07/10/2012

Reconsidering my stance on datacrons

Up until now, my stance on datacrons could pretty much be summed up as: "whatever". I think they are a neat idea, but personally I'm not really "into" them. Truth be told, this is mostly because I don't even notice them half the time, which is funny considering that I score high as an explorer when it comes to Bartle types. However, there are different types of exploration, and I've come to accept that exploration of geography in particular isn't really my favourite. In TOR, the story is what spurs me on time and again, wanting to see every last part of it, including different variations based on your choices. I consider the scenery easy on the eyes and love to have a general idea of what's where, but it's never really the focus of my adventures.

I think this is due to the fact that I easily get lost in three-dimensional virtual spaces and thus often have my eyes glued to the mini-map instead of looking at what's in front of me. In a way that's sad and hurts my immersion, but I also know from experience that being deprived of a map and constantly getting lost isn't that much fun either.

Anyway, that's why finding datacrons isn't something that comes to me naturally. I looked up the locations of a couple of them to make matrix cubes before, but reading a guide and then just repeating what it says isn't exactly my personal idea of fun gameplay. And I'm not particularly bothered about the min-maxing side of +3 aim either.

However, I can't help but notice that time and again, whether it's with friendly strangers or with friends, datacrons end up making for some incredibly inspiring group content. There are of course the obvious ones that require more than one person to access and thus present people with options for teamwork that are different from regular group gameplay, but even datacrons that can theoretically be accessed solo can make for a very fun grouping experience.


For example I've noticed that many people who know the locations of all the datacrons love sharing that knowledge. Some time ago I was questing on Hoth with a friend and even though I initially brushed him off, he kept going on and on about the datacrons there until I relented and "allowed" him to show them to me. I've experienced strangers being willing to jump through various hoops purely to show someone a datacron as well. There is clearly a certain appeal to the feeling that you're sharing "secret" knowledge with someone, even if you've got nothing tangible to gain from the experience yourself. Being on the receiving end of this kind of sharing isn't half bad either, as it makes you perceive other players as helpful and promotes community.

Hunting down a datacron with others while neither of you know how to get to it can be pretty fun as well. When my SO and I were questing on Dromund Kaas together, it was him who first spotted the telltale glow up on the side of a cliff, and he insisted that we go over to the bottom of it and at the very least have a look. When a path wasn't immediately visible, I became intrigued as well. "Maybe you can get to it from behind." Soon our quests were almost forgotten as we kept veering off the path to look for a gap in the cliff face, and when we finally found it, we were very proud.

I never would have found that datacron on my own, and I'm not sure whether my boyfriend would have gone after it quite as persistently if he had been running solo. However, together we could combine resources and cheer each other on. Sometimes the way a datacron is placed means that there's also room to assist each other in a more "hands on" manner, for example by duelling the poor person who just fell off halfway to the top and harpooning them back up.

The only time I've run into trouble with datacrons as a group adventure so far is when the challenge is particularly difficult and your ability to help is limited. Earlier today my SO and I found a datacron on Imperial Taris. I was quite proud of myself for figuring out the "jump route" to it on my own, but it was quite difficult and involved a lot of jumps. I kind of expected that I wasn't going to be able to make it, and that I would eventually have to "cheat" by duelling my boyfriend's character and leaping up to him. However, as fate would have it I got lucky and ended up making what looked like the worst of the jumps the first time I reached it and then made it straight to the end, while my SO just couldn't get past a certain point. Eventually he simply gave up in frustration, and I was left standing up there feeling a bit sheepish. I would have loved to help, but my Marauder simply had no way to assist his sniper.

Then again, that kind of problem is not something unique to jumping puzzles. Who hasn't been in a tough raid where you absolutely needed a certain person to complete a key task or die, and they simply failed at it over and over again? Surprise, surprise, many people find it frustrating to be unable to help, no matter the circumstances.

Still, at least datacrons are completely optional content. I suppose next time I should make sure to have a character with a pull ability parked nearby.

5 comments:

  1. I enjoy hunting datacrons a lot more than I'd have expected. On the one hand, I liked hunting badges in City of Heroes, but there, I did it on a character who could fly. On the other hand, I've never been very good at jumping puzzles and tend to claim that the terrain is my greatest enemy.

    But the jumping puzzles have been more fun (and more doable) than I thought they would be, so I've been going after datacrons when I think there's a remote chance of getting to them. As a bonus, I'm getting much better at moving around in games. :D

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    1. I suck at jumping puzzles as well, but in a way it's all the more satisfying then if you eventually do manage to get it right.

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  2. I have done exactly 3 datacrons, enough to get that trinket. It was actually kinda fun, in a totally frustrating way, since I'm jump-impaired. The guild is thinking about doing the full-group museum datacron thingy as a fun non-raid event. You're right - it's CONTENT. We should SEE it.

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    1. Hm, I thought I remembered you posting about collecting all the strength ones too. Must be misremembering.

      The museum datacron was very fun for my guild; I can only recommend it. It's pretty relaxed for a group activity, and you can have the friendly Sages help people out with the more difficult bits. :P

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    2. I *intended* to collect the strength ones, but didn't actually do it =/ We do have a plenthora of sages for the museum run.

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