Category Archives: Dumb Top Five

Always in Motion is the Future: Five Predictions for 2018

The New Year is traditionally a time to look forward, and after reading Shintar’s predictions for 2018, I thought I could share a few of my own. However, as anyone knows me can attest, I am terrible at predicting the future. “I’m sure midi-chlorians will make sense in context.” “Don’t be silly, they’d never go a whole expansion without releasing new group content.” “Well, of course Rey is a Kenobi. It’s obvious!” Therefore I thought it best to free myself from the constraint of actually trying to be right and instead base my predictions on a reality where time, money and resources are no object and my own fickle fancies guide the way. So here are my Dumb Top Five predictions for SWTOR in 2018.

Faction, Schmaction

One of the most interesting things about the War for Iokath story was getting to ally with either the Republic or Sith regardless of your actual faction. My Bounty Hunter had long felt on the wrong side of things, so it was very satisfying when she was presented with the opportunity to stick it to the Sith Empire. So far this choice hasn’t affected anything outside of Iokath, but this year, if we’re really moving back towards a Republic vs. Sith dynamic, let’s crank the faction choice knob all the way to eleven. Let’s have Sith chilling on Tython before they hunt down the remnants of the Dark Council; Jedi on Dromund Kaas meditating on how to overthrow the Republic; and Smugglers and Agents going wherever the heck they want. I have no idea what impact faction switching would have on grouping, guilds and PVP, I’m just making the predictions. I leave logistics to the people who know what they’re doing.

Legacy Avengers

One of the things I like about SWTOR is the notion that all eight of the original class stories happened in parallel and occasionally crossed over into each other. The Jedi Knight inadvertently created a job opening for the Sith Warrior, Mako and Kaliyo popped by other classes’ stories, and the Republic and Sith characters probably just missed bumping into each other on Makeb. The introduction of the Legacy family tree cemented in my mind the hope that one day my characters would actually get to meet “on screen.” Who wouldn’t want to watch their Smuggler flirt with their Consular, and their Agent butt heads with their Inquisitor? Again, details are for little people. I just want to see Havoc Squad, the Jedi Battlemaster, the Barsen’thor, and the Butcher’s Bane assemble to fight some massive threat to the galaxy, or a least a giant laser beam shooting from the sky.

True Romance

Speaking of the original stories, the choice of which companion was adventuring with the hero was usually up to the players. Starting with Knights of the Fallen Empire, the story nearly always dictates which companion is along for the ride. I don’t mind this since forcing interactions with different personalities is a good way to explore your own character’s… character, but it’s also nice to adventure with your best bud or main squeeze. While I trust that the drip of returning companion will become a torrent this year, I do hope that the romances are not shoved aside in the name of getting everyone back into the Crew Skill Queue. Hopefully the romances won’t just be a couple lines of dialogue here and there, but a whole story or chapter where the Outlander and their lover (whoever it is) have an adventure together. Obviously there ought to be a little bit of mushy stuff, but the focus should be on banter (the cheesier the better) and rescuing each other from improbable danger while reaffirming how awesome each other are.

All You Need is Porg

We need Porg pets, obviously, with flying and waddling variants, of course. A Porg combat companion to help with dailies speaks for itself. I expect a Porg Swarm regen toy that calls down a tornado of Porgs to swirl around my character. Not enough Porgs for you? Don’t worry; I’m just getting started. I demand an assault cannon that fires rocket propelled, armor-piercing Porgs at my foes. And if my Operations team is not fighting a fifty-foot tall, dread-corrupted Porg by the end of the expansion, I’ll consider the year a failure. Get on it, Bioware!

Assault Cannons, Dualsabers and Rifles, Oh My!

The quality of cut scenes in Knights of the Fallen Empire and Eternal Throne has been excellent and really showcase how cool Bioware can make our characters look. However, one thing hasn’t changed over the years. Whenever a Trooper or an Agent needs a weapon in a cut scene, they drop their bad-ass assault cannons and rifles, and instead draw the same dinky pistols they’ve had since level one. As for Shadows and Assassins, holding their dualsabers like a single saber often leads to some very awkward moments of potential self-mutilation. Let 2018 be the year we start seeing the complete variety of weapons that we have in play in the story’s cut scenes.

This post has been especially silly, but this last point is one thing I really do hope to see sooner rather than later. I realize this is also no small request. They’d be going from animating two types of weapons in cut scenes to as many as five (or even seven if they include dual wielders). But I think it would be worth it. Whether you dumped a bucket of credits on the GTN, burned all your cartel coins on the CM, busted your hump to earn it in game or even if you just like the quest reward you got back on Ord or Hutta, everyone should get to show off their favorite toy when the game is working its hardest to show off what it can do.

Well, that was pretty easy. While I expect to go zero for five again this year, you can rest assured that if I somehow back into getting even one thing right this time around, I’ll be claiming all the credit. All right, 2018, let’s do it!

 

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A Little Splash of Color: Top Five Non-Cartel Market Dyes

Patch 5.5 didn’t come with much in the way of content, but it did include several quality of life improvements including a most welcome increase in the number of Strongholds and a revised Cartel Market interface. The most significant change to the Cartel Market has been the addition of many more direct sale items, most notably dozens of dye modules that previously were only rarely available directly from the Market or randomly from packs. For anyone looking to customize their characters this is a very nice change indeed.

However, before dropping Cartel Coins on a fancy dye module, take a look at some of the other options out there. You can often find something that looks just as good if not better for a fraction of the GTN cost without spending even a single Cartel Coin. To that end, I thought I’d share, in no particular order, a dumb top five list of my favorite non-Cartel Market dyes.

Dark Red and Black

I’ll just come right out and say it: Black/Black is boring. Yeah, ninjas are cool but black works best with contrast, even if it’s subtle. Darth Maul’s red skin stands out against his black tunic, and while Darth Vader is armored head to toe in black, he is a case study in creating contrast by mixing flat and glossy tones. Artificers have numerous choices in creating dyes that mix black with other colors including blue, red, gray and even a creepy pale yellow. But I’ll highlight Dark Red and Black which I think is the best alternative to black/black, especially for Sithy characters. The recipe for this dye module can be purchased by characters of Champion reputation rank from the Coalition Forces vendor on Yavin IV, and requires Artifice of skill level 500.

White and Light Gray

Next up is an affordable alternative to White/White. Unless you’re looking to be ghostly white, this dye module should do the trick, assuming it’s not after labor day. This recipe can be learned from the Artifice trainer at skill level 520. If you want to dye one piece of gear all one color, say white gloves or black boots, crafted dyes are the way to go. It’s not at all unusual for the either primary or secondary colors to not register much or even at all on some pieces of gear, and you can easily get the look you want with little expense or trouble.

Secondary Pale Brown

I am a big fan of the single color primary and secondary dye modules. These dyes can make either subtle or dramatic changes that still maintain the original look of the outfit to which they are applied. I’m giving the award to the Secondary Pale Brown Dye Module which can add some faded gold highlights that make details on some outfits pop. But the other dyes of this type can personalize a suit of trooper armor or complete the look of a Corellian Green Jedi. Primary and secondary dye modules of deep green, deep purple, light orange, medium gray and pale brown can be learned from the Artifice trainer at various skill levels.

Deep Brown and Deep Red

Maybe because it’s autumn, but the color red is getting a lot of love on this list. I thought about picking another dye module, but I really do think these warm colors go well together. I’ve used them on an Iron Man cosplay as well as smuggler jackets and bounty hunter armor. The recipe for this module can be learned from the Bounty Broker’s Association reputation vendor in the Cartel Bazaar section of both Fleets and requires Artifice skill level 500 and costs 50 Completed Bounty Contracts.

White and Deep Red

The last dye on my list is not crafted but can be purchased for the ridiculously low price of 5000 credits from the security key vendor on both Fleets. Whether you do it for the account security, the extra Cartel Coins or just easy access to a vendor when you zone into Fleet, I highly recommend anyone who is playing to pick up a security key if they can. As for the dye, my Canadian upbringing may be showing, but this is truly one of my favorites. I’ve lost track of how many members of Havoc Squad are wearing these colors. It may be too strong a contrast, but when it works, it works really well.

Even leaving aside the ability to craft useful relics and the classic color crystals, Artifice is still my favorite Crew Skill. Whenever I’m looking to customize a character’s look, I am nearly always able to find a crafted dye module that fits the bill. That I can do it without spending any cartel coins or millions of credits on the GTN is pretty sweet. Swtorista created a comprehensive guide to crafting dye modules as part of her excellent Academy series, and if you’re interested in much more detail than I can provide, check it out!

 

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Good Hair Day: Five Hair Styles That Should Be Added to SWTOR

Last month, I was pleased to see that three new hairstyles were added to SWTOR’s appearance designer. When it comes to character customization, the more the better. Inspired by Kid Lee’s video exploring the possibility of body tattoos and Xam Xam’s blog post requesting more outfits from Star Wars lore, I thought I’d add to their excellent suggestions a few of my own with another dumb top five list of looks I’d like to see added to the appearance designer.

These suggestions are drawn exclusively from the Star Wars movies, and while I’m totally cool with more popstar and hipster haircuts, I think there is plenty of inspiration yet to be drawn from the film canon.

Leia’s Buns

Yeah, I know that there are already two kinda-sorta versions of Leia’s infamous buns available already, but neither feel just right to me. Leia’s coif in the first movie is THE iconic hairstyle of the entire Star Wars saga, and I firmly believe a screen-accurate version absolutely should be available to players in the game. As far as I’m concerned this one is a no brainer.

Padme’s Braids

Padme wore her hair in a great number of styles over the course of the prequels, but I thought I’d pick one that was both not too outlandish and not too likely to cause many clipping problems. Besides, her bun of tight braids from Attack of the Clones is totally cute and functional for any character of any class.

Anakin’s Shag

Players can find decent matches for most of the male hair styles sported in the movies, but all but one of those haircuts are quite short, so I’d like to see some longer options. Anakin’s shoulder length mane from Revenge of the Sith is similar to the look sported by Kylo Ren and old Luke in The Force Awakens, and having a choice between short hair and the full Qui-Gon would be nice.

Rey’s Triple Buns

I know, I know, still more buns, but, Rey is awesome, and I’m honestly a little surprised this look isn’t already in the game. While Leia and Padme’s hair tends to be neat and smooth, I think this messier look would work well too. And again, this style shouldn’t have too many issues clipping the game’s armor.

Cassian’s ‘Stache and Scruff

Okay, this isn’t technically a hairstyle, but I’d like to see more options for facial hair. Generally you’re out of luck if you want a mustache like those sported by Lando, Biggs and Cassian or a thin beard like Obi Wan’s in both the original trilogy and Attack of the Clones. Sometimes, you just want to be scruffy lookin’.

To be honest, it was tough to stick to just hair. I’d be interested to see more tattoo options for not just humans but also Togruta and Twi-liks and Zabraks, oh my! And pity the poor Cathar whose customization options are the most anemic.

I grok that the right haircut won’t kill a boss or cap a node any faster, but it’s hard to beat the feeling you get when your character looks just the way you want them to. So I hope more customization options will be on offer in the not too distant future.

SWTOR’s 2017 Road Map

Last week, Keith Kanneg shared with us the long anticipated Road Map for the next few months of SWTOR. I’m a bit late to the party with this post and I don’t really have much to add to the general happiness with which the road map has been greeted, so I’ll keep my comments short. On the one hand, most of the announcement contained information we already knew, but having a detailed idea of what is coming and when to expect it is excellent news. I’m not the biggest fan of the Nightlife event, and class changes always make me nervous but knowing that I’ll be able to go nuts decorating a new stronghold next month and run a new flashpoint with friends after that is great information to have. I have every hope the fine folks at Bioware keep up the good work they’ve done communicating with the community lately.

 

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Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Top Five Non-Cartel Market Mounts

This week’s post is another dumb top five list of some of my favorite mounts in the game. These can all be acquired by simply playing the game. You don’t need to spend a single cartel coin or hunt the GTN for a deal to hit the road in style. I’ve not included mounts from flashpoints and operations since you’re neither guaranteed to see those mounts drop nor win the role. In addition it’s hard to quantify mounts with epeen value; I’m not sure tentacle jet packs would be a big deal if they didn’t come from one of the toughest boss fights in the game. It’s perhaps another list for another time.

Questing: Tauntauns

SWTOR offers many snowscapes to explore from Hoth and Belsavis to Ilum and Ziost, and there is no better way to lope across these ice-capped worlds than on a Tauntaun. There are several Tauntaun mounts available from the Cartel Market and one as a reward from the Oricon questline, but the two available on Hoth are closest in appearance to those used by Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. The spotted Tundra Tauntaun and the tan Mountain Tauntaun can be acquired through simple questing which will have you criss-crossing Hoth, feeding baby Tauntauns and protecting them from Wampas; do this enough times and you’ll earn enough tokens to purchase either mount. It’s not the most engaging bit of gameplay, but Hoth is quite picturesque, and if you’re looking for a relaxing, stress-free way to spend a couple hours, you could do worse.

Reputation: Infected Varactyl

Most of the major PVE reputations offer an exclusive mount or two to folks who’ve earned the respect of the game’s various factions, and it was hard to pick just one, but the Infected Varactyl from the THORN reputation vendor is a standout. As with many of the mounts on this list, there are variants available from the Cartel Market, but the Infected Varactyl’s mottled gray skin and glowing yellow eyes set it apart from its healthier siblings. You will need to earn Legend standing with THORN and gather materials that drop from bosses that appear only during the event, but I think this is a great mount for any Sith Warrior or Inquisitor.

Vendor: Gurian Shadow

If you just want to drop some credits and drive away immediately, the Gurian Shadow might be the mount for you. This is a speeder bike stripped to its essentials: handle bars, wings and a rocket between your legs. Sometimes that’s all you need. This particular version of the Gurian is only available from one vendor in the galaxy: Bleargh, the Gamorrean Black Market Trader who resides in the far end of the Outlaw’s Den on Tatooine. It’s a bit of a trek, but the Shadow’s matte black paint job and glowing red engine mark it as the best of its class.

Achievement: Aratech Speeders

There is an often overlooked quest terminal in the GTN section of the Fleets that offers four distinct Aratech Speeders as rewards for completing much of SWTOR’s original endgame group content, from killing world bosses to completing flashpoints and operations. The Aratechs are some of my favorite speeders in the game; they’re long and sleek and feel fast as heck. Between the four options, there is bound to be one to suit any taste. I’m partial to the flaming red Fire, but the slick, black Nightscythe looks good on anyone. Again, there are other Aratechs available from the Cartel Market, but for my credits, these are the best looking ones in the game.

For the Truly Dedicated: the GSI PMP-06 Pleasure Speeder

I won’t lie, unless you buy the parts from the GTN, acquiring the GSI Pleasure Speeder will not be trivial. This speeder is assembled from parts found by excavating sites using the Macrobinoculars and Seeker droid acquired from the long side quests that first appeared during Rise of the Hutt Cartel. The parts for the pleasure speeder are rare treasures from the dig sites scattered around the galaxy and it will take many, many hours to find them all. Along the way, you’ll certainly find three other speeders and a couple sets of unique Legacy armor, but at the end you’ll have one of the rarest mounts in the game. The speeder’s flame-shooting tail-pipes are over the top in just the right way and it’s glowing orange pin-striping looks fantastic on any shadowy planet. This mount is ridiculous, but I love it.

If you’re looking for a unique mount to call your own, don’t feel like you have to drop cartel coins or pay through the nose on the GTN. Look at what’s available in the game. Reputation and most event currencies are shared amongst your legacy, so check out some of those vendors you might normally pass by. You might find an over-looked gem, with low mileage and great terms waiting just for you.

 

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Top Five Dumb Wishes for SWTOR

This week, I’d like to focus on something a little different and share a short list of changes I’d like to see made to SWTOR. This is NOT a list of important things. Sure, who wouldn’t demand more story, more group content, perfect class balance, and the return of Kira? Of course I expect all that, but here some other, frivolous things I’d like to see once that other stuff is also sorted out.

Hats and Hoods and Hair

It’s one of the sad facts of life in the SWTOR universe that hats and hoods cannot share the same space as hair on our characters’ heads. The recent additions of Nico Okarr, who wears a hat without ear flaps, Vaylin, whose hair spills out of her hood, and even Koth Freakin’ Vortena, who gets to prop his goggles on his forehead, stand in stark contrast to the player characters who can do none of those things. There are tons of awesome helmets and masks that cover the whole head, but there are far fewer good examples of open-faced headgear and hats because almost without exception they must also awkwardly cover the sides and back of the characters’ heads. Likewise, it’s a shame that so many potentially cool Jedi and Sith robes are marred and rendered unusable by hoods that make the characters appear bald. It’s a nut I really hope they crack one day.

Updated Conquest

I enjoy participating in Conquest both as a solo player and as part of a guild working to place in the top ten. That said, Conquest is in desperate need of an update. Let’s invade Darvannis, Zakuul and Iokath and chase new objectives related to those worlds. In addition, don’t forget to add new Utility decorations. There are now two expansions’ worth of gathering nodes that should be included as conquest rewards. The right color crystal deco can really liven up a room, and a slicing node can perform double duty as both a stylish end table and a source of extra walking around money.

Crafting

I’d like to see crafters have more vanity items to make. That the classic color crystals from the films can be crafted remains great. Whenever I’m looking for a dye for a new outfit, there is now almost always a good choice available from my Artificer. But let’s see some more Cybertech mounts. Or how about a genetically engineered pet or companion made by Biochem? I know Tunings are the fancy new thing, but I definitely hope to see a craftable Tuning. It could be a rare recipe or call for expensive or difficult to acquire materials. I’m cool with that. Even in a video game, there is satisfaction in making something yourself. I realize and understand that items like this usually goes to the cartel market, but there should also be room for crafters to make fun stuff too.

Companion Weapons

One of the weird things about Knights of the Fallen Empire has been getting companions back who suddenly refuse to use weapons they’d gleefully carried into battle for the last few years. All those techstaves and assault cannons are gathering dust as Torian, SCORPIO, Rusk and Jorgan grab sniper rifles. Storywise, it makes sense that Jorgan prefers rifles, but I always thought it was cool when he and my Commando would unsling their big ass guns and go bug hunting like Vasquez and Drake. Certainly Lightsabers should be restricted to Force using companions, as should saber fighting styles; I don’t think Kira should be dual wielding like a Sentinel or Ashara fighting like an Assassin. And, yeah, Doc and Mako probably wouldn’t use assault cannons, but, in general, I think companions should be more versatile in the weapons they can wield. At the very least, the HKs should be able to fire any darn blaster in the galaxy. Heck, if you told me HK destroyed a factory full of skytroopers using nothing but a vibro-mop, I wouldn’t even blink. And for pity’s sake, give Blizz back his rocket launcher!

Star Wars Rebels

There is no shortage of cool material that can and should be imported, borrowed and swiped from the Star Wars Rebels cartoon (Kanan’s partial armor, Sabine’s two-toned hair, Zeb’s bo-rifle, the Inquistor’s lightsaber, etc.), but the continued absence of Loth Cats from SWTOR is the most glaring omission and a crying shame.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back to the Aurebesh next week, but I may slip in some more dumb top five lists in the future as inspiration strikes me.

 

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