22/12/2020

This Blog Also Turns Nine

As is traditional, this blog celebrates its own birthday two days after SWTOR's, and I always like to use this opportunity to look back on what I've written over the course of the past year.

It's not been the best year ever for the blog as my output has been the lowest it's ever been, falling under 100 posts a year for the first time. (Technically there are a few days left in the year but I'm not going to write six more posts in that time frame.) I can't even blame real life or work for that, because not only have I been lucky enough to retain my job during the pandemic, I got to work from home for most of the year, which eliminated my commute and resulted in about twelve hours per week of extra time to do fun things of my choosing. As it happened I just ended up branching out in terms of my MMO play and spending more time in WoW Classic, which then also resulted in some of my creative energy going towards writing about that instead. (Consider this a plug for my other blog by the way if you're interested in that game at all. It's kind of funny to me now how my WoW blog used to be the most-visited of my sites while this one got almost no traffic and now it's the other way round.)

Anyway, I still haven't exactly been idle here either. In January, my latest round of levelling solely through flashpoints to assess the viability of that play style was still going strong and I was sharing all about my pug experiences. Mostly I was going on about how much I hated getting Hammer Station half the time, until I actively started excluding it from my selection before queueing. I also reviewed how I felt about the Onslaught expansion three months in, and celebrated my guild getting the last boss of the new Nature of Progress operation down on veteran mode. (At the time that was the hardest difficulty.)

In February I celebrated my guild hitting guild level 200 (we're into the 300s by now but I've stopped paying attention to it). My pacifist leveller explored Taris, and I wrote about how I got into the habit of using crew skills to level my companion influence. (On my main I'm up to nine companions at level 50 now thanks to this!) My flashpoint levelling also continued, and I wrote about how the removal of the Veteran's Edge buff from master mode operations unexpectedly messed with guild progression. Ten months later and Bioware hasn't really made any significant changes to this, sadly. It's been a tough year for maintaining motivation to progress for an ops group that finds master modes with capped stats to be a struggle.

March saw my flashpoint levelling experiment come to an end, and as COVID panic became more widespread, I wondered about the effect this would have on MMOs. (In terms of finances, all indications seem to be that it's been a win for the gaming industry. The whole "do we really want to deal with deadly pandemics in our entertainment too" angle surprisingly turned out to be a complete non-issue.) As I found myself holed up at home for a (then) unprecedented amount of time, I expressed love for my guildies and how their companionship was keeping me sane.

This continued in April as I talked about some of my favourite guild videos and reported on our first ever virtual guild meet-up. I used a (free) character boost for the first time and was surprisingly pleased with the result. (That said, I haven't played that character very much since then!) I also wrote a bit of a rant about how some of my guildies were driving me crazy when I was tanking flashpoints for them (clearly the novelty of spending time with them every day was starting to wear off, haha), which resonated with a surprising number of people.

In May I told the story of how I came to be Benevolent Empress (aka guild leader) of our Imperial alt guild and celebrated completing a hard-to-get gear set. I revisited what is for me an evergreen topic on this blog: how levelling is just way too fast these days and can you please give us at least the option to slow down (Bioware says no). I also liked this post in which I compared the experience of getting a first kill on the same boss (but re-scaled) six years apart.

My pacifist's explorations continued in June and I got to celebrate with Swtorista as she hit 100k subscribers on YouTube! (Last year I predicted that this would happen in March... I guess being three months off isn't too bad. 150k subs in 2021?) I was ecstatic to get the achievement for defeating all the Dark vs. Light world bosses, and celebrated my birthday with a guild event that involved making use of those control modules that drop in the Gods from the Machine operation that nobody ever uses. Oh yeah, and Bioware added a new "welcome window" that everybody instantly hated. I think we've got used to it since then, and I'm not going to lie, it's drawn my attention to a Cartel market deal I liked once or twice. Still, I also find that it keeps re-opening itself after being minimised and at this point I kind of treat it like one of those pop-ups you get on some sites that you just automatically close without even looking at them...

In July I made some very thoughtful posts that sparked good discussion in the comments as well, such as on the role of sexist NPCs in SWTOR and about how I struggle to make dark side decisions for the sake of seeing different story outcomes. Continuing the theme of deep thoughts, I wrote about experiencing confusion and discomfort with my pacifist character on Alderaan as some quests she picked up there didn't technically violate the rules of the challenge I had set myself but didn't seem to be in the spirit of being a pacifist. Also, SWTOR launched on Steam and I did switch to that version of the game soon after just for the sake of being able to show off how many hours a week I play... or something?

August was when my activity started to drop a bit, at the time at least partially because I didn't have the greatest of times with the Nightlife event. I picked up watching Clone Wars again (I've finished the last season now by the way... writing a final post about that is on my to-do list) and wrote about my experiences with trying to convert jawa junk into credits. Four months later that is still an ongoing project by the way! While I've managed to greatly reduce the number of junk stacks in my legacy cargo hold, I just keep earning new junk too quickly for the pace at which I'm selling goods and considering that I'm trying to not flood the market with my wares...

In September I mused about how my main was spending a lot of her time on the guild flagship these days and talked candidly about how my guild failed to kill two difficult bosses. We did get at least one of them down a bit later though.

October was the quietest month on the blog, and I only updated about my progress watching Clone Wars, my experiences with healing 16-man Revan on veteran mode, and the launch of the new Feast of Prosperity event.

I continued writing about my experiences with the event in November, and compared the inquisitor companion Ashara Zavros to Ahsoka from Clone Wars. I also had a bit of a freak-out when Bioware announced that SWTOR was going to introduce login rewards, which are something (maybe somewhat unintuitively) I'm not a fan of at all. Two weeks in, the new system doesn't seem too bad, though I'm not a fan of getting all these legacy-bound companion gifts that don't stack with my regular two cargo bays full of companion gifts. I have yet to decide how to handle that going forward...

I started December by musing about how the Conquest meta on Darth Malgus was in a very strange place, and then got all excited when we finally got our first big story update since Onslaught's launch. I also reviewed my predictions from earlier in the year and somewhat less than half of my expectations were met. Let's see what 2021 brings!

9 comments :

  1. Happy blogaversary!

    Unsubbed SWTOR for now but still reading ;)
    And you just made me realize I forgot my own anniversary...

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  2. Happy blogaversary!!

    I still love all your posts, Shintar, across all of your blogs. I'm constantly amazed how you're able to keep going with all of your posts, nevermind all of your game playing. So here's to another year!!

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    1. how you're able to keep going with all of your posts, nevermind all of your game playing

      It's simple (especially this year): I've just been doing little else besides those two things and work, lol. But then that hardly made for a bad year, especially considering the alternatives...

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  3. Happy blog birthday! I've been playing SWTOR on and off for eight years now and have just picked it back up after a three year 'off' period. I came across your blog through the KotFE chapter-by-chapter posts, and have since started to read through all your back catalogue!

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  4. Grats on another year. I read your SWtOR, WoW and NW blogs. Is that all of them, though? Because I'd read the others if there are any.

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    1. *blushes* No, that's the lot, haha! Once upon a time I also maintained a sort of personal online diary, but that's long been abandoned as I didn't find it as fun to read or write, plus it was never intended for a wider audience anyway.

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  5. I haven't even read the post yet, just wanted to point out that I was trying to get to swtor's official homepage, but my chrome didn't believe it, it was just so sure that this was where I wanted to go, if I started with "swtor".
    And I can't say it doesn't have good reason to!
    Happy blog birthday!

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    1. Aw, that's quite a compliment! Thank you. ^^

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