Friday, January 27, 2012

Tribes: Ascend - The Scrambler

(NOTE: The Scrambler no longer exists as a standalone class!  It was merged with the Raider class in a February patch.  The equipment below can still be purchased and played with as described)

One of my favorite things about Tribes Ascend is the class system - and how every player can use the experience system to create a custom class that really compliments their unique play style.

So many guides already out there go over the basics.  One of the things I'll stand avidly against on this website is spoon feeding players decisions on how to play their characters.  I merely aim to provide insight and forethought through my own experience in a game.  That being said - the scrambler is by far my favorite class of the 12 currently available.  Not only for its ability to avoid radar detection and destroy fixed emplacements with ease - but because of its weaponry and purchasable (through experience) skills.

First and foremost - to pick and play a class in Tribes Ascend, you need to understand how their weaponry works.  The best way to do this is through the training mode - in which a player can play any class they desire and have targets run blindly around the field for practice. 

The scrambler's ARX Buster shoots sticky grenades out of a three round clip at a fairly rapid pace.  While the grenades themselves explode after a second, it's important to note that they stick to anything - players, vehicles, ceilings, walls, etc.  They also do explosive damage, which hurts everything in the game unlike most ballistic weapons.

Probably the most important lesson you'll learn as a scrambler is to avoid combat in the open field.  You're a base disabler and defender, not a mid-range skirmisher.  You will have an exceptionally hard time killing enemies in an open field with either the ARX Buster or the Sparrow - the worthless pistol you carry as your secondary weapon.

There are three skills related to the ARX Buster - two of them granting +9 ammo capacity for the gun each, and the third granting a +20% damage bonus against armored targets.  While one ammo expansion and the anti-armor skill are more then sufficient, the second ammo expansion skill really helps the Scrambler spend more time destroying fixed positions and less time scavenging for ammunition to blow them up with. 

Utilizing your scrambling pack to correctly is vital.  Picking up speed and turning the pack on will enable you to slip off the radar - leaving you visible only to enemies carefully looking your way.  It will also prevent any enemy turrets from detecting you and targeting you - leaving you free to destroy them with your ARX Buster.  This is a fantastic tactic early on in a match, as enemy turrets and radar can be taken out in under a minute if you can keep yourself effectively hidden.

Picking up the "Jammer Energy" skill (the top right skill in the Scrambler skill screen) is vital, as it grants you a 25% discount on jammer energy consumption.  There are actually two of these skills for purchase, for a combined 50% less energy usage.  They're unbelievably worth it, however I suggest holding off getting the second of these skills until you pick up a few others.

Intermixed with the jamming cost reduction skills are skills that extend the jamming radius by 15% each.  While one of them is necessary in order to reach the second jamming cost reduction skill, the second one really isn't worth it as it provides a marginally useful amount to an already abundant radius of jamming for teammates, as well as decloaking for any enemy infiltrators that may be in the area. 

Scramblers have, in my opinion, the second best grenades in the game - the whiteout grenades, which are identical to flashbangs from other shooters in every single way.  Picking up the whiteout ammo skill is essential, as is picking up the whiteout radius and duration skills which extend the effective area of the grenade, and the duration one faces once subjected to it.  It's also important to note that the grenades only effect people that look at them when they explode, so tossing one and turning around is a viable tactic.  Additionally - if you're close to the grenade when it goes off, you'll get the ringing-in-your-ears sensation, regardless if you were staring at the grenade when it went off or not.

If you're wondering who has the best grenades - the answer is the Brutes.  Their fractal grenades are one of the most frustrating things currently in the game, as they can clear out a room of light and even medium armored enemies with little effort.

The skill "Energy" is also a worthwhile pickup, as it expands your capacitor by about 10%, giving you that much more time to jam enemies. 

Rounding out the tree are the health skills - one which decreases the time before your health regenerates by 25% (this is standard to every class and is very worth the investment) while the other two skills provide 50 health each - which is nice, but should be left for some of the last skills you invest in.

Finally there comes the perks - both of which are 100% useless for the scrambler, and 95% useless for every other class in the game.

For 9000 experience, you can get the 'Stealthy' perk, which reduces your detection range by enemy sensors by 50%.  Scramblers don't get detected by enemy sensors at all if they're played even half-well, and the benefit provided to other classes isn't worth it in comparison to the other perks available.

For 12000 experience, you can have the 'Squirrelly' perk, which makes enemy turrets take 20% longer when locking on to you.  Again, scramblers jam turrets, so they shouldn't get fired at at all - while again, other classes can benefit from far better perks then potential turret avoidance.

I highly suggest developing your Ranger class in order to pick up the 'Survivalist' perk, which heals you 20% of your health and energy every time you pick up ammo.  This can greatly prolong your assault on an enemy base as it not only allows you to keep your jammer on (and keep you and your friends off the radar) but keeps you healed from the inevitable damage you'll take as frustrated enemies try to take you down.

Finishing off your perk selection should be the 'Explosive Looter' perk obtained from the Raider class.  This allows you to pick up one additional grenade or mine from ammo drops - which lets you dump your devastating whiteout grenades twice as often as you can keep racking up kills.

A close third in the perks race is the Pathfinder's 'Egocentric' perk, which reduces damage from your own weapons by 35%.  This lets a Scrambler be a little more reckless with their ARX Buster - sometimes, the only way to get an enemy off your back is to stand in their face and stick them a few times to ensure the job gets done.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tribes: Ascend - First Impressions

A few days ago someone suggested trying out the Tribes Ascend closed beta.  I was baffled at this, as closed beta's imply that I need an invite.  As my friend quickly explained, the beta was only quasi-closed, as receiving a key and access to the game was as easy as heading over to the developer's facebook page and liking the game.

I've provided the link here for anyone who may become interested as they continue to read.

Now I'm not one to really promote First Person Shooters on the PC - mainly because my first FPS experience was Halo back on the original Xbox.  Ever since then, I've been a hardcore console supporter when it comes to both first and third person shooters.  That being said, I'm quickly becoming a convert - games like this being the reason.  (Editor's after-thought; I actually had a great time playing Quake 2 - and its subsequent expansions - WAY back in the day.) 

Tribes is a typical shooter at its core, however it combines traditional game play with aspects of MMORPG character development.  The results are rather good, as you've got a series of characters (or classes, as the game calls them) that you can play with and build on with the experience you earn in each match.  Each class has its own quirks and play style to master - various roles are available from lightly armored flag runners and stealth assassins, to the medium armored turret-constructing technicians that safeguard an area, and even all the way up to heavily armored (and armed!) Doombringer and Juggernaut.

As you can surmise from the picture above, there are currently 12 classes available as of this writing.  They all have their little niche's - but there are a few staples that each possess.  First, every class is reliant on their jump pack for moving around.  This isn't too far fetched from other games, except now you've also got skiing thrown into the mix - the term used to describe gliding frictionless across any surface.  With skiing and jump-jetting being your key means of locomotion, it becomes a pivotal skill to master and it's very easy to spot the good players just based on how they move and react to their environments.

Also shared amongst all classes is multiple weapons - every class gets two, except the technition which receives a repair gun as their secondary weapon.  It's important to note that all classes can also switch out a weapon for a repair gun at a few convenient stations located throughout their base.  Repair guns can be used to fix a number of deployable and permanent fixtures from turrets to generators.

And finally, every class gets a belt item ranging from sticky grenades to claymores, or even the deadly fractal grenade that detonates over a few seconds and floods a room with laser fire (clearing it of most hostiles).

Matchmaking between players isn't anything new or special - there's no ranking involved (yet) and players are thrown into the next available match when they queue up.  It's possible to join friend's games, however you have to wait for a spot if none is available - I will say one thing, while unoriginal, the game's queue system is fast and responsive.  I've never had to wait more than a minute for a match, or to join a friend's match.  It works well and delivers fast paced action without a lot of fuss to get yourself there.

Expanding upon the class selection are skills - the skill tree is unique to each class, however some skills are shared throughout all classes.  For instance, almost every class can buy a skill which reduces the delay in health regeneration by 25%.

As you can see from the screen on the right, there's nothing new here as far as innovation goes - you've seen skill/experience based purchase systems before.  Experience is earned by doing damage, killing enemies (and/or killing them creatively via a sticky grenade or blowing up their vehicle), or repairing/upgrading objectives during the game.

Finally, regardless of which class you select, you can use two global perks as well.  These perks are unlocked by playing more classes and progressing down their skill tree.  However, once unlocked, they can be used with any class, regardless.  They're significantly more costly then skills, at 9,000 and 12,000 respectively (in the example above) however some of them can really provide excellent benefits to suit your role and play style, and there is a multitude to select from.

Thankfully you aren't locked into one class for an entire match.  You can change your class at any time either between deaths or via a refit station in your base or deployed in the field.  This allows a great deal of flexibility for teams as members can switch roles effortlessly to fill gaps as the match progresses.

Rounding out the game play is the credit system - you accumulate credits the same way you accumulate experience, however your team can also earn global credits for all its members by doing things like capturing or returning a flag.  Credits are used on a per-match basis (they don't carry over to the next match, so leaving them unspent is like turning away extra experience).  You can spend them to upgrade turrets, sensors, or the base generator, or to summon a vehicle, call in an airstrike, or even call in a refit station mid-field allowing you and your teammates the options to refill their ammunition away from the base.  A very cool way to add some depth to the game play and break the routine of just shooting other people to get experience. 

The overall picture is a fun game that you can easily find yourself jumping in for a few matches every day and then walking away for a few hours, only to come back and play a few more matches with a different class.  You get that sense of accomplishment from the experience system, and that sense of a goal to strive for in unlocking new classes and features to play with.

The game model is free to play, however for anyone who sees themselves playing this somewhat casually I highly suggest investing the minimum one-time purchase of $10 into the game.  Not only will this allow you to unlock a class of choice without the need to play dozens of matches, but it will grant your account permanent VIP status, which slightly increases the experience and tokens gained with each match.  Tokens are used to unlock new classes, and you'd need to play about 30 matches per class to unlock a new one with the VIP status.

Thankfully the free to play model really doesn't push itself into the realm of pay to win.  While accounts with the VIP status, and those that just pay to acquire the game currency (gold) will have a slight advantage in accessing multiple classes earlier, the rate at which you acquire experience is directly attributed to you performance in game.  People who excel at the game will gain experience quickly, and those that do not will still struggle to unlock new perks, skills and classes.  While its true the VIP status of an account will give you about a 60% bonus in experience gain, it's still marginal enough to provide access to newer things faster without giving a player an enormous advantage over the competition.

Regardless, veteran players will eventually unlock everything they want, and once that's done - experience and currency become completely irrelevant.  Even now, I'm about 50 total matches into the game and I've pretty much got my two favorite classes skilled up and decked out as much as I'd like them to be.  From here on out, they won't get much better via skills, they'll only benefit from my experience.

I highly suggest anyone with a FPS desire to give Tribes: Ascend a try.  It's a great find as far as a free to play game goes - and you can have countless matches of fun at your disposal all without ever spending a dime.

If you're interested in learning more - you can check out their website here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Skyrim - The Pure Mage

Playing a pure mage in Skyrim can be a fun, rewarding experience.  It can also be absolutely nerve wracking and frustrating - especially if you turn up the difficulty in the game at all.

I've found that playing Pure Mages on the master difficulty can be one of the most challenging experiences video games currently have to offer.  But if you try to take the build I am about to propose and play it on the master difficulty, you need to do so with a warning:  one mistake, and you die.  Playing a glass cannon on the master setting is a commitment to understanding - not just understanding that you'll be saving and loading often, but an understanding of your environment, all your spells, how to use them, and when not to use them.

Not everyone will choose to go the path less traveled and undertake Skyrim on its hardest difficulty - this build will work for everyone, novice and master alike - and should provide you with a base understanding of magical perks as well as the spells they allow you to use more efficiently.

One important note is that unlike Oblivion, Skyrim doesn't let you customize spells.  You can click here to view a list of all the perks in the game, and then from there click on any school of magic to get a full spell list with descriptions.

I used the term build loosely, as I'm not a fan of spoon-feeding people a direct way to play their characters.  Instead I'll explain a few notes, and let you take the perks you feel best augment your playstyle.

-First and foremost, destruction will always be your fallback.  You quite simply can not count on the AI in the game (either via a fury spell, or a conjured minion) to act as you intend it to.  Therefor it's important to not only invest time into your destruction tree, but to consider completely ignoring conjuration as a primary source of damage until it nears level 100 and you receive some of the higher level summons in the game.

*THIS DOES NOT MEAN DO NOT BUILD CONJURATION SKILL AS YOU PROGRESS IN CHARACTER LEVELS.  It means don't count on it as a way for things to die.  Don't blow perks in it until you've rounded out your character, and understand that conjuring weapons mid-fight is the best way to raise the skill, not by summoning minions and hoping they get a few hits off before they die.

I highly suggest building down the fire tree first, and ignoring ice and lightning until your character reaches level 40+, and even then, use them understanding that you could just kill things faster with fire then draining their stamina, or magicka with ice or lightning (respectively).   Completely ignore the intense flames, disintegrate, and deep freeze perks simply because by the time an enemy is already low on health, you can just finish them off with another spell, which you'd have to use anyway to get the effects mentioned in those perks. 

-Utilize the Illusion skill tree extensively as both a time saving device and a primary source of damage (in most situations)  The fury line of spells that makes enemies attack each other can let you clear a room of enemies almost effortlessly.  This, coupled with silent casting and muffle lets you do it while hidden and without risking detection. 

I highly suggest avoiding use of the calm line of spells EXCEPT for situations when you need to rush through an area, and/or pacify an enemy in order to recover.  Pacifying enemies to skip over parts always comes back and bites you in the ass one way or another - especially if you're not the sneaky type.

-Alteration has some incredible perks available to you, from magic resistance to magic absorption.  While just about everything in the alteration tree can be valuable, its important to note that buffing yourself with armor before a fight isn't always possible.  Invest in things like the Mage Armor, Magic Resistance, and the Atronach perks.

NOTE:  If your mage will wear heavy armor instead of clothes, you can somewhat ignore the spells that increase your armor, and you can completely ignore the mage armor perk.

*HOWEVER note that your skill raises significantly based on its use.  If you take the novice alteration perk, and cast oakflesh on yourself once combat begins, you'll get quick skill gains throughout the game.

-Conjuration is great, and really shines late game, but it's little more then a minimal source of additional damage until the skill is at level 75 or so.  Conjuring a weapon mid-combat is the best way to level up the skill quickly.  After that, go for the twin souls perk, and summon your favorite companions of choice when conjuration finally finishes the long trek to level 100.

-Enchantment is something that should be completely ignored, perk wise, until your character is level 35+.  You'll weaken your character significantly by spending perks in enchanting and receiving almost no benefit for doing so.  Once level 35 rolls around, you'll pretty much have your adventuring perks selected and can spend your next few character levels getting enchanting perks and double-enchanting your equipment that you've collected up until that point.

-The restoration tree really is sort of a waste.  While you can throw a few perks during your characters middle levels (10-30) in the magicka casting reduction perks - you'll pretty much always be able to heal yourself to full with the restoration spell every character starts the game with, even without Novice Restoration.  I can't keep droning on about how useless wards are - but aside from being staggered if they break (and they will break often) you can simply sidestep almost every ranged attack in the game.  Don't waste the magicka instead of just strafing to the left.

Combat with a pure mage really comes down to one, obvious, question:

1 - Can I kill everything in this room before it kills me?  (If there are a lot of mages, or a lot of ranged damage, the answer is probably no. If this is the case, fury a few enemies or use your conjured minions as a distraction and then finish off the stragglers).

Rinse, repeat.  It takes some practice, but as I've mentioned - playing through the game as a pure mage is a rewarding experience.  It requires not only cunning and patience but a little creativity in order to be successful.

As always, feel free to leave your feedback below!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA, PIPA - Stop Complaining, Get Off Your Ass And Do Something!

By now, most of us know what SOPA and PIPA are.  Furthermore, we understand the potential for extreme abuse of the power these bills grant government should they (or any incarnation thereof) ever be passed. 

If for some reason you aren't aware of exactly what I'm talking about, the first thing you need to do is start reading the news, even once a week.  The second thing you need to do is look up some information on SOPA - not what some jerk's blog (like this one) says, but real information, and decide for yourself how atrocious this bill actually is.

Our friends at Wikipedia have an excellent source of information on the act(s) which you can start with, which you can find here:


Now that you're informed, you need to understand something;  politicians actions are governed by three factors, in this order:

1 - What will get me re-elected?
2 - What are the people paying for my campaigns telling me to do?
3 - What do I believe in / What did I pledge during my campaign?

The on line petitions going around are a good start, but there's a problem inherent to the anonymity of the internet that retracts from their credibility.  Fact:  Only about 20% of America votes.  So if your online petition gets 1,000,000 votes, a politician will see that as 200,000 voters supporting that petition's cause.

You need to write your representatives and share your disgust with them.  Here's how to find them. You're not just adding a letter to a pile on an intern's desk - you're informing them that they're getting one less vote come election time.  You can write exactly that.  Dear ____, support SOPA and PIPA in any way and lose my vote forever - sincerely, me.

If you aren't registered to vote, stop reading this now.  Get off your ass, take 20 minutes out of your day owning noobs and contact your local municipality - ask the lady or gentleman who answers the phone how to get registered.  They'll be able to tell you.  If they can't, comment here - and I'll do the leg work for you and figure out where you need to go, and who you need to talk to.  I'm dead serious.  

It's a sad day that we have to stop looking at ourselves as people, and start looking at ourselves as votes.  That's the only currency these politicians understand.  Now it's time we show them we're serious.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic - First Impressions (Part 3 - The Balanced)

It's hard for me to sit back and find fair and balanced items from SWTOR at this point.  Unfortunately, the game has somewhat rubbed me the wrong way and as a result, I've formed a rather strong opinion about the majority of the 'key' elements of the game.  This one's going to be more of a rant then the typical third part of a review - my apologies all.

What it really comes down to is that SWTOR is a mostly uninspired, mostly cloned, loosely-defined MMORPG produced with the intentions of drawing in a large crowd based on the Star Wars franchise and evolving it into a stable mainstay of income for Bioware.  I wouldn't quite say that they failed in that endeavor, but I find it hard to look at the state of the game since release and understand how it got there in the shape that it was in.  They could've done much better with the amount of time they had, and I'm not speaking directly towards developing the content and ideas further - but more so towards bug fixes and generic staples of game play that have been fortified by over a decade of MMORPG predecessor mistakes.

So many lessons have been learned from launches in the past.  Being someone with a history of project management and software development, I have a bit of a bone to pick with Bioware about how they released SWTOR.  PVP was under developed, UI glitches were abundant, general themes were uninspired, and the overall look and feel of the game screamed "Been there, done that." It's very much a stereotypical late game equipment grind, which the market is already flooded with - the only real distinction between SWTOR and the other titles is that the game takes place within the Star Wars universe, and that Bioware makes the game.

Don't get me wrong, there ARE various features which stand out and are mostly unique features placed in the game, you can read parts 1 and 2 for those - but even with the facets that seem to be unique, you find ideas plucked from either the Knights of the Old Republic game released years ago, and/or hybrid ideas from other RPG's.

I suppose more then anything I'm just depressed.  High hopes for an addictive MMORPG are just wishes at this point, until the generic equipment grind, talent based, quest and hit max level formula's are improved upon, its unlikely we'll see another mega hit any time soon.

Hopefully, I'm wrong.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic - First Impressions (Part 2 - The Bad)

The Bad

Blatant, inexcusable lack of QA.  This plagues every game, but in SWTOR some of it really is the most aggravating bullshit I've ever come across.  Take item vendors for instance - sorting doesn't work.  If I set the filter to "Show only items I can use" nothing happens.  I can exit the vendor screen, and then click on the vendor again, and it'll even show my preference of "Show only items I can use" still set; but lo and behold - I'll still see items I can't use being offered to me.  Infuriating. 

What's even worse is that this feature WORKS SOMEWHERE ELSE IN THE GAME ALREADY.  If I go to a skill trainer, and select the same option, it works.  All the options work.  I realize skills are a little different then items, so it's different code.  But it's not that different - it's unbelievable that a bug like this made it past QA into a production (live) environment.

I have the same complaint about every Bioware game since Mass Effect; the conversation system and the paragon/renegade, or light/dark alignment options you choose throughout.  It's not so bad in the Mass Effect series, as you can't actually lock yourself out of anything except conversation options - which in no way hinders game play, just cut scenes.  In SWTOR, your conversation options can get you light or dark side points, and its measured by a meter.

This meter is one of the worst ideas currently in the game.  An example - I like to play Mass Effect and make conversation choices that I, as a real person, would make had I been put into that situation.  You can't do that in SWTOR, you'll gimp (a term for weakening) yourself.  The meter keeps a total score, so if you have 1000 light points, and 100 dark points, you have a total alignment of 900, and you're considered on the light side of the force.  Cool, right?  Wrong.  And by wrong, I mean stupid.

Equipment in the game is restricted to you by alignment.  That wouldn't be a bad thing - but conversation options are limited, you can't just farm alignment points to get the equipment you want (without repeating daily missions and/or taking a trade skill to do so).  At level 25 my character has a total of ~2700 points. I'm split 1200 light and 1500 dark because the tutorial (or lack there of) in this game didn't explain the alignment system very well (or at all) and especially didn't tell me that I could lose my light saber by making the wrong choices in conversations.

A funny story - around level 15 I had accumulated 1100 light points (to something like 50 dark points), and as a result, was classified as a Tier 1 Light Jedi.  My light sabre at the time was restricted to Light 1 Jedi's.  I probably fought without it for a good two hours before I noticed I wasn't wielding it anymore in combat.  (It's kind of useless for my Jedi, as he uses telekinetic powers instead of a blade as hot as the sun. . . right.)

So, why is this all a bad idea?  There's some very good equipment available at high tiers of light or dark side alignments - and you'd want that gear.  To get it, you can't really make the conversation options you might want to.  Instead, Bioware has us reading the conversation options and looking for the little red triangle next to them in order to indicate that you're making the right choice for this conversation as your character.  So much for role playing a character, now you're just a glorified stereotype.  Not even Light Jedi always made the right decisions, they're just human (well, some of them) after all.

The alignment system compounds with the affection system, which is really just how much your companions like you.  A high affection means they'll undertake trade skills faster and produce more.  The gains and losses for affection through conversation are generally guess work, and unless you religiously examine every conversation option before you make it you'll never get the maximum affection out of every companion - the options just aren't that obvious. 

To rectify the conversation options/affection they put something in the game called the gift system, where you can essentially buy your companions all kinds of shit to raise their affection.  Cool idea, build a system and give us an affordable way to circumvent it.  I'd rather you have spent more time on making sure vendors worked.

Speaking of vendors, they're everywhere.  It's almost like they're multiplying.  There's something like 20 PVP-item vendors on the fleet ship (your main base for your faction).  Why are there that many?  It's not like items are sorted by level (they kind of are) and its not like the sorting on vendors even works anyway!!  What a fucking mess, there's really no other way to put it.

*Free Idea:  Make one PVP reward vendor.  MAKE FILTERING WORK ON THIS VENDOR.  He'll greet you with a set of options and a well thought out UI that lets you pick equipment based on your class, skills (what kind of armor you can use), and stats.  Put this vendor in a few different places - stop flooding the game with useless shit.

The tutorial system is a joke, doesn't explain anything, and what it does explain is usually done in a one-paragraph vague-as-hell format.  See the alignment system above for one example.  Another would be the trade skill system.  As I mentioned previously, you get one craft skill and two gathering skills.  Good luck figuring that out without asking for help.  Took me forever to figure out why I had two skills, one open slot, and couldn't train Armstech when I had Artificing (two crafting skills, you can only have one).

The guild system isn't in the game yet.  Right now, guilds are nothing more then a chat channel for friends, a tag over your character, and a message of the day to greet people with.  I hate using other games as an example, but World of Warcraft has had a 6+ year old guild UI that works very, very well.  How could you not mirror this and implement it from DAY ONE.  Guilds are important to people, they shouldn't fall to the wayside.

The Legacy system isn't in the game yet.  When you go into your skill tree, you see the 'legacy' tab, which says the legacy system will become available once one of your characters finishes act one.  (I'm level 25 and not done with act one... how many acts are there?)  Ironically, even if I was finished with act one, nothing would happen.  It's not implemented yet.  If it's not done - don't tell me I'll get it when I do X.  That's ridiculous.

I like PVP, if you've read anything here you can probably pick up on that.  PVP in SWTOR is a bit of a disaster at the moment, as once you hit level 10, you can get put in the queue with everyone, even level 50's.  So as I found out, you can find yourself against a team of drastically higher-level characters which, barring direct divine intervention, will walk all over you until you've either learned your class well, got lucky, or gotten to level 20+ where the talent points you can invest will at least give you a shot.  They use a bolster system to get the level 10's up to level 50 (attribute wise) but this doesn't make up for the dozens of talent points, and the limited skill set a level 10 has.  It's a stupid and lax interpretation of a PVP system. 

Most games use a tiered system, so level 10-19, level 20-29, etc.  Bolster everyone up to the highest level of that tier, and you eliminate the problem.  Sure, some tiers will be less populated then others.  Life will go on.

The market.  The UI is terrible.  You can't search for items easily, as you MUST select 2-3 things via drop down first, then enter the item's name, then sort through.  You can't just search by item name.  Again, World of Warcraft did this 6+ years ago, it works well there.  GET IT WORKING WELL HERE.  The current UI is an abomination.  Oh, and if you have a companion finish up a trade skill mission or crafting assignment while you're in the market, it's nice enough to kick you out and make you start all over again.  Wonderful.

The social functionality (the who list) doesn't work as it has in every game I've played for the past ten years.  If I type '/who 10 50', I should see a list of everyone currently online from level 10 through level 50.  It should cap about 100 people or so making me refine my search a little.  If I type /who jeff, I should see that there's a character online named Jeffimus, and anyone else with jeff somewhere in their name.  If I type /who sage, I should see all sages online (to a cap).  Simple right?  Try it in SWTOR, you can type /who whatisthemeaningoflife or /who eatshit, and you'll get the same thing; a generic search in your area of all players.  Cool right?  If by cool you mean uninspired, incomplete, and worthless, then yeah.  That's pretty cool.