I’ve taken the SWTOR Server Transfer Plunge– Have You?

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Yesterday, like many other Star Wars: the Old Republic players, I packed up my pixels and moved to new servers for my PvP and RP server characters.

Miraculously, my server transfers took only a few minutes total. And I was able to keep most — but not all– of the names of the six characters I transferred over. Not too shabby. If you’ve yet to move, I have a few tips:

  1. Make sure you’ve let all your GTN auctions expire, and have picked them up from the mailbox.
  2. Make sure you’ve pulled out everything you want to keep that’s currently in your mailbox.
  3. If you are a guild leader, you will have to disband the guild before you can transfer — and will need to have cleaned out your guild bank beforehand as well.
  4. Hit transfer!

For more tips and answers to any questions you may have, check out the Server Transfers FAQs. I also have some resources for folks who need inspirations for picking new names for themselves (scroll down midway), or for thinking up a clever new name for their reformed guild.

Personally, I’m pretty happy overall with how the transfers have gone. I am happy there weren’t minimum levels for transferring characters, or caps to how much of the stuff you’ve collected that you were allowed to bring with you. I was impressed that all my items and my credits were right where I left them when I logged in to the new servers. And most of all, it was great to be standing around on fleet with 250+ people across factions on each of my two new servers. Not too shabby!

I am still waiting to hear the fate of my final server, which I am still holding out hope for being a destination server given how overstuffed the other two East Coast PvE servers were last night. We shall see…

How about you? Have you done your server transfer yet?

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On Being a SWTOR Crafting Enthusiast in an Environment Where Everyone Wants Everything to be Free

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I’ve been checking out Patch 1.3 on the public test server (PTS), focusing my time on the crew skills changes to synthweaving. And I will get to a post on that topic later in the week. But first, I wanted to share some of my recent experiences regarding interacting with PTS folks around crafting.

My Time is Worthless, Your Money is Precious

So far, I think I’ve crafted about 30 augmentation kits on the PTS for folks to try out. To do so, I’ve stood around on the fleet, chatting with players about the patch, for several hours as I’ve made crafted pieces to reverse engineer, then made augmentation kits. I am keeping 4 of my companions busy on making the crafted items, and sending the 5th out on Underworld Trading missions in the hopes of scoring some of the new synthweaving patterns added to the game.

I logged in to the PTS this time around to find that I had 20k in credits and not very many crafting materials, due to the huge number of custom pieces I made and sold on the cheap during the last patch’s testing phase. Thus, to have enough cash to list anything of value in the GTN, I had to make and sell some custom gear. I was nearing the end of my possible Kit creation when I got a tell from a reader of this blog who gallantly gifted me with 5 stacks each of the crystals and the artifact fragments. And thus, I was able to crank out a ton more augments which I put up on the GTN for 250k a pop, selling them as fast as I could list them.

And at some point, the grumbling started in General chat, along the lines of “You’re a jerk for selling those kits for 250k. You should be selling them for 100k max. You are greedy.” One of my fellow crafters jumped in and noted that we have to spend 4+ minutes crafting each of our 10 items that we have to RE in order to make each kit. And that further, the materials for making those crafted items sell for 1-3k a piece on live servers, making your base cost for materials anywhere from 40-120k depending upon your server economy. To which our heckler replied “Go farm the mats.”

Uh, excuse me? I need to go and farm materials to make items so they can be cheaper for you mister general chat big mouth? Because my play time is worth less than your precious bank balance? Are you serious? You might think that I was being trolled. But I wasn’t. Because this isn’t the only time that I have had folks consider my time, which I’ve spent crafting or improving patterns or spending tons of credits on missions to obtain schematics to be worthless. (NOTE: see also this same issue, years ago, in WoW.)

Why did I “need to make that much cash anyway”, as one person asked with a side of snark? Because almost nothing on the PTS is free in case you hadn’t noticed. In my case specifically, I want to try out the new custom patterns. Which has meant spending over 50k on executing missions so far (plus another 250k on buying mission discoveries). And buying a schematic on the PTS for 50k. And buying a ton of companion gifts to improve my affection to increase the chance of crits. (The copy of me from pre 1.2 didn’t have her toons very far along in that area, unlike current me.) And so on. And so far? I have exactly two of the new crafted schematics to show for all my efforts. T-W-O.

The great thing about MMOs is they provide a variety of things for each player to do that meets their individual definitions of fun. I love to discover and collect new patterns, and feel a sense of accomplishment when a ton of peeps are running around my servers wearing gear with the made by Anexxia label. And I like that I can support my characters through crafting instead of doing dailies because repeating quests for multiple days is not my preferred way to make cash. Not even if a vanity pet is on offer.

Now, I can understand it is annoying to see people buying my augment kits and reselling them for 750k or even 1.25 mil credits on the GTN. But if you make it a practice to harass players such as myself, who are there making items for you to try out and who genuinely love seeing all the new crafting changes on offer on the PTS so we can plan accordingly, then don’t come crying to me when crafters stop selling the items they make– or worse yet– stop even putting in the time on the PTS crafting items for you to try out. You’re welcome.

/end rant.

More Details on the SWTOR Server Transfers…Which Are Starting Next Week!

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SWTOR players have been rattling the sabers in the pursuit of more details about the upcoming character transfers to address the server population issues, and today, they got a screenful of information via a community blog post on the topic. All of the details have not yet been disclosed, which is making some folks a little nervous about what will be happening with their guild once the transfers hit. The post opens by noting that this will not be a free-for-all server transfer, rather, it will be a targeted and phased approach:

…we made the decision to strictly limit the initial phase of the Character Transfer Service to only allow transfers from selected groups of origin servers (where you’re moving a character from) to selected individual destination servers (where you choose to move a character to) based on the player populations of the origin and destination servers. In some cases, a large number of origin servers will be eligible to move to a single destination server. In others, very few origin servers will be transferring to existing high population destination servers. Remember, the goal here is to push almost every destination server to an active population that’s higher.

This should help assuage some of the fears that had been raised about the LFG tool being launched to barren servers. A few more facts we now have about the process:

  • Server transfers start on June 12, 2012
  • Not everyone will be eligible to transfer on day 1; the transfers will be staggered to reflect reasonable workload on the part of the dev team
  • Once your transfer starts it’s estimated to complete in a few hours
  • You won’t be transferring your characters off a PvP server to a PvE server
  •  Your Legacy and associated unlocks will be transferred to your new server
  • If you have already unlocked your Legacy on your destination server, the higher level Legacy will take precedence.
  • Guilds will not be able to transfer to a new server; instead, guildmasters will need to transfer and reform it. And guld members will have to individually transfer over.
  • If you have a guild bank, it will be re-granted to your new guild on your destination server by Customer Service
  •  If your transferred character’s name conflicts with an existing name on a destination server, you will be asked to rename your character.
  • Unless you have unlocked your Legacy on your destination server, you will need to rename your Legacy upon transfer (which conversely says that if you have unlocked a Legacy name on a server you are transferring to, that name stays put)

…because the process will be gradual, we cannot provide that information in advance. Depending on the number of characters transferred, the destination and origin servers eligible for transfer may be altered during the process. We don’t want to promise a destination in case it may change. Listings will become available as servers become eligible for transfer.

What We Don’t Know

  •  Is there a minimum level of character eligible for transfer?
  •  Is there a cap to how many bank slots / how many credits you can move on a particular character? And if so, does the character’s level impact those maximums?
  •  If I move my highest level character off a server, do the remaining characters on that server retain the legacy levels and perks they had as part of that server’s legacy?
  • If I don’t move immediately, will I have an opportunity to do so later? Or is it a limited time offer?
We’ll have to wait for the forthcoming FAQs to get to the bottom of these details. What are some of the questions you have? Leave them in the comments and I’ll add to the above list.

Where My head’s At

Well, at first blush, I’m bummed. You see, my original character is marooned on a PvP server with all my credits. And I’ve determined that I don’t actually really dig PvP servers though I am glad I tried one out. So I am crossing my fingers that she will, in the future, have the opportunity to move elsewhere to join the rest of my characters on a PvE or RP server.

Sigh. So basically, the initial wave of character transfers will not affect my playtime for the better. For now, I’ll have to keep aligned with my other servers to make sure I am in the loop on where folks are moving to. It will be nice to move with them to a server that has more opportunities for end game content completion, but I am bummed I will not be able to reclaim Anexxia at this point. And I have to again say publicly that I am more than happy to pay to move her in the future!

What about you? How are you feeling about the server transfers thus far from what we know now?

Inquisitor’s Roadhouse Mid-Year SWTOR Assessment

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I meant to do a 6-month check-in on what I’m doing in game, but the time got away from me. But since we’re all friends here. we’ll just pretend this is the 6 months since launch mark, ok?

Since the game’s pre-launch, I have:

  • Gotten my inquisitor to 50
  • Gotten my Marauder to 47
  • Attended one Eternity Vault raid
  • Done a small handful of leveling Flashpoints and no hardmode Flashpoints
  • Unlocked Legacies on 3 separate servers
  • Joined 4 guilds
  • Made my own alt guild
  • Crafted so many cute outfits that I have over 10 million credits on my original server

If you’d asked me 6 months ago what I expected my mid-year check-in accomplishments list to look like, I can assure you that the above list is nowhere close. Which just goes to show you how unpredictable gaming life can be.

Why I Have Such a Lack of End Game Activity

Given that I got to 50 within 3 weeks or so, and got into my first raid a week or so after hitting 50, I certainly expected to be regaling you with tales of my raiding successes, theorycrafting away at the best in slot inquisitor gear and tactics. But unfortunately for me, my launch guild did not end up being a good fit for me, in large part due to a bully with a bad attitude who ended up promoted to raid leader. Unlike some people who seem to play MMOs only with the end goal of getting the best gear and talking down to others, I like to raid in order to be part of a collaborative achievement. I enjoy the teamwork aspect of it. And I feel strongly life is too short to play w/people who are the reason the DBAD rule exists.

I should note here that in keeping with the similar experiences of this kind in WoW, after driving off many of the people I loved playing with, mister bad attitude stopped playing. But it was too late for me at that point.

So, with my primary guild not providing the collegial environment I was looking for, I started trying out a number of other servers. Unfortunately, starting over as a reroll on 3 servers puts you significantly behind the leveling pack. I was lucky enough to get a few lowbie Flashpoints in as part of my reroll experiences so that was nice as I am a firm believer that you don’t really get to know your guildies until you are grouped with them.

After lurking about, I set my sights on an active Imperial guild that also had a sister Republic guild on the same RP server. I got to watch my SO who is a much faster leveler than I am, tear through content, including a first time hard mode clear of EV by the guild, which was a 1-shot up to SOA. Unfortunately, as I rounded the mid-40’s bend there, the guild decided to refocus its efforts on the Republic side, and is now hosting 16-man raids there versus the weekly 8-mans and HM Flashpoint nights both sides. And thus my Marauder has languished at 47. It didn’t help that the story line had a sudden but inevitable betrayal right around this same time.

And this is why I am now focusing in on my level 36 Sage (not to be confused with my two other sages), in the guild No Sleep ’til Kessel on Juyo. I’ve wanted to see the Republic storyline through to the end, and think this is the character that will finally make that happen. And once I hit max level, I’ll see if I am able to get squeezed in to one of the raid groups. Even if I don’t, the guild feels like it is active enough I should be able to find HM partners. I truly want to get some time playing at max level and enjoying the fruits of my leveling, versus just always being on the alt leveling circuit. I love my alts mind you, but I also truly miss playing with other people. And I have to note here: this is not a flaw in the game. This is an artifact of the guild and server choices I’ve made. I’ve had the same issues crop up in WoW as well, but they were less painful only because on more than 1 occasion I poneyed up the cash for a server transfer.

I am looking forward to the prospect of moving my Inquisitor off my dead server as soon as she is eligible to transfer and I find a fun, mature, active Imperial guild for her to play in.

So, how about you? Six months in, what does your bucket list look like?

SWTOR Patch Notes: Patch 1.2.5

Another maintenance day another set of patch notes…

A few of the highlights:

  • Corrected an issue that could cause Companion Characters to appear without a head when wearing certain headgear. This was affecting Ashara for me, so looking forward to that correction.
  • Warzones now end early if team populations become too imbalanced.
  • Optimizations have been implemented that decrease instances of crashing to desktop.

I am hopeful about the work on the crashing to desktop issue as I have been suffering from that frequently, with 7 crashes in one play session over the weekend. However, I should note that in the few minutes I logged in this morning after the servers came back up, I crashed to desktop after about 2 minutes…

More patch notes after the jump.

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More info on Patch 1.3, Server Transfers Incoming!

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Today is our lucky day!

We started off with Dulfy posting a compilation of all the details we know so far about SWTOR’s upcoming Patch 1.3, then IGN released their official 1.3 interview with Bioware lead game designer Daniel Erickson!

The interview has a wide range of information about upcoming quality of life improvements, including a note that the Looking for Group functionality will be server-specific and not cross-realm. I am a HUGE fan of keeping LFG server-based, having had numerous not fun cross-server LFG experiences. Now, before you start hitting the comment button to complain that your server is so low pop that this doesn’t solve anything for you, the interview also notes that there will be server transfers coming soon (presumably at or before Patch 1.3) to help alleviate the low population server issues.

So, for those of you on low population servers with the opportunity of server transfers on the horizon, what are you planning to do? Take the poll and leave your thoughts in the comments!

Friday 5: Five Things I’m Looking Forward to in SWTOR Patch 1.3

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SWTOR Patch 1.3 has been on my mind a ton this week, as evidenced by the Patch 1.3 Crew Skills Q&A I put together earlier in the week which has sparked so much conversation. Some of it even on the topic of crafting…

😉

In reading through the comments, it became clear to me that folks don’t all seem to be 100% aware of the great stuff Patch 1.3 has in store for them. And thus, I bring you today’s Friday Five, the 5 Things I’m Looking Forward to in Patch 1.3:

  1. Craftable Augment Kits. I love the idea that everyone will be able to wear whatever outfit they like, and by adding an augment slot, ensure that it is comparable to the best quality end game gear they could earn. I love the diversity of clothing options available in game, and think this will add even more such diversity.
  2. Mod Extraction Costs Decreased. A lot of folks missed that little tidbit at the end of the Q&A. This is an awesome quality of life and flushness of pocketbook change that will benefit players who are active in Operations. I know folks who have spent upwards of 150,000 credits to yank out mods and put them into their gear, often more than once per week. when the loot gods have smiled upon them. Now they will be able to spend fewer credits to do so.
  3. Group Finder Launches. That’s right, as stated in the SWTOR inaugural podcast, the big focus for patch 1.3 is bringing a group finder to the game. It will allow you to choose Operations, Flashpoints, and even area quests (such as heroics and dailies) that you would like to group up for. Best of all, in my opinion, it will be limited to your server. I know many folks love cross-server LFG. But having played World of Warcraft since vanilla WoW, I can say with certainty that I much prefer getting to know players from my own server and grouping with them versus being lumped in with someone I’ll never see again from another server. I’ve found same server groups to overall have a more pleasant vibe, fewer incidents of reprehensible behavior, and have led to a number of new in game friends. I am sure I will try it out so I can see some of the Flashpoints I haven’t yet completed. But mostly, I’m just glad I won’t have to hear folks complain about not having a group finder. Just kidding. …Or am I? 😉
  4. Scale-able Armor Types for Social Gear. That’s right, if you are a heavy armor wearer, social gear will scale to reflect your armor proficiency. This means even more options for being a fashionable Sith Lord or Jedi.
  5. More Legacy Perks. Although we don’t know for sure what will make it in game for patch 1.3, you can see that whole list of shiny coming soon perks, and we know that a number of them will definitely be making their way into the game for Patch 1.3. So keep up the alting and building that companion affection! And the group finder should help us all climb the social levels ladder, thus unlocking even more perks.

Which of these changes are you most looking forward to in Patch 1.3?

Patch 1.3 Crew Skills Changes: Q&A with SWTOR Systems Designers David Hunt and Patrick Malott

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Q: On the official SWTOR podcast, we heard that Augment stations were going to be added to the game with Patch 1.3. Could you talk a little bit about what they are and how they will work?

A: Our goal with the modification system has always been to allow players to use any gear they choose and have it function at maximum statistical efficiency. Most of the major itemization changes we’ve added have been moving towards this goal, such as moving set bonuses to mods and allowing extraction on endgame items. Augment tables are the next step in this process.

With the introduction of Augment Tables, you can interact with all the previously useless Item Modification Stations spread throughout the world and use them to add an augment slot to any wearable item of at least green quality – which is basically everything except some junk loot on the origin worlds. Previously, this slot was only available for crit-crafted items, and in 1.2 it means that a very limited selection of the items are statistically ideal. When you open up the Item Modification window, you’ll notice a new “Add Augment Slot” button. The new button is greyed out unless you’re interacting with a station. Fortunately, the way augment tables work allows us to apply this to all items, unlike the set bonuses where the ability to transfer them only applies to mods introduced in 1.2 or later.

Adding an augment slot has a cost that scales up for the level of augments you want to be able to use. Unlike other mod slots, the augment slot is now tiered. This means you can add a slot that supports low level augments for substantially less cost than a high level augment slot.

If you choose to apply a lower tier augment, you can upgrade it later. As a side bonus, we’re making a few quality of life updates to the modification window, but you’ll have to wait until 1.3 reaches the public to see those.

Q: What kind of pricing are we looking at?

A: There are two costs to add an augment slot: credits and an Augmentation Kit. The current cost progression starts at 4,500 credits and ends at 50,000 credits, while the kits come in the same MKs that match the types of slots you can add to an item.

Kits are acquired through three crew skills: Armstech, Armormech and Synthweaving. There is no difference in the kits they make, and they can find the recipes on the trainer. In order to create a kit, you need 10 Augmentation Slot Components of the appropriate MK. You receive one component whenever you Reverse Engineer a piece of crafted gear. Note that this is a non-random addition on top of the other returns you already get from RE, meaning that every 10 consumed items will reliably give you the components for one kit. This helps counteract bad luck dealing with randomness and crafting crits, as you’re guaranteed to be able to get the primary limiting component for an augment slot after 10 crafts. Note that since you get the component for the level of the item you’re making, you don’t need to try to craft the expensive purple 10 times. Just make one, then if you don’t crit you can make cheaper items to get the components necessary to create an augment kit.

Q: Given that the crit crafted augmented gear is going for 75-100k per item on servers, how do you think the addition of the ability to add an augment slot to any item will affect the in game economy for crafters?

A: Since augment slots have always been the domain of crafters, we are funneling the Augment Tables through them to avoid shifting demand in the wrong direction.

The price changes will vary depending on the level of the item. The price of some of these items will shift down, others will go up. For items made after 1.3, the crit augment slot matches the level of the item. That means that lower level items won’t get as much inherent value from crits as higher level items. While we expect to see a shift in the value per transaction for many of these items, the cash flow should continue to go in the same direction. The value of non-augmented gear will improve, as it’s actually a viable item now, where previously everything except the crit craft was scrap. Improved value does not guarantee it a market however, especially since that value will have to factor in the cost of adding an augment along with the desire to RE it to create components for an Augmentation Kit. Personally, I’d be more likely to buy non-augmented lower level crafted gear because I’m going to want to upgrade the augment to MK-7. And in some cases, you just can’t get the appearance with the Augmentation Kit, so that gives some value to the kits aside from the individual items.

Q: So, that means if I craft a level 39 custom piece and it crits, its augment slot will only be able to accept augments up to whatever tier corresponds with that item level?

Correct.

Q:  Could you share what the item level tiers will be for the augment slots?

A: (Note: “Level” below is item level, not player level)

Slot                                            Level Min        Level Max

Augmentation Slot MK-1                 10                       16

Augmentation Slot MK-2                 17                       24

Augmentation Slot MK-3                 25                       32

Augmentation Slot MK-4                 33                       40

Augmentation Slot MK-5                 41                       48

Augmentation Slot MK-6                 49+

Q: Can you share with us your thoughts on gear itemization and how that was actually playing out in game versus what you intended that lead to this change?

A: Although the details weren’t decided until recently, all the post-launch itemization systems in SWTOR have been things I’ve wanted for months. Especially with 1.2, I wanted something like augment tables but we didn’t manage to get a system in to go along with the changes to open up mods in the endgame. It sucks when you have an expansive stat customization system and then we throw out caveats like, “Oh, it only works on this small subset of items.” The more freedom and consistency, the better. Player feedback to Public Test for 1.2 indicated to us that there would be strong support for a system that opened up more viable gear, and we felt that augment tables aligned with both our goals and the needs of the playerbase. That feedback helps us get it expedited to try to get it ready ASAP. It might have been cool to get this out between Public Test 1.2 and live 1.2, but the scope of the system meant it would need much more time to do it right.

Along with the feedback we’ve received, the way itemization has played out on live has encouraged us that embracing the full mod route is the right decision. While it may not be apparent, many of the complaints players have had about itemization are concerns we share and are working on addressing. While item mods existed in beta for quite a while, some of the fundamental tech pieces didn’t exist until shortly before launch. Internally, mods make our items inordinately more data-complex and intensive than the items in the average item heavy game, and those complexities are compounded by a live environment.

Q: Any other crafting or itemization surprises up your sleeves for 1.3 that we should be looking out for?

A: We’re reducing extraction costs and improving the quality of many of the level 50 flashpoint drops to support Group Finder.

Thanks so much for this great preview of the 1.3 crew skills changes to augment slots!

Newly Hatched on Mother’s Day: my Orokeet!

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This morning, I found myself with an Unusual Egg in my posession, courtesy of my ever vigilant banker. She had purchased it from some fleet denizen who needed a quick 40,000 credits, believe it or not.

And thus, I hopped into my spacecraft and returned to Tatooine. Who could have predicted how frequently I’d be finding myself here? I really should have purchased a parking discount card from that Jawa last time I was here…

Thanks to having done my homework on how to hatch my Orokeet, I knew my first course of business was to travel to Jundland and be on the look out for a water tower whose blue panel indicated it was ready for some moisture harvesting.

After I found a water tower ready to give up some moisture and give me a buff, I hopped on a speeder and headed to the far South Western reaches of the Dune Sea. I found the Czerka Archaeological site at -2329, -405 and set about looking for an area that looked like it would get hot enough to hatch my egg.

I finally found two solar panels that faced in upon each other that still had enough room for me to squeeze myself inside. Almost immediately, I could tell that my egg was reacting positively to the extreme heat. At the same time, I started to wish I had a large palm frond with which Khemmy could fan me. After a minute or so, my ability to take the heat was rewarded with my Orokeet hatchling! What a lovely treat to become a mother on Mother’s Day.

And a very Happy Mothers Day to all of you!