Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Eternity Vault Normal and Hard Healing Guide

I've had enough experience healing EV on both Normal and Hard Mode that I can now write a guide for healers healing this Op. I'm going to summarize everything a healer needs to worry about to successfully heal EV, most things are the same for both with just higher healing requirement, I'll mention specific differences when relevant.

1st boss: Annihilation Droid XRR-3. Your group will either split up or group together, if you split up you mostly need to worry about your group, but you can change position to reach everyone when needed. The tank will take pretty high damage and needs to be healed. There are 2 abilities you need to worry about, one spawns a circle on the ground, get out of it. The second is the boss missiles that needs to be avoided by hiding behind the turrents. If your DPS hide as well, this should be easy to heal, however, if or when the DPS needs to step out and continue to hit the boss, you need to position yourself so that you are out of LoS for the boss, but still have LoS for the DPS, this will also mean healing will be much more intensive.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Progression, HM Operations and PVP

I've been pretty busy lately and my blog was being neglected, I'll try not to make it too common that my first post this week is on Thursday.

I've been spending my game time on questing with my 2 republic chars, my Gunslinger is now 19 and my Jedi Sentinel is 29. I'm really enjoying both and not surprisingly the Republic zones and stories are just as interesting and fun as the Empire's.

Other than this I was mostly spending my time doing some PVP, I just got my Gladiator title, so I'm climbing the PVP ladder as well as working with my guild on HM KP and EV making progress every week.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Healer stat priority and the importance of alacrity

As you advance and gets better gear, a good healer will find himself asking "which secondary stat should I invest in"? There are 4 secondary stats that benefit healers, crit, surge, alacrity and power. But how do I decide which one is best for me? Which one should I prioritize to maximize my performance?

One thing I saw in many of the healing guides is that alacrity is the worse one, considering it lets you spend more resources, but doesn't increase your regeneration rate. As a result you will ran out of resources faster, making this stat the worse one to have. I completely disagree. In a theoretical testing scenario, if you had a static amount of resources and needed to calculate how much healing you can do, than it's true that alacrity wouldn't increase the healing done, only the time it takes you to cast it. This however, has nothing to do with the real world (I mean, game world) of actually healing a FP or Op. If it was, you would only be spamming your most efficient heal and only care about HPF (Heals Per Force) replace force with energy\heat\ammo depending on your favorite healer class. This is obviously not the case in any real healing scenario.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Eternity Vault HM Experience

After clearing EV and KP on normal mode, it was time to move on to the next challenge, Hard Mode Operations. We started working on EV HM. The first night my guild went there I couldn't participate. They managed to get to the last boss and I joined the following night to keep working on him. The second time I was there from the start and we got to the 4th boss. So I got to experience all the fights.

HM is basically a very similar experience with the bosses getting some type of advantage over normal. It can be more health, more damage, shorter enrage timer or a slightly different or buffed mechanic. Nothing too exciting to have to describe the fights again. Another change I didn't really like is that they use the old WOW master looter option, which is actually working with the latest patch 1.5 (previously the master looter option was bugged and caused fewer drops). This can potentially cause drama, mistakes and disagreement which I think is unnecessary, not to mention the time to /roll (another addition to 1.5) or whatever loot system your group is using and the time to distribute the loot. You also get Rataka level loot, the highest you can currently get. So you basically get a bigger challenge and better loot, nothing surprising there.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Karagga's palace first run

We ran Karagga's palace for the first time. Cleared the operation in 4 hours and change. It was a really fun and well designed operation, just like Eternity Vault. I would say it's more challenging than EV, we were slightly more geared, since we had additional time for gearing up between the operations, yet it still took us longer with more wipes. One thing that disappointed me a bit is that this operation has many more trash groups and much harder ones. Feels a bit like an artificial way to make the op longer.

Also the difficulty design seems a bit strange, it's not an increasing difficulty ladder like EV, with the last boss being the toughest one, the forth boss, "G4-BC Heavy Fabricator" seemed much tougher than Karagga himself, which is the last boss.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Theorycrafting gaining popularity finally

There are many more online resources for WOW compared to SWTOR. This makes sense, people had more years to create content for WOW than they had months to create content for SWTOR. One thing that I was missing in SWTOR is a good theory crafting site, like Elitist Jerks. What's more important to invest in? crit, alacrity or surge? You can try to do some calculations yourself, try to play a bit with the numbers, but to get a real, definite answer you need data gathered by many people, you need class experts who really tested things and did the research, you need deep intelligent discussions and conclusions. You need "Elitist Jerks", or more precisely a SWTOR site similar to elitistjerks.com.

Well, finally I found one sithwarrior.com, it's not that new, but it's been gaining huge popularity lately and as a result, now contains ton of data for all classes, deep and very interesting discussions, impressive amount of theory crafting numbers and tests. Exactly what you need to be able to really dig into maximizing your class performance.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The questing experience SWTOR and WOW

MMO Champion, one of the biggest MMO resource sites, released yesterday an interview with WOW Lead Quest Designer, discussing the Cataclysm questing experience post mortem. You can find the full article here: Cataclysm Post Mortem Quest Design I found it very interesting, having played the Cataclysm since launch day and considering I really enjoyed the experience. I think the Cataclysm, mainly the old world redesign was a very big step forward for WOW at the time, making many significant improvements to the questing experience. I intentionally don't call it "leveling experience", because this implies that the goal is to progress through the levels, while I consider the goal to be enjoying the experience. If it was simply work that was needed to get to end game and not a fun experience I doubt many people would've spent 20-30-40 hours doing it. Regardless of what you think of questing, whether it's a fun game, or a chore on the way to the "real game" at max level, an MMO can never succeed without a good and enjoyable questing, simply because most of the people will never get to the endgame.

I found some of the things he said at the interview very interesting, I'll sum it up for you:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why do we play? Gear vs content

We've cleared EV (Eternity Vault) last weekend. This weekend we went there again. We had 3 players who weren't at the first run. The time it took us to clear it went from 3:30 hours to 2:15. Pretty descent progression, which makes sense considering most of us knew the encounters and we had an extra week of gearing up. When the op was done, an interesting discussion followed. What do we want to do next? There were 2 main points of view voiced by different guild members, with most people belonging to 1 or the other. 1 is to move on to Karagga's Palace, the second is to keep running EV. Obviously we could also do both, scheduling 2 runs next week, but we do have a "main" op night and members who will have to choose one of the other if we had 2 runs.

I'll present the main arguments for both points of view as well how we ended up handling it. I believe most groups running content are finding themselves having the exact same decisions to make. These are inherent to MMO endgame and even pre endgame play and boils down to a simple question: "Why do we play?". I have a very clear personal opinion on the subject which I'll try to leave to the end of the post.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Keeping the blog alive with idealchooser.com

Today isn't about SWTOR gameplay for a change, it's more about myself, the author of this blog and the blog future in general. If you've been following my blog, you know I've been pretty consistent in working on it. I was very proud to see the interest which really fueled my motivation to keep posting. In 1 month, since the blog was created, I got over 600 page views, that means over 600 times people either found an article and checked it out or found it interesting enough to keep coming back for more articles.

I know it's not a huge number compared to other sites, but personally I find it really encouraging that this many people got a glimpse of my work and even more so, the fact many of them kept coming back and subscribed to my feed.

When I'm not writing this blog I'm working on a shopping comparison and alerts site idealchooser.com. It's still very new and growing and I improve it every day, this is my full time job.

As you can imagine, keeping up the blog takes a lot of my time and every minute spent on it, is a minute less I have to work on my site and lately I'm finding myself constantly having to make the decision if I should invest more at the blog, or at the site.

I came up with a possible solution that I hope will work out. First of all, this is it, letting my blog readers know about idealchooser.com. I'm hoping it will make you curious to check it out. I really think the site is great for finding online deals, by gathering data from a huge amount of merchants, you can find many offers for anything you are looking for, helping you grab the best possible deal available. In addition the price drop alert option is a very nice way to be aware of price drops as soon as they happen.

If a small number of my blog visitors will check out this site and even a small number of these will make idealchooser.com a place they check out when they are looking to buy something online, this will make my time investment at the blog totally worth it.

So if you want to help me keep this blog running, please check out idealchooser.com, if you are willing to click the "like" button at the site, that's even better. I hope you will find it useful and this blog will end up giving idealchooser.com additional exposure.

Meanwhile, I also added a small, not annoying ad at the blog page, this will be the only advertising method from now on.

Thank you very much for reading this, I hope you like my blog so far and will also find idealchooser.com useful. I will be back to my usual SWTOR posts almost every week day as usual.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Endgame Eternity Vault encounters

I found the encounters in EV to be really interesting. The bosses are very different and unique and the fights make sure each participant of the group knows what he's doing. I'm going to discuss the bosses, this isn't meant as a complete walkthrough of EV, but more to point out what I think about the different encounters, my personal likes and dislikes and the main things to expect both as a participant and as a group trying to progress through EV.

I'll number the bosses and not name them, in case people want to go fresh and not know what to expect.

1st boss: This is a very straight forward encounter, the mechanics are simple, get out of bad things and use line of sight periodically to avoid a big damage of a special ability. It seems to be aimed to give people a sense of accomplishment by making sure the first encounter isn't too hard. You have to do enough DPS to take down the boss before enrage, but it's very possible. Basically any group that can clear an HM FP can also take down the first boss. Our group managed to take him down on the first try.