SWTOR “Free” Weekend

By Shamus Posted Monday Apr 23, 2012

Filed under: Rants 183 comments

A few weeks ago I created a SWTOR account, planning to take advantage of the free weekend. But then Mass Effect 3 came out and I played that instead. I didn’t even realize that I’d missed the free weekend until Mass Effect 3 was over. I think it was Tuesday when I finally noticed the SWTOR icon on my desktop.

So then another free weekend came along and I tried to get in. But it wouldn’t let me, because the free weekend was for “new accounts only”. I complained in Twitter, and the TOR twitter minder told me to email support and they would fix me right up.

I sent an email explaining the problem: I have never logged in. I never used the free weekend promotion. I want to try the game, but the free weekend is only for “new” accounts. I was detailed and specific. Two days later (after the free weekend ended) they sent me a reply that just moronically repeated back exactly what I told them. “The free weekend is for new accounts only.” Thank you. You have correctly identified the stupid policy I was asking you to fix / reconsider / adjust. (More sensible policy: One free weekend per account.)

I had someone try the invite-a-friend program on me. Same result. You can’t get into the game unless the account is “new”. (New? Like, what? In days? They don’t tell you.)

I suppose I could create another new account. I’m not crazy about this idea. Making a new account is a massive pain in the ass. I’m talking about filing-your-taxes level of hassle, here. They make you set up multiple secret questions, and were very, very picky about what my password needed to look like, so much so that I was forced to break from my password-generating system. (They INSIST you use a special character.) Worse, my now-useless SWTOR account is inextricably linked to my EA / Origin account. So, if I created a new account for the free weekend I would never be able to join that with my existing EA account. I’d have to go through registration again, using a different email, and then maintain a different set of credentials just for SWTOR, and why am I even contemplating this?

While I’m annoyed at having my time wasted (downloading the client takes a LONG time, on top of the account-creation paperwork, plus the time wasted trying to idiot-proof my support email) I’m more mad at the sheer single-minded stupidity of the company. On one hand, they are running advertisements and sending out mass emails. Free weekend for new players! Free weekend for existing players! Account extensions! Invite-a-friend! They’re begging people to come play this thing. But then I show up with a very minor problem and nobody can do anything about it.

Isn’t this supposed to be a promotion? Like, to attract new people to the game? I do not feel very attracted by this point. I feel like BioWare owes me for the time I wasted jumping through their hoops.

The result? I’m playing a lot of Tera and Firefall. Have you heard about Firefall? I missed it two years in a row at PAX. Then I saw this look at the game from Extra Credits:

Link (YouTube)

So that’s exciting.


From The Archives:

183 thoughts on “SWTOR “Free” Weekend

  1. Zaxares says:

    Bioware no longer does their own tech support. It’s all been handed over to EA. I had to jump through a lot of hoops too with EA Support to get my pre-order DLC for ME3. Bioware still makes awesome (most of the time) games, but I think the day is coming when I can no longer name them as my favourite developer owing to their post-release support and their handling of customer/fan feedback. :/

    This is only partly inspired by the ME3 ending debacle, incidentally. My thoughts on that issue are long and complex, and I don’t particularly fall into the “Retake ME3” movement, although I do sympathise with their goals.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      It took me DAYS to figure out where the heck to put in the code for From Ashes.

      As far as I can tell, the only way to do it is to go into the options menu in Origin itself. No way to do it in game, or even on the page for the DLC itself. And the card supposedly telling you how to do it gave me no clue…


    2. Rick Tacular says:

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sometime int he future we’ll be readin an article about how EA destroyed BioWare, just like it had done with all the other companies EA bought.

      1. I think EA is going to ruin Bioware in a new and different way. Past companies were bought, their IP exploited, the company gutted, and the brand abandoned. See Origin, Bullfrong, Maxis. Their franchises eventually merged into the collective EA brand (though Maxis looks to be getting a second life with SimCity).

        For Bioware, the approach is the opposite. EA understands the value of that brand name, and is devoted to sticking it on as many things as possible. SWTOR is a great example of this – it’s made by people in Texas, not the Canadians who made Baldur’s Gate. Even better is Command and Conquer Generals 2. The studio Victory Games was recently re-branded Bioware Victory, merely to case in on the name.

        1. Klay F. says:

          In regards to Maxis: It certainly looks like their determined to kill the SimCity fanchise once and for all, at least from my perspective.

      2. Kailvin says:

        I’d like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species, and I realised that humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment; but you humans do not. Instead you multiply, and multiply, until every resource is consumed. The only way for you to survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern… a virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet, you are a plague, and we… are the cure.
        -Agent Smith

        EA is the ultimate example of this. They pull as much as they can from developers. Killing them. Then moving onto the next one. Its both horrible and scary at the same time…

        1. Galad says:

          The second time today I’ve read this complete quote..the first Matrix was THAT good.

        2. Syal says:

          …now that quote is bothering me. Didn’t the robots kill off everything except humans? So he’s just a massive hypocrite.

          1. Kerin says:

            I think the HUMANS killed all life on earth when they blotted out the sun. Except for, you know, deep-sea life.

            1. James says:

              OMG yes!

              The Matrix 4: Cthulhu Rises

        3. John the Savage says:

          I understand the concept the film was going for, but I’ve never been able to shake off how completely wrong Agent Smith was in this scene. An organism “Instinctively developing an equilibrium with its surrounding environment” is a load of horse-shit, and anyone with a basic understanding of natural selection knows it. That equilibrium is nothing but an evolutionary arms race between species, and those that can’t evolve fast enough go extinct.

          Don’t mistake me for an EA apologist here, though. EA is a blight, leaving only dust in its wake.

      3. X2Eliah says:

        Somehow I suspect that with all the moaning that usually envelops every single thing EA does, surely such articles already exist.

        1. Raygereio says:

          Ayup. In fact it seems that’s already a pretty popular opinion to have. It even comes with comics!

          Personally I don’t think EA is BioWare’s problem. Though funny enough it does seems like BioWare is becomming EA’s problem.

          1. X2Eliah says:

            “Personally I don't think EA is BioWare's problem. Though funny enough it does seems like BioWare is becomming EA's problem.” Yeah, I agree with that.. Heh.

  2. Kdansky says:

    I knew about Firefall, but I have not seen this video. I will totally buy it, just because of their principles. Wait, F2P? FOILED AGAIN!

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I wanted to try the free swtor myself,despite not being that attracted to mmos.But then Ive realized that Id need origin for this,so I decided not to.

    Firefall does seem very tempting though.That one Ill have to try.

    Wait,when did I sign up for firefall?Huh…Oh well,thats one step less for me.

    1. Sumanai says:

      What? SWTOR didn’t require Origin in the beginning. Or is it that the promo demands Origin? Either would sound like something EA/Bioware would pull off.

    2. Irridium says:

      Nah, you don’t need Origin for TOR. Just an Origin account, which is basically an EA account that they changed without really telling anyone.

      Probably doesn’t make things much better, but you don’t need to install Origin the program to play, at least.

      1. Zekiel says:

        Actually I remember getting an email from EA telling me they’d changed its name. I was so excited – basically it meant “this account that we forced you to get in order to register your Dragon Age Origins DLC has now changed its name. Rejoice!”

    3. Wintermood says:

      Huh? You do _not_ need Origin for SW ToR. As far as I know only ME 3 needs Origin.

      Try SW ToR, it is really not that bad. :)

    4. MintSkittle says:

      Just to clear up some possible misinformation, you do not need to download the Origin software client to play SWTOR, but you do need an account on their website. If you had an EA account previously, it is now an Origin account. Small comfort, but there it is.

      EDIT: Ooh, moderation. Is Origin or EA a dirty word now?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Huh,didnt know that those two were separate.Well,maybe Ill give it a try.That is if I can tear myself away from indie games.

      2. Mephane says:

        I want to add though that the confusion has been created by EA/Bioware themselves, because as a matter of fact Origin is required for a digital purchase of the game. You can get boxes at any retailer but if you want a pure plastic-free download you have to use Origin.

        Their original wording was something along the lines of “Origin exclusive” and for some time it was not clear whether that meant download purchase only or in general. By the time they had cleared that bit up the damage was done, the rumour out and still months later.

        1. krellen says:

          You need an Origin account; you do not need the Origin client for any part of the process.

  4. Steve C says:

    Shamus how did you get into the beta for Firefall? I went to their page to check it out after reading your post and I don’t see a way.

    Also I tried to get into the open beta for Tera. The launcher failed to download the main game. I gave up after trying to solve it for an hour. So instead I tried the Diablo 3 beta (successfully) that was open this weekend and had fun with it.

    Note to developers: bugs in beta are fine. Bugs that prevent people from logging in at all leave a terrible impression of your game. It sends the message:
    “It works for others but it won’t for me so there’s no reason to buy it.”

    1. The Decoy says:

      It’s a closed beta, but on their website you just click the big “Request Beta Access” thing in the top right of the home screen. Making an account isn’t too much of a hassle, just give them an email address. They send waves of invites out every few weeks.

  5. StranaMente says:

    I’ve heard and seen some things about firefall, and it seems interesting even though I’m not a great fan of MMOs.
    I signed up for a beta account, but I still haven’t received an invitation. I suppose I’ll have to wait to check the game myself.

    On the other hand, the SWOTOR thing seem like having to make an infinite line just to get something bland. Why would one do that?

    1. Dragomok says:

      On the other hand, the SWOTOR thing seem like having to make an infinite line just to get something bland. Why would one do that?

      It baffles me why they put “one weekend for one account” restriction at all. What is that supposed to prevent? Freeloaders playing your game regularly (whole TWO days per month!) for free? They will either play it once and get bored or go to pirate servers anyway. Gold farmers? They already have regular accounts.

      I don’t know for others, but if I can play a demo more than once (and I do), I am much more inclined to buy the game (that was the case for Minecraft and – hopefully – will be for Kingmania and Eschalon: Book I).

      1. Aldowyn says:

        Especially considering there’s a cap at level 15 anyway. Which is when the specializations and things start kicking in. (Do WoW talents start at 15 or 20? Its free (unlimited, now) trial ends at level 20…)

        Frustrating :/

        1. Sagretti says:

          Warcraft talents start at 10, though the system is getting completely overhauled next expansion, so no idea when they kick in at that point (they’re going for a small amount of equal choices as you level, rather than a ton of mandatory false options).

          1. Pickly says:

            Of course, the talents at 10 mostly aren’t that interesting, so in a way it starts to stand out at maybe the 20’s-30’s or so. (Unless it changed significantly already since I last played it.)

            1. WarlockofOz says:

              Level 10 is actually a big deal in WOW now – it’s when you pick your specialisation, which gives you a significant bonus to your chosen role and at least one key skill.

  6. The Decoy says:

    Oh man, I’m waiting on a Firefall invite, looks a bit like Borderlands but with more roles and team play and whatnot. The Extra Credits team made it sound pretty special.

    Many people here play it? If so what did you think?

    1. Shamus says:

      My first impressions with the game are not good, but my complaints are all technology-based. It runs like a DOG on my machine, barely able to maintain 15FPS. (Which pretty much ruins this kind of game.) Turning the graphics UP actually makes the game go faster in some cases, but it always looks really, really bad for me. I don’t see other people complaining about framerate, so I assume these issues are particular to my setup.

      I assume all of this will be ironed out as the game as completed.

      1. cerapa says:

        Im fairly certain that these kinds of issues are why you have beta tests in the first place.

        Make sure to tell the devs about your setup.

      2. Kagetsu says:

        Yeah, definitely let the support guys know about this, regardless of your setup if they don’t hear about it they don’t know to fix it. The dev response in Firefall is downright unreal.

        And for what it’s worth firefall at the moment is a big memory hog, which means if you’re on 32 bit windows it hits the 2G limit and cries out for more. That and the game is definitely more optimized for nvidia than ati because nvidia was on board for a long time while ati just jumped on the bandwagon recently.

      3. John Beltman says:

        I followed the link to their site and the first thing I saw was the female soldier image at the top left of the page pointing a gun at us. With big, bulky armour on. Except over her bare midriff. With the bottom of her breasts poking out.

        Even if there is some reason to not need armour there (forcefields?), what kind of woman wouldn’t wear some sort of t-shirt under it? And a bra?


        1. Shamus says:

          Yep. I actually used a screenshot from the game a couple of posts down, on Friday’s column where I discussed this very issue.

      4. Jason says:

        Not in the beta yet, so I can’t speak to the heavyness of the graphics.

        However, the Nvidia 430 card ran a similarly graphics intensive game (RaiderZ, Witcher 2 with full bloom, I suspect it would run Terra well also)

        The 430 is available for about 70.
        the 460 is available for about 140.

        430 rates a 14x on the nvidia scale, 460 rates a 44x, and the 560 rates I beleive a 58x.

        Not trying to be a graphcis snob and claim you obv. need a $300 card to run today’s games.
        I’m just pointing out a (relatively) cheap alternative that serves me well in my gaming endeavours

  7. X2Eliah says:

    On this note, what is the current consensus on TOR? It has been out for a while now, and.. It’s pretty much failing to make frequent appearances on gaming websites nowadays – and without being deep into the MMO scene, it’s hard for me to judge whether TOR is doing fine or not, and how relevant it ctually is at this point. Are all these free-weekend invites just indications that the TORmonster is starting to sink badly already?

    1. Sumanai says:

      I stopped playing in February, I think, but I’ll give you my impressions anyway:

      Better than what WoW was two or three years ago, but not enough. I found it boring, but I’m not a big MMO fan. Public relations is a horrible mess, and not just according to what Shamus says here. They’re slow to fix things and some of the mistakes seem so obvious it’s a wonder they weren’t fixed in December.

      Mechanically it does a couple of interesting things and I’m led to believe crafting skills are actually useful, but that might change the second they decide that they’re “overpowered”. The writing is okay, but there are some harsh quality drops and the Light/Dark Side Point mechanic is inconsistent. You can get Light Side points for not being Stupid Evil and Dark Side points for not being Stupid Good or Lawful Stupid. Also some of the gains are very much a “how you perceive the situation”, so you might not agree with the gained points at all, or “how the Republic or the Empire views you for this action”.

      Basically it teaches you to be a worse role-player than I am. Which is pretty bad.

      Unless you’re a huge Star Wars fan or love Bioware’s writing to death, don’t bother. If you read up on the game mechanics and they sound interesting, think hard if you should try to get into a free weekend or wait until it goes F2P.

      1. LadyTL says:

        They already did nerf one of the crafting skills because it made too much money for them. I think it was treasure hunting or something but players were sending out their companions from the skip and making enough money to buy all their skills or armor and this was seen as a problem.

        1. Mephane says:

          Slicing was the profession, but despite the nerf it was still worthwhile and filled a useful role by providing crew skill mission discoveries for other professions. Sadly at the moment the green lockboxes are bugged (confirmed by Bioware; white and blue are fine) so it seems even more nerfed, but is actually not meant to be.

          And the most profitable profession has never been slicing, it is only the one giving a sufficient return with the least hassle. Some people got very rich just by doing Underworld Trading.

      2. evileeyore says:

        “Unless you're a huge Star Wars fan or love Bioware's writing to death, don't bother.”

        Even then don’t bother. Most of the stories are pretty terrible to the point of making KOTOR2 look like incredible award winning writting and plotting.

        I played for three months hoping they’d improve anything, all they did was continue to get worse and worse at customer service.

        1. Zukhramm says:

          But I thought KotOR 2 was…

        2. Irridium says:

          KOTOR 2 did have amazing writing though. Plot was basically “Planescape: Torment Star Wars edition”, but it was really good…

          1. James says:

            I enjoyed Kotor2 as well. I think it's a bit more lasting then Kotor1, because the second's storyline doesn't hinge on one big plot twist.

          2. Also, KOTOR2 wasn’t Bioware, it was Obsidian.

            1. X2Eliah says:

              More likely the point was in comparing KOTOR2 as the most recent singleplayer story RPG set in Star Wars… The dev is a bit irrelevant, it’s the Star Wars bit that matters.

              On the subject of KOTOR2 though.. Didn’t it have essentially no ending whatsoever? I thought gamers were very very fussy about rpg endings, no?

              1. James says:

                Yes, Obsidian has some issues of its own. They do some fantastic writing, but they never have enough time. This usually results in the ending suffering and a buggy game.

                1. Aldowyn says:

                  Pretty sure that is usually blamed on the publishers, no? At least in KotOR II’s case.

              2. Klay F. says:

                Its pretty funny comparing ME3 and KOTOR2 now that you mention it. Both games with excellent writing that nobody remembers because they are too busy hating the ending.

                On that note though, there is one thing thats different. KOTOR is so well written (except for the ending of course), it ends up becoming too sophisticated for the universe in which it is set, it starts becoming an unintentional mockery of the universe itself.

                Its seems to be screaming, “Look at how interesting this setting could have been had competent writers stayed in control. Instead its herp derp Siths R BAD, Jedai r gud.”

                1. Irridium says:

                  Same could be said of Neverwinter Nights 2 as well.

                  The game was really, really good up until the ending part. Then it became the poser child for bad endings.

                  1. Keeshhound says:

                    I liked NWN 2, but you will never convince me that the Orc caves were any variation on “good.”

                    1. Aldowyn says:

                      I guess it’s a good thing I never finished that game then, hmm?

                      Though the plot door part dragged on FOREVER. Just ask Shamus.

                    2. SolkaTruesilver says:

                      Shamus, what do you think of NWN2’s plot door? :-)

                2. Zukhramm says:

                  I don’t know, I had plenty of problems with the writing in ME3 besides the ending.

                  1. Klay F. says:

                    I actually wouldn’t know, I’m just going with consensus regarding ME3 as I haven’t played it. :)

                    Serves me right for assuming things when I don’t have first hand knowledge.

                3. Thomas says:

                  My resolve to avoid ME3 spoilers (and as you can imagine that hasn’t been easy) and my love of KOTOR2 are fighting over whether I should comment but it wasn’t so much the story ending was badly written but there was no ending to the game.

                  It’s not just a story thing but a game thing. They put you on a buggy planet and make you fight for a couple of hours without anyone speaking. The whole thing looks like it was put together and never playtested. And the problem was Lucas Arts decided to half a year of their development and push for a christmas release.

                  But if you download the fixed mod version and talk in all the conversations the actual writing for the end is pretty good, it’s just there’s no cutscene as such and the gameplay slog beforehand ruins your expectations.

                  And in general the writing for KotoR 2 is pretty much only beaten by the other stuff Obsidian/Black Isle have done :D

                  1. ehlijen says:

                    Agreed. Kotor2 had a good ending plotted out that was mostly cut due to time constraints. ME3 had incompetent writing; they either deliberety confused the player or couldn’t remember what they wrote for the arrival DLC, either way, they messed up from a writing quality standpoint.

                    An extra month would have made KOTOR2 better, but would only have given ME3 more starchild derping.

                  2. Klay F. says:

                    Yes yes, I know all about KOTOR2’s woes, but I’m not judging it by its incomplete content, or by the writer’s intent, I’m judging it by what we got. If we judged every game by what the creators intended then every game would be the greatest ever.

                    1. ehlijen says:

                      But making purchase decisions regarding a writers future works should be based on whether a writer delivered sustandard content on his own or because of outside influence.

                      I’m more inclined to trust future obsidian games to be fun than I do future bioware games.

                4. MadHiro says:

                  ME3’s ‘writing’ is not excellent by any stretch of the imagination. The entire Priority: Thessia mission is a perfect, step by step example of how to rob your players of agency and the story of meaning. It is by no means an aberration.

      3. Mephane says:

        the Light/Dark Side Point mechanic is inconsistent

        Extremely inconsistents. Sometimes it is a simple and obvious “save the puppies/kill the puppies” decision (i.e. classic good vs bad), sometimes it is “obey/disobey” (i.e. classic lawful vs chaotic).

        The real problem is when chaotic good means lawful evil. Sometimes then lawful evil gives light side points, and chaotic good dark side. (Rep. trooper and smuggler encounter this in their very starting area, some war refuges have stolen medical supplies to save their sick friends and relatives – letting them go with it gives you dark points, taking the supplies back to their original owner, i.e. the military, gives light points. That was a real facepalm-moment for me.)

        1. krellen says:

          You actually have that quest turned around. Taking the supplies back to the Republic is the dark side path.

          (Unless they patched it otherwise since launch.)

          1. Keeshhound says:

            Neither of those options strikes me as something that you want to pass broad moral judgement over…

            1. krellen says:

              *shrug* It’s like 50 points (on a 10000 point scale) either way.

              1. Aldowyn says:

                Yeah, but that’s not the point. The point is you can make equally valid arguments for either case. (giving to the military being dark side and letting the refugees have it be light side, and vice versa)

                That’s what I like about the way the Paragon/Renegade system was supposed to work. Both of them were good, but essentially Paragon was Lawful and Renegade was Chaotic. The light side dark side gets messed up having to deal with two axes.

                Personally, at least in this timeframe, I think they’re both lawful, just good or bad. (Obviously Jedi are lawful, and come on, EMPIRE? That screams lawful evil) By that logic, the refugees should be good and the military should be bad. Though that can be argued as well…

                1. Irridium says:

                  It would be so much better if they just ditched morality bars all-together and let us, the players, decide what decisions we make are moral.

                  1. Aldowyn says:

                    I thought DA:O (I haven’t played DA2) had a decent way of doing it. Different people would definitely agree or disagree with certain decisions, and that doesn’t make them absolutely moral or immoral, just moral or immoral to them.

                    Take the Redcliffe manor quest, for example. Personally, the first time I played, I took the blood magic option, sacrificing the (Willing! Important point, she was willing!) mother to exorcise the son. I thought the means justified the ends. Alistair… disagreed.

                    But yeah, morality bars need to die in a fire. Not the least for encouraging metagaming in games like Mass Effect and KotOR.

                    1. ehlijen says:

                      I don’t think they need to die. But they should be faction/person specific like the popularity stati in the fallout games.

                      Some kind of notoriety tracking is helpful in making npcs decide how to react to the player. Of course, bioware games tend not to do that, making it rather pointless…

                    2. Mephane says:

                      I would rather say give us back the 2-dimensional good-evil|lawful-chaotic scale. Because as I see it, a lot of problems with morality systems in games arise from the fact that lawful and good are usually thrown together on one end, chaotic and evil on the other, which produces these weird situations in the first place.

                  2. Thomas says:

                    Black and white morality is part of the fun of the Star Wars cannon though. It’s pretty much _the_ place in gaming where morality bars actually make sense.

                    They need to find some new tricks to implementing it though. I mean part of the canon is the way it’s supposed to be easy to be lured to the dark side but that’s never a part of the games and it’d be hard to work in an MMO where you want two sides of willing people

                    1. Aldowyn says:

                      Yeah, I can agree with them having a place in Star Wars. Also agreeing with the needing more implementation of the “being lured to the Dark Side”, too.

                2. Cradok says:

                  One thing that really turned me off ME2 compared to ME1, the fact that the Paragon/Renegade scale was much closer to the standard moral choice scale. You still had the way that it was more lawful/chaotic rather than the good/baby-eater you usually see, but where ME1 allowed you to chop and change depending on the situation and still be able to access the major dialogue options, helped by being able to buy points in both ends of the scale, in ME2 if you didn’t stick mostly one way, you got locked out.

                  I played my Shepard as being willing to do anything for her crew – so mostly paragon, bar the Krogan who liked being shouted at – but being a bit of a dick to everyone else about everything bar the Big Moral Choices – mostly renegade. On my first playthrough of ME1, I got both Paragon and Renegade achievements without trying for it.

          2. Sumanai says:

            Yeah, I remember it like that as well. During a pre-release stress test and January it was a catgirl who stole medicine for “sick children”. She lost it and you have to get it back. She either blackmails you into promising to bring the medicine to her (light side points) or you threaten her and the children (dark side points) and then decide either way (more dark side if you bring them to the military).

            The problem there is that the game takes a stance that one is better than the other, though, so it’s not really important if it’s mirrored now. The amount of points isn’t important either.

            What I wanted to do was point out to her that unless the children were genuinely in need of the medicine in question she was risking everyone’s lives because the rebels were not above brainwashing or killing children. So if the soldiers die, no-one is around to stop them.

            Also it would’ve been nice to be able to tell her when she tries to blackmail you that “Oh well. I intended to give half to you and lie to the military that the thief had lost half of them, but I guess I’ll just have to leave all of them to the guys who stole them from you.”

            The annoying bit is that when you return the medicine she says something like “I didn’t think you’d bring them to me.” Lady, if you weren’t going to take me by my word, why did you bother with the blackmail? It would’ve been much better if you would’ve told me where they are and asked me politely to bring them to you. As a bonus I would’ve felt more inclined to bring them to you because you would’ve been friendly instead of acting like an ass.

            1. WJS says:

              Wait, they’re going with the tired old “The Military is evil” trope? In Star Wars?? …OK, if they say so…

    2. Mephane says:

      I have been playing it since release (and no intentions to stop now) and the most striking feature of the game is that it is actually WoW just in Star Wars. You will find all the typical mechanics (and sometimes their shortcomings), quest types, dungeons/raids/battlegrounds etc.

      It is still way better than the average WoW clone. This is on one hand due to the fact that it is an entirely different setting; no one needs a dozen knights/wizards/orcs-fantasy-MMO which are basically the same, but differ in slight details and quality, but I have no problem with a quite similar with an entirely different setting.

      And, to Bioware’s credit, they manage to pull off stuff where I had seen other developers utterly fail, for example WoW-style gunfighting. Star Trek Online had an implementation that was utter garbage, but SWTOR does it pretty well (my main is a mercenary, i.e. blaster pistol dual wielder, and yes weapons are restricted that tightly; you cannot use a normal rifle if you are a bounty hunter). Depending on the class, melee is either quite fun (Jedi Knight) or boring and bland (Jedi Shadow), and there is also the melee/semi-ranged hybrid that is the Scoundrel, which is also nicely done.

      It’s definitely worth a try if one does not mind WoW gameplay but wants either a Star Wars setting in particular or a sci-fi setting in general. Personally I have been craving for a decent sci-fi MMO for some time and so SWTOR filled that need for me (and as a admitted Star Wars fan even more than that), but I have no illusions about the game.
      It is decent and manages to not butcher the source material (I have yet to find any mention of midichlorians in the game, for example, hopefully they deliberately avoided that stuff).

      The only new thing it does is the (almost, there are a few exceptions where you get just a standard mission briefing text popup from computer terminals) voice over and dialog trees. After that ordinary quest popups indeed feel severely outdated.
      A few dialog options give the impression to really have an influence, but of course that is always somehow limited to the player’s character story, which every player experience for themselves (this means if I hunt down one of my major foes and and decide to kill them on the spot, it has no effect outside my class story, and other people of the same class might decide to spare the same foe and at most receive a different title for that), or restricted to a certain instanced dungeon (aka flashpoint) that can be repeated and will thus star anew every time (which means you can get the title for sparing the captain and general in Black Talon and the one for killing both by running the thing twice).

      So for someone who either likes or does not mind WoW-style combat and likes sci-fi (or Star Wars in particular) this is a decent game, but if either does not sound too attractive better stay away, as there are no gameplay highlights that justify getting the game just for them. Which means that I would not recommend it to someone who would just want to experience the class stories (you’d still have to do all the typical MMO stuff and will be doing A LOT of side quests in order to keep up with the level of your story quests).

      1. evileeyore says:

        “It is still way better than the average WoW clone. This is on one hand due to the fact that it is an entirely different setting; no one needs a dozen knights/wizards/orcs-fantasy-MMO which are basically the same, but differ in slight details and quality, but I have no problem with a quite similar with an entirely different setting.”

        It’s worse than WoW at game play, the worlds are primarily corridors with very few open areas, WoW combat is decades beyond SWTOR, WoW’s crafting is far better, I actually felt WoW had a better “mob” population desnity (as you you could wander about sometimes without tripping over mobs that needed killin in WoW), everything SWTOR rips off from WoW (99% of the game) is done worse.

        They literally failed to pay any attention to the lessons the other MMOs have been learning over the years and are making the same mistakes Everquest made 13 years ago.

        The only area SWTOR shines in is graphics (the game looks nice, it looks like Star Wars) and the cut-scene RP story moments, and both of these things are done very well.

        Though with the last one get used to hearing your character use the same 3-4 quips in over and over and over and over… ;)

        1. Mephane says:

          Hey I did only say it is better than the average WoW clone, not the original. ;)

        2. MelTorefas says:

          This was my impression of the game as well. I quit playing after a month and a half because there are SO MANY mobs and you have no real way of getting past them without either making huge trains and possibly dying, or fighting everything. So in other words, basically the same reason I quit playing AION… and RIFT…

          Also, SW:TOR does the world scale a lot more realistically than say WoW or others. The buildings and cities have explorable areas that are less than their full (often planet spanning) size, but still very very large. All of the areas are big. Unfortunately, you don’t get the option for a mount until 25, and you won’t be able to afford it then if you’ve splurged on luxuries like ‘training your spells’ or ‘crafting’.

          The result of those two points is that I spent literally half my time in the game running between points. Not my idea of fun, really.

          1. Irridium says:

            Stuff is very, very big in TOR, but you get a sprint ability right at the start. And all planets up until Tatooine (where you can buy your first speeder) are small enough so running isn’t too bad.

            1. Sumanai says:

              Now you get the sprint ability from the start, wasn’t like that for the first month or so. Fun times.

    3. Aldowyn says:

      Let’s put it this way: My mom’s been playing it since the beginning, and, even though Bioware was supposedly really careful to not add too many servers so they wouldn’t become empty, hers is. Half a dozen to a dozen people on each planet, of which there are only 20 or 30, even on primetime. Her guild, which used to have like 15 people on at a time, is lucky to have 2 or 3. (The Empire version of the guild looks to be the same)

      So yeah, looks like it’s having issues.

      1. Amarsir says:

        Which is easily the dumbest mistake they’ve made: splitting people up. The whole purpose of MMOs is to bring people together. If you don’t do that, failure to hit critical mass sends the problem spiraling. Everything in an MMO should be geared toward helping people interact, including cross-server action whenever possible. If they don’t fix this soon, then by the time they get around to the teaming problem all the would-be groupers will have given up.

        1. krellen says:

          I’d like more MMOs that didn’t keep trying to force me to play with other players all the time. Sometimes they have really good mechanics, or a setting, or they’re basically KOTOR3, and they really should just allow themselves to be that without forcing people to have to team up all the time.

          (I’m not saying don’t have teams; I’m talking about funnelling things through a team gate.)

          1. Bubble181 says:

            The more I hear people say “you’re all alone and it’s KOTOR 3”, the more I want to play it. The more I hear “WoW Clone in Space” the less I want to play it. Damnit.

            1. Aldowyn says:

              KotOR 3 without a pause button, perhaps?

              The gameplay is… closer to WoW, I would say. Definitely. Though that’s probably (almost certainly) a bad thing.

          2. Amarsir says:

            Krellen you and I probably have the same Gold standard for teaming: City of Heroes. Yes, their team forming isn’t quite as automatic as it might be, and yes they had to be dragged kicking and screaming into making the markets cross-faction. (And I stated 7 years ago that it was foolish to build Arenas and not make them cross-faction.)

            But of everything I’ve tried, they come closest to “team when you want to, not when content dictates it.” And the make-your-own-Global channels feature, which works cross-server no less, is superb.

            1. krellen says:

              Yeah, City of Heroes was my golden standard until they decided they needed to add an end-game and hide it behind a team-gate.

    4. Irridium says:

      It’s stagnating, to put it simply. Not growing, not falling. It’s also doing fine financially. Which I guess could be bad if they were expecting it to be a smashing success right at the start. Which would be an incredibly stupid business model for an MMO.

      However, since they opened with so many serves right out of the gate. I’m guessing they had so many so we wouldn’t have to deal with full servers and wait-times to join, but in doing so they’ve made the “low” population seem way worse than it is, which is basically just spread out across so many servers.

      Plus, lack of people sticking around might be attributed to the lack of a proper endgame or whatever MMO players call it. Never cared for endgame stuff myself, but it appears to be a big deal for many. I don’t know, I just enjoy going through it at a slow pace, taking everything in. Madly dashing through to get to the end just seems silly to me.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        “Stagnating” isn’t always a bad thing for an MMO, assuming it has enough of a userbase already, though gradual growth is the way to go. Declining userbase, however, is the sign of a dying game. *cough* WoW *cough* Stable is good.

        I wonder how close SWTOR is to recouping its crazy expenses at this point…

        1. Sumanai says:

          Stagnating and stable are different things in this context. If TOR is stagnating, that means no new players and very little or no progress made on content or gameplay. Which means that soon it will be declining.

          1. Aldowyn says:

            Well, there’s been two major content patches.

            Now, their effectiveness is… disputable. :D

            1. Sumanai says:

              And it’s the effectiveness that makes some claim it’s stagnating. From what it has sounded to me they’ve made changes that they should’ve either done before release or short time after. Now, I can be pretty demanding of MMOs, and it gets worse when I hear that the customer service is bad, so I may not be the right person to come for unbiased opinion on the current situation.

    5. Zukhramm says:

      I played it during one of the free weekends. It feels like a really wasted potential, I mean, what’s the point of having voice acting and dialog trees, better tools for telling a story if you’re just going to hand me WoW-type stuff anyway?

      “Hello [insert class here], you’re new here, as your initiation, do these boring quests. Only, this time you’ll have to wade through loads of voiced dialog before we let you kill stuff!”

      Yeah, haven’t done that 15 times in every single MMO ever before.

      Maybe the story does get interesting, I don’t know, but if I have to wait to level 30 until it does, I don’t see the point. I could just play a single-player RPG that doesn’t have all the MMO stuff in the way, or I could play an MMORPG that doesn’t have a cut-scene before every single quest.

      It seems to me the game is made up of two major parts that both obstruct the other one.

      1. Hitch says:

        I haven’t played it, so I can’t say for sure. But your complaints seem to exactly mirror the praise I’ve read from other people.

        “I’ve never been able to get into WoW because I hate reading quest text, so SWTOR is really engaging since I have/get to watch the voice acted cut scenes before every quest.”

        1. Amarsir says:

          Well you can skip dialogue. Or automatically turn it all off in options. But I feel they’re at least trying to justify the actions, even if they are just traditional gather quests. “retrieve hitlists off 5 assassins” may be functionally equivalent to “bring me 5 zebra hooves,” but I find it a lot more palatable.

        2. Zukhramm says:

          Well, if what happened in the cut-scenes was actually interesting, and they weren’t spread out between boring MMO-quests I might be more into it. In WoW, since it’s a piece of text, I can pick it up without reading it, and then read it while traveling towards the area of the quest.

      2. taellosse says:

        The story generally improves around level 10 or so, when you leave your starting world and go to your faction capital, and stays reasonably engaging until ~level 35, in my experience. Though mileage varies depending on class – some are better than others. Most find the Empire stories better written overall than Republic, with the Sith Warrior and Imperial Agent being at the top of the stack. I understand the Smuggler story is probably the best on Republic side.

        I played for roughly 2 months pretty regularly, enough to get a Bounty Hunter up to about level 36 and a Jedi Knight up to level 30. Then I started getting too bored by the repetitive gameplay to keep going – the stories were still interesting, but it took so much boredom to get through them that I stopped playing. After about 6 weeks off, playing other games, I went back and did the first 5-15 levels of most of the other classes over the course of a few days, to see if one could grab me enough to bring me back in. I quite liked some of them as far as they went, but not enough to overcome my distaste of the MMO mechanics. So I canceled my subscription (I’d signed up for a 3-month one) and let it run out. I think it ran out earlier this month sometime.

        1. Zukhramm says:

          I whine about game openings a lot. It seems I have a different opinion of what it should be than the developers do. I see it as the time they have to convince me the game is worth my time, the opening should be, maybe not the absolute best the game has to offer, but it should be close.

          Seems they figure if I’ve already paid I’m not going to quit that early.

        2. Aldowyn says:

          Relating to you saying that the Empire stories are considered better: I’ve heard that the Empire to Republic ratio is somewhere around 3:1. That’s… horrid. Faction based games like this are supposed to be relatively close… Although depending on the design it doesn’t really matter that much.

    6. Warrax says:

      I played the first free weekend and I got a sith warrior and an inquisitor up to the level cap. The stories for both of those classes seemed interesting enough that I wanted to see where they went, but the cost to find out was just way too high. The client went on sale for $40 right after the free weekend so it would have been $55 just to play for a month, and that is a long way from being worth it for a small sliver of the game.

      I also tried the bounty hunter and the imperial agent. From a gameplay and story perspective the bounty hunter seemed a bit flat, I got him up to 10. The agent’s story seemed more interesting but the gameplay was awful; cover-based shooting mechanics are the last thing a wow-clone needs. Maybe it gets better later on, I’ll never know.

      I tried a jedi knight and a trooper on the republic side. Maybe it’s just me, but they were both just really boring. There’s also the fact that british accents will make weak dialog sound good to american ears; the empire had that advantage while the republic did not, so the weaker stories were that much worse.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        SWTOR, just like just about any other subscription based MMO, comes with a free month with the initial purchase. So that’s $15 less of an entry cost. Just so you know.

        I’ve heard the cover mechanic gets better. It at least seems like some kind of innovation in the gameplay, which is to be rewarded. I guess. Though it’s definitely had some… issues. Bugs, bad design, things like that.

        1. Cradok says:

          I don’t know how it works for the Imperial Agent, but the Smuggler gets a ‘portable’ cover that activates when they’re not behind some masonry.

          1. Sumanai says:

            Imperial Agent gets the same thing. And a side-kick who hates if you act like an Imperial agent.

            1. Aldowyn says:

              I’m pretty sure each class gets at least one companion counter to the typical alignment.

              And I’m pretty sure it doesn’t actually give you cover bonuses any more (not completely positive here), just allows you to use cover-only skills.

              1. krellen says:

                When NPCs use it, it blocks skills that cannot be used on enemies in cover.

              2. Sumanai says:

                I wasn’t really trying to “play an alignment”. I was trying to play an Imperial agent, not a Dark or Light side character. I wanted to pick the professional choices, she wanted me to pick a fight with my superior.

                Even if you get another follower who prefers a more professional behaviour, that still means tolerating this one for the time being. Also I doubt any companion likes what I, and I assume most other people, like. Which is situation appropriate behaviour, not “X is always good” like they tend to be.

                1. Irridium says:

                  The Agent actually gets a couple of those types of companions. About 3 or so.

                  1. Sumanai says:

                    That give you + relationship points for adjusting your attitude according to situation? Sounds good, then.

                    I just can’t understand why your behaviour on the starting planet couldn’t dictate what type you got.

  8. Alex says:

    I haven’t heard much of either, and I’m not an MMO player by nature. But Tera looks interesting, and it wasn’t written by a deranged homophobe. I’ll call that a win.

    1. X2Eliah says:

      But Tera looks interesting, and it wasn't written by a deranged homophobe.

      According to Shamus’ tweets, it was artistically designed by one, though, and is populated by thousands of them :|

    2. Rosseloh says:

      It really is fun, too. The combat is a breath of fresh air.

      I hate grinding in most MMOs, but I ran through the noob island 3 times in the course of 3 days, and didn’t get bored. It may not mean much to some, but for me, that’s amazing.

      Can’t say much about the writing though. While it’s a “different” generic fantasy world, the quests are nothing particularly special. The combat is where it shines. And the world itself is damn pretty – just the right blend of realism and fantasy.

      1. Kana-chan says:

        I have to chip in and agree the combat is really what brings TERA to life. If I’m being (brutally) honest, it’s probably the worst designed MMO I’ve ever played. Dozens of minor things build up into an onslaught of seething anger.

        But nearly all of it goes away when I just go find the nearest 2 story monster to murder. And it feels gooood.

  9. lurkey says:

    I’m contemplating going tech support, and articles like this boosts my motivation, like, tons. You get to troll people and are paid for that? Awesome! :D

  10. Aldowyn says:

    It’s dependent on when you made the account? Really? That’s… stupid. WoW and EVE (the two P2P games I’ve done trials of) both have it started when you log in for the first time, I believe. Well, WoW HAD, before it switched to infinite trial up to level 20.

  11. Jax says:

    SWTOR has been very buggy for me and my friends but we enjoy playing it as a group. There still isn’t much high end content for those that put a lot of hours a week into an MMO. It’s a fun weekend game when our work schedules allow us to team up. Somewhere between the 6 and 12 month mark we’ll probably need to move on about the time we get 2 or 3 alts on each side leveled to 50.

  12. Zukhramm says:


    I hate getting a reply that clearly did not read my message. I had problems with my Steam account once, and having used the support before I knew they usually asked for some way to identify me as owner of the account so I thought I’d save some time and include it in my first message rather than make them ask for it.

    Of course, the reply I got was an instruction (in a different language!) to include that very information.

    1. Sumanai says:

      Better than “I have no clue what you’re talking about, because we didn’t bother finding out anything about this product we’re selling, so I assume you’re a complete moron and respond in a way that implies you were asking something completely insane”. It was an online store and I haven’t bought anything from them since.

  13. Aldowyn says:

    I was going to mention Tribes, and then EC did it for me.

    Just started playing it last week (Didn’t it come out just the week before last or so?), and I have to say, it’s… strange. The whole skiing thing (main gameplay mechanic) apparently came out of a bug in the original, and it’s unlike just about anything I’ve seen before. Makes the gameplay completely different. (Imagine grabbing the flag at over 150 km/h. Yeah, strange)

    A ton of grinding to get to the new weapons and classes, though, which I guess is to be expected for a F2P game to make money somehow.

    1. zootie says:

      I was excited about Tribes Ascend b/c I had a ton of fun with Tribes 2 back in the day. But then I discovered the developers seemed to have taken all of their inspiration from the 133tists that still played, and not the pretty large userbase that had moved on. Trouble is, those people all do the high-speed skiiing thing exclusively, and that’s only one dimension of the gameplay.

      We used to spend hours at a time defending flags against all sorts of attacks, and teamwork, inventory placement, varied roles, etc. was crucial to success. A high-speed yoink was a good thing of course, but it generally only distracted the enemy and made an opening to invade their base and rarely ever scored. It wasn’t what the game was all about, but from what I’ve seen, it’s what Tribes:Ascend has been made to be :(

  14. Meredith says:

    Odd. I had a TOR account from last November when I got into the Thanksgiving weekend beta thing, but never actually played. When they had a free weekend a couple of months ago, I was able to load the game and play on that account. I wonder what was different between my existing account and yours.

    1. krellen says:

      The “free weekend” that ran from 4/13-4/20 was for existing accounts. The other “free weekends” they’ve been running (including the one this week) are for new accounts only.

  15. DaveMc says:

    It’s amazing how often tech support that purports to be from fellow humans looks exactly like the result of a keyword search algorithm: “Hello, thank you for contacting EA support. I am Brad, a human. You seem to be having a problem with X. You should reinstall the program, then reinstall your entire operating system and take a long, hot bath. Please let me know if you need further assistance.” (And this is in reply to a message where you have explicitly stated that you did all of that, including the bath!)

    So where is this coming from? Are the humans at the other end just not experts, are they given no time to respond to each query, or do they have no authority to do anything but parrot the FAQ back to people? Or all of the above? Does anyone with insider information care to comment on how this works? Because at the moment, most of the time I find it would actually be more helpful to just have a ‘bot take care of it: at least then you wouldn’t have the illusion that someone *might* be able to actually help you.

    1. X2Eliah says:

      If it is like the phone-line techsupport, then its just down to the fact that the “responders” have a strict list of things to go through step by step on every enquiry (reboot, reinstall, etc. to eliminate idiot issues).. And “passing the call to a superior” is very much frowned upon and can come with consequences – I suppose there might be an analogous situation in this kind of support, too.

      Ofc, they do use pre-prepared statement lines. It is much less reading and writing – especially if your “operator” is dealing with 100s of people a day – and much more parsing text quickly for keywords and hitting “paste relevant sentence”.

      Why humans? They are cheaper, I suspect. Or it is just an anachronism. Or, more likely, the techsupport is outsourced to people in some backwater village of India who have no real grasp of English. With no voice-comm, you don’t even need to filter out the more unintelligible ones.

      P.S. Not an insider or anything, I just recall most of this from an article that *was* by an ex-insider phone-line tech-support guy.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        What you say would make more sense to me if I’d ever seen one of these responses not be completely irrelevant to my problem.

  16. Guts says:

    I tried to get into the game during the first free weekend, but didn’t quite make it.
    The hoops they make you jump through to actually sign up nearly put me off entirely. As Shamus mentioned, you have to create 4-5 secret questions and answers – ridiculous. Well, ridiculous for a free trial account anyway. Their goal should have been to remove as many barriers as possible just to let people get in there and start playing. If after getting a taste they wanted to sign up for real and start paying money, then go ahead ask for all that other stuff.

    I managed to get past all of that, but it put me in a strange agitated state. When I then realized the size of the required download, I just couldn’t be bothered.

    1. krellen says:

      As someone actually trained (and certified) in network security, these sorts of things really infuriate me. “Security” is not an all-fired goal where the plan should be to make it as hard as possible to use so no one can crack it. Making something “secure” is easy; the trick lies in making it secure and usable. So many organisations err so far on the side of security that I can only think they’ve been training monkeys to do their security.

      1. Raygereio says:

        My favorite piece of stupid-security was with a website that demanded I gave them 5 secret question and then proceded to have unreasonable demands on what my answers should look like.
        I would have been more then happy to give them my mother’s maiden name (What is it with silly standard secret questions anyway?), but sadly my mother’s maiden name is not at least 8 characters long, does not include at least two capital letters and two special characters.

        1. krellen says:

          That right there is a clear sign of monkey security.

          1. Aldowyn says:

            How the heck can any special question other than “What is your second password” have two capital letters and two special characters?

            1. Bubble181 says:

              My mother’s name’s got both. Admittedly, it’s a French name so accents help ;-)

            2. Adeon says:

              “What is your mother’s full maiden name and your two favorite mathematical operators” :)

          2. Sumanai says:

            “Monkey security” needs to be an industry term for this.

            1. Sumanai says:

              I mentioned this to a couple of friends and they seemed to get on-board instantly. If there’s enough push for the term I believe it could become official.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          That reminds me of this excellent comic.

          1. Irridium says:

            It reminds me of this one.

        3. Zukhramm says:

          It’s strange how not-secret the “secret” questions seem to be. Really, any of the commonly given ones would be no problem at all figuring out if I truly wanted to get into someone I knew’s account.

          When not given the option to enter my own question instead of the pre-written ones I just answer something completely non-sequitur.

          1. Syal says:

            My high school, first girlfriend, mother’s maiden name and favorite movie are all named “Irrevocable Zombie Influence the 3rd”.

            “7poMJO90” for short.

          2. Pickly says:

            How do you remember what the answer is to something like this, though? (Since in addition to the obvious problem, non-sequitors have a lot more options of the “what would I have written as an answer to this” method that I sometimes use for the non-hard information types of these questions.)

            1. Zukhramm says:

              Usually, they’re farfetched puns based on the questions they’re easy for me to remember put impossible to figure out regardless of how much you know about my mother.

              1. X2Eliah says:

                Hm. Once I was using puns and “funny” responses to such questions.. Trouble being, I very soon forgot which kind of jokes I used for which kind of sites, and what belonged where :| I guess if you maintain an exactly consistent sense of humour and/or use the exact same response to questions, then it would be possible to remeber – but a unique “witty” reply? No way, imo.

                Incidentally, a side-note: Going over the recent years of leaked logins and customer data etc. etc. (e.g. psn hacking kerfluffle), I’d say that using the exact same answers to questions / exact same password is far, far more risky than being a bit too “safe” and “unimaginative” with them. The key thing, though, in the end, is that you can always remember or otherwise deduce what the password is, and that it isn’t a common dictionary word.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Its much easier when your mother tongue isnt english,so you can just write what you want in your own language,and it will probably be obscure enough.

          3. Destrustor says:

            I did that once. No choice to write my own questions and of the 8 or so pre-made ones, there was literally only ONE to which an answer existed for me. I had to pick at least three. I just wrote bullshit answers, thinking they’d be obvious later but I was wrong.
            -“your favorite sports team?”
            -uh, none?

            Anyway, when I can make my own questions, I usually make them so that the answer is a word that only exists in the fictionnal world I’m working on in my head. It’s pretty secure, I guess.

            1. Thomas says:

              My general answer to all secret questions is my backup password :D

              The thing is, this stuff does get exploited. When Genes Reunited and other family history sites came around it became ridiculously easy to get all the details you need to answer someones secret password. I mean some of the questions are stuff that you can just pull off someones Facebook

  17. Factoid says:

    I’m so pumped you’re playing Firefall. A good friend of mine from high school is one of the developers for that game. Sadly I was out of town the week he was dishing out free beta invites on facebook, so I haven’t been able to get in yet despite registering forever ago.

    I know I could fix this with one email to my friend, but then I would have to stop playing Tribes: Ascend. I already feel a wee bit guilty for playing Tribes because it’s very much a direct competitor to Firefall, even though Firefall isn’t even in public beta yet.

  18. RTBones says:

    There is little in the technology world so irritating as Tech Support that doesn’t seem to read. I have an issue, so I attempt to resolve it on my own through various methods. Getting nowhere, I ask for help – only to be answered by a droid. Its bad enough to have the problem in the first place, Tech Support (almost) always seems to make it worse before it gets better. Sigh….

  19. krellen says:

    “(They INSIST you use a special character.)”

    Funny; they didn’t make me use one.

    1. Freykin says:

      Same, my account doesn’t have a funny character. For Tera, however, they did make me, and in my frustration my password now happens to be the Guy Fawkes day poem. Takes me forever to log on! Lets see some script kiddy hack that, though :P

    2. Irridium says:

      Me too. In fact, I originally intended to use a special character, but they said I couldn’t do it.

  20. Amarsir says:

    SWTOR’s customer service is terrible, which at least sets an even level with their moody web interface. Did you know that if you’re playing the trial, and you enjoy it enough to buy the game before the time runs out, they chop off the redt of your free time? Oh yeah, I thought 4 days + 30 would equal 34. Turns out it equals 30. I filled a ticket to give them a chance for an easy customer service win, and they replied back “nope, and you should have known.”

    (I could also complain bout wrong answers to game questions, but this is willfully bad and not just innocent ignorance.)

    And yet it’s not like they’re just being cheap, either. They just gave a free 30 days to everyone with a level 50. Now for the life of me I can’t figure out the logic behind that metric. All 90-day vets would make sense. All active subscubers on a certain day would make sense. All people with X hours in game is understandable. But this particular rule encourages people who had been leisurely enjoying the content to rush past it in order to qualify. How is that in any way an intelligent thing to encourage? (After pressure they revised the rule to also allow 2x 40s, 3x 35s, or relative equivalents, but that’s still the same thing.)

    I swear I just do not know what they could possibly be thinking sometimes. I’d like to laugh it off, but the sad thing is I really do like the content, and when they get the team-finder interface done it seems like a good game for grouping in, too.

    1. krellen says:

      They’re trying to incentivise people like me, who played for a month and got a level 50 character in that time, to come back.

      1. Amarsir says:

        A worthwhile goal, but they could still fine-tune the offer to avoid counter-incentives.

    2. Pickly says:

      One theory I heard is that they may be doing it to keep players who play through a story, than quit. Directing it at 50’s means it is directed towards those people who may be getting close to quitting, while the lower level people will still want to keep playing through.

      This was just someone’s guess, not hard information, but it does make sense.

  21. Marlowe says:

    SWTOR looks like it should be pronounced ‘swotter’ which fits.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      You know,that always bugs.I instinctively put an o there,and have to think about it to say it without it.Why didnt they simply name it star wars OF the old republic?Theyd get another bit of free marketing from that as well.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        Wasn’t the official name just “TOR”?

        1. taellosse says:

          No, it’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. Because everything set in that universe is “Star Wars: something or other.”

          The website address is even http://www.swtor.com (though I suppose one could argue that’s because tor.com was already taken by the science fiction publishing imprint).

          1. Dave B says:

            Also, some unfortunate people might confuse it with this.

        2. Bubble181 says:

          It’s named Star Wars: Whatever, like any other SW game or article.
          I don’t understand why people keep including it in the name,though. Nobody says swJedi Knight or swKOTRO2 or swPod Racing. Just call it TOR.

          1. Aldowyn says:

            +1 to this.

            I usually do that, actually, and most people I’ve seen talking about it call it The Old Republic, or occasionally TOR. Whenever they try to pronounce “swtor” they mangle it on purpose to make fun of how impossible it is to do reasonably.

            1. Sumanai says:

              Or it’s related to the fact that unlike with the other games “TOR” is pretty short and can be mistaken for something else. You don’t say JK or PR either, do you?

              Though I’ve noticed that way too many say EU.

    2. Zukhramm says:

      I say it “swoot-or”.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        Sweh-TOR here. Kind of an I sound? Like SWi-TOR?

        1. Thomas says:

          It’s weird, normally something like that would be perfectly pronounceable in Wales ( we say Bws and Ambiwlans and Bwyd etc) and normally if I saw a random w that’s what I do but it’s always been swuh-tor in my head rather than suitor

  22. Eärlindor says:

    Extra Credits has also made me interested in Firefall (I don’t think I can run it on my computer though). I wish Red 5 Studios all the success in the world.

  23. Henson says:

    I love the advertisement in the sidebar for Star Wars: The Old Republic right next to this post.

  24. Just wanted to point out http://www.escapistmagazine.com/contests/register/ShamusQuiz in case some haven’t noticed it yet.

  25. MatthewH says:

    1.) Tribes is still going? Whoa… I presume we’re past Tribes 2 (though I could never get that game to run and eventually stopped trying).

    2.) Some time ago I wrote a lengthy facebook note to some gamer friends describing the type of MMO I wanted to play. Sounds like Firefall might have done what I was looking for -but I have no time. Maybe when it’s out of Beta…

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Tribes: Ascend. Just came out of beta a couple weeks ago, I believe.

      There are no limits to the MMOs that I can come up with. The logistics are extremely difficult, but there are a LOT of things you can do with the concept of massively multiplayer.

      My favorite is an RTS/FPS hybrid, kind of like Battlefield or … what was that 256 player PS3 game? Ah yes, MAG… anyway, like that but the orders are more enforced, ranks are actual promotions from actual people and actually affect how much authority you have… yeah. Complicated.

    2. Sumanai says:

      It’s technically the third Tribes game, but it’s different from Tribes 2 and I understand this is a big issue for some people. Haven’t played Ascend or 2, so can’t really comment on it.

      1. Jason says:

        I’m playing Tribes:Ascend and am thoroughly enjoying it. I have played Tribes and Tribes 2 and Tribes:Vengeance.

        The gameplay in Tribes:Ascend feels more like Tribes, than Tribes 2 or Tribes:Vengeance. The Jetpack feels right. Skiing feels right. Disc gun feels right. Mortars feel close but a little nerfed. As a big fan of the original Tribes, playing Tribes:Ascend felt like riding a bike for me.

        What’s the catch? What’s different? They have a class system with 9 different classes. 3 Lights, 3 Mediums, and 3 Heavies, each with a different pack and weapon loadout. For instance the Juggernaut is a Heavy armor with a mortar and a disc gun and a health regen pack. The Doombringer is a Heavy armor with a Chain Gun and a Missile Launcher and it’s pack is a deployable force field. This is how they implemented Free 2 Play. If you don’t spend any money, you start off with 3 classes unlocked, a light, medium, and heavy armor. You can unlock everything, so far (with maybe the exception of skins?) by accumulating XP by playing. You can also buy gold and use gold to unlock things.

        1. MatthewH says:

          I highly doubt I’m going to try to get back into it, but I am curious: do people still think about the earthseige/starseige mythos -or is it just running around shooting each other now?

        2. Sumanai says:

          Thanks for clarifying. I haven’t spent a lot of time reading about it because of my almost terminal level of suck in regards to shooters. I’d probably just look for a way of just spending time skiing without harming other player’s experience.

  26. Nick says:

    I’m having similar “jump through hoops” problems with the Tera and Firefall web pages.

    Tera wants to know my birth date, JUST SO I CAN SEE THE PAGE, yeah right, and once you put in an “incorrect” DOB it stores a cookie that doesn’t let you into the site anymore. I’m not wasting my time with that.

    Firefall doesn’t even have a page telling me what the game is about, how am I supposed to know if it’s my type of game?

    You’d think devs and publishers would want to make it as easy as possible for people to play/buy their games, evidently they don’t.

    1. Sumanai says:

      Tom Francis, who is making Gunpoint, talked about marketing your game quickly at GDC.


      I’m bothered by the same thing, by the way. It feels ridiculous how difficult it is to find out anything useful about a game. And they often make all sorts of demands right from the start. “Tell us your age”, “Turn on JavaScript, even though you have no idea if this is a safe site”, “Here’s a Flash site, wait like a chump for minutes for it to load”.

    2. cerapa says:

      If you spend any time on the things that take your age, with the exception of scrolling to the lowest possible enterable birth year, then you are doing it wrong.

      If sites actually looked at what I put there, they would find that I have lived for hundreds of years.

      1. Adeon says:

        That’s why I like Steam, it still asks you but the default date is something like 1/1/1904 so you don’t even need to scroll :).

        1. Sumanai says:

          When Steam started doing that I put my real age in there simply as a thank you for not resetting the damn thing every time.

          1. Adeon says:

            Oh, is that what it does? I’ll have to change mine.

  27. Hitch says:

    I love the fact that Google adsense has decided this entry needs double SWTOR ads.

  28. Jeff says:

    I don’t know if somebody has already mentioned it, but I played WoW for a month or two, and now they constantly want to give me free game time.

    Compare Blizzard with EA. Blizzard wants to give everybody a free week just to suck you in. EA will give you a free weekend if you do a load of paperwork.

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