hyperspace beacon

Hyperspace Beacon is a Star Wars: The Old Republic column by Larry Everett. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Hyperspace Beacon: The sexual harassment problem in SWTOR

As most of our readers probably know, I consider myself a member of the roleplay community in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have been a part of MMO roleplay communities since 2004, and there isn’t a lot that I haven’t seen. However, there is a problem in the online communities, in general, that I have been quiet about, but I feel that something needs to be said about it before it hits a breaking point. And the gamemasters of the SWTOR world are stretched too thin and have to take extreme action — an action that will likely limit those who are innocently trying to have fun. The problem is harassment against women.

In my community, we have some very strong women, and I don’t want to call them out because I don’t what to make them targets. But I do want to thank them for their effort, and I would like them to know that their extra work has not gone unnoticed.

I myself merely play female characters sometimes, and many times when I’m on those characters, people assume that I am a woman in real life. Although I know that my experience only scratches the surface of what a woman gamer goes through, even I can see that it’s a problem. So I would like to touch on what I’ve seen and why I see it as a growing issue.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Star Wars The Old Republic’s mid-term report card

You would probably expect me to cover the new Star Wars: The Old Republic Manaan stronghold because it just released yesterday, and indeed, I will be covering that in my livestream with MJ this afternoon. But if you came here for my elevator-pitch impressions of the new stronghold, I can only say that it is mixed. There are some really great things about the new stronghold and some really bad things about the new stronghold; the base would have a bigger impact if there were visuals connected with it. I will lay that all out in the livestream with MJ.

Here, I would like to give my impressions of where Star Wars: The Old Republic sits in the middle of the year. As always, I like to use the Bartle Taxonomy to see how it appeals to different types of players. Bartle’s archetypes are Socializers, Achievers, Explorers, and Killers. I’ll get more into the details of what that all means in a bit. No one will fit any one of these archetypes 100%, but people will tend to lean heavily into one category or another.

Massively OP writers took a test based on Bartle’s Taxonomy a while back, and although it doesn’t cover everything that players are interested in, I believe it gives a good impression of what players of MMORPGs are looking for. Below, I have pulled apart the key features that each archetype is looking for in SWTOR and measured them with a letter grade scale.

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Hyperspace Beacon: An open letter to all roleplayers in MMORPGs

I really hate when non-RPers get their kicks out of making light of what roleplayers are doing to have fun. Many times, the roleplayer will be standing at the bar minding his own business on an RP server no less, when all of the sudden some bored 12-year-old in a 40-year-old body spams as many particle effects at the people just attempting to have a conversation in character. You’d think if that happened enough that it would cause people stop roleplaying; I’m fairly certain that’s in the back of the griefer’s mind. Sometimes it works, but most of the time, I like to believe that it just strengthens the roleplayers’ resolve. They try harder to find a place where they can be comfortable doing what they enjoy doing, or they simply ignore the flashing effects around them and barrel through.

But the funny thing is I don’t believe it’s that kind of thing that actually drives roleplayers from a game. I believe that the biggest detriment to roleplayers is other roleplayers, and the biggest hurdle in attracting new roleplayers to the gameplay style is ourselves.

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Hyperspace Beacon: A three-step guide to conquering SWTOR’s Nightlife event

Last week, Star Wars: The Old Republic brought back the Nightlife event on Nar Shaddaa. In a nutshell, it’s a gambling event. After all, Nar Shaddaa is an underworld haven, and if mob movies have taught us anything, it’s gambling and casinos go hand-in-hand with the underworld.

The sad thing is that I kind of like this event. It’s not because of the activity of the event; that part is the most boring thing to watch because you’re literally just clicking on terminals. And it can’t be because of the cost; a player can literally go through millions of credits in just a few hours.

It’s because of the prizes. They really are some of the coolest things that you can get without having to touch the cash shop in any way.

I was watching Sechari from the Passionately Casual Podcast hang out with his Twitch chatroom as he was playing through the Nightlife event when I realized that it’s possible that not many people know how to maximize their credits for this event. I’m going to give you the same advice I gave Sechari, in three easy steps.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The three key problems with SWTOR’s War for Iokath

Unlike some gamers, I actually like Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Trooper storyline. In fact, one of the most meaningful choices in the whole game is made by the player in the Trooper’s arc. After spending several missions with an operative for the Republic, you are faced with a choice that will leave her dead or kill many Republic senators whom you have never met before. It’s a tough call for a character that is supposed to be loyal to the Republic and loyal to the crew. No other choice in any of the other class stories was as difficult for me.

Because of his proven ability to create meaningful moments like those in the Trooper story, I have been happy to see Charles Boyd at the helm of the creative side of the latest updates to the SWTOR experience. But I was disappointed by War for Iokath from a storytelling perspective. And I was especially disappointed by the less-than-meaningful choices players had to make in this update.

I’ve held off talking about Update 5.2 because I like to focus on the positive in the MMO genre, but I think it’s time to face what has to be one of worst updates I’ve seen for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Let’s examine why I felt so cheated, and let me know if you agree with my assessment in the comments.

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Video: Story vs. lore, Star Wars: The Old Republic vs. The Elder Scrolls Online

In the ultimate battle for your dollar in the MMO industry, two MMOs with rabid fan bases duke it out by serving you a deep and engaging narrative. Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Elder Scrolls Online both want to draw you in with the worlds they have to offer, but each does so in a unique fashion: One gives you interesting characters build up your ego by making you the most power being in the galaxy, while the other tempts you in with a wondrous world to discover.

In Massively OP’s latest video, we’ll examine these two games and ask which is more appropriate for an MMORPG: story or lore. It’s a tough question — there might not be a satisfying answer!

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Hyperspace Beacon: Star Wars The Old Republic will finally allow us to switch factions

Long-time players of Star Wars: The Old Republic: In the next update 5.2: The War for Iokath, you will finally be able to switch factions. Insert disco horn here.

That’s right: If you are a Republic character, you will finally be able to fight alongside the best people in the universe: the Sith Empire. And if you’re a traitor to the Empress, you can fight alongside the Galactic Republic.

I also wanted to amplify another announcement about a couple of long-awaited companions. Republic Troopers, you will finally get your love interest Elara Dorne back, and Sith Warriors, you will finally be able to Force choke Malavai Quinn again, just as you always wanted.

I’ll explain the details, my opinion, and show a teaser video on the matter below in this edition of Hyperspace Beacon.

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Hyperspace Beacon: If you’re not playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, why are you still subbed?

Let me start this article by answering my own headline: It’s partly because I’m an idiot and cannot let go of this IP.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been a part of my life for over six years, and not having it there to fall back on would be difficult. But I could still play SWTOR without a subscription. Many of my friends still do! The truth of the matter is that I’m still having fun in the game, just not playing the game. I still have a guild of about 50 people who log in regularly to participate in activities. I have friends whom I’ve grown close to. And as much as I hate to say it, there is no other game that can give me my Star Wars fix.

I guess it’s possible that I could still log into the game and not pay a dime for it, but hopefully, if I tell you what happens during my typical game day, you will understand why I still hold a subscription for the game, despite not playing a single bit of the content BioWare has given and sold me.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Why I’m taking a break from Star Wars: The Old Republic

I’ve been considering writing this for awhile now, but I’ve not been sure how to broach the subject. I’ve not been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. That’s not to say that I haven’t been logging in or that I’ve not been paying attention to the community and the development of the game. But when I do log in, it’s to roleplay with my guild or GM one of the campaigns my guild has cooked up. I’ve not run operations, I’ve barely run Uprisings, and I’ve been done with PvP for over a year now. Usually, the developers have some event or story content that would bring me back or keep me sucked in, but not this time.

I know it doesn’t mean that I will never be back to SWTOR; it just means that the gameplay itself — in its current state — is no longer interesting to me. It also doesn’t mean that I will not log into the game. In fact, I will probably log in regularly because my roleplay guild is extremely active and healthy. And although I could probably unsub and play the just fine, I think that I will stay subscribed because the subscription isn’t expensive, and I do like the perks. But I’m certainly not going to support the overzealous cash shop.

I’ve been covering this game for about six years, so it’s probably important that I discuss the details behind my stepping away for a bit and what’s been the final nail in the coffin.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s latest raid might be a too little too late

When Star Wars: The Old Republic launched, I was champing at the bit for raids. Then when I heard about the launch bugs from friends, I really didn’t want to have anything to do with that. But thanks to the Darth Hater crew and eventually my raiding guild in Nefarious Intent, I came to really enjoy raiding. I started raiding in SWTOR when Karragga’s Palace was the top-tier raid. I raided every week for three years. We were never the best raiders on the server, and I don’t think that we ever really tried to be because it was about having fun in a team-based PvE.

After a two-year gap, the developers at BioWare decided that it was time to introduce a new raid. With Update 5.2, players will see additional story, dailies, and the first boss of the new raid on the planet of Iokath. Although I am very excited to see all of this hit the game again, I can’t help but wonder if the interest in raids is strong enough to make that kind of gameplay viable again.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tackle the questions: What is coming with Update 5.2: War for Iokath, what does the existing community think of it, and will it be enough to draw people back in?

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s Creative Director on Uprisings and Update 5.1

We are a couple days early with the Hyperspace Beacon this week for a reason you’re going to love: We had an exclusive conversation with Creative Director Charles Boyd about the Star Wars: The Old Republic update releasing tomorrow, and we wanted to give you some insight into what Defend the Throne might offer you. Even though you won the day at the end of the latest expansion Knights of the Eternal Throne, there are still factions that have problems with you and your Alliance. There are still uprisings all over the galaxy.

The new group content called Uprisings (pretty on the nose there, right?) is the focus of the next update. We’ll see five more four-player, intense instances launch tomorrow, along with changes to the Command XP system and (of course) a new Cartel Market Pack.

I talked to Charles Boyd on Friday to get his input on the new content and a breakdown of each new Uprising and the overarching purpose behind them all.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR Creative director discusses a ‘new adversary’

For the last five years and more, Star War: The Old Republic told the story of Tenebrae, a Sith of humble origins who rose to great power and ultimately corruption. Of course, there were other great stories along the way — the eight player stories, and ultimately, the Outlander’s story — but even the story of Revan revolved around this hidden but powerful figure who was eventually unveiled as the Sith Emperor.

At the end of last year, I talked to Producer Ben Irving and Creative Director Charles Boyd about the past five years of SWTOR and about what the future holds for the game. It turned out to be a wonderful, frank interview. I learned many things that I didn’t know about Irving and his introduction to BioWare, which I mentioned a post last year. But I also learned some fun facts about the future of the SWTOR story.

Without spoiling too much, I think it’s safe to mention that Tenebrae’s story wraps up in a nice little bow at the end of Knights of the Eternal Throne. I spoke to Boyd about the challenges of closing up a long, pivotal story and where the writers go from there. And one of the things he mentioned is a “new adversary.”

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR predictions for 2017

Here we are again. Star Wars: The Old Republic survived another year despite those who predicted five years ago that it would shut down in less than a year. Although I’ve been pessimistic about the game at times, I’ve never believed that Electronic Arts and BioWare would give up on the game. And it’s clear by the enthusiasm of its producers and developers that there is still a strong love for the game at the creators’ studio.

Some people believe that 2017 will be the last year for SWTOR, but I choose not to believe that either. I think that SWTOR has made a strong showing and continues to make the studio money, despite my best effort to discourage the purchase of lockboxes.

Since the game will still carry on in 2017, let me give my predictions for it. But first, let’s talk about last year’s predictions.

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