Darth Lipliner, Meet General Eyeliner

Remember this fine specimen of a sith?

I don't even have to reapply after drinking coffee.  Thanks, dark side!

I don’t even have to reapply after drinking coffee. Thanks, dark side!

Well, I was cruising along the consular story and I think he’s met his match.

This mustache makes my lips look poutier, right?

This mustache makes my lips look poutier, right?

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    Sentinel In Makeb

    I yammered a few weeks ago about what I thought about the Sentinel changes before I had a chance to test them.  Now I am playing with them and I’m going to share my incoherent thoughts with you.  (I’m in process of writing the 2.0 Sentinel guide but it’s not nearly done.  Also whilst writing this, the Dev Blog came out.)

    Right now I’m leveling in Focus Spec, because it’s supposedly good AOE, crowd control, and other such nonsense for leveling.  Plus, it is the spec I know the least well.

    From the dev blog:

    Our intentions with Focus Sentinels in 2.0 are to continue to support their viable sustained damage, but to lessen the burst potential of Force Sweep. This isn’t solely about correcting issues though, so we’ve also added some gameplay improvements and better utility to Focus.

    Yeah, no shit.  Force Sweep was nerfed to the ground.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really a fan of only being able to do reasonable damage once every 10-15 seconds, but still, now my AOE kinda sucks.

    I am hating this spec.  I’ve done levels 51-53 and I can’t exactly put my finger on why I hate it.  I think it’s because there’s a lot of “charging up” you need to do for Force Sweep to be awesome (but less awesome than before), and when leveling, you just want to go in there and come on strong, like other classes can do, instead of having to charge up prereqs.

    When I charge in, I have to Force Leap, then Zealous Leap (for the auto-crit to Force Sweep).  At which point I have no focus left and have to Zealous Strike.  Now, should I Force Sweep right now?  Or build Singularity to further enhance the damage of the impending Force Sweep with Force Exhaustion (and will the mob on which I cast Force Exhaustion croak before all 3 ticks are done?).   Are all the mobs closest to me already dead from the Zealous Leap and Zealous Strike damage, plus the damage of my leveling partner?  (If Zen is up, then I have both Singularity and focus, and I can pwn face, but it’s obviously not always up.)

    I will say that Focus Spec has improved in single-target DPS because of the freebie Blade Storm that you get after a Zealous Leap.  Those things hit like trucks.

    Moving on, I did my first raid in Combat Spec and it was quite a lot to get used to.  Devs say:

    Combat has been criticized for being a little too simple to play. While they have lots of fun utility, their core rotation was a little boring. However, some players like a more relaxed playstyle, so it’s important to us that we don’t change things too much.

    To that end, we’ve helped unlock Combat’s most fun utility (Transcendence, right?), and livened up their core rotational gameplay with a deadly new proc effect.

    Relaxed playstyle my ass.  There’s nothing relaxed, now or then, about trying to jam buttons like a coked-out ferret to cram all your good abilities into a 4.5 second window.

    The major changes are the nerfing of Zen and the addition of Hand of Justice.  I’m still struggling with how to get the most out of Zen (from what I can tell, you get one extra GCD in your Precision Slash window).  Hand of Justice resets Precision Slash and lets you use Dispatch regardless of the health of the mob, but it completely throws off your timing!  If Precision Slash is now off cooldown but Blade Storm still has 10 seconds left, then what?  Do you use Precision Slash with your new Dispatch, or wait for Blade Storm to come off CD, at which point, did the Precision Slash reset do any good at all?

    I haven’t played around with Watchman because I think that the rotation has changed least of the three, despite being able to use (and find 5 focus for) Merciless Slash more often.  Oh hey, the devs said that too.

    Watchman has always had a strong rotation with good sustained damage and utility. We didn’t want to mess with the formula to Watchman’s success, so we just made them better at doing what they already do.

    I swear I thought this before they said it.  This will probably be my raiding spec just because I think I’m better at juggling varied cooldowns than trying to get my cooldowns to line up for a burst phase in Combat spec.

    A final note: Twin Saber Throw is badass.  It fills a serious gap in our abilities and is usable at any range.  I’m not sure how it will fit into a standard spank-n-tank rotation until the math nerds start crunching the numbers.

    twinsaber

    It also looks cool.

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      Competition for NPC Affections

      Thehusband and I just started Makeb.  We’re recapturing our SWTOR “honeymoon period” by running all the quests together and seeing the new content together for the first time.  The rationale for this is that we’ll get to 55 no matter what, but it’s not like we’re getting any new story anytime soon, so we might as well really slow down and enjoy it instead of trying to race to the finish.

      Something that has been on my mind with the introduction of SGR with the Makeb NPCS was how flirt options were going to work with non-companion non-class-storyline NPC’s in general.

      When you BSOCK a random dude in the smuggler storyline, for example, it’s in the smuggler storyline and you’re the only one that gets to do the talking.  Any friends you bring along are in observation mode only.  They can’t win a roll and try to woo your would-be sweetie away from you.

      However, we’re dealing here, on both sides, with a love interest who is part of the planet story, not class story.  How is that going to work?

      ***MILD SPOILERS BELOW RE: MAKEB SAME GENDER ROMANCE REPUBLIC SIDE***

      You have been warned.

      Continue Reading »

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        New Synthweaving Spreadsheet For You

        So, instead of doing anything fun last night, I cross-checked with Dulfy’s crafting list and updated the Spreadsheet of Doooom with the new orange Synthweaving schematics.  There aren’t any new ones for Armormech (Edit: yes there are, see below).

        When you change an “n” to a “y”, it will turn green.  The items that don’t exist are marked with “x”.  As we know, sometimes the boots and gloves are a different level than the rest of the set, so for each set, I used the level requirement that is the highest of all items in that set.

        If you need to add just the new stuff to your existing spreadsheet, just use tab 3 and copy/paste the new ones in.  It may be tricking to import over the formatting though (the auto colors and whatnot).  Sorting can be done however you want.  I sort the way it appears in the crafting screen (so by type, then level.)

        Happy Crafting!

        ***Edit: apparently there are new armormech schematics, probably added AFTER Dulfy posted.  I found one last night.  So I will be adding them to the chart the old-fashioned way: by finding them myself or searching the GTN to see what is available.  

        I suspect they will follow the same pattern as the synthweaving ones.  For each armor class:

        • 1 set with boots, bracers, belt
        • 3 sets with head, chest, gloves, legs
          • 1 imp
          • 1 rep
          • 1 both

        I’ll add them to the spreadsheet as soon as I get the complete listing.

        ***Edit2: Guys, this is very strange.  I can’t find any of the synth recipes on the GTN – meaning I don’t know what.  Well it means I’ve wasted my damn time putting together a list, that’s what it means.

        As a practical matter the synthweaving recipes may not exist at all, and so far nobody has seen any armormech recipes, save for gloves, gloves, and more gloves.

        Epic Fail.

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          Super-Serious Makeb Prep

          Are you guys ready for Makeb?

          Forget about getting commendations blah blah boring.  You need to have your fashion in order!

          Rainbow Hutt is going to look back and cringe.

          Rainbow Hutt is going to look back and cringe.

          Whilst leveling, your toon will be front and center talking with (BSOCKing)  this or that NPC, in scene after scene.  Scenes that you may wish to screenshot…  Don’t let bad fashion ruin your screenshots for posterity.

          Or at least that is how I justify my 400k outfit change last night.

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            I Heart Bikinis

            So, I have a dirty little secret.  I love bikinis and wear them around the fleet when I think nobody is looking.  However, one of my guildmates caught me so it’s time to come clean.

            njessibikini

            This totally accurate picture has absolutely nothing to do with loading lag making toons not appear right away.  I’m totally wearing a bikini!  See, name above my head and everything.

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              Things I Am Psyched About

              OK boys and girls, enough whining.  Let me share what I’m psyched about!

              Character recustomization.  AAAAAA!!! Undignified squealing! I want this so bad you have no idea.  I just don’t even KNOW what I’d do first.  This is the biggest reason that I’m not currently blowing all my cartel coins on fashion.  I need to save them for hairdos!  And species changes! And um… more hairdos when I change my mind about the first hairdo change.

              Hearing my toon’s voice again.  I sometimes do the Belsavis quests just to hear her talk to the holograms.  It’s kind of sad.

              New Clothes.  Because there are always new clothes in an expansion, right?  Even if I can’t craft anything cool.  Grumble.

              Twin Saber Throw.  So let me get this straight, I get to THROW both sabers and they mow down anything in their path?  What’s not to like!

              Resize Buff/Debuff Frames. That makes me less scared of trying healing because, seriously, right now it’s hard to see whether there’s something to cleanse.

              New Operation.  I am so there.  I live for ops.  PvP can go to hell.

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                New Skill Trees For Patch 2.0: I Like the Destination, but the Journey Looks Scary.

                I haven’t spent a whole crapton of time on the new talents and the trees, because everything is subject to change.  I’m pretty late to the party on this one.  (By the way, I’m using the SWTOR Spy PTS talent calculators.  I mean skill tree calculators.  Totally skill.)

                The Watchman and Combat Sentinel trees look fucking awesome at 55.  There they seem balanced.  And the lower half of the trees seem to be barely touched.1

                But the big top-of-tree ability for every tree of every class that I used to be able to get at level 40 is now delayed to level 45.  How are these changes going to affect me along the way (for main and alt alike) – specifically between levels 35 and 55, where most of the changes seem to be centered? Will the fight at the end of Act 2 (because there is always a fight at the end of Act 2) become super-easy or nearly impossible?  Will different classes be affected differently by this?

                When I am forced to respec my Sentinel at lvl 50 for the climb to level 55 using the new skill trees, I will need to spend 36 (rather than 31) points in my primary tree in order to get the final talent in whatever tree it is, which is, in all three sentinel specs, the bread and butter of that spec. This leaves me with only 5 out-of-tree points to play with, instead of 10, and the abilities that I JUST HAD under the old calculator are now unattainable.  So I have to choose between the top-of-the-tree ability that I JUST HAD or the lower abilities that I ALSO JUST HAD.  It feels like losing something.

                I will likely level in Combat spec because it doesn’t benefit much from those last 5 points (or lose out much by not having them spent), and then switch to Watchman at level 55.  Due to a talent position switch in the combat tree, Watchman needs to spend at least 8 points in the combat tree to get the off-hand damage boost which, in my opinion, is a very mandatory talent.

                If you’re curious,  here’s my level 50 combat spec.  Seems pretty functional to me.  It’s only really missing a crit bonus, and I can live without that.

                Gunslinger is a bit different.  I’m already playing a dirty fighting/saboteur hybrid spec, and don’t have the top talent in either tree. Similarly, there are plenty of viable sharpshooter specs out there that forego the top talent in that tree.  I don’t envision the respec at 50 to be too painful or to actually lose any abilities I currently have.  Because all the new talents are at the 31-35 point places in the talent tree, I won’t even be speccing those at all with a hybrid spec.  Will this gimp my dps?  Are the new trees designed to penalize hybrids by putting highly desirable talents in the 31-35 bracket?

                My level 50 hybrid spec will probably look like this, and I’ll pick up the Arsonist and Sharpshooter talents along the way. (Sharpshooter (accuracy) last, since it won’t matter much until I start doing ops.)  Depending on the theorycraft regarding hybrids, it may be worth it to switch to pure dirty fighting at 55 or sooner.  In Jaspor’s Bioware interview (GO READ IT), it seemed like the devs allow for hybrid classes, but don’t intend for them, and certainly don’t want them to outperform everyone else.

                As for my Sage, I have no clue, as I haven’t made it to 50 yet.  I just hit 45.  Cognizant of these changes, I paid special attention when I got turbulence at level 40 and tried to estimate how much it improved my DPS for the last 5 levels.  It was pretty important, though not as important as the top talents in the Sentinel Combat and Watchman trees (in my opinion).  I think I probably would have been OK without it, but not particularly happy to be putting my skill points into the skills right below turbulence that, you guessed it, buff turbulence.

                I’ll probably stay telekinetics up to 55, nonetheless.  I’m not teaching myself new tricks in balance, and then ending up speccing heals at 55 anyway (the current plan).  Heals at 55 looks awesome.

                How do you feel about the new trees at sub-55?

                1. Except! Dual Wield Mastery moved to tier 2 of the combat tree from tier 1.  Not cool, Bioware.

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