29/05/2019

Seek And You Shall... Be Surprised?

Bhagpuss' adventures in SWTOR continue to surprise and amuse me. I mean, here are the developers trying really hard to funnel new players into just doing the storyline, by highlighting the main quest chains in bright purple and hiding all side missions by default, and what does Bhagpuss do? Barely halfway through his class story on his first character, he starts doing macrobinocular and seeker droid missions.

I tried to alleviate his confusion about them a little bit with a helpful comment, but after posting it I did find myself pausing for a bit. Was I sure that my assessment of seeker droid areas only rewarding "junk" was still accurate? Just how long had it been since I last visited one anyway?

As I was driving around Hoth in search of information about nerfs (don't ask), I drove past one of those areas that caused my seeker droid to light up because it had detected something interesting. I decided to detour towards it and do a little digging to refresh my memory.


I did not find any of the "junk" I was expecting, such as low-level mods and green implants. I guess someone at Bioware did bother to go through the loot tables to remove those at some point. The first thing I found was a seeker droid related consumable that, according to its tooltip, "reduces the deployment time for your Seeker Droid by 100% for 1 hour". Wow, so it's instant then? Actually... as it turns out, it "only" makes your Seeker Droid go about twice as fast (whoever wrote that tooltip apparently doesn't understand how percentages work), but it was still a neat little thing that I previously hadn't even known existed.

Other things I proceeded to dig up were various speeder parts (they are a type of loot I vaguely remembered though I hadn't thought about them in ages, and I always thought they were much rarer), more of the speed boost consumables, some blue "secure crates" containing grade seven crafting materials (this was about the closest to what I'd consider junk, because while not totally useless, rank seven materials are of little value six years past their prime), GSI reputation tokens (no good for me anymore since I'm maxed out, but useful loot in principle), as well as one piece each of the cosmetic Dread Seed and Star Forager gear sets (that's the one valuable I actually remembered existing but had never seen myself before).


It was kind of mesmerising and before I knew it, I'd spent a full hour digging, at which point I asked myself: Just how long was this going to continue? As far as I remembered, dig sites were supposed to deplete after a while, but maybe that had been changed too? I looked it up and the exact way it's supposed to work is that the dig site stays up until someone finds the "special treasure". Since I was the only person working on it, I figured that this might be the reason for it taking so long and decided to keep going.

As it turns out, the system does still work this way, and I did eventually find the special treasure. Unfortunately that was indeed junk - a piece of purple level 55 gear, which is pretty much totally worthless now. Special treasure my arse.


While this was an anticlimactic conclusion to my little treasure hunting adventure, I was still positively surprised by how much better the loot had been than I expected. For example I got so many of the speeder parts that I was able to go and buy one of the speeders in the GSI offices on Nar Shaddaa straight away. It's nothing special in terms of looks, but it was still a nice little reward that I hadn't expected to get when I started digging.


I'd almost consider going back to dig for more, but let's be honest: While the treasure was marginally better than I had expected, I still spent one and a half hours just walking in circles in a small area of Hoth and shaking my fist at the seeming inaccuracy of the directions I was given at times. (My tip: Always use one of the consumables that are supposed to improve accuracy. The process is maddening enough either way, but at least this alleviates the pain a little.) There's a reason players haven't been clamouring en masse for Bioware to add more content for this system.

Back in October they actually said during a dev livestream that they were going to bring back macrobinoculars and seeker droids on Ossus, with the latter system also slated to receive some improvements. Based on the complete lack of coverage of the subject once 5.10 actually released, I'm guessing that this feature didn't make the final cut though... oh well. Nobody seems to be missing it either.

6 comments :

  1. It hasn't really been touched for a while I think. I focused hard on them during one of the calms between expansions 2 or 3 years back. It is a bit of a time sink.

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    1. Yeah, that's what I figured, which is why I was surprised that someone had bothered to remove all those low level gear pieces from the loot table (except for the "special treasure"). I was grateful for that though; I'm pretty sure that's why it felt like I was finding more decent items than I had expected.

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  2. So far I have yet to dig up a single thing! I haven't figured out how to triangulate using the feedback the droid gives, assuming that's even possible, and my random digs have so far proved fruitless. I will carry on when I happen to see the message, though. It's kind of relaxing.

    The real issue isn't whether or not the effort is worth it but the way the Missions just appear with no real explanation. What's more, the way they're presented makes them seem somewhat important and exciting, considerably more so, in my opinion, than 90% of the narrative Missions. If you hadn't popped onto my comment thread with some background and context I would have no idea these things were added as filler to keep regulars quiet during a content drought.

    Every MMORPG does it, though. GW2 and EQ2 both have plenty of legacy content that was added at various times when things were otherwise quiet. Most of it never gets removed unless it was specificaly designed to have a use-by date, which is good because often it's fun content and deserves to stay in the game but it would be nice if someone thought to add a short contextual explanation once the activities are no longer current so latecomers can have a clue what's going on.

    That said, I am being particularly stubborn in SWTOR about not looking things up out of game unless I get totally stuck. Usually I don't hesitate to look for instructions and walkthroughs at the first hurdle but somehow it seems to be more fun at the moment stumbling around trying to figure stuff out on the fly. I'm sure it won't last...

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    1. It's not really about triangulation I think, you just follow the green pointers as best as you can, even if they sometimes seem to lead you in circles.

      I don't think I've ever seen anyone describe the seeker droid missions as seeming exciting and important, hehe. I do think that in terms of indicating importance the purple/gold distinction works well enough, but general guidances is definitely something that's lacking. I often see people ask about what order they are supposed to do things in, because the game doesn't make it at all obvious. Just another side effect of how fast its levelling is these days, as the missions will just pile up in your log and on the fleet faster than you can complete them.

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  3. I still have several speeder parts in my bank. They've been there for years.

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    1. You might want to check the GTN! I put some of my spares up for sale and was surprised to find that they were going for several hundred thousand credits. Mind you, I don't know (yet) whether anyone actually buys them for that price, hehe.

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