Tuesday, December 13, 2016

SWTOR Life Day 2016 - BioWare Screwed the Akk Dog

 I'm grossly disappointed. 

Life Day is basically as old as Star Wars itself.  In case you haven't had the unique experience of seeing the Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) yourself: Life Day is basically Wookiee Christmas.  

The first Star Wars MMO (Star Wars Galaxies) started observing it in 2003.  It wasn't perfect, but, it was all about giving and observing the holiday spirit*.  Much like the IRL holiday season, BioWare's version of Life Day is now tainted with a disgusting level of consumerist greed and/or incompetence. 

The (typical) mechanics of Life Day in SWTOR are as follows: 
  • it lasts about four weeks
  • you buy a toy called a Snowball Bomb that throws snowballs at people (players and NPCs)
  • by throwing snowballs you have a chance at currency (or decorations) dropping by doing this
  • festive "Overheated Gift Droids" hang around capitol planets (and Nar Shaddaa) specifically for you to pelt with snowballs, with an increased chance for goodies
  • the currency of the event are Snow Covered Parcels, and they're traded in for vanity items (decos, mounts, etc.)
  • the toy places a debuff on characters, and no goods will be dropped if you tag a character with the debuff
  • there's usually some Cartel Market (microtransaction) items of a festive nature, but they're not required to join in on the celebration

Even though it was a grind, last year, to do all this... I still had lots of fun.  I looked forward to doing it again this year.  I specifically timed and budgeted my re-subscription this year to coincide with this event (and the anniversary, which is another story).

As of today, first day of the 2016 event, I've found it to be completely unplayable.  

Last year I had no problems with the standard Snowball Bomb.  I dusted tons of players, NPCs, and Overheated Gift Droids with frosty snowflakey goodness.  I got a metric butt-ton of holo-tree decos, enough currency to get almost everything I wanted from the vendor, and a couple fun titles.  I made buddies with people in raid groups on Nar Shaddaa tagging the Overheated Gift Droids, frolicked with holiday cheery groups on the fleet, and could grind solo by tagging NPCs (mostly in one of my strongholds, amused by reading the cesspool that is DK genchat).  


This year, they "fixed" the standard Snowball Bomb (read: further nerfed).  The Snowball Bomb has a significantly higher cooldown than the Snowball Cannon (which, of course, is a Cartel Market item)... that's already enough motivation for most people to shell out real cash.  Well, not me.  I thought, "Hey, I can just grind, NBD... I can spend my Cartel Coins on unlocks, and other things of my choosing, and still get everything I want out of this event!"

I was wrong.  Turns out, this year, they don't have the Snowball Cannon on the Cartel Market (yet) and they obliterated chances of having fun with just the Snowball Bomb... because now the Snowball Bomb can't target NPCs (as to where the cannon can)... EVEN THE OVERHEATED GIFT DROIDS... WHICH IS A HUGE PART OF THE EVENT!!!

So, since every player on the Fleets are saturated with snowball cooldowns... you have to go find people "in the wild."  To give it a shot, I went to a starter planet and sought characters too "young" to even make it to the Fleet.  After an hour, a whole THREE Snow Covered Parcels dropped... and, for the record, that's not JACK.

So, it's not only Pay To Win... but, it's more like We'll Scare You Into Paying For Everything To Win In The Future OR ELSE.

So, basically, you have to have bought the cannon last year -- with real money -- in order to have enjoyed the event at all this year.  I guess we can just pray for a hotfix (Dulfy says this might happen), but, I doubt it's a priority for the whole three people that EA still allow to work on SWTOR.

* For the record, I also hate it when people compare SWG and SWTOR... but, you know... 

UPDATE (12/14): The event is somewhat playable, because the debuff doesn't seem to matter on players... drops still happen... but the majority of it still sucks.  No hotfix, yet.  No cannon on the Cartel Market.  Also, the droprate isn't as terribad if you're on the fleet (if only all the morons would put their damn companions away).

UPDATE (12/18): Hotfix.  Finally, we can enjoy the holiday as advertised.