28/04/2017

Betrayers and the Betrayed

War for Iokath has introduced the totally original idea that there's a traitor in amongst the forces of the Alliance who also has connections with the Empire and the Republic, and is using these connections to apparently incite open warfare.

We have already seen their efforts result in multiple Uprisings against the Alliance by forces from both Empire and Republic, and of course their word is enough to make all three factions rush to Iokath as soon as the radiation subsides.

Whomever this traitor is is apparently female, and is wearing as part of their currently only-known getup the skirt of a Scion. However, for reasons I shall explain momentarily, I think this last fact is a clear attempt at misdirection.

Anyway, I just thought I'd offer my speculation on who this character is and who it most certainly can't be. For this post, I will be basing my suspicions off of the apparent gender of the individual.

26/04/2017

Twelve Months of TRE

It has been twelve months to the day since BioWare opened up cross-region server transfers, so by extension it has also been twelve months since I finally made an actually good decision in SWtOR and transfer to The Red Eclipse.

It's been a rather interesting year. I've got into a rut of doing group PvP, something which I didn't ever think I'd get truly involved in, resumed a fairly-dedicated Operations schedule after escaping another one of my "burned-out" breaks, and just generally have made my own mark on the server (for good or for ill is for others to decide, not me).

Of course I've made a fair number of friends along the way, and I'm thankful to them for (somehow) being able to put up with me, my ramblings, and anything else which drives people slightly barmy.

It has been a bit of a bumpy ride, though; since 5.0 hit, one thing has led to another and one of my longest SWtOR friends has decided to quit playing the game (at least on this server; he has previously retreated to other servers in the past so he may be doing this again). It's always sad to see friendships end, but it's not something I haven't been able to put behind me in the grand scheme of things.

I don't have anything planned by way of a celebration outside of this post. It's unfortunately one of those weeks were deadlines are ramping up, so I obviously don't have much time to dedicate to "non-crucial" SWtOR affairs.

Still, it's been a fun first year on TRE, and hopefully the next twelve months will be just as fun!

24/04/2017

Tier IV: Rewarding Stability

I'd been trying to write a post detailing my plans for Tier IV for quite some time, but because I always found myself drifting more towards the "I'd advise everyone to..." angle I decided to delay it until after 5.2 because then I'd be able to completely avoid the annoying advice-giving. Even I find my own advice aggravating at times.

So, yes, 5.2 brought with it Tier IV. We've known that this was coming for just about two months now, and since my main character Calph has been in full 242-rating Gear for just about as long I've had plenty of time to prepare.

I decided to stop opening Crates at the equivalent of Command Rank 511, with the aim of saving as many of them up as possible and disintegrating the contents. I didn't originally have a goal set in mind, but since the amount of Crates I'd earned poured over into a second Cargo Bay my goal to attain at least 160 - two Cargo Bays' worth of Crates - came into being. I did manage to attain this goal, and by Wednesday that 12th of April I had acquired 177 Tier III Crates.

I was also saving up any and every Operation, Uprising, and Flashpoint CXP Pack, and I'm fairly sure I don't need to justify this decision. Again by the 12th of April I had managed to acquire 209 CXP Packs, or more specificially:
  • 9 Rare, 10 Rare Bonus, 7 Super Rare, and 7 Super Rare Bonus Flashpoint CXP Packs, totalling 33.
  • 5 Uncommon, and 4 Rare Uprising CXP Packs (I didn't do as many Uprisings as I would have liked during this time), totalling 9.
  • 54 Common, 23 Uncommon Bonus, 45 Uncommon, 9 Uncommon Bonus, 32 Rare, and 4 Rare Bonus Operation Packs, totalling 167.
So come Wednesday the 19th of April, when I returned from holiday, I had a lot of things to open. Since the Light Side was fortuitously on Light IV when I logged on around 15:00 on that day, I didn't have too long to wait, but I started opening some Tier III Crates and Disintegrating the contents. I had earned only one Tier IV Crate when Light Side won, so I promptly opened up every CXP Pack I possessed.

The end result is that I managed to attain one-hundred-and-four Tier IV Command Crates from this Pack-popping (what an unpleasant phrase...). However, I decided to hold off from opening any until I had completely demolished my remaining Tier III Crates because I wanted to open all the Tier IV stuff in one go. Basically after everything was Disintegrated - including stuff from the Tier IV Crates - I had managed to earn a total of 19 additional Command Crates through Disintegrations alone

So, 123 Command Crates, and hopefully a shedload of items to wade through. I lost track of how many Prototype 244s I received, but this didn't matter since I didn't keep a single one of them. This is simply because they share the exact same stats as 242 gear (the mods are unoptimised so are useless anyway unless you're a Tank), so they are completely worthless to me. They're still an upgrade to anyone 240 and below, but the implication prior to 5.2 that they were an upgrade to 242 in their entirety has been completely disproved.

Even in spite of the silly 244 items I got quite lucky with my 'winnings'. From these 123 Command Crates I managed to receive:
  • 1x 246 Belt
  • 1x 246 Bracers
  • 1x 246 Quick Savant Implant
  • 1x 246 Serendipitous Assault Relic
  • 1x 246 Boots
  • 1x 246 Greaves
  • 2x 246 Offhand Blaster
  • 1x 246 Mainhand Blaster
  • 1x 248 Quick Savant Implant
  • 1x 248 Focused Retribution Relic
  • 1x 248 Gloves
  • 1x 248 Mainhand Blaster
Because I also had 1,000 Unassembled Components stored up on Calph, I decided to purchase the Adept Earpiece, second Quick Savant Implant, Serendipitous Assault Relic, and another Blaster, spending 972 Components in the process. 

So as a result of the various spare items I received (and decided to Claim; I received about three pairs of Artifact 246 Gloves which all got Disintegrated) every single one of my Mods and Enhancements are 246 or better. I have since managed to acquire a third 248 Blaster from a recent Command Crate, so the spare Mod and Enhancement from this have been useful for upgrades as well. Aggravatingly, I also received a now-useless 248 Serendipitous Assault Relic from another Crate, but that's unfortunately the nature of RNG gearing. 

There was, however, one moment of monumental slip-up. I received a 248 Adept Implant in one of these Crates, something which sits at odds with how my gear is currently set-up (as you've already read, I use an Adept Earpiece alongside two Quick Savant Implants). I decided to keep it around and wait to see if I received a QS Earpiece or Implant before deciding its final fate, but unfortunately I cocked up and instead of Claiming it as I eventually wanted to do, I accidentally Disintegrated it.

This is the first instance I have ever had in the brief history of Galactic Command of Disintegrating an item which I wanted to Claim. Unlike a lot of people who have made this mistake, my most frequent slip-up has been Claiming a host of items which I wanted to Disintegrate (a mistake I also made several times on Wednesday), so it's nice to finally suffer this accident myself since that completely eradicates my especially-annoying superiority complex in this regard.

That said, I'm thankful that this Implant wasn't something which I wasn't dubious about Claiming, but it's still rather aggravating when all is said and done.

~~~

Tier IV has been rather interesting to tussle with, even though it's still barely a week old. The drop-rate being fixed for an unspecified amount of time (it is worth noting that a mount in the Decorations which states its Source as being a "Tier V Command Crate", so it remains to be seen how this is integrated and how it affects Tier IV and Rank 300) is both a blessing and a curse, since it means that you always know you have the same chance to get gear as you'll ever have, but at the cost of knowing that your chances to get better gear can never increase.

Or at least not for the time being. We still don't know whether Tier V will ever become a reality, and whether or not they'll begin adding Ranks to Tier IV to prepare for its potential arrival. If it does happen, it will probably be similar to Tier IV as it is now, whereby the Rank where it 'starts' is the only Rank it can be. 

Let's only hope that Tier VI doesn't enter into proceedings any time soon...

20/04/2017

Thoughts on 5.2: The Good, the Bad, and the Eeehhhhhs (Volume Two)

So 5.2 launched on Tuesday, bringing with it a small-scale Story update, the first boss of the first new Operation in two-and-a-half-years, Master Mode Uprisings, and a new Daily Zone with attached Reputation Factions.

Since I locked myself into a regime of "Thoughts on [Patch.Patch]" throughout 4.0, I decided that I would resurrect this regime from 5.2 onwards, since there is a lot to discuss that isn't just "How to make Galactic Command somewhat more bearable" as 5.1 largely was.

17/04/2017

Front Lines and Stabs in the Back

The story update coming with 5.2 will be bringing back two powerful NPCs as part of the story; Supreme Commander Jace Malcom and the Sith Empress Acina. Since the story involves us choosing our side, this will also dictate which of the two is antagonistic and getting in our way, and which is friendly and helping us out.

However, there may be an additional side-effect of this choice. In the comments section of this post by Shintar of Going Commando I raised a purely-hypothetical situation of the absolute extreme. Normally I'd just leave such a comment alone since its a point made in a very specific context, but this particular hypothetical has had me thinking quite a lot over the past two days, so I have something to get off my chest.

14/04/2017

The New Warrior's Path

5.2's delay has certainly caused something of a discussion point amongst the SWtOR Community. Some are regarding it as an embarrassment or a failure, others don't mind in the slightest, and there are those who are happy with the delay since it means that, ultimately, they get a "better" patch update than they would have done otherwise.

I put myself roughly in the "don't mind" category. I'm somewhat miffed that I'll be missing the launch-day of the Patch due to being on holiday (indeed, this blog post is currently being written under the grey skies of a caravan park) until the Wednesday, but at the end of the day I'm only missing one day of 5.2. Ultimately, I can't be at all annoyed about missing the Tuesday since on this day next week I'll be visiting the Star Wars Identities exhibition in the O2 Arena before attending a concert by the phenomenal Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall.

Culture!

So, with 5.2 being delayed, I decided to turn my attention elsewhere this week, since I was particularly keen to avoid doing things on Calph for as much as possible, given that I had brought her CXP total to 4,989/4,990 for her current Command Rank. This avoidance did fall through yesterday (aggravating for my OCD) but again, can't complain because Master Mode Draxus bit the dust to make our raid group feel good about ourselves.

Instead, I focused what attention I could this week before holidays interrupted procedures to continuing the adventures of the only DvL character I have left in active use; my newest Sith Juggernaut, Ferok'ia.

14/03/2017

She's a Maaaanhunter

Of all the Achievements in PvP - or even in the game in general - few are as coveted as <I Am Death Incarnate>. For those who aren't aware, this is the fifth and final Achievement for killing people in PvP-combat, and entails killing a total of 50,000 people. For comparison, the previous four entail killing 10, 100, 1,000, and 10,000 players. Thankfully they don't keep with the factor of ten for the final one; 50,000 is daunting enough, 100,000 would be something else entirely.

The main reason why this is such a coveted Achievement is because of the Legacy title which it grants: Manhunter. Curiously, the fourth Achievement (killing 10,000) is actually called <Manhunter>, which isn't confusing at all.

You've probably worked out the point of this blog post already, so I'll stop beating around the bush and get straight to lighting it on fire.

Wrong metaphor? Definitely.

Yesterday evening, I finally managed to earn this Achievement on Calph. It had been three years, five months, and five days since I had earned the 10,000 Player Kills Achievement.

Getting gradually closer and closer has rather dominated my priorities in PvP combat of-late, since rather than go and guard as I usually do on Calph (because Gunslingers are flippin' good guards), I found myself wanting to get more into the action to get this done quicker.

This backfired considerably on Sunday, the day I originally planned to earn the Achievement - if for no other reason than it allowing my Monday-post-schedule to be met - due to the teams we kept coming across; I needed roughly seventy kills, and whilst a couple of late-afternoon match proved decent, the only Warzones where we had any marked success during my guild's "PvP Prime-Time" in actually killing multiple players were Arenas. The teams we came across in the two VoidStar matches we were allocated had too many Healers to allow for killing no more than ten players across both rounds. These things happen, but it was rather disappointing to miss my goal.

So it was that I began Monday with twenty-eight players left to kill. As with Sunday, kills weren't particularly easy to get due to the skill/plenitude of the Healers, but I did manage to get eighteen kills between the initial VoidStar and Novare Coast matches. Odessen Proving Grounds was the third WarZone, which historically doesn't really provide much opportunity to get many kills, but as luck would have it things worked out nicely. I ended up with twelve kills, which, if you've been following closely, you should be able to work out as two surplus kills to my desired total of ten.

The Moment of Glory
~~~

Of course, with a new shiny and highly-coveted Legacy title comes the opportunity to come up with a funny Screenshot showing it in use. I decided that I would punish some of my Companions in fulfilling this goal, because I just couldn't think of anything more original at the time.

Certainly, I wasn't going to go into a Warzone, take a bloody 'selfie', and then quit never having intended to play at all. That's just not cricket.

Bowdaar wasn't particularly impressed that I would think to use him in this way, and wouldn't even return a high-five. 

"Oh, c'mon, you big lump, share the love!"
Koth was much more receptive to celebration, though, but as he is currently the focus of Calph's romantic affections I don't think he could do anything other than participate for the good of his health.

(Out of frame: C2 holding a pistol in Koth's direction)
Okay, so it doesn't really suit Calph as a Smuggler. I know that a Hunter would make far more sense, but considering that Calph is my main and the one who actually placed that triggering killing-blow, I couldn't really show it off on any other character.

Besides, I much prefer Party Crasher as Calph's Legacy title. Much more apt.

~~~

I'm pleased to finally have this Legacy title as a part of my arsenal, but I'm just so relieved to get this Achievement under my belt in general. It is by far one of the most tantalising Achievements, in spite of its "inevitable" status for people who engage in PvP frequently.

This in many ways is probably what puts a lot of people off. 50,000 is, as already mentioned, a very sizeable amount of players to kill for the 'casual' PvPer, a caste which I most certainly throw myself into. Indeed, if I were to find a way to let my younger self know that I would be getting this Achievement, I'd probably be scoffed at.

Quite how a new player feels when they look at that Achievement and its requirements I don't know; I'm sure some will see it as a challenge, but PvP is no longer as 'easy' to get into gear-wise as it used to be. Indeed, if it wasn't for Patch 3.3 reducing the gear costs to a very manageable level I probably would never have escaped from my self-imposed 'PvP drought'.

Back to the matter at hand.

It's been a long road getting to this point, and I'm happy to be 'released' back to my guarding duties in future matches. Now all I need to do is earn those pesky final seven-and-three-quarter Valor levels...