Tuesday, May 26, 2015

x12 XP Buff Progression: Bounty Hunter Complete!

This past week I wrapped up my bounty hunter's story missions and hit level 53(!) in the process.

I did have a screencap of Taris, but you can only go to that well so often.
The great hunt was pretty entertaining for the first chapter, but sort of lagged as I hit target after target on a variety of planets, always making sure to eliminate my competition as I progressed.  Chapter 2 was a weird hodgepodge of bounties and intrigue that sort of fizzled out in an unexpected way.  Quesh, as usual, was a massive disappointment; the quest basically resulting in "DO THIS FIGHT" and "LOL LEAVE PLANET."  Not that Quesh was ever a vibrant hub of questing to begin with, but this one felt *especially* brief.  Chapter 3 picked up the pace, though I will say being made into a Sith Lord's personal bitch wasn't that pleasant ... broke the narrative of how badass my character had become.  Won the Great Hunt and the respect of the mighty Mandalore?  Check.  Tackled bounties for some of the hardest-to-kill mofos in the galaxy?  Yep.  Oh, getting choked out by someone who looks like a hemorrhoid and thinks he should take fashion advice from a vending machine?  The hell?

Look boss, there's an asshole in that mirror!
I must also say this; a couple of the bounty hunter's companions are just truly insufferable.  Skadge is a complete asswipe.  And I mean complete and total waste of time; the story would have been better off without him.  Utterly unlikable in any way, shape, or form, even more rage-inducing than the hated Malavi Quinn.  At least Quinn's story was engaging and the betrayal was both shocking and infuriating; Skadge comes onto the scene as an unskilled, rampaging psychopath whose bloodlust is outpaced only by his incredible stupidity.  My bounty hunter wasn't exactly a boy scout, but good lord this guy was a jackass.  I don't think I've ever wanted to kill anyone as badly as I've wanted to kill Skadge.

Table for Dickface.  Dickface, party of one.
Gault falls somewhat along the same lines; an unlikable shitbag who I'd rather just get rid of.  His scheming and conniving may have been ok at first ... but after the umpteenth time hearing "Let's just hide, boss!" I kinda want to brutally murder him and mount his horns on the ship as a trophy.

Who are you again?
Other companions were decent enough; Torian was bland and uninteresting even with his beginning missions, as was Blizz unfortunately.  Sure, 'homicidal Jawa' is an entertaining tagline for the most part, but other than being cute and funny, there wasn't a bunch to him.  Maybe I didn't give him enough room to grow?  I may explore that companion in the future.  God, that sounded creepy.

Mako was Mako; still the best starting companion in the whole game and built-in with the best story as well (at least in my opinion).

Mako customization 2 is the only customization.  There is no debate.
All in all, the story took some twists and turns that I wasn't expecting (and a few I saw coming ... the casino, anyone?) but I was pretty happy with the ending.  It was a nice change of pace to give the ol' double birds to the Lord Douche and the Sith and work alongside the Chancellor instead; an unexpected treat at the end of a pretty humbling story.  But then again, the hero can't always win and there was a moment of sweet, sweet justice as I gunned down that smarmy Sithspawn.

Up next?  I haven't quite decided whether I want to be eaten by a large, scary alien or keep tally for the Scorekeeper with a big, dumb lizard.

Are those tattoos or grill marks?  Mmmm, CheddarKhemwurst.
Who am I kidding.




Monday, May 18, 2015

Dr. Diabolove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Loot

A curious thing happened on the way to the SWTOR forums the other day ...

Crusaders be crusadin'.
I started playing Diablo 3 again.

This is a little surprising for me, honestly.  I bought D3 a year or more ago once they dropped the RMAH (real money auction house).  I was impressed with several of the changes they made to loot drops and the overall fun my friends had while playing.  Deciding they must be on to something, I picked up a copy ahead of the Reaper of Souls expansion ... I think there may have been a sale at the time.

I had fun playing.  It was a pretty good mix of repetitive grind and rewarding loot drops.  I generally stuck to Master difficulty as my newly level 60 Barbarian (Blackhowl, named after my WoW warrior) got progressively better gear.  But I didn't really head into Torment levels and I wasn't overly interested in rifts so my playtime ground to a halt.  It was fun, I'd gotten my money's worth, and I was generally very pleased with the whole experience.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago; WoW's allure is fading fast as our raid team hits a heroic-sized wall in Blackrock Foundry.  A couple of team members vanish into the ether and I'm suddenly left with no heroic progression team, a fast-approaching cut-off date for my raiding (July 23rd is my second child's due date), and an itch for something to do that's not SWTOR-related (hey, a guy can only shoot so many jawas ... no just kidding, shooting jawas is its own reward).

Enter D3.  Or more accurately, re-enter D3.

A couple of officers and I had talked on vent that week about maybe hooking it up in Diablo at some point.  They both had seasonal characters (initial reaction: wtf are seasons) and played semi-regularly.  I made it a point to fire up ol' Diablo again if I ever saw them on ... and that happened this past Friday night.

Brand new Crusader for season 3 created.  Whitehowl is born; opposite to my Barbarian Blackhowl (witty names, amirite)!  "Hop in vent!" they said.  "We'll power you through some rifts!" they said.

Four hours later and my Crusader is level 70, paragon level 23, and has enough gear to start farming Torment I.

I've since put 30+ paragon levels on and have enough gear to comfortably farm Torment II.

I've hit the cow level twice.

I've done greater rifts with my friends for most of Sunday afternoon.

I am WTFBBQSAWSE addicted to this game.

I think the reason it's so attractive to me is the drop-in, drop-out style of play.  I can hop in for an hour, do some serious grinding, and leave.  If I've got a spare 45 minutes, I can just D3 it up for a bit and walk away.

Compared to the time-sink that is SWTOR, Diablo is the perfect counterpunch.  In SWTOR, I generally have to devote at least 2 hours to doing it.  There's the interminable load screens (seriously, how long does Taris take to friggin' load), the fast travel (lol 'fast travel') of speeder bike waypoints, the admittedly fast quick travel option (zipping around the map on a 6 minute cooldown ... take notes WoW), and the cutscenes/story moments.  I don't hate any of that stuff; on the contrary, it sucks me in.  But it does eat up time.  Lots of time.

Droideka hates Taris.  Who doesn't, though.
Diablo is the antithesis of that; the longest wait time I have is loading into the game.  Then it's bounty time and I'm whipping around the maps looking for bastards to kill.  Loot literally rains from the sky.  Stuff explodes in gory showers.  It's a fantastic romp.  If you haven't checked it out in a while, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

x12 XP Bonus Progression

Droideka, robo-bounty hunter and all-around douchecanoe, has completed his chapter 1 story!  I'm taking my time and enjoying the sights as a robot jerk; it's proving to be far more fun to be evil than I thought.

I set aside some time to peruse the GTN today.  It's been a while since I've looked at what's selling and what's not, plus I have a lot of older armor that I could offload for some quick credits.  One of the perks of not playing for a while is that I have quite a bit of older armor and cosmetic items built up ... they're more rare and now worth a ton!  Well, some of them.  I'm going to keep a full set of Unburdened armor to myself, just in case I get an itch to look all Jedi-y.

One of the first places I check out is mount section.  Bikes!  Landboats!  Weird pink thingies!  I see that they're selling Tirsas for extremely cheap ... I may have to pick up another landboat soon.  But then I see this ...
All aboard the SS Douchecanoe!

... and I can get a landboat FOR REAL.  A BOAT.  ON LAND.  IN SPACE.  A LAND-SPACE BOAT.  I just can't handle it.  Can't.

So that's now among my favorite mounts of all time.  Along with my Korrealis Commander (and all its mailbox blocking fun), the Chopper my raid team gave me in WoW, and the two drakes I earned in WoW as well; Iron-bound Proto and Spawn of Galakras.


Droideka approves.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Twelve Times the Fun and Prepping for the (Temporary) End

I've gotten a chance to participate in the experience-palooza that is the subscriber x12* experience boost and I gotta say ... this is how SWTOR should be.  I played my Powertech for a couple of hours and put on about 5 levels.  Granted, I was moving slowly (I forgot how detailed and lovely Nar Shadaa really is), but the leveling pace was so quick that it shocked me.  Basically at around the mid 20s, it's a level (or near enough) for every quest.  That's the type of pace I could learn to live with!

In other news that's sorta sad, it looks like we could be heading for the last hurrah with my current WoW raid team.  Raid fatigue, real-life obligations, and general malaise are all conspiring to bring a swift end to our little team (for now).  In July, I'll be welcoming my second child into the world (though my wife is doing all the hard work) and my raiding time would be coming to an end anyways, but still it's sad to see it go.  I am so happy though that I've been able to raid with friends for such a long time; this same team has been at it since before Throne of Thunder and I've been raiding with some of these very same folks since the heady days of Lich King!

Fare thee well, Casual Losers raid team!  I'm sure we'll get the band back together again soon enough, but this current iteration is having it's last hurrah.  Let's give 'em a viking funeral, except without all the actual burning an' stuff.

*We think it's x12 XP.  I guess I could do the math, but that's boring.

Monday, May 4, 2015

IT BEGINS

May 4th is upon us!  Details have been laid out, via the inestimable Dulfy, on what we can expect from this new event.
THE BOOST DELIVERS AN ACCELERATED AND MORE IMMERSIVE STORY EXPERIENCE!
Inspired by the popularity of the 12x XP Boost, Subscribers can level faster while experiencing a deeper and more engaging story-telling experience. The Epic Story XP Boost includes reduced cool down on quick travel options and increased commendations to facilitate acquisition of the gear you need when you need it.
  • Level your characters from 1 – 55 at an accelerated rate
  • Now you have the ability to toggle on/off the Epic Story XP Boost once acquired
  • Act now, the Epic Story XP Boost ends this Fall
The Epic Story XP Boost applies to Class Missions in the core game and then the main "critical path" storyline of Rise of the Hutt Cartel. We are not putting the Epic Story XP Boost for Shadow of Revan (55-60) since it was already designed to be a much more streamlined and faster leveling experience.
The fact that it lasts till fall is pretty awesome; it also means a lot of the pressure to get in there and "OMGLEVEL" as many as I can stomach is lessened a bit.  I'm still going to get in there though, damn straight about that!  First up will be my bounty hunter, Droideka.  He's a no-nonsense sorta cat (not a Cathar) who just really wants to get paid no matter who he has to blast.  I don't think I'll go out of my way to be evil, but if there are innocent casualties ... eh, they shoulda known better.  I'm currently sitting around the mid 20s or so (I think I may have just finished Balmorra during the last x2 XP event?) so it looks like it's off to the lovely underbelly of Nar Shadaa after this.  Oh, I'm sure NOTHING will go wrong there.  Nope.

After this, I may dust off my low-level Jedi Knight.  I never really leveled through the knight storyline; I'd heard it's the most 'Star Wars-y' of them all and I'll be interested to see what twists and turns come my way.  If I remember, he's a light-side do-gooder type of cat (is a Cathar) and he's all high and mighty.  He's sort of insufferable, in an endearing way.  Maybe I'll have him stray a bit by falling in love with someone.  Who knows!

Also on my bucket list are my Inquistor and Sage; they are both are the stealthy-stabby types.  I enjoy the stealth mode in SWTOR as it allows me to skirt certain areas and avoid annoying packs of enemies.  Inquisitor's storyline starts pretty well, if I recall, but I'm pretty sure the Sage was already making me want to throw up in my mouth.

I've done Smuggler and Trooper enough, but I do think I'll give the ol' Agent another run-through as well.  Targeter was done as an ultimately light-side character who made compromises to save as many as he thought he could.  Maybe I'll revisit that and try to go full dark?  Either way, I really just want to experience the Agent storyline again as it was just so magnificent.

Lock and load, folks!  SWTOR's back in full swing!

*Also, I got my Alliance Warrior to 100 in WoW ... so that's pretty cool.  I may try to help my poor Alliance guildies out occasionally by tanking some Highmaul content.  We'll see how that goes, when I have the time.