Leveling, Experimenting and the all consuming wait for OCT early Access


Well, that was a fairly wordy title. But it speaks truth. I’ve been doing a lot of alt leveling over the last month. The sad thing is, I’ve probably murdered (deleted) at least 30 toons in the process before they ever reached Lv 30. One would think I’d just take a class and run with it. Me being me though, I really had to like the character I played, or I wouldn’t play it for long.

Star Wars The Old Republic-08-09-2015 19-44-20My last character I actually leveled is Vhulkar. Vhulkar is a hard hitting BH Power Tech that I have a blast at as far as being a DPS in the end game. It helps he just looks cool too. I brought him into Raid over the weekend and got a lot of compliments on how I designed him as far as look and feel. Beyond that, he did a solid performance with our crew in nothing but 190 blue gear. I was surprised at this, but his mobility to get in and get out during a fight made him a lot of fun. He was able to deal with some of the damage and dish it out on a regular basis. His DPS out put parsed out at about 2nd to 3rd in the raid which satisfied me as far as not being carried. Of course our lead DPSer was miles above the rest of us, but I kept a decent run during Boss fights. I gotta say, poor Mharius just isn’t as fun to run in raids anymore as a sniper. I like the mobility that a Power Tech gives at medium to close ranges. When we fought on the Ziost raid, I never had a problem maintaining decent DPS while on the move. It was exhilarating to see him in action. So, Vhulkar may become my new DPS Main for raids if he repeats the performance he displayed this last weekend. The problem with Mharius is simple, most fights require gun n’ run tactics. This is not at all the forte of a sniper. In fact, it’s the anathema of a sniper marksman. Most fights I have seen throughout the Revan expansion have heavy movement mechanics the degrade a sniper’s ability to drop that well placed shot. Sooo, Power Tech will be my new semi-ranged combat DPSer until further notice. I doubt I’ll fire (delete) Mharius simply because I like the toon over all. He just won’t be my raid focus. Perhaps I’ll give him a whirl in PvP, I dunno.

On another front, I’ve been doing some heavy effort to raise a Juggernaut Immortal (read tank). Caiden’Rho is my latest serious effort to the top bracket. I started him over the weekend and got him to LV 49 as of last night. By the end of the week he should be at 60 with all the basic necessities for getting into raids. I’ve had the full support of my Raid Leader on this one and he is guiding my progress there. I Level him with Jaesa as a companion to sort of practice my tanking spec rotations that have been suggested to me. To my surprise, he does pretty well with a few rotation tweaks that are geared for companion style battles (Heroic Moment, Unity, Force push with a follow up of Force Charge etc). They wouldn’t work well in a Boss fight, but for solo leveling they are pretty awesome additions when you have no healer. I spent a pretty fair amount of credits on Jaesa as a companion as I plan to have her as primary help once the expansion comes out. Ya, aesthetics do matter to me. I want my apprentice to look the part of a power hungry hottie! Anyways, he is my current heavy focus until 60.

This brings me to the experiments end. I re-rolled Damios (My original character on Ebon Hawk). Still a smuggler, but changed over to Scoundrel class (Ruffian) for a change. I wasn’t happy with the Gunslinger class. Again, it comes down to mobility. I don’t like staying in one place for long during a fight. So…as a republic toon he got rebooted. There are a few others I’m tinkering with, though no promise to any one of them as yet. I’ve kept those toons out of the guilds on both Imp and Pub side as I haven’t felt a concrete hell ya at this moment for them. Time will tell of course.

The Yavin Stronghold has been a side project ever since it came out. I think I have one unlock left before it’s entirely open and then I need to decide on how the decorating will go. I’ll be honest, as awesome as the stronghold looks, and it does look awesome! The way the dev’s set up the decorating hooks really was sub par in my opinion. It looked pretty mish mash with little thought or reason. Still, I want the whole thing opened up so I can make it into a special retreat for all of my characters.

Star Wars The Old Republic-07-22-2015 19-56-04These are the things I’m currently working on while waiting for the October Early release of KotFE. I am very much interested in how it will play out and it constantly leaves much to ponder on a daily basis. At the very least, I am looking forward to new adventures and stories to be had. One of the things I know is controversial but I happen to like is how the companions will be streamlined to level in ability with you, so gearing is no longer an issue. The other is being able to stick them into any roll you desire. Both of these options appeal to me in a big way. I know not every one likes it. That’s ok. For at least the class switch, all I can say is, you still have the choice to make them the original roll if you don’t want to spec them into things you don’t like or can’t see as viable. Either Way, it’s ok to me. But, I can stomach the Trooper class a helluva lot longer if that first companion would either be pure tank or pure healer.  I know, some classes just don’t seem right as a different style (Mako Tanking, or Lord Scourge Healing BWAHAHAAHAHAH) but hey play it your way at that point. The great thing is, if you don’t personally like the option, you don’t HAVE to alternate companion class focuses.

The streamlining of stats is interesting. It’s also going to really alter the way we look at crafting in general. All main stats Star Wars The Old Republic-07-22-2015 19-56-27converted to one stat. Cool, because they all do the same thing, just different names. But what about crit bonus stats or aim or accuracy or power. Are those secondary stats still going to be around? I made a lot of money off of various augment secendary stat pieces. So I have to wonder how much has been said about that. It’s a lot to ponder. At any rate, it’s still just a wee bit over a month out before I get to see these epic changes to the game structure. I’m both excited and terrified. One back lash of it all though has been that I have really been slacking on trying to level or make any sorted of crafted item. Kinda sucks, but what’s the point if these huge changes are implemented.

Well, that’s a wrap for now. Till next time, may your hyper drives never fail and may your credits overflow!

Trade and Profit on the GTN


So, this afternoon I got home from work to check my various character’s sales and trading on the GTN (Galactic Trade Network). Since I generally post my trades for 2 days, I was very happy to see I received 5 emails which meant I probably cleared 60k in credits for a night’s work. YAY! I thought. But lo and behold one of those emails was a private mail from one person to me. Opening it up, I read it and immediately was amused. Why? Well read it for a moment and then I will explain my reply. I should have in retrospect screen shotted the reply, but please trust my, if nothing else I am a person of integrity. Anyways do read on:

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Ok, when I read this I chuckled. First and foremost when it comes to trading I believe in free market. Make as much profit as you can but sell in such a way that is cost effective and quick to turn around with minimal effort and maximum efficiency. Secondly, I chose specific skills that would ensure that other than a time sink, I wouldn’t have to spend much for materials or time gathering. Slicing in this case is the premier skill when you are dealing with augments.  Also, I check the market for a the median price and then price accordingly to what the market bares at the time of my posting. Finally, I am neither ultra liberal nor left wing. Because I undercut my competition and still make profit I should be called a corporate thug who despises any sort of regulation. In retrospect, I am a trader that makes money. So…yup I got a solid laugh and 40k credits for a night’s work.

Look, I’ve seen this sort of thing on the forums of every MMO I have played. The bottom line is so long as the sale exceeds the overhead by at least 40% then it is a solid profit. I am in no way trying to drive the prices down, but I will sell at what profit I can based upon what I see in my trade research. There have been several times when the prices were so low I refrained from selling for a few days as I felt there wasn’t enough profit in it.

My reply:

Dear (name withheld out of decency),

Thank you for your business advice. I appreciate your advice and I’m always open to new ideas. However, I am neither liberal nor left wing. I sell at the median of what the GTN bares while still making profit. Due to my skill sets, this does not incur much in the way of overhead costs. I do wish you all the luck in the galaxy in your business endeavors!

Respectfully,

Jhexi

Well, there may have been a couple missed words as I didn’t screen shot it. But I assure you, I am never rude to my competitors. It’s nothing personal, just business. Now if I am making an epic item that does cost me dearly in materials and gathering, I wait until I know I can make a very solid profit out of it. Undercutting your competitors is a time honored tradition when dealing with MMO trading/auction houses. It takes maybe 3-5 minutes to research the item crafted on the GTN and make your offer. This is simple and clear. Now I’m not asking people to agree or disagree with what I do. But competition is a part of trading on the open market. As a trader/crafter you have to balance time, effort, and cost of the crafted item vs the price you offer to move your goods. As long as there is reasonable profit, there is no reason to inflate prices beyond what the market bares. Sort of basic economics.

Anyways, Jhexi is on her merry way to move more goods and services across the galaxy. If the day comes she is Star Wars The Old Republic-06-20-2015 1-07-01undercut too much, hell that’s what slicing runs are for on Yavin!!! I invite all commentary on this subject AS LONG AS it’s constructive and respectful. Anyways, drop a comment or two! Till next time, may you never get stranded in an asteroid belt and may your blasters stay true!

Milestones, Adventures, and some words on PvP


Now why don’t he write? Ya I know I’ve been gone for a bit. Sorry about that. Real Life and game life sometimes compete with one another so what limited time I’ve had lately has been spent either working, with family or actual playing. This unfortunately has curtailed some of my writing activities. Life in the fast lane is pretty crazy at times. So currently, I’m about two years out from retiring from the military. Since it’s so close I’ve been feverishly working on my exit strategy so I have something to look forward to. My father and I got the crazy idea to build a business that encompasses horses, dogs, and some computer savvy stuff. To do it involves a lot of planning, obtaining funds etc. This of course takes up a lot of spare moments that normally I relax and write. Price to pay when I’m dreaming big on my final day to freedom lol. Enough of the real world.

Mharius as you recall is my Imperial Sniper. He has attended a fair amount of raids, upgraded his gear and tweaked it to suit his needs (that my friends is kind of a pain in the ass Star Wars The Old Republic-05-17-2015 21-46-42balancing between accuracy, crit, power etc). He maxed out his crafting and can make every end game epic implant available. Pretty solid income. Even the blue implants at end game are profitable. Not nearly as much as the purples but still enough to have reached over 1 million credits in profit. This even after throwing a good 200k over to my latest pvp alt (which I’ll get to in a bit).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jhexi, my dear, sweet, tough talking, smokin’ hot cyborg bounty hunter hit 60 and maxed out her armstech. Not nearly as profitable as I thought. Still very useful when you are looking for augments. Mostly the profit is from saving credits on buying someone else’  crafted augments. But really, Ebon Hawk seems to lack a profitable market on such items. The Barrel Mods aren’t very profitable either compared to materials required to create them.  But these skills are excellent to have when my other alts hit end game, far less expensive in the long run when I can make my own stuff. I haven’t entered her into guild raids yet as our guild took a break from raiding over the past 2 weeks. Hopefully by this weekend I’ll see some action on that end again. So she spends her time crafting and farming on days I’m not involved with other activities. All of her gear now corresponds with Ziost baselines so I’m not worried there. Some of my lesser alts are busy sending bother her and Mharius companion gifts in order to max out affection on all ends. That of course is a pretty long and involved task.

On the family front, my wife and I recently have been tag teaming back and forth between EQ Landmark and SWTOR. She prefers decorationg and building where I prefer up front action. Not to say I don’t like decorating..I do, it’s just a secondary focus. So, she joined me for a bit working a Sith Inquisitor. She got a kick out of dealing with Zash and enjoyed being aStar Wars The Old Republic-06-08-2015 21-26-35 rather evil, selfish little witch. For her, it allows her to make choices that are completely against social norms and she loves it. So, once every week or so, we go back to our toons and lay waste to digitized enemies in a bid for power and domination across the galaxy. Besides, it’s fun working together. I made a Sith Jugg tank for that. She did the Sorc spec. Kind of fun every once in awhile.

On the PvP side. I have to say the war zones on Ebon Hawke pop pretty nicely. I will also say that at least so far the Pub side during my play times has in general rocked the Imperial side to the ground. Now I know, everyone will have different opinions. But so far for me, my pvp toon has had a righteous time fighting. Not a night passes where at least 80% of the time, the team I’m on wins the day. Ya there are occasional losses (mostly in death matches) but I still have had a lot of fun doing war zones.  That being said I have a wish list that I’m sure will not be answered anytime soon. Still, I do wish it was available.

1: Mid Level brackets need to be split of or reconfigured.  The disparity between a level 30 to a lv 55 is pure insane. Especially when Lv 55 can get their hands on some serious min/max mods to dominate on the field of battle. Solution: Bracket LV’s 50-59 together.  LV 60 is the final Tier anyhow. But when I walk onto a battle field Im sorry even with boosted HP my abilities just can’t compare to those of a lv 55. Oh I’ll fight like a madman, but ultimately it ends badly. I tend to keep my toons leveling till they hit at least 40-45 after they punch through to lv 30. It mitigates undo anguish and frustration.

2: More battle fields. NO I DON’T WANT TO SEE ANTHER DEATH MATCH OR HUTT BALL! I mean make a couple of more interesting battle fields that have different victory mechanics. If even one more new War Zone with entirely new mechanics or objectives appeared, I think it would go some distance with the pvp crowd.

3: Low Lv pvp gear is really next to useless compared to standard modding. The brackets are WAY to far apart. LV 20 set and then nothing till LV 40? C’mon!!!! Maybe make a LV 30 set and a LV 50 set to go after. Even then, the gear should be stuff that’s worth owning. There sould be some pvp stats added into each gear piece for each bracket. Now this is very important. It gives meaning to the gear you are supposed to be earning. The ear Pieces and Implants are very nice to have, but the gearing needs to be a bit more robust.

4: PvP Fun Vendor. Ya it’s cool to get a chandelier or 2 and the occasional rotworm/frogdog thingy…but really the pvp rewards do suck. I like that you can get some guards from either faction but other than that…the vendor is pretty weak sauce. Get some other stuff like trophies…wall mounted weapons etc. Something that says your fortress seriously belongs to a PvPer.

Now, I understand that PvE is the long term investment money maker. I get it. But even simple things like what I’ve described can entice new blood into the game when it pertains to PvPers. Some people may say that PvPers are few and far between. Believe me, they aren’t. On a Monday night I probably hit about a war zone every 5-10 minutes. Now, that night I played from 6pm to 10 pm. That earned me almost 200 WZ commendations. All of this on a PvE server. Players may not be uber skilled as long time hard core PvPers bbut they have fun or they wouldn’t play.

Ok, that’s my update folks. I promise I will try to write more often, just remember if there are lulls it’s due to time management. Until next time, may your Hyper Drives Burn bright and may your credits over flow!

Trade and Commerce Blues POST 3.2


Ok, first off, I love the game and nope I’m not rage quitting. But there is a problem that I have with the Post 3.2 changes when it comes to item modification. IT’S DESTROYING THE CRAFTER’S MODIFICATION MARKET ! How so do you ask? Well, here is the deal, end game crafted modifications really aren’t that useful past lv 50 unless you are trying to squeeze and extra point here and there when min/maxing the modifications. The mid-level and low level market for modifications used to be somewhat lucrative, especially for Ear pieces and implants. Patch 3.2 lowered the commendation costs by half for all Mods at the various modification vendors. This really destroys the need for Cybernetics/Barrel Modifications/Enhancements at the low to mid-level range. At LV 50, it’s very easy to get (140) modifications for a complete armor set at an approximate cost of I think 200 or so Basic Commendations. Those modifications will last you easily to Lv 55 and with a little diligence you’ll do the same for Basic Lv 50 Modifications. Where then is the need for Cybernetics/Barrels/Enhancements?

Now Artifice still has a niche for the Implants and I think Relics. But seriously, even if all of the end game mods are useful, the whole crafting process has been thrown on its heels due to the Commendation drop in cost. This isn’t very good trade and commerce practice. In the current state, player made crafted items are decreasing in value and therefore decreases the actual need to gather/craft items. It also hurts the raw material/components trade. What is left for crafters? Well, Orange/Purple Custom gear is one outlet especially now that the Appearance designer has been implemented. I do like the designer implementation and think that it does open up a new market, especially as we start seeing more showcases on the net of creative outfit designs. But this still doesn’t address the core issue of crafting in the game as a whole.

On Ebon Hawk, even a DPS character starting at LV 15 can get between 20-30 Basic Commendations per day by doing a daily KDY run and 1 instance. What this equates to is using the Commendation Vendors twice per 10 levels to completely outfit a full set of modable gear. Done this way, your character/avatar is really set all the way to Lv 50. You no longer need to seek out crafters with the exception of perhaps Ear pieces / Implants / Relics.

So what is the solution? There really isn’t one unless Bio Ware changed a few things dealing with crafting. One would be increase the Vendor mods back to previous prices which would help make crafted items more competitive or attractive to buy. The other is to make crafted item stats more valuable than that of the Vendor Commendation market. Of course you can re-engineer greens to blue and blue to purple. The problem with purples is the amount of re-engineering required to obtain the purple modification and then even worse the no fragging kidding amount of time/cost requirements of finding the purple rare mats to craft the modifications in question. Can it be done? Yes. But the time and cost involved makes it somewhat prohibitive. To counter this, make the crafted blue modifications a little bit better than the vendor commendations and the rares to be equivalent to at least 2 levels higher with specific tertiary stats included (alacrity/accuracy/critical/power etc). This would motivate the crafter to try for said materials and creates a demand in the market for them. The other is to make it easier to find crafting schematics for interesting customizable gear that can be worn for appearance or for modification.

Finally, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF THE FORCE, take gold spammers seriously out of the picture! It’s obvious that because the game can be free to play, gold spammers are rampant. There isn’t an easy solution to this either. I offer two possibilities here. The first is to make earning credits at low levels a lot easier to obtain or at least more lucrative by increasing quest completion credit value. The other method is trading in commendations for credits. Something like this was done on EQ2. There, with so many tokens you can by a bag of platinum coins or other little niceties. Use commendations to do the same in this game. Either of these may bring about price inflation of Cartel bought items that get resold on the open market. But with the advent of the Outfit Designer, Cartel prices are starting to drop on the GTN. I’ve already seen it over the last few days. I’ve also seen green items that look cool get serious resell value.

Ok, I’ve expressed my concerns here. I don’t want my readers discouraged or thinking I hate the game. Point in fact, I love SWTOR and it’s beautiful story telling as wellStar Wars The Old Republic-05-03-2015 17-26-20 as it’s epic scope. Point in fact I’ve gotten Damios up to Lv 55, attended 2 OPS and am going strong. I’ll write more about his exploits on Makeb and then his current adventures on Rishi. Why Rishi? Because that place kicks ass! The pirate’s haven central and I do love the area. So far, it has to be one of my favorite places to adventure.