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State of the Game: My Opinion (Please share your thoughts)

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State of the Game: My Opinion (Please share your thoughts)
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SocraticSteve's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 08:52 AM | #1
State of The Game: My Opinion

I first want to say that I have always respected Bioware for their devotion to story and producing quality games. With that said, I'd humbly like to share my opinion of the game so far.

First, your accomplishment of finally bringing engaging storylines to the MMO genre is MUCH appreciated. Full and complete voice-acting has been standard in most genres of games for years, and it's about time MMO's caught up. Most importantly, I have been having fun playing the game and I hope to continue to do so for some time. However, I feel that there are some things that are holding the game back from being as great as it could be. There have been many times when I thought that something could have been done better or felt incomplete, and some times that I was left shaking my head wondering what in the world you guys were thinking.

Don't get me wrong, you guys have done several things well, but I feel that with several elements you have followed the traditional MMO formula much too closely, or just dropped the ball. So I'd like to outline and explain my biggest concerns about the game, and make suggestions of how they could be fixed.

1. Customization needs to be a higher priority.

-Specifically, we need more options and it needs to be MUCH easier to customize our characters. In a game with an actual storyline, we're supposed to feel an emotional connection to our character. In order to do this, our character NEEDS to feel like an individual. I currently don't feel this way. I don't feel that I have created my character's appearance. I feel like I have done the best I could with what is available, but I don't really feel unique. This is especially true in the early levels.

I remember in a recent podcast you guys said that you like to give us a task to accomplish things. But it should NOT be a task to customize our appearance! Now I don't mean we should have all options available to us immediately, but as it is we have to work to change our clothes! As a level 50 with high grade gear, it would cost me more then 100,000 credits to unslot all of the mods out of a piece of armor. This is ridiculous! I have to pay 100k just to change my pants?! I have been wanting to change some of my character's clothing options, but have felt that it's simply not worth spending all the credits because I'm low on credits as it is. So even if I have the clothing I want, I can't afford to wear it!

We also need more freedom to customize. Any character should be able to look however they want, regardless of class or faction. I feel like my character's appearance is more based on how you the devs think he should look, instead of how I want him to look. Why does my Sorceror HAVE to wear robes? Why does my Bounty Hunter HAVE to wear heavy armor? Why can't I dress them the way I want to?

And why is there still no dye system? Personally I feel like this is something that should have been in since launch. The ability to change the color of our armor and equipment seems like a basic feature to me. This is one of those cases that have left me shaking my head in confusion. I know it's not a game breaking omission, but it's a basic feature. The lack of things like this leads to the current "incomplete" feeling I have about the game.

If I were to put the game's current level of customization on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being along the lines of APB (custom body proportions, face scaling, custom textures and other things), I would place SW:TOR at about a 4. I would like to see it at about a 6 or 7.

Suggestions to fix the problems with customization:

-Remove the credit costs to unslot modifications, allowing us to change out pieces of equipment for free.
-Remove faction and weight class limitations from all armor.
-Make all armor become adaptive, so that it acts as the highest weight class available to a character, (allowing anyone to wear any armor, provided they meet the lvl. requirements and whatever.)
-Make an orange Custom class version of ALL models of armor available.
-Create some kind of dye system that allows us to choose the colors of our armor, and if possible our weapons. (This needs to happen as soon as possible, at least for armor.)
-I would also like to see a voice pitch feature, which would allow us to raise or lower our character's tone of voice.
-A larger number of options at character creation would also be appreciated. For example why are Humans the only ones with facial hair options? A separate facial hair option would be nice for cyborgs and any other species that can have it.
-Oh and of course the ability to put any hood up or down.

2. The current crafting system is broken.
-So far I have tried Synthweaving and Cybertech, and have had two VERY different experiences. My main experience is with Synthweaving, and I'm sorry but it's just ridiculous. The crafting system is so complex, cumbersome, confusing and unintuitive that I hardly use it. This is another feature that has left me shaking my head. I was really excited by the prospect of crafting in the time before launch, but have been severely let down.

When I open my Synthweaving window, I am greeted by a massive list of recipes; most of which are for items that no one will ever want and there is no reason for me to make. And for every green recipe, I can reverse engineer it to learn up to 17 variations of that item. Of course in the time it would take to get the one I want, I could easily outlevel the item and obtain a better item through questing or Flashpoints.

Now, as a Synthweaver, I basically just look for recipes for orange items to see if they offer any kind of new cool appearance. But I see no real reason to try to craft and sell any items because I never needed to go on the markets to find armor so why would anyone else? When I have sold crafted items on the market I can only seem to sell them at a price that barely gives me any profit, and is therefore not worth the hassle. Of course I now have the option of making Augments, but finding recipes on the market that are good enough is hard to do, and if I do find one it is insanely overpriced.

That has been my experience with Synth, and I imagine Armormech is quite the same. My limited experience with Cybertech has been quite different. From what I've seen it should be a lot easier to keep my moddable gear upgraded. Plus, I get to make unique ship upgrades, speeders, and usable grenades? Yeah, I think I'll get a lot more use out of this.

Suggestions to help crafting:

-The system needs to be simplified and made easier to understand and use.
-Every item we make needs to be something useful that people would actually have a reason to buy, not a bunch of pointless fluff.
-The team really needs to go back and really figure out what the role of the different crafting professions should be and how they fit into the game as a whole.

-As it is, I regret taking Synthweaving and wasting so much time on it, as I get very little use out of it. I was thinking a way to improve Synth and Armormech would be to basically make them the tailors of the game. To do this, Synth and Armor crafters could learn to make an orange customizable version of most armors in the game. Perhaps when reverse engineering an item, there could be an option that would allow you to choose between receiving crafting materials or learning to make an orange item that looks just like that item (that has the same level requirement). This would be great. While on the fleet I've often seen people link an item and ask if there is an orange version of that item because they like the look so much. Imagine if you could just give that item to a crafter, they reverse engineer it and then make an orange version for you! (although if the item is bound they wouldn't be able to trade it... hmmm that's a problem.)

But anyway, some kind of system like this would really open up the options for clothes. Plus there are many armor models that are just going to waste because they are used on pointless items. I mean every planet has those Light/Medium/Heavy armor vendors but I've never bought anything from them because their items are trash with stats so low they're useless. Those are Art assets (work your employees put time and effort into) that are being completely wasted. If we could RE those items into orange item recipes, they'd actually get used.

Of course Synth could only do this with Willpower and Strength based items while Armormech could do it with Aim and Cunning based items. And I'm sure you would want to block off certain items like Social gear that are rewarded by other means.

3. Social tools need fixing.
- Most of the social tools and features need to be overhauled. The guild system feels like a bare minimum feature, the team search function is a bad joke, and the whole Social Ponts system makes no sense at all.

Now, I know the team search function is being replaced in 1.3, so I won't say much except that I really can't believe that such a useless tool was ever implemented and that it took this long to fix it. I'm sorry but this just seems like a terrible lack of analysis and judgement. In a recent video you mentioned how a team search function was "one of the most requested features." But the thing is... we should not have had to request a functioning team search feature! That's something that should have been a given and in since launch. This is the same way I feel about an armor dye system. We shouldn't have to ask for some of this stuff!

Another feature that has left me shaking my head is the Social Points system. I honestly don't know what the idea behind this was. If it was meant as an incentive to group up, it failed horribly. The current need for Black Talon or Esseles farming is clear evidence that the system doesn't work. Why do you only get Social points from group conversations, and why be rewarded when you get the lucky conversation roll? If the idea is to promote grouping and community, players should receive social points for any and all interactions with other players. I think it should basically be a system like Experience, that you only earn in a team and the larger the team the faster you earn them. So, playing with one other person doing basic missions you'll gain social points slowly. In a four man team, you'll earn them three times as fast, then give bonus social points for completing Heroic missions and Flashpoints. Do an Operation and earn them at an even higher rate. Take down a world boss and get a big mess of points. Also... PVP! Complete warzones or accomplish goals in open-world PVP and get social points (even if you're not on a team). And there should be greater rewards besides a few sets of Social armor. Maybe some special pets, or special consumable items that buff your whole team- like a team Stim. Special emotes also work.

Like I said, the guild system could really be expanded. At the moment it's basically just a group Friend list. I haven't had any experience with the guild bank as my Guild has basically been dead for a couple months.

Ways to improve the guild system:

-Let us inspect guild members even if they are offline.
-Let us search our guild for crafters and inspect their recipes. Then let us basically place an order with the item that we would like that person to make us. Then, whenever they are on, they can look at their orders, craft the items, and have them automatically sent to the recipient.
-Guild coalitions or whatever you want to call it would also be nice. Allowing larger groups to communicate.
-Some kind of in-game event calendar would also be great.

Other social features we need:

-Legacy friends! So that we can see if a friend is online regardless of what character they are on and regardless what faction that character is.
-Legacy banks to easily share items among our characters.
-Cross-faction chat. If I understand right, custom chat channels are locked by faction. Change this. Let's say I'm on a Republic character but some people are making a team to do an Imperial Operation I've been wanting to do, I'd like to know.
-Also, Chat groups. Essentially, just let us look at a list to see how many people are in a custom chat channel and who they are.

The market also needs to be improved. Combining the neutral market with the faction markets is a good start, but the system needs improvement.
-If I sell a stack of items the price I enter should be the price per item.
-If I'm selling a stack of items the buyer should be able to buy as many of them as they want, instead of having to buy the whole stack.
-When I search for items to buy and I arrange them by price, it should be by the price per item.
-When on the Purchase tab, if I click drag and drop an item it should do an automatic search for that item.
-It would also be nice if there was some way to place an order for something we needed then have a crafter or supplier fill that order.

4. PVP could use some love.
-I'm not a hardcore PVPer, but I do enjoy it and it could be expanded upon. First of all would of course be open-world PVP. Tatooine's Outlaw's Den is a dead zone, and I never got to try Ilum's PVP before you guys killed it so I'm not sure what the problem was there, but fixing those areas and giving us a reason to use them should be high on the PVP list.

After that, ranked warzones would be nice as well as cross-server warzones, if that's possible.

Other issues:
There are a few miscellaneous things I'd like to add:

- What is with the insane prices for things like legacy rewards or some vehicles? Honestly I feel like I'm being punished because I DIDN'T abuse Slicing when I could. I've been 50 for a couple months and only recently hit 1 million credits for the first time and only when focusing on making money, and I'm a pretty regular player. I can't imagine how a casual player must feel. Maybe I'm alone on this one but the prices for some stuff seems way too high.

-The end-game system needs to be simplified and/or explained to the player. I mean, as a player, I shouldn't HAVE to go on the net to learn how to play the game. I'm still not positive on how everything works. So I need Tionese Crystals and Tionese Comms to get Tionese gear. And I get those from completing Hardmode FPs. Why is there two different Tionese resources exactly? I get Columi Comms from completing Ops, but I can also earn trade-in items that will give me a whole piece of Columi gear. I don't know how you get Rakata gear, I'm guessing from Hardmode Ops? And then Black Hole gear has better stats then my Columi gear but doesn't provide me with the Set Bonus for the Rakata Force-Master gear. So, I dunno. Skip the Black Hole gear? But then what am I suppose to do with all the Black Hole Comms I earned? Campaign gear gives me the bonus and has better stats, but I have no idea how you get Campaign gear. And then there are all the Daily Comms I've been working on earning. Let's see the mods are equal to Tionese gear, so wait I should have gotten those before earning the Tionese gear? Dang it! And then there are earpieces and implants which are better then the Columi ones, but can also be earned from the Rakata gear vendor, so... um, ok. Then there are relics which I don't think can be earned elsewhere. So use the daily Comms on the relics and the earpieces/implants, or just use them on the relics and get the earpiece/implant some other way? So, once I get all my gear up to Tionese level there's no reason to do HM FPs anymore? Ok, quick question... WHAT THE **** IS GOING ON?!?!

And honestly now, the game doesn't explain ANY of this to me?!

-And is there any reason to do space combat at lvl 50? The outfits don't excite me much and the only other thing is those item boxes, but I don't really like random item rolls because I don't even know if I'll be able to use the item I get. If not I just wasted a bunch of commendations and a ton of time for nothing.

-And although I appreciate the idea behind the Legacy family tree, in practice it just doesn't work well. First, I like to make my characters as unique as possible which means almost all my characters are a different race, so having them be siblings or parent-child doesn't really fit. Second, all of these character's stories are going on at the same time with them being approximately the same age, so again the parent-child thing is awkward. The difference with Luke and Anakin was that Anakin's story really took place long before Luke's. They were dealing with different events in different time periods. Personally, my "Family Tree" is just a straight line. I changed one of my characters so that she was my main's sister, but the rest are just ally, adversary, ally, ally... you get the picture.

-Also, I hate the way there are currently Dark-side or Light-side exclusive items. Once again I feel like YOU are telling me how to play my character because I have to follow a set path of Dark or Light in order to obtain certain items. I shouldn't be punished for being unique and not following your set paths.

-My newest character has Slicing (as I'm trying to find a better way to make money), and quickly realized that something was wrong. Why is it that any Slicing mission that rewards lockboxes that is rated above Moderate, always results in a LOSS of credits? Even if you succeed, the money earned in the lockbox doesn't even cover the cost to run the mission, making these missions less then a waste of time. They actually waste your time and money without a chance of a reward. I assume this is a result of the "fixing" that happened. A new player who's not as observant as myself could easily loose a lot of money on this.

-Why are some color crystals harder to find then others? This seems like a matter of preference, which means you get punished for having a certain preference. Like red or blue? Congrats you'll have an easy time getting the color you like! Prefer purple or pink? Good luck with that! Luckily my favorite color is green, which means it was easy to get the color I wanted once alignment restrictions were removed. I really wish I knew the reasoning behind this.

Ok, this concludes my post. Now there are several other things I would like to see, but these are some of my biggest concerns. Honestly I think you should take some time off from developing new content to really polish the game as a whole and fix some of these serious issues. I'm afraid that until many of these issues are fixed the game will still feel incomplete. Also, when you look at features, new or old, really examine the reason each decision is made. Like in a recent Q&A you guys said it was suppose to be cheaper to repair Heavy armor to offset the fact tanks would need to repair more, but then you created Light Armor tanks but never changed the cost of repairs. This is something that should have been caught and fixed, not forgotten about until six months after launch. In other words, spend some time to go through the game with a fine-toothed comb and really analyze the game and make sure everything is as good as it can be.

Again, all my criticisms come with the greatest respect because I love the IP and the world that has been created from the days of KoTOR 1, and I want the best for this game.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. As with all my posts, please feel free to share any questions, comments, or to just sound off in agreement because the more interest we show, the more likely the devs are to take notice.

Karabal's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 08:56 AM | #2
I'm gonna finish reading Game of Thrones first. I can't have two going at the same time.

Ok I skimmed through section 1. I cant see anything wrong with your suggestions. Especially the insane cost of removing armor slots. I know some people have said how easy it is to farm credits by doing dailies but to me doing dailies bores me to death. I don't see why customizing your character's looks should be a grind at all. It's like waking up every day going outside to dig a big hole to and fill it back in just to put on a clean t-shirt.

Gungan's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 09:13 AM | #3
Holy accurate analysis Batman!

Darkulous's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 09:16 AM | #4
A good read, thx for the time and effort you put into it OP. I agree with just about everything you said. In my opinion this game has never had a content problem. It's been a "lack of features" problem. Most people list the Large features that are missing, but it's the HUGE amount of small features that were left out that really bugs me.
Ebon Hawk
Bobba'Fat - BH

SocraticSteve's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 09:20 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Duren_Col View Post
Your post is kinda long is what he is saying.
Ah, well I wanted to make one consolidated post with all my opinions rather then letting them be buried in the other various forums. Plus, I believe this is important and wanted to get all of my thoughts out. I really want this game to succeed, but I have serious concerns.

Karabal's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 09:23 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by SocraticSteve View Post
Ah, well I wanted to make one consolidated post with all my opinions rather then letting them be buried in the other various forums. Plus, I believe this is important and wanted to get all of my thoughts out. I really want this game to succeed, but I have serious concerns.
Meant no disrespect. Its an awesome post. Very detailed and analytical. Just gonna take a while to read and really think about your comments.

MrSchmo's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 09:32 AM | #7
Is this out on paperback yet?

I'll have to come back and finish as I'm done with my bathroom break.
That's why they call it space, cause there is so much of it.

Urael's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 09:37 AM | #8
Spot on SocraticSteve!

Good Post.

Don't mind the nay sayers. Just check their post history and you will see why.

Good Job and thank you!

chrisftw's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 09:58 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Karabal View Post
Ahem. Sorry to burst your bubble but why are you even posting on this forum? As you are not currently subbed your posts are totally invalid. And unlike you I'm not too lazy to dig a little deeper.

i have unsubbed. but i've never wrote any unsub threads nor do you see me writing novels about how the game can improve based on what i hate and how it should improve. although I am thinking about resubbing. been thinking about it all day.

also to me the game itself is PERFECT. its the population issue that got me.

which means my post stands on its own merits.
Tell me more Brotholomew.

TUXs's Avatar

06.08.2012 , 10:04 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Karabal View Post
I'm gonna finish reading Game of Thrones first. I can't have two going at the same time.
That's funny lol!

And a very good post OP! Well written.
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