15/08/2013

Bounty Contract Week Begins

Today saw the start of SWTOR's newest recurring world event, Bounty Contract Week. I had successfully been avoiding detailed spoilers beforehand, so all I knew was that 1) there would be bounty hunting of some sort, 2) you could only do one event mission per character per day (or something like that), and 3) doing enough basic missions would eventually lead to more "elite" boss hunting missions.

I have to say that the "one mission per character per day" restriction immediately struck me as a very curious thing. I do wonder how casual players with only one or two characters to call their own feel about that kind of limitation: does it feel good to them, not having to worry about being overwhelmed by event content, or does it make them feel disadvantaged? One thing is certain: as a dedicated player with a dozen alts or more (I think the minimum level requirement to participate is 15?) you can still go hog-wild regardless.

Finding the introduction to the event on the fleet was easy enough, though it also immediately struck me as a little bit awkward. I just can't quite wrap my head around the idea of all classes working as bounty hunters. It just feels wrong for Jedi to get involved in that kind of thing for example - not lore-breaking, but wrong. Not that I expected Bioware to make an event centered only around players of the bounty hunter class, but still...

The missions themselves then continue the trend of the whole thing feeling ever so slightly "off" by being an awkward mishmash of story content and generic daily content. The text intro to each henchman mission is very bland, but then you get treated to a proper conversation cut scene where your "employer" tells you a bit about themselves and the target they want you to hunt. Good stuff! Except then you go off to interrogate some random "shady characters" who keep repeating the same lines about how they will or won't give you information, without you as the player actually getting any kind of indication about what all this information is. The whole thing just feels awfully vague after the very specific quest introduction. "What exactly am I doing here?" was something that I asked myself more than once. From a mechanical point of view, this part of the quest is also pretty camped right now, with lots of people competing for the same couple of NPCs to interrogate. It wasn't too bad on most planets on my server - except for Hutta, which was a cesspit of seemingly AFK characters standing all around the starting area, camping shady character spawn points.
 
Eventually the whole thing culminates in you hunting down a henchman to the real crime boss - and while these henchmen have names, they are randomly drawn from a limited pool of characters, which once again serves to make the whole experience kind of surreal. While doing seven henchman missions today, I apparently hunted down the same guy on three different planets in service to three different crime lords. Weird. It seems to me that this is just a cheap way of drawing out the achievements related to the event. If each henchman was tied to a specific planet, it would be easy to just "grind them all out", while this way you have to fight the RNG every time and hope that you'll spawn one that you haven't got yet.


Once I'd accumulated five bounty contract rewards, I got to participate in my first kingpin mission to bring down a crime lord. Now this was fun, if also very silly. Pay attention to what your character does right after you unlock your kingpin mission, because there's some humour involving cast bars in there which made me laugh out loud due to its sheer surprise value.

Kingpin missions are group content, which is always a plus in my book. We decided to try the one on Voss first, and I immediately liked that it felt a lot more focused and less vague than the henchmen missions had been. At least the one on Voss was also pretty silly - I'm not sure if they are all like that though. I mean, everybody who's ever quested on Voss knows how touchy the Voss are about their culture and how it's usually of utmost importance that you don't commit any missteps that might shed a bad light on your faction, right? Yeah, for the Voss kingpin mission you nab a "priceless" artefact to use as bait for the crime lord right in the middle of an important building in Voss-Ka, and then your target turns out to be a maniacally screeching trooper in a dress. /blinks. That planet sure has gone to the dogs...

I'm looking forward to investing some more time into this event this week, though I'm not sure how well it will do in terms of long-term appeal. As someone with a lot of alts I expect that I'll be able to burn through a good chunk of the content before the week is over.

6 comments :

  1. One character per mission per day doesn't bother me - but of course, I don't really have time to do more than twoish a night. But I'd rather just grind out two on the same toon than to have to switch toons and remember how 2 combat on an alt.

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  2. I really like that you’re always the optimist willing to try to see the best in any situation. That is very refreshing. I’m glad you’re still having so much fun with the game and I’m looking forward to reading more about your adventures.

    I generally dislike “world events”, but this post has inspired me to give the Bounty Contract Week at least a try this week. I just have to push my suspension of disbelief a bit further to accept bounty hunting Jedi who are upholding the values of the Jedi Order at the same time. This game just keeps pushing and pushing. Maybe I’ll just do the missions only once on my Bounty Hunter.

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    1. It definitely feels more appropriate to do these as a bounty hunter. Sith actually strike me as kind of ok too, because it fits their sometimes random nature. But for all the other classes... eh.

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    2. I felt like it really "fit" for my BH and Smuggler. The rest feel a bit strange, even for Sith. I don't think of Sith as those who are motivated much by random cash, but maybe I'm completely wrong on that point.

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  3. I still need to get into this. I've done a mission or two in between things (like waiting for an ops group to become full), but the normal missions feel quite generic, as you said, so it feels pretty much like boring questing. Still need to get to a higher tier bounty, though. I will get there!

    And yes, I went with my slinger on my first bounty because I felt going after bounties as a sage is just plain wrong. ^^

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  4. I consider bounty hunting on my Jedi Guardian simply to be a form of law enforcement. It's an undercover assignment that rids the galaxy of a few undesirables.

    If I have to force push a few chance cubes, so be it.

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