I’ve been Liebsterized!!!!!

Hello, dearly loved followers, I woke up this morning and checked my phone while getting coffee ready before jumping into the shower, and saw an email through my Gmail from someone that I rarely actually hear from (at least via email).  Opening up the email, I find out that I have been nominated for a Liebster award by one of my longest-term followers, my dear friend Ravanel!  Well, not being one to shy away from a challenge, I decided that I would go ahead take on her challenge!  Apparently, the Liebster award also asks you to list some random facts about yourself.  Since there are 11 questions associated with the Liebster award, I thought maybe I would provide 11 random facts about myself.

Zerne’s Random Facts

1:  I’m a ginger.  That’s right, I have red hair, and oddly enough I did not come from the traditional Irish/Scot stock to achieve this.  I am mostly German, so the ginger genes (hehe alliteration) must have come from the ancient Gauls that were dominated by Julius Caesar.

2:  I have been employed in the building maintenance industry for the past 13 years-mostly in the hotel industry.  This has allowed me to gain a huge amount of knowledge and talent in the way things work (especially as it comes to plumbing, electricity, and wall repair, but I have also gotten to know about some carpentry).

3:  I am currently enrolled at a university while I work on a Bachelor of Arts degree in European History.  I am planning on continuing my studies after graduation to gain a Master’s Degree in Public History.  This will allow me to work as an archivist or in some form of building preservation.  I am also keeping my options open by minoring in Labor Studies.

4:  When I was younger I imagined a career in Comic Book art.  As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that I do not possess the talent required to draw these books, though I do really love them.  It would be so amazing to be involved in the production of the new Star Wars comic books that are coming out.

5:  Unlike almost everyone, I am not a fan of dinosaurs.  Of course they are interesting, but my interest only goes so far into them.  I’m a fan of history, so finding the remains of ancient civilizations is so much more interesting to me than dinosaurs.  My favorite recently discovered site?  Gobekli Tepe, Turkey (or Anatolia for those history buffs out there).

6:  I have three major obsessions in life: Russian (especially the history and language), the American Mafia, and Star Wars.  If you have read even two or more of my posts, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of SW:TOR.  I have been leveling tank class after tank class (obviously, I really love tanking!).  Once upon a time, I used to know almost all the weird obscure facts about the Star Wars extended universe, but now that canon has been shifted around, I’m lost again.

7:  Though Ravanel may hate the color orange, I hate the color yellow.  I don’t know why, I just really really really do.  Probably because it seems overly cheery or something.

8:  I have three cats.  One Russian Blue (femaile), an Orange Maine Coon (male), and a Black/Gray/Brown Tabby (male) and so far one fish (a guppy named Doug).  I started with 5 guppies, they all died.  I got a second batch of 5 guppies, 4 died and Doug remained.  I tried adding 2 ghost shrimps, but they died.  I am convinced Doug is a super fish.

9:  I am a staunch atheist and a very adamant liberal (probably pushing the line of Marxist).  I grew up in a church, but around the age of 16 I could not convince myself to believe in the existence of evil.  Therefore, I cannot believe in a Satan.  When you add these “facts” to the fact that there has been no historical evidence outside the Bible for the existence of Jesus, I just can’t follow it anymore.  Especially with the homophobia that is so evident with American Christians (I apologize-I know I am using rash stereotypes, but this has been my experience).

10:  I have characters spread all across the SW:TOR North American server galaxy.  Zerneblog (47) is a Sith Juggernaut on Jung Ma that I am planning on eventually bringing up to 60 with <Has a Bad Feeling>.  Birdu (14) is my newest character, and she is an orange female Twi’lek on the Shadowlands with <Has a Frosty Beverage>.  I have a character on Beregen Colony, but he’s like a level 3 sith warrior and will probably be deleted because I don’t know anyone that plays on Beregen.  Ja’rilo (43) is my Powertech Tank on the Harbringer with <Unholy Alliance>, and I of course have my three characters (Zernebog (60) Male Zabrak Sith Juggernaut, Dodola (52) Female Ratataki Sith Sorcerer healer, and Awwim (52) Female blue Twi’lek Jedi Shadow Tank) with <Order of Shadow Knights> and <Knights of Shadow> on Ebon Hawk.  Finally, I am waiting for 3.3 to release on July 21, 2015 to roll my Togruta character to take advantage of the 90 CC Transfer to take them over to Jedi Covenant.

11:  Finally, my favorite Star Wars species are Togruta and Twi’lek.  Maybe I have a thing for lekku?

Ravalation’s Questions:

1) Name one thing that would make your current favourite game better. Why?

Now this is a great question.  SWTOR has been my first and only MMO so there is very little that I can think of that would      make it better. Also, I know very little about game design.  In order to make SWTOR better, I think server boundaries              could be removed not only for PvP or Group Finder pops, but also for the ease of being able to play with people that we        get to know after we have started the game.

For example, before I knew anything about MMO’s, I rolled on the Ebon Hawk server.  Though I have made several              friends both through the game and through Twitter on Ebon Hawk, I seem to have a preponderance of friends on Jedi          Covenant.  I am, however, somewhat tied to Ebon Hawk because I don’t want to stop playing with my home guild.  I            either have to rely on my friends to transfer characters over to Ebon Hawk, or I need to join their guilds to play.  The ability      to join with players no matter where they are would be very helpful for SWTOR especially.

2) How much time do you spend in MMOs standing around, not actively steering your character (for instance because you are chatting to friends) instead of doing actual gameplay?
     This varies greatly for me depending on the day.  Sometimes guild chat or general chat is active and I’m throwing my            opinions in there, but sometimes both are quiet and I spend much more time in actual game play.  I have had other days      where I spend more time explaining something to a guild mate when it comes to a particular mission strategy or class            idiosyncrasy.
3) If you would get to pick a lightsaber, what colour crystal would be in it?
     This question is easy.  Same as Zernebog carries: Black and Red.  Though I do love the Charred Orange that I am                carrying on Birdu.

4) In games, do you have a preference for creating a character of a specific gender?

In SW:TOR it all depends on the species.  I have several female toons because male Twi’leks look funny.  I will probably        only roll female Togruta as well because male Togruta look odd.  Male Ratataki work, but the one I have now is female.  I      do have a male Zabrak and a male Cathar though.  I was going to try to make tanks male and healers female, but I don’t      like that style.

5) In games, do you have a preference for creating a character of a specific race (dwarf, elf, asura, human etc.)? If you check your characters, which race is in the majority?

Right now Twi’lek are the majority with two.  Zabrak, Sith Pureblood, Ratataki, Cathar, and Twi’lek.  No humans.                    Humans are boring.
6) In games, do you have a preference for creating characters of a certain body type or height?

Once again, SWTOR is the only game I have been able to make these kinds of characters with.  I tend to make                    characters of body type 2 for both my male and female characters.  Not too terribly body builder like for both the male and      female characters, but also not so small that it looks like a stiff breeze would knock them over.
7) Outside the realm of games: does everyone know that you game? Or do you keep it a secret for certain people?

Most people are more than aware of the fact that I game considering I am pretty obsessed with it!
8) What is your favourite in-game consumable and why?

At this point it has been the Anodite Fortitude stim, mainly because it ups my HP while running Operations.  I think they          will really really come in handy later on, especially if I can find a Redoubt stim instead of a fortitude because Defense.
9) Do you prepare that consumable in the offline world as well?

That would be awesome.
10) What is your top 3 favourite dinosaurs?


Stegosaurus (that club tail is badass!)

Plesiosaur (you know, like Ogo Pogo or Nessie)
11) And, last but not least: I’m an iguanodon. What dinosaur are you?



Now is the part where I challenge you to my Liebster Award.  If I nominate you here (I will try to make sure that you haven’t been nominated by someone else this year), I will also send you an email to let you know that you’ve been Liebsterizied.  You will need to provide some random facts about yourself (I chose 11 because Ravanel asked 11 questions) and answer the questions that I will leave below.  I look forward to your responses!!!!

Now for my nominees…..

1.  Pixelkaffe: I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know you through raiding together on Ebon Hawk and the great conversations that we both find ourselves drawn into on Twitter.  You’ve got an amazing blog and keen insight into what’s going on in the SWTOR community and in the game.  I can’t wait to see your responses to these questions!

2:  Powerdress Gaming:  I have been following Emnara since shortly after I began blogging.  I love your take all things SWTOR and have enjoyed every post that I have seen come from you.  You’ve been a pleasure to get to know on Twitter as well!

3:  Spawn of the Dread Master: Calphaya, I have loved your blog from the very beginning (at least the beginning of when I started seeing your blog!).  Your insight is awe inspiring, especially when it comes to SWTOR.  I have read all of your reviews when it comes to the playable classes and seen several of your posts about missions (heroic, class story, etc).  I’d love to see your opinions regarding the following questions.

4:  Two Pointy Ears:  Ethulliel, I have really enjoyed getting to know you, and your insight into the Star Wars universe makes me feel no-so-alone in my geekiness (and I’m sure I’m not alone on this one!).  I’m really looking forward to see this Twi’lek’s answer to these questions!

5:  In Character:  Chadrassa, I love your snarkiness and how you are always able to bring a certain flair to everything you do.  I have really enjoyed seeing you across the Twitterverse, and it’s a relief to know that there is someone out there as cynical as I am!  I’m looking forward to seeing your Liebster responses as well!

6:  SWTOR Musings:  Treyan, I have really enjoyed getting to know you though your blog and across Twitter.  I also really like the the way you write, so I would really like to challenge you on this set of questions!  I’m also really looking forward to reading your post following this bit!

7:  For A Few Credits More:  Mhorgrim, I have loved reading your blog, and I want to challenge you for your Liebster award.  I know you enjoy writing your blog posts from your character’s point of view (which I love, by the way!), but I want to get to know the person behind Mhorgrim a little more.  I really hope you take up my challenge and write your own Liebster post!

The Questions

1:  I have to steal this one from Ravanel because I have always wondered the same thing.  If you would get to pick a lightsaber (or blaster for you tech weapons lovers), what color crystal would be in it?

2:  Do you prefer PC or Console gaming?  Why?

3:  What is your favorite game that you have played (board games, console games, mmo’s, table top rpg’s, miniatures, the world is your oyster)?  Why?

4:  Do you consider yourself a “hardcore gamer” or are you more “causual-core”?  Why do you consider yourself such?

5:  Okay, I’m not super original, I’m stealing another of Ravanel’s because it’s so wonderful.   In games, do you have a preference for creating a character of a specific race (dwarf, elf, asura, human etc.)? If you check your characters, which race is in the majority?

6:  If you could live in any fictional universe, which would it be?  Why?

7:  You may choose 3 people (living, dead, or fictional).  One is a dinner guest, one is a lover, and one is your arch enemy.  Who are they and why?

8:  What inspired you to start your blog in the first place?

9:  Do you play games for the story, the gameplay, or the social aspect?

10:  What is your greatest gaming achievement?

11:  What do you collect (either in the physical or the virtual world)?

Help!  You Liebsterized me!  Now what!?

Well, it’s pretty easy.  Post 11 random facts about yourself, answer my 11 questions (Ha ha!), make up 11 questions of your own, and nominate some other bloggers!  Once you have done so, feel free to pick up your Liebster Award.  Since this is all in good fun, if there are questions that I have asked that you would rather not answer, then skip them.  Don’t feel like making a post so structured? Well, don’t do it (though I would love to get to know you all better through this process).  Finally, if you, as a loyal reader, would like to answer my questions, you can feel free to do your own post and pick up your award too!  What if you don’t blog?  Well, answer one (or more) of the questions in the comments field!  I love getting to know my readers!!


I’m Back!!!!!

Hello, loyal readers, I want to take a moment to apologize for the extended absence that I have had here recently.  For those of you that follow my on Twitter, you know that I have had some medical issues occurring in my family recently.  I am glad to say that as far as that is concerned, everything is on the up and up.  Now back to what you come back to Zerneblog for, SW:TOR!!!!

Where to begin?

Well, with all the news that has been dropping recently, where do we begin when it comes to this “stupid game that takes up every waking moment of our lives,” (to quote Chuck (@BeardedApe) from the Bad Feeling Podcast), it is difficult to decide where to begin.  Of course Knights of the Fallen Empire (hereafter referred to as KotFE) has been the buzz all around the SWTOR community (especially among us subscribers), so talking about the story that has already been released seems like beating a dead horse, so what else can I talk about when it comes to KotFE?

Flashpoint Changes

One of the biggest changes (not including the entire timeline of the story thus far) that is coming with the 4.0 KotFE expansion is a massive change to the way Flashpoints are being handled.  With the popularity of the Solo Mode flashpoints that came about with the Forged Alliances arc leading up to 3.0 (Shadow of Revan), much more of the Flashpoints that were used to level throughout the game are being changed as well.  Not only are many of the level Flashpoints getting a Solo Mode, but there are still many many others that are being converted into Tactical Flashpoints (any four players are able to complete the flashpoint rather than requiring the traditional 1 Tank, 1 Healer, 2 DPS composition).  Let’s look at these changes separately because it is going to be really confusing to look at it all at the same time.

Solo Mode Flashpoints

Once 4.0 drops, many of the Flashpoints that many current players have known and loved are being changed to allow for a Solo Mode so that players that would prefer to play without being required to be in a group can see the stories.  While I understand the necessity of these players being able to see the Flashpoint story unfettered (there has often been a battle between the people that are running a flashpoint for the first time and veterans who just want to skip all the cinematics and conversations and just get going on the mission so that they can complete the Flashpoint and gain their daily reward of 20 Basic Comms).  While I am happy that Bioware is taking these players into consideration, I fear that they are ignoring the rules that bring SWTOR into the realm of a MMO.  The following Flashpoints are going from Group Content to Solo Mode:

Black Talon (Imperial starting Flashpoint)

The Esseles (Republic starting Flashpoint)

Boarding Party (Part 1/2 of Imperial story arc around Revan)

Taral V (Part 1/2 of Republic story arc around Revan)

The Foundry (Part 2/2 of Imperial story arc around Revan)

Maelstrom Prison (Part 2/2 of Republic story arc around Revan)

The Battle of Ilum (Part 1/2 of False Emperor story arc)

The False Emperor (Part 2/2 of False Emperor story arc)

Assault on Tython (Part 1 of Forged Alliances)

Korriban Incursion (Part 2 of Forged Alliances)

Depths of Manaan (Part 3 of Forged Alliances)

Legacy of the Rakata (Part 4 of Forged Alliances)

Blood Hunt (Part 1 of Shadow of Revan)

Battle of Rishi (Part 2 of Shadow of Revan)

Tactical Flashpoints

Personally, as a tank, I HATE tactical Flashpoints.  One of the reasons that I like Flashpoints (especially as a tank) is because it forces the rest of the group to do their roles correctly.  How am I supposed to know that I have a handle on tanking when I am thrown into a group that pulls mobs before me or jumps in and begins to beat on the boss before I am even there?  The same goes for healers because anyone can run over and hit a Kolto station instead of having to learn how to heal from the lower classes.  Tactical Flashpoints (at least in my opinion) reinforce bad habits.  In fact, what would the point be in even rolling a toon that is not a DPS character when almost all group content (before the level cap) is either Solo Mode or Tactical?  This particular change to Flashpoints fills me with dread because everyone is just going to want to faceroll all the content.  How can I, as a tank, reinforce positive habits when taking on these new instances?  The following Flashpoints have been transformed into Tactical Flashpoints:

Hammer Station


Mandalorian Raiders


The Red Reaper

Kuat Drive Yards

Czerka Labs

Czerka Core Meltdown

Assault on TythonD

Korriban Incursion

Depths of Manaan

Legacy of the Rakata

Blood Hunt

Battle of Rishi

Hard Mode Flashpoints

Looking at the bright side, there are going to be more choices than the Forged Alliances and Shadow of Revan Flashpoints that will be raised to the new level cap for the Hard Mode versions of the flashpoints.  I cannot express how happy I am about this!  I remember the Hard Mode versions of Blood Hunt being super annoying prior to the nerf they received later in the 3.X series (to be completely honest, I haven’t run any level 60 Hard Modes because I firstly do not know the mechanics, and secondly do not trust myself to try to tank these flashpoints in a Group Finder setting-now if I was able to get another guildie to come along with me, I may have been willing to give a try to tank them.  I know my guild and I had a horrible time on the first boss of Blood Hunt due to being undergeared-I was in 172/178/186 gear and am now in 186/190/192 fully augmented).  The following Flashpoints have been adjusted to level 65 for their Hard Mode versions:

Black Talon

The Esseles

Boarding Party

Taral V

The Foundry

Maelstrom Prison

Kaon Under Siege

Lost Island

Battle of Ilum

The False Emperor

Hammer Station


Mandalorian Raiders

Red Reaper


Kuat Drive Yards

Czerka Labs

Czerka Core Meltdown

Korriban Incursion

Assault on Tython

Depths of Manaan

Legacy of the Rakata

Blood Hunt

Battle of Rishi

In-Game Stuff

As far as being in-game, I have been doing quite a bit recently!  I actually moved my Powertech from my home server (Ebon Hawk) to Harbringer and joined the Unholy Alliance guild.  I love the members of this guild as well, and the wonderful Guild Master (@UnholyAlliances) there has encouraged members of Unholy Alliance to cross servers over to Ebon Hawk and have joined my own home guild.  How amazing is that!  And now that Server Transfers have been discounted down to 90 Cartel Coins (90 CARTEL COINS!!!!!!!!) please feel free to come over to Ebon Hawk and join our wonderful guild, the Order of Shadow Knights (Imperial) or Knights of Shadow (Republic).  Now is the time to move and play with your friends!  Be a SWTOR whore and sow your wild oats (er, Legacy) all over the SWTOR server-verse.

Ja'rilo 40

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, I have had the pleasure of playing with a slew of community friends that I met on Twitter than have been considerate enough and loving enough to me to come over to Ebon Hawk and help my guild and I get involved in many of the level 55 Operations.  Due to the fact that I have not asked these wonderful people for their permission to post their Twitter handles online, I am going to go ahead and keep their identities secret.  Suffice it so say, it is amazing how wonderful and welcoming the rest of the community has been to my plight.  With these wonderful friends I have been able to finish Scum and Villainy, Terror from Beyond, and Dread Fortress.  To someone that hasn’t done any of this content when they were fresh and around (I didn’t get my main to 55 until after 3.0 went live-was a preferred status player up to the launch of 3.0-and I began playing during the Titans of Industry update when CZ-198 went live).

Finally, as of yesterday evening, I have gotten my Shadow Tank up to level 50.  I know this is no longer the “big deal” it once was, but this is only my third toon to get out of the 40’s (and my first Republic toon).  I have a Sorcerer already, so I wanted to try something different when it comes to the class story, so I went with the Consular instead of another Inquisitor (and yes, I leveled my Consular as Dark Side).

Awwim 50

Wrapping It Up

What do you all think about the Flashpoint changes?  What are you waiting for the most from KotFE?  Are you waiting for the Togruta release as much as I am?  What about the new price for Server Transfers (did I mention 90 Cartel Coin transfers?)?  What servers have you thought about moving to in order to play with more of your friends?  I know I’d love to play with any of you amazing fans!