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Recently re-subscribed (no kidding) - my thoughts.

DKLondDKLond AlbertslundPosts: 579Member Uncommon

I didn't see this coming - especially after losing interest very quickly after trying the game again with the 7 day trial. But, for whatever inexplicable reason - I just really missed the Star Wars setting and wanted to give it an extra shot again. Probably mostly because I've decided GW2 is definitely not the next thing - and TSW will not have much replayability.

So, I created a free account and decided to check out the first 10 levels of the Sith Inquisitor storyline - and I was hooked :)

So - I re-subscribed.

Why? Because the game has clearly improved enough to warrant my coming back. Originally, I was devastated by the state of Ilum - and I was particularly dissatisfied with the performance of the Hero engine. It made PvP all but unplayable and totally unresponsive. Beyond that, I got to 50 with my Jedi Sentinel - and I was smacked in the face with the "endgame" grind of PvP valor progression and stuff I was already sick of playing WoW.

The game performs MUCH better now, and I can play PvP with literally no slowdowns. There's a group finder that works well - and that's great for a mostly solo-player like myself, because I rarely have the patience to get a group together for flashpoints. They also eliminated the valor grind and made the acquisition of Battlemaster bearable for a new player. They've introduced the Legacy system - and I guess I'm in the minority, but I think it's a great addition. It gives you a lot of convenience for doing alts - and the reason this isn't a terribly hollow way to keep you playing is that the game is THE strongest alt game in the themepark segment. The stories ARE great - and with the Legacy system you have more ways to skip the tiresome sidequests after having done them multiple times -and allow you to focus on the main story or levelling faster through the other activities. One might argue that they could just boost XP gain for all those parts of the game - but that would mean outlevelling content for new players - and there has to be a balance somewhere.

Many issues with the game, and the Hero engine in particularly. I think, at this point, the game is pretty functional and it has most of the necessary modern features to get people together and having fun while levelling and enjoying what endgame content there is. It should have launched exactly like it is now - and I'm sure it would have been a bigger player on the field. I'm hoping they're not quite as low on subscribers as many fear - because that would mean an almost impossible climb to the "really profitable" stage of subscribers.

I have absolutely nothing solid to base this on, but my "instincts" tell me they have between 250-500K subscribers. It would be lower if they didn't have such a great alt/levelling experience - and it would be higher if they weren't being so terribly quiet about the state of the game, and all the lay-offs.

Now, for how to improve the game and what to do with updates?

Lots of people are clamoring for more endgame content.

Personally, I don't find the prospect of more flashpoints or operations particularly exciting - especially not if it's just to push out more gear tiers. I LOATHE the concept of having to "catch up" everytime a new tier is released. I'd much rather have my character develop in other ways than just hunting new gear.

The gear progression IS necessary however - and I absolutely detest a fully flat progression curve - like in GW2. I WANT something to look forward to while levelling - and I love to see the game and my options expand. It's just that I also want to reach a point where I've been through most of the progression - and I can "enjoy my stuff".

This is exactly what the game DOESN'T have - and that's what I think it needs.

Two features, if implemented correctly, could add tremendously to the longevity of this game:

1. Freeform space segment with trading/PvP. Basically, add Freelancer/Privateer/Elite and combine it with X-Wing vs Tie Fighter. Then, expand upon the whole ship upgrade system and introduce a SEPARATE progression curve that's largely about your economy - making trading/cargo tranportation a vital aspect. You can imagine how that would introduce a brilliant stage for PvP with blockades and pirates, and so on. Yes, it would take a lot of work - but if they're smart, they'd develop this as a separate online game on the side - so as to justify the budget - and I promise you the current market would go wild for such a game.

2. Expanded PvP - especially Ilum and open world PvP. Make Ilum a desirable place to be - and make conflict desirable in itself. Give people a reason to kill each other - and give people a reason to stay in the area. It really shouldn't be that hard. Also, make sure you log major accomplishments for all participating players - because a simple feature like having your name established through your deeds can go a VERY long way for longevity and a competitive environment. Also, make the open world PvP on planets (for PvP servers, obviously) have more meaning - and encourage fair play over ganking. For instance, you could let people mark themselves as criminals/blackmarket people who would get extra rewards for doing quests or interacting with merchants - but by doing so, they'd be fair game for BOUNTY HUNTERS - where other players could gain a reward for hunting them down and defeating them. Do it in a smart way and ensure that only 1 vs. 1 scenarios could happen - or similarly fair setups. As in, once a bounty hunter marked his target - all other people would be prevented from engaging until a cooldown had passed or the target was dead. Something like that.

The stories are great and the cinematic appeal in TOR is fantastic for the genre. The engine, while really bad - has been tuned and polished to the point where you CAN have PvP with 16 people on screen and have it run smoothly. I'm sure something could be done to Ilum to create separate instances of 20v20 or 40v40 - without the game being run into the ground. At least, I hope so.

In any case, those two features are exactly what other strong themepark games don't have - and will likely never have. This is why SWtOR has the opportunity to claim this powerful gameplay segment and draw a lot of people to the game, that wouldn't otherwise touch it.

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Comments

  • ThemePorkThemePork Boston, MAPosts: 312Member

    I was thinking of giving it another shot aswell. I miss PvPing with my sentinel. Could anyone else confirm that they've really improved the engine's performance? That was one of my biggest turnoffs at the time.

     

  • TeknoBugTeknoBug Calgary, ABPosts: 2,156Member


    Originally posted by DKLond
    The game performs MUCH better now, and I can play PvP with literally no slowdowns.
    Lag is WORSE now than pre 1.3, there are massive spikes in warzones now. They released a little patch a couple weeks ago supposedly fixing it but it didn't fix it.


    Ilum isn't coming back, at least not until they finish Maceb.


    HeroEngine is a F2P game engine, that should tell you something (along with the rumors about the game going F2P). After the server merges, planets like Corellia, Belsavis and Alderaan suffer lag once it reaches 80 players per instance while the fleet reaches 300 players before a new instance is reached, it lags when it hits ~200.

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  • MMOGamer71MMOGamer71 Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 1,930Member Common

    Grats, have fun.

  • IstrebiteIIstrebiteI SpbPosts: 266Member

    I came from WoW. While waiting to try out GW2, i was looking for something else, and i love SW. I tried this game.

    I dont feel like its a good game. I really dislike the engine in its combat part. It feels.... clunky. I cant tell, be that animations, ability feedback, i dunno... it just feels so much inferior to even WoW! I played trial and then got fed with it and stopped playing it. I know this game improved alot, but it means nothing for me - i want to have fun playing, and i cant in SWTOR.

  • DKLondDKLond AlbertslundPosts: 579Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by sookster54

     


    Originally posted by DKLond
    The game performs MUCH better now, and I can play PvP with literally no slowdowns.

    Lag is WORSE now than pre 1.3, there are massive spikes in warzones now. They released a little patch a couple weeks ago supposedly fixing it but it didn't fix it.

     


    Ilum isn't coming back, at least not until they finish Maceb.


    HeroEngine is a F2P game engine, that should tell you something (along with the rumors about the game going F2P). After the server merges, planets like Corellia, Belsavis and Alderaan suffer lag once it reaches 80 players per instance while the fleet reaches 300 players before a new instance is reached, it lags when it hits ~200.

    I obviously can't deny your experience - but mine has been very different.

    I'm on Tomb of Freedon Nadd (or whatever) - and it's quite heavily populated. I've played, perhaps, ~30 games of PvP and that includes all the Warzones at diferent times of the day.

    Not a single lagspike.

    That's just my experience, however.

  • spacebotspacebot kingsport, TNPosts: 148Member

    You guys talking about the hero engine. I've heard Bioware took an early version of it to use and didn't bother getting any updates from the hero engine people. Not saying I like/hate the hero engine; just that its poor performance in swtor is bioware's fault.

  • DKLondDKLond AlbertslundPosts: 579Member Uncommon

    I'm not denying the Hero engine is basically, crap - because it is. I'm saying that in my OP :)

    All I'm saying is that my issues with WZ PvP are largely fixed now - but I can't speak for others. It will never EVER be a fully responsive PvP experience like WoW was (yes, I consider WoW responsiveness top-notch) - but it's much better than it was at launch.

    If there are lagspikes - I can't deny that, it's just not something I've seen - and I'm VERY sensitive to that kind of thing.

    The one advantage of the Hero engine is how it allows for HUGE playspaces without loading while exploring - and I think that's suitable for how the playspaces are supposed to be entire planets.

    Unfortunately, that's about all the engine is good for.

  • MMOGamer71MMOGamer71 Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 1,930Member Common
    Originally posted by spacebot

    You guys talking about the hero engine. I've heard Bioware took an early version of it to use and didn't bother getting any updates from the hero engine people. Not saying I like/hate the hero engine; just that its poor performance in swtor is bioware's fault.

    True story.

     

    Edit:

    http://www.heroengine.com/2011/11/heroengine-meets-starwars/

     

     

    “I need this,” said Gordon.  “I am about to start a special project and these tools will let us build and prototype fast and get something running in a hurry.”  Gordon is not an excitable guy by nature but this had his adrenaline flowing.  “This is just what I need!  I want to license your engine.”

  • theAsnatheAsna AsnatownPosts: 321Member
    Originally posted by spacebot

    You guys talking about the hero engine. I've heard Bioware took an early version of it to use and didn't bother getting any updates from the hero engine people. Not saying I like/hate the hero engine; just that its poor performance in swtor is bioware's fault.

    Looks rather like they made too many enhancements by themselves and now can't update it that easily anymore with the latest official version.

  • BardusBardus Cornet, ALPosts: 460Member
    Originally posted by theAsna
    Originally posted by spacebot

    You guys talking about the hero engine. I've heard Bioware took an early version of it to use and didn't bother getting any updates from the hero engine people. Not saying I like/hate the hero engine; just that its poor performance in swtor is bioware's fault.

    Looks rather like they made too many enhancements by themselves and now can't update it that easily anymore with the latest official version.

    Can't update it at all with latest anything from Hero. Hero warned Bioware about that but Bioware said they didn't care. The engine is only Hero by name in TOR. Hero has upgraded and recoded everything since they sold their prototype to Bioware and Bioware would of had to add so much code on their own and their own way.

    Hero really has some unjustified flak over TOR which I guess is a price you pay for dancing with the devil but in the end TOR has no one to blame but TOR for the engine woes.

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  • chopgrchopgr AthensPosts: 179Member

    The OP sais about HERO engine got improved and things, but i noticed not a single boost in FPS in the game.

     

    And as a matter of fact i "was" an active player till yesterday my sub expired and holidays are around the corner, so i know what im talking about.

     

    I also like the game alot with all its flaws.

    "The Heavens burned, the stars
    cried out
    And under the ashes of infinity,
    Hope, scarred and bleeding,
    breathed its last."

  • MMOSavantMMOSavant NuneatonPosts: 170Member

    I hate to admit it, but i've resubbed too, and i'm actually enjoying it a lot. The server is busy now with the consolidations and there are people everywhere, even in the starter zones (i started a Smuggler to play through properly from the start with fresh eyes). The game is running much more smoothly, the bugged conversations and animations have gone, giving it a better more immersive feel. I'm not spacebarring through as many VOs as before (actually hardly any) and just taking my time not racing through. It feels more cohesive a world all round.

    I've really slagged this game off in the past, but maybe I played it wrongly and approached it with the wrong attitude, i'm not sure. Not sure what has changed, but after playing the mess that is TSW I think i'm just appreciating the good things that ToR had. One thing that struck me as I was playing today was that TSW pretends to be an adult game, but there are many dark moments in ToR, not just on the Empire side as well. ToR is far more adult in terms of it's choices and consequences.

  • rdrakkenrdrakken Gotham, FLPosts: 426Member
    Originally posted by DKLond

    I didn't see this coming -

    SNIP

    So, I created a free account and decided to check out the first 10 levels of the Sith Inquisitor storyline - and I was hooked :)

    So - I re-subscribed.

     

     I saw it coming.

    They allowed people to play the first 15 levels free for a reason...thats when the game goes downhill. It is one of the few smart moves on Biowares part since they started making the game.

    Free trial is brilliant, sucker in as many as you can before going F2P because it isnt going to save the game.

  • lawlnooblawlnoob Vancouver, BCPosts: 2Member

    My issues with the game and what is preventing me from ever resubscribing is that they are taking the 'star wars' out of it.


    I like the idea of the legacy system it was awesome. But what they implemented it ruined the game for me and everyone else I know.

    Where are the playable alien races? I don't care if the alien races won't speak "english" in your crappy "emotion driven" cut scenes. Let us have the option to play other races instead of just a bunch of hue changed humans. I leveled all the way through the game and probably saw less then 10 mon calamari and rodians combined.


    Also I don't want a smuggler to be able to force choke people. That right there ruined the immersion for me. Why add a class based system where you only really get a few cool moves then let other classes use one of those signature moves.

  • MMOSavantMMOSavant NuneatonPosts: 170Member
    Originally posted by rdrakken
    Originally posted by DKLond

    I didn't see this coming -

    SNIP

    So, I created a free account and decided to check out the first 10 levels of the Sith Inquisitor storyline - and I was hooked :)

    So - I re-subscribed.

     

     I saw it coming.

    They allowed people to play the first 15 levels free for a reason...thats when the game goes downhill. It is one of the few smart moves on Biowares part since they started making the game.

    Free trial is brilliant, sucker in as many as you can before going F2P because it isnt going to save the game.

     

    Not sure I agree. I've resubbed and playing my 38th level Sentinel and enjoying it.

  • SouldrainerSouldrainer Elmer, NJPosts: 1,857Member
    I'm not surprised. People who quit SWTOR at or near launch will find that a lot of content and features have been added to the game. I just wish they'd pick up the pace.

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  • EiviEivi DundeePosts: 96Member

    My name is Leviano, and i re-subscribed.....

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  • DKLondDKLond AlbertslundPosts: 579Member Uncommon

    The story definitely doesn't go "downhill" later on. I have a 50th level Sentinel - and the free trial didn't "cheat" me in any way.

    I knew EXACTLY what my issues with the game used to be, and though Ilum is still completely pointless - most other things are fixed or improved.

    My number one issue was the poor performance, particularly in WZs - and that's certainly fixed for me. I'm having 100% smooth performance - and I NEVER had that before.

    Naturally, I also upgraded my CPU - but I went from an i7-930 to a 2600k - which isn't a huge leap. More like an incremental improvement - so they definitely boosted performance of the Hero engine.

    I also acknowledged that the engine is just plain bad for large scale PvP and just in general. But, to be honest, I don't think it's the engine alone - I think it's the amount and detail of the animations.

    Say what you want about SWtOR visuals - but the characters animate very smoothly and have great/cool moves during combat. Having 10-20 people animating like that in close proximity is probably VERY taxing. Not a smart approach by Bioware - and they should probably have adjusted something for PvP with more people. But I've always felt that was the primary reason for such a poor performance in WZs.

    It makes sense, because the Fleet can perform "relatively" smoothly with 100+ people - and that's because they're not fighting or doing complex moves with all sort of particles etc.

  • ThanesThanes St. Augustine, FLPosts: 182Member

    .

  • DKLondDKLond AlbertslundPosts: 579Member Uncommon

    The reason I posted this here, is because I think the game still has potential.

    Oh, believe me, I'm fully aware of how MMORPG.com works - and I've been here for years. It's the same old story of the majority mindlessly hyping the next big thing (these days, it's GW2) - and when it fails to live up to expectations (GW2 will do that for a LOT of people, trust me), the mindless hating starts.

    Now, SWtOR has a LOT of things to dislike - that's very true. Overall, it's probably not better or worse than other established MMOs like EQ2, AoC, Rift, and so on. It does have a few very cool things - and that's basically what I'm here to remind people of. Well, those who're looking for a place to have some fun and who haven't written the game off completely.

    The best part remains the Star Wars stories that, for the most part, are pretty good and certainly much more entertaining for me than the quests in Rift, WoW - and all the others, except TSW. TSW is fantastic in its own right, but it suffers from a lack of replayability. I can't see TSW last - no matter how fast they push out content. TOR, however, can last a VERY long time for people who haven't experienced the stories yet.

    But, whatever, hate on it as much as you like - but don't forget that you probably used to play it and enjoy some of it ;)

  • ThanesThanes St. Augustine, FLPosts: 182Member

    If any smugglers are on and can tell me: Is Ivory still hanging out on the smuggler ship?  If he's not, I might reconsider, (atleast the f2p)

    edit:the reason I ask is I played 6 months in beta and posted many bug reports.   I leveled 5 smugglers.  I felt nothing I posted made any difference.  After launch my feelings were confirmed.  Though I went on to do the whole game, finishing all raids and getting battlemaster in pvp.

  • IsawaIsawa Middle 0 Nowhere, ORPosts: 1,051Member

    Sounds like you should of played a character through, on each side, the first time around. I actually enjoyed my 2nd character more than my first (consular then agent). After the first major changes to PvP, I stopped doing that. I did have some problems with slowdowns, but I did quite well in ranking at the end - so nothing major.

    I checked in on the free week during the legacy update, nothing special for me. Sorta neat (for appearance purposes) that I could be a Chiss Jedi or a green skinned Empire character, but I always wanted to be an "alien" anyways...

    Checked in a couple weeks ago during another free week period, nothing worth mentioning.

    Freeform space sounds good, something else entirely though...

  • DKLondDKLond AlbertslundPosts: 579Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Thanes

    If any smugglers are on and can tell me: Is Ivory still hanging out on the smuggler ship?  If he's not, I might reconsider, (atleast the f2p)

    edit:the reason I ask is I played 6 months in beta and posted many bug reports.   I leveled 5 smugglers.  I felt nothing I posted made any difference.  After launch my feelings were confirmed.  Though I went on to do the whole game, finishing all raids and getting battlemaster in pvp.

    Sounds like you got a lot of bang for your buck - and maybe that's worth considering when bashing the game?

    Getting Battlemaster in the past was a lot of work, so it's hard to see how you could not have enjoyed it. It's much easier today.

    As for developers not changing things for individual players - that's universal. Personally, all the bugs I experienced during launch and the month following are gone. They were never that bad, but I was pissed at that "Green Ray" thing on several planets and the way the "Healing Green" stuck to my character. Those things are definitely fixed. The WZ performance is much, much better - as I said.

    With the Legacy system and the Group finder - the game is finally in a state worthy of mass consumption. I fear it's too late now, but population is - at least - quite healthy on the unlocked servers. So far, I've had to wait no longer than 60 seconds for any WZ to pop.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member

    Do the worlds feel alive yet?
    Do NPCs interact with the players?
    Do NPCs still stand around in frozen animations forever? (Is that Jedi near the med-bot and crafting station in the light-side starting area still holding the padawan in a force grip?)
    Are there nature sounds included now?
    Do you hear bugs and birds?
    Are there day/night cycles to show the passage of time?
    Does it rain or snow yet?

    To me, these were the killers of the game. They have had a few patches and I was just wondering if they have even looked at any of these things.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • DKLondDKLond AlbertslundPosts: 579Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

    Do the worlds feel alive yet?
    Do NPCs interact with the players?
    Do NPCs still stand around in frozen animations forever? (Is that Jedi near the med-bot and crafting station in the light-side starting area still holding the padawan in a force grip?)
    Are there nature sounds included now?
    Do you hear bugs and birds?
    Are there day/night cycles to show the passage of time?
    Does it rain or snow yet?

    To me, these were the killers of the game. They have had a few patches and I was just wondering if they have even looked at any of these things.

    Nope, nothing has changed - though it does rain on select planets :)

    I agree that was a major weakness of the game and it still is.

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