Friday, February 8, 2013

Star Wars - The Old Republic (Part Nine)

Flashpoints & Operations

SWTOR - Flashpoint Portals
As far as Flashpoints are concerned, they kindda remind me of Vindictus where the instanced dungeons are somewhat centralized within an area (minus the boat fares and ability to select dungeon difficulty of course) and you get to fight through a horde of enemy mobs just to get to the final boss...alone or with a party.

And from what I could tell while playing them, each of these flashpoints are unique and fun instances that will take around an hour or two (maybe more) to complete and may sometimes require you to make certain decisions at critical stages along the way that would affect how you progress forward in the dungeon.

If your the same way as your class quest decisions are made, via the conversation options you choose, these flashpoint ones are exactly the same too and they also come with the associated alignment changes. However, if your in a group, your alignment will only be affected by the decision you've made during the conversation and not by the actual outcome (which is actually decided via the system performing rolls for each person in the group and then going with the option chosen by the one who did the highest roll).

Other than that, they aren't really that much different from the instanced dungeons in other MMOs. (Disclaimer: might be fun to me since I'm playing these flashpoints for the first time anyway.)

Operations should be pretty much the same as flashpoints I guess, except that these are tougher instances that only becomes available at level 50 and caters to a much larger party size (Flashpoints: up to 4 players, Operations: 8 to 16 players).

For more details, please visit:
SWTOR Flashpoints
SWTOR Operations

Up until this point, there are roughly five warzone maps available for players to fight in.
SWTOR - Alderaan Civil War MapAlderaan Civil War
Republic and Empire transport ships converge at an important orbital defense facility. Gain control of the facility's air defense cannons, turn them on the enemy ship and shoot it down!

Game Mode: 3-point Domination
SWTOR - The Voidstar MapThe Voidstar
You are part of a boarding party seeking out prototype technology on a long lost derelict starship. Each faction takes turns to defend the ship's datacore while the other tries to retrieve it by planting bombs on doors in an attempt to find a route towards the core of the ship.

Game Mode: Assault (2 Rounds)
SWTOR - Huttball MapHuttball
Anything goes in this brutal spectator sport run by the Hutts. Two teams fight in a no-holds-barred event where the object is to grab the Huttball and get it to the opposing team's goal line.

Game Mode: Huttball
SWTOR - Novare Coast MapNovare Coast
The invasion of Denova has begun as the armies of the Empire and Republic clash on the Novare Coast. Vie for control over the coast's powerful artillery emplacements and use them to cut off your enemy's reinforcements until the Novare Coast remains firmly under your control.

Game Mode: Majority 3-point Domination
SWTOR - Ancient Hypergate MapAncient Hypergate
Elite forces of the Republic and Empire are battling to capture and activate an ancient Gree hypergate complex on the planet Seline. Seize control of energy pylons at either end of the complex and direct their power towards your team's hypergate to claim victory. But be cautious...for each time power is transferred from the pylons, they emit a deadly energy blast that only the central bunker can protect you from.

Game Mode: Convergence
But as you can see, although each of these maps have their own unique objectives, they don't seem too different from PVP maps found in other games. As far as gameplay is concerned, they seem to bear a resemblance to FPS games' "Capture the Flag", "King of the Hill" and "Bomb & Defusal", but tailored to Star Wars's context of course.
SWTOR - Warzone Icon LocationSWTOR - Warzone Queue Window
To start entering these warzones, one must first reach the minimum level of 10 before the icon at the lower right corner of your in-game screen activates. Once unlocked, you may then freely queue yourself for these warzones as shown in the second picture (right). Alternatively, if your the leader of your group, you may also queue the whole group up for the same warzone using the "Queue Group" button.

Do note however that the warzone map that you or your group will be sent to is random and cannot be chosen as far as I know. Additionally, there appears to be a weekly limit as to the number of times you can participate in warzones for free-to-play and preferred players. The limit can only be circumvented if you purchase a weekly warzone pass or subscribe to the game.
Space Combat
Now if you asked me, I'ld say that space combat in Star Wars The Old Republic isn't quite like what you would expect from say Battlestar Galactica Online or other flight simulation type of games.
SWTOR - Space Combat 1SWTOR - Space Combat 2
Its space combat appears to be some sort of tunnel shooter where you get limited control of your spacecraft's movement (limited to within your screen) and have to take down as many of the enemies that fly across your screen as possible or fulfill some objectives during your "predetermined" flight path.

Your weapons of choice for these combats merely include a beam cannon, a missile rack and perhaps a "screen-wide" nuke if you have it equipped. To fire the beam cannon, you just have to point and left click (or hold for continuous fire) on the targets while right clicking would fire missiles instead.

And although tempting, please remember not to continuously fire your cannons especially if your shooting at nothing. This is because while firing them, your shields do not regen at all and if they're gone, all the damage taken would be directly on your hull which does not repair at all and once will die. Besides that, you should also try to avoid crashing into stuff as well for apparently any sort of crashes would immediately deplete your shields.
SWTOR - Ship Equip WindowSWTOR - Starship Upgrades Vendor
As for your starship's upgradability, it appears to be limited to stuff like improving the damage or rate of fire of your beam cannons, increasing your missile capacity, improving shield capacity and regen per tick and also your starship's hull integrity. All you have to do is approach a "Starship Upgrades" vendor, purchase the upgrades and equip them onto your starship (like how you would equip yourself or your companion).
SWTOR - Starship Flight DeckSWTOR - Galaxy Map
To enter a space combat instance, you would first have to visit the flight deck of your starship and access the galaxy map. From there, just choose the corresponding space combat instance that you wish to enter and jump there.
SWTOR - Space Battle Fondor Escort
But remember...just as there are limits to the number of times you can participate in warzones, restrictions are put in place too with regards to the number of times that you can enter a space combat (3 times per week). Likewise, the only way to go around this limit is to purchase some sort of weekly pass via the cartel market.

All in all, Star Wars The Old Republic isn't a bad game to download and play for free despite its restrictions. I am pretty sure it would entertain you for plenty of hours just as it did for me.

Previous: SWTOR (Part Eight)