Massively Multiplayer Online Moggie

It’s kind of funny to think back to when I first started playing Guild Wars.

Y’see, back then, while co-op and online multiplayer existed, it certainly didn’t exist in quite the same way. You couldn’t log into a video game and suddenly be met with hundreds of other players who were real people just like you. Most of the time when met with hundreds of players in video games they were NPCs or server spawned entities. So the idea that, simultaneously and in real time, other players were in the game with you was an odd concept. Of course, as time has progressed, and technology has advanced, this is a pretty standard thing nowadays.

I’m still amazed by that progression in technology, though.

Even though MMOs are far more common these days and you have millions of people playing them- the base technological advancements that made them possible are still fascinating. To think, in my lifetime alone, we’ve gone from sprites on cartridges to full 3D models delivered through digital channels. It’s crazy. Kind of makes you wonder where it’ll go next.

It also makes me sound a lot older than I actually am. But, back on point, Guild Wars was an experience as I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into at the time. I didn’t think that I’d be actively working with other people, helping other people, and completing objectives with other people. Having played a number of single player titles up until that point I was only slightly used to cooperative play. These experiences led onto the years to come when I would take on World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2.

I’m certainly more used to MMOs these days. Many single player titles have taken inspiration and inherited mechanics from MMOs (mostly around crafting systems), while they’re more abundant than they were, and there are more for different universes. Many major titles or series end up trying the MMO market once or twice in their time too. Final Fantasy has put out two now and I don’t think XIV will be their last, either. Equally some titles (like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning) were apparently built as MMOs originally and then converted to single player. That and the fact that most single player titles feature either full campaign multiplayer, arena style multiplayer, or mission based multiplayer as well.

However, the reason I’m putting out this post is to inform you all of what’s happening next with the two MMO related series on Moggie @ WordPress. The first, SW:TOR The Jal’Frezi Legacy, will likely be on hold for some time to come as I don’t know when I’m next going to pick it up. I fully intend to go back to it, but when I do, and if I start posting about it immediately, are open to interpretation. Guild Wars 2: Tyrian Travels while far from over is slowing down with many of the characters moving into straight levelling.

We’re ahead of the curve a little on crafting disciplines now so I can afford to make equipment for my characters, to spend less time farming materials, and to spend more time moving towards whatever goals I have in store for them. In either case they’re not over and they will return- I just don’t know/can’t say when that will be.

As always, I try to balance the content I put out so there’s a little of something for everyone. I also try not to sit on topics for too long (they might melt).

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

SW:TOR The Jal’frezi Legacy (Return to the Republic)

It’s your sister from another mother (and server).

Every so often I get an itch that doesn’t go away. I’ve wondered if this might be some kind of skin condition, yeast infection, or other bodily malfunction but in reality it’s more than likely that I want to play an MMO. Is it normal for your body to itch when you want to game? No? Well, that just makes me all kinds of special.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of those games that I find myself wanting to go back to several times a month. Ironically, that’s the reason I actually stopped subscribing to most MMOs that I played- I didn’t play them enough to warrant the cost. Not in the sense that I wasn’t getting enough hours a week out of the subscription or anything like that… more that I would play for a few weeks and then take a few off and then play for a few more. In the three-four years I played World of Warcraft there were at least six months where I wasn’t actually subscribed. It’s just the way I play games, to be honest. I’ll play something for a good chunk of time and then not come back to it for a while.

Bit like Dragonball XenoVerse. Played it, finished the Time Patrol, finished the Parallel Quests, invested 40hrs, and now setting it down for a bit.

Mercy is more than you deserve.

Mercy is more than you deserve.

That’s why something like the free to play model that Star Wars: The Old Republic uses is actually pretty useful. As I can pick a new server and roll a new character to just play through the content, enjoy the adventures, and just have fun with the game without subscribing again. If I decide I’m really into it I might subscribe for a month or two, but, at the moment, it’s just a temporary return. I always enjoyed the Jedi Consular as a class and I’ll get to see the Jedi Sage side of it now. I wouldn’t free to play with my characters under the Jal’frezi Legacy, though.

There are a few things (like less experience/rewards from questing) that would bug me if I did subscribe and these characters permanently missed those things. Not to say I’m not willing to pay for it- far from it- I actually fully intend to subscribe again. At some point where I feel I will be playing it for more than a week and a bit at a time.

Having an absolute blast, though. Rolled on an RP server and I’ve not really done any roleplaying (nor intend to) but it’s a nice little server. Not too many pressures for doing instances or group missions and the folks seem friendly enough. Quite a quiet place, too. You don’t generally see many people spawning on Tython (while it is a starting area you do have to come back sometimes) and you’re generally allowed to quest at your own pace. Which is nice. Guilds are a bit sparse overall. But then I never really looked at guilds on my main server too often to be honest.

I also enjoy going back and levelling new characters after a while. That was one thing about World of Warcraft when I stopped playing- I didn’t have any fresh meat to train. Unless I wanted to roll a Pandaren Monk and choose to either have another Horde or Alliance character. So, it’s definitely a finite experience and will eventually reach an end. One day.

In any case, just a little update to say that the Jal’frezi Legacy is not completely dead.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

SW:TOR The Jal’frezi Legacy (Pt. 9)

All things are fair in love and war. Also, in patching.

Earlier in December we saw the unveiling of the latest patch for Star Wars: The Old Republic which covers the newest expansion, many changes, some fixes, and a little bit of something for everyone wherever you find yourself in the game. It’s a pretty positive patch on reflection. Well, if you like the changes. If you don’t- maybe not.

I didn’t end up pre-ordering the expansion as there was little benefit to my characters in doing so. I mean, sure, there were some cool pre-order bonuses- but with hardly anyone at or around the level cap there wasn’t much point in having the Lvl 50+ content. I also like levelling so zooming past that at the speed of light with the experience bonus wasn’t really a selling point for me. It also means I didn’t get the early access to expansion areas (see previous reasons as to why this bothers me hardly at all), but, if you did, then you would have been able to play for something like seven days longer than anyone else. Neat, huh?

So very exciting... but so confusing at the same time.

So very exciting… but so confusing at the same time.

One of the more surprising things in the patch notes (as I wasn’t aware it was being changed) is the adjustment of the levelling process. It apparently now takes less time to reach the level cap as enemies aren’t as tough, they have less health, and they die easier. This is something that every MMO will need to address at some point- however, despite the necessity- does it really work in your favour to dilute the content pre-level cap? Lots of people (myself included) love the levelling process and making that easier isn’t always better.

In this case I can’t say from experience (as I haven’t done any levelling) how it will change the overall levelling speed, how much quicker it is, or how much easier it is, but I can support the reasoning behind it. I feel it’s always positive to keep a consistent pace while levelling and progressing to more content.

I wonder if this will affect the experience at all and whether you will still need to do several of the side quests. No experience adjustments mentioned but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

The Disciplines system is something that I have incredibly positive feelings for as it solves many of the issues I hoped it would. Or, at least, in the limited exposure I’ve had to it on my Jedi Guardian. I’m almost kicking myself that I didn’t wait until this came out to start levelling him as he has access to so many more tanking talents and abilities, not to mention he’s gained many earlier than he would have, while he’s also got some new things that he didn’t have before, and overall I can’t say anything bad about this. At all. He certainly seems more like a tank should be. Though his rotation has changed slightly I’m indifferent as he can do so much more now.

I know many a hybrid character will be lamenting the loss of the system that allowed them such flexibility before but I think it’s a positive change for everyone. I can’t say that with certainty as I wasn’t playing for long before this new change came in so the veteran players might disagree, which, to be honest, they have every right to. Everyone likes different things.

Though SW:TOR hasn’t been on my list of things to play for a few weeks this patch might just bring me back to the Force. Or the soldiers of the Imperial or Republic armies.

Have a nice Sunday, all!

Moggie.

SW:TOR The Jal’frezi Legacy (Pt. 8)

The great thing about a lightsaber is that you can’t accidentally stab yourself as the blade retracts. Just don’t push the button at the wrong time…

I went on a little adventure to Ord Mantell recently (these posts are now two weeks behind) and played a rather fresh and new Vanguard, Aubrecht, up until he finished Coruscant, as an experiment. I didn’t really enjoy the single saber DPS tree for the Jedi Guardian, or the shared DPS tree for the Jedi Knight, so I set to work on rebuilding him as a tank. Due to my understanding of my mind I kept all of my tanking stuff and just switched back. What does this have to do with Aubrecht? Well, I was going to replace my Jedi Guardian with a Vanguard. Tank for tank. However, it was also a continuation of my levelling experiences recently.

My time on Coruscant taught me one thing- that place is awful. It’s great and wonderful but the place is as rotten as five week old chicken breasts.

They're migrating north to somewhere warmer for the season.

They’re migrating north to somewhere warmer for the season.

Funny story about chicken breasts. I used to go to school in an area that had an absurdly large number of fried chicken shops and one day me and a friend were walking home past the back way through the shops and there was about 10kg of chicken just splattered on the floor. In summer. Under a scorching sun. Going completely rank. Hence why I made that analogy as I can’t honestly think of anything worse than that. Man, that takes me back. In any case, the other thing I learned on Coruscant was that every class eventually slows down. Which is one of the good things about levelling many characters after being on one for a long time- perspective. Not just a multiple point drawing tool, a song by Peter Gabriel, or a reason why everything looks smaller the further you get from it.

When you’re playing a tank for a long time (and I played one almost exclusively for a year) you get the feeling everyone’s doing more of it more than you. Damage that is. As you know you’re never likely to hit the levels of a DPS class as the mechanics simply don’t allow it, but, you tease yourself, and you level a DPS class. Only to find it goes super quick at the beginning.

As it would. Or, rather- as it should.

But as you get into the 10-20 region you start to notice the field levels and while tanks are generally slower to kill they last a bit longer than DPS in straight fights. I ended up doing some Heroics for people on Coruscant on my Jedi Guardian (nearly Lvl 40) and it was a breath of fresh air that reminded me of why I started a tank. It’s a blast in groups. Well, anything other than end game groups. Unless you have an awesome guild. Sure, I was vastly overpowered- but it was a great time. It was great being able to hold many enemies, taunt, pull threat, protect, and generally be the “commander” in the group. Directing the flow of the fights.

With that in mind I knew I could never forsake my defensive duties. Though this will probably mean my Jedi Shadow goes back to mass murder but that’s the only that will really be affected as it was the only one that changed in the first place. See? Who said being social was a bad thing? In other news I also bought a really nice coat. It’s not quite Jedi fashion but you can’t have everything.

Have a great weekend, all!

Moggie.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Ever wanted to be a Jedi?

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a RPG of old that features an engaging story, a myriad of character development options, a heaping helping of things to do, and the opportunity to travel the galaxy with your own band of rogues. The mechanics are based on Wizards of the Coast’s Star Wars Roleplaying Game, which is a d20 system derived from the Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. That said, if you don’t understand any of that, or you’ve never played those rules before, you are still able to fully enjoy this title as you can pick up the concepts quite easily.

Before you earn your lightsaber you’re going to need to create your character. You can choose from the Scout, the Scoundrel, or the Soldier and each will provide different combat and exploration bonuses. These are fairly general classes, though. So it’s a good idea to go through the different options, weigh up the benefits, and decide how you’d like to progress from there.

I’m usually be one for rolling a Soldier, but the Scout had some pretty impressive utility which swayed my decision.

You’re going to earn some companions along the way, too. So, don’t worry- you’re not alone. Some of these bring fairly unique abilities or weapons to your party, while others will allow you to access abilities a little earlier than your character would normally learn them. Their equipment and yours will be scattered all across the various locations you visit, while some of it is customisable and can be upgraded. Most commonly you’ll be able to upgrade your lightsaber components but other weapons can also be upgraded. There are some really cool companion choices as well, like, for instance, the Wookie, who is a beast (no pun intended) in close combat.

Go to Tatooine they said. Sand People are friendly they said.

Go to Tatooine they said. Sand People are friendly they said.

Alongside the other customisation options there are also a number of special attacks that you can learn. Or, if you’re a Jedi, a selection of Force Powers. These range from fairly mundane overcharged blaster shots, to the ability to heal allies or injure enemies via the use of your Force Points. Using these abilities will significantly improve your chances of being successful in combat, too. As many of the enemies you’ll face will employ fairly similar- if not the same- abilities.

For this reason bosses can be quite tough as they have some really powerful abilities at their disposal.

Questing combines area specific objectives (where you’re either given or you find multiple quests in a single area) and exploring the galaxy for new planets (and the quests found therein). That said, most areas are quite small and so you’re aren’t expected to run back and forth over vast stretches endlessly. Exploration is advised as well, as there are many hidden locations where you can find either exceptionally powerful items or (at the very least) a few thousand credits. This is a title set firmly in older design principles, though. So if you forget where you’re going, what you’re looking for, or how to get there you’ll need to refer to the quest log. Quest markers not included!

It’s a fairly large adventure, too. You can easily sink several hours into exploring additional areas, talking to companions, and upgrading your equipment per quest run. It’s a rare blast of nostalgia in a familiar universe that many have come to know and love, which, despite being an older title, gives you a surprisingly expansive universe to explore.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

SW:TOR The Jal’frezi Legacy (Pt. 7)

What was will probably never be that way again. Then again, that’s a bit of a bold assumption as I might not actually enjoy the Shadow tank later in the game.

Like every good father I spent time with my various children on their holiday to Coruscant. However, unlike most family holidays, their holiday was filled with the sound of blaster fire and the distinct smell of singed flesh. It wasn’t exactly eating ice cream under blue skies on a sandy beach somewhere. No, that’s saved for Tatooine. Hopefully I won’t see any Sand People out there and I won’t have to reminisce about the days of my Jedi Guardian making Sand People mincemeat. That would be tragic.

Say hello to my rather sizeable friend.

Say hello to my rather sizeable friend.

I decided to try out my various characters in their new capacity. Given that the Gunslinger put pay to the theory that he might be a healer, my Commando picked up the healer role, while my Jedi Shadow picked up a unique tanking role. The Jedi Guardian? Who knows. Last I saw him he was huddling next to the warmest thing he could find on Hoth.

The Jedi Shadow is actually working out quite well as a tank. It’s an odd specialisation as you’re lacking a lot of the inherent tanking bonuses that the Jedi Guardian has, which, I think given what is to come, it looks like more of an active mitigation role. You are going to need to fire off various CDs and use your buffs to your advantage to survive. It’s working out pretty well as she nears Lvl 17 and is off to Taris but I think it might be working a bit too well. Her threat generation is, well, it’s enough to knock Qyzen Fess off the list, and it’s enough that she has had one really tough battle so far purely because she doesn’t have the survivability to endure that amount of damage. However, I don’t think this will be as bad once you get further into the questing.

While her damage is actually pretty good and even though she can actually hold many enemies on her at once she isn’t coming out of most fights that badly injured. The question remains as to which kind of companion she will take with her as while Qyzen Fess is a tank primarily he can gain DPS abilities and a lower threat stance.

The Commando is a lot less focused in her levelling. One thing you’ll find about levelling a healer in any MMO (or any that I’ve played so far) is that while you are able to heal people and you can pretty much outlast any kind of damage you are pretty bad at dealing any damage. In the case of World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and Star Wars: The Old Republic you have so many buttons you can push that you just stack your offensive skills on one set and your healing skills on another. That said your damage abilities don’t generally get more powerful and so you’re balancing on survivability.

In this case Hammer Shot is a rather neat addition as you can increase both damage and healing with its use.

I suppose with the Jedi Shadow tanking revelation I will try out the Jedi Guardian’s DPS tree. Who knows what could happen? I don’t. Hence why I need to try it. It does look like a pretty awesome tree that demands some flashy acrobatics and you get to wear heavy armour while doing it which is a bonus. I like heavy armour. So sexy.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie.

SW:TOR The Jal’frezi Legacy (Pt. 6)

Have you ever thought about getting your foot on the intergalactic property ladder? Reasonably priced housing is available in a number of prime locations!

Said house can be decorated to show your various accomplishments, your companions, your mounts, or just your fascination with every kind of rug in existence. That there is a genuine Sand People twine twice-spun ceremonial rug complete with Jawa embroidery from Tatooine. The blood stains are pretty genuine, too- I literally pulled the rug out from under them! Well… out from under their corpses. Same difference, right? Besides we live in a futuristic world where people can have cybernetic limbs grafted to their mangled flesh so we must have washing powder that gets blood out. We don’t? Jeez. How do those Imperials keep their clothes so clean if all they do is kill everyone they don’t like?

Many Imperials were hurt in the making of this screenshot.

Many Imperials were hurt in the making of this screenshot.

I chose a new name for my Jedi Guardian. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I chose Da’kaeth but I think that Daoshan is a fitting replacement and has a rather nice ring to it once you get used to it. Which, as this is me, it will take me forever to get used to it as I’m one of those “set it and don’t change it” types when it comes to character design. Then again, with the species change, and the name change, and even the possible tree change, there wasn’t really much I enjoyed about him. Or rather I had different ideas of what these things were and now that I know I’m changing them to suit what I would prefer to do.

I’m intent on keeping my first character and building his own sort of legacy even with all of the changes.

I didn’t do the same on World of Warcraft for the most part but by the time I’d set out on my journey to Kul Tiras I knew what I liked. I wanted a Paladin main. I also enjoyed Druids and Priests in equal measure. Of course, if I were to move, which I might if they were to offer more than one PvE English speaking server, I would probably do things differently. But I have approached this in an unconventional way and will continue to.

That said, I did change some things on World of Warcraft as time went on. On Moggie, my Paladin main, I switched primarily to Protection over Retribution later on. Then again I wasn’t too fond of the new Retribution and Protection was a lot better for soloing things. Or at least surviving long enough to solo anything. But looking back on the whole thing over the number of years I played there was a lot that changed even if the characters themselves didn’t change. I learned a lot more, was more efficient, knew a lot more, and eventually got to the point where I didn’t have any use for certain things so they just piled up. I’m doing that now with my Gunslinger as I finally understand how Crew Skills work.

Took me long enough to realise you can queue more than one crafting order up at once.

For those who are curious, and let me assure you I love curious people, I’m scheduling these posts about a week in advance. So while you’re reading this today it’s already roughly eight days old which means I’ve probably had more adventures and I’m writing more stories for you to read. If you do. Which I hope you do. I don’t necessarily want to talk to myself (though I do it often enough).

Have a great Sunday, all!

Moggie.