Revisiting the Consular

Although I started what seemed like a recurring series of posts relating to the various goings-on on the Onslaught PTS, it eventually became clear that this sort of thing would stop being viable pretty quickly. I had already seen several things I'd reported on be changed within a day or two after a post about the PTS and changes were becoming more substantial and reasonably fast-flowing as time went on.

Besides, it's only (theoretically) a week until 6.0 launches anyway, so to make another post so soon to the apparent deadline, when things may yet still change drastically compared to where they were on the PTS, is just horribly impractical. As such, most of my thoughts from the past however-many-updates are being collated into a "The Good, The Bad, and The Eeehhhhhs" post for a few weeks after 6.0's launch. 

Today's post, therefore, is to be on a different subject altogether. For the past two months, I've been taking a brand-new Consular through their class story.

The Consular's is not by any means my least-played story or not even the one that is the most outstanding; the latter honour goes to my Gunslinger (I think) while the former honour used to be shared across five classes; Agent, Consular, Inquisitor, Knight, and Smuggler. I've played through each of these stories in-full twice each, and the only reason why my Hunter, Trooper, and Warrior have seen more is due to my relatively turbulent history with individual characters of those classes.

Two things factor into why I decided to replay the Consular storyline. The first is because, well, my current 'main' Sage is an instant-60 so therefore lacks any class titles. The second is because the last playthrough wasn't really 'mine'; I shared the majority of the story with a friend who took their new Shadow along for the ride. Apart from forever searing my eyes with how absolutely nightmarish their character was, this meant that I never really had much opportunity to really memorise the story as a lot of the time it was drowned out either by us making silly screenshots or comparing the Light and the Dark perspectives.

Of course, that's not to say that I didn't take the opportunity to recreate the aforementioned screenshot when the time came...

Both of these points also essentially means that, now that Consular companions have been trickling back into the game, I had a particularly outdated viewpoint on every single one of them. I was keen, therefore, to not only experience an individual Consular playthrough again and to see what new things I would pick up this time around to relay back to the recent new stuff.



Further Adventures on the Onslaught PTS

As I was hoping, the PTS was brought online before I had to disappear off across the Atlantic, allowing some time to hop back on and analyse the changes.

Along with reporting on these various changes, there were some inaccuracies in my original post that really needed updating. Granted, some of these were due to updates that were announced or brought in shortly after the post was uploaded but there were some which I had completely the wrong idea about.

I get easily confused by a lot of things these days.


Half a Decade

I may not be blogging consistently these days, something which I attribute to real life goings-on (which I will not go into any more detail on), and I'm honestly surprised I've been able to keep this going on for as long as it has been.

Most of my personal endeavours have collapsed in on themselves after a year at most. Based on this history, I would never have imagined my blog to have lasted two years, let alone five. Yet here we are. Fifth year over, and the sixth is beginning.

I don't have many plans for the blog currently, at least as far as pre-Expansion writings go, as indicated by just how empty this celebration post is especially after the last couple of years. There's a post I've been working on for the past couple of months which will go live on the last day of 5.0, showcasing my favourite and least-favourite aspects of the current expansion.

Beyond that, I think it will purely be PTS-related stuff. I am already fairly certain that Phase Two will begin after I'm out of the country from next Thursday, but we're still to see Hunters hit the PTS, hopefully this weekend, so I'll try and crank a post out before I depart for new territory if I can.

There are certainly some inaccuracies in my original post regarding the PTS, either because things have since been updated (I had already noted one change, but it is clear from the Mercenary and Powertech posts that set-bonuses in general are receiving a significant update at some point) or because I had completely the wrong end of the stick (e.g. set bonus attribute gain) at the time. It would just be easier to include those corrections in a new post than adjust a post that people may no longer be reading.

Or at least I view it that way.

So, five years on. How many may yet follow? I do not know, nor do I particularly wish to know. As with a lot of things for me these days, this blog is very much on "take it as it comes" status. I daresay things won't be at all different for the SWtOR community with its absence, but it's still been a useful outlet for my thoughts across the years.

That's all there is to this year's post. Now, on to the future and what it brings.

Thank you for your readership, those of you who have stuck with it all this while.



Adventures on the Onslaught PTS: Phase 1.5

With Onslaught due to launch next month (!), BioWare have been providing us with a steady flow of details regarding Classes, their new Abilities, and their various Tacticals and Set Bonus pieces. Last week they opened up the PTS, allowing people to test out the changes for Inquisitors and Warriors, before bringing it down within that same week to prepare for the inclusion of Agents. The PTS is currently open in "phase 1.5" of testing, although it will probably be brought down again next week to prepare for Hunters and phase 2.

I missed the initial batch of testing due to being on holiday, much to my disappointment. I was able to keep up with what people were saying on the testing forums, but both their reports and the official word of BioWare was not enough to really sate my interest. Notably, we knew what the ultimate tiers of the various Set Bonus items were going to be but the lower tiers were still a mystery - BioWare had highlighted that they would mainly be stat boosts and left it at that. Additionally, we didn't know how many of these sets would or wouldn't have six pieces.

Speaking of Set Bonus and Tactical items, the only ones that had been listed were specific to Classes; we'd already been told that there would be several items which everyone could use, but we weren't informed about any of these. Granted, considering the sheer potential of 'generic' items, this is likely because all the options aren't yet finished, but it would still have been interesting to receive official word on those which were ready to go. 

Then what about the Companions? BioWare had been hinting that they'd like to give Companion re-balancing another go, given how lackluster or powerful certain characters are, but there had been no indication of whether or not they'd even started this. 

So, when the PTS came back up on Wednesday, I happily launched myself into it. I'm in the fortunate situation whereby the Classes 'ready' for testing are those which I have the most experience with (sorry, Hunters) so when it came time for BioWare to list all the sets and Tacticals, I already had a good idea in my head of which items I was going to try out.

In this overview, I will also be listing just extremely generic findings as well as Class-specific ones. If you want to know what these are but have no interest in reading about Classes, you need merely look for the screenshots of the Imperial Fleet as that will be the cutoff point for Class details.


Characters I’d Like to See Introduced or Brought Back in Onslaught

Hello again!

The SWtOR community has been buzzing recently about the new details regarding the “play what you want, how you want” gearing system that is Spoils of War. While I, too, have been caught up in the whirlpool of hype (and confusion), I am choosing to wait until we actually get to see this new stuff in-action on the PTS before I offer my thoughts on it here.

Instead today I’m turning my attention to something I care about far more than gear, and that’s the in-game story characters. I’ve been thinking a great deal about who I’d like to see, either brought back or introduced for the first time, on Onderon and Mek-Sha and I just thought “hey, why not make a post about it?”

Obviously, some characters are a given. Darths Krovos and Malgus, Empress Acina, General Daeruun, Jonas Balkar, Major Anri, Moff Pyron, NR-O2, Tau Idair, and Vowrawn are all definitely going to be back in some way or another, either because of their prominence or their popularity. I’m also considering Alec Ranin and Lord Izar from the Hearts and Minds mission to be certainties since the two outreach programs would be well-used at various points in the new story.

I am also not thinking of the remaining missing Companions because 5.0's cycle is still not over and I don't want to include them here just in case BioWare surprise us and they all turn up in 5.10.4.

I doubt it, but I'm sticking to that rule anyway!

Beyond this lot, there are quite a few names (and one concept) I’ve come up with. I don't hope to see all of these characters with the initial launch, but I would certainly like to see them at some point in 6.0's story cycle.


The First 6.0 Details

Another Star Wars: Celebration, another bunch of interesting reveals.

Of course we've had the big reveals of the Episode IX title, the first full details of Jedi: Fallen Order and its hero Cal (no relation), and, by the end of today, more information regarding The Mandalorian and the long-awaited seventh series of The Clone Wars.

However, as glorious as those reveals are, the one which is the most pertinent to this blog is the first official glimpse of the next expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic.


Incursions on a very remote planet

Hello there!

It has been a while since I've last posted here. This is due to various reasons, ranging from real-life making it difficult to blog consistently (February, for example, was devoted entirely to work-experience) to not really knowing exactly what to devote a post to next. I have quite a few drafts which I've started, at least. 

Today, BioWare have announced details of the next-but-one patch, 5.10.3. At long last, after several years of it being requested by the KotOR crowd, the planet Dantooine is making its SWtOR debut

This is not the only glad tidings, however, as Dantooine will bring with it the first in-game event since the Rakghouls resurged in January 2014. That's well over five years since a new event! That said, there's actually a fair amount of familiarity to this event; the main villains of the piece are the Nova Blades from Rishi, this time sponsored by the Imperials to attack Republic settlements.

Of course, because this event needs to cater to everyone, the Nova Blades just attack anyone that happens to get in their way. Pirates; who can trust them?

Since this event is going to be the first one which has any real significance to the story, this implies that there will be a very small story update to go with it; I'm guessing this will continue the rather superficial loyalist and traitor choice from Ossus rather than expand on it or allow a faction-switching mechanic like Iokath did. It's a very safe option for them at this juncture, as then they can save the expansion itself for any bigger developments on that part. 

In the meanwhile people who actually want to defect will likely need to put up with more forced-pretending, which I can't imagine to be very fun for them. 

While I am of course ecstatic to see both a new event and one of the final two missing planets from the original KotOR at last, I have to admit I'm somewhat saddened by the implication that Dantooine will only ever be an event planet. Since it is an actual planet at least that should at least mean that we won't be restricted from travelling to it at any point like the Rakghoul tunnels. 

I would have definitely loved it to have been more significant that it is seemingly going to be, but it's not the end of the world. They may yet create more separate areas on various planets, akin to Black Hole and Section X, which I would absolutely love to see for many planets across SWtOR

April is going to be something of a month of information for SWtOR; we'll hopefully be getting info pertaining to 6.0 next weekend from Celebration in Chicago but we definitely know that they intend to give us more information for 5.10.3 later this month, presumably when 5.10.2 has launched. 

I genuinely can't wait to hear what BioWare has to say.