Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Boss! De-CAY! De-CAY!

Remember when you used to condition yourself to clone and update your insurance every time you switched planets? Was that fun for you?

Or how about when you decided to repair your favorite blaster before a hunt with your guildies only to have the think break apart due to repair fail? Oh boy, wasn't that immersive!?

Replacing your armor on a weekly basis? That was awesome!

I personally opted to dabble in TK so I could have inherent armor, plus heal my own wounds through meditation. Because doctors were far and few between.

Well, that's not entirely true. Some were on kill/resurrect macros in the Village so they could achieve Jedi-hood. Yoda would be proud.

The concept of minding ones gear isn't a bad one on paper. It adds a level of complexity to a game system, plus it is a familiar concept from the real world that can be translated to a game in such a way that the idea makes sense. "Oh my pistol is damaged, I should fix it!" as opposed to "Negative Jawa Faction. Huh?"
SOE did not handle the decay system well enough. Degradation happened too quickly, had the risk of permanency, no guarantee for incremental fix success and could potentially be too costly.

With the old 'mix-and-match profession' system of yesteryear, a player could decide to dabble in the crafting professions in order to better their chances at maintaining their gear. The Combat Upgrade virtually removed the dabbling for those who wanted maximum combat capabilities. The NGE officially removed it.
Under the new system, players would resort to using crafter alts to maintain their gear on their combat character. So what's the point? There are those who wouldn't rely on alts, but they would find themselves robbed and crunched of their credits in order to maintain their gear.

All on the assumption that the gear could be maintained without risk of it exploding into uselessness.

And also assuming that the rate of decay doesn't become the main focus of combat. The threat of dying shouldn't be built upon the fear of losing a favorite shirt, nor should the downtime between combat be centered around finding a way to repair the damaged gear.

Repairs and maintenance are a part of the Star Wars movie lore. Just think of Han, Leia and Chewie all messing around with the Falcon. Artoo and the droids fixing the Queen's shuttle. Or even Luke with his X-Wing on Dagobah. How about the Rebels outfitting their snowspeeders for the cold? It's there, so it does have a legitimate place.

But SOE failed. The system left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. No good came of the system, and its return would add nothing to the game to improve playability, immersiveness or fun. Crafters continue to sell their goods, despite the lack of decay. Show me a crafter who cannot make a profit and I'll show you a crafter who should find the profession counselor and seek employment elsewhere.

SWG does not need decay again. Once again, it seems appropriate to say: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Day the Music Really Did Die

I won't lie. I logged in only once for Life Day. I shuttled to Wayfar to get my presents under the tree. And with the snow on the desert planet, that city really IS "way far". (Insert your grumbles, thrown tomatoes, or Price Is Right Fail horn here).

But I see now that the Life Day Music has changed. The absolute BEST part of Life Day has changed. And for no good reason given. Yes, I said 'BEST' and no, it's not "arguably" the best, because I'll not hear any argument over it, thank you very much. You in the back, put your hand down. You're wrong.

So it wasn't enough that the Theed Shuttle bug was fixed, now we have to suffer new music because... cripes, I don't know. Why?! Anyone have an explanation?

A wise (albeit complacent) person once said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". But no job security was ever achieved by following that rule, I surmise.

But this one boggles the mind. My saving grace is that I just don't care enough to once again do Life Day again.

(I meant to be redundant again.)

Devs! Shut UP Already! (A Holiday Rant)

Every profession has it’s own story. Smugglers are like Han Solo. Bounty Hunters are like Boba Fett. Iconic. Heroic. Complete voice acting. Blah blah blah blah!

Shut up, Bioware developers. Really. I mean, the more you hype your game, the less I want to try it.

Let me break it down for you. The smuggler that I play; the one that I created within the confines of the Star Wars genre, mythos and canon? Yeah, he’s NOT Han Solo. He’s nothing like him beyond the fact that he’s a smuggler by trade.

My bounty hunter? Well… he’s not Boba Fett. Almost the polar opposite.

But I won’t be able to play either of my creations in your game. No, I’ll have to create a close approximation, then listen to my characters story unfold no matter what umbrage I take with the whole ordeal.

And tell me again, just HOW do we chat with other players? Oh… we type? So while the main focus of the game has full voice acting, interactions with other players will be the archaic chat system that we currently have. Sure, THAT will be immersive. I really can’t wait to type to other players about how my Han Solo-esque smuggler just had to dump his cargo because of an Imperial…

Oh wait… THAT players smuggler just had to do the same thing.

Because we’re both smugglers.

Smugglers who are like Han Solo.

And while I’m on the rant, I really am starting to dislike the stylized characters. There is a certain “sameness” about them.

And back to that “total voiceover” crap again… what about aliens? Is there voiceover acting for Hutts? Rodians? Or will aliens just be a side-show; used as a reminder that this is a galaxy, far far away, but with the main focus being centered around the humans.

Oh, oh… and how do we TEAM UP with other professions if the quests are so different for each class? My wife sits 10’ away at her machine. The friggin’ voice over chaos is going to be unbearable, especially if we have to go off on our own individual quest lines. Good lord, is this going to fail, or am I way off target?

So really devs, stop talking. And stop confusing the time periods. It’s, what?, THOUSANDS of years ago, or something? And all we can do is reference Boba Fett, and Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Solo? The Empire? The Alliance? Is this an effort to try to pull in unsuspecting subscriptions? “Join the cause! Fight the Empire! Wait… this doesn’t like right.”

Sure, the game isn’t out. And we keep hearing about how it’ll have all the MMO features that are expected. And how cool it will be. And all about the voice acting.

Here’s a voice I’m tired of hearing: the Bioware developers. Shut up! Your game is going to suck unless you either tell us how it’s an MMO, or just change focus and turn it into a single player game that will kick serious tail.

The take-home message: Shut the hell up!