a good time grinding out the levels and hitting 60. Jesus droid was fun. The quests were easy to follow. Rishi and Yavin both looked great with cool new alien NPCs. Ya, there were some bugs, but they honestly didn’t bother me. The meat tree was doable once I switched instances, and I did all the side and bonus quests so I didn’t run out of things to do before I hit 60. Hell, I didn’t even really complain about training costs.
As the weeks (hours, days) went on though, the Devs started saying some seriously stupid things. I was less and less enamored with the whole expansion. The (Over)response to training costs was simply uncaring for loyal subs, and the “We consider this beta testing” was a troubling look at how the SWTOR Team feels about putting out an (un)finished product. And how far they’ll exploit their paying customer base.
Revan was cool. I’m not one of those people who have a nergasm over that face mask, but I can appreciate the whole light side/ dark side dichotomy and lore. Rishi was a little cheesy, but I feel like any heavy Pirate theme is going to be in my opinion. I liked Yavin a lot better, but that’s simply from my own personal lore preference. Additionally, Temple of Sacrifice is the better Operation for me. While both Hard Modes are challenging, I’ve found most of the fights to be one dimensional and stagnant. Some fights have interesting mechanics, but they’re all Rinse and Repeat fights. Even the more complex fights with multiple “phases” are simple in terms of mechanics and have very little substance.
I won’t lie, I hate the discipline system. The only upside is that it takes less time and is more simple when switching specs. That being said, the discipline system takes all individuality out of the specs. I didn’t hate hybrids and I liked when people could brand specs as their own. The Utilities are mostly defensive and really (mostly) a PvE vs. PvP divider and probably came from the need to balance the two aspects of play while not making certain things overpowered in one or the other. For me though, Disciplines has really just helped the Rise of the Inquisators (not that they needed help) with Overload Bindings being too god damn prevalent. Yea, I love Assassins having another CC…
5. U.I. Changes
I’m a control freak and I don’t honestly think I’ll ever get my User Interface EXACTLY how I want. The detachment of buffs and the way you can organize them are great. I’m still hoping for some more player frames options as it all gets a little cluttered and as a healer you really notice those things. I also really like the new proc highlights, though I wish they were further customizable. For example, I’d love different colors or animations for different procs. Many classes manage more than one, and sometimes these overlap. On my sorc, Dark Concentration and Force Bending can both be up but using one will erase the other. Even if you haven’t consumed the proc. I’d also love to see a “Target of Focus Target” frame. While I can quickly jump to the target with a key bind, sometimes I’d simply like to see who my Focus Target is on. *Cough* Storm Squadron *Cough*
May the 2015 Be With You
Enough looking back though. It’s almost time to make some martinis and dive into the New Year, and what 2015 SWTOR has in store for us and most importantly…ME!
1. Building my own computer!
If you listen to TOROCast or know me at all, you’ll know my computer is complete shit. Like, really bad. On one hand, it’s a prime example of my McGuyver level thriftiness. On the other hand, playing the game is complete torture at time. The graphical lag I experience in unreal. Turning my camera is tortuous. I dunno how I even live through Storm Squadron sometimes. Other than just a better gaming experience though, I’ll be able to stream more. It’s something that I REALLY love doing, but I just couldn’t with my computer.
While I’m definitely nervous about building it all by myself, I’m excited to take the next step in Nerdom. Building your own rig is definitely gamer street cred and I think I’m going to learn a lot from the actual process. I’m also really lucky to have a lot of friends who know what they are doing and are willing to help! (Who are also really looking forward to teasing me throughout the whole process…)
2. Getting back into progression raiding
My professional SWTOR career has been all over the board. I came into the game a complete noob. Ended up Progression healing for one of the best guilds. And then faded back into PvE obscurity raiding back on the Bastion. After a whole lot of drama though (for once not my fault!) I’m in a guild I like with players who have the same interest in being competitive on the PvE scene.
Hopefully we have our shit together by May (when NiM drops) and can surprise some people by coming out of nowhere. It’s not easy running a guild, I hate it. I’m too mean. I hurt people’s feelings. And I yell at them when they stand in stupid or make the same mistake over…and over…and over… But, a girl’s gotta do what she’s got to do to raid.
3. The Year of Star Wars
This one isn’t exactly SWTOR related, but it is SW related and that’s good enough for me. 2015 is going to be the year of the STAR WARS. Rebels got off to a slow start for me, but It’s gotten better and I’m willing to suffer through a lot for light sabers and those shiny Trooper helmets. And the books I get to read! New books! New Expanded Universe (faint grumblings still about fanfic EU)! I’ve already read Tarkin and I can’t wait to start the other new books. I even joined a Star Wars book review group!
Oh, and I guess there is this Star Wars movie. I dunno, you might have heard of it. I personally have been on a J.J. binge to keep myself hyped. I’ve read every silly (or not) spoilers thread out there and will do anything in my power to know the things which shall not be known. I know J.J. is going Obama grey over it all, but I’m sure I’ll nerd cry during the credits.
4. More Community Feedback
One thing I hope we see more of is more CM and Dev interaction. There seems to be some favoritism and confusion when it comes to the community and the community team. The past year of exploits, Betas, Ranked shenanigans, class imbalance, and data- mining madness really showcased how the out of touch CM team bungled crisis management. While some people are over the moon with their interaction with the CM team, many feel blacklisted or out in the cold. Not even going into my own strained relationship, things like using Kand’s name on the Ranked Rewards Announcement and the “Furious” faux pax showed how while the community is giving, there isn’t always a give back. Or there is just a taking…
The mixed messages and frustrating silence have just reached a confusing point, and I’m looking forward to a new year with a fresh start. Will I be nicer? I’ll sure try. But I can’t make any promises. Will they start to release info in a timely manner on the questions we keep asking? Or stop deleting threads? Here is hoping for a new era in community cooperation.
5. Better/bigger events
Lastly, I hope this year we see new, or expanded upon, events. The Gree, Rakghoul, and Bounty Events need to be updated and built upon. These events need to change every time they come around in order to keep people interested in doing them. The Life Day event was a complete buzzkill this year and really highlighted how these events are just fillers to give the illusion of things happening. When really, they’re the same old rep grinds for the same old rewards. Give us something new! Give us something fun! Yea, yea, I’m so demanding. But really, if you’re already rep capped, and have the stuff, there is ZERO reason to do the events.
I hope everyone had a great 2014 and that there is nothing but awesomeness for you all in 2015. Be safe. Have Fun. Do something you normally wouldn’t do (but I definitely would)!!!