Back In

So we have our date for 7.1: the 2nd of August. 

It would perhaps be expected by some that I make harsh comments against BioWare, accusing them of breaking their "promise" made last July that this year would be exciting and with updates every other month, and expressing my view that a 6-month delay to the other half of 7.0's content is nothing short of insulting.

I'm not going to do any of that.

Yes, the 6-month delay is concerning, and it indicates that among all the changes that BW have made to the gearing systems that were originally announced to be coming in with the operation - mods at 328 and 330 instead of strictly at 334, and VM R-4A allowing players to get up to 340 rating armour pieces instead of maximum 334 - that something more is going on behind the scenes at BW.

I won't attempt to try and delve into all the potential issues going on with the studio, but it's clear that for whatever reason BW aren't in the position they want or need to be to be delivering the content the way they would have wanted. 

It's unfortunate, but that's game development, especially under the umbrella that is EA. If they say jump, you probably have to ask "how high?" or risk getting fired.

So, no, I will not attack BW for "lying" about the stuff they "promised" to do. This is not the first time that a game studio, not even BW with their handling of SWTOR, has indicated their intent to do something and then had to walk back after exploring options or getting criticism for it, or whatever. And sometimes, that walk-back proves to be absolutely necessary and even celebrated - look at the scrapped plans to implement CR 301 - 400, for example. 

The potential factors behind these walk-backs are concerning, of course they are, but ultimately not those that are likely in BW's control at the moment. Hopefully they can begin to get themselves back on track ASAP without burning the current team out in the process. Is it disappointing that things are as they are? Of course it is. Nobody, not even BioWare, I think, can deny that this has definitively been one of the worst years for SWTOR from a development perspective. It will, I'm sure, recover, but the question remains of just how much the studio needs to recover itself in the process. Time will tell.

In other news, Charles Boyd, the current lead writer, is departing on the 5th of August. I wish him well in all future endeavours, and I feel he's leaving a strong team to take over with his departure. His presence has always been a delight in streams, and I enjoyed chatting with him at the Star Wars Celebration booth in London in 2016. I shall miss hearing his voice in streams and seeing his sheer enthusiasm for the world he's helped create, but again, that's life. People move on. 

The reveal of the release date for 7.1 also ties in quite nicely to this being the week I had chosen as my "taster week" for getting back into things. I was always intending to restart on a Tuesday, since before leaving for my holiday in France back in May, I finished off the last week of a login calendar, so picking the game back up on a Tuesday meant that the daily and calendar resets now align at long last.

Yes, I still have OCD.

I took my trooper through a couple of daily zones just to reacquaint myself with combat etc., as well as completing her Conquest, but ultimately I feel that it's just too damn hot to even begin to contemplate at the moment whether I feel that the spark is still there. I hope everyone reading this is able to keep safe and cool if you're affected by the current heatwave.

I'll keep at it, just chipping away here and there, and hopefully I'll get a better understanding of where I stand by the weekend. I'm still very much on the fence about raiding, and I don't think I'll have made my mind up fully even by the time 7.1 launches. I know my guild is busy ramping up to take all three teams into R-4A in the first week, and I wish them the very best of luck with seeing what's what. It remains to be seen whether I shall be there or not, and I'm not willing to commit either which way at the moment.

One thing I am determined to miss out on with 7.1, however, is the Nar Shaddaa Nightlife. I will not get involved with any more virtual gambling. No more.


Status Update

So, it's been a couple of weeks since my last post regarding my current disillusionment with SWTOR and my desire to move on to other things away from spending too much time on gaming. I thought I would just give a little update on things with where I'm at and what my current plans are going forward.

I'm sad to say that my attempts to move away from gaming "too much" have been limited until now. A new chapter release with The Elder Scrolls Online coupled with a very enjoyable mini-game - a deck-building card game like those such as Magic: The Gathering - meant that my focus has been on this for the past few weeks. However, I'm happy to say that I have reached the inevitable point where I feel I can take a much-needed step back.

In terms of other stuff, I have been getting more involved with the voice-acting side of things. Still not comfortable enough to resume with sending out auditions, but finding my feet again which is nice. Going forward I also need to start looking into some voice training for some... other stuff... that will be going on in the future, and I'm hoping to make good progress on both aspects by the end of the year.

Job searching has resumed, and while I have high hopes for a job at my local pet store I must admit that I haven't yet heard back from them. I'm not too concerned just yet, seeing as I did only put in an application on Saturday. I tend to write things off after two weeks of nothing. Otherwise, just flinging out applications when and where possible.

Something somewhere will stick, I'm sure.

Until such a time as my focus is directed to particular elements, I have been exploring some other stuff as well. Ever since 2012 / 2013, I have wanted to focus a bit more on practicing with digital artwork. I used to have a friend who was very adept at producing her own digital artworks and, the compelled imitator that I am, I wanted to explore this field for myself. It never really went anywhere, but my interest still remained.

However, 2022 has provided that little spark I had been needing to get going. To give myself a schedule and to get back into the outside world while the job search was yielding no results, I enrolled in yet another college course, this one focused on creative media. Our final project was to create a moving picture based around making people in our community smile, and some difficulties with my initial idea (a sort of interview-documentary thing about my guild in SWTOR) meant that I didn't have enough time to complete a full film.

So, instead, I turned to animation. Those of you who are well-versed in the production of animated series like The Owl House, Phineas & Ferb, The Clone Wars, etc. etc. may be aware of animatics. These are essentially comprised of dozens and dozens of large-scale storyboards, each image telling the animators exactly what sort of things should be happening in each of the relevant frames when turning these images into full animations. So that was what I chose to produce.

Having dusted off the old graphics tablet, I have grown pretty fond of just... doodling with it. Sometimes it's just been shapes to practice angles, and other times it's attempts at more recognisable silhouettes and characters. Here are a couple of the early practice sketches I completed over the past couple of weeks:

Surprised Vader is surprised!

So... yeah. That's a thing. I'm definitely still very much a novice in this field, but it's good to finally produce artwork that I'm even remotely happy with. I look forward to seeing how my skills in this area develop.

As for how I feel about SWTOR now? While it still lingers on my mind a bit too much for me to be happy with, I am noticeably more mellow about it than I was in the last post. I think a lot of my feelings in the last post were because I still wasn't entirely sure about the decision(s) I had made, and I do have a tendency of lashing out at myself and in turn using that to fuel my words.

So what does that mean? Well, I'm still reluctant to log in for the time being just in case it's "too soon". I don't want to start raiding with my team again (if they'll even accept me back; I wouldn't blame them if they didn't) if that is the case, since one thing that has been made perfectly clear about the various job interviews I have done is that I am not very good at disguising if I don't want to be somewhere. Understandably, the last thing I want for the sake of the team is for my return to be overshadowed by a very evident feeling of "oh, Cal doesn't want to even be here". That just sucks the fun out of it for everyone.

Thus, I don't really know where to go from here. I think I'll see how I feel when 7.1 releases, as hopefully it will have been long enough since I last logged in that I will be more 'ready' for it than I would otherwise be. I still have no desire to commit full-time to anything, whether it be reputation or gear-grinding, but of course if I feel the pull to raid again and am accepted back into the team that's one bullet that certainly will have to be bitten. 

Until then, just continuing on as things are. I'm hoping that by the time 7.1 comes out, I may finally have secured employment; not only will this be a source of income beyond universal credit, but hopefully being given such an important focus will prevent my mind from wandering elsewhere and "finding things to do". That's when the danger of addiction rears its head again...

We shall see what we shall see!