100 Levels of Empire Life

Since I posted about it when my guild hit both level 100 and 200, I guess it only makes sense that I give our Imperial alt guild a shout-out for hitting the level 100 milestone too (especially considering its history and that I'm the EmpressGM).

Unfortunately I didn't catch the big ding itself this time as my minions got a bit overzealous on the afternoon of the big day (I had done some maths and didn't expect the guild to actually tick over until the evening), but oh well. We did use the occasion to finally give our Imperial guild ship a proper name, something I commemorated with a /bottlesmash emote near the prow on the bridge.

As is quickly becoming a tradition, let's look back at the various guild level-up screenshots I managed to take over the Imperial alt guild's history. As it took this small guild almost nineteen months to hit this milestone, the screenshots cover a longer period of time than the ones I previously posted for our main guild.

Guild level 6 achieved after I successfully tanked Explosive Conflict on my tanking Powertech for the first time. You can see that she was only level 58 and being bolstered up to 70 - oh, the days when you were able to enter story mode operations as early as level 50 (I miss them).

Guild Level 10 achieved while doing Eternity Vault on the same Powertech - who was up to level 69 at this point.

Level 12 while doing Yavin IV dailies on my other Powertech...

Level 15 while checking out the (then new) Dantooine Pirate Incursion event on Imperial side with Mr Commando.

We ticked over to level 22 while I was doing Makeb on my Sniper - though it was a mysterious "Masked Marauder" (heh) actually earning all the Conquest achievements in chat.

Level 26 while doing Oricon on the same Sniper.

On Oricon again at level 37... this time on my dps Sorc though.

This one of us hitting guild level 49 is kind of amusing since the galaxy map view means you can't actually tell for sure which character I'm on... but since you can see the agent ship in the bottom left corner and my current location shows as Onderon, it would have been my Operative. Also, the inclusion of Onderon means that this was the first level-up I captured after the release of Onslaught.

At guild level 52, I'm on my Juggernaut tank and we're just starting to form a flashpoint group.

Guild level 55 achieved from completing Traitor Among the Chiss on master mode, with me healing on my Merc.

Back on the tanking Powertech as the guild hits level 67 at the end of a master mode Athiss run. (You can tell I do a lot of tanking on Imp side.)

Guild level 69 achieved as my boosted Assassin explores Dantooine (another tank!) - which was only three months ago, so we gained 30+ levels in the last three months alone.

Guild level 71 achieved after I ran my first master mode pug in a while on my dps Powertech (Directive 7) - and of course it had a guy called "Uranusishuge" in it, because pugs.

At the end of another master mode flashpoint run with guildies (Boarding Party), which I healed on my Merc, we dinged 73.

Level 75 while cruising around the Imperial fleet on my dps Powertech.

Level 82 while I was on Iokath on my healing Sorc (who is also the actual GM toon).

Levelling up to 90 in a cut scene from Xalek's alliance alert! I genuinely can't tell which character this was on, though I seem to remember that my Operative was the one on whom I did this quest most recently.

Level 94 achieved during an actual, honest-to-god 16-man operation on Imp side. I'd already forgotten this happened!

And the last one I've got, of my dark side Juggernaut leaving the Imperial cantina on Mos Ila while pursuing her class story on Tatooine.

Wonder how long it'll take us to 200 now! I'd wager on us getting there at some point between April 2021 and Februrary 2022... or is that too vague?


It's Not Easy Being Mean

I have long struggled with playing dark side characters in SWTOR. If you look at my characters page (which I actually haven't updated in quite a while, meaning that a couple of my newer characters are missing, but what's there is still broadly accurate), you can see that the vast majority of my characters are light-sided, and even those who aren't are generally described as neutral or at worst "moderately" dark-sided, meaning that they still make light side decisions pretty frequently.

I have started more than one character with the intent to make them evil, mostly whenever I felt inspired by comments about how this or that story twist is particularly engaging if you're dark-sided, but it never lasts very long. I always slip up and start drifting towards light side decisions, mostly because so many of the dark side decisions, especially in the base game, are flat out insane. As someone who always puts at least a little bit of herself into all of her characters, I simply don't want to play a psychopath.

There are some dark side decisions that I'm fine with making on my (supposedly) evil characters: Killing an enemy instead of sparing them after defeat, insisting on payment instead of simply helping someone out of kindness, or getting physically violent in the face of annoyance are but some examples. Sure, those are all bad things, but they are all based on basic human impulses (such as greed or anger) that everyone's at least familiar with, even if we do generally try to fight them in our everyday lives.

A lot of dark side options though simply do not make sense unless you are playing a psychopathic mass murderer who enjoys watching the world burn at every opportunity, such as when someone actively helps you out and at the end of the interaction you're basically given the option to say thanks or kill them just because you can. It's just... WHY.

My most recent attempts at living the dark side life have been the Assassin and the Juggernaut that I created back during the DvL event as I've finally been working on their class stories. Fortunately the built-in light/dark toggle introduced in KotET makes it easier to deceive myself about their alignments, because even if I make some light side decisions now and then, the constant trickle of dark side points awarded from simply having the toggle set to dark side easily drowns out any friendly or merciful impulses. I genuinely seem to have had some success sticking to my guns though, as evidenced by me running into some amusing conversation options that I hadn't encountered before (when you're only fighting with words, dark-siders can be quite funny, I'll give them that) and occasionally getting exasperated with the results of my own decisions.

A prime example of the latter occurred during the inquisitor story on Alderaan, where you're supposed to lure a Jedi onto the planet by having his former fiancée from many years ago contact him. I don't remember how exactly the light side version goes, but you can be nice to both of them and try to get them to reconcile after all those years (I just don't remember if it works). Playing dark side this time around though, I basically just bullied the lady into making the call, and when she expressed some nervousness about seeing her old fiancé again, I chose a conversation option that outright told her that I didn't give a damn because I was just going to kill him anyway. This - understandably - upset her, so she got mad and attacked me, causing her to die before the guy even arrived on the planet. Khem Val approved, but I seem to remember sitting back and actually saying out loud: "God, I'm such an asshole."

For the longest time I felt like a bit of an oddball for feeling so bad about playing dark side. It's just a game, right? I remember in the early days it seemed like all the big content creators were playing evil Imperial characters as their mains and poking fun at Republic wimps etc. at every corner. I actually got some comments from readers who said that they were impressed to meet someone that was so open about being a staunch, light-sided Republic player because it seemed quite unusual to them.

Recently I don't get as much of these same vibes anymore though. The current biggest SWTOR content creator, Swtorista, is a trooper main like me, and Vulkk mains a Sentinel from as far as I remember. The dark vs. light event four years ago surprised me by concluding with a pretty firm light side victory, even if the final result was still pretty close to a half and half split. Three years ago a SWTOR Facebook post revealed that 76% of players going through KotFE/KoTET had decided to save/redeem Arcann instead of kill him - admittedly that was only one specific choice, but I was still impressed by how strongly that skewed towards one end of the spectrum. More recently, I can also say that anecdotally at least, the dark vs. light "state of the galaxy" on Darth Malgus seems to see the light side winning about three times for every dark side victory. That's quite a contrast to the dark side winning within an hour of the feature's initial introduction.

A few months ago, a former Cinematic Designer from Bioware also commented on Twitter that in Mass Effect, something like 92% of players chose the "nice" options - which is a different game, mind you, but I still think a lot of people were surprised that with so much effort put into letting players choose their path, the vast majority went for the exact same goodie-two-shoes options anyway.

It has given me some comfort to know that there are more people like me who just enjoy playing the good guy most of the time - though it does make me wonder why SWTOR got such a reputation for everyone wanting to play an edgy dark-sider to begin with...


The All Worlds Ultimate Swoop Rally in Review

Unlike when the Dantooine Pirate Incursion was first introduced, Bioware decided that a single week of swoop racing was enough to give us our first taste of this new event, so it felt like the racing tracks disappeared almost as quickly as they had been erected. Did my positive first impressions hold up? I'd say mostly.

The novelty factor admittedly wore off pretty quickly, but I was still happy to do all the races at least once a day to quickly get a character from zero Conquest points to hitting their personal target in a single go. The first couple of days I did multiple characters per day, but that quickly turned out to be a bit much for my taste. Also, the introductory story quest is nice enough and all, but having to do it on every single alt got old really quickly. I'm not usually someone to resort to space-barring even on repeated playthroughs of most content, but after the third time or so I decided that I'd definitely had enough of Zella to last me for a while.

I did get a bit better at the actual racing too, managing to grab all the perfection achievements on Dantooine and two on Tatooine. On Onderon it felt like I also should have got one once or twice, but I heard from several sides that the Onderon ones were a bit fiddly and didn't always grant proper credit.

The event currency seemed to come in fast and furious, and I actually hit the cap of one thousand tokens per faction more than once because I wasn't paying attention (oops). I definitely appreciated that it was legacy-wide from the start though, instead of being character-specific like these things used to be! Since the weekly reputation cap limited what I could buy during this first week of the event I just picked up some decos and all the basic speeders on two of my characters. Since reputation tokens don't disappear anymore, I'll be able to advance my rank during the following weeks even while the event isn't on, so I should have a much wider selection available to me next time it's up.

Speaking of reputation, in an interesting move Bioware decided to include a small story quest at newcomer rank for each faction, and from the way these play out the implication is that there'll be at least another installment to follow, perhaps more. These feature fairly basic tasks as you do each swoop gang leader a small favour, and the cut scenes are the "KOTOR style" that seems to have become the default for side quests now.

While I'm fine with that in principle, I do have to admit it grated a bit that of the ten different NPCs or so that you talk to during these stories, every single one's an alien that speaks the default Huttese gibberish. I'm not as easily annoyed by the repetitiveness of those lines as some, but it did feel like a kind of obvious money-saving move. I'm okay with not having all sixteen character voice actors in for little side missions like that, but couldn't they have paid one guy or gal just to mix it up a bit and have one of the NPCs speak Basic? Then again, maybe they had plans for that and COVID interfered here too, who knows.

Anyway, it was interesting for me to realise that Bioware hasn't really done anything similar before, despite of the concept of reputation ranks unlocking new story content being old as dirt. (It even existed in Vanilla WoW!) However, previously they've only really used reputation as a different type of gating mechanism for cosmetic rewards... and to access the Gray Secant during the Gree event I guess. Kind of weird to imagine that nobody at Bioware ever really thought about using it like this before. Either way it's an addition that gets a thumbs-up from me and I look forward to seeing how the story continues the next time the event comes around.


Should There Be Sexist NPCs in SWTOR?

Deep thoughts today.

I've been spending more time replaying story content lately, especially the original class stories and other older quest lines that I hadn't done in a while, and one thing that I've been finding striking is how often NPCs treat you differently based on your gender. I wouldn't actually say that it happens a lot, but it happening at all is still a stark contrast to more recent content releases where your sex makes no difference whatsoever. All the newer romance options are "playersexual" as Bioware likes to say, and the rest of the time nobody really cares about whether your character is male or female either.

The class stories and other base game content are quite different in that regard. For example I was doing the planetary storyline on Quesh on Imperial side, and upon my (female) inquisitor walking into the room, one of the Imperials in charge piped up with some comment about how women shouldn't be on the front lines. I mean, excuse me?

That feeling when... you're the most appalling creature in the room while sharing space with a Hutt and a Gamorrean.

It's not all negative either - I was playing through the early levels on Hutta as a new bounty hunter and Juda the twi'lek, who's something like Nem'ro's receptionist, kept making comments to my female bounty hunter about how girls have to stick together and stuff like that. (Mind you, that sort of thing often feels like the writers were simply trying to fill in the gaps where male characters have exclusive flirt options, with the goal of still making female player characters care about the NPC in some way.)

Anyway, all this got me thinking about how the way I feel about this stuff has kind of changed over time. In the early days I honestly quite liked it - mainly because I was impressed by the granularity that Bioware applied when trying to make the experience tailored to the player character, making it not just about class, but sometimes species and gender too.

The blatantly sexist characters were a bit annoying (and being on the receiving end of comments about "little girls" or things along those lines when your character is the tallest body type always felt a bit weird - the opposite of tailored to the character really), but they were never put in without an option to get back at them. I won't deny that's there's something satisfying about zapping someone with lightning if they give you crap for being a woman for example.

Buuut... after getting used to gender just not mattering in the content released in recent years, I have to say I kind of prefer it that way. We're not discussing "realism" here, because Star Wars is a fantasy world and can be written any way we want it to be. It's actually been a while since I watched the original trilogy, but I seem to remember the source material treating the sexes fairly evenly too - there were certain trends, such as most of the pilots being men and the slaves in Jabba's palace all being skimpily dressed ladies, but that could easily be read as circumstantial in-universe rather than a rule, never mind real life influences at the time.

And if given the choice, I think I prefer the simplicity of simply not having to worry about gender biases, and having my female characters being respected (or hated!) simply for who they are and what they do rather than for anything to do with their sex. The revenge fantasy of punching or zapping the nasty sexist has some appeal for sure, but to be honest there is enough of this crap in the real world. Just not having to deal with it at all in my virtual world is simply more appealing to me at this point.


Mental and Physical Discomfort on Alderaan

Contrary to my expectations, Alderaan did not treat my pacifist Jedi well. I thought I was off to a good start, remembering right away that one of the heroics should be stealthable, and it was (the one to retrieve data spikes from the Killik cave). For some reason I'm more familiar with the heroics on Alderaan than with those on most other planets, so I knew right away what would work for Pacis and what wouldn't.

Other than that though, the planet was pretty much a bust. Despite of the sheer size of the map, I think I only found four other quests that didn't require me to fight anything. There were quests to capture either a joiner or a Killik alive, but both would have required me to beat them up first. Others seemed to tack mandatory kill requirements onto otherwise peaceful objectives almost randomly. In short, it was annoying.

I randomly ran into a DvL boss - after all the trouble I had killing them, I couldn't resist taking a picture.

One thing that was interesting though - if somewhat uncomfortable - was that I was forced to think about the limitations of Pacis' pacifism. It's a question that's actually been on my mind for a while but that I didn't really have to confront in practice until now.

Basically, I originally conceived of this project as more of a gameplay challenge than any sort of moral message. As such, the rules were fairly straightforward: don't attack any living creatures, not in the open world and not in cut scenes, and if they aggro on you first just run away.

However, over time I couldn't help but also think of the roleplaying implications of playing a character that literally wouldn't even hurt a fly, one that would rather be beaten down and revive at a med droid than throw a single punch. She must have pretty strong convictions about right and wrong, no? So what if I'm being asked to do something that isn't a personal attack but results in a lot of harm being done to others as a direct result? Wouldn't she hate that too?

This question became a very real concern when I picked up the quest Infestation at Wardpost Duvaal. It asks you to recover a bunch of "insecticide mines" and use them on the Killik hives. I didn't really have a good feeling about that but was hoping that as long as I was only destroying the hive structures I could justify it as merely doing property damage. Still, when I walked up to the first hive, I hesitated. I placed the mine. A friendly Killik appeared, walked up to the hive and fell over dead.

I just stood there and stared for a good minute. How horrible! Strictly speaking, I hadn't violated the rules of the gameplay challenge, but in in-world terms, Pacis had just been directly responsible for a living creature's death for the first time. I was kind of surprised by how intensely wrong that felt. I abandoned the quest without completing it.

I did that. ;(

Later there was another, similar moment when I did a mission to mark Imperial landing pads for bombardment, but then in the cut scene for mission completion they didn't show the pads being destroyed but rather an Imperial transport being shot down mid-air. It wasn't quite as bad as seeing the Killik fall over dead right in front of me, but it still felt wrong somehow. I suspect this won't be the last time I run into this sort of conflict.

On a more humorous note, remember the weird bug from KotET launch that caused certain characters' head and left arm to swap places when standing still on an animal mount? I posted a picture of it here. Now, this bug was fixed in relatively short order and I hadn't really thought about it in a while except when freaking people out in a Twitter thread. While doing those quests on Alderaan however, I was horrified to find that a variant of this bug has resurfaced after the most recent patch, though I'm not sure which animation exactly triggers it. I first noticed it happening when scanning databanks in Castle Panteer, but have since also seen it pop up after clicking on lore objects and some other interactables. Just what even is this, Bioware?! Fortunately it has since been acknowledged as a known bug and will hopefully be fixed soon.


Swoop Bike Event First Impressions

Fun fact: I fully downloaded the PTS when this event was being tested, with every intention to have a look at it in advance, but then never did. Clearly I'm just way too lazy and prefer to wait for stuff to hit live, so once again kudos to those of you who actually did play on the PTS and whose feedback surely made this new event better than it would have been otherwise. That said, here are my own early impressions after the first day on live:

The terminal announcing this event on the fleet is huge, noticeably bigger than the usual ones. That said, if you don't have the introductory quest, it's not really obvious that an event is going on when you first land on any of the three featured planets - they could do with some sort of announcement or event NPC at the spaceport to create additional awareness in my opinion.

Arriving at the event area on Dantooine, I was pleased by how extremely atmospheric it was. The decorations were loud and colourful, and the area was bustling with both NPCs and players. In typical Star Wars fashion, the swoop track was only delineated quite roughly and very open, meaning that players were crossing it everywhere, and in some places you could even aggro mobs onto it if you were sufficiently bad at navigating. It felt exciting and messy and fun.

On my own first round of the track, I accidentally left the emergency brake on for the entire run and was confused why this "race" was slower than walking speed. This is why it's a good thing that I don't have a driver's licence in real life...

Once I got the hang of things though, my rides got better and much smoother. The bikes don't exactly go at breakneck speed (I think without the speed boost it's quite close to that of normal speeders actually) but if like me you're not really good at twitch gaming that's a good thing anyway. Some of my guildies were already bragging to each other about getting the "perfection" achievements, but I was just glad whenever I was able to complete a race without failing one of the mandatory objectives. At its base, the whole thing is not dissimilar to that one daily quest on Ziost where you repair the broken speeder.

The three planets offer tracks with very different vibes to them - for example the jungle on Onderon makes for a very tight experience as you race through tunnels and narrow ravines, while Tatooine is extremely open.

To mix things up further, you got the three different swoop gangs, who all make you race the track in slightly different ways. My favourites so far are the Horizon's Razors who focus on speed and are simply about going fast and collecting some power-ups along the way. Next we have the Pit Screamers who love to show off and ask you to do things like go through hoops and make big jumps as you go along. The Blatant Beks are my least favourite so far as they require you to blow up some barrels while driving past them, and I'm finding it challenging to keep steering my swoop while also throwing explosives. I should probably keybind that ability properly to make things a bit easier, but even so it's an extra thing to do besides just making sure you're driving the right way.

I was actually slightly disappointed when I realised that you couldn't go again without having the daily quest, because it was sufficiently fun that I wanted to keep going. Good thing I have lots of alts...

For once I'm actually intrigued by some of the reputation rewards as well, because besides the "usual" decorations and armour sets, there are also "fun" Tacticals you can buy that make you do things like jump off your vehicle with a flair when you dismount. (I haven't seen a preview of this or anything, I only have the item description to go by.) That sounds like it would be quite a fun thing to have when you're cruising around and not actually in combat with anything.


That Other Patch Notes Post

I said in my last post that there were random parts of the patch notes for 6.1.2 that I wanted to comment on before the issues with the welcome window distracted me... I decided that I'm still going to make that post, and this is it. Note that I'm not reproducing the patch notes in full - if you're looking for the full notes, you can find them posted here on Vulkk or here on MMO Bits.

Nar Shaddaa Nightlife - The Nightlife event returns with new Missions and rewards! Get your credits ready for July 14th - August 11th.

At last, maybe I'll finally get to spend those casino chips that I forgot to use last year! Then again, it's only a month - requiring me to remember to spend my chips within such a short time frame is asking quite a lot, you know...

The following set bonus has been added to the game at level 75, available for all Guardians:
Fulminating Defense

(2) +2% Endurance
(4) Challenging Call gets two charges.
(6) Enure increases Elemental and Internal damage reduction by 75% for 3 seconds.
Source: The Nature of Progress Operation on Master Mode difficulty, and a small chance from Unidentified items on the Spoils of War vendors.

That four-piece set bonus looks mighty sweet for flashpoint tanking... but of course the main source of this is Dxun master mode, which I'm unlikely to ever clear. I do wish there was more of a connection between where you get certain sets and what they're good for - then again, having no clue what the encounters look like in Dxun master mode, maybe having two stacks of your AoE taunt is really vital in there.

The following set bonus has been added to the game at level 75, available for all Sages:
Undying Protector
(2) +2% Mastery
(4) Activating Force Barrier heals all allies around you.
(6) Activating Force Barrier puts a barrier on nearby allies, absorbing damage for up to 8 seconds and granting them an additional 25% elemental damage reduction while active.
Source: The Nature of Progress Operation on Master Mode difficulty, and a small chance from Unidentified items on the Spoils of War vendors.

This is a very odd-sounding set bonus to me, in that I could imagine it being quite useful in a small number of specific fights where you can already use Force Barrier in a calculated manner instead of as an emergency cooldown (such as Dread Guards in TFB). Or it could be useful in PvP as well, where you use Force Barrier more than anywhere else after all. I wonder how useful that set bonus will be in master mode Dxun...

The following set bonus has been added to the game at level 75, available for all Shadows:
Ballast Point
(2) +2% Endurance
(4) Deflection grants Ballistic immunity for 6 seconds, giving you immunity to movement impairing effects, knockdowns, and physics.
(6) Increases Elemental, Internal, Kinetic and Energy damage reduction by 3%.
Source: The Nature of Progress Operation on Master Mode difficulty, and a small chance from Unidentified items on the Spoils of War vendors.

Did Shadows really need another way of making themselves immune to things? (Insert PvP-inspired sigh here.) Again, this sounds more like something that would be useful in PvP more than anywhere else.

The following set bonus has been added to the game at level 75, available for all Gunslingers:
Ballistic Concentration
(2) +2% Mastery
(4) When you deploy Scrambling Field, each group member within it grants a stack of Ballistic Concentration, increasing your energy regeneration rate by 1 for 20 seconds. Max 8 stacks.
(6) Each stack of Ballistic Concentration also increases the damage you deal by 5%.
Source: The Nature of Progress Operation on Master Mode difficulty, and a small chance from Unidentified items on the Spoils of War vendors.

This set continues a trend Bioware started in 6.0 of giving defensive cooldowns a damage-increasing effect. Personally I find these a bit annoying because they kind of encourage you to make these defensives part of your dps rotation instead of saving them for when you might actually need them to survive, but this particular example is one case I don't mind too much if it actually encourages Gunslingers to use their domes more often. (In my experience they rarely do unless you actively yell at them to do it.) Then again, once again this would only apply to Gunslingers doing Dxun master mode anyway (so nobody that I play with on a regular basis).

The following set bonus has been added to the game at level 75, available for all Commandos:
Rapid Response
(2) +2% Mastery
(4) Activating a healing ability has a 15% chance to cause your next Medical Probe to be critical.
(6) Healing an ally with Medical Probe applies a buff to them for 10 seconds. Each enemy defeated by this ally increases your healing by a 2%, stacking up to 5 times.
Source: The Nature of Progress Operation on Master Mode difficulty, and a small chance from Unidentified items on the Spoils of War vendors.

I don't know how good this is numbers-wise, I just know that there's already another set called Rapid Response (and it's still there, unchanged - I checked), which is unnecessarily confusing if you ask me.

The Rocket Fuel Vapors tactical item has been redesigned:
Kolto Pods heal for an additional 5% and last a second longer, gaining an extra tick of healing.
The HP-5 Dart Device tactical item has been redesigned and renamed to SC-4 Treatment Scanner:
Successive Treatment heals for an additional 5% and generates Supercharge stacks while channeled, up to 4 stacks for a completed channel.

The Running Rapid Restoration tactical item has been redesigned and renamed to Running Restoration:
Increases the healing output of Advanced Medical Probe by 15% and allows it to be activated while moving.

This just highlights again that I'm not a fan of Bioware redesigning what Tacticals and set bonuses do after the fact. I freaking loved the old Rocket Fuel Vapors and it significantly changed my rotation... now that they changed it I feel I need to re-learn how to best do AoE healing all over again. Plus the new functionality just sounds incredibly boring and lacklustre, even if I'm not yet sure how it works out numbers-wise.

Running Rapid Restoration was my Tactical of choice in more single target focused fights, but they changed it so that the "cast while moving" now only works on a different ability with a cooldown. Also a nerf if you ask me.

Finally, the HP-5 Dart Device was complete rubbish and people basically binned it all the time if they got it, but now it sounds like it might actually be somewhat decent? Made me glad that I had left one lying around in my legacy bank, but at the same time "make sure to save one of every Tactical and set bonus item just in case Bioware ever decides to make it good" frankly doesn't sound like the greatest system to me (and very casual-unfriendly).

The Unidentified Boxes from the Spoils of War Vendor now grant the correct Set Bonuses based on the player’s Class.

I had a guildie report that he got things like gear for knights when shopping there on his trooper... while funny, it wasn't very productive.

Corrected an issue where the entire Rapid Response Set was available from the Unidentified Helmet Box.

So they do know that there's already another Rapid Response set! Come on, Bioware!

If a character is at the weekly or global cap for a reputation, reputation items will no longer be auto-consumed. Instead, they will be granted as normal items that can be used later or vendored.

Yes! I was not a fan of the tokens just not being granted if you're already at the reputation cap, so I'm pleased to see this.

The Plasma Emitters in the Iokath Daily Mission “Systems Go” have been fixed. They will now appear in an inactive state, allowing players to complete the Mission.

I only ran into this bug fairly recently - I thought I was just having bad luck with someone else already having used all the emitters and them being super slow to respawn. Glad they fixed that.

Players who choose to flirt with Elara Dorne in the “Squared Away” Mission no longer find themselves on top of a table in the cantina when the scene ends.

I have no idea what this is about but it sounds hilarious. Must have been quite a racy flirt to end with you waking up on top of a cantina table afterwards!

Corrected an issue where the Conquest timer showed too many digits in the seconds section.

Haven't seen that in a while, but when I did it was rather funny to see that a Conquest event had exactly 12.93882374842792932692736 seconds left to go.

The “Makeb: Defeat Enemies 2” Conquest Objective now properly appears in the Objectives list after players complete the “Makeb: Defeat Enemies 1” Conquest Objective.

Oh! I was wondering why there was only one for Makeb!

Increased the requirement of planetary Mission Complete Conquest Objectives to require 2 Mission completions (up from 1).

That... seems fair. It should cause my class missions to advance a little faster too.

Conquest Objective point Decreases:
Credits for Junk – Daily Repeatable, decrease from 2000 to 1750
Amp Reroll – Daily Repeatable, decrease from 2000 to 1750
Take a Taxi – Daily Repeatable, decrease from 2000 to 1750
Harvesting Pinnacle – Weekly Repeatable, decrease from 9750 to 5800
Utility Point – Daily Repeatable, decrease 2000 to 1750

Again, that seems quite fair. I don't mind having these objectives, but they probably shouldn't be quite so lucrative compared to others that require actual gameplay.

New Conquest Objectives:
Play PvP 2 – Daily Repeatable, 2000 points
Play PvP 3 – Daily Repeatable, 3000 points
Win Arenas 2 – Daily Repeatable, 3000 points
Win Arenas 3 – Daily Repeatable, 4000 points

More objectives for PvP = win.

Reduced the amount of lower rating items players can receive from Ranked and Unranked Warzone Lockboxes while at an overall item rating of 306.

Finally! That only took them... what, eight months? I hope nobody's tried to actually gear up via PvP in that time, because it basically didn't work.

Players are able to modify their Utility Point selections and swap out pieces of equipment (which includes Tactical items) while waiting in the queue for a Warzone or Arena.

Yes! Another good change, as the fact that this was locked the moment you entered the queue used to drive many of my guildies who change their utilities a lot to distraction whenever we did PvP as a group.

All in all, lots of good/interesting stuff in there. There's already another patch queued up for tomorrow, but that one's only small and simply meant to fix a few bugs. More importantly, we'll see the start of the new swoop racing event! I'm sure I'll have things to say about that.


Broken Window

This week's patch was a medium-sized one, with one major new feature (the swoop racing event) that's not actually going live until next week. The rest of the changes were mostly small things, and I was thinking about doing a sort of summary post to talk about my favourites among them, but there was one addition that stood out from the rest above all others: that damn welcome window.

Basically, Bioware decided to replace this:

With this:

No big deal, right? I mean, I guess those icons are somewhat less intuitive than having the actual words there - I'm not sure anyone would know intuitively that the magnifying glass stands for the current planet or the flag for your guild - and it's a bit bigger than before, but it's not like... dramatically different, right? I've heard some people complain that it's the "wrong" shade of blue and that the rounded corners don't align with other elements of the UI, but frankly that's too "graphics designer" for me to care much.

Oh, did I mention that it also suddenly expands into this?

Note that big ad for the Cartel Market deal of the day and you'll have one reason why people are grumbling about this. More advertising for the Cartel Market! Money grab! Etc.

Personally, I actually don't mind this particular inclusion as the Cartel Market deal of the day is often quite good and I've occasionally kicked myself for missing a nice one simply due to never looking at the place. Somehow I find it easier to briefly expand the social bar once per day and look than to actually open the whole Cartel Market window; I'm not sure why. Maybe it's just because it's new.

I also suspect that, however much pressure there might have been to give the Cartel Market more exposure, Bioware genuinely wanted to promote the other two items in the window as well. The first shows your current main story quest, and the second shows the current week's Conquest event. They call the whole thing the "welcome window" because it's supposed to give (I'm guessing especially returning) players an idea what they can do.

My impression from reading other people's blogs and such is that returning players definitely struggle with finding their way back into the game sometimes, despite of the story missions being highlighted in the quest log and tracker, and many MMOs feature similar, often much bigger windows these days that shout about the best features to check out the moment you log in. I've always kind of enjoyed discovering content more organically, but I can understand why this is a thing.

Anyway, I don't think any of this would have been a big deal if the new social bar had simply replaced the old one in the exact same location - but for some reason Bioware decided to implement it as being located in the centre left of your screen by default, where it clashes with pretty much every UI setup under the sun:

You can move it, but only if you have "enable movable secondary window" selected in the UI editor, and only if you manage to "grab" it by the thin light blue border just so. Also, it won't necessarily remember this setting on all your characters - it seems quite erratic in that it will sometimes appear in the "right" place (where you moved it previously), or in the default position, or disappear altogether. Also, it's not part of the UI editor proper, so you can't hide or resize it. I've seen someone ask on the forums whether none of the devs know how to code for the UI editor anymore, as apparently a lot of newer UI elements have this problem.

I think all of this is pretty bad, but again, to be honest I think a lot of players wouldn't have noticed (or at least not immediately) if Bioware hadn't decided to put the bloody thing in the middle of the screen by default. As it was, both general chat and guild chat on Wednesday evening were full of people cursing about that damn window/bar in the middle of their screen and asking how to get rid of it.

And if all of this wasn't enough, this new window had also been on the PTS prior to this, with Bioware specifically asking for feedback about it - most of which was negative. The fact that the feature still made it to live with most issues unaddressed just makes it look like they didn't even listen.

It's weird because changing a small part of the user interface is such a tiny matter in the grand scheme of things... but this just goes to highlight the importance of a good UI: it needs to give the player everything they need to know to navigate the virtual world while also being as minimalistic as possible so as not to be distracting or annoying. I feel Bioware definitely violated the latter principle here and it just goes to show how much a misstep in that area can disrupt players' experiences.


SWTOR's PvP Brackets Explained

I've been spending some time in all three PvP brackets recently and I have to say it's quite interesting how each of them has its own unique flavour.

Lowbie: 10-42

I freaking love the lowbie bracket and I'm clearly not alone. Just the other day I ended up in a lowbie arena with two people who both professed to have repeatedly created new characters just to play more lowbie PvP, even if it meant deleting higher level characters to make room in their roster.

What makes lowbie PvP so great is that it's relatively simple in terms of combat gameplay. If you want to interrupt someone, you can. If you want to knock someone off a raised platform, you can. At the higher levels there are often a variety of counters for pretty much every move you could think to make, which can be frustrating if you're not on top of it and end up doing things like wasting a knockback on someone who just used an ability that makes them immune to knockbacks.

This relative simplicity of combat seems to attract people who love to focus on objectives instead, which means that the bracket consists of this odd mix of utter newbies who are only just taking their first steps into PvP and don't have a clue what they're doing and hardened veterans who are on their umpteenth PvP alt just for the hell of it.

Huttball in particular can be amazing fun! I'm kind of lukewarm about it at max level, where I neither love nor hate it, but in the lowbie bracket you can actually have some really fantastic games. I think the reason for this is that the lack of cooldowns at this level makes it almost impossible for a single person to just grab the ball, run and score, as they are very vulnerable to being rooted and killed, and healing power is limited as well. This makes scoring a goal a proper achievement that requires teamwork and repeated passes, and you very rarely get one team just steam-rolling another - the character power to do so just isn't there.

Since there are fewer people queueing than for max-level PvP, there's also a bit more of a community feel, as you'll often see the same names over and over again - and since it's random whether they end up on your team or the enemy's, there are no hard feelings either. Mind you, the downside of this smaller community is that you'll get a higher proportion of arena pops than at max-level whenever there aren't enough people queueing, and during off-hours pops might stop altogether. Your mileage may vary on whether that really is a downside (maybe you really like arenas or only play during prime time anyway).

The one thing that's definitely a downside is that due to the nature of the lowbie bracket, you'll also run into the noobiest of noobs, so you need to have some patience with players who do really silly things such as run around without using their stealth on a stealth character, or are completely oblivious of what just happened when they end up catching the Huttball. They seem to make up only a minority in any case.

Midbie: 43-74

Midbie is a step up from lowbie in terms of combat as characters will have most of their abilities by now, but most will still be missing some of their cooldowns at least. There's a bit more pressure to know not just your own but other classes' abilities as well, in order to engage in proper counter-play.

Still, the more objective-oriented mindset from lowbie still continues in this bracket. If you just want to kill people, you can get faster and more frequent pops at max level after all. And with how quickly levelling is these days, you'll get there in no time simply by doing story quests, meaning that many people ending up in midbie PvP have usually made a conscious choice to be there instead of questing, similar to the lowbie PvPers.

Midbie also has to deal with the same double-edged sword of a smaller community, which means more name recognition but also slower pops and more arenas.

Max-level: 75

Max-level PvP contains both the best and the worst of SWTOR PvP. With the sheer number of abilities a level 75 character has, not to mention utilities and now also Tacticals and bonuses from different gear sets, there is a lot of room for skillful play. Most of my "I can't believe he just did that" moments in PvP have happened at max level, usually when I'm in awe of someone seemingly predicting my next move within barely a second and successfully countering it in that time. Unfortunately I myself am not that skilled at all this, despite of having all classes at max level, and I'm more likely to find myself frustrated at being outplayed in ways that are really hard to counter if you don't have sufficiently fast reflexes and intimate knowledge of every single ability in the game.

The large number of cooldowns, healing and self-healing also mean that you're more likely to end up in somewhat tedious stalemates, such as arenas going to acid, or nobody being able to cap the middle turret in Civil War.

Finally, you end up with all kinds of bored max-levels who don't really care about objectives and just want to pass the time killing each other with big numbers. I'm hardly surprised anymore when such matches are accompanied by one guy muttering to himself in a foreign language while another yells in all caps about how we're all terrible and should uninstall the game. The queue pops are fast, but basically you pay for the increased quantity with a decrease in quality as far as teamwork and community spirit go. Then again, sometimes a quick bout of face-smashing may well be all you're looking for that night.


Peace Out, Tatooine

The other day my pacifist Jedi wrapped up another planet (as far as that's possible considering her unique circumstances) by finishing business on Tatooine. Just exploring and doing some side quests on both Nar Shaddaa and Tat was enough to get her from level 35 to 44 - and while I suspect that the last two months of double XP are at least partially to blame for this amount of progress, I'm sure that all the new Conquest objectives had something to do with it as well. At this rate she definitely won't run out of non-repeatable content to keep her busy until the level cap.

Tatooine being a pretty hostile environment, I didn't expect to find too many quests that didn't involve violence. Oddly, this was true in Anchorhead, where pretty much everyone wanted me to kill someone or other, but once I left the "big city" behind, people were more open to giving me tasks whose only strict completion requirements were non-violent.

I'm not going to talk about every single quest I did this time, because the pattern is pretty established by now: The objective is to click on some things next to hostile mobs, so I click and stealth out with Force Cloak the moment I get aggro, then wait for it to come off cooldown before repeating the whole process until quest completion.

I'll note that my favourite mission was the reunion with Fez Burba, mostly because it also had a non-violent bonus I could do. My least favourite was the Jawa that wanted me to save his malfunctioning droids, because the zapper gun I was supposed to use to fix them only worked about one in every five times, meaning that I must have spent a good twenty minutes or so on that quest alone, waiting for Force Cloak to come off cooldown yet again because the stupid doodad kept failing and putting me into combat without actually progressing the mission.

Another quest that was worth noting is the one to save Raith's "Loved Ones" (aka "the one that makes fun of Transformers collectors", or at least that's how I always tend to think of it), because strictly speaking the objective to loot the chest requires no fighting, however there are two mobs next to it and I could only crowd control one. The problem was that looting the chest triggers a cut scene, and with the second mob aggroing as soon as I un-stealthed, I always got an error message about not being eligible for the conversation (due to being in combat), which prevented me from actually completing the quest. I'd basically need someone else to pass through and deal with those two mobs for me, or wait until level 75, when Pacis could technically acquire and use the Tactical that allows you to put two enemies to sleep at once. I left the quest in my log for now.

Speaking of opening chests, I've had a pretty good time emptying lots of security chests under the noses of sand people and pirates. Not that they ever contain anything valuable, but they glow and I like clicking on shiny things. Also, it's important to note that pacifism is perfectly compatible with thieving as long as nobody gets hurt (in my world at least).

My favourite discovery on this planet was another heroic that I could not only do (Breaking the Code) but that was in fact the best heroic I've found for stealthing so far, even better than retrieving Luran Gonthor's deed on Coruscant, because it doesn't even require any crowd control or use of Force Cloak. You can just stealth into the building, unstealth next to the console you're supposed to click (there are no mobs right next to it), click and then re-stealth the normal way or quick travel out. Pretty ace!

I'm curious what Alderaan will have in store. You'd think that a beautiful planet full of snooty nobles should offer more than a few non-violent business opportunities, but first impressions can be deceiving.


Gods Unleashed

The first four bosses in Gods from the Machine each drop an item called "[boss name] control module". First-timers to the operation inevitably ask what it is, and the answer is usually something along the lines of: "It allows you to temporarily turn into the boss on Iokath; nothing special."

Now that I think about it, it's actually pretty weird how utterly unexcited we've always been about these drops. Being able to turn into a boss (and one that's considered a god, no less) should be freaking cool! I guess the problem is that it only works on Iokath, and people don't like Iokath. I mean, personally the dailies have grown on me over time, but then I've also been told that I have some masochistic tendencies. What good is a cool transformation if the only time you can use it is to do content you don't particularly enjoy, in a place you don't like? Yeah.

And yet... I've kept all five of my control modules in my bag ever since I won each of them, and every now and then I've looked at them longingly, telling myself that I'll get to use them one day.

Well, the other day I decided that it was time to make this happen. Sure, just turning into one of the gods and then doing dailies on Iokath would probably be pretty boring, but anything can be fun if you turn it into a guild event! So that's what I did, especially since I was sure that other people had unused control modules sitting in their bags and banks as well.

Unfortunately we ran into practical limitations very quickly. I had envisioned us marching across Iokath as a whole army of gods from the machine, but as it turns out the game will only allow one copy of each god to be active at any given time, meaning that a lot of people only got to scurry along as our "adds" at the gods' feet as it were. Even worse, our plan to at least let people take turns was foiled as well, as the consoles in the control room kept indicating that the gods were still "on cooldown" even after the original lot had expired, without providing any details about just how long said cooldown was. We just had to call it at that point as there seemed to be zero documentation about this online either and we didn't fancy waiting around indefinitely.

That said, we managed to have a pretty good time while it lasted. I got to pick Scyva because it was my birthday, and others were quick to claim the other gods. There was a certain humour in the fact that the most mellow of our officers, who wouldn't hurt a fly in real life (no really, he's a strict vegan), turned into Tyth, the god of rage. And one of our tanks had way too much fun slipping into the skin of Nahut and using the tank-killing move to which he'd fallen victim way too many times on other people instead.

Vehicle mechanics in SWTOR tend to be kind of clunky and these were too, but the sheer fact that the gods lived up to their names, with massive health pools and the same overpowered abilities that they also use in the boss fights, was enough to make playing them fun.

We started off by paying a visit to the Colossal droid, who was still taller than we were even in our transformed states, but he died easily enough. Then we had the idea of invading the Imperial base, where absolute carnage ensued. I hadn't gone into this with PvP in mind but we just so happened to be in the PvP instance when we started, and a few guildies decided out of their own volition to change sides and put up a bit of resistance.

Mind you, they mostly ended up being ganked a lot, but they didn't seem to mind too much and had fun getting the occasional kill among our non-transformed followers. We as gods may have been pretty unassailable by a small handful of players, but with base defenses going off all around us non-stop, the place was still dangerous for those who had followed us on their regular characters. No non-guildies were harmed in the process by the way, as the PvP instance was pretty empty, and the one Imp who briefly showed up (very sensibly) did a straight 180 the moment he saw the mayhem happening in his base.

I uploaded a video recording of the event here if you want to get a better idea of what it was like; it's about half an hour long. It was definitely fun and I'd happily do something like this again - though maybe next time we should aim for a slightly fairer fight and have a few more people (and maybe even some of the gods) on the defending side.


1000 Posts!

I celebrate two types of milestones on this blog: the blog's birthday (which is shortly after SWTOR's birthday every year in December) and every time I've written another 100 posts. The 900 post milestone happened back in June last year, at which point I expected to hit the big thousand in April or May of 2020. I think it was mainly the lull I found myself in during the months just before the launch of Onslaught that led to me missing that target by a little bit - which is only a shame in so far as a commenter pointed out that it would have been cool if I could have timed it so that the 1000th post was published on the 4th of May.

Anyway, this is the 1000th post now! In the past I've used these milestones to look at something related to blog statistics: mostly funny search terms that led people to the blog, but more recently also items such as which posts have been the most popular over time. I thought that for this one I'd do something slightly different though, and talk about my blog tags or labels.

Tags or categories are among a healthy blog's best features in my opinion, and I always love it when other bloggers make good use of them, as it makes it much easier to find specific content that interests you. I use my own tags all the time as well when trying to find older posts that I've written on certain subjects.

They can also provide insights into just what a blogger writes about most often though, so that's the angle I've decided to take this time around. Let's look at and talk about the blog's twenty most frequently used tags:

1. screenshots (636)

Now this very first tag is a bit of a funny one, because you might very well ask: "Why is this even a thing? Don't most of your posts contain screenshots?" The answer is yes, and this tag is evidence of that, proving that apparently 63.6% of my posts do in fact contain screenshots. However, this wasn't always the case. To this day I remain the kind of blogger who's more focused on the written word than on fancy images, but I've certainly mellowed and use them a lot more often now than I did in the past.

Basically, when I started this blog, I used them rarely enough that whenever I did include one or more screenshots it felt like something that was worth noting, and I sometimes used the tag to quickly check back on whether I had used certain screenshots in a post before or not. At this point this has become somewhat of a moot point, both because most of my posts contain screenshots anyway and because a category with 636 entries in it is not something you can casually scan for what you've used before. But it's there, so I'll keep using it.

2. quests (183)

Considering that story content is the bread and butter of Star Wars: The Old Republic, it shouldn't be a surprise that "quests" is the second most used tag on this blog. After all, every new piece of story is delivered in the form of a quest - or missions as the game officially calls them, since it came out in the days of "we're trying to differentiate ourselves from WoW by using different terms for everything".

I only wish that I'd thought of coming up with a separate "story" tag early on, because sometimes I want to talk about wider story developments such as the Republic vs. Empire conflict and then it feels a bit weird to just tag that with "quests". However, considering it's what I've been using for more than eight years now, it would be weird to change things up at this point, unless I ever feel like going back through one thousand posts and retroactively tagging some of them "story" where appropriate. I can't even rule that out entirely, considering some of the ways in which I've been spending my time this year, but it's unlikely.

3. operations (152)

Speaking of using different terms for everything, here we have SWTOR's term for raids. I'm a raider, so I talk about them a lot. Makes sense. Then again, you could argue that considering how much of my time in game I spend running operations, it's actually kind of impressive that I "only" talk about them 15.2% of the time and don't mention them at all in the other 84.8% of posts.

4. swtor general (145)

This is a generic catch-all term for things that I find hard to categorise, such as the game's population, server merges, content cycles, comparisons between expansions etc. I'm actually kind of surprised that it's "only" in fourth place - clearly I manage to be specific about my subjects more often than not.

5. pvp (142)

I don't consider myself that much of a PvPer, but I guess PvP being the fifth most used tag on the blog paints a slightly different picture. It's not my number one way of passing the time, but it's clearly a fixed staple of my in-game diet.

6. flashpoints (126)

Flashpoints are in a similar boat as I enjoy doing them quite regularly, but considering just how much I love them I'm kind of surprised they rank below PvP in terms of how much I talk about them on the blog. Maybe I like thinking about them more than I actually spend time running them (which would make them sort of the opposite of my stance towards PvP I guess).

7. guild (126)

My guild is awesome so it deserves to be mentioned a lot! This seems appropriate.

8. community (124)

This is a tag that I like to use for a variety of community-related subjects, from how people behave in pugs to links to other fan sites or content creators. I've long known that I care about community a lot, so I guess it makes sense that it would come up in my blog posts reasonably often, but I was still kind of surprised to see it in the top ten. 

9. companions (121)

Another one of SWTOR's staples, so no surprise that the tag associated with them is in my top ten, even if my general impression has long been that I seem to worry/care less about my companions than the average player seemingly does.

10. patch (102)

My first thought on seeing this number was: "Has SWTOR even had 102 patches?!" So I checked the official patch notes page, and at the time of writing this it currently lists 276 numbered patches - huh. I'm sure I didn't actually cover most of them though, and most of these posts were probably about a small handful of larger patches... but still interesting, I guess.

11. gear (99)

I didn't think I cared that much about gear?! Am I that shallow? The blog says yes!

12. silly (93)

I often am, and so are my guildies, so this checks out.

13. grouping (90)

As a big fan of group content and someone who's very interested in all the dynamics surrounding it, it makes sense to me that this is a tag that I use a lot. Then again, we're talking 90 out of 1000 posts here... is 0.9% really a lot?

14. knights of the fallen empire (89)

Now this one I found really interesting because no other expansion tag has been used nearly as often. The next one in line would be Knights of the Eternal Throne with 49 uses, and that despite of that expansion lasting three times as long as KotFE. I think it's because I mainly use expansion tags when I'm specifically talking about an expansion's story content or new game-changing features that were a part of it. KotFE came with a huge amount of story content (it took me 17 posts just to cover all the story chapters) and the switch to monthly chapters, introduction of level sync and general side-lining of group content was a huge paradigm shift that caused a lot of friction at the time and made for a lot of good blogging material, even if it also caused players a fair amount of heartache.

15. pugs (85)

I like joining pick-up groups and talk about this often. Once again, this checks out.

16. levelling (83)

I also like levelling alts - maybe not as much as some, but it's certainly something that comes up every so often.

17. npcs (80)

This tag is kind of related to what I said about "quests" earlier and mostly focuses on notable characters and their roles in the story. Though sometimes it can also be a bit random.

18. warzones (80)

I gave warzones a separate tag to distinguish tales about specific matches from general PvP talk about things like class balance etc. but also from world PvP. Most of the time the two do still go together, but not all the time.

19. links (75)

I think I originally created this tag to mark posts where I was doing a lot of linking to other content creators or fan sites, but then I also started using it for posts that do a lot of interlinking within the blog itself. I'm not actually sure that's very useful at this point, but like the screenshots tag it's there so I might as well keep using it.

20. videos (74)

As much as I call myself a blogger rather than a YouTuber, videos are a thing I also create sometimes, and when I feature them I use this tag. It's not just for my own videos though, but also for videos from other people, official trailers etc.

Anyway, that's that. Just a little journey looking into the sort of subjects I like to write about the most. What about you, dear readers? Do you ever use tags to find things? Or am I just the sort of person that can be a bit obsessive about sorting/categorising things?

(By the way, I was going to tag this post with "blog" and all twenty labels featured in it, but Blogger won't let you have more than twenty tags and I didn't want to drop just one, so nothing but "blog" it is.)


Video Stuff

I've been feeling quite inspired on the video front recently, so I thought I'd make a blog post to plug my most recent creations. If you're already subscribed to my YouTube channel, you can pretty much ignore this! As I've mentioned previously, I'm primarily a blogger, not a YouTuber, so creating and promoting videos is not exactly a focus for me, but that doesn't mean that I don't want anyone to see it when I do make one.

First off we have "Getting Physical as a Juggernaut", which was one of those rare videos that were a completely spontaneous idea. Basically I had spent an afternoon doing PvP in the midbie bracket on my Juggernaut Cheriza while also being on a bit of a Dua Lipa trip and listening to Physical on repeat, and it occurred to me that leaping at and smashing into people was a valid interpretation of the phrase "getting physical"... so I edited it all together into a sort of love child between a PvP montage and a music video. It doesn't show me being particularly awesome at PvP or anything like that, it's just a bit of fun.

Another way in which I felt like getting creative recently was that for the first time in literal years I decided to make not one, but two cinematic raid videos - which is to say I went into a 16-man story mode operation and recorded the proceedings from first person view and with all UI elements hidden, just to edit the best footage together to an epic soundtrack. I do think the results are the best two videos of this type I've done so far (we did both Ravagers and Temple of Sacrifice in one evening):

As an aside, I decided to use two Two Steps From Hell songs as the soundtrack, which led to me reading up about them, and I didn't even know that they were specifically composing their creations to be used in film and video game trailers! That certainly explains why they work so well for this kind of content.

I also made a "behind the scenes" video which shows my guildies talking about silly things while epic battles were being fought on screen, plus some, let's say... less epic proceedings that I couldn't use in the main videos for obvious reasons.

Finally, I've talked about my outtakes videos before, and with this whole pandemic thing I've been spending more time with my guildies than any sane person should, resulting in lots of recordings of ridiculous conversations and silly deaths, and me putting up another compilation of this footage pretty much once a month.

Now, the primary target audience for these are my guildies and I'm sure to an outsider a lot of things simply wouldn't make sense, but I have had feedback from a few people not in my guild that they found these quite amusing as well, so I thought I'd mention them. If the humour's not your cup of tea that's completely understandable - but if you do like having a peek into the silly goings-on in a social raiding guild, here is your chance (be aware that there's some swearing, dirty jokes and stuff):