Ten Years of SWTOR: Personal History and Memorable Moments

What's this? A non-PTS post? Thankfully, with the intended release date of Legacy of the Sith now revealed as the 14th of December, BioWare have also closed the PTS again to begin final preparations for launch. I must confess that I'm relieved that it has closed, simply because I found myself utterly addicted to following along with it and trying to understand as best I could how BioWare were doing things.

Still, it's over now, so back to normality from here on in!

As a from-launch player, the past ten years of SWTOR’s history have also been quite a large part of my own life. The game launched when I was but sixteen years of age, so this game has accompanied me through the last years of secondary school, the entirety of not one but two university courses, and has been a major source of sanity throughout the numerous COVID lockdowns.

I can’t celebrate this milestone without acknowledging my own history within SWTOR, so please indulge me while I go through the years, discuss any memorable moments that occurred within, and discuss what this meant for me as a player.

Let’s go!


Adventures on the Legacy of the Sith PTS, Part 5

It's been a while since my last PTS post, but we've had an absolute shedload of stuff come in over the past few weeks.

Firstly, legendary items have been announced and the initial batch released. Then itemisation was confirmed to be getting a massive overhaul from 6.0, including the announcement of the removal of Renown. Finally, we've now seen the options to choose a secondary combat style be implemented for existing characters.

So, what's new?


Adventures on the Legacy of the Sith PTS, Part 4

Late last week, BioWare updated the PTS again to include the Mercenary and Powertech combat styles, as well as a surprise appearance from Juggernauts and Marauders. They’ve also done a general pass over a couple of styles in general and updated various aspects of them, as well as integrating combat-scaling ‘properly’ to planets after a failed attempt to do so last month.

How do all these things look?


Adventures on the Legacy of the Sith PTS, Part 3

It’s Total Galactic War week again on Live, which ordinarily I would be all-in for. However, due to a general feeling of apathy towards all the games which I am currently involved with (one of which is certainly due to burnout, so very much looking forward to taking a much-needed break after ten or so weeks of focus!) I’m not going to be all too involved with it this week.

Mercifully, the monotony has been broken up somewhat by BioWare updating the PTS to include my current favourite class (or at least its Imperial equivalent), the Sorcerer, and its combat style sibling, the Assassin. In this post, I shall only be covering the Sorcerer as I do not play Assassin. I don’t want to try and take guesses about what may or may not work without even a baseline understanding of how their abilities work.

I may be in an "I enjoy learning new things!" phase, but I do have limits.

Additionally, and more crucially, level 80 is now available in a limited form! It’s nice to see more things coming out, especially as now character-copy is enabled again. Yay for being able to get more of a grasp of how these things will probably work!

Let’s get started!


Adventures on the Legacy of the Sith PTS, Part 2

Earlier this week, BioWare updated the PTS yet again to include two fairly big things (although only one of which is big from my own perspective). Firstly, they’ve added a WIP version of the new Discipline UI (huzzah!), allowing players to see the full extent of the ability and passive choices without needing to read the forums to learn what was what. Secondly, they’ve added both Operative and Sniper to the PTS, otherwise known as my current main-raiding combat style (albeit on the opposite faction) and the style I’m thinking of trying out to use instead of Vanguard for my Trooper.

As I say, the latter is big from my perspective!

So, how do things feel as-is?


Seven Years a Blogging.

I may not be blogging consistently anymore, but that doesn't mean that I can ignore when the blog's anniversary rolls around.

So... that refit from last year aged well, didn't it? After all the intention to start writing about other Star Wars games as much as The Old Republic, it's kinda just... boiled down to still being about The Old Republic. Most of this is because I had high hopes that Squadrons would provide more writing material beyond my four posts about it last year, but then that just went nowhere. Motive moved away from providing patches for the game after December, and on the 4th of May this year they delivered their final intended server-side update.

I don't mind them doing that - indeed, I actually admire them for releasing a game as "finished" (barring the annoying glitches, of course) and only providing updates as a way of thanking the players for their dedication - but in terms of writing... there isn't a lot to really talk about with the game that I haven't already touched on in some form!

While that is a bit disappointing, I do think the refit itself looks nice, and it at least gave me the excuse to cull a couple of pages which were just becoming more and more impractical to keep up-to-date. Ultimately, I'm still happy I've done it, even if I grumble about the intentions not working out as well as I had envisaged.

But anyway, enough moping about the past.

For the rest of this year, I intend to focus on the past ten years of The Old Republic, since this year is of course its big tenth anniversary! I have a series in mind to focus on several things which BioWare have included within the game across the years, as well as to provide some introspective thoughts about my own personal history within the game. Ten years is a long time to stick with anything, and I have made some really great friendships and learned some lessons about myself over the years thanks to this game.

Plus of course, there will be the continued look at the PTS updates. I haven't touched on it here for some time, primarily because the most-recent update was for a combat style I don't intend to play. However, one thing which is also apparent is that BioWare's new philosophy for things like class defensives can't really be gauged until the group content is properly scaled and all changes have been revealed. Right now on Live, we often need several of these defensives in many fights due to the general tuning issues, and this heavily-influenced my gut reactions when I saw the plans for Guardians before BioWare stepped up to the plate to say what was what.

That's not to say that I still don't have some concerns, but I don't want to make any further PTS posts until we know more about exactly how Legacy of the Sith is going to be. The current PTS state is just a bit too barebones for my liking, but I certainly do have to praise BioWare for making it clear for Sentinels what their ability / passive choices would allow them to do for all three specs, which is far more than Guardians had access to at the start. They are at least improving on communicating more than the bare minimum, but at the same time I don't think that should really be something that I would have needed to praise...

We'll see how it all pans out!

For now, though, thank you all once again for reading this shambling husk of a blog. There hasn't really been a lot to write about over the past few months, but I do have plans to pick things up a notch!


Adventures on the Legacy of the Sith PTS, Part 1

Today, the first build of the Legacy of the Sith PTS went live. With it comes the first look at the revised Jedi Guardian combat style.

How to describe it?

In a word: confusion.


Reflecting on Combat Styles

With the announcement of Legacy of the Sith also came the news that when the expansion lands, any character can play any one of the eight advanced classes – now referred to as combat styles – open to their status as a Force or a Tech base class. So a Powertech could become a Vanguard, a Guardian could become an Assassin, or a Gunslinger could become a Commando. Force classes will have an alignment requirement to switch to the other faction’s combat styles, so a Light V Jedi Consular cannot suddenly start zapping people with lightning.

While the combinations are myriad and, in-theory, could be really interesting (Dark Jedi and Imperial Trooper are two very common “I can do this now? Yes!” responses by players), I initially thought that this is something that I likely would not have any interest in using practically. Sure, the included loadouts functionality is much welcome and I can see myself using that for my Gunslinger to switch between Disciplines between fights during raids, but going to the full extent of switching combat styles was not something that appealed to me personally. Maybe I would do it once or twice, depending on the situation at-hand, but not permanently.

As the past two days have gone on, however, I’ve come to realise that there actually could be situations where I could end up switching at least one character’s combat style on a permanent basis. This would pertain to, at most, three characters: my Juggernaut, my Powertech, and my Vanguard.


SWTOR's Tenth Anniversary Plans

2021 is a big year for The Old Republic. Come December 20th, the game will have officially been live for ten whole years (discounting any early access periods). For quite a while now, it has been hypothesised and teased that BioWare would release an expansion to coincide with the big date, and finally we have our answers about exactly what BW have planned.

Here we gooo!


Thoughts on 6.3: The Dark Descent

The latest update to SWTOR, 6.3: The Dark Descent, saw us attempting to pick Darth Malgus’s trail back up after his disappearance in January of 2020 (has it really been that long? Gosh!) and discover what it is he has been up to. This update also saw the introduction of the newest game-system, Galactic Seasons, which is essentially an extension of the daily login rewards.

How do all these fit together? Let’s find out!


For the List of Buckets: Take Two

A little under three years ago, I created a formal bucket-listof things I would like to do in SWTOR before it reaches its end. It had always sort-of existed in-theory, but the completion of Big Game Hunter by killing 10-stack Dreadtooth prompted me to make it a real thing.

To provide a recap so that people do not need to delve into the previous post, the list I drew up was as follows:

  • Completing I Mean It! No More Bormu!
  • Getting the Heroic Space Mission Reputation track to Legend and subsequently purchasing the Tirsa Champion to unlock Gearhead.
  • Completing Lord of the Raklings.
  • Romping around Iokath with a bunch of guildies as the five Godkin.
  • Naturally discovering a Czerka Crate-O-Matic.
  • Killing all Operation Bosses in the game.

Since it is coming up to three years since I created the list, I thought it would be a nice idea to look at each of these and provide an update on where things stand; how many have been completed, how much progress has been made on others, and whether any other goals have been added in later years.


Starship Booty and GSF

When it comes to Amplifiers, there is very good reason to only focus on those which increase damage or healing values. There are the odd few others which are useful for other stuff, like reducing repair costs or increasing crew skill success rates.

Today's post is dedicated to one of the little-celebrated Amplifiers and how useful it can be in specific situations: Starship Booty.


Better Than Life

About thirteen or so years ago, I was introduced to the British sci-fi comedy show Red Dwarf. To briefly summarise it for those who have not seen it: David Lister, third-technician aboard the mining vessel Red Dwarf, is locked in stasis for illegally bringing a cat on board and ends up waking up three million years later after a radiation leak wipes out the rest of the crew.

Since the show started production in the 1980s, a lot of the general tech used on the show over the years is a hybrid of now-outdated technologies and predictions of how tech would evolve in both the near and far futures. For example, VHS tapes still exist but are now triangular. Sometimes their guesswork has come rather close to coming true even in today’s technological age. I can easily see the ship computer Holly being a logical evolution of smart devices like Alexa.  

A couple of episodes focused on the future of computer games. The episode Better Than Life introduced the Total Immersion Video Games, which put players directly into the games themselves. These have seen numerous different interpretations in the show, ranging from a small bike helmet-type device to large booths that players stood or reclined in, but the most notable is in the 1993 episode, Gunmen of the Apocalypse. In this episode, Artificial Reality games were shown being played using a headset and special gloves.

Roll forward twenty years, and this headset is one bit of tech which has become very real and publicly accessible. Virtual Reality is still quite a niche category in gaming, but it has been making more of a steady foothold over the past couple of years.

Since purchasing Squadrons, my curiosity for how it would look in VR got the better of me and so as of Christmas Day last year I now have my very own headset. Today's post is dedicated to giving it a bit of a review.