Monthly Archives: December 2011

SWTOR: Some screenshots of my characters

Just for fun, I thought I’d post some screenshots of my characters in Star Wars The Old Republic.

This is my main character, a Jedi Knight. She’s a Guardian specializing in Vigilance. She’s carrying an orange lightsaber, picked up in Athiss. I decided to keep the orange color crystal for now. At the moment, not many have that color. My goal is to have a purple color crystal. I’m hoping that I can unlock the schematic once my Artifice is high enough. My Jedi follows a strict Light Side path.

This is my Imperial Agent. She’s Sniper specializing in Marksmanship. Her path lies in the grey or neutral alignment.

Here’s my Smuggler. As you can see, I haven’t played him very much. He’s restoring his health with the coolest animation–flipping a coin and shooting it. I haven’t decided his spec yet.

I have one more character, a Sith Inquisitor. I didn’t have a chance to snag a picture of her. She’s a red Twi’lek, level 10. She’s going to be a Sorcerer and go into Corruption to heal.

Here’s some images of space combat.

 

Yes, we are going into that asteroid field.

Space combat is quite fun, though challenging at first. I do prefer the sleekness of the Imperial Agent’s ship over the Jedi Knight’s. The companions sure could use a lesson in reducing comm chatter!

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Filed under screenshots, Star Wars The Old Republic, SWTOR

2011 in Recap

2011 is ending. I know. I can’t believe it either. This year I started blogging more often and intend to keep that up next year. This year was also an interesting one for Star Wars and geek culture in general.

So what happened this year that was significant to geeks and women? Let’s see, in February, Volkswagon aired a commercial showing a child dressed as Darth Vader trying to use the Force. Search engines exploded with questions about the child’s gender. Various factors like the bedroom and toys seen were used as evidence to both sides. Unfortunately, all this did was hurt the debate. In addition, this year was the first Geek Girl Con and based on various blog posts from those who attended, it sounded as if it was a rousing success and the Blizzard released a female-based World of Warcraft commercial.

In book news, fans were thrown for a loop when it was believed the X-Wing series was no longer in print. Fortunately, this isn’t true and we can all stay calm. Aaron Allston’s Conviction hit shelves, providing readers with his final piece of the Fate of the Jedi series. Fans can buy Star Wars books on their eBook readers and tablets. Unfortunately, not all book happenings were well received. Christie Golden’s Ascension caused a large stir with the introduction of domestic violence by heroes into Star Wars.

Amidst the other releases was the announcement of the release date and the cover of Aaron’s Allston’s new book Mercy Kill. Based on forums and Twitter feeds, fans are anxiously awaiting this book. There’s also word of a Timothy Zahn Han Solo book.

Finally, Star Wars The Old Republic launched. The launch of this game has been interesting. Servers are full. There are queues just to log into account management. The sheer number of people playing this game is fantastic.

Other pieces of Star Wars news trickled in, like the news of 3D Star Wars movies and return of Darth Maul to The Clone Wars.

2011 was up and down for us Star Wars. Lovers of the EU are still floundering in a state of limbo. Star Wars gamers have a great game. More people are accepting that women are an important part of the geek product market. We’re still seeing glass ceilings and brick walls, but it’s a start.

So what is 2012 going to bring? Will Apocalypse deliver? Are we going to see real female characters and not male characters with a women’s face?

Bring it on, 2012. Things are changing and it’s past time.

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Filed under 2011, female geekdom, Star Wars, Star Wars The Old Republic

Star Wars The Old Republic Launch Day!

It’s Dec. 20 and you know what that means: official launch day for Star Wars The Old Republic. The servers shut down last night in preparation for the official opening of the game.

What will be interesting to see is the retail demand of the game. With the sheer amount of preorders, it’s reasonable to think that the number of retail sales will be high.

Here’s to a smooth launch!

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SWTOR: First Impressions

Star Wars The Old Republic launches in just two days. For those who preordered and redeemed their codes in time, Early Access began Tuesday (the day BioWare let you in depended on when you put in the code). I made it in first thing Tuesday morning, though I didn’t start playing until later that day.

The first step is deciding the server and making the character. I am on a PVP server right now, one that hasn’t had a queue yet, thank goodness. Some of the more popular servers have queues longer than 30 minutes. These will probably drop in the next month or so once all of launch hype dies down.

The character creation screen is easy for anyone to use, new or old gamers. For each class and species, you can select body types, hair, skin and other features (facial hair, ect). It reminded me of the Sims. The only real complaint I have is that there aren’t any long hairstyles. Maybe this has to do with the animation or something, but it would have been nice. There are several good styles, though. The body type options are also nice.

I rolled a Chiss Imperial Agent (with a proper Chiss name, of course), human Jedi Knight and a human Smuggler. I haven’t made my Sith Inquisitor yet or checked out the other classes yet.

Part of me wants to say that the class stories are unbalanced, but the other part says that it has to do with point of view. For instance, the Jedi Consular story I played in beta was dull as dirt. The Jedi Knight class story is much better, thankfully. However, I can see some people enjoying the Consular’s story. The Imperial Agent has an excellent story to it. It’s like being in a spy movie or something. As for the Smuggler? Well I’m only level three. I’ll have to get back with you on that. A good story is necessary to maintain interest in the game. The light side/dark side point system also helps with that.

It’s been said before, but the voice acting is so good in this game. It’s actually too good at some parts. The annoying, screwed up droids are so good that you are actually as irritated as your dialog choices suggest you are. The animations look great. The Smuggler’s move when he’s regaining health is one of the best.

Gameplay is pretty good. If you take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with all of the menus, navigating through the game is much easier. I’m not running the game on a top of the line computer and it works just fine. It can take a few extra seconds for things to load, but it’s not a big deal.

PVP is so much better than any other I’ve played. For one thing, you are chasing people with lightsabers and blasters. How awesome is that? Fighting a Sith with a red double bladed saber was amazing. BioWare added in a fun, unusual type of battleground: Hutball. Hutball is so much fun. You’re chasing each other around, trying to get the ball from the other team and score. The area has multiple levels, fire and toxic waste. It’s pretty much a Hutt paradise.

I’m afraid I don’t have much to say about the guilds. The guild I joined ended up going to a different server, so I joined another. There are plenty of people out there right now if you need to find a guild.

Crafting is much more interesting in this game. You can have one crafting skill and two supplement ones. You can send out your companions to do the tasks, which makes it much easier and more efficient. Once you have multiple companions, it will be even easier. The only thing is that you need to watch your credits. Those missions cost!

Overall, I haven’t had any issues with SWTOR that would make me think that the game will fail, though the endgame content is going to be a huge indication of that. The game is friendly to both newcomers to the MMO world and veterans. It’s definitely worth the time and money to play.

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Filed under MMORPG, Star Wars, Star Wars The Old Republic, SWTOR, SWTOR Release Date

Mercy Kill Cover and SWTOR new early access date annoucement

Yesterday was a quite a Star Wars news filled day. Del Rey released the cover of Aaron Allston’s Mercy Kill and BioWare/EA announced that early access will start two days early. I think you can guess the reactions to each.

The Mercy Kill cover looks fantastic. It fits in well with the other X-Wing books even though it’s a standalone. The iconic X-Wings are on the front, locked in combat, giving the cover an exciting, adventurous feel. Even though I’m not crazy about the font used for the title (little too Microsoft Word Art for me), the overall appearance matches the subject matter.

Suvudu released this information yesterday:

Founded decades ago, Wraith Squadron was Wedge Antilles’s boldest creation: a covert-action unit of X-Wing fighters, its pilots drawn from the dregs of other units, castoffs and rejects that were once outcasts and misfits, spies and warriors, pilots and troublemakers given one last chance. After thrilling adventures during and after the Rebellion that destroyed the Empire, this elite intelligence unit was disbanded at the end of a catastrophic galactic civil war.

Now, reunited by former leader Garik “Face” Loran, Wraith Squadron must find out whether one of the galaxy’s most powerful military officers is a traitor… and whether anyone can stop him if he is. To succeed in their mission, the Wraiths must become thieves, pirates, imposters, forgers, and liars, staying just one step ahead of their enemies and the law!

Written by prolific Star Wars author Aaron Allston, Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill is a book sure to excite fans of the X-Wing series as well as readers who are new to Star Wars.

The plot sounds fun, exciting and different than what we’ve seen recently. A little skullduggery is always fun in Star Wars. I hope that we see a healthy mix of old and new characters in the story. August certainly seem far away!

BioWare alerted SWTOR players yesterday that early access now begins on Dec. 13 rather than the 15. As with every single other piece of news that comes from BioWare regarding this game, some people are happy and others are spewing out angry rants.
I understand the frustration of some. Those who took days off work for the release may find themselves stuck. It’s annoying; we all understand that, but is that really a reason to throw in the towel? You get to play the game you’ve been waiting to for years two days early (depending on when you put in the code, of course). So you hit level 50 two days later than planned. It’s not the end of the world.

Think about it this way. If JK Rowling announced that Deathly Hallows was being released two days early, would you have complained? Sure, you have to work and can’t spend all day reading like you planned, but you can’t say that you would have picked up the book on your lunch hour the day it came out and read it that night. It’s the same thing. Is it inconvenience for some? Sure, but that’s life. It’s impossible to schedule something that fits everyone’s schedule. Look at it this way, if you took off Thursday or Friday and have the weekend off, you still get a long TOR weekend.

It’s not all that surprising that BioWare moved up the date. Perhaps they looked at the preorder numbers and felt it would be more efficient to allow players to enter the game in smaller groups at a time for the sake of the servers. I admit I don’t know much about gaming servers, so maybe it wouldn’t make a big difference.

How they stagger the admission into the game remains a mystery. Will there be a cut of by hour? For example, if you entered your pre-order code by 5 p.m. CST on Day Two of ordering you are in on the Dec. 13?

Guess we’ll find out next week!

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Filed under Allston, Expanded Universe, Mercy Kill, MMORPG, Star Wars, SWTOR, X-Wing

Aubrey Plaza’s World of Warcraft commercial: hit or miss?

Have you seen the new World of Warcraft commercial featuring Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation)? If you haven’t, check it out. Even if you’ve never played WoW, it’s an interesting clip.

Aubrey Plaza WoW Commercial

Aubrey plays a woman whose boyfriend gave her World of Warcraft as a birthday gift instead of diamonds (as she states, he says she can mine diamonds). In the end, she becomes a gamer, her boyfriend feels as if he isn’t as important in her life and she dumps him.

I think this commercial is hilarious. Plenty of bloggers and others online have made various comments bashing the commercial saying that it follows the idea that a woman wants diamonds, she only becomes a gamer through a male significant other and that the commercial shows a consequence of gaming addiction. There’s no argument that the whole “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and a woman needs a man to game with stereotypes shouldn’t be perpetuated.

It works both ways. I’ve known men who became gamers because of women along with the scenario that occurs in the commercial. Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not. Blizzard’s best move at this point would be to put out another commercial starring a woman going on about her character without any mention of a significant other. It’s fantastic to see a female advertising the game. Perhaps Blizzard unnecessary felt that they had to ease into it.

Despite all of the studies showing how many gamers are female, it feels as if we hit a brick wall when it comes to media. Female gamers only join because a man invites them, female gamers aren’t as good as male and many other scenarios appear in various TV shows. The way to break this mold isn’t to create commercials or sitcom plotlines that show a woman acting exactly like a male gamer. Good female characters are not male characters with breasts. That’s not how it works. It’s lazy character development. Create a female character and make her a gamer. Have it fit her personality. She doesn’t have to sit in the basement, face covered in acne and eating Cheetos. It’s bad enough that gamer men are stuck in that stereotype. Do we have to add women to it, too?

The question remaining is who is the commercial targeting? I didn’t feel as if Blizzard was trying to convince me to play the game (taking out the fact that I’ve played it). It felt as if it was geared toward guys, suggesting that they buy the game for their girlfriend/wife to get her involved. Or, depending on your point of view, it was warning people what happens when you get someone too into gaming.

Overall, the Aubrey Plaza WoW commercial has done something- it’s brought the idea of female gamers to the masses. It wasn’t executed perfectly, but it’s a start.

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Filed under female geekdom, MMORPG, World of Warcraft, WoW