Running from the Eyeless

Last week was Rakghoul Resurgence, and as I often do, I decided to visit the Eyeless with a guild group. We'd done another story mode operation beforehand, and I figured that a quick stab at the Eyeless would be a good way to finish the evening.

There were only six of us, but undermanning the 8-person story mode version of the boss was no problem. Then someone asked whether we should try hardmode as well. I was the only healer and we only had one tank, but I agreed to give it a try with the caveat that our tank would have to kite the boss for a good chunk of the time or else he (the tank that is, not the boss) was likely going to die.

Of course, that's exactly what happened on our first try. I used a combat revive, but by that point the boss had already eaten some dps, so we decided to just reset the fight and try again.

On the next attempt, our tank started running for this life much sooner and things worked a lot better. It mostly felt like smooth sailing at last. Someone did die once - I can't actually remember whether it was the tank or one of the dps, but I got them up again quickly and we continued either way.

But then - disaster struck when the boss got low and our tank died (again?), with my combat revive still on cooldown. I watched the boss target one of our Sorcs. "Cal! Kite, kite, kite!" He started running, and eventually hit his god bubble when the boss caught up with him, which of course made the big guy change target yet again, to another Sorc. "Cest! Kite, kite, kite!" Our resident Swede let out a girlish squeal and took off in the opposite direction, again kiting for a bit until things got too scary and he hid inside his immunity bubble.

It was around this point that someone yelled at me that the cooldown on my combat revive was up, so I quickly resed the tank and started healing him. He got the boss back and things looked promising for a second, until I found myself surrounded by a pack of rakghoul adds and my screen froze.

"I'm having a massive lag spike," I cried on TeamSpeak. "You've got no heals! Oh no, I've completely lagged out..." And indeed, a few seconds later I got booted to an empty server selection screen. Another guildie, who was on voice with us even though he was not in our ops group, chimed in to add that he'd just been kicked out of the game as well.

Usually when this happens and I don't see the server list, I have to restart the game to be able to log in again, so I frantically tried to do that. "It's not letting me back in," wailed the previously mentioned guildie, and I quickly found that I had the same problem. For once, even restarting the game wasn't working, as we both got some sort of error message about the login servers being unavailable whenever we entered our details into the launcher.

Meanwhile the rest of my Eyeless ops group was shouting frantically - I was so focused on my failed login attempts that I didn't really pay full attention, I just remember hearing several calls about the boss's health being really low and something about more people dying.

I was almost sure that they were going to wipe without my heals, but then I could hear that the boss had gone down; I'd just missed it. Just then the game decided to let me and the other locked out guildie log back in again as well. Fortunately I'd still gotten credit for the kill and was able to collect my loot.

Mostly I just loved how crazy what was meant to have been a simple boss kill had become. Usually I like to save video recordings of this kind of thing, but since I got kicked out and had to restart my game, that obviously didn't happen this time. Which is why it became this blog post instead, to remind myself of it in the future that way.


A Productive War Week

As mentioned previously, last week was Total Galactic War once again. It was a very successful one for my guild, as we conquered Hoth, which was one of four planets remaining that we had never won before (this includes the two planets added with Legacy of the Sith by the way).

That aside though, I just had a really good time playing. Total Galactic War is one of the rare occasions when I make a point of logging into and playing every single one of my (Republic) alts in the same week (in order to spread out the Conquest points and maximise my rewards), which makes for a pretty varied week of gaming. Sure, a lot of my focus was on high-yield objectives like the GSF and warzone weeklies, but once those were out of the way, I'd usually also do a bit of whatever progression was specific to that character.

I got two more alts to 80, and another three are now sitting at 79, with less than a full level to go to the cap as well. In fact, I realised that it's been so long that I made a new Republic alt on Darth Malgus that I only have a single character left in the lowbie PvP bracket (sub level 45) and even she will outgrow that soon. In midbie, I also have only three more characters left, aside from the level 79s I already mentioned. That feels strange and like I should really roll up some fresh lowbies at some point.

Then again, keeping track of how to play all these alts is a challenge by itself. One of the characters I got to 80 was my Sentinel - probably my least favourite combat style in general. I did a story mode operation on her to progress the implant mission and realised only afterwards that I'd done so without realising that one of my spec's main abilities wasn't even on my bar.

Two other lesser-played alts that got some love were my Serenity Shadow and my Balance Sage, who both saw some PvP action. DoT specs are pretty flavour of the month (year?) at the moment but personally I don't tend to get along with them that well. However, my Shadow had an absolutely insanely good time in warzones and it definitely made me re-evaluate my stance on the spec. Balance was a bit more of a mixed bag... I could kind of tell how extremely OP it was, but I repeatedly ended up in matches where the enemy enjoyed ganging up on me, and even as I was keeping three or four of them busy for a while my team mates got nothing done, which did not feel great.

I also pugged a few flashpoints, something I hadn't done in a while, and it was... interesting. With 336 gear being very accessible now, the content doesn't feel so tough anymore, but it's still possible for things to go wrong if people don't try at all. In a master mode Assault on Tython that I tanked, we got a Shadow dps with pretty low gear - I didn't think anything of it at first, nor was I upset when they wiped us by accidentally pulling an extra group on trash. After all, that can happen to anyone.

However, on the first boss I started to notice that things were dying really, really slowly, and just from the visuals, it didn't look like the guy was doing more than spamming a single attack. Okay, maybe someone new to the game and not great at it... that still would've been fine. However, by the second boss, he periodically stopped attacking at all, began spamming target markers around the area, and kept taunting the boss even though I asked him not to do that. By the end of the fight (which felt like it took ten minutes with only a single damage dealer really doing anything), the group had had enough and initiated a vote kick, and for once I had little sympathy. We'd really tried, but the guy was just not responding to anything and making things way harder than they needed to be.

After that much action, I've been taking it easy again this week... and we now know that next week will already bring the new seasons patch, meaning a return to that grind. I don't really feel ready, but I guess we'll see what it's like.


All SWTOR Planets, Ranked from Best to Worst

The other week, the SWTOR Escape Pod Cast devoted an episode to the subject of ranking SWTOR's planets. It's a light and frivolous evergreen topic, and I was surprised just how much I enjoyed the discussion - these sorts of lists are always a fun opportunity to hear people articulate their opinions, from the relatable to the bizarre (such as Max's love for Mek-Sha... heh).

Naturally, I was left with the urge to do my own ranking. The type of drag-and-drop "tier list" that they used in the show doesn't work as well for the written format though, so I decided to go for a plain old numbered list instead, ranking each planet from best to worst. I was surprised by how easy I found it to pick my favourites and least favourites - in the middle I felt a lot less opinionated and I'd probably rank some of them differently on any given day. Without further ado, let's get started!

1. Tatooine

Tatooine, to me, just has everything. The desert planet with its twin suns is super iconic and SWTOR brings it to life perfectly. It's mostly sand, but the blue sky gives it a pleasant air, while mountains and ravines break things up just enough in the visual department to make sure the environment doesn't get boring. The low mob density makes it easy to get around, and the missions are fun (the planetary quest chain involving Czerka and the imprisoned Rakata is particularly memorable). It's also the kind of place where (somewhat contrary to its theoretical reputation as an outer rim backwater) lots of stuff happens, from Rakghoul Resurgences to swoop racing. When strongholds first came out, I made Tatooine my main home.

2. Alderaan

Has any other game depicted Princess Leia's home world in this much detail? Alderaan's environments are absolutely gorgeous, and I love the lore about all the different houses. (Makes a nice change from the many random bandit/pirate incursions that most planets seem to deal with.) Like Tatooine, it's also a place you get plenty of reasons to come back to, whether it's for a set of particularly easy GSI dailies or to hunt rakghouls.

3. Coruscant

I'm not a huge fan of city planets, but Coruscant just has a certain oomph to it. As someone who primarily plays Republic, the first time I stepped outside the Coruscant spaceport and made my way to the Senate Tower, I was simply in awe. I'll admit that most of the sub-zones are not that visually interesting, but I still love all the quests and how they paint a picture of what the Republic is like for the new player. It's funny because the first time I wrote about Coruscant, I noted that "I didn't actually like this planet very much" because at the time the questing didn't feel particularly inspired to me, and as it was the planet where all the starter experiences converged, it felt very repetitive during the early alt rush. However, these days I don't level that many alts from scratch and nostalgia reigns supreme!

4. Ossus

I loved Ossus so freaking much when it came out, because it was the first time that one of the newer planets actually felt as good to me to play through as many of the original planets. It's reasonably sized, nice to look at, and the dailies are super easy and fun. I also had a blast with the world bosses back when they were current content... it's such a shame that they did not age well due to requiring such a big group.

5. Tython

Even though I main a trooper, Tython is my favourite starter planet. I love how lush and green it is, plus the whole vibe of the Jedi Temple and the ancient Jedi ruins. The bit where your Jedi character gets their first lightsaber is just... chef's kiss every time.

6. Onderon

I was kinda hesitant to rank this one this high, because at Onslaught's release, I was actually a bit disappointed by Onderon - I expected it to be bigger, and all the dailies with their green markers on green grass were annoying me. However, it's held up surprisingly well, and is one of the newer daily areas I actually visit quite regularly. It's a pretty pleasant environment visually, and a great place to farm grade 10 crew skill mats while you're at it.

7. Dromund Kaas

As I said I'm primarily a Republic player, but the Imperial home world is pretty cool as well. The mix of stark architecture surrounded by jungles and subject to constant thunderstorms creates a pretty unique vibe, and the missions are varied and interesting, introducing you to several different facets of the Empire. 

8. Nar Shaddaa

I was a bit conflicted about how to rank Nar Shaddaa because I've long thought of it as one of the original planets that I'm less fond of, mostly because the sub-zones have similar issues as Coruscant, only without exuding the same kind of charm. I also ranked it as the worst planet to navigate in the entire game at one point. But at the same time... it's kinda the place to go for anything that needs to happen on neutral ground, Hutts are fun in their own peculiar way, and both Soovada and the Feast of Prosperity are centred on Nar Shaddaa. It's definitely got something going for it, you know?

9. Belsavis

I immediately loved Belsavis' unique aesthetic when I first saw it, combining snowy glaciers with tropical jungles. I think fondly of the old dailies there, and Primal Destroyer remains a favourite to revisit among world bosses. All the enemies being either Esh-ka or escaped prisoners does make the whole place feel a little same-y though, and Section X is a bit too much of a slog for me to enjoy revisiting often.

10. Odessen

Odessen is a hard one to rank because outside the story phases there just isn't much there, you know, but I decided to still put it relatively high up, because it's a neat little base/hub and I'm happy to go there. Though I do wonder whether the devs ever expected it to seriously replace the fleets as central hub locations...

11. Balmorra

Balmorra is pleasant enough to look at, and the fact that it changes hands from Empire to Republic as you level up is interesting. Killing colicoids is decent fun, but the all-encompassing civil war/rebellion theme does wear on you a little after a while.

12. Makeb

The layout with all the little mesas made Makeb feel a bit odd when it came out, but I liked it well enough. It's of course the first planet where we no longer got a class story, plus at launch the mob density was also horrible. The dailies aren't great either, but I did enjoy the main storyline on both Republic and Empire side very much, plus I just like the visuals.

13. Manaan

Manaan is a bit of a funny one to rank because it consists of both the small but pleasant visitor area that introduces the Depths of Manaan flashpoint and the larger Invasion Zone that came with Legacy of the Sith, which is a dark and rainy warzone. I like the aesthetics of the former and not so much of the latter, however I've actually come to quite enjoy the Manaan dailies, which is what bumps this one up.

14. Oricon

I used to frickin' love Oricon for its atmosphere and all the small little touches like the holocrons granting codex entries, the seeker droid/macrobinocular bonus missions and the challenging heroic area. However, recently I've just not enjoyed revisiting it as much as I used to... the mob density is quite high and can make it a bit of a pain to get around if you don't have stealth, especially when compared to some of the newer daily areas.

15. Dantooine

The addition of Dantooine is of course what inspired and enabled my pacifist levelling project, and it's got not one but two world events going on, the Pirate Incursion and the Swoop Rally. Outside of those events, there isn't really much there though.

16. Rishi

I've got kind of mixed feelings about Rishi (which goes well with it sitting smack in the middle of this list) - I like its visuals and it does have some fun things going on, but Shadow of Revan is also when Bioware started to funnel everyone (including the two factions) into one storyline and putting everything in solo phases and I'll always remember that with a certain bitterness.

17. Hoth

Hoth is similarly iconic to Tatooine, but I don't really like it nearly as much. Its bright whiteness is rather unpleasant on the eyes, and there are far fewer reasons to go there in general.

18. Ord Mantell

I like the starter planet for troopers well enough, but it's not as pretty as Tython, and like on Balmorra, absolutely everything being about the local civil war gets a bit tiresome.

19. Korriban

I'm sure many Imp players would rate this one much higher, but I've just never been that impressed by the Sith starter world. It's got a lot of orange and a lot of rocks, and the quests are fifty percent decent fun, fifty percent evidence of just how insane most Sith are.

20. CZ-198

I'll admit that like many others, I make CZ-198 my number one destination if I need some quick daily commendations or Conquest points, but other than that it doesn't really have much going for it. It's just a place with some offices basically.

21. Iokath

Iokath is another place about which I have some very mixed feelings. I remember being so hyped about us getting a proper planet again for the first time since the KotFE/KotET era, but then it was just a let-down in so many ways. Unlike seemingly most people though, I've come to quite enjoy the Iokath dailies though.

22. Ziost

I like the Ziost daily area for how chill and different it is, but other than that, there just isn't anything going on there. It's literally a dead planet. The "live" version of Ziost was more interesting, but of course you can only access that one for a limited time while doing the story. 

23. Ilum

As one of the original "endgame planets" at launch, Ilum did not impress me. It just always felt unfinished to me. It has a beautiful skybox, but the fact that it's always night kinda gets me down. I have some fond memories of Ilum from the game's early days, but it's been many years since I had anything close to that much fun there. Outside of the Gree event there's no real reason to go back. 

24. Mek-Sha

This is kind of the opposite of Onderon in that at Onslaught's launch I was kind of pleasantly surprised by Mek-Sha after not expecting to like it that much based on previews. However, it failed to really provide any good reasons to revisit, with the few repeatable quests being extremely hodgepodge and buggy at launch. Ultimately it just feels like a lesser version of Nar Shaddaa to me. 

25. Ruhnuk

I feel a bit bad ranking this so low, considering that I did like the Ruhnuk story overall and think that the planet is a good size and very good-looking. However, that terrible first impression of the dailies has stuck with me. I've gotten better at getting around, but I still find the area difficult to navigate and every indoor area is an absolute slog packed with tough mobs. It's just not very fun. I expect that it will rise in my estimation once it isn't the most current content anymore and distance has had a chance to make my heart grow fonder.

26. Yavin 4

I'm kind of surprising myself by ranking Yavin so low, but I just couldn't come up with any reasons to justify putting it any higher. Like I said when talking about Rishi, Shadow of Revan didn't really wow me when it came out, and I remember doing these dailies on so many characters for the (at the time) extremely powerful companion gear they rewarded; I just burnt out on them to a ridiculous degree. To this day I don't enjoy re-running the Yavin dailies a lot, even though I can't point at anything being particularly wrong with them.

27. Taris

It's a swamp full of ruins and all the mobs are rakghouls. It's not that deep, bro.

28. Corellia

I appreciate that Corellia looks a bit different from other city planets visually, and the tram was a cool idea at the time, but nowadays everyone just quick travels everywhere anyway. Overall it remains a pretty dull city planet that is another nightmare to navigate.

29. Voss

Voss is a funny one because it has some good things going for it like the beautiful environments... but the Voss as a people are just so bleh, as is everything about their storylines... I wrote a whole post about it back in 2017.

30. Hutta

Whether you're starting an agent or a bounty hunter, your class story makes it clear that you're at the ass-end of nowhere and can't wait to get out of there. All the quests emphasise what a swampy hellhole the place is, and I'm afraid the designers did such a good job with it that I'm always happy to get away and never to return.

31. Zakuul

Zakuul has some interesting tidbits going on with the swamp just outside the city and the Eternal Championship, but it's never really felt like a proper planet outside of the KotFE/KotET story phases. The best I can say is that I enjoyed farming grade 9 crew skill materials in the swamp and in Breaktown when that was the highest level of crew skills, but that's it.

32. Quesh

Another disgusting swamp world, but this one doesn't even have much story going on, has no repeatable content whatsoever, and felt small and weird even at launch. I also hate that you have to pick up the planetary storyline on every single character to even be able to travel to the surface.

33. Darvannis

I mean, I like the operation that's set on Darvannis, but the "open world" version of it has literally nothing going on other than the phase entrances for KotFE chapter fourteen and some crew skill materials that you can farm, but the omnipresent skytroopers made even that annoying back in the day.

As I said, these rankings are not set in stone and I could easily see myself changing my mind about some of these planets over time. I think the main thing I noticed while justifying my opinions is that a planet's aesthetics are very important to me - if I don't enjoy what I'm looking at, I'm not going to enjoy playing there very much.

Anyway, feel free to let me know in the comments which of my picks surprised you and which ones you strongly disagree with and why!


Killing a Disco Ball

The last post I made about Legacy of the Sith's new operation, R-4 Anomaly, was back in September last year. Since then I haven't really mentioned it other than to shine a bit more light on just how badly my frustrations with it have been affecting me in my year-in-review post from December.

This may have been giving the impression that I haven't spent any more time in the place, but that would be a misconception. My break from progression ops ended after only a month and I soon rejoined my team to farm the second and third boss in R-4 veteran mode with them. This wasn't exactly the most satisfying thing ever, but people raid for a number of different reasons (to see the content, to challenge themselves, for gear, or as a way of socialising) and it scratched at least a number of these itches, preventing us from having to worry about "what to do next" for the next few months.

However, eventually we reached the point where we had pretty much everything those two bosses could give us and we had to face the question of what to focus on next: some old master mode operation we hadn't cleared recently, or IP-CPT, the first boss in R-4 that we had been skipping with lockouts, commonly referred to as "disco ball" (because it's literally an orb that hangs from the ceiling and the fight involves a lot of flashing lights). We held a vote among the members of my ops team and IP came out ahead.

Now, I mentioned before that this boss was considered horribly overtuned relative to the rest of the fights in R-4, however the dps requirements had been nerfed ever so slightly since launch, and some people in the guild had in fact killed it with other ops teams at this point, so the idea of trying to take it on didn't seem entirely crazy anymore (especially with all the extra gear we had acquired). There were still problems though, most notably that the fight requires zero tanks, and tanking is the only role Mr Commando likes to play nowadays, which meant that leading progression nights on IP suddenly fell to me. This wasn't actually too bad in terms of what it required from me, since we had several group members who knew the fight and I could delegate most tasks and call-outs to them, but it also sucked because running ops is also a way for Mr Commando and me to spend time together, and this meant that we weren't.

I will say that the fight did grow on me over time though. When we'd first checked it out briefly last year, just to see what it was like, it seemed horrible to me. There is so much going on in story mode already - it's a recipe for massive visual overload - and on veteran mode all those mechanics are actually deadly. I kept dying to standing in fire and knew that I was being bad; I just couldn't manage to pay attention to everything that was going on and keep my eyes on people's health bars at the same time.

Once we started attempting the boss in earnest at the start of this year though, I began to see an odd kind of beauty in it. I watched videos of other people killing it successfully and admired how easy they made it look, avoiding all the fire and lasers with the absolute minimum amount of movement required and dancing around each other's red circles beautifully. And while our own progression was comparatively slow, we did also get better at dealing with the various mechanics over time, including me.

Even so, stress levels in general were amping up. We suffered turnover for real life reasons, due to personality conflicts, and one guy just plain deciding that we weren't good enough for him anymore and that he wanted to play with better players. This would set us back some nights, which then in turn frustrated the people who remained, and I was the one who got to hear all about it. There was one night when I already felt stressed out due to other factors, and when I sat down to raid I just burst into tears at the thought of having to deal with all the same nonsense for yet another evening. Mr Commando was kind of shocked and shuffled me off to bed while quickly looking for someone to replace me.

When we decided to tackle IP once again this past Sunday I was almost apologetic towards the group, telling them that we could always go do something else if things didn't go well and we ended up having a bad time. However, things did not go badly this time. They went exceedingly well as we managed to get to the last phase over and over again. Then we had one wipe at two percent. And then we killed it.

I won't deny that this felt really nice. It's been a while since I felt a rush to upload a video of a new boss kill while all fired up from adrenaline. It felt like the sort of win that my team sorely needed, and suddenly the future looked brighter again, with other goals not feeling quite so out of reach anymore either.

And yet... I think back to other frustrating bosses that had us emerge triumphant in the end, such as master mode Dread Master Styrak two years ago. That was a hard time too, but it kinda felt worth it in the end. With R-4, I'm still not quite sure, as it does feel like that operation has been too much of a drain on my happiness for a quick burst of joy to just make up for it all. We'll see how things in there go over the next few months I guess.


Between Seasons

Both Galactic Season 3 and the PvP season are finally over and yet she's still talking about seasons? This or something similar might be what's going through your head after seeing another blog post with "seasons" in the title. I can't deny it though, the introduction of seasons has really changed the way I play the game in some ways.

During the season itself I get very focused on completing it, with most other activities taking a backseat to completing my weekly objectives. This can be a pretty intense time in terms of how time-consuming things are. Naturally, when I'm done with the season, my first instinct is to lean back and relax. I still like to log in every day to progress my login character if nothing else, but there's no real pressure to play every day or do anything at all. I quite like to use this time to catch up with other games a bit that may have gotten neglected in recent months.

Another thing that happens during seasons though is that I'll play a variety of characters to complete objectives and will often find myself thinking something along the lines of "gosh, I should really do X some time", with X being some kind of task tied to the character in question, such as finish their class story, get them through the most recent patch content, level them to 80 or whatever. When the season is over, I quite enjoy casually coming back to these bullet point items and actually ticking some of them off at a casual pace. After the laser-focus of the season, this can feel particularly rewarding in a different way.

Unfortunately, it usually doesn't take long for things to get somewhat repetitive. Getting that first alt caught up with the current patch feels great. However, then I look at the next one on the list and think "well, I just did that, didn't I" and don't necessarily feel like doing it all again right away. I do enjoy replaying story content in SWTOR, but I still tend to need a bit of a break between doing it yet again and again.

And, to be honest, that's when my activity in the game tends to drop off a bit and I start to feel ready for the next season. Looking at Steamcharts for general trends, it does look like a season ending does result in somewhat of a drop in activity in terms of the wider population too, so it's no surprise to me that Bioware seems to be looking to get Galactic Season 4 out the door as soon as possible.

I also thought it was interesting to see earlier this week that next Tuesday is going to bring the first Total Galactic War of 2023. I don't think it's a coincidence that Bioware decided to schedule the game's biggest Conquest event to go live only a week after the end of seasons. They know that this is an event that players find interesting in a similar way to seasons, and until the next one of those is ready to go, it's best to pull out all the stops to keep people engaged. I can't say I feel like complaining.


GS3 Review: Star Forge

Galactic Season 3 ends tomorrow, so today I'd like to talk about the last server on which I finished my GS3 goals: Star Forge. Of all my secondary servers, this one has long been the most progressed for the sole reason that I've had a character there for many years that was actually at the level cap during several expansions, even if I didn't really do any endgame with her. As such, Star Forge was the only secondary server where I already had a character hit level 80 during Season 2.

However, with all the new max-levels I've gained on the other servers, it feels like Star Forge is no longer as ahead of the pack as it was, even if my Cathar trooper has marginally better gear than the others, with an average item rating of 328 and being only a few tech fragments away from maxing out her second implant at 334.

That said, my legacy here is still the most advanced by quite a margin (aside from my home server of course), coming in at legacy level 37, and I also did more PvP here than on the other servers, incidentally reaching level seven in the PvP season without trying.

In terms of story I didn't make a lot of progress but that was okay, since my trooper here has been trying to do all the quests just like the one I made on Tulak Hord. She was on Belsavis at the end of the last season, and made it about halfway through Voss this time around. I did the Belsavis bonus series for the first time in what felt like forever and boy, did that bring back memories. I was a little confused though that there was one mission I remembered that I couldn't find anymore, the one to stop a Sith from escaping on a shuttle. Wonder what happened to that and why anything happened to it in the first place, assuming I wasn't just being blind.

I also ended up soloing Kuat Drive Yards at one point (though I don't remember how that tied into seasons, having to complete missions as a trooper perhaps) and ran into a massive wall by getting Station Guardian One at the end, who must have killed me a dozen times before I managed to got him down. I wasn't sure whether he was soloable at all as I couldn't find any evidence of it online, but well, now I know that he is. I'll have to upload the recording I made of it to my YouTube channel at some point.

My other two characters on the server, a Gunslinger smuggler and a Shadow knight, didn't see much play this season, though the smuggler did make some progress on her class story, and seeing how she didn't do all the side missions, it felt rather weird when I realised that she had almost caught up to the trooper in terms of story progression. I guess completing chapter two on her was notable in so far as it made Star Forge the first of my secondary servers on which I have access to two of the legacy class buffs instead of just the one.


GS3 Review: Tulak Hord

In an interesting contrast to Satele Shan, my trooper on Tulak Hord did not get removed from the guild she helped create back in Season 2. The one guy who actually remained in it was still active, but didn't seem to mind that I - the only other person in the guild - hadn't been around for a while. I don't remember whether we even talked at all this season, and yet I felt a strange sort of contentment about still sharing a guild with him. Yes, I'm clearly odd in my attitudes towards guilds.

My Commando finished Season 2 at level 67 and with her class story still on Taris. This season, she hit max-level and worked her way up to an average item level of 327, with legendary implants at 330 and 328 respectively. In terms of the PvP season, I only got up to level three.

As mentioned previously, I also made an Imperial alt that took the form of a Sith inquisitor and who got up to level 21, with my overall legacy hitting level 20.

In terms of story, I didn't make much progress on my trooper, only moving on from Taris to Nar Shaddaa, however unlike on the other servers I've opted to go for a more completionist approach on Tulak Hord, which meant actually doing all the things on Taris: fully exploring the map, doing all the exploration missions and getting all the datacrons. Yes, I even found a nice person to help me with the one where you need a second player to press a button for you to get it. While I filled out the map, I also found an unusual egg, something I hadn't even thought about in many years, so of course I took a brief detour to Tatooine to hatch it.

Doing the Taris bonus series was a slightly odd experience since it's been ages since I last did one of these (firstly because of how quick levelling is nowadays, but I also remember that at one point Bioware messed with the minimum level required to do them so that they wouldn't show up until you were sixty or something). At some point the bonus series were also made repeatable, which was another odd decision to me because there isn't really anything about this content in specific that screams, "Let me do this every week please!" I wonder if that wasn't just a roundabout way of dealing with the frequent complaints from players who got stuck on a bonus series due to having done some missions in the wrong order - since the individual quests reset daily now, it's easy enough to get back on track if you mess up. Ah, to have been a fly on the wall when Bioware decided on this...

7.0's new feature of having dailies and weeklies "expire" and clearing them out of your quest log every reset also added an interesting new dimension to the bonus series as the individual missions are now dailies and the overall series counts as a weekly, so better keep an eye on your progression and don't forget to hand anything in or you might have to start all over again. Fortunately that didn't happen to me with the overall chain, but there were individual missions that I had to repeat because something hadn't quite progressed far enough from one day to the next.


GS3 Review: The Leviathan

During Galatic Season 2, The Leviathan had been the server on which I was consistently the least progressed. Mostly this was due to a lack of PvP pops in the lowbie and midbie brackets, which often caused me to miss out on completing PvP-related season objectives. In Season 3, things turned around big time.

Queue times for midbie PvP were still not great, but they did feel a little better than they had been in Season 2, and I had some really fun matches. For a while I felt like I was on a proper winning streak, where I recognised the same names from one match to the next and they were always happy to have me on their team providing (what felt like) awesome heals. At max-level I could finally get into warzones reliably, and my good fortune continued. I gained five levels in the PvP season once that started, and at 65% my Sage knight has one of the better win rates for warzones among my characters. I think it helps that Leviathan is considerably smaller than the other servers, so the PvP community is also smaller and less sweaty overall, allowing even someone with moderate skill to shine sometimes.

Leviathan was also the first of the alternate servers where I unlocked seeker droids and macrobinoculars, and working on the GSI weekly there was what inspired me to write this post about "those damn eggs". I did eventually go on to unlock seeker droids and macrobinculars on all servers though, because some of the season objectives related to them were just too chill and easy to pass up.

In terms of character progress, my Sage knight went from being level 62 with her class story up to Nar Shaddaa at the end of Season 2 to hitting max-level and making it to Alderaan. She got up to an average item rating of 326, with 328 legendary implants. I also created a small bounty hunter whom I got to level 14, and together they raised my legacy level up to 19.

In general, I just really loved progressing my legacy on the Leviathan, though I couldn't tell you what made it stand out from the others. Maybe it's just that it's been a while since I levelled a Twi'lek on Darth Malgus. Seems I still have a soft spot for that species.

In terms of my French, I learned that the sides in Alderaan Civil War are called "neige" and "herbe", and when someone calls out "fufu" it means that they are worried about a nearby stealther (apparently derived from "furtive"). The more you know!