Good morning folks. In many ways last night was a far worse night than the previous… but for whatever reason I am feeling awake and rested this morning. I wish to god I understood sleep patterns, and why getting significantly less sleep ends up with me feeling better in the morning. Previously I had been used to 5 to 6 hours of sleep, but here lately consequence has ended up with me getting to bed a little bit earlier. More often than not… getting extra sleep just ends up making me feel horrible as a result.
I spent a little bit of time when I first got home helping out a guild member orient herself to Ashora. However after assuring that she got all of the porticulum points… I logged back in Belgaroth and continued down my rabbit hole of leveling as a pure harvester. At the point at which I left off yesterday I had just finished up Freemarch and was entering into Stonefield. Stonefield actually went extremely quickly as I found that all of the rock golems gave extremely fast skill-ups. Additionally there were large fields of the mountain goat like creatures that I could gather up and AOE down.
Once I moved into Moonshade everything slowed down quite a bit again. Firstly I was finally catching up to where the character was at foraging wise… so this meant now having to manage leveling a third skill. I managed to push up rather quickly in harvesting on the various ram like creatures near the Defiant portal. The only problem is they petered out about 200 and the transition point to train the next tier is 225. I found the same essential problem killing boglings and skinning them out in front of the Dwarven Relcaimer camp. At roughly 200 everything slowed down.
Unfortunately the zone did not have any lower level golems or earth elementals… so I had to run around the zone randomly pushing up my mining from picking up Cobalt Lodes. I noticed that the Golems up near Hammerknell all required 170 mining, so that was ultimately my goal. After about 30 minutes of farming Cobalt I managed to push up to that point. The Golems all give skill-ups but they are fairly annoying since after killing each one it spawns three little phantoms. Additionally if you do not harvest the golem immediately it fades often times before you have killed the three phantoms. So it is this delicate juggling act of trying to mine the golem as the phantoms are spawning and before they have really begun attacking you.
This is the point at which I left off for the night. I figure tonight before we pull together the guild night festivities I will try and finish up pushing my trades to 225 so I can learn the next tier and move into the endgame zones. Hopefully I can find a ready source of mobs to mine, forage and butcher as that makes it go so much quicker than having to run around and try and find nodes to harvest. I would rather kill hundreds of mobs at one camp, than try and find 50 nodes spread out throughout a zone.
Early in the evening one of my friends on mumble had been playing Star Wars the Old Republic and talking about it. After we got finished with our walk I decided to patch it up and pop in for a few to poke my head around. When I was last playing I had been alternating between leveling a Dark Side Sith Sorcerer and a Light Side Sith Juggernaut. I have to say I almost immediately regret my decision to log in when I was confronted with the warning screen letting me know that I was no longer a subscriber and should as a result feel horrible. They gave me a nice chart showing me all the ways I should feel horrible in the various basic features of the game that I would be losing by logging in.
I guess to some extent I had forgotten exactly how miserable an experience it is to try and play SWTOR as a free to play title. There I sat with my no-crew skills, my one hotbar, my inability to use various sundry features like displaying titles, my bank, the auction house. I had a stack of credits that had apparently built up from the last time I subscribed so I decided to start trying to make my character playable by unlocking various things. Essentially each one of these items can be unlocked permanently at an account level, but it would literally cost you multiple hundreds of dollars to get your account back to a state at which it would not feel absolutely horrible to play.
All the while I am going through this… I am marveling in the back of my head just how horrible an experience this is as compared to Rift. When I was trying to do my now dead in the water “How To Rift” series, I created a brand new account for the purpose of seeing what exactly the limitations were. Surprisingly enough logging in and playing on a free to play character pretty much felt exactly like logging in and playing on my main. There are a few limitations, but they are essentially unlocked through the loyalty system the moment you spend any money. You are gimped on the number of bag spaces, but as compared to SWTOR this seems like a truly minor thing.
Lack of Loyalty
I guess what feels so exploitative about SWTOR is the fact that I spent a good deal of money with that game. I bought the collectors edition package at launch, and subscribed for I think a total of 9 months. That is far longer than most players did, I feel as though I should get some of these features grandfathered in. I fully expect to be limited on total character slots, or the ability to play the newest content… but it feels like complete shit to log into my characters and have zero recognition for money spent when they were struggling along trying to make the subscription model work. What they are missing essentially is a loyalty system along the lines of what Rift has put in place.
When I logged into Rift after the free to play conversion… I was literally showered with loyalty rewards and the in game credits currency. I want to say I had roughly 100k credits and was at roughly 3/4 of the way through the purple tier of loyalty. I felt like they cared about me as a longtime subscriber, and they were more than happy to welcome me back and shower me with gifts. Granted I am STILL a subscriber, there has only been about a three month period since the release of the game that I did not subscribe. The experience all feels so much nicer however that they give me rewards I want to build towards, and make me want to spend money on the game because I want to support them.
On the other hand in SWTOR I feel like I am a cow being milked for whatever money they can get out of me. Everything about their system just feels cheap and insidious. Instead of adding new features to the game and pay-walling those… they seemed to have chosen arbitrary basic features to hide away from the unwashed masses of non-subscribers. So essentially without paying that monthly fee you get an extremely broken feeling gameplay experience. I know I have commented multiple times about how horrible their free to play model is, but I guess I forget just how bad it really is… until I experience it again each time.
The above video was compiled by Rift Scene and compares and contrasts the features of SWTOR, TERA and Rift. If you are not really familiar with the differences between the Rift and SWTOR free to play model it is well worth watching. I hope I will remember just how bad it is, the next time I get the urge to patch up the game and log in. There really is nothing there for me there unless I choose to subscribe, and I have no desire to do that since I know the next time I lapse I will be treated the same. The main difference for me is that I feel like EA Bioware really does not deserve any of my money. Trion on the other hand, gives both the outwards appearance that they care about me as a player, and as a result I feel like giving them all the support in the world.
Well time to get on the road. Todays post ended up far more ranty than I had intended it to. I am just still shocked at how bad the SWTOR free to play model is when it actually comes to playing it. On paper it looked horrible, but as a non-subscriber attempting to play the game it feels even worse. I hope you have a good day and you find absolutely nothing to rant about. I have a massive list of things I need to get done, so here is hoping I have the “oomph” to do them.