I need an Extra Life to fit it all in…

Hey folks, my Blogging Friends are doing a lot for Extra Life this year. Why don’t you pop on down to one of their events during Extra Life Marathon and say hi or even help out the cause!

Tatooine Dreams

What a busy few weeks it has been. Real life is crazy with a new role at work and game/fantasy life is just as much so! Lots of exciting things happening in Star Wars: The Old Republic, notably the rich and flavorful KotFE expansion that pre-released yesterday. In addition to that, I have been immersed in recording for the Passionately Casual podcast as well as being a guest on a couple other shows. Things promise to continue to be hectic moving into the holidays but I don’t want to lose sight of why I made this blog in the first place, which is mainly as an outlet away from my paid work and the sometimes stressful unpaid work of managing an MMO guild, co-hosting a podcast, and editing a SWTOR community site.  Anyway, I just felt like I needed to post something up here to touch base with… well, myself…

View original post 159 more words

Official Kick Off Day of KOTFE 4.0a…My thoughts PT 1.

Star Wars The Old Republic-10-26-2015 22-41-35You know, sometimes there is so much to write you about you start pondering just how you will be able to get all of it out and make sense. For the last week I have been a part of the early access on SWTOR: KotFE and have been having an absolute blast. Key point in this release: STORY LINE!!!! Hmm let me make it clear just in case you didn’t quite get it…STORY LINE!!!!!! There. That should clear up any misconceptions that I have seen amongst the disgruntled Gammorean crowd (best I could think up for trolls…what can I say?). I decided with all of this massive information I wanted to talk about, I would go ahead and break it down in a series. How many parts will largely depend upon what I do or do not cover with each post. This first will deal with the story line and a bit of what I experienced during it’s process. Some game mechanics will be mentioned in the aspect of identified bugs and progression points. So, without further a due…welcome to SWTOR 4.0a! Wait a sec 4.0a already?!? Ya there were some initial mechanical bugs they were working on. Patch notes cover down on the issues, though I think other glitches aren’t completely addressed. We will go further into that a little later.

The Story. It blew me away! I hadn’t expected to be called onto Darth Marr’s fleet and requested to assist with an Immortal Empire incursion. But it continued to get better by the Star Wars The Old Republic-10-20-2015 19-49-15moment. Yes, there is a ton of cinematics and really I felt like I was in a movie at times. There was an immediate urgency to what was going on. And umm having a billion fleet ships appear in front of you with no where to run…ya I was already not liking this Eternal Empire. Now there have already been several walk throughs posted on the internet. If you want to go see someone elses’ game play go for it. I hate following those things because I like to see what happens on my own decisions based upon my character’s personality.  But death for people you know can and will happen. Oh and yes, there are old companions you can put a bolt through. I’ll give an example later. For the moment, I will say it felt like a race against time. I mean your current team is locked into the docking ring and can’t get on board or off. The Eternal Empire is punching through with assault troop shuttles and boarding every corridor. You are trying to make split decisions that affect the lives of your crew and those on board Marr’s ship. It ain’t easy kid! Ultimately it will come down to you deciding whether or not to go ramming speed or evac all the crew out. I’ll let you figure out what happens either way. Remember, decisions have consequences. Down the road, these critical decisions may very well haunt you or …you may gain new allies.

Star Wars The Old Republic-10-20-2015 19-33-58This is the basis for everything that you do throughout the first 9 chapters which have been released. Like I said, there are a ton of walk throughs, but it’s far more exiting if you just experience the whole thing yourself. Plot twists and turns abound. Of course you link up with Valkorian pretty damned quick. You also get to meet his charming children (Vaylin is my favorite Daddy’s little psycho child).  Of course you are offered the world at your feet. But what will you do? Take a knee…or fight? Again, choices my friends. Speaking of Valkorian, Darin DePaul did just an Epic job at voicing Valkorian! Really to the point, every single voice actor who participated in this expansion really really knocked their character’s voices right out of the park. I am truly amazed by what they were able to create. All of the main cast characters just made the Immersion hit right home for me.  So my deepest gratitude for their hard work and dedication. Hat’s off to Bio ware for choosing such fine voice actors. At any rate, you get grabbed into the story line pretty damned quick. Get ready for a roller coaster ride of plot twists back and forth. One thing is for sure, Valkorian (The Sith Emperor reincarnated) seems to be one step ahead of EVERY ONE’s plans. That includes his own family. Some of his lines are epic in nature. It makes you feel like you are dealing with the devil himself. Rightfully so, but again there are many plot twists involved. True to Bio ware’s roots, the story line is engaging and in my opinion some of the best work I’ve ever seen in an MMO. Their ability to blend single story with MMO is really outstanding work.

New Companions:

Well a couple of them are old, but over all new. You get to meet Lana Beniko pretty quickly as you come out of carbonite (a story chapter unto itself). One thing I am very Star Wars The Old Republic-10-20-2015 20-34-36happy with is that Lana got a makeover. Her hair and face were softened up for a bit more realistic appearance compared to her days during the Revan expansion. I’m glad Bioware did this, she just wasn’t very well designed during Revan. T7 comes to your aid pretty quickly too (at least on the Trooper story). But you also get to meet Koth, HK-55, and Sena. These will be your core companions during the story line chapters. Each one with interesting personality traits etc and it becomes up to you to meld them into a team…based on your decisions. But none to worry, you will encounter other companions that you can use down the line as the story progresses. It was a jaw dropping moment of coolness when I found out my Trooper got to use SCORPIO on missions. Ya and she is awesome in the combat zone! Rendering of the new companions was done with precision and realism as far as video games go. No, you don’t get to dress up the new core companions any, but really they aren’t that hard on the eyes. Since they are so involved in the story line cinematics, it probably wasn’t feasible to allow for their appearance to re skin at your heart’s desire. Or at least not cost effective in feasibility. At any rate, they just look so incredible in their rendering and voice acting, I was extremely happy with the results. It was a small trade for me to not be able to mod their appearance.  cool thing is as you gain influence with each of your companions, they become more effective during combat regardless of the role they play. Me, I love them as healers, it allows me to burn through everything on whatever class I’m running.

Star Wars The Old Republic-10-21-2015 21-28-36As time progresses, you really do want to get these people with high influence for you. Their effects in battle are noticeable during heroics and solo missions. Also you will come across some old followers in the first 9 chapters as well as new followers. Build their influence with you and they will back you in every way. As for the new ones, I guess I am most partial to Sena during herioc missions, though Scorpio is my close second. Why Sena? Well, a melee healer/tank makes for fun on my Vanguard DPS. Aside from that, there is always something comforting about her voice (another terrific voice actress) when she reassures you that all will be well during the heat of a fight. It helps her light sabre and her shields are always popping so she can handle herself as well as any if you get separated. Anyways, I guess everyone will have a favorite.  Koth is pretty cool too, reminds me of Han Solo. His outfit is something I would pay Cartel Coins for if I could get my hands on it. To me, that would be a bad ass outfit to own.


In general, the story portion of the graphics is outstanding. I did notice some stuttering on my rig during scenes. Now, I own a mid grade machine (Alienware) and that is something that Bio Ware needs to take into consideration. Not saying to turn down their graphics, but be aware not everyone has a rig to handle the scenes. The rest of the issues were more often inconveniences. The no pants issue and no weapons issue on companions still is happening even after the most recent version so be warned. It is also being noticed on mercenary decorations (personnel) do not have their weapons even though the stance looks as though a weapons is drawn. Some hair cuts are still clipping into heads and clothing. Getting into a taxi and then “zoning” to a new area only to see the bike or taxi becomes invisible. Most of these are not game breaking just annoying. Hopefully future patches will resolve this issue.

Lag on Oddesan:

There were actually 5 instances of Oddesan (the place where you start your Alliance to go up against the Eternal Empire at the end of CH 9) still had significant lag issues and delays between 2-3 seconds. Again, I checked my Internet Up and down just to see if it was on my end or through the router. So such issue. Any other area I zoned through (Planets for Heroics) had no issue with lag. I am theorizing this is because of the huge amount of return subscribers (remember early access time) was more than expected on my server Ebon Hawk. This will be an issue if more players sub to see the content. Again, not game breaking just annoying every now and then.

Over all, the Early Access was a pure success in my opinion. Are there tears and crying out there? Yes, and they have every right to speak their minds. I don’t mind their tears either, they taste like wine to me. The execution of the release is pretty damned good and I consider my monthly subscription as well invested entertainment value with replay-ability. There are things that need tuning, but over all I’m pretty impressed.

Time permitting I will post again in the next day or two on my thoughts about the new leveling rules, Mechanics for Heroics and other sundry areas of interest. So far folks it’s a thumbs up all the way. There is enough to do after the story line that I have no problem logging onto Logan’Varo and continueing his goal to build a kick ass alliance and take down the Eternal Empire!

Till next time, keep your blasters clean and your hyper drives Revved!

The Madness begins in 4.0 Early access! Thoughts on Bit Raider and other stuff

Ok, you really are going to hate me. I’m not going to talk about the new in game mechanics. I’m not going to rage on anything. Most of all, I’m not going to give you spoilers if you are still waiting for official release date. I know, there are some blogs out there that are. I got it. It’s ok. Now I’m going to tell you why I’m not talking about stuff.

I’m too fucking busy having fun in the game! Last night I started to log on. For some damned reason it said that the DL wasn’t complete at the Character screen. Ok Jedi students, this is honestly a mind trick when you know you did the DL before work. So fast as I could, I logged out, went into the game folder and deleted all the contents within the Bit Raider folder. (Pro Tip #1: If your game says DL is in progress or isn’t complete…ya do what I did, go into the game folder, then drill down into the bit raider folder; open it up and delete all contents inside. DO NOT delete the folder itself! Now back out and then restart your game.. It will reorganize your files. Then it will upload anything else missing and BAM! Your ready to rock and roll! Ok, Bit Raider has been a pain in the ass before and will in my opinion always be a pain in the ass. I think it was a very poorly executed software concept that does more to screw with people than help them. It is very system dependent, so when I hear some people say “Never affected me” ya it was because it talks to your system better. Anyways, if you have problems as described above, try that little pro tip it often solves the problem.

Pro Tip 2: Can’t get onto the server: Ok, often when there are updates through the SWTOR Client, it doesn’t talk very nice to get through your firewall. Go into your computer settings and confirm/deny if your firewall allows SWTOR to get through your system. You may have to recheck the box even though you have done it before. Sometimes, the version # of the patch update will negate your previous selection, so do your due diligence and check it again! Now once you have checked it, completely log out of your computer and log back in. I’ve had very successful results doing this. Just something to take into account.

Ok, that’s my tech advice for the day, only because a few people have asked me about these very specific problems.

Now, I won’t talk about new game mechanics because I really haven’t tested them enough to be a reliable source. I will say one thing, if you don’t want your companions to come walking into a cut scene in their underwear, MAKE SURE you re equip them BEFORE you start your KoTFE chapters. Because of the new system, for some reason, everything but the chest piece ends up in your inventory. So be sure you check your inventory and load all of your companions again. Re equip them with the clothes they put into your inventory otherwise they will be walking around with very little on (Aric Jorgan and Tanno Vik in nothing but skivvies was a little horrifying for me). Ok, that’s as far as I’m gonna talk on that.

The Story...NO SPOILERS TILL OFFICIAL RELEASE….But HOLY SHIT it is a bad ass story! You gotta come and play. Haven’t been round for awhile? Sub’s get free 60s. Get your Star Wars ever lovin ass in there and play Dammit! It is totally worth it, I promise! I don’t want to go too deep into the story, but it so far is pretty awesome! I started at 730 PM last night, looked up and it was 1230AM…and I had to be up in 4 hours for work lol. So I’m a little loopy today. Judge for your self, but I think i’s well worth getting into. Next week, I’ll write a full review of the content, mechanics and changes. This will mostly be on the effects it had on my game play and enjoyment. Till then. I really hope if you haven’t already get your ass in and play. If you can’t do it till official release I understand but just do it! If you are playing, take your time, don’t rush it! I heard someone on Twitter cleared to 65 in a couple of hours. Well, I suppose if you space bar through everything ya, it can be done. But don’t do that. I implore you to take the time, think about your decisions, they do have impacts. Enjoy the journey! Hell, I even RP walk in a lot of cases for different reasons. That is normally not like me, but this round I really wanted to explore stuff. I promise you it’s a wonderful journey so far with plenty of unexpected twists. Want to know more? Get your ass in here! Till next time, I’ll see ya on the High Ground!

Occupying Myself till The Final Count Down to 4.0!

Star Wars The Old Republic-10-10-2015 22-27-44

A young Trooper ready to Serve

Well, first off, what have I been doing lately? Mostly finishing off Logan’Varo my Vanguard Trooper. On the left we see him as a fresh recruit all bright eyed and filled to the brim with motivation and dedication. On the right, Logan has been through some shit. Battle hardened, with zero fucks to give. He operates on his own and cares very little for Republic Politics. A freelance contractor with a team to hire. Kind of funny, I never liked the Trooper per se, but I got attached to Logan over time. Now he is going to be first in the chute when the Expac is out. I did do some fan fic writing for his story but it is still in works. Sometime I’ll post it on a separate page. These pics are sort of spoilers lol.

Star Wars The Old Republic-10-13-2015 17-47-27

The Hardened Veteran from a war gone bad

Speaking of 4.0. We are so close to the final hours before early access. Already inthe past 48 hours I’ve seen Ebon Hawk explode with old timers coming back and new comers everywhere. Tython had 2 instances running, both packed with at least 100 people plus. Coruscant was just as packed. A lot of recruiting going on from guilds I hadn’t heard from since a year ago. Yup, the Expac rush is on! I’m not going to comment on the 4.0 features as that’s been beaten to death. I will say that as with any major release, players need to be patient for the first couple of weeks. With the implementation of this almost reboot of the game there are going to be numerous game glitches and bugs for the first few days. It would not surprise me if we see at least a couple of hot fix down times the first week or two to hem up issues that happen. Be patient young Jedi’s! This happens with every game.

My largest concerns are how fast the story content will last. Now, I’m one that will take his time with each choice at least the first 3 or 4 times. But, 5 levels and nine chapters…I wonder how the progression through them will go? Supposedly after a set amount of time after release they will install monthly chapters as well. I wonder if that means they will continue to raise the level cap? Also, will new MMO raid style content appear with those succeeding chapters? A lot remains to be seen for the future. Still, believe me when I tell you I am very stoked to see what they have in store and what new areas we get to explore.

I am definitely looking forward to the new swoop bike I’ll have as well as the Nico Blasters! Perks of being a paid subscriber. To me it’s worth it, especially for early access. The really cool thing is that as a subscriber, I don’t have to pay for the expansion. I really like this part. See, in the old days when I played WoW and AoC, and EQ2 every major DLC EXPAC I had to shell out extra money even though I subscribed. I didn’t complain too much, but with EQ2 and AoC it didn’t really pay to be a subscriber full time and pay for the expacs. At least Bio Ware gave those who remained loyal subscribers extra perks for paying the monthly fee.

Now, I’m not knocking FTP folks. I understand, there are many who live on a tight budget and can afford only so much. It’s all good by me. I just feel that if a player does in fact subscribe, they should get extra bonuses that FTP/Pref Players don’t get. Anyways, Bio ware did good on this. Also, their Cantina crate promotions have been awesome, geez I got like 4 speeders now!

Hey folks, I know there are gonna be a ton of reviews coming out soon as to player experiences. I invite you all to drop by here for an unbiased opinion and coffee/Monsters/Tea/Vodka/Whiskey etc HAHAHAHA!

Not just NO…But F*$K NO!

Star Wars The Old Republic-10-13-2015 4-46-52Warning: Foul language abounds in this post. I speak from the Soldier’s point of view. Anyone who knows soldiers know we can be creative with cursing…you have been warned.

Uh oh… I lost it. OK, so I’ve been leveling my Trooper Vanguard Logan’Varo and just finished CH3. I get called to the Senate and praises of Glory and Awesomeness are slung my way. Of course I made sure my Team was mentioned before me. Hell I could have never made it through without them…even that asshole Vik (Hey he does blow shit up real good ok?).


Star Wars The Old Republic-10-13-2015 17-49-45In typical politician form the Chancellor decides she wants to trade the one Imperial Officer that has made life a living hell for the Republican Army and butchered countless lives. In return, we repatriate a few thousand prisoners. Well shit lady…what about the countless thousands of Soldiers that had to die in the process of taking this guy out?!?!? Can’t do anything for the dead? Were there lives meaningless in order to obtain a politically expedient end? Not just no but FUCK NO! Take your damned ribbons and shove them where the sun don’t shine!

The worst part though, in defense of the fallen, I got 100 Darkside points! Holy shit! I’ll be damned if soldiers died in vain for these bastards. I always hated politicians. Now I had a reason. For the record, my wife thought my computer blew up because I was a frothing maniac for a few minutes. I guess after seeing first hand in the real world how Soldiers tend to be used as pawns for political gain, this one touched a nerve. Still, even with 100 dark points that were unjustly given I won’t ever regret the decision I made in this case.

Star Wars The Old Republic-10-13-2015 5-25-17

Now, I have to admit, I’ve been overly critical of the Trooper story line. It felt too card board like and not very realistic. After a grand total of 5 deployments across the world in real life I kinda know a few things. However, the story does become a little more engaging by the time you hit Belsavus. Corellia actually I felt like they did a decent job on in depiction and execution. Well, accept your character really sucks at giving speeches. One speech for morale boost had the character saying “we will succeed” 3 times in less than 20 seconds. Ya, they need to send the scripters to speech school. Still, I felt engaged on Corellia and the fights felt more tactical in nature as well as the story elements. I still think the first 2 chapters were kinda weak sauce, but by CH 3 things come into full pace.

Anyways, I have a lot more to write about in the coming days as we get ready for KOtFE’s release, but I’ll get to that after a bit. Hat’s off to you BioWare for getting me so engaged I actually got pissed off…in a good way. Alright folks, till next time, may your hyperdrives stay fired up and your credits roll fast!