Category Archives: Aurebesh to English

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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Justice Has a Mustache

Today This Week in Aurebesh celebrates a rather improbable second birthday, and I thought it would be appropriate to a return to a spot I covered way back in the earliest days of this blog: Justicar Territory on Coruscant.

Like the last time around, I’ve re-created a pair of signs that demonstrate the two very different styles of the Justicar’s propaganda seen on Coruscant, and occasionally elsewhere around the galaxy.

The first sign is a recruitment poster with a fairly simple, yet effective design. Its words are inspirational, and the bursting sunrise lifts the entire composition. The double chevrons, as always, recall the Justicar’s origins as a military organization and while they might normally act to draw the viewer’s attention downward, in this case, they echo the upward thrust of the sunbeams and have the opposite effect. The vertical layout and use of glowing white highlights inform the viewer that the Justicars are bringing light back to Coruscant, and you can help that effort.

The second poster on today’s menu also has a simple layout and minimal color palette, but to me, it recalls wartime propaganda of the First and Second World Wars. There is little thought given to the poster’s graphic design. Indeed this actually looks to be printed on paper with torn edges and curled corners, unlike the previous graphic (and many others in the game) that seem to be displayed on a monitor. I guess the Justicars opted to slash their advertising budget after taking control of the sector.

I’ve often wondered who this fellow featured so prominently in the poster is, but his appearance doesn’t match any of the Justicars we meet in the game. Indeed, his huckleberry of a mustache is tragically not even available as a customization option for players. Nevertheless, I think it’s fair to say that this shadowy figure is not watching out for you, but just watching you. Oppression, not inspiration is the message of this poster, and its stark design makes that pretty clear.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who has stopped by over the last two years. I hope this blog has been as entertaining a place to visit as it has been for me to create. It is weird to look back at some of my original recreations. My initial goal was to make them quick and dirty, but they strike me now as too quick and too dirty. As I’ve gotten more familiar with many of the wonderful graphic styles used in the game, I’m glad my recreations have become somewhat more faithful to the originals. I’ve not yet exhausted the game’s supply of Justicar propaganda, and I suspect we’ll revisit the topic again.

 

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One Truth

This week, let’s take a look at the obelisk that dominates the great hall of the Sith Academy on Korriban. This pointed monolith has four faces with a swirling mass of twisted visages on two sides and a repeated Aurebesh inscription on the others.

While most players likely first encountered this monument on Korriban it is also available as a stronghold decoration. The currency needed to purchase it can be rarely found in the Korriban Incursion and Assault on Tython flashpoints. When my guild unlocked our Sith faction Guild Ship, several of us pooled our hard-won Recovered Relics to purchase the obelisk decoration. Unfortunately, the obelisk is very tall, taller even than the ceiling of the command deck on which we had hoped to display it. Instead we placed a more appropriately sized decoration, and the obelisk gathered dust in storage until the guild purchased the new Rishi Stronghold.

While Rishi may not be the most thematically appropriate spot for such a decoration, it was a relief to be able to erect the obelisk in a spot that won’t cause it to poke through the floor into the deck above.

The other benefit of displaying it on Rishi is that it’s a bit easier to decipher than in its usual spot in the mist-shrouded hall on Korriban, and so my translation and recreation was done in comfort on Rishi’s sandy, sunny beach.

A viewer might think that the monument records the principles of a Sith lord from the distant past. Instead, it does quite the opposite! The words were actually spoken by Darth Maul in a television ad for The Phantom Menace. Regardless of how or whether one might want to explain this rip in the time space-continuum, Maul’s “tone poem” is indeed appropriate for such a colossal sculpture.

The base of the obelisk is similar to the bases of glowing red and green triangular Sith holocrons found in ancient, Dark Side ruins from Korriban to Oricon. The Aurebesh at the base of the obelisk reads “Fear in power”, and it matches well with the holocrons that read “Power in fear.” This is exactly the kind of circular logic that appeals to the Sith and is nice design touch to tie these monuments together.

 

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SWTORbringers

This week, I thought I’d take a look at the notorious MMO cinematic in which the leader of the traditionally “evil” faction and their associates stage a brutal attack on a beloved stronghold of the opposing faction. As the leader’s eyes glow red, they slaughter their enemies and leave the site a burning, destroyed ruin.

But enough about Darth Malgus, let’s talk about Shae Vizla. The Deceived cinematic, released nearly a decade ago, was Shae’s introduction to Star Wars lore, and she remains a popular character years later. In the space of this scene, she deploys all the gadgets and weapons you’d expect from a Mandalorian hunter including this pop-up display:

Based on information from my translation, I surmise that Shae had sliced into Coruscant’s space traffic control to track the arrival and explosive entrance of the Sith’s stolen transport. The display indicates that Malgus’ deception was successful, and that the Republic never saw the attack coming.

The Aurebesh text contains some awkward grammar and a misspelling or two, and I’ve tried to keep my translation as faithful as possible. In addition, it seems like the text in the right hand column was truncated mid-word. This could easily be chalked up as panic from the controller as they realized what is about to happen or that their feed had been hacked. The version of the Aurebesh font used here includes numbers that match our Hindu-Arabic numerals, and I did not bother “translating” all of those.

Falling From a Great Height is Never Fatal

Speaking of Malgus, SWTOR’s next expansion looms in the hopefully not-too-distant future. While not much is known, Bioware has indicated that we’ll be returning to a story based on the war between the Republic and the Sith Empire. As part of that, there has been speculation that this renewed focus on the game’s original conflict might also signal the return of Darth Malgus, perhaps as leader of the Sith Empire or an antagonist for both factions.

On the one hand, I am totally on Team Malgus. He’s my favorite of SWTOR’s many Darths, and had most of my Sith characters been given the chance they would’ve gladly joined his New Empire on Ilum. I take the original iteration of the False Emperor flashpoint as canon, and there is plenty of precedent in Star Wars for Sith lords surviving exactly the kind of defeat Malgus saw there. Moreover, there is the infamous moment cut from the Sacrifice cinematic that revealed that Arcann and Thexan had taken Malgus’ carbonite frozen body as a trophy. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that Malgus remains on the minds of the folks in Austin.

That said, between the Shadow of Revan expansion starting with the return of Revan and ending with the return of the Sith Emperor, and Darth Maul’s equally improbable return to popular consciousness just this summer in Solo, I wonder if maybe we’ve been there and done that already.

So I’m split and give it an even chance that he’ll be back. Star Wars needs good Dark Side villains, and he certainly fits the bill, but I wouldn’t be disappointed with someone new.

 

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In the Pink

I thought this one would be easy. I really did.  I had planned to post this recreation during the Nar Shaddaa Nightlife event since this neon sign can be seen around the moon’s Promenade and casinos. Clearly, I’m late to the party.

The challenge of this recreation was not in the translation. Like many similar signs, it seems to be a collection of random letters in which I’ve long since given up attempting to find meaning.

At first glance, one might think this sign is written in Aurebesh. Technically, however, it uses Galactic Basic, a font that, like Aurebesh, was inspired by the script used on monitors in Return of the Jedi. Galactic Basic is actually more accurate to what can be seen in the movie, but Aurebesh was codified in official sources first and has since become the official version of the language.

The center logo, the inset letters on the upper left and the two repeating glyphs on the bottom are all written using Galactic Basic. The orange tinted letters in the next-to-bottom row are rendered in the Atrsian font. Like Aurebesh, this font has a tangled history. It also can be glimpsed in Return of the Jedi, and was featured in several early Lucasarts games.

My guess is that all these fake space letters were meant to be parts of the same “language” but because they were fleshed out separately, they all became individual fonts and scripts. I’m certain that had high definition screen captures and copious reference materials been around three decades ago, the current landscape of Star Wars’ written word would be very different!

The use of Atrisian is not an usual sight in SWTOR. This script can be seen not only in signs on Nar Shaddaa, but also carved in the ancient ruins of the Rakata on Belsavis. It’s amusing to think the same glyphs that adorned the great works of a long lost civilization are still emblazoned in neon around the galactic underworld.

The large logo in the center is what caused me the most trouble. The repeated letter rotating around the center translates to J, but I’d wager it was not selected because of any particular meaning but because of how the alien glyph maintains its symmetry in the arrangement. The English J, however, is not quite so accommodating and I tried many variations, fonts and even custom letters attempting to replicate the original layout. In the end I realized I was overthinking the problem, and took inspiration from the actual design. Reshaping the glyph to resemble a J more or less did the trick. I don’t think my recreation is as stylish as the original, but it’s close enough that I hope it gets the idea across.

Living Large on the PTS

Despite having played since launch, last week was my very first visit to SWTOR’s test server. I cannot deny it was fun to get an early peek at the Rishi stronghold and queue up for Saturday’s PVP test.

My first impression of the Rishi stronghold is quite good. I think they are aiming to address the major complaints regarding the previous strongholds on Umbara and Manaan. Unlike Umbara’s train, Rishi has a large variety of environments to explore and decorate, from the massive pirate airship to the beach and the cove. It also looks like they are paying more attention to how decorating hooks are being used. As much as I love Manaan, the widely spread out hooks and limited choices of what hooks are even available has been a source of frustration. Rishi seems to have a larger variety of hooks, placed closer together so that decorators will be able to create areas with more cohesion.

The PVP areas are a gimmick to be sure. But it’s a cool gimmick. And even if I’m just using it every once in a while, I’m fine with that.  As with the addition of target dummies, having more stuff to do in our strongholds is something I’m glad to see. I hope they continue to explore more ideas in the future. Maybe there could be a special boss on the pirate ship that can only be summoned during the Bounty Broker event, or a stronghold zombie survival mode in which the beach is swarmed during the Rakghoul Resurgence. Armchair developing is easy! But, hey, I can dream, can’t I?

I also participated in Saturday’s PVP testing during the morning and evening sessions. I don’t PVP a whole lot so take these comments with a grain of salt.

For the most part it seemed like the matchmaking worked. There were a ton of healers in the morning queue, but the teams had even numbers. The matches with three healers per side tended to stalemate; I imagine with a larger pool of dps that wouldn’t happen as much. I did notice that backfilling in arenas would not always keep the tank/healer balance, but I guess filling empty spots quickly might be more important.

I thought the Mandalorian arena was pretty cool. All my matches there were fought on the top level, so I don’t know if the lower ring or tunnel will see much action.

I ran four Voidstars during the day, and aside from the one with six healers, they definitely went faster. Once the first door opens, the other matches became a race to the finish, which I consider an improvement.

Overall, I went 7 and 6, which I rate a smashing success and had a really good time. It seems like most folks were there to poke around and have some low stakes fun. It was neat to cross paths with some SWTOR celebrities, and I like to think my healer saved a dev or two from certain death once or twice during the day.

I’m definitely in the camp that is happy to see the return of open PTS testing. That the good folks at Bioware have been quick to implement changes that have come from feedback has been great to see. I hope to visit the test server more in the future.

 

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A Rose By Any Other Name

This week I want to cover a few topics related to Star Wars, fandom and a bit of Aurebesh too.

Why I Love Rose

It’s not for nothing that we meet Paige Tico first. Paige is a bad ass. Under the worst possible conditions, she keeps her shit together and gets the job done. When it comes to the Tico sisters, she is the cool one. She’s a fighter jock; she gets to hang with Poe Dameron. We all know which table Paige sits at. When we meet Rose a little later, she’s been assigned the glorious task of guarding escape pods.

No one wants to think the annoying little sister can be the hero. We’re supposed to want our Star Wars heroes to be quick with a one liner like Han Solo, wear sweet armor like Boba Fett, and blast stormtroopers like Princess Leia. Rose is too earnest for a snappy comeback, wears a frumpy jumpsuit, and isn’t much of a shot (aside from poor Finn, I guess). Some have complained that Finn and Rose accomplished nothing on Canto Bight. I disagree; maybe their plan to disable the First Order’s hyperspace tracking was a bust, but that’s not all they did. In passing on her ring to the broom kid, Rose kept alive the spark that’ll light the fire of the Jedi again. Small victories matter. They may even matter more than big ones. And if nothing else, Rose and Finn tore that place up, and gave those shit-heels a bad day. Because fuck those guys. Fuck them.

I get it; we all want to be cool like Paige. But we’re not. We’re Rose. Most of us don’t get to be played by an actor as charming and enthusiastic as Kelly Marie Tran, but, like Rose, we can step up and be heroes too if we want to. We can save what we love. Paige knew it. In her last moments, she didn’t flip off the First Order or make a dumb joke. She thought of her sister.

I have debated all aspects of Star Wars endlessly with friends whom I greatly respect and whose opinions differ greatly from mine. I doubt there is a long time fan who has not been disappointed by Star Wars at some point in their fandom, but Star Wars is so big and means so many different things to so many different people, that no one should get to say what the litmus test for being a real fan is. Sadly, fans acting like hateful, spoiled shit birds is nothing new, but it seems like social media is only capable of amplifying stupid rage these days. Anyone who feels better spewing bile at real people for daring to try to entertain them or goes looking for conspiracy theories in mass market, space adventure stories has clearly taken the wrong lessons from Star Wars.

It’s okay to stop liking Star Wars. Heck, I checked out during the the latter days of the Expanded Universe. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi have revitalized my interest, but I’m fully prepared to move on once the Game of Thrones guys take over. If they make a movie I don’t like, I’ll get over it like a fucking adult.

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

I kinda hoped waiting a week might give me some unique insight into Solo: A Star Wars Story, but I don’t have anything profound to say. I found it a perfectly fun summer movie with charismatic actors doing exciting things and having a grand ol’ time. It doesn’t have much depth, but I wasn’t expecting it to; I’m not sure I even wanted it to. In many ways it felt like a Fast and Furious or Mission: Impossible movie, except, y’know, in space. Whether you find that a ringing endorsement or a damning condemnation probably will indicate how you’ll feel about Solo. I had a good time. I think it’ll it hold up better than Rogue One and is a perfectly good way to waste a couple of hours on a hot afternoon.

I’ll leave the speculation about why it has not performed like gangbusters to the experts except to say that I think it’s probably for the best that we’re in for a year and a half wait until the next Star Wars movie.

Sometimes It’s All I Think About

Longtime readers will recognize this image from a previous post, but if I’ve learned anything from George Lucas it is that it’s never too late to make changes. After three attempts I think I’ve finally arrived at my “original vision.”

I was prompted to revisit this poster after it was added as a stronghold decoration available to players who complete their weekly Conquest goal. The advertisement’s tag line is in the center of the graphic, and there is additional text at the bottom and vertically oriented along one side. The Aurebesh itself is reversed so it must be read right to left (although my recreation reads normally). Curiously, the decoration version of this poster differs from the one seen around the galaxy. The poster’s frame is reversed, but the image itself remains “backwards.” The result of this is that much of the text along the vertical edge of the picture is hidden in the stronghold version.

Nevertheless, I was determined to put this one to rest and finally translate the faint, vertical text that had vexed me previously. It took a bit of digital jiggery-pokery before the letters finally came into focus. The image above is a peek at my work file; sometimes these translations really do take more a bit doing than you might think.

Next time, something new! And fewer f-bombs, probably.

 

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Revenge, Money or Something Else

Even though it’s been with some nervousness, I have been looking forward to the release Solo: A Star Wars Story. So I thought I’d mark the opening day of the movie with a different kind of Aurebesh recreation.

Rather than translate something from Aurebesh into English, let’s try it the other way around!

It’s obvious to me that the controversial Solo teaser posters were directly inspired by/ripped off from a series album covers designed by Hachim Bahous for Sony Music. On the one hand, it’s a terrific design, but it’s laughable that whoever was responsible for the plagiarism thought that no one would notice. I hope Bahous and his team received significant apologies and compensation from Lucasfilm.

For my version, I made sure to include elements from Bahous’ design to pay tribute to his work, but with a SWTOR spin. To be honest, I originally hoped to feature Malgus or Satele, but their names were just too long. Good ol’ Darth Marr, however, was a much better fit.

Here’s to what will hopefully be a fun time at the movies this weekend!

 

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Jax’s Back

This month, in the comic book pages of IDW’s Star Wars Adventures 2018 Annual, saw the return of one of the most infamous characters in all Star Wars lore: Jaxxon, the green haired, rocket-rabbit from the very earliest days of what would become known as the Expanded Universe.

Jaxxon and his partner Amaiza (who also returns to the four color limelight), were one quarter of the “Eight for Aduba-3“, one of the first original Star Wars adventures in any media after the release of the movie. Before I wax too nostalgic, I should point out that the Aduba Saga has fairly earned its controversial reputation. Writer Roy Thomas saw in the first Star Wars movie a mix of Flash Gordon serials, samurai, western and World War II movies, and decided to do his own riff on The Magnificent Seven, adding elements from Godzilla movies, Warner Bros. cartoons, female professional wrestling, and even Cervantes. The end result, however, is an over-stuffed, under-cooked mess. In the years to come poor Jaxxon would be singled out by both official sources and fans as an excuse to dismiss the whole Marvel series. This is ironic because, until this month, there was literally a four decade gap in Jaxxon stories, and his last appearance in 1978, issue 16’s “The Hunter” is one of the strongest tales in the original run.

No doubt, these comics are very much of their time, and may not be to modern tastes. The earliest stories between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back tended to be illustrated in a broad Silver Age style: Luke and Leia had the physiques of super-heroes, almost no effort was given to make the characters look like their actors, and the action was very exaggerated and over the top. What was proper Star Wars was still being discovered back then, and sometimes those old comics wouldn’t fit in continuity, used concepts from the movies weirdly or were just too comic-booky. “Eight for Aduba-3” fits all those bills.

And yet…

The giant monster stomps things, Jaxxon cracks wise, Amaiza kicks butt, Don-Wan Kihotay is clumsily heroic, and Han Solo saves the day in spite of himself. What more could an eight year old ask of a Star Wars comic? Nowadays when some folks are genuinely asking if there is too much Star Wars, it’s hard to imagine what is was like back then to be a fan starved for new adventures after just one movie. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye smacked of the low budget sequel it was intended to be and the wholly bizarre Holiday Special left a generation of kids shaking their heads in confusion. But in the pages of Marvel’s Star Wars comics, that’s where the action was. If you wanted to see all the heroes from the movie exploring new worlds, encountering scores of new aliens and playing with all manner of new ships, droids and weapons, Marvel had you covered.

Even as a big fan, I cannot deny that those old Marvel stories have a host of issues, but I think their flaws were more of execution than ambition. Some stories were misses, sure, but they were big misses. And there were plenty of hits too: stories that made the wait between movies easier to take, and stories than even now stand tall in the legendary array of Star Wars canon.

So I’m thrilled to see Jaxxon and Amaiza have another day in the sun. Over the years, there has been the odd sighting in roleplaying game supplements, inside jokes and background references, but the cartoony style of Star Wars Adventures is a natural fit for Jaxxon. The story by writer Cavan Scott, illustrator Alain Mauricet and colorist Chris Fenoglio is a delightful romp with action, betrayal and a charming reinvention of these old characters. You don’t have to know who Jaxxon and Amaiza is to get a kick out of the story, but there are some literal and figurative easter eggs for old timers like myself to enjoy. I do hope they check in with these two star-hoppers again, at the very least they have some unfinished business. Jaxxon is silly and dumb like Star Wars can be sometimes, like Star Wars should be sometimes. If you’re cool with that, by all means, check it out!

Black Hole Redux

This week’s Aurebesh recreation continues my tribute to Jaxxon and Amaiza. Back in the day, Han Solo knew Amaiza as the “den-mother of the Black Hole Gang” so a return to my favorite daily quest hub seemed appropriate. The Jaxxon connection is obvious upon discovering the translation of this sign.

The sign is one of many advertisements for the HyperMatter Corporation and at first glance seems to tout the company’s commitment to the environment. However, anyone who has quested through the zone probably knows that the color in question probably refers to the radioactive glow that one might develop after spending too much time in the Black Hole.

I must admit I missed this sign during my first survey of the zone since it is posted somewhat out of view in the Imperial section of the Black Hole and does not seem to be used elsewhere. The sign itself hangs high on a building and is easy to miss if you don’t look up or don’t back track while completing your weekly quests. I only recently discovered it myself while exploring the area on an Republic character. It’s like Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

 

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No Disintegrations

Welcome to This, uh, Month… in Aurebesh! In honor of last week’s Bounty Broker Association event, let’s take a look at the holographic display projected by the Investigation Probe during interrogations of Shady Characters across the galaxy.

First off, some but not all, of the text in this graphic is reversed, since it is meant to be read by the target and not the players. In my recreation, I reversed the graphic for the sake of legibility.

Elements of this are shared with others from the game, most notably, the Agent’s regeneration ability, Recuperate, and as a part of the cut scene associated with “From Ashes,” a daily quest on Ziost. In both cases the graphic elements are assembled differently for each context.

Most of the text itself, however, is the same in all three examples, and it seems to be drawn from a collection of boilerplate jargon related to computer error messages. For example, the inset text on another photograph complains that the target “has a slow area server.”

The photographs themselves are of real people, but I don’t know their identities and presume they are or were member’s of SWTOR’s design team. Whoever they are, I’m sure they probably get a kick of being targets of bounty hunters from across the galaxy.

Gods, Conquests and Cartel Markets

It’s a been a while since my previous post, so I thought I’d offer some quick comments on Patch 5.8, “Command Authority” and other goings in the community.

For me, the biggest new addition has been Izax, the ultimate boss in the Gods from the Machine operation. Sadly, I have not yet scored a kill of this giant robot space lobster god. Aside from missing a week due to the holiday, Gods is simply a very long operation. My guild raids only once a week, and the first time there it took nearly our entire allotted time just to get to Izax. Certainly, now that we know the puzzle before him it won’t be as bad, but even so I think the raid itself might be too long, especially when it comes the trash pulls. The Scyva trash, in particular, seems excessive and I don’t think it could hurt to cull a group or two from the earlier bosses as well. It’s not unreasonable to expect that a Story Mode operation be clearable in around two hours, and I don’t think Gods is there yet.

As for Izax himself, my first impression based on a few pulls and watching many videos is that he clearly is the most complex Story Mode boss in the game. This doesn’t bother me, since it doesn’t seem like the gear check is too severe to beat him. The short battle rez timer can cover a whole host of mistakes and sloppy play. I look forward to getting it together enough to beat him soon.

The other big change in this update is the revamp to the Conquest system. Some folks seem to be up in arms, but I’ve got few major complaints with the changes. Previously, I was able to meet my personal target on one or two characters a week and that hasn’t changed. It seems to me that Bioware is trying to move the Conquest system away from one where a small group of players can pile up vast sums of points to one where the guilds that succeed are the ones that motivate the most players to participate. This doesn’t strike me as a bad thing. That individual players had been able to accumulate hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of points doing nothing but crafting or endlessly running the same heroics on every character in their legacy day after day strikes me as contrary to the spirit of what is meant to be a guild activity, not an individual one.

That said, I do wish it were easier for individuals to meet their personal goals on their first character. I think a player with a decent stronghold bonus should be able to hit their personal goal in a solid afternoon or evening of play. I’d like to see more big, one time objectives, that let folks quickly pile up some points without having to log on again and again during the week.

Finally, we are in the midst of the big Cartel Market Spring sale, and while I generally don’t talk about the Cartel Market here (it’s not my place to tell people how to spend their money) I cannot deny that I’ve taken advantage. At this point, the market has such a huge backlog of stuff that the prospect of getting that one item you’ve always wanted all your life is tricky if you happened not to be playing at the time it was released. Inflation has driven many items out of the reach of lots of player who simply can’t afford the prices on the GTN so I think it’s a good thing that folks who’ve been frugal with their monthly grants (i.e. not me) can treat themselves to something cool. As for me, dropping 90cc on an old emote I missed out on back in the day instead of millions on the GTN made my day for sure.

I don’t imagine this will be a one-time sale. I’d like to see it come around quarterly, or at least every six months. Hopefully they’ll also work out the kinks and get decorations on the shelves next time.

Suggestions Are Welcome

This post is especially late because I abandoned another recreation I had hoped to do, a monitor on CZ-198 whose text is both clearly identifiable as Aurebesh, but also just blurry enough to be illegible. In my frustration, it took a while to find something else to do instead. I have a backlog of signs and posters I’d like to translate, but I also welcome suggestions. If anyone has spotted an alien display out there they’d like to see recreated in English, please let me know. Outside inspiration is always appreciated!

 

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