Yearly Archives: 2020

Charles Boyd Q&A

This Week I get to continue the birthday celebration of this blog a little differently. Recently I sent a few questions to Bioware regarding SWTOR’s use of alien languages and none other than Charles Boyd came back with some responses!

Charles Boyd has been with the SWTOR team from its earliest days and wrote the original Trooper storyline. Soon after he became Lead Writer and most recently SWTOR’s Creative Director. He is also an avid cosplayer, and if, in the in the hopefully not too distant future, community SWTOR‘s Community Cantina events start up again, it’s worth the trip to stop by and see his excellent costumes in person.

I want to thank Charles for taking the time to answer my questions, and I look forward to seeing what’s next in SWTOR and its fake space languages!

How do the game’s artists and environmental designers interact with the encounter and story team? Zakuul has its own alphabet, and many of the ruins on Ossus are covered in Jedi text. Are these things that were specifically asked for or were they something that the art team created first before being incorporated into the story and scenery?

Charles Boyd: It can happen either way! Sometimes these elements are developed purely to suit the overall visual aesthetic – for example, the environmental signage on Nar Shaddaa or Mek-Sha largely originated from the art team. But in many other cases, that kind of detail is specifically requested by design or especially writing or the Creative Director (me) to suit the overall narrative or gameplay experience. Jedi text in ruins, specific signs for specific places that are key to the story, puzzle elements, etc. are good examples there – stuff that other teams ask for, and then the artists develop and implement to really bring those areas to life.

Lots of alien text in SWTOR can be translated into English. Engraved runes on Ossus refer to the Jedi code and a wanted poster from the chapter “Anarchy in Paradise” seems to feature a distant ancestor of Ahsoka Tano. When incorporating alien languages into the game’s scenery, to what degree do the artists try to make it “readable”?

On the other hand, some of the text featured in the game defies translation. Are these just random letters, secret messages, inside jokes or simply visually pleasing combinations of alien space letters? How deeply should we look for meaning in them?

Charles Boyd: As a rule, any text in the game is meant to have actual meaning. There are exceptions, of course; a few instances of placeholder text have unintentionally made it in over the years, and sometimes text is written to be “gibberish” on purpose, such as computer codes, encrypted data, and any other situation where it would make sense that the text should not be easily read by characters in-universe. We generally don’t use text like that for out-of-universe easter eggs or inside jokes, so odds are if you can’t read something, there probably isn’t a hidden meaning or mystery to decipher.

Some fans have deciphered Zakuulan and its variations, but not all letters of its alphabet appear in the game. Will the missing letters ever be revealed?

Charles Boyd: I’ll take that as a point of feedback! We generally don’t release stuff like this exterior to the game, so it would depend on returning to Zakuul at some point in the story and having a reasonable opportunity to include those missing letters in some background text. Feel free to send me the ones you’re looking for and I’ll make a note of it just in case. 😊

It’s always neat to see alien scripts beyond Aurebesh pop up in SWTOR. Some of the more recently developed languages like Mando’a feature prominently in the Bounty Hunter story and the Fallen Empire chapter “Mandalore’s Revenge”, but the writing seen in the movies’ Sacred Jedi Texts seem like it could also fit logically into SWTOR’s setting. Are these aspects that SWTOR might be able to explore further?

Charles Boyd: We can’t speak to the Jedi texts specifically at the moment, but we have mentioned in recent livestreams that there’s some Mandalorian stuff coming down the pipe later this year… seeing some Mando’a as part of that seems like a safe bet 😉

 

4 Comments

Filed under Aurebesh to English, General SWTOR

Swoop-de-Whoop

SWTOR’s latest event, the All Worlds Ultimate Swoop Rally has come and gone, and before the next new thing hits, I’d like to share some thoughts about it.

The short version is this: I like it. I like it a lot!  The Swoop Rally is unlike any of SWTOR’s other events, and is much better off for it. I’ve been active with operations and even PVP this year, and zipping around the Swoop Rally has been a refreshing change of pace.

At its core the Swoop Rally is an obstacle course on three different planets with three different types of speeders and objectives. It’s not the most involved thing ever, but I’ve found it a relaxing way to cool off after a raid night or a fun way to pile up experience and conquest points on an alt. And I absolutely commend the team at Bioware for the speed and skill with which they assembled this content.

The courses themselves vary from planet to planet, and each speeder has a different enough feel and set of objectives, that I’m still enjoying it even after I’ve maxed out all three reputation tracks. For extra challenge I’ve been working on the achievements. I stayed up extra late the last night of the event trying and failing to complete the Horizon Razor’s Perfection achievement for Dantooine. Next time!

Many folks, however, only care about the rewards. On that score, I think they are a mixed bag. Each faction’s armor set has been assembled from pieces of gear already available in the game, and it shows. There are some neat individual pieces but no set stands out as a must have. Making these sets even worse value is the fact that they cannot be dyed and don’t color match to the rest of our outfits. I hope this is a bug that will be swatted sooner rather than later.

Each faction’s vendor also sells speeders of their own, but only one, the Blatent Beks’, features a unique model. That said, I am personally fond of the mounts selected for the Horizon Razors and Pit Screamers factions. And the gold plated versions of all three speeders available at Legend standing are distinctive and pretty neat.

In addition, there are lots of nice new and event-inspired decorations and droid rewards to be found as well.

The most interesting rewards are the Tactical items which all have silly effects related to mounting and dismounting from our speeders.  If you’re looking to min-max your character, there is nothing for you here, but if you want to show off a bit when you arrive at your destination, there is some fun to be had. The Razor’s Kickstart Tactical is genuinely useful for the extra boost of speed you get on mounting, and since it has no level requirement it’s the first Tactical that can benefit low level characters who may already be speeding through their class and planetary stories.

Events are the perfect place to include cosmetic rewards like this, and I’m glad to see Tacticals that are pure fun. Just don’t be like me and forget to equip an actually useful Tactical before pulling an operations boss. At least I got to Dash’roode first.

As with all events, I wish there were more rewards. It seems like dye module and color crystal recipes based on each team’s colors would’ve been obvious additions, and I am disappointed that some of the tougher or more unusual achievements don’t come with extra rewards. At the very least, “Perfect Idiot” absolutely should have been a title given to players for completing those weird achievements.

The Swoop Rally event, however, does come with a surprising amount of story, which unlocks in stages as players advance through each faction’s reputation levels. The story is told using the “KOTOR-style” dialogue interactions that were introduced with the Fallen Empire’s Alliance Alert missions. While I am on the record as not being a fan of this style of interactions, I understand that circumstances this year are unique, and will not object. I enjoyed these stories. They aren’t galaxy shaking adventures; they are about people just trying to work things out. Whether they come together or break apart is determined by the player’s choices.

I do wish that some of the conversations had options specific to our classes. I’m not sure my Consular needed the concept of the Trandoshan Scorekeeper explained to her, and I’m certain the Smuggler and Bounty Hunter’s underworld backgrounds could’ve played into other interactions as well.

That said, I enjoyed them and, as a light-side loyalist, was satisfied with the conclusions of each story.

Is the Swoop Rally SWTOR’s best event? I’m not sure I can make that call just yet. I understand that the racing gameplay isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but personally I’m looking forward to its return, not so I can get more rep or grind more currency, but so that I can run the courses again. Moreover, I hope the good folks at Bioware are open to expanding the event in the future. I’m sure its no accident that there is room in the pits for a forth Swoop team. Additionally, I’d be happy to see the Rally visit other planets around the galaxy. Taris and Corellia seem like obvious destinations, but racing around Hoth and Manaan could be a gas too.

Very Fast, Very Dangerous

Finally, and at long last, let’s check out this Aurebesh sign featured throughout the Swoop Rally event. This sign will be a familiar to visitors to Corellia and Mek-Sha and features a speeder reminiscent of the iconic rocket bike from Return of the Jedi. This particular speeder is available in several versions in SWTOR including one awarded from a sidequest in Knights of the Fallen Empire and another found via excavation with the Seeker Droid.

The sign seems to have been designed as an advertisement for the speeder and proclaims that it is “coming soon” and includes some small text offering financing at an annual percentage rate that only a Hutt could love.

The speeder’s make or perhaps manufacturer is “Dynovibe”, a name you may not be shocked to learn seems to appear nowhere else in Star Wars lore.

As I indicated this summer, this recreation was a bit more challenging that I expected. The small text is somewhat difficult to read and I’m still not 100% confident in my translation. Instead of simply copying the speeder from the original, I had a go at recreating it from scratch. I didn’t get the same angle or lighting, but I’m otherwise pleased with my version. As seen in the game, the sign itself is lower resolution than others similar graphics, but my version is a little sharper in the interest of readability.

Today marks this blog’s 4th anniversary, and it has become one of the longest projects this freelancer has ever worked on. I’m certain I’d have moved on by now if not for the comments and kind words I’ve received from visitors to the site. Thank you so much for stopping by, and let’s hope things only get better in the next four years!

 

4 Comments

Filed under Aurebesh to English, General SWTOR

The Company You Keep

This Week in Aurebesh will celebrate its fourth birthday tomorrow, but before the sun sets on September, I thought I’d sneak in under cover of darkness with one quick post to close out the month.

This Aurebesh sign has been on my to-do list since the earliest days of this blog, but I could never quite find a good spot to squeeze it in. The translation is relatively simple: at the bottom is the word “company” below a squished Aurebesh H or Herf set within a Q or Qek which has been rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise. It is possible that since the Q is rotated, the inset letter could be as well, making it a distorted C or Cresh. However, I think the sign’s most likely translation is “Company HQ”. While the text indicates it might have military connotations marking nearby headquarters, the sign is most often seen in cantinas, or other seedy parts of the galaxy such as Nar Shaddaa, so I’d classify it as an advertisement. Like another of my favorite Aurebesh signs, this one seems to be have been cheaply printed and plastered on walls where it has crumpled, faded and begun to tear over the years.

What I find interesting about this poster is how the shapes of the letters are incorporated into the design with the H sliding neatly into the gap in Aurebesh Q. For my recreation, I had to rearrange the letters a bit in order to roughly evoke the original’s layout. While not the flashiest sign I’ve examined, I still find it a clever bit of design and I’m glad I could finally find a spare moment to point it out.

I promise to have a bit more to say tomorrow as I finally present a recreation I’ve been working on since the summer. See you again soon!

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Aurebesh to English

I Am Glott

Holy Hutch! August is almost over! I had planned on being a bit more prolific this month, but the recreation I’d planned to coincide with the Swoop Rally event turned out to be rather trickier than I expected. Just after, I had an opportunity to get out of the city for a bit and the change of scenery was most welcome.

I’ll save finishing the Dynovibe sign for the return of the Swoop Rally in September where I’ll also share my thoughts on the event as a whole.

To get back in the swing of things, here’s a somewhat simpler sign that can be found on Corellia. The sign serves as advertisement for Farwan and Glott a somewhat notorious manufacturer of Podracers. At the time of the prequels, Farwan and Glott’s designers were known for putting performance above pilot safety, and the company is said to have worked with the Hutt Cartel and bounty hunters to ruthlessly acquire the secrets to any special modifications made to their racers.

If that is the case, then their corporate strategy does not seem to have changed since the time of the Old Republic. Players who have ventured into the operation Scum and Villainy might recognize this sign hanging outside Olok the Shadow’s showroom on Darvannis. It seems that Farwan and Glott have a long history of illegal sales and shady tactics.

The sign itself has two versions: one orange and yellow, the other red and white. The sign’s bold white stripes seem to me to be cropped and mirrored Aurebesh G’s or Greks. There are other examples in the game of signs using mirrored letters as design elements and I’ve typically translated those letters into their English equivalents. However, in this case I kept the original letter shape since the overall design is more pleasing with the angled lines of the Aurebesh letters than the blocky G’s that would’ve taken their place.

Those, of course, are not the only mirrored letters. The sign also includes two Aurebesh Z’s or “Zereks.” I can only speculate as to their meaning, but it would not surprise me to learn that they refer to Bioware founder Greg Zeschuk. I suspect more than a few examples of Aurebesh in SWTOR include tributes to the makers of the game.

One Armbandits Crashin’

Before another Summer of SWTOR winds down, I thought I’d offer some quick thoughts on the revised Nightlife event, which had a buggy debut, but was thankfully extended so that everyone could burn off their casino tokens and win some prizes.

The addition of simple questing is a nice improvement to an event that is otherwise rather mindless. Interestingly, the Nightlife event, which was previously regarded as a time and credit sink, now has almost no credit cost to participate given how easy it is to earn tokens through regular game play. I looted many Emperor’s Tokens from flashpoint and operations bosses and even random mobs around the galaxy. Since a common prize from the Emperor’s machine is more tokens, I ended the event with hundreds of Kingpin Tokens, many, many more than I could reasonably spend. I know people who have thousands burning holes in their pockets.

Is this a problem? I don’t think so. While I won the new mount with little fuss and came away with dozens of Golden and Cartel Certificates, I know folks who were eager to get the Rodian companion and sunk a fair amount of time into their efforts.

The gameplay of the slot machines remains boring, but I’d hate to see the flood of Kingpin Tokens result in the odds of winning getting worse next year. I don’t mind credit sinks, but I’d hate to see the Nightlife event become even more of a time commitment. Perhaps next year, Bioware might consider adding something else to spend our surplus of Kingpin Tokens on. Maybe we could buy Emperor’s Tokens with Kingpins, even at a steep exchange rate.

I did not expect new games this year, but I was disappointed with the new prizes added to the Golden Certificate vendors. The new decorations are less than impressive minor variations on ones that were only recently added to the Onderon reputation vendors. Next time around, I hope we get something worth saving up for.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Aurebesh to English, General SWTOR

Give Me Steam

Last month saw the debut of a new event in SWTOR, the All Worlds Ultimate Swoop Rally. I’d intended this post to be my overview of the Rally, but the news from this week’s livestream is worth discussing instead. With the Swoop Event’s return next week I hope to revisit the topic and look at another Aurebesh sign prominently seen around the race tracks.

For now, however, let’s quickly check out this display from the news terminal on fleet which hypes the rally and serves the breadcrumb quest that introduces players to the event. This static screenshot fails to capture the charm of the Sportscenter-style animation that plays on this screen. Here the Aurebesh text seems to be a leaderboard of rally champions with some amusing and very Star Warsy names. This display reminds me of the Bounty Hunter Guild’s posted sign of most wanted targets that can be seen around the galaxy.

As I translated each name I made a guess as to which swoop team they race for. I’m quite confident that Scabend must be on the Blatent Beks!

Steampowered

This week SWTOR had their first livestream since the lockdown, and how you judge the stream’s big announcement depends on your point of view. If you are already playing the game, SWTOR’s arrival on steam probably won’t affect you. However, SWTOR’s prominent placement on gaming’s biggest platform is a very nice signal boost for the game.

I’m sure many fans of the game have encountered people who are surprised to learn that SWTOR is still around. Even with little promotion, SWTOR has outlasted most other MMOs and certainly earned a good profit while doing so. As a fan, I’m glad to see SWTOR get some attention again, and an influx of new players is always welcome. I don’t doubt that this wave will subside, but it can only be a good thing going forward that Star Wars fans might have an easier time finding the game. For old and new players alike, one of the immediate benefits of Steam is the ability to easily give gift subscription time and cartel coins to your friends, something that has become more difficult to do through other online retailers lately.

The other news from the livestream included the “Feast of Prosperity” a new seasonal event coming in the fall. The addition of two new events in a single year must be unprecedented in the game’s history. Like the Swoop Rally event, this one will be mostly free of combat and something that all players regardless of gear or level can participate in.

We also got some teases of the next story update and a Mandalorian themed flashpoint as well. Sadly, this story content is not likely to arrive until later this year. This is one delay that I won’t pin on Bioware. The logistics that go into creating SWTOR’s story content, even just the recording of the sixteen members of the main cast, scattered around the world, must be considerable, and the current situation in this country can only amplify those challenges.

I suppose they could deliver content faster using the silent “KOTOR-style” dialogue interactions we get with the Fallen Empire recruitment missions. SWTOR has employed this for the Swoop Rally and revised Nightlife events, and I imagine they will with the Festival of Prosperity as well. I’m no fan of the format, but I don’t mind it as much for content that is meant to be repeated. I cannot imagine it working or being received well for a major story update. The fully voiced and animated interactions are the defining hallmark of this game, and I’m fine waiting a little longer to get it.

It sucks that we’re not going  to experience as much story as I am certain Bioware hoped to deliver this year, but I don’t believe it can be helped. In the meantime, I have enjoyed the content they have produced under conditions that are not ideal for anyone. While I am unlikely to ever visit nightmare Dxun, I’m no where near finished decorating my Alderaan stronghold and I’ve found the Swoop Rally to be a lot of fun, and I’m glad to continue it next week.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Aurebesh to English, General SWTOR, Onslaught

An Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age

In general, I aspire to keep this blog focused on things that any player can encounter in the game as a part of regular play, but I’m going to make an exception this time, and take a close look at the Ancient Jedi Blade, a new addition to the Cartel Market because, let’s face it, it is pretty darn cool.

Given SWTOR’s setting, it’s not surprising that the most common weapons used by the Jedi and Sith are lightsabers, but there are examples of less fantastic weapons from training sabers and vibroswords to even the occasional axe or quarterstaff. The Ancient Force-Imbued Blade is the latest example of this type of weapon, not only for the back slung sheath where the blade is carried but also for the ancient runes carved on the length of the blade.

Inscribed swords such as Aragorn’s Andúril and Elric’s Stormbringer are common in fantasy literature, but in our own world, swords engraved with the names of their makers, their wielders, their deeds or mysterious inscriptions go back thousands of years.

In the Star Wars galaxy, therefore, it does not strike me as unusual that the earliest of the Jedi’s weapons would share in this tradition. Not surprisingly, the writing on this blade refers to the Jedi code. I really have to compliment whoever designed this weapon. That the word “Peace” at the tip of the sword is the first thing that goes into the wielder’s foe is an irony probably lost to many of this weapon’s owners, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

I want to thank my guildmate Alaer for modeling the sword for me. I am notoriously wasteful with my monthly Cartel Coin grant and wouldn’t be able to afford this luxury for four or five months! As a platinum item, the sword is especially pricy, so please don’t take this post as an advertisement. It’s not my place to tell anyone how to spend their money. If you’re like me and have to appreciate it vicariously for now, I hope you enjoy this close look.

Misguided

I usually wait a bit to digest new additions to the game before commenting on them, but I feel like time won’t really change my thoughts on the new Galactic Guide feature. I’m not sure where to begin with this misfire; I’m mainly just confused by it. Most folks seem to think that it is first and foremost there to highlight the daily Cartel Market sale, and I can’t really argue with that. In fairness, after greeting guildmates and clearing out my mail box, checking the daily sale is among the first things I do when I log on. As a whole, however, the guide is redundant with the main task bar atop the screen. It is not a good entry point to the Missions tab or Conquest tracker, indeed all it does is put an extra window in the way of those screens. I can’t think of a reason why I’d ever want to toggle it open.

It also does not help that the guide doesn’t play nicely with our existing customized interfaces and can’t be locked in place by the Interface Editor. As for the design itself, it seems like it is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist; replacing straightforward descriptors of our location, friends and guild with non-specific icons seems pointless at best and confusing at worst.

Ideally I want to set it and forget it, but it’s not even there yet since it can reset its position when I switch characters or instances. SWTOR‘s recent upgrades to the Cartel Market interface, Activities window and the Conquest tracker have been nicely done and welcome improvements, but the Galactic Guide hits so far from the mark that I’m not even sure what it was aiming for.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Ancient Jedi Runes, General SWTOR

Nor Gloom of Night

Hello there! Once again June proves to be a tough month for this blog. I do have a couple translations that I have been working on, but since they are related to content from the next game update, I’ve decided to hold off on completing them until the update is released. In addition, I have been wondering what place this silly little blog has in these difficult times. Playing SWTOR with friends has brought me comfort this year, and I celebrate the game’s improved inclusion in recent years. However, I also think that there is value in shutting up and letting the people whose voices matter do the talking, so that might mean stepping back from this project every one in a while.

In the meantime, I haven’t been completely idle. You might notice a new banner image in the rotation atop this page. I’ve also translated this very bright red and yellow sign seen on the war torn planet of Corellia. This particular sign can been seen by Republic players outside the Shipwright Auxillary Starport and is certainly one of the largest Aurebesh signs in the game. I’d roughly estimate that it’s at least 40 feet tall and 150 feel long! The first thing that the design evokes in my mind are French Curves, templates used in drafting and design. I confess my poor old set of curves haven’t seen the light of day in many years since even my recreation was created using digital tools.

Because the large Aurebesh initials were distorted to fit in with the sign’s shapes and swooshes, I used a different font than usual so that I could integrate those English letters into the original sign’s design.

Eagle-eyed viewers may also spot a second, smaller Aurebesh sign at street level. I did translate this sign way back in the earliest days of this blog, but I did a much simpler job than my current recreations, so I might give it another go if I hit a dry spell again.

That’s all for now. As another summer of SWTOR ramps up, players can look forward to the All Worlds Ultimate Swoop Rally in coming weeks. I tried out a few swoop runs on the PTS, and it promises to be some relaxed, low key fun for players of all levels. Even more good news came from Creative Director Charles Boyd who has let us know that voice recording for the next stage of story content is on the way, and I’m certain I’m not alone in looking forward to that.

Until then, I hope everyone out there continues to take care of themselves, their families and their community.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Aurebesh to English, General SWTOR

Winner Winner Orokeet Dinner

Just a quick post this week to announce the winners of last week’s raffle. My New Year’s Resolution for this blog was to answer every comment I get this year, and to thank everyone for the most comments I’ve received on a post, I’ve decided to pass out some extra prizes. First off, congratulations to the grand prize winners: Gettalla and MagSul! I also awarded four 30 day SWTOR subscription codes and twelve 450 cartel coin codes! Yep, this week everyone is a winner! Because of the current situation many of us find ourselves in, the good people at Bioware were especially generous with codes and I’m more than happy to pass this bounty along to my visitors. I absolutely can’t promise I’ll ever be able to do this again, but it was nice to make it rain during these days when we’re not able to get out as much as we might like.

Stay safe, have fun, and may the SWTOR be with you!

 

Comments Off on Winner Winner Orokeet Dinner

Filed under General SWTOR

Arise, Go Forth and Conquer as of Old

Top of the Fourth to You!

This week let’s take a quick look at a sign that is quite appropriate for the fourth day of the fifth month. This neon sign glows from many of the cantinas, casinos and skyscrapers of Nar Shaddaa. It is written using the Trade Federation Basic font that has its origins on screen in The Phantom Menace.

I’ve previously translated another display with the same font and similar design that also can be found wherever fine goods advertised around the galaxy. The two graphics have an identical frame and layout, but the one above is animated with flashing lights and pulses between a red and purple glow. Unlike the previous sign, this one can be translated. Does the use of the number 54 refer to May 4th? Maybe, but I’d suggest given its context that it might equally evoke Studio 54, New York’s famous nightclub which was at its height during Star Wars’ initial release in the age of disco.  Perhaps 54 is the “top” floor of the most exclusive casino or sky-palace where only the most famous holo-celebrities, crime lords, and Sith boogiemancers are allowed past the velvet rope blocking the blast door to the hottest dance club atop the Smugglers’ Moon!

Conquest Bonanza

I want to comment on the most recent Conquest changes. Where the last initial round of Conquest revisions had us briefly earning conquest points at Ludicrous Speed, I think everyone now agrees that Conquest has gone to plaid!

Last week I scored on my own, more than enough points to meet my guild’s small yield target. I don’t deny this feels extreme, but I did play that character a lot last week, to the exclusion of most of my other characters. And since it was a character I was leveling, I took full advantage of the many Conquest objectives that came naturally with doing the story, heroics and flashpoints along the way.

Of the people in small guilds I’ve talked to, everyone is happy with the update. These are the folks who benefit the most. Nothing will change for the large guilds, they’ll continue to hit their yields, and the same guild that comes in first every week on your server will continue to dominate. But these changes will be huge for small groups of friends who just want to level up their guilds, gain access to perks, unlock their guild ships and earn useful crafting materials.

No one should have to pick between playing content that will benefit their guild’s conquest effort and playing what they want. Now anyone can level a character and still meaningfully help their guild when previously the points gained from basic leveling were not significant.

Are many of the conquest objectives trivial? To veterans, they sure are! But if Conquest allows new players to safely test out systems like Strongholds and companion influence and Amplifiers, I’m all for it. I do know PVPers feel like they got the short end of the stick again, and I think Bioware could add more objectives to reward PVP play without fear of it turning into the new KP or EV trash farm.

When it comes right down to it, if Conquest points are meant to be guild xp, then I think all activity should count towards it, not just a particular set of goals that change from week to week.

The most common remark I hear is that everyone expects this to be nerfed, so I encourage you to take advantage. Ride that speeder! Place those decorations! And pick those flowers while you can!

May the Fourth Raffle Time!

I fully acknowledge that as fake holidays go, May the Fourth is pretty fake, but I think this year we all could use a reason to celebrate, and as a member of SWTOR‘s content creator program, I’m in a position to help make that happen. The good people at Bioware have provided me a code which can be redeemed for 1050 Cartel Coins and I’m pleased to share it with one of my readers! To enter leave a comment to this post below. Do you have any thoughts about the conquest changes? What outfit, weapon or color crystal would you like to buy or unlock in your collection? How many characters are you planning to level during double XP? Comment below! Make sure you let me know how to contact you if you win: include your character, faction and server name and I’ll mail you the code in game. If you prefer twitter, include your twitter handle and I’ll send it that way. If you’d rather not comment publicly, I’ll also accept entries via email at twia@generic-hero.com.

We’re on the honor system here, so one entry per person, please.

I’ll choose a random winner from all submissions during the Conquest reset Tuesday May 12th.

Good luck, and May the 4th be with you!

 

18 Comments

Filed under General SWTOR, Onslaught

I’m Making This Up As I Go

Nearly a month ago, SWTOR’s best blogger Shintar tagged me in her Blapril post to participate is this blogger-themed event. I’m still transitioning into this life where nearly all interactions are online, and I’ve not been able to find as much time for this blog as I would like. Nevertheless, I couldn’t let the month slip by without rising to the challenge and sharing a couple of this site’s origin stories. I’m just barely coming in under the wire with my assignment. It’s just like college all over again!

This Week in Aurebesh was born out of several different intersecting moments in my life and in SWTOR. I’ve been familiar with Aurebesh since it was introduced as part of The Star Wars Roleplaying Game in the nineties, and been stopping to read it in game when I could, but my desire to make English recreations and share them with the world, probably has more do with my work as a graphic and web designer. Often work for clients is meant to be functional and efficient, but that’s not always the most engaging stuff to make. By translating and recreating SWTOR’s alien signs, I’m able to have some fun both with the translation itself but also by deconstructing the design of the graphics the fine artists at Bioware have plastered across the worlds of this game. I was also surprised to discover how many official and fan-made variants of Aurebesh have worked their way into Star Wars’ lore. Aurebesh started as a frankly awkward alien alphabet, and it’s fascinating to me to see how it’s evolved and expanded over the years.

In addition, this blog started during the latter days of the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion. That was a strange time for the game. I did enjoy the story KotFE told, and I especially liked that period in which we were getting story updates on a more or less monthly basis, but the lack of any real endgame and new group content made things tough for my little guild. We understandably lost a lot of people, and many others would only pop on for story and little else. MMO Community commentary is a shitshow, obviously, and I had little interest in the usual venues, but I still wanted to express both my continued enthusiasm for SWTOR, as well as my concerns with where I felt the game fell short, even if I was just speaking into the void. Looking back at very early posts in which I reviewed KotFE and the Dark vs. Light Event, I think that nuance comes through. And it remains a balance I strive to maintain.

The name “This Week in Aurebesh” was the first and pretty much the only title I seriously considered for the blog. I knew at the time that the name would be damnable lie, but it appealed to me in a way I still can’t quite explain, and “Every Other Week or So in Aurebesh” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. However, I did misspell Aurebesh as “aur-A-besh” at launch, which goes to show you how much I knew about fake space-letters at the time. You can still see the error in the address of this site. I could’ve fixed it, but I left the mistake in as a reminder to keep me honest.

Shintar includes lots of good advice in her post and I can only echo it here, but I’ll try to add a couple pointers. First, set limits and until you are comfortable with what you’re doing, keep to them. I am naturally long-winded, but I make sure to keep my posts under a thousand words. I feel like I’m here to amuse my visitors for a few minutes, not take up their afternoon. This means I often cut whole sentences, paragraphs and sections all in service of getting to the point. If the thoughts I edit out are worthwhile I can always revisit them later. Finally, blogging, or “podcasting for introverts” as I call it, can be fun. Try out different things while finding your voice, and don’t be afraid to be stupid. For reasons that escape me, I wrote one entry from the position that the Bob and Doug McKenzie movie Strange Brew was George Lucas’ primary inspiration for Revenge of the Sith. You’ll never be as stupid as that, and even if you are, you can always bounce back with your next post.

Always Read the Plaque

Before I go, let’s not forget the reason for this blog: Aurebesh! My guild-mate, Dav recently completed the Agent story and sent me some screen shots from the Star Cabal’s secret base in which they display the secret society’s treasures from across the galaxy. Each exhibit is marked with a plaque which often functions in the game as a Lore Object to unlock a codex entry describing a nearby piece of Star Wars history or culture.

The most prominent of these plaques can be found on the Republic and Imperial Fleets. I’m always sure to click the plaques when they’re glowing blue. Codex entries are worth a little XP, often advance achievements and their flavor text fleshes out this universe we get to explore! And Lore Objects will almost never get you killed. Almost.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Aurebesh to English, General SWTOR