Hyperspace Beacon: Eight reasons to return to SWTOR

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.

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1. The core community

I know that everyone says that his or her favorite game’s community is the best community in all of MMOs. I concede that some MMO communities are really great. I am a fan of the Guild Wars 2 community and the Elder Scrolls Online community myself. But in Star Wars: The Old Republic, the community that’s playing the game right now is the core community. There are no big expansions or patches coming out. The double experience weekend just ended. The people who are playing right now are the people who play it because they love the game, no gimmicks, and that passion shows through in chat, grouping, and guilds.

hsb-mop-head-come-back-2015-032. So much endgame

Many people like to say, “There is nothing to do in the game anymore. I’ve already done everything.” I guess it’s possible that some people have done everything. But the truth of the matter is that there is so much endgame that most people really haven’t done it all. For instance, have you found all the holocrons on Rishi? I don’t think most people have. What about defeating the bonus boss in the Battle of Rishi hard-mode flashpoint?

3. Events!

The community team for SWTOR recently announced the schedule for the next couple of months. Season four of PvP started last week. The Gree event starts fresh at level 60 next Tuesday. Today, you can catch the tail end of this most recent Bounty Contract week, but if you miss this one, a new Bounty Contract week starts on March 10th. There’s plenty of fresh stuff to do.

4. Really tough raids

This might not seem like a good reason to come back to the game, but a major complaint from endgamers is that the hard-modes and nightmare-mode operations have been too easy for certain guilds to pass. At the time of this writing, only a handful of guilds have passed hard-mode Temple of Sacrifice. That’s hard-mode. Even Fridge, a raid leader from Death and Taxes, believes that the last boss is overtuned. I challenge those raid guilds who think that SWTOR raiding wasn’t tough enough to do the new hard-mode operations and stick around when nightmare-mode is launched.

5. Fun flashpoints

I have had a hard time getting into the new flashpoints because I have had so many other things going on, but the times I’ve hopped in, I’ve had a blast. I understand that the Republic side likes to complain a bit more than the Imperial side (which is why everyone should play Imperial), but overall even the tacticals are extremely enjoyable. There’s enough challenge that you have to pay attention but not so much challenge that it seems like work.

6. Surprisingly balanced PvP

I don’t want to give the impression that everything in PvP is perfect. I have been a major critic of the Discipline leveling system, but I’ve seen surprisingly few complaints about one or two classes completely dominating PvP like I used to. Of course, not every spec of an Advanced Class is viable, but all healing classes are good for PvP, and at least one spec of every AC works well.

7. Conquests

You might be thinking, “I’m not in a guild, so why would I want to do conquests?” Although conquests are a great way for guilds to show unity, individuals can do conquests, too. Many of the conquests fall in line with the event of that week. Right now, the conquests focus on Section X, Oricon, Rishi, and Yavin 4, which are amazing solo areas. And as a solo player, you can earn Jawa mats, which can be traded for crafting mats that can be sold or used yourself.

8. Strongholds

I know housing isn’t everyone’s cup of blue milk, but I am in love with strongholds. The breadth of customization is a lot larger than I ever expected. Of course, there are still a few hitches, but I have personally been able to make some great-looking homes for my characters.

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I always recommend that newcomers join The Ebon Hawk server because I like the idea of roleplayers (and my readers!) being within playing distance, but the Harbinger and Jedi Covenant servers are wonderful for PvE too. PvPers will likely want to jump on the Bastion. On the European side, I suggest Progenitor for roleplayers and The Red Eclipse for those who want a little less RP in their MMORPGs.

Lastly, I just want to mention that I am always hunting for topics for the Hyperspace Beacon. Sure, I have plenty of ideas because I can’t not talk about this game, but I want to know what interests you too. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to read, or send me a tweet or email. And may the Force be with you.

Every other week, Larry Everett jumps into his T-16 back home, rides through the hypergates of BioWare‘s Star Wars: The Old Republic, and posts his adventures in the Hyperspace Beacon. Drop him a holocom on Twitter @Shaddoe or send him a transmission at larry@massivelyop.com. Now strap yourself in, kid — we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!
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Ravanel Griffon
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Ravanel Griffon

this_swtor_guy Ravanel Griffon I actually have been playing pretty much since launch, so I’m not really sure what you’re trying to imply.

this_swtor_guy
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this_swtor_guy

Ravanel Griffon this_swtor_guy Just a thought: when does BW offer rewards (pets, crystals, etc.) for remaining a subscriber? If you’ve been playing since launch, you’ll notice a very particular trend, the periods in which this occurs.

Ravanel Griffon
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Ravanel Griffon

this_swtor_guy That is funny, I haven’t had that experience (many long-time, dedicated fans quitting) at all. On the contrary, with 3.0 people that quit earlier for ESO have now returned. My current endgame raiding team consists for 50% of players that were inactive before 3.0! 

Also, if I look at the blogosphere (if that is any indication at all), new SWTOR blogs are emerging with rapid speed, while there were only a handful about a year ago.

Apparently the circles we move in heavily influence the way we see the player base changing. Or maybe in what way we personally perceive the game influences it as well. All I’m saying is that I don’t see this happening at all.

this_swtor_guy
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this_swtor_guy

Larry – I’ve followed your coverage on both this column as well as the Republic show. Right now, I think you’re being far too generous to what SWTOR has to offer for long-time players, who I believe make up the vast majority of EA’s revenue stream for the game.

Above all else, 3.0’s launch broke almost every playable aspect of the game, and, though some of those issues have been fixed, we’re roughly 2.5 months in and the general performance issues have not even kind of gone back to 2.x levels, when the game ran great. To make matters worse, the developers have not commented on this since an initial stab at increasing server and UI-related problems (i.e., on their end), and, given how bugs are simply left in the game once introduced, I’m not terribly optimistic about the “hitching” or “lag” getting better. 

Though the newest areas are worst (Yavin IV and buggy Operations), it does affect the entire game. 

I realize part of your job with your coverage is to not be too negative on BioWare, but you’ve been here since launch as well. I don’t think I can remember a time when the game itself was in such poor shape. 

In short, if they work out the coding that created this mess in 3.x, and the bugs in the new Operations, I would could see recommending the game to new and former players. Right now, in my opinion, it would be a terrible time to come back. In fact, many long-time, dedicated fans have stopped playing.

spoilofthelamb
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spoilofthelamb

Three questions for the beacan: 

1) What’s the ideal time between recurring events?

The Gree event was nearly a monthly event in 2013, but I can’t remember having it last year at all. The Rakghoul events happened were brought back bi monthly at one point, then stopped. Now they’re starting to come back in. 

2) Would you prefer: more content for space PVE/PVP/Stronghold use, or another new alternative way of playing? As cool as I think letting us place enemy spawns in our stronghold and make a dungeon out of it would be, I’ve been impressed by their  “off-content release” in the PVE-PVP-OTHER cycle they seem to have. 

3) Competitive Pazaak with PVE and PVP components in game and card drops….should it happen?

captainzor
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captainzor

TristanPEJ depends on the class and spec, but some of them are pretty gnarly.  I can hardly remember all the attacks to use on my sentinel, for instance, but my plasmatech vanguard is pretty simple by contrast.

captainzor
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captainzor

melissamcdon and pve space content and meaningful pvp and maybe a planet or two devoted to territorial conquest metagames and environments you can interact with, and…  now before people jump down my throat, I am a subscriber since launch!

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

what’s a good RP guild on Ebon Hawk?

SWTOR has the base of a really decent game now.   I believe all it ‘really” needs are more playable races with some new race-based storylines.   Wookies, etc..

TheJewishMerp
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TheJewishMerp

bargon Caec rottenrotny That’s what happens when you use the PoS that is the Hero Engine.

Kageokami
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Kageokami

Larry … wow me … why should I return?  The above reasons aren’t enough.  No individual class story continuation.  Reskins for cash, still no improvement to the original Illum PvP, The Doctor’s Left Bioware AND EA is still in charge.  So, Why should I plunk down my dollars and endure EA’s pain for this game EVENTHOUGH, I LOVE Starwars.  I hope … I HOPE there is ANOTHER Starwars MMORPG in the plans out there because I don’t think I can return to SWTOR after so much betrayal.