• Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's back!... almost

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Well, it's nearly here anyway. Season two of the best new show on TV starts April 1st (US) and April 2nd (UK). The brand new trailer is embedded below. Going to be good to have the Imp back on our screens.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Smuggler Build at Level 40

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My planned smuggler talent trees page has been updated to show the talents I will be picking up to level 40. All of the points gained between levels 30 and 40 will be going into the Sharpshooter tree, to give a talent build of 23/5/3 Sharpshooter/Saboteur/Dirty Fighting.

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Castles Made of Sand

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Merec has reached a couple of milestones recently. I've finished playing through Tatooine, including all of the bonus quest series, and have now reached level 30.

I think Tatooine has been my favourite planet so far. It is far more open than any of the previous planets I have visited, and even after completing all of the questlines there is much of the map left undiscovered. It is also a huge planet and would take hours to travel across by foot (and even longer by Jawa balloon!).

The world builders at Bioware have again done a brilliant job, and the atmosphere is spot on. The light itself seems over-bright due to the twin suns, and the shadows are long and thin. It looks incredible, by far the most "realistic" desert zone I've seen in an MMO. It really evokes the Star Wars universe with classic location such as the Sarlaac pit and the Dune Sea.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Epiphany

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I just realised today that there are less than 6 weeks until Mass Effect 3 is released! I feel like I can now officially start to get excited.

The following fan-made trailer is so good I have to share it so you can start to get excited about Shepard's return too (plus it's based on FemShep, which makes it doubly awesome). Enjoy and then start counting down the days...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reviewing

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So I managed to spend some time with the new Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo that was released last week and thought I would share my impressions. I've been following the game for a while and have blogged about it a few times before, but this was the first chance for some real hands on time with the game.

It's launching during a busy period as far as I'm concerned. I'm very busy at work, have to go to South Africa again for a couple of weeks near the launch date, I'm still deeply engrossed in The Old Republic, and Mass Effect 3 comes out in March. So, to move me from an interested party to a customer the demo will have to impress. Read on to find out if I've been converted.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Coming up on The Old Republic

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I'm a little late posting this, so most people have probably seen it already, but it's worth putting up in case anyone has missed it.

Bioware released a new video yesterday previewing some of the upcoming content they are working on for the game, and it looks great. I'm especially pleased to see the rescalable and movable UI modifications in action. Check the embed below.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Patch 1.1 Live and Bartle on The Old Republic

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Patch 1.1 Rise of the Rakghouls is now live on The Old Republic servers. You can find the full patch notes here.

I'd like to point out two links to anyone who has an interest in the game. First of all dijonpepperberry over at flavivirus.net has flawlessly stitched together some truly amazing panoramic high resolution environmental screenshots from the game. You can find them all here.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What happens on Nar Shaddaa stays on Nar Shaddaa

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Nar Shadda has offered a lot of fun, but it is now time for Merec to move on to the desert planet of Tatooine. I'll miss the bright lights and seedy underworld of Nar Shaddaa - as a smuggler I felt strangely at home there, and I don't think I've ever seen a zone quite like it before in an MMO.

Nar Shaddaa in all its glory
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rise of the Rakghouls

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Update: Now with more information about future updates! Click the Read More link below to  see what Bioware have planned in for March and beyond!

The first content patch for The Old Republic, v1.1, will launch on January 17th, and is entitled Rise of the Rakghouls. For a sneak peak you can see the patch notes for the test server here.


Bioware have released a teaser trailer for the new content which you can see below, and Massively.com have an interview with Gabe Amatangelo about the new, and forthcoming, content here. Looks like they are going for almost a horror story / zombie vibe with the new flashpoint!


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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Level 30 Smuggler Build

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I've now updated my planned smuggler talent trees page to show the talents I will be picking up to level 30. I am still concentrating on the Sharpshooter tree, with just an extra two points allocated to the Saboteur tree. These will be used to raise Bravado, which will increase my energy - I've noticed that I am using energy much more quickly now; it's something I have to keep an eye on.

The way the energy system works is that it regenerates more quickly when it is kept between 60% and 100%. If it falls very low, below 20% then it takes a long time to regenerate. Therefore I am trying to keep my energy bar up above 60% during fights, using Flurry of Bolts to fill in the odd gap whilst it recovers.
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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Taris

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"Resume the bombardment, Commander. Wipe this pathetic planet from the face of the galaxy."
 - Darth Malak - Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Merec has now reached level 21 and has completed his adventures on the planet of Taris. I like Taris a lot, but will be glad to move on to somewhere else after spending many hours exploring the ruins of the ancient city.

Ruined towers overgrown with trees and very angry wildlife - welcome to Taris

There is a lot to enjoy about Taris, especially if you have played the original Knights of the Old Republic game, which is set 300 years before the time of The Old Republic MMO. In that game the city is one of the Republic's capital worlds, until it is bombed into submission by the Sith Lord Darth Malak. 300 years later and the city is still in ruins and nature has begun to take over. The zone looks great, with ruined city structures fallen to pieces, and trees, plants and wild creatures living where once there was a thriving spaceport. My only criticism is that by the time I reached the end of the questlines I was looking forwards to a change of scenery.
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Saturday, January 07, 2012

SWTOR Patch 1.1

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The first major content patch for The Old Republic has been deployed to the test server. Assuming all goes well expect to see it on the live servers in a week or two.

Highlights from the patch include a brand new Flashpoint, Kaon Under Siege, and the expansion of the Karagga's Palace Operation to include four new raid bosses. There are also changes to open world PvP on Ilum, the ability to activate anti-aliasing (finally!) and an absolute load of high priority bug fixes.

You can read the full patch notes here.

Friday, January 06, 2012

SWTOR - Do single-player RPG features work in an MMO?

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Christmas is over, the turkey is eaten and I've been back at work for almost a week. So, to banish the January blues I thought for a change of pace I'd write an opinion piece, seeing as my last few blog entries have pretty much all been about the progress of Merec the Smuggler in The Old Republic.

One of the more commonly seen criticisms of TOR, especially from people who have not played the game, is that it is not actually a proper MMO, but rather a single-player game that you can play with friends. This is patently incorrect (it is a fully fledged MMO), and whilst the game can be played solo from level 1 to 50, you will be missing out on the many heroic quests on each planet, PvP, Flashpoints (some of the game's best content) and Operations.

In that respect it is the same as all themepark MMOs on the market right now. The choice is down to the player as to how to approach the game, and in fact I have spent more time grouping in my first 20 levels than I have in any MMO since Dark Age of Camelot, both with PUGs (pick-up groups), friends, and guildmembers.

However, I can see why people may get the impression it is primarily a single-player game. There are several reasons for this. First of all Bioware are known as the creators of some of the very best single-player RPGs ever made, and they have brought all their characteristic features into the MMO space with The Old Republic.

Features that they have developed over the years in games like Baldurs Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age and Mass Effect include the cinematic choice-and-consequence driven storytelling style, high quality voice acting, customisable companion characters that have varying affection levels for the player character, the dark/light alignment system, and a base of operations (in this case the character's starship).

Additionally, whilst Bioware bring some good reasons for grouping to the table (world bosses, social points, etc) it is perfectly feasible to play the game and treat it like another Bioware single-player RPG if you wish. My wife has decided to do this as she loves the Bioware RPGs but has become disenchanted with MMO games, and is having a lot of fun playing the game in that way.

In The Old Republic Bioware have melded together gameplay features from two distinct genres - single player roleplaying games and MMORPGs. After playing the game for quite a considerable amount of time now, both in beta and since release I thought it would be interesting to look at how successfully some of the features from these two genres work together. Do they blend seamlessly to give us a new kind of MMO, or do they rub up against each other in an awkward and ungainly fashion like young lovers dancing in the Dealer's Den cantina?
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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Hilarious SWTOR related over-reaction of the day

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Worthless comic The Daily Mail has the best Star Wars The Old Republic story of the day so far. In fact it's the most amusing one for some time. The headline says it all:

"Hit Star Wars game lets players 'own' and torment female slaves with electric shock collar"
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Monday, January 02, 2012

"I got my freedom, my ship and my gun, what more do I need?"

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Merec has continued his adventures on Coruscant and managed to hunt down his starship. It's a big moment in the game and it feels great to finally be able to sit in the captains chair. By way of celebration I made the video below.


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