If you missed out on any previous installments, links to each will be provided at the end of each piece. It’s recommended that you start off with the first entry and continue forth, as each installment may have some gameplay or audio/visual details that you might have missed before.
I think with this whole set up, I’ll aim to talk about what I did the previous day only (sans Monday’s that will go over more than one day.) For day 2 I will continue from where I left off on the day 1 piece and wrap up my experiences for Thursday as well, and the weekend wrap up on Monday will go into Friday through Sunday, with more brevity than anything, especially since I may not have as much play time on the weekend.
Quite a few things have happened since we last parted. Galarian has started to receive orders directly from Darth Barus now, who holds a wealth of influence throughout the the academy. Furthermore I am being groomed for something substantial. I was sent to locate and obtain an ancient lightsaber for my own personal use, which would help in sending me forward with the plans Darth Barus has set up.
It wasn’t very easy to get this fabled weapon however. Two things seemed to have slowed my progression more than I had anticipated. First, it seems as if the difficulty was raised just enough to make each battle and quest seem more like a challenge, rather than the walk through the park that beta seemed to be. For solo content, I am more than satisfied with having a bit more of a challenge thrown at me, so long as it’s fair, and it has been more than fair. Downtime is kept to a minimum, as each class is given some kind of health regeneration stance that can be used out of combat. In a way, this can dumb down soloing and make the experience easier than it should, though with the somewhat higher difficulty I am experiencing atm, the stance is nothing that will completely send solo gameplay off balance.
The second and unfortunate issue has to do with way-point discrepancies. During beta, there would be a number of instances in which your mini-map, which is located on the bottom right of the screen, would not highlight an objective or where about a quest trigger is. Only by pressing M twice (M opens the larger map of the area you’re currently residing in) would reset this folly. Then sometimes a way-point would indicate that you’re supposed to go upstairs to find the source, when in reality it’s really the bottom floor that must be covered. The frequency of this nuisance isn’t significant, though noticeable, and quite aggravating when it happens.
I did reach the point where I gain a companion throughout my journey. A Twi’lek named Vette was introduced officially, and she became a non playable assistant of sorts. Think of a mercenary from Everquest, or if you want to go a bit further, one of your companions from Gods & Heroes – while you cannot directly control these individuals like you could in say Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, you can set them to be aggressive, passive and so on. They act as a duo partner, only with less bathroom runs. They can be equipped with their own weaponry and armor, and have roles with some of the storyline arcs that come up, both directly and indirectly. Influence can be gained or lost from these companions, though in the grand scheme of things, I’m not totally sure what a positive or negative influence will gain you.
During my lightsaber retrieval, I encountered another solo instance to progress my storyline along. Instances in an MMO is nothing new and has been a key to alleviating downtime and congestion as a whole when it comes to certain things. With solo story instances I can take my time getting through the dangers that lay ahead of me, all the while not looking over my shoulder for someone trying to snipe in and take what I’ve been clearing towards. Granted this still can happen if you run solo and are attempting to complete tasks, but it’s nice to know that each player has their own place to advance their story arc, without any kind of grievance and such. It’s a shame that there’s no real immediate need or urge to group up with other players right now. There are a handful of Heroic quests, which recommends two more more participants to complete, but I have not heard any rewards yielded that would further entice me to seek out a PUG (pick up group) and take a gander at what there is to offer.
I’ve finally made it out of Korriban, the starting planet for Galarian. I had already grown tiresome of the rocky terrain, brownish tinted colors and lack of energy and life. But then again, this is a Sith starting planet, so it’s not like I would have been expecting to see two suns, clear ocean water and Jawas merrily dancing about. Once each class hits level 10, they are able to leave their starter planet and officially choose their Advance class. A majority of each class available, if not all of them, have a DPS (damage per second, those that focus on dealing as much damage as possible) section or two dedicated to that within each class selections skill tree.
I chose the Juggernaut path, as my usual MMO callings are the tanking classes.
My orders took me from a spaceport in which I acquired my advance class, to a planet called Dromund Kaas. The brown, depressing colors of Korriban has not turned into an overcast night sky filled with a abundance of foliage and vicious four legged beasts. The Galactic vibe is thick here, from the outpost I first appeared in, to checkpoints and settlements sprinkled throughout the area. The change in scenery was more than welcome, though this one seems to be wearing out its welcome just a hair faster than Korriban.
Throughout my continued exploits, new skills have been acquired. Now with my status as a Juggernaut official, I am gaining those specific skills to use at my disposal. Not only that, but current skills are gaining ranks whenever I visit my trainer and train those skills up. It’s nothing foreign to those who have played Everquest II or World of Warcraft, so the wheel wasn’t reinvented in that sense. Same goes for the skill tree, which enables me to learn new attacks, gain passive attributes and so on. So far, it really does feel like a blend of MMORPG staples into the Knights of the Old Republic ideology.
While running about, I recalled companion skills that Veete had learned. These are basically tradeskills and sources of gathering that can be accomplished by your companion. There are definitely perks to this aspect of The Old Republic, but there are some disadvantages that will be noticed. I’ve noticed that with this new planet I have entered, the enemies around me are vastly superior in terms of damage output and hit points overall. Missing Veete during some of these battles could end up being fatal. as her DPS greatly helps in dispatching the enemies that I encounter. Taking on a solo adversary will be a winnable challenge, though not as easy as it could have been with the assistance, but fighting two or more enemies at once can prove to be problematic.
But the benefits of sending Veete out to random Treasure Hunts? During the 3-6 minutes expeditions that she partakes in, there’s a chance that something worthwhile can be obtained. From green gear that can equal a slight upgrade, to even the more uncommon blue ranked gear that can be significantly stronger than what’s currently equipped in that area. Did Veete manage to come back to you with an unlocked treasure that you cannot use? Why not just vendor it, or even try and sell it to someone within the community? It’s a quick way to earn a few bucks, all while gaining experience, and maybe even some much needed random upgrades.
My time is almost up for this week. As I leave you, I am currently in the middle of a quest that involves a prominent figure in the Knights of the Old Republic history, though mostly in both name and equipment. It is not a part of the official story arc for the Sith Warrior > Juggernaut line, so I may delve into the details come Monday morning. Another quest I have embarked on is storyline related, and has to do with an assassination. Definitely some fascinating turns with the story so far. So after two days and a mostly back and forth experience between my desktop for gameplay and my laptop for jotting down my experiences, I have to say that I am enjoying myself, both in game and in sharing this with everyone. I hope that with each installment, you all are getting a sense of my experiences within The Old Republic, as well as slowly learning about the myriad of sights, wonders, controls, sounds and so on that’s being provided. Check back here Monday morning for the third installment of this ongoing series, which will ultimately lead to my review of Star Wars: The Old Republic in 2012! Once again, here are some more screenshots that chart my adventures thus far (as always, click each image to enlarge them):