Sunday, February 24, 2013

RP: C'ell Redtail

My mother was a cantina dancer, and my father was…someone.  We were slaves belonging to the Sith Lord Redtail.  From his family I received my namesake.  We served the Redtails in various sundry entertainments and lavish parties that Sith royalty sometimes threw in their machinations and political maneuvering.  My mother danced, and I served.  Lord Redtail made a gift of us to Barada the Hutt when an alliance with the crime lord became advantageous.  Thus we came to Nar Shaddaa. 

Barada was decadent and cruel, even by Hutt standards.  At least Sith society demanded certain structures and forms; with Barada, only pleasure mattered.  He was capricious and unpredictable.  As I grew and matured, Barada’s eye turned towards me.  The Hutt would finally require of me the unthinkable, but that was too much for my mother.  She intervened before the Hutt could fulfill his desire, and I escaped.  I do not know what became of her.

I spent two years on Nar Shaddaa’s lower levels, growing thin from hunger.  I learned to do what survival necessitated, often stealing to eat.  I felt ashamed, but grew accustomed to the practice.  I saw my chance to leave the hated planet, and stowed away on a smuggler’s ship, hiding amongst the cargo.  I did not care where I went at the time, but I see now that the Force was guiding me.

The smuggler’s ship brought me to Coruscant of all places, where one of the first things I did was try to steal from a Jedi Knight.  A Jedi!  I can’t believe I was stupid (or desperate) enough to try that.  Of course, the Jedi caught me.  Though my attempted theft irritated him, the Jedi recognized the Force in me.  Instead of turning me over to the Republic, he brought me to the Jedi Order and became a kind of master I never knew possible.

Master Cyphus was like a father.  Training me could not have been easy: my time on Nar Shaddaa’s streets developed in me a sarcastic outlook unbecoming of a Jedi, and my time as a…slave…has left me wary of authority, a habit of thinking I struggle to control still. 

Master Cyphus died while on a mission before my trials.  It is believed the Sith ambushed him.  I miss him. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The PVP vs PVE Gear Arms Race

Gear intended for use in PVP usually has a stat on it specific to PVP.  In SWTOR, it’s expertise.  In WoW, it was...expertise.  This stat has a three-fold effect: it increases your damage output against other players, it diminishes your damage received from other players, and it increases the healing you do to other players in PVP.  This stat exists to give PVP gear meaning.  This stat also serves to provide a reward system, as without it, there is really no goal for participating in PVP except glory itself.

From time-to-time, someone pops up with the idea of, “hey, what if we modified gear this way so that you didn’t need expertise anymore?”  The latest iteration appeared on the forums here, and got a surprisingly in-depth response from one of the designers.  The problem with ideas for removing expertise to date is that they do not deal with the issue of why expertise emerged to begin with.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bullet Points on the New PS4

Sony announced the PS4 last night.  I rarely buy/play console games anymore.  My PS3 is mostly a Blu-ray player these days, which I love about it.  Ni No Kuni got me to buy one last PS3 game, mostly because Studio Ghibli was involved; I bought Halo 4 to see what all the fuss was about, my lone X-box 360 purchase (I bought the console for my wife so she could play dance games); I finished Journey, which was a lovely post-game/non-game experience.  Despite these recent exceptions, I’ve always primarily gamed on my PC.  That is only becoming truer as high-speed internet becomes standard, and Steam improves its selection.  Following several bullet points from Sony’s announcement last night, I find myself wondering why I would want to invest in Sony’s next console.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sundering Goat Droids

My Zabrak Trooper is gathering dust; too bad for him.  After staring at the character select screen the other night, I began weighing the cons of leveling another character versus just sucking it up and re-learning all my Commando abilities.  Seeing that level 37 stare back at me with his tattooed face and red eyes, the illogic of going through the leveling process on the same class with the same spec again hit me.  I ultimately decided to suck it up, and logged into my Commando, reassigned all his talent points, and started the process of relearning how to play. 
I decided to do some PVE so I didn’t embarrass myself and hamper my team too much.  Learning didn’t take that long, thankfully, and I was soon happily destroying imperial troops and sundering goat droids.  I’m glad I picked up where I left off instead of starting over.  I was having a bit of fun too.  Previously I had been using a rotation that centered around grav round, which I have to admit is a source of boredom (full auto à grav round à grav round à grav round à high impact bolt à repeat).  In my research trying to get myself back up to speed on the class, I read this guide by Boufsa on the official forums.  It was inspirational.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Allure of an Assault Cannon

After playing Halo 4, my first Halo game by the way, I found one of my favorite weapons was the detachable plasma cannon.  It slows you down, but carrying that mobile turret around is fun.  This made me miss my commando and his assault cannon.  After nearly a year of being away from the game, I decided to re-install SWTOR and give the commando a whirl again.

Monday, March 19, 2012

More On the Subscription Model

I have written previously about problems with the subscription model in MMOs.  This weekend one of the inherent problems hit me as I found myself needing to cancel my SWTOR subscription. 

The publisher of the game my wife’s company was working on cancelled the game, along with about half of its pending and in-development games with other companies last Thursday.  It’s my understanding that games get cancelled with fair frequency in the industry, with somewhere around 50% of in-development titles actually making it to store shelves.  The typical response for development houses is massive layoffs to keep the company from folding altogether.  This means we find ourselves in the unpleasant situation of potentially having only one income for a while in the very near future.  This also means that this weekend we started looking at ways to cut expenses, and first on the chopping block were our SWTOR subscriptions.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Renegade or Paragon: The Bioware Dichotomy

*** Some major Mass Effect 2 and SW:TOR spoilers follow ***

On my first play-through of Mass Effect 2, I played a Commander Shepherd much as I might make decisions were I in the situation.  I chose paragon, the “good” or “lawful” options, when I deemed it appropriate; I chose renegade, the “bad” or “badass” options, when I felt the situation merited a more heavy-handed approach.  I absolutely would not let Zaeed torch all those people just to get his revenge (paragon), and nearly kicked him off my crew; on the other hand, when I needed to keep Veetor for some questioning, I was not above picking the renegade option.  At times, I even chose neither, depending on which option fit what I would do best.  I ended up with a character that had a few renegade points and a few paragon points on Bioware’s scale of morality, placing my character at or near neutral on the spectrum when everything added up.