The SWTOR Awakens


Like roughly the entire population of the world, I watched the full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens probably way too many times over the past 24 hours. The whole film to me is full of unknowns (including whether it will be, y’know, good or not), but what I’m seeing, I’m liking. I really appreciate how it’s not wall-to-wall lightsabers and Jedis, how there is a sad tone, how there’s this multi-generational thing going on, and how the old that we’ve loved is being married to something new and potentially wonderful.

Also, it reminds me how old I’ve gotten since I was a seven-year-old watching Return of the Jedi in the movie theaters.

Anyway, BioWare had to be loving the fact that the movie trailer came out the same day that Knights of the Fallen Empire — SWTOR 2.0, in effect — started its early access launch. They probably loved it because it was intentional, but still, people into the game felt extra-jazzed because of the trailer.

Unlike people who took off the day from work or school, I stayed fairly responsible. There’s a pressure to want to get into the new story and not fall behind the crowd, but heck, even as I type this I’m sure someone’s finished chapter 9 already. Might as well take my time and enjoy the ride.

Besides, I had a lot to do. WildStar gets top priorities for Shade’s Eve (being time-constricted and all). Then after that, the SWTOR launcher decided that it simply wasn’t going to work right, requiring me to restart it a dozen times before I could log in.

And then came the character maintenance. No matter how “prepared” you were for the expansion, there was just a lot to do here. The game gave me a complete set of new purple gear that was presumably better than what I had, so I had to put that on. Then I needed to respec my utility points. Then there was some mail to sort through, blasters to resocket, and squeeing over the addition of the random mount/pet buttons.

Finally, my Smuggler needed to wrap up all of her companions’ storylines, which took an hour and a half to do. I really, really wish BioWare told me a week ago that this update would negate the need to dump tons of money into companion gifts, as now you can get through the companions’ dialogue as long as you’ve advanced through your storyline. Seriously, WHY DID THEY NOT TELL US THIS IN ADVANCE. This studio, I tell you, they do not do a good job communicating things ahead of time. It kind of makes me think that they’re scrambling to the last minute to get everything ready.

Anyway, the companion thing was compounded by the fact that Corso (ugh Corso) had three actual missions that required some planet hopping. Why yes, Corso, I’d love to cruise around the butt nowhere of Tatooine for you instead of checking out that hawt new expansion content. Spending time with you is always more exciting than festering in a sarlaac pit!

Mark my words, if I get a choice in the expansion to kill Corso, I will. Without batting an eye. Wouldn’t mind doing Lana in too. Man, how I have fallen to the Dark Side.


Finally, finally I was able to do what I wanted to all day: to play the new story content with my Operative. I haven’t done any new story content with her in months, so it was a joyous reunion to be back aboard her sleek ship and taking back on the role of the galaxy’s best spy.

I only got through the first chapter of the expansion, but that’s fine — don’t want to blow through it all in a week, after all. It’s very much a different experience than what’s come before, with a more cinematic style, a completely solo instance, no companions (for the most part), and a great shake-up of the Republic/Empire cold war that had dominated the game since launch.

I loved playing my light side Operative again. She gets done what needs to get done, but she’s also going to look out for others in the process. The fights were very tame, which was fine since I was getting back into the groove of that character’s rotation.

The first chapter, which took me about an hour and a half, felt like a prologue more than anything else. I liked seeing my character in chains and thrust into a more hopeless situation. I really liked how she got far more emotive than in the past — you could sense the righteous fury coming off of her at one point. And I even got to use the magically disappearing blaster(tm) that comes standard with all Agents.

Really looking forward to what happens next. It’s going to be agonizing to complete chapter nine and have to wait until the new year for more story, but that’s a good sort of pain. Kind of how I always felt with The Secret World. SWTOR needed to step up its narrative game and I think it just might have done that.


7 thoughts on “The SWTOR Awakens

  1. ZombiePirate October 21, 2015 / 10:44 am

    I managed to do up to chapter 6 last night before needing to head to bed. I know members of my guild that had already done chapter 9 by the time I’d logged in. It doesn’t take that long at all really. Already level 65 but I don’t care as all I want right now is to keep on sampling the story, it’s got me gripped so far in a way that TOR hasn’t done for a long time.

  2. Rowan October 21, 2015 / 1:46 pm

    As I’ll post later, all I had time for was the housekeeping chores: inventory, talents, hotbars, etc. I even did a little stronghold rearranging.

  3. Hagu October 21, 2015 / 5:18 pm

    One of us is wrong about companions. Or at least for companions you will eventually reclaim. I assume it is you but that is more of an ego thing than life experience. 🙂

    Previous companion affection was converted to Influence. In the new system, there are 50 ranks of influence.

    Each influence rank give the following bonuses.
    +50 Presence
    +1.5% time efficiency for crew skill tasks
    +0.5% critical rate for crew skill tasks

    Presence affects combat and crit rate affects the credits you will earn. So for each companion, one would like to raise the Influence to 50. People have already done the math:

    you’d buy 6088 level 1 green gifts and 5294 level 2 green gifts. The cost for all that would be 4,394,000 credits, and at a rate of 2.9 seconds per gift assuming you could never miss a fraction of a second jumping from one gift to another it would take about 9 hours and 17 minutes.

    tl;dr: old affection becomes influence, which you want.

  4. talismanAU October 22, 2015 / 3:19 am

    I’m happy getting through the old content before starting the expansion even thou I have early access. About to start Revan. So that’s exciting

    I like the new streamlined crafting. I dont like the fact I had to rebuy all my crafting skills again.

    The oddest thing about the house keeping. None of my companions had pants on when I logged back in. What have they all been doing while i was gone…

  5. Rowan October 22, 2015 / 8:43 am

    @talismanAU You’re not alone. Every companion on every character had their pants in my inventories. With 12+ characters, that’s a lot of pants.

  6. kiantremayne October 22, 2015 / 4:53 pm

    I’m wondering if the idea with the absurdly high Influence cap is that it’s supposed to be effectively open-ended, that the design expectation is that you can keep earning it as you adventure and improving your companion, but nobody was ever expected to max it out (much like DAoC’s realm ranks, or for that matter Everquest at launch didn’t really expect players to ever get as far as level 50).

    If that’s the case, all I can say is that Bioware don’t know MMO gamers…

  7. Rowan October 22, 2015 / 7:26 pm

    It wouldn’t be the first time BioWare had miscalculated player response to … you name it.

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