greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
1. Sometimes, I'm wrong. And then there are these times when I'm wrong on a cataclysmic scale. The trick is admitting one's mistakes, and I'm pretty good at that. So, without further ado, I have to admit that Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the best games I've ever played. No one's more amazed than me. As you'll recall from earlier posts, I was impressed with neither the cut scenes or gameplay videos I was seeing online. Then, yesterday, my time in the beta finally came around. I did my work (I'll come to that later), and then started playing around four p.m. And...except for a half hour dinner break, I played SWtoR until four a.m. (!!!). And it was an utter delight. I solo leveled a blue Twi'lek slave girl until she was a Level 10 Sith Apprentice to Lord Vash. For a beta, the gameplay was amazingly smooth. The voice acting and writing are very well done, and I wasn't the least bit annoyed by the things that seem to be annoying other players (frequent cut scenes, lots of time spent running, etc.). So, because life is stranger than fiction, I unreservedly suggest others may also love this game. I'll certainly be buying a copy when it's released on December 20th.

Here's what baffles me. We know what lousy movies are made from video games. I mean, it's almost impossible to make a halfway decent movie from a video game. So...how is it that Star Wars episodes 1-3 were so unrelentingly awful, and this game is so good? It's the inversion of a truism. In another entry I'll come back to why I think this inversion was possible. But, for now, I'll just say the game I played last night...and this morning...that's the fix I've been waiting for since the summer I saw The Empire Strikes Back twenty times in theatres (1980).

2. Yesterday I wrote pages Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen on Alabaster. Only eight pages left to go, and, like I said, I'm thinking I won't be missing that deadline after all, which is sort of amazing, considering the chaos of late (and the damn fool gaming binge).

3. TONIGHT, kittens, I will be posting the Question @ Hand for Sirenia Digest #72. I want gritty, disturbing replies. The ten I like best will be "printed" anonymously in the digest. If you've been a part of this before, you already know that the answers will be screened, and that no one but me will be able to read your answers (unless it's printed, and then, as I said, anonymity). I have all my polyps crossed that there will be some amazingly unnerving answers.

Oh, and to repeat what I said a couple of days back, we're running a Sirenia Digest special. Subscribe now, and you'll get #71 free with issue #72. In fact, if you subscribed any time in November you get #71. This is to be sure people reading the alternate first chapters of Silk will have access to the entire manuscript. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

4. If anyone ever says, "You can be a Time Lord or you can be a writer," for Dog's sake, tell them you want to be a Time Lord.

I'm coming platypus....

There Is Only Passion,
Aunty Beast

Date: 2011-11-27 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laudre.livejournal.com
I can't say I didn't enjoy my time playing The Old Repulic (I tried Jedi first, but once I rolled a Sith, I was hooked... I could listen to that voice actor all day), but I don't know that I'll be picking it up on release day. My Sith Assassin is level 11 and starting on quests for Lord Zash, and I still feel like I'm playing the tutorial level, even after about five or six hours of play.

Date: 2011-11-27 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I could listen to that voice actor all day

That was one of the high points.

My Sith Assassin is level 11 and starting on quests for Lord Zash, and I still feel like I'm playing the tutorial level, even after about five or six hours of play.

I actually think that's one of the good points. It hints at a vast game before me...

Date: 2011-11-27 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laudre.livejournal.com
I know you spent a lot of time playing WoW, before and after 4.0.3a (i.e., the reworked Old World) dropped, so I kind of find this response a little odd.

If I were to describe the game as it is now to someone else, my very short description would be "WoW, before Cata, but with lightsabers, with the leveling pace of vanilla." I don't mind leveling being slow per se, but I do mind when it's slow because I'm spending most of my time running to the next quest location, not actually doing stuff. The redesigned Azeroth Old World was a joy to level through precisely because they designed quest flow to avoid that; I have alts on one realm where I don't have any heirlooms, and leveling them is actually fun because I don't spend all my time running from, say, one end of the Barrens to the other. Even when I started my Sith Warrior and had a better idea of quest flow on Korriban, it still took me four hours to get off the rock, and I spent a goodly chunk of that time just running to a quest destination.

I'm tolerant of the various glitches and bugs, since it's a free beta and the only cost to me is of the opportunity variety, but I'm having a much harder time convincing myself to pay $60 to play an older version of WoW (albeit with substantially better writing and voice acting... though WoW, as a rule, doesn't set much of a high bar on either).

Date: 2011-11-27 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

The redesigned Azeroth Old World was a joy to level through precisely because they designed quest flow to avoid that; I have alts on one realm where I don't have any heirlooms, and leveling them is actually fun because I don't spend all my time running from, say, one end of the Barrens to the other. Even when I started my Sith Warrior and had a better idea of quest flow on Korriban, it still took me four hours to get off the rock, and I spent a goodly chunk of that time just running to a quest destination.

All I can say is, for whatever reason (partly the realism of the environments; unlike the cartoonishness of WoW, they were so beautifully rendered, I did mind), it worked for me. Cataclysm simply felt like Blizzard had literally broken the game, and dumped an unbelievable amount of silliness (often including very questionable humor) into an already silly game.

I'm having a much harder time convincing myself to pay $60 to play an older version of WoW (albeit with substantially better writing and voice acting... though WoW, as a rule, doesn't set much of a high bar on either).

Again, I see the two games as apples and oranges.

My biggest problem now is trying to figure out how to balance playing Rift and SWtoR.
Edited Date: 2011-11-27 06:15 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-11-27 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laudre.livejournal.com
My biggest problem now is trying to figure out how to balance playing Rift and SWtoR.

Yeah, balancing WoW and TOR is one of the things that's got me hesitant to jump on it. I took advantage of the offer they put out over Blizzcon weekend, where committing to a year of WoW (paying however you normally pay) got you a free copy of Diablo III, an in-game mount (which my paladin(s) will much appreciate), and a guaranteed spot in the Mists of Pandaria beta, at the time extremely dubious that any MMO would even tempt me, which TOR sort of has. (Of course, shortly after I made that commitment, that whole failure of common sense thing at Blizzcon happened, but getting a snail-mail apology personally written to me by Mike Morhaime, in response to my own snail-mail letter, certainly helped.)

I say "sort of." I've described as "WoW with lightsabers," which is a shorthand, but I'm selling short the part of it that's Bioware's own stamp. There are quests in many places where it feels like something designed by the company who made the superb Mass Effect games, which I quite enjoyed (for example, the Sith Warrior quest where you go and decide what to do with each of three prisoners), but then it'd be followed up by a bad case of gameplay whiplash when I'd have to spend five or ten minutes running to the next quest location where I'm collecting proverbial bear bantha asses and and killing X of Y. Even worse, it commits the sin of having my very slow-moving character revisit the same ten-minute-hike quest location twice, instead of going ten minutes to at least see some new variation on the landscape. Yes, your world is big. I get it. I also get it taking a taxi ride, and at least I don't have to hit autorun and, if I don't particularly feel like watching the scenery go by, I can get up and go to the bathroom while I'm on the taxi.

There's other issues I have, but you get the idea. There's a lot of good things to be said for the game, and it's also a hell of a lot more polished and complete than many other top-tier MMOs were at this stage (public beta, stress-testing, not quite a month from release), but I'm still wishing that the legacy Everquest/WoW cruft had been gotten rid of.

Date: 2011-11-27 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-ashes.livejournal.com
Here's what baffles me. We know what lousy movies are made from video games. I mean, it's almost impossible to make a halfway decent movie from a video game. So...how is it that Star Wars episodes 1-3 were so unrelentingly awful, and this game is so good?

It's the company making the game: Bioware. They understand storytelling and are one of the few video game makers that understand the value of good storytelling and good voice acting.

I'm still on the fence about playing it, but mostly because I'm a little broke right now. I understand it will not only be $60 for the game, but then also a subscription fee every month. Ever since I canceled my WoW subscription, I have not been able to justify a monthly fee for a game like that.

Date: 2011-11-27 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] humglum.livejournal.com


Ever since I canceled my WoW subscription, I have not been able to justify a monthly fee for a game like that.

The only reason we can justify it is the fact that we ditched cable when we moved in 2008. Prior to that, we would have never added game subscription expenses.

Date: 2011-11-27 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laudre.livejournal.com
The only time I've had a cable subscription since 2003 was when my sister was living with us and wanted it. My WoW subscription costs me a quarter of what a cable subscription does, and, thanks to my awesome guild, is infinitely more entertaining.

Date: 2011-11-27 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

My WoW subscription costs me a quarter of what a cable subscription does, and, thanks to my awesome guild, is infinitely more entertaining.

This is a very important point. I get a much better entertainment bang for my buck with games subs that I ever did with cable. Vastly.

Date: 2011-11-27 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

It's the company making the game: Bioware. They understand storytelling and are one of the few video game makers that understand the value of good storytelling and good voice acting.

Clearly.

Date: 2011-11-27 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joshrupp.livejournal.com
There's something about the Star Wars games that seems to be in denial, as if "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" went online. Like they're walking around going, "Phantom whatsis? What is this menace of which you speak? You'll have to talk louder, for your words are crazy." It's like editing the ookie bits out of the timeline.

On which topic: If you start with Time Lord and it doesn't work out, you can always go back and tell yourself to change your mind.

Date: 2011-11-27 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

t's like editing the ookie bits out of the timeline.

Which is a smart move.

If you start with Time Lord and it doesn't work out, you can always go back and tell yourself to change your mind.

Indeed.

Date: 2011-11-27 06:26 pm (UTC)
ext_4772: (Walking)
From: [identity profile] chris-walsh.livejournal.com
If you start with Time Lord and it doesn't work out, you can always go back and tell yourself to change your mind.

Time Lords solve SO MUCH.

Date: 2011-11-27 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Time Lords solve SO MUCH.

Timey-wimey...

Date: 2011-11-27 08:12 pm (UTC)
ext_4772: (Good Omens)
From: [identity profile] chris-walsh.livejournal.com
Doctor Who's been scratching an itch I didn't realize I had. How did I not? I love time travel stories, but somehow I never connected to Who until this past year or so, then: THEN I got it. Maybe I was daunted by how flippin' much of it there is. And likely I was being perverse to make my Who-loving friends who kept saying "Oh you'll LOVE it" from getting the satisfaction of turning me on to it. Anyway, in conclusion: the Doctor is awesome. Truth.

Date: 2011-11-27 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
See, I wondered about that. You have that nice icon where Morrissey looks like the Doctor in an old-school title sequence.

It's massive fanwank, but I'd have loved the last great Time War to be Gallifrey vs. The Old Ones, with the Doctor and HP as a companion.

Gritty, Disturbing, Unnerving

Date: 2011-11-27 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cliff52.livejournal.com
We've never had instructions!

Re: Gritty, Disturbing, Unnerving

Date: 2011-11-27 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

We've never had instructions!

You mean as to the question? If so, it'll be stated tonight.

Date: 2011-11-27 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corucia.livejournal.com

I wish I could find the time for gaming - this one sounds great. The second trilogy, while lousy in many ways, had a much more open feel to the world-building than did the original trilogy, and I think that's a large part of the improvement. There's more cracks and interstitials to fill how ever you want, and so there's a richer environment for the players (if it's done right by the game programmers).

Congrats on 'Tidal Forces' making this year's Best SF&F volume!
http://www.jonathanstrahan.com.au/wp/

Date: 2011-11-27 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eluneth.livejournal.com
Who doesn't love a Twi'lek girl? (I'm pretty sure I had a crush on Oola, Jabba's slave, when I was little...)

I have all my polyps crossed
Excellent image!

Date: 2011-11-27 07:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Who doesn't love a Twi'lek girl?

Bingo.

Date: 2011-11-27 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ulffriend.livejournal.com
Not relevant to today's entry, I'm afraid, but I came across this in a book I'm reading and loved it, and though that you would enjoy it also:

"She thought the new, interactive, user-friendly breed of museum both terrible and virtually useless. A repository of the past should be just that, was her opinion."

Date: 2011-11-27 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aarontbc.livejournal.com
Subscribe now, and you'll get #71 free with issue #72. In fact, if you subscribed any time in November you get #71.

Woot!

I subscribed just last week. It was enough to be looking forward to receiving my first issue ie. #72, now there's this bonus as well.

Thank you.

Date: 2011-11-28 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
Holy crap, we can play Chiss?

I... Dammit I don't have the cash for this.

Date: 2011-11-28 03:45 am (UTC)
mithriltabby: Graffito depicting a penguin with logo "born to pop root" (Hack)
From: [personal profile] mithriltabby

We know what lousy movies are made from video games. I mean, it's almost impossible to make a halfway decent movie from a video game. So...how is it that Star Wars episodes 1-3 were so unrelentingly awful, and this game is so good?

When you get 3000 years away from the main setting, you can ignore 95% of the issues of continuity with the stories from the films and the vast majority of Expanded Universe fiction. That frees up the creators to tell entirely new stories, using the familiar ingredients of lightsabers and the Force and a hundred sentient species. In my opinion, the best Star Wars work takes place at least 1000 years before the films (the Knights of the Old Republic games and comics), and the second best over 100 years after (the Star Wars: Legacy comics).

(I’ve been immersed in the universe lately since I’m running a game set 25,000 years before the film, where the player characters each come from disparate Force-using traditions and get to share their understanding to form the Jedi. After I dug into the universe, I found out that I was going against canon, but none of my players are going to care...)

Date: 2011-11-28 06:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] phaedrine.livejournal.com
SWTOR has been great. I wasn't expecting to love it nearly as much as I am. I've tried two Sith and two Republic characters and they are all awesome (though my favorite is definitely my Sith Inquisitor).

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