First Impressions of KotFE Game Changes

Since my main for 4.0 has moved from Zernebog, my Juggernaut, to my Guardian, Sham’hat, I didn’t want to dive right into the story expansion for Knights of the Fallen Empire. I have, however, been enjoying many of the other changes that the 4.0 expansion has brought.  Though this expansion has increased the level cap to 65, I was able to get my Guardian to the previous cap of 60 Tuesday. Because of the Level Sync feature, this occurred on Voss while I was back-tracking Voss and Corellia to finish my second class story (perfectly enough, it is the story of the Jedi Knight, the mirror to my previous main, a Sith Warrior).

I was also able to check out the new system for Heroics. While running around following my class story objectives, I came across this mission terminal with a triangle over it. Well, since 12x XP came to an end Monday, I figured why not see what it is about!? The terminal was apparently for a Heroic 2+ in the Nightmare Lands of Voss and even though I was level sync’d from 59 to 48, I was able to solo the Heroic with Kira in Healing Mode-even the champion level mobs. Though it took forever to finish (tank spec so very low DPS) it was nice to see that it would be possible for me to die while running the Heroic. Even nicer, I was getting 15k XP for killing the elite (gold star) mobs. I am looking forward to soloing some more of these heroics for some 178 drops- especially implants and relics since I have my 186/190 armor from my Juggernaut on my Guardian (legacy bound gear for the win).

I really like the changes that came about with Companions. One thing that I don’t recall being mentioned that I really liked about companion gearing was the fact that companions are no longer armor class dependent. I was able to put heavy armor on Kira (a formerly light armor/willpower user), though I did not keep the heavy armor look on her. The fact that the companions scale up with your level was incredible because I haven’t used Kira since I got Scourge because of gearing issues. Scourge was easy to gear while running through the Forged Alliances arc because I could just take the DPS drops instead of the tank drops (Scourge used to have the same main stat and armor class as my Guardian since he was essentially a juggernaut).

Finally, I liked the changes that came with the User Interface Editor. The grid overlay makes it much easier for me to be able to line up the different components of my User Interface. I haven’t found the “snap to grid” function yet, but I have a feeling that it will be quite a handy feature. The ability to save my keybinds will also be a wonderful feature.

On a side note, I updated my laptop to Windows 10 and had a horrendous time with the game-so much so that I had done a complete un/reinstall of the game and rolled a Smuggler to poke around with while my game finished downloading. When KotFE finished patching, I had all the same issues again so I reverted back to Windows 7. I don’t know whether it is my machine or some incompatibility between SWTOR and Windows 10, but I was horribly unimpressed with the functionality of Windows 10 and felt like anything I had tried to accomplish on the OS was a struggle. This was just my experience, and I am sure many others have not had any issues with SWTOR on Windows 10.

I am looking forward to continuing the KotFE experience, but I want to finish the class stories (Chapter 3) first. Though I now have 3 level 60 characters, only one of them has had a completed story. I have a feeling I will be a late comer to the expansion and will be taking a lot of advantage of the Level Sync function (which I happen to really love).

Standard

What’s In A Name?

Hello, loyal readers!  As you may well already know, Rowan Blaze and I got into a wonderful discussion surrounding character creation-especially choosing a name for each character. Some people go for the humorous side of names like Hugh’Jass (a body type 4 male Bounty Hunter I met on Nal Hutta when first rolling my PT), DaddyFatSaber, or Smell’mi’phartz (both of these belong to a great guildie of mine). Personally I have always tried to focus on making sure my character names actually have some basis in something else (I tend to steer toward mythology), and from his blog post, it would seem Rowan agrees with me (though his inspiration is not limited to mythology). I have also attempted to keep the inspiration separate between my Republic characters and my Sith characters.

I have broken down the phonetic pronunciation of each character (at least how I say them) beneath the spelling-just in case someone ever wants to talk about my characters to others.

I do want to mention that though I fully support the creation of back stories and role playing, I actually don’t do any of that.  Therefore, unlike Rowan, I do not have a backstory to go along with each character. I find that the back story thrust upon you for each class becomes too rigid to attempt to create a back story for. I will probably think about this, and if I ever come up with something I will post a blog post about them-probably sometime during the month of August.

Tanks

I have always wanted the names of my Tanks to be synonymous with demonic destruction-a name that literally meant death, destruction, or something to that affect. This can be easier said than done.

DikarZloney

(DEE-car za-LONE-ee)

Let’s start with the first character I had ever created on an MMO, DikarZloney. I don’t have a screenshot for this Assassin because I have deleted him long ago. He was a male Zabrak with crimson skin and several horns surrounding his head and on his temples. I had Dikar decked out in Aim, Cunning, and Strength (notice a lack of Willpower?). I actually stopped playing Dikar on Tatooine because I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. The name, however, does have a lot of meaning. In keeping with the theme of Sith Zabraks from Maul and the Clone Wars, I was looking for something that would be similar. Dikar means “savage” in Russian, and Zloney means “beast” in Russian. Therefore Dikar’s name was translated as Savage Beast.

IMG_0005

Zernebog

(ZUR-nah-bog)

Since I had such a difficult time with the Assassin, I began reading A LOT about tanking and the classes. Dikar was way too far gone to try again, so I rolled another male Zabrak, but this time as a warrior (Juggernaut). I started looking into more options for Judeo-Christian demonic names to use for Zernebog to no avail. I finally found a reference to the Black God of Slavic mythology, Chernobog.  Though Chernobog was already taken, the reference I found listed several variations on the transliteration of Chernobog. Zernebog ended up being the variant that was available on Ebon Hawk.

Ja'rilo 27

Ja’rilo

(JAH-rill-oh)

Like many players, I had to change the construction of this name since it was unavailable in its normal form (Jarilo). This is my lowest leveled tank for the time being and is a male Cathar that I modeled off my own Maine Coon cat. Jarilo is the God of War in Slavic mythology so it seemed appropriate to make my Powertech tank of this name.

Awwim 1

Awwim

(AH-whim)

Awwim breaks the mold completely. First, she is my only female tank (blue Twi’lek-male Twi’leks look weird to me). Secondly, she is a Republic tank (Shadow). Finally, Awwim does not come from Slavic mythology but rather from Judeo-Christian book of Enoch. Awwim is actually the collective name for all the Watcheds and has been translated as “the Devastators”.

Healers

Dodola (2)

Dodola

(doe-DOE-la)

I only have one healer presently-a female Ratataki Corruption Sorcerer named Dodola. Dodola also comes from Slavic mythology (notice a theme here?) and is the bringer of rain-so kind of like a Rain Goddess. This reminded me of the Thunderstorms we get in the American Midwest that are key for the production of crops. I know it’s a little bit of a stretch, but I am happy with the name. Besides, the goddess of rebirth and healing in Slavic mythology was already taken on Ebon Hawk. Though I could use an alt code for a special character or add an apostrophe, I just chose a different name.

One thing that I thought incredible is that I have actually been asked twice about my character names. Once while I was healing on Dodola a Serbian Marauder asked if the name came from Slavic mythology, and I had another person approach me on Twitter about the name Zernebog coming from Chernobog and siting Slavic mythology. I was later informed this person was also Serbian. I love it when people recognize the origins!

So what is your strategy when choosing character names?  Do you have a particular character name you are especially proud of?  Would you rather see humorous names or names that come about like mine or Rowan’s?  Or do you come up with a single name and place alt codes for special characters or add a character to the end of a base name to differentiate your characters?

Standard

NBI2015 Murphy’s Screenshot Safari Hero or Villain?

When I think about the phrase “Hero or Villain” and apply it to SWTOR, there is one character that embodies both elements that comes to my mind.  That character is the intimidating visage of Darth Malgus.  While obviously a villain to any of the Republic players, Imperial players see him both as a hero of the Empire and later a traitor and therefore villain.  Imperial players constantly see Darth Malgus as a herald for the Empire, from his role as a chief aggressor alongside his master, Darth Vindican, during The Return cinematic, to the introducer of each of the major flashpoints leading up to Ilum.  Malgus is everywhere.

Malgus is portrayed as a staunch defender of the Empire, taking action against the Republic at every turn while also embodying the Sith Code in his every deed.  Malgus is such a hero to the Empire that when the “Malgus the Betrayer” story arc comes around at Ilum, I was seriously heart-broken to run The False Emperor flashpoint.  It was this huberus that takes Malgus from being the Hero of the Empire to being the Imperial “Public Enemy #1.”  We see Malgus’ rise through the many cinematics (The Return and Hope are two of those cinematics that show the rise of Malgus), we then see Malgus as one of the most trusted members of the Empire and Dark Council throughout all of the original launch, and we finally see his end with the Ilum arc.

Playing from the Sith Warrior perspective, I felt especially betrayed following the main Ilum story line (I had to run these after I had hit 55 because I was not sure that I could handle the tank role on the story mode version of these fights-I have, of course, now found out that I would have had little problem).  I cannot think of any other character (especially a Non-Player Character) that exhibits the dual Hero/Villain qualities as Darth Malgus does.

Standard

Caution:  Brain Matter Ahead

I first wanted to apologize for missing last week’s blog post. There has been so much going on with Star Wars over the last fourteen days that I thought my brain was going to explode!  So, where do I even begin?

SWTOR Double XP

Double XP Week

I am so glad that I got a chance to really take advantage of the double XP in SWTOR over the past week. I chose to focus mainly on my new Powertech, Ja’rilo, and over the past week I was able to take him from a lowly level 17 to level 27, all without getting my D7 Mantis or finishing Drommund Kaas. How, you ask?  Lots and lots and lots and lots of Flashpoints. In one evening I tanked Mandolorian Raiders five times in a row (and managed to get a few decent gear drops). Unlike many, though, I really hate running Kuat Drive Yards over and over again. I really am not a huge fan of Tacticals because they don’t allow me to hone my skills as a tank. I, of course, ran one run of KDY everyday that I played for the 20 Basic Comms it grants through Group Finder, but I didn’t want KDY to me my leveling strategy. Especially since you really only get reputation and XP for it. I needed that sweet sweet gear.

So, what kind of drops did I end up with?  Well, I got the Athiss Enforcer’s Headgear (that weird Miner-looking Bounty Hunter helm from Athiss; thank goodness for the Hide Head Slot function!!),

Athiss Headgear

the Clan Varad Recon Body Armor (the one with the bandolier down the front in a mustardy-goldenrody color scheme),

clan varad recon body armor

Blademaster’s Clan Varad Greaves (those vertically striped pants for Juggernauts, but since we didn’t have a Juggernaut in the group I won them with a greed roll and replaced the mods with Commando mods and an Absorb enhancement).

Blademaster's Clan Varad Greaves

Between these drops and the Formal Boots from the Social Vendor in the Nexxus Room Cantina and the Butcher’s Gauntlets from the Dark Side vendor on fleet,

Butcher's Gauntlets

With the Great Hunt Blaster and the orange Hammer Station Shield Generator, I have most of my gear as orange grade-just missing the bracers and belt.  Since the Outfit Designer is coming out soon, I don’t think I’ll worry about finding pieces that I really really like quite yet (besides I think I want to go for a Cathar Cad Bane look instead of a Boba Fett Mandalorian look-way too many of those around!).

I didn’t do much with Zernebog except for a bunch of crafting in hopes of saving some Comms while gearing out Ja’rilo and Dodola.  I did, however, run on Dodola a little and got her in her full set of 140’s.  I’ll grab some screenshots of both Ja’rilo and Dodola soon so that I can post them here in all their finery.  Then again, there is always the Star Wars Day subscriber bonus coming up for the return of 12x XP!!!!

SWTFA

The Force Awakens Trailer

You can’t really expect any SWTOR blogger to not mention the second trailer can you?  Of course every Star Wars fan has seen the trailer by now, if not multiple times (yeah yeah, I’ve probably watched it literally thirty or forty times).  What did you think of it?  Of course, barely any of it goes together, and it’s not like we can take the fact that a scene is shown in the trailer before another that it is the same in the movie, but it just makes me all the more excited for it to come out.  Those chrome Stormtroopers!  I think it was Far Far Away Radio where I heard the quote, but it is so relevant.  Allow me to paraphrase: You know that the Chrometrooper is going to be a badass because he has a cape.  All Star Wars badasses have capes.  Also, like many others have said, this Chrometrooper is going to make up for all the missed shots delivered by Stormtroopers in the original trilogy.

Chrometrooper

And then there is Kylo Ren.  For those not in the know (though I am sure there are precious few of us, Kylo Ren is the name of the “Sith” coming about in The Force Awakens).  Now, Kylo Ren looks badass to me.  Maybe I’m partial to the dark side (yeah, I know I am), but really how amazing is that mask?  Not much has really been said about Kylo, but I am really interested in hearing his backstory.  I honestly don’t even know if Kylo Ren has been part of the Expanded Universe before J J Abrams chose to bring him into The Force Awakens.

Kylo Ren

Now for the part that has seemed to confuse a lot of people.  Mark Hamill’s voice talking about the force.  “My father has it, I have it, my sister has it, now you have it.”  The question that many people keep asking is, “Is Darth Vader coming back!?”  As amazing as that would be, I sincerely doubt it.  Anakin died at the end of Return of the Jedi.  We all know that.  Could he reappear as a force ghost?  Well, now that is possible.  We have seen Freedon Nadd (I think?) train Exar Kun as a force ghost, and if memory serves me correctly we also had Exar Kun appear to Luke on Yavin 4 to train him in the Dark Side.  So Vader as a force ghost is certainly possible, even though Anakin was “redeemed” by Luke when he throws Palpatine down the ventilation shaft.

Freedon Nadd ghostExar Kun

Finally, there is the scene that everyone has fallen in love with.  Come on, you know which one I’m talking about.  Could it possibly be?  Yes, it’s Han and Chewie.  This throw-back to the original screenshot from A New Hope made the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand on end.  Though I am absolutely partial to the Empire (or the First Order for the new trilogy), Han and Chewie will always hold a special place in my heart.  Probably one of the reasons that I love Jakarro so much from the Forged Alliances story arc.  But why are Han and Chewie home?  I have no idea!  I guess we’re going to have to wait until December to find out for sure!

han and chewieWe're home

(Woah, now Chewie has found some amazing conditioner.  I wonder if it’s that Wen stuff!)

Star_Wars_Rebels_logo

Star Wars Rebels

Season 2 was previewed at celebration, and I have since watched it myself since I didn’t catch the stream.  I was skeptical of the new television series when I first heard about it, but I have watched all of season 1 and am actually really looking forward to season 2-probably because my favorite Togruta has come back!  Shaak Ti?  No!  Ahsoka!

Ahsoka_rebels_1

But, as if Ahsoka coming back wasn’t enough, we are seeing the return of several of our favorites from The Clone Wars.  Rex and Wolfe are also coming back.  Someone noticed that Dave Filoni and company were even careful enough to provide an explanation as to why Rex and Wolfe can return-their chips, like 5s’ (you know what I mean if you caught Season 6 of The Clone Wars on Netflix), have been removed.

Rex and Wolfee

And finally, the only character that can possibly be better than the return of Ahsoka (and only because he is my absolute favorite canon character), Darth Vader.  Thinking about Vader vs. Ahsoka is one of the main things causing my brain to pulse and threaten to demolish the bone prison in which it is housed.

Rebels Vader

Now that my brain matter is all over the wall…

Yes, I know that Battlefront has been announced, but I’m not super excited about it.  I know a lot of people are, but I was never into the Battlefront series.  I have actually recently gotten a copy of The Force Unleashed 2 for PC that I have been playing when not able to play SWTOR (though SWTOR always takes priority).  What are your thoughts as we approach the release of 3.2, the rev-up to the release of The Force Awakens, and the imminent release of Season 2 of Rebels?  What are you looking forward to the most in this upcoming amazing time for Star Wars fans?  What are you going to be doing with the upcoming 12 times xp and release of Ziost?

Standard

Developer Appreciation Week

Well, it seems that Developer Appreciation Week has come, and frankly, I’m happy about it.  I have seen so much hatred going against Bioware Austin recently, and while I realize that there are more and more aspects of the game that should be repaired and bugs that need to be fixed, I can always look around the world around me and be excited about all the work the developers have put into SWTOR.  So many of the planets are made up so beautifully (even the planets I absolutely hate are beautiful like Alderaan and Tatooine).  And aside from that, you can really tell that the developers really put some time into the making of SWTOR when you look at how wonderfully all the character models have been made.  There is such an amazing amount of species diversity in SWTOR, and even the NPC’s are well made.

chiss-002

I could go on and on and on about the beauty of SWTOR, but this is not its only strong suit.  The story is just so amazing as well.  Calphaya (Spawn of the Dread Master) has gone into so many critiques about the various class stories, so if you would like to read more about them (the reviews are full of spoilers, but then again, how can you review something without giving spoilers!?).  She has done such a better job concerning the stories than I ever could, so really, if you’re interested, check them out!  Not only are the stories amazing, however, but the voice acting is top notch!  Granted I have only finished 3.0 on one character (Zernebog, my main), and have only one other character in the higher levels (Dodola is getting ready to walk onto Voss), but the stories have all been so great, and the voices are just amazing.  I love the way Zernebog sounds, especially with that respirator on.

nar-shaddaa-screenshot-003

You can just tell that the development team at Bioware Austin really poured their heart and soul into SWTOR because of all the attention to detail that they put into it.  Nothing ever appears choppy or out of place, and even the things that seemed as if they were rushed have been done with amazing grace.  I wish more of the players would look back to the when they were first beginning to play and realize what a wonderful job the developers did when creating this game.  I have played so many console games, and SWTOR is my first MMO, but the enormity of the game just blows my mind every single time I play.

Every.  Single.  Time.

Keep up the good work, Bioware, you have a wonderful game here.

Standard

PvP-ness

I have recently had a couple of guildies get me involved in PvP warzones (something that I never even considered touching for the first 18 months I ever played the game), and have come to realize that I really really suck!!  I mean I am downright awful. I know that there are currently three reasons for this, and at least a couple of the reasons will resolve themselves with time.

IMG_0005

First, when I attempt to play on Zernebog I am immediately focused and demolished. Being at max level and just beginning to PvP does not bode well for a new PvP experience. I am in all PvE gear and have no expertise, so I am immediately looked at as a, “Hey, get that noob over there!” target. I know how to play my class at least moderately well, I think (if any of my readers have been grouped with me in the past and disagree, please let me know). Here I know what I am doing wrong and if PvP’ing as a Jugg tank is something I want to pursue I will just end up someday rolling a new Jugg tank for PvP’ing.

warzones-005

Secondly, I am a noob. I fully expect to get my ass handed to me over and over and over again (and to any team that has the displeasure of having me as a part of it-I’m sorry. I will get better with time), so the constant loss does not really bother me (at least I am not usually at the bottom of the match rankings). I mean, of course it would be nice to win one someday, but seeing as how I am a noob, the whole PvP experience is something to adjust to. I have been listening to the Ootinicast episode with Snave and been trying to get some pointers from Chuck and Brian (I have a Bad Feeling about those guys) concerning strategies, and I think with enough practice and preparation I will get beyond “noob” status.

Ja'rilo

Third, the main PvP character I have is Ja’rilo. He is a level 16 Shield Tech Powertech (tank). I don’t really know the class very well yet, and one of the few abilities I had has just been removed with 3.1.1, so I need to find a new rotation-especially for the low levels. (For anyone that does not know already, Vanguards lost the Full Auto ability in 3.1.1 while Powertechs lost Unload). I know Unload doesn’t belong in a rotation at higher levels, but as a level 16 I don’t have a lot in my bag of tricks.  This, of course, will be remedied with experience and research, but right now it is a little frustrating (and the fact that Flamethrower does not really target an enemy-player or mob-but rather just erupts in front of your character). I have been enjoying PvP on Ja’rilo and I think I will get better as time goes on.

Dodola (2)

I have never attempted to heal in PvP though. I have had several people that I have grouped with tell me that I would make a great PvP healer due to the fact that I attempt to keep all my party healed up (even those damned Marauders that want to pull before the tank). I will probably try at some point, but I am not sure that a Sorc would be the best class to try PvP healing with-especially since Dodola is decked out in level 49 gear (she just dinged 50).  Does anyone have any advice regarding PvP healing?

Do you have any advice about PvP strategies?  What is your opinion about the state of PvP in the 3.1.1 era?  Lastly, do you have any advice for people like me that are just starting to get into PvP or know where to find a PvP tanking guide for both the Juggernaut and the Powertech?

Standard

Guildies are like family

Heyo, everyone!  (Like that, Xarg?  That “heyo” was just for you!) I unfortunately have not gotten much of a chance to have a presence in-game this week, and that has led me to really miss my guildies!  Though we do have our own guild website where I (or any of our other guildies) can check-in and throw some information onto the forums or send messages to guildies that may need some assistance, there is nothing like being on our Raidcall channel and chatting with the regulars while we are all in-game. It has been quite some time since I have had the pleasure of not only belonging to a group but actually having a tangible role in that group (for any of those that do not know, my main is a Juggernaut tank and I have grown to love tanking so much that I have recently rolled a Powertech and will eventually roll a Tankasin as well).

On another note, it is so refreshing to see more and more new members coming into my SWTOR family.  We have had an influx of new recruits lately, and I love seeing the new blood!  I hope some, at least, have been due to my Guild Ready Check appearance on Corellian Run Radio (episode 138: From SWTOR with Love-my Guild Ready Check is from about 48 minutes to 52 minutes), but we have not heard one way or the other from many of our new recruits. I am just so happy to see my Star Wars family growing more and more.

In some guild news, we just got our Guild Flagship!!!  It bears the name of one our chief contributors (no, not me, we have some people in the guild that are able to devote much more time in-game than I seem to be able to). I am looking forward toward the ability to take a stroll around it once our interior decorator has had her way with it. Stay tuned for some pics from the Steel Shadow and our guild Stronghold.

How much do you feel like your guildies are part of your extended family?  Am I crazy to feel that strong of a connection with people I have never met?  I know we all develop friendships through the games we play online (especially when we cooperate with other players), but people look at me funny when I talk about my in-game friends. Especially since chances are I will most likely never meet many of them in person.

Standard