Home > Mechanics > 1.2 or Focused Defence, Humane UI, Legacy Fluff, Combat Log

1.2 or Focused Defence, Humane UI, Legacy Fluff, Combat Log

April 12, 2012

1.2 is here, 1.2 is here! Scarper downstairs in your night garments, fix rictus grins like bayonets, and tear apart the packaging on Bioware’s gifts.

It is, to be fair, mostly Good. Many bugs are fixed and quality of life has improved. Like many observers, I am left puzzled, overall, as to why some of these changes required a few months’ worth of consideration, datamining and player feedback. Quite a few of these draw directly from WoW’s experience, after all. Like, couldn’t they have simply stolen filtering by level in the /who command? Sprint at Level 1, being able to drive through orbital stations, direct to-ship shuttles… the game is becoming more convenient.  We’re embarking on a road to LFR and slack-jawed drooling. I can see it already; the way things are going, they’ll be making the Galactic Market actually usable next.  I just hope somewhere at the top of the Legacy pyramid there is a porch, an angry cane and a kid-free lawn for my rant-filled retirement.

To get the sad out of the way: white colour crystals and Korrealis mounts are gone, if not forever then for a very long time. My feelings on this tactic of creating collector value by designer fiat are mixed. In WoW, a few achievements like the Amani Warbear and other raid-related titles and mounts have been made no longer accessible once the difficulty of acquiring them was trivialised by gear and character levels. This sort of thing I can live with. There’s still a component of being fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, but it is outweighed by the pride of performance they represented. The 1.2 move, in contrast, is a purely arbitrary decision, unless someone suddenly decided that TOR is an economic attainment game and the items were actually a reward for making several million credits early. In reality, credits will flow ever easier in 1.2 thanks to the new dailies and the overall population of 50s getting larger. The economy needs its money sinks more than ever.

Esthetics:

Armour customisability and colour matching are nice. Combat ability particle effects keyed to the weapon colour crystal are nice. The option for better texturing is nice.

Legacy:

The Sims meets Star Wars. Mark your alts as your main’s family, send them hand-me-downs (even cross-faction!) decorate your ship. More pets, some great song and dance about magenta crystals… Bioware is feeling no compunction about milking fluff. To be fair, it is an intelligent design direction in this particular game where extensive alting to experience more well-written stories has a greater appeal than in others. It makes sense to support it and reward it further.

UI Improvements:

Yes. Oh, yes. If anything, it may have gone a little bit overboard. A full-fledged editor with xml save? Bioware, it’s okay. Really. We weren’t that cross. Just a little scaling and some moveable bars would have been great.

Jedi Guardians:

A few little buffs, an inexplicable nerf to Challenging Call given that AoE threat is our Achilles’ heel, and some major reorganisation.

The tree shifting, in particular the removal of Protector, seems to be a strike against the hybrid 14/27  tanking spec. While it was difficult to argue against the survivability of the rubberbanding Guardian, I have always felt that it was a bit of a hack, not a proper or desireable arrangement.

Baseline Focused Defence, a self-heal at the expense of threat, is an interesting mechanic. Guardian Slash threat boost is welcome and probably complementary to Focused Defence, although we never really had a significant single-target threat problem, even with the threat dumps of Protector use. I do cautiously predict that we will return to the primacy of the Defence tree in 1.2 (even if Commanding Awe/Focused Defence synergy begs to differ) though it will remain to be seen if our overall threat and survivability work out the same. It would help if Blade Barrier absorption were calculated post-mitigation, correcting what I believe is simply an oversight.

Combat Logging:

The choice of a parsable text file outside of the game as opposed to real-time feedback is quite interesting, and ominous. Note the patch-note phrasing, with my emphasis, directed at the enthusiasts who wish to examine ” the detailed mechanics of combat and optimizing their own character.” The Bioware team seems quite adamant to nip in the bud any notion of performance comparisons and the resultant bludgeoning over the head of weak group members. The Tobolds of the world would approve, I imagine. I am partly in that camp myself, but I feel a mite annoyed at being deprived of a useful tool in an effort to limit the impact of potential asshats. It feels like a concession. Still, this is much better than nothing.

PvP changes tend toward accessibility, streamline some of the metagame, and probably deserve a post of their own.

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Categories: Mechanics
  1. April 16, 2012 at 18:03

    I’m with Bioware on keeping the combat log to look at your own performance, to be honest. I’ve seen far more ass-hattery from people misusing DPS meters than I have ever seen caught out by a DPS meter. The semi-AFK leech is quite easy enough to spot without using a meter – at least, that’s how we did it in the past. Before the dark times. Before the add-ons. 😀

    • April 16, 2012 at 19:53

      True, that, and those old-school coup d’oeil evaluations were much better grounded in context. I would only say that such restrictions are a bit of a mug’s game. Asshats (as opposed to well-meaning folk offering diplomatically-worded constructive criticism) will find a way to be asshats no matter what tools are provided. Even the ability to inspect gear is enough.

      The personal log will do, though. Dedicated theorycrafters and consummate raiders will find a way to work with it. As we speak, someone’s probably coding a utility to combine and crunch multiple parses from the same event.

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