One Year Later: Free To Play. Topic Shamelessly Stolen From Shintar

I was reading Shintar’s post on F2P – one year later, and was about to pontificate in the comments when I realized that I had way too much pontificating to do than could fit into a comment.

Pay to Win? Nah

As a subscriber, I’m pleasantly surprised that there’s nothing in the market that would help me perform better in a raid or whatever.  When the high-level ship parts were added to the market, that was sort of bullshit, but nothing like that has happened since.

Crafters and Fashion

Oy.  Crafting.  Shintar says that crafting has taken a big hit, and that is dead-on – and my biggest dissatisfaction with the new model.  I used to have business because I bothered to track down every recipe and could offer obscure items that nobody else was making.  I used to have business for at least orange bracers and belts, and that has completely dried up due to the cartel market.

The cartel market doesn’t take business away because every piece is cooler.  It takes the business away primarily because of the convenience.

First: adaptive gear.  I find that I, along with most others, browse the GTN for fashion with adaptive armor instead of my armor class.  There may be a perfectly decent belt or boots or whatever that goes perfectly with an outfit, but the first instinct is to look at the adaptive armor.

Second: most pieces are wearable at level 1.  You can just find something you like and be done with it, the whole way up.  No “oh I love that shirt, can’t wait to wear it at level 39.”  Nope, done.

Third: collections.  This doesn’t appeal to me, so I didn’t see what the big deal was.  To my shock, this got my previously-uninterested-in-fashion husband to start buying outfits on the GTN like a fiend.  He now has unlocked 3 outfits in the cartel market and has an army of similarly-dressed alts and companions – with a few dye kits to give them a unique feel.  He apparently likes the convenience of starting an alt, being able to generate an entire level 1 moddable outfit on demand for his toon and all the companions, and not have to do any additional thinking about it ever again.  (Since I tend to mix and match AND dress all my toons uniquely, I have unlocked only one outfit so far.)

Buying Fashion

Without a doubt, the cartel market has the best fashion out there.  I really thought that BW would limit cool fashions to the cartel market, and to an extent, it has.  However, I’m glad to see that the rep grinds, as painful as they are, do lead to really unique fashions (I am excited about bounty hunter week).  So there are alternatives.  And also, while I bitch and moan (extensively) about fashion, it really isn’t a “pay to win” thing.

Legacy Unlocks

Here’s where it gets interesting with math.  The cartel-to-credit ratio of some unlocks is very favorable to using cartel coins, and for others it pays to use credits.  The cartel market and stipend gives me the chance to buy things that I would never normally have the credits for (rocket boots!).  On the other hand, as a subscriber, I can still choose to pay credits for those items with an unfavorable ratio (such as speedering 1).  All in all, this has led me to get more legacy unlocks and enhance my quality of life in the game.

Subscription All-Inclusive?

I feel a little iffy about the decision to make Cathar purchasable with cartel coins.  On the one hand, we should get everything, right?  On the other hand, we get a stipend.  If you view the monthly cartel stipend as a cafeteria plan, it is actually pretty advantageous.  I have no bleeping interest in being a cat.  This means that I can take the coins that would have gone to cat and put them toward something that interests me more.  Instead of all-inclusive, it’s more of a “choose your inclusion.”  Likewise, people who have no interest in pink hair don’t have to buy it.

The Secondary Market (GTN)

If people want to turn cartel coins to cosmetics, that’s their prerogative. I love that I can get just about any item I want for cold hard credits, as I always have been able to in any subscription model.  I buy almost all my cartel fashion on the GTN, except if there’s a super-sale of something I really want.  I also buy unlocks there if the price is less than the “unlock with credits” option (like third or subsequent cargo bay).

Gambling Boxes

I don’t like gambling.  I’d rather pay a premium for the contents of the box than to roll the dice on the actual box.  But a lot of people like these boxes and apparently they’re a big money maker.  When I went to the community cantina event that followed the f2p transition, I was told that on the first day of the cartel market, people had plopped up to $100 on cartel boxes.  Like, not just their stipends but REAL MONEY.

Now, this annoys me because I think these overpriced boxes prey on some people’s addictive personalities.  But it’s not up to bioware to babysit people and tell them to be responsible with their credit cards.

I am pretty peeved that most of the dyes may only be purchased via “dye packs” which are basically gambling boxes for dyes.  Even if you find a box with a “good” dye, it may not be the one that you want.  It’s practically mandatory to trade those on the GTN.

Limitations and Expectations

The F2P experience is a shitty one.  I was actually looking forward to F2P, on the theory that I could simply buy a la carte the elements of the game that I do use (flashpoints and ops) and omit paying for the ones that I don’t (warzones and space).  But that wasn’t really viable because the F2P experience is so limited.  If I were to buy only the pieces I use, it would still add up to the cost of a subscription, and possibly even more.1

Then there was the QQ, which was unsurprising but annoying.  You expect to play this game for free and still have access to everything your little heart desires?  This feeling of entitlement isn’t unexpected. In general, on the internet, we expect to receive all the news for absolutely free and then grumble if reporters want to earn a living by charging a subscription – when previously we would have bought a damn newspaper and thought that was completely fair.

It turned out that F2P is inappropriate for most players and is only good for extremely casual players or people who are trying the game for the first time and don’t know if they want to subscribe.

In Conclusion

There are parts of the F2P transition that I have liked a lot and parts that annoy the shit out of me (like “hey guys, btw, my week-long-ops pass runs out in the very middle of the raid tonight, LOL!”) but overall it hasn’t fundamentally changed the way I play the game.

  1. Someone did an analysis/spreadsheet of this and for the life of me I cannot find it now.

Tales Of Fail

Shit that has happened to me in only the last few weeks:

As much as rocket boots are cool, they do not slow down your descent if you jump down an elevator shaft.  Bonus points if you’re in a pug and are mocked before rezed.

Sleep dart and corrosive dart have very similar icons.  If you use the latter when you intend to use the former, you get a nasty surprise (you popped out of stealth and a very awake mob biting your face off).

Bad purple shit on the floor looks an awful lot like the sorcerer healing circles.  Except with extra dying.  (So far, the only instance of republic superiority that I’ve found – pretty sage yellow shiny circles are more visible and look less like Stuff To Avoid.)

Being in the wrong lightsaber form is embarrassing.  Being in no lightsaber form is quite perplexing when Things That Are Supposed To Happen don’t happen.

This post was just a clever ploy for me to get you to recount your embarrassing tales of fail. Confess in the comments section.

Updates To Sentinel/Marauder Guide

Things have been quiet around here – and if you’ve been following me on twitter, you’ll know I’ve been doing some serious rewrites of and additions to the Sentinel/Marauder guide.  That takes a lot of time! And Effort.  And Brains.

New stuff includes:

  • Seriously revamped and technical Combat/Carnage rotation section based on my srs hardmode raiding in that spec.
  • Relic crapola based on me tearing my hair out about relics
  • Rewrites of various sections for clarity

That’s just in the last week or two.  There are other “older” changes that you may not have seen, like links to ALL mirror abilities (that was a pain).  I probably tweak the guide at least once a week.

But I’m pretty happy with the guide for now, and I’ll be returning to writing fluff for the masses Soon (TM).  My screenshot folder is becoming bloated with terribad fashion that I must share.

Don’t Get Your Antennae In A Twist

Vector Hyllus, bug man.  WHAT THE HELL, BIOWARE!?  Not cool.  Not cool at all.

So far, I’m not terribly impressed with the imp-side romance options.  First there’s Torian Bieber, the clueless.  Then Malavai Quinn the… well I could go on all day about him, but suffice to say, he is NOT BOYFRIEND MATERIAL.  Now, bug boy.

Why do I hate him?  Well, many reasons.

  • He’s creepy looking.
  • He uses the “royal we”.
  • Oh yeah, and he’s a fucking insect.

Really, that last reason is the only reason that matters.

I judge a man by the size of his swarm.

I judge a man by the size of his swarm.

After a few meetings with him and his insectoid compatriots on Alderaan, he gives Zylie a charming gift: membrosia.  I don’t know the bugs make it, but I have a basic idea:

Wormulon_Queen

Yech.  He assures Zylie that the mystery bug-juice wont turn her into a joiner “in those quantities.” Mmmhm, and we should believe someone who has already drunk the kool-aid that we should drink it too?  I THINK NOT.  That shit’s going to be flushed down the fresher as soon as his back is turned.

After all that, surprise surprise, Keeper says “Yo, he’s being assigned to your ship.”  And Zylie says “awww, do I hafta?”  I mean, seriously, how do we know he won’t be pouring that membrosia shit in her ear while she’s sleeping?

Clearly there are no suitable eligible bachelors on the imperial side.

Full Circle

My very first toon was a scoundrel healer, before I fell in love with pwning face on my sentinel.  I had leveled the scoundrel up to 37 with my husband before swapping mains.  Then, after hitting 50 on the sentinel, I went back to finish off the scoundrel climb to 50.  In that last push, whilst soloing, I realized that I thoroughly sucked at scoundreling – something that is easily unnoticed when leveling with a partner and pwning things faster than they can shoot at you.

As we’ve established before, I am an idiot.  I’m currently leveling an agent, because everyone’s like BLAH BLAH STORY OMG.  And, in a fit of stupidity, I picked operative, on the rationale that I already have a pure-dps toon…. and I suck at cover.

But wait! It will be different this time!

  • First, I know wtf I’m doing.  That counts for a lot.  Leveling a new character is easier after the first, right?
  • Second, I have presence out the wazoo.
  • Third, I have legacy perks.

So let’s do this thing!  As I leveled, making full use of double xp to skip boring side-quests, I thought… wow this is easier than I remember!  I’m just slicing and dicing, no big deal.

zylieholo

Then I hit Alderaan and shit just got real.  While I am having no trouble healing things at level, killing them seems to be getting more difficult.  Kaliyo is suddenly squishier and is yabbering for help all the time.

However, there’s a fourth thing that I didn’t have the first time: group finder.  I can just heal my way to 50.  I’ve been queuing when I can and things have been going pretty well…

I’m in this group with a merc DPS who is in healing stance.  I know that she realizes she’s in healing stance because she keeps shooting green paintballs at people.  I figure she’s just helping me out between pulls, but no, she stays in that stance.  I decide to speak up and say tactfully “are you aware you’re still in healing stance” and she’s like “oh yeah, I always am.”  In a situation like that, when the other 2 people have already dropped group due to her incompetence, it seems unfair to penalize me with a lockout for also dropping group. Sigh.

Muscling through idiots, one flashpoint at a time…

Reader Submissions To The Fashion Hall of Shame

Remember, folks, you can always email me pictures of awesome fashion at njessi [at] hawtpantsrepublic [dot] com.

Now to reader submissions!

First, Shintar sent me a screenie of this interesting gentleman who is “apparently someone who’s well known for intentionally making his characters look ugly. What can I say but: he’s clearly succeeded with that one.”

Worse fashion Chiss

Yes, yes he has.

Shintar’s second submission “is actually a case of “not sure if bad fashion”. At first I kind of laughed at “the guy in the skirt”, but as I looked at him a little longer it occurred to me that with the bare chest and being all in white he might have some sort of ancient athlete theme going on?”

Guy in skirt

I’ll let y’all decide whether he belongs in the hall of shame.  I feel like the ancient athlete thing would work better if he didn’t have leggings under his skirt.

Continue Reading »

More Demands. Because I’m Important.

Dear Santa Bioware,

I realize it’s early but I’m a special snowflake, so I have extremely REASONABLE demands that I want ASAP.  No pressure.

(1) Armor dye slots for low level oranges.

Oh come on, guys, you’re killing crafters here.  You can dye almost all cartel items (wearable at level 1) but not the low-level orange items.  Those sets are pretty damn cool and pretty popular.  In fact, one of them is the infamous Jedi Belly Shirt.  If we could dye them, we’d be able to sell them again! Of course then everyone would be wearing said belly shirt but, hey, your newest offerings1 make the Jedi Belly Shirt look downright conservative.

In case you’re wondering, the set I’m ogling for a dye job is the sith dueling leathers.

(2) Hair For All!  Nondiscrimination for Aliens!

Why on earth do the new human hair styles not work on mirialans or chiss, or CYBORGS ffs which are basically humans with accessories?  There’s no functional reason why they should not.  Make it happen, or the RCLU (Republic Civil Liberties Union) will be all up in your business.

(3)  More Hairdos

Please!  The whole fleet is starting to look like Relaxed Armor Barbie and Elven Archer Ken.

XOXO

Me

  1. “Relaxed” anything = LOOKIT MAH BOOBS

Jub Jub. Quinn, You’re Fired.

Dear Quinn,

As you may be aware, since I know full well that you have bugged my private holocomm, we are to be getting a new member of the crew.  Effective immediately, you are relieved of your field duties, and Treek will be taking your place as my medic, leaving you more time to perform your administrative duties on the ship.

This personnel change may seem punitive and, I assure you, it is.  It’s not you, it’s me.  I hate you.

In order to facilitate this transition, I have given you two weeks of mandatory personal leave on Makeb.  The weather is nice and the planet is highly unlikely to explode while you are there, but that is a risk I’m willing to assume.

Lord Cytherat is my contact on that planet and he owes me a favor.  He will attend to your every need.  Let’s just say that while he and I didn’t quite click on a personal level, I suspect that you two will hit it off.

XOXO (Just a figure of speech.  I really have no intention of getting near you.)

Darth Njessie

Character Customization: Hair Shortcuts And Hair Attention To Detail

You just looked at the title and said “what the fuck is she talking about?” didn’t you?  Let me explain.

In the standard array of hairdos, there are many hairdos that simply variants of a base hairdo to which additions are grafted to create 3 or 4 versions.

For example, Elara’s hairdo, the standard bun, has 3 variants.  There’s also a “larger” bun and then a bun with a little hair spilling out the top.  Same base hairdo, different variants.

hairbun

Some variants work better than others.  The Elara bun works pretty well.  However, there are some others that just look cheap or sloppy because they took the base hairdo as a shortcut, and the base hairdo is completely inappropriate for those purposes.

Let’s take this short hairdo.  It works just fine as a short hairdo, right?

sloppyhair2

Then we add a ponytail to it, and shit goes off the rails.  The hairs are all facing the wrong way!  They are supposed to be gathered up, facing toward the base of the tail.  Instead, they are still slicked back, forehead to nape.  The nape of the neck still has a weird ridge, making it obvious that the hair is not swept UP from there into the ponytail like it should be.

And here’s another!

sloppyhair1

I just cannot pick a hairdo like that, no matter how cute it looks from afar, because the shortcuts and lack of attention to detail bother me too much.  It’s a sloppy graft of one hairdo onto another that does not stand up to marginally close scrutiny.

Now, let’s look at the new hairdos.  While I might think that some are stupid-looking, they also have some serious attention to detail.  Observe, for example, on the big elaborate bun plus braid: the hairs all face the right way, the braid’s start at the nape of the neck is elegant and seamless, and the hairline is damn near perfect.

newbun

I don’t really have a point to this observation.  So far, I really like the quality of the new hairdos but it sucks that we have to pay to unlock them.

I Put On My Big Girl Pants And Did An Op

Two, actually.

First was a 16-man Scum & Villainy Story Mode PUG.  Normally, I hate pugs.  But, in a fit of stupidity, I accepted the invitation.  Here’s why:

  • I need gear
  • I don’t know the fights at all and if I get all the derping out of my system with strangers, I should know wtf I’m doing when it’s time to do that raid with the guild.
  • Derping is less noticable in a 16-man.

Needless to say, I derped quite a lot, but others derped more, so it’s not so bad.

After the raid, I was psyched and ready to go on the guild run scheduled for the next night. But first, I needed to sort out DPS.  See, I hadn’t raided as carnage (combat) in a really long time, and the rotation has changed a hell of a lot with 2.0 – not as much with Annihilation.  So first I parsed a few minutes with carnage and then I switched and parsed a few minutes with annihilation.  The results were about the same.  However! (and this is a big however) I’m pretty good at doing the annihilation rotation right whereas I’m still fucking up the carnage rotation.  Stands to reason, therefore, that once I get the carnage rotation right, I’ll be doing higher dps than my anni dps.  So I’ll stick it out for the win.

Keeping carnage spec, we started the raid, only to go to Toborro’s courtyard.  Oh yea, the one thing I hadn’t studied before the raid.  DUH on me.  I did croak most stupidly  to the big fat fire thing, but once I had seen it once, it was pretty easy to avoid.

Then we did the weekly so we’d get extra comms – and it turned out to be TFB.  I was so relieved because I did a hell of a lot of TFB before 2.0 and know what the hell I’m doing there.

What is INTERESTING though is doing things with a new group.  For example, on Operator IX, we always called out the pylon positions as “o’clocks”. They call them out as “right/left” from a certain doorway.  This will take an adjustment in my thinking, but isn’t a big deal.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Njessie the Sithie Pwns Face.

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