Prevailing Through Space In the Name of Pants

Guys, these Pilot Pants (70 fleet comms) are LITERALLY the best pants I possess.  On any toon.  Ever.  Here’s why:

  1. They color match beautifully.
  2. The material looks shiny and modern and goes with the new sithie slick cartel items.  Many of my other favorite pants regrettably have the “jeans” texture that matches more with smuggly things.
  3. They don’t have weird embellishments on the crotch or butt!!!
  4. They don’t include the “bottom of a shirt” from a chestpiece that they’re supposed to go with.  Because then when you don’t wear that specific shirt it looks bizarre that you have little scarf bits hanging down.  (For example, the apprentice set or the aspiring knight set.  It’s a long list and in fact most medium armor knight pants have this problem.)

Unfortunately, the fact that these gorgeous pants are so “right” for everything means:

  1. I will need said pants on other (serious) alts.  That means, of course, upgrading their ships (boo for my money).  If I do “math”, it also will involve about 4 days of space. Fuck.
  2. I bet the 200 comm pants are just as awesome, maybe even awesomer (because they lack the side panels of a different color, making them truly neutral – provided they color match nicely), and there’s only one way to find out.  That one way would require 10 more days of space missions.  Fucknuggets.

While I sniffle into my hanky, go look at how awesome these pants are.

With the Dark Initiate Robe (purchased on cartel market, 150 cc):

With the Saberist Body Armor (purchased on Cartel Market, 150 cc):

With the Spymaster Chestguard (random pack cartel item, purchased on GTN):

Compared with the spymaster pants (random pack cartel item, purchased on GTN) that have a weird codpiece, yech….

Incidentally the Spymaster chestguard also looked kickass with the sentinel elite leggings (crafted, synth)…

…and the corsec pants (Social 6):

I’m going to have a tough time deciding.  So many things that look good with the spymaster chest. Terrible problem to have!  (Help me – which one do you like best?)

In Space Nobody Can Hear You Swear

I’m just going to say this up front: I have no coordination and no ability to navigate.  I also get extremely motion sick whether something is actually moving or not (Imax, YUCK!).  It’s a fucking miracle that I drive my car to work every day and don’t crash or puke.

That said, I have never done space in this game.  Never!  But my gray shirt needs pants, and I think the space-pants might be the key.  Good thing I think the 70 comm pants will work.  I did not want to have to grind to the 200 comm pants.

So, I took the lowest level space mission and hopped in my unmodified ship and was ready to go.

The first time, I failed spectacularly.

Protip #1 Space is a lot easier when you have the space UI turned on.  I did not, as I had disabled and moved the space bits to the side while I was designing the rest of my awesome UI.  Derp on me.

The second time, UI turned back on, I also failed. Swearing ensued. I think even the cat was shocked at the level of profanity.

Now, as everyone knows, skill is more important than gear, but gear can compensate for a bit of lack of skill.  So I hopped back onto the fleet and grabbed some level 5 upgrades.  Hell, I’m throwing credits at everything else lately.

Back in the ship I was totally going to KICK ASS… oh… nope, failed 2 more times.  Seriously fucking pathetic.

The fifth time around I kicked the space mission’s ass.  Or escorted some idiot somewhere.  Whatever.  4 comms.  The pants I want: 70 comms.  Sigh.

Protip #2: you can upgrade your ship but you can’t upgrade the ship that you’re escorting.  Boo. This makes escort missions annoying no matter how good your ship is.

I decided to try a different mission the second time, one that didn’t involve escorting some idiot somewhere.  I successfully killed all the things with about a minute to spare.  I WAS PUMPED!  Then I saw the reward and it was 1 lousy comm.  Additional swearing ensued.

I’m also not very good at dodging asteroids since I’m not fully in control of the direction my ship goes.  I have no clue whether to go right or left side, since at any second I could be turned without my knowledge or consent and get squished into the edge of the screen with a giant rock.  I call shenanigans on having to avoid things when you’re not even driving!

I’m going to have to get a lot better at this for me to get the pants. The things we do for fashion.

(As of this morning, I’m at 54 out of 70 comms, which is reassuring.  If the pants turn out to colormatch poorly with the prospective shirt(s), I might Go Turbo.  Yes, I have seen Wreck It Ralph 3 times already.)

Things That Just Need To Be Free

Hi there, Bioware.  It’s me again, with another open letter.

There are some things that you’re just going to have to give up on trying to charge F2P players for.  The PR cost is not worth it!

My List

Hide Helm.  If you want players to have “full access” to experience this awesome story, nothing kills the mood quite like your carefully-created toon making muffled Kenny-noises from behind a bucket-head.  Think about it this way: lack of hide helm discriminates against classes that don’t have unobtrusive circlet options.  (Cough trooper cough)

Quickslots.  Anyone who has played any MMO knows that two quickbars are just not enough.  If you get past level 10, you will need another bar.  Period.  Ok, don’t give them all 6, but a 3rd that you could purchase with credits wouldn’t kill y’all.

Some Inventory Unlocks (With Credits).  You’re going to need more inventory space before you even leave the starter planet.  It’s just going to turn people off the game if they boot up the game, play for a few hours (I mean, literally, to level 10 is a few hours) and they already find themselves needing to make a purchase.  Let them have the first inventory unlock for 5k in-game credits.  Trust me, they will still need more and they will still buy more.

One Cargo Bay (maybe with credits).  Seems to me that this is an integral part of having a ship.  Maybe lower the number of slots in the first cargo bay, but it seems ridiculous for C2-N2 to be giving the ship tour with the cargo bay and… oh wait, no cargo bay!  Not a big deal for the new player who has barely any stuff, but a huge deal for the returning player who will need at least some storage.

Guild Bank.  Way to make F2P people who are in guilds feel like second class citizens.  If the GM wants to restrict their bank access, that’s the GM’s business.  Don’t make it even harder for GM’s to run their guilds.

And then I have the “things people aren’t going to care enough about so you might as well give it to them because they’ll never pay for it” group.  For example: show titles, show legacy name.  I’d be more inclined to pay for the option to turn that crap off.

But WHY?

These are the few little things that are really pushing the community’s buttons and making a lot of people hugely irate, even subscribers, even though these little items aren’t that expensive.  The amount-of-money-earned to pissed-off ratio just doesn’t add up (yay, quasi-math).

Edit: Ah!  Noreek says that the former subscribers will get to keep their inventory and cargo bay slots, whew. New players will still need to buy it.  But my point about startup costs still applies: if you’re trying to lure people into the game, whether for the first time or for the second time, too many up-front costs are going to make them balk.  Later on, when they’re more invested in the game, they’re more likely and willing to start investing in their characters.  But when you’re first trying to see if you like a game and are going to stick with it (for the first or second time) you don’t want to outlay too much cash until you’re sure.  Hence, why some people choose the 1-month sub plan and later switch to a 3-month or 6-month plan (that’s what I do).

Another problem with these things is that at the very start of your experience, you’re going to need them – not necessarily for the fresh new account (they don’t even have hats), but for people with high level toons that you’re trying to lure back to the game.  Higher level characters will need support for their high-level lifestyle (such as inventory space, cargo space, and quick bars) right away.  And when you think about buying this laundry list of items in the first month, it really adds up.  Sure, you might not need to buy another thing for 3 months after, but the startup costs are going to be prohibitive.

In the big picture, there are going to be a lot of other things that people are falling over themselves to buy.  I am subscribing and I will still be paying extra money to y’all for crap that I suddenly decided I must have.  A dude commenting on my blog yesterday said he had already blown 100 REAL DOLLARS on cartel packs.  All that stuff will more than make up for the losses in giving a few extra freebies.

XOXO, me

P.S. After meeting all the super nice and awesome Bioware people last night, I feel like a total asshole posting this, but I did promise the twitterati that I would.

[Screenshots] I Went Cartel Shopping and Didn’t Break the Bank (Yet)

So far I have been restrained and only bought 2 shirts.

This is my current outfit:

RED RED RED RED RED!  Also, shut up.  I know it’s a skirt.  The sith marauders wear skirts too.  It’s fine.

If you are interested it’s:

Now, this is trickier than it seems.  First, no medium armor skirts except social gear.  And, trust me, you don’t want to wear pants with this shirt.  The hanging down THINGS stick unattractively to the backs of your legs.

Then there were colormatch issues.  Most boots and gloves pick up the gray color rather than the red color.  So I had to struggle to find boots and gloves that were not only marginally attractive but color matched to the right part of the outfit.  And by “struggle to find” I mean “make a copy of each set of synthweaving AND armormech medium armor boots and gloves and try the damn things on and then hit ‘match to chest’.”  My idiots are now farming to recover the mats I wasted in the name of fashion.

I also bought Saberist’s body armor (Cartel, 150 coins).  Goes great with the same boots and gloves, and I’m using the Sentinel’s Renowned Headgear (Legacy Gear), but I’m struggling on the pants issue.  Here I’m using the Corsec Pants (Social VI) but they have this weird two-toned thing going on:

Seriously, it’s impossible to find pants that don’t have embellishment on the butt or crotch… or faux holsters for my not-guns.  Let’s hope that the Cartel Market releases the matching pants.

Total spending: 300 Cartel Coins.  I’m being downright frugal (so far).

Free-To-Play Shopping List

Guys, this is serious.  Are YOU ready to spend all your cartel coins that you’re getting for being subbed this last… almost-year?  I sure as hell am.

Let’s. Go. Shopping!

Saberist’s body armor.  150 cartel coins.  (Dulfy has a screenie.)  It’s kinda gray and it has NO hoodie or doodads, so there’s probably already a crafted equivalent on the imp side.  Trust me, I can find pants and gloves and boots on my own, and they WILL match with colormatch.

Street Slicer’s Longcoat.  150 cartel coins.  Again, a totally imp item that I wants it, precious.  It’s for my smuggler.  A proper duster with no goggles around the neck.  Do you know how dumb it is to be wearing goggles on your face AND around your neck?  VERY DUMB.

Public Service announcement: Before buying a fashion item, do your research and make sure that it’s something you can’t get any other way.  Some of these things are unique, while many are identical to (cheap!) craftable items or items easily obtainable with comms.  You should consult to see what is out there (for your faction/armor class) before spending real money. I am also happy to answer questions about whether I recognize an item model.

Additional Cargo Bay, 1050 for entire account.  Hell. Yes. I am so out of space it’s not even FUNNY.  Yes, I can store stuff on my alts and mail it back to the appropriate crafter when it’s needed, but the pain in the ass factor on that is just terrible.  If I can get a 4th cargo bay, I’m all over that.

Now, there are things I will buy eventually, and not right now, but have plans for when I gather enough cartel coins by virtue of subscribing.

Invisible Shirt (Covert Torso Energy Armor).  Unfortunately, it comes in those silly random packs, and I’m not buying one of those anytime soon, I have too many other priorities.  I’m not sure which companion is going to wear it… with the belsavis slave collar.  I’m such a jerk.

Outlaw’s armor set, 1200 CC.  Pricey but hawt.  It seems to be a recolor of the corellia social gear, plus kneeboots, so in an ideal world I’d be able to buy the jacket separately for a reasonable price, and just colormatch the rest, but it’s a package deal (sulk).

Unlock Ship Mailbox (350 CC), Unlock Ship Vendor (250CC) , Galactic Market Kiosk (900 CC).  With all these things on my ship I’d never have to leave.  I will never ever grind enough cash for these in-game, but if I save up my cartel coins month to month, it’s doable.  Unless I blow it all on fashion first.

Want to be cool like me?  Make a wishlist on SWTOR SPY.  See, on the right, there are all the things I want.

And then the price tag.  Oh… 4000+ cartel coins?  Groaaaan.

Dear Santa,

Please bring me the $40 cartel coin pack so my toons (and their companions) can look swanky.

XOXO, me

Do you have plans for Day 1 purchases?

Do Not Wear This

I was trying to log out the other night on the fleet, but I could not, because every time I turned around there was something to SCREENIE.

I call this one “blueberry in a bikini.” That much blue skin just looks WEIRD.

Consular Fail, a study in banana hands and lemon slice hat.


Despite the Absence Of Same-Gender Romances, I’m Still Popular With the (Evil) Ladies.

Did I mention how much fun I’m having smuggling again?  Welp, I’m on Tatooine minding my own business when this sith lady shows up out of nowhere in red clothes, of which color I am jealous.

Even her lipstick and hair accessories match. Damn, the sith have STYLE.


Continue Reading »

Time Is Money: Making The Cartel Market Work For The Busy Subscriber

Now, I’m totally opposed to spending $15 on my subscription and THEN having to turn around and buy crap off the cartel market.  That is terribad.

However, I am not opposed to having the choice to buy something in-game or buying that same thing on the cartel market.  For someone who has a full-time job and a full-time kid and as much raiding schedule as I can possibly squeeze in, I don’t have a ton of time to be grinding crap.

For example, let’s talk cargo bays.  I am a crafter at heart.  Both my 50’s have all 3 cargo bays, the third costing 400k (barf).  But, when the cartel market arrives, I can buy an account-wide cargo bay expansion for – well I’m not sure what it is going to cost.  Dulfy says 1050 cartel coins, which should be about $10.50?

Dscount: If I purchase an “Account Wide” Cargo bay does it incrementally add one to each existing character and future characters I create? So my 50 with 3 bays would get a 4th, but my new character would get a complete 2nd bay and my other toon with 2 would get a 3rd bay. 

Blaine: Yes, you have it exactly right if you are a Subscriber. The main difference for a Free-to-Play Player is that you must purchase the ability to access the Cargo Hold before you can purchase additional bays, so you could be in a position where you have purchased the access on a character basis, but not an account basis, then if you purchase account wide expansion bays, they would only apply to characters that had purchased the Cargo Hold access first. And last, but not least, remember that Preferred Status players automatically get Cargo Hold access. *whew*

From the SWTOR dev interview.

For a crazy crafter like me, imagine the implications of an account-wide bay expansion.  Suppose I have 6 toons at level 20+ (I do), and I buy them all a 2nd cargo hold (for not too much, it’s 40k)  Instead of buying that third cargo bay for 400k EACH, I spend (whatever the hell it will cost), and bam!  It is 6x400k = 2.4 million credits saved.  Well, I don’t know about you, but I would take a long time to grind all those credits.  Going back a bit, notice how I wouldn’t use the account-wide unlock until I had used in-game credits to buy the first, cheaper, extra cargo bay.

The key to remember here is that when you buy cargo bays/inventory in the game, the price goes up with each subsequent bay/slot.  Whereas on the cartel market, the price is fixed, and does not depend on how many previous ones you’ve purchased.  Not to be captain obvious, but it is strategically efficient for busy subscribers to pay in-game cash for the early slots and cartel stuff for the really pricey later bays/slots.

And that’s all the math I can handle.

Get Thee To The Official Forums And Demand Fashion

The devs have asked:

Hey folks, the Cartel Market team wants your help and advice in determining possible future content.

Specifically, they want to hear about what current in-game outfits you’ve been envious of that you would love to see available for other classes as moddable outfits. Please post your thoughts and ideas below!

I am just at a loss because I want SO MANY THINGS.  I must formulate a cogent response!  Beyond wildest dreams, brain cannot think, have the dumb.

But you guys, I’m sure you don’t have an attack of the dumb.  So if there was ever a reason to brave the trollery and asshattery of the official forums, this would be that.

Go ask for your favorite fashions.

But no more bikinis, or I’ll blaster you to the face.