I’m Moving

I wanted to let you guys know that from now on all of my SWTOR posts will be made over at my other blog, The Brew Hall. I’ve decided to consolidate everything I’m doing into one place, and I think I’ve got a good way to keep things segregated so that you can access only the content that you want; or at least find it easily. If you’re not interested in WoW or my other stuff, you shouldn’t have to wade through it all to find my SWTOR posts.

I’ll keep this site running for a couple of months, and then I’ll import everything over to the Brew Hall, and shut this one down. If you subscribe to my RSS feed it should continue work. It’ll pull from the new site, but you’ll probably lose what’s in there currently.

I don’t have any SWTOR posts up there yet, but do have a couple of things planned for this week. This is the direct link to where you’ll find SWTOR content on the Brew Hall – SWTOR on the Brew Hall.

Thanks for reading and thank you for your patience as I make this transition.

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My First Cantina Tour… Sort Of

I attended my first Cantina Tour, which is to say I showed up horribly late and missed all of the good stuff. It was held on Saturday evening of Star Wars Celebration and there was just so  much other stuff going on. I had to choose between the Cantina Tour or podcasting with the Cantina Cast. I prioritized the latter but tried to do both.

When I did get to the tour it was after all of the announcements and presentations. I did manage to have a few cocktails and even ran into a guildmate and met a few the BioWare folks, both old and new.

I’m told this was one of the larger turnouts, and it looked like quite the shindig. I’m hoping they make it to Washington, D.C. someday as I’d love to attend another one, and this time be there for all the good stuff.

In case you missed any of it, Dulfy has the live stream on her Youtube page.

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Rise of the Emperor

Game Update 3.2 – Rise of the Emperor goes live today. My game is patching as I write this and I can’t wait for the servers to come up. I dabbled with this update on PTS, and I think overall it’s pretty good. Here are some things I most look forward to in 3.2.

Ziost

I enjoyed the Revan story, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. I steered clear of the story on the PTS because I wanted to keep it fresh. I’m hoping the Empire and Republic are once again at odds, and that there is more class specific bits in the story.

The Outfit Designer

I played around with it on the PTS and I like it. I get that it conflicts with the current system of maintaining your current gear by swapping out the mods., but this is better. It works with more than just moddable gear, and prices have been reduced from where they started on the PTS. This system is just plain fun. I just hope BioWare takes the time to make it work for weapons and companions.

Getting Around

I’m big on quality of life changes, and this updated is loaded with them. Honestly, I’m not sure there is much else they can do to make traveling around the galaxy more convenient. No more cooldown on quick travel, and no more forgetting to unlock quick travel points.

The End Game

I’ve avoided the end-game thus far. I’ve run exactly one hard-mode flashpoint and killed a couple of bosses in ToS, but that’s it. Mostly this has been due to time constraints, but I think it’s time to give the group finder a serious look. I’m a wee bit scared though.

My game is patched is now. See you when the servers come back up. In the meantime, enjoy some yummy patch notes.

 

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Kylo Ren and Revan

One of my favorite things at Star Wars Celebration was The Force Awakens costume exhibit. It was an up close and personal look at some of the new outfits we’ll be seeing in the upcoming film.

When I saw Kylo Ren’s robes and mask I felt like I was looking at something straight out of The Old Republic.

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The armor in The Old Republic has been really hit or miss for me. I either fall in love with an outfit or I hate it. I’ve also questioned at times whether some of the outfits even belonged in Star Wars. Kudos to the art team for coming up with looks that are indeed worthy of a Star Wars movie.

Now how long will it be before we see Kylo Ren’s costume make it into the game?

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It’s All About the After Party

Star Wars Celebration 2015 is now over, and I’ve returned home and am bracing myself for the return to normal life. It was a thrilling, emotional, and at times exhausting ride as I immersed myself in nothing but Star Wars for four straight days.

I’ll give you my high points in a moment, but as I tweeted the day before the event, my main goal wasn’t to watch trailers, get autographs or buy collectibles and t-shirts.

So how did it go? Mission accomplished!

I spent much the week hanging with the crew from the Cantina Cast. I believe all of us were meeting for the first time, but I was clearly the new kid on the block, and they could not have been more gracious and welcoming if they tried. Within minutes of shaking hands, there was a microphone in front of me and I was joining them on their podcast.

Recording Episode 79: The First Night in Anaheim

Podcasting with (L-R) Ashley – Cantina Cast, ME, Joao – Cantina Cast, Randy from makingstarwars.net, Mike – Cantina Cast

In case you’re wondering or don’t ready captions, I’m the one sitting between Joao (the one with the red hat) and his wife Ashley who records the show’s intro. We recorded three episodes together. The first, Episode 78: The First Night in Anaheim is available for your listening pleasure.

Not only did they let me podcast, but they introduced to a number of Star Wars bloggers and podcasters including the cast from Coffee With Kenobi, the aforementioned Making Star Wars, and Amy Ratcliffe who blogs for StarWars.com. I also got to meet and spend time with two additional members of the Cantina Cast, Ryder Waldron and Becca Benjamin.

If nothing else it’s gotten me excited to start blogging for them. I’m targeting the beginning of each month for my posts, and last time I checked, it was almost May. Stay tuned.

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The Cantina Cast (L-R) Becca, Joao, Me, Mike (in front)

All gushing aside now, there’s still this little matter of Star Wars Celebration 2015. I promised you some highlights, so here we go. It was impossible to experience everything so you definitely had to pick and choose. My top highlights in no particular order are,

  • Watching Ian McDiarmid read lines for the Emperor from the Return of the Jedi Shakespeare book in his full Emperor voice.
  • The new teaser trailer.
  • Learning that BB-8 was a practical effect for The Force Awakens and not CGI.
  • Hearing James Earl Jones doing the voice of Darth Vader in the Rebels trailer.
  • The Force Awakens exhibit featuring costumes and a few props from the film.
  • Seeing the teaser trailer for Rogue One and learning more about that film.
  • Seeing all the incredible cosplay each and every day.

Okay, let’s cue the Throne Room and End Title music from a New Hope so we can close this one out. Star Wars Celebration 2015 will be an event long remembered. Four days of geeking out on nothing but Star Wars was truly a delight. There are all levels of geekdom, but when you attend a Star Wars convention on a Thursday you know you’ve crossed a mighty threshold, and that’s alright by me.

I mentioned the incredible cosplay on display, so I leave you with an amazing Shae Vizla that I saw. The Old Republic was well represented to be sure.

 

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We are now a Part of the Tribe!

“Someone must have told them all about my little maneuver at the battle of Taanab.”

I have some exciting news for you today. The fine folks over at The Cantina Cast have agreed to bring me on board as one of their bloggers. I’m still working out the details and don’t yet know when my first post will happen. Star Wars Celebration is right around the corner, and I will be getting my “Big Bang Theory” on as I travel to Anaheim for this incredible event, so I may not be able to publish anything until after that.

When I do post articles for The Cantina Cast I’ll be sure to link them here, at The Brew Hall and on Twitter.

It’s never a bad time to be a Star Wars fan, but this year is extra special as the franchise is heading into overdrive with The Force Awakens, new books, comics and more. There are five additional films planned in the next few years so Star Wars is poised to dominate pop culture once again, and I wanted to get in on the fun.

I would like to thank the members of The Cantina Cast for bringing me on board, and I look forward to contributing to the discussion of the Holy Saga and all things Star Wars.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to iron and fold my collection of Star Wars t-shirts to pack for Anaheim.

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Clothes Make the Sith

[EDIT]: Since posting this article, BioWare announced that they will be removing the armor weight restrictions from the Outfit Designer and that it will available in the next PTS build.

If you’re one of those people who like to keep up with the latest fashions and needs to dress for every occasion, then cue up Augie’s Great Municipal Band, and get ready to dance in the streets, because the Outfit Designer is here. A word of warning though, it’s very good, but it’s far from perfect.

So what is the Outfit Designer? It’s a new system that allows you to change the armor your character is wearing without having to swap out all of the components and augments. A moment of silence for those making a living selling augment kits.

Now, before you get too excited thinking about all the credits you’ll be saving, the system is not free. It does make changing your appearance incredibly convenient though.

Here’s how it works, you get one equipment slot for free, and then you can purchase up to 15 more. That’s right, you can have a total of 16 different outfits for your character. This seems like plenty if you ask me, but I’m sure there are some of you who probably want twice that many.

The costs to unlock the slots are incremental. On the PTS, the cost to unlock a second slot is only 20K. Once you get around to unlocking a tenth slot the price maxes out at 500K. If you want to unlock all 16 slots it will cost you a cool 4.4 million credits. It does look like there will be an option to unlock slots using Cartel Coins.

The sucking of credits from your wallet doesn’t end here though. It will cost credits to build each outfit to the tune of 14K per armor piece. Each outfit can have seven pieces for a total cost of 98K for a full outfit. It doesn’t cost any credits to remove an item from an outfit, but it will cost you to replace it.

You can still dye your armor and there are a couple of ways that you can do that. You can put the dye in the armor and then put it in the outfit tab, or you can apply the dye module to an item after you create the outfit. Putting the module in the actual armor piece allows you to use that item in multiple outfits while utilizing the dye. Perfect if you have an expensive black/black dye in a piece. Applying a dye module to an item once it’s in the outfit tab will apply the coloring to only that outfit. And yes, dye modules are still consumable.

As I mentioned before the system is very good, but it also disappoints in some areas. One great feature is that armor is not limited to moddable gear. You can use white, common, and prototype items to create your outfits. I’ll pause here while I give you a moment to lament all of the wonderful items that you sold to a vendor that you now wish you had back.

There are restrictions based on the armor type your class wears. The system also does not apply to weapons, nor does it work with companions. It’s also not an equipment manager that lets you switch between PvE/PvP or tanking/healing gear.

The weapons and companions are the two biggest disappointments for me. Especially the companions. With the incredible gear that you can get for them there’s little incentive to try and create a comparable set of gear just so you can give your favorite companion that perfect look. While these issues won’t be addressed in 3.2, there is some hope that they may find their way into a future patch.

 Tait Watson

Hey everyone,

We think having the Outfit Designer ignore armor weight restrictions is a great idea! We are actively exploring changing this now, and I’ll let you know as soon as I know anything else.

I’ve also seen the mention of weapons and Companions being included in the Outfit Designer. Even though it may not seem like it, adding an Outfit Designer tab for Companions would effectively be creating a new system. Due to this we won’t be implementing one for 3.2, but will look into the option for a future release. Similarly, adding the ability to stamp weapons would require a lot of changes to the backend of the system that is currently in place, so it is unfortunately not feasible for a Game Update 3.2 release.

-Tait

I imagine that any future enhancements to this system are a long way off, so we’ll have to be patient. For now I’ll enjoy the system for what it is and rejoice in the fact that I can now run around Hoth wearing cold weather gear.

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Monday Musings: Barsen’… Wha?

Another week has gone by, and once again I’ve failed to produce anything but a Monday Musings post. I like writing them, so I’m not complaining too much, but I’ve got 19 posts in my drafts area that I can seem to finish. I think my next blog project is going to be nothing but half written posts. I’ll get the post to a certain point, and then say screw it and hit publish.

Truth is between I’ve been so busy leveling my Consular that I haven’t taken the time to blog. Seriously I’ve been going at it like the game was just released or something.

A couple that I’ve started here are nearly done, so maybe if you check back later this week you’ll find a post on that amazing companion gear, and Patch 3.2 and the mysterious Outfit Designer. For now let me catch you up on my previous week.

  • I didn’t get my Sage to 60, but I did get her to Rishi. If you recall I was last on Belsavis, so that means I cleared Voss, Corellia and Makeb as well as the Shadow of Revan prelude. Not a bad week.
  • You can go to Makeb at level 47, which I hit while I was on Voss. I decided to finish Voss, and then move onto Corellia. It doesn’t make any sense not to finish the class story. That might be an interesting experiment though.
  • I did the entire first zone in Corellia and then just focused on the class story after that. I was hoping it would be enough to get me to level 50, but it wasn’t.
  • My main reason for moving on is that I was under geared for Corellia and didn’t want that struggle of barely surviving fights. I really wanted to get the bolster.
  • Makeb went by much faster than I ever remembered. It’s probably because I’ve played through it so much now that I know exactly when and where to go. I was pleasantly surprised by the speed at which it went.
  • Once you get to Makeb I feel that you’re home free as far leveling. By that I mean everything is in place to keep you geared well enough to get to 60.
  • One thing I realized is that the awesome companion gear that I want to write about can be equipped at level 55. That’s right, I have leveling companion in full 192 gear including main and off-hand. Unbelievable, and most welcome.
  • I also realized that you can equip the level 186 trinkets at 56. Another nice DPS boost for my character.
  • One thing I did while leveling was choose Basic Comms as rewards almost every time they were offered. By the time I hit 60 I should have close to 1000 comms which will buy a lot of basic gear right away.
  • When buying basic gear always remember to get the Earpiece and Implants first. There aren’t moddable so can’t use other character’s comms to buy other pieces. I made that mistake once and had to unnecessarily grind out comms on one of my characters.
  • I completed the Consular personal story on Rishi. I’m going to rank this one near the top. The only one I haven’t done yet is the Smuggler.
  • I’ll try and keep things spoiler free here, but I did want to point out a few things that I liked about the story.
  • First was the character you work with on the quest. He’s new, and he’s a species that you don’t encounter much in SWTOR. He also reminds me a little of Paul Giamatti, or a least a character that he could play.
  • The other thing I liked about the story is that it tried to give more significance to my character in terms of her history in the Jedi Order.
  • Being named Barsen’thor was supposed to do that, but I have to admit I didn’t feel that special after getting the title.
  • I get that my character is only the third in the history of the Jedi Order to receive it, but we don’t learn much about the other two, or what it really means. Being named Barsen’thor didn’t feel that special to me.
  • I was more excited when my character became a Knight and then a Master. Those are titles I understand. Those have meaning. Those were titles I expected to get on my journey.
  • With Barsen’thor I felt like I was being trolled a little by the Jedi Council. It didn’t feel epic to me. The personal story made me feel a little more special.
  • Well that’s it for this Monday. Shorter than normal, I know, but hey that gives me time to maybe write something else.

May the Force Be With You!

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Monday Musings: I’ll Save You, but First…

I’ve been focusing on leveling up my Sage. She’s currently level 43 and working her way through that god awful maze know as Belsavis.

  • I get that Belsavis is a prison and designed to keep people in, but c’mon. No matter how many times I quest there I still get lost or trapped.
  • I’ll be done with it soon, and I’m quickly approaching an important decision point. At level 47 you can go to Makeb and level there.
  • I absolutely plan to finish the Consular story. The question is how much time do I want to spend doing the planetary story and side quests?
  • I’m pretty sure I’ll hit 47 on Voss. After Voss it’s just Corellia.
  • The nice thing about Makeb is the bolster. I don’t have to worry about gear. I’m worried that if I go there too soon, I won’t be level 55 when I’m done with all the quests. Still, once I get to Makeb I won’t have to worry about upgrading gear anymore. The Shadow of Revan prelude and expansion itself will get me everything I need to get to 60.
  • That’s the one thing I hate about leveling. I have to stop and take time to upgrade my gear periodically.
  • It’s this unnatural break in the process. I just want to continue saving the galaxy, but I can’t do it with crappy gear.
  • I don’t upgrade at every level. I did that one time when I leveled my Jedi Knight. Every other level I equipped him with prototype quality armoring, mods and enhancements. Never doing that again.
  • I know I need to upgrade my gear when NPCs are too hard to kill, and I’m too easy to kill. Also Voss. The difficulty on Voss seems to ramp up, and I always find it necessary to upgrade when I get there.
  • I find that common quality armoring, mods and enhancements are enough to get me by. I just hate having to stop and craft them.
  • Luckily I’m a pack rat and have piles of low level mats hanging around. I usually find there’s one level where I don’t have enough and have to buy them, which can be expensive.
  • I think it’s usually grade 4 or 5 that I’m lacking. Once I get to the grade above that I usually have tons and tons of those mats. Anything that was gathered at level 50 or 55 I’m swimming in.
  • I’m of course using XP boosts to level. I hate wasting them, and every now and then I reach a point where I feel I need to upgrade my gear, but I have an XP boost going.
  • If I’ve stretched my gear too far, I have to bite the bullet and craft while I have the XP boost running. My Sage is a Cybertech and crafts my armoring and mods.
  • It’s start crafting, logout, wait, and log back in, and try to conserve as much of the XP boost as I can.
  • I think I’ve stated before that the Consular story is my least favorite. Playing through it a second time, I’ve come to appreciate it a bit more.
  • I especially like the Consular’s companions. Therax, Zenith, Iresso and Nadia are quickly becoming four of my favorites.
  • I like Zenith because I believe he is voiced by the same actor who does Theron Shan. He masks his voice well, but you can definitely hear Theron coming through.
  • I like Iresso because he sounds a lot like Agent Fauler from the Tatooine planetary story, and I always thought that Fauler would make a great companion.
  • Therax has a real Neil Patrick Harris vibe going on. I also think the whole Holiday hologram is a clever aspect to his character.
  • Nadia is my second favorite Force using companion, with Kira Carsen being my first.
  • I’m trying to have a bit of fun leveling this time around. I want to get to 60 fast, but I don’t feel a need to rush through everything.
  • When I got to Hoth, I took the time to outfit my character in Thermal Retention gear. It’s part of my collection and I think I got it for almost nothing during one of those Cartel fire sales.
  • If there’s one feature that needs some improvement it’s the Collection UI.
  • Was it really that hard to build a search function?
  • Was it really that hard to allow you to filter by items in your collection?
  • I’m half tempted to create a spreadsheet to track what I have in my collection, because having to remember which pack something came in and click through page after page is beyond tedious.
  • While I’m thinking about features, the GTN really needs to put companion gifts in their own category and subcategory. Category would be Companion gifts, and subcategory would be rank.
  • One thing I won’t complain about is the free skills training. If you aren’t aware this also applies to the speeder piloting skills. There’s no reason not to pay for Speeder Piloting I at level 10, but I would hold off on purchasing the other two since you can get them for free. Yes, the Legacy allows you to get II and III five levels earlier, but I find that leveling is fast enough that it’s better to wait and get them for free. I like free.
  • Anyway it was fun to get my RP on when I got to Hoth. The only thing I wish I had done was shell out the 1.5 million credits for a Tundra Tauntaun. Still fun to play the part though.
  • I imagine that by this time next week I’ll have hit 60 on my Sage. If that happens you’ll hear about it in my next Monday Musings.
  • Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go break myself out of prison.

May the Force Be With You!

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The Gree are Back!

The Gree event is starting today, and will run until March 3rd. I like this event for a couple of reasons. First, I get to spend time on Illum one of the most beautiful planets in the game. Second, it offers some incredible rewards. I got the Cyan Sphere during the Lifeday event, so I won’t be pursuing a mount this week.

Nope, my goal for this week will be to pick up one or two legacy off-hands, and a light saber.

They’re the only items which I don’t have a legacy item to pass around mods, enhancements, etc. I figure I’ll need 34 relics for a main hand and two off hands. I’ve got eight characters and seven days to work with. Oh, and I should be able to finish off my Gree rep. It’s going to be a busy week.

What are your Gree goals?