24/04/2013

Seeker Droids and Macrobinoculars

I'll have to start this post by confessing that I haven't finished the main story lines centred around the new seeker droid and binoculars features yet, but I wanted to write about them anyway. Also, I have done quite a few of the new dailies associated with them, so I've got some idea of how it all works.

I have to admit that when I first heard about these new additions, I was a little sceptical. They just seemed a bit... random. Sure, binoculars evoke images of iconic Star Wars moments such as Luke looking out over the deserts of Tatooine, but it still strikes me as a very random thing to turn into a mini game, especially when there are so many other things Bioware could have chosen for this purpose.

In practice... they are actually kind of fun. I approve of more things to do that aren't just more combat. Doing the binocs starter quest on Coruscant I was quite tickled by the bit where you go into the cantina and have to scan one thing to find out about another thing, and then scan that thing to track back even further... okay, that must sound very weird if you haven't done that particular quest, but if you have I'm sure it makes perfect sense.

I'm not sure how well suited they are to dailies though. It's kind of fun to search for things to scan the first time around, but as far as I'm aware your objectives don't move or change, so once you know where they are it would only really be an exercise in travelling around and checking off boxes so to speak, without much variation to the task. (Then again, there is a GSI daily on Alderaan which asks you to look for a giant thranta that can spawn in different locations, and I'm not sure that's that much better either - it just means that you'll potentially do a lot of driving around for little reward.)

The seeker droids are a different story I'll admit. Their dailies sort of work the opposite way to the binocs from my experience, in so far as they can be a bit frustrating the first time around when you aren't entirely sure what you're supposed to be looking for (usually randomly spawned items on the ground), but once you know what to look for it can be quite fun to circle around the area and search for more of them to dig up.


Possibly the most beautiful place on Makeb... and they send you there to dig up turds bark?

Also, they have a bit of open world randomness going on for them. When I first read about seeker droids, I thought that they sounded a bit like a rip-off of WoW's archaeology profession: travel to designated zones around the world, poke around on the ground a bit, pick up a predetermined number of pieces to work towards a reward. As it turns out, SWTOR's seeker droids actually work quite differently in some respects.

For one thing, you don't know where potential digs are located around the galaxy (outside of quest-specific ones) until you accidentally drive right over one and get a message that your seeker droid has detected something in the area. This means that you can't really "grind" random dig sites, but they are a nice surprise when they pop up unexpectedly as you were just on your way to your next daily quest.

They are also public and shared, so if there are other people around it's a bit of a race to get some digging in before either of you exhausts the area. I'm not entirely sure of the mechanics of this yet, but it seems that once a person finds something particularly interesting, it's broadcast as a message to everyone nearby and the dig disappears. Until then though, you can send out your droid to your heart's content and might find anything from random greys to green mods to blue armour. I'll definitely have to experiment with this some more.

The only thing that bugs me about seeker droids are their noises. There's nothing wrong with them per se... but if you've spent any time in an area where multiple people were using them continuously around you, you might know what I mean. I may or may not have jumped at my significant other while he was digging and yelled at him to please make the beeping stop...

3 comments:

  1. If you stop every so often on a planet and scan the surroundings with the macrobinoculars you sometimes will find one of the public seeker droid areas. I found one on Hoth that way (by accident) while doing the quests.

    The macrobinocular Heroic +4s were fun, but a bit rough doing as a pug without voice communication. The first of the two I two-manned with a Sage healer on my Sentinel, so that was nice. The second one required four people because of the puzzles bits. On the other hand, the Seeker Droid Heroic +4 was pretty easy in a pug as long as someone has read a guide.

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    1. Lol, we gave the Seeker Droid heroic a go but tried to figure it out as we went along... and not very well at that! Eventually we ran out of explosive barrels on the monster with three tongues and decided to give it a go again another time (also, to be fair we were three-manning at the time and a bit low on dps).

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  2. Binoculars?

    Oh oh, the Peeping Tom comes to TOR... ;-)

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