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 Post subject: Re: SW:TOR
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2015, 16:47 
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Dino

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I was fiddling around in the character creator just now and I seem to have inadvertently made Patrick Stewart. :P

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 Post subject: Re: SW:TOR
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2015, 19:48 
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 Post subject: Re: SW:TOR
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2015, 15:38 
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Dino

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I've been trying out the early access for TOR's latest Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion and Zeth asked me to share the things I talked to him about on Steam. Since I'm currently away from home and only have my laptop with me, and the chat log's on my PC back home, I'll have to try to remember what we discussed, and I'll include stuff that I found out after our chat.

So far, 9 chapters have been released, with a new chapter supposedly coming out every month, starting in 2016, I believe. At this stage I've mixed feelings about this expansion. I'm thoroughly enjoying the storyline and it's set up some intriguing questions about the emperor which, so long as they don't follow the example of Doctor Who and just leave them hanging, should make for an interesting plot. However, I felt the game-play in the early chapters left a lot to be desired: there are a lot of cut-scenes and it felt like the player character was being used as little more than a link between cutscenes - it was very linear, with no side quests and you had objectives such as talk to this person, open that door, reach that location (which often was only a short walk away), collect those objects, and there was very little in the way of battle. But it did gradually pick up the pace and by the time you reach Asylum in chapter 6 you get a bit more freedom of movement and a lot more action. The chapters were also very short, and one ran straight into the next as a piece of continuous action (only the instruction to press the space bar to continue indicated where one finished and the next started), with no returning to base to hand in missions and receive further instructions. I was also a little irritated at some of the dialogue options - in places it falls into the very trap that Alexander Freed (writer of the Agent storyline) said in an artical that MMO story writers should avoid at all costs - putting words into a character's mouth that could clash with the personality imagined for their character by the player.

I've now completed the first 8 chapters (didn't manage 9 before we came away on holiday) and I've now realised that their purpose is to form an introduction, providing the background of how the setting for Fallen Empire came about. Once I finished chapter 8 it all started to feel rather more like traditional TOR - I finally arrived at the protagonists' main base, where there were various people waiting to give me missions, and I got my ship back.

There are two big changes Bioware have made that affect the whole game, not just the expansion. One is that the separate class stats (strength, willpower, cunning, aim) have been amalgamated and replaced by mastery. It doesn't really seriously affect your character - you don't need to change their mods or anything, and I suppose it opens up a wider range of armour options for them - no reason now why you couldn't equip a piece intended for a different class.

The second concerns companions. How companions work has been completely redesigned. For a start, they no longer serve a specific function - you can choose whether each companion should serve as a tank, healer or DPS (and switch their function at any time) so if you wanted, you could have the daft situation of having a weedy little person like Talos Drellick serving as a tank or a huge Sith like Scourge acting as healer. Companions also now have fixed stats - my companions still had the outfits I had equipped them with (though for some reason, some items had been removed and returned to me in the mail and I had to try to remember what they'd been wearing and re-equip them) but they were no more than skins; mods etc. were greyed out. I was somewhat concerned to discover that the new companions who join you during the course of Fallen Empire don't appear have any clothing slots at all so I haven't been able to outfit them to fit my own tastes, which was a big disappointment. I sincerely hope you don't lose that ability for old companions in the expansion - assuming you eventually get them back. A third, more minor, change is to the affection system, which now works slightly different and has been renamed to influence. I read somewhere that characters whose affection was maxed out before now start at influence level 10 and can continue growing. (Another indication that we do eventually get our old companions back.)

According to Dulfy you access your old companions from a terminal in the alliance base but he'd had reports of it being bugged. When I checked it it told me there were no other companions located yet, which sounds like maybe things happen later.
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Dr. Oggurob has given Syldenar (the character I'm currently taking through the expansion) the task of finding Yuun, so maybe they turn up through missions. Syl also already has T7 and Scorpio in his team - T7 had already teamed up with Lana Beniko before the story began, and Scorpio was on Asylum, where he also met up with Tanno Vik. She chose to join him but Tanno Vik didn't offer (though he did help in a battle later). A Voss at the base also mentioned having identified a certain force-sensitive who she'd like to find and recruit, so I'm guessing that will probably be another companion. Syl's a sorceror but none of these have so far been old Inquisitor companions. You get told that many major characters from both factions are missing so I'm guessing you eventually end up with companions from across the class and faction divide, who have lost their previous leaders.


Update:
I've now established that the companions terminal becomes available after completion of Chapter 9, and the bug has now been fixed. You can opt to get access to them straight away or wait for them to be found during the course of the story. I opted for the latter and Syl's former companions are now all listed in my contacts panel under 'Unavailable Companions'.



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