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The Souls games can seem intimidating, just understanding the basics of the game is a daunting task, but once you do they’re all incredible experiences, or so you’ve heard!

So you’ve made a character and maybe you’re getting your ass handed by Iudex Gundyr, the very first boss in the game that you meet about five minutes in. Or maybe you’ve progressed a little bit further but think everything is confusing as hell. Well, I’m here to help!

(There’s some build-ideas further down if you only want that)

First off, forget everything about classes. There are no classes in Dark Souls, just general starting points that gives you a set of gear. With that said, if you hate bosses Pyromancer is your best bet as his starting fireball spell melts everything until you get better gear. Also, your starting weapon might matter as some of them can’t be found until the third major area.

Anyway, instead I will talk about stats and weapons and how to make a working build. All of this will mostly be relevant for PvE as I have very little interest in PvP. If you want to know why for some reason, I simply don’t enjoy it, though I have done some PvP, mostly in Dark Souls 2.

 

Planning your character

That sounds hardcore as hell, like you’re supposed to plan out every single level and your weapons and gear. You CAN do that but there’s very little reason to unless you’re trying to optimise a PvP build.

First off you should pick at least one offensive stat to focus on.

 

Strength – The stat for big, slow weapons. Strength only increases your damage and lets you equip bigger, heavier weapons. Light swords require around 12 strength while axes and greatsword require maybe 16-20. For ultra greatswords and similar extreme weapons you need at least 32 strength to onehand them. Remember that when you twohand a weapon (Press Triangle or Y) you count your strength as 50% higher for being able to wield it, though not for damage.

The “soft-cap” for Strength is 40, after that you barely get any more damage by increasing it further but if you’re focusing on strength, you should get it to 40 at some point. Any build except pure caster needs some strength to equip their weapons. You also need some strength to use a shield and a shit-ton of it if you want to use great-shields.

The Warrior is the best choice if you really don’t care about spells or weapon skills or fancy Dex-weapons. It’s a fine chioce really as it has great starting gear as well. The Knight has a bit of everything, the big upside is probably his low luck and a shield with 100% physical block. He also has the heaviest armor of the lot, it takes a lot of farming or progress to get armor as hefty as his. Finally there’s the Cleric who starts with a great healing spell as well as low int and dex. Cleric is due to his healing one of the most newbie-friendly classes, you just stack Strength, Faith and a bit of Vigor and you’re pretty much set.

Look for a Heavy Gem, it makes your weapon scale even better with Strength by Infusing it at Andre the smith.

 

Dexterity – This is for quicker weapons like dagger, scimitars and spears. There’s also a few two-handed swords that scale well with Dex. Dex might seem like the harder stat but some the easiest, most powerful weapons like rapiers and spears use Dex. If you’re going to skip shields altogether the Mercenary class is a great choice as it starts with dual scimitars. There’s also the assassin which starts with Spook, one of the best support spells in the whole game and a estoc, a gigantic rapier. And finally there’s the Thief with the pretty much shittiest starting gear of all classes. If you love parrying and backstabs the Thief might be a good choice, but otherwise steer clear.

Bows also use Dex and they’re terrific at finishing off enemies or taking out snipers.

Look for a Sharp gem, it makes your weapon scale better with Dex.

 

Intelligence – The stat of choice for the caster. Soul magic has a ton of different spells for various situations and it’s often great against bosses. If you’re going full caster you should pretty much only focus on Intelligence, Attunement and a bit of Vigor. The rest of the stats are more or less useless to you. The Sorcerer is definitely the choice for this playstyle while the Assassin is more of a Dex/Int-hybrid and the Pyromancer is Strength/Int.

The Pyromancer is probably the best overall starting class if you just want to try things out. The starting fireball melts faces and all their stats except Dex and Luck are moderately high. Pyromancy is extremely effective against a lot of bosses and they increasingly crazy spells.

Look for Crystal gems if you’re going high Int and want a backup weapon, it makes the weapon scale with Int.

 

The Herald is a hybrid class with semi-heavy armor, a good shield and a spear. Only Int is low and while the class starts with a healing spell, it’s pretty crappy. Still Herald is a good choice if you want to go Dex/Faith while still using a shield. Spear, shield and healing spells is an extremely powerful combo that’ll last you the whole game.

Finally there’s the Deprived who starts at level 1 with 10 in all stats. The starting weapon, a club is actually a really good one. Your lack of armor will however be a problem early on. Deprived is a great choice for certain builds, but it’s terrible if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t blame me if you pick this and get stuck on the first boss.

 

Faith – I put Faith down here because it’s not a offensive stat. There’s a lightning spell and a few other offensive ones but they’re support attacks for specific situations, not your main attack (I’ve tried, compared to soul magic and pyromancy offensive miracles blow). Faith-magic does however have all the best support spells, like healing and cleansing. Unless you start as a cleric it will however take a while until you can get decent spells so don’t pump it early on.

 

Now let’s cover the other stats. You can make builds around them but none of them increase your damage except in special circumstances, and a lot of bosses in Dark Souls are basically wars of attrition where you try to not run out of healing, so damage will always be important. With that said, don’t skimp on…

VigorIncreases your health. You should always mind your vigor and make sure you increase it a little here and there. There’s no reason to pump it early but even a pure caster should have around 25-30 when getting close to the end. As melee there’s no shame in getting it up to 40, and if you’re gonna PvP you probably need at least 40.

Endurance – I’ll probably ruffle some feathers by calling this a dump-stat but for most builds it is. Don’t increase your Endurance if you’re gonna PvE. You start with around 100 stamina and each point in Endurance increases your stamina pool by 1 or 2 point. Since weapons use 10-20 and sometimes up to 40 stamina per attack, you’re gonna need a huge amount of Endurance to be able to do longer combos. Again, this is better in PvP since stunlocking people or making sure you can always chase people down is integral. But in PvE your points are generally better spent elsewhere.

Vitality – Increase your weight limit by 1. How much Vitality you want is highly dependent on what kind of gear you want to use. All equipped gear weighs and the heavier your gear is in comparison to you maximum weight the slower your stamina regeneration is and the worse your rolls will be. Paradoxically, if you want to use a big shield, heavy armor and a spear you don’t need much Vitality, if any, as you only need to keep your weight at 65-70% of max. If you’re gonna use a medium-sized shield and moderately heavy armor keeping your weight at 45-50% is recommended so you get better rolls and stamina reg. This means a bit of Vitality is a good idea. Your defenses actually increases by a little bit when putting points in Vitality so if you want to be a supertanky hunk of iron with a ultra greatsword, get it to 40 or higher. You keep getting 1 point of max weight even above 40, though you don’t get much defense anymore by that point.
You can of course try keeping your weight below 30% or even lower by only using light weapons, a light shield and light armor AND increasing your Vitality.

Luck – Increases your chance of getting loot and increases the effects of bleeding and poison.
I want to love Luck, Arcane was my favourite stat in Bloodborne but it was a lot better there. For one, poison is useless in most situations. It takes quite a few hits to poison enemies and then it deals 3 damage per second. THREE! Bosses can have several thousand points of health while normal monster will have died long before they are poisoned. Bleed instead deals one third of the targets health when it procs. A lot better but you still need a lot of hits before it works. In short bleed and poison are at best support-effects for specific situations. Katanas for example deal high physical damage and applies bleed, so a Dex/Luck-samurai could work for example.

With that said, there’s a few weapons out there that scales with Luck, there’s even a staff that makes spells scale with luck. There’s also a gem you can infuse that makes a weapon scale with luck, though you won’t be able to infuse Hollow gems until somewhat late. (And no, you can’t rush it)

TL;DR – Luck is for specific, advanced builds or something you can increase later if you want to farm rare materials.

 

Making a build

You’ll be around lvl 80-100 when you reach the final boss and your stats start around 10 so you can probably get three stats to 40 or two to 40 and some Vigor and Attunement or something. Here’s some basic ideas.

Strength/Vitality/Vigor 40 – You’ll be a walking tank who can use the biggest weapons and the heaviest shields without breaking a sweat. The Warrior is your best starting class.

Strength/Dexterity/Vigor 40 – “Quality build”, you’ll be able to use pretty much all the weapons. Look for Refinement gems that makes weapons scale better with both Str and Dex. Any class but Sorcerer works, depending on if you’re gonna do some variation on the build with support spells, otherwise Warrior is probably best.

Dexterity 40, Strength/Vigor/Faith/Attunement ~25 – Dex/Faith with healing spells and lightning spells and weapons. Lower strength depending on your weapon of choice. Herald is probably the best choice but Cleric is plenty fine as well.

Dexterity/Endurance 40, Vigor/Vitality ~25 – Rapier or scimitar-wielder with huge amounts of stamina. Mercenary, Assassin or Thief.

Intelligence/Attunement/Vigor 40 – Pure soul-caster with huge mana-pool. Sorcerer or maybe Assassin if you’re gonna use daggers or the special Int-scaling bow later.

Intelligence/Faith/Attunement/Vigor/Strength ~25  – Pyromancer with a bit of everything. You can use a crossbow against smaller enemies and some extra “free” damage, a shield against some bosses, healing spells and powerful fireballs. A blast to play really! Cleric and Pyromancer are the best choices as you only need 8 Dex for most crossbows.

Intelligence/Faith 40, Vigor/Attunement ~25 – If you want to use all the spells all the time then this is for you. Look up where the NPC’s who sell spells are and where all their books are located. Also use a medium-sized shield with shield bash to push enemies away in a pinch. Pyromancer, Cleric or paradoxically Warrior are good starting classes, the last one gives you most of the defense you’ll ever need so you can focus on increasing you magic stats. Pyromancer is still probably best due to low luck and vitality (less wasted points).

Dexterity/Luck/Vigor 40 – Use katanas mainly as they can be infused with Hollow gems for great Luck-scaling. There’s a dude with a katana right outside the Firelink shrine, he is pretty hard though whan you first get there. Pick Mercenary or Thief as starting class.

There’s of course a ton of other builds out there but this should help you get started. If you have any questions you can just ask, I’ll answer within a day.

Starting gift

Nine times of ten you should pick extra souls, it’s two free levels. That tenth time you should pick Fire Gem since you can use it to infuse a weapon as soon as you reach Firelink Shrine. Fire weapons don’t scale with stats at all so you could have a backup fireweapon as a caster or use it as your main weapon if you’re gonna pump Endurance or something weird like that early on.

 

I’ll try to expand on this, I’ll probably post some builds or talk about a specific weapon-type, but for the moment this should be good enough for anyone to get started.

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Victory Foretold is probably the Prophets worst skill. It’s too expensive in every way and for comparison I’m also talking about Secret Formula, the Apothecary skill that’s better in almost every aspect.

The first problem with Victory Foretold is that of opportunity. You can generally only produce one insight token per turn and there’s other skills that compete for its use, otherwise you also need All-Seeing and the amount of xp needed is getting a bit high. Neither does Victory Foretold work with Battle Vision if you want a offensive Prophet, VF needs you to discard the insight token that Battle Vision needs to work.

Your only options are to either buy it really late or to build your character around it, but frankly the skill isn’t good enough for the latter idea.

Compare it to Secret Formula. It gives the buyer permanent health, costs only 1 stamina to use, doesn’t spend the token AND gives an extra effect for surges. Granted, Apothecary is a very aggressive class but its ecquivalent i.e the only defensive card is Protective Tonic, a really versatile and useful skill. Also, you can have elixir tokens spread out while you only have one insight token.

Victory Foretolds selling point is supposed to be that you heal 3 health if you defeat the enemy. But if you’re attacking a weak enemy the green die is probably unnecessary, it’s probably just an extra surge or damage anyway. And three stamina per use (one to put the token in play) is prohibitively expensive for one extra green die.

In short, I’d never recommend buying Victory Foretold. Serena is probably the only character who can keep up the stamina expidenture but then Bard and Apothecary is better if you want to be damage support.

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So far I love this game, the best parts being the trademark Bioware banter and the fun choices. Sera however, is probably the least fun part of the entire game, save perhaps for collecting letters in the Exalted Plains. Her entire personality seems to be built around being quirky and random, a manic pixie dream girl on ecstacy. Somewhere else on the internet some guy thought she’s the comic relief among a bunch of grumpys, only every single character engages in witty banter and one-liners. Sera is the girl screaming “POOP!” at the top of her lungs at random intervals, desperately hoping someone think its funny. But please, shut the fuck up Sera, you have the wit of a drunken teenager.
If you need proof, visit any chat in a MMO, there will be teenagers trying to be funny by saying “weird”, unexpected things, sometimes in all-caps. Yes Sera, you stole pants, hilarious.
People claim she’s freakin amazing in combat but every single time she opens her mouth my brain cringes, her attempts of humor the ecquivalent of pouring lemon juice on my synapses.
“You’re no fun!” she tells Solas after another of her random buzzword jokes. Well neither are you Sera, shut the fuck up.

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It’s five o clock in the morning and I can’t sleep because I forgot to take my medicine which means my brain is full of useless ideas waiting to get out. I have over the years thought A LOT about the Mass Effect trilogy and this is some sort of not terribly condensed version of all these thoughts. The spark came from the fact that Mass Effect 1 is often the only game that gets on any lists despite me thinking it’s beyond its stellar writing a rather mediocre game.

First off, mechanics? Mass Effect 1 was pretty much Bioware doing their own Knights of the Old Republic. The combat is some sort of compromise between a third person shooter and a strategy-RPG and it’s kind of terrible. The AI for instance is absolutely awful with enemies running around the carbon-copied cargo-rooms like headless chickens. People complain about the cut-and-paste areas in Dragon Age II and here it’s equally bad, if not worse. But the AI. I’ve had enemies run straight towards me and my teammates in a narrow corridor, spraying like a maniac without hitting anyone and then running back behind some boxes while screaming at the top of his lungs (be darned if I can remember what they were shouting). Like the mechanics the AI is not quite that of an action game and not quite a strategy game, just a confusing amalgamation of the two genres.
The weapon balance is also off, as a handgun with Marksmanship is by far the best choice. First off, ss there’s no ammo clips Marksmanship lets you spray non-stop with great accuracy and damage. Add Adrenaline Rush and you can do it for longer than most fights last, every fight.
I have tried other weapons, playing through the game twice as different classes and trying a third but I’ll be damned if I do it again, I always have to take long breaks to stand the monotony. As in weeks-long breaks.
You see, pretty much every fight is fought the same. As your skills have such long cooldowns yet aren’t that powerful it comes down to you taking everything down with your own gun, and it’s just not a good shooter. During my two full playthroughs, one of them on the highest difficulty every goddamn fight could be beaten by using your abilities in the roughly same order and then shooting everything. Alright, slight exaggeration there but I almost fall asleep playing the damn game.
And don’t get me started on the car you’re fooling around with, or the inventory for that matter. *shudders*
Mass Effect 1 was mechanics-wise a decent first try at something new but combat is simple and repetitive and the AI is retarded.

On the other hand, the writing is top of the line. Unlike 2’s unexistent one and 3’s bad one ME1 has a pretty good story. The rogue special agent, the bickering politicians and omnipotent alien intelligence not to mention the great characters all makes for a great ride. Experiencing ME1 is simply a treat, it’s just too bad there’s all this fighting between the cut-scenes.
The characters, like I implied, are classics. Everyone loves Garrus, a lot like Wrex and I heard some like Liara. Not sure why though, maybe she was more interesting back here. Asaris are androgynous elves, which I might understand the appeal of but please, big yawn at Asaris. Tali on the other hand, great stuff, just like Ashley. I know Ashley is a racist redneck but she’s certainly a sympathetic one. There’s also this human guy but they forgot to give him a personality so whatever.
This bring me to the races and the whole setting. I’m really looking forward to Mass Effect 4, for me the series has always been about the great setting Bioware has created and not about Shepard saving the galaxy. I LOVE the Krogans and Quarians, I really like the Turians, Geth and the Salarians and most certrainly the Rachni. The Hanar are cool I guess while the Volus are a bit too much “Greedy dwarfs” for me. There’s also of course Vorcha, Reapers, Collectors and Batarians, all with their own quirks.
The only issue is of course that all the species have one cultural trait. Humanity have countless cultures yet the Volus are all moneypinchers and pretty much all the Krogans are warmongers. Thankfully individual characters are treated like individuals which is what saves the game (big time) from being a big pile of stereotypes.
The game is simply well-written in pretty much all ways and had I just rated it by that it could have gotten a goddamn ten, but as everything else is mediocre at best no dice.
If you want more examples look no further than side-questing. The quests are “Go to planet X, enter base somewhere on the surface and kill everything inside. Turn in quest.” Or the aforementioned inventory that you at times have to spend half an hour to sort and clean up (The sidequests doesn’t improve that much but at least the improved combat makes it fun). Or all the loading times. Or the fact that roleplaying is mechanically useless as you have to go all Renegade (Whiny bitch) or all Paragon (Self-righteous prick) to be able to do the hardest dialogue checks late in the game? This glaring flaw persists through the whole series and pisses me off to no end.
All in all, it gets a 7/10.

Mass Effect 2;
The more I think about this game the more I believe it was a stroke of luck. The highest difficulty is perfectly balanced and turns the game into a borderline puzzle-game where every fight has to be solved by using the right skills in the right order.
Because combat just went from bland to absolutely amazing with skills taking the front row instead of just supporting your guns. You can use them often, yet they share cooldowns which means you have to prioritise. On Insanity all enemies have a level of Shield, Barrier or Armor which means you need to bring the right characters for the job instead of just sticking with Grunt and hoping he shotgun-charges everything to death. And it is tough as nails yet I never feel its unfair (Unlike Mass Effect 3 or goddamn Dragon Age 2, the latter having one of the most badly balanced Hard Plus-difficulties). The classes are also a lot more unique and building your characters certainly is more interesting when every point actually does something instead of just being a minor buff to a mediocre skill. Might be exaggerating here again but really, combat in the first and second part of the trilogy is just miles from each other. Better AI, decent cover-mechanics, a much quicker pace and flawless balance. Goddamn flawless balance. I’m a challenge-junkie, there are few games I do not crank up on the highest difficulty out of general principle and ME2 is a game I can play over and over with different classes and builds just to muck around with the mechanics. They are great and are again, perfectly balanced against the opposition. It is by far the most well-designed game Bioware has ever made and most likely will ever make. Just look at Mass Effect 3 where balance is out the window again. There’s no rhyme or reason with the weapons while in ME2 every weapon have its own niche. There’s usually a slow weapon with big damage, one with high rate of fire and one inbetween. And it’s perfect. You don’t need to be able to upgrade every goddamn weapon, certainly not when more than half serve no use whatsoever.
And I mean, even the environments are well-balanced, usually contained to smaller rooms where you’re advancing inch by inch while trying to reach a goal of some kind. Every fight on Insanity is a riddle with multiple answers, and it’s fucking beautiful.

Also, all my favourite characters from the trilogy are here. Mordin is my big fave followed by Grunt and Thane. Tali is here as well as your BFF Garrus. Jack is a bit of a goth but she’s a cool character as well, certainly initially. The Bioware curse though is ever-present, they have no idea how to write interesting humans. Miranda is a frigid bitch-queen and Jakob is, a straight soldier…, guy, I guess? He’s almost as unintersting as that guy in ME1, the biotic one. *shrugs*
The Illusive man is alright though he turns into a psychotic imbecile in ME3, which is just a fucking shame because they had somethig with him. A believable big bad. But yeah, ruined him.
What I’m saying is that except for the completely unexisting story the writing is again amazing. It’s quotable as hell and some of the personal scenes I count as fond memories (like when Mordin does his song-routine). Also, I forgot Samara and her 1000 year old moody teenager. Because son, Morinth is just laughable. If that’s their idea of a seductive predator I hope they never make a vampire game of any sort. Samara on the other hand is cool I guess, mainly because she represents an interesting part of Asari culture, an anomaly of sorts.
Mass Effect 2 is to me pretty much a perfect game. It has stellar writing, great and memorable characters and absolutely amazing mehcanics and balance. It’s easily in my top five games of all time.
10/10 obviously

Now Mass Effect 3 manages to fuck up pretty much everything they did right in ME2. While combat should be more fun balance is awful. Instead of letting the enemies have a lot of health and medium damage they lowered health and increased damage by a lot. So on the highest difficulty a grenade pretty much oneshots you. Add a turret and at times you’re dead because the game fucking says so. Snipers deal way too much damage as well, making fights against multiple snipers a chore since you’re spending more than half of your time behind cover. Add husks or any other melee enemy and it’s moving into unplayable territory. Still, you also deal more damage than ever and some abilities simply deal way too much damage for its low cooldown. In ME3 I pretty much stopped using guns as Liara with a Singularity spec is a tad bit too powerful not to abuse. I didn’t all the time but the game often forced me to as it threw waves of snipers and turret/grenading engineers at me. Mass Effect 3 is on insanity often way too easy and at times WAY too hard. They have again no idea how to balance the enemies against the arsenal, mostly because it’s too goddamn big. Some skills are so powerful they turn others useless instead of the various skills having different useages.
And while the writing is certainly impressive in scope, it’s often overwritten. There is no need for all the characters to have heartbreaking drama or every goddamn mission weighing the fate of the galaxy on its scales. It’s constantly trying to outdo itself and it gets boring. I stopped caring in ME3 and so the ending just left me with a big “meh”. The characters turns into stereotypes of themselves as they all have to get their time in the limelight. The playable rooster is smaller than ever yet I’ve never cared so little for them.
Mass Effect 3 tried to do everything at the same time, bigger and better than ever but instead it has the worst writing by a long shot and combat turned into a big, stupid mess.
Mass Effect 3 still wasn’t that disappointing for some reason. It’s your typical Bioware game really. Well-written with shoddy mechanics and a bit of hubris.
6/10

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On a whim I bought SWTOR. I feel like I’m done (for the moment) with Dark Souls having finished it five times from scratch just to try different weapons and stat builds. I haven’t bothered to beat new game+ since it’s the same thing over again with the same weapons. Doing quickrolling in full Havels would be cool I suppose but on these really high difficulties would it really matter what armor I’m using at all? I rarely get hit straight now anyway unless I’m playing my shields-only character.

ANYWAY.

I checked out the classes of SWTOR before even considering buying the game and I decided a MMO cover shooter sounded completely awesome. I have so far played through three of the four starting areas. I first started a imperial agent who later became a Sniper, the a Sith Inquisitor who became a sorceror and then a republic trooper who became a commando. The sorceror reminded me of a elemental shaman something fierce and was just as boring to play. I will probably never touch it again. The CC abilities which was sort of the point of the class didn’t even work against heavier enemies which was when I actually needed them…

Something that made the inquisitor worse was something that kind of plagues the whole game. The starting area tried to be grim but thanks to artistic style and writing it felt silly and convoluted. Your superior who kept calling you names and saying you were gonna die felt like a schoolyard bully instead of a sith hatemonger. The whole game has a bit of this. Often in dialogues you have an option that tries to make you look independent and headstrong but instead you come across as a whiny dickhead. But more on that later. The whole starting area was bad in general really feeling cramped and yet having huge running distances and the only enemies were humanoids and big worms.

Commando was a lot of fun at times and monotone after a long dungeon. As with all other MMO’s (and most games really) I see attacks in terms of attack speed, damage and method i.e channeled, charged or instant. And the most effective way to play trooper at first was to spam grenades which knocked down things. But it looked retarded since I was a soldier with a laserrifle so I kept using my shoddy standard attack out of sheer artistic reasons (or something). I felt the class had potential, running around shooting grenades and laserbeams all over at least felt cool and you could keep one hell of a tempo if anything. The story was alright and the starting area fine. Some variation in the missions and a few cool scenes.

But, so far imperial agent has outclassed everything else by far. Setting up your cover, assessing the opposition and then nuking the fuck out of the enemies before they can assemble and launch a counterattack always feel cool, especially against tougher mobs. The starting area was without doubt the best, infiltrating the organisation of a major crimelord IS cooler than chasing after a bomb or getting screamed at by some asshole (abusing words, I know). I might check out the jedis starting plot but I’m not having high hopes, the thought of swinging around a lightsaber fills me with uneasy feelings for some reason, it just look fucking silly in-game. Especially in comparison to a special agent wielding a sniper rifle. Taste n all.

Anyway, since I deconstruct every single game I play I’ll share my thoughts of this game, decontructed and all.

First of all, Blizzard is still way ahead of constructing quest hubs. In SWTOR you reach a hub, pick up a few quests and then run in a huge circle around a landscape before turning them all in. It’s like it’s Wrath of the Lich King. Not as horrid as say Nagrand but Cataclysm set some sort of standard for how awesome questing can be and SWTOR is not living up to it. That is, mechanically speaking. When you reach a new hub you pick up the aforementioned quests and go picking them off one at a time. Then after a while you get more and more quests leading to the same place. Class-quest-area! In all the dungeons with classquests there will be a plethora of other lesser quests to finish and often a few to pick up while in there. You know you’ll be stuck in there for at least 30 mins and often an hour thanks to the insane spawnrate. You will have to kill most of the groups at least twice because they seem to have a spawnrate of mere minutes. Often the bodies from the last group haven’t despawned before the next group pops up. Having to slog your way out of the dungeon just to reach the exit is boring. Combat is fine and basicly a more polished WoW but it’s not fun enough to warrant this kind of endless fighting. MMO’s and all but when I’m done with a area I want to turn in my quests, not fight thirty more groups of enemies to reach the questgivers. Oh yes there’s quicktravel but there’s often questgivers right outside the dungeon or even inside it meaning you have to slog through everything again.

What saves this buttonmashing fest is of course the narrative. There is a absolutely huge amount of dialogue in this game with perfectly fine voiceacting and good writing so as not to spoil the talent on display here. The quests feels varied and you always have a valid reason for killing another 20 mobs or picking up 10 more doodads. The dialogue options work great although there’s hickups here and there with the NPC’s not actually replying to you, they just keep talking as if you didn’t say anything at all.

The only issue here is that in more than 50% of the quests theres some sort of major moral choice. This in itself is rather silly as they get tiring quick. At the end of each quest some guy pops up and says “PLEASE DONT KILL MY FAMILY!” or something rather similar. Children or civilians in general are often involved. The subissue here is that you’re foten given the choice between being a decent human being or a complete dick. At times you’re given a third choice with you being only a semi-dick. Well you see the issue here. Moral grayzones do exist but they’re rare. As this game does seem to cater to a little more grown up demographic despite the artistic style (Can be because of the Lucas Arts/Bioware thing, a compromise of some sort?) I had hoped the choices would be more than “Kill the guys family” or “Don’t kill his family.” Of course, with there being hundreds of quests not every choice can be thoughtinspiring. But then again, why must there be moral choices over the whole fucking place if half of them mean nothing anyway? Or they could be lesser like in Mass Effect where you can decide to be bit of a dick to a dick. In SWTOR it’s usually kill the guy or don’t kill the guy.

But despite all of this I do enjoy the narrative and there being a reason for all the quests. This is very impressive for a MMO. I also love how well they’ve implemented ranged weapons like rifles. Combat feels more fluid than most MMO’s and sort of reminds me of Champions. While not as great as Champions it’s backed up by meaningful quests of which Champions has absolutely none. Biggest comparison is probably the lack of autoattacks in both which is nice. The energy-system seems to have a little depth to it as well so I’ll probably have fun with my DPS-experiments.

And, this is just an initial assessment obviously. I’ve reached lvl 21 so far on my sniper so I haven’t seen that much yet but what I’ve seen I like. I’d probably give it a 8 or something like that, I’ve played for three days straight and I don’t really feel like stopping.

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I made it!
I went down a level in the mines to gather gear, then went to clear Sokoban which I did without any major problems. I also dipped my sword for a Excalibur on the way down and was lucky enough to have a grey unicorn spawn in Sokoban which I killed for the horn. Then I went off again and reached mines end, took the Luckstone and traversed up past the town again. Great stuff, but what am I supposed to do now???

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I did for some reason decide to download NetHack recently, I longed for a dungeoncrawler but was bored of D2 (again) so it seemed like a good fit. So I started up a character, a monk actually because martial arts is awesome in all awesome RPGs. I then ran around a bit, found nothing to eat and died of starvation.
No matter, let’s try again! This time I made a ranger instead intent on chomping down everything I kill. So off I go to kill a kobold, eat it up and die of food poisoning. Great.
A barbarian then? Beat on this little blue “b” which paralyzed me and then two rats showed up and beat me to death. I’ve also died from a horse kicking me to death, a rock falling on my head and of course multiple times from those darn soldier ants.
And I had a great time! Now I didn’t play this for hours and hours, repeatedly dying is frustrating so I often took breaks before trying again because so far I’m constantly coming back to try and get a little further.
Now I’m consistently getting to Sokoban and I’ll soon memorise all the levels. Only problem is I always die on the way to the treasure room, from all the mobs in the treasure room or from all the mobs that are blocking the way out of Sokoban.
It’s not like I’m giving up but it is pissing me off that something always has to go wrong and it’s usually something stupid or plain unfair. Once I died from a wolf calling his highleveled pals, 6 of them who proceeded to surround me in a door opening and then beat me to death. They ignored Elbereth too…
Then I of course hit a floating eye in the treasure room, what it was doing there among the orcs, uruk-hais and zombies I’ll never know, I just know I hate it.
Blargh, maybe I’ll update when I’ll get to Mines End or something like that.

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