Milestone: 4-Year Anniversary!

So this rustbucket of a blog has survived its fourth year, undoubtedly the roughest of the lot so far. It can't have escaped anyone's attention that I haven't been posting at all frequently over the past 365 days, but regardless, the fourth year is in the can.

Much like the last two years, this heralds a look back over the past twelve months' worth of posts, seeing which the most popular were and allowing me to provide a commentary of them. This will purely be looking over the posts made after the Third Year Anniversary post, and I feel the need to make this distinction because otherwise the Curing Bergola Post would top the list in two ways; firstly, for still being the most-read post on the blog, and secondly for managing to acquire 700 views over the past twelve months - more than twice that of the most popular post written between the previous August 9th and this one.

Not that that last detail is particularly impressive; this is only the thirtieth post in all that time. Still, it's nice to know when my peak-blogging was.


The Six-Hundredth-and-Third Day

As mentioned back in May 5.0 was set to cross the threshold of longest-lasting expansion in SWtOR's six-and-a-half-year history on the 24th of July, and today is that day. We still have no exact idea when 6.0 is going to hit, but it is heavily implied to be out sometime next year meaning that it will have lasted well over two years in its entirety.

Certainly time for me to start preparing to write '5.0: One Year Later': One Year Later at any rate. I've got four months, that seems like the right amount of time for an article to get written on this rustbucket of a blog.

Indeed, compared to last year 2018 is currently proving a very slow year for SWtOR. We are getting more Companions back over the course of the next few months and of course we'll be getting some PvP updates and another new Stronghold on the 7th of August, but things are trickling at a far slower pace than several members of the community like.

Granted, this is mainly because a lot of the 5.0 content was built on pre-existing story ideas that were supposed to be seen in the unreleased full Knights expansion(s), so it's logical that once this was done fresher content would take a lot longer to produce with no pieces left to pick up. While this does of course buy them time to work on 6.0, which is a good thing in my eyes, the uncertainty is still sadly quite unnerving.

It doesn't help matters that when 5.9.2 was launched on the PTS new Achievements for Gods from the Machine Master Mode were included within. Yes, sure, these could just be remnants of an old closed-PTS Patch that bled through to the public PTS - similar to the Master Mode Trophies which can be found for each Boss in the list of Decorations on Live - but it's still worth highlighting that it's possible that we'll yet see Gods get a final update before 5.0 is done.

EDIT: It is worth noting that with the latest PTS build these Achievements have vanished, confirming only that they were there in error.

Regardless of what the rest of 5.0 brings, it's certainly been an interesting expansion. I'm especially curious to see how certain things develop from one expansion to the next, notably Galactic Command and all gear being the same across PvE and PvP. We of course don't know how many things will be identical and how many things will be radically different, but one thing's for sure; 5.0 has surely taught everyone some interesting lessons over the past 603 days.

Here's to the next 246 or 323 or however many days this particular expansion will last.


Returning to Tamriel (or Skyrim: Five Years Later)

As mentioned before, 5.0 will become the longest-running expansion of SWtOR's history on the 24th of July. Thus, it's little surprise that a lot of people in my Guild, both veteran and relative newcomer, are starting to feel a little... burned out. Indeed, a fair few people have begun talking of finding other games to play together - not to replace SWtOR, but just to do alongside to help alleviate the boredom.

It isn't just people within my Guild who I've been around while other games are being talked about. On the final day of my first year at my new University while myself and several others were eating in the canteen before a Biology exam, talk turned to games; one chap was very much looking forward to getting home that evening as Jurassic World Evolution was to be released this very same day.

Of the four or so games that were discussed was the fifth and probably most well-known game from the Elder Scrolls series. Skyrim has crossed a lot of people's radars for some reason or another, myself included, to the extent that they've only just now announced Elder Scrolls VI seven years after Skyrim's release!

Anyway. It was about a week after this discussion that I decided that I should give Skyrim another run - it had been approximately five years since I had last touched it, after all.

So, if you'll permit me to indulge myself, this is a recording of my most recent dive into the land of Skyrim.


More Details on PvP Changes for Patch 5.9.2

Last month's surprise Roadmap revealed that July would be all about the PvP, to the extent that even the newest Stronghold is being designed with this in mind.

With the upcoming June release of the PTS looming ever closer (although it's yet unknown when it will be active), Eric has been posting some more details about changes. So far the announced changes are specific updates to different Warzones (and a smaller update on the matter here), to reduce the average time of completion and punish environment-hackers, and improve on matchmaking.

There will probably be more changes being announced over the coming weeks, but until then there's a good amount of stuff for people such as myself to get their teeth into.


On the Road to Somewhere (Summer 2018 Edition)

The last few Roadmaps we've received for SWtOR have been built up over a few weeks - sometimes even a couple of months - before they're released and people can discuss their expectations and other feelings.

The most recent Roadmap, released today, received no such build-up. It was just released without any pre-announcements whatsoever, just 'boom' there it was.

So with this pleasant surprise, what have we learned?


Wiping the Slate Clean (More Nathema Conspiracy Spoilers)

With The Nathema Conspiracy beginning to tie our characters to either the Republic or the Empire for a more substantial alliance than that on Iokath, there are a fair amount of potential scenarios we could be seeing as a direct result of our choices since last April.

As of Iokath, Acina or Malcom could be deceased and the decision made here decides who the leader of either faction is. Vowrawn steps into the breach left by a dead Acina while Malcom's demise leads to the infuriatingly faceless and voiceless Supreme Chancellor Jebevel Madon stepping down and allowing Galena Rans to succeed him.

The Nathema Conspiracy adds to this by setting up the eventual option for the facilitator of either of the changed outcomes to actually join the faction they potentially screwed over back on Iokath. Alternatively, of course, they could just continue on with their previous alliance and thus avoid any awkward outcomes.

This is a fair amount of variety that we could be seeing going forward, and this isn't even going into what else could be factoring into the factions' strength. This is something which BioWare have attempted to address with Nathema by reintroducing or introducing people who are or used to be important politically and killing them off for certain Classes. Given who some of these individuals are and how difficult it would be to align them with both the political status we've been given throughout KotFE and KotET and how they could severely impact a future balance, it's relatively safe to assume that all of these characters have been given a final farewell.

However, that doesn't mean that there still aren't questions and observations that need to be addressed. Be aware that every significant character a Class will face during the Nathema story will be mentioned here, so if you don't want to know who you'll face before you do, I advise you to stop reading here.


2018 Companion Returns: Volume 3 [Nathema Conspiracy Spoilers]

Yesterday, we were treated to a grand total of four Companion reunions. Smugglers and Hunters got to reunite with Akaavi and Mako respectively whilst also being introduced to the other for the first time, Consulars got to meet only their second returned Companion since Qyzen, Felix Iresso, and with the conclusion of the Traitor arc we also get to see Theron Shan 'up close and personal' once again.

Unlike the previous two entries in this series, I don't have any outstanding reunion scenes or - thankfully - any "no skipping" lectures this time around. This one is just purely focusing on the three missions for each of the Companions.