Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, meandering, muddled mind.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blaugust the 27th: SWTOR KotFE Livestream (with Cantina Code!)

The Latest Cantina Speeder Model, Prinawe Aggregate
So the folks at BioWare did a livestream on Twitch last night, and it was pretty cool overall. I guess they had planned to go to Pax this year and have a Cantina Event, but that plan fell through ("We've chained the devs to their desks to work on KotFE"). And so they gave away an infinitely redeemable code for the Prinawe Aggregate (pictured above). To redeem your own speeder, simply log onto the SWTOR website and then click the following link (or copy-paste into your browser address window).


You'll also receive a version of your own code to share; but again, this one is supposedly infinite. After getting the confirmation, you'll receive the Cantina reward through in-game mail on every character.

They were only about five or ten minutes into the show when the video froze, even though the audio was still working. Over 10,000 people tuned in at one point (which may or may not caused the stream to crash). The chat was going so fast that I could hardly read any of the things people were posting. Trolls, ignoramuses (e.g., people asking for the Cantina Code even though it was part of the stream title), and the folks trying to silence them made up the bulk of the chat anyway, but the occasional item from "SWTOROfficial" was lost as well.

Once they got the technical difficulties worked out (I was playing the game in the meantime, so I did not get upset), they showed a bit of the game (more of the Jedi Knight seen in the gameplay trailer) and explained how the player's decisions would make even more of an impact on the plot than in the current content. The cutscenes are much more cinematic—as has been commented upon elsewhere—with sweeping camera moves and other flourishes. As I was going through a few cutscenes on my Smuggler at almost the same time as I was watching the stream, and the differences were really noticeable.
Ahhh, Kira, I'm so glad I won't lose you.
I took notes for Scooter (who was otherwise occupied) but forgot to put them somewhere they would be of advantage as I write this. A few highlights that I can remember:
  • The expansion will be included "free" for anyone subscribed at launch (27 October 2015). So basically, $15 gives you full access to Knights of the Fallen Empire. Ironically, that's the day my 60-day time card will run out. (Of course I will be getting another one, Silly!)
  • The expansion will have nine (9!) chapters available from launch for subscribers. I think they're assuming everyone will subscribe to the game who is interested in the expansion.
  • While, based on your class, there will subtle differences in the choices you can make (e.g., Force Persuade for the Knight), I got the strong impression every class will get mostly the same story, at least at the beginning. I think this will be a good thing: if our choices really do impact the plot, the story should change significantly as we move through it. They may have devoted the resources to enable those dramatic changes instead of having the most significant plot choice be made at character creation. And personally, I'd rather have a story where I am actually making a difference than eight stories where I am mostly just along for the ride.
  • From a story perspective, your companions are scattered, and part of the plot will be finding out what happened to them.
  • However, from a game mechanic perspective, none of them are lost. No one will lose any investment in time and resources in the game, like effort spent to gain max affection, reputation, etc. Opportunities may be lost, however. For example, they specifically mentioned a current Makeb achievement that will be rewarded in KotFE, but that may not be available after KotFE launches.
  • All companions will be able to fulfill any role. I noticed that Lana, clearly a Marauder (DPS) with twin red lightsabers, was healing the PC Knight during the demo playthrough. This will free up the players to choose the companion they want rather than the companion they need to complement their own playstyle.
  • They referred to the KotFE launch period as "Season 1," which will be followed by a "break" coinciding with the launch of Star Wars Battlefront and the release of Episode VII in theaters. Then, Season 2 will come out next year.

They closed out the stream with another video showing Kira piloting the Defender in an attempt to rescue the Knight from a burning battle cruiser. More exciting cinematic style. I don't feel this was too much hype train, though I may be overestimating the degree of player impact on the plot. Now all I have to do is decide which of my stable of characters will be my first "Outlander."
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Wow, has only four posts of madness left! Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end of Blaugust. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blaugust the 26th: Every Day

In columns from left: Moina, Zane,
Bella, Chico, Lucy, Dexter,
and Quintus.
To think, five years ago, I wasn't much of an animal person, much less specifically a dog person. I mean, I didn't hate animals, we had a cat when I was growing up, and fish (which are more like a decoration), and even a bunny that really belonged to my children, but that I helped take care of. I felt that animals should be treated kindly, but never felt any particular attachment to one.

Things changed in 2011, when my older daughter and I adopted (feels warning) Zane the Magnificent from the local pound. I was already known at my future lovely bride's house as "The Treat Man," but that was more to ingratiate myself with her pups—treats are so exciting!—than any particular love for them. Zane was special, though. And I am so glad he picked us (because that's what he did by being the dog he was).

As you may know, Dear Reader, if you've been following this blog for any length of time, a series of adoptions and rescues followed, culminating in the birth of my favorite little devil, Lucy and her angel brother, Ivory. The pack is down to six now, but we love them all. Every day is National Dog Day at our house.
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If you're interested in joining the madness (Vloggers are welcome, too!), Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blaugust the 25th: Game Time

Scooter and I are nearing the the end of our four month term in SWTOR, and debating the best way to continue our sojourn. We are of course very excited about the upcoming Knight of the Fallen Empire expansion, and current subscribers are receiving in-game swag related to Nico Okarr, the Smuggler first seen in the cinematic trailer "Return." Since my original idea for a smuggler revolved around a Nico expy, I am thrilled that he is being featured here.
We ended up getting 60-day game time cards at Walmart, since they sell for about a dollar cheaper there than online. Strangely, even though most cards of this sort—including SWTOR's own cartel coin cards—come in barely any packing at all, these SWTOR time cards came in DVD-sized cases. While I guess such cases are not particularly expensive, they do seem like a big waste for something that we are going to throw into the recycling.

In any event, we are set till about the end of October, when we'll probably get more time cards. While not quite as convenient as a recurring subscription, I like the prepaid time with an expiration. We can decide every couple months whether the game is worth a continuation; and if not, we just let it expire.
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If you're interested in joining the madness (Vloggers are welcome, too!), Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blaugust the 24th: My Own Favorite Posts

Murf is looking for some great non-Blaugust posts to talk about for his Blogging Bonanza column on MMOGames. We often worry about how popular our posts are, but what are the ones we are particularly proud of? Including this entry, I have posted 727 times on this blog. Perhaps not as many as some others out there, but enough that I don't even remember off the top of my head everything that I have written. This list may not even include my best work by some measures, but these are the ones that stood out in my mind when I read Murf's appeal. In no particular order:

"Developing Character Backstories in MMORPGs"

OK, it says we need 10 kobold candles.
In which I share my philosophy and advice on how having backstories enriches character development and, perhaps, player immersion and enjoyment of the game. One of my first "guide posts" and also the first time I guest-posted on someone else's blog. I posted for Steve "Slurms" Lichtsinn of Multiplaying fame, and co-host of the recently retooled MMO Show podcast.

"Ascended"

Go Forth, Ascended
In which I relate the first moments of my Guardian Warrior's rebirth into the world of Telara. One of my many attempts at creative writing. Again, perhaps not my best, but it's the one I immediately thought of. "Ascended" is as much a word painting as a story of any kind. I had an impression, a few images and sounds, that I tried to convey through the written word. You can judge if I was successful or not.

"A Little Player in a Very Big MMORPG"

No more runnin'. I aim to misbehave.
In which I discuss how I do not need to be the Big Damn Hero of the world in an MMO, and how I think MMOs miss the mark when they attempt to make the player feel that way. Strangely enough, I am right now heavily involved in a game that seems to just that, SWTOR. One of my gaming design philosophy posts, and one that involved quite a few respondents.

"Cloud Atlas"

Who's going to pay for all that?
In which I try to encourage folks to see this awesome film. One of the few movie reviews I have attempted, and by far the best, partly because of the way the movie itself affected me. Perhaps by coincidence, this was also by far my most popular post for a long time, and even now it is my third all-time most popular.

"My Lovely Bride"

One of my few treasures
In which I defend this term of endearment for Scooter. Another post that had a lot of commenters; some for, and some against. It was a lesson to me of how our own personal gestalt tinges the way we see the interactions of others. Any long-time reader of this blog knows how much Scooter means to me, this post may have been the first time I articulated it in writing.

So that's them, my personal favorites. As I said at the top of the post, you may think I have written better posts than these. I certainly have written posts that got more hits or comments. Let me know what you think of my list in the comments below.
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If you're interested in joining the madness (Vloggers are welcome, too!), Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blaugust the 23rd: Under the Wire

The plot moves along for our Sith. Glember and Morrenia have left the prison planet Belsavis in their ion trail and are headed to new and exotic locales. Not really. Morrenia must head back to Hoth to muster some troops, and Glember is headed back to Nar Shadaa to secure some military weapons components with the help of her very own personal cult.

I don't know about Scooter (I've been encouraging her), but I've been choosing almost every Dark choice for Morrenia that I can, or at least avoiding Light choices. But it's wearing, and I'm not sure it makes the story more interesting. I've touched on it before, but I don't think the best choice or the most "human" choice in every situation in the game properly lines up one way or the other.

What remains to be done? Other than some running around to old planets, I believe only Voss and Corellia are left for the original main stories. We'll probably return to our Hunter and Agent at that point. We're nearing the end of our original four-month "subscription" time, but are already planing to continue up through the Knight of the Fallen Empire expansion I want to get all eight classes through the original story before 12x ends in October. But I am not sure whether and which characters we may take to through the 50-60 content prior to the release of KotFE.
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If you're interested in joining the madness (Vloggers are welcome, too!), Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.