I Like Inappropriately Large Backsides and I Cannot Prevaricate

This may be my favorite patch note of all time, both for the content and for the wording.  On Test Server, Patch 1.5:

More robes have been adjusted so that their backsides are not inappropriately large when worn.

OK, if you think this fix is stupid, you shut the hell up!  Bubble butt has been a problem since forever.   Now, if they could just fix the butt-clipping of my Voss robe we’d be all set.

Little Legacy Luxuries

This may have escaped your notice, but I am a crazyinsane crafter.  As such, I’m plopping down 150k on recipes sometimes (I don’t have many left to buy, so I can afford to overpay a little…. a lot).  And I never seem to have that much money.  Certainly not enough to buy a lot of legacy shit.  However, I have bought a few luxuries which, in my opinion, give good bang for the buck.

Things I bought

C2 Modules.  Remember, you do not have to actually purchase the ship droid for one million or so credits.  You just have to go onto someone else’s ship who has one.  Buy the module for 100k.  Win.  If you have alts, the modules are bind to legacy, so just go ahead and pick up all you’d need at once.

These modules will save you money in the long run.  An increased crafting crit rate will proc you a bunch of extras (once I queued up 5 augments and got 8!).  And gathering crits are also useful – you get the rare mats without having to resort to the GTN.

Repair Bot for my main. It’s really nice to have one.  I haven’t sprung for the really pricey one because it’s just unlikely I’ll need one more than once an hour, and it’s very unlikely that I will need it to stay in one place more than the 20 seconds it takes me to click “repair all”.

Portal to Black Hole.  What makes dailies less painful?  Portals.  Port to black hole.  Do quests. QT back to turn in.  Fleet pass back to the fleet.  DONE.  This one will pay for itself because I’m much more likely to actually do dailies now.

Speedering for my alts.  Why walk when I can ride?  However, alts are a dime a dozen and I don’t want to be tossing away cash on a toon that ends up abandoned on Coruscant.  So the compromise is: if the toon gets to Taris (Republic) or Balmorra (Empire), THEN I get a speeder.  Because those planets are downright painful without one, right?

Things that I want but are pricey

I have a dream that I would buy a ship mailbox, a ship droid, and a ship GTN, and then never leave the coziness of my ship.  But there is no option for a guild bank on your ship.  Until that occurs, I’m afraid I’m chained to the fleet anyway.  Eew, the unwashed masses.

Do not know if want

Boosted affection gain from companions for conversation/gifts.  Well, it depends.  How much is it going to cost me WITHOUT the legacy perk versus with the legacy perk?  If the legacy perk is expensive (it is), it might be more cost effective to simply buy or farm a few extra companion gifts and be done with it.

Boosted XP from class missions/exploration.  Again, math. I have no earthly clue how much xp comes from my class quests versus my other quests versus killing things versus exploration.  The money might be better spent on twinked out gear so I can plough through the killing parts of quests more efficiently and save time THAT way.

Then there’s shit I will never buy…

Increased Chance To Proc Augment Slot.  OK, this isn’t an increased CRIT, it’s an increased chance to proc an augment slot.  An augment slot of the same level as the item.  Usually people don’t want level 50 orange gear.  They want orange gear that is attractive, which can be of any level!  Why should I pay good money for the chance to proc an augment slot in a level 10 item – an augment slot that will have to be upgraded ANYWAY.  Waste of money.

Fleet Pass Cooldown Reduction.  Eff that.  I have an authenticator and I can buy ONE HOUR COOLDOWN fleet passes until I pass out.  I keep a stack of 5 on my toon and never worry about it again.  That alone is worth the hassle of typing in extra numbers with every login and expense (unless you download it to your phone and then the app is free).

We Would Have Beat Them By Now If You Were Ranged DPS

Toth And Zorn Are BFF With Ranged DPS

So, this weekend, we’re bashing our heads against Toth and Zorn, the first bosses of Heroic EC, for the quintillionth time.  We are not quite beating the enrage timer.  They are going apeshit around… 5%?  2% something ridiculous like that.

Now, the setup is 2 ranged dps and 2 melee dps.  Melee can’t be put on Zorn, meaning that the encounter won’t even entertain the notion of more than 2 melee dps.  But Toth has this berserk where the melee has to GTFO.  So twice during the fight, I’m sitting there twiddling my thumbs while the other side makes substantial gains.

My raid leader, frustrated by getting so damn close so many times, said something like “we would have beat them by now if you (meaning me and the scrapper dps) were ranged.”  Not saying “you idiots should have picked different classes” – more frustration with the stupidity of the encounters that heavily favor ranged DPS.

And I couldn’t argue with his statement.

Raids Favor Ranged

There are some encounters in which ranged or melee doesn’t matter.  However, in every raid, there is at least one encounter that requires (or at least heavily favors) 2 ranged dps… and we’re not even counting some of those annoying and embarrassing trash pulls upon which we wipe too many times if we don’t have a good raid composition for crowd control.

  • EV: On the first droid boss, before we were geared, ranged were able to duck behind pillars in the “oh crap he’s shooting us” phase, and still pop out to do DPS.  The melee just stood behind the pillar feeling useless.  On Gharj, melee lose a lot of DPS time having to run in and out, away from Mr. Stompy.
  • KP: On Jarg and Sorno, again, the encounter doesn’t entertain the notion of more than 2 melee dps, as melee cannot damage Jarg. The puzzle is very difficult to complete without 2 ranged dps on the top solving it.
  • EC: Kephess requires a lot of movement and, even with a gap closer, it’s tough for melee to get to the bomber on time.
  • TFB: The last boss in the new Terror From Beyoooond requires 2 ranged dps to deal with the periodic spawning of 2 adds that will explode upon impact.

On these encounters, there is a maximum of 2 melee dps, but there is no penalty for having ALL ranged dps.

“Have the ranged burn down X because if it gets near you, it explodes and kills you.”  OK, when have we heard that before?  Oh right all the time.  When did we last hear “You need to have melee in on this or you’re totally fucked”?  Oh right, never.

Ranged DPS: Cheaterish Advantages

Crowd control.  Cough sages cough commandos.  Seriously, not restricted to droids OR humanoids, can be cast in combat. Jerks. Gunslingers don’t get great CC, but they have that cheater-dome.

Let’s not even TALK about positional attacks.  When you’re ranged, do you have to make sure to be behind the boss?  Unless you’re directly in the boss’s face about to eat a cleave, a ranged can attack from just about any position.  Fun fact: perfectly round droids do have a butt-side.  So do portals.  Go figure.

I’m not sure if they are easier to heal, but I suspect yes.  They can stand far away from the boss and don’t eat as many unpleasant boss abilities.

Anything Melee Can Do, Ranged Can Do (In Many Cases Better)

Most people say “hey we need melee for interrupts” – if they say anything good about melee at all.  But everyone can interrupt, and it’s not like I can interrupt any better than they can.

As a Sentinel, I get an 8 second cooldown on interrupt.  I can lower that cooldown to 6 seconds only with one of the 3 specs.  However, all ranged dps get a 12 second interrupt.  And the tanks have an 8 second interrupt that they can also talent down to 6 seconds.  Nobody is like “WHEEE AN 8 SECOND INTERRUPT” because with an 8 second interrupt, I still can’t interrupt every cast, we’ll still have to alternate, so who the fuck cares that it’s 8 seconds rather than 12?

Also, I have to be next to the boss to interrupt.  A cheater sage does not.  In a fight with a knockback or a lot of movement, I may not be right there when the interrupt is needed.

Now I have one ace in the hole: that heroism/bloodlust thing that we can use once per boss fight for a few seconds.  Big whoop.

I have yet to find an encounter that couldn’t be easily accomplished with 4 ranged dps. I have yet to find an encounter where lack of melee dps is a disadvantage.  This makes no sense on a game design level since the DPS tree(s) of 5 of the 8 advanced classes are melee (I consider 10m abilities as basically melee).

 Now I Whine About My Specific Situation

Which leads me back to last night.  If I were ranged DPS, I would have more time on the boss.  Although ranged classes have more cast times and admittedly may have a tougher time with heavy movement phases, a small advantage in the movement phase for melee does NOT make up for all the time I have to GTFO or the boss will pound my face in.  A DPS sitting and thumb-twiddling is a DPS loss.  EVEN IF melee has higher theoretical non-moving tank-n-spank dps, which I’m pretty sure it does not, that potentially higher dps whilst on the boss cannot make up for the thumb-twiddling phases.  I can’t even passively regen resources!  I don’t have resources to regen because I have to smack shit around to have resources in the first place.

Yes, we finally kicked their sorry Drouk butts, but it was close and half the raid was dead.  Could we have done it 5 attempts earlier if the 2 melee had been ranged?  I think so.  That’s annoying.

At this point I’m really frustrated.  I know I can pwn things in the face with my current spec and gear. My DPS is really up there… during those sporadic periods when I get to hit the boss at all.

What is the melee/ranged balance of your raid team?  Am I way off base here?  Is there a way that melee has an advantage that I’m not seeing?

Dude, Where Are My Comms?

With 1.4, story mode EC gives no black hole comms from bosses or chests.  Same with Terror From Beyond Story Mode.  We probably would have known this sooner, or even been able to discern it from the patch notes, if Bioware didn’t utterly fail at communication (again).

This. Blows.

Where Can I Get Comms?

Now I can get Black Hole Comms from:

  • The weekly turn-in for EC story mode and, presumably, TFB Story mode
  • Weekly black hole dailies quest (ugh)
  • Group Finder Daily (more ugh)
  • Flashpoint Weekly thing (?)  (one of my guildies claims this exists, sounds dreadful)
  • Ops Finder (kill me now)
  • Hard Mode EC or TFB (falling off my chair laughing)

Why This Is Bullshit

See, I had it really good before this patch.  I could earn commendations to buy raid gear from raiding.  So I could get better gear for something I enjoy by doing something I enjoy.

Now, I have to do shit I have little to no interest in doing  just to get to the stuff that I do want to do.  Having to grind stuff outside raiding takes my limited time away from crafting and alt-ing, and all the other stuff I actually like doing.  At least my guildies, in the same miserable boat, will group with me, allowing me to do group content for comms without too much contact with the unwashed pug masses.

And don’t tell me that I can get the gear I need for Hard Mode EC from doing story mode EC, or that I can saunter into regular mode EC with all columi gear without doing hard mode EV & KP for the rakata.  Unfortunately we’re stuck in this weird cycle of needing X tier gear to be successful in the raid that drops that same tier gear.  It’s a catch-22, a dinosaur and an egg, a mobius strip of fail, or whatever stupidass metaphor we’re using this week.

All Of This Has Happened Before And Will Happen Again

This isn’t a new thing.  In WoW, I had to do a ton of grinding to get commendations to get the gear I needed.  It’s a necessary evil, and I’m not horrified by it.  Just annoyed… and possibly a little nervous.  Grinding commendations was one of the reasons that led to me quitting WoW, because I got so burnt out on doing the same boring shit over and over.  I don’t want to put myself in a position of getting burnt out on this game too.

In Practice: This Weekend’s Raids

We had planned to do EC story mode but, ha ha, no comms except from the weekly quest.  OK, we decided, we are going to work on EC Hard Mode.  We had been consistently getting the first encounter to around 5% so it’s reasonable to think that we might pull it off this week.

Nope.  I swear, I’m not just making shit up, but I think that they stealth-buffed hard mode as they openly-nerfed story mode.  We were pretty demoralized that we seem to have gotten worse in the last week.  I don’t think we even got them to 30%, a far cry from the “near misses, butting up against the enrage timer” from last time.  But then we start hearing around the fleet about other guilds that formerly had the hard mode on farm wiping on those encounters.  So it was probably the bosses and not any sudden newfound incompetence.

Player Reactions

I gotta say, and I’m not just threatening for the sake of melodrama, that this might literally make some people flat-out quit the game.  I’m hoping that doesn’t happen in my guild, but at the same time, I can see where they are coming from and I’m not going to begrudge them the opportunity to jump ship and have fun elsewhere.

(Being a GM is toooo haaaard.)

When Will The Game Companies Ever Learn?

Look players just don’t like when the devs just change the rules, and to the players’ disadvantage.  That’s why things shouldn’t be removed or nerfed unless it’s absolutely necessary.  This is customer relations 101.  Do NOT make me bring up the SWG NGE, because I goddamn will.  See, I just did!

What This Means For Me

Well, really, nothing.  I’m not quitting the game.  I’m not quitting blogging.  But I am becoming more irate.  I’ve looked over my last few posts, and they’ve been more ranty than usual… a lot more ranty.  Maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age, or maybe it’s Bioware.  I suspect the latter.  (Now get off my lawn!)

Of course, things will change for me if enough guildies get fed up and leave the game.  But I’m not even willing to entertain that notion right now because it is full of woe.

An Open Letter

Dear Bioware, EA, and Lucasarts,

I’m trying to be positive about your game, because I genuinely like it.  However, a word of advice:




I Should Probably Say Something About Patch 1.4 Today

A few days ago I’m talking about our planned weekend of raiding and 1.4 dropping… (excerpted from my illustrious chat log…)

I’m sure they will launch 1.4 at a time that is the most inconvenient for us

like thursday and break all the stuff for our friday raid

Welp, that happened, although at least it deployed on Wednesday and not Thursday, but things did break.  The GTN totally broke.  A lot of people probably don’t care about that, but remember, I am seriously stalking those last few recipes.

Also, the hat toggle for companions is not yet fully functional… Both the self-toggle and the companion toggle have the problem where the hat sometimes shows even when the box is checked.  To turn the hat off again, you have to uncheck the box and then recheck it.   The companion hat toggle works right until you go into a cut scene.  When you get out of the cut scene, the companion is once again showing hat.  I like the idea of the hat option for companions a lot, but it’s frustrating that it requires constant “babysitting” right now.

I also said in that same IM conversation

or it might be buggy RIGHT after the patch and need the subsequent fix-it-patch that they always do the next day

The servers are down today?  Unscheduled maintenance?  SHOCK.

These patch bugs aren’t a big deal.  They usually get fixed in a reasonable timeframe and bugs don’t enrage me like they do some of my guildies.  However, the knowledge that something will likely break, and it may not be something related to the patch, and it may be something really annoying – that really saps the carefree, unbridled excitement of rushing online to experience new content.

Also, moods make my toon look like a perv or an ax murderer or a pervy ax murderer.

This weekend, we’re going to try Terror From Beyond. I haven’t studied a new encounter in a while.  I’ve studied hard modes of known encounters, but it’s been MONTHS since I’ve had to study a whole new thing.  I’m a bit nervous that there will be bugs – in fact, given the track record of the last few patches, I expect bugs.

Wish me luck!

Torian Bieber

Ah, Torian.  Issen’s future love interest… I couldn’t wait to meet him (well… I could).

***Mild and potentially boring spoilers ahead about Torian Cadera, Bounty Hunter Companion.  You have been warned.***

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A Wild Blogiversary Has Appeared

I’m seriously terrible at remembering any anniversaries, let alone my own.  Really.  I’ve been married for 6 years and have remembered… twice.  I’m sure I was good at remembering until I took an arrow to the knee.

Fortunately, wordpress has my back.  I can pre-schedule a post telling you guys that it is, in fact, my blogiversary.  I have been spouting drivel about SWTOR right here for a year.  It is my 148th post.  That is not a round number.  It is a large number.  LOTS of drivel.

Thank you for reading.  It still blows my mind that people read my stuff, but I have looked at the stats and they mostly don’t lie.

Thank you for commenting.  I know there are far more lurkers than commenters, but I have a special place in my heart for the commenters because it makes me feel like people want to start a conversation.  Conversations are good!

Thank you for catching up with me on Twitter.  Hey, I’m not there much, but if you want to have a conversation THERE, I’m game.

Thank you for… holy crap, seeing me in GAME?  Ok, that kind of boggles my mind that people recognize the name and are like “I read your blog!”  I’m going SQUEE in a most undignified manner.

Thank you for being awesome bloggers in the SWTOR blogosphere.  It seems like bloggers go out of their way to encourage and support each other and don’t get all argue-y.

As much as I like to bitch and whine (and I do love bitching and whining) here’s hoping that I’m still here to celebrate my 2nd blogiversary.  If that does occur, I expect beer.

Quality of Life Improvements for Fashion! I Mean Gear…

Welp, after ranting like a loon the last couple of days, I’m a pretty happy camper today.  Check out the swtor blog about the doodads we’re getting in 1.4.

2 points I really really REALLY love.  I’m dotting my i’s with hearts.

Companion Customization Improvements – Finally, starting in Game Update 1.4 players will be able to hide the helmet, or unify colors to chest, for their companion’s gear (see the screenshot at the top of this article). No more mismatched, silly outfits (unless you like them that way)!

I knew about this before, but I forgot how much I love it.  I especially like the ability to get rid of the bucket head.  As you might recall, I was a big fan of removing helm so I could see my companions while they were speaking, but refrained from doing so because half the cut scenes seem to toss you into battle at the end, and I need my companion to have all his/her armor.

I was contemplating putting Doc in the slave collar so I could see his face – and shock him if he looked at another lady. I guess I won’t have to.  (But I might anyway.)

But, this one is even better, seriously:

Delayed Binding – Ever accidentally roll greed by mistake? Ever spend your commendations on the wrong item at the token vendor? In Game Update 1.4, players will be able to address this issue. Bind on Pickup and Bind on Legacy items will now have a 2 hour limit in which they can be exchanged. If they were a loot item, you can freely give the item to any party member who was in on the kill and therefore eligible to loot the item. Similarly, if you buy something from a commendation vendor, you will have 2 hours to return the item to any vendor and get a full refund of commendations. (and then there are some terms and conditions blah blah)

Right now, our biggest time suck in raiding is LOOT.  There are a lot of times when most people don’t need the damn thing and we’re stuck going through the stuff item-by-item with the master looter.

So, you say, why don’t you just do need/greed?  Ok, smartass fictitious arguing person, here’s why: there is TOO LITTLE TIME to inspect the gear and make a decision before the damn thing times out.  You can only look at 2 gear items at a time on your screen, so you have to make decisions and move on before seeing what the rest of the loot is.  This led to a LOT of oopses and tickets until we decided we had to go back to master looter so we could make sure that people who needed the gear didn’t lose out on it by accident.

Now we can do need/greed without any danger of screwing someone over, and if there’s an oops, we can trade on the way to the next trash pull.  Easy peasy.

I know, the big news will be the new raid – I mean ops – but the quality of life improvements?  I live for this stuff!