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Hyperspace Beacon

Hyperspace Beacon: How do I play a Sith in SWTOR?

Sci-Fi, Culture, Free-to-Play, Roleplaying, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: How do I play a Sith in SWTOR?
This is another one of those questions that I get asked a lot: How do I play a Sith in Star Wars: The Old Republic? I hope I'm asked because people like what they see and that I am also a good player as well as roleplayer, but I don't by any means believe that I have a grasp on everything that it takes to play a Sith. And I also believe that other people have a great -- if not better -- gasp on the nuances of the Sith personality. On top of that, many people don't play a Sith the way I do, so I don't want to discount that either. When I play SWTOR, I intend to have fun, and what I consider fun isn't the same as what other people call fun.

I should give fair warning before diving into this outline: I'm not going to teach you the basics of roleplay; I'm going to hope that you already know that or that you've hopped over to Storyboard a few times. Secondly, I will use terms like "proper" or "best." Understand that I use those words from my perspective and that other players have a different and equally legitimate perspective, too. Lastly, this is far from exhaustive, and if you have any questions, I will spend some time in the comments answering them, or you can feel free to hit me up on Twitter.

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Hyperspace Beacon: How do I play my SWTOR class?

Sci-Fi, Classes, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: How do I play my SWTOR class?
I understand what some Star Wars: The Old Republic players are seeking when they ask how I play my class. They want to play the game better! If they ask me, specifically, then they want to play a Marauder better. I like these guys, and I welcome any questions they have.

The other kind of SWTOR player who asks how I play my class looks for the faults in my playstyle. Well, there are many of them, but that doesn't mean that some of my choices are completely bad. And like most players, I didn't learn how to play my class completely on my own. I am, like most of you, an amalgam of several different teachers.

Today, I'd like to take a moment not to look at the specific ways I play a Marauder (although I might use the Marauder as an example) but to examine methods for learning and elicit tips from players who are damn good at playing MMOs.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Entering the SWTOR Kuati Drive Yards

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Lore, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, First Impressions, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, Dungeons, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Entering the SWTOR Kuati Drive Yards
You all remember the very first scene from Star Wars. A tiny ship carrying very important cargo was fleeing an imposing mammoth of a battle cruiser. The gigantic ship eventually swallows up the smaller one. We eventually learn that the Empire owns fleets of these Star Destroyers, but we never learn where they all came from. In the Expanded Universe, we find out that the Empire-loyal planet of Kuat manufactures these behemoths in the Kuati Drive Yards.
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During the time of Star Wars: The Old Republic, we really haven't heard much about this planet or its starship manufacturing. We know that Grand Moff Vaiken created the first dreadnaughts the Sith Empire uses now on Dromund Kaas. We could only assume that Kuat was a member of the Galactic Republic. And we had no indication whether the Drive Yards existed at all until the latest expansion and the flashpoints that hit the SWTOR test center this week.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Star Wars: The Old Republic predictions for 2014

Sci-Fi, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Rumors, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, Housing, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Star Wars: The Old Republic predictions for 2014
Knowing my luck, when I finish writing this, the marketing team for Star Wars: The Old Republic will release a huge announcement about 2014 that no one saw coming. And it wouldn't be hard for BioWare to release something unknown to the community at large because it's said next to zero about what we should expect for 2014. Normally, BioWare promotes the upcoming features to death. We knew about the Cathar coming at least a year before they actually hit the live servers. Players and fans (and enemies) of SWTOR have speculated wildly as to why the developers have remained silent on the subject, my favorite being that BioWare has run out of content to produce, which kind of reneges on the 10-year plan it touted before launch.

Whether or not BioWare has new content in the works, we do know a few things that will be coming, and we also have some super-secret things we can speculate on thanks to some intrepid SWTOR fans. So let's talk about what we do know, what we don't know, and what we think will happen.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The rest of SWTOR's year-end report

Sci-Fi, Culture, Expansions, Patches, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Roleplaying, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: The rest of SWTOR's year-end report
The end of the year is nigh, and as I promised, I will give you my final thoughts on Star Wars: The Old Republic and its achievements for 2013. I wanted my assessment to be based on something other than squishy feelings. Of course, opinions are extremely subjective, but that doesn't mean they cannot be based on something a bit more substantial. In July, I created a mid-term report card for SWTOR using Dr. Richard Battle's studies as the starting point. Bartle's study allowed me to step out of my normal playstyle and observe the game from the standpoint of different types of MMO players.

Some players find discovery and exploration to be the most important part of an MMO. Others want to achieve the highest scores or defeat the biggest bosses. Some want to prove that they are better than other players in direct combat, and yet other players want to use the game as an interactive chatroom or work with a group to achieve a goal. Few people fall neatly into one category or other, but nearly everyone will have a dominant motivation.

A couple of weeks ago, I graded the game based on the perspective of Bartle's Killer type, giving SWTOR a C- in the category. Because of Galactic Starfighter and 4v4 arenas, I raised the grade from the F I gave it during the mid-term report. I gave the game an A- for Achievers, B for Explorers, and C for the Socializer earlier this year. Has SWTOR been able to raise its grade in these other categories?

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Hyperspace Beacon: 'Twas the night before Sithmas and all through SWTOR...

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: 'Twas the night before Sithmas and all through SWTOR...
If you've not been in game since last week, then you don't know about the snow problem that Carrick and Vaiken station have had since the Master of Ceremonies stopped by Star Wars: The Old Republic. Everyone, for no good reason at all, has been pelting each other with snowballs. They all think they are special snowflakes or something -- something I knew I was before this event began. But perhaps I should start at the beginning.

The Life Day event actually started when the Cartel Market began selling Life-Day-related items on the week of the 10th. The items were the exact same items that were on sale last year. Many people, including me, were concerned that the whole event (if you could call it that) would be a complete recycle of last year's. Of course, we had the tensile bomb, the Life Day orb, the Life Day robes, and everyone's favorites, the festive snow-blowing speeder. (That was sarcasm, in case it didn't come through the text.) Fortunately, this year's SWTOR Life Day festivities didn't end there.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The SWTOR year-end report on PvP

Sci-Fi, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: The SWTOR year-end report -- PvP
In July, I took the famous Bartle Test and pitted it against the state of Star Wars: The Old Republic at the time. The test, based on the research of Dr. Richard Bartle, measures the types of activities within an MMO that players find fun. Of course, there is plenty of crossover, and very few people fit neatly into one category, but I believe that if an MMO hits all the categories well, it will be highly successful, at least from a player's point of view. In the research, player motivation is divided into four categories: Achiever, Explorer, Killer, and Socializer.

I have never been a fan of the term Killer as used to describe the type of player who likes to compete directly with other players, but then, I didn't earn a PhD from the University of Essex, either. The Killer category has always been described as more than someone who likes to PvP in the sense that most MMOs provide PvP. A Killer likes to compete, plain and simple. He wants his skills pitted against the skills of other players, and he wants to be recognized for it. In SWTOR, many Killer-types will hang out on the steps of the Sith Academy on Korriban dueling, partially because they find dueling enjoyable, but also because it is in sight of many other players. (That's where recognition comes in.)

In July, I gave SWTOR very poor marks in the Killer category. I wrote, "Later this year, BioWare plans on introducing a content specifically focused on PvP, but given the team's track record, I have my concerns," and then I gave the team an F in this category. Has BioWare been able to raise that grade? And how have things changed since mid-year?

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Hyperspace Beacon: Leveling to max in SWTOR in less than a day

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Leveling to max in SWTOR in less than a day
Periodically, the producers at BioWare will throw players a gift of double XP for a weekend in Star Wars: The Old Republic, or in the case of last July, three weekends. Over the American Thanksgiving holiday, SWTOR did it again, and I decided that I was going to take full advantage of it. Laura Williams, Lee Snyder, and I leveled five characters to level 50 in about 18 hours over that weekend, and today, I'm going to tell you how we did it.

Laura mentioned reading a post on the official forums about two guys who leveled their characters over the July double-XP weekend in 23 hours of gameplay. Being the competitive player that she is, Laura had to beat that record. When I heard this, I knew I had to jump on board. There were some Republic classes that I had not played through yet, and I needed my fourth class buff. When I agreed to run with her over Thanksgiving, Lee joined in, too.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Should you subscribe for SWTOR Galactic Starfighter?

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Launches, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Should you subscribe for SWTOR Galactic Starfighter?
If our comments are any judge, many gamers do not believe that Star Wars: The Old Republic lived up to its launch hype. These players have been wary about jumping back into the game despite the positive impressions of the latest expansion Galactic Starfighter. Is it worthwhile for them (or anyone else) to jump back in?

BioWare launches its second expansion for SWTOR today. This addition to the game takes us into the thick of the centuries-long struggle between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. Players take command of one of 12 different dog-fighting starships in two possible 12v12 skirmish maps. Far different than the on-rails shooter-minigames the MMO launched with, these maps are completely free-roaming and play more like a flight simulator than StarFox 64. Of course, that alone doesn't necessarily make the expansion worth it. Let's examine the features that could make this expansion worthy of your subscription.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR Galactic Starfighter has crew skills, too

Betas, Sci-Fi, Expansions, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

SWTOR Galactic Starfighter has crew skills, too
Last week, I gave you an overview of the next expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Galactic Starfighter. We learned that the 12v12 space battles work independently of the ground game and even eliminate any sort of level requirement in order to begin. Galactic Starfighter commendations are earned only through space battles and work to enhance only starfighter-related skills. In fact, the only tie to the ground game comes in the form of your companions. Companions play a pivotal and fun role in Galactic Starfighter, so much that picking the wrong companion can ruin your impression of the SWTOR expansion altogether.

For each ship loadout, you may pick four companions to give you eight passive abilities and one active ability.The abilities are divided into four categories, as are the companions: defensive, offensive, engineering, and tactical. Your active ability is determined by which of the four companions you choose to be your copilot. It sounds simple enough, right? The complexity begins when choosing which abilities work best for your playstyle.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Getting started with SWTOR Galactic Starfighter

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon

Hyperspace Beacon: Getting started with SWTOR Galactic Starfighter
For about a month now, I have been playing the new expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Galactic Starfighter. Granted, I haven't logged as many hours as some of those crazy people who have extensive guides on what each component does and how it compares to other similar components, but I have spent about 20 or so hours trying out different builds and testing my skills against other players. I certainly don't consider myself the best, but if I have the right equipment, I can hold my own.

I've realized that not everyone jumping into SWTOR's new expansion will know what to do when getting started. I don't think I have to go over the basics like how to hop into your first match, but there are some things a person of average intelligence should know before tackling his first dog-fight. He should also set some goals for his first upgrades. I intend to help you out with that.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Putting SWTOR PvP on the right track

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Patches, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Putting SWTOR PvP on the right track
This past weekend, a friend of mine came up from Texas. Not only did we talk about our families and such, but we also spent some time talking about Star Wars: The Old Republic PvP. We have both been following the game about the same amount of time, and we are now in the same guild.

I argued that PvP in SWTOR is broken. A couple of Advanced Classes excel while the others are just filler or fodder. Even if there were balance in the classes, BioWare does little to encourage the competitive player. In July, I gave a mid-term report card for SWTOR based on Dr. Richard Bartle's assessment of the different types of MMO gamers. As you might guess, SWTOR failed miserably in the "killer" category.

As I talked to my friend, we came to the conclusion that SWTOR is a PvE game with a side of PvP. However, given some of the additions coming later this year, I think our Star Wars MMO might raise itself above the F grade I gave it a few months ago. Today, marks the start of Season One PvP, and in less than a month Galactic Starfighter launches. Both of these additions mark significant changes to the perception of game through the eyes of a "killer."

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR Marauders will suck but Operatives will not

Sci-Fi, Classes, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

SWTOR, Marauders are going to suck and Operatives are going to win
Update 2.5 for Star Wars: The Old Republic will release at the same time the Galactic Starfighter expansion will hit for subscribers. Perhaps this timing is meant to hide the awful mistakes BioWare is making with two of its best Advanced Classes. One will receive a thorough thrashing with a nerf bat, while the other will only get a stern talking-to -- not even a wag of the finger. Of course, I'm talking about the Marauder/Sentinel class and the Operative/Scoundrel class.

Last week, the Inquisitor/Consular class took center stage because there is a chance that the Madness spec might actually become viable in PvP. But at the same time the Assassin/Shadow tank becomes viable in PvE, it'll become a wrecking ball in PvP. (Time to roll another character!) Unfortunately, two of my favorite classes aren't seeing the changes they need in the next SWTOR update. Because I'm so helpful to the SWTOR developers, I will sit in my armchair and tell them exactly what to do. But first, let's talk about the tweaks coming for these two enormously popular classes.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR's changing combat in update 2.5

Sci-Fi, Classes, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR's changing combat in update 25
Let's talk about the combat changes coming in Star Wars: The Old Republic Update 2.5. We'll see pretty large sweeping changes to a couple of my favorite classes and some much-needed changes to others. Some of the changes make me question the thought processes of the designers, and some much-needed changes seem to be absent.

I don't consider myself a combat design expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have played every class in SWTOR extensively with the exception of the Bounty Hunter and Trooper classes. But then those two classes aren't seeing any major changes in Update 2.5. Therefore, I don't have much to talk about with them anyway. My favorite class is the Marauder/Sentinel, so the nerfs and upgrades to that class are dear to me. But I also really enjoy the Operative/Scoundrel class as well. This class will see (and frankly, not see) some changes in the upcoming patch. But I believe the class that is affected the most is the Madness/Balance-specced Inquisitor/Consular. Let's start there.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Four myths behind the SWTOR Galactic Starfighter NDA

Betas, Sci-Fi, Expansions, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon Four myths behind the SWTOR Galactic Starfighter NDA
You want to know how to get viewers to your livestream and get yourself banned by BioWare all in one stroke? Film the beta for Star Wars: The Old Republic Galactic Starfighter! However, like the many who have leaked information about upcoming games, I have wondered why there is an NDA on these things in the first place. What is lost by companies allowing players to stream or talk about closed beta tests, and what is gained by company by keeping some things under wraps?

In the video games industry, like many industries on the cusp of technology and innovation, competition is high, as are the stakes. And developers like BioWare want to keep its latest creations like the next expansion for SWTOR under tight control to supposedly prevent the competition from stealing its secrets and creating a game just like it. I'm not so sure that makes a lot of sense. In fact, I've found that most of the reasons behind a beta NDA don't hold true when it comes to the next expansion for SWTOR. Here are the top four myths that I hear from those who support an NDA.

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