Austin Community Cantina

I went to the Austin Community Cantina last night.  I didn’t take pictures.  I didn’t take notes.  I didn’t ask questions prying for new information.  The  “real” blogs will bring you all the details anyway.  Why should I work hard when I have a babysitter, there’s free beer, and I’m not driving?

So, instead of working hard at a “job” that I don’t get paid for, I drank and blathered on and had a fucking great time.  In my semi-drunken stupor, I did pull up the Hall of Shame on my phone and showed several of the devs what horrific things people are doing with those fucking bikinis. I did my due diligence trying to rid the world of bad fashion.  You’re welcome.

What I learned:

1. Everyone thinks Quinn is a raging asshole.

2. Nobody reads my blog, despite the fact that I’ve been writing since launch and there are so few SWTOR blogs out there, period.  Congrats to the 5 of you still reading.

3. I can’t hold my liquor anymore. Yay getting olde.

With that, I’m off to nurse my first hangover in quite some time.

Feeling A Bit Useless As Marauder DPS

Last night was one of those nights where few things were going right.  The biggest problem was that we had 3 melee DPS (2 marauders and a juggernaut) and things were not working.  Usually, the group makeup includes a couple of sorcs or mercs who cover the nagging details and leave me free to simply bash the boss in the face, which is something for which Marauder is well-suited.  Hell, I felt like a freaking hero the other night being able to interrupt and lock down one of those pesky adds all by myself so he couldn’t cast mass-killery1 on the group.  Last night, not so much.

Besides interrupting, and single-target-face-bashing, I couldn’t do jack shit – a helplessness that was amplified by the fact that two others were similarly situated.  It was downright disheartening.

I can’t cleanse.  We stalled out on one encounter because we lacked a non-healer cleanser.

My aoe is terrible.  We stalled out on another encounter in part because we had only one dps with strong AOE.  (We pondered having one of us respec to Rage, but decided not to.  Having one of us respec would have severely gimped our single-target DPS, which creates more problems than it solves.)

Melee is generally at a disadvantage in some encounters.  We had issues taking down adds fast enough because of knockbacks that don’t bother the ranged dps all that much.

I don’t even have a taunt or boss repositioning ability for add control, unlike those cheater DPS juggernauts.

What I do have is superior interrupting (har har) and a super dps buff.  In 2.5, however, the buff becomes raidwide and can only be used once every 5 minutes.  This means that one marauder will be sufficient, unless you need an ungodly number of interrupts.

I know that marauder is in a really good place compared to some other classes in terms of dps levels and mobility.  But they sure don’t stack in a raid as well as some other (ranged) DPS classes.

Whine.

  1. That’s a technical term

Doin’ It Rite: Outfits Showing A Moderate Amount Of Skin

I’ve mentioned before that it seems like the cartel market releases two kinds of outfits: covered up neck to wrist to toes or beyond skimpy (underboob is not cool).  Well, this time, I think they’ve nailed the ideal balance.  Observe, the Sensuous Dress.

sensuousdress

This thing is exactly what I was talking about when I referred to wanting outfits that showed some (but not way too much) skin. It’s elegant and sexy, but has more than two inches of fabric across the chest.  It falls in line with the Naboo outfits worn by Queen Amidala.

padmeblackdress

A+ for this one, Bioware.

(I patiently waited for the price to come down on the GTN before snagging a set.  But it is MINE NOW!  Bwaha… hahahah.)

Suck It, Rep!

After doing the Section X dailies more times than I care to count, the Voss dailies a few times, and the rest of the dailies in the regular course of making money, I have all the dye kit recipes.  I have champion with Voss, Oricon, and Czerka and Legend with Section X and Makeb (I needed legend with Makeb for other assorted recipes).

I never want to see Section X again, ever ever.  Here is why I hate Section X:

  • For the weekly, you must complete a 4-person quest where you need exactly 4 warm bodies to complete it.  This is a hassle.  There should be some wiggle room – 3 warm bodies should be sufficient, and that allows a companion to take up the slack of a missing role.
  • There is digging through creature poo.  Well, what else do you think “waste” is?  Digging through feces is one of those things I hated in WoW.  It’s not funny, dammit.
  • X is not a roman numeral in this context.  It’s “Section Ex” and not “Section Ten.”  That’s stupid.  Operator IX is “Operator Nine.”  It is confusing and I do not care for it!

Time for Bounty Hunter week.  The rep grind is never done.

Able To Enable In-Game CC Purchasing

So a few days ago I was bitching and moaning about being unable to enable in-game cc purchasing (to get my discount).  I’m happy to report that today’s patch cleared up the problem for me!  Some people are still having issues (according to the threads in the CS forums) and I hope they’re able to access their discount at some point.

As a side note, while I’m glad it’s fixed, customer service should ALWAYS have a contingency plan for if things don’t go right for 100% of the people.  With EVERY system, someone always falls through the cracks, no matter how bug-free the thing is.  Shit happens, and CS needs to be able to deal with it.  I don’t blame the CS personnel because they’re only doing their jobs.  I blame management for not giving them the tools to actually assist people with these problems when they inevitably come up.

Subscriber In-Game Cartel Coin Purchase Discount: A Known Issue And Customer Service Fail

Note: Patch 2.4.3 seems to have resolved this issue for me, but not for everyone affected, according to the CS forum.

So, I bit the bullet and purchased 450 cartel coins with my credit card on the website in order to access my in-game discount.  After the transaction was complete, I went to enable the in-game option, only to have the popup that I must buy cartel coins with my credit card in order to do that.  I had a receipt and the cartel coins were on my ledger page, so obviously the purchase went through.  I tried refreshing, logging out and back in, closing and reopening my browser.  Nope, no luck.

I called customer service and I am beyond livid.  Apparently this is a “known issue.”  Now, customer service surely doesn’t think “it’s a known issue, we’ll fix it later, go away” suffices for an answer when there’s real money on the line.  Oh, apparently it does.

  • Customer service was not able to manually enable my in-game cartel coin purchasing ability.  You’d think that would be an option, with me on the phone able to give consent and security question answers.
  • Customer service was not able to give me the discount to simply purchase the cartel coins out of game.  Again, it should have been possible to take my credit card information over the phone and purchase a pack at discounted price.
  • Customer service gave me the unhelpful answer that it would be fixed at some point, and that I had until November 30 to access my discount.  Never mind that over the holidays MANY of us don’t have access to the game (hence why I was taking care of it today).
  • Customer service could not tell me that it would be fixed before November 30.
  • Customer service could not assure me that I would be able to access my discount if this issue is not resolved in time.

I’m shocked, appalled, and in a rather foul mood over this.  I never would have purchased the 450 cartel coins at full price (especially since the small pack has a lousy cartel to cash ratio) for any reason other than to access this discount.

I posted in the bug thread but I’m rather demoralized.  In general, I have been pretty squealy pleased about cartel stuff.  But this is just unacceptable.

(To add insult to injury, my husband was able to successfully enable his in-game cartel coins no problem, on the same damn credit card.)

Cartel Coins In-Game And The Subscriber Discount: Of Course There’s A Catch

Hey look, the in-game cartel coin purchasing thing is live!  I’m ready to get my big cartel coin pack at 50% off, yo.

Starting today, you can purchase Cartel Coins from inside the game!

No need to log out. Now you can purchase Cartel Coins directly from the Cartel Market.

To celebrate this launch, Subscribers save 50% on their first in-game purchase of Cartel Coins through November 30th! …

PLEASE NOTE: To get started, you must opt-in for in-game purchases of Cartel Coins by visiting your Cartel Coins Ledger and have made at least one purchase of Cartel Coins through the SWTOR.com web site using a Credit Card:

  • From the SWTOR.com home page, click “MY SWTOR” → “My Account” → “Cartel Coins”
  • If you’ve never made a purchase of Cartel Coins through the web site, you will first need to do so by clicking “Buy Cartel Coins.” You will then be able to opt-in for in-game purchases of Cartel Coins by clicking “Enable.”
  • If you’ve made at least one purchase of Cartel Coins through the web site, you will be able to opt-in for in-game purchases of Cartel Coins using your existing Credit Cards by clicking “Enable.”
  • Paypal and Boku payment methods are not supported for in-game purchases of Cartel Coins. If you’ve purchased Cartel Coins through the web site using only one of these payment methods, you will need to make another purchase using an accepted form of payment to opt-in for in-game purchases of Cartel Coins.

. . .

What the fuckcrap?  First, I’d better get my shit together in the next 25 days, or I’m out of luck on the discount.

But the part that super-sucks is that I have to first buy cartel coins at full price to access my discount at all.  I call bullshit.  There is no earthly reason why I can’t input my credit card number on a website WITHOUT making a purchase – well there are two reasons that I can think of.  One: shoddy programming (haha, that has happened).  Two: greed. I’m going to say it’s likely number two.

My plan: buy the tiny cc pack of 450 for $5 to get my credit card in the system (even though it has a crappy cash-to-cc ratio).  Then use my discount in-game to buy 5500cc for $20 ($40 half price).  That leaves me with 5950cc at a price of $25.  Not terrible, but NOT the 5500 for $20 that I was expecting.

Edit: A twitterati pointed out that if you’ve bought cartel coins before as a paypal customer, you will still have to buy yet another full-price pack to get access to your discount.  That’s even worse, because you’ve already done a purchase and you’re getting screwed because of your method of payment.

Good Fashion Appears. Shh, You’ll Scare It Away.

We are so inundated with bad fashion, most of it consisting of people who want to show as much skin as possible, that when I see good fashion I do a double take.  Imagine my surprise when someone has created a unique look from the Visas Marr outfit that I love.

goodfashion

OK, check that out.  Let me break down the pieces.

Visas Marr chest, hat, and skirt.  Dark Purple/Black dye kit on the chest, with color matching.

Now she varies it up.  Notice that she’s not wearing the Visas Marr gloves and bracers:  she’s wearing the invisible ones.  This is because the Visas Marr bracers and gloves would match to the purple part of the outfit and wouldn’t look that great.  Trust me, I’ve previewed it.

Last, the belt.  While I love the belt that comes with the outfit, this one is awesome too because it picks up the gold in the headdress and the cuffs of the sleeves.  I inspected it and found out it was a belt from one of those godawful bikini sets.  I guess they are good for something.

Of course, I gushed at her in tells because, holy shit, I never see people putting together outfits like this.  Simple, elegant, thoughtful.  I am plotting changes to my own Visas Marr outfit right now.

Dying For Dye

As a very slightly cheaper alternative to changing my outfit (requiring re-augmenting), I’m experimenting with changing my outfit dye regularly (which, while pricey, is nowhere near the cost of applying new kits and ripping all my mods).  In order to not feel too terribly guilty when I do these frequent swaps, I’m ferreting out all possible dye recipes, and collecting them in a completionist and anal-retentive manner.  So, while rep doesn’t matter to me in the least for its own sake, finding out there’s a dye kit involved puts me on the bandwagon right quick.

So far, I have accumulated Czerka (black/blue) and Makeb (red/gray) dye recipes in the course of normal doing of dailies.  I do the Oricon (black/red) dailies anyway, so it’s just a matter of time before I get that one too, without any additional effort on my part.

But then there’s still Voss (blue/black) and Section X (red/black).

Fucking Voss. Nothing I need there in terms of gear or commendations plus – it’s fucking Voss.  I was dreading it, but it hasn’t been too bad.  Doing the weekly on one toon gets me 3/4 to cap for the week, and I have no intention of punishing myself on Voss more than once a week.  I can easily solo all the things, although the travel is a bit of a nuisance.  The dye kit is at Champion, not Legend, which will cut a few weeks off my pain.

Now, Section X, I’m hating the hell out of it, but at least I get some basic comms out of it.  I have to do the weekly THREE TIMES to cap rep for the week.  Also, the weekly requires me to find 3 other warm bodies (using *shudder* general chat).  That much socialization with the unwashed masses is making me twitch.  To add insult to injury, I need to get legend status, not just champion.  Boo, I say.

I’ll be able to do really interesting things with gear once I have the complementary sets of blue/black and black/blue, red/black and black/red.  Then, if a particular piece matches weird to chest, I can simply dye it individually the opposite combo.  Sometimes things match to secondary when you’d prefer them to match to primary, and so forth.

Everyone has their stupid projects, right?  For me, I MUST HAVE the dye kits, yet I scratch my head at the people going googoo over Varactyls.

Marauder/Sentinel Patch 2.5 Projected Changes

Omg omg omg 2.5 changes, yo.  Yes this is about a week late, but I had Stuff Come Up and was offline for a while.

Buffs

Annihilation/Watchman Improvements

  • The stacking buff provided by Juyo Form now lasts 24 seconds (up from 15) and can be applied once every second (down from every 1.5 seconds).
  • The stacking Annihilator/Merciless buff provided by Annihilate/Merciless Slash now lasts 24 seconds (up from 15).

The devs explained this as a help to anni/watchman specced marauders/sentinels in encounters where you have to lay off the boss for a while, you come back, and all your stacks have worn off.

It will also make it far easier to build annihilate/merciless stacks even if you are a bit late on hitting annihilate/merciless slash.  Right now, when you hit anni/merc slash the first time, you have a 4.5 second window between the time that it comes off cd and the time that the buff expires to reapply it for the second stack.  These changes widen that to a leisurely 13.5 second window.

Bloodthirst/Inspiration and Predation/Transcendence no longer prevent the Marauder from building Fury/centering (stacks) while they are active.  That’s just a straight up DPS win there, no question.

Nerfs

Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force Changes

  • Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force now has a 2 minute cooldown (up from 1 minute and 30 seconds).
  • The health for Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force is now spent when the damage reducing effect expires, rather than when it begins. It still costs 50% of current health.
  • Undying/Enduring no longer increases damage reduction but still reduces the cooldown of Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force by 15/30 seconds.
  • Force Vigor no longer interacts with Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force. It now permanently increases passive damage reduction by 1/2% and still builds 1/2 Rage when Dual Saber Throw is used.

Probably this is a PvP nerf, as it mostly reverts the talents to improve Undying Rage/Guarded in the Rage/Focus tree but it still sucks.

The part that worries me about PvE is that the health is deducted after the effect wears off.  Currently, I use UR/GBTF when I’m about to die to give the healer the ability to heal me while I’m not taking damage so, with any luck, by the time the damn thing wears off, I’m at a reasonable level of health.  This change will make my death at the expiration of the buff pretty much guaranteed (rather than just “highly likely”), as my health will drop precipitously right when I lose protection from damage.

In addition, the health deducted at the end of the effect is calculated based on the health that the marauder/sentinel has at the end of the effect, and not when the effect is triggered.  As you see below, this wastes precious resources of the healers do top off the marauder/sentinel during the buff.

Example: 

Njessie has 20,000 Max HP and is at 6000 HP or 30% health when she hits UR/Guarded

  • Currently: Njessie now has 3000 HP (15% health).
  • In 2.5: Njessie still has 6000 HP (30% health).

A healer adds 10k HP to Njessie (50%) during the buff.  (A healer is definitely more likely to heal a 15% Njessie than a 30% Njessie – but let’s assume for this example an equal amount of healing during the effect.)

  • Currently: Njessie has 3000 HP + 10k HP = 13k HP (65%).  Buff drops and she’s still at 65%.  That’s pretty good.
  • In 2.5: Njessie has 6000 HP + 10k HP = 16k HP (80%). Buff drops and 50% of current health is deducted.  Njessie is now at 8k (40%).  The resources expended to provide 10k of healing only actually provided 5k of healing.  This sucks for the healers who are already stretched thin during a burn phase.  But if they don’t heal Njessie during the effect, it is likely she will die once the effect wears off if she is at 15%.

As you can see, from my invented numbers, this pretty much blows for PvE and I won’t be using UR/Guarded unless I am truly about to croak – and I know that at the end of the effect, I will die.

Maybe Buff Or Nerf?

Bloodthirst/Inspiration now affects your entire Operation group up to 40 meters away from the Marauder/Sentinel (up from 30 meters) but also applies a debuff which lasts for five minutes on all affected group members. This debuff prevents affected players from regaining Bloodthirst/Inspiration while it is active.  I have no idea the ramifications of this.  Overall, I like it, and it’s very similar to how they changed Heroism/Bloodlust in WoW (for, I think, the better) but there are downsides.

Pros:

  • Do not have to mess with groups to put the marauder/sentinel in the right group
  • Can make do with one marauder/sentinel
  • A second marauder/sentinel can pop predation/transcendence at the same time so you have damage reduction layered on bloodthirst/inspiration
  • A marauder/sentinel not assigned to be the bloodthirst/inspiration popper is free to use stacks for Berserk/Zen instead for a DPS increase.

Cons:

  • Less incentive to bring multiple marauders to a raid
  • No more sequential bloodthirsts/inspirations in the raid  (Hey, 30 seconds of awesomeness was kind of great).
  • While the debuff clears on death, it would be nice if the cooldown also cleared on death (or no cooldown now that there is a debuff) so that BT/Insp would be ready for the next attempt.

Overall

I’m happy with the changes and think they are responsive to player feedback.  For me, the downsides of Annihilation spec have pretty much evaporated, and I will probably be playing that spec exclusively after this patch.  I’ll update the sent/mara guide when the changes go live, promise.

1 8 9 10 11 12 38