A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

Category: SWTOR Page 1 of 5

60 Days of The Old Republic

My initial subscribed time in Star Wars The Old Republic is over. First off I want to say that I still really like this game and it was so much fun to play it again. My 60 days of The Old Republic went by so fast however I managed to reach level 75 on my two main characters (one Republic and one Imperial). I probably could have gotten more done but I literally had to learn to play the game again. Plus I have ALT-ADD. I managed to also create a couple more characters because I basically want to try to play all the classes. (In fact there is an achievement for completing all eight class stories). The title isn’t completely accurate, however. I started writing this post before the 60 days had ended but since Blizzard is dragging their feet releasing the Shadowlands pre-patch, I picked up another 30 days. Be that as it may, let’s talk about what I think of the state of the game after my return.

The Art and the Writing

Water falls on Ossus

I feel like the folks that don’t receive enough credit, in any game, are the artists and the writers. This is especially true in The Old Republic. The only other game I can compare to SWTOR is WoW and, in my personal opinion, the artwork and writing is better in SWTOR. I’m not dissing the incredible artwork of World of Warcraft, they also do amazing work. Also, it’s probably a little unfair because the two games obviously use different graphics engines. Be that as it may, the landscape on some of the planets is incredible. See the screenshot on the right of some water falls on Ossus (click on the image to enlarge).

I understand why there are many players that wish Bioware would do more with the companions. The dialog for the companions is where the writers talent shines. For example, I especially love the writing for the Jedi Knight companions; specifically between Doc and Kira Carsen. I do hope Bioware finds a way to add more companion interactions and dialog in future updates.

Expansion and Quality of Life Updates

I don’t really remember the last time I spent a lot of time in the game prior to the start of my WoW break. I do remember logging in to check out Strongholds, when they were introduced. Some of the quality of life changes I’ve noticed may have been around a while, but they may be new to me since its been so long since I’ve played. For example you can now pull up your Galaxy Map and travel to a planet without having to return to your ship. If you are tracking quests you can also do this by clicking on the little planet icon next to the quest name. This is really nice. I also really like that you can now flag a mount as a favorite and, via Legacy, there is an Activate Random Mount button. Similar functionality exists in WoW and I love it.

I’ve also noticed a few subtle updates, which I kind of alluded to in a previous post. They’ve added music, creatures and sound effects from the prequels. It’s fantastic to engage in combat and a portion of Duel of the Fates begins playing! Actually, speaking of combat, I love the fast pace of lightsaber combat. I think WoW combat is going to feel slow now, in comparison.

My final thought is on the expansions. Specifically Knights of the Fallen Empire and Knights of the Eternal Throne. I began these expansions blindly so I had no idea what had changed or how it changed. I knew there were some big changes with the companions.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

If you haven’t played past Rise of the Hutt Cartel then stop reading now!

60 Days of The Old RepublicThe expansions (with the exception of Onslaught) progress like a movie. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it but as I went along it started to grow on me. After playing it through a second time, on another character, I decided that I didn’t mind it at all. In these expansions your decisions actually change the story. If you make “Light Side” choices, all your companions are ready to fight by your side. However, your “Dark Side” choices can lead to some characters betraying you and leaving the Alliance. You’re treated differently, even from the companions you are romancing. It definitely adds more depth and consequence to the story.

Onslaught seems to play more like the old way, except things are vastly different with your companions. In fact, as much as I want to discuss the twist with the companions, I’m going to leave it alone. Play the game to find out (unless you decide to Google it instead, which is cheating, but to each their own).

I still have a little time left on my subscription in SWTOR; which is good since Blizzard still hasn’t given us a pre-patch date. However, I think this time I’m not going to abandon the game when it switches to “preferred status”. Perhaps, if I split some of my time between the two games, I won’t burn out as quickly on WoW.

If you’re an MMO gamer and a Star Wars fan and you haven’t checked out this game, or you want to renew your subscription, click here to begin [or return to] your journey.


I’ll do it, on one condition – if I die, you have to build a statue in my honor. An Expensive one.

SWTOR: Return of the Sith Juggernaut

Return of the Sith JuggernautI’m a little over a month into my World of Warcraft hiatus. While I do miss logging into my Paladin and hanging with my raid team, I’ve been busy tanking it up with my Sith Juggernaut in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I was fortunate to get into the beta of this game way back in 2011 and I loved it. As I mentioned before, two subscriptions is not economical to maintain a mmo/real-life balance, so I kept the one that more of my friends were playing. The game has changed a lot the past nine years so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on these changes in this post I’m calling “Return of the Sith Juggernaut”.

F2P, Game Time and the Cartel Market

It’s probably been about 6 years since I’ve played SWTOR and wrote a gameplay post. When my WoW hiatus started I didn’t buy any game time right away. I played the Free-2-Play version for a few weeks first and, only recently, bought some game time. I, honestly, didn’t feel as stymied about the F2P restrictions as I felt in the past. Granted I do have a “preferred” status which means I do receive additional liberties (such as a 1 million credit cap as opposed to the 350k credit cap). It may have helped that I was away from the game long enough that I accrued over 9,000 Cartel Coins.

I love the Cartel Market system. I’ve only spent about 4k of my Cartel Coins so far, mostly on species and gameplay unlocks. I think one of the mechanics I really like is the daily “Flash sales”. Every day an item from the Cartel Market is on sale for 50% off (or more) and only for about 14 hours. If you are patient enough you can wait for some really cool mounts or costumes to come down in price. The minor drawback is that it only unlocks for the character you bought it on, however you can unlock it account-wide for a few more Cartel Coins.

Speaking of costumes, the outfit designer feature is really cool. It’s similar to the Warcraft transmog system except the costume remains even after you replace a piece of gear. In some ways I like that better than transmog except you can’t overwrite your weapons.

Flashpoints and Expansions

I didn’t activate a recurring subscription, instead I purchased their non-recurring 60 days of game time. I really like this idea of only one time purchases of game time without having to buy a game time card. In fact, not only does it grant you a one time purchase of game time, it also fully upgrades to the current expansion. Prior to my initial exit from the game, Rise of the Hutt Cartel was the current expansion. Therefore I didn’t have any of the content after that expansion unlocked. Now I can reach max level of Onslaught without a recurring subscription or expansion purchase.

Flashpoints (which is the SWTOR version of 5-man dungeons) have a new mechanic that I really like. Story Mode. This means you can complete a flashpoint solo, or with a smaller group. The mobs health and damage is reduced and you also receive an additional companion droid to help with the fights. I love this. It always kind of bothered me, in World of Warcraft, that the main story arcs always ended with a dungeon quest. There are even some professions that require a dungeon visit. I usually end up waiting for months to finally finish these quests because I feel blocked by the dungeon.

I get that Blizzard is trying to foster a community environment and these quests are designed to be completed with a group. However, I don’t always feel like hunting for a group of folks or waiting on the Looking-for-Group tool. I just want to complete my quest (and thus the story). SWTOR Story Mode let’s me do that. Blizzard needs to do this.


On a final note, playing the game again reminds me how amazing the voice acting and writing is, especially of class companions. I also love the fact that they incorporated music and creatures (ex: the varactyls) from the prequels. I really do love this game.

If you’re interested in playing this game visit the website: www.swtor.com.


I’ll do it, on one condition – if I die, you have to build a statue in my honor. An Expensive one.

Trading My Sword for a Lightsaber

This is going to be a surprising announcement for some of you folks. In about a month my WoW subscription is scheduled to renew for six months. After nearly 15 years of consecutively renewing, I’m thinking about letting it lapse. My amazing raid team has completed the final Ahead of the Curve achievement for this expansion. Blizzard’s recent earnings call suggests that the next expansion isn’t due out until quarter four of 2020. So we are at an impasse.

What Are We Going To Do Now?

Anth Resting at the Garrison

We don’t have the numbers (nor the spirit) to attempt the Mythic raids in the current expansion. We’re working on raid achievements for the current content (and even a couple from previous expansion). However that isn’t 3+ months worth of work. I know I have my weekly mount farming and reputation grinding, which are my common end-of-expansion tasks. All of my base alts are at max level, I have a new one that is nearly there. I could probably finish the Rajani and Uldum Accord reputations in a week or two, if I diligently complete the daily quests.

It doesn’t make economical sense to spend $15 a month for 3 months simply to grind four raids and handful of world bosses for mounts with a < 1% drop rate. It’s a lot of monotonous work for very little to gain. So I think Anth is going to hang up his sword a shield and take a little rest in his garrison. He deserves it after saving Azeroth (again) from an olde god (again).

It’s Just Temporary

I pre-ordered Shadowlands so I am, by no means, leaving the game permanently. In fact as soon as the pre-patch goes live, I plan to activate my subscription again. The only uncertainty is the date of the pre-patch. My estimation, which is just a wild ass guess, is somewhere around August or September. Obviously I need something to do to pass the time between the expiration and the pre-patch. So I’m trading my sword in for a lightsaber.

Darth Haruun

My Sith Juggernaut – Darth Haruun

I started playing Star Wars The Old Republic (SWTOR) way back in the beta. I continued playing it for a few months after it went live. I had to turn off my subscription because it wasn’t economical to have both a WoW subscription and SWTOR subscription (it’s always about the $$$). Most of my friends were still playing WoW so that’s the subscription I chose to keep.

I’m basking in the glory that, for the moment, my daughter likes Star Wars. We’ve also been introducing her to video games, including WoW and we thought she would like SWTOR where she can make her own Jedi. She enjoys the fact that she can make a character that looks like Ahsoka. Therefore I’m temporarily returning to SWTOR for a couple of months during the summer.

So rest assured, Azeroth, Anth will pick up his sword and shield again to defend her, again, against the Jailer. Until then I am literally and figuratively “going to the Dark Side”.


You don’t know the power of the dark side.

SWTOR: Stronghold Impressions

my-strongholdSo I have been playing SWTOR with a sub for the past two months to experience the new Strongholds feature added to the game. There seems to be mixed opinions, some say its completely lackluster and a waste of credits (the currency used in SWTOR) others have become completely addicted to customizing their apartment/palace/homestead. As for me … I’m probably pretty close to the latter. I get it why some people dislike it but I wouldn’t say its completely lackluster. Also, its not like you receive any kind of bonus to your character’s stats if you buy a stronghold, its purely cosmetic (and for the minutia addicts … like me). If its not your bag, then don’t spend the money (but I understand that some people just like to be trolls).

When I first tried to figure out how to get my stronghold, I was a little lost but they provide a tutorial for you to follow and all stronghold directories have icons on the fleet maps. They added a strongholds section to both fleets and if you go to one of the planets that has a stronghold, there is a stronghold directory located in the main hanger. You can have up to four strongholds:

  • A Nar Shadaa Palace (which is free – if you signed up during the special back in June/July you got 3 rooms unlocked for free)
  • A Capital City (Coruscant/Dromund Kaas) apartment (which costs 5,000 credits)
  • A Tatooine homestead (which costs 2.5 million credits)

My understanding is that if you are on a Free-2-Play account you can still use strongholds, but you will not be able to buy a Tatooine homestead (as F2P accounts have a credit cap at 350k). You can decorate your stronghold with all your companions, mounts, pets, awards received for completing story lines, etc. I also discovered (while leveling my imperial agent) that decoration items can be rare drops from mobs. You can buy basic decoration items (like couches, beds, lights, rugs, etc) with credits, and the prices aren’t too bad. The more you decorate your stronghold the more you unlock. I haven’t figured out where the first unlock happens (I have reached about 12% on my palace).

Your stronghold is available to all the characters in your legacy. If you have a faction specific apartment, you have to buy a “smuggler’s pass” for your character on the opposing faction. You can invite your friends to your stronghold who can visit any time if you give them a key. I don’t know what giving your friends a key grants you (as I don’t have any friends to give a key to). I think this is pretty cool if it works the way I imagine it so I guess I will have to try to find someone to be friends with me so I can give them a key and try this feature out.

You can instant travel to your stronghold from anywhere in the game and it does not trigger a cooldown, however if you are leveling out in the middle of Hoth and you travel to your stronghold, traveling back will not put you back in the same place. When you return to the planet that you left you will find yourself back in that planets hanger, so keep that in mind when you leave a planet for your stronghold. You can also directly travel to your ship or to the fleet from the stronghold. You cannot use your stronghold as a quick travel between a planet and the fleet. Any time you travel to your stronghold, you may only return to your source (i.e. You cannot go from Hoth-to-Stronghold-to-Fleet then back to Hoth via Fleet-to-Stronghold-to-Hoth) it doesn’t work like that and it makes sense. Your stronghold is a structure in the context of the game, not a mage portal.

If you have SWTOR and haven’t checked it out yet, I would recommend trying it out, even if you find out that you don’t really like it. I, however, really enjoy it and I’m glad that I made the effort to renew my sub in time to receive the Nar Shadaa bonus rooms.

Have you tried out strongholds? What are your thoughts?


SWTOR: Gonna Try It Again

old_republic_iconWell, I’ve decided to give SWTOR another try on the Free-2-Play mode. I am going to try to see if I can get use to all the things that my level 50s are restricted by because of the change to the F2P model. I keep reading everywhere that the SWTOR move to F2P has been a huge success so I guess that means that some of the changes I had hoped they would make are probably not going to happen (ex. allowing us to unlock wallet size and increased commendation count).

It is nice that, as a preferred status member, I can still create up to 6 toons, which means I have 2 open slots still available. I still earn 100 cartel coins a month so I can also slowly unlock the other features though I know I will have to wait a while on some of the nicer items (such as the ability to equip artifact gear). It is also kind of a bummer that I can’t access the new HK-51 questline unless I spend 500-1200 cartel coins to unlock it.

So at level 50 I still feel pretty restricted but I do have two toons that I can level and I can always start fresh with two more toons. As I’ve said in the past, perhaps starting over might be a way for me to get use to the F2P changes/restrictions.

Soapbox: Makeb It Gay

overworked-290x290I couldn’t decide if I wanted to post this under the SWTOR category or a Soapbox. I ultimately decided on a Soapbox because I’m going to focus more on that folks are making a big deal out of it. I mean, this game mechanic even made it to main stream news.

First I am going to give a quick back story. In an upcoming expansion for the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic a new planet, called Makeb, will become available to extend character storylines and questing to reach the new level cap. Apparently the NPCs on the new planet will allow same sex flirtation. In my opinion, and keep in mind I’m pretty conservative, who frakking cares! In fact I want some lesbian flirtation action so it’s only fair to allow the males to do the same thing.

And in all fairness, both sides of this conflict are going to drive me crazy. Those that are adamantly opposed to it need to learn that SWTOR is just a game so there’s no reason for any kind of outrage over a bunch of pixels “flirting” with another bunch of pixels. Threatening Bioware that allowing same-sex romance will ruin the game and force you to leave makes you intolerant. Now, as far as the LGBT community is concerned, you don’t need to flaunt it. Yes, they know you want to be recognized as normal human beings just like everyone else but constantly throwing it in their face only pisses them off and makes you insufferable.

Bioware is simply trying to appeal to a specific demographic and their decision to do so isn’t necessarily “selling out”. This game mechanic should not be viewed as a “win” for the gay community or a “loss” for Christianity (I picked Christianity assuming that religion is the basis for their defense). The only way to win in this situation is for both sides to stop being so intolerant of the personal beliefs and choices of the other side. Acceptance is the only true winning scenario.

Less then a month ago all we talked about was the illusion of the Mayan Apocalypse. Life is too short to get all worked up about such insignificant minutia. I’m an avid gamer, and I’m the one that needs to get a life??


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