Funcom’s The Park Draws Near

ThePark_KeyArt_SmallerSlimmer-612x33727th October is when Funcom’s The Park drops and the company are promoting a little pre-order offer that might interest. There’s a 23% discount plus for The Secret World players there’s some extra incentive:

By Purchasing the game you will receive exclusive items in The Secret World when The Park launches later in October this year:

  • You will get the Chipmunk Killer outfit, which was worn by Steve Gardener as Atlantic Island Park’s mascot in 1979. He was known as Chad the Chipmunk and his gruesome murders are still talked about on Solomon Island to this day.
  • You also get The Woodcutter’s Legendary Talismans. This necklace was a gift to Lorraine from her late husband. It is a QL 10.9 Talisman, which comes in three version – one for tanks, one for healers and one for damage dealers. Each version has a unique ability.

Aussie expat Joel Bylos is behind The Park and if it’s half as good as The Secret World we expect it’ll go down well with players.

The Order: Keeping your Guild Motivated in Preparation for 1.2

Welcome again to The Order, where we talk about raiding and guilds on the oceanic horizon. If you’ve got a topic you’d like covered, drop Rick a line and we’ll work on it for a future column.

Tonight I sit here writing my post for TOROZ with a lot of game rants on my mind. 1.2 is incoming with some amazing changes to come into place, but in reality we already knew all these goodies were coming. It wasn’t about what was coming, it was about WHEN it was going to get here.  Rather than write the cliche – this is whats going to affect guilds and progression with changes etc etc blah blah – instead  I sit here with a Corona in my hand (Corona with Tabasco Sauce – you should try it!) recognizing the bigger picture that is on all our minds. How the hell to stay motivated but at the same time prepare your guild for radical changes in guild focus and progression so that it survives the holy holy saviour patch of our beloved game without fading away! And believe me, there will be guilds out there that will do just that – simply fade away in the progression stampede. That is of course, if 1.2 actually drops in time to save it entirely.

 Part 1 – Motivation

I was on a Facebook group of oceanic players today and an interesting “debate” sparked from a certain player expressing his concerns for the future of SWTOR.. mainly fuelled by the fact that his guild had cleared all content and had nothing else to look forward to. Sadly, this is a common scene for many people. When people get bored, that’s  when fights start. But through the trolling and fighting, a common theme did become apparent – people are dropping off the game because of the lack of objectives and focus and things to do.

If you are a GM like me, you will most likely be in the same boat and thinking that it aint all that bad. Im not bored. Why? Because we are hard at work preparing, researching and helping others to prepare. But unfortunately, not everyone is a GM. People need focus and objectives to be motivated. So here are some ideas that I believe will assist you not only to bond your guild closer together before the cataclysm (no WoW pun intended) but at the same time, bring your guild benefits all the while giving people motivation to keep playing.

1.       You want it harder? Make it harder.

Do HM’s with 2 people. Do 8 man Hard Mode Ops with 6 people. 16 with 12. You get the gist. Make it harder for yourselves for no better reason but bragging rights. Why? Because although you are fully geared and you know the fights like the back of your hand, it gives people a sense of fulfillment. All the while, the gear that drops will fund your new guild bank. Also, change your spec and loot gear for dual spec, if you haven’t already.  Why, you ask? Well when dual spec of some form comes in, youll be ahead already with multi sets of gear.

2.       Crew Skills strategically dispersed.

Your “professions”  are getting changed, dramatically, so it makes sense to put together a group of people in the guild to cover every type of crew skill, mission and gathering type and make sure it’s all at 400. One of the core intentions of the changes to crew skills is to inject the in-game economy with more variety than just biochem products – and to also make MONEY to pay for all the other shiny things!!  You might have 6 million credits but with new credit sinks coming into the game, you will need to save all of it. Get a group together, and while you do your elite 6 man Operations, collect the schematics and start creating them all. Save the gear, and inject the GTN with it when 1.2 drops. You’ll thank me later, and so will your guild bank when it’s getting leeched dry from repairs when Explosive Conflict HM drills you (yes we hope so!).

 3.       Kill all the world bosses as a whole Guild – All levels.

I know they are easy,  but theyre fun. Nothing screams “These guys are amazing and I want to join this guild” more than running through every planet killing World Bosses as a 20-30 man unit and having fun along the way. Don’t forget to close recruitment and make it by application only before you do it, because everyone who sees you will want to be in your guild and you will never need to advertise for members again. While you are there, get all the datacrons and matrix cubes too. Then if you do all the, raid an enemy faction citadel. Operations are so serious at times when you group. Take the time to parade around as a unit and have some fun. Why else do you think even Armies march, Police have parades etc, it’s all about feeling good and bonding and being seen. Psychologically it will help your boredom, motivation and of course, the presence and morale of the guild.

4.       Last but not least, PVP as a unit.

Ranked warzones will come in with 1.2 and the 8 man unit for PVP will become a common theme. Learn to put together strategic units to PVP with and move as a group. Not only will you become more in tune with each other but being oceanic and all, you  probably feel the stagnant lack of PVP Warzones popping during our evenings on US servers. By grouping up, you make Warzones pop more frequently so  its good for everyone to get ahead! So get in your groups of 4, make sure you click join queue as a group at the same time as each other so that the chances that  your groups end up in the same Warzone is enhanced,  and makes the most of the extra valor and commendations. By doing it in groups together, even scheduling it in your calendars, you won’t only be preparing your guild for the new inevitable PVP Warzone beast when 1.2 drops, but you’ll be killing time and giving your Ranked Groups better opportunities to succeed too.

So these are the 4 main things I know I will be doing to maintain motivation and focus in “The Order”.  If you have any more ideas, feel free to share. But rather than do something negative like share your already apparent and mutually shared disdain for the lack of things to do… spreading this negativity to your oceanic brothers and sisters, why not take the time to assist yourself, your guild and the game in general by making the most of the situation. 1.2 will be here very soon. Personally I don’t think it can wait till end of April, do you?

This is what I told my guildies last week: “I will be very very surprised if 1.2 drops this coming Tuesday. However, I will not be surprised at all if it drops the following week.”

What are your thoughts? – Part 2: Key Points in Preparing for 1.2 will be soon to follow – that is of course if 1.2 doesn’t drop before then, but if it doesn’t, and you do even some of the things above, you probably won’t care if it doesn’t  anyway 😉

The Order: Preparing your Guild for Operations.

Welcome again to The Order, where we talk about raiding and guilds on the oceanic horizon. If you’ve got a topic you’d like covered, drop Rick a line and we’ll work on it for a future column.

If you are an astute GM, you will have levelled/recruited a squad of at least 8 players to start attempting to clear the different raids, or as they are called in SWTOR, Operations.

Why Operations?

It’s a good question. What motivates players to educate, co-ordinate and then clear high-end Operations? Why not just focus on Flashpoints, space missions or even PvP? Why are Operations time and time again the core focus of so many guilds out there? The main reasons that come to mind are these:

Gear: The best gear in the game comes from the most challenging instances.
Renown: In many games and of course SWTOR, guilds are measured by their progression through end-game PvE content.
Challenge: Nothing beats the challenge of being in sync with a large group of players and beating the various different mechanics a boss will put you through.

However, not all guilds are successful in completing many of these Operations. Many guilds have been torn apart by failing at similar instances in other games and in SWTOR, the same pressure to succeed applies. Failure too many times usually results in your members leaving to join other more successful guilds – it’s a selfish MMO reality. However, when you achieve results as a team, the feeling is amazing – it bonds your members together and breeds loyalty and attracts new members.

Most people who play MMOs know all about end game raiding. So I am not going to harp on about what it is and why it is such a core focus for people. Instead, we are going to cover what the general requirements are for starting to raid in Operations in SWTOR.

So what are some of the basics requirements to begin SWTOR Operations with your guild?

Eternity Vault:

  1. For the most part, you want your DPS/Healers to have their main stats around 1150-1250 for their main stat. You do this by running Hard Mode Flashpoints to gear up to an adequate standard. Crafted implants and moddable gear can also be used to achieve this benchmark.
  2. You should only need 1 tank for this whole instance. This allows you to stack 5 DPS and 2 Healers into your group. Just make sure your tank has great survivability. High-end Flashpoints such as Kaon Under Siege and False Emperor are great test runs for your tank. Directive 7 is a great benchmark for your healers.
  3. Prepare your squad by hording Stims, Adrenals and Medpacks. Biochem is your friend! And research the boss fights. Make sure your squad is all watching the same source video or walkthrough so you all know what you are meant to be doing. For progression, we stopped for 5 minutes prior to each boss to enforce that all members had watched the video and re-watched it.
  4. Plan well – set realistic expectations. “The Order” is clearing EV Normal in about 40 minutes flat now that it is on farm. However, for your first run with freshly geared members, you will want to allow yourselves atleast 3 hours.

Karagga’s Palace:

  1. This is definitely a harder Operation. You will want your main stats to be around 1200-1300 – your secondary stats should be well on their way to maxxed out too, not including diminishing returns.
  2. You will need 2 tanks for this. A main tank and an offtank for the second, third and fourth bosses. Then 2 Healers and 4 DPS which are in minimum Tionese/Columi. Centurion PVP gear won’t usually cut it.
  3. Unlike EV, KP has a lot more trash and you will need to be on your toes on some of the trash pulls. Use Crowd Controlling skills and good communication as you WILL wipe if you lower your concentration.
  4. Allow around 3-4 hours on your first run of this. On farm, you should get this down to 80-100 mins.

Remember, in Normal Mode Operations, most gear loot is chosen and distrubuted to you by the game itself. We still use Master Looter, but this is merely for distributing other loot which the game deems non class-specific.

By running Normal Mode, your goal will be to completely gear your squad with Columi (Tier 2) PVE gear. However, you can accomplish this objective as well by running Hard Mode Flashpoints. Don’t ask me why Bioware created it this way – perhaps they wanted to go easy on the opening generation of players. Another thought is there is a bigger picture behind it. If how the gear looks is anything to go by, upcoming expansions and content will be something craved for quickly.

It was intended that the Normal Modes be easy enough for pick up group players or “PUGs”. This was so that everyone could at least experience the storyline without a guild. Also, for most guilds, the skill level of Normal Mode serves as a  “training” version of the actual Operation.

Our next article will be about moving past the Normal Modes and into the Hard Mode version of the Operations. Until then, good luck! If you have any Operation-specific questions focused around guild preparation or organisation, please feel free to drop me a line!

The Order: Your Guide to Guilds and Progression

We’re really pleased to introduce another new member of the TOROZ team. Rick Duff is a self-confessed stealer of Stormtroopers and he’ll be writing on guilds and raid progression. Welcome Rick!

In our game, SWTOR, and the countless other MMO genres out there, guilds are an integral and core part of the game. Can you imagine an MMO without organized groups? Unheard of! A guild can make or break the game for you. It can help you progress as a player, it can keep you motivated, it can even bring you closer socially to others who you would not usually associate with in real life.

Without a doubt, guilds are a driving factor and are important to everyone. Unless of course you want to be like Yoda and exile yourself in the Dagobah System. Still, without association or people, we would not have MMOs. So it then makes sense that for such an important part of our game, we created a section here on TOROZ dedicated to Guild Management and Progression. As we are imperfect human beings (well maybe not me…) we must remember that associating and co-operating with other individuals will have its own pitfalls and its rewards too.

My name is Rick. I am the Co-Founder and Co-Creator of a successful End Game Raiding Guild which I will refer to as “The Order” in this column. This name however, is not our actual guild name as this section is not about drawing attention to my own guild but rather, sharing and discussing management and progression tactics with the Oceanic Community.

“The Order” dates back to the MUD days and followed onto EQ, WoW and today, is alive and thriving on the US SWTOR Server called Krath. At the time of writing this, we have a total squad of 42 fulltime and casual core raiders made up of Australians and Americans. “The Order” has always been a non hardcore guild. Rather, we stand for being ‘Social Serious’ – a genre which is socially accommodating  yet when it comes to Operations, is serious enough not to be called casual.

I am no expert at all the facets of guild life, but I would hope I have a little bit of freedom to speak about the common principles and experiences of guilds in general.

Guild: n.

  1. 1.     An association of persons of the same trade or pursuits, formed to protect mutual interests and maintain standards.
  2. 2.     an organization, club, or fellowship
  3. 3.     an association of men or women belonging to the same class or engaged in the same industry, profession, interested in the same leisure, literary, or other pursuit, etc.

As our common dictionary defines above; guilds, clans, squads, groups, chapters etc are a systematic and organized way of socializing and progressing in a game. There are hundreds of non-MMO games out there which have systems in place to accommodate groups of people with like-minded pursuits.

It must be known however, that there is no right or wrong way to run a guild. There is no handbook and there is no specific way to create and run a successful clan. Rather, we will be sharing the positive and trending ways that are successful when it comes to managing and progressing with a goal of hopefully creating a richer experience for all people out there who play SWTOR.

Many people have asked me in the past, “What does it take to run a successful guild?”. To be honest, there is no simple answer, however it can be summarised and will no doubt be covered in more detail here on “The Order” as time goes on. If I had a gun to my head and had to answer quickly, these are the main things which come to mind:

The Guild Cycle of Success

  1. A Dedicated Leader
    Julius Caesar was not a part-time Commander of the 13th Legion. He lived it. He was involved with it and he fought with it. Although this may sound over-dramatic, there are some principles we can learn here. The success of a guild starts with the vision and investment of its GM. Just like any corporation in the world today, if you start it up and then not invest time and effort into it, it will fail. Which leads to the next point:
  2. Planning and Organisation 
    This is the single most important key to running a guild, especially end-game progression guilds. The level of planning and organisation will obviously be dependent upon the size and needs of a guild (common sense) but just like any group or body of people, a form of organisation and a vision or direction is needed to progress and manage expectations. Unfortunately, you can’t wing it:
  3. Motivation
    Ahhh.. why are these people even bothering to be in your guild? Is it because they like the fancy name plate they gain above their head? Well, it could be, but you can be assured that novelty will wear off very fast in the end-game if you do not have a common purpose or vision. Guild members are human after all – they have needs and wants and a desire to succeed. Having a clear direction and a plan of action will motivate people to work together towards the common goal and keep them in your guild and not leave to somebody else’s. It is the feeling of success through commitment to achieve these things, whatever you set them to be, which encourages  the next point:
  4. Loyalty
    Ultimately, nobody wants to create a fantastic organisation and have nobody to share it with. To what benefit is it, if all your members leave you? Loyalty is important for your guild’s survival and sometimes a GM can forget that his/her guild is pointless and useless unless it has a happy, successful body of members who believe in what the guild stands for. Which brings us back to the first point and the cycle repeats. How can a person be committed and loyal to something when the person/people running it are not dedicated and focused themselves? If you are not a dedicated GM fully committed  to your guild, you cannot expect your members to be.

And so, as time goes on, this column will discuss the many different and successful ways to build and maintain and address issues in guild management. The slant will no doubt hinge on end-game progression but the principles can be applied to other types of guilds too.

There will also be a monthly Guild Interview which will showcase a chosen Oceanic Guild, their Leaders and Officers and discuss their successes and motivations. If you are a Guild Leader yourself and need some advice or would like to have an issue or principle discussed in “The Order”, or if you would like to apply for your Guild to be interviewed in front of the whole Oceanic Community, please contact us at contact AT or use our contact form.

Ultimately, the greatest benefit of a guild is: if you aren’t in one, you are only experiencing a fraction of what the game is. And after all, we’re here to experience the game in its entirety.