Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Aartan Away Update

Hullo all! Long time since any of us posted! Obviously not many in our community are still playing SWTOR - although a couple do still drop in from time to time. Why didn't the game stick? Hard to say. I can only speak for myself but it had something to do with the lack of freedom. The game was very scripted - and although this is great if you love the storyline, once the storyline is over there's little to return for.

But we're all still knocking about! Playing various games when we can between our busy schedules. You can visit us as always at Worlds Away And read all about Bram's adventures in Guild Wars 2 at

Below is a vid of what Rik's currently doing in Minecraft. Simon is currently studying hard for an MA so fits in gaming when and where he can. I'm trying to think of how we might be able to use Aartan Away in the future, so this wont be the last update. Just need to put my thinking cap on...


Monday, 2 April 2012

Onwards and upwards

So, we are where we are, and we have what we have. And what we have is really pretty good. Mainly because it's us.

The game has its flaws. No surprises there then. It's not exactly shocking news, is it? Computer game fails to please everyone in every respect. Computer game gets it mostly right in many areas, and has lots of interesting new ideas and has raided many good old ideas.

The initial rush of activity has definitely died down. But you know what, I had a fabulous time the other night with a few of us jumping in and out of warzones. And the sense of achievement when we won, and won well, was awesome. From what I hear the ops teams are having the same buzz of success, and building towards a better future.

So onwards and upwards.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Problems, issues and questions

I, as is possibly apparent, am having some issues with TOR and I don’t think I’m the only one. So I intend to list here some of the questions that I’ve been asking myself about TOR and see what, if any, responses you have.

Of course, if no one has any response, that’s a pretty damning indictment. Ask any politician – love or hate is fine, that’s an emotional response that is committed and which can be responded to. Apathy is the worse as it’s almost impossible to combat effectively.

Right then – what are the problems?
1. Grouping: We’re not grouping up much for planets or flashpoints. We’ve made efforts down this route with a number of tactics, but they’ve waned. Was it the wrong tactic? Or does it need pushing again? We have people at 50 who have barely touched many of the flashpoints.
2. Social hub: Perhaps it’s the lack of a social hub. Do we nominate a Watchers cantina? Should we run another social evening? I’m not sure about these without a real purpose, I’ll be honest. But perhaps we can combine it with a RP night? Mix it with the Aartan legacy story.
3. Other games: There’s a lot of excellent releases out there at the moment. These are bound to distract, and have had similar effects on other guilds on the server.
4.  Release 1.2: Perhaps the community will start buzzing again once there is more to do. Once some of the crafting frustrations are fixed. Once we can make the UI work as we want.
5. Nature of MMOs: I think that to a certain extent MMOs now encourage a fluid community, moving among several games as new releases and patches pull us onwards.
6.  Leadership: Yeah, me. Tell me where I’m missing something or failing. And yes, I should be 50 by now. Particularly with the way that experience is handed out. However I’m not in any huge rush to hit 50 as I can’t join the raid team – the times and days don’t work for me - and I absolutely trust the people who are already in the raid team to deliver the best experience for all out there. But tell me otherwise. I consider my strengths are in community. And perhaps that’s why I’m worrying about this stuff, and no one else is?
7. Fluidity of community: We’re a relatively small community, and we have broad experience that moves us among various games; we don’t stay where we don’t want to be, and for some, TOR just hasn’t delivered. We could go in for aggressive recruitment to bring the numbers up? Appoint a new recruitment officer; and if so, who’s interested? One of the issues here is that we’re not particularly PuGgy as a community. Mel is, and has done a great job of bringing people in to the Watchers who are Watcherish by nature. What’s most important to you – a Watchers’ spirit or a bulk of numbers?
8. Is it the game itself? Has it not met people’s expectations? Were our expectations too high as it was?
9. Anything else?

Not a problem but something on which I’m also musing:
1.         Operations: Raiding is going really well, but what do we need to do so that it progresses? So that people don’t feel frustrated or blocked by a certain boss? Ilum daily nights so you can grind the necessary items and social points?

And there’s also the Legion – we’ve made efforts here but it’s not sparked. Possibly partly because of the numbers of people here and the various points above. It’s faded to an alts guild, which reflects the reality of the polls we did before launch, but remains a great shame for people who have invested their time and effort in characters there. And also we have some great members of the community who we’re missing out on. However, it seems that there are moves to have cross-faction chat – can’t be soon enough as far as I’m concerned. I see hope on the horizon here.

So over to you…

Sunday, 11 March 2012


So everything I read currently convinces me that SWTOR is totally geared up for the alt-lovers among us.

Tal has held forth expressively on his frustrations with the ease of acquiring experience and skimming through planets with grey quests. But all the recently-released legacy information increases the impression that we're being encouraged to roll our way through multiple classes, visit some planets in depth on different characters, and each time finding more to explore. Bring it on.

Of course, it is irritating if you are a completist by nature, and want to have one character who has done everything. And it's maddening if you can barely find enough time to play one character, let alone more... *cough* However I do find myself more inclined to play alts here than I have elsewhere (but I will understand collective scepticism until you actually find me levelling anyone properly).

I'm glad to see that they are also looking at freeing up some of the limitations of cross-faction chat - this would make a big improvement to the joy of alting.

The individuality of the story plots aren't enough to pull us through however. So I guess that's a good reason that the different planets can flood us with quests and experience. I'm already guilty of rapid spacing through quest dialogue (I knew I would be), but I have several planetary questlines and heroic/bonus lines of which I've just touched the periphery and would like to know more.

I think Bioware have crafted a game to reinforce subtly that culture of alts-rolling, but I guess we'll have to wait for the next big patch to see how that plays out in the community.

Thursday, 8 March 2012


This was originally in response to Bram's lovely words about The Aartan Legacy, but it kinda turned into a ramble of it's own.

I had originally considered writing a whole blog going into the ideas that went into Orix's character, not to mention the numerous other characters I'd invented for my alts. But the concept behind Orix is definitely the one who has undergone the most change. As my main character, I wanted him to be distinct, yet not too difficult to Roleplay.

Orix went through a bajillion iterations of being all manner of fantastical things, from a shapeshifter, to an android, a clone, and so on and so forth. All these ideas area great and can make for very interesting characters if done well, but I felt that making my main character too complex makes them harder to relate to. I don't want people to have to remember all these things about him when listening or interacting with him in game.

In the end I opted for something very human (despite being alien). I remember writing the second episode, and Rik said something along the lines of "something I like about Orix is that he says he doesn't feel these negative things about his father and upbringing, because he's not human, but, you get a sense that he does." To me, this was really gratifying, because it made me realise I had been writing Orix with a particular depth without really realising it.