Week In Gaming 10/25/2015

Destiny_20151024125447

The Sickly Bel

weekingamingThis week was an odd one in that I managed to catch some flu-like chest crud.  I felt pretty awful most of last weekend, and then struggled to exist Monday and ended up coming home halfway through Tuesday.  I chained Wednesday as well, and found myself in that place where I wanted to play something…  but anything seemed to require too much concentration.  This was after all the week I had early access to Star Wars Fallen Empire, and I did exactly none of the content.  I poked my head in a few times to attempt to play my Sith Sorcerer and failed miserably at it.  I have a few comments to make about my experiences, but the majority of my gaming time was spent playing Destiny.  Apparently that game is largely muscle memory, and I can play it without having to think too much about it.

SWTOR: Fallen Empire

swtor 2015-10-20 21-14-50-86

As I said in the intro, this week was the early launch of Fallen Empire the massively game changing expansion for Star Wars the Old Republic… and I barely touched it.  I did pop in enough to get sorted out how some of the new systems work.  Namely the way companions now exist as being independent of the abilities they use.  This means if you no longer have to deal with companions you cannot stand just because they fill the role you want.  As a result I swapped to using Andronikos Revel on my Sorcerer, because he loves it when I shock the shit out of NPCs that are not giving me my way.  Similarly I would probably never run with a companion that is not Vette on my Sith Warrior, or always run with Kira Carsen on my Jedi Guardian.  There is seriously nothing cooler than running around with Kira and feeling like a Jedi strike force, and having her also be a healer…  just icing on the cake.  As you can tell this is a super important change for me, and I am damned happy to see it go in.

Other than that the other big change for me is the fact that the NPCs are actually labelled as to what type of quest they give you.  For example in the above image you can clearly see that this NPC is going to give you the Belsavis planetary quest.  This makes it easy to ignore things like the non-soloable heroic quests or flashpoint quests you are not quite ready for… to keep them from cluttering your logs.  The other big thing that I noticed was the way that the level scaling works.  It seems like when you land on a planet you are scaled to the maximum level for that area, somewhat like Final Fantasy XIV scales dungeons.  This means you can overlevel content… but just barely making it a bit easier if you wait for awhile to do a quest rather than doing it when it is on level.  However there is never a point where content ever becomes useless to you, which means you can easily go back and farm early content if you are struggling a bit to progress forward.  The loss of 12x class experience however means that pretty much to stay current you are always going to have to do your class quests as well as the main planetary story arc.  In any case I think the expansion content is going to be enjoyable… if I ever actually play it.

All-Saints Wake

ffxiv_dx11 2015-10-25 10-52-03-70

I don’t have a lot to talk about when it comes to Final Fantasy XIV this week, but I did poke my head back in for a few hours.  This week was the release of the All-Saints Wake event that serves as Halloween for the game.  As we talked about last night, holidays in Final Fantasy XIV are largely the tale of incompetent villains and in this case it is a repeat appearance of the Impresario the mastermind behind the Continental Circus.  Over the years we have learned that this is really a group of voidsent that are trying to cause mayhem each year, and we the player finds new ways to thwart them.  As cute as the story line is… the reason why you do holidays in games is to get stuff.  This year we get the purple outfit that my character is showing off above, a new Pumpkin Butler minion, and for the first time this year an actual mount.  We get to ride around Eorzea on a flying broom… that actually does fly if you have unlocked flight in a given zone.  The thing I love about Final Fantasy XIV holiday events is that they are adorable, provide awesome rewards… and end up taking only a few minutes to complete rather than being a grindy mess that brings out the worst in players.  If you are subbed you should definitely check it out, because while the quest is more enjoyable if you have done the previous years… it is still fairly easy to follow without that ancestral knowledge.

Devilian

Devilian 2015-10-24 20-43-52-27

I have some issues with this game, but since I am now in alpha/beta/whatever phase it is and the NDA has dropped I thought I would talk a bit about it this morning.  My number one issue is the gender locked classes and the fact that they have very specific styles to them.  The Berserker is a guts clone, the Shadow Hunter is a bare chested Bishi-elven alucard like character, the Evoker is spilling out of her dress, and the Cannoneer is a Loli.  Out of those options… there is exactly one I can stomach playing as, which is the Berserker.  The thing is…. all of these design decisions unfortunately have nothing to do with Trion Worlds which is the company bringing the game to non-Korean markets.  As fraught as the classes are… the game is actually rather enjoyable once you get past its slightly odd control scheme.  By all looks it is a Diablo clone, but it controls vastly different… and honestly reminds me a bit more of the way skill shots in League of Legends feel.  You use your mouse for character facing and then use your number keys to fire off abilities.  You can bind an attack to your left mouse button, and I am probably going to do that with my basic attack to make it feel more Diablo-like.  What I have seen of the combat is kinda interesting, and the dungeons are really enjoyable.  I am just struggling to get past the art direction decisions, because honestly…  they make me really sad.  This could be a really great game, if it didn’t have gender locked classes and the art design did not seem to be from a thirteen year olds “tee hee hee boobs” mindset.  It will be interesting to see if I am still piddling with it by the time the next beta comes around or if I have decided that the game is simply “not for me”.

Destiny

Magical glow of an Exotic Engram… only to be dashed moments later when you find out its a damned helmet.

This week has been almost entirely devoted to Destiny.  As I said before this was the game that I could play without having to apply much thought to it.  A good chunk of the week was spent working on my Hunter who is now I believe 270ish light level, and all of the way through the TKK content.  I cheated a bit and jump started the character to level 25 using the item I got from purchasing the Taken King.  I have to say if they want to sell something on the cash shop… I would absolutely buy a second one of these.  Going from 25 to 40 was not that bad, but I am just not looking forward to taking my Warlock from 1-25 to get there.  This week has also been the resurgence of my appreciation of Auto Rifles.  I completely the third Gunsmith faction quest and it ended up giving me an exotic rifle called the Fabian Strategy.  This thing is just a blast to use and I love the way it sounds and feels as I rip through mobs.  This has also caused me to dust off the auto rifles I had in my vault and I found a few others that I really like, one of which my hunter is currently using.

The other key activity for this week has been running level 36 strikes in an effort to get exotic engrams with three of coins.  I found out today that I could be just doing level 20s, but honestly I kinda enjoy the slight effort the 36s provide.  They go so much quicker than the heroics, but don’t feel like I am simply steamrolling them in quite the way that the level 20s do.  Essentially my pattern has been to run strikes using coins until I get an exotic, then take a break for a bit and do something else.  I am also attempting to keep both characters up to date on bounties each day, and my regular farming runs on the dreadnought manage to pay off big time… as I had more than enough Hadium Flakes to get my Hunter his sword almost immediately.  The big chore is still trying to increase my light levels, and the most 290 grind is extremely slow.  That said it still feels enjoyable because I am seeing a ton of drops in the process.  Even though half of the things are going to turn out to be something I cannot use… it still feels good to see drops.  Its like the game is giving me hope… even though moments later it is just going to dash them once again when I find out the exotic is another damned helmet.

 

Week in Gaming 10/18/2015

Destiny_20151016151712

One Track Mind

This week was quite literally… all about Destiny.  We have a trio of myself, Damai, and Saldonas aka Carthuun that have been running around together quite a bit.  Alternately I have been spending some time with Euron as well when we can manage to meet up, and both “actually” be on at the same time instead of afking for long periods of time and leaving our Playstation 4 on while connected to Destiny.  Of note… if you do not exit out of Destiny before walking away, your PS4 will not fully go to sleep.  I know I have frustrated many people on my friends list who tried to invite me to parties at all hours of the day… when I am not actually at my console.  I have really been so into the PS4 this week that last night when we recorded the podcast, it was my first time on voice chat and really my PC since last Sunday.  Anyways… on with the games!

 

Rift – Primal Urges

rift 2015-10-12 18-09-57-08

This week on a whim I decided to try and win one of the Wilds Packs being given away by Trion on their Twitter account.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time… and apparently choosing the right code to try.  I opened the image that had six codes in it, and keyed it in quickly into my account and BAM… it gave me the Wilds Pack.  I did not at first realize it but this was the big $100 pack of goodies, but the only negative so far is that it did not seem to give me ANY of the loyalty.  Otherwise it would have pushed me from the Orange tier that I am currently on into the the Red.  I put in a support ticket to ask, but my working theory is… that you get the loyalty for purchasing the pack, not for redeeming it.  In any case I am more than happy to have a slew of free stuff including the new Primalist calling.

I have to say that mechanically it is really interesting.  Instead of an energy or mana based mechanic, you have this push/pull mechanic that shifts your character between Fury and Cunning.  Abilities that are scaled based on Fury push your bar closer to Cunning… and Cunning abilities push towards Fury.  So you are constantly switching back and forth between the two stances and the gameplay feel reminds me quite a bit of the solar/lunar cycle of the old Boomkin.  I say old Boomkin because I honestly have no clue if this push/pull thing is still in that class or not since I have not played one since Cataclysm.  The calling itself is a leather wearing heavy weapon wielder, and so far I am digging it.  As you can tell I shunned the tribal feel of the class and ended up making mine a steampunk dwarf.  I’ve not really made it terribly far, but I have enjoyed the little bit I have played.  I hope at some point soon I will devote a few days to getting really up close and personal with the calling.

Star Wars the Old Republic – Sith Happens

swtor 2015-10-11 13-16-14-92

Last night during the podcast I returned to my Sith Inquisitor and am working on trying to finish it.  I realize there is no way now that I will finish ALL of my classes before Tuesday, but I am at the end of Alderaan now and it seems like maybe if I can focus attention on it today I will be able to wrap this one up.  I am still having a very love/hate relationship with the Sith Sorcerer.  Namely I love that I can burn things down quickly with lightning, but hate how horrible of a healer I am if my companion ever seems to get into trouble.  I switched from Khem Val to Treek and am enjoying that decision so far.  Namely the big problem I run into is that my instinct is to burn harder as our health gets lower… and unlike my Scoundrel I cannot pull us out of quite the health deficit.  So that means I really need to watch the companion health more closely and start healing sooner.  As a result I end up dying quite a lot on this class, which just slows down the process.  The storyline isn’t really “catching” me either…  and I think largely the problem is I ended up choosing the finger-wiggler path instead of the melee path.  Were I slashing things with my dual saber I would probably be enjoying this class significantly more.  It does however give me a healing option Sith side… so I am just going to go with it for now and struggle through.

Destiny – Struggling for Exotics

Destiny_20151016151712

I have reached the point in Destiny where those upgrades are no longer coming as quickly.  I am now in the 290 light range and the engrams are being assholes to me.  Right now the best source of gear seems to be doing Heroic Strikes, but our trio still struggles a bit with them.  I realize that through running copious amounts of them that problem will solve itself.  I also am frustrated by three of coins, which seem to be far less effective for me than others.  It took me eight coins before I got my first exotic drop, and I am continuing to feed the beast and have not seen a second so far.  I will say that the exotic that I did get was pretty sweet…  Invective.  I like shotguns, but my frustration has always been their relatively small ammo pool and clip size.  Invective seems to take care of that for me, in that it regenerates ammunition at a fixed rate… which is actually pretty damned quick.  I am finding it useful in strikes for when mobs get too close and personal.. and the fact that you can fire off the four rounds in full auto style… means you can absolutely shred a heroic minotaur for example.  Then I shift back to my pulse rifle and by the time I need my shotgun again, the ammunition is back and ready to go.  The only thing that could be better about it is if the chamber reloaded….  but that would probably be asking too much.

The funny thing is… I am in this place where I am really happy with my assortment of weapons.  I just wish I had more high level blue fodder to feed to them to level them up.  Right now I tend to mostly use…  Hawksaw, Hung Jury, 1000 Yard Stare, Invective, and Sol Edge.  I would love to have the exotic shards and fodder to power up my Hawkmoon… but I don’t have the steady income of exotics yet.  I love that gun… but at 280 it is just too low right now to keep up with my other weapons.  For the most part I am happy shifting back and forth between Hawksaw and Hung Jury… both of which are weapons that feel great and can precision shot pretty easily.  The other big thing that happened this week is that I dug deep into the lore of Destiny, and if you ready yesterdays blog post you will see a bit write up about a series of videos.  Last night I also ended up going on at length about this factor on AggroChat and probably bored the pants off of my co-hosts.  What can I say… I am loving this universe and as I still continue to work my way through the missions I keep seeing more interesting parts of it.  Destiny is one of those games that has grabbed hold of me and does not show signs of letting go.  My hope is that I will be able to get it mostly out of my system by the time Fallout 4 launches….  because I want to spend some close and personal time with the wasteland.

 

 

 

Week in Gaming 10/11/2015

swtor 2015-10-11 00-53-25-44

A Good Week

I am sitting here this morning with my writing buddy beside me.  I’ve shown pictures of Allie in the past as she sits on the blanket that I have folded beside my keyboard, and once again this morning she is there purring quietly.  She really is the mascot of the week I have had, because honestly other than a bit of an emotional roller coaster surrounding The Beginner’s Guide, I would say that the week as a whole has been one of contentment.  I managed to accomplish quite a bit in my quest to push through all of the stories I had not seen in SWTOR, as well as made small bits of progress in Destiny.  At work things seem to be largely calmed down, or at least to a manageable madness.  More than anything I think it was taking Tuesday off that helped reorient my world to a much better state of mind.

Star Wars the Old Republic

swtor 2015-10-06 21-34-46-45

This week was an insanely productive one when it came to Star Wars the Old Republic.  As of last Saturday night during the podcast I managed to wrap up the Smuggler storyline, and picked up work on the Sith Warrior.  With Tuesday essentially being a day where I did nothing but play SWTOR, I managed to finish up the Sith Warrior.  I’ve talked about this already but I have to say at the time the Sith Warrior was one of the most gratifying experiences when it comes to giving you the control to settle all of your vendettas in one ending.  Every person that you want to seek your revenge on is laid out in such a way as that you can, and the final events are so damned satisfying.  Having played both Sith Warrior and Jedi Guardian…  I have to say I am a bigger fan of the Warrior experience namely because it is deeply personal… and not simply the overarching events of the game as a whole.

swtor 2015-10-11 00-53-25-44

From there I picked up on my Bounty Hunter, largely because I needed a palate cleanser from playing a force user… and having just wrapped up Smuggler I was not quite ready for another cunning class.  I fully expected to not be terribly into the Bounty Hunter experience, largely because I didn’t really enjoy Trooper that much.  However I am coming to realize most of my problems with the trooper was the fact that it was my third class within a few months of the launch of games to push to 50… and at that point I was simply bored to tears of all the repeated planet story content.  The Bounty Hunter is quite literally the most reasonable person on the imperial side.  The game gives you the ability to play the consummate business man, and that is absolutely the path I took.  I killed no one for free, and kept my collateral damage to a minimum.  As a result people were constantly surprised that no, I was not in fact going to kill them.  Generally speaking I almost always took the option to freeze them in carbonite and return them to the client fully intact.  I am guessing that quite honestly, Bounty Hunter is probably going to go down as my favorite game play experience in SWTOR.

Destiny

My progression in Destiny has slowed down considerably, with the bulk of my forward movement coming from Armsday packages and any time I level up a faction like the Gunsmith or the Cryptarch.  While I am playing the game of equipping my best gear before I decrypt any engrams, I am still ending up with low level blues most of the time that I turn into crafting materials.  I’ve developed the nasty habit of buying shaders, emblems, and ships…. and as a result I am generally running low on Glimmer most of the time.  I really need to try using some of those glimmer items that increase the drop rates while I work on bounties.  My latest toy that I am enjoying playing with is the scout rifle above that came from a package when I leveled up Dead Orbit faction.  I had not really played with a scout rifle much since coming back and had forgotten that it was essentially a high payload sniper rifle.  Realistically I am to the point where if I want to progress I need to be running Heroic Strikes, and I simply have not messed with getting friends together yet in order to do that.  Still having a lot of fun, but trying to keep it super casual so I don’t burn myself out and get bored with it.

Battlefront

Another game this week that I have spent some time with is Star Wars Battlefront.  I pre-ordered this game through PlayStation network the moment it was announced because I am super nostalgic about the lineage of Star Wars shooters.  This weekend they allowed players to download and play for free in the beta, and I have to say my feelings about it are extremely mixed.  The game does an excellent job of giving you the fantasy fulfillment of playing a soldier in the Star Wars universe.  Past that however… I think it suffers from the fact that I have been playing so much Destiny lately.  The game handles significantly worse in the moment to moment gameplay that Destiny does.  The guns feel worse, the movement feels worse, the cover mechanics… feel worse.  I think if I spent enough time I could get used to it and even come to like it, but right now I am struggling with the feeling of “I would rather just play destiny”.

The Beginner’s Guide

2015-09-29_00023-noscale

I’ve said everything I could really ever want to say in my deeply personal post on the game from last week.  Last night on AggroChat I to some extent reprised those thoughts in a much more condensed manner.  The take away for me is really this.  If you are not in an extremely stable position in your life, and if you are at all struggling with your own emotions…  don’t play this game.  Essentially there are two possible reactions… either you are going to think it is complete bullshit and it won’t effect you in any way.  Or it is going to act as a mirror to show you all of your fears and anxieties about yourself.  It quite literally took me a few days to recover from the experience of just watching a play through of this game, and not actually playing it myself.  I am not unhappy that I went through it, but it is also not the sort of experience that I would suggest lightly to anyone.  I know that sounds weird and arcane… but this game does strange things to you.  This is honestly the closest thing I have seen to a real life “The Ring”, in that this game will ultimately leave you slightly changed as a result… and not always in a good way.

 

Sithmas Time Is Here

1080_saber1

Merry Sithmas

20151007_114140

It has been so surreal since the launch of the Force Awakens toy line.  Everywhere I go the world seems to be teeming with Star Wars enthusiasm and with that… comes a bunch of priced to own kitch.  While we have yet to reach anything close to the hype bubble we experienced before the release of Phantom Menace, it is still extremely noticeable.  A few weeks ago I wrote about re-watching the prequels and how I had wondered if maybe I was just too harsh on them at the time.  After re-watching I decided that no… they really were horrible films.  The problem is that for years I let them have control over my enjoyment of the Star Wars universe as a whole, and that frustrates me.  If you were to completely ignore their existence, then honestly the rest of the Universe is still pretty great.  Sure there was some strange stuff on the fridges of the Expanded Universe, but I cannot discount just how phenomenal the Old Republic Era has been.  I remember picking up one of the first Tales of the Jedi comics and being completely blown away at this concept of a universe set essentially 4000 years before the time of Skywalker.  Then as that universe blossomed over the course of sever comic series, and then came to life in the form of the Knights of the Old Republic game, I was absolutely hooked.  Now that I am back roaming around SWTOR, I am realizing I care about this universe far more than I ever realized.

When the game mentions Freedon Nadd or Exar Kun… I remember who they are and what they did in this worlds history.  I remember awesome characters like Nomi Sunrider from the comics, or Jolee Bindo from KOTOR.  When I see a reference to Casus Fett or Mandalore the Ultimate in game… I know who those characters are and can remember reading about them in the comics.  The thing is… it is not just the Old Republic era that is amazing.  Essentially each time another creative force has been given free reign in the fertile Star Wars universe… really awesome things have happened.  For example while the official Prequels are pretty horrible, the Clone Wars cartoon series is amazing.  No one can deny just how awesome Ahsoka Tano as is a character, and just how much more interesting the interaction is between her and Anakin…  than pretty much ANYTHING in the Prequels.  Now if we scan forward we have Star Wars Rebels… also being allowed free reign in the universe, this time within the constraints of the more well known modern era.  Similar to Shadows of the Empire it is weaving its way in and out of events we already know, and doing a great job of making us care about this new cast of characters.

Excitement Grows

1080_saber1

Which leads me to realize…  the times I have really loved Star Wars lately is when someone has been able to wriggle out front under the grasp of George Lucas and run freely creating their own plot lines and characters.  Essentially this is exactly what is happening with Force Awakens… it is all the goodness of the Star Wars universe with none of the harmful effects that Lucas has forced upon it in recent years.  In fact Lucas has been more than a little bit salty when talking about Episode VII and the fact that for the most part Disney ignored his plans to create a movie focused around teenagers.  What is happening is that Disney has become the most powerful marketing juggernaut on the planet, and at the core of their methodology is protecting the bottom line, and with it the long term profitability of the franchises they own.  I am sure there is some computer program somewhere that knows precisely what fans will like, and just how far they are willing to allow the themes to be stretched.  While at some point down the line this might be a bad thing for innovation…  I sincerely doubt they will allow anything even vaguely close to midichlorians to ever happen again.

The only frustration I have with the Disney approach however is that so much of the Universe became ruled “non-canon”.  There were characters like Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn that were absolutely amazing…  in fact I have action figures for both of them hanging on my wall as well as Clone Emperor Palpatine, Dark Jedi Luke, and Jedi Leia.  Those stories meant a lot to me, and while there were parts of the Expanded Universe that were completely unfollowable… most of it made a certain logical sense at least at one time.  The problem being like most fan centered fiction, it iterated on itself causing the characters to become more distorted and unbelievably heroic as time went on.  It is my hope that they will figure out how to work some of the best characters into the new tales.  There has been rumors that Mara Jade will be introduced as an Inquisitor instead of the Emperors Hand for example, which is fine with me…  so long as she is introduced at all.  Basically I find myself in a strange place, of having hope for Star Wars… when for so many years I lacked it almost entirely.  I imagine as we get closer to the December release of the movie, the cross promotions and Star Wars branded soup cans will start to get annoying.  However in the meantime…  I am reveling in Sithmas.

The Professional

swtor 2015-10-07 23-37-28-54

As of last night I have finished Balmorra and Nar Shadda on the Bounty Hunter and just went through the “intermission” that generally occurs there.  I didn’t really expect to be all that into this storyline, because essentially it was one of the ones that I never intended to actually complete.  While I enjoyed the Trooper storyline, the class itself was not that compelling to me.  Largely I think this was the reason why I ultimately fell out of love with SWTOR after pushing three characters to the then level cap of 50.  Bounty Hunter however feels completely different, and much more action packed.  There are little things like rocket punch and the jet pack charge that make it feel more brutal…  even if the attacks are essentially the same as my trooper vanguard.   The funny thing about the storyline is just how much of myself I can pour into it.  I am playing a very grey bounty hunter, who does not kill anyone for free.  Also as the story goes on I am becoming a bit of a softy, and I am wondering exactly when that will bite me in the ass.  Essentially it does not seem like a very “sith side” storyline so far other than the fact that essentially I am doing everything for the sake of payback… and for a girl.

I imagine over the next few days I will rip through the content quickly and before the end of the weekend start work on the last of two classes.  Not sure what I will be doing next, if it will be the Inquisitor and its constant shock treatment… or if I will go for the Imperial Agent.  As it stands now… I am starting to lean towards Agent.  Whatever the case playing all of these stories is making me fall in love with the Bioware writing all over again.  It is also making me look forward to Fallen Empire and its more story driven focus.  When you ONLY play the class quests, SWTOR becomes a much better game because it has a nice clean story arc that does not get muddied by repeating the same planetary quests over and over again.  At some point I will go back and play some of the quests I missed Sith side, but for the time being I want to push through the classes because each one feels like it adds another piece of a puzzle to the central story arc of this game world.  This is also making me want to go back and get KOTOR 2 working, and actually attempt to beat it this time.  It feels like there is a chunk of storyline that I am missing there, and with it several characters that I really only know by name.  Essentially I am saying by all of this… that once again I am proud to be a Star Wars junkie.

 

 

 

Warriors and Bounty Hunters

swtor 2015-10-06 21-29-51-94

A Day Off

swtor 2015-10-06 20-58-09-70

Last week as you might be able to tell from the posts I made during it… was extremely stressful.  As a result I ended up taking off yesterday as a sort of “mental health day”.  It was absolutely glorious, because essentially I sat around playing video games and watching Netflix.  I won’t talk about the Netflix viewing because I will save that for Saturday, but I will talk about the games I played.  More than anything yesterday was a day devoted to Star Wars the Old Republic.  I have this mad mission to somehow finish the rest of the class storyline that I have not completed before the launch of Fallen Empire at the end of this month.  I know that seems a bit mad, but I am enjoying myself especially since we are in this length lag period in Final Fantasy XIV content.  Over the weekend I finished up Smuggler, and yesterday I completed Sith Warrior.  At this point I have completed Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Trooper, Smuggler and Sith Warrior… and I think quite possibly the Warrior is the most satisfying conclusion yet.  The most interesting thing to me is how the Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior class stories end up making a nice set of bookends.

The Jedi Knight storyline is deeply impersonal.  It always felt less about your own exploits and more about you essentially saving the galaxy.  What I mean is that the Jedi Knight storyline, IS the story of the game.  Every major story arc event that trickles down into other characters seems to stem from a conflict brewing for the Knights.  The end result is that it feels like you are more a slave of events and you doggedly follow the main story arc as the Republic war progresses.  Sith Warrior on the other hand is a completely different experience.  It is more personal, and more about your ambitions and your power as you ascend from an apprentice all of the way through essentially the Dark Council.  I don’t want to go into a ton of detail but the end result is a much more satisfying experience.  Every obstacle in your path you personally get to remove by your own hand.  Last night I mentioned to a friend that the Sith Warrior storyline felt more “Sithy” than the Jedi felt “Jedi” but I guess in the grand scheme of things that isn’t true.  The Sith are by nature about thinking inwards, and the Jedi are about thinking outwards…  and the Jedi storyline being detached from more personal vendetta…  I guess IS what a Jedi should be.

swtor 2015-10-06 21-29-51-94

The interesting part about playing a Sith is that you know someone is always about to betray you.  So you go into the equation knowing that none of your allies are really ever your “true” allies.  As the story progresses they really find ways of driving this point home, and in many ways you have to deal with that fact or at least find ways to get past it.  In the end however every decision made leads you towards an epic conclusion allowing you to take out all of your frustrations.  The Sith Warrior story may be my favorite so far, just because there are so many epic moments where I absolutely feel like this avatar of wrath blazing a path through my enemies.  I started off trying to play a mostly Light Side Sith…  but as the events started reaching their conclusion I found myself succumbing to the darkside and began taking those “red” options to dispatch those who betrayed me.  In truth I ended the story line in a fairly “grey” state, which I guess is fitting.  In truth if I were a force user I would more than likely be a renegade that tried to live between the two factions, because it feels like the true path of the force is to find a balance between the two extremes.  To draw on the dark side and your rage when you need to defeat an enemy, but draw on the calm and peace when you need to solve issues.  My friend Tam mentioned something and it is absolutely true…  making a “good” choice Sith side feels more rewarding because people are shocked and amazed that you did not force choke them into submission…  whereas everyone expects it of you on the Jedi side.

Hunting Prey

swtor 2015-10-06 22-33-19-60

After finishing off the Sith Warrior I decided to flip over and start working on my Bounty Hunter that was just now getting to Dromund Kaas.  I figured I wanted a bit of a break from the “Sith” thing and having just finished playing a Smuggler I did not really relish playing a cunning character quite yet.  This leaves the Bounty Hunter, which has always felt a little odd to play.  As a Trooper the abilities felt like they made more sense, so I will have to sort through the bar and try and figure out what abilities I actually should be using.  I did not want to re-roll my character so I am playing Powertech, but planning on going one of the non-tank options.  At some point I am going to play a commando, which seems like it is far more satisfying to have a bit damned cannon than two pistols of the bounty hunter equivalent.  I think I will be fairly happy as a bounty hunter as soon as I can get my hands on some armor that LOOKS like a Bounty Hunter.  If I could run around in a color variant “Boba Fett” Mandalorian armor…  I would be super happy to play this character.  Until that happens however… I think I will ultimately be rather disappointed.

That is honestly one of my big complaints replaying content is that SWTOR should have made the getting of your class armor more of an important thing as you level.  There is an iconic look for each of the classes, and as you travel through the content you should start adding pieces of moddable armor to allow players to complete that “fantasy”.  Smugglers do a fair job of getting a few pieces of Han Solo-esc armor, and Jedi Knights eventually get a set of armor that feels like the armor+robe appearance you often see.  However the other classes…  seem to be a little less determined.  Jedi Consular is the story of having to suffer through a whole series of stupid looking armor sets, never quite finding one that really fits the class.  Bounty hunter so far, feels like I got my armor by scavenging bits off of my kills… and I guess in a way that fits.  All I really want is to look like Boba Fett… is that too much to ask?  I need to sort through my various cartel market options and see if I can find something I will be happy with.  If my characters look good I enjoy playing them regardless of how they perform, and my fear is that I won’t really get into this class until I can make him “not look stupid”.

Day of Destiny

So Much Fireteam

Pause in loading gave a rare screenshot opportunity.
Pause in loading gave a rare screenshot opportunity.

It seems my recent Destiny addiction has rekindled the fires in a handful of my friends.  As a result over the weekend I spent most of it in a Fireteam with Damai attempting to help level our friend Carthuun represented above by his PSN name Saldonas.  Saturday night my wife was freezing, so I got drafted into going to bed the moment our podcast broke up to provide “warmth”.  As a result I had to spend a good chunk of Sunday morning editing the podcast, creating the YouTube version, blogging about it and broadcasting it to the world.  After that I of course has to throw out my own Aggronaut post… which means that I was fairly late getting started on playing anything.  By the time I logged into Destiny Damai and Carth had a fireteam going and were working on the last few missions of the original storyline.  From there we pushed through The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansion content as a group, which honestly had been a bullet point that I wanted to get through at some point.  The problem is with so much new and exciting stuff  to do and gear to get… I never quite got around to making the time for it.  However with Carth leveling for the first time… all of the items you get through those storyline elements were actually relevant.  I finally st0pped grouping around 7pm when my wife got back home, and I went off to fix dinner for the two of us.  At that point I think Carthuun was sitting around the level 25 mark which is not too shabby for a day of grouping.

The big thing that I sorted was how to use PS4 party chat comfortably.  I have a Logitech G430 sitting relatively unused because after swapping to using a Blue Yeti microphone on my machine upstairs, I swapped to simply using a pair of Behringer HPS3000 studio headphones.  The sound output was better and they are nowhere near as heavy as the Logitech pair because they don’t need an attached boom mic.  Ages ago I ordered a few pairs of adapters that take a standard headset and converts it down to the single jack style input that modern phones and the PS4 controller uses.  Yesterday I took the time to dig out my G430 and one of those adapters and after some fiddling and piping all of the game audio through the headset… I finally arrived at something that was fairly comfortable to use.  I don’t seem to mind the fact that playstation chat is mono audio… when I have the rest of the game audio coming through my headphones as well.  Additionally having something other than my dedicated PS4 headset…  makes them far more comfortable to use for several hours on end.  Also this finally allows me to crank up the game audio without frustrating my wife, who has on occasion asked me to turn it down when a really crazy moment happens and the audio is booming.  Now that it is sorted I feel more comfortable using a headset with the console, and am also more likely to just hang out in party chat for awhile.  I am wondering what the upper bound on a party group is, and if you can have more than just the three fire team members.

Swapping Companions

swtor 2015-10-05 06-22-22-63

When I got downstairs last night to prepare for the season finale of Fear the Walking Dead, I of course booted up and started playing Star Wars the Old Republic.  Now that I have finished with my smuggler, I am picking up where I left off on my Sith Warrior.  Through the course of the evening I worked my way through the rest of the Nar Shadda storyline and just now starting on Tattooine.  I have to say it is very nice to finally have all four buffs after beating one of each base class.  I am a bit saddened however that I am finally reaching the stage of the game where it feels like having a healer is a very useful thing.  This means relegating Vette to crafting and spending the majority of my time with Malavai Quinn.  In the grand scheme of things I have no problem with Malavai, because he seems like the honorable Imperial Soldier type.  The problem being that I just like running around with Vette, because I always loved Mission Vao, and honestly for me… she was always Mission 2.0 rather than her own character.  Instead she will farm up companion gifts… that I will ultimately give to her later…  which seems a little strange?

Basically if I have a shot in hell of getting the special legacy unlock thing for beating all of the stories, that means I have to play through the rest of Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent, Bounty Hunter, and Sith Inquisitor all before the end of the month.  I am seriously doubting I will be able to do it, but…. that said if I ONLY focus on the story missions I might be able to make it.  When you only focus on the class story the early planets at least go extremely quickly and you stay at a decent level.  I might need to spend some cartel coins however to unlock more mod gear to throw on my characters.  The plan I arrived at on my smuggler of upgrading my armor every other planet seemed to work pretty well and I would really like to do that with my Sith characters.  The problem being the game is not extremely forthcoming with armor options.  There are sets available for pretty much any level range on the Cartel Market, but each of them cost a fair amount of coin.  So I guess we shall see what ultimately happens.  I guess if I got desperate I could make them wear the free moddable flight suits they give you, but that is not exactly a great option.  I might use the imperial pilot suit for Malavai Quinn however.

YouTube AggroChat

 

The funny thing about AggroChat is that in the grand scheme of things… we don’t actually get that many listeners… or at least not enough listeners to go through the trouble of some of the things that I do.  For example… our YouTube videos maybe get a dozen views a piece.  That said I like doing them, and I am not sure why.  I guess they are just far easier to link to someone when they ask you about the show than linking the actual podcast page.  Also I like embedding a youtube video far more than I liked embedding the Libsyn player.  I feel like I could probably do better about advertising our show.  I tend to do it in a rather haphazard fashion, because I feel rushed to get each show out the door and ready.  By the time I finish editing, uploading, and doing all the other things… I reach this point where I just want to be done with it for another week.  It is not necessarily the most enjoyable period of my week.  I love making the show, but the tedium that comes from doing all the fiddly bits to make it happen…  gets annoying.  So I reach this point where I just want to hurl it out into the world and hope someone finds it interesting.  The hardest part is it feels like we don’t have a lot of feedback.  Podcast listeners tend to listen silently, and while we have a few people that comment here and there…  you don’t get the sort of commentary that you do when you have a blog.  There are weeks however like this week, where I feel like we got into some extremely interesting conversations, and it is well worth listening.  I love the folks I podcast with, because ultimately they are the folks that I hang out with on a daily basis.

 

 

 

 

 

Week in Gaming 10/4/2015

Moving in Slow Motion

This morning I am having one of those days that feels like I am fighting against quicksand, to be able to accomplish anything.  It is the fitting end of the week I have had where so many issues have come up, that I had to deal with.  This week was one where my boss was out of the office for most of it, which meant I got to be the boss.  This is a concept that sounds fun on paper, but after having done it for years…  I promise it is not nearly as entertaining as it sounds.  Being the boss means you are the one that has to deal with isssues when they arrise, even when the issues are of a magnitude that makes you just want to pull the covers over your head and forget the world exists.  As such my gaming was a bit odd, because I needed to vent my frustrations in the form of shooting aliens.  There were many nights this week where I intended to do something else, but ended up playing Destiny all night.  As such there really are not a lot of individual games to talk about but here goes nothing!

Star Wars the Old Republic

swtor 2015-09-29 20-14-18-19

As of last night during the AggroChat podcast I have officially completed the original Smuggler storyline, and with it… I have a lot of thoughts about what I experienced.  When Kodra played through this content I can remember him being extremely disappointed… but maybe I am just more simple minded, but I absolutely loved the ending.  It is everything I expected underworld dealings would be… romance, betrayal, and getting revenge on the people who betrayed you.  It wraps up everything a good outlaw story should, and like the best ones… ends up with you on the side of justice.  Maybe I just grew up with too many westerns, but it felt like it should to me.  My character wasn’t necessarily a white hat, but he definitely was not a black hat… and at the same time I got to do enough things that felt like decisions I would make, to keep me hooked on the storyline.  Now that I have wrapped this one up, I think I am going to work up faction on Risha and see what that romance option looks like.  After that I think I am putting the Smuggler to bed for awhile, no pun intended… and moving on to something else.

While I doubt I will manage to play through the four imperial storylines before the launch of Fallen Empire, I think I am going to make a good college try to do so.  It would be cool to go into Fallen Empire with the special perk for having defeated all eight storylines.  Last night I swapped over and started working on my Sith Warrior which is the next closest to moving forward.  I have to say once I stopped doing side quests and only focused on the character story the entire experience became far more enjoyable.  Not that the side quests are not awesome… but when you have done them multiple times…  they begin to drag on.  As I play my Sith Warrior I will probably keep doing side quests because most of them on the Imperial side I have not actually seen.  I wonder how many if any duplicate between the two factions.  In any case I am still very much enjoying my SWTOR vacation and I think it has been a great way to spend the lag time between 3.0 and the 3.1 patch in Final Fantasy XIV.

Wildstar

WildStar64 2015-09-30 06-35-20-37

I have to say the disappointment of the week has been the free to play launch of Wildstar.  I guess I say “disappointment” in quotes because really… any time you do a major launch there are significant issues expected.  Wildstar relaunch has not been smooth by any measure of the word.  In theory from what I have heard if you can manage to get things are fine…  but that was not my personal experience.  I fought through the queues twice this week, and each time moments after actually getting into the game… I saw a message scroll across my screen warning me that the servers would be coming down in 15 minutes.  What does not help I guess is the fact that I am entirely focused on the Entity server, which happens to be the most populated.  At some point I will get some play time in, but at the very least I was able to go fiddle with my inventory and clear out my mail box.  I also gathered up all of my new items, and I am almost tier 6 on the Cosmic Points system.  I have premium sub time through next May so I am sure during that time I will play it quite a bit.

Destiny

Oryx is a badass

Not really sure what I can say about Destiny that I did not already cover this week in my blog post about it.  That said I am still having a blast playing, and several of my friends have also rekindled their interests in the game.  I’ve been getting snagged into a fire time quite often and as a result we are doing quite a few strikes to help my friend Damai get geared up.  Also this week Carthuun joined the game, so I have a feeling we will be doing some lower level content to help him catch up.  To some extent I have been working on leveling my Warlock other than doing my daily bounties, and enjoying replaying through the content.  This game is just so zen for me right now… nothing quite relaxes me like headshotting all manner of aliens, and in the strikes I have run I seem to get the lions share of the kills because of my focus.  I am absolutely in love with the Sunbreaker because seriously….  every game needs the ability to throw flaming hammers at your opponents.  I actually even spent some time running crucible skirmishes and enjoyed myself.  I didn’t lead the kill count for my team but I did manage to place second, and I didn’t have the negative experience some of my other friends have reported as a result.  I imagine that the community for Destiny PVP can be pretty horrible, I am just lucky that I have not seen that yet.

As far as today… I am probably going to spend a lot more of my time playing Destiny as while waiting editing the podcast this morning I managed to knock out most of the objectives.  After I wrap those up I will probably migrate downstairs and spend the rest of the day SWTORing on the sofa while watching something on the television.  Destiny has for whatever reason been the perfect blowing off some steam game for me this week.  My hope is that as I continue to gain light and gear up it will stay just as enjoyable.  I have yet to really try any of the true “endgame” content like the Raids and the Heroic Strikes, but I have to say if I have enough friends playing…  it might be interesting.  I am still just blown away by how much better the game feels to me.  Once again if you played the game at launch and found it lacking… I highly suggest you patch up your client and at least give the game a spin.  The changes trickle down through the entire game, and you should be able to see if you like the new feel before purchasing Taken King.  Thankfully there is the option to ONLY buy Taken King without having to repurchase the entire game… but those options are only available for digital copies of the game.  Not sure if you can upgrade a former physical copy or not.  The Destiny theme song however is playing in the background as I type this… so I am going to go answer its call.  Hopefully we all have an awesome week to come.

 

Balmorra and Oryx

Destiny_20150926172606

Awesome Wife Update

starwarsnewshoes

My wife is always awesome, but every now and then she does something so cool that I have to brag on her.  This weekend she was out shopping with a friend when I got a series of excited texts from her about something she found for me.  Awhile back I picked up some Star Wars shoes with this “A New Hope” artwork spread across the two shoes.  The problem being that they were expensive as shit and I hate the idea of wearing them out in my normal shoe rotation.  I wear a mixture of Vans and Airwalk slip on style canvas shoes and I seem to be able to destroy them pretty effectively.  My wife however found the above pair that is absolutely Star Wars print but not to the level that I wouldn’t want to wear them constantly.  She didn’t end up picking them up, mostly because she wanted me to try them on.  We get up yesterday and they were apparently also on sale at Target, so I am not sure how much we paid but I think they were under $20.  I just think its awesome that she saw the shoes and immediately thought that I would want them.  My wife isn’t necessarily a geek like I am, but she has always “gotten” the fact that I am and supported me in my quirkiness.  I am exceptionally lucky, and every now and then I feel like I need to acknowledge that fact publicly.

Starting Balmorra

swtor 2015-09-28 06-09-05-71

I had all of these intentions to make a big push yesterday in Star Wars the Old Republic, but in reality I only ended up playing it in the evening while watching television.  I did however manage to finish up all of the end of chapter one back and forth for the smuggler.  I now have Risha as an official companion rather than just someone hanging out on my ship.  Granted I will likely never end up using her, given that the Tank/Healer combo of Treek and I allows me to pretty much take on anything with ease.  Overall I do like the character of Risha and it is going to be interesting to see how the rest of the game plays out.  I figure she is going to remain being a vocal participant in the content.  Now we are going to enter into some spoiler territory, so you might want to stop reading if you have not completed the smuggler story line and intend to do so.  One of the absolute best moments in the game so far… was when I finally got to take down Skavak.  Up until this point I kept thinking to myself…  god why will this game not let me just kill this guy already!

Now that we have moved into Chapter 2 we get a new set of bad guys.  At this point I don’t really care much about this Voidwolf character, but I am absolutely all about taking on Rogun the Butcher.  Up until this point I have had him looming over my head and he has sent the occasional bounty hunter after me.  My hope is that when I finally am able to take him down it will be just as sweet as it was for Skavak.  I feel like as a smuggler I probably shouldn’t want to have a stand up fight against these Kingpins, but then again Leia did slay Jabba in rescuing Han…  so there is that example to follow.  There are moments in this game that I know are traps… but you pretty much have to go through them anyways.  The “rescue” mission on the derelict freighter for example, was absolutely going to be a trap and it was.  I did not however expect Port Nowhere to be the trap that it ended up being.   I guess it makes sense, because pretty much EVERY map you go to that is not on a main world ends up being a trap.  Looking forward to pushing through Balmorra because I can tell you right now I am ONLY doing class story quests here.  This is the planet that often kills my progress on Sith side, so will be looking forward to getting through it here on Republic.

Heroic Light

Heroic Ready Titan

Yesterday was a day almost entirely lost to Destiny.  After finishing my blog post, advertising the podcast, and finishing up the youtube version we ended up running out to Target to pick up my shoes.  We got home around 11:30 and from that point until around 3:30 I was engrossed in this or that activity within Destiny.  I wound my way through the Taken King story, largely because I wanted to open up the Dreadnought patrol zone.  I have to say Oryx was one of those fights that was probably way worse in my head than it actually was in reality.  The entire time during the fight I was tense beyond reason because I did not want to die and have to start over again.  So I spent most of my time dodging and running away while trying to regroup and get some solid shots in.  I don’t want to go into too much detail for those who have not done the fight, but there is a moment where he goes invulnerable except for a specific moment when you can attack.  This phase…  freaked me out more than anything I can remember in this game.

Destiny_20150926172606

I kept trying to time my sunbreaker super attack for when he was becoming vulnerable again all the while dodging taking damage.  The only negative about the encounter is that the adds definitely felt like nothing more than ways for you to regenerate your ammunition, and they were less of an issue once I realized this.  At first I kept trying to run from them and focus down Oryx, but I quickly realized that if I kept doing this I would get overwhelmed.  The big takeaway from the weekend is that I managed to hit 240 light, which is the first heroic level.  I did a couple of the Vanguard strikes on the play list, and I am going to keep trying to do those periodically.  I also started getting quests to do various “end game” content.  My main goal for the week is to regenerate enough Strange Coins to be able to buy something next Friday if Xur has anything interesting.  I am really happy that I had enough to buy Hawkmoon since I pretty much exclusively use Hand Cannons on my Titan.  At some point I plan on working my way up on either a Warlock or a Hunter, but for the time being I am really enjoying leveling Sunbreaker.  I am not sure exactly why Destiny has this renewed life for me… but for whatever reason I am grabbing on with both hands while the fun lasts.

 

Week In Gaming 9/20/2015

Allergies Suck

This week has been a tale of the universe conspiring to kill me… otherwise known as horrible horrible pollen count.  When you go to one of those sites that tracks air quality, my neck of the woods has been bright red for the last several weeks.  As a result I have been walking around in a bit of a stupor.  Friday I felt like I was coming out from behind a fog, but this morning after running around yesterday I am once again feeling miserable.  Essentially it seems like my best option is to huddle inside and forget the world outside exists.  The biggest problem I have is that the only allergy treatment that seems to really work is Benedryl…  which puts me to sleep.  So as a result I take a cocktail of other medications in the hopes of blunting most of the things going on… and then combining that with copious amounts of caffeine in the hopes that somehow someway I will be able to function as an adult.  Adulting is really damned hard sometimes.  In spite of all of my time hunkered down this week, I really don’t have a wide variety of things to talk about.

Star Wars the Old Republic

swtor 2015-09-19 18-28-31-84
Treek is a Badass

Once again this week my primary source of gaming entertainment has been Star Wars the Old Republic.  As I mentioned last week during the recording of the AggroChat podcast I started working on my Smuggler, and I have continued that process throughout the week.  As of last night I am now on Alderaan and level 34.  The extremely level gap that I had on the content is starting to shrink and as a result things are getting more difficult.  I need to look up and see when the next upgrades are available because I am starting to feel like I need to spend some commendations on both myself and Treek to get some more gear.  I had been trying to do this every other level range, so that I skip one upgrade step but the levels have not been coming nearly as fast as they were on Taris and Nar Shadda.  I am however rolling in the commendations because they just seem to keep coming quickly.

I am absolutely enjoying the smuggler storyline because it feels so vastly different than any of the other storylines I had experienced.  The Jedi Knight and Jedi Consular stories interweave as you go throughout the game, but it seems like the Trooper and Smuggler don’t really work this way.  I am very much on my own mission through the galaxy with my own cast of characters to interact with.  I am still really happy I made my choice to go with Treek over Corso Riggs, because even listening to him running Crew Missions is enough for me.  I’ve managed to unlock three of the faction story bits with Treek and I am wondering if she has a special mission at the end or not.  She just seems genuinely happy to roam around the galaxy killing things, and I am happy to keep her in business.

Tron 2.0

lithtech 2015-09-19 15-07-17-14

Yesterday I went through the steps outlined in this video link to attempt to get Tron 2.0 up and running on a Windows 8.1 system.  It took a little bit of fiddling but I finally managed to get things running.  I have to admit right now I am struggling a bit, because quite honestly it feels like a decade old game.  The controls are not nearly as responsive as I have come to expect from a shooter, also it returns to an area without functional auto-save.  This means that yesterday I died…  after playing the game about an hour, realizing that the last time I had saved was during the tutorial when the game specifically asked me to do so.  The combination of wonky controls, and not having auto-save to lean on… is going to mean that I have to shift the way I think about the experience.  I’ve decided already that when I restart the game I will be lowering the difficulty and skipping the tutorial since I already saw it once.  Here is hoping that I can manage to get through it before the AggroChat show next week!

Final Fantasy XIV

ffxiv_dx11 2015-09-07 21-31-38-06

This is going to be the first week period that I have not actually logged into Final Fantasy XIV.  Allergies and generally feeling like shit kept me from raiding on both Monday and Wednesday nights, which was unfortunate.  I’ve been in this holding pattern waiting on the 3.1 release to come in and sweep me off my feet with overwhelming love for the game again.  However over the weekend at the Tokyo Game Show they announced that we can expect the 3.1 patch in November.  That seems a really long ways away… considering that people are desperate for content right now.  The only thing we can think is that maybe the pet battle system might be what is delaying it… but honestly it would seem like a much better call would be to bump pet battles to 3.2 and get some fresh content now.  This is precisely the problem we went through at the launch of 2.0 and ultimately why many of us quit playing when we did.  We got tired of grinding the same two dungeons over and over.  In the mean time  I will have SWTOR and Wildstar to entertainment.  I don’t plan on quitting the game, but I will probably not be playing a lot of it until November to be brutally honest.

Disney Infinity 3.0

Boba Fett is Overpowered

The other thing that I have started playing with yet again is Disney Infinity.  I managed to catch a silly deal on the Disney Infinity 3.0 set while only spending $15 out of my pocket on it.  This gave me the 3.0 base game with five figures… the exclusive Boba Fett and then Luke, Leia, Anakin, and Asoka.  The 3.0 interface itself is much refined from the 2.0 version and features an almost MMO like feel to it where you have various hubs in a persistent main world.  Additionally there seems to be some sort of arcade feature that allows you to connect to players around the world and play with them.  I have not really explored much other than talking to each of the quest givers off the main hub, and unlocking their specific area.  Boba Fett is pretty damned overpowered as he has rockets that pretty much destroy anything they hit.  The only negative that I see so far with the Star Wars characters is that unlike Iron Man or Thor none of them seem to have flight abilities.  I halfway expected that Boba Fett could use his jet pack, but instead that is just used as a sort of charge attack.  I am guessing that also means that most of the play sets will be built in a way where they don’t need flight in any fashion.  Right now there are really only the two playsets that I have seen for 3.0 but I am sure more will be coming shortly.

Heading for a Trap

Slightly Darker Side

swtor 2015-09-15 22-19-41-02

One of the ways I have differed so far from my friends, is that I cannot seem to bring myself to do ONLY the class story line.  As a result I am ridiculously over leveling the content, and last night I worked on finishing up Nar Shaddaa.  I’ve been enamored with the concept of the vertical city since first experiencing it in Dark Forces.  In SWTOR Nar Shaddaa is the darker and more disturbing cousin of Coruscant and provides a very similar leveling experience.  You travel through hub sections of the city until you end up in Shadow Town and resolve the central conflict of the story and your class quest.  As a Smuggler this setting feels extremely at home, and as you might expect I do in fact get into plenty of trouble with Bounty Hunters and Hutts.  Generally speaking when I have played SWTOR in the past, I am extremely light side focused.  In fact I generally have trouble not choosing the “blue” option on any quest dialog.  As a Smuggler however…  I am finding it a little easier to choose that “red” option.

I guess I am ultimately playing my version of Han Solo… the goodnatured lovable scoundrel.  When lives of innocents are on the line, I always end up choosing the “right” option and get those light side points.  However when I am in a situation where I serve to profit greatly by looking the other way…  I find myself “playing the character” and finding it significantly easier to to take those dark side points… and console myself with a pile of credits.  Similarly if I have been double crossed…  or if someone is doing something truly heinous…  I find it oh so satisfying to take that [Attack Them] option.  Horrific Imperial Scientist gene splicing people?  Nope! Blaster to the head with you!  Try and talk my way out of a bounty hunter?  Nope! Blaster to the head with you!  My weakness seems to be damsels in distress however…  because I know right now I am walking into a big trap but I am having to play it off like my character would.  It will also likely end up giving me another opportunity for sweet sweet revenge…  which I am sure I will be unable to resist taking dark side points for.  Thankfully I have diplomacy as a Crew Skill…  and even though it is likely at the end of a blaster…  it helps to repair all those dark side points.

Cavalcade of Commendations

swtor 2015-09-15 23-21-02-53

One of the good changes while not playing the game, is the fact that they standardized the planetary commendation system.  Now when you complete anything you have the option of simply taking “basic commendations” instead of the planet specific ones, and at the same time they have increased the total number you get before fifty exponentially.  This means that I am constantly swimming in a good supply of them, and I could probably constantly upgrade my moddable gear…  but I am finding that I don’t really need to.  Since I am using Treek as my tank and she came with a full set of mod gear, and I managed to piece together a workable set from the GTN and the pilot packs…  it allows me to pretty much ignore every quest reward and just go for more commendations.  Since I am quite overleveled I was 21 before leaving Coruscant, at which point I went to the fleet and kitted out both armor for myself and Treek in the best modifications I could find at the time.  This rather easily carried me through until the end of Nar Shadda, at which point I dinged 30 and repeated the same process with level 29 gear.  If I can continue this process of upgrading my gear “every other planet” I should be in really good shape to have a pile of commendations for other upgrades.

Last night I spent some of my pile of credits on making myself look cooler.  At some point they added in dye slots to the gear, which allows you to “socket” a dye that comes in either single color or dual tone combinations.  Most of the really cool combinations are exorbitantly expensive, but I found one I could live with that was black and grey for roughly 40,000 credits.  Then I went searching for a really cool gun, and found this one that is originally a cartel item… that folks were selling fairly reasonably on the market.  The gun you end up with at the end of the starter zone is functional but not that cool looking… so I was more than happy to cast aside “Flashy”.  I dig the fact that it looks like the blaster rifles that some of the troopers have.  It fits my shoot first, ask questions later style of playing the “Sawbones” healer.  I have long said that “looking cool” makes your character feel cool, and I am pretty happy with my Chiss Smuggler.  I am extremely happy that I re-rolled him ages ago as a Chiss instead of yet another human.  I am starting to develop this “savior of the aliens” rep in my questing choices, which is kinda awesome since people keep pointing out the fact that I am another “alien scum”.  Still having a surprising amount of fun playing through the Smuggler storyline that I ultimately missed at launch.