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MER Episode 69: Fresh Perspective

MER is back and we have a unique episode in store for you. Zach is joined once again by one of his best friends JD (last appeared in episode 15). JD recently started playing SWTOR and this is his first MMO experience. They sit down and talk about what its like to play the game from the perspective of someone who just started playing MMOs. They also take time in respond to a few #MERQs.

As always, head over to our forums to discuss the latest episode.

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Discussion Topics
– Discuss what SWTOR is like from the perspective of a new MMO player
– Random life stories related to Star Wars

Podcast Art Provided by Joel

5 replies on “MER Episode 69: Fresh Perspective”

Hey Zach, and JD. Couple of notes about the show.

Zach, what you are calling quick travel points are actually called bind points in the game, and the action of clicking them is called binding. I know you know this terminology from other games, and that’s why I think SWtOR is using the terminology. This is why JD was confused between binding of a place in space that one can teleport to, and binding of items to a character. It’s like the word “level” in 1st edition D+D. Calling SWtOR bind points, travel points instead does seem a little more intuitive, especially since they don’t follow the common idea of MMO bind points as the place you end up after you die.

JD, was GAWDESS… I imagine the name in all caps… anyway, was GAWDESS a trooper? If so, don’t feel bad. Troopers have powers that let them lay waste to the easy mobs, and most of their stuff is instant so they begin applying damage sooner. Your single target, long cast time powers aren’t going to compare. I leveled to 50 with a friend who played a Trooper with my Smuggler, and it was always that way. It’s just the way the classes are designed. You will be more useful though in fights with strong, elite, and champion mobs. Also Zach pushed you to the right choice, as I’m a 50 Gunslinger and I wish I had gone Scoundrel.

Zach, people complained about Corso because his harpoon power would screw up your shots. You get cover, and start your long cast time for aimed shot, and Corso would grab the mob and pull them to him. Since your companions stand behind you most times this would break your line of sight while you were in midcast. And now that mob would be right next to you where it can melee you. Because the game didn’t remember the on/off state of your companions power, you could turn Corso’s harpoon ability off, but it would just turn back on everytime you had to zone, including Elevators. This means you were constantly having to turn his power off, and it reset, and then turn it off, etc. this made Corso incredibly frustrating. They fixed the problem of remembering the state of your companion powers a few patches ago, so now you can turn the harpoon off and have it stay off. This makes Corso great. As a ranged tank he applies damage right away rather than having to waste time moving to a target to hit them. This gives him better DPS in addition to being a tank. He’s a great companion to have… now.

thanks for the pointers, Clyde.

actually gawdess was a smuggler, but if I recall correctly, she had a legacy name at level 9- further confirming my theory that she was an alt of someone who was power leveling. She and I both had corso in that particular fight.

I like your stuff about the harpoon move. I think it took me 20 min to realize I didn’t want corso using that move at all. I don’t see the point at all. fortunately, I came post 1.1 patch, so I never dealt with the issues you describe. I turned it off and it stayed off :-).

whats the video game soundtrack song with 16 minutes left in the episode? sounds awesome

Some points I wish to share for newbs,
1. Re-Specialization after leveling your character. Is there anything slower than leveling a Holy Paladin while plying solo? Take you Scoundrel up a damage tree to level, then if you wish, re-spec into healing tree. Healing at lower levels, only works well I have found, if you have a constant group to run with and heal while they attack. JD seemed to be looking for more solo play.

2. Be a gatherer, you can always find a crafter to make useful objects for you or your companions, if you have the mats since they gain crafting xp. Plus selling materials has been good so far on Ebon Hawk (rp). You might try Bioanalysis, for later heals usefulness, scavenging for arms and armor. Artifice sells well to the force crafters or slicing for credits and bonus gathering missions shich also sell well or can be used by yourself. All these are non-cost, unless you wish to send companions out. Once again after leveling you can, with a little effort, re-train in to a crafting spec. ie drop scavenging and slicing, picking up Biochen and diplomacy. Diplomacy, Treasure Hunting and the like do cost credits. I have used slicing to pay for running the errand skills. Slicing is pay 1,200 get 1,400 slow, but I have found profitable(ish) remembering some companions have pluses to specific skills.
3. DOT damage over time and for your healer HOT healing over time.
Have fun.

Just finished listening to the show and I wanted to also throw in some advice/perspective for JD:

I’m sure you’ve either been told or you’ve learned now that there are mechanics and themes that make an MMO different from adventure-style games such as Zelda (which, I agree, is absolutely amazing). I think it’s worth going over them because understanding these mechanics will guide you towards making the game easier to learn and more fun to play.

Of MMO Roles
Obviously the first of these is the notion of role. In adventure games, you’re the hero. There’s absolutely nothing you can’t do, especially when you have a sack full of bombs, fairies stuck in bottles just waiting to sprinkle fairie dust on your cold lifeless corpse, and red goo to gulp down when things get hot. And a bad-ass sword that shoots freaking lightning bolts when you’re feeling up to it. MMO’s have heroes too, but a given hero will only be excellent at one of three roles at any given time:

1. Tanks: this role excels at taking damage so others don’t have to
2. Healers: this role excels at healing damage taken so others don’t die
3. DPSers (Damage-per-second … ‘ers): this role excels at killing bad guys to stop them from continuing to do damage

Yes, there are hybrids and yes, players in certain roles will have to play other roles when called for. This is the key difference between adventure games like Zelda and all MMO’s (and RPGs for that matter): where Link can solo the world, your Scoundrel will be excellent at one role (DPS or Healing), mediocre at another (the one you didn’t choose to be excellent at), and terrible at the third (tanking).

The net effect of this model is that DPSers tended to complete the game faster than other roles, simply because they were able to kill guys faster and move on. This is why you hear the plight of players who levelled Holy Paladins or Holy Priests in that other game: players who chose Tanks or Healers could eventually complete missions and content, but it would take much, much longer to do so. Bioware solves this problem using companions, and they’re deliberately chosen to complement your class. You’re a Scoundrel, so we know that you’ll be a Healer, a DPSer, or some combination of the two. Either way, we know that you’re missing a Tank. This is why your first companion is a Tank: use him like one. Let him engage first, and then kill dudes and keep him alive with heals. You’ll also find in the future that as you get more companions, you just won’t use most of them because they don’t complement your role well.

Of Craploads of Abilities
MMO’s differ from other games primarily by the sheer number of abilities that you have access to AND the fact that it’s likely that you’ll be called upon to use most of them in any given fight. In Zelda, you had to find that one item in the big chest which you then bound to a button and killed the dungeon boss with. In MMO’s, you gain abilities as you level and you want to spend time experimenting with them to see how they’re best used. Read over each of your abilities, think about when it’s good to use it, when it’s bad to use it, and how often you can use it. This will help you come up with combos that are effective.

Simple example: you get Vital Shot at level 5, which causes damage over 15 seconds to a target. This won’t be useful against groups of weak mobs, which your thermal grenade is great for, but it will be awesome against strong or elite mobs, where it’s likely that the target will be alive even after shooting it for 15 seconds.

Just as important as understanding your abilities is making them easy for you to use, ideally without a mouse click. Look into and set up your key bindings (the keys you press to do things) to suit how you use your keyboard. For me, my action keys “circle around” my left hand. Where default action keys are 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, and 9, mine are 1,2,3,4,5,F,C,X, and Z. I hold Shift and press the same keys to access the second row of action slots. Some players have a mouse contraption with two jillion buttons on the side – do what’s comfortable to you.

Of PvP Combat
People have very strong opinions of PvP Combat – some love it and some hate it. I believe PvP teaches you to play your character better. Healers have to learn quickly how to manage energy in tough situations where the whole team is dying. DPSer’s have to learn how to effectively dispatch their opponents without relying on too many control abilities. Tanks have to learn how to position themselves, harass and prevent damage to their allies. My advice is this: do it with one or two other buddies, Focus on two things – maximizing your Medals, and the objective of the game, in whatever order you see fit. You may want to look up how you can earn medals because the ease in which you do this varies depending on role. Bioware allows players between 10-49 to play together by scaling all players to a level 49 equivalent: that is, you may only have level 12 abilities, but you’ll damage players as if you were level 49. No, you may not do as well as a level 30 player will, but you will be fully capable of killing players that would otherwise murder you outside of the warzone.

Finally, Some Small Tips
1. If you didn’t know about it, there’s an Emergency Fleet Pass in your abilities (P). The Fleet Pass is an 18-hour cooldown but transports you to the Republic Fleet. Big time saver if you decide to do a group Flashpoint with buddies – took me a while to figure that out.

2. Don’t feel like you have to kill everything just to level, or that you need to complete everything on a planet unless you absolutely want to. I find that between space missions (16+), Flashpoints with friends, Warzones, and quests on planets, I’m always ahead of the recommended level for my class quest (it’s usually green to me in my log).

3. Republic Fleet has Commendation vendors all in a single quarter, so you don’t have to go to a specific planet just to spend your Commendations.

4. Don’t forget that your companion(s) need gear upgrades too, especially if it’s a tank!

Have fun, sorry for the wall of text.