15/08/2012

World Event, Take 2

Last night Bioware officially announced the start of SWTOR's second world event, the Grand Acquisitions Race. It didn't actually go live before I went to bed however, so I didn't get a chance to look at it until I came back from work today, which was quite late in the evening. I suppose they wanted to try something different with the timing after the last event conveniently started on a Sunday at lunch time in my time zone.

We've kind of known for a while that another world event was coming, even if we didn't know all the details, so I have to confess that I didn't get as excited about the announcement this time as I got about the unexpected outbreak of the rakghoul plague back in April. It's always hard to beat a first experience that great though.

I had heard that this event mainly consisted of a big scavenger hunt (so far). While the previous one incorporated two minor scavenger hunts as well, they were just one part of a much bigger whole, so I didn't mind simply looking up a guide to "get it done" back then. However, knowing that the scavenger hunt was the main event this time around, I didn't want to spoil myself and then simply go through the motions as directed by a third party. I wanted to see how well I could work things out on my own first.

Unfortunately it turned out that the answer to that question was: not very well at all. (The following contains partial spoilers about the locations of some items, just so you know.)

It started off innocently enough when I went to the Lower Promenade on Nar Shaddaa "in search" of the guy who was supposed to start it all. My worries about Giant McSnoutface the Chevin representative being hard to find were completely unfounded however, as his holographic representation sits right next to the giant Hutt statue and is pretty enormous.


Hard to miss this guy.

I picked up the mission to hunt down nine supposedly rare items and then checked my log to see whether it contained any more information about where to find them. It didn't offer any more specific advice than "somewhere on Coruscant and Nar Shaddaa". I knew right then that I was going to be in trouble.

"Am I supposed to find all these things just by running around and hoping to bump into them at random?" I wailed at my guild leader. He told me that there were some NPCs that gave hints if you hovered over them. I did eventually find two groups of them that dropped hints related to one item each, one on Coruscant and one on Nar Shaddaa, but nothing relating to the other four items I had to find.

There was also an associated quest line started from a letter you receive immediately upon picking up the main mission, but the three items for which you receive hints from there weren't unlocked yet today, so that wasn't particularly helpful.

I decided to follow one of the hints I had found and investigate the Justicar sector on Coruscant. After lots of pointless driving around, I spotted someone sitting on a giant cannon in a corner and shooting things, something I knew hadn't been there before the event. It wasn't too hard to figure out that I had to click on the glowy box next to it, then shoot some mob spawns with the cannon, and then click on the box again to loot it. Okay, that wasn't too bad!


This is a pretty decent hint I think. I only ever found two of them though.

Ever since the server transfer I've kept general chat in a separate chat tab and don't look at it much since it can be very spammy when it's busy - today was a good example of this. However, I was keen for some more clues without completely spoiling myself, so I was pleased when a quick peek revealed people talking about the Silent Sun Cantina and complaining that someone hadn't been "waiting for his turn".

I made my way over there, and indeed there was quite an obvious thing to click on on the ground... except that it always told me that "your escort is waiting". Turns out that this is Bioware speak for "someone else is doing this thing right now, you need to wait for them to finish". This wouldn't have been too bad except that "this thing" consisted of solving a little puzzle. A very basic and simple one, mind you, but still... at one point there was a massive delay and build-up of people waiting simply because someone started the event and then ran all over the room, clearly without the slightest clue of what to do. I was glad that things resolved themselves quickly once it was my turn, showing that I had understood the workings of the puzzle correctly while observing the people before me.


Something is happening here! At the time I wasn't sure what it was though.

After that I returned to Nar Shaddaa as the side quest led me back there. In the Nikto sector I found my first smuggler's crate, a random spawn that contains event currency, and also has a chance of containing part of another one of the quest items, or a pet. At first this didn't seem like a bad idea, but the damn things were spread extremely thin and way overcamped. Imagine WoW's Noblegarden egg hunt, except with the spawn points spread out across half a continent instead of being limited to a small village. Yeah.

Just as I left the sector, I got three mysterious messages about decrypting some code, which also gave me a buff. In hindsight, I think this was because I was grouped with my guild leader and he was probably doing that bit at the time. Since I didn't know what was happening, I was simply confused and asked what the hell I was supposed to do with those buffs. He directed me towards a crate I was supposed to click, but doing so only made the buffs disappear and then gave me a quest... to get the buffs. Eh? Something isn't quite working as intended there I think. Anyway, it was no big issue to pick them up myself and from the intended location.

Around this point things started to drag though. I must have spent hours driving around Nar Shaddaa without finding much of anything. Eventually I gave up and asked for a hint, at which point I was told to look in the general vicinity of the world boss. Great advice, except that I kept getting lost during my attempts to find him. When I finally did find the spot that started the hunt for yet another item, things were fairly straightforward from there.

Now despite of all the driving around I had done, I still hadn't completed the quest item from the smuggler's crates. I was on 5 out of 6 parts but had gone through something like 20 crates in a row (all of them hard to find and highly contested of course) with nothing but currency tokens in them. I was getting so worked up over it that I ended up looking up a guide just to check that the last part wasn't randomly hidden somewhere other than a smuggler's crate, but every source just seemed to reassure me that it was simply RNG.

When I finally got the last part of my item, the enthusiasm had completely gone out of me though. I simply looked up the last quest item I was missing on Coruscant and got it out of the way quickly before logging off. I was just too tired and exhausted.

I seem to recall that RNG-related complaints were one of the major points of negative feedback that Bioware got in response to the rakghoul event (in addition to lots of praise for other things). I don't know why they decided to make an RNG-related mechanic such a major part of this scavenger hunt in response.

Other than that, I think the main lesson to take away from this is that I suck at discovering things on my own and probably shouldn't have tried so hard as it only sucked the fun out of things in the end. That's my own fault more than anything else though. Still, I hope that the parts of the event that have yet to be unlocked will be less mysterious and random.

1 comment:

  1. I avoided all the spoilers ("skip to the end!"), but that explains why Coruscant was at fleet levels last night. I'm used to seeing Coruscant at 100 people or so, but 200+?

    (Could also be the impact of the F2P announcement too, because you'll just about finish Coruscant at L15.)

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