Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Well, another year is behind us.  It went pretty quick too.  Overall, for me, it was a decent year.  I don't think there are any major achievements for me to speak of, on the blog or in life away from the keyboard.  That's ok, not every year can be crazy.  Sometimes, no bad news is pretty good.

Ever since Google Reader and Warhammer Online shutdown, the blog has been suffering a bit.  It is 6+ years old, so the audience has dissipated.  How much?  I'm not sure.  I don't really keep track of numbers anymore.  I make content because I enjoy it, and hopefully those of you that still visit do too.

As for games,  I mostly played SWTOR and ESO this year.  SWTOR being the majority of my time.  It was a good year for the game with Galactic Starfighter, Galactic Strongholds, and Shadow of Revan being released.  Honestly, I'm not sure how they can top that with this coming year.  They really don't get enough credit for how much they actually did.

ESO has been on the back burner, but I am still subscribed.  My policy is to subscribe to 2 games at a time.  I've been letting the game mature a bit.  I still really like the solo experience, so I am looking forward to returning to it soon.  I am a little sad that they have not really added any solo content since launch.  I don't need it, but I would feel better knowing Bethesda had plans for it.

As far as non-gaming projects went, most of my time was spent developing Social Questing (Sites with Benefits).  It's a fun distraction which still gets used from time to time.  I'm pretty surprised how hard it is to get people to take advantage of it, but oh well.  I did it for me mainly.  My new project is with the guys.  I am really excited to help out with this because I think it is pretty awesome.

I think that about sums up 2014 for me.  Hope you all had a good year and see you in 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Shadow of Revan Finished

Last week, on one of my days off, I finally managed to finish the Shadow of Revan expansion.  It took me a few weeks to do, mainly because I did things in bite sized chunks instead of long gaming sessions.  There will be some minor non-story spoilers in this post.  At the end, I was at level 59.5.  I figure I'll run some dailies to get this to 60 when I feel like venturing into PvP again.

The final fight with Revan was really cool.  It was great to fight alongside of the characters you dealt with throughout the expansion.  They had different effects, animations, and things to say.  Sure, the fight was never really in doubt, but it was fun none the less.  And the story, I was pretty satisfied with how it ended.

Overall,  I was very pleased with the Shadow of Revan expansion.  It was well worth $20.  If BioWare could somehow do this multiple times per yer, I'd gladly pay up.  I know that is just wishful thinking though.  While I was happy with it, the expansion was not perfect.  I'll go over this in another post though.

So for now, I will be visiting some other games.  I've been playing SWTOR solely for months, so I am looking forward to switching things up a bit.  Onward to The Repopulation and Elder Scrolls Online!  It won't be long before I am back in SWTOR PvPing though.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you!  It was pretty successful around the Werit household.  The kids got a lot of gifts, including a Nintendo DS.  I got some neat stuff to, especially a Logitech G930 wireless headset.  I'm really looking forward to setting that up.  Sadly, one of my daughters is sick today so that pretty much sucks.  I think she is still having fun though.  Hope all is well with you all!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Impending Holiday

Wow,  how is it almost Christmas already?  So my company has a new policy this year, which effectively forces me to take a week and a half off from work.  This is pretty much a first for me, so I have no idea what I am going to do with all of that time off.  I suppose I could play games, but that is a lot of gaming.  I don't quite have the stamina anymore.  Maybe I'll go see a movie, American Sniper looks good.  That's assuming we're allowed to show it.

Coming up with a Christmas list this year was especially tough.  I did ask for a few gaming related items though.  The big ticket item would be a set of wireless headphones/microphone.  The pair I have works fine... but who wants a wire?  I also asked for Amazon gift cards, which I plan to use to purchase Cartel Coins for SWTOR.  The only game that I asked for was Far Cry 4 for the XBox One.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Blood Hunt Bosses

Last week, when I entered the Blood Hunt Flashpoint (Solo), I recorded the boss fights.  They are usually the most interesting parts of an instance, so I thought why not.  The Mandalorians and Torch were pretty fun fights with good audio.  I actually died during the last fight, which is shown in the video.  The creature fights were just ok.  Overall, it was a pretty fun instance.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Opportunity

Some big news on the Werit front.  Well, sorta big.  I am now the Community Evangelist for  What is Forge?  It's an always-on streaming service with a built in highlight editor.  Don't worry, it only records game footage, not your whole screen.  It sits in the background and streams whenever you start up a game.  When you are done playing, an editor pops up where you can make highlights.

It is sort of like Twitch, but not really.  There is no extra software like XSplit or OBS needed.  The interface is much better, in my opinion.  It's also less focused on personality, and more focused on games.  I consider it casual streaming.  As someone who loves to watch streams, but doesn't want to 'be a streamer' it is right up my alley.  So I am really excited to be involved.

What does a Community Evangelist do?  Well, a lot of what I do now anyway.  I'll engage with the community, talk about Forge and games, write some blogs, do Twitter stuff, and help where I can.  It should be fun!  I don't expect much to change around here as a result.

Forge is still in Early Access, but if you want to try it out I can help with that.  Just let me know!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SWTOR Q&A Questions

Last week, I started to gather questions from Reddit to pass on to BioWare.  Overall, the response was pretty good.  A lot of questions were asked, but I could only take the top 10 based on points.  This, of course, caused some angst among some of the community who wanted different questions asked.  That is pretty much unavoidable though, so I won't let it bother me.

Below are the questions which I sent to BioWare.  As it is the holiday season, we probably won't get the answers until after the New Year.  Once the responses come in, I'll post them to Reddit and then on here.


1)  When will 12x return, and in what form?

2)  Right now the collections, achievements, and crafting windows are all sorted into collapsible categories. This would be great, but the fact that the menus always start fully expanded is very frustrating. Why was this decision made and is there any chance of this changing?

I would like to see, in order of preference, remember what I had open/collapsed last time, start with all collapsed, or have a collapse all button. Are there technical limitations preventing these from being implemented? It would be a HUGE QoL improvement for crafters and completionists like me and I think most people would like to see improvements to collections.

3)  What is your favorite feature added post launch?

4)  What can you tell us about the costume system?

5)  Are there any plans to backport [SOLO] mode to the older flashpoints in the game?

6)  Can old operations and flashpoints be "scaled up" into level 60 content in a way that still allows level 50/55 players to experience the original content while providing more options for end game content at level 60? (Similar to SM/HM except you would select the level first then the difficulty.)

7)  Can we get the ability to search for COMPANION GIFTS please? Like a heading for them, and then sub menus for type (military, cultural, trophy, etc) and also possibly rank?

8)  Gameplay wise, Treek is basically the best universal companion there is. Between having on demand tanking/healing capability from level 1, smart cc, heavy armor and the ability to be kitted out with legacy gear, her skillset and usability are simply superior to any other companion.

Now here's the question: Will we ever see a companion who is as good as that but not an EWOK?

9)  What's the road map for Operations? We had a full year of DF/DP and even with NM mode added during the summer months the content got stale pretty quick. Can we expect new Raids (not-NM versions of existing content) in 6 months? 1 year?

10)  When can we expect to see the Nar Shaddaa Nightlife event again?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Battle of Rishi

Over the weekend, I finished up Rishi with the Battle of Rishi flashpoint (solo mode).  The premise of the instance was pretty cool.  It was pretty critical for the story so I had high hopes.  I was especially pleased with Blood Hunt coming into this.  Sadly, I ended up being pretty disappointed.

There was nothing really special about the setting.  It was nice, but felt generic.  In fact, nearly all of it takes place leading up to the cool objective, instead of inside the cool objective.  The sky was filled with a space battle, so that was cool.

The bosses in this instance were also underwhelming.  Two of the fights centered on the theme of Republic/Empire traitors working together.  That can be interesting, but there was not any cutscene or even good audio for them.  So the fights really didn't have any personality.  The last fight involved a walker, which was cool.  There is some decent audio and interesting things going on in this one.

Overall, the instance was trivial.  I understand why it has to be easy, but they could raise the difficulty a little.  I'd like to see not paying attention punished at least.  I'm still a fan of how these Flashpoints are integral to the story though, even if this one wasn't up to the Forged Alliances/Blood Hunt standards.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pilgrim's Shadow Packs

After a short hiatus,  I am back with a video.  This weeks showcases the Pilgrim's Shadow Cartel Pack.  I opened maybe 5 of them, with decent results.  Sadly, I did not get any Revan Reborn gear from the packs, I would have sold that on the GTN :)  I also talk a bit about the expansion.  The video takes places on the wonderful planet of Rishi, where I have spent the last week and a half.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cutscenes are Overrated

One of the criticisms levied against the Shadow of Revan expansion is that there is not enough voice over/cutscenes.  The main story is full of cinematic sequences, but the side quests are not.  Instead, you get a traditional window of text along with some spoken dialog.  In the base game, almost every side quest had a cutscene.  In Makeb, the side quests were usually just a datapad which consisted of just text.

I think they found an excellent middle ground with SoR.  The dialog the side quests include is usually pretty good.  It's often times a mini-story and not a single statement. It's also pretty high quality, which we have come to expect from BioWare.  I actually don't miss the cutscenes at all.  Sure, they are great for the main quests, but I don't need them for every mission.  They just get tedious after a while.  Instead, save them for the important moments.

I've seen a number of people saying how this is just another example of them moving towards a WoW system.  I'd have to disagree.  If WoW had quality voiced dialog with every quest, I might actually be interested in doing their quests.  Overall, I am pretty pleased with the side quests in Shadow of Revan.  Keep up the good work BioWare!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Reddit SWTOR Q&A

I will be doing another Q&A with BioWare about SWTOR soon.  This time, I want to change things up a bit.  I'll be taking the questions from the SWTOR subreddit, instead of making up my own.  I think this is a great way to get the community involved.

The way it works is simple.  I'll take the top 10 questions, per points, and submit them to BioWare.  I'll then post the answers on Reddit.  We likely won't get answers back until after the new year.  Want to participate?  Head over to the link below.  Be sure to upvote the questions you like :)  I'll gather the questions on 12/15.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Blood Hunt

My gaming goal yesterday was to do the new SWTOR Flashpoint, Blood Hunt.  One of the nice things about the expansion is that the flashpoints are now a part of the story instead of being one off adventures.  As such, they have a solo mode.  There is some scaling going on and you get a super droid to help you out.

So I got to the point in the Rishi story where I was sent into Blood Hunt.  Basically, I had to question a famous Mandalorian.  You just don't ring the doorbell, of course.  Mandalorians are a feisty bunch, kind of like Klingons.  So I had to fight my way to some answers.

Overall, I thought the flashpoint was fantastic.  The setting/environment was very well done.  It had a dark hunter's preserve feeling about it.  The first few bosses were all animals.  They were pretty easy, and nothing too memorable.

Then we got to the Mandalorians.  This is where things started to get interesting.  The fights were a lot more fun and the voice overs were great.  To be fair, the whole experience was pretty easy.  I did actually die during the final fight, but the 2nd time around it was no sweat.

So great job BioWare.  I am really looking forward to the next one, Battle for Rishi.  Heck, I'm even tempted to try out the group version now that I know the fights.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Razer Gear Giveaway

The folks over at Noobist.TV, who I partner with, are holding a big holiday season giveaway.  They are giving away a Razer mouse, keyboard, or headset.  Whichever one you want, up to $80.  It's a pretty sweet deal!  The winner will be drawn on December 10th.  They are using my Social Questing system, so entering is easy.  Do as many quests as you want to better your chances.

Go here to participate:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Shadow of Revan Impressions

I've been playing SWTOR's Shadow of Revan for a couple of days now, so it is time to write a bit about it.  I would have done it yesterday, but work had other plans for me and I forgot :(  So I am still on Rishi, and still level 55 after 2 days of playing.  Of course, I only play an hour and a half at a time.

Opening.  The intro cinematic was pretty awesome.  It was great that some of my companions got new dialog.  It set the stage well.

Rishi.  Rishi, and Raider's Cove, looks really nice.  The world design team did a good job here. It doesn't feel like any of the previous worlds.

Red Hulls.  The whole Red Hulls story was pretty funny.

Disciplines.  With the new Disciplines system, my Gunnery Commando feels the same as he did with the skill tree system.  Only difference so far is that I have a new button to press.

Story.  The story is pretty good so far.  I like it better than Makeb.

Lag.  It's been a lag free experience for me.

Side Quests.  There are not too many of them, and they have struck a nice balance between text and voice-over.

Lore.  There feels like more lore (codex entries) to read on Rishi than there was on Makeb.

Security Chests.  They have quite a bit of credits in them.  I've gotten 30k a few times.  Plus, they respawn fast.

So far I am enjoying it quite a bit!  I'm really taking my time.  I have not even used a mount yet, instead I'm walking everywhere and taking it all in.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Shadow of Revan launches!

Today is the day!  SWTOR 3.0, Shadow of Revan, goes live.  I was tempted to take some sick time today and immerse myself in launch day shenanigans but work had other plans for me.  Instead I am working from home, giving me a bit more time to play today than I normally would have.  I'll let you in on a little secret, I have been in the closed beta for SoR for a while.  That's about all I can say about it.

I only have a few goals for my playtime today.  Hopefully it all goes smoothly and I can actually get some time in the game, of course.

Disciplines.  With the new skill system, I need to get my Trooper sorted out.  I am going to stick with Gunnery for the time being.  I'll also need to get my hotkeys setup since some skills are going away.

Crafting.  I can't forget to pick up the next tier of crafting skills.

Rishi.  I hope to at least do a quest or two on Rishi.  I'm sure it will be crowded, so I am not going to rush things.

Those are my goals for launch day.  I am going to leave things like the new Cartel Packs for the weekend I think.

Monday, December 1, 2014

SWTOR Gets More Solo

SWTOR has always been a solo friendly MMO.  You can do your whole class story without needing to group with anyone.  Grouping was only necessary for Flashpoints and Operations.  This led to a bit of a disconnect.  In 2.0, we saw Operations become the ending points of storylines, like in the Dread Palace for the Dread Masters arc.  Players could experience the lead up to it on Oricon, but unless they grouped that was as far as they got.

In 3.0 they aim to fix this issue and more.  The two new Flashpoints will have solo modes, using droid assistants.  So all players will get to experience them without having to group.  Operations will NOT be solo, but they have gone a different route.  The Revan storyline can be finished by players without completing the Operations.  The details are still hazy, but players can choose a solo route or to do the Operation.

Overall, I am pretty happy about this new philosophy.  I would do Flashpoints just once so I could experience them.  Now I can do them at my own pace instead of dealing with a group.  I also don't do Operations.  It would have sucked to play through the Revan expansion but not get to see the ending.  Now, I'll be able to which is great.  It will be interesting to see how this philosophy plays out over the coming year.

Is this good for the health of the game though?  Will it lead toward longer queues, less guilds, less end game competition?  I'm not sure.  I think it will just remove people like me who just want to do things once to see the story.  That's probably a good thing, as I'm just a dirty tourist in raids :)

Tomorrow Shadow of Revan launches!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New Rewards!

I've got some stuff to giveaway :)  By taking it, you'll also be helping me test Social Questing.  So it is a win win!  I have a few Tauntaun Fawn pet codes for SWTOR left over, so they are available.  I also have some Early Access codes for  Forge is a really neat always-on game streaming service.  I like it a lot.  You might too :)

NOTE:  All out of Tauntaun Fawn codes!  Thanks for helping test :)

To get the codes, just use the Social Questing widget on the right sidebar.  Sign-in and do a couple quests.  That should be enough for you to claim a reward which are 50 points (You get 20 for signing in the first time).  The code will be displayed, and it will also be on

Enjoy!  Let me know if there are any issues.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish my US readers a Happy Thanksgiving.  We have a lot to be thankful for as we get to play/talk/write about games!  A lot of people don't have that opportunity.  I consider myself quite lucky to be able to participate in this hobby.

So before we left to go visit family, I was trying to get a separate development environment up for Social Questing.  I was stuck on a problem and we had to leave.  This kind of thing eats at me.  It wasn't critical, but I obsess about such things until fixed.  So much so, that we took a trip to Target where I bought a laptop just so I could fix the issue.  It was as cheap as they come, but it is good enough for Putty and Chrome.  I was able to solve the problem which let me relax in time for Thanksgiving dinner :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


One of those most iconic vehicles in Star Wars, to me at least, is the Sandcrawler from Episode 4.  Lets face it, Jawa's are awesome and they have good taste in transportation.  So when they introduced a Sandcrawler decoration for strongholds, I just had to have one.  Now that I have a Tatooine stronghold, it finally made sense to get one.  The GTN had one for 2 million credits, so I scooped it up!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Press Event and a New Trailer

BioWare had a bunch of community types out to California to check out the new expansion, Shadow of Revan.  They got to see the game and then do a Q&A with the development team.  It looks like it was an awesome time, you can check out an account here.  I remember my trips to Mythic for Warhammer Online, very memorable experiences.

The Q&A was pretty good, I recommend reading through it all.  It was a lot to type, so kudos to Heather!  Some interesting things I took away...

Data Mining.  There was a recent dustup with SWTOR and data minter swtor_miner (from Reddit).  The developers took the time to explain they have no problem with data mining.  It is an accepted part of their business.  They do have a problem when it comes to talking about exploits.  I figured this was the case, as my data mining efforts were never met with anything negative.

Solo Mode.  Shadow of Revan will feature more solo content than ever before.  There will be solo-modes for the new Flashpoints, as well as a way of seeing the end of the Revan story without doing the Operations.  I want to write more on this later, but I think I am happy.

And now for the new trailer!

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm not big into streaming.  I wish I was, but it requires time and personality that I just don't posses.  Still, it looks like a fun thing to do.  A couple of weeks ago I heard on Twitter about a new streaming service:  This isn't just a Twitch alternative, it's a whole different way of approaching streaming.

Forge's big feature is that it is always on.  Whenever you are playing, you are streaming.  No OBS or XSplit needed.  It works with a lot of games and the creators are adding more all of the time. It holds your recent streaming session so you can easily make highlight clips.  There is no chat room, overlays, or any other things that have become common on Twitch.  It's just games.

I really like it so far, so expect more about it soon :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

So Many Plans

A couple months ago, I had a whole list of things I was going to do in SWTOR before the expansion drops.  I was going level my Agent to 55, and do Chapter 2 on my Jedi Knight.  I was going to finally finish Makeb.  I was going to do Oricon, and even try to check out the Dread Fortress and the Dread Palace.  I was going to do my placement matches for Ranked PvP.  So much to do.

Instead I PvP'd warzones on my Trooper and played around with Strongholds.  The expansion is less than 2 weeks away!  Where did the time go?  On the plus side, I do have some awesome Stronghold stuff and a bank full of credits.

Ok, so I guess I have to scale back all those plans.  Instead, I am just going to try and finish up Makeb on my Trooper.  That should be a reachable goal.   I really hope to stream it on Forge, but I'll discuss that cool service in detail later :)

In other SWTOR news they had a press type event out in California.  I think that's where Redwood City is.  A bunch of community folks were invited to attend.  Anyway, it's neat they are doing official type things for their expansion.  Shows it is still kind of a big deal.  It may not be the blowout event that a WoW expansion is though.  I heard today they topped 10 million subscribers.  That's cool and all but I wonder how that number will hold up in the coming months.  People aren't as sticky as they used to be.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Repopulation Q&A and Alpha Key Giveaway!

Today we have a Q&A for the upcoming MMO, The Repopulation.  The questions are based on my early experiences in alpha, and provide a glimpse of what the game is like, and many of the possibilities.  It's a game that I keep getting more excited about the more I learn about it.  Hope you enjoy the read!

We are also having a giveaway!  The developers were kind enough to supply an alpha key as a prize.  These are normally only available to crowdfunding backers, but now you can get one too.  To enter the giveaway, use the Social Questing widget on the right sidebar.  Sign-in, do some quests, and get your lottery tickets.  The drawing will happen on November 26th at 9am EST. Note:  By just signing in you can get enough points to enter the giveaway :)

Need help?  I made a quick video showing how to enter the giveaway:

Now on to the Q&A!

Q: After finishing the tutorial, one of the first things I noticed was receiving missions through the mail system.  How do these Dynamic Missions work?  What makes them special?

A:  In a theme park MMO your quests/missions are generally there to help your character advance and provide purpose. As a sandbox we don't have that directed experience. You never need to go to the next hub and quest to advance. Advancement is not tied at all to missions. That having been said, missions are something that provides players with purpose. Enter the generated mission system. The goals of this system is to allow players to use missions to drive their experience, and to have a neverending supply of missions if they really want to do them. Another goal though was to ensure that missions are not a required aspect of gameplay. If you just hate missions, you don't have to do them. Another key aspect was to allow players to be able to filter the type of job offers they want to take.

Rather than wandering around looking for NPCs with markers on top of their head, you'll instead receive notifications of job offers via the in-game email system. These offers come in relatively quickly, and they are tailor made for your character. You can accept or deny the offers. Early on you'll be getting the same missions as all other newbies, simple missions that anyone can do. As you complete missions, the choices you make are used to determine which missions you quality for. So if your character does shadier activities, they'll receive shadier missions. If your character is a crafter they will receive crafting missions. If you show yourself to be Greedy, you may get missions that take advantage of that. etc.

The missions themselves can be simple or complex. We use a branching dialog system on missions, but pretty much every feature you've seen in other games can be done through our generated mission system. The difference is that instead of the NPCs being static NPCs, they are generated within a set of criteria. So rather than doing a turn in to Bob the Armor Guy, a generated mission might have a filter for RandomNPC1 to be profession = Armorcrafter. There are a number of filters which can be used for things like profession, personality, mood, gender, dilemma, or cause of that dilemma. Some of those settings are static, others can change based on other players completing missions and altering an NPCs mood, dilemma or cause. So this means that performing actions in missions can not only affect the missions you receive, but can also affect the missions other people receive or who they receive them from. 

A good example is Chip at the Hole on the Hill. His bar has issues with Lesoo raiding the facility and Numbskulls causing issues in the bar. Those are engagements (similar to public quests) that players can participate in to help Chip out. Depending on how those engagements proceed Chip's cause and dilemma will change, which allows him to offer missions that he would not otherwise offer. We're still just scratching the surface on some of the things we can do with this system as far as designing enough missions to really take advantage of all these features. But the features are all in place. 

Q: Besides taking Dynamic Missions, there appears to be a guided mission chain which I could venture down.  How much of The Repopulation is based around Missions? Conversely, can I just ignore missions and go out on my own?  Will I be gimping myself if I skip the missions?  I don't want to miss out on any unique rewards.

A: There are a large number of missions in the game. But it's an optional activity. Missions are designed so that there can be mission styles for the various skill lines. So there are taming missions, underworld (thievery/assassination/smuggling) missions, crafting and harvesting missions, etc. But since you can receive your missions through your PDA from anywhere in the world, it's perfectly acceptable to just go out and do whatever you want to do, take a look at the incoming job offers and pick and choose the ones that you can finish while doing your chosen activities. Most players will spend a lot of time running missions. But there are alternate ways to gain abilities, skill imprints, etc. It's really up to the player how they want to play the game.

For players who despise missions though you don't have to do them. Your skills increase through use. If you want to go out and just grind mobs like in an old school game, you can. Though even doing that I'd recommend combing through for missions that are targeting the mobs your killing anyway since that's just a bonus reward. If you are a harvester or crafter and don't care about running missions, you can just go out and do your thing. Same goes for any line really. There are also a growing number of engagements (similar to public quests) which some players prefer.

Q: I've always enjoyed crafting and running my own shop in games, which I can now do in The Repopulation.  Is it possible to just focus on non-violent endeavors?  Is there plenty to do if I go down that path?

A: Our game and it's economy are heavily trade skill oriented. Our crafting system is very complex and has a high degree of customization. Moreover crafted equipment is the top of the line. If you never wanted to pick up a gun, it's completely possible for you to just go out and harvest, or buy resources from other players and then do your crafting. I think most players will also do a little fighting, if for no other reason than mobs will jump you while your out harvesting. 

But crafting advancement is not coupled in any way with combat advancement. There are other non-combat skills, as well. Things like the entertainment line which provides long-term buffs for players. Taming mobs to be trained as mounts and sold to other players. Diplomatic skills. Different players enjoy doing different types of things. And we've tried to cater to many playing styles, rather than forcing players down a combat oriented path.

Q: One of the first creatures I fought was a Setlang.  This resulted in me gaining species knowledge.  How does that factor into the gameplay?

A: The species mastery system reflects your knowledge of each species in the game. As you kill Setlangs (or any other species) and as you harvest their corpses for resources your mastery level increases. This grants a very small passive bonus to your damage against that species, and after you have slain a very high number of a species you also gain a title reflecting your mastery of that species.

Q: From its corpse, I was able to loot DNA.  This can be used by a Genetic Engineer.  What is that skill line all about?

A: Each species can drop DNA and tissue. A genetic engineering is a crafting line which uses those components to create pets that can be traded to other players. These are single use pets, but they are easy to produce. But genetic engineering's biggest benefit is that you can splice the DNA of different species to create hybrids. Each hybrid has unique special abilities.

Q: I'd like to get myself a house where I can put some vendors.  What is involved with doing that?

A: You'll need to claim an open world plot if you wish to have vendors. Currently in alpha we allow players to buy them easily for testing, but soon we'll be moving them to the release variation of this which requires a tough to produce crafted item. There are different sized plots. 

Once you have a housing plot you can place it down when inside of any area that is marked as housing capable. We don't allow players to build everywhere. Instead we set aside certain grids of land to be able housing capable. You'll know when you are in one of these areas because a GUI will appear denoting it which allows you to drop your plot to claim a section of land, and later to add furniture. When you drop the plot you will receive a visual indication of where the plot will go, which you can move around until you find the perfect location. Once this is placed a base is formed underneath your plot. You can build on top of that base.

There are hundreds of different structures and furniture items which you can place on your plot. This includes simple things like decorations, to interactive props such as crafting stations, banking terminals and skill imprinting stations. You can also place robot vendors on your property which can sell goods to other players. Players can see your robots goods through the Trading/Auction window, but if they purchase directly from your vendor they can bypass the auction fee. 

Q: For anyone that is interested in playing, how and when can they get their hands on the game?

A: You can currently gain instant alpha access and a lifetime gold membership post launch for $50. There is also a $25 package which includes a lifetime silver membership post-launch which will be gaining alpha access on November 21st. Membership packages give you a number of perks post launch such as increased inventory/vault space, etc which free players would have to purchase piece by piece. So basically all pre-orders will be able to access testing from now until launch starting the 21st, and all $50+ pre-orders gain access instantly. Those who prefer a wait and see approach can wait for launch. The game will be free to play with optional membership options. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm doing it wrong

I have to admit, I have been pretty lax about taking advantage of 12x XP in SWTOR.  My Imperial Agent is still sitting at 28 about to take on Alderaan.  The last couple of weekends, I just have not been in the leveling mood.  I love the idea of 12x XP, but I refuse to alter my playing just so I can take advantage of it.

That's the main reason I want BioWare to add it to the game after 3.0.  I will gladly give them extra money for the option to use it when I am in the mood.  I really hope they don't make it a high level Legacy reward, as that would just restrict it to those who likely have a lot of alts already.  Please, BioWare, take my money :)

So what have I been doing instead of 12x XP?  In SWTOR, I have been PvPing on my Trooper to fund my Stronghold habit.  I bought a Massive Anti-Air Turret and a Sandcrawler.  Those weren't cheap, so I spent a good time saving up for them.  I get an idea in my head, and that is what I want to do.  Timed events, like 12x XP, will always come second.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tatooine Stronghold

One of my recent goals in SWTOR has been to get my hands on a Massive Anti-Air Turret.  These things just look awesome, plus they shoot!  They are not cheap though, and I didn't have any luck getting one in a Seneschal pack.  On The Ebon Hawk, they were going for around 2 million credits.

I decided I would save up for it.  As dallies are not my thing, I earned my credits through PvP.  It wasn't long before I had enough saved up and bought one.  Now, this decoration won't really fit in my Nar Shadda stronghold, or Kaas City/Coruscant.  That leaves Tatooine, which is the most expensive of the lot.

So I broke out the Cartel Coins and bought myself the stronghold.  I have to have someplace to put my new decoration right?  Check out the Turret and the stronghold in the video below!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Warlords of Draenor Giveaway

The guys over at Noobist.TV are giving away a copy of the Warlords of Draenor expansion for WoW (or $50 of Battle.Net cash).  The occasion is the launch of their new YouTube network.  They really want to concentrate on growing channels, rather than just bringing in big ones.  I've partnered my channel with them and can't wait to work with them.

To do the giveaway they are using my Social Questing project.  You can participate by going to the link below:

The giveaway ends soon, so start completing those quests :)  They will also be streaming some WoW raids today at 2pm EST.  Head on over to to watch.

Good luck!

EDIT: This giveaway has ended.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Doom and gloom for SWTOR?

Over the weekend, I was sad to discover that the latest EA financial fillings.  You can read them for yourself here, just search for Old Republic.  The TLDR of the filings is that the revenue coming from SWTOR is down in pretty much every case.  They even grouped it with SimCity, which cannot be a good sign.

I thought about the situation and just could not put any kind of positive theory behind it.  SWTOR just seems to be making less money than it was a quarter, six months, a year ago.  That's not to say it isn't profitable.  Just because revenue is down doesn't mean they are losing money.

So why is SWTOR losing money?  One theory is that it is the result of not putting out new PvE/PvP content for quite a while.  This report is coming near the end of a drought.  However,  Galactic Strongholds cam out during this quarter for subscribers.  I really would have thought it would have provided a nice boost.

 I'm not too worried about it all though.  The 3.0 expansion was announced, pre-orders were taken, 12xp happened and a lot of players are playing the game.  So I'll be interested in seeing what next quarters report says about SWTOR.  If it is still not positive, my confidence will start to be shaken.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Officers' Club

My stronghold project, which has gone on way longer than I planned, is just about complete.  This is of course just one room, what can I say, I'm slow.  My Nar Shaddaa stronghold is basically a Republic Outpost on the neutral planet.  Every base needs a bar, right?  So I made an Officers' Club.

I did purchase the Cantina bundle from the Cartel Market to get a few pieces, the rest were obtained from the GTN.

A Holo Sign marking the entrance.

Here I have a mailbox, a GTN terminal, and a couple of Smuggler's Run slow machines (not functional), sadly).  I plan on replacing one with a Kingpin Slot once I get my hands on it.

And now for the bar.  Most of this was in the Cantina Bundle.  I bought a bartender with Cartel Certificates.  You can also see Tanno Vik hanging out.

The Stellar Hits Jukebox can be seen here.  It has four songs, two of which are vocal tracks.  It's probably my favorite item in this room.  I had to pay a pretty penny on the GTN for it too.

Now that this room is pretty much complete, I will be turning my attention to Tatooine for my Imperial stronghold.  I have the Massive Anti-Air Turret to place.  I also want to get my hands on a Sandcrawler, but that costs quite a bit of credits.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Losing Mentality

I love PvP in my MMO.  As a result, I have suffered my share of losses.  I played Order on Badlands in Warhammer Online and we were usually at a disadvantage.  That's fine, I can accept being the underdog.  I don't mind losing.  However, even I have my limits.

I play a Trooper on The Ebon Hawk.  During the times I play, we lose a lot of warzones.  My unscientific sampling says we win about 20% of the time.  That's losing 8 / 10 matches usually.  That's a lot of losing.

At first, I was fine with it.  However, lately, it has really started to affect the way I view my time in game.  Going into matches, I have no expectation of winning.  Without that hope, I tend to focus on other things, like the rewards given for completing a warzone.  That path leads to the dark side.  I end up just wanting to get the warzone over as quick as possible.

There is, of course, steps I can take to turn this around.  Joining like minded players and running pre-mades is the obvious answer.  However, my casual style makes this difficult.  Sometimes I just am able to jump on for a match or two.  That's my problem, not the games.  I could also just play my Agent more and hopefully win 8 / 10.  I don't like giving up either, even if that is how I am starting to feel.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Damage going... down?

With SWTOR 3.0 patch, Shadow of Revan, there will be a host of combat changes/balancing.  There is too much for me to repeat here, I suggest this link.  There is one change coming that is kind of a big deal.  Usually with MMO expansions, new gear is introduced which includes more stats which leads to higher damage numbers.

Damage in the 3.0 patch is actually going down instead of up.  The developers have said damage will approach current levels around when the player reaches level 60.  This is not unheard of, of course.  WoW had their big item squish which brought down all of their stats to reasonable numbers.

BioWare seems to be taking steps to avoid needing to do an item squish later on down the line.  Instead, they are addressing too high of damage now.  It does leave the player with a possibly bad impression of the expansion though.  It's natural to feel that advancement should result in bigger numbers.  Hopefully they will be able to look past this and instead appreciate the lack of power creep.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Help test Social Questing, $20 Steam Gift Card Giveaway!

Social Questing is a system which allows you to create quests for your readers/viewers and provide them with rewards.  Quests can be tasks such as following your Twitter account, Liking a URL on Facebook, subscribing to your Youtube channel, and more.  Rewards are given out via a raffle system or just purchased with the earned points.

I need your help to test Social Questing!  I'll be giving out a $20 Steam Gift Card. You'll find the Social Questing widget on the right sidebar.  Just Sign In and start doing quests.  Then, click on the reward and exchange the points for lottery tickets.  The drawing will be on Saturday, November 8th at 9am EST.

If you are already following me on Twitter/Youtube, you can unfollow and refollow to get the points.

Please let me know of any troubles.  This is the first real test of the system, so there very well could be.  Thanks for the help!

Friday, October 31, 2014


Usually on Fridays I have a video to show.  I think I am going to take a break from doing them.  One reason is that I am pretty busy with Social Questing and playing SWTOR.  Another is that the videos are just not seeing the growth that I would like.  Thirteen weeks in a row is a pretty good amount though, so I am happy about that.

This week was a pretty good one as far as SWTOR goes.  I made a pretty big windfall on the GTN.  I found a Hunter's Planning Table on the GTN for the default price of 450 credits.  I quickly snatched this up and posted it for 400,000 credits.  I was quite pleased when it sold for a very nice profit.

By using the credits I made by selling warzone decorations, I made enough to buy a Massive Anti-Air Turret from the GTN for 2.25 million credits.  This guy won't fit in my Nar Shaddaa stronghold so I am going to have to buy the Tatooine stronghold.  Sounds like a plan for this weekend!  Of course, last night I checked the Turret pricing on the GTN and one was for sale for 1.5 million credits.  Oh well.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


It's a WAR shirt kind of day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SWTOR 3.0 Q&A with BioWare

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask BioWare some questions about the upcoming 3.0 expansion, the Shadow of Revan.  The questions were answered by Andrew Horitz and Jesse Sky.  Thanks to BioWare for taking the time to answer my questions.  I am very much looking forward to the launch of the Shadow of Revan on December 9th (December 2nd for pre-orders).

1)      Revan is the primary focus of the 3.0 expansion.  Can players expect to take him on immediately, or will the story develop over the course of the 3.x patch cycle?

3.0 is your showdown with Revan.  We wanted to close that chapter of the KOTOR book, and open it up for bigger and newer things.

2)      There are no new PvP/GSF maps included in the expansion.  Are there any plans to add them in subsequent patches?

We absolutely want to continue to support PvP content in the game, and we plan on creating more Warzones in the future. 

3)      In Rise of the Hutt Cartel a new playable race was introduced, the Cathar.  Are any being introduced in the Shadow of Revan?

No new species in 3.0, but that does not exclude us from introducing them afterwards.

4)      Anything of note going on with the Cartel Market and the new expansion?  

We have a new shipment coming, The Shadow Packs, chock full of cool new stuff that’s themed around the expansion. 

5)      Are Seeker and Macrobinocular missions making a comeback in the SoR?

We’re using the Seeker Droid and Macrobinocular gameplay mechanics in a few places where appropriate, but nothing to the extent of the mission series in Rise of the Hutt Cartel.

6)      Will 3.0 come with new housing decorations, besides the gigantic Statue of Revan?

It will – there’s a bunch of new 3.0 themed decorations going into the packs.

7)      There is some concern among the players about the new Discipline system.   They are worried that it will become too simple and cookie cutter.  How do you respond to that worry?

We think a better term is “improve.”  This is a superior system to the Skill Trees, which, fundamentally, offered you the same or less amount of meaningful diversity than the Disciplines system does.  The Disciplines system reduces unnecessary complexity.  We want to get players into the game and playing, rather than impeding them with an obsolete skill system, and the Disciplines system does that.

8)      Is there a change coming with 3.0 that you are especially excited about which isn't in the feature list?

The real change with 3.0 comes in the form of how we are treating story in our game.  We are truly excited about what we did with the story in Shadow of Revan, as it will be a jumping off point for the compelling content we plan on creating in the future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Making Credits from PvP

I spend a lot of my time in game doing warzones in SWTOR.  While I do enjoy doing them, they are not a great way to earn credits.  This is especially true if you tend to lose a lot, which I do.  That's a topic of another post though.  The rewards from most warzones are pretty paltry.  The exception would be winning an arena match, that can net you 14k.

There are two dailies which help, but even with them  the amount of credits you earn just doesn't compete with running daillies.  Or that's what I thought.  There is a very easy way to earn a decent amount of credits from warzones.

It turns out, buying stronghold decorations with warzone commendations and selling them on the GTN is a great way to earn credits.  By doing the dallies and selling stronghold decorations you can easily earn over 100k credits a day.  It also gives you something to do with those warzones commendations if you are at the cap.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Slippery Slope

I've noticed a slightly disturbing trend with myself.  Lately,  I have been much more willing to spend my Cartel Coins.  Prior to this, I pretty much hoarded them gaining up to 11,000 coins.  Now I am down in the 5,000's with plans to spend more.

I've spent them mostly on Cartel Packs and decoration bundles.  I still need to purchase the new Republic decoration bundle, and an armor set for my Inquisitor.  So that will drop me down even more.  I find that since I started spending the coins, the idea of buying more doesn't seem all that unlikely.

I have even given thought to buying a hypercrate, something which I would have never considered a few months ago.  So I pretty much 'broke the seal' when it comes to Cartel Coins.  Oh, and I want to buy the Tatooine stronghold with Cartel Coins.  So that 5k I have saved up will quickly vanish.  I even put some Cartel Coins on my Christmas list.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sneak Peek: Social Questing

For the last few weeks I have been working on a new projects:  Social Questing.  This is actually the next generation of Sites with Benefits.  The big difference is the new version is much more user friendly.  Social Questing is a system which lets you create quests (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Twitch etc) for your users to do.  They get points which they can spend in your reward store.  I put together a quick video that shows it off.

If you would like to help me beta test Social Questing, let me know!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cartel Pack Pricing

For the latest Cartel pack, Seneschal, BioWare decided to raise the price a bit.  Lately, they have cost 210 Cartel Coins per pack and ~4400 per hypercrate (24 packs).  The new price is 300 per pack and roughly 6500 per hypercrate.  If my math is correct, that's a 42% increase.

Eric responded to players concerns stating that the pricing is still cheaper than some previous packs which were priced around 320 cartel coins.  They were just raising the price closer to normal levels.

It is, of course, BioWare's prerogative to raise the price.  I do think it was a mistake though.  The hypercrate price especially.  With the old price, you could purchase a 5,500 Cartel Coin card for $40 and buy a hypercrate.  Now with the price above 6k, you may need to make a second purchase.  I think this will lead to less sales for them.  You want to make it as easy as possible for people to spend money.

I know I have been tempted to buy a hypercrate lately, but the new cost has done a good job in keeping me from doing that.  As for the individual pack price increase, I am less concerned.  I'll still buy a few of each.  Although, this does drop the amount a subscriber can buy with their stipend from 2 down to 1.

Has the new price affected your purchases?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's wrong with me?

By all accounts, I should be all over Elite Dangerous.  I love space trading games, well I used to anyway.  ED looks like the pinnacle of that type of game.  The graphics look amazing and the scope is just crazy ( 400 billion stars!).  It also supports a solo mode, which is right up my alley.  So why aren't I playing it right now?

Honestly, I start to get excited about it, then I think of the actual gameplay.  The act of trading just looks so tedious.  Docking and flying place to place looks like it will get old real fast.  Sure, you can buy a docking computer, but you still have to fly from point A to point B.  I'm just not sure I want to spend my precious free time doing that.

They are adding mining in Beta 3, but that looks pretty tedious too.  I like making decisions and planning, not doing menial labor.  So that is the main reason I haven't jumped on the Elite Dangerous bandwagon.  It is still tempting though, and I am always just one good story away from jumping in.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Turn Up the Radio

I love that song.  Yesterday, I posted about being stuck decorating my stronghold.  Well, that pretty much cleared itself up.  When I logged in, I found my item had sold for 750,000 credits on the GTN.  Not only that,  there was a Jukebox: Stellar Hits priced at 700,000 credits.  Needless to say, I scooped that sucker up right away!

I am really happy with my purchase. Turns out it has multiple songs.  I count 3 so far, plus two of them have vocals.  I was not expecting that, as I don't remember any cantina's with singing going on.  Now that the jukebox is installed, I am going to purchase the cantina bundle off of the Cartel Market.

A while ago I spent some time raising my CZ-198 reputations so I could purchase a pair of Info Screens for my stronghold.  Last night, I finally got around to purchasing them.  I had to first make a couple of Universal Prefab MK-3's.  The end result looks pretty good I think.

While on CZ-198 I did the dailies again for extra cash.  I figured I may as well since I was there.  This was the first time I did them while spec'd as a DPS.  It was quite a bit quicker when not playing as a healer.

Finally, I tested a theory.  I purchased another Seneschal pack figuring I was sure to get a Jukebox now that I had one.  Much to my surprise, I didn't get one.  I thought for sure the RNG would have a sense of humor.

Monday, October 20, 2014

SWTOR Problems

I have to admit, I have not done too much decorating of my Stronghold lately.  The Officer's Club, which is what I have planned to do next has stalled.  This is mainly due to me missing one item: a Jukebox.  What kind of cantina does not have some music?  A pretty poor one.  It would really tie the room together. The dude abides.

The Jukeboxes are obtained through Cartel Packs, and I have not been lucky enough to get one.  They can also be bought off of the GTN, but generally run around 900k credits on my server.  I'm just not prepared to spend that much.  I did get a nice tunic, I forget the name, from a Seneschal pack which seems to sell for ~800k.  So if I manage to sell that,  I'll spend the credits on a Jukebox.

So these are the kinds of problems facing me in SWTOR right now.  It's funny what a housing system can add to the game.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Episode 13: Seneschal Packs and 12x XP

This week, a new Cartel Pack hit the market.  In the Seneschal Pack, there are a few items that look pretty attractive to me.  First is the Massive Anti-Air turret which looks amazing.  The next is the always just out of reach jukebox.  I ended up opening up 5 packs, did I get anything that I want?  During the second half of the video I talk a bit about the 12x XP bonus which came with the Shadow of Revan pre-order.

P.S.  Seneschal means:  the steward or major-domo of a medieval great house

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Discipline Calculator

SWTOR is changing from a skill tree system to a more streamlined version called Disiplines.  But why talk about it, when you can see for yourself?  Data miner swtor_miner from reddit put together a very neat calculator based on information from the recent live stream.  It looks pretty much like the in-game version.  That kind of UI work is beyond me, so I am pretty impressed.  Go give it a try!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Too much of a good thing?

I am a big fan of the 12x XP boost for class missions in SWTOR.  However, I do wonder if it is actually good for the game.  It clearly has upside, I have seen a lot of people jumping back into the game to do their class stories.  This is sure to fill the BioWare coffers at least in the short term.

But how many of these returning players will stick around beyond  December 1st?  This really isn't a downside, as some portion of them will stay who probably wouldn't have otherwise.  Then you have players who spend their time creating alts.  They'll be able to level them up much quicker.  Will they run out of things to do and quit the game?

I really hope the latter does not happen, as alts are a big part of SWTOR's draw.  Keeping those players around is important to the health of the game.  Other games have introduced level boosting, which completely bypasses the leveling process.  So maybe I am just worrying over nothing?

Do you think the 12x bonus will negatively impact the game?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How much would I pay?

Yesterday, I wrote about SWTOR's 12x XP bonus for class missions.  In that post, I mentioned that I'd like to see that boost in the Cartel Market.  So the question is, how much is it worth?  I'd like to see it at 1,200 Cartel Coins per character.  That comes out to be around $10.  Not coincidentally, it is around the same price as a book.

BioWare could also go the route of rewarding the boost in the game.  On Twitter, two different ways were mentioned.  One was the boost could be a legacy level 50 reward.  My only problem with this is that a lot of folks at that level may already have full grown alts.  So it may not be very useful.

The other idea was to split the bonus among leveled classes.  So when you reach 55 on a Trooper, you get a 3x boost.  Once you level four, you have the full 12x boost for the other four.  I think this is a better idea than the Legacy level, but it still wouldn't benefit me fully.

So I am going to be selfish and stick with the Cartel Market.  I estimate BioWare would get $60 worth of Cartel Coins from me if they added this to the store at $10 a pop.

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Raining XP

One of the perks of being a subscriber and pre-ordering the Shadow of Revan expansion is that you get a 12x XP bonus from now until December 1st.  This bonus applies only to class missions, but is enough so that you can level solely by doing them.  This is a pretty amazing bonus.

I'm the kind of player who only likes doing content once.  The same goes for books and most movies.  Once I see or read them, I don't really go back to them again.  The same goes for the majority of quests in SWTOR.  I go through the content once and have a hard time doing them again on alts.  That's the beauty of class missions, it provides a new experience.

With this boost, I can just do new stuff.  That is pretty awesome.  It's not perfect though.  Since the boost has an expiration, I feel rushed.  I don't want to force all of the class stories into a tight window.  Instead I'd like to take my time. During this bonus XP period, my goal is to get my Imperial Agent to 55.  If there is time left, I'll start on another character.

I really hope BioWare puts this bonus in the Cartel Market.  That way I won't be rushed to take advantage of it, and BioWare will make some extra money.  Sounds like a win win to me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Episode 12: Endless Legend

This week I decided to switch things up a bit.  I was in the mood for a strategy game, and Endless Legend was recently released.  I went with the Founders Pack on Steam since it provided some more in-game content.  Overall, it is a pretty decent game.  It feels very polished and the in-game interface is impressive.  The video below provides an overview of the game, hopefully it proves a little useful :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Is Disciplines good for SWTOR?

As I mentioned yesterday, Disciplines is taking the place of skill trees.  There are three disciplines per Advanced Class representing each of the former skill trees.  Once you choose a discipline, you gain skills from it as you level.  All of the key abilities from the previous tree are contained in the discipline.  You also gain Utility Points which you can spend on a common pool of skills for your class. That last part is where the customization comes in.

Hybrids are Dead.  This is true and the developers said as much.  You will no longer be able to obtain key abilities from other skill trees.  I hate to see choice taken away from the player, but the fact is that some of the hybrid builds were never meant to be and that causes balance issues.  Players will still be able to semi-hybrid based on the Utility skills that they take.

The Long Run.  Skill trees just don't work as the game advances.  It's not that the developers are lazy,  it's just not a sustainable model.  There is a reason why WoW and even Rift moved away from expanding skill trees.  Making the skill trees larger with every level increase just doesn't work.  Can you imagine what it would look like 5 years from now?

The Future.  With this new model, BioWare can expand our options by simply adding skills to Disciplines or to the Utility pool.  No rebuilding and expanding of skill trees necessary.   Balancing should be easier from now on as well.  That benefits us all.

In the end though, this change will be a tough pill to swallow for people who played hybrid builds.  I can't blame them for being upset at this new direction.  For me though, it will open up more possibilities.  I never played as a hybrid, so the new Utility pool will offer me more options.  So yes, I feel this is a good change for the game.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

SWTOR Disciplines

TL;DR:  Skill Trees are going away.  All key choices from the trees are going to be baseline depending on your choice of Discipline.  You gain points to spend as you level on a pool of 21 Utility Skills.  That is where your customization comes in.

Yesterday,  BioWare did a live stream which detailed how the new Discipline system worked.  It was very nice to see it in action and get an idea about the types of abilities they are adding to the game or making into Utility Skills.  The stream is an hour long and can be found below.

Watch live video from SWTOR on Twitch

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Shadow of Revan Revealed

Yesterday, BioWare surprised us all with announcing the details about the upcoming Shadow of revan expansion.  They had just delayed the announcement a week ago, so I don't think anyone was expecting an information drop so soon.  I'm not one to complain :)  So what does the Shadow of Revan have to offer?
  • 5 new levels
  • 2 new planets:  Rishi and Yavin 4
  • Skill trees are getting blown up, Disciplines replacing them
  • 2 new Tactical Flashpoints
  • 4 Hardmode Flashpoints.  These are likely existing Tactical's being upgraded
  • 2 new Operations
Pretty much what I was expecting, except I figured there would be only one Operation.  That's not all the news though.  Subscribers who pre-order get a 12x XP boost to class missions.  That means you can level just by doing class missions.  This starts immediately and ends on December 1st.  

Of course, I pre-ordered right away.  Can't wait to get some leveling done with the 12x bonus.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Endless Legend

On Friday, I gave into temptation and purchased Endless Legend on Steam.  It is a 4x fantasy strategy game kind of like Civilization.  I am a huge Civ fan, so the comparison made me take notice.  There are some pretty big differences between the game, but at their heart they are similar.  It was my game of choice over the weekend.

Overall, it is pretty good.  I still like Civ 5 better, but it is a decent game.  The graphics are quite nice and detailed.  The interface is very crisp/sharp,  if that makes sense.  You really do have all of the information ready and waiting.  Of course, the developer did the same for Endless Space.  I also own that, but it never grabbed me.  I think their combat system was the main reason why I was never hooked to the game.

I sprung for the Founders Pack (extra $10) because it had some added in-game items.  In total is cost me $45, so it is definitely not a cheap game.  You get what you pay for though.  Endless Legend is a polished, quality title.   If you like games in the same vein as Civilization you may want to consider purchasing it.  This weeks Werit at War will be about the game too if you want to wait and see it in action.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Episode 11: Arena

In this weeks episode of Werit at War, we fight in one of the arenas.  It was actually a pretty decent match.  They had stealthers, we had healers.  Who will emerge victorious?  This video is a bit shorter than previous ones.  My time was a bit more limited due to family obligations.  Next week I am going to change things up a bit and cover a different game.  Have no fear SWTOR, it is just a week break.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

When to start over?

I've been thinking about blowing up Sites with Benefits and starting over.  It's actually a couple years old now.  Overall, I wouldn't really call it a success though.  At times it has shined, other times not so much.  Technically, it works.  However, the administration side could stand to see a lot of improvements.  It's a big obstacle to other people using the system.

It is currently written in Python on Google's App Engine.  Lately though, I have been working with Node.JS and MongoDB, I feel they would be a better fit for the app.  Moving to Node would also let me rewrite the Twitch bot so it is hosted on my server instead of the users machine.  It would be pretty much a complete rewrite though.

Another feature I could add with a rewrite is to make use of PassportJS.  This library would let people log in with their Twitch account, among others.  Since Twitch and Youtube are two groups I want to focus on, it would be quite useful.

It would be a lot of work, but I'm not sure it is worth the effort.  The original version never took off, what makes me think the new version would?   Of course, I'll never know unless I try.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SWTOR and Data Mining

Some of you might remember that I used to do data mining for Warhammer Online and more recently, SWTOR.  I stopped doing it a while ago for a couple of reasons.  One,  I was just running out of time.  My interest was also waning at that point.  The second reason was there really wasn't a need.  swtor_miner, from Reddit, was doing a better job than me.  No need to duplicate efforts.

Recently,  some news broke that swtor_miner was put on BioWare's 'blacklist'.  Any fan sites that promote his work would also loose their 'official' status.  Oddly enough, I too received a bit of backlash, but not from BioWare.  I was denied entry to a guild because of my past data mining efforts even though it was a year ago.

I don't think BioWare took this step because just because he was data mining.  This all happened around the time he was making known possible ways to abuse the Conquest system.  In fact, he was on podcasts talking about how to do it based on data mined information.  Whether or not he should be punished for making these flaws known is a very old argument.  My personal opinion is that he should let BioWare know, but not make it public.

Swtor_miner is a valuable asset to SWTOR.  Where the community teams hands are tied to talk about upcoming plans, his are not.  We MMO players love our information about the future.  So in between official announcements, we have bits and pieces from data mining.  However, it also means that some discretion  must be shown by the data miner.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


By today, we were supposed to hear about SWTOR's 3.0 expansion plans.  Yesterday, however, BioWare came on the forums and told us that there would be no news regarding the expansion for a couple more weeks.  The reason giving is that they were still working out a subscriber perk.  This was all very disappointing to hear.  I had been looking forward to the news.  It also raises some questions as to why they would delay it.
Hedging.  This is probably the most disturbing scenario as to why a subscriber perk is holding up everything..  BioWare could feel that the announcement itself is pretty lackluster and they need something else to bolster it.  

All or Nothing.  This is probably the most likely.  BioWare has decided only to release all their info in a grand announcement.  The subscriber perk is still not definite, so it is holding up everything else.  I'd much prefer something over nothing, but I'm not BioWare.

Something Else.  Something other than a subscriber perk is holding things up.  A perk might be more palatable, so they went with that as the reason for the delay.  Maybe the webpage for the announcement just isn't ready?  Could be anything really, lots of moving parts.

On a more positive note, BioWare reaffirmed that they are planning for the expansion to launch this year.

I'm glad they are adding a perk for subscribers, but at this point I'd much rather know some of the features coming in the expansion.  Even if it was not a complete list, I'd take it.  Instead we'll be waiting a couple more weeks.  I wonder what they will be showing on the Community Cantina drives next month?

Monday, September 29, 2014


Over the past week or two, I have not had a chance to play much in the way of games.  There have been family obligations on the weekends, and work has been pretty busy during the week.  The whole Bash security vulnerability has kept me quite busy during the day.  By the time I am finished with work, I'm just ready to go to bed.

I'm also preoccupied with the impending 3.0 announcement for SWTOR from BioWare.  I get one track minded with these sort of things, so most of my SWTOR attention is going to that.  I have plenty to do in the game, so hopefully they will spill the beans soon so I can get back to it.

I've also started to be tempted by another game, Endless Legends.  This is a new Civilization type game which has been getting good reviews.  I am a long time Civ player, so when a game gets compared to it, I take note.  I'm very close to pulling the trigger on it, even if I don't have the time to play.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Episode 10: Packs and Conquest

Friday already, where did the week go?  It was a pretty quiet week for me as far as SWTOR goes.  My time was limited, but I did get on to do some warzones.  I also opened four Cartel Packs since there was a new batch out.  I'm not big on gambling, but I don't mind playing around with it a little bit.  I mostly just use my monthly allotment.  Last time I got a Bantha, so that improved the whole system in my eyes :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Office Space

Here we are, in the last week of September.  According to BioWare, we should be getting some news about the 3.0 expansion.  How much news?  No clue.  I hope it is something of substance so I can start to get genuinely excited about it.  I already am, but pretty guarded about it.

In the mean time, I've been going about my business.  I did a little decorating over the weekend based on what I got from Cartel Packs.   I bought 4 of them.  Sadly, no big ticket items.  I did get a few nice decorations though, that went nicely in the office area of my Nar Shaddaa stronghold.  Check it out...

The planter is of the Voss variety.  The flag is for House Alde (Alderaan), and the lights are called Networked Lights, or something similar.  The desks is a Czerka Corner Desk, along with a few basic chairs.  Overall, I think it is starting to look pretty nice.  I still have some plans for the walls, plus maybe a rug.

Up next to decorate, the Officer's Club!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Conquests, Not For Me

One of the new systems that came with SWTOR 2.10 is Conquests.  Basically, it is a changing set of objectives/missions which earn the players points.  There is a target goal of 35,000 points (sometimes less) needed to get the reward for a given week.  If you are part of a guild, you can get another set of rewards if your guild finishes in the top ten for the planet.

I have yet to come close to reaching the point goal.  I know some people find it easy to reach it on a number of characters, but for me it is a steep hill to climb.  The problem is that I have my own goals which I want to accomplish.  These don't always line up with the weeks Conquest objectives.  Some weeks I feel like just doing PvP.  Even though doing warzones gets points, I don't often feel like doing 35 or 70 of them.

Other times I just feel like decorating, doing a tactical flashpoint, or leveling an alt.  These are activities which don't provide much in the way of points.   Even if they did, I wouldn't want to grind them out.  My own tasks basically trump those of Conquest.  It also doesn't help that the rewards for the personal Conquest of pretty lackluster.  They are not something that I want to go out of my way to get.

I do feel bad that I am not really contributing to the guilds planetary conquest efforts.  Luckily, there is no scaling, so I am not a drain on the rest of the guild.  Still,  I feel like I should be participating for them.

It's a neat system, but one that was not really made for me.  My limited play time is just not a good fit for Conquests.  And that's ok.  If it gives other players something to do, I'm more than happy to have it in the game.