April 2014 archive

Thoughts on Streaming

As a young lady trying to make my way through this crazy thing called the gaming industry/community, the topic of streaming while I play video games has come up quite a few times. Today I will set you straight on what I think about streaming.

Reasons I Want To Stream

  • For business/marketing purposes, it would be good for the blog/personal brand. How good? Who knows?
  • Sometimes my jokes actually are pretty funny, and Twitter is not enough!
  • Because all these other girls are streaming, and gosh darn it I can do it too.

Reasons I Don’t Stream

  • I’m really lazy to get it all set up. Apparently I’m not lazy enough to write essays every day for the blog, but lazy enough to not figure out how to stream. Hah!
  • Sometimes I think my jokes are only funny in my head, and I don’t want to be a boring streamer.
  • I don’t want gaming to feel like “work” when I’m streaming. Gaming is escapism for me, and I feel like aside from talking to my guildmates, I would like it to be a little private. Is that weird?
  • I don’t want people judging me when I suck.
  • My computer already craps out in 16-man raids; I can’t imagine trying to stream on top of that.
  • A lot of times I’m gaming right when I wake up or right when I go to bed. While I think I look fine on a daily basis with no makeup, the interwebz may not! I’d rather not put makeup on to raid.

On a more serious note, I would like people to like me primarily because they think I’m smart and funny, a good writer, and a player that knows (mostly) what she’s doing, not because they like to watch me make faces at my computer screen when I die. Of course, you can argue that I could just stream without a webcam, but I would not want to put my computer under the additional stress unless there was a much greater return in results. Webcam=more viewers, but of course there are exceptions. However, a webcam definitely makes it easier.

What do you think? I’m basically telling you that I will need a really, really good reason to start streaming.

My First Episode on Corellian Run Radio

Corellian Run Radio

I casually announced this the other day on Monday’s blog post, but I also wanted to announce it officially here on the blog with its own post.

You probably already know anyway, but for those that don’t use Twitter/Facebook: I will be contributing to Corellian Run Radio as a new writer and co-host on the podcast! Today they have released episode 116, which I am in. If you would like to listen, here’s a link to their website. It’s also available for download on iTunes and wherever else you can download podcasts from. I’ll add a link to the sidebar as well, next to the OotiniCast one that I have up.

I haven’t decided the exact topic I’ll be writing for CRR, so I should probably hurry up and do that. Also we should be doing shows every other week I think, so I’m happy to be contributing even more to the SWTOR community.

Pretty Girls and Pretty Games: How Important Are Appearance & Graphics?

Looks aren’t everything. Appearance will certainly bring you in, but substance will make you stay.

What am I talking about here? I’m talking about attractive people and video games with amazing graphics.

The Elder Scrolls Online certainly sucked me in with beautiful graphics. Seeing people post screenshots, watching the cinematic trailers, oohing and ahhing made me want to buy the game (again). When it came it to actually playing the game, I would be impressed for a second at the view and then sorely disappointed for the next half an hour at how unsatisfied I was with the game. I was bored. The game was buggy. I felt like the storyline didn’t care about my character. I wanted something more with the game, not just a pretty landscape.

The same could be said when you date someone new. A lot of the time the first thing that attracts you to someone is how they look. However, looks aren’t enough if there are things wrong (bugs), such as not being able to hold a conversation, not having anything in common, not have the same values or priorities, etc. Sometimes you fix the bugs. But a lot of the times, it’s just not technically possible or too much effort for too little reward. And out the girl/guy/game must go.

If the girl/guy/game is really that attractive, maybe it will keep your attention for a little bit longer. However, if there is nothing else that interests you beyond the appearance, then I feel like you couldn’t be as happy as you could be if you found a girl/guy/game that was fun, interesting, or whatever else you look for in a partner/game.

On the alternate end of the spectrum, how about those games or people that have absolutely nothing going for them on the outside? A while back I wrote about a mobile game I was playing called A Dark Room that was merely text—black and white. And yet, that game was so addicting. I spent hours playing it until I beat it. There were absolutely no graphics at all needed to make me happy.

For you single folks, there may be someone out there that you haven’t noticed because their outward appearance has not piqued your interest. However, their personality, brain and heart might be the perfect fit for you. Alternatively, a beautiful outward appearance may not always mean a boring inside. To find one of those games/people that has what you are looking for on the inside and the outside is truly a find.

What do you think? How much do you prioritize a game’s graphics? A person’s attractiveness? (Is that a loaded question?)

When I Grow Up, I Want to PvP

y u no pvp

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I’m all about the PvE. Raid progression, story missions, killing NPCs. What business do I have writing about PvP? I’ve never stepped into a Ranked match, I really have no PvP gear except for some old relics and a color crystal, and I have never been in an arena or even the new Huttball map. And I play a Deception Assassin. What Madness is this?! (Intended pun? Did you get it??)

It’s not that I hate PvP. I just feel like I would enjoy it more if it was just a little different. I love occasional duels with friends, and I love “organic” PvP. There’s nothing like seeing a flagged member of the opposite faction out in the world and knowing you can destroy them before they even notice you! I also have enjoyed the few times that I’ve been in large operation-sized groups fighting another large group out in the open world, naturally fighting over world bosses. To elaborate on that last one: On both Alderaan and Section X, there have been world bosses that I’ve fought over. It was so much fun seeing another huge team across the way and attacking en masse!

Actually, shockingly, I used to PvP a lot more before I joined Despair, but never Ranked. I was in a small guild, and most of the guys in it liked PvP, so I tagged along. I can at least say that my favorite warzone is The Civil War (perfect for sneaking up on healers hiding in corners. I preferred to hold middle.), and my least favorite is The Voidstar (because I stealth-fail?!). I think I should get back into it, because I think I could be really, really good.

What happened? Why don’t I PvP anymore? I don’t know. I’ve become an excellent raider. I’ve become dependent on my guildies to not let me die/protect me. I’m afraid to get gang-banged in the warzone. I’m afraid to be bad at it. I hate Huttball?

Despite all this, like I’ve said before, I have so much respect for PvPers. I feel like they are more dedicated players because it’s a much harder skill to become good at. So go ahead and call me an ickle, weak PvEer! Just know that somewhere deep in my gaming heart, I kind of really want to be a badass PvPer.

My First Time Getting My PC Repaired

See more on Know Your Meme

See more on Know Your Meme

My computer is no longer broken! This is the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like this, so here’s a breakdown of what I went through to fix it for those that didn’t closely follow my tweets.

Thursday

When it crashed, some people thought the issue was related to the computer overheating, so I turned it off and let it be until the next day.

Friday

The computer still had the same error as the day before, so it wasn’t a heat issue. I started messing around with the RAM because that was also a possible problem. All combinations of RAM placements and removals did not work. I’m not technically savvy enough to have done anything else, so I waited until the next day to take it to a professional.

Saturday

taking pc downstairs

I woke up bright and early to take my baby to the repair shop. The big issue was getting my computer from the bottom of my desk to the trunk of my car, and my computer is huge! I am a tiny person (Pretty LITTLE Sith) , and I have no muscle with a limited arm-span. I managed to get the computer into a rolling suitcase. It was still too big, but at least it was movable. My next task was to get the computer down the stairs, which I did with minimal shaking. It wasn’t perfect though, and the sound of the parts jolting made me nervous. Eventually I made it to the trunk of my car, but not before giving myself a bruise on my left arm.

The place that I looked up online had great reviews and was near my house. Additionally, it was a flat $50 for a repair. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the location. In fact, the address was in suite 278 in a building that only went to 276. I called the business phone number and also the repair guy’s cell phone, but I could only leave a voicemail on both. I needed to get the computer fixed ASAP, so I tried some different options.

IRL trolled

I went to Fry’s Electronics, a big box electronics store, and it took them about a good couple minutes before one of the employees bothered to help me. Normally when I’m at Fry’s, there are so many employees on the sales floor to help you, so this was out of the ordinary and annoying since I was accustomed to slightly better service. The cost for simply a diagnostic was $70, and the turnaround time for that was 3-5 days. I left.

I Googled for another small repair shop reasonably close to my house, and I found Simple Computer Repair. The diagnostics are completed within 24 hours. There is also no cost to see what’s wrong; however the cost of repair is $119 if you bring your computer to their location. I figured the guy from the first repair shop wasn’t going to call me back, so I decided just to take it here. The employee that helped me carried my computer out of the car into the shop. I was amused that he seemed surprised to see the water cooler and two hard drives. He couldn’t tell me how soon they could fix my computer, but at that point I was pretty desperate. I left the computer there and hoped for the best!

A little while after I left Simple Computer Repair, I received a phone call from the first repair shop guy. Darn it! I told him I brought the computer somewhere else already, which really sucks for me because I feel like I threw an extra $69.00 down the drain.

That day my mom said to me, “Why don’t you just buy a new one? It’ll cost less.” referring to my broken PC. Clearly, she doesn’t know 1. how much repairs cost and 2. how much my computer is worth.

I spent the rest of the day cleaning my room, arranging bunnies in a basket, and assembling my new Tetris lamp that I bought from ThinkGeek at PAX East.

bunny basket

Who has watched Shin Chan? That is Happiness Bunny on the right.

tetris lamp

If you look closely, you can see my Minnie Mouse hat has my name embroidered on it.

Sunday

Today I had the headache from hell, and resolved to lay in bed all day after eating banana pancakes for breakfast and Memphis BBQ Pringles for lunch. I know, I’m sooo healthy. Simple Computer repair called me in the morning to say that the problem was not hardware related as I thought, but software related instead. I gave the green light to go ahead and fix it. I pretty much moped around the rest of the day with a headache, waiting for a phone call from the computer guys before the time I really needed the computer, but nothing!

The reason why I was stressing so much about getting the computer fixed quickly was not because I’m terribly obsessed with gaming. I needed it done quickly because I was recording my first podcast as a co-host on Corellian Run Radio!

Corellian Run Radio

A few minutes before we started recording, Simple Computer Repair actually called to say it was ready. I guess that was pretty awesome that they fixed it in one day and technically before the podcast, but it didn’t help the situation in which I had to use my brother-in-law’s six year old laptop to do the show.

When I arrived at the repair shop and they turned it on to show me that it worked, I realized I had a nauseatingly cute My Little Pony wallpaper up. That’s cute, I remarked embarrassedly to the employee helping me. He deactivated some stuff to make my startup load faster and explained a bit on what I could do to avoid the issue in the future. I also realized that I forgot to bring the two sticks of RAM that I removed on Friday night, so I would need to install those back in myself.

I finally brought my computer back home, plugged everything in, put the two sticks of RAM in, and guess what? The computer says I only have 8GB of RAM rather than the 16GB that I’m supposed to have, and the sound doesn’t work. I don’t blame the repair shop, because obviously I don’t know how to install RAM, and I also suck at trying to get my speakers to work. *sigh* I can call them tomorrow to have them walk me through the speaker situation, and once I turn off my computer I’ll try to install the extra two sticks of RAM again.

Conclusion

I still feel like I paid A LOT to get it fixed, whereas if I was a bit more patient I could’ve had the guy from the first repair shop do it. However, I’m not sure if he could’ve done it as fast as the repair shop I went to, because it looked like they had a few more employees. If my computer ever breaks again (hopefully not anytime soon), I’ll probably try the guy from the first repair shop since it was a lot cheaper. Only then would I be able to judge if I made the better choice paying more and getting my computer back the next day.

Tomorrow I will tell you guys a bit more about what I’m doing for Corellian Run Radio! Sometime in the future I will also let you know what kind of parts I’m running on my computer as well.

My Computer is Broken

20140425-234556.jpg

On Thursday night we were back to fighting Dread Master Tyrans hard-mode, this time in 16-man. Our first pull was good–got him down to 21%. In the middle of a few pulls later, the worst thing ever happens!

I heard some kind of weird popping sound from my computer. My monitor goes black, and moments later the computer itself turns off. When I turned it back on, I saw the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. Then the computer tried to do the Startup Repair. That didn’t do anything either. And it would continue in a loop of BSODs and Startup Repairs unless I shut it down.

My Twitter people tried to help, as I was lamenting about my situation in tweets. However, I still couldn’t figure it out, because I have no idea what I’m doing! (If you’re wondering, I typed this up on my iPhone.)

Today I will be bringing my poor computer to a nearby repair shop. I’ve never been to any type of PC repair shop ever! The owner has some great online reviews, so I’m sure I’ll be fine. I need to get it fixed before tomorrow afternoon! I have a little, awesome surprise for you all if it works out by then.

I think the worst part of the situation is that they beat the boss on the pull right after I crashed. Fantastic—-no achievement for me.

20140425-234448.jpg
Don’t forget that you still have some time before Star Wars Day (May 4th) to “Like” the Pretty Little Sith Facebook page in order to win the M8-3R Astromech Droid!

Response to Jake: How to Experience SWTOR Solo

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic

I received a message from a person named Jake who asked:

“Any advice for someone who loved KOTOR and even KOTOR II… but is NOT a fan of MMOs, but DOES want to experience the story elements of SW:TOR?”

I tried to respond, but unfortunately his e-mail address didn’t work. So Jake, hopefully you are a regular reader of the blog so you can see my answer:

Hi Jake,

Make sure you join a PVE (Player Versus Environment) server.

I think the best part of the game is the class story that you complete while you are leveling. I used to play alone all the time when I first started the game! It’s definitely doable, and pretty relaxing to not have other people around or talking to you when you are in the zone.

You can absolutely play through the entire class story solo. Each of the 8 classes has a different story, but they share planetary missions within each faction. Usually when I level from 1 to 55, I mostly don’t play with anyone anyway because I like to take my time and enjoy the story. What you can do is avoid what are called “HEROIC” missions and Flashpoints since they are designed for multiple players. If you are leveled high enough, you can probably go back to complete those missions by yourself to experience the additional story content, but I usually just skip them now because I’ve done them all before. All of the other missions you receive can be completed solo. If it gets a little hard, just try to level up a bit or upgrade your gear. All of the class story missions can be completed solo.

Once you hit 55, you can do what are called the daily planetary missions, which are mostly solo missions that are reset every day. These are on planets/areas like Ilum, Oricon, Makeb, Section X, Black Hole, Belsavis, and CZ-198 that all have daily missions.

You can pretty much ignore the MMO aspect by turning off Chat, and player nameplates. The only other thing you might run into is other players going for the same enemies/mission objectives as you.

There are additional end-game content and stories you can complete, but these are in Operations that are usually completed in 8 or 16-man groups.

Thanks for reading,

Heather

 

Bloody Dread Master Tyrans

Bloody Dread Master Tyrans

Currently in my guild, we shifted from 16-man raid groups to splitting into smaller. 8-man raid groups. Last night my team worked on Dread Palace Hard-Mode. We one-shot Dread Master Bestia, however the second boss in the operation Dread Master Tyrans, was giving us a bit of trouble. This was also my first time going into Dread Palace after update 2.7 since I was in Boston last week.

First of all, we had a Nightmare mechanic bug (and NiM DP is not even out yet!) leaking in. During the Simplifications, you cannot just run away from the square like you would normally do. Instead, you must drop to the lower level and teleport back up with the pyramid in the middle. Bioware, can you fix this please? I guess the positive aspect of this situation is that when NiM DP does get released, we’ll be a little more prepared for this fight. We got the hang of this eventually, making sure that everyone was healed up before dropping down, and hopefully without an Affliction debuff.

Another thing that was kind of buggy was that one of the squares in the front, left part of the room did not appear or respawn after we wiped. I wish I had taken a screenshot, but it happened pretty much every time we came in.

Unfortunately, we did not beat Tyrans, but we made some pretty good progress. I have yet to get an achievement for beating HM Tyrans, so I hope we can nail it tomorrow.

Also, about 30 minutes before raid time ended, this happened right before we pulled:

Me: [holding nose] Oh my God I have a bloody nose!

Film: Tilt your head back!

Columbiaa: Go get one of your tampons, cut it in half, and stick it up your nose.

Drios: Yeah, a tampon works.

Me: Uhh my nose is too small to fit a tampon!

Raid team: WHAT KIND OF TAMPONS DO YOU HAVE??

Me: Okay, well, I can’t DPS with my left hand holding my nose, so I’ll be right back.

Me: [goes to the bathroom and sticks a tampon up nose]

Me: Okay, my tampons are actually not that big.

And so we continued to raid with a tampon holding my bloody nose because there was no wasting time when we were so close to victory! At least the bloody nose didn’t last very long.

How dedicated are you to raiding? What is the most ridiculous thing you have done to continue playing a video game?

Image above courtesy of riddlemetom.tumblr.com.

Galactic Strongholds Release Date Pushed Back

SWTOR Galactic Strongholds

Today SWTOR posted a letter from Senior Producer Bruce Maclean regarding the upcoming digital expansion, Galactic Strongholds. The original early access release date for Subscribers has been pushed back from June 24th to August 19th “in order to deliver to you the most features at the highest level of quality.” Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

Some of the additional features they are adding with the extra time include:

Conquest Events: use the power of your Stronghold to dominate these events and earn rewards.

Guild Flagships will now offer expanded functionality for Guilds:

o   Provide powerful buffs to Guild members from orbit

o   Transport entire groups to your personal coordinates instantaneously

o   Compete in Conquest Events to conquer entire planets

New Stronghold: Tatooine Homestead

Vehicles, Mounts, Pets, and Companion Characters can be placed as decorations in Strongholds

I think these additional features are very cool! Patience is a virtue, and I would much rather have an amazing product that comes a few months later rather than a sloppy, rushed, disappointing one.

In one of my previous blog posts about Galactic Strongholds, I talked about wanting a house on Tatooine, so that is fantastic. Additionally, I really like the ability to transport your group to your location as well. It sounds like it will eliminate travel time to whatever you are doing. I also am excited to decorate my stronghold with some “cute” pets.

They are also providing Subscribers with rewards on the dates that were scheduled, including another pet, some titles, and an expanded Nar Shadaa stronghold.

While I thought player housing was cool, I am really looking forward to the additions they are making to guilds. I think being in a guild or at least playing with other players really enhances your MMO experience. Personally, I am much happier with an active, organized guild than I ever was before playing by myself or pugging into other groups, so I’m very excited to have more guild-type things to do.

What do you think of the delayed release date and/or the additional features?

Win 1 out 3 M8-3R Astromech Droid Pet-Codes!

I finally updated the blog’s Facebook page! To celebrate me attempting to figure out Facebook, I am running a blog giveaway for 1 out of 3 M8-3R Astromech Droid pet-codes!

M8-3R Astromech Droid

This is an exclusive pet-code that is normally only obtained by attending the SWTOR Community Cantinas. However, I received some codes via Eric Musco for the blog. Thanks Musco! The code is not restricted to any server in particular, and once you redeem the code under your account page on SWTOR.com, you will receive the pet in the mail on all of your characters.

In order to be randomly selected to receive a pet-code, all you have to do is “Like” the Pretty Little Sith Facebook page, in which there is also a convenient, new “Like” button that I added to the sidebar of the blog. Please also leave a comment on the page and say hello!

The contest runs from now until 9pm on May 4th (Star Wars Day!). Good luck, and may the force be with you!

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