July 2014 archive

Personal Goals in SWTOR

I remember either writing here on the blog or talking on Corellian Run Radio about ways to keep yourself occupied when there is a dearth of new content in the game. One of the ways I mentioned was to create goals for yourself that you can complete, which are unrelated to whether or not there is a new flashpoint, operation, warzone map, etc. In no particular order, here are my current personal goals in the game:

Leveling My Jedi Shadow to 55

Clearly I’m a slow leveler, and sadly I have hardly paid attention to the class story. I’ve been leveling her dark side, which is a bit more entertaining as well. I’m currently in Chapter 2, so from here on out I’ll focus on the story. I’m planning on gearing her immediately after hitting 55 with my Assassin’s assortment of leftover mods, so she should be at 180-rating very quickly aside from the earpiece, implants, and relics.

100% Completion on Planets

I’ve started to do this on Korriban and Hutta. It’s much easier to grind a massive amount of enemies while talking to your friends, so you’re not really paying attention to how boring it is. However, I think my hours of gameplay would be better reflected in a high number of achievement points. After I get this done, I’ll probably move on to doing flashpoint achievements, which could get very frustrating from the looks of it.

PvP Gearing

I know, I know! I said my PvP Series would be all about me writing about my journey to full Brutalizer gear! And then I got lazy and didn’t do much during the double warzone commendations event. However, I have a goal in mind now, which involves my Shadow. This is a big excuse, but there has been a lot to do recently in game that I don’t have the time and energy to do everything.

Fully Upgraded Gunship

My Assassin’s gunship is partly upgraded so far. I’m decent at GSF, but I’m only decent and not fantastic because I haven’t been practicing. It is something I really like to do, but just don’t get around to flying. Also, I really like to do this with a group of people. More fun, less lonely.

Clear Nightmare Dread Fortress

We have already cleared Nefra, the first boss, a few times, but we haven’t touched Gate Commander Draxus as much as I’ve wanted to. This is a constant goal that I hope to work on with my guild.

Despite having these personal goals, a lot of times I just don’t get a chance to work on them! I’m happily entertained working on operations with my guild, which takes a bit of time during the week, and also other SWTOR related activities, like events (Gree, Soovada, Rakghoul, etc.), this blog, and my podcast. How are people still complaining about boredom? I swear I put so many hours into the game and I am not close to doing everything I want. Perhaps it’s because I strive to be good at all aspects of the game. Or maybe it’s because I do many things outside the game as well. Anyway, if I’m going to do something, I want to do it well, and that involves taking time and effort to work on it.

Testing Out Galactic Strongholds

Dromund Kaas sleep emote

This weekend I downloaded the PTS to try out the Galactic Strongholds update! I only copied over my main toon from the live server, so I didn’t have a lot of credits to work with. However, I was still able to see all of the different stronghold locations!

Dromund Kaas

I purchased the Dromund Kaas apartment, which is priced cheaply at 5,000 credits. The thing I was most impressed with was the rain! I live in the desert and get excited when it rains just a little bit in real life, so this was awesome to me. It was beautiful seeing the rain from the different rooms and also when I went outside to the balcony. It was very gloomy and Sith-y, and I think there was more than enough room to decorate and hang out inside of it.


Coruscant stronghold

On the other hand, the Coruscant apartment has great lighting! I liked seeing vehicles zooming by, the skyscrapers, and the purple and golden clouds. If I ever take any screenshots of my outfit in the future, I will try to do it at this stronghold! The tricky part will be to get a friend on the Harbinger to buy it, unlock the balcony (which is 1 million credits, I think! Way out of my budget to spend just for screenshots), and give me a key so I can do that! I wouldn’t be able to visit one in the public listings with my Assassin, who is the only toon I ever care about taking screenshots of. Otherwise, the layout and pricing is exactly the same as the Kaas City stronghold.

Nar Shaddaa

Nar Shaddaa stronghold

The Nar Shaddaa stronghold comes with 5 rooms unlocked if you were a subscriber by a certain date, which is more than half of the rooms. My favorite area was the bottom floor balcony, which has three little balconies coming out of it. The only issue here was that in order to unlock all the rooms, you have to unlock two doors that go to this same area. I’m not sure if that is a bug or working as intended, but there weren’t other rooms to unlock. Essentially there are only actually 8, not 9 rooms in this stronghold.

Besides that issue, I liked seeing the circular billboard as well as the party barge in the Nar Shaddaa skyline! There is also a large “stage” area where you can place a ship. You can only get to this area by jumping off a higher floor and skillfully landing on it. I did quite a lot of duels with a friend here, and the amount of fighting space plus the city view was really great and made that a lot of fun.


Tatooine stronghold

This place is huge! It was really easy to get lost with the different levels and rooms. It felt like your own huge, desert compound. The garage is very cool; it’s a bit underground with an open ceiling, so you can see that beautiful Tatooine sky. This one is really nice, but I personally still like my cheap Dromund Kaas stronghold—small and easy to decorate.

Decorating and Interacting With Furniture

Dromund Kaas decorating

As far as decorating goes, I did a little bit of it in my Dromund Kaas stronghold. It was pretty easy to figure out the hook systems, the UI, how to click, etc. I felt a bit limited on the furniture that I had, but I hadn’t bought anything from the vendors and simply used the decorations that were given to me. I did feel a little giddy using the /sleep emote, which made my character curl up cutely on the bed! Additionally /chair makes it so your character sits normally on a piece of furniture, not the weird, sitting on the ground pose.

Keys and Inviting Others

Stronghold keys

In the PTS, you are limited on the amount of keys to other people’s strongholds. I think I was only allowed 5 or 6, which was a low number, especially if a friend gives you keys to all of their strongholds. I suppose on the live server people might just focus on one stronghold, so maybe the limitation doesn’t matter that much.

You can only invite and give out keys to a character that is of the same faction of yours. However, once a person has your key, it doesn’t matter what faction they are on. If you have unlocked the Coruscant apartment and get on an Imperial character to give your key to your Imperial friend, they can still visit your stronghold!  Keys are bound to your character, so be sure to remember to get keys for every one that wants to travel while your friends are offline or cross faction!

There are two types of keys that you can give out: silver and bronze. Silver keys allow your guests to invite others while bronze keys do not (both allow you to visit the strong hold when the owner is not online.) It will be interesting once Strongholds goes live to see how I utilize these different key functions, i.e. who I would even give a key to and if I would want them to invite others. I don’t really plan on having parties, but I may have to!

It’s easy to invite friends to your stronghold, and there is actually an achievement for doing so! The top tier achievement is for having 50 people at your stronghold at the same time.  I think I’m going to have to get a guild event in my empty stronghold if I’m going to be able to get this achievement!!

There is a lot of potential for a controlled PvP environment here! You would be able to create your own arenas by giving a friend in the opposite faction a silver key, and having them invite friends from their faction to your stronghold. Since they can visit your stronghold while you are offline, you might get a pleasant (maybe not) surprise when you log in and load into your house.

Killing Redna companions

You can kill your friends’ companion holos if they are the opposite faction!


I haven’t tried out the guild ships or strongholds yet, and I don’t know if I’ll get around to it before Strongholds comes out on the live server. I think this expansion has so much going on, so much for you to do and figure out, and I’m very excited to discover everything and make my stronghold look awesome!

PvP Series: Go Go Gree!

After our normally scheduled ops last night, I swapped out my 180/186-rating gear for my PvP gear and took my ship to Ilum to participate in the newly returned Gree event!

This is actually one of my favorite events because of the PvP aspect. I currently play on the Harbinger server, so my urge to run around ganking people with my double lightsaber is dampened by the fact that no one is flagged for PvP in the open world. With the Gree event, you can attack people on both factions including your own, which is very cool and fun!

I took three of my guildies with me to do the dailies that were there. I don’t remember the missions or the map that well, so I’m glad two of them did. Unfortunately they did not share my thirst for blood and were more interested in getting the missions completed quickly, especially the ones in the PvP area, because they wanted to be flagged and vulnerable for as little time as possible. This wasn’t that bad, since I had a headache anyway and wanted to hurry up and get off the computer.

However, we did run into a few PvP-flagged groups. The first 4-man group targeted me and then continued to melt down my group, which prompted them to change to a different planetary instance. We ran into another 4-man group that was seemingly non-aggressive. I said, “Since they’re not aggressive, we should attack them because they’re probably afraid of us.” Alas, they decided to attack us first while we hesitated, but thankfully we were much better than them. This was followed by me stealthing, spiking, and mauling lone wolves attempting to complete their missions despite my team’s reluctance in attacking helpless individuals.

I’m actually a very gentle and kind person with no violent tendencies in real life, so it’s difficult for me to believe any research done on video games saying that they encourage violence. I see absolutely no problem with killing other players in a game, because in a way, they are just another digital target with higher intelligence (hopefully) and better gear than the mobs you come across in PvE.  

At the end of the day, I can beat an operation boss and get great parse numbers and excellent gear. However, there’s no other rush like destroying a player controlled character out in the open! I guess this is what I miss out on for being on a carebear server.

Achievement Hunting

Back in the day when I played my Super Nintendo, I had games like Donkey Kong and Yoshi’s Island that kept track of your completion percentage for the different levels. I spent a lot of time making sure I got every coin, flower, or whatever was needed to fully complete the level. However, with SWTOR, surprisingly I did not have the same philosophy.

This may have been because the game was launched without an achievement tracking system, so I didn’t see the value in making sure I did everything. I simply played the game and did what I felt like doing.

With the upcoming advent of Game Update 2.9 Galactic Strongholds, it is more important than ever to make sure I’m getting my in-game achievements as close to 100% as possible! I want to have cool decorations obtained from completing different parts of the game. However, I honestly don’t care if anyone sees how good my Stronghold looks. I suppose I’ll probably take some screenshots for you readers here on the blog, but I don’t think I would like to publicly list my Stronghold.

These past few weeks I did try to fulfill a few achievements I didn’t have, like 16-man Eternity Vault Story Mode (surprisingly) and 100% companion kills on my Inquisitor. Apparently I don’t like to use Andronikos Revel ever! I also attempted to complete Korriban and Hutta to 100%, but somewhere along the way I got a bit lazy and/or couldn’t find what I was supposed to be killing.

Currently I have 10,000 achievement points. I have no idea how good that is since I’m comparing this number to friends with over 20,000 points, which is likely more than the average player. I’m looking forward to going back to old content to increase my number!

How To Be Patient

I think I’m a very patient person. I can calmly drive behind a slow car. I can wait in lines without making a fuss. I can relax and not complain about a game delaying the release of a new expansion. I don’t like to be demanding.

However, there are definitely times when my patience is tested, like pugging flashpoints (which I mostly avoid anyway), having to listen to boss mechanic explanations for the umpteenth time, or interacting with a very novice or unskilled player. I try to be as patient as possible, because people were and are still patient with me.

One way to have patience is to consider possible outcomes of what happens if you are or are not patient, and choose the best result. If I help someone in-game, one day they may be a better player and someday help me, my guild and/or the community, and the game. I would never want to say anything mean or discourage someone from playing because I don’t want to help them. I suppose most of the time I don’t put myself in a position to help “noobs” in game; I turn off General Chat, and I only ever play with my guildies who are all very seasoned players. On the other hand, if I let myself become impatient and end up being rude to someone, who does that benefit? Certainly not myself and definitely not the person on the receiving end.

Another way to have patience is to be prepared for what you are getting yourself into. If you aren’t playing with people whose knowledge and abilities you trust and you choose to solo pug, be ready with an explanation for each boss ahead of time. Take the initiative and ask right at the beginning if anyone is unfamiliar with the fights. Also, expect that every time you do a flashpoint that somebody will not spacebar, so don’t freak out so much when it happens. (as a side note, if it’s your first time, let everybody know right away that you would like to watch the cut scenes and ask if they can help with the boss fights, most people become very friendly and helpful when you lead with this information.)

In PvP, if winning is not an option, don’t quit the match. Change your goal to getting as many medals as you can instead so that your loss isn’t completely fruitless. Additionally, if you try your best despite the loss, if your teammates see you topping the charts, you may get extra MVP votes as well, which is more valor and commendations for you.

Honestly, at the end of the day if you are not patient enough to pug alone and be a polite person, accept that about yourself! Always go in with a friend that can either explain mechanics or strategy to the noobs and/or can carry them through the operation/flashpoint/match/etc. You will be much happier and perhaps more successful in-game if you are not constantly getting mad at others for not being as good as you think you are.

Hitting The Climax

I mentioned the other day that I had a new raid schedule, and this also came along with being in a new raid team in my guild. Last night we beat the Dread Council in Dread Palace Hard Mode after working on it for a couple nights. I thought we did fantastically, because most of us did not know the fight and we downed it within about two hours of trying over a couple raid nights.

For those that do not do progression raiding or work on defeating operation bosses, let me tell you—it feels really good when you eventually beat the boss. However, when you’re working on something for so long, getting so close but succeeding, it gets really frustrating! On one of our pulls, the last one of the night on Sunday, we were SO close. I was seriously physically getting hot and breaking a sweat and feeling really nervous, and then we died on the last phase of the fight. It was very anticlimactic and disappointing.

Thankfully last night we finally beat the boss, and it was such a relief to finally have cleared hard mode content. We can legitimately work exclusively on Nightmare operations from now on, so I feel like a top-tier carebear!  However, I think we may still need to go into hard mode operations for gear optimization purposes, but that’s easy to do.


This past week my attention has temporarily drawn me away from SWTOR! I still love the game, but recently my raid schedule has changed from Tuesday-Thursday to Sunday-Tuesday, and I’ve felt like I’ve had a lot more free time on weeknights. What have I been doing to stay occupied? Here are some of the delightful distractions that have been going on in my life:


Season Five of Pretty Little Liars started up again last month, so I’ve been making sure I’ve been watching all of those episodes once they are released. I’ve also been catching up on season two of Orange Is The New Black! When I’m done with that, I’m going to try to catch up on my Game of Thrones again, and also start watching another Netflix original series, Hemlock Grove.


I haven’t been playing any other games on my computer, but you guys need to try this mobile game called 2048. I go into complete Zen mode playing it to the point of sitting in a towel on my bathroom floor swiping numbers on my screen, and also temporarily ignoring my sister calling me from downstairs.


I’m doing physical activity! Since my raid schedule changed, it no longer conflicts with the Pilates class I like going to at the gym, so I’ve been doing that for the past week and a half. I can definitely feel it working the next day when I’m sore in odd places. I slimmed up some prior to going back to the gym, so I’d like to work on getting more toned.

Even with other things going on in my life, I did have a little fun on Friday night with my guildies in-game. I looked through my achievements to see what I haven’t accomplished, and for some reason I had never completed Eternity Vault 16-man Story Mode. We cleared that with 8 people including two players that actually needed the gear in the operation, so that was fun going back to an operation that hadn’t done in a while.

Distractions aren’t always bad, and they keep you from being overly focused on the game! It’s nice to step away once in a while from playing or thinking about the game, which I do a lot. This week will be back to business, and I’ll hopefully work through getting some achievements to prepare for Galactic Strongholds.

Going to PAX South!


Today I nailed some passes to PAX South in San Antonio for January 23-25th 2015. I’m very excited to have made it through the queue to get passes! This is also the first PAX South that will be held, so it should be very cool. I’ve been to San Antonio before, but probably not for 15 years or so, so it should be fun to go and do some tourist things when I’m not inside the convention center.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll know that I also attended PAX East in April! There were a few experiences related to being a girl that I didn’t write about previously.

I attended PAX East alone on one of the days I was there, which wasn’t so bad. It was my first time going to a convention, and seeing all the people was really intimidating! I’m not sure how intentionally I did this, but I was dressed very conservatively. It was cold in Boston! However, I think, for a small female going anywhere alone it is a bit scary. To be in a place where I was obviously a “girl gamer” and dressing to attract too much attention seemed foolish. You can bring up all kinds of feminist points that I should have been able to dress exactly how I wanted to without having to worry about any unwanted attention, but I feel that it is too idealistic to expect that what has been going on in society for so long will change just for me.

Nevertheless, attention is unavoidable. I wasn’t wearing a paper bag over my head or a potato sack. I can’t imagine if I was a cosplayer, wearing what they wear, stopping to take pictures with everyone, not having anyone to control if there was a crowd around me…

Let’s start with the fellow attendee that went out of his way to help me find the room I was looking for and was so very interested in me being an MMO blogger. He then went on to watch the seminar with me, even though he had been planning on going to an entirely different one. I don’t think I’m being arrogant thinking he was flirting with me, but I could be wrong.

The second experience was actually kind of funny. I asked some random “nerd” to take a picture of me with something in the background. His response? A frightened look on his face before walking away.

And apparently men like girls in glasses. I had bought some cute glasses, and two steps after walking away from the vendor wearing them, someone was on me right away, asking who I was with, if I had any plans after, if I wanted to go to some hotel party, if he could have my phone number. Of course I’m not a rude person; I’m very polite which could also be confused with being interested. I somehow escaped this situation but not before marketing the blog to him.

I know these aren’t really serious instances in which I had to be worried about being in any kind of danger, but it really is a different world for a woman sometimes. Luckily these conventions are well populated, but what about outside of it? I have to worry about little things like if someone is following me, making sure my car keys are out well before I get to my car in case I have to run, never leaving my drink unattended, etc.

With that said, I don’t really have a huge issue going to these events alone—I just have to be prepared. I really enjoyed going to PAX East, and I’m sad I won’t be going back to Seattle this year for PAX Prime. However, seeing a different city every once in a while is great, and I can’t wait to visit San Antonio!

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