Do you know what I really dislike about Guild Wars 2? (Aside from the fact that I get bored playing it solo and can really only enjoy it when I'm playing with my husband . . .) When I've spent all day working on one project or another and finally find myself with an hour before bedtime to sit down, put up my feet, and log on, almost invariably, there is a patch. And with our less-than-desirable Internet connection, I know I've lost my window of opportunity for playing.
That has also been the case with my ability to play SWTOR recently. I log on and discover there is a patch. But, as I am unwilling to risk my husband's ping rate on his World of Tanks games, I exit out of the patch sequence and end up going to bed.
Last week, I had to travel for a conference, and I delightedly brought my laptop with me, thinking I would patch SWTOR overnight and have some fun on the other evenings. Unfortunately, while the hotel Internet worked perfectly well for other downloads and for Netflix, I was unable to reach the SWTOR patcher every single time I tried. I could only conclude that the firewall was doing something to block my access. (Oh, well. A couple of evenings spent watching "Firefly" can't be considered a complete waste . . .)
Well, last night, I finally had the opportunity to patch up my desktop SWTOR! So today, after what seems an incredibly long time, I managed to log on and run a few warzones as a Preferred status player. I ran one on my baby Agent and two on my Smuggler. Then I respec'd my baby Sage, whose skill points had been reset, and headed out into the wilds of Tatooine with Qyzen.
Amazingly enough, although I wasn't in top form, I could remember where my keys were well enough to manage. I guess when you standardize your toolbar abilities between characters, who all play similar roles, it helps solidify the arrangement when you return after a relatively long absence.
It's nice to be running around the familiar game maps again, guarding nodes or interrupting people trying to plant bombs. And somehow, I even find myself actually interested in Tatooine, instead of thinking to myself how interminable are the quest chains located there. (I will confess that Taris still makes me want to gag, which was why I was delighted my Smuggler made it to level 23 in her second warzone and was able to think about heading straight to her class quest area in Nar Shaddaa.) I guess sometimes you need a break for a while to appreciate things you have been taking for granted.
Speaking of things which have been taken for granted, I can live without having my wardrobe matching, but I did spend the Cartel points to acquire the ability to hide my head slots on all characters. There was no way I was going to deal with some of those insufferable headpieces, especially after all the thought and consideration I had put into creating those character appearances, to begin with. A girl's got to have some standards, after all!
I'll be upfront by saying I really don't have anything new to say about SWTOR right this minute. It is true that I did go ahead and cancel billing on my subscription, but I figured with as little time as I have to play, even on good weeks, I might as well save the cash. The chances of me ever reaching the point where I exceed the number of warzones I can play are very slim.
Being a teacher means April and May are absolutely nuts. (Standardized testing, Prom, NHS inductions, award assemblies, finals . . .) Being a teacher with four school-age children in a rural area, where one's husband has decided to have milk goats and piglets and where one is trying to start a garden and learn how to make apple butter, can apple pie filling, and bake sourdough bread, well, some nights there is absolutely no free time available.
Yes, we have been seriously expanding our horizons.
In addition, my husband picked up a copy of Guild Wars 2 for me. It's different . . . definitely different. I'm still trying to get the hang of the engineer I play when I'm playing with my husband and the mesmer I play for soloing, especially since I spend very little time playing. But since it's not a subscription, I don't have to feel guilty if I miss an opportunity to play one evening, because I am not "wasting" my monthly fee.
I have every intention of stepping back into SWTOR and running some more warzones, but until summer vacation comes along, it is unlikely to happen a whole lot.
(Gotta brag about my kiddos, who are doing an absolutely fabulous job on their standardized (MAPS) testing! My 6th grader tested at about the 11th grade competency level in everything, and my sophomores blew the rest of the kids in their high school out of the water with their math scores.)
Here's the story . . . I went to the warzone vendors to see what, if anything, had changed in the offerings available to PVP players. Instead of the previous four vendors, there were only two--one for warzone gear and one for ranked gear. But when I went to look at the "usable" gear, I found absolutely nothing.
ALL PVP GEAR IS NOW ONLY FOR LEVEL 55 OWNERS OF THE EXPANSION.
You've got to be kidding me.
You mean that now, all the warzone commendations my level 20-something Smuggler has are basically good for nothing unless I am level 55 and have purchased the expansion? You mean that I can no longer plan on picking up level 40 PVP gear, rather than having to rely on zone quests for all my gear upgrades?
I can't believe they really did it! They really managed to destroy warzones for the under-50 crowd. For that matter, they managed to destroy them for the under-55 crowd.
Because, after wondering why I was getting flattened so quickly my first foray into a warzone after the expansion began, I took at look at the amount of stat inflation granted to me for stepping into the fray. Instead of being granted stats to level 49, I saw I was being granted stats to level 55 . . .
So in other words, I could be playing against people who, at level 50, worked very hard to get very good PVP gear . . . and they're now being pitted against lowbies such as me, who have their basic stats inflated, but who have no advantage when it comes to gear, because there is no PVP gear available for them to purchase, even if they wanted to do so. (I have yet to discover if level 55 characters are also included in these warzones, along with their PVP gear, or if there are separate warzones for those at level 55 . . . but, as all stats are being raised to level 55, I have to seriously consider the first idea.)
I guess I'm back to logging on, looking at my Smuggler, and logging off on nights when I do not have the time to settle down to a quest sequence with my husband . . . or on nights like tonight when my husband is just too tired to play.
Why, exactly, are we subscribing? At this point, I'm ready to take my money and invest in a different game. I'm open to suggestions.
I realize that in the SWTOR blogosphere, I am in the minority. Those who are still blogging are generally excited for one reason or another about the upcoming Makeb expansion. I understand from where they are coming--I really do. There was a time in WoW when I waited with baited breath for the next expansion (although, honestly, that only happened once in three expansions . . .) because I had things to do, goals to meet, and roles to play.
But right now, my purpose in SWTOR life is to relax and just have fun for the hour or three a week I can actually get on and play. I have had no interest at all in the Makeb expansion. I have not pre-ordered it, and until I run out of things to do or feel a burning desire to advance beyond level 50, I have no real reason to order it.
This week, the school where I teach is on Spring Break. As a mom, Spring Break doesn't mean sitting around eating bonbons . . . I have a garden to plant, kids to tutor for the ACT this Saturday, house projects to accomplish, and as of today, 7 dozen eggs to figure out how to use before they go bad. (My in-laws have more chickens than they know what to do with. I managed to find uses for 17 of them this afternoon in coffeecake, egg bread, or quiche . . . and they gathered 17 more . . .)
But because it is Spring Break, I can stay up later and play, as I do not have to get up at my usual 5:00 am alarm.
So after a long day of dealing with hurricane-force winds blowing dust all through the valley, baking, wrangling kids, and generally being the wife and mother I am supposed to be, all I wanted to do was to sit down, put my feet up, log on and run a few warzones.
But first, I checked my blogroll . . . and that's when I learned I would not be playing tonight.
WHY on earth can BioWare not choose a time like 2:00 am to do maintenance? I understand they want a midnight roll-out of their expansion, but hey, can't this be done without taking down the servers in the middle of prime time? (Patch the night before or something, with perhaps a mini-patch rolled out precisely at midnight? Have the major content downloading in bits and pieces or in the background some time before the actual date?)
And, of course, because I am not enthusiastic about the upcoming expansion, I couldn't care less that they're in the process of updating exciting new content . . . All I want is for the game to be available to me during the brief time I can actually play, especially as I am still a subscriber.
I sincerely hope that this expansion will not destroy under-50 warzones . . . I don't mind if the quest zones become ghost towns, but losing warzones will be a major incentive for me to start looking for a new game.
How many times do I have to relearn the same thing before it sticks?!
The other day, I wanted to log on and play. But, because my husband wasn't feeling like playing that day, I knew I would have to go play my Smuggler. (The one not earmarked to play with one toon or another of my husband's . . .)
The trouble was where my Smuggler was located at that time: Taris.
There are certain planets which just make you want to hurry up and leave. Coruscant is one of them for me. Taris is another. I wanted to get past Taris, but I wanted to do so without spending a lot of time on Taris. The prospect of facing yet more Rakghouls was . . . less than stimulating.
I ended up logging on, looking blankly at my Smuggler, and logging back off.
When I mentioned it to my husband, he said, "Why didn't you try running some warzones? You can level very quickly that way."
The wheels in my brain started whirring, and I replied, "You know, you might have something there. My Smuggler healer plays very much like my Agent, and I always enjoyed running my Agent through warzones."
So the next night, when I logged on my Smuggler, I queued for warzones without even attempting to leave the hanger. ("Do not pass 'Go'; do not collect $100.")
About three seconds later, I found myself in the Alderaan Civil War battle . . .
Two warzones later, it was time for bed, and I was wishing I could stay up later without having it affect me negatively at school the next day.
Since then, after some more evenings of warzones, I've decided that my Smuggler is going to be pretty exclusively a PVP character, running warzones and then completing her class quests. As she has diplomacy, she can still raise companions' favor well enough to see those stories, without worrying she will lose too much by not becoming bogged down in endless zone quests.
Accordingly, I've purchased, using Cartel points, warzone leveling bonuses for her, as well as picked up a couple of implants upon her reaching level 20. And I'm making decisions about her skill tree in accordance with the requirements of PVP.
This has the added benefit that if my husband wants to PVP, he can choose a fairly random character on that server (say, his smuggler, for instance) and run warzones with me, rather than worrying about the levels of the various characters.
I know, if I took the time to look, I've written other posts on this blog wherein I've found myself bored, then laughing maniacally after deciding to run warzones. And yet, each time it happens, it feels like I've made some new, grand discovery. I guess some of us are just slow learners or require much repetition to really "get" the point . . .
I realize there must be people who are excited about this patch, but . . .
. . . when I've had a long day at school, an even longer-feeling drive home with a beginning driver, a dinner which tired me out, conflicts with teenagers to solve, the peace to keep, an extremely talkative pre-teen to listen to about the skit she is writing, a younger girl to cuddle and tuck in, a sick husband to pamper, and a short-but-at-least-not-non-existant workout, and all I want to do is spend the remaining half hour of my time awake running a warzone . . .
. . . it is very annoying to log in and see a patch start to slowly download, recognizing that, well, there goes my half hour.
Oh, well. I'm sure that many of the people who are excited about the patch are not nearly as blessed as I am, with my loving husband and my four daughters at home.
Maybe I'll have enough time to run a warzone tomorrow . . . or maybe not. I may not be home in time to put the girls to bed and have any time left to myself.