Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Imperial Throne Hall

Imperial Throne Hall on Dromund Kaas.I haven’t posted anything about games in a long time and seeing how our February is really short on posts I decided to put a couple of words in about one of the two games that I play on somewhat of a regular basis — SWTOR — Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s an MMORPG.

Imperial Throne Hall on Dromund Kaas.I think most people play a Star Wars game that happens to be an MMO. I on the other hand actually play an MMO that happens to be set in Star Wars universe.

Imperial Throne Hall on Dromund Kaas.One of the features of the game is that you have a number of Strongholds which is essentially player housing. You get an empty set of walls and you can design and decorate the place as you wish.

Imperial Throne Hall on Dromund Kaas.All the decoration pieces are limited and some are very hard to find or are extremely expensive via credits and GTN — in game currency and player market, auction house. So I was only able to have one Stronghold decorated as I liked. I never gotten into doing another one since I had only single copies of certain nice and rare items that I would want to have in any Stronghold.

Imperial Throne Hall on Dromund Kaas.But back in November BioWare decided to go through a server merger which had an unexpected pleasant side-effect. All the decorations got merged together from all the servers that you had characters on. And it used to be so that when you would transfer one of your characters to that server all your decorations would copy over as well. I happened to have done that with 5 different servers.

Imperial Throne Hall on Dromund Kaas.So ALL my collected items have gone up in quantity by a factor of five. It’s probably not very fair to the people who actually used to buy multiple decorations, but knowing BioWare it’s not going to be fixed ever and hopefully is impossible to do to begin with.

Imperial Throne Hall on Dromund Kaas.Long story short — I was able to setup a second Stronghold for my characters. My original one was on Nar Shaddaa and this new on is on the Imperial capital world of Dromund Kaas.

Imperial Throne Hall on Dromund Kaas.I’m just posting screenshots of one themed room that I wanted to do for a long time — an Imperial Throne Hall. A judgment of a captive Jedi by an Empress.

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New York State Capitol.Albany was the fifth and the final stop of our vacation. One of the reasons for the stop was to break up a long drive from Montreal to Brooklyn. Another reason to stop specifically at Albany was the fact that we have never actually properly visited the capital of our own state. We drove through it before, but have never explored the city or laid eyes on the capitol building and its surroundings.

Empire State Plaza.The ride down from Montreal was supposed to take about four hours, but it started with what I clearly remember about our last trip to Montreal — major road closures. This time they just completely closed one of the bridges that was supposed to take us across Saint Lawrence River. GPS was sending us in circles and all the detour signs would just abruptly end. Luckily I remembered that there was another bridge at the north end of Montreal. And even though that ended up being a pretty big detour for us we finally got out and were on our way.

Rest area stop.The rest of the drive was uneventful. Our phones came alive after we crossed into United States. We stopped at Duty Free on the boarder and bought a couple of souvenirs. We ate our lunch at some fast food place. And we took a short break on some rest area in some part of Adirondack Region where Alёna got talked into playing a little bit of soccer with Arosha.

Capitol view from another side.By the time we checked into our hotel, parked the car and unloaded the luggage it was 6 o’clock in the evening. The hotel was Hilton Albany and we chose it because of its proximity to the capitol complex. It was nice enough as Hiltons typically are. However we were unfortunate enough to have to eat dinner at a hotel restaurant. The fact that it was completely empty should’ve been a sign. The food was less than stellar to say the least.

Kids by one of the fountains.Anyhow, since we were staying for only a single night the rest of the day was the only time that we would have to explore the center. So we set out towards the capitol building. The walk was probably no more than 10 minutes long at Anna’s pace. The day was warm, the sky was blue, it was a nice end of the day.

Capitol.The capitol itself is non-typical looking. It doesn’t have a traditional dome, but instead looks more like some large castle. Sadly because we were visiting over a weekend the building itself was closed, so we were not able to see it inside. I guess we’ll have to come by some other time to get our stamps.

The Egg.Next to the capitol building there was a large open area — Empire State Plaza developed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. It had large fountain pools which were empty at this time of the year. On its edges there was a good number or large monolithic buildings and there was an egg shaped concert hall which was called exactly that — The Egg.

Climbing assistance.Kids had a lot of fun running and climbing around, exploring empty fountains — basically expanding all the extra energy that got accumulated in their systems after a day of driving. Then we tried to go to some highly rated pub nearby, but there was a 30 minute wait for the table. Since we were very tired and hungry by then and there was nothing else open in a walking distance we decided to dine at our hotel, which turned out to be a mistake as I explained earlier.

Units.And to finish the day off we went for a swim in the pools — last pool of our vacation. That was actually the only time we ended up socializing with other people while sitting in a hot-tub. As a result Arosha ended up with a much longer pool time than he was originally promised.

Climbing.And when we got back to the room I attempted to push Arosha’s bed toward the wall as we often do to minimize his chances of falling off the bed during the night which he still does from time to time. However I did not anticipate that I would slip out out of my still wet rubber slippers during this maneuver. As a result I performed a major face plant into the bed after which one of my legs slammed into the floor. I still limp two and half weeks later.

Another view.On this positive note I will conclude the last day of our vacation. Our drive home was uneventful and we got home early enough to rest and then visit our parents for a nice dinner in the evening.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Sniper Glаz Zorka.On January 2nd of this year I have reactivated my SWTOR subscription since I was longing to play some MMORPG again. Sadly, by this time all of Eldar’s guildies including Eldar himself have abandoned the game and I was left to play all alone, but I ended up playing for quite a long time and having a lot of fun while doing so.

I kept meaning to write down some thoughts on the game for a while now, but couldn’t get around to doing it. Now that I’ve lost interest again — 8 months later — I decided to take the time a jot some of this down anyhow.

When I left the game the previous time the game was at 1.1 with patch 1.2 looming. At the time I rejoined the game it was at 1.6 with 1.7 on the horizon. Needless to say “Star Wars: The Old Republic” has gone through a lot of changes and I was a complete noob again. I’ve read all the missed patch notes to catch myself up.

Imperial Agent Glаz.I learned that my level 50 Mercenary (named Hahz) mechanics were ruined soon after I left the game and have never been fixed. Also I learned that if you do level any class to level 50 you will get the buff from that class on all your other characters no matter the class. I had a Marauder (named Zhah) in lower 40s that I never finished leveling and I figured I’ll start with him to finish the class story and get the buff for whoever I was going to play next which I did.

Assassin Sith Inquisitor Trаh.In the process I realized that I’m not enjoying playing a melee class at all and that I had much more fun playing my Mercenary back in the day. I also read that sorcerers where quite underpowered and that left me with the only choice of Imperial Agent. I wasn’t quite sure which advanced class to pick — Sniper or Operative. I did a lot of reading and even though I really liked the idea of stealth on Operatives for a new type of gameplay the consensus was that Operatives excel at healing and not DPS, which I wanted to play. Also if they were to do DPS it would be in close quarters — melee in other words.

Sniper DPS chart.I did level an Imperial Agent to level 6 a long time ago, so I picked him up and started playing. By the time I hit level 10 I made up my mind on going with a Sniper and was I right or what. I completely fell in love with the class mechanics. All the things that I disliked about the class before — like cover mechanics and the actor’s voice — turned into the thing that I ended up enjoying the most. On top of that, Sniper gets an advantage of 5m on every other class in the game — 35m attack range, which makes it truly the best and the deadliest ranged DPS class in the game.

As I was leveling I decided to jump into a PvP game to gain some commendations for some nice looking moddable gear and really surprised myself. The thing is that I’ve always hated PvP. However with my Sniper I started posting top DPS numbers in pretty much every game I played. I was deadly and hard to kill. In most cases I could go 1 on 1 with an enemy and come out on top. PvP became insanely fun.

Sniper DPS chart.What also made the Sniper fun was the fact that the best companion type for any DPS class — a healer — wears exactly the same type of gear that a Sniper does — gear with a main stat of cunning. This gives you an ability to upgrade your most important companion’s gear with hand-me-down stuff every time you update your character. For solo-play that was huge. At this point my Sniper (named Glаz by the way) has mostly top-end Conqueror gear and my healer (Dr. Lokin) has the next best thing — Partisan gear. No such progression is possible with any other class.

Sniper Marksmanship Spec.So to sum up — Sniper is still my very favorite class to play at PvP and solo-PvE — as in dailies to get tons of money. My Sniper has the top end PvP gear with top-end purple augments on each peace of gear. He is a level 55 and I like playing the Marksmanship spec the most.

Jedi Sage Krеm.At this point I decided that I need to run up either a Sith Inquisitor or a Jedi Consular to the top lever to get my Sniper the last class buff. After a bit of consideration and figuring out that I can actually mail myself stuff even if I’m playing a Republic side I made a Jedi Consular to experience the game from the other side. I also decided to play him as a Sage and become a healer — something I’ve never done before.

Sage healing chart.I ended up having a quite bit of fun with him as well as it’s a completely different type of gameplay. I also was able to post top healing number in PvP games on consistent basis. Of course not being able to kill anyone in PvP is a bit annoying. I got my Sage named Krеm to level 55 as well after the expansion hit. I got him in mostly Partisan gear, but I didn’t play him nearly as much as I played my Sniper.

Sage healing chart.Somewhere in the process of all this I got invited to a PvP guild aptly named “PvP” on Republic side and had a blast playing PvP games with a bunch of cool guys who know what they are doing. It’s much more fun to play with a team, especially in PvP when you can coordinate your attacks over voice-chat. They had a mirror guild on the Imperial side and I played many games with a guild master of the guild — lots of fun.

Sith Assassin Trаh.Somewhere along the way I also created a Sith Inquisitor character who I ended up liking a lot — story-wise and his personality-wise. Since I already had a Sage (or a Sorcerer) I turned this guy into an Assassin with stealth capabilities. I played him as a Deception tree DPSer. Even thought I didn’t enjoy the melee aspect of it I sure loved his ability to capture game objectives by surprising his enemies. I got him to level 55 as well, but didn’t get too far as far as the gear goes. He is aptly named Trаh — a fitting name for an Assassin.

Jedi Guardian Trasta Tatrasta.At last I have another character named Trasta who is a light side Jedi Guardian. I was playing him as a tank, but never found any guides for this spec and this class and therefore didn’t grow to love him. For me half the fun, if not most of the fun comes from the theorycrafting part of the game — understanding the mechanics, the specs, the stats and learning to build and play the character optimally. With the lack of the guides the fun is just not there — that’s a big problem for a game that is losing popularity, unlike WoW that keeps going strong.

Jedi Sage Krеm.As far as stories go I liked them in the following order (SPOILER ALERT): Mercenary — quite boring — find and kill this guy, find and kill that guy; Sage — also boring — heal this guy, heal that guy, I’m so good I’m just going to heal everyone; Sniper — a lot of people find his story to be the best in the game, but I didn’t find it to be anything special — a couple of unexpected plot twists, but nothing exceptional; Marauder — a nice dark political power play with his master; Assassin — also a very strong and fun dark story about his spectacular ascent to the Dark Council itself.

That’s pretty much all I wanted to say. The game is fun and I wish it to keep doing well as I can definitely see myself reactivating my account sometime in the future again.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Bounty Hunter Hаhz and his wife Mako.I just want to make a short post and offer a small explanation for the lack of posting lately. Blame BioWare, the studio that made Star Wars: The Old Republic — a massively multiplayer online role playing game. RPG is the only type of game that I enjoy playing and I haven’t touched anything way back since the time when we left World of Warcraft several years ago.

Sith Marauder Zhаh and his companion Jaesa.We tried playing different RPGs, but nothing really stuck as they tried to invent their own formula and always fell short of WoW, no pun intended. This one however takes exactly what WoW was and improves several annoying parts of it. Everyone has a companion, normal groups are limited to 4 people and companions count. They are not as good as real players, but we’ve been able to do pretty much all content together with Eldar to this point.

Hаhz and Mako.Anyhow, it’s been eating up all of my free time and a lot of my sleep time. I have two characters that I enjoy very much. One is a Sith Warrior Marauder named Zhаh — a character that specializes in dual-wielding lightsabers. He is a melee DPS guy who I’ve been leveling together with one of Eldar’s characters. Another one is a Bounty Hunter Mercenary that is a ranged DPS dealer.

Game UI. Running.Both play very differently and have a different story that spans through all 50 levels. Role playing gets to the point of characters being able to romance and marry their companions — that’s what Hаhz (my bounty hunter) did. It’s been a lot of fun to this point, but I think it won’t be as much fun once we reach level 50. Same thing as with WoW, only I’m not raiding this time around.
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