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A raider's look back on Tier 2 (warning long)

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
A raider's look back on Tier 2 (warning long)

Poirot's Avatar

07.08.2012 , 11:23 PM | #1
With nightmare mode Explosive Conflict imminent, and myself personally burned out with farming that dungeon ad nauseum I thought now would be as good a time as any to provide my personal feedback on TOR's tier 2, things I think they got spot on and, where I feel they went wrong.

Overall T2 was a vast improvement over T1 in terms of design. The key bullet points Bioware continued to stress in their numerous power point slide shows were mostly hit: the utilization of visual cues that actually make sense, more challenging encounter design, epic battles, better tools to form and manage groups finally a group finder, master looter that actually works (gasp!) and hotkeys for target markers better stability and consistency; yup tier 2 for the most part delivered on all that. Have to give credit where credit is due, Bioware came up with a pretty solid experience for raiders of all levels with this batch of content (sparse though it may be with just 1 flashpoint and operation).

I'd almost go as far to say that had TOR launched with this design framework and these systems in place we'd have had quite a few more PVE players stick around, better late than never though. Sadly even with these giant leaps in improvement they still fell short in quite a few areas. I thought it might be a good idea to bring them up, maybe they'll find it useful, maybe it sparks discussion or at least some thought. Here's a short list of what I feel needs to be looked at going forward to further enrich the Endgame PVE experience for TOR.

This game has STORY! (Then why so many missed opportunities?)

I find it quite disappointing that there's no build up whatsoever for any of the operations in this game. The tier 2 wave of content saw the arrival of a new daily mission area, one Operation and one new Flashpoint. What I find puzzling is none of this content really relates to each other in terms of story. It's the same issue T1 had. EV is located in Belsavis, there are a LOT of quests and a huge daily area on the planet, yet none of these tie in with the Eternity Vault itself. This feels like such a wasted opportunity to pump up the player base and get them excited to delve in and check out what's going on. Instead, in the case of the eternity vault we got a short dialogue with some random NPC on our vanguard ships saying "something to the effect of O-M-G gaiz, there's this crazy stuff going on Belsavis, super serial, don't know why you didn't notice while on the planet. Who cares anyway, back you go!"

When the Black Hole was first announced I thought for sure that this time around Bioware would find a way to connect it to what's going on in Denova. Nope, not even remotely connected, which is a shame. Denova feels entirely disjointed with the rest of the game, even if it's supposedly tied in through it's overarching plot line with the events of Karagga's Palace. Have to say it didn't feel that way at all. Don't get me wrong what's going on with the larger picture of the galaxy and the Dread Masters is a compelling story, I just wish the game did more to get me excited over it is all.

Thankfully Lost Island didn't suffer form these shortcomings as it was obviously intertwined quite well with Kaon. How about more like this in the future?

The spectral crustacean says: "bring the class, not the player!" (wait that's not right...)

My largest gripe with Operations in this game is buff and debuff distribution. Frankly there's not nearly enough of them to begin with, right now there's what, 2 debuffs that really matter? The current buff/debuff environment where really ArPen is the only debuff outside of the Marauder's Fury spenders that really matters gives little to no incentive to diversify your class or spec composition. While I don't want to see a situation where there's over homogenization or where bringing one of every class is absolutely mandatory it wouldn't hurt one bit to a: spread the wealth around (why do marauders have the monopoly when it comes to group affecting short term buffs?) and b: create a more complex and interesting buff/debuff matrix to increase group synergy.

Where's the "takes extra internal/elemental/force/tech damage from all sources" debuff? Where's the "your critical hits increase the damage of nearby group members by 3%" type of buffs and so on? In some cases, especially with the "Legacy buff" system, a class's performance in group play is no different from being solo (say for instance an Arsenal Mercenary)! This is very, very disappointing one of the great things about being in raids is to see how the whole becomes much more than the sum of its parts, that's hardly the case here in TOR.

TOR's stats lack diversity:

"Main stat" + endurance + crit and surge or shield and absorption + power or defense + accuracy or alacrity. That's it, your stat selection is entirely made for you based on your given role. The mix is entirely predetermined, the weights vary marginally between classes or specs (because of how DRs kick in to prevent stat stacking). I guess it's "fine for now" since the stats for the most part work, though accuracy and alacrity could really use some spicing up, and bosses should use more attacks subject to shielding (what's the point forcing tanks into so much shield and absorption if the bosses will just keep on bypassing them?).

Down the road , especially with the talk of "increased level caps" being bandied around stats and diversifying how they interact with various specs really need to be looked at.

TOR's gear is frankly, boring...

Somewhat a product of the above, but really falls more into stale design decisions. Tier 1 and Tier 2 share the exact same set bonus! Wait what? And it's not like the set bonuses currently present in the game are that interesting either (though admittedly some are quite powerful). How about putting some interesting proc effects on set bonuses? Creative stuff such as, idk, "your Dark Ward has 5 extra charges" or "casting Tracer Missile increases the damage of your next unload by 2%, stacks 5 times?" Those example of course aren't tuned but you get the point add some "oomph" and excitement to the sets.

Speaking of procs, the relics are really boring. 30 more damage every 4.5 seconds than the previous tier! But wait there's more! ( What's that, there's nothing more? Oh.) How about diversifying the relics to make them more interesting and dynamic? Say a relic that gives you 10 additional power every time you land a critical hit, stacking up to 20 times? (The ramp up prevents it from being OP in PVP environments) How about a relic that increases your defense by 10 (not 10%, just 10) every time you shield an attack of vise-versa? How about a relic with a use effect that summons a pack of astromech medical droids to heal the 5 closest injured targets for moderate amounts of health? Any of these options would be far more interesting than just taking what's currently in game and adding a 20 to the present values.


Thankfully Explosive Conflict and the Lost Island have been far more stable and consistent than their predecessors (lol Soa, Jindo, Interrogator Droid). The only real problem is whenever a large issue crops up *coughGiftoftheMasterscough* it feels like Bioware takes far too long to address and rectify the problem. Serious imbalances such as these (or the litany of Soa and Ancient Pylon problems for instance) should never stay unresolved for long periods of time. Rather these are the type of issues that need to be addressed via hotfixing, emergency patches or at the very least through fixes in the weekly maintenance window immediately after these issues are detected.

Yes I'm aware this is a tough task, but issues like this should be treated as absolutely critical if the game is serious about presenting a AAA standard group content environment.

"Press 'A' for AWES... nothing?!"

Global Cooldown misfires STILL happen with astonishing regularity. Either a: fix them or b: at least have the class to remove the patchnote stating this problem has been addressed. I'd prefer "option a" myself. This issue is doubly frustrating when you're trying to run finely tuned content only to see your efforts fail because that taunt you cast on Kephes didn't happen or some such event. Please fix this ASAP, I don't care if you don't give us new color crystals for the rest of the year as long as you fix this incredibly frustrating problem.

UI shortcomings:

Buff and debuff tracking are next to impossible with the current UI. Please give us filters, buff and debuff timers, the ability to tag operation frames so we know who has debuffs we need to dispel and so on. If you ever get around to designing another fight where debuffs on group/operation members plays a huge part in success and failure (ala Jarg and Sorno) the current UI elements will be woefully inadequate. Also why does it have to be such a pain to know which corrosive dart is mine and which belongs ot my Sniper group mate?!

Legacy abilities are fun and neat, but to quite a few classes, there simply is nowhere near enough room to fit all these situational abilities which we can only ever use solo onto our hotbars. I love having the ability to force choke a mook on my Commando, what I don't live is I have to open the freaking abilities pane to use it. Please just give us a "heroic moment action bar" which only appears on screen over the duration of your heroic moment ability. Oh and just give us a stealth bar already FFS, especially if you're ever thinking of adding more abilities that key off stealth in the game in future updates. Hell at this point if you want to stupidly tie it into the legacy system and make it something I have to buy for credits I'd do it. The amount of potential bar space a player has in this game is way too constricting.

Oh and still no ready check feature (why?!)

In closing

There are a few other minor things that could see improvement in the PVE aspects of the game, but those that I listed above are what I'd like to see worked on more than anything. Overall though 1.2 and 1.3 were big steps in the right direction and renewed my waning faith in Bioware to actually deliver on their promise of an AAA MMO. Here's to hoping that 1.4 and beyond continue to build on the foundation currently in place in TOR.

TLDR: None, if you didn't feel like reading then don't bother posting either, kthnx.

Darth_Pants's Avatar

07.08.2012 , 11:34 PM | #2
Agree with everything I think.....


Yup. Agree on every point. Scary.
**** my head k?

but i would add a few little note around classes.

i play a gunslinger main, but have dabbled in all classes and have most over 40.
one thing i have found on everything other than my sage / sorc, is that you are punished with BORING gameplay for messing up your rotation. and to me, that is pure insanity. i understand that they tried something a little different with your regen rates reducing the lower you get on said resource, but that is boring. you should be rewarded with higher dps / hps for getting your rotation right, i completely understand that, but you should not be forced to mindlessly spam one boring, boring, useless ability for 30+seconds just because you hit the wrong key or got a little overexcited.
i am NOT saying give us endless resources or that the rotations are hard or anything like that. i dont want to be the best. i still want my performance to be effected if i make a mistake, just not my enjoyment of the game.

hate to bring up wow, but it really does do this fantastically.

Hunters, have an ability that regens resource and still hits somewhat hard, and has a cast timer to make it feel more solid, and not just like auto attack. works well.

Rogue. because of auto attack, and the speed at which resource regens, even when pooling you never feel like you are just waiting. it regens so damn fast it becomes a little mini game in itself getting the start point right so you dont cap. feels great.

Warrior. Everything generates resource, lol. hitting, getting hit, etc etc. (standing in zee fires to get more RAAAaAAAAAAGE anyone?) to be fair, it took them many, many years to get this right.

i really hate to say this, but i kinda think alot of this feeling is only possible because of the auto attack...

anyways, thy are just some ideas. i understand that this would require a MAJOR reworking of the skills and resource system, so its most likely something that would be looked @ for an expansion, but yeah. i just had to point out that myself, and alot of ppl i talk to find the resource system to be quite boring and not very dynamic. none of us want endless resources, we just want it to feel more dynamic and fun.

also, there is maybe 2 armor styles on republic that are not completely horrible, and although imps have by far the better looking sets, they still have some absolute SHOCKERS.....(geddit?)

paul_preib's Avatar

07.09.2012 , 01:14 PM | #3
Well reasoned and argued and while I don't agree on every point I agree on most, and am appreciative also of the tone taken in making said points.
Cyperian -- Sorceror Cyterian-- Sentinel Cyrellian-- Trooper Cyprian-- Sage
Cylerian-- Scoundrel Kyrellian-- Sniper
Of the Bloodborne and Deargna-Fhuil Legacies

NotSevv's Avatar

07.09.2012 , 01:39 PM | #4
Hate to point out the painfully obvious but tier 1 content in swtor was basically what tier 1 content should be. It is an introductory tier of "endgame" content yes the hard core players always complain that the difficulty isn't there and bioware did fail at making nightmare of tier 1 be that challenge. Tier 2 content was where it should be, and hopefully nightmare ec is that challenge it should be.
Viral (Corellian Run)
It burns when I PvP (Prophecy of the Five) GM

VulcanLogic's Avatar

07.09.2012 , 01:56 PM | #5
I'll agree on two points strongly; more story tied in with the outside of raid commendations dailies, and of course, UI debuff and buff tracking. The UI for tracking debuffs is just plain bad. Try raiding with two balance shadows and a balance sorc and keeping track. Or a few lethality snipers and an operative. It needs to be addressed soon.

Regarding a better distribution of buffs and debuffs in the game, hopefully that will come with level cap increases. But given the nature of operations in the game, where 8 is the standard rather than 16, I'd prefer any class specific buffs and debuffs to be just that--class specific, rather than advanced class specific. I've been involved in a "one of each" 8 man all of one time. Perhaps a legacy perk where you could opt for your cross class AC buff/debuff would also work, but I wouldn't suggest extending those outside of class (like say, a sniper buff getting picked up via legacy by a bounty hunter).

Aside from that and the few bugs which need quashing, I found T2 to be quite enjoyable, but rather short. Four operations bosses and a world boss that can't be done with an 8 man just isn't up to par for AAA MMO elder content. I hope to see more bosses per tier going forward. Now that the whole game is up, and critical MMO systems for the most part working, they need to do what WoW did with BC--lots and lots of end game bosses. BC had 52 raid bosses. Fifty-two. They need to release at least low forties operations bosses by September of 2013 to be considered even remotely in step with that. Hopefully this will be the case.
Yo. Droid companions need an operations vendor, too. My extra coms have to go somewhere, and I'd prefer SCORPIO to Kaliyo.

Onibubu's Avatar

07.09.2012 , 01:59 PM | #6
Nicely written post.
I agree with most things you have writte but...

Quote: Originally Posted by Poirot View Post
With nightmare mode Explosive Conflict imminent, ...
Could you please give me a link where a bioware official said that we get NiM EC?
Because it is missing for so long that I seriously doubt they will ever release Nightmare mode and just go on with another raid,
Knights of the Shadows, Vanjervalis Chain - Republik
T1:10/10 NM T2:4/4 HM

alifaraaz's Avatar

07.09.2012 , 02:28 PM | #7
THey said NiM EC will be in our hands as soon as they can give it to us :P that could be ages away or around the corner, who knows.

On the whole neat post, I hope they read it and take the advice onboard for the future, even if it's the distant future. The future for swtor PvE could be pretty bright if they continue to deliver and imrpove (As they have suggested in interviews etc)
Kazar - Powertech, [Tomb of Freedom Nadd EU]

xlDARKSIDElx's Avatar

07.09.2012 , 02:56 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Onibubu View Post
Nicely written post.
I agree with most things you have writte but...

Could you please give me a link where a bioware official said that we get NiM EC?
Because it is missing for so long that I seriously doubt they will ever release Nightmare mode and just go on with another raid,
In the most recent podcast they said that NM EC is going to come to swtor.
"Who I am is not important, my message is."

Coriolan_Martius's Avatar

07.09.2012 , 03:04 PM | #9
Awesome sauce there OP ... I completely agree most especially with the ability delay / misfire.

Tsillah's Avatar

07.09.2012 , 03:48 PM | #10
Interesting thread with very few replies to it. I wonder if it might have something to do with the fact that aside from a few raiding guilds, the vast majority of players hasn't even set foot in EC story mode, myself included.

I still think that gear progression in this game makes no sense at all and doesn't encourage most players to continue with it. Part of the issue here is that endgame simply is not properly structured and actually keeps people from doing ops than get them excited about doing them. EV is pretty fun I think (now Soa isn't bugged anymore that is) and HM it's also pretty fun...if you can find a group of course. But as soon as it gets to KP there's already a further sifting taking place and EC beyond that it would seem.

I suppose it's good that the hardcore raiders have something to sink their teeth in but I think it would be healthier for the game and the long term population if there was more endgame for raiders who are not as organised as raiding guilds or generally for level 50s. Just my thoughts, but it seems that you represent a very small part of the population and one could argue that that's a sad fact by itself.
Ultimately I am a much more reasonable person when people reply to what I actually wrote instead of what they decided I meant with it