Monthly Archives: January 2012

Creepy Graphics Glitch Is Creepy

This past weekend I kept experiencing a weird graphics glitch where everyone in a cutscene was missing their eyeballs. After seeing this a dozen or so times, it actually gets more creepy instead of less creepy. If this ever happens while I’m romancing Lt. Iresso, I’m afraid I’m going to have to decline the BSOCK. It would just be too disturbing.

I Love My Companions, But Are They Good For Me?

(Quick Update: In honor of the always derptastic philosophy I follow of post first, research shit later, I did find this thread on the SWTOR forums just this morning that has actually been very helpful. Jedi Sage – Balance vs Telekinetic)

First off, let me start by clarifying I am speaking only in relation to ME and MY companions and how they may or may not be affecting MY gameplay. This is not an observation about Bioware, other people and their companions, or companions in general. What I am having an issue with, basically, is me. Allow me to explain.

Quick Background

The Old Republic is only the second MMO I’ve ever played a minute of; World of Warcraft was my first. As a resto druid healer, I had it pretty easy when running content. For one thing, I really only ran causal raids on farm night or alt night. For another, because I just followed along at the back of the pack and mostly stood farther away from the boss than anyone else, I didn’t have to pay as much attention to the raid leader’s instructions about which off-tank should grab what add or where the pools of fire around the boss are that the melee dps need to watch for. All I really needed to know was who was tanking and whether I was going to be healing the tank or healing the raid. Then when the fight started I healed by clicking on Healbot or Vuhdo (I have a history with both). For the most part, I didn’t have to focus a target, I didn’t have to watch for interrupts. Other than a bit of moving with w,a,s,d I didn’t really have to touch the keyboard too much. I have a 5 button mouse and had my healing add-on setup to throw about 10 different spells as long as I used a modifier key.

I’ll be honest, this basically made me lazy. When my friends started advancing towards serious raiding, I let them pass me by because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to contribute the way they would need me to contribute. I felt that way because I knew I had been lazy and I didn’t “know” my class all that well, I just happened to know how to use my mouse to spam wild growth and rejuv. I tried to correct this by rolling a new Worgen druid and leveling her up so that I could pay closer attention to the details. But there was some unfortunate drama going on around that time and I just never put my heart into it after that. Oh woe is me.

So now you know I am a fail WoW player. But I’m in a new game and I can be a new player. I am now determined to be a serious raider and I’ve switched my main role from heals to caster dps. There are no add-ons to lean on and make me lazy. It’s all on me. I HAVE to actually learn my class and know exactly what spell to throw and why I’m throwing it.

My Issue

Here I am in a new game, putting on my serious face and trying my hardest to remain focused and informed. Reading guides, blog posts, forums and any other resource necessary to try and gain some insight into how to play my Jedi Consular to her greatest potential. Unfortunately, information is limited since all of us are equally new. But there is information out there and I’m soaking it all in. Or at least I think I am. I hope I am. I’m reading it, there’s that.

What I’m starting to realize about myself is that having a companion there to tank for me (or heal, as the case may be) isn’t really helping me learn how to maximize my dps. I mean, I am not solely responsible for how a mob dies so how do I know if I’m killing him the most efficient way? Even if I put Qyzen away and have Tharan follow me around to heal me I’m still cheating. I don’t have to be as aware of standing in the fire because Tharan’s there to heal me. And not only is he healing me, he’s also dps’ing with his blaster and he’s got his holowhore dancing in front of the mob and helping me out with a stun. WHAT AM I LEARNING HERE? This is why I said in the intro that the issue is me; because this companion system is pure genius as far as helping you level. And don’t get me started on the crew skills thing. BRILLIANT!

But with no type of combat meter or combat log (which are supposedly coming at some point) I have no way of knowing if I’m doing okay or not. I am not a theorycrafter and in fact, math generally gives me a headache and causes me to lose interest completely, so I usually try to avoid it if at all possible. Not all nerds are math nerds, who knew?

What I do know is that there are fights with elites that I sometimes wipe on 3 or 4 times. And I’m panicked that indicates a problem. To make matters worse, I got so frustrated this weekend with an elite fight that I noticed myself just simply button-mashing by my 3rd attempt. WTF? How am I going to raid with people that I actually care about if I’m a button-masher? I do have a rotation of sorts that I use consistently, though I have no way of knowing if it’s the best rotation. Based on my personal understanding of my spells and talent points, I think it is. But after becoming frustrated with wiping, I apparently threw my rotation right out the window and that’s something I cannot afford to make a habit. Yes, change my rotation if it’s not working. Tweak it and move spells around here and there to improve. But start button-mashing? NOOOOOOOooooooo.

So The Question Is…

The question is: Is having a companion do a chunk of the work for me impacting how effective I will be when raiding? I’m in a guild with experienced raiders who made solid progression in WoW. They aren’t elitist jerks and I’m not scared of them, but that doesn’t mean I expect them to keep me around if I’m not pulling my weight. This is just as serious to me as it is to them.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying companions are bad for the game or detrimental to raiding in any way. I’m not even saying they’re detrimental to me. I’m saying I need to figure out a way to make sure I’m doing all the damage I should be doing. To make matters worse, I’m caught up in the “trying to get to level 50” mentality. Several guildies have passed me in leveling and the ones that haven’t are very close to me AND have alts that are a decent level too. I have to put that aside and concentrate on not letting myself rush through just because I feel competitive. There’s no point in getting to level cap if I’m doing everything wrong while there.

A Possible Solution?

I’ve been thinking (worrying) about this for quite some time and I’ve finally decided it’s time for less thinking and more action. This week I’m going to spend some time backtracking a level or two and attacking some elites without using a companion. If I die I’ll try to switch my rotation up a bit and see what the difference is. It’s a rudimentary way of going about it, but I can’t think of any better solution. If I find that I am able to beat them without too much trouble, I’ll find an elite the next level up and try it again.

I’m curious if anyone else out there has these same type of concerns. I am also more than willing to take advice on how to prevent button-mashing and to learn of any tricks of the trade that will help me find the best rotation for me and maximize my dps. I am currently a level 44 Jedi Consular Sage following the Balance tree. Like an idiot, I am writing this post away from the pc I play SWTOR on and I forgot to capture a screenshot of my current talents. I believe the image below is an accurate recreation though. Just during the process of recreating it online, I can already see where a few points might be wasted. I will definitely be working on resetting my tree this week.

If you’re choosing the Balance tree like I am, let me know how your points compare to mine and why you chose them. I would also love to know what rotation you generally use so I can see how it compares to mine. I am open to criticism. I need to get this right. I realize I need to play my character according to my style and what I’m comfortable with; I don’t want someone to hand me a cookie-cutter build and do all the work for me. But I welcome any feedback.

A Little Bit Of Friday Fun

It’s been a long, rough week at work (not really but that sounds more dramatic; it’s been a pretty typical week at work) and my brain is too zapped to do a lot of witty writing (I know, I don’t write witty even when I don’t have an excuse) so I’m just going to throw a few screenshots at you and maybe type out a caveman sentence or two describing them.

First up, last night = bow chicka wow wow with Lt. Iresso.

Next I wanted to introduce you to my Sith Inquisitor. Her name is Regan and she lives on Drooga’s Pleasure Barge. Just a fun little vacation alt for when I get tired of my Jedi ways and wanna kill people with lightning.

There is something about her that I just absolutely love. I actually think she’s the prettiest of all my characters. Those gray eyes are so piercing.

And though she’s only level 10 and I haven’t logged in with her much at all, some of my best screenshots have come from playing her. The lightning definitely helps. And I love the overload ability too. So here’s a few screenshots of Regan. I hope you enjoy.

Link Love – Spreading The SWTOR

** UPDATE **

I have had some great comments on this post and have been able to gather a couple of more links to share.

First, let me point out that I made an effort not to procrastinate and I have already updated the sidebar on the right side of my page here to include the complete list of blogs in this post as well as some podcast and fansite (resources) links. Please be sure and check them out.

Second, here are a few more blogs that have been added since I posted this yesterday:
A Lovely Starwar
The Sith Code


Any of you guys ever heard of a little game called World of Warcraft? Yeah, I thought so. I am a WoW player. I haven’t logged in much since SWTOR launched, but it’s not because I’m ready to be done with it. I have an attachment to WoW that I just can’t shake and a lot of that is a direct result of the amazing community presence I found as a small-time WoW blogger. There are just so many amazing people on my WoW feed reader and WoW twitter feed. I still follow them daily even though I’m all wrapped up in Star Wars. A good community can be an invaluable resource to a game. It offers help, experience, opinion, encouragement, theorycrafting, creativity, detailed user guides or even just simple humor.

Today I want to do my part to help the SWTOR community grow and thrive so that it can be a valuable and vibrant part of the game experience. Below is a list of all of the SWTOR blogs I am currently aware of and have added to my feed reader. I have only included the smaller, personal type blogs here and have not included the larger Fan Sites that push out multiple posts a day by multiple authors. Those are still important, but you likely already know about them.

The links below appear in alphabetical order. I encourage everyone to check them all out for yourselves, pass them along to others and even take the time to leave a comment or two. I must admit I have not been taking the time to comment on most of the posts I read, but I will make the promise here today to begin leaving more comments.

Please Note: some of the blogs below are more of a general gaming blog and are not dedicated to only discussing SWTOR.

A New Dope
Button Mashers Of The Empire
Crew Skills
Darth Jedi
Dulfy’s Healing Corner
Faces Of The Ranger
Force Mocha
Gemtrix Networks
Going Commando
Han Shot First
Hawtpants Of The Old Republic
Inquisitor’s Roadhouse
Jasper’s SWTOR Blog … this one is just pure cuteness right here. It’s written by a 6 year old.
Mana Obscura
Mech Healing
MMO Gamer Chick
MMO Melting Pot … has been a great resource for WoW and is now one for SWTOR
MMO Overflow
Moon Over Endor
Peal’s Heals
Psynister’s Notebook
Scary Worlds
Screaming Monkeys
Skeleton Jack
Space Cadets
Summertime on Hoth
Tales From TOR
Taugrim’s MMO Blog
ToR Healbot
The Church Of Alvis
The Consular’s Code
The Land Of Odd
The Meat Shield
The Niquisition
The Snark Side … my guild’s blog
The Stoppable Force
Tobold’s MMORPG Blog

If you are writing or reading a SWTOR blog that I have not yet discovered, please leave me a comment and I will add it to the list and the feed reader. I will also be adding a permanent blogroll list here on this site, but I am a procrastinator and I’d rather be logged in most of the time, so it may take a week or so.

As a side note, you can find me on Twitter at @_kristalys. I need to find more people to follow there also.

Speaking Of Fashion

I am currently level 41 and have been questing on Hoth for several days now. I’m freezing. So I decided to warm myself up a bit by backtracking to Nar Shaddaa and finishing up a bonus quest I still had in my log. While there, I had to speak with npc Deera Ulyette. As I watched the cut scene during our interaction I realized I really loved the outfit she was wearing. Like an idiot I didn’t grab a screenshot from the cut scene where she was zoomed in and presented in high quality. You’ll just have to use your imagination.

I want these clothes for Kristalys.

Adventures In Helmets

I am not someone who you will find worrying about fashion too much in my everyday life. In fact, I pretty much wear jeans, a sports oriented t-shirt (KC Chiefs, Nike, etc.) and some tennis shoes. Although I am currently rocking some pretty cool tennis shoe fashion because I recently got my hands on some vintage 1962 Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. They were my uncles when he played basketball in high school and I found them covered in cobwebs in my grandparents garage over the Christmas holiday. He passed away 13 years ago so there’s some obvious sentimental value there. Making the story even cooler is the fact that my uncle was paralyzed when a tornado struck his military base in Fort Rucker, Alabama the year before I was born. The man was in a wheelchair my whole life and I never got to see him walk. Now I’m walking around in shoes he played high school basketball in. Crazy.

But as cool as that story is, it has nothing to do with Star Wars: The Old Republic. So let’s move on. I may have no real sense of fashion for how I dress myself, but when it comes to my favorite characters in a video game I can get pretty worked up about how they look and what they wear. And while every game I’ve ever played has their fair share of ugly ass clothes, they have also always included some really cool looking stuff. Except for helmets. Helmets are always ugly and SWTOR is no different. Especially if you’re a Jedi Consular. Omg, it’s ridiculous.

During the lead up to the game launching, all of the Jedi Consular’s I saw online and in released trailers were wearing this weird thing on their head that looked like a kitchen curtain and a nun’s habit had spent a drunken weekend in the back alley’s of Nar Shaddaa. I hated it instantly and swore I’d never wear it on my Consular. Imagine my disappointment when a guildie sent me one in-game and I wore it for a few levels because I didn’t have another orange helmet at the time. For the record, this is called the Force Perception Headgear.

Obviously I had chosen the option to hide my helm so that it wouldn’t display. Actually, I had set that option way back in the lower levels when I got my first helmet and it looked like a cantaloupe had been carved out and turned upside down on my head. Since I didn’t want to spend large amounts of money just to buy one off the Global Trade Network that looked better, I was hoping I could get some helm drops from questing. Unfortunately, I did. These are both green quality items, so I immediately sold them.

I got the Mindak Norris Hat:

And then I got the Calla Designs Senator’s Cap, which looks even worse from the back:

Yes, I realize that thanks to the handy “do not display helmet” feature, none of this really matters. But it’s the principle of the thing. I guess we’re the Jedi version of a priest, but do we have to be decked out like one all the time? I’m not even specced for healing, so why do I have to look like that? Finally, it bugged me too much and I did start searching the Global Trade Network for some new headgear. I spotted the Omenbringer’s Headgear for about $8000 (I think) and it’s an orange moddable piece, so I snagged it right up and have been wearing it proudly ever since. Is it perfect and beautiful? No. But it’s decent and a hell of a lot better than my previous ones.

Great Things Bioware Is Saying

This Is Cool – 

Any of you that have checked your email today have probably already learned that Bioware has decided to grant a special in-game title to players who got in on the beginning of Star Wars: The Old Republic. If you haven’t received the email yet, I’m sure it will arrive soon. I am excited about this title and will likely display it on my character when we finally get it. Partly because I’m one of those jerks who likes to rub people’s faces in stuff. “Ha ha, look at me! I’ve got something that will never be available again. You’re a loser because you don’t have it. Bow to me in all my greatness.”

Okay, maybe that’s a little exaggerated. I’m not actually THAT big of a jerk. But I am proud of the fact that I was in at the beginning of this thing. I never played vanilla WoW and have always been jealous of the people who did. So yeah, I wanna do a little bragging about the fact that I was here for launch. Pre-launch, actually. In fact, let me take this moment to brag in a jerkish way and remind you all that I got in on December 13th, the very first day of early access. No, that doesn’t make me special or better than you. It just makes me happy in my own little pointed head.

But back to the Founder title. While I think this is a cool move on Bioware’s part and I appreciate they are recognizing they had a pretty large player base to launch with, there is one thing I do feel like being a jerk about. Anyone who purchases the game and redeems their code by March 19, 2012 get’s the title. I think that’s a bit too long of a date range. If it were up to me, I’d limit it to anyone who was in-game by the end of December. But they didn’t ask my opinion, so March 19th it is.

But Then There’s This –

While news about the Founder title has made me happy, it’s not the best thing Bioware has said this week. What has really made me squee was reading the post by James Ohlen, Game Director, that he posted in the Community News section of yesterday. The best parts were:

…We have another major update planned for March and future content arriving throughout 2012 and 2013. We plan to release new Operations, Flashpoints, Warzones, Space Missions, single player content, vehicles, and companion characters. We’ll always be improving our existing game with additions like guild banks, PVP ranked matches and interface customization. Our Legacy system expands in March, bringing more options and a new level of depth to the existing character classes.

…Expect a few surprises between these Game Updates, too. You never know when the Republic might strike Dromund Kaas, if a mysterious alien fleet could appear in the Core Worlds… or when the Rakghoul plague of Taris might infect the rest of the Galaxy. Changes are coming, and they’ll affect everyone.

…We fully intend to support Star Wars: The Old Republic—and our players—for many years to come.

How freaking amazing does that sound?

Tom Cruise Would Be So Proud

While questing along in Balmorra, I got a quest reward of some green pants that happened to have better stats than the orange modded lower robe I had been wearing at the time. Because I was too lazy to take the time to travel somewhere and buy new mods for the robe, I just stuck it in my bags and threw the pants on. I knew they didn’t look good, but I didn’t pay much attention. However, during a Flashpoint with guildies, one of the guys pointed at them and laughed and I realized they are pretty ridiculous looking. And the boots I’m currently wearing do nothing to compliment them. In fact, if you catch me at the right angle, it sort of looks like I’m just wearing underwear and tube socks. So of course I had to break out in dance. And just in case you don’t know what I’m referencing here, the video is below the screenshot.

How My Legacy Name Accidentally Affected Me

So in my last post I mentioned that I had finally completed Chapter 1 on my main character and had gotten to choose my Legacy name. I had known in advance that somewhere around level 34 (depending on how quickly you completed class quests) this was going to happen. Like I’ve already mentioned, I spent a little time choosing a surname I was happy with. But other than getting the name right and reaching one of the major milestones on the way to 50, I didn’t really think much about the Legacy system. I mean, the system itself is still sort of a mystery as far as what the exact benefits are and how everything is going to work. We know it’s going to be a family tree of sorts where all of your characters on a server will be related to each other in some way, but there’s really not a whole lot of information other than that out there right now. All we have at the moment is the surname and a Legacy XP bar which begins to rack up points.

What I didn’t anticipate, since I have never been someone who does any role playing or ever worried about my alts even knowing each other, is how my Legacy name would immediately impact how I felt about my alts. I had a very low level Trooper I had created before my main completed Chapter 1 and I plan on leveling her up after Kristalys hits 50. This weekend I decided to take a break from grinding through Balmorra and spend an hour or two on the Trooper. She was only level 8 when I logged in, so you can see I hadn’t spent much time with her. And during my previous time, I had actually been having her choose some of the dark side quest options, just for fun. But when I logged in this weekend, suddenly her name was Sergeant Kristyne Greyson. Suddenly she was very definitely linked to Kristalys. And I found I just couldn’t have her pick the darkside options any more. She’s representing the family name and Kristalys is a very lightsided Jedi. Now Kristyne simply must be a good, dutiful Trooper. Also, it’s really exciting to see the Legacy XP bar just racking up the points. I can’t wait to find out what benefits I will get from it.

Already I’m wondering how this is going to play out with other characters I create. There’s supposed to be a family tree type aspect to the system, where you choose if a character is your parent, sibling, etc. I’m guessing if I ever do decide I want to level a character up with hella darkside points, I’m gonna have to make her a distant cousin or a half-sister or something. It’s just one more thing that SWTOR does that has me completely immersed in my character and her story more so than any other game I’ve ever played.

Well done, Bioware. Well done.

I Finally Have A Legacy Name

Finally finished Act 1 last night and got to choose my Legacy name. This was something I had been thinking about for weeks, it became quite a headache. I didn’t want it to just be something silly. I wanted it to sound good with what I name my alts on the same server. I didn’t want it to be a name I pulled from any family or friend. So stressful. Finally I settled on Greyson. That’s actually a name I picked out 10+ years ago for my future little baby boy if I ever have one. At the time I had never heard it, but now it’s gaining in popularity so I’ll have to think of something else. Lol. After the legacy moment was finally here and then over with, I went to the VIP lounge in the Republic Fleet cantina to rock out and grab a drink. I don’t really look too happy in the picture, but I promise I’m smiling on the inside.

I will be changing titles, since the Barsen’thor title actually makes it look like Barsen’thor is my last name. Fail.