As I started blogging about SWTOR only a few days after I started playing it, my birthday post for the game is always quickly followed by a birthday post for the blog. Happy blogday to me!
As usual, I shall celebrate by having a more personal retrospective of what the game has been like for me in the past year and how I wrote about it.
I actually rang in the new year while logged into the game and mused about how having party bombs thrown at me on the fleet was also a kind of social experience. After I had spent some time playing different MMOs throughout 2013, I also concluded that it was kind of sweet to go back to my "home MMO" full time, for a variety of reasons. I did a bit of PvP and reached Warlord rank on Shíntar. (Nearly a year later and I'm still nowhere near Elite Warlord. I guess I don't PvP enough.) Datamined information and teasers from Bioware suggested that the rakghoul world event was going to make a return, and I decided that I was more than ready for it. Two days later it went live, and I had a blast.
At the beginning of February we were treated to a roadmap for 2014, and I expressed concerns that it didn't look like we were going to get a new operation any time soon (which turned out to be true). I also complained that GSF was getting too much attention, which is kind of funny in hindsight, considering that Bioware seems to have done a complete 180 on that one. Soon after that, we received our first (and still only) level- and role-neutral flashpoint in the form of Kuat Drive Yards. I thought that it was decent fun as levelling content, but boring at max level. In patch 2.6, Combat Medics saw major changes to their spec for the first time in over a year, and I enjoyed suddenly feeling kind of OP.
In March we got our first glimpse of Galactic Strongholds, which raised a lot of questions. We didn't know half of all the good stuff that was yet to come. Nightmare mode for Dread Fortress and Palace were scheduled to release with a built-in way to easily nerf them later, which annoyed some people (though not me personally). I finally put an observation into words that I had already made a long time ago, namely that Sentinel players seem to be the most restless of all classes. The term "Twitchy Sentinel Syndrome" has certainly stuck with me and my pet tank. March was also the month in which I got to kill the Dreadful Entity for the first (and so far only) time and got to die to its Hateful (and stronger) equivalent a lot, even though both were already outdated content by that time.
On April 1st I was worried that Bioware might have forgotten about April Fools this year, but they were just late with releasing it. Inspired by other people's contributions on the subject, I wrote a post about how it would be nice to have day/night cycles and/or weather in SWTOR (but I also understood that there were reasons for not having them). Levelling my Shadow through Quesh inspired me to write about the things levelling teaches us. The Forged Alliances story arc got started with Assault on Tython and Korriban. Four and a half months after the release of GSF, I also mastered my first ship - not bad for someone with very limited interest and skill in space combat. I was somewhat embarrassed when I finally maxed out my last companion's affection on Republic side and realised that I was about one and a half years late, considering when I had actually finished the associated class stories. (Fun fact: On Empire side I only got this done the other week... also over a year late.)
May was a comparatively quiet month. I worked on some random PvE pursuits, which included getting datacrons I had previously missed and clearing out some old missions on alts. Meanwhile my guild struggled with nightmare mode in Dread Fortress.
In June I suddenly developed an interest in Aurebesh, the alphabet in which text is written in the Star Wars universe, and started to transcribe various posters and signs I encountered. Patch 2.8 launched and broke the servers for several days, which caused some major annoyance. It later turned out that this was due to bad optimisation in Bioware's new 16-person group finder, which basically caused it to lag the servers to death. It was quickly reverted to 8-man as an emergency fix, though it was eventually returned to 16-man mode later in the year and without crashing the servers. The Nar Shaddaa nightlife event launched and failed to impress me. As I found a new full-time job that month, I struggled with the fact that I now had less time to play.
At the start of July I expressed consternation at many people considering SWTOR "old" at the mere age of two and a half years. That month I also achieved the Datacron Master title at last, thanks to some helpful guildies that held my hand all the way to the Endurance datacron on Makeb. I definitely wouldn't have made it there on my own. I also mused on how Bioware's secret anti-goldseller sauce seemed to be failing (though thinking about it now, I haven't actually seen any gold sellers recently).
August saw the rakghouls make a return on Tatooine, which was once again good fun. After a delay of several months, Galactic Strongholds was also finally released, and I wrote about my first impressions here.
In September I got to wrap up the Forged Alliances story arc in Depths of Manaan and Legacy of the Rakata, but otherwise my month was largely dominated by the new conquest feature introduced with Galactic Strongholds: figuring out its purpose, getting my guild into the top ten on a planetary leaderboard and thinking about the long-term effects of its addition to the game. In ops news, my guild finally managed to kill the Dread Guards in TFB on nightmare mode, which ended a personal grudge of mine that had lasted for over a year.
October saw me buying my first Hypercrate from the Cartel Market. I was kind of baffled by how unprofitable it was, though it appealed to my strange enjoyment of inventory management. Shadow of Revan was announced, bringing many exciting bits of news with it. Finally, I wrote about how I felt that Galactic Strongholds had changed the way we travel around The Old Republic.
In November I made use of the 12x XP bonus for class stories granted to subscribers who pre-ordered the expansion. Despite my initial scepticism, I was quite content with the way it allowed me to level both my long-neglected second Sorcerer and my almost equally ignored second Powertech to 55.
December was the month of Shadow of Revan's release of course, so I wrote about my first impressions of the expansion, my slightly odd levelling experience and how it was affected by bugs, and my first impressions of the two new operations. I'm also still trying to re-learn how to play (sigh).
I hope everyone else's year was just as full of interesting events!