As regular readers surely know, I really enjoy the Star Wars: The Old Republic community. And I don’t mean the community team led by Eric Musco, although it’s great too and deserves an honorable mention in this article. No, the people that I’d like to talk about today are those people who play SWTOR, and out of their passion for Star Wars, the Old Republic, or BioWare (or all three), they create an amazing website, podcast, or some other kind of internet content. And from their creation, they inspire the rest of the community.
I really wish that I could visit every single SWTOR blog and site all the time. Unfortunately, there are just too many to track. So what I’d like to do is to point out the ones that I visit most often. These aren’t necessarily the “best”; I wouldn’t even call this a top 10 for me because there are great sites that I just can’t visit often enough. So in no particular order, let me tell you about these 10 great sites.
Since the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic
, there have been two human-like species that players have feverishly demanded be made into a playable species: the squid-like Nautolans and the colorful Togruta. It’s only taken about four years, but as of the release of this article, Togruta are now in the game as more than just the Sith Inquisitor companion Ashara. (Those waiting for Nautolans will have to hold their breath a bit longer.)
For the price of 600 Cartel Coins, you can either unlock the species for a brand-new character or convert one of your existing characters into this new species. And if you’re one of the many Ebon Hawk players who have been waiting to roleplay a Togruta, then that will be 600 Cartel Coins well spent. However, if you’re thinking about roleplaying one of these odd aliens, then there are a few things that you should know about them before stepping into this new skin.
I am a raider. I’m not one of those raiders who spends every waking moment learning how to optimize gear and spending four to six hours a day figuring out the best and latest strats, but I do spend a significant amount of my week reading about or participating in raids. If I were to give myself a label, I’d call myself a casual progression raider. I’m not looking to get a server first, but large group content is an important reason for me to play an MMORPG.
This past week, Star Wars: The Old Republic announced its plans for raiding when the next expansion Knights of the Fallen Empire releases this October. Matching my personal sentiment on the subject, it received mixed reviews from SWTOR players. The developers answered some questions at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend as well. Although the questions and answers were strangely on point, they also received mixed reviews from the fanbase.
So in today’s Hyperspace Beacon, that’s what we’re talking about. We’ll focus on the group PvE side of the game, but BioWare also took a bit of time to outline its plans for PvP, too, so expect a bit of that as well.
The past couple of weeks have been kind of strange for me. For five years, I’ve written about Star Wars :The Old Republic
. I’ve embedded myself in the game and the big news and community discussions. I’ve seen some great websites come, and I’ve seen them go. There was even a point when this column had to take a back seat to another game. And somehow, there always seems to be something to talk about.
Now thanks to the announcement at E3, there has been a resurgence of discussion about what BioWare will do with its next expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire. Circus owner and showman P.T. Barnum is often credited with the quote, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” Hopefully, that is true for SWTOR because it’s certainly been a circus of criticism, zealous excitement, and wailing disappointment. In fact, it’s possible that this next expansion will do more to polarize the followers of the game more than anything that BioWare did or didn’t do at launch.
As I’m writing this, it’s been several hours since Jeff Hickman
, the general manager for Star Wars: The Old Republic
, stepped on the stage at E3
, yet my head is still spinning from all the information that BioWare
dropped about its MMORPG. Perhaps it’s the games journalist in me, but I have far more questions than opinions about what we all saw today. I am both intrigued and a little scared, and I’m also extremely disappointed that SWTOR
didn’t get more time on that stage if for no other reason than to explain what the hell we just watched.
I’m a person who likes to keep his sanity, so the first thing we need to do is separate the fact from the fiction. It’s also good to know what we do know and what we don’t know. Only after I’ve gathered all the information can I even begin to form a respectable opinion. So let’s do that. What do we know as truth, what has been speculated but not truth, and what does Knights of the Fallen Empire mean for the game itself?
Two things are coming up in Star Wars: The Old Republic
that I’d like to talk about. First, BioWare
is bringing back the Night Life (Festival of Splendor) Event on Nar Shaddaa. It’s a gambling event where players can win different prizes by playing slot machines. Just as in real life, the house always wins, but I’ve got some tips on how to make the house a little less likely to clean you out.
Second, Alex Modny and Eric Musco talked to Bad Feeling Podcast about some very important changes that are coming to the PvP reward system that might entice some players to jump into PvP, especially ranked PvP. Let’s dive in.
I like to consider myself a measured person. I try not to give into overblown rants and statements that I cannot take back. Too often, I’ve been called on my mistakes, and I’ve had to retract some things that I’ve said. As much as it displeases me to be wrong, I will admit when I am. I make a lot of statements very publicly, and people have listened to the things I’ve said; I hate steering people wrong. So when gamers have asked me about the changes coming to Sentinel/Marauder in the next patch for Star Wars: The Old Republic
, I’ve been hesitant about giving an in-depth answer.
I consider myself an average player. I have not put in the tens of thousands of hours that some of the other players of the Marauder advanced class have. My game time with that class sits just under four thousand hours. But it was my main raiding and PvP class for the majority of the game. Prior to Update 3.0, I ran early Dread Fortress Nightmare content, and I have a valor rank of 80 on my Marauder. And the vast majority of the time my Marauder was Annihilation spec.
So I think I know the class well enough to make some educated statements about the upcoming changes in 3.2.1. And in today’s Hyperspace Beacon, that’s exactly what I’ll do.
Happy Revenge of the Fifth! Because this column comes out on Tuesday, I’m a wee bit behind on wishing you a happy Star Wars day, but that said, some very important things happened yesterday. Not only was there exciting news in the Star Wars theatrical universe
, but Star Wars: The Old Republic
started its 12x XP and opened up the rest of Ziost.
I’d like to cover those two areas today. First, I want to give you a guide on how to prepare yourself properly for 12x XP so that you get the most out of it. Believe it or not, if you do 12x XP “wrong,” it can kill some of the fun. And I’d also like to talk about the second part of Ziost. If you saw my livestream yesterday, then you saw the spoiler, but I will try not to spoil anything that hasn’t already been spoiled by the Shadow of Revan expansion.
If you read the last Hyperspace Beacon
, then you know that BioWare’s announcement that Ziost is finally hitting Star Wars: The Old Republic
excited me beyond reason. Ziost is one of those planets that really should make a mark on the SWTOR
universe because of its significance in Star Wars ancient history. Unfortunately, that also means that BioWare has a lot to live up to when it comes to creating this planet. We are, of course, talking about the former capital world of the Sith Empire and the home of the first Dark Lord of the Sith Ajunta Pall.
This past weekend I played through the Ziost storyline myself. And to make sure I had a rounded perspective, I watched a few videos playthroughs of the planetary quests too. Specifically, I’d like to mention Vulkk, who produces a monstrous swath of videos about all the SWTOR content. I watched his Republic playthrough just to make sure that I didn’t really miss anything as far as the story was concerned.
As you will come to understand after reading this, the story on Ziost feels incomplete, and frankly, the quest layout is really weird compared to all the previous quests.
Shortly after Star Wars: The Old Republic
launched, I was a part of a group of players asked which planet they would like to see next. Pre-launch we were still learning which planets were even in the game. We knew that there were more planets to be revealed and that we had a huge swath of planets that had great backstories but had not been spoken of during SWTOR’s
time period. I remember that some people suggested popular planets we’d seen in the original Star Wars trilogy, like Bespin, but I think the most popular was Kashyyyk.
But not mine. Eric Musco, who was a part of TOROCast at the time, even joked about my pick. “And out of left field is Larry Everett with Ziost,” he quipped.
Three and a half years later, Ziost is coming to SWTOR while those other guys are still waiting for Bespin and Kashyyyk. In Update 3.2, we’ll learn more about Vitiate, the former Sith Emperor, and what he’s been up to since the incident on Yavin IV. We learn that he’s traveled to frozen, rocky world of Ziost.
So why did I pick Ziost as the planet I thought we would see in the SWTOR lineup? My reasoning probably mirrors the reason that Vitiate also chose that planet as a base of operations. How about I break this down into five reasons that Ziost is the perfect planet for Star Wars: The Old Republic?
Update 3.2 for Star Wars: The Old Republic
is, in a lot of ways, my
update. From the beginning of the game, I wanted to visit the planet Ziost. My favorite Star Wars comic book of all time is the Tales of the Jedi series. The part of the series appears to revolve around Gav and Jori Daragon, but the truth is that Tales of the Jedi is about the old Sith Empire. The wintery world of Ziost was the capital planet of the old Sith Empire. I’ve always wanted to know what happened to that world during the time of The Old Republic
, but the writers have been rather silent about it.
As many of you are aware, I’m a big roleplayer in all the MMOs that I play. I like to immerse myself into the world, the lore, and the community of each MMO. That’s probably one of the reasons that I can play only one or two MMOs at the same time. Unfortunately, SWTOR has never been particularly roleplay friendly. It’s always seemed that we roleplayers RP in spite of the mechanics of the game. And now, for the first time in the history of the game, we have been given a tool that is completely designed for roleplayers: the Outfit Designer.
Just when you think that Star Wars: The Old Republic
will change things around and actually do something that will appeal to the Killer-type of MMO player
, it shoots itself in the foot time and time again.
I was caught completely off guard last week when I read that SWTOR had partnered with the Electronic Sports League. Competitive gaming was one of the last things that I thought SWTOR would get into. I thought that perhaps this was finally BioWare‘s appeal to that kind of player. But then, in typical BioWare fashion, it fumbled at the one-yard line.
In the past, I have been hypercritical of the way BioWare treats the competitive player. It has always seemed that the developer hasn’t paid anying attention to what’s worked and not worked in the past. It appeared that it copied what games like World of Warcraft would do not because it was highly successful but because WoW had done it.
This time, however, things seemed to be different. Although the proposed jump into competitive gaming isn’t completely original, it was a step outside the box.
In the midst of this rebirth of Massively
, I found myself suddenly placed in charge of my Star Wars: The Old Republic guild
. We are on a roleplay server because we like to be friendly to roleplayers, but we are not strictly a roleplay guild. I’m actually happy with that stance. I would like there to be more roleplay in my guild on a roleplay server, but being accepting of non-roleplayers allows us to recruit the player and not the character. And that’s the way guilds should be, right? With my taking over as guild leader, it’s a time for new beginnings.
Just as it’s a new beginning for my guild, this is also a new beginning for this column. This is the second or third new beginning for this column, but it’s still here because I still love SWTOR, and the readers here have stuck by it, too. Of course, we’ve all had some negative things to say about the game, but overall, the community and the game itself have been a positive experience.
Right now just happens to be a good time to get into the game for the first time or as a returning player. In fact, let me give you eight reasons why now is the perfect time to jump back into Star Wars: The Old Republic. Read more