Blog Archives

Bits And Pieces

There are generally 2 reasons why my blog posting will temporarily slow down. One is life is too busy, work is too hard, not enough time in the day, etc. The other common reason is the one I’m currently suffering from… I”m so absorbed into the game that I don’t log out and leave myself enough time to do everything else I need to do.

Thanks to our guild’s very own “Mad Crafter”, Njessi, Kristalys is wearing a lot of augmented orange gear, is in a good routine of doing dailies (though not daily :P), and doesn’t require as much constant attention. Which means I finally get to spend some time working with alts. It’s been a total blast getting back into the amazing storyline questing that SWTOR does so damn well. It’s sucking up a lot of my time. I’m still not a super-fast leveler because I still spend a lot of time gawking around. But it’s keeping me very entertained.

I am also getting comfortable with raiding and don’t spend all day Friday and Saturday freaking out about how I may derp things up. And speaking of raiding, we’ve got a guildie who’s new to raiding who recently hit 50 and is starting to run with us. We also have a new trial member who answered our recruiting call for a healer and HOLY COW SHE LEVELED TO 50 IN 2 WEEKS so she could get in some raiding with us before it’s time to decide on her permanent status with us. So raiding has been a bit more light-hearted recently as we’ve welcomed these noobs into the fold.

During the first Eternity Vault clear with the noobs, our new trial member healer, Graceless, won the big-daddy Caddy that dropped. After we got back to the fleet she and I totally went cruising in style together.

But before we headed back to the fleet we decided to strike a pose and get a screenshot to commemorate the event of the noob’s first clear. I got a little distracted.

The next night, during a joint event with The Church of Alvis, we ran through Karagga’s Palace and all busted up laughing when we rounded a corner to see that Biscotti had ran ahead and lounged himself on a couch in the hallway. I don’t know exactly why it was so funny, but trust me, it was. You can see him in the bottom right corner just chillin.

Last, I started a new Sith Inquisitor on Juyo to take advantage of the Legacy system and I’ve had a lot of fun working with her. This is like the 4th time I’ve leveled a Sith Inquisitor up to the fleet and it’s still a blast every time. Jordynn here is level 14 and she’s a keeper. I can’t wait to see how much more fun the class gets as I keep going.

The end.

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Operations Are Srs Bzns

While we’ve had our share of trouble with bugs, The Snark Side has been doing a damn good job of progressing through Operations since starting them last month. It’s because we have the best group of people ever assembled. True story. Dependable, responsible, mature people who know how to stay focused. Running Ops is serious business and to succeed you have to be surrounded by people who are committed to working hard. There’s no time for goofing off or wasting time or

… wait a minute…

what the hell?

WHO TOOK THIS PICTURE?

Oh right, I took this picture. Tee hee.

Two Quick Things And A Bonus Screenshot

1. I have not forgotten I said I’d do a round-up post linking to anyone who chose to join me in writing a 3 month update post. I am giving everyone a few more days and then I’ll get that post up on Friday. So if you have already written a 3 month update post, will be writing one before Friday, or know someone who has written one then be sure and leave a comment on this post with the link so I can get it included.

2. As you know, I’m a proud member of the best guild ever, The Snark Side, and today I wrote a post for the guild blog which you can find here on the one and only (and always entertaining) Snarkside.com.

And as promised, here’s a bonus screenshot: this is me our first time in Karaggas Palace and as a new hardcore raider you can see I’m really trying hard to impress my guild by showing off my floor-tanking skills. Seriously, it’s a good thing I’ve already wormed my way into their hearts because I’m afraid I wouldn’t make the cut if I applied as a raider.

So Here’s What Happened….

… I hit level 50 and it somehow sucked the blogging right out of me.

DON’T STOP READING, THIS DOESN’T MEAN I HATE THE GAME.

The story-telling, leveling process is very cool in SWTOR and with everything being a new experience, I had plenty of stuff to write about while leveling. Now that I’m 50 … I am still having a total blast and the game is still very cool. I just, for whatever reason, haven’t had a lot to say. I blame this on several game related things and several non-game related things.

Let’s start with the non-game related things.

      • Overtime at work: money = good, mental exhaustion = less SWTOR. Also, for years now I’ve done the majority of my blogging at work and when work is behind & I don’t have time to write posts, I don’t make the time to write them at home. It’s just too much of a routine to write them at work.
      • High School Basketball season: I love watching sports live, I love my friends, I love watching my friend’s kid play sports live. Especially when she’s the star bball player averaging 26 points a game her senior year. Add to that I decided to become her official photographer for the season and I spent a lot of time driving all over the state watching basketball games these past few months. March Madness baby, it’s a real thing. Also, my twin nephews just spent 6 weeks playing in an indoor soccer league and I went to those games too
      • The winter blues: they cannot be escaped.
      • There are too many games: I still play WoW a bit, I play Xbox games (bought Skyrim this weekend but haven’t started it yet), I have about 18 games through Steam … there are too many games. And Guild Wars 2 is coming. And Diablo 3 beta is coming. WTB moar time.

Now the game related things.

    • I have managed to overwhelm myself with screenshots and it just seems too daunting to sit down and weed some out for editing. Also, I’m still genuinely worried about posting something that may be a spoiler for someone since the game is so new.
    • I’m not gonna lie, I miss achievements. SWTOR does have the codex system that pops up text when you discover new lore/creatures/etc. And I am obsessed with trying to complete my codex. But it’s not the same as achievements. It’s not exciting for me to write a post “Hey you guys, I just found a Wampa” because everyone who goes to Hoth will find a Wampa. BFD. If we had an achievement system similar to WoW then I’d be more excited and could post things like “Hey you guys, I just finished questing in Hoth and got the ‘Didn’t Have To Sleep In A TaunTaun’ achievement”.
    • When I’m logged in, I am so worried about doing dailies to gain raiding gear and farming slicing nodes to gain credits that I don’t spend any time on my alts. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy my dailies, but there’s just nothing new to talk about there, whereas working on an alt would give me a whole new cool storyline to post about.
    • I am not a raiding expert. Or an expert on anything for that matter. I’ve never been one who could theorycraft, crunch numbers while analyzing my dps, remember every detail of every wipe or kill we experienced 2 nights ago, etc. My posts are fluffy. I am aware of it. And fluffy posts are not a necessity in this world, so I’ve found myself putting blogging on the back burner in favor of other things. The problem is, I really enjoy blogging and it frustrates me that I am not posting at least twice a week. I’d actually prefer 3 or 4 posts a week. Sigh.

Okay, I’ll stop there. That’s enough QQ’ing for one day. Although I’m really not QQ’ing so much as just trying to offer an explanation for why things are the way they are. The bright side is, basketball & soccer are over, work has (temporarily) slowed down, I’ve spent a little bit of time on my Trooper alt the past few days, and I’m starting to shed the winter blues. I’m hopeful that means things around here will become a bit more lively again. Except this coming weekend I’m going out of town to booze it up and spend lots of money at the casino so don’t expect much out of me until I recover. Unless I win big, in which case I could quit my job and become a full-time blogger. I’ll keep you posted.

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.