Day 10: Death #IntPiPoMo

It's the last day of November, the last day of International Picture Posting Month, and the last day of my 10 days of SWTOR screenshots. As usual, I close the series on the theme of death, even though we're officially not really dying in game, only getting defeated every so often.

SWTOR does not have good relationship with the third dimension when it comes to death. This is very apparent from the way the whole instance can bug out on you on Soa if you die anywhere except on the bottom floor, but it also shows itself in other places where you can die while being in the air.

On Dread Master Raptus in Dread Fortress for example, you can get thrown high into the air if you have aggro, and if you die from that you usually can't be revived because your body will appear to be somewhere completely different on your screen than where it shows for everyone else, and the latter location is usually somewhere unreachable to boot. In the above screenshot you can see me looking down at a guildie whose corpse is floating in mid-air standing up, all while she was probably assuring us that her body was right there by the door.

This shows me (and a bunch of others) having died to the Rogue Cartel Warbot on Quesh during a world boss run. This isn't anything special per se, but it amused me that this is exactly the same way I suffered my first ever death to a raid boss back in 2012. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I've mentioned before that as an endgame player, basically most of your deaths occur during operations or PvP. I kind of used to appreciate how lying dead on the floor during a boss fight would sometimes actually give you a particularly good angle for a screenshot, but more recently I've become kind of blasé about that. Too much focus on progression I guess, with not enough thought put into simply admiring the sights. Here's one of the rare occasions when I remembered my roots however and took a moment to admire the machine core in Temple of Sacrifice while waiting for my guildies to finish wiping. (Though we did get Revan down in the end! Not on this try though.)

Your regularly scheduled posting will resume next week - I expect that there will still be a lot to talk about in December though, what with my usual year in review thoughts and the upcoming release of 5.10.

IntPiPoMo count: 60


Day 9: Silly #IntPiPoMo

My 10 themed days of SWTOR screenshots in celebration of International Picture Posting Month continue. If you want to see a list of all the themes I'm using, you can find it here.

I tend to feel ambivalent about silly character names, but seeing these guys in a Voidstar match made me smile, and I've never even played Bioshock. I certainly appreciate a good pun or well-executed theme.

I would say phasewalking loses some of its power when you know exactly just where all the Sages will plant theirs in Ancient Hypergates...

Things going wrong in cut scenes are always funny, but I really loved this party bomb sneaking into this early scene from the Esseles, both because of how utterly inappropriate it is in context but also because of how the Navigator ends up wearing it like some sort of bizarre hat.

This picture is not that silly in itself but it's more about what it represents. One night in EC we were running with some pugs and were waiting for everyone to catch back up after the Minefield, when one of the pugs taught the rest of us how to climb the cliff face on the side of the area. This manoeuvre allows you to skip just... one, two (?) pulls of trash and was therefore a huge waste of time considering how long it took to get everyone up there, but it was also entertaining. As the pug explained: you have time to discover all kinds of things when you're sitting around bored, waiting for people to catch up.

Finally, this is just a screenshot I took of my chat window during our first ever night on Nahut. It just amused me in several different ways, from a certain Scoundrel complaining about actually having to heal, then rolling to his death through a hole in the floor, to my own eventual demise through Spaghettificiation (best boss ability ever).

IntPiPoMo count: 57


Day 8: Memorable Moments: #IntPiPoMo

My 10 themed days of SWTOR screenshots in celebration of International Picture Posting Month continue. If you want to see a list of all the themes I'm using, you can find it here.

Just like last year, one of the most memorable moments that I screenshotted was a really bad PvP match! It's funny because I do enjoy PvP, but for some reason the most memorable matches are always the bad ones... what I preserved for posterity here was a Voidstar which I mentally filed away under "Imps are quitters". Yes, it was a loss, but this certainly wasn't helped by my side having literally several quitters a minute. You can't actually see the full list in the screenshot, but I noted in the file name that by the end of the match a total of 28 different characters had been part of the team (actual team size: 8). This is what you get when your game doesn't penalise people for deserting.

Whenever my guild runs Explosive Conflict, one of the tanks will call shotgun on the tower, a tradition that was instituted by our original guild leader, who liked that the role of standing in the tower on the third boss fight allowed him to be fairly lazy for several minutes. I think the earliest we've had someone call dibs on the role during a run was before we'd even entered the instance... for all that I'd never actually experienced myself what you do up there until this year, when I got to have a go on my Vanguard (pictured) and later on my Shadow. It's funny because it's really not very hard at all, but if you don't know what you're doing you can still wipe the group in several different ways. I still remember that pug I had a few years ago where we had a dps go up in the end because literally nobody else knew what to do.

This is just a cut scene at the end of KotET chapter two, and the reason it's memorable to me is not because of the story, but because on master mode this is probably the hardest fight in any of the chapters in the entire game, and I felt incredibly accomplished after beating it. At the same time I feel kind of scarred for life though, because the other day I replayed this chapter on story mode on an alt and I still got slightly twitchy the moment I saw these guys, just from the deeply ingrained memories of what a pain they are on the harder difficulties. It's certainly worked to make me remember the GenoHaradan as more fearsome opponents than any Emperor.

And finally, a Conquest moment: Twin Suns Squadron actually conquered a few planets this year and it was always exciting, but what I found noteworthy here was the brief period of time during which we were actually the conquerors of two planets, one on our main guild and one on our Imperial alt guild. For a guild that isn't actually a dedicated Conquest guild and has fewer than 100 active members I think that's pretty damn good.

IntPiPoMo count: 52 - target achieved! (though the series continues until the end of the month)


SWTOR's Golden Launch Days

A couple of weeks ago an old podcast made me muse on SWTOR's pre-launch hype, and this post in turn got Asmiroth reminiscing about his early days in the game. That post in turn made me thoughtful due to how it reiterated the pretty popular narrative of how SWTOR was an utter failure at launch, but managed to correct its worst mistakes and is a better game for it now. Aside from a few nitpicks which I brought up in the comments to his post, I didn't actually disagree with most of the specific issues he brought up... but it made me think about how two people can look at the same thing and still come away with very different impressions of it based on their experiences and priorities. (Also topical: Azuriel likes Fallout 76 and is utterly bewildered by all the negative press it gets. Welcome to the world of being a SWTOR player at launch!)

For example, there's no denying that SWTOR's open world PvP was broken from the beginning - the things going on on Ilum even made the news on several gaming sites back in the day. However, to someone like me, who was a) still levelling at the time and b) not particularly interested in open world PvP, that was barely even a blip on the radar and certainly had no noticeable effect on my own ability to enjoy the game. A year after the event, Ilum was nothing but an infamous and weird zone for most of us who were still around.

And sure, there were bugs. Few games launch without them. But unless they are literally game-breaking, making it impossible to log in or progress, or are particularly prolific, nobody quits over a couple of bugs if they are otherwise having fun. I ran into them too, and have blog posts to prove it, but ultimately they didn't stop me from enjoying the game because I was always way too eager to see what was waiting around the next corner.

Simply put: For me, SWTOR was simply a fantastic game from launch, for multiple reasons:

- To this day you'll find people arguing both that SWTOR should have had fewer MMO elements to begin with and should have focused more on its single-player aspects, and that it was too solo focused while not being enough of a "proper" MMO. For me however, the balance at launch was literally perfect. I wanted an MMO and I got it, with all the bells and whistles that entails, but the class story was more involved than anything else that had been seen in that space before and provided strong reasons to identify with and care about your character.

- The promise of being able to level at least eight different alts, have it be a totally different experience, and then receive continued updates for all of those unique class stories sounded absolutely amazing. That those plans ultimately weren't sustainable is another matter, but the amount of content to play through at launch was huge. And yet the game ended up with loads of players who just speed-levelled one class to cap and then complained that there weren't enough raids. I don't even know. Though speaking as someone who did raid once I hit the level cap, the first few months were good times for me too. While there was only one operation at launch, Bioware had added three more by the end of the year. It was a golden age of constant content additions.

- The group conversation system was a hugely unique feature, and I absolutely adored it. There's just something about the whole idea of rolling off with your group mates to decide how a quest is going to continue. To this day, even with most people skipping the cut scenes in flashpoints, the ones with the big choices still get players talking, even in pugs (usually to complain about other people in the group voting for the opposite alignment).

- The levelling game in general managed to be fantastically accommodating to grouping, despite of the solo story arc. Everything that wasn't your class story was designed to make sense whether you were alone or with friends, and I loved how quest givers would even insert little comments about you having company. Coming fresh off WoW, which had decided to deal the final death blow to open world group quests in its Catalcysm expansion (the odd exception not withstanding), I loved loved loved all the heroic quests that encouraged you to group up with randoms while out in the world. I certainly didn't feel like the game needed an automated group finder or anything.

Pugging heroics in January 2012 on my agent.

- Combat in general was fun. It was traditional hotbar MMO combat, which is something I like, and having come straight out of WoW's Cata expansion as mentioned above, I was glad to see that fighting mobs was a decent challenge. It wasn't super hard or anything, but if you didn't upgrade your gear every few levels or didn't use utilities such as crowd control or interrupts, you would pay the price, so putting that extra effort in made a noticeable difference and that felt very satisfying.

- Doing PvP as a levelling character was another thing that stood out positively to me, again because of the inevitable comparisons to WoW, which at the time featured no level sync of any kind, but put you into tiny levelling brackets instead, which could result in long waits just so you would end up in a match where you could still barely hit your opponents. SWTOR's Bolster system seemed amazing to me in comparison, plus tanks actually having a role to play in PvP beyond flag carrying was cool too.

- Story and lore were treated with respect and attention to detail. I loved discovering all the little connections between different class stories for example that made it possible to put all the stories together, like a giant puzzle, and see a coherent larger image emerge. (Not to rag on WoW again, but storyline consistency was another thing they messed up big time in Cata.)

I could probably come up with more points, but these will do for now. What I'm really trying to highlight is how my view of SWTOR's development over time is almost the opposite of the common narrative of failure and then stabilisation. Again, I'm not denying that the game had issues from a financial point of view. However, to me the reason this happened seemed to have everything to do with Bioware and EA vastly overestimating the size of the niche they were catering to, and nothing with the game's inherent quality.

I'm not really trying to say that SWTOR is an all-around worse game now than it was in 2012 either. I sure am grateful for all those bug fixes and for the fact that the game doesn't crash on me every hour anymore, not to mention the many bits of content as well as quality of life fixes that have been introduced since then. However, as far as those big bullet points go that originally drew me to the game, things have got worse in almost every respect. To go through them in order:

- The (for me) perfect balance between MMO content and solo story started to crumble back in 3.0, and the last two expansions went all out on focusing on the solo player. Recent patches have backtracked on this a bit, and to me it feels like the game is now on the right track in terms of regaining some balance... but I still miss the questing content for flexible group sizes. These days it's all either solo story or fixed-size group instances, with nothing in-between.

- Class stories were abandoned quickly, but we still got updates at a decent pace for quite a while. The last two years things have been pretty slow though.

- While the group conversation system hasn't been removed from the game, Bioware effectively stopped utilising it during Shadow of Revan. The only new content added since 4.0 that has you roll off against group members to make a decision is the cut scene where you blow up the shield surrounding a Star Fortress, but the following cut scene only shows a single person running outside, regardless of whether there were other people in the party. It's almost as if the developers who originally worked on the system aren't with the company anymore and nobody else knows what to do with it.

I wasn't playing alone when I did this, but you can't tell.

- In 4.0, heroics as a concept were effectively removed from the game by being turned into just another type of daily quest and yes, I'm still bitter about that. Rumour has it that 5.10 is supposed to see the return of some open world content that you're actually encouraged to group up for, but I'll believe it when I see it.

- The overall combat system hasn't exactly changed, but the way they sped up levelling combined with the introduction of level sync and multiple buffs to companions has led to combat while levelling being quite boring as everything dies in a couple of hits unless you make a point of staying underlevelled, which is actually quite tricky to do if you actually enjoy playing your character and doing things.

- In general I would say that PvP has maintained its quality, but the levelling brackets took a huge hit from the increased levelling speed and the removal of all worthwhile rewards from sub-max-level PvP, which makes it much harder to get into lowbie and midbie matches these days than it used to be.

- Bioware also still loves its story, but Knights of the Fallen Empire certainly played havoc with the established order, and all classes being funnelled into the same personal story meant that the beautiful puzzle essentially broke down, as canonically, all your alts of different classes couldn't co-exist anymore as only one of them could really be the Outlander. I suspect a lot of people would also agree that KotFE and KotET took the game off into a drastically different story direction from what we had seen before, which didn't gel too well with the existing content.

So what's the tl;dr of all this rambling? That I honestly thought SWTOR was great as it was at launch (bugs not withstanding), and from this long-term player's point of view it's been less of a story of a failure finding success and more of a succession of weird ups and downs as Bioware tried to appeal to different types of players in turn who hadn't been satisfied with the launch game for whatever reason. It's only more recently that they finally seem to have remembered what made their game so great at launch (and I'm really thankful for that and am excitedly looking forward to the next update).


Day 7: Team #IntPiPoMo

My 10 themed days of SWTOR screenshots in celebration of International Picture Posting Month continue. If you want to see a list of all the themes I'm using, you can find it here.

In my guild's operations I have a comical reputation for wanting to loot everything, and since I'm a bioanalyst on my main that includes hoovering up dead lobels and the like. I'm not alone though! We have a whole "team bioanalyst", but for some reason I still get most of the blame for slowing things down.

I think I mentioned before that I love this cut scene from Czerka Corporate Labs because it can make even pugs look cool. This is my Operative (second from the left) in a random group. (I also posted this one on Twitter before, but I already established that Twitter doesn't count in my mind.)

I seriously have so many screenshots of this scene, haha. Here's my Vanguard tank (far right) in a guild group.

There's a similar scene in Battle of Rishi, but unfortunately it's nowhere near as good as it's too zoomed out and goes on for too long, with the characters walking around and looking kind of confused for no reason. Still, I kept this one because it reminds me of an epic run where I (on my Juggernaut tank, second from the left) had roped a guildie on his newly dinged Operative into healing me through a random master mode. We got Battle of Rishi and it didn't go so well! I think I kept the poor guy up way past his bedtime as we wiped on the last boss over and over again... though we did get him down in the end.

The more things change, the more they stay the same: me and some guildies goofing off between pulls during an ops run.

IntPiPoMo count: 44


Day 6: Environments #IntPiPoMo

My 10 themed days of SWTOR screenshots in celebration of International Picture Posting Month continue. If you want to see a list of all the themes I'm using, you can find it here.

Let's start the environments theme with this shot of Pugette cruising around Taris while waiting in the group finder queue. I always think of Taris as an ugly and unwelcoming place, but when I looked up that day it struck me as strangely beautiful despite of the devastation.

Similar thoughts went through my head here, as my Sage was meditating in Section X while waiting for everyone to get dready to pull Dreadtooth. I never actually realised that the big cannon that you're sent to sabotage in the heroic mission actually looms above the area quite so majestically.

Here's my Guardian regenerating some health on Copero. I noted in one of my initial posts about the Traitor Among the Chiss flashpoint that it was stunningly beautiful, and so far the effect hasn't lessened yet whenever I rerun it. It boggles the mind a bit that they made the Umbaran freight train into a stronghold but nothing on this world... I guess the Chiss aren't very welcoming to strangers.

SWTOR's environmental designers really do get to shine in all areas if they are only allowed to design something other than spaceship interiors or barren wastelands. Here we have the trash run between Nahut and Scyva in Gods from the Machine. The screenshot doesn't really do it justice, but the area is vast and has a certain eerie beauty to it. It's just kind of hard to take a break to really appreciate it and find good screenshot angles when you're also supposed to keep people alive at the same time... maybe one of these days I should go back into a cleared out version of the instance and just do a tour of the area to get a better look at it.

Speaking of taking a moment to appreciate the landscape in unusual places, here's my Sentinel admiring the view during the pre-match timer in Novare Coast.

With the addition of the Battle over Iokath map, even GSF got its chance to look pretty! Easily my favourite of all the death match maps (and not just for its looks).

Finally, a screencap I took of my Commando main harvesting some crystals in her stronghold. Ever since I upgraded my PC two years ago, crystals have turned from just another resource to harvest into pretty good-looking environmental props, so this scene filled with them struck me as strangely beautiful.

IntPiPoMo count: 39


Day 5: NPCs #IntPiPoMo

My 10 themed days of SWTOR screenshots in celebration of International Picture Posting Month continue. If you want to see a list of all the themes I'm using, you can find it here.

This is Captain Biron, an Imperial NPC whom you meet during the main planetary storyline on Republic side on Hoth. The gist of the mission he features in is that Republic and Empire are temporarily teaming up to fight a local group of renegades. The rub is that the Republic soldiers are highly suspicious of the Imps and expect that they are being lured into an ambush the entire time, egging you on to make the first move before the Imps can make theirs. It's your choice whether you give in to suspicion or not, but if you make the light sight choice to not betray your temporary allies, it turns out that they weren't planning to betray you either, which makes Captain Biron a rare honourable Imperial and made the quest memorable to me. When I took the dark side choice last time just to see what it was like I felt genuinely bad about betraying someone who I knew (out of character) had teamed up with me in good faith.

Nobody says that all NPCs have to be people! Here's a herd of Kath Hounds on Balmorra. I'm still riding mine.

To start the Star Fortress instances on Odessen, Republic characters have to talk to a former Imperial, while Imperials have to talk to a former Republic soldier, probably to drive home the message that in the Alliance, former allegiances have little meaning anymore. This is Lieutenant Marklo, the Republic contact for Imperials, whom I find quite handsome. What with most of my characters being on Republic side, I unfortunately see a lot more of Sergeant Ahkar, whom I find decidedly less appealing.

Replaying the Oricon storyline on Empire side for the first time in a while, I was reminded of what an interesting character Lord Hargrev is. He's a typical Sith, crazy and bloodthirsty as they come, but meeting the Dread Masters is a kind of reality check for him, one step too far even for an otherwise pretty crazy Sith. Also, his lady assistant to the right has Lana's voice, which is forever distracting to me now.

If you go into the Nathema Conspiracy having killed Arcann and Senya, one of the people who join up with Vinn Atrius against you is a knight who was a former friend of Senya's and who's upset that you killed her. I really liked that and kind of wished we could have learned more about her. It gave a bit more texture to Senya to think of her as someone who had connections to more people than just her family and the small number of people we dealt with in KotFE/KotET.

This is just my Scoundrel starting at a dancer NPC in the Rishi cantina. I don't pay nearly enough attention to what's going on in cantinas; some of the setups in them can be quite amusing.

I already mentioned last year that I'm fond of taking screenshots of random Twi'lek NPCs that look interesting to me. This one is a scientist in the Senate Tower on Coruscant to whom you can deliver genetic samples of the shanjaru (the animals that Drooga is planning to make extinct by eating the last of their kind) as a side mission to the main smuggler class story on Nar Shaddaa.

IntPiPoMo count: 32


Huttball Meta

I've been spending a fair amount of time on the Sky Shredder lately. I'm starting to wonder whether Bioware didn't tweak its chances to come up in the rotation for the duration of this patch after all, what with how often I've seen it pop recently instead of other warzones.

I stand by what I said a month ago about it being quite a fun warzone, but what's been even more entertaining to me has been watching the gradual evolution of the Huttball meta. Shortly after I made my original post it came to my attention that there were people out there who claimed that the additional traps to slow down scoring were ineffective because supposedly it was easier to score quickly on Vandin than it had ever been before. Why? Because you could just leave a stealther to lie in wait at the enemy line, so that whoever picked up the ball can just jump into the pit, pass up, and boom - job done.

They are not wrong that this is something that can be done, but it's certainly not unique to Vandin - this has been a possible way of scoring in the original Huttball since launch, but it kind of fell out of favour over time, so it was interesting for me to see the Skyshredder cause a revival of that strategy. Basically, for all its efficiency when done right, there are several downsides to this "going through the pit".

- It does require a minimum of two people to co-ordinate. That may not sound like much, but we're talking pugs here... if you're a good player who knows how to chain cooldowns and are able to run to the line all on your own, you don't have to rely on anyone else on the Nar Shaddaa map.

- Even if you have two players willing to co-ordinate, if the ball gets picked up by another team member who doesn't pay attention to what's happening, the plan might not work.

- Worse, if the enemy picks up the ball first and starts running, the person waiting at the enemy line is miles away from the action and effectively not contributing.

- The person waiting at the line has to be willing to give up chasing kills and generally engaging in actual PvP, something that (understandably) doesn't sit well with a lot of PvPers. I was in a match the other day where we won in the "classic pit" with this strategy, and the guy who had been waiting for the passes finished the match with nearly 20k objective points but literally zero damage or healing.

- For this tactic to work effectively, you need the person lying in wait to be a stealther, which greatly limits the class selection. In theory you can have a non-stealther stand around and wait for a pass (and I've successfully done that too), but for that to work successfully for any length of time it requires the enemy team to be seriously oblivious.

- Once the enemy team catches on to what's happening, it's not hard for them to interfere. Knocking the intended recipient of the pass back down is the obvious and most effective counter, but even if you don't have a knockback you can try to stun them at just the right moment to cause the pass to fail, or hell, simply stand on their head and their chances of success go down to at least 50-50 as you might intercept the pass simply by proximity. I was seriously impressed one time when the second I came out of stealth on the line, a warrior leapt at me and managed to intercept the pass intended for me right in front of my nose.

- If the intended recipient of the upwards pass gets knocked down, killed, or it becomes otherwise impossible to safely pass to them, the person stuck at the bottom of the pit is in a very crappy situation, and unless they are on a class with a leap they'll probably die.

In other words: passing through the pit is an age-old tactic that can work very well but it's also susceptible to all kinds of issues. And that's what makes it fun! Quick passes and trying to mess with people who try to make them is what Huttball is supposed to be all about. The other day I had a match where both teams were really good at this and the game ended with no less than 15 goals scored. You bet that never got boring or tedious. We'll see how long people's preference for this scoring method will stick around before things get changed up again.


Day 4: Missions & Conversations #IntPiPoMo

My 10 themed days of SWTOR screenshots in celebration of International Picture Posting Month continue. If you want to see a list of all the themes I'm using, you can find it here.

Cal just made a post the other day about the impact that fast travel has had on how we play the game. I've been thinking about this a bit myself, as the way we can just kind of "teleport" from planet to planet feels kind of weird to me, and I'm actually a little startled when for one reason or another I actually end up in a cut scene showing my ship flying somewhere, like you can see the bounty hunter ship doing here in the intro to Oricon mission. At the same time though, I don't really like traversing spaceports and dealing with the loading screens to enter and exit the ship. I don't really have any ideas on how this could be made to feel better.

I posted this one on Twitter before, but I feel that doesn't count. I'm not sure I care much for the little cut scenes before each boss in Gods from the Machine, but I love the one before Nahut just because of the "WTF is this" face our characters make while they look around. Unfortunately it's only really there for a moment, so screenshotting it can be a bit tricky.

In general I feel that the upgrade they gave facial expressions in 5.0 (?) tends to give them a bit of  a comical edge. This one is a particularly good example because my Sage making a 0_0 face as Valkorion sneaks up on her from behind can be deliberately misinterpreted in all kinds of ways.

Some of the "action" sequences are pretty cool looking, such as this one of the Outlander and Theron throwing themselves into the beast pit during Vaylin's party.

This one on the other hand always makes me cringe a little. Surely this isn't actually based on a motion capture? Who would land like that after a jump? That's just asking for pain in your legs (and elsewhere if you're a guy I guess).

This one I just like because I managed to capture my Scoundrel's hand movement at just the right moment to make it look like she's about to make a grab for Theron's crotch.

Okay, so a lot of these were on the slightly silly side, which is a theme for another day, but nobody said that there can't be a bit of overlap between themes.

IntPiPoMo count: 23


Day 3: Companions & Pets #IntPiPoMo

My 10 themed days of SWTOR screenshots in celebration of International Picture Posting Month continue. If you want to see a list of all the themes I'm using, you can find it here.

Back in April I wrote a post about some of the class-specific Alliance alerts dedicated to bringing more of the romanceable companions back, and I was hyped about getting more of my characters to the point of getting theirs back too (a.k.a. to the end of KotET). That... hasn't happened, and the only other companion return I've done since then is the one pictured above, which shows my Scoundrel getting Akaavi back (plus Mako as a bonus).

Of the returns already in game, I have yet to make it towards getting Iresso and Vector back, as well as Mako as a bounty hunter. I guess I am still working my way towards them, but only slowly.

5.10 promises some more returns though that are even further out of reach. For example you'll be able to get Khem Val back, but only if you made a certain choice at the end of his companion story. Of course my Sorcerer who's all up to date with current content made the other choice. I can't say I'm thrilled by the idea of bringing my other Sorc up to that point, as she's only on Makeb story-wise. Likewise, Jaesa Willsaam will make a return in both of her light and dark side forms, and while I have recruited both versions of her in the past, only the Marauder with the dark side version is ready for Ossus in terms of current story progress.

I think at this point I'll just stop fretting about it and will simply file this stuff away as content I might see one day when I happen to get there naturally on an alt.

Replaying chapter one of the smuggler story I was reminded of this companion quest for Corso that I had nearly forgotten, in which he sets out to "rescue" his cousin Rona and finds out that she's actually made it big in the criminal underworld and has no interest in leaving that life. I've played through that mission four times now but I've never agreed with Corso on forcing the issue, so I don't even know if you can. Either way I think it's an interesting part of his character development. He doesn't get much love from people who don't enjoy his romance arc, but I think he's an interesting character regardless. He joins the smuggler with a pretty naive, black-and-white world view and has to learn that there is a lot more nuance than that to things.

I'm not a big fan of companion pets, but I took a screenshot of my tanking Guardian winning this little Force Hound because I love the Kath Hound model in general, and the winning roll came at the end of a prolonged Battle of Rishi master mode run in which I successfully tanked the bonus boss for the first time (and killed him for what was only my third time or so), which made it feel like a just reward for what had been a lot of effort.

As I said, I don't pay much attention to companion pets, but at some point I visited the Nar Shaddaa stronghold of a guildie who's both into decorating and pet collecting, which made for some interesting screenshot opportunities, such as this one of a tiny underwalker standing at the feet of a giant one.

He also had a fountain of Mewvorrs. (I had to look up how to spell that; for some reason I always think of them as "Meow-arrs".) I have no idea if these are meant to be aquatic or something, but again I found it kind of original and cute.


Finally, in another juxtaposition of small pets and their larger counterparts, he has tauntauns guarding their offspring with guns. Who thought it was a good idea to have tauntauns manning guns?!

The same guildie also proudly showed off his Treek, who had apparently been disfigured by a bug that had once made it possible to equip her with a C2-N2 customisation, and he was so tickled by the result that he kept her that way. I certainly found it screenshot-worthy and dread to think what this looks like in combat...

IntPiPoMo count: 17