Gambling In The Seedy Underbelly

Oh hey, Summer of SWTOR Update.

Let’s get out of the way the boring shit

Blah blah Galactic Starfighter

Don’t care.

Blah blah delayed strongholds

Old news, guys.

PvP and Galactic Starfighter blah blah rewards

Did I mention “don’t care”?

Nightmare Mode blah blah

Oh yes, content that I haven’t cleared in hard mode now has a nightmare mode.  Be still my beating heart.

Now on to the good stuff.

Groupfinder Operations Overhaul. Story Mode Operations will be more accessible to endgame players (levels 50 – 55). The Operations section in the GroupFinder window will list available Operations on a pre-determined schedule, rotating in different Operations every few days. Players who meet the level requirement of the Operation will be Bolstered, removing the requirement for endgame gear. Rewards have also been improved, making this a great opportunity for players to earn Ultimate Commendations and experience new content. These operations will also be for 16-man mode to ensure faster queue times (both 8 and 16 man need 2 tanks and that is typically the gating factor). 16-man is also more forgiving to mistakes and should increase the chances of a successful group.

OK, pugging raids is annoying and I usually don’t have the patience for it.  But ultimate comms are ultimate comms, and I really do need them.  If a 16-man can be put together without spamming the fleet and otherwise cat herding, I’m in.  As T-Rex says, the worst that can happen is adventures.

Next up is the biggest announcement, in my opinion: Nar Shaddaa has a functioning casino.

Nar Shaddaa Casino. For the first time, players are invited to the casinos on Nar Shaddaa to try their luck on the slot machines. Credits can be used to purchase tokens, which in turn can be used on slot machines. Lucky winners will receive certificates that can be traded in for unique rewards that will only be distributed during the Nar Shaddaa Nightlife event. This event will run from June 10th to August 19th.

On the subject of gambling in games, I’m torn because some people might have a problem taking things in moderation.  I’m speaking primarily about those dumbass cartel gambling boxes (about which I’ve complained before).  People spend ridiculous amounts of money on those things, and I just don’t get it (especially since it’s real money) – probably because I don’t have the personality trait that makes gambling fun.  I have to believe that some of the people spending real cash on cartel boxes cannot afford it, should not be doing it, and would be better off in real life if bioware didn’t offer it.  These new slot machines at least do not run on real money, but with a mechanism to turn real money into credits via cartel purchases, people could get themselves in hot water regardless.  Having said that, it’s not bioware’s business to babysit us and make sure we don’t do something stupid.  I shouldn’t buy oreos because my husband devours them like the sarlacc – but I won’t be writing an angry letter to my grocery store to stop stocking them.

In real life I don’t see the allure of gambling at all and tend to avoid it – it bores me.  But I fully support the idea of having a thriving nightlife in Nar Shaddaa where people can socialize and create an “atmosphere.”  Not so far as to say I’d roleplay because that’s another thing I find super-boring.  But just having people in one spot doing something other than shopping the GTN?  Good times.

Now, slot machines are the worst of the boring.  I mean, seriously, you push a button and RNG tells you what to get.  Yawn.  However, if the Nar Shaddaa casino event starts now AND we’re getting Nar Shaddaa housing directly thereafter, I am crossing my fingers for more goodies coming to the Nar Shaddaa nightlife, such as slightly more complicated minigames.  A girl can dream.

Confession: I Intentionally Skipped Double XP Weekend

Yeah, I skipped double XP weekend this time.  On previous double XP weekends, I’ve felt driven and compelled to bust my butt leveling something-or-other.  This time, not so much.

I have a lot of characters at max level at this point.  Let me count… 4 pub side, 5 imp side.  And I only have one class story to finish up, trooper, but I’ve already SEEN the story from leveling with thehusband.

What would I do with another toon at max level?  The only thing I don’t have is a toon that I’m comfortable tanking on – and hey, I don’t actually want to tank.

I ended up skipping playing at all for the whole damn weekend.  I’d try to queue for a 55 flashpoint, and the queue would not move because, duh, everyone was on their low level alts.  The break was kind of nice.  I caught up on some TV.

Last night in gchat:

Me: I totally skipped this double xp weekend.

Guildie1: But weren’t you just saying on your blog that we need more.

Me: Well yes, but just because I don’t personally want one right now doesn’t mean we shouldn’t HAVE one.

Guildie2: WHAT?

Me: Oh sorry, I meant, it is all about me, and Bioware should consult my schedule before doing anything.

Guildie1: That’s better.  Someone at BW is gettin fired over this!

Like with bounty hunter week, it’s nice to have the event come up often enough that you can voluntarily skip an instance of it, or you don’t feel like you REALLY missed out if you’re busy that week or weekend.  I realize that a lot of people feel like if an event comes around too often, it’s not special enough.  But with a wonky schedule and other responsibilities, I want to do things on my own schedule instead of when Bioware thinks I should be at my PC.

Hrm, I guess it really IS all about me.

My Ootinicast Interview

A few weeks ago, the fellows at Ootinicast asked for an interview.  Sure, why not.  We did the interview last weekend and I got an advance copy of the edit the next day.

I couldn’t listen to it.  It’s hard to explain but I just didn’t want to put myself through hearing my own voice and cringing for a half hour.

I’m pretty sure it’s a good interview anyway.  I got all the dorkiness out of my system before recording.  For example:

Chill: So how do you pronounce Njessi?

Me: The easiest is to just say the N is silent. My guildies just call me Jessi.

Chill: Ok.

Me: It’s like my daughter’s favorite joke lately.  “Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl in the bathroom? Because the P is silent!”

Hey, 6 year olds love that sort of shit.

Here’s the interview. Enjoy!

Marauding in Patch 2.8

Now, I realize that the patch notes are subject to change.  In this case, I really hope they will change.


  • Annihilate now deals more damage and costs 4 Rage.
  • Pulverize has been reworked. It now offers a flat 3/6/9 seconds reduction in the cooldown of Rupture passively, instead of resetting the cooldown when other abilities are used.
  • Indefatigable Onslaught now also makes the Damage Over Time effects from Rupture and Deadly Saber uncleansable.

These, you say, are good changes.  Annihilate does more damage and costs less.  RNG has been pretty much removed from the rotation with the change to pulverize.1  And there’s a PvP aspect to the uncleansable dots.

The problem with these notes is: Annihilation wasn’t the problem!  These changes are great but they missed the boat.

Annihilate didn’t seem to have problems keeping up with competitive DPS.  More DPS is of course nice, but not necessitated by the numbers.

Annihilate is not a rage-starved spec.  A reduction is extremely nice, but not woefully needed.

But what really struck me is this: Annihilate’s RNG is not the one that really needs attention.  Annihilation’s RNG portion is vaguely annoying but does not make the class difficult, cumbersome, or frustrating.  While a non-RNG version is obviously better, there are other serious RNG issues that go unaddressed.  I’m talking here about Carnage.

Yes, poor Carnage.  I often find myself rage-starved in Carnage, so a reduction to anything would help.  But the biggest problem in Carnage spec is the two RNG-based procs (Slaughter and Execute, for those of you keeping track at home) that are terribly random and can seriously affect your DPS output.

I hope they’re not done with these patch notes.  With all the quality-of-life changes that they’ve been doing to rid the playerbase of annoying RNG (arsenal mercenaries and dps sorcs in the last patch), it would be a shame to overlook or even delay changes to the RNG-based classes/specs that are struggling with it.

  1. This makes the rotation super-easy

Being Selfish And Lazy Because It Is “Just A Game”

There are a lot of things I should be doing.  In particular, I should be making the gear on my operative the best possible, min/maxing, and generally being leet.  In an ideal world, this would involve:

  • Doing more raiding, likely in pugs, to grind ultimate comms
  • Doing my weeklies to grind ultimate comms
  • Grinding ultimate comms on my alts to buy gear for my main (to smuggle via legacy gear)
  • Getting components to get things crafted (properly weighted enhancements, main hand barrel)
  • Actually getting said things crafted (which means talking to people, ugh)
  • Grinding dailies, on possibly more than one toon, to fund such activities

Note how many times the word “grind” is used in the above list.  This all sounds like a huge nuisance, and I don’t particularly feel like it.  So I won’t.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still working on my gear, but I refuse to do it in a way I find odious.

Sometimes, all I want to do is level alts and see the story – and I’ll pretty much indulge in that for a while.  While it doesn’t outfit my raiding toon, at least it’s blogging fodder.  Some companion is always doing something moronic to share.  Right now, I’m not really into that – hence the blogging sparseness.  There’s not a lot to say when you aren’t dealing with Corso and his restraining order.

Right now, what I seem to feel the urge to do is heal flashpoints.  So that’s what I’m doing.  There is some benefit to it for gearing purposes, so everyone wins.  I make sure to rotate through my healers to at least maximize my comm haul from finishing the 3-hardmode weekly.  I don’t like running flashpoints on my DPS, so I won’t.  Instead I respecced my mercenary to heal them.  If I’ve rotated through my 3 with my operative and sorc, then I’ll resort to my merc.  I’m pretty terrible as a merc healer.  I find it amusing.

Anyway, there’s no real point to this rambling except that it’s a fucking game and should never feel like a chore.  So I’m treating it like a game, dammit, and I’m unapologetic about that.

Having said that, it’s not OK to inflict your lazy and selfish choices on other people.  My gear is still more than adequate for the content I’m raiding.  If it were not, I would have to choose to either stop being lazy or stop signing up for raids.  Other people should not have to put up with an unaugmented snot, even if it’s “just a game.”

In other news…

I recorded an interview for Ootinicast over the weekend.  I am far better at writing than speaking, as this interview confirmed.  You should listen.  Or don’t.  Whatever.

Refusing To Be A Fail-Enabler During Double XP Weekend

The plan for this double XP weekend was to get my long-neglected healing scoundrel from 50 to 55, so I’d have more options on the republic side, should any of my buddies want to run a thing.  Rather than going to Makeb, which I’m seriously sick of, I decided to heal my way through instances.  Also, my companions have super-crappy gear so questing with any of them would probably be an exercise in wiping the floor.

All was going smoothly – more than smoothly, actually.  I got added to several friends lists because apparently competent healers are uncommon.

Then came that Esseles run.  I haven’t been to Esseles in a long-ass time because I’m almost never on the republic side anymore.  I got pulled into a group already-in-progress, which can sometimes be a forecast of bad things to come.  The tank explained that they were stuck on a boss – one that I didn’t remember as being particularly challenging, but hey, I’m not on the pub side often.

I healed my ass off.  We died.  After rezing, the tank gave condescending instructions to stay out of bad (duh) and to prioritize healing the tank (double duh).  I healed my ass off again, and this time we squeaked by.  When I say “healed my ass off” I mean that I don’t work this hard when I’m healing hard mode progression content.

We keet going, and the content was still unnecessarily difficult.  At which point I glanced at the tank’s buff bar and realized that he’s not in tank stance.  These things happen to the best of us (I once ran an instance in no stance whatsoever) and I gently notified him that he wasn’t in tank stance.

Him: I know.  I still have threat abilities and I do more DPS.  It’s better this way.

Me: … but you’re much harder to heal.

We kept going, and he didn’t change his stance.  At that point, I had a few competing thoughts…

  • I didn’t have time to requeue if I dropped group
  • I could probably heal through it because I’m awesome.  After all I had just healed through it without realizing.
  • He’d never learn to play properly if I enabled his failtanking.  If it was possible for him to get through this instance doing things wrong, he’d keep doing it wrong and blame the next healer for being unable to heal him through his idiocy.

So I said “You know, no, I’m not going to heal through stupid” and dropped group.  One of the DPS whispered that he didn’t blame me at all.  I put the tank on ignore and moved on.

Other than that appallingly stupid tank, the rest of the double XP weekend was without incident and I did hit 55 on my scoundrel.

How was your weekend?

In Case You Forgot, What Is Changing In Patch 2.7

Besides all that “new content” and “flashpoint” tomfoolery, here’s what is happening in Patch 2.7 (important according to me.)

Quality of Life Changes To Reduce reliance on RNG

These affect both DPS specs of sorc/sage and the arsenal/gunnery tree of merc/commando



  • Lightning Barrage now has a 50%/100% chance to grant a Lightning Barrage charge when using Lightning Strike on a target affected by the user’s Affliction. A Lightning Barrage charge causes the user’s next Force Lightning to channel and damage twice as fast.
  • The chance to trigger Lightning Storm is now 100% (up from 60% for Lightning Strike and Thundering Blast and 20% for Force Storm) and is based on ability activation rather than dealing damage with Lightning Strike, Thundering Blast, or Force Storm. The 10-second rate limit remains, and Force Storm now shares a rate limit with Lightning Strike and Thundering Blast.


  • Wrath now builds up a charge whenever the Sorcerer deals damage with Force Lightning. At 3 charges, the next Lightning Strike or Crushing Darkness is activated instantly and deals 35% more damage.



  • Barrage now has a 33%/67%/100% chance to occur when using Tracer Missile or Power Shot.

RNG = fail.

Aoe targeting changes

New options are available for the Ground Target Area of Effect reticle:

  • Sticky Ground Target Reticule – When active, this option makes it so your Ground Target Reticule doesn’t disappear if the target location is out of range or the ability otherwise fails. Example: Bounty Hunter attempts to activate Death From Above, but their target location is out of range. With this option active, the GTAoE reticule will persist and allow the player to instantly attempt to use the ability again. If this option isn’t active, then the reticule will disappear and the player will have to click again.
  • Quick Ground Target Activation – When active, pressing a hotkey that belongs to a GTAoE twice will use the ability at the feet of the Player’s target. Example: The Player has the Pass the Huttball ability saved to Hotkey #3. The Player targets an ally and then presses 3 two times. The Huttball Pass will be activated at the feet of the targeted ally. If this option is turned off, then there are no changes to the existing behavior.

This one will be awesome for healers and dps alike – including, once again, sorcs and sages.  Sorcs/sages really win this patch.

Standardized labeling for item levels.

  • All equippable gear pieces have their Item Rating displayed in the tooltip. Weapons and armor have not changed.
  • In the equipment tooltips, mods/enhancements now display their Item Rating in parentheses instead of their Item Level.
  • While unequipped, mods/enhancements display their Item Rating in their tooltip.

About. Freaking. Time.

Operative Changes

TL;DR Arguably buffs for PvE, definite nerfs for PvP.

Exfiltrate has been redesigned. Using Exfiltrate grants a charge lasting 10 seconds that allows the player to Exfiltrate again within a 10 second window, after the second roll the ability goes on a ten second cooldown. If the charge is not used during this ten second window the ability remains off cooldown to be used again at a later time. In addition the energy cost has been removed making the ability free to use and the player no longer Exfiltrates a shorter distance if snared.

This prevents “chain rolling” but is actually a boon in PvE as it allows you to get out of the bad without using up your energy pool.

Surgical Precision now grants Tactical Advantage when Surgical Probe is used regardless of the target’s health, but this effect can only occur once every 10 seconds.

No more spamming your instant on low health group members to keep them alive, but an overall throughput boost during the course of the fight.

Agent/Smuggler Flashbang Changes

Nerfed for Snipers/Gunslingers, Stays same for Operatives/Scoundrels.  The baseline is reduced to one target for agent/smuggler, and then bumped back up to 5 targets in the operative/scoundrel advanced class.

Imperial Agent


  • Flashbang now only blinds a single target.


  • Preparedness now allows Flashbang to blind up to 5 targets within 5 meters.

Yep… a little confusing, but it ends up as a sniper/slinger nerf.  Probably also a PvP motivated change.

What are you excited about (or hate) for Patch 2.7?

Compensating For Fail

There is a definite downside in being able to work healing miracles – namely that it allows people who fail to get away with failing and continue to fail.  I have been working on my operative’s gear – and been pretty lucky with drops – so now I can save groups that should rightly croak by reason of their own stupidity.

I paired off with a guild tank the other night and queued for a pug.  The DPS totally botched one of the encounters by (among other things) mixing up the kill order.  If it were a month ago when I had less gear, we’d all be dead.  As it was, we pulled through with a little bit of swearing from me.

Since they lived through their stupidity, the following exchange occurred:

DPS 1: I think they nerfed that encounter.

Me: No, I’m just awesome.

DPS 2: I’m pretty sure they nerfed it.

And that is why they will never learn, because I’m facilitating fail.  I’m a fail enabler.  I suppose I could let them die, but then they’d just go “lol, that healer sucked.”

I’m still awesome.