And There Was Much Rejoicing!

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When it comes to opinions on the state of the game, The Old Republic community is more divided than the Sith Empire and The Galactic Republic. If there is one thing that everyone can agree upon it’s that Knights of the Fallen Empire destroyed players’ inventory. In Patch 4.1 that’s all about to change. To quote Eric Musco,

“any item which previously stacked to 99, will now stack to 9,999.”

I’ve still got a bunch of 1st and 2nd-year-anniversary fireworks, and the moment I login I’m headed to my Yavin IV stronghold and am going to light them all off in celebration of this change. Ironically, prior to patch 4.1, I probably would have had to do this anyway because I didn’t have room in my inventory to keep hanging onto them.

I’ve spent hours organizing and re-organizing my inventory. I’ve purchased character slots and created new characters, not for the purposes of leveling, but to hold all of the crap that I keep getting, and want to hold on to.

I haven’t done the math, but I suspect that this change will allow me to free up one to two tabs in my legacy cargo hold alone.

The change doesn’t solve all my issues, and the way things are going, I’ll soon fill up that space with legacy armor pieces that I keep getting from those alliance crates.

It’s a vicious cycle. I create a new toon because I need the storage space. I then level that toon because I get bored. That toon reaches level 65 and begins building their alliance, and before you know it they become a giant influx of legacy gear. The really sad part is I don’t have a single complete set of that gear. Just a bunch of pieces-parts.

The other exciting news is that we’re finally getting some Force Awakens crossover into the game. The Unstable Arbiter’s Lightsaber will mimic the fractured look of Kylo Ren’s blade from the film. I’m curious if it has new sounds as well. I look forward to getting one and hope we’ll see more influences from The Force Awakens make their way into The Old Republic throughout the year.

 

 

This is Where the Fun Begins

Back at Star Wars Celebration, Mike and Joao asked me who my favorite Star Wars character was, and without hesitation I said, Han Solo.

They told me that at some point they planned to do a Han Solo character dissection and that they would love to have me on to participate. Now that The Force Awakens is out, the moment to have that discussion has arrived.

Without the help of this no good, scruffy looking, nerf-herding, pirate and scoundrel the Empire would still be ruling that galaxy far, far away. Join me as we look at how this man went from rogue smuggler to loyal friend and war hero.

Here is Part One of the Han Solo dissection series. Be sure to check out The Cantina Cast website for information on the audio version, or subscribe to them on iTunes and automatically receive it when it becomes available.

Part two of this series should be available soon as well. Enjoy!

A Promise Delivered

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In what felt like it took forever, I finally killed Heroic Archimonde and got my moose mount. As per usual, it happened in thrilling fashion as it was to be our final attempt of the evening. What is it about those final attempts that spark people into action anyway? Oh, and to Khadgar – seriously dude, what part of “stack with the group” don’t you understand? Mages, I tell ya.

And with that, I can officially stop giving a shit about Warlords of Draenor. Without a doubt, this was my least favorite expansion. I can sum up my experience with Warlords of Draenor as a sea of missed opportunities and zero regrets. There’s a lot I didn’t do, and I’m truly ok with it.

Now, if I can just get an invite to test Legion. I really want to get my batteries recharged here.

It’s That Time of Year Again

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Dear Blizzard,

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,

But the beta is so delightful.

Since I’ve got no place to go,

LET ME IN, LET ME IN, LET ME IN!

Another round of World of Warcraft beta, and once again I’m on the outside looking in. The good news is that two of my podcast hosts are in so we’ll be able to talk about changes from a first-hand experience.

Suffice it to say, all I want for Winter Veil is beta. C’mon Greatfather Winter this grizzled old dwarf is countin’ on ya!

Gnome Hunters! Mech Pets!

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It’s official! You will be able to create a Gnome Hunter in Legion. This was hinted at last week, and Blizzard made a full blown announcement about it yesterday. As if Gnome Hunters weren’t exciting enough, the big surprise was that Hunters are getting a new pet family called Mechanical.

Goblins and Gnomes will be able to tame Mechanicals because they’re Goblins and Gnomes and that’s just what they do. In fact, Gnomes will get a mechanical rabbit as their starting pet.

Before you run off and race change, other Hunters will be able to learn this capability from a device that Engineers will make.

Now, just because you know how to tame a Mechanical, doesn’t mean you know how to tame a Mechanical. That’s right, they’re going to be taming challenges and will require you to make use of your awesome Hunter abilities. One such Mechanical is a mechanostrider. Hunters will have to make their way deep into Gnomregan and figure out how to overload the mechanical beast’s circuits. Figure out this little puzzle and the metal beast is yours.

This is awesome! On more than one occasion, we’ve talked about engineered pets on the Hunting Party Podcast and it’s something that is long overdue. The mechanostrider is a good start, but few things would make me happier than going to Hellfire Peninsula and unleashing a stampede of Fel Reavers onto a Fel Reaver.

Once curious thing that was mentioned in the announcement was the need to feed these pets.

What do you feed a high-tech pet that’s not technically alive? Mechanical Bits, of course! Hunters will be able to keep their shiny metal friends “happy” and “healthy” through the creative use of Engineering supplies such as a Handful of Copper Bolts.

Hopefully this all about lore and fantasy and not the return of pet happiness. That’s one beast that needs to remain dead forever.

Basking in the Sun Again

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The back and forth saga of the Great Companion Nerf took another turn this week and companion power was buffed again. Not to point where it was before it was nerfed but certainly higher. You can read the entire reasoning behind it in Michael Backus’ post on Companion Balance Changes, but this is the gist of it.

  • We will be increasing Companion power. It will not be as powerful as before, but the changes will be significant.

  • Heroic Star Fortresses will get a new moniker to denote that it’s a different type of challenge. And we will balance Star Fortresses independently of both Companion power and [Heroic 2]s to ensure they are tuned appropriately.

The buffs were put in place on Tuesday, but no changes were made to the Heroic Star Fortresses. Why they didn’t make them Tactical Flashpoints for group play is beyond me? That would have been much simpler than a separate thing that they have to figure out how to tune.

As far as soloing them goes, I was able to solo them once again this week. I wasn’t able to do it with the nerf. I’m in mostly 216 gear using a healing companion whose influence level is 32. I don’t know how long this will last, but I’m certainly going to enjoy it for now.

In other news this week, BioWare announced that they are going to announce something big on Tuesday. I didn’t think too much of it until Drew Karpyshyn chimed in. Sounds like it might be related to something he was working on, and that probably means it’s story related. That can only be a good thing.

Luckily for me, all my hype energy is dedicated to The Force Awakens. Shouldn’t be a problem calmly waiting to see what Tuesday brings. Yeah, right.

Legion Hunting Lodge First Look

YouTuber Song Zee post what looks to be an early data-mined looked at the Hunter Class Hall coming in Legion. It’s beautifully rustic and serene. The architecture is Elven and is similar to the Hunting Lodge is Loch Modan.

This should by no means be considered the final product, as things tend to change in Alpha/Beta, but this is an excellent first iteration.

Slackers, All Of Them, Slackers

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After years of fighting the good fight, I finally decided to embrace my destiny and I became the Outlander. To face this great challenge I assembled the greatest alliance the galaxy has ever seen. Handpicked from all corners of space these soldiers, scientists and scoundrels hung by my side and performed at the highest level. They called me commander and believed that they were part of something bigger than themselves.

It was glorious, and then I showed them the Cantina.

I threw one giant party to help excise some of the demons of war and now that’s all they seem to do day in and day out. The drink and cavort, and their skills have gone soft. They used to heal me before I knew I was hurt. They could rival me in damage, and take a punch that would make a Rancor cry.

But now. Now they are all just a bunch of slackers no better than the crew I left for dead five years ago before this all started. They hit like wet noodles. The take a punch by hiding behind me and using me as their shield. Nico now heals by taking a swig of Corellian brandy and saying, “you might want to have that looked at.”

We used to walk into a heroic Star Fortress and own the joint, but now we’re getting shown the door.

Perhaps it’s for the best. Perhaps it’s an opportunity to strengthen our resolve and fight even harder. Or maybe, just maybe I need better gear and exert a little more influence to get back to where we were.

Let’s go slackers. The bar is closed. Time to get to work.

*header image from this post on Massively.

So You Wanna Be a Gnome Hunter?

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You are uncommonly good looking. You know what is the best pet for the DPS. You despise the other support classes and question whether they’re truly needed as you take down Drov the Ruiner, Tectus and Oregorger by yourself. Your bank is filled with ranged weapons of every variety. Your stable is loaded with the most awesome companions from every corner of Azeroth and beyond. Yet, despite all of this, you find that your life as a Hunter is incomplete.

Maybe you have a soft spot for the little guy, or just enjoy the plight of the underdog? Perhaps you want to experience the thrill of knowing your companions can swallow you whole or trample you underfoot?

For 11 years, you’ve been told that you’re too short for this ride, but no more because in Legion you’ll finally get to be a Gnome Hunter.

Of course, Hunters are so awesome that they’ve been playing as gnomes for years now, this will just make it more official. A great move on Blizzard’s part as Hunters can now be played by every race in the game.

Big Changes for Hunters?

I’m getting ready to start day two of my first Blizzcon experience. Plenty of recaps of all the Blizzcon action can be found on MMO-Champion and other places.

I find that it’s much easier to cover Blizzcon when you’re sitting at home with the Virtual Ticket than it is to do so while you’re here. Much of that has to do with the fact that when you’re here, you’re running to get from place-to-place, or grab a bite to eat or running into imaginary friends who are now real.

I did want to pass on a few thoughts on Hunters. Nothing has been officially revealed. It could happen at the game systems panel, and I believe that class blogs will be coming on Sunday.

In talking with people, it sounds like Hunters are in a for a major overhaul in Legion. I’m talking all three Hunter specs and not just Survival here.

When I played the Legion demo, I rolled a level one Dwarf Hunter. I noticed that there was an awesome new Bear model and that Cobra Shot was instant and no longer generated Focus. It sounds like that’s is just the tip of the iceberg for changes.

Nothing I’ve been told is ready for prime-time, but I hope it gets revealed soon. All I can say is that it’s feeling like Hunters will be changing on a scale of Cataclysm this time around in Legion. Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen.

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