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Topics - Imazi

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Holocrons and Info Nodes / Talk Fast, Talk Faster
« on: 04/16/18, 08:31:27 PM »
Talk Fast, Talk Faster

Kam walked casually past drinkers, dancers, and other patrons of various species out to enjoy their evening. The lively music playing in the background provided a compelling soundtrack to his strut through the cantina. As one of the few human in the place, he stood out like a Jedi in a gang war. If it bothered him, he didn’t show it.

Confident smirks greeted anyone whose eye he caught. He was self sure almost to the point of arrogance. Nonetheless, Each reaction was tailored. He worked to conceal his true reason for being there.  Face after face, he scanned for his target. In the corner… She was sitting at an out of the way counter away from others trying to go unnoticed.

Having finally found what he was looking for, he walked purposefully in her direction.

“Hands up or I’ll shoot,” he laughed and made finger blasters in her direction. Joking aside, he maintained a maneuverable distance should the gesture be taken poorly. The Arcona woman in front of him neither laughed nor turned to look at the man lurking just over her shoulder.

“You shouldn’t be here Starlighter.” The even lilt of her native language did nothing to hide that her response was terse, strained. Kam was caught a little off guard, but he hid it behind cheek.

“What? Surely it’s dim enough in here to sneak by. You seem to be trying it.” Kam adjusted his stance so that he could keep the other patrons of the cantina in his peripheral while directly watching the actress Tuja Kyrenic turned suspect.

The actress in hiding showed no appreciation for his cheek given the circumstances. Her response was disdainful.

“We consider you a subject expert on being dim. However, we disagree that it is dim enough to conceal an SIS snoop, especially one making stupid jokes.” She unlike some Arcona still spoke in the Arconan first person plural even after years of contact with Basic. Accustomed to the quirk, the  brash, self-assured agent brushed it off. Instead, he feigned offence at the slight.

"Stupid? Me? Come on. I'm sure everyone has wanted to walk up to famed action actress Tuja Kyrenic and say that." He began to overdramatize his reaction, "I'm hurt... I'm wounded..." Then he broke character as quickly as he had entered it and dared to move closer. "I'm actually here to help."

Kam's tone went from loveable goof to down to business quicker than than most could say, trouble. He leaned in slightly to complete his now conspiratorial stance.

"Let's just leave it at I believe you. I don't have all the evidence, but I've got enough to know someone's not playing fair in the court of public opinion."

Tuja sat expressionless, her large green eyes now fixed themselves on Kam. He had her undivided attention.

"We cool a moment? Hear me out." he raised his open palms in a placating gesture. Movement caught his attention just on the almost ignorable edge of his vision. Since it wasn't nearby or heading in their direction, he ignored it and continued.

"There's only so many coincidences before it gets deliberate. I've been keeping count, and you've been set up too many times. I don't know who you crossed, but it's getting bad. Fast..."

Tuja's patience faltered. "We are aware of our situation. We don't need you to tell us that." The look she gave kam confirmed to him that he had precious little time to recover before she became the dangerous thing he had to worry about.

He put words between them as fast as his mouth would cooperate. "That's not what I'm talking about. There's stuff out there... in the dark dank, corners of the holonet that are much worse than the stuff making general news." Again something caught his attention in the peripheral, but it just seemed to be people moving out of the way, closer this time though not in their direction.

He continued trying to convince her to take him seriously, "This isn't that nut that stalked you for a  week. This is serious Tuja. Someone's making it real easy for everyone to find you dead, missing, or worse and not ask too many question... That's beyond a bad situation." Kam stopped.

This time the movement in the corner of his eye was moving distinctly towards them. Since Tuja and he were in an out of the way area of the cantina, there was no way this just a random passerby. Kam turned to face whatever was heading in their direction.

Three figures made a straight line for the counter where Kam had found Tuja. In front was a scalely, orange Trandoshan. The reptilian species had contibuted more than its share of mercenaries and bounty hunters. This walking ammunition locker one was likely one of the two.

To the left of the Trandoshan was a scarred, teal Twi'lek man. This one was clearly no dancer and the jagged pits scarring his face and lekku meant he was clearly not one to be triffled with. He was armed with a heavy blaster as if he expected to see way worse than what a cantina had to offer. Even more, he carried various blaster recharge packs on his belt ready to reload should things drag out.

The last member of the trio towered over the other two. The tip of her top knot ponytail scarcely came low enough to graze the top of the others' heads. The Cathar's muscles looked as though she punched dursteel just to watch it squeal and her scowl surely would have done the trick had a punch failed. Of the three, she looked like the one that you would like to cross least.

They stood before Kam but focused on Tuja. They had come for her.

The trandoshan spoke for the group. He looked unwaveringly at Tuja but spoke to Kam. The hissing, emphasized "zzzz" of his native tongue cut through every other noise in the cantina.
"Leave. We have business with this one." He pointed a taloned finger at Tuja.

Switching into "worst case scenario mode", Kam thought fast and spoke faster.

"Hey, hey... I'm sure if you leave your comm frequencies, Ms Kyrenic can make sure you each get a signed poster for your bedrooms. No need to crowd." Kam attempted to put himself betweek Tuja and her assailants, but he was fresh out of ideas for dealing with heavily armed combatants in close quarters.

The Twi'lek gave Kam a disgusted look before he spat out his ultimatum. "Leave or be smeared on the walls. This has nothing to do with you Human. Go slum with aliens elsewhere."

Kam prepared to retort when Tuja cut him off. "Starlighter... Kam... no."

The cornered agent rolled his eyes at the ill timed capitulation and started up again. "Tuja, yes. While I'm sure your fan club would love to have a piece of you. Some of us trying to keep you in one piece."

The argument continued, "Kam, no... Stay out of this. This is bigger tha-"

Kam cut her off and ask impatiently, "I'm trying to save you here, do you mind?"

"Enough stalling!" the cathar in the back of the group snarled.

Tuja's final words cut through the din. They were eerily calm. "Fine... Remember, this is what you asked for.

Kam looked striken as concern rose and burned like fresh steam. Quickly, he spun around to face the Arcona. His shoulders dropped as did his expression. He watched helplessly as they all definitely sailed pased the point of no return.

"Tuja... No..."

<< Return to Main Mission Hub

The Approach

The freighter exited Hyperspace returning the mesmerizing streaks of stars and light particles to the stationary twinkle of normal space. Risha maneuvered the ship near the planet. The freighter sat just outside of Themaya's sovereign space. In the distance, the shaded, rocky world could be seen through the ship's viewport. Wispy clouds wound around the planet like ancient cobwebs as it's backlit moons circled on their nightly orbits.

Risha looked out over the night shaded world with barely tempered eagerness.

Risha: There it is, Themaya. There's a lot going on down there. We'll have to be careful.The government here calls itself the Upper Echelon. I've arranged a meeting with the leader who calls himself The Empowered One. Ancient titles aside, that's not where the real power is.

Dialog Options

Then why are we talking to him?
Spoiler: show
The Captain leaned against the wall and folded their arms. There was skepticism in their voice.

Smuggler: No offense Risha, but why exactly are we talking to The Empowered One if he has no power?

Risha: Because like most "important" people, the Economic Committee uses their underlings to deal with the rabble. It's just bureaucracy. You don't have to like it. You just have to go through it.

Risha gave the Smuggler an apologetic shrug.

Continue the story -->

So how do we get to the ones in power?
Spoiler: show
Smuggler: Ok, so how do we get around this guy and talk to whoever's in charge?

Risha shook her head.

Risha: We don't. I'm afraid there are no backdoors, and all of the open areas good for landing appear to be heavily guarded. We can't exactly sneak in either.

Smuggler: So we have to speak to the No Powered One to...

The Captain's question trailed off waiting for Risha to fill the missing blank.

Risha: To get approval to land and operate on the planet through accepted channels. Not to mention getting access to the Economic Committee.

The Smuggler rested their head in their hand.

Smuggler: Since when did we operate through proper channels? This is going to be worse than Coruscant.

Risha's answer came swiftly on the heels of the question.

Risha: Since we ran out of alternatives, that's when. Nar Shaddaa might be a better analogy, though. Hopefully there will be less double crossing.

Continue the story -->

You are wasting my time, Risha.
Spoiler: show
Smuggler: I don't have time to speak to powerless nobodies, Risha.

The Captain was aggravated to the point of raising their voice.

Risha: I know, but this is the only way. Like most "important" people, the Economic Committee leaves their underlings to deal with the people they don't want to talk with. And yes, I took the liberty of checking for ways to get around them all, but there are no backdoors. Not to mention all of the good landing areas are heavily guarded. We can't exactly sneak in.

Continue the story -->

Can't we just clean up the mess and then talk to them later?
Spoiler: show
Smuggler: Couldn't we just land anyway, clean up the imperials, and demand they pay us?

Risha did not look impressed with that idea.

Risha: No, and there's no guarantee that they would pay us even if we did. I checked for ways to get around all of, but there are no backdoors. Even Worse, all of the good landing areas are heavily guarded. We can't sneak in either. If you want to get paid twice or three times, we'll have to play it their way.

Continue the story -->

Welcome the first mission in the Smuggler Class Story for my world, Themaya.

Here's how you move through it.
  • Read through a thread until you come to a choice.
  • Choices are hidden in spoiler tags so you only see the path you chose as you play through it.
  • Follow the "Continue the Story -->" links to progress through the story.
  • Look for the option that fits where you are in this story and what you accomplished in game.

As you go through the story, imagine it as if you were playing through a mission in game. If all my best plans go well, some choices will lead to different outcomes, will affect how companions and other NPCs  feel about you, and may lead to helpful or not so helpful surprises down the line.

To that end, look out for highlighted bits of information such as *Risha is Offended*. Highlighting will help you to pick out some of the more significant events and items. In the case of highlighted reactions from companions and other NPCs, these are actions that they will remember and may act on later.

Due to limits on time and energy, you'll notice that your character is mostly referred to as they. I'm afraid I just don't have it in me to do full duplicates for male and female chacters. I will use her and him when necessary though. In game, some options and situations only applied to male or female smugglers, so references or follow ups on those will match accordingly.

To jump around or revisit missions, head back to the main Themaya thread to start a mission from the beginning. Also, feel free to leave feedback on threads through votes on the posts you like, PM, or leave a post in the main thread. May the Force be with us both on this journey. :grin:
Themaya Hub Thread


Themaya: A World of Opportunity

The galaxy waits on edge...

The SITH EMPEROR has disappeared into parts unknown after draining all life from the Imperial world Ziost. Republic and Sith Empire alike anxiously await his next appearance.

The SMUGGLER has returned to building their underworld empire and taking the odd privateering job. However, things between the Smuggler and the Republic are not as lucrative as they once had been.

See it in true Star Wars crawl form here on Youtube. Please excuse the typo. It took hours just to get it working this much. Warning the Star Wars music may be loud.

Looking for the Next Score

The lounge of the freighter had the lived in look of a room that had seen victories, defeats, and and a few parties for absolutely no reason whatsoever. The crew scattered around a table in the corner where a battle of wills of and skill played out.

The captain leaned back in smug nonchalance waiting for the next hand to finally be played.

Smuggler: You know Guss, you could just throw in the towel now and save yourself some trouble.

The Mon Calamari's brow furrowed in deep concentration as he turn strategies and outcomes around in his head.

Guss: Oh no you don't. You're not going to rattle me. I finally got you right where I want you.

The smuggler smirked at the padawan turned smuggler and gave an indulgent shrug. Akaavi leaned dispassionately against the wall as Corso perched near the table grinning like a monkey Lizard.

Corso: Come on Guss, you know the captain could probably fleece a Hutt faster than gundark on wheels. Better give up before you end up with extra refresher duty.

Risha sat in a nearby chair watching the game only as a concession to her boredom.

Risha: This would only be the 7th game of Sabaac you've lost today, Guss. What's one more?

Risha sarcasm was half-hearted as she still had nothing better to do. She leaned her head against her hand when Bowdaar growled from his stool nearby.

Bowdaar: <This is boring. We've been waiting to find the Emperor and we rot here instead.>

Mention of the incorporeal menace lurking unfound in the stars sent involuntary reactions around the room. Facing a monster that had sucked all life from a planet, when last seen, unnerved even the hardened among them.

Smuggler: No offense Bowdaar, but I think I can put off finding the Sith Emperor for one more day. But I get your point. Things have been slow around here. Ever since that truce on Yavin the republic hasn't had as many jobs for us. Our arrangement with the Republic isn't exactly paying out right now.

Risha: We've gotten more excuses than credits as of late. That's no good when you're trying to create the greatest underworld Empire since Nok Drayen's.

You completed all of Risha's companion missions
Spoiler: show
Risha gave the smuggler a knowing smirk.

Smuggler: I guess finding his treasure wasn't enough huh?

Risha: No that was just a start. Nok kept his people in line by showing them who's boss and who brings in the the money. We need a score, a big one. Something that will get people talking. Fortunately, for you I know just the thing if you'll go for it.

Continue the Story -->

You have not completed all of Risha's companion missions
Spoiler: show
Risha: Nok kept his people in line by showing them who's boss and who brings in the the money. We need a score, a big one. Something that will get people talking.  Fortunately, for you I know just the thing if you'll go for it.

Continue the Story -->

Worldbuilding and Community / Themaya
« on: 03/19/18, 08:47:48 PM »
I'm attempting to write a class story and planetary arc for a planet of my design as an exercise in quest writing. There is going to be a lot of trial and error and possibly at lot of revisions in this project, but you'll never know what you can pull off until you try it.

So far I have rough outlines for the class story and some of the side missions. Eventually I will better define some outlines for the planetary arc. I'll write for the smuggler story first as I have the best idea of where I will go with the story for that class. As I complete missions, I will turn them into forum threads, to approximate making them playable, and link them here.


Class Mission: A World of Opportunity
Looking for the Next Score
The Approach
Making Friends

Planetary Arc: Tipping the Scales

Side Missions:
Sorting out Feelings

Cantina / Angry Gizka Face
« on: 03/09/18, 06:37:38 PM »

I am pleased to say that I have finally captured Jessak's Angry Gizka face. :grin: It took like 5 restarts of that mission to catch it too. :lol: Nevertheless, this is the point of reference for when she makes that face in RP.

The Trading Floor / Looking for These Decos
« on: 11/20/17, 06:26:25 PM »
Hello Everybody. I am looking to see if anyone has any of these they would like to sell:

Ornate Merchant's Rug
Medical Stanchions
Banner: Scions of Zakuul
Rishi Pirate Cannon
Korriban Tomb Tablet
Voss Tomb Terminal
Yavin Temple Fountain
Zakuul Megaterminal

I'm looking for these to add to my available decos not to resell and I'm willing to work out some payment for these if anyone even has one.

Outside Realm / Nanowrimo 2017
« on: 10/28/17, 09:21:35 PM »
Alright then everybody, it's almost that time again. If you have lingering stories you want to work on, even if it is just a few hundred word short story, give it another shot this November.

I will be doing it again this year and hopefully I won't get sick halfway through this time. It's time to get writting everybody. :whee:

Great Big Thread of Other Threads You Should Check Out

Since I proposed a big thread of main forum threads that could use some other people looking at it, here it is. If you have threads over there that you'd like to draw attention to, whether you started them or not, just drop them in this thread. Also, if I have a broken or misdirected link in this post let me know.

Stronghold Stuff
Stronghold Decorations I’d Like to See and Some Suggestions
Floor Hook Suggestions
Seated Personnel Decorations
New Packs: Personnel Packs and Ambiance Packs
Colored Light Decorations
More Large Standard Hooks
Right Click Chairs to Sit, Please...
Personnel Arrangements
More Planetary Tree Plots
Planet Specific Decoration Drops
Decorations That Need More or Different Hooks
Combat Interactive Decorations
Interaction with decorations in your stronghold
Stronghold Key System Overhaul
Stronghold Decorators are Passionate Too
Please Release Existing Recolors of Decorations
Kaliyo’s Apartment as a Stronghold
Please Give Us Night Environment Strongholds
More Arrangement Decos Please
Companion Holo Placeholders
Past Decorations Rotated Into Vendors
Day/Night Weather for Strongholds
Makeb Style Stronghold
Ability to Scale Decorations
Please Rearrange the Yavin Hooks
Light Decoration With Variable Brightness
Past Decorations Rotated Into Vendors
I love Star Fortress Decorations
Door Locking by Owner
Decoration enabling alternate spawn point

GSF Stuff
GSF Sandbox Instance

Cartel Market Stuff
Cartel Pack Exchange
New items for the Contraband vendor / changes to Contraband Slot Machine
Personnel Decoration Packs
Idea for Differentiating Cartel Pack Decos and In Game Drop Decos
Specific Color Match Dyes
Can the game accommodate three color and tertiary armor dyes?

Currency Stuff
+1 Deco Token
Premium Currency Exchange

RP Stuff
Chat logs
Four Expansion Problems to Hopefully Avoid Next Time
Restored Jedi Temple On Coruscant
Right Click Chairs to Sit, Please...

Misc Stuff
Subscription Free Saturday
Add Rep Tokens to Nar Shaddaa Nightlife
Post KOTET Class ideas
Please Attach to the Belt Instead
Thanks for the Nightlife Event Update
Droids and Cyborgs and Dyes OH MY!
Linking outfits from the outfit designer
Reporting spam mail also automatically ignores

Mission Stuff
Mission Restructuring to Suit Story and Non Story Players
Put Those HKs to Good Use
Please make GTN Browsing Count for Being at Keyboard
Making Game Choices Feel More Meaningful
Companion Themed Expansion
Endless Possibilities with How Companions React
Companion DAILIES!

Cantina / Getting Decoration Hooks Changed
« on: 06/25/17, 10:19:47 PM »
I created a thread on the SWTOR forum for requesting changes to the hooks decorations go on.

Feel free to add to it if you can and maybe those changes will be slipped in here and there through the coming months.

Cantina / What Was Disruptive about the Last Expansions
« on: 06/22/17, 10:05:22 AM »
Given that the devs are in listening mode, I think now would be a great time to give them a heads up about game directions that blindside the RP community, so that can avoid it in the future. My main forum privileges shouldn't run out until the 27th  when they do there maintenance, so I think I have time to get out a thread if I can nail down some issues.

So what do you think was disruptive to RP about the last two expansions?

From what I can tell:
  • It split the community. It put area barriers between the haves and have nots, so to speak.
  • The 5 year time skip forced a splintering of group stories and loss of general cohesion because some weren't ready to rush that far ahead so fast and some wanted to stay apace of the story. People didn't have enough time to tie loose ends.
  • The story was so much about the Outlander that it was hard to tell where a character that was not the Outlander fit in.

Events and Occasions / First Roze Garden Soovada 2017 Bash
« on: 06/16/17, 08:22:22 AM »
Translation: Roze Garden Soovada Bash!

Great Parties            Parties running
Great Food              all Soovada long
Great Fun              dress to impress!

Come celebrate the wealth and splendor of Nar Shadda at the Roze Garden. Show off your power and influence. Increase your prestige and rub elbows with other Successful people. Doors open all Soovada long. VIP Area available to special guests.

Saturday June 17th
Starting at 7pm Server time.

[Dress up in your spiffiest clothes, because I'll be throwing a social gathering at Jessak's Nar Shaddaa stronghold, the Roze Garden, in the Party Venue, down at the bottom. There will ICly be food, drinks, and admission is lessened due to the nature of the holiday being showing off as much as possible. Jessak's valuable things are on display throughout the Roze garden so expect there to be lots of shiny and also higher security to make sure no one violates the spirit of Soovada. :lol:

I will try to be on Friday to send out invites and keys before the event starts. Let me know if you'd like a key, so I can get those out to you.]

Events and Occasions / Roze Garden Soovada 2017
« on: 06/02/17, 07:14:47 PM »
Translation: Roze Garden Soovada Bash!

Great Parties            Parties running
Great Food              all Soovada long
Great Fun              dress to impress!

Come celebrate the wealth and splendor of Nar Shadda at the Roze Garden. Show off your power and influence. Increase your prestige and rub elbows with other Successful people. Doors open all Soovada long. VIP Area available to special guests.

[@Mei'li has inspired me to do more art. So here is a "still" from the Roze Garden Soovada (Nar Shadda Nightlife Event) ad. I'm putting this out early just in case I get too busy close to event time (Starts June 13th). I would like to throw my own event during this time; however, work may not permit. I won't know until closer to time sadly.

However, the stronghold will be open for others to throw events or just RP there if they like. The Stronghold is already being set up for an extravagant display of conspicuous consumption. It will be the perfect time for people to dress up and show off. Just as a current RP note, ICly the Roze garden is more low key until the event start so you can ignore the fireworks, and mounts around the place.

If you'd like keys, let me know so I can get them out ahead of time. If you want to throw an event, also let me know. Hopefully this will be a fun little thing to also do during the Nar Shaddaa Nightlife event! :grin:]

Cantina / New Companion Conversation Missions
« on: 04/18/17, 08:28:04 PM »
Someone made a good thread on the main forums: Anyone else think they should bring back companion conversations?

Honestly, now that I think about it, I would enjoy a companion/follower story expansion more than a new alliance themed storyline where I am ruling from the Eternal Throne.

Come on... getting to sit around and chew the fat with Theron, Lana, and Dr. Oggurobb. Or Hemdil tre. I liked that Arcona from the moment I met him. :grin: I would really like a chance to get to know more about the companions we've been given.

I can even imagine using the opportunity to bring up past stories such as references to the old class stories for old companions. Also, I'd like interesting insights into the lives of new companions. Imagine talking with Theron about that time he tried to have dinner with Jace Malcom.

Hi everybody. :wave:

With the new release comes new decorations, and it got me thinking. Some of them aren't exactly home useful. For instance, the Iokath transport tube is nice and I'm glad they released it, but it doesn't really make sense with current stronghold hook placement.

So I was thinking about what could be done so that good decorations didn't go unused because they don't have a good place to go:
  • Instead of only making whole strongholds, the team could make two new types of strongholds: outdoor only and indoor only open areas.

Imagine a large room that smacks of the architecture of a given world or civilization. It is unobstructed inside, so you can place anything where you need it. If you wanted to make a transport station with those tubes I mentioned earlier, you have enough floor hooks placed side by side that you can stack the tubes end to end from one side of the room to the other. Same goes for ceiling hooks for something like tram tracks. You could also go in a completely different direction. A ballroom or throne room could be constructed just as easily because the key to the stronghold is having full floor, ceiling, and wall coverage with hooks.

Now Imagine the same kind of set up but in an open outdoors space that looks like it's on whatever planet. There is "wall" to "wall" floor hook coverage and you can play around with the placement of various plants and animals. Preferably there would be more plant options both with and without planters.

  • Cover all future stronghold floors with hooks regardless of internal structure. Start with the largest hooks then work down to smaller hooks as space runs out. Further give the option to break the large hooks, like centerpiece and starship, down into much smaller sections.

This way would take a normally constructed stronghold like say Coruscant and just cover all the floors in hooks. Start with the largest hook that can fit in the center of the space then work out. As space runs out, fill the area with smaller hooks. However, from large hooks to starship hooks need more options for being broken down... a lot more. It could also stand to have more layered hook arrangements like the standard large, large floor hook with 9 small hook on top.

  • Create smaller niche strongholds that designed to represent more specific areas such as a junk heap, a barracks, a throne room, or a transit station.

This is probably the least likely to happen but could be the smallest stronghold solution. It could be a stronghold no bigger than a room, a small ship interior, or a large enclosed area. It seems that devs are a bit hampered by not knowing what to do with a stronghold.

What I mean is that they don't know what function players might want to decorate a room for, so they aren't sure which decorations to release or where to put hooks. Making smaller strongholds for specific functions might help as they will have a clearer idea of what needs to be able to go where.


I'm sure there are other ideas out there, but this is what I can think of for the moment. What are your thoughts? What gets in the way of your decorating ideas the most? How does the current set up limit you in terms of setting up an area?

Outside Realm / My issues with EA
« on: 03/10/17, 09:22:19 PM »
Since my response is too big for shoutbox, I'll just make a thread. Here's my answer @Aolani. I appologize as I'm too tired to polish this and I'll have to clean up my thoughts later. There may be blatant typos. :sleep:

Can you give an example? Are we talking things like monetization in FTP, or the contents of the game themselves, what specifically are you referring to? I'm curious. What have your interactions with EA and/or their games been as of late?

My most recent interactions with EA have been with Simcity (5?), The Sims 3, and SWTOR and a little bit farther back the social version of the sims. Now, I've played other games, but my issues are most relevant with the newer iterations. I'll put this disclaimer that I know the difference between developers and publishers. EA isn't sitting over everyone's shoulder putting missing slashes into the code. However, the games are made by different companies yet certain patterns emerge. It is especially notable in the case of Bioware and Maxis where certain patterns weren't so prominent before EA acquistion. The most obvious common thread between them is the publisher. This is what I lay at EA's feet.

I'm a long time player of the sim and simcity franchises and that's where I really felt the punch to the gut. While it felt a bit like EA was ignoring the players that got Simcity as far as a 5th installation, it wasn't until an open letter-which is strangely hard to find now- that they wrote about why they "weren't" going to introduce a single player mode. The blatant disregard a "we don't need you" attitude in that letter proved to me that the trash talk was actually true. I didin't think much of it before it hit me from a game I had a connection to. From there I started to see repetition of that disrespect of players and the notion that players had to take what was given no matter.  Not to mention I saw that there was an inclination to try to force something on players hard, fail, back peddle due to popular pressure, then headlong into that situation in the future. lots of companies do it but there is a distinct brazeness about how EA games do this. By the way, they did eventully add the single player, along with a smoke and bubbles explanation about how it was their idea. The players that were long time fans weren't going to be that easily brushed aside.

Nevertheless, later  the Sims and Swtor  taught me to gripe about bugs that impact gameplay being overlooked to chop up more bits of game to sell. SWTOR also brought monetization methods that seems predatory and unethical. Off hand I like the idea of the Sims game packs, stuff packs, and expansion packs for but it never felt like it was priced right. Also it seemed like they padded game bundles with stuff packs (cosmetic items) as opposed to lumping all the expansion packs (new game play and items) together. It wasn't shady but it felt like a bit of sleight of hand badly executed.

While I do like the the sims store idea, selling players mostly individual items and some gameplay, the pricing and the way they bundled made the idea seem more disingenuous.  Less popular items seemed to have been inextricably bundled with more popular items to raise the cost of purchase which could have just as easily been accomplished in an expansion pack. Generally it was the new gameplay items that were the bait for these deals. I dislike such blatant bait.

I understand that many games are baiting you with something but it's like I said earlier. There is a bit of sleight of hand involved. In a courtsey nod to the player, companies try to hide their hand better when they try to pull a fast one but EA often does not. Strangely enough, I find that I care about this and I appreciate the companies with enough respect to bother to couch their money grabs. It's at least some acknowledgement that the company isn't free to do what they like. The player is not just a helpless cash cow to be milked brazenly. .

That kinda brings me to the cartel market in SWTOR. I dislike a lot of little things in this  game but I don't blame them all on EA as they don't all have EA's fingerprint on them. As a side note, my suspicion for these smaller things lies with Ben irving in most cases. However, the cartel market shows the same signs as the sims store except far worse and far more predatory. However this is easily one of the most recent iterations of their "store" ideology and is probably the most developed in terms of tactics used against players.

To summarize a treatise worth of feelings on the topic, I dislike the gambling boxes, I dislike the exaggerated false scarcity, I dislike how cartel coins are used to evade traditional notions of gambling, I hate how player "loss" is so sloppily designed into the system, I hate how drop rates, pack arrangement and platinum items are done to encourage addiction kind of gambling... and probably a lot more if I spend more time thinking about it.

The cartel packs and their grand chance cubes are easily the prime example of what is wrong with this system. A little gamble, a little loss, and a little random are not all bad. I'm not against the cartel packs themselves. However, the implementation was horrible and not accidental.

Making some items rarer than others is good for encouraging sales, collecting, and bragging rights. However, there is a line between a good amount and a bad amount of rarity especially without disclosure up front. When platinum items where first introduced, no one mentioned anything about how much rarer they were than other items. That was fine up until about the unstable arbiter sabers came out. People were so high on hype that they overspent by ridiculous amounts to attempt to get one and the bitterness that left behind was impresssive. One player who did get one that way commented that six different characters on fleet used /spit as they passed. Not telling people how rare the hype saber was and playing like they didn't realize people needed that information to make a decision about pursuing that saber was completely disingenuous. That smacked ofa brazen milking and they barely even tried to pass off as sleight of hand.

In the short term I believe this worked for Bio's bottom line as they continue to try to milk these sabers to this day. However, the bitterness left in the wake of it got many players watching their packs much closer to see if there were any more fast ones waiting in the wings. Not to mention it spent more than a little goodwill as players started trusting the company a little less for that incident. Now that's not to say their weren't other goodwill squandering incidents but I don't think that EA pattern of not caring how they waste the goodwill of existing/previous players was as blatant. I think the Contraband Slot Machine was one of the earlier manifestations but at the time I think it could have been a fluke that they were that tone deaf.

 Now fast forward a bit, somewhere around the explorer packs they reduced the number of items and added in the chance cubes. Now the premise of the cartel pack is already that you will get some random items. Because RNG is good for getting people to overspend, they decided to add another RNG box in the RNG box... That didn't pan out well, especially with reduced item slots. People were more likely to get a cheap ball toss than nice armor out of the chance cubes, I know I bought tons of ball tosses, and this was still coming from a pack that cost real money. Player odds were getting worse with each change they were making.

 That, for me, lead indirectly back to bundling desired things with less popular things to raise the price of a bundle item, except then you can obsfucate what was being offered in the bundle by using RNG. Just consider how much cheaper a pack would have to be if ball toss like bronze items were guaranteed slots. I don't hate the gamble boxes in of themselves, either kind, but how they were implemented really irks me.

Honestly, I am so tired at the moment that I'm too tired to keep up full complaint effort. I'll try to list some more things that have been irking me and I can comment on them specifically if anyone is curious. EA's calling card seems to be a particular brand of brazen milking of the players: the way Galactic Command was implemented to reward players so slowly and through RNG, the shift to "story focus" that was half implemented when the level of investment needed was clear from the start, the way the cartel market barely provides for direct sales as opposed to gambling with terrible odds (we'll see if the current direct sale initiative holds water), the way slot machines are invariably implemented (there's a reason casino's have regulated odds... they work. however I think there is a culture that the player must lose much and gain little that I think comes from EA rather than a direct order), the way SWTOR binds items to force participation in various things included fluff events which shouldn't matter(I think is more coporate culture of making the player play in an "approved" way rather than a direct mandate), the way the game seems to be moving towards less investment in the game more demand of payment from the players, the way the sims social was still charging full real mony price for unlocks that were weeks away from beng useless after the announcement of the game closing, the way simcity (5) feels like it offers less sandbox and more rails compared to previous versions, they way swtor feels like it's herding you on rails to play the game a specific way, the way the sims 4 is broken up into soo many little pieces in an attempt to sell you your own shirt back, EA's seeming intent to make the player just another widget in the machine without judgement or full agency, the way games seem to be offer as is and the player just has to take it too bad if it's not the game it started as...

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