22/02/2013

2.0 PTS Blues

So the big news this week was that 2.0 landed on the PTS this Wednesday - minus Makeb that is, which I think makes perfect sense. In practice this means that you get to go to a terminal on the fleet to insta-level to 55, play around with the new talent trees and try out the new hardmode flashpoints and operations if you so desire.

Many of my guildies were extremely excited about this, but my own reaction was pretty much a resounding "meh". I felt like the guild's very own grinch... until my guild leader came online and went on a wild rant about how 2.0 supposedly completely breaks Guardian tanks. I was oddly amused and relieved. Hey, at least I'm not the only one who's not super cheerful anymore!

Maybe it's a sign of increased age (I am turning thirty this year after all...), but I'm becoming more and more cynical when it comes to change in MMOs. I know that some degree of change is always going to be needed to keep things fresh, but all too often too much of it just seems arbitrary and more importantly, simply not a good thing. Looking back at my time in WoW, no matter what people say about the game continuously improving, every expansion after Burning Crusade only served to diminish my overall enjoyment of the game. And while it doesn't take more than a cursory glance at the PTS to see that Rise of the Hutt Cartel is not going to handle the new level cap like WoW expansions do, I still find it hard not to be worried about history repeating itself.

"Did you hear that they are introducing an achievement system?" I was asked in what I assume was an attempt to get me excited about 2.0 after all. "Have I mentioned that I don't like achievement systems?" "No..."

I really liked how SWTOR's codex has always been comparatively low-key for an achievement system, and this new addition with newer and brighter random badges does not thrill me. Isn't it incredibly spoilerific to show all your future companions on any and all potential alts to the player right off the bat by attaching them to achievements? From what I've seen of it, most of the achievements are ridiculously silly and grindy things as well: run each flashpoint twenty-five times, kill a thousand mobs on each planet, kill a hundred mobs with each companion out. I joked to guildies about how once the expansion hits, the starter planets are going to be overrun by max-level characters AoEing everything in sight to get their mob kill achievements. Yeah, that sure sounds like it's going to make the game that much more fun...

Looking at the new abilities and talents was a bit of a let-down for me as well. For my main at least, they are all about PvP and focused on increasing Commando mobility, which is a good thing I suppose, though it still does nothing to address the issue of how easily we are completely shut down by interrupts (many of which are ranged anyway). I'm simply reserving judgement on this one until I see how it works in the live game. I still remember getting super excited about the small 1.4 Combat Medic buffs and then they added bugger all to my survivability in practice.

Seeing Kolto Bomb become a trained ability for all Commandos also honestly felt kind of insulting to me. Why do dps need an AoE heal? I felt that Kolto Bomb was the signature and most fun ability that was unique to Combat Medics before. Now it's just another default thing, and in its place we get... a passive buff that makes it heal more if you're specced into healing. Joy. Oh, and we can now spec into Concussion Charge doing healing to allies as well. O-kay... I still don't know what to think about that one, other than that it's funny to see both myself and my companion get healed when I knock back a bunch of mobs while questing.

At least the overall feel of Commando healing seems to be unchanged, as I got to find out while trying out hardmode Hammer Station with some guildies. The only thing I can say about that is... this is so going to get the nerf bat before going live. The first boss in particular was nothing but crazy spam healing and rotating cooldowns, while we were all wearing a full set of what's effectively going to be the new Columi. I reckon that if you were to go in there with anything less, it would simply be impossible at the current damage levels.

Anyway, apparently this is me now at the dawn of a new expansion: full of ennui. Engaging in endgame activities on the live servers suddenly feels a lot less rewarding because after all there is going to be a gear reset soon, and doing things on the PTS doesn't feel rewarding because, well, it's just the PTS! I'm hoping to return to my usual, more cheerful self soon... but until then, at least I can always level some more alts.

14 comments:

  1. It's probably a sign of turning 30. I've got a decade on you and feel far less cynical about it all. ;D

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  2. Shin, at 30 you're still a young lass.

    Hell, when I turned 40 the only thing I really noticed was that my beard started to streak with grey. I certainly didn't feel old. Cranky, yes, but I chalked that up to my career and having three kids arguing among themselves.

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    1. I know, that was meant to be a bit of a joke. :P I don't feel old, but I do feel crankier than I used to be!

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    2. You could blame the crankiness on experience. ;-)

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  3. I feel like my toons might be getting new awesome abilities at 55... but that's just it, it looks decent at 55, but at lower levels it starts to suck. Particularly that I do not get the top ability in my tree of choice until 45. So the thing I got at 40 whilst leveling just now, can't get it until 45. That is pretty fail in my book and feels a hell of a lot like a nerf.

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    1. Reminds me a bit of what Blizzard did with the Cata talent trees...

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  4. I don't if you've seen but dulfy has posted the new gear sets in the expansion. It looks like Dread Guard will be considered a high end "leveling set", with a brand new entry level set for level 55.

    Dread Guard/Hazmat - Rating 150 with L63 mods.
    Basic purple gear – Rating 156 with L66 mods.

    Most likely they expect players to be in that Rating 156 set for the 55 flashpoints and operations. It is kind of funny though. I thought they said Dread Guard would stay viable. It looks like they will just be copying WoW, with the previous operations gear only good for the leveling in the expansion and quickly replaced at endgame.

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    1. I know, the new basic purple gear is being given out for free on the PTS, so that's what we were wearing. I have however found out since then that we made an important strategical mistake on that boss in Hammer Station, so presumably things aren't as bad if you actually do the fight correctly. :P

      To be honest I always figured that Dread Guard would become obsolete with the new raid tier, so that doesn't surprise me. As it stands, I'm glad that stat inflation seems to be relatively mild from what I've seen so far.

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    2. The arkanian gear isnt the 66 gear Shin, that's the 69 stuff.

      So yeh, we have to get the 66 gear in order to do the new HM FPs and SM Ops, then get the 69 stuff for the HM Ops and then end up with the 72 gear for our troubles. So basically were looking at Tio, Columi & Rakata process again.

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    3. Fair enough, my point that we were more than sufficiently geared for the HM FP still stands. :)

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  5. I'm just sighing at the prospect of having to level 5 levels in the first place, and I'm not even 30...

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  6. To be fair Shin the healing on that flashpoint might have been easier if we'd have had Dalas' pro skills and thought to cleanse the de buff instead of me popping cooldowns like crazy while yelling "need more heals!", I think the new hm fp's require a bit more coordination than the previous ones which were just zerg fest in the latest tier of gear and I for one am very happy about the required competence :) on the subject of revised skill tables, most of the sent ones are PvP talents also that I have to take to get the goodies hiding in the new top tiers but overall my play style hasn't changed at all either, I don't think they're trying to change playstyles as much as here are some more new tricks to play with, which may be useful in situations :)

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    1. Yeah, like I said in a comment above, presumably hardmode Hammer Station is a lot easier if you actually do it right. :P

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