Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hard to Take a Break

So I'm still working my way through things with my combat medic. Not many of my other toons have been getting much attention as I'm anxious to get at least one character all the way through to 50.

The addition of Tanno Vik to my tanking squad has made leveling even easier. Although I've noticed that Bioware has been kind enough to space the mobs out a little more, so it's harder for him to pick them all up.

So far I'm really enjoying the class story of the Trooper, but I'm also anxious to see some of the other stories.

The legacy system has me really questioning my path forward with respect to other alts. My highest level Empire character is sitting at level 25 and is on a different server from my Trooper, so wouldn't be able to take advantage of any of the legacy features. My next highest level toon after that is somewhere around level 11 and is on yet a third server.

What I'm debating is if the rewards of the legacy system are interesting enough to be worth abandoning the time that I've spent leveling the other characters to restart on my Troopers server. My initial reaction is no. I semi-useful ability on a long cooldown and the ability to start new characters with new species probably isn't enough to get me to walk away from a lot of hours of play time, particularly on a level 25. But we'll see.

For now, I continue to crank through things with the combat medic. I'm rolling through Hoth right now, wondering why in the heck all of those people are standing around out in the cold.

My other big complaint with the SWTOR leveling process right now is that so many of the questing sections are instanced and there are so many trash mobs, it's very very hard to take a quick break "out in the world" while leveling. You really have to completely finish / clear the area you were working on before you can take a break, and sometimes that can take quite a bit of time. When you may get interrupted by a phone call, or a question or a child with a boo boo, that doesn't make for the best leveling experience. Especially if you've started clearing mobs for a zone, only to have to deal with something in real life, only to return to the game to find it's logged you out and you're now back outside the instanced areas with all the mobs you just spent 20 minutes clearing respawned.

I'm also questioning the difficulty of the leveling process a bit. It is very challenging to kill trash packs that include elite mobs, or an elite and a strong, or two strongs. I often can't do it with a double dps team, without killing a few things, first, dying, respawning, and then taking out the last few mobs. While I've found leveling as a tank / healer combination to be an effective fix for this, it seems odd that the standard dps leveling model doesn't seem to work all that well.

I might be having a different experience if I was running more flashpoints and was better geared, but at least in my view, the questing experience should work well either way.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Combat Medic Leveling

So after struggling through Alderaan, I decided to make a switch after completing chapter 1. Since I was heading to the Republic Fleet anyway for some much needed R&R, I paid a visit to the Skill Mentor (who is not next to your training by the way - a little further down the hall) and paid for a respec, deciding to try out leveling as a combat medic using M1-4X as tank rather than going dual dps with Aric.

My first surprise was that apparently your first respec is free.

Working my way through Balmora, I've been incredibly surprised with how easy it has been to quest and level. I have no trouble at all keeping Forex healed up. I'm able to keep him topped off and do a fair amount of dps'ing myself to make sure things die more quickly.

He does have some problems holding aggro at times given how he likes to pull, but I'm always able to heal through it and it doesn't take him long to pull any stragglers off of me. It should be able to micro manage Forex's abilities a bit more to avoid this issue, but so far, since it hasn't caused any problems, I haven't bothered with the extra hassle.

The thing that I've been really impressed with is how easily Elite level mobs go down now. Before switching to combat medic, taking on an elite level mob usually meant that Aric was going to be needing a rez, and I was going to have to be shielding myself and using my cooldowns to make sure I didn't die before the boss did.

Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

As combat medic, I'm able to keep Forex healed, dps a bit myself and end up finishing every fight with both us at full health or close to it.

From every recommendation that I've seen, you're better off using this combination with Cybertech as a skill so you can keep Forex really well geared. I'm currently an Armormech, so I don't have that benefit, but still not having any problems.

Once I finish up Balmora, I'll be picking up a new melee tanking companion, so I'm anxious to give that a try for a bit to see if that works better from an aggro standpoint than Forex. If I find I like Forex better, I might consider switching to Cybertech at that point.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chapter One Complete!

So I managed to finish Chapter One on my Trooper Commando over the weekend after overcoming yet another system bug. I finished questing through Alderaan, went back to Coruscant to visit with my grandma the general, and then was told to go find Tavus on a ship in the middle of nowhere.

So much like my issue with Tatooine, the ship that I'm supposed to find Tavus on also isn't appearing on my galaxy map.

So far, the only way that I've been able to find to correct this is to switch to my desktop at home to move my Trooper to where he needs to go. Unfortunately, if I'm traveling, that may mean that it could be a week before I'm able to resume work on that particular character.

I did finally get a response from SWTOR customer service to my three tickets on my Tatooine issue after about a month. The response was basically - we noticed you figured out a way around your issue, so these tickets are now closed. Apparently the folks at Bioware are not at all interested in figuring out what the actual problem was and solving it.

It's sort of a shame in a way, because for someone who is generally an altoholic, this is a really fantastic game. The quests are both more interesting and more challenging than their WoW counterparts, and the class quests give the questing experience a lot of potential for variety.

I would likely be playing SWTOR a lot more than I am if it wasn't for the overall buginess of the gameplay and the fact that it continues to run really badly on my laptop.

So at least for now, it will continue to be something that I play mostly on the side. I will likely be getting a new laptop in another month or two, so we'll see if that improves the gameplay issues at all.