SS: War! What’s It Good For?

SS-20160827

“Balmorra is a pacified world.  That’s the fiction that the Empire tells its citizens.  The truth is that it’s a world that builds weapons for war, and is suffering the price for it.

A resistance effort kept the Empire from finally solidifying its hold on this world, and that proved to be a problem for me.  The only reason I was interested in Balmorra in the first place was because Darth Zash asked that I recover an artifact of Tulak Hord from its resting place-and that location was in one of the most toxic regions on the planet.  I’d been to some disgusting places in my life, but this would have to be at the top of the list.  Add to that the misguided love that Major Bessiker had toward a son-who was Sith, although how that happened I cannot fathom-and his willingness to blackmail me into rescuing the self-same son…well, I began to see why so many Sith capitalized on following their anger to committing atrocities.  I was sorely tempted to decapitate the Sith and present it to Bessiker.  But I imagined that might hinder me in gaining Bessiker’s cooperation, and I’d probably have to kill him, too.  I’m not interested in killing our own people.

I wish the other Sith thought the same.  But Darth Lachris had no compunction about killing the governor of Balmorra, who lives only because of my intercession.  I had thought this sort of thing was behind me when I left Korriban, but that’s clearly not the case.  Does my path have to be this way to become stronger?  Do I have to be a sadist like them?

At least I captured the Republic soldier leading the strongest of the resistance movement, and he’s singing like a bird, admitting publicly that the Republic was-if not downright breaking the Treaty of Coruscant-at least bending it like a twisty pastry.  And I have the artifact, one of four that I must collect for Darth Zash’s ritual, one which will grant both of us a great deal of additional power.  I have no doubt that Darth Zash has an eye for a seat on the Dark Council.  The idea that I could be in the service of one of the Empire’s rulers is an intoxicating one.  But that’s too far ahead.  For now, I must continue to Nar Shadda and acquire the next artifact from another Sith who is loath to simply give it away….”

-from Sorshan’s Story

Wrapped up Balmorra this weekend in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and again, I’ll admit I love the world’s music.  Just wanted to say it again.

I’ve cleared level 30, so I’m obviously on-track for getting to 65 before the end of the Light vs. Dark event.  Plus, I’ve hit what was once the minimum-ish level for doing the Boarding Party Flashpoint, so I’m sitting pretty as far as timing goes.  Still likely to hold off until the end of Chapter One, though, just to keep things consistent in my own mind.

I’ve started to get serious feedback as far as those Light/Dark Side choices, now.  The expressions of disbelief from folks who expect to be slaughtered has been hilarious in its own way.  A scientist wouldn’t even believe I was letting him go until I actually communicated to the starport that yes, I wanted a shuttle for him and he was to be unmolested.  On the other hand, the Sith mentioned in the fluff above was more or less dismissive of such a “weak” Sith; the temptation that Sorshan refers to was my temptation-I really wanted to go Dark Side on him and on Bessiker.  But that would kind of defeat the point of doing all this.  So I figured my Sith didn’t care what other Sith thought, and figured it would cause more problems than it would solve if she simply indulged in a homicidal impulse.

I skipped the bonus missions-someday I should really see what triggers the bonus missions, nowadays, because they don’t seem consistent-as I don’t love Balmorra’s music so much that I want to extend my stay into Bugtown.  That bonus series is a seriously long one-or at least it was back in the day.  I’d rather not go through it again, instead choosing to continue on my merry way through Chapter One.  On to the next world!

AoY: When Did The Romulans Get Sneaky and the Klingons Get Honorable?

Confronting the greatest mass murderer in history (well, in this timeline)

Confronting the greatest mass murderer in history (well, in this timeline)

Personal Log, Stardate 94255.49

Back in the 23rd-I can’t believe I can say that so casually now-back in the 23rd, species stereotypes were always pretty easy.  Vulcans were logical.  Tellarites were quick with an insult.  Andorians were quick to anger.  Humans were just crazy-well, some things never change.

And Klingons were sneaky underhanded bastards.  And Romulans-well, nobody had ever seen one, although scuttlebutt was indicating that Kirk’s people had; but indications were that they were crafty but honorable warriors.  Somewhere along the line, though, things have gotten mixed up-because now here in the 25th-another phrase I’ve gotten too used to-the Klingons are the honorable warriors, and the Romulans the sneaky underhanded bastards.  And Vulcanoid, which came as a surprise to me during Daniels’s little speed-training course before plopping me down in this century.

Ironically, it was a Romulan who killed off the Romulan Star Empire.  Their leader blew up a star, which did…science stuff…and blew up Romulus in its wake.  The Romulans broke off into warring factions, and the Remans-who I’d never heard of at all back in the day-were revolting against them.  It was into this mess that I was sent, with a new ship-again.  The U.S.S. Orca got sent to negotiate with Empress Sela-a Romulan/Human hybrid who came about due to some time travel; yeah, I can see how I’d get sucked into that one.  In the process, we fought her fleet when she tried to invade Vulcan, defended New Romulus-the home of the Romulan Republic-and captured the ex-Praetor, Taris.

And that was before we got sucked into the mess with the Tal Shiar, Sela, and the Remans’ war.

Now Sela is gone too, taken by more aliens that I’ve never heard of-need to research these “Iconians” T’nae kept going on about.  The Remans are in charge of their own destiny, and the Orca‘s been assigned to a world called Bajor.  Time to read up on the situation there.  I’m sure there’s absolutely nothing going on there involving Na’kuhl.

I didn’t believe it when I said it, either.

End Log.

*Insert Amok Time Music Here*

*Insert Amok Time Music Here*

I realize that most of the posts of late have centered on working with the Old Republic’s event, but I haven’t forgotten-nor will I-the fact that I’ve got another character in another game in development here.  I’ve not had heaps of time, but I’ve completed the Romulan Mystery arc in Star Trek Online for Rick Master’s continuing adventure.

I’d always been a fan of the feature episodes featuring the Romulans here, particularly “Coliseum”; it may be a long one, but it felt like a Trek episode more than most.  Along with “What Lies Beneath”, it may well be my favorite episode in the game.  So whenever I get a chance to play these episodes, I relish it!  I did better than usual in the final episode in the arc, too, where I managed not to get my character killed at any point; there’s one point near the back end just prior to Hakeev that tends to overwhelm my character, but this time, I managed to do something right.  Sure wish I knew what it was, though.

Hit Vice Admiral, which meant a new ship; I went with a Monarch-class ship, which is basically the Galaxy-class with different parts.  I was sort of surprised by my choice, too, but I wanted a cruiser, I didn’t feel like the Assault Cruiser or Star Cruiser, so I went with the Exploration Refit.  Still not my final ship to be used, though.  I’ve got plans…!  Because I’m at Vice Admiral, I’ve also started to accumulate Specialization Points.  Well, one, anyway.  Conveniently, there’s a new Specialization:  Temporal Operative.  The first tier of abilities seem to favor damage-over-time effects, so it will be interesting to see how this works out in practice.  I took a secondary in Pilot, because anything I can do to help mitigate the nightmare of turning the Orca is a good thing.  Also at VA:  I got to start a Reputation.  I’d been accumulating marks thanks to the temporal probes in many of the missions, and to no great surprise, I’ve been selecting Temporal Marks to use for the Temporal Defense Force reputation.  Up to tier 2 already (helps when you just have to log in, put in the daily, and log out), but it might take a while longer to get to tier 3.

The next arc for Rick is going to be the Cardassian arc, along with another of the classic Feature Episodes with the Dominion.  And after that, a new “Yesterday’s War” mission.  Good times coming up.

SS: Joining the Order

SS-20160825

“I suppose I knew the moment I met Darth Skotia that I was going to kill him.

In some ways, you could look at it as self-defense.  He sent his minions to kill me before I left Korriban-which didn’t work out well for him.  Then he threatened me personally along with Lord Zash when I arrived on Dromund Kaas.  His insistence on continuing to refer to me as a slave just made the inevitable easier.  He was opposing Lord Zash’s plans-which she has yet to reveal to me fully-which led Lord Zash to decide to have him killed.  I’m still processing the fact that I, a mere apprentice, defeated a Darth-with the able assistance of Khem Val.  I did this.  And now, his position and title belong to the newly elevated Darth Zash.

While she could not recognize me publicly for what I had done, she could reward me with the greatest gift I have ever received:  a starship of my own.  It’s not the ship itself that is the great gift to me-it’s what the ship represents to me.

Freedom.

I can go anywhere in the galaxy.  I can act as I wish.  For the first time in my memory, I can travel without restriction.  I’m free.

But I am pulled in many directions.  A spirit in the Dark Temple has claimed kinship with me, claiming to be my ancestor.  Another spirit has given me teachings that contradict the Code of the Sith, while the Order of Revan has opened my eyes to the belief that the Force is best understood if you comprehend both its light side and its dark.  It is the latter which gives me pause; I have joined these Revanites, because in them I see the potential for greater understanding.  It doesn’t hurt that, aside from Darth Zash, most of the Sith I have met are needlessly sadistic bullies.  Surely it takes more to rule an Empire!   Is it truly necessary to fall back on fear and hate for everything we do?  I don’t have an answer to that question-not yet.

For now, of course, I still follow the commands of Darth Zash.  She has so much to teach, and I have much to learn.  In her service, I will become stronger-and nobody will ever call me slave again.  And with time, I will find the answers I seek-not on Dromund Kaas, but out amongst the stars.”

-from Sorshan’s Story

It’s another planet complete in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Sorshan’s journey from the Dark Side to the Light continues-and already I’m at level 25 with her, so I’m roughly on schedule.  I also ran through Black Talon, and further cemented her with Light Side choices.  So far, nothing major has come of those choices; most of those have been on non-class specific storylines.  The fun stuff won’t begin until I start getting those choices on the main storyline for the Inquisitor.

Of course, there’s an amusing side effect from making such choices.  Khem Val, the Inquisitor’s first companion, has been racking up those “Khem Val Disapproves” statements.  If these were the old days where we had to worry about Companion Affection, he’d be driving straight down into those negative numbers right now.  But thanks to the conversion to Influence, every disapproval actually increases my Influence on Khem.  I guess this is one of those “I hate every choice you make, but I will die for you” sort of deals.

As with Anthrandos (at least his early career), I’ve been hitting every mission I could, save for Heroics.  As experience points are the only big driver for the character, I can afford to take my time on the storylines.  I’m tentatively holding off on the Boarding Party/Foundry Flashpoints until I complete Chapter One, but that’s really the only thing that I’m worried about from a content standpoint-and in a pinch, I will probably just go to Fleet and run them ahead of schedule, because the rate I’m going, Sorshan’s level will be up to the task of doing those Flashpoints.

One of the more convenient details on the planetary storyline was that Imperials could-with a Light Side choice-join the Order of Revan and remain loyal to it, sacrificing a Darth to preserve their secret.  Like that won’t come back to bite Sorshan!  I freely admit that I’ve set that up to see what she’ll do when the Revanites meet their maker and upgrade to a galactic threat.  Admittedly, I’ve seen that sort of thing before with other characters-I’ve had a couple Light Side sort of Imperials-but none with the Inquisitor’s point of view.  Plus, there’s the whole thing with the Foundry….

Balmorra’s next on the list, so it’ll be time to see how Sorshan conquers a planet!  I figure that’ll be done by the end of the weekend, but we’ll see how it shakes out.

SS: Peace Is A Lie…

SS-20160823

Peace is a lie; there is only passion.  I was taken from my family at a young age; I cannot remember them.  My entire life has been one of slavery.  When I fought, I was beaten.  So I learned to fight in quieter ways-and let my hate towards the slave-masters grow.  But chance favored me:  I was found to have a spark of the Force within me, and so I was taken from my ‘masters’ and sent to Korriban for training as a Sith.

Through passion, I gain strength.  The testing was not easy.  Harkun, the Overseer, was determined that I not overstep myself.  He reminded me at every turn that I had been a slave, and was determined to see me die.  But my hate-now directed toward him-refused to let me surrender.  Where he wanted subservience, I offered obstinacy.  When he wanted sadism, I offered mercy.  When he wanted respect, I offered him disrespect.  So he sent me on impossible tasks, where no Sith had ever succeeded in thousands of years.

Through strength, I gain power.  In all of these cases, he failed.  He only allowed me to take that spark of Force and grow it.  Despite his best attempts, my power grew, rising to the tasks he set before me.  Harkun would not see it-would not let himself see it.  But Lord Zash saw it, and encouraged it.

Through power, I gain victory.  Harkun ultimately failed to break me-or perhaps he succeeded in forging me as a Sith.  His words and his actions before and after my defeat of his pet seem very different.  Was he the crucible?  Or is he just a petty man who only wields the power granted to him by his betters?  I do not know.  I do not care.  I offered him the greatest insult I could-to put him in my past, as I head toward my future.

Through victory, my chains are broken.  Now my past as a slave is behind, my time of trial on Korriban is behind.  I now serve Lord Zash willingly, joyfully, for I am not her slave, but her apprentice.  I will learn what she has to teach, become stronger in the Force and in knowledge.  A new life is ahead, and I can’t wait to see what lies before me.  Even now, I travel to Dromund Kaas, and a future filled with potential.

The Force has freed me.”

-from Sorshan’s Story

With the Epic of Anthrandos done (for now), it’s time to start a new story to complete the Light Vs. Dark event in Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I’ve gone with the Light side.  Now it’s time for a walk on the Dark Side-so to speak.

Sorshan was my randomly determined character for the Sith, just as Anthrandos was for the Jedi.  The big determination, of course, is the fact that I’m firmly pushing towards the Light Side rewards for the event, and I’d already done a fairly Light Side Sith Warrior (although he’s made enough Dark Side choices that meant he’d never get to max Light Side points).  So I had gone in with the determination that Sorshan would be an Inquisitor.

I will cheerfully admit that I’m curious as to how the most arguably evil class in SWTOR will deal with Light Side choices.  The very name “Inquisitor” isn’t exactly one that brings to mind puppies and unicorns.  The exemplar of the class could be seen as Emperor Palpatine from the original Star Wars saga.  (No, Darth Maul was not an Inquisitor; I don’t care that he used a double bladed saber which is only used by Sith Assassins in this game-Maul was never that big on Force usage.  Warrior all the way.)  And all the Force powers sure bring the Dark Side to mind-so it’s going to be quite a trip to see what happens with Sorshan.

All that said, she hasn’t made many Light Side choices as of yet.  The big choices have been mostly Dark or no choice.  So I’ve avoided selecting Dark Side moves so far.  That said, there have been a couple, so I’ve started establishing her as a different sort of Inquisitor.  We’ll see how that pans out as we go along.

I avoided making an Advanced Class choice until I got to Fleet, since I’m old-school that way.  Ignoring the fact that Sorshan was well over level 10 before she completed Korriban, of course.  The ol’ random determination put her as a Sith Sorcerer with a bent toward Lightning, which should be fun.  All problems can be solved if you hit it with enough lightning.  Every problem can be solved if you hit it with enough lightning.  (I know, untrue, but it sounds good.)

The next step for her is to run Black Talon-even though, for my purposes, it’s not necessary.  But then, I’ve reached a point now where nothing is actually necessary other than racking up experience points, because all the story goals for the event have been met-at least, as far as my target tier is concerned.  I’m no way going to bother with the top tier.  I want to enjoy the experience, not blindly rush six other characters through the leveling experience.

The big targets remaining in that respect are:  the Boarding Party Flashpoint (I don’t actually need to do Foundry, but will anyway), and reaching level 65.  Since those are the only targets, I plan to once again try to hit every planet’s quest-because this time, I only need xp, and pretty much everything I do will get me that.  I’ll get to the end of the story when I get there.  I will be assisted in this by liberal use of the xp-boosts I get as a subscriber as rewards for assorted quests.  I’ve tended to ignore them, since the leveling thing hasn’t been important to me in the past.  But I’m on a deadline here, so even if I plan to do the whole story, getting to level 65 is better earlier than later.

So let’s see how a Light-Side aligned Sith Inquisitor does in an environment where everything is telling her to go Dark.  Should be a fun ride.

EoA: Epic’s End?

EOA-20160821a

“The battle is over.  But the war goes on.  Sometimes, I feel like it will never end.

Valkorion, Master Shan, Darth Marr, and very likely Lana, all believe it is my destiny to sit upon the Eternal Throne.  I disagree, but the point is moot-the Throne has changed hands again, and not for the better.  Arcann no longer rules, but remains a danger.  Betrayal has stalked our ranks, and I am at a loss as to how we can deal with that.

But Odessen remains intact.  And beings that want for freedom from the Eternal Empire are flocking to the Alliance.  Lana and Theron seem convinced that this increase in numbers and ships, along with the defeat at Odessen will keep Zakuul from striking at us again.  I am not convinced.  The Eternal Fleet has proven a match for the forces of both the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, and all we have is a single world with a ragtag fleet-headed, of course, by the Gravestone.  But one ship is a slender thread upon which to hang our defense.

I feel that we must leave Odessen soon.  I don’t know if the others will agree, but remaining puts everything at risk.

Regardless of my destiny, I remain a Jedi Knight.  I may be the Commander of this Alliance, but I am not one to sit back and order others to take risks that I will not.  It didn’t work for me when I was a Padawan on Tython, learning lessons from Master Din; it didn’t work for me when I went with my companions-who mostly remain missing-to assault Dromund Kaas in search of the Sith Emperor.  It doesn’t work for me now.

I am told that I must give up my preconceptions of the Force, to stop thinking in terms of Light and Dark.  That will not happen.  That will never happen.  I’ve seen the Light, and I’ve seen the Dark; they exist, and I will always stand in the one and stand against the other.  This is not my weakness.  It is my strength.  The Force will be with me.

Always.”

-from the Epic of Anthrandos

At last, we come to the end of the Epic.  With this post, I’ve completed the Light vs. Dark requirements in Star Wars: The Old Republic for a character to complete all the chapters in Knights of the Fallen Empire.  All of the Republic-side Flashpoints have been completed, the fifth round of the Eternal Championship has been completed, the Alliance Alerts accounted for-and of course, the character is at level 65.

I figure this gives me roughly a month to get to 65 with the Sith.  I think that’s imminently doable, particularly if I make ruthless use of those xp boosters I tend to usually ignore.

What will become of Anthrandos now?  After all, he was created for the sole purpose of doing this event, and even after all of this, he’s not my “main” Jedi Knight.  So the question is, will he go through the “Knights of the Eternal Throne” expansion?  That’s actually a good question.  And the answer is…”maybe”.  Not a satisfying one, admittedly, but a true one.  It’s rough enough getting eight other characters through everything (and I still have five to get through the finale of KotFE) without adding two more (because what I decide for Anthrandos is likely to hold true for his opposite number).

But I still had a blast putting this together, and I can’t see myself wanting to step away from this.  While Anthrandos will be a lower priority (nine of ten), I think I’ll still want to run him through the upcoming content.  After all…he’s come this far, hasn’t he?

So the Epic reaches its…well, not conclusion, but perhaps a significant pause.  A new story is about to begin-which will admittedly have some similarities (particularly once we get out of the class missions) and will have some significant differences.  Stay tuned!

We Interrupt This Broadcast….

Well, with all the other barriers coming down, this was bound to as well.  Star Trek Online recently opened up the Kelvin timeline to players; it was only in one mission, but it also meant it could throw at the players a new lockbox with the Enterprise of that timeline (and the Vengeance, too).  Being the anniversary of the original series, it wasn’t hard to see this coming.

But wait-isn’t this already in the game? Not like this….

The Constitution-class is here; and it’s a Tier-6 version.  But, there’s a catch.  And folks who have followed Cryptic/PWE’s business practices for a while can likely guess what it is.

If you said “Lockbox”, you’re almost right.  It’s actually a rare prize in the R&D packs they sell, so it’s the same general principle:  random drawings.  Now, some will argue that folks can instead buy lockbox keys and sell them on the Exchange, and use the profits to buy ship off that when folks inevitably put extras onto the seller’s block.  Don’t get the hopes up:  if anyone thinks that a single one of these will sell for less than 50 dollars real cash in keys-to-credits, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.  By virtue of being a classic Constitution-class, it’s automatically just rocketed to the top of the pricing charts on the Exchange.

Fortunately for me, it’s not on my list of priorities.  No intent of going after the ship, no desire to.  (Not even for Rick Masters, whose ultimate end-game ship is already determined, even if he’s not flying it yet.)  I’ve no problem with folks who want it, but I’m not a fan of the lotteries (going way back to SWG’s loot cards and even through CoH’s superpacks); put it on the C-Store straight, or don’t expect me to drop cash on it.  Okay, that’s a minor misnomer, since I’ve not given STO any cash since shortly after Legacy of Romulus came out, when the Arc launcher was announced and I figured I may not be playing the game anymore in the near future.  Which goes to show I’m a lousy fortune-teller.

To be fair, I always did expect this ship to go in a lockbox-style thing.  CBS had fought putting this in the game as an end-game ship since forever, and I imagine that the conversation went along the lines of “look, we can put it in a lockbox, just like all the other non-Starfleet, non-Klingon, non-Romulan ships in the regular timeline.  It’ll have a low drop rate, and that means you won’t see everyone flying around with one.”  CBS says, “I don’t know.”  Cryptic/PWE says, “And it’ll make us a bucketload of money.”  “SOLD!”  I’m so cynical.

The barriers were obviously coming down as of Agents of Yesterday, with all of the 23rd century ships being in the C-Store at assorted tiers that are in no way rational to the timeline, but hey-the timeline’s already twisted up like a pretzel, so what’s one more anomaly?  At the very least, this finally puts an end to everyone shouting that there needed to be a T-6 Constitution in the game.  At last.

…Well, at least until Cryptic announces T-7 ships.  You know it will happen….

EoA: Wakey Wakey

EOA-20160821

“So much has changed.  Five years ago, I confronted Emperor Valkorion of the Eternal Empire.  I struck him down, but in doing so, I was rendered helpless and frozen.  If not for Lana, I would have been a decoration for as long as the Eternal Empire endured.  I return to a galaxy changed by Zakuul; a Sith Empire in chaos, a Galactic Republic cowed.  And I…I am not alone in my head.  Valkorion’s final act was not to simply fade into the Force, but to relocate into my own mind.

I can hear him even now.  ‘Why write this story?  Historians will do so after you have taken your place upon the Throne.’

Valkorion doesn’t get it.  Neither do the others:  Lana, Senya, Koth, Theron.  I have no interest in rule.  I am a Jedi Knight.  My duty is to serve, not to rule.  I may command in times of extremity, but it is not my place to control the galaxy.  No single being should.  This is why the Republic is strong-the voice of many charting a course that will go on for centuries to come.

Provided Emperor Arcann and High Justice Vaylin don’t destroy everything first.  They seem aware of Valkorion’s presence in my mind, and seem to be willing to stop at nothing to destroy me-and through me, their father.  I don’t know what Arcann’s been doing in the interim-I don’t understand why he attacked the Core Worlds, or the Empire; I don’t know why he’s demanding tributes from these worlds.  But someone has to take a stand against them, and thanks to Lana’s maneuvering, that someone must be me.

The Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic are in chaos.  The Dark Council has been silenced, and the Jedi Order is scattered.  My responsibility-my duty-is clear.  I will lead this alliance.  I will defeat Arcann.  I can do no less as a Jedi Knight.”

-from the Epic of Anthrandos

The end is coming up fast now.  I’ve wrapped the first nine chapters of the Knights of the Fallen Empire story in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and things are falling into place for the Light vs. Dark event tiers.

A new tier was completed with the finish of these chapters, which-shocker!-had a bunch of duplicates of armor parts I wasn’t fond of.  (Damn you, Darth Sion!)  I did manage to get a different Ceremonial armor part, so it’s always possible the next set of packs might actually allow me to complete a collection.  It could happen!  Also had an assortment of weapons-mostly assault cannons, which most of my characters can’t use (and for that matter, most of the companions-particularly since the devs changed Jorgan’s weapon with KotFE).  Thankfully, I didn’t get duplicate color crystals this time around.  So, nothing to write home about, but I’ll figure out who gets what gear at some point.

I did get the experience of the new interface for opening packs now, and for the most part, I’m not impressed.  There is an aspect, though, that I’m a big fan of:  the idea of the items opened going into an “item stash”, which is Legacy wide.  That means I can open with, for example, Anthrandos, but claim the items on Coreth.  Once the item is claimed, it’ll be bound to that character; this may be different for regular Cartel Packs, since they allow sale of their items, but the Light Vs. Dark packs are supposed to be bound on pickup, so this item stash redeems a helluva lot for this event.

Looking at the next tier, I’ve got my Alliance Alerts taken care of-although I think a bug may be involved, because I only have four new companions from the Alerts:  Nico, Blizz, Yuun (who technically wasn’t an Alert), and Bowdarr (who I don’t actually have, because I haven’t gotten his Influence to 10 yet).  But somehow, the achievement was unlocked.  So, shrug.  I did, however, manage to complete Round Five of the Eternal Championship to get that requirement nailed down.  Things are looking good to reach my target goals, if I don’t fall down on the job when my Sith Inquisitor starts up in earnest.  As it’s not unreasonable to assume that I may be completing the Epic by Tuesday, it won’t be long before a new set of posts start coming up.

For Anthrandos, the end is nigh!

EoA: When Things Are Darkest

EOA-20160817a

“I’m not sure any of us truly understood just how powerful Vitiate-the former Sith Emperor-truly was.  Not until Ziost.

Ziost is the second world I have seen die.  After Uphrades, I didn’t think I would see such a horror again, but it seems that was a foolish hope.  Worse still, this time I saw the event happen-and could do nothing about it.

It didn’t seem like things would go that badly when I arrived on Ziost.  It staggers me to realize what I’ve just said; things were pretty bad to start with, with Vitiate possessing multiple bodies at once, and having them kill and kill and kill.  Even if it was each other.  Theron made a bad situation worse by bringing in the Sixth Line-and I very badly want to question Master Shan about that one-made even worse when Chancellor Suresh felt this was the perfect time to invade Ziost.  Added to Lana’s desire to dissect a Jedi-I know that’s not what she said, and if it was just her doing it, I might even believe that to be the case, but the Empire is more than her, despite her new title.  Still, it had seemed like we had won.

We were blind.  Vitiate was just getting started.  Now, Ziost is a world of ash and rock and ruin.

He must be stopped.  He attempted to kill a world before, and I stopped him each of those times.  But now he’s succeeded.  What now?  Can he be stopped?

The Force has not yet guided me to an answer.”

-from the Epic of Anthrandos

The end may be in sight for Anthrandos in the Light Vs Dark event for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I managed to get through Ziost fairly quickly.  I had no reason to do it except it made sense in my head for the character’s story, and I’ve been known to go out of my way to do things if it made sense like that.  So even though it slowed me down on my target goals for the character, I ran through the Ziost content-skipping the side missions, of course.

Then, because I had some time and wanted to get them out of the way before I started up on the Knights of the Fallen Empire, I finally managed to run the last two tactical Flashpoints on my list:  Czerka Meltdown and Red Reaper.  All things considered, they were fairly simple and straightforward runs (although I had to fall back on reading tactics on Dulfy’s site so I wasn’t completely lost).  So at this point, I have two more FPs to worry about:  the Imperial solo Boarding Party and the Foundry.

Except…for some reason, the Foundry is already check-marked off on my list.  I’m not sure how that happened, since I haven’t really started on my Sith.  I’ll be running it anyway, though; by that time, the only things I need from my Sith will be xp and at least one of those FPs, and xp isn’t exactly unknown in FPs.  Plus, you never know if the devs will correct that bug-seems unlikely, though, because I can’t imagine a fix to remove something like that and say “you didn’t do that”-I’d think the potential for taking it away from someone who did do that would be rather high.  By doing the FP, I insulate myself from annoying details like that down the line.

So with that in mind, there’s basically three major goals left for Anthrandos before his epic concludes.  First, he has to do all of the KotFE story.  Second, he has to do five Alliance alerts; that won’t be an issue, and I could potentially split them between my Sith and Anthrandos, but I’d rather get things out of the way sooner than later.  And third, potentially the most problematic, I need to run one of the two through round five of the Eternal Championship.  That’s the one that could be a bit tricky, especially since I’m not sure I’m really geared up for that, nor likely to wind up so.  Most of his gear is 200 rating or 208, though, so there’s at least a decent shot as long as I have a decent companion out.  T7 is looking like the favorite for that one.  But we’ll see how things roll out then.

In the meantime, I hope to get most of the way through KotFE this weekend, and maybe even get those alerts and Champion runs done.

EoA: The Shadow Lifts

EOA-20160817

“I’m not sure if I can call our conflict at Yavin IV a victory; I don’t know that I can call it a defeat.

Revan is fallen, and at peace now.  His strange tale is seemingly at an end.  But the Sith Emperor has been reborn-although Lana refuses to call him ‘Emperor’ anymore.  Still, Darth Marr found it strange that he did not take a new body.  I’m more disturbed than I like to think about by the fact that Marr seems to have a working understanding on how the Emperor operates.

It was strange.  For a brief time, the Republic and the Empire worked together to stop a threat to both.  In the process, I’ve spoken with Imperial troops that in past days I would have cut down as they opened fire upon me.  They are not so different, perhaps, than the Republic troops.  There are bad seeds, but then, I’d be lying if I said the Republic had no such-Colonel Darok was proof enough of that, at the very least.

And then there’s Lana and Marr.  Lana could almost be a Jedi, if not for her habits of keeping secrets and being willing to sacrifice anyone for her goals.  Marr, for all his intimidating presence, doesn’t let his emotions rule him; he’s a thinker, and that makes him the most dangerous Sith I’ve ever met.  Still, there’s some honor in him; when the battle was over, something unprecedented happened.  The Empire and the Republic left the field of battle in peace.

It’s foolish to think that this would ever happen again.  We’re too different, our philosophies too diametrically opposed to ever leave the other alone for good.  I can’t imagine another threat large enough to bring a repeat of this cooperation-save for the Emperor himself, of course.  But…the possibility of an end to war, and a real peace?  That’s a future worth considering.

My own future seems to be straightforward as well.  I’ve been named Battlemaster of the Jedi Order, and training others in the skills of the Force in regards to lightsaber combat will be my destiny.  At least, it will be, once I have completed the ultimate test:  defeat the Emperor, once and for all…”

-from the Epic of Anthrandos

Well, Yavin sure went quickly.

I think in some ways the various events and releases have helped out; there weren’t many people on Yavin to compete with for those “take out x of y opponents” missions, so I didn’t have to wait ceaselessly for new spawns.  That’s a pretty big deal as far as time use goes.  I was able to get all of the Yavin missions done in a single night.  (You’d think I’d have done it eight times before or something….)

It’s sort of a shame, really.  Yavin has repeatable missions, for the reputation grind, so that gives a reason to come back, but the sparse number of players I encountered there indicates that for most, perhaps, the grind is over.  There are a couple of Alliance Alerts for Knights of the Fallen Empire that take place on Yavin, which at least gives it a bit more travel value, but that’s a one-time thing.  That’s a limitation of the design, unfortunately; even with the planetary level scaling, there’s only so much territory on Yavin-it’s not a huge planet in comparison with Coruscant, or Dromund Kaas, or Corellia.  (Still beats Quesh, though.)  If not for the current storyline in the game, I’d sort of like to see Yavin expanded out with new areas for missions-heck, I’d like to see Quesh expanded out:  like I said, that’s one tiny planet.  Not likely to happen:  the nature of the KotFE and the upcoming Knights of the Eternal Throne are likely to bring new planets, even if they’re only a small map or for a single mission or two, and that isn’t necessarily bad.  I still sort of want to see Naboo show up sometime, for example.  But it’s a big galaxy-and Star Wars has covered a load of planets.  New ones aren’t bad at all.

I’ve decided that I’ll hit Ziost after all; the main questline won’t take me all that long, and I don’t plan to do the side quests or the various repeatable missions.  It’s amusing to note that once I put the Sith through Ziost, I’ll finally have enough of the local currency drops to purchase the animal mount there for some character.  I’ll have to give some thought as to who would make sense to ride a huge beast.  KotFE awaits, and may get it started as soon as this weekend (depending on how the group finder cooperates with those last two tactical Flashpoints).

As a final aside:  I don’t think I’ve done so much posting in such a short period of time since I started blogging way back in the Star Wars Galaxy days.  With the Inquisitor’s journey and my work on Captain Masters in Star Trek Online (no, I haven’t forgotten him!), this streak could go on for quite a bit.

EoA: Have You Heard of the Flesh-Eating Captain of the Red Hulls?

EOA-20160816

“I am still unable to understand how Revan has turned so fully against the Republic-if indeed that masked figure is truly him.  These Revanites follow him by the sheer power of his charisma and a promise to finally end this war between Empire and Republic.  The fact that he would do so by tearing down both has, perhaps, escaped his followers.

Thanks to Theron and Lana, I’d been cast as a pirate lord and drawn to Rishi-guided by the Force.  While I was able to stymie the plans of Revan and his followers there, I found myself more drawn to the people of this world-both native and otherwise.  The spirit of Master Din came to me one last time to remind me of who I am-a Jedi, not a warrior; I’d been so lost in battle, in conflict since my initial confrontation with the Sith Emperor that I’d lost something important-the need to help others as much as fighting for them.

The fighting, unfortunately, is not over.  It never is:  the other half of my title is, after all, Knight; there is always a cause to fight for, a wrong to right-and as long as there are wrongs to right, it is not only my responsibility, but my duty to do so-by words if I can, and by actions if I can not.  I’ve broken the largest and most prevalent criminal gang on Rishi, and I find myself in the odd place of being at the fulcrum between the Jedi and the Sith, the Republic and the Empire, against a danger that could destroy us all:  for Darth Marr has revealed the last thing I wanted to hear.

The spirit of the Sith Emperor lives.  And Revan wants to reincarnate him.”

-from the Epic of Anthrandos

The first phase of the Shadow of Revan expansion in Star Wars: The Old Republic is complete for Anthrandos, and that puts me halfway through the Shadow of Revan requirement for the Light Vs Dark event.  Also related is knocking down two solo Flashpoints for the expansion, which leaves me with only four FPs left before that requirement is done-and two of them are solo FPs for the Imperial side of the woods.  I’m tentatively planning to run the last two tactical FPs for this weekend, which should put me just prior to starting Knights of the Fallen Empire.

The plan is, of course, to run Yavin’s half of the SoR expansion-and in the process, give myself a bit more Yavin reputation; turns out that I never did finish maxing out that rep!  Between Anthrandos and the Sith side of things, I hope to change that situation once and for all.

Funny thing happened after I finished Rishi and got onto my Jedi ship; I noticed something strange in the holocomm room; one of the databanks in the back of that room looked like it could get interacted with.  Clicking on it, I found that there were three holorecordings from Bengal Morr, the former Padawan of Orgus Din that was the primary antagonist on Tython!  Apparently, this has been in the game for a long time-but in the time I’ve been playing, I’ve only now noticed it!  (Given that I was playing since closed beta, this is just more embarrassing-although in fairness, I didn’t start a Jedi Knight until I’d done a few other characters first, so it wasn’t quite THAT long.)  This little detail had me crawling through my other characters’ ships trying to see if there was anything else I’d missed…!

Always something new to discover, right?

But now, Yavin’s ahead, and I expect that if I can keep my rate up, I could close that out in a couple of days (maybe sooner if things go really well).  Then comes decision time:  do I go straight to Knights of the Fallen Empire, or do I do Ziost first?  I’m sort of leaning on doing Ziost, even if I don’t need it for the target tier for the event, simply because it features the Emperor hard, and it feels proper that the Jedi Knight do that confrontation-plus it fills in that time I’ll be likely waiting for group finder to hit those two FPs.  Then it’ll be full burn through KotFE!  The clock is still ticking, but I think I’m on track to hit my goals before the event wraps up.