Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Hustlin' through The Old Republic: Keep your friends close when Starfighting

Well, well, well it has most certainly been awhile since my last post, actually it’s been a whole freakin year, more than that actually, goddamn really? where has the time gone? I got quite a shock when I saw my last Hustlin’ through The Old Republic post was from the 11th of July 2013 so there’s gonna be one hell of a lot of ground to cover but anyway, here we go.

So after finishing off the Jedi Knight storyline I headed to Ilum to do the last bit of story that led to The Battle of Ilum and The False Emperor and wow what exciting flashpoints they were doing it for the first time with guildies Neffias and Areah *SPOILER ALERT* finally bringing down Darth Malgus was satisfying to say the least. So that was basically then end of the original set of story flashpoints. Pretty soon the very first expansion for SWTOR Rise of the Hutt Cartel had come out, bringing a new operation, species, planet and the experience cap to level 55. I had the good fortune to be invited by a Neffias to do a run of the Scum and Villainy operation and even more fortunate to be gifted a full set of modifications from him that would get me up to scratch to do the op as well, man he was such a nice guy I wrote a post about it in the forum. I wasted no time in deciding on a new armour set from the Cartel Market, I chose the Valiant Jedi set as I liked it from the cinematic as it was the armour that Jedi Master Ven Zallow wore, finally getting rid of my Tionese set though I still had my funky glasses!

Oo yeh Valiant Jedi Style
Scum and Villainy itself went ok, was with 16 people probably my first time doing that, we got to the end but unfortunately couldn’t finish off Styrak. I can’t remember at what point the Academy Exemplar guild I was in broke up to join Dawn (which is now called The Reclaimers) but it was around January last year that the guild leader Hawking decided to close Academy Exemplar and jump ship to Dawn which had a better and bigger playerbase, this was actually a very good move as I did much more raiding and instancing when I was with the new guild and started learning a lot more about end-game content. So anyway after I’d finished Ilum I decided to finish off several heroic areas of their quests such as Section X on Belsavis and the Black hole on Corellia. I had the idea to do these things in patch order because I had taken so long to finish of my story mission I needed to see all the content that had come out while I had been faffing around and also because I hadn’t purchased the game till the Aussie servers had come out which is kind of ironic now to be back playing on US servers.

I quite liked this picture of Makeb
 It didn’t take very long to finish off the pre - Rise of the Hutt Cartel content and soon I was off to Makeb which is quite a pretty planet indeed despite being wracked by earthquakes and instability due to Hutt Cartel Mining operations, I found Makeb to be pretty damn annoying as there were enemies pretty much everywhere and as the planet was made up of floating mesas it was difficult to avoid enemy npcs due to the tight confines of islands and bridges. But I got it done and it was quite a interesting storyline too.  Another note was I was as I had gotten T7 to maximum affection and I had achieved maximum Light side points and had gotten “The Pure” title. I was determined to use Lord Scourge though unfortunately this meant being evil, as he’s evil as fack and unfortunately an when I got to the first Dark side choice I just couldn’t, so that was that really. I continued on with Doc but lately it’s been kind of hard as you just don’t get enough story quests in endgame obviously.

Pure... but not simple
Sooner then I knew it, the Galactic Starfighter expansion had been released, honestly I reckon this was something they should have had from the start as when the game first came out everyone liked the on-rails starship missions but little else and they just trailed off from there. Don’t get me wrong the starfighter battles are fun but it’s little more than a feature and hard to play casually nowadays as you get massively upgraded people who you have no chance against though this happens all the time with PvP anyway. I had a bit of fun with it at the start when everyone was  new to it as well and it’s fun to dive in at times, can’t see myself playing it for a significant amount of time though. Around this time I finished off the Kaon under Siege and Lost Island flashpoints from the Rise of the Rakghouls patch, Kaon under siege was pretty damn harrowing I must say, with a few multiple NPC endurance bosses thrown in there.

Galactic Starfighter, well it looks pretty
Wham!, bam! shazam! Yeeeargh! Kaon under siege was a pretty chaotic affair
 After finishing off Makeb with Jxan, I got back on my Sith Inquisitor Shadow Kxan and set to work completing Belsavis which had quite an interesting part where I myself freed the Dread Masters, man wish I hadn’t done that now lol. Then I went to Voss and saw what the Empire side of the story was like, and it was actually pretty entertaining playing the trust of the Voss and getting their favour while making them scorn the republic, you even get into trouble by allowing a Gormak to leave Voss. Also I purchased a mobile security key so I could have access to the vendor to finally get the customization for Ashara Zavros where she has red-skin and white facepaint making her look much more appropriate to her new Sith identity, ironically after that  I managed to get her to full affection which was pretty fraught with uncertainty and timidness but we did end up doing it (I think) though not quite as much as with Kira Carsen man she was eager. She was probably the fastest companion I levelled up though as she liked most things Light side and I had racked up quite a few Courting gifts as well.

Ahh beautiful Voss
I then decided it was time to start a new character and this one of course would be a non-force user, I was initially trying to decide between a Smuggler and an Imperial Agent and even made forum post about it to get some ideas about the two classes. I decided against the two though mainly because I kind of wanted a more boss (dare is say it) Master Chief style of blasting away as an armoured soldier, but no so boss as to be a commando carrying a huge gun as a rifle was good enough. It was a huge conflict because my first two choices were pretty easy, I wanted a Jedi Knight first and foremost then I wanted to make a ‘good’ Sith so I chose Inquisitor Shadow for a few reasons as I didn’t want to do a Sith Warrior as they were pretty much the Sith equivalent of a Jedi Knight though I may make a Marauder in the future to cover that side of things. The other reason was that I wanted to create a Jedi Sage so I can use force telekinetics rather than a Sith Sorcerer where is mostly just force lightning. But this was different as it had lots of conflicting decisions for example there were lots of pros  and cons for each for example I knew I wanted to make a Jedi Consular so I technically should have gone Empire Side

Pros: Funny alternative storyline from Jedi and Sith serious stuff
Cons: Republic Side, Healer advanced class uses stealth like Sith Assassin, Gunslinger class used too much by other players

Imperial Agent
Pros: Empire Side, Awesome looking Ship
Cons: Serious story again unlike Bounty Hunter and Smuggler, Healer advanced class uses stealth like Sith Assassin, Sniper class used too much by other players

Pros: Boss as boss, uses rifle new odd looking ship, easy to raise companions affection as will be Light side
Cons: Republic Side, serious story, another tank character....

Bounty Hunter:
Pros: Empire side, Powertech boss tank  “Rebel without a cause” story, totally hot romanceable companion
Cons: Ship interior looks too much like Jedi Ship, Can only use blaster pistol :(

So after trying both the smuggler and bountry hunter starting areas for a bit. I decided on Trooper cause I can kick ass with heavy armor and a rifle. Yes I was on Republic side but meh, I picked a male Zabrak with a tank body as he was meant to be a tank and yes I know I now have 3 tank characters lol went with “Gxan” as in G-troops heh realised after level 10 I had spelled it “Gzan” so had to use my free name change to change it lol. Starting out wasn’t quite the start I’d hoped, you’re a recruit of the famous “Havoc Squad” and are thrown into the action on Ord Mantell after your troop transport is attacked though I must admit my first time blasting weak enemies with my rifle was pretty damn cool and the rocket boots were so goddamn helpful in getting around. Ord Mantell itself was actually kinda pretty apart from the war going on.

Gxan lookin' boss
What a lovely cove/inlet, apart from the lizard
When the time came to get my first speeder the way I look at them is by going to Dulfy.net’s awesome speeder guide  then checking out what’s available on the cartel market. I had a look at what was available and man did the Rark K1-A sure stand out, and it was only 30,000 credits too with an adaptive speed licence, though technically that colour scheme and the badass-hog riding position may be more suited to a bounty hunter or smuggler, but screw it, my Trooper is badass. I’m kinda wishing that your companion had their own speeder instead of just disappearing when you mount up, the ladies could even share the one, or the men too, I’m just imagining Khem Val or Lord Scourge riding on your back on one of the standing speeders LoL. Coruscant was a pretty muted affair as I had done it before obviously, though it made for a couple of good screenshots.

Oh yeh, roll out the red carpet for me and my stupid hat.

LooooL at option 3
But of course then it was time to get back on Jxan and continue with finishing shit off and exploring new shit (their both technical terms or course) starting with the two Makeb datacrons where my very helpful guildy Tyr helped me to get the Endurance which is by far the hardest and scariest datacron yet.

We're almost there! *splat*
 Then it was on to the Macrobinoculars and Seeker Droid missions which were a bit different to the MMORPG norm I must say. The Macrobincoluars missions have you chasing a mysterious character called “The Shroud” and to do this you have to use these binoculars to find the Shrouds spy towers and solve puzzles while visiting a host of planets most of which you’ve been to before, it’s kinda like a nostalgic journey. I was glad that I decided to do the Seeker Droid missions as well as this, as they involved using this Seeker Droid bot (which works similar to the ‘Survey’ archaeology ability in WOW) to retrieve the Dread Seeds which have been buried on various planets, almost exactly the same ones that you’re sent to with the Shrouds missions I might add. The Shroud’s puzzles were somewhat fun but the Seeker Droid was a bit of a pain to use.

Oh man yeh I can totally see that, that's shifty as, man this guy is good.
But I got there and now I’m up to the final two mission for each but goddamn trying to finish them was a hell of a pain, I think I organised a night twice with my guild to get them done and missed it both times, I almost got the Macrobinoculars one done with 3 people but unfortunately didn’t get the credit the first time and then we couldn’t quite finish it the second time so I’ve still got them sitting there, oh well maybe a bit of spamming in Fleet chat may help.

End of the final Dreadseed quest which I unfortunately didn't get credit for.
During this time I completed quite a bit of end game content as the Dawn guild was pretty active during this time, I completed the tactical hardmode flashpoints such as Czerka Corporate Labs and Czerka Core Meltdown from the Titans of Industry patch, the Kuat Drive Yards from the Galactic Starfighter Patch, and the Assault on Tython from the Invasion patch. Tactical flashpoints are interesting as you don’t quite need a healer or even a tank as they are designed to be able to be completed without the “Holy Trinity” Tank/Healer/Dps setup, so they are based on quick fights and have healing devices which you touch to heal your group around boss fights. As well as this I finished pretty much all the operations I had missed before inc Eternity Vault, Karagga's Palace and Explosive Conflict, I also got to the end of Terror From Beyond but failed to defeat the damn thing even after 5 or so tries, and managed to down the first boss of The Dread Fortress. I earned quite a few pieces of gear and commendations for this and it was great to see the story mode for all the fp’s and op’s (Flashpoints and Operations). 

They call him... Soa! the infernal one himself
I also acquired the Desler Avenger from the Eternity Vault which although looking pretty boss was freakin huge and because of its size looks even slower than my current mount, though really I never expect much from this game’s mounts anyway.

Crusin at 30km/h in style
 I had collected a few new pieces of armor from the operations which made me look somewhat ridiculous, I was sad to get rid of the Valient Jedi gear but at least it will always be there in case I get decked out with modifications again.

Black Hole Pummeler gear, fitting name for looking like a futuristic NFL player.
Meanwhile back on Kxan I had acquired the companion Xalek who had beaten the last opposing apprentice by killing him even when he’d lost fair and square and to be honest having a look at his likes and dislikes I’m not too fond of him already but regardless he’s the first companion I’ve had that takes the same armor type so I finally can gift one of my companions all my old armor, and that I did. I had been using the same set of armor, well the helm and chest mostly for quite a while and I thought it was time for a change. I had a look at the various sets of armor on the cartel market and was first interested in the Investigator robe which looked kind of like the robes the Sith Inquisitor was wearing in the ‘Return’ cinematic which was pretty cool but the helm was actually similar to the “iron man” one I had before. I decided on the Eradicator armor as I reckon it looked pretty cool and was pants instead of a robe which was better for Sith Shadow spec, I also purchased the Vindicator’s Sabrestaff which looks pretty cool and had an odd sound and delay when lighting up. After they were purchased I used my mass amount of planetary commendations to purchase modifications from the Makeb vendor which is the highest you can get and once I was all decked out I looked pretty damn cool, and what made it a bit more fun was I got to deck Xalek out in my old gear.

Some pics of my Eradictaor armor dyed with the red and black armor dye module
Fack this datacron was a close call
So after that I finished off Voss and then headed to Corellia which is packed with Republic vs Empire Lore and I was eager to see it, and after getting some nerve wracking datacrons I had done the place and won Coreillia for the Empire (go me!) and as with the Republic side even got my own personal  crowd celebration. Since the Eradicator helmet is full faced I’ve gone against my previous vow and sometimes have my helm hidden (especially for important quest cutscenes) and managed to take a pick of Kxan looking very sensitive and not at all Sith like.

"Aw shucks guys"
So I destroyed Darth Thanaton and was accepted into the Dark Council with the title “Darth Imperius”, I can’t remember what the name meant though. I then had another ceremony where Khem Val of all people announced my ascension to the dark council and my new title with all my companions and some familiar faces I’ve seen on my travels all kneeling.

Hail to the king baby!
Man did I feel honoured though I’ll say it now that I hate the way your companions gear only keeps the “unify colours” feature when you have them summoned as they don’t retain it for cutscenes and look ridiculous.

See what I mean about the colours? and yes Talos' helmet does look a bit ridiculous
At this point my current guild Dawn had made an executive decision to transfer to the Harbinger realm, which had a much higher APAC server population, now I was all for this, my guildmate Shiki guaranteed the facts that group finding finding was quick and pick up groups for raids were always going on, plus there is always heaps of people on fleet. So I just decided to go the gung ho and head in, so I purchased an extra 2400 cartel coins for $20 which coupled with my existing coins was enough to transfer my 3 characters over which I did with minimal trouble. The problem came when I got to Harbinger, due to the higher population my “Jxan” and “Kxan” names were taken (wow they must sound better then “bui”). So I had to go with “Hxan” for my Guardian which sounded ok because he’s “Human” and a “Hero” lol and “Uxan” for my Inquisitor because I couldn’t really think of anything else and “Sxan” sounds too much like “Susanne”

 It was relatively quiet in the Guild after the change, I actually haven’t even been able to find the “Drunk before Dawn” guild or whatever the hell we’re called on Harbinger but goddamn did I feel the difference as soon as I got over there, there is so much more people! On at all times! There’s people doing everywhere going everything it’s so amazingers. But anyway I got back to leveling on Gxan, I was now up to Taris, and met my much anticipated companion Elara Dorne who as you probably guessed is a romance option for the male trooper, though she is not quite as hot as Kira Carsen I liked the difference customizations you could give her, and besides pretty much all females in this game have killer bodies so just going to say I appreciate that and nothing more. She has been an interesting one to romance with her straight-up-the-line-post-Empire-citizen attitude and demeanour but she seems a nice person on the inside which will be fun to play out.

Trooper companion Elara Dorne with customization 4 enabled, yawow she is cute.
 Speaking of companions I must mention that since I’d left Ord Mantell on my merry quest to vanquish the traitorous members of the former Havoc Squad I’ve had Aric Jorgen as my companion who does ranged DPS with an Assault cannon or blaster rifle. I went Trooper Vanguard obviously so it was good to have an assault-cannon wielding commando that I could blast shit up with. Aric interestingly enough is quite obedient to his superiors, I found myself picking darkside options at times where I normally wouldn’t so I wouldn’t lose affection with him as he seemed to be blindly loyal and obedient to the Republic at times even when making choices like keeping a deadly virus to be studied or destroying it, whereas Elara was content to tell sensitive information for the good of the Republic to the SIS against General Garza’s orders (boy was that fun to watch).

Aric Jorgen with customization 3
I finished off Taris and then Nar Shadaa, killing Needles along the way, I dunno who I like better out of the two companions, probably Elara but there was that sort of kick ass bros comradery with Aric, though at the finish of the Nar Shadda, I acquired M1-4X as well who’s pretty much straightforward to the Republic too (man we’re an emotionless bunch lol). It seems I’ve got my work cut out for me here, I’ve got two companions who both use the same armor stat and type that I do making them damn easy to gear up as they can equip my hand-me-downs and well as any quest gear meant for me that I don’t need, and I also do Cybertech which means I can make gear for M1-4X as well, man so many possibilities so little time.

This isn't my photo of M1-4X but it shows how big he is compared to a female Trooper. Going to be kinda fun having a big droid as a companion.
That’s the other issue as once you finish off your story quests there becomes fewer and fewer quests which you can use to raise companion affection especially since you don’t get it while doing operations and flashpoints. I’ve read some posts and information on it and people say that some daily quests offer affection gains and you can always do mission skills or even just purchase companions gifts but it’s an expensive way to do it which is why I’m hoarding all my gifts for the future. Nothing much else happened on Nar Shadaa, apart from story the missions are slightly different when you do them with a different class but not much, I’m liking the B-7 Thunderclap mainly because it’s quite unique and I like the name lol, inside is so non-linear it’s almost confusing and I get lost sometimes, it’s possibly the most original player ship in the game.

The BT-7 Thunderclap, one odd-looking ship
I finished up at level 29 on Gxan, yes I know what you’re saying I should have gone that bit more and got to 30 but screw it I didn’t want to start Tatooine early. So back on to Jxan I go! There wasn’t that much to finish off on Jxan in terms of quests etc I had to do. I finally headed to Oricon to start the “Assault on the Dread Fortress” storyline and the advice I was given was correct you do get given a decent set of “Artifact Quality” level 55 epic armor which includes gloves, helmet, chest, legs and boots so needless to say it’s best to head there as soon as you can, I’m probably going to go as soon as I’ve finished Ilum on my Inquisitor which finishes off the story mode for me.

You finally get a different "ship approaching planet" sequence then the norm for Oricon
 So I finished off that questline which was rather interesting and I got myself up to speed with the story of the Dread masters, I also finally got that bitch the Terror from Beyond down with a PUG of all things, took us a couple of tries on those goddamn “anomalies” bits but we got there. I also went to Tatooine to complete the Czerka corporation mission terminal there as I did on Makeb where you use your trusty Macrobinoculars and Seeker Droid, it’s a great way to see new areas of old planets after finishing those questlines as you can continue to use the toys. I also went there to participate in the Rahkgoul Resurgence even which is actually a continuation of the original Rakghoul Pandemic  event. This is where the T.H.O.R.N faction is located who I know that you can get the “infected companion” customizations from, why you’d want that I wouldn’t know lol maybe it’d make some of them look cool. I recently had to get my security key removed from my account due to me not being able to login but I think I might put it back to get some of the better "companion customizations" it's just pretty annoying to type in all the time though.

The Dread Fortress! *ominous music*
I was in the middle of doing the T.H.O.R.N missions and was travelling to a quest giver then it happened again, I got there and they were nowhere to be seen, this was of course because the event had ended so I was running around like a moron to get to nothing. This has happened before with the Bounty Brokers Association Week and now Relics of the Gree is back again where I once travelled all the way to Ilum just to find the NPC wasn’t there though I really want to do that one cause I orange parallel the way the Gree speak, just remember the dates I guess. One of the last things I did was the Korriban Incursion flashpoint, this was the first time I had finished this one and am looking forward to doing the Empire version of both that one and the Assault on Tython, apparently having now finished both of them there’s something more to this that has just started with the Invasion patch.

"Ahh screw you too!"
I couldn't stop laughing at this guy's "Jedi Cowboy" gear
As a bonus I got the Imperial Korrealis speeder wooo! though to be perfectly honest it’s just another huge impractical speeder that’d rather not use. I just want the Aratech Fire which you need to complete a quest to kill all these bosses from the first 3 operations which I have done though the problem is they have to be finished in friggin story mode which no-one does anymore, I mean seriously why is that restriction there at all?. Too many cool mounts are in the Cartel Market packs then are on the Galactic Trade Network for huge prices.

Well at least this one's two seater.
Well anyway my subscription ran out on the 18th and funnily enough the Galactic Strongholds Early Access came out a day after, whodathunkit? Well at least I’ll have something more to do when I get back, lookin forward to finally having a house to myself in an MMO, as if personal starships weren’t enough now we have accommodation hah.

Oh Tatooine, one of the lonliest planets ever.
So that wraps up more than a years playing, was a bit brief but we’d be here forever If I was to explain everything, I’ll be back with a potential new character next time I play and will hopefully have a home for each of my characters. Also I hope the Reclaimers guild I’m in gets back up to speed, I seemed to be the only one playing for a bit, oh well, we’ll see, lovin the new realm though.

May the Force be with you bros.


Howdy from Denova, the bluegrass planet, *plays banjo*

For what we've already accomplished, the future looks bright...

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