23/03/2012

Three Month Review

Kristalys talks about how she feels about the game after three months and asks others to do the same. So here I go!

First off, I'm still loving it. I actually changed my subscription plan to a longer billing cycle the other day because I have complete faith in this game keeping me entertained for a long time to come.

I'm also still playing Shintar the Commando as my main, and I don't see that changing in the foreseeable future. I do have to admit that I had second thoughts though when I first started levelling up my Sage.

Basically I originally chose to play a Commando for two reasons: one, I wanted to be a healer, and two, the soldier archetype appealed to me. Relative power or details of play style (other than which role to play in the holy trinity) didn't really factor into it.

I think Bioware has managed to make troopers feel relatively unique in the MMO landscape, in terms of how they play, but if I did have to describe Commando healing in WoW terms, I'd say it feels a bit like a cross between the Burning Crusade era holy paladin and current resto shaman, as the focus is on strong single target heals that play off each other. I really struggled with this as I was levelling up, though I think that I've become a lot better at making the most of it.

Then I rolled my Sage... and it was totally like playing a WoW priest in terms of healing. Bubble, instant heal over time, channelled heal, floor heal - considering that this is what I did in WoW for over five years it instantly felt familiar, and where my levelling combat medic struggled to do anything useful in warzones, my seer zooms all over the place and feels incredibly powerful. In PvE it's also pretty much undisputed that Sages are better than either of the other healers. I can't deny that there was a certain temptation there to return to what feels familiar and offers both versatility and raw power.

However, I think I love my trooper too much to change. She's just the character that feels the most like me, and while she may not be as awesome as she could be - due to my own limitations and that of the class - I have got better at playing her and I do feel that I'm doing sufficiently well now in both PvE and PvP. I know that might not sound like a ringing endorsement, but it's honestly enough to make me happy and that's what's important.

There are also a few things about the game that haven't exactly turned out the way I expected, both in good and in bad ways.

To get the bad out of the way first... I was slightly disappointed that some things didn't turn out to be as big of a deal in terms of time investment as I thought they would. When I was trying to get to 50 for the first time, levelling actually seemed to take quite a while and I was enjoying the slower pace, but since then it feels like my alts have been advancing pretty quickly. A warzone here, a few quests there and I ding yet again. At this rate levelling alts won't take me as long as I hoped it would - though it will still keep me busy for a long time I suppose.

There's also the issue of money. While I was levelling up I was pleasantly surprised to see that it really seemed to matter, and I wasn't always able to afford all my training as soon as it became available. Getting rank three speeder training seemed like a goal that would take me ages to achieve. Then I hit 50 and realised that just doing one round of Belsavis dailies netted me 100k credits, and a few days later I had already bought everything that I really wanted to buy. Huh, guess money isn't that big a deal after all. It still matters at least a little though, as the repair bills are pretty steep and after a few nights of dying a lot I actually have to go out and quest just to earn some cash, which is nice.

Anyway, these are pretty minor complaints and haven't really harmed my enjoyment of the game.

Things that have pleasantly surprised me are endgame and my guild. Endgame because it actually feels nicely balanced in terms of there being things to do if you just feel like messing about for a little while and in a lazy way (warzones, dailies), things to do if you have time for a slightly longer adventure (group dailies, datacron hunting) and things that can keep you busy for the entire evening (flashpoints, ops), depending on how you feel on any given night. I didn't think that I would want to raid again, but I just kind of got sucked into it and now I'm loving it.

I also like that it feels incredibly low pressure somehow. Part of it might just be my own attitude towards the game, but I do think it's telling that the weekly quest for hardmode flashpoints for example only requires you to run three of them - that's less than half of WoW's weekly quota! I actually do even fewer runs than that, but when I do join one I thoroughly enjoy it, and when I finally hand in my weekly quest three weeks later I still feel like I've achieved something because progress doesn't reset if you don't complete it within a week.

As for my guild... I was always positive about it, because I was looking forward to once again playing with friends with whom I hadn't played an MMO for a while, and I had been told nothing but good things about the guild members that were strangers to me. However, I also knew that it can be daunting to break into an established circle of friends. Even if they want to be welcoming, it's often all too easy for the "new guy" to be left out in the cold, be picked last, or flat out ignored because you simply don't know them and don't have anything to talk about.

However, everyone in the Brotherhood of Remiel had been nothing but welcoming and inclusive, always willing to group up, help out and chat. They continue to impress me with their patience and positive attitude when things don't go as planned. I actually met a guildie who happens to live in the same town as me in real life the other day, and it was good fun. In fact, it feels really weird to think that I've known some of these people for only three months, considering the relaxed way in which we banter on Mumble and in guild chat every night.

Either way, it all adds up to a very pleasant and enjoyable whole. I'm looking forward to the next three months and beyond!

8 comments :

  1. Good to know, Shintar! I'm glad that you've found a home that you can feel comfortable with.

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    1. Thanks Red, it sure feels great. :) Especially at a time where so many bloggers complain about being burnt out on MMOs in general and being unable to find one that satisfies them anymore. :P

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  2. A three month review isn't a bad idea for a post ... IDEA -> STOLEN

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    1. Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

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  3. I'm with you on healer thing. Playing Sage is just so ... safe. I mean I love my Sage Calli to bits but Scoundrel healing on Kessler was shit-your-pants scary at first and then as you get used to the mechanics it was like a breath of fresh air. Even though we're supposed to be the weakest of the healing classes (until 1.2) we're still totally viable (even in Nightmare modes) and it's FUN!

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    1. There's definitely a certain appeal to playing the underdog - as long as you're not completely useless, and Bioware seems to have done okay in that regard.

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  4. Thanks for this post. I decided to write my own 3-month review as well. :)

    http://luragames.com/2012/03/three-month-review/

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    1. Excellent, don't forget to let Kristalys know so she can include you in her link round-up next week!

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