WoW Logic, Companion Love, and Returning MMO Players

This weekend was absolutely packed with great posts, but after a lot of thinking, I’ve pruned it down to four must-reads if you’re looking for a dose of MMO discussion today. So, let’s go!

  • Cynwise has been thinking hard about WoW’s logic, and writes a lengthy post attempting to reconcile the way WoW levels and gear work with Real Life“What is to stop a young Tauren brave from wearing the mighty gear of his elders? Get your head out of WoW for a moment – what is to stop him from putting on the physical garb which conveys these great bonuses? What prevents him, exactly, from picking up an epic mace dropped by Deathwing himself and smashing opponents around him?”
  • Klepsacovic of Troll Racials Are Overpowered responds to that post, with a suggestion that maybe the World of Warcraft’s magic makes the in-game rules make sense
  • Rohan at Blessing of Kings has been thinking about how SWTOR companions work, compared to how single-player companion quests play out, and he looks at where SWTOR could improve“if you think about it, gifts also invalidate the very purpose of the companion system. Your character’s personality doesn’t matter to the companion any more. Instead you just ply them with gifts until their stories unlock.”
  • And Syp at Bio Break thinks that discussions of MMO subscriber numbers often ignore an important element – the players who return“If Fred plays Guild Wars: The Old Republic for one year straight while his friend Jerry plays GWTOR in three unconsecutive four-month segments with breaks between, isn’t it just the same end result? So why do we treat the former scenario as the defining one for a game’s success?”

Oh, and in follow-up news, Sugar and Blood has also announced the winners of Azeroth’s Next Top Plate Model – congrats, everyone!

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Sith Madness Sorcerer Quick Start Guide for SWTOR: rotation and priorities, talents, stats, gear, spec and companions

“Now, young Jedi – you will DIE!” ZORCHZAPSCREAM – etc. Yes, for most of us, that’s the reason we rolled a damn Sith in the first place – to cackle, look evil, and fry Mark Hamil with Force Lightning. Except it turns out that there’s more to DPSing in SWTOR, particularly once you get to Level 50, level cap, than just spamming lightning and cackling. So, for the confused, furrowed-brow Madness Sorcerer, here’s a guide to our best abilities, rotation (and priorities), talents and spec, gear, stats, and even our companions.

This is a work in progress! Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t been out for long enough for us to have a 100% solid idea of what talents, abilities and so on are best, so we’re going on the work of the top theorycrafters here as they figure the game out. However, this guide should give you a good start and put your damage well beyond what 95% of the SWTOR playerbase are able to do.

Obviously, this is a first draft guide – if you have comments or suggestions, please do post them below!

Updated 10th February 2012 for Patch 1.1.2

Sith Madness Sorcerer Ability Rotation

  • Top Priority: If Lightning Barrage has procced, use Force Lightning.
  • Second Priority: If the target doesn’t currently have Affliction on them, cast Affliction. Otherwise, cast Death Field or Crushing Darkness if they’re off cooldown.
  • Third Priority: If Wrath has procced, cast Chain Lightning if it’s off cooldown. Otherwise, spam Force Lightning.

Wrath: Ideally, you should use Wrath with Crushing Darkness. It’s a DPS increase to use it with Chain Lightning if Crushing Darkness is on CD, however.

AOE: Use Death Field as top priority, then multi-DOT with Affliction and use Chain Lightning. If there are 5 or more mobs, use Chain Lightning as top priority.

Sith Madness Sorcerer Talent Spec / Build

There is some ongoing discussion as to the best Madness spec.

This spec appears to be a generally good DPS spec.

This spec is more Force-efficient – use if you’re running out of Force regularly.


Stats and Gear for Madness Sorcerers

Willpower is absolutely the most important stat for Sith Sorcerers in general, including Madness. Power is our most important secondary stat.

At the moment a good basic stat priority to use is Willpower, then Power/Force Power, then Surge, Crit, and Alacrity in that order.

Stats we don’t want: We have no use for Strength, Aim, Cunning, very little use for Endurance, and little use for Presence unless we’re using a companion a lot. Shield, Absorbtion and Accuracy are also useless for Sith Sorcerers in general, and Defence is basically useless.


Currently it appears that at end-game your best companion choices are Ashara Zavros for DPS or Xalek as a (rather weak) tank.

2V-R8 is completely useless for combat purposes for a Sorcerer.

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SWTOR Companions, MMO Couples, Cataclysm Wins and Account-Bound Achievements

A great grab-bag of different links caught my eye over the last day or so – let’s get going!

  • A lot of people are criticising Cataclysm at the moment, but Shintar’s bucking the trend with a great list of things she loved about the expansion“Despite of all those flaws, I really got a lot of enjoyment out of the Shattering. I had fun discovering what had changed and what hadn’t, and I brushed the mothballs off low-level alts that I hadn’t even touched since Burning Crusade. I probably spent more time levelling alts than doing things at endgame, and I had fun doing so. That’s got to count for something.”
  • Darth Hater has a really interesting summary of the current state of SWTOR companions“Tank companions. Everyone gets them, and everyone quickly learns just how terrible they are at actually tanking. In most situations a heavy-armor clad DPS character will actually have better survivability than a tanking companion. “
  • Fulguralis at Killing Em Slowly speaks up on the “MMO Couples” conversation, singing the praises of couples-heavy guilds“Which brings up what I believe to be the biggest benefit of gaming couples, mechanics-wise: they’re in the same room. When my wife is tanking, it’s like she has a built in bonus camera in the form of the pew-pewing warlock. While she’s watching the All Crotch All The Time channel, I can warn her of adds or other impending doom.”
  • And Harpy’s Nest speaks up on an issue I know quite a few people are concerned about – the downsides of switching to account-bound achievements in WoW -_“Think of all the repeatable content which suddenly becomes irrelevant. You complete the Explorer once and you never have to do it again. Done Loremaster, great, now you don’t need to visit Stonetalon Mountains on another character ever again. “_

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Single-player MMOs? Genesis meets WoW Forums? 50 in SWTOR? It’s Thursday Links!

We’ve got a fantastically varied Thursday for you today, with everything from helpful hintage to potential blogosphere topic starters:

  • Beruthiel is asking the deep questions again – specifically, why exactly DO 25-mans and 10-mans in WoW need to be equal?“I honestly don’t know what Blizzard was thinking when they were sitting down in the dev meeting where the thought they could effectively make two raid sizes “equal”. While I’m sure their intentions must have been in the right place, the technicalities involved in undertaking such a feat should have been seemingly impossible, even on paper.”
  • Sheep the Diamond covers SWTOR companions, LFD’s tendancy to make other people disposable, and more, as he talks about the phenomenon of the MSORPG“We’re creatures of habit; if we solve a problem a particular way the first time, we’re much more likely to solve a similar problem the same way the next time. In other words, if you can level and do almost every quest with just your companion, why bother doing the “work” to find a group and cooperate.”
  • Killed in a Smiling Accident’s Melmoth is getting biblical about MMORPG design“1:28 And yay did God visit the forums to see if his creation was good. But lo did the forums say ‘No, God’ and ‘God no!’, and they did explain unto God why only a newb would create man in a such a way.”
  • And Inquisitor’s Roadhouse offers a super-helpful guide to just what to do after you hit level 50 in SWTOR“Where to head to once you’ve hit 50 totally depends upon your max level goals. Do you want to gear up to raid? Or is PvP your focus? Or did you have a sense of obligation to get at least one character to 50 before starting an alt factory? Regardless of your end game goals, there is something waiting for you as a fresh 50.”

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In SWTOR, every class is a pet class?

As the game approaches, I’m becoming more and more interested by some of the things I read about SW:TOR. From the way the Dark Side and Light Side are handled (which I still feel could turn into a min-maxing nightmare, but could also be really immersive), to the mixed reactions to the quest/story structure, I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all shakes out.

Today, Hunter’s Insight has focussed on an aspect of the game I’d not heard much about, but which sounds genuinely innovative and interesting. You may have heard that in SW:TOR you’ll have the chance to get a Companion character. But did you know that, essentially, this means that not only is every class in the game a pet class, but that there’s actually an extended story and relationship developing between you and your companion?

“Companions don’t play the same role they do in Guild Wars. They are a huge story element. You quest for them, you get to know them, you romance them, they do your chores, take out the trash and are customizable. On a mechanics level I think they’re actually more akin to pets. I think they effectively make every class in SWTOR a pet class, which is actually kind of interesting.

I had experience with two companions. Khem Val and Kaliyo.

Khem Val is essentially a tank as demonstrated in the video. My inquisitors pet. I found that because I was playing a Sith, even though I had some ranged attacks I often closed with people early on. That meant that instead of being shielding by my tank I was often right beside him. Kind of annoying. I definitely should have changed tactics but it was my first play-through and I had no idea what I was doing. His personality left something to be desired. Even when I was being evil it was not good enough for this guy. You have to be seriously rotten to impress him. Also I’m not really the type to enjoy a companion who walks around in a loincloth although I’m sure that can be changed later. Because I didn’t like him, I never looked into it.”

It’s very interesting to hear just how much personality these characters are invested with. Bioware have always been particularly strong at writing companion characters – Minsk, anyone? – and I hadn’t realised how thoroughly they’d be carrying that ability through into their MMO.

I do wonder how well the companions will stand up to hundreds or thousands of hours of game-time. Will you get sick of them? But, on the other hand, the level of personality and attachment to the world these characters could generate might well be a game changer on their own.

An NPC you actually care about? What a concept.

What do you think? Irritating min-max targets, or huge addition to the genre?

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