Category Archives: Aurebesh to English

Loose Vocabulators Sink Ships

As another summer of SWTOR and the Fallen Empire era comes to an end, I’ve been a bit busier in game that I normally am this time of year. I took full advantage of the double xp bonanza and have used the used the end-of-expansion lull to reach some milestones and complete achievements that I might not have time for once Onslaught hits.

Before the 5.0 cycle concludes, however, let’s check out a pair of posters that feature two very different characters from SWTOR’s lore. The first features our plastic pal who’s fun to be with, HK-55 and was delivered as a stronghold decoration to players as a subscription rewards in 2016 as a part of the more or less monthly chapter releases for the final third of Knights of the Fallen Empire’s story chapters.

The HK subscriber rewards were fairly controversial at the time. Personally, I’m happy to receive free loot in the mail, and I enjoyed and got good use of most of the HK stuff. Indeed, the HK jetpack remains one of my favorite mounts, and most of my characters keep it close at hand. The rewards, like all of the various HKs’ incarnations throughout Old Republic lore, are faintly ridiculous, and ought not be taken too seriously, if at all.

Far be it from me to declare people on the internet humorless sticks-in-the-mud, but many commenters seemed to have reacted to these trifles as though they were personal insults, and SWTOR has shied away from regular subscriber rewards ever since.

I keep my subscription active so that I can play with friends whenever I want and have immediate access to new content when it does come out, so I did not need the extra incentive for monthly rewards. That said, as a regular customer, I do like being told that my business is appreciated from time to time.

The crown jewel of these rewards was the HK themed chapter “Shroud of Memory.” As of this writing, it is the only story content in the game that is exclusively available only to certain players who were subscribed at a certain time. And it’s a shame. “Shroud of Memory” is outright fun and a delightful change of pace from the main Fallen Empire storyline. However, indications from Bioware and SWTOR’s PTS suggest that “Shroud of Memory” will again be available to players, perhaps as a reward or through a purchase from the Cartel Market, and I’m happy to hear it. The folks at Bioware have every right to be proud of the chapter, and players should be able to play it. Hopefully, everyone will be able to experience “Shroud of Memory” without too much hassle in the near future.

Ah, but I’ve gone off on a tangent again. The HK decoration evokes classic wartime propaganda posters with its reduced color palette and bold design, yet the poster’s tagline are rather more playful and it’s fair to wonder how inspired you can really be by a someone who considers us all “meatbags.”

There is another propaganda poster in the game with a similar layout. This poster can be found throughout Separatist controlled areas on the planet Ord Mantell. It is also available as a decoration for players’ use in their own strongholds. This poster uses the Aurebesh variant Galactic Basic, so some of the letters don’t match traditional Aurebesh.

This poster shares many of the same influences as the HK poster, but mostly plays it straight which is appropriate given the seriousness of the situation on Ord Mantell. I always thought it was neat that SWTOR drops brand new Troopers and Smugglers into a morass with no clear “good guys” and asks them to navigate the war tearing the world apart. This poster simply and effectively emphasizes that conflict with a heroic image of someone at first glance we might otherwise think is just a faceless villain.

If all goes to plan, I’ll be back next week with some last words on Knights of the Eternal Throne. The Disney expo is this weekend, so there is sure to be plenty of Star Wars news in the days ahead. I don’t have high hopes that much of will be SWTOR related, but you never know.

 

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Orange is the New Red

This week, I at last return to the second of the four Aurebesh decorations awarded to players during Star Wars Celebration earlier this year. I started with the Republic version, so it’s only fair to give the Empire its due.

This Sith Empire propaganda poster shares a similar design and layout with its Republic counterpart; both feature their faction symbol, a bit of inspiring text and a background pattern. The Republic version expands on the light side Force symbols seen in Tau Idair’s tattoos, but the Imperial version extrapolates out from the sharp angles and jagged shapes of the Sith Empire’s logo.

While I have recreated these posters separately, and most players aren’t likely to see them hanging along side each other either on their Fleet hubs or a in a partisan’s Stronghold, they really should be considered together.

The posters’ complementary color palettes instantly evoke a contrast between the two factions and Onslaught’s stated goal to return SWTOR to the Jedi vs. Sith conflict. Blue and red have been signifiers of the calm, cool Jedi and the passionate, fiery Sith since Star Wars’ earliest days. However, the posters also adopts the Orange-Teal contrast which has been fashionable in film for many years now. There has been much discussion about this trope, but as visual short hand, it is remarkably effective. The inclusion of analogous colors, orange into the Sith’s red color palette and cyan into the Jedi’s blues, strike me as appropriate and natural additions to an existing thematic contrast.

With SWTOR’s expansion now almost in sight, I remain busy. I intend to spend sometime on the PTS in the weeks ahead, and I continue to have fun running Operations, although the Hard Mode Hive Queen is becoming something of a White Whale for me. Hopefully it won’t come to me spitting my last breath at her. But there is also some unglamorous work to be done here behind the scenes, including, maybe, upgrading to a theme that is actually still being supported by its developer.

But, I will keep the Aurebesh coming. My next recreation is likely to be something from my to-do list that is probably best completed before the door closes on SWTOR’s Fallen Empire era.

 

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How It’s Made

I’m quite certain I would be remiss in my job if I did not translate the four amazing propaganda posters players received as part of Star Wars Celebration’s Community Cantina event. My first selection confirms my longstanding Republic bias, but I will endeavor to do justice to the Imperial posters soon enough!

I thought it also might be interesting to describe the process I go through in these recreations and to point out some of the challenges I face along the way.

Step 1: Get the Perfect Screenshot

Spotting a cool looking poster or sign is the easy part. Finding a clear view, with good lightning is a different cup of tea. I’m sure I’ve spent hours cruising around Nar Shaddaa and Corellia looking for the perfect example of a neon sign or poster to capture. Even then, I may need to climb over nearby terrain or obstacles to get a good angle. I often hop on a tall mount and desperately mash the screenshot button mid-jump to get as high and close a view as I can get.

In this case, of course, I am working with a stronghold decoration, and was able to hang the picture frame at an ideal height in a well-lighted room.

Even under the best of circumstances, however, I still adjust the screenshot when I bring it into Photoshop in order to get the image as straight and front-on as possible.

Step 2: Break it Down into Parts

Next I copy the dimensions of the original poster and then roughly duplicate graphical elements, such as lines, shapes and general text that make up the image. I adjust all of these elements as I go, but I find it’s best to put together a rough pass of the full image before getting too bogged down in the details.

Sometimes the layout of the poster will only consist of a few broad shapes or lines, but it’s not uncommon for various symbols to be included in the design. Many of these, such as planet icons or logos for the Coruscant Market or Hypermatter Corporation are repeated, and I have assembled over the years a collection of common graphics that I can drop in when they appear.

Here the Republic Propaganda poster has a complicated background pattern. I probably could’ve used Photoshop’s selection tool to make a basic copy, but because I think it’s a neat looking design I decided to render a full recreation in Illustrator. This took a lot longer, but I’m pleased with the result.

I swiped the Old Republic logo from Wookieepedia, and I suspect the artist who designed this poster did the same since it easily aligned with the original. Curiously, the logo is reversed in the in-game version of the poster. Whether this was an accidental oversight or confirmation of Bioware’s Sith bias, who can say? I tend to keep spelling mistakes intact in my recreations, but in this case I could not resist placing the Republic logo in its proper orientation.

For English text, I use a free font called Nakadai. It has a similar line weight and size to standard Aurebesh, and I find it allows my recreations to maintain visual consistency with the originals.

Step 3: Color Time!

Once I’ve got the layout set, I drop in colors, apply simple gradients where needed and modify the text to match the original design by adding strokes, adjusting spacing and, in this case, applying a perspective transformation to the text.

The colors in this recreation are significantly duller than in the original since I based them on the poster’s appearance in the game with the graphic setting Bloom disabled. This allows a clearer look at the graphic’s design. It wasn’t necessary here, but it will come in handy when I get around to this poster’s Imperial counterpart.

Step 4: Here’s Where the Fun Begins

When I first started this blog, step three was more or less where I stopped. But in the last couple of years, I have aspired to make my recreations have higher fidelity to the originals in the game. This means making sure I get what I call “all the fiddly bits” to look just right. It at least doubles the amount of time it takes me to make these images, but I’m usually much happier with the final results.

The biggest challenge of this part of the process is getting the lighting right. Nearly all signs and posters in game are affected by ambient lightning and the inset lights and shadows from their frames, and many, such as this one, seem to have a glow from behind like you’d see in a movie poster hanging at a theater.

Often parts of the posters are faded or wrinkled or otherwise distressed and I have a whole suite of brush tools I use to create those effects.

I typically pile on a dozen or more extra layers of assorted shadows, gradients and adjustments before I get a result that I deem acceptable. Like George Lucas, I don’t really think a piece of art is ever really finished, so I, on occasion, succumb to the urge to tweak the sliders or poke some stray pixels when I think no one is looking.

I’m no Photoshop rock star, so I hope this post wasn’t too self-indulgent. I enjoy seeing other artists’ process and figure it couldn’t hurt to share a look at mine.

 

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Station!

My choice of this sign for recreation was mainly inspired by news that a third Bill and Ted movie would at long last be coming out in the not too distant future. This sign’s only complete word “station” probably indicates a nearby Rocket Tram Station on the planet Corellia and is not a reference to martians with excellently huge butts. Probably.

The sign’s basic design is similar to others in the game, contains one readable word, three seemingly random letter and three seemingly random numbers. But how random are they? If there is one thing I’ve learned working on this blog is that things are often not as simple as they seem.

The top and bottom letters are translated easily, but there is something going on in the middle of the poster. At first glance the large letter in the center seems to be Dorn, the Aurebesh letter for D, but the artist’s choice to slice through the second horizontal bar changes the letter shape into Resh, the Aurebesh R. This suggests to me the intent to combine the two shapes into a single unique glyph. In my recreation I attempted a similar effect by slicing off the lower legs of the R to create a shape that evokes both D and R.

Could the Z, DR (Doctor) and O refer to some of the founders of Bioware? It seems plausible to me. But stare long enough at any random arrangement and patterns will emerge.

Moving on, the numbers 327 on the sign are fairly common throughout Star Wars lore. I’m sure numerologists could have a field day with George Lucas’ recurring use of numbers. 1138 is the most famous of his favorites, but it’s far from the only one. 327 appears in American Graffiti, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back. As for what it means, your guess is as good as mine, but 327 is apparently a “perfect totient number.” Even after researching that term, I still don’t have the slightest clue what it is, but 327 was also the street address of the house I grew up in as a child.

So, Illuminati confirmed.

 

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And We’re in Bloom

And we’re back! I apologize for the longer than usual gap in posts. One thing that has occupied my attention lately has been the pursuit of Conquest points. As a member of a small guild with Republic and Sith sister guilds to feed, Conquest and the guild leveling that comes with it can be something of a time sink.

For characters who have completed the Ossus story, additional Conquest objectives are available related to deploying or destroying probe droids outside Republic and Imperial outposts around the galaxy. While zapping probes near the starport on Corellia, I spotted a sign I had not noticed in all my years of playing. However the bright glow emanating from the text made the sign extremely difficult to read.

There is a quick solution to this particular challenge. Disabling Bloom in the graphic settings makes the game world significantly less vibrant, but the sign much easier to read. After some more exploration I located a second example of the sign and was able to snap a clear screenshot for recreation.

At first glance, there isn’t much going on, but upon examination, there are several things worth noting. First, the sign is like many others on Corellia that refer to manufacturers of starships and podracers. “Ord Pedrovia” is a popular make of racer that first appeared during the Boonta Eve Classic in The Phantom Menace and is not, as I first thought, the name of a planet, which is the usual case when the forename Ord appears in Star Wars lore.

The glyph at the right edge of the graphic looks to my eyes to be a stylized English O and P logo, and I can imagine it splashed on the hood of the Ord Pedrovia’s podracer cockpit.

The letter on the left of the sign is not Aurebesh. I’m certain that it is, in fact, a Futhork “G” which has been disassembled somewhat for the graphic. The result is that translation turns the large word from “Ord” into “Gord.” There are many signs around the galaxy which when translated are seemingly random letters and numbers. I suspect some of these contain in-jokes or use the initials of members of SWTOR’s development team. I’m not in a position to know for sure, but in this case I think I can hazard a guess that this sign pays tribute to Gordon Walton who helped found Bioware Austin. Or perhaps it could be a reference to the late Gord Downie, lead singer of beloved Canadian rock band, the Tragically Hip. Or maybe hockey great Gordie Howe. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence.

Star Wars Celebration Community Cantina

Star Wars Celebration is just weeks away, and I’m sure I’m not alone in eagerly awaiting news of SWTOR’s future. Bioware has been extra coy this year, but we’re all expecting to hear about the game’s next expansion at the Community Cantina event in Chicago.

Sadly, I can’t make it this year, but if you’re in Chicago for Celebration or find yourself in the area, I highly recommend attending the event. I’ve been to a previous Cantina, and it is genuinely fun to meet the people who make the game, the people who play the game, have a drink and score some swag.

Somewhat remarkably, the official Star Wars website even included shout out to SWTOR in the lead-up to Celebration.

I sometimes think SWTOR is the red-headed stepchild of the Star Wars family. People are constantly posting in the r/swtor sub-reddit that they are shocked to learn that not only is SWTOR not dead, it also has a good population of players who truly enjoy the game. Even Bioware’s own Casey Hudson seemed surprised by the enduring popularity of SWTOR.

And yet SWTOR can’t seem to get much cross-promotional love from the Star Wars brand juggernaut. Last year I bought Chronicle Book’s Women of the Galaxy, an absolutely charming book featuring the stories of dozens of female characters from across Star Wars lore. As I read it, however, I was amazed by the inclusion of some rather obscure characters that came off as filler to me. I was disappointed that despite drawing from a wide array of Star Wars media, novels, comics, cartoons and even other video games, no one from SWTOR made the cut. Call me a homer, but I really do believe Lana or Vaylin or Kira or Vette are far more interesting and dynamic and worthy of coverage than some of those non-speaking background characters who barely rated seconds of screen time.

SWTOR had a fair amount of cross promotion at launch, but I do hope EA and Lucasfilm give the game another push with the next expansion. I’m no expert; I don’t know how to convince Marvel to publish a Theron Shan comic, Hasbro to make a Jakarro action figure (with C2-D4 head-butting action!) and Fantasy Flight Games to include the Gravestone in one of their miniatures games. Indeed, it’s fair to ask if any of that even would be viable or profitable endeavors, but a blogger can dream, right?

April can’t come soon enough!

 

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Sometimes You Feel Like Nahut

After a case of post-holiday blues and the near death of my computer’s hard drive, I thought I should get back into the swing of things with a request from Shintar, keeper of the great SWTOR blog Going Commando. Shintar asked me to take a look at the technical readout we see from Nahut’s point of view during the cut scene introducing this boss from the Gods from the Machine operation.

I was eager to oblige for several reasons. First and foremost, I very much welcome suggestions and requests. Second, Nahut is my favorite encounter in the Machine Gods operation. It’s a neat fight against a cool looking boss with fun mechanics in a unique, moody setting. Third, much of the hard work of the translation was already done! Nahut’s Terminator-style internal readout reuses elements from HK-55’s first person view from the famous musical montage from Chapter 4 of Knights of the Fallen Empire. Indeed, translating the Aurebesh from that scene is what inspired the creation of this blog, so I was happy to revisit it.

This also gave me an opportunity to update my original translation, and once again reflect upon the differences between how Aurebesh was designed and how it is actually used. Part of the readout includes appearances of several digraphs that combine two English letters with a single sound (such as “th” or “sh”) into a single Aurebesh symbol. However, it is very rare to see these glyphs used “properly.” Since the key strokes used to type out digraphs are not part of the standard alphabet, it’s far more common to seem them rendered as individual Aurebesh letters. In theory some well known names look quite different depending on how strictly the translator follows the extended Aurebesh alphabet.

In the example of Nahut and HK’s technical readout, all the digraphs used  here are meant to be read as the symbols to which they are bound on an English keyboard. I believe this display was created using the Aurek-Besh font, and here the the Krenth (kh) and Onith (eo) glyphs translate as the open and closed angle brackets: < and >. This makes sense given the context of computer jargon.

One last note, in previous discussions of this topic, I’ve referred to the digraphs as ligatures. The concepts are similar, but I’ve since learned that “digraph” is the more accurate term and I’ll stick with that going forward. “Damnit, Jim, I’m a doctor not a typographer!”

I’ve remarked before that the official Aurebesh alphabet is incomplete; it is missing some common punctuation marks, numbers and styles for capitalization. It’s up to the designers and font makers using these fake space-letters to fill in the gaps, and I would never dream of declaring any use of Aurebesh incorrect or wrong. Indeed, I find it interesting to see the different solutions to the problems the numerous artists working with Aurebesh across Star Wars lore have found. In a way, it makes Aurebesh seem like a richer, more living language.

 

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Big Cat or Tiny Plumber?

As we eagerly await the arrival of Game Update 5.10, let’s take another trip to Corellia, a world like Ossus, that has seen more than its share of Republic versus Sith conflict.

I’ve been hunting Battlemasters recently and often race past this pair of banners on my way to the Sith base in Coronet City’s Government Center. The left sign is a civic banner similar to those we might see around the major cities of our own world. Rather than advertising a company or product, this sign with its dynamic layout and swooping stripes promotes Corellia itself as an exciting destination. This graphic has some unusual elements in its design including drop shadows and beveled edges, things not often seen in other similar signs in the game that tend to have a more “modern” design with few gradients and flatter color transitions. However the substantial amount of distress this poster shows indicates that it has seen better days and may have been flying for quite some time even before the outbreak of galactic war.

The second banner was far more challenging than its simple design would suggest. Its use of Galactic Standard instead of Aurebesh foiled my initial attempt at translation. It is most commonly found in Axial Park, home of the Corellia Zoo, and that context ultimately made its meaning obvious. The thing that vexed me the most, however, was the fact that I was looking at the illustration at its center wrong.  For the longest time, I did not see a ferocious lion or tiger or nexu, but instead I saw a famous Italian plumber and video game hero wearing a colander on his head. To this day, I still have to blink twice to see the cat.

I don’t know if the graphic’s double meaning is intended, but it will never cease to amuse me. Mamma Mia!

That’s all for now. See you on Ossus!

 

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SWTOR Unite

Last week I had the honor of being invited to participate in the SWTOR Unite event in which members of SWTOR’s podcasting and streaming community teamed up to tackle Gods from the Machine. It was a real thrill to be the Hawkeye on this team of SWTOR Avengers assembled from the Bad Feeling Podcast, the Council, the Escape Pod Cast, the OotiniCast, the Passionately Casual Podcast, ScrublandShad, the State of the Old Republic, the Usual Podcast, and, last but not least, Working Class Nerds!

The goal of the event was to unite all these content creators in one place and share their enthusiasm for Star Wars The Old Republic. In that regard I’d say it was a big, chaotic, fun success. Hearing so many familiar voices at one time and in one place was super cool, even before we started killing bosses. While the experience level of the group literally ranged from one extreme to the other, I was impressed with how far we got. No, we did not complete the operation before everyone started falling asleep, but we did come this close to killing Izax, so close that there is no doubt in my mind that we’d have gotten him down with one more pull.

SWTOR Unite’s activity of choice was an operation, but it is a testament to the game that it can be a great source of fun for players with many different interests from killing raid bosses and dressing up characters to fighting other players and translating fake space languages.

I want to thank Dr. SWTOR and Marcus for organizing the event. I can’t wait to see what madness they have planned next!

Relay Junction, What’s Your Function?

This week’s Aurebesh translation is a work sign that I found on Corellia. I imagine this one provides information for the technical crews who work to maintain infrastructure around the planet’s war torn capital.

The sign uses of the term “sub-section” and is similar to others seen around the galaxy. The element that I find most interesting is the design’ incorporation of both of Aurebesh’s number styles: the standard style that closely matches our earthbound numerals and the digital-style with dots and dashes style. The large Arabic numerals clearly work better in the design, but inclusion of the smaller numbers in the alternate Aurebesh form is a neat touch.

Here in my neck of the wood, Life Day is rapidly approaching, and I hope everyone’s vacation is filled with clear skies and full bellies!

 

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Star Wars: Resistance First Impressions

I really want to like Star Wars: Resistance more than I do. It has a lot going for it. The vehicle designs are terrific, the characters are bright and fun and distinct from most of what we usually see in Star Wars. And it was created by Dave Filoni who, I’d argue, channels George Lucas’ vision of Star Wars better than anyone else. I thought The Clone Wars was uneven, but at its best it was as thrilling as any non-movie take on Star Wars as we’ve seen. And I just loved Rebels for its characters, style and heart.

But after three episodes, Resistance just isn’t doing it for me. Like Filoni’s previous shows, it focuses on a young hero’s journey, which is something we’ve seen before both inside and outside of Star Wars lore. So far, the focus has firmly been on Kazuda, and the characters around him remain one-note cyphers. In the first episode, Kaz is introduced in a fairly tepid scene meant to establish him as heroic and likeable, but ever since we’ve only seen him as an arrogant, lazy, entitled, self-absorbed, clueless twerp. How hard up for help must the Resistance be that Kaz is the guy selected for a secret mission, heck, any mission?

Sure, I get it; this is just the starting point for the character. The Clone Wars and Rebels grew up around their main heroes, and I imagine Resistance will do so as well. But The Clone Wars was as much about Rex and the Clone Troopers’ struggle to find their identities, and Rebels explored a time period largely unseen in Star Wars lore. Ahsoka turned out to be the bright center of The Clone Wars and the point-of-view character the prequel era desperately needed. Rebels’ family unit was immediately engaging, and I cared about every single member of the Ghost’s crew. But while I wait for Kaz to grow up into someone worth rooting for, there has been little else in Resistance to hold my attention.

In addition, the stakes are incredibly low. It’s Star Wars without the wars. The First Order is lurking in the shadows, but for now it feels more like American Graffiti in space; just a bunch of kids cruising around in spaceships and getting into trouble. Yeah, that’s how Luke started off, but ninety minutes into Star Wars, he was well on his heroic journey; three episodes in and Kaz still has to be nagged to do his chores and eat his vegetables.

Mainly I think Resistance is not meant for an old fogey like me. Even more than its predecessors, it’s a kid’s show. That’s fine. I’m pretty sure 10 year old me would love Resistance. The bold colors! The super-cool spaceship races! The Miyazaki-esque aliens! The further adventures of BB-8! Even grown up me can see the appeal. Perhaps I’ll have to wait for Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian for a new Star Wars show to catch my fancy.

One thing the show is not lacking is Aurebesh and I’d be remiss if I did not include a quick translation. While I don’t know much at all the about character, Torra Doza is already a favorite  because I quite like how her flight suit and ship have borrowed the color scheme of Steve McQueen’s Porsche from the 1971 movie Le Mans. This display of her racing stats from the first episode shows that she is a pilot to be reckoned with. Hopefully she’ll become something more than just a background character or a sassy foil for Kaz’s journey to adulthood.

 

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Jedi Under Siege Livestream

I must hand it to the good folks down in Austin they did not scrimp on the news from the latest Cantina Livestream. That amount of stuff we can expect in the next game update previously might have been spread out across an entire season’s worth of a road map, so color me impressed and punch my ticket for the hype-train. Choo choo.

To start, I’m going to keep this spoiler-free, avoiding even the mild revelations from the livestream. Please check Galactic Antics, MMObits and Vulkk for far more comprehensive coverage than I could ever hope to provide.

For me, there is a lot to be excited about in Jedi Under Siege. The world, the planet’s design, the new and returning characters, it all looks cool. Instead of going into detail on each point, I think I’ll just discuss the two things that jumped out at me the most.

Story

I have written before about how I consider the choice of whether your character supports their original faction or switches allegiances my favorite part of the Iokath story, and I’m pleased that we will be allowed to reinforce that decision. When it comes to story updates, I tend to focus on my two favorite characters, one from each faction: my Consular and my Bounty Hunter. However because both characters opted to side with the Republic my journeys through Iokath were pretty much the same each time. But on the new planet, despite their similar previous choices, it looks like those characters will experience the story differently, and I’m genuinely psyched to dive in.

As we’ve seen previously, completing the story will unlock the new zone as a daily area. I seem to be one of the few people who like the Iokath dailies for their variety and scope (stomping around in a walker will never not be fun to me). I hope the quests and environments are interesting enough to make return visits worthwhile beyond the incentive to farm up the new gear. That the new zone will be populated with datacrons, a pair of world bosses and lots of new decorations is certainly promising. I do hope the world bosses are bit more pug friendly than the Dark vs. Light bosses and don’t have ridiculous respawn timers. If at least one is instanced like Toborro’s Courtyard and my guild can run it on our own schedule, I’ll jump for joy.

Nightmare Mode Lives

I have no plans to raid Gods from the Machine on its most challenging difficulty, and if scaling up all operations to max level remains the plan for future SWTOR expansions, it’s very possible that I will never even set foot inside it at that difficulty. And, yet, the news surrounding the return of Master Mode operations has me pleased.

During Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Shadow of Revan expansions, I was part of a Hard Mode raiding team. We played casually, didn’t shatter any records, but were a solid group of fun people. During Hutt Cartel we and made steady progress on a light progression schedule. That changed during Shadow of Revan. The “hard-mare” version of Ravagers and Temple of Sacrifice, created to be a compromise between Hard and Nightmare modes with the removal of Nightmare mode proved incredibly frustrating, and we ultimately stalled out after only beating the first two encounters of both operations.

I’ve never been more angry and disappointed with SWTOR than the night we gave up trying to beat the buggy mess that was Underlurker. Attrition set in and soon after Knights of the Fallen Empire launched without new Operations, the hard mode team was no more. I don’t blame any who quit. We found our groove in Hutt Cartel’s middle lane, and it remains a drag that the removal of a raiding mode that we barely ever touched eventually led to my team’s downfall.

The release of Master Mode Gods from the Machine also will included a rebalanced Veteran Mode that I assume will be along the lines of the old Hard Modes from Rise of the Hutt Cartel. If that is the case, then pinch my cheeks and call me Rosy because you can sign me up right now. I’ve recently started raiding Veteran modes again and as much as I do love Terror From Beyond, the thought of learning new hard mode bosses has me thrilled.

That’s just two of the things I’m looking forward to in the December update. Here’s hoping the year ends on a high note! However, I fear avoiding spoilers until then will be a challenge. Fingers crossed!

 

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