SWTOR Daily Grind – 3.0 and Broke

About a year ago, when I found myself spending almost all of my time in Star Wars: The Old Republic doing dailies, I had an idea to start a SWTOR column titled: The Daily Grind. Since then, I haven’t run too many dailies, as my credits were well over ten million. Besides, there was plenty of new content rolling out, and I started to level up several Republic characters. In other words, I didn’t need to do dailies anymore.

Last week, on the heels of the Shadow of Revan expansion, the BioWare community team responded to players complaining about having to repurchase abilities they already knew, and were less than happy with the severely high cost to train level 60 abilities and crew skills. As of tomorrow, they will be doing away with the cost to train abilities altogether. This news would be welcomed indeed if I had any credits left.

I'm so broke I wish I could steal those credits back there

I’m so broke I wish I could steal those credits back there

Before the launch of Galactic Strongholds, I had nearly 15 million credits across all of my characters. A lot of that went to buying my strongholds, but I was still making MK-9 kits and playing the market well enough to keep my credit count high. When 12x experience launched I was excited to finally finish leveling my Republic characters, and even more excited to level each one through the new content when 3.0 early access started. That was almost a week ago now.

The night 3.0 dropped I took my assassin main I’ve had for three years, and went through the new content. I started with Forged Alliances Part 1, so by the time I neared the end of Rishi, I hit level 60. My excitement was unfortunately squashed a moment later when I popped out my Hutt trainer and looked at over 300K in new abilities I needed to train. This was the character that has never had less than two million credits for at least two years. After retraining old abilities, learning new crew skills, pulling mods from ugly gear drops to put in my current look, and buying new crew skill schematics, I had less than 50K in my bank. Keep in mind, I still hadn’t trained my level 60 abilities!

I love that BioWare has decided to do away with the costs of training abilities, but it is a week too late for those with early access to the expansion. What’s more, is that I still have seven other level 55 characters that will need credits to do all of what I listed above except ability training. Thanks to 12x experience, at least five of my 55s are woefully under-geared and hilariously broke. I rarely jump onto the negativity-to-BioWare train, but having early access made it so I cannot do the new content on the other characters I spent all of my time leveling before the expansion. I’m left asking myself for the first time in years, where the money to have the fun I pay monthly for will come from. Apparently I’m back to doing dailies until I can afford to start playing the GTN again. Although there are new daily areas, they don’t really feel like new content, and I’d rather be leveling the characters I’ve been waiting to level for a month and a half.

I know I’m not the only one in this situation, and since BioWare has already said they are not compensating early access players for dropping coin they wouldn’t have to this week, I’m left frustrated with this game for the first time in a very long time. Why should the most loyally subscribed SWTOR players be penalized for doing what BioWare hopes we will do every time there is new content? I’m hoping that BioWare figures out some way to make it up to the players they can’t afford to lose.

Geeky Reactions: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer

When it comes to Star Wars, I do my best not to let others influence my opinions. With the current state of the Internet that’s not terribly easy to do. Fortunately for me, I got to watch the new The Force Awakens trailer a few times, and then had to go help my wife with the Black Friday shenanigans at our local small business. Honestly, after being distracted all day long I wasn’t able to stalk the interwebs reading all of the inevitable criticism that that occasionally spews from the Star Wars community. That said, it’s time to talk about what I love about the teaser trailer for a film I hate that I have to wait until next year to watch.

All I want for Christmas

All I want for Christmas…

Can I please have that lightsaber? I’m sure there are people that are are making this the focus of their criticism. Really, what else do you have to criticize when there’s really nothing else there? For me, it’s the perfect blend of sci-fi and fantasy, and as a die hard fantasy-lover I couldn’t be more intrigued by what Abrams and Disney plan to do with weapons going forward. Lightsabers aside, the X-wings skimming over the water was reminiscent of the Episode IV trench run, and stunningly sweet. The Millennium Falcon’s evasion roll against the TIE-fighters was a classic Han Solo move that just looks amazing.

Outside of the visual effects, we saw two of the actors, not including the dark Jedi, or Sith with the broadsword lightsaber, some stormtroopers and a ball droid. The latter one was a little funky, but the rest was just plain badass. John Boyega in a stormtrooper uniform at first made me think we will get a look at stormtroopers beyond their masks like the clone troopers in the prequels and The Clone Wars. I think this is likely, but my other thought was closer to what Lucas did with Han and Luke in Episode IV. Is Boyega just posing as a stormtrooper? Of course, my other question is what the heck is going on? He looks not only disoriented, but freakishly out of place against the stark Tatooine backdrop. Speaking of our favorite desert planet, most of the action in the trailer not including the dark Jedi/Sith and the X-wings, is focused on Tatooine. Daisy Ridley’s character is seen for a moment fleeing some unseen enemy on a very boxy speederbike, and is quite clearly on Tatooine. Guess what planet the Falcon is evading TIEs on? Clearly Vader’s home world will be a major setting for the film.

I’ve played many Star Wars games, and read countless EU novels, and outside of the films where Hoth is the planet we encounter perpetual snow, the moment with the Dark Jedi/Sith we once again see snow. Is this a new planet, or perhaps one of the many EU/SWTOR planets covered in snow? Illum comes to mind, but that is the SWTOR player within making an appearance. Illum is the where lightsaber crystals form, and maybe, just maybe, that’s where our new lightsaber is crafted? I know it’s not technically canon, but without more information, all I can do is hopefully speculate.

Overall, I’m predictably more excited for The Force Awakens. Music, visuals, and actors are all on point in this teaser, and if that is any indicator, the film’s release is going to be something really unexpected. For me, if what Abrams did with the Star Trek reboot, and what Disney has done with the Marvel Universe is any indicator, the future of the Star Wars franchise is in capable hands indeed. I’m more than ready, but for now, I will hit the interwebs to see what the rest of the community thinks. If for some crazy reason you haven’t seen the trailer, and are reading this post, I pasted it below for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome.

Gaming Through the Holidays

It’s that time again, where everything seems to go by the wayside except for family, food and gift giving. Some would say that’s enough, but the gamer inside is always looking for what to do when everyone else is asleep. The holidays are a crazy busy time for our small business, and for my family, but what am I doing to keep my sanity you may ask? It is NOT grading papers that’s for sure!

Dragon Age: Inquisition

This game is one of those rare gems that if I had waited, and asked for it for Christmas, I would have felt like I’d missed the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer in theaters because I don’t live close enough to the 30 theaters it was released in. Okay, that was a little venty. The truth is, DAI is an amazing game I bought for two reasons.

One, it’s BioWare! Those that know me, know I’m a BioWare fanboy.  I think my dedication to the Star Wars: The Old Republic community for over three years says that loudly enough. I’m a sucker for BioWare storytelling, and outside of SWTOR and Mass Effect, Dragon Age truly tickles my fantasy fancy. I think I spent the first hour messing with the character creation system. So far, I’m only about twelve hours into the game and I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ve leveled a few times, and ran screaming (literally) from my first dragon, and my quest log is overflowing. There’s so much to do in this game I really needed to get a head start before I get distracted. That leads me to reason two…

Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Expansion

The second reason I couldn’t wait to put some time into DAI is BioWare related, but has little to do with DAI itself. Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Shadow of Revan expansion releases next week. Every time SWTOR releases an expansion I dedicate all of my “free” time to it. Just when I thought I was all ready to go, and prepared for it’s release I got the silly idea to get all eight base classes to max level BEFORE the expansion. Thankfully, 12 times XP helped with that, and at the moment, I have a few missions left before finishing the Trooper class story, and my Jedi Consular is almost level 45. With Thanksgiving, and real life stuff, I’m not sure I’ll pull it off, but I hope to have all eight base classes sitting at 55 before next Tuesday. While I’m being ambitious, I’ll even wager I’ll down my first dragon in DAI this week.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity

I was really hyped for this game, and because I’ve done less and less console gaming the last few years, I pre-ordered ACU at San Diego Comic-Con on PC. I even got this nifty T-shirt! When the game arrived I didn’t really have time to play it, so I looked up the reviews of the PC version. I’m so glad I did. Turns out on release, there was a whole host of issues with the PC version. Rather than hope I wouldn’t be affected, and deciding then and there to buy DAI releasing the next week instead, I returned the game. It’s still on my wish list for Christmas. Hopefully the great patch gods are able to fix what I had hoped would be a great game, and the first one of the franchise I buy on PC.

Sleep?

My gaming time is limited to late in the evenings and I rarely manage to do much outside of that. Add the holidays, and parenting while my wife is out town next week, it’s hard to say how much gaming I’ll actually get in. Oh yeah, add all of that to revising my finally completed novel, blogging, and my full time job, something has to give. Usually, the first thing to go will be sleep. Who needs sleep anyway…right? Happy holidays!

Extra Life 2014 – Team Carr

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For the last few years, I’ve been trying to find an excuse to play video games all day, and even all night. Although I had heard of the Extra Life Charity gaming event, trying to justify a 24-hour gaming session, with a wife and two young children was all but impossible. To my surprise, this year, my wife gave me the go-ahead. Yes, she is an amazing woman!

I decided to take it a step further, and start an Extra Life team inviting my high school students, and colleagues to join in on the fun. Not only am I hoping to raise a nice chunk of money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, but I will finally live the dream of gaming all day and all night. Hopefully, I can stay awake!

As of right now, I plan to play Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have three more Republic toons I want to finish the class story for, and with the recent expansion announcement, 12x EXP for class quests will make that possibility a solid reality.

If you want to join Team Carr as a player, or want to donate to help the kids, click here. Thanks in advance for your support!

 

The Apprentice

Guuyln had never seen anyone move so fast. The young padawan crouched at the base of a large tree, concealed by the lush forest undergrowth, clutching his lightsaber hilt so hard, his knuckles had turned white. He tried to remember last week’s breathing exercises in a failed attempt to calm himself down. His master, one of the most seasoned, and respected Jedi Consulars stationed on Alderaan, was fighting for his life, and Guuyln had a front row seat.

The Sith Assassin was a something out of a nightmare. He was a dark-skinned human, wore flexible black armor, and a deep purple cloak that not only matched his double-bladed lightsaber, but his eyes as well. It was the rest of the assassin’s face that kept Guuyln’s feet firmly planted in the soft dirt. His skin was riddled with glowing dark purple gashes that spread from the back of his neck, over his bald head and congregated around his nearly black, full lips. The fractures in his skin pulsed with Dark Force energy, looking like rage-filled veins that could burst at any moment. He used The Force to move his body, and his blade, faster than Guuyln thought possible. His master, Whilum Yangli, was hard pressed to keep that deadly purple blade at bay.

The clearing hummed with the sound of impossibly fast lightsabers whirling through the warm morning air. Every other second the force of the blades meeting broke the almost consistent humming with very brief thunderclaps. Guuyln could barely keep up as the fight seemed to relentlessly bounce from one side of the clearing to the other. It was then that the guilt hit him. None of this would have happened if he hadn’t insisted they pursue the assassin in the first place.

*             *             *

“How many, commander?” Captain Briyguard asked.

“That is the third lieutenant killed this week, Captain.”

“How many last night?”

“Lieutenant Crossr, and ten of the troopers in his command group, sir. Eleven total.”

Briyguard looked at his personal guard’s commander and frowned. He had hoped it wouldn’t come to this. Briyguard had commanded the infantry troops on Alderaan for five years, and had too many scars and a chronically stiff back proving his loyalty to the Alderaanian cause. Never had he faced an enemy like this. Presumably, a Sith Assassin had been behind a series of murders at his remote outpost. The killer had never been seen, and left only the bodies of Briyguard’s command core in his wake.

Briyguard had made the request for Jedi assistance yesterday, when the news that yet another lieutenant and six infantry troopers’ had be killed. He thought he had better figure out a plan or he would have no one left to promote. The Jedi should have arrived already. It’s not like a Jedi to be late.

He was just about to dismiss his guard, when the door slid open. A Jedi Consular, who he knew of, but didn’t know personally, stepped into the command room. Just on his heels trailed a young boy, not more than 8 years old. The boy’s dark hair was cut short except for a single braid that trailed down toward the middle of his back. The boy was human, but he had never seen a human with eyes like that. Briyguard tried not to stare, but the boy’s eyes were the color of dried blood.

“You requested Jedi assistance, Captain?” The Jedi master asked.

Briyguard peeled his eyes away from the boy’s and met the gaze of the Jedi. He was tall, with light brown hair, cut just like his padawan’s. The master’s eyes were a bright, cool green color and his fair-colored skin was still darker than the boy’s almost translucent pigment.

“We weren’t what you were expecting, Captain?” The Jedi said, when Briyguard let the silence go a moment too long. He realized he was staring into the boy’s eyes again. The boy smiled. Briyguard tried to fight off a chill.

“Honestly, no, Master Jedi,” Briyguard finally responded. “I had hoped for a small hunting party of Jedi Knights. I mean no offense, but it’s just the two of you?”

“Truthfully, Captain, if it had not been for the boy insisting that we take the assignment, you would have no assistance at all. The war has taken its toll on even us Jedi. The Jedi Knights on Alderaan have either been killed, or are supporting the troops on the front lines. We are awaiting reinforcements from other systems, but for now, we are all you have.” The Consular tried to catch Briyguard’s eye, and realized he was staring at the boy. “The boy’s name is Guuyln, and he is eager to help his home planet for the very first time.”

Briyguard snapped out of it, and scowled at the Jedi. “You mean this is his…”

“First mission, yes,” the Jedi finished. “I assure you, Captain, it is not mine.” The Jedi smiled warmly at the boy. “He shows great promise for his age.”

There was something that bothered Briyguard about that statement. Promise, sure, but what was with those eyes? Why did they seem to look right into his very being? The Captain tried to shake it off. “Well, I better start at the beginning…”

*             *             *

Later that same day, Guuyln found himself cowering in the brush, watching his master fight for his life. It hadn’t been difficult to find the assassin. In fact, he wasn’t camped terribly far from Briyguard’s outpost. Master Yangli somehow used the force to “feel” where the assassin was. It didn’t seem very difficult for him either. Guuyln had a lot to learn. In the back of his mind, the boy thought that an assassin would be harder to find, even for a Jedi Master. He shrugged it off. It didn’t matter now.

The fight, however violent, and fast paced, was over just as fast. The last few moments, from what Guuyln could make out, seemed to slow down just enough for him to witness the death of his master. Whilum Yangli furiously kept his green lightsaber parrying the viciously precise blows from the assassin as he backpedaled, back flipped, and sidestepped with the rest of his body. The Consular was constantly retreating, and managed to stay just out of reach.

The blow came too fast for Guuyln to see, but the assassin held the killing strike long enough for him to see that the energy to continue the fight had been eradicated from his master. Yangli was pinned between a great oak tree, and one end of the purple hum of the assassin’s lightsaber. There was no remorse on the Sith’s face. It was hard to read any expression at all, in fact. Then, still holding the blade which clearly entered the Jedi’s chest and penetrated the oak behind his master, the Sith turned only his head to meet Guuyln’s unique blood colored eyes with his own blazing purple orbs. A twisted and scarred smiled tugged at the Sith’s mouth.

The next few moments came to Guulyn unconsciously. He felt rage, like he never thought possible, pushing through his veins by his racing heartbeat. His Jedi teachings fell far away from the young padawan, and he instead, used the incredible anger as courage to propel him toward the assassin.

All Guuyln heard was screaming as he cleared the thirty meter gap between his former hiding place and the assassin, in one Force fueled leap. As he attempted to cut the purple nightmare down with the lightsaber he didn’t remember deploying, Guuyln realized that not only were his attacks futile, but that the screaming was coming from him! The assassin blocked every one of his attacks as if he were swatting a pesky mosquito looking for a bloody snack.

Just as Guuyln realized there was no way to avenge his master, he noticed that not only did the screaming stop, but that the assassin was trying to speak to him. Guuyln felt dizzy. He hopped back just out of that dangerous lightsaber’s range, and looked up into the glowing purple eyes of the assassin.

“I’ve been waiting for you to seek me out, young Jedi,” the assassin said, all but spitting the word Jedi as it passed his lips. “I thought I’d have to kill scores more before I got your attention.”

“What do you mean?” Guuyln managed to squeak, nearly dropping his lightsaber in the process.

“You must know you will never become a Jedi. Why else would you be here?”

“I am here to destroy you! You killed my master!” Guuyln screamed, trying to keep his tears at bay. “I HATE you!”

“Good. That is a start…apprentice,” the assassin hissed as he tucked his blade beneath his cloak and extended his hand toward Guuyln. “Come,” he beckoned. He turned, raised the dark hood over his head and left the clearing.

Guuyln, despite the loss of his master, could feel the truth in the assassin’s words. There was something about the situation that just felt…right. He turned and looked at his former master, slumped at the base of the great oak, eyes open, but seeing nothing. Guuyln turned back to where the assassin took his leave, and chose to follow that same dark path.

My New Writing Gig!

Some of you know I’ve been obsessing over this new Star Wars game that may, or may not be coming out this year. Site jumping frantically everyday, trying to find out the latest game info, I found myself checking one site more than any others: TORWars. After months of listening to their amazing podcasts, and perusing frequent updates about both the game, and other Star Wars news, I inquired about possibly writing for them. I felt somehow compelled to not only do more writing, but to contribute to a site and a community that I was already a quasi part of. Long story short, they agreed to give me a shot! My first and second posts went up this afternoon.

TOR stands for The Old Republic

If you like what you see, if you are interested in the game, or just want to follow more of my ranting, writing ways, you can follow TORWars on Twitter @TORWars, or ‘like’ TORWars on Facebook. (You can also follow the links on my main blog page to follow me on Twitter and Facebook.) Check the links to my posts below. To all my friends and family, thanks for all the awesome support. By the way, this weekend I will finally post my pics and antics from my Chicago trip…promise!

1st Post: …I am Your Father
2nd Post: 57 out of 60?

Dragon on the Ledge

Star Wars: The Old Republic


A new, bad ass, Star Wars MMO. Trying to be really patient since there is still no release date. Should be sometime this year (fingers crossed). If you are into MMOs and love Star Wars, here are some of my favorite sites with very frequent updates about the game. Feel free to join my guild here.

Official SWTOR site.
TORWars (my favorite fan site)
Correllian Run Radio

Dragon on the Ledge