As usual, two days after the game's birthday follows this blog's anniversary. While I've been blogging in some capacity or another since 2004 and it does feel like something that I've been doing forever, it still feels kind of weird to consider that I've been keeping this blog in particular for five years by now. I still tend to think of it as "my newest project", so realising that I've actually been maintaining it for five years already feels weird.
This year has also been an interesting one in so far as I've been way more prolific than I've been in any of the past years except for 2012. For all the criticisms Knights of the Fallen Empire has had thrown at it, I really found it interesting to talk about, both in terms of story and in terms of what I thought didn't work so well. In October/November I also managed to temporarily ramp up my posting schedule considerably, which was actually at least partially related to my work. I work in an office and I've previously never understood how people can read or even write blogs from work because I've always been way too busy to slack off like that during working hours. However, something happened this year that suddenly caused my workload to drop massively towards the end of the year, leaving me with whole days of nothing to do, so I started passing the time by drafting blog posts. This has now changed again (for now), but to be honest I'm kind of glad. As much as I enjoy blogging, having time to do it during work hours felt kind of wrong.
Anyway, time for my annual review of what I've been writing about!
I started the year by holding my first ever giveaway - I've actually been thinking about holding another one, but I don't want it to be boring and haven't really been able to come up with a good way of making it interesting yet. I also summed up the findings of the flashpoint levelling experiment I had conducted at the end of 2015 and started reviewing KotFE one chapter at a time. After four years, I finally completed the trooper story for a second time, and 4.0's game changes made me muse about the many ways in which Bioware's treatment of companions has changed. As if all that wasn't enough for the month of January, I also railed against people complaining that SWTOR has lockboxes in a misleading way, and joined Traitine for some lowbie PvP on his stream for the first time, something we would repeat many times throughout the rest of the year.
In February, I tried my hand at writing a little guide on how to choose the right healing class, and bemoaned the lack of regular old questing opportunities for groups in the newest expansion. I also wasn't thrilled to find that heroics had effectively become just another set of dailies thanks to 4.0's retuning, though the comments on that post quickly showed that my disdain for this was very much a minority view.
March once again showed that datamined information always has to be taken with a grain of salt, when mined details about the new PvE/PvP instance split caused people to wrongly conclude that server merges were imminent. KotFE chapter eleven released and left me quite disappointed due to its initial bugginess, including the infamous naked cat-man bug. I decided to roll an alt on the Ebon Hawk and tried to get to the bottom of why the combat sections of KotFE annoyed so many people (myself included).
April saw the release of a new warzone, which quickly became my new favourite. Once again on the subject of KotFE, I wrote about how I was feeling somewhat uncomfortable with the way the Outlander's story was developing as it didn't seem to fit my trooper background. On a happier note, I expressed my appreciation for side quests and pondered the role of puzzles in SWTOR's gameplay.
In May I tried switching to a dedicated PvP instance for the first time and wasn't impressed. I also tried my hand at the newly released Eternal Championship - there were interesting aspects to it, but I didn't end up coming back to it more than a couple of times. I also wrote what's probably the most personal post I've ever put on this blog, talking a bit about my childhood and gaming background.
June was the month of the New Blogger Initiative and I contributed a post with some advice. I took one of my bounty hunters into Knights of the Fallen Empire content and explained which parts of the experience did and didn't work for me. I also laid out how my guild had been progressing through operations in KotFE. And of course this was the month when the Dark vs. Light event was announced, and while I wasn't hugely enthusiastic about it at the start, I was still happy to jump right in.
In July I attended the second ever Community Cantina event to be held in London, and of course Knights of the Eternal Throne was announced on that occasion, though we had nothing but a teaser image to go by at that point. My guild held a hilarious summer fun event, and I mused on the amount of hours I had accumulated in the game based on the /played command.
In August I tried to gauge the chances of our still missing companions returning any time soon and finished my chapter-by-chapter discussion of Knights of the Fallen Empire shortly after the release of its final installment. I got quite invested in the DvL event and decided to finally play through the original Knights of the Old Republic - on my tablet, to keep myself entertained while commuting on the train.
After almost exactly a year of writing about one of the game's flashpoints every two weeks, I rounded off my Flashpoint Friday series with a post about the Star Fortresses at the beginning of September. I finally completed the Imperial agent story for a second time and wrote about my experiences with trying to defect to the Republic. People datamined some pretty drastic class changes coming in 5.0. And in what was a very exciting moment for me, I was able to post an official interview with Bioware's lead designer Michael Backus on the subject of flashpoints.
In October I completed the final tier of the DvL event and details of Knights of the Eternal Throne were finally officially announced after people had spent three months speculating about that teaser image. Of course we were less than happy to find out about Galactic Command. I also got a new PC and got ready to participate in International Picture Posting Month by giving my "10 Days of SWTOR Screenshots" series another run throughout the month of November.
With that going on and for the reasons mentioned at the start of this post, November was my busiest month with a (for me) quite impressive post count of 20. I had kind of mixed feelings about the upcoming KotET release at that point. I finished my KOTOR playthrough on the tablet and then Knights of the Eternal Throne finally launched.
December has mostly been about me trying to get to grips with Galactic Command and failing. Fortunately changes are already supposed to be coming to the system in January. On the plus side, I finally managed to hit my goal of becoming an Elite Warlord.
To the next twelve months of talking about all things Star Wars: The Old Republic!