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Topics - Iaera

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1
Outside Realm / the last jedi [grumpy warning]
« on: 10/10/17, 11:43:46 PM »
so as everyone surely knows the trailer just came out and everyone's all aflutter. i have various and sundry thoughts on it, but a lot of those are wrapped up in Force Awakens and Disney and whatnot. then i saw this article:

http://thefederalist.com/2017/10/10/pros-cons-breakdown-new-star-wars-trailer/

sorry @Cordae i have a new spirit animal now.

my absolute FAVOURITE quote, which articulates a pet peeve i've long had with how moral storytelling is so often treated:
Quote
Rick Grimes may be a more three-dimensional character than Luke Skywalker. But let’s admit what nihilistic TV shows like “The Walking Dead” have made clear. We don’t love antiheroes and moral complexity because we’re grownups now. We love them because we are a miserable, godless people so syphilitic with bad consciences that we will no longer permit our heroes to be more righteous than we are. Sadly, “The Last Jedi’s” trailer provides ample evidence that Johnson will spare fans the purity we can no longer appreciate to feed us the cynical storytelling we so tragically desire.

grumpy / non-grumpy thoughts on the trailer? does it entice you? does it excite you? or does it torment the wretched shell of your being and make the blackened husk you inhabit writhe in existential agony? discuss

3
Events and Occasions / Jedi kNight: Special Edition
« on: 08/01/17, 07:31:44 PM »
Beep beep! Hark, a special Jedi kNight comes! Due to various scheduling concerns, the Custodum enclave on Coruscant will be hosting some unusual guests on Tuesday August 8th. Folks are welcome to come join in the RP -- Iaera Farworlder is back from her latest round of reclusive lurking, now bearing an ancient datacron of mysterious origins she seems to have acquired. And she has friends in tow... come meet them! Though Custodum may already be very familiar with one or two of these strange guests...

Host: Iaera & Custodum
Theme: An ancient datacron, and reunions, both expected and unexpected...
When: Tuesday (NOT Thursday), August 8th, 8:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time (server time)
Location: Custodum Coruscant SH
Requirements: Access to Custodum's Coruscant enclave
Title: Jedi kNight: Special Edition

4
If you are like me and absolutely adore Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars RPG line, good news... they are doing a non-Star Wars branded multi-setting generic ruleset for the system!!!

Even better, I can now stop saying the mouthful of "FFG Star Wars RPG system"! And now start referring to it by its proper name, though I think John Connor and/or Skynet might sue. On the plus side, it's perfectly possible to run a Terminator RPG using the system, which was probably Skynet and/or John Connor's plan all along and you're just playing out a closed time loop with all sorts of causality paradoxes attached. And a non-trivial threat of robots from the future who don't feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. So there's that.

5
Roleplay Workshop / Jedi Movies
« on: 05/16/17, 11:26:22 PM »
So, because I'm a huge nerd, a lot of the time when I'm watching a movie or TV show I notice similarities, parallels, or some other direct relationship with Jedi Knights. Perhaps in how the characters act, perhaps in how the "magic" of the setting works, or perhaps in the general aesthetic. Now, this isn't actually all that crazy -- George Lucas created the Jedi Knights out of a lot of existing film tropes and real-world mythology, so to see those same tropes and mythologies echoed elsewhere isn't really surprising. Nevertheless, I think it's an interesting exercise to examine those echoes and compare them, as well as potentially providing a resource with which to consider how we RP Jedi here in SWTOR.

So, a non-exhaustive list of various fiction that inspires me and makes me think about my favourite space-monks in different ways:

Doctor Strange

One thing I really liked about this movie was its unusual depiction of Wizards™. Not only were they distinctly Eastern (in a Tibetan monk kind of way), but they were also very monastic and ascetic. I have always rejected the characterisation of Jedi as "space wizards," arguing that Jedi are more like monks than wizards, but Doctor Strange presents an interesting blend of the two that's much closer, aesthetically, to a Jedi Knight. The wizards here are depicted as requiring discipline and ascetic willpower to manifest their abilities, so I quite enjoyed the scenes where Benedict Cumberbatch is trained in the ways of the Force magic.

Of course, not everything in the movie is perfectly Jedi. I've always cautioned people against treating Jedi like spellcasters, so the parallels in Doctor Strange end at the spell-tomes and magical whirlygigs.


Edge of Tomorrow

Not much in the way of aesthetics to comment on here, obviously... nevertheless, this movie has some fun Jedi parallels! It's about a man who, by virtue of living the same day over and over again, knows the future with uncanny precision. Sound familiar? The mechanism is a little different, but what I love about this movie is that the visible effect is very similar to what an onlooker would probably see when watching a Jedi work: Precise, unbelievably "lucky" courses of action that always seem to have the ideal result.

Duck here. Dodge there. Wait. Now go. Block left. Turn. Duck again. Dash forward! All while chaos erupts around them. The Jedi moves in perfect, harmonious synchronicity with a hostile environment... the advantages of being able to see things before they happen! Consider the exchange between Han Solo and Obi-wan Kenobi in A New Hope:

"I call it luck."
"In my experience, there's no such thing as luck."


Iron Fist

I liked this show for putting chi squarely on the table. While explicitly spelling out how these powers work de-mystifies them a little and is definitely a comic-book superhero thing to do (midichlorians notwithstanding), it was nevertheless appreciated for giving us a distinctly Eastern interpretation of mystical powers and abilities. Danny Rand has to frequently "focus his chi," through meditative exercises, a sort of extra-literal display of how a Jedi focuses and uses the Force. It's very martial and very Zen, very much in line with Jedi thought.


Any other examples you guys can think of? There are tons, but I'd like to hear if anyone else sees any movies through this lens!

6
Outside Realm / this is amazing
« on: 05/03/17, 06:26:21 PM »
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe

I don't really have any insightful commentary to add; the link says it all.

7
Events and Occasions / Jedi Mission! (7:30 PM server)
« on: 04/18/17, 12:43:34 AM »
hello bc~

Some of you may be familiar with my Jedi Missions! They are (were) action-adventure in-game RP events I ran off and on, with a focus on casual MMO-style RP but with the added benefit of a GM-narrated structure. Events, actions, NPCs, and combat are all emoted in-game where folks are free to flex their characters' muscles outside of a cantina night or private low-key RP, but also without the hassle and logistical overhead of a full-fledged registered event.

This Thursday, I invite four lucky winners (read: first come, first serve) with a Republic-themed character to join me on a short, casual adventure event. Jedi characters fit this week's adventure themes a little better due to Forcey things afoot, but any archaeologists or Republic-friendly characters who want to assist the Custodum are welcome. Sadly, due to the frail and pitiable limitations of the mortal form, I can only comfortably and satisfactorily run a group of four (4) such heroes. So, if you'd like to join in, please don't hesitate to sign up!

When: 7:30 PM server time (PDT)
Where: In-game!
Who: Republic characters, especially Jedi

Why: Emfour-Dee-One, Sibyl-ko's trusty annoying insufferably cocky astromech droid, took it upon himself to perform some off-the-books hyperspace navigational computations. To everyone's displeasure, the smug little rust-bucket found something unusual and now won't shut up about how much of a genius he is. An otherwise unremarkable route into the Unknown Regions has uncovered the obscure Tamm System, notable in that it was (briefly) discovered by the Republic -- nearly 1500 years ago, just prior to the outbreak of the Great Hyperspace War. Contact with the explorers who found it was lost, and the system was forgotten in the chaos of galactic war against the forces of Naga Sadow.

Now, it has been rediscovered... and not just by M4-D1. Its location correlates with an entry in recent Sith Empire astrogation charts decrypted by the SIS. With a hyperspace route computed and evidence of Sith interest in that vicinity, what remains of the Custodum Enclave has pledged to partner with the SIS to investigate the mysterious Tamm System. What happened to the original explorers? And why are the Sith so interested? A team is assembled to go find out...

Expect adventure, exploration, discovery... and destiny!

8
Cantina / bioware pls
« on: 03/26/17, 11:12:15 PM »
5 years in and i still can't quite replicate this look from the previous game in this series







i can kind of get close by mix and matching various sets and getting creative with dyes, but this is honestly kind of infuriating that this look still isn't 100% possible

bioware

pls

in my mind this is what iaera wears basically all the time (currently a mid-tone grey outer robe and khaki tunic. alas, dye patterns make even that difficult)

9
Introduction

Before I go any further, let me clarify what I mean by 'advanced.' While I target 'rookie' material to those who have never done more than 10-20 matches of GSF, and 'intermediate' material to those who've passed that mark and have gotten a little more comfortable with the basics, this 'advanced' guide isn't necessarily aimed at any particular grade of pilot, other than being a bit more sophisticated than rookie or intermediate material. As such, to get the most out of these tips and tricks, you should be familiar and comfortable with the basics of GSF play. Herein are relatively advanced techniques and concepts which tend to separate the middling pilots from the good ones.

As with most of my guides, it is primarily written with Scouts and Strike Fighters in mind, as Bombers and Gunships have more laid-back, less intensive, less demanding playstyles. Still, some of the concepts herein can be adapted to Bomber and Gunship play.

Managing Missile Locks

Matches vary - some are lousy with Gunships sniping you, others are infested with Bomber nests, and still others involve lots of Scouts zooming in and blasting you to death. And some have lots of Strike Fighters: beep beep beep beep beep beep. Sometimes you just have a match where you're bouncing from lock to lock, and are in serious danger of eating a proton torpedo in between evasive cooldowns.

Although I want to slap myself for how lame the following is, I've tried to boil down a few intuitive techniques into codified, named manoeuvres for the sake of articulating them through text. A good pilot is likely using a mix or even all of the following when hounded by locks.

Evasive Cooldown - It should go without saying that your engine ability (3) is a go-to for dealing with missile locks. However, it's a good habit to treat this as a last resort - to be used only when missile impact is imminent. Good pilots are cool under pressure, and don't panic-evade at the first hint of a lock - they wait until the missile is actually fired, and if they're feeling particularly dangerous, may wait even longer if they know the missile has a slow travel time.

Evasive Manoeuvres - Outside the realm of mechanical cooldowns, you can (and should!) evade missiles manually. Not once it's fired - at that point, you're pretty much out of options and need to use your Evasive Cooldown. Prior to that, however, your opponent has to actually hold the lock on you, and you're free to make that as easy or as hard on them as you like! The most straightforward way to make this part hard for your opponent is to vary your velocity - if you've taken a physics class, you know that's both speed and direction! Alternate a second or two of boosting with braking, which can wildly throw off an enemy's aim. Rapid changes of direction while boosting have a similar effect - the faster you're moving, the more dramatic the impact of a directional change will be from your opponent's point of view.

Of course, this is demanding on your engine power, which is one of the reasons why Scouts are much harder to hit with missiles than Strike Fighters are - with a rookie pilot, both are functionally just as easy to hit, but an expert pilot can push the Scout's evasive capabilities much harder than a Strike Fighter's.

Terrain Hugging - Just like in the movies! You know those films where Commander Action Hero flies some crazy low-to-the-ground stunt that causes the baddies pursuing him to explode against, like, a barn door built into the side of a canyon or something while he flies through unscathed? You can do this too! Ok, so most of your opposition won't crash trying to follow you, but it sure as hell will throw off their missile locks (and laser fire too)! Hug close to Kuat mesas, duck around asteroids, or fly loops through the bowels of the spacedock structures. This is a very potent defensive manoeuvre in general, and will wreak havoc with your opponents' ability to keep line-of-sight on you.

Offensive Juke - Missile locks are finicky, and easily broken if the target makes an unexpected move. In what I call the Offensive Juke, you and an opponent are both lining up on each other and blazing away. Chances are good you both have missiles, and are both trying to lock each other while shooting. Who's going to get that missile off first? If you're not certain that it's going to be you, then try boosting forward past your opponent instead of remaining in the head-to-head shootout. Of course, in flying past him you won't be able to shoot him either, but you'll have seized the initiative in your dogfight, since you have a headstart at boosting to your desired position and turning around to shoot him again - chances are he'll be a second or two behind!

Distortion Field - Finally, there is another mechanical option available - a maxed-out Distortion Field component can be specced to block attempted missile locks for a few seconds. This is more of a ship-build theorycrafting thing, but it's a popular option that is included here for the sake of completeness (and is another factor in Scouts being harder to lock than Strike Fighters).

Gunship Hunting

Gunships are a frequent annoyance in a GSF match no matter what kind of ship you fly. There you are, minding your own business, when all of a sudden you get annihilated by a massive damage spike out of nowhere. Congratulations, you're within 14k of an enemy Gunship! Gunships are a particular menace for rookie pilots who have not yet learned avoidance tactics to mitigate exposure to Gunship shots, so one of the best things you can do for your team is prowl around on anti-Gunship duty and keep them shut down. Even if you're not killing them much, just the act of hounding them and keeping pressure on them is invaluable for your teammates.

Spec Right - While of course any ship can hurt a Gunship, it pays to have a ship in your lineup that is well-suited to this purpose. My personal favourite is the Tier 1 Scout (NovaDive/Blackbolt) loaded with Laser Cannons, Rockets, and Distortion Field, but other ships can be built to this purpose as well. You want a large amount of direct-fire damage to quickly burn down the Gunship before he realises you're on top of him, so Rockets are ideal, though missiles can be made to work too. The Distortion Field is critical, since Gunships are painfully predictable creatures: Once they notice you coming in, they will turn to face you and try to kill you with their railgun in 9 out of 10 cases. Popping Distortion at this time doesn't guarantee their railgun shot will miss, but it makes a hit very unlikely.

Use Cover - More or less common sense, but once you've detected a Gunship and plan to approach it, you want to cover as much of the intervening distance as possible while out of direct line-of-sight. He can't shoot you through an asteroid! Approached this way, many Gunships panic and abandon their position... which is still a victory, because you've disrupted their little snipe-fest and forced them to fly around defensively while you pursue them.

Hit and Run - Hunting Gunships can be tricky business in some matches and particularly vexing when several of them hunker down together near a Bomber nest. Know that such a cluster is very much a hard target for even expert pilots, so think twice before zooming in to attack. Still, it's dirty work that has to be done, and if you're feeling up to it then be prepared to hit and run. If you linger in such a kill-zone, you will die very very quickly! Minimise your exposure to other Gunships and the Bomber mines/drones as much as you can, zip in quickly, do some damage, and zip back out. If you sit there blazing away you're just going to get killed!

Satellite Capture

Satellites have a capture zone in their immediate vicinity and obey very simple capture rules: The presence of a team's ships flip a satellite to that team's control, with more ships capturing more rapidly, and a 'neutral zone' in between full capture states that can be swung back and forth, like tug-of-war. If a ship - even just a single one - from both teams is present, all capture progress is halted indefinitely. A good defensive pilot can hold up a capture for a long time just by remaining in the capture area. The Terrain Hugging principle is crucial to this, and I'll explain a few pitfalls that average pilots tend to fall for.

Don't Set Up a Tent - One of the most common tactics I see used on a satellite is for a ship - particularly a Bomber - to fly under the satellite, into one of the little corners, and then park there, stationary. And it's easy to see why this tactic is used: it fools a lot of other average pilots, who struggle to get at the entrenched Bomber underneath the satellite. Don't do this - it makes you delicious food for expert pilots to farm. Why? Well...

Three Dimensions - While there is a horizontal "plane" which most of the action takes place on, the fact is that there's actually quite a lot of room above and below that plane to manoeuvre. And this is exactly what you take advantage of for an attack on an entrenched satellite. Whether your opponent is camped above or below the satellite, you need only fly straight up or down a considerable distance, and then re-orient yourself to attack your opponent head-on - though from their perspective, you'll be coming in from directly overhead or directly underneath! Many pilots don't even realise their error until it's far too late, and it's quite common to treat yourself to an all-you-can-eat turkey shoot, especially if you have proton torpedoes to lock onto the Bombers who frequently employ this camping tactic. This can also sometimes be used to hunt Gunships.

Terrain Hugging - Rather than sit like a rock underneath the satellite, expert pilots stay constantly in motion within a satellite's cap zone. By weaving up and down, over and under, and looping through the 'fins' of the satellite while orbiting it in a non-predictable pattern, you can not only juke most of the locks and laser fire coming your way, but you also mitigate the danger from someone using the Three Dimensions counter-tactic (which is still often the most effective tactic in this situation, however, so you should still consider anyone lining up for it a serious threat).

Bombers - Of course, the king of satellite control is still the Bomber. With their mines and drone support and general tankiness, they can be very hard to dislodge from a satellite - and very lethal to any Scouts attempting to do so. If you're in a Scout, don't try to tangle with a skilled Bomber defending a satellite unless you know what you're doing - those mines will chew you up fast. If you're looking to control a satellite yourself, then a Bomber is often the best choice as long as you keep in mind the above tactics.

Conclusion

Of course, there's plenty of other nuances to GSF and this doesn't even begin to cover every subtle little technique and trick you can employ. Experience and a good head for 3D spatial awareness go a long way, and no guide can substitute for practice. Many of the techniques covered here take a little finesse to get the hang of, so if at first you're not getting results, keep experimenting until you find that sweet spot that makes it work!

10
Introduction

This guide assumes that you have some basic familiarity with how to fly in GSF without hitting an asteroid! This is aimed at those who have played somewhere around 10-20 matches, or are scoring around 10,000 damage in an average match. For a crash-course in GSF basics, check out my guide here, or for a more thorough and in-depth series of tutorials, Derrad's excellent guide here.

By now, you should have some Requisition to play with and may have bought a new ship or two. Great! So the question is... how do you equip those ships? What do you do with that Requisition?

Upgrades for your existing components are important, but you may also be considering different component options, such as a different set of lasers, a different engine module, or a different system ability. This is an important part of GSF - two NovaDives can be configured completely differently from one another, and used in very different roles to suit different playstyles. You are encouraged to experiment, but it can be tough to spend hard-earned Requsition on components you're not sure about. This guide aims to provide a non-exhaustive list of many common components for Scouts and Strike Fighters, how to use them, and a few caveats to understand before purchasing them.



Primary Weapons

Your choice of lasers can have a big impact on your performance. They handle very differently from one another, especially at low levels, and have different strengths and weaknesses that are important to understand. Derrad's guide (linked above) goes into more detail on these mechanics, while this guide focuses on simple at-a-glance utility. Most lasers are easy to understand (with two exceptions), following a fairly linear progression from short-range/high-tracking, to long-range/low-tracking.

Rapid-fire Lasers - The default option on several ships, these are unfortunately very niche, situational weapons that do not handle well without considerable skill. They are the shortest-range laser in the game, but also have the best tracking - meaning they are ideal for high-speed, point-blank deflection shooting. Their only real use is in tight, frenetic, turning dogfights, where they have the best chance of hitting your opponent as you both attempt to jockey for position around one another. Outside of this situation, their damage output and range is abysmal, and I do not recommend them for all-purpose use as a primary weapon.

Light Lasers - A step up from Rapid-fire Lasers, these lasers are a little more viable for general combat. They are still short range weapons, but their damage output is significantly better than Rapid-fires in 99% of circumstances. This makes them an ideal choice if you want a close-range dogfighting laser, because they have most of the advantages of Rapid-fires while still being viable weapons outside of tight turning duels.

(Standard) Laser Cannons - I often refer to these as Standard Lasers, as they represent the middle ground of the laser options - they have no particular strength or weakness, and are all-around decent lasers in any situation. They have good range, good rate of fire, good damage, good tracking, and good power efficiency. I highly recommend these lasers if you are struggling with the lighter laser types. Other than their lack of specialisation and lower damage output than Quad Lasers, there's very little to complain about here.

Quad Lasers - The Laser Cannon's bigger brother, the Quad Laser handles almost identically. The chief difference is its significantly higher power drain in exchange for higher damage output - if you use Quads, you will frequently find yourself depleting your weapon power pool in short order, and this can result in unfortunate scenarios where you can't quite finish off an opponent. However, these are still very good all-purpose lasers.

Heavy Lasers - At the top end of the laser spectrum, these lasers have the highest damage and range, but the slowest rate of fire. They are also virtually useless in close-range turning fights, thanks to their abysmal tracking and firing arc. With that said, these are solid lasers in most situations, and have some unique upgrade possibilities that make these very punchy and very nasty lasers to sling around if you prefer long-range damage output.

Ion Cannons - One of two odd ducks, the Ion Cannon is a niche, situational weapon. It does massive damage to shields but is useless against the underlying hull, so obviously this weapon requires a bit of finesse! It is thus mostly relegated to specific, specialist ship builds, and is poorly suited for general-purpose use.

Burst Laser Cannon - The other odd duck, the Burst Laser is essentially the shotgun of the laser options. It does very high damage at close range, but is not very useful outside of that. This makes it something of a gimmick weapon, as it will kill most targets in only 2 or 3 shots, but don't expect your opponents to respect you much for doing it... (cf., any first-person shooter which includes shotguns)



Secondary Weapons

Secondary weapons vary wildly even between Scouts and Strike Fighters, but most of the Scout/Strike options are some form of lock-on missile. These are crucial to success in GSF, comparable to the missiles and bombs on a modern-day fighter aircraft - while you can absolutely kill things with your guns, it's much easier to do it with the help of your missiles! Similar to lasers, you can think of several of the missiles as belonging to a "spectrum," from light, short-range weapons to heavy, long-range weapons. There are thus three basic categories to understand:

  • Cluster Missiles - the lightest, with the fastest lock time and wide arc
  • (Standard) Missiles - the middleground, with a moderate lock time and medium-sized arc
  • Torpedoes - the heaviest, with a slow lock time and tiny arc

Cluster Missiles - These are the only type of missile from the first (eponymous) category. Although relatively short range, their range is still comparable to that of lasers. With their extremely fast lock time and wide locking arc, these are the premier dogfighting option. They do low damage per hit, but the cooldown is so short that you can begin locking your target again almost immediately after firing the previous volley. This makes them the only missile that can reliably hit Scouts, who can otherwise easily evade missile locks.

Concussion Missiles - The 'standard,' direct-damage option in the Missile category. It does what it says on the tin - locks onto target and blows it up. It's a good all-purpose, versatile weapon effective against all targets - it can even hit Scouts now and then. Its range surpasses lasers, making it good for longer-range combat before closing into laser range, while still being lockable enough to use in a dogfight. A good choice if you prefer being a jack-of-all-trades rather than a specialist.

EMP Missiles - In the Missile category, this weapon sacrifices damage in exchange for utility. This is a situational weapon, and its primary use is for disrupting those annoying bomber-nests - one hit from the EMP missile will nuke all mines in the area and damage and disable drones. That's about the extent of its usefulness - don't rely on this as a primary weapon. Use it to support your team in a specialist-built ship.

Ion Missiles - Also in the Missile category, this weapon is similar to the Ion Cannon but with some added utility. Like the Ion Cannon, it is really only effective against shields and does very little damage to the hull. However, it also drains some energy from the target, which can be further enhanced with upgrades, making this a niche albeit intriguing option for specific builds.

Sabotage Probe - In the Missile category, this is a rather strange utility/support option. It doesn't do much damage, but it is supremely annoying for anyone hit by it, since it locks out control for several seconds and renders them a sitting duck. While I'm not a fan, I know several pilots who swear by it, so it may be worth considering if you like alternatives to direct damage.

Proton Torpedoes - The 'standard,' direct-damage option in the Torpedo category. Like Concussion Missiles, their use is pretty straightforward - lock target, watch target explode. As a Torpedo, however, it is utterly unsuited to dogfighting situations, and is useful only in a stand-off interception role. It will not reliably hit Scouts or even Strike Fighters, and is best used against Bombers or Gunships who you know have just expended their Barrel Roll. With that said, it does extremely high damage, and can even 1-shot some ships if you manage to score a hit.

Thermite Torpedoes - In the Torpedo category, this is essentially a Proton Torpedo with less direct damage, but with a large DoT and debuff in its place. Its primary use is bomber-killing, since the debuff will make the Bomber in question very susceptible to follow-up damage from your lasers or other missiles, in addition to the long-duration DoT. As with other Torpedoes, it has some limited use against Gunships and Strike Fighters if you can hold the lock and their evasive manoeuvre is on cooldown.

Rocket Pods - Finally, in their own little category we have the humble Rocket Pods. Unlike all other missile options, these are unguided, dumb-fired direct-fire weapons. They behave exactly like lasers albeit with less firing arc and tracking, making them well-suited to combo with your lasers for direct, targeted DPS. They don't do well in turning fights (they are useless outside of the direct centre of the screen), but against slow-moving or stationary targets (such as oblivious Gunships!) you can keep centred, these are excellent weapons. They're also the ideal weapon for satellite assaults - the added DPS allows you to swiftly knock out defense turrets before they can hurt you much.



Engine Abilities

There are some non-standard engine abilities with unusual features, but for now I'm focusing on the primary use of the engine component - evasive manoeuvres. These abilities all have the same mechanical effect of breaking active missile locks on you, but they behave slightly differently in practice, which has some important ramifications.

Barrel Roll - The default on many ships, Barrel Roll propels you directly forward at high speed. You will actually travel considerable distance using this! It slaughters newbies, who frequently use it to collide into asteroids, so be careful where you're pointing with this one. At 30 seconds, it also has the highest cooldown, making it the least suitable for sustained combat. Because of its long-distance boosting, it has some secondary utility for crossing large sections of the map rapidly.

Koiogran Turn - Arguably one of the easiest to handle, Koiogran simply Immelmanns you around 180 degrees, facing the way you came. It has a moderate 20 second cooldown like most of the other options, only a limited risk of slamming into an obstacle, and the added utility of being a fast way to change direction and escape a bad situation.

Snap Turn - Similar to Koiogran, but it turns you laterally rather than performing a tight vertical loop, meaning a slightly higher risk of dying from asteroid poisoning, depending on your positioning. 20 second cooldown.

Power Dive - This propels you downward in a 90-degree turn. Riskier than Koiogran or Snap Turn, Power Dive requires a little more finesse to avoid crashing. However, because it accelerates you similarly to Barrel Roll, with some careful positioning you can use it to propel yourself forward at considerable speed. Power Dive is particularly notable for having only a 15 second cooldown, making it an extremely attractive option if you find yourself getting hounded by missile locks.

Retro Thrusters - I see this one a lot, and to be honest I'm not a fan - It's the evasive manoeuvre that most reliably nets me a kill after my target uses it. It propels you backward, and then you zoom forward again - placing you pretty much exactly where you were when you started. Perhaps it fools rookies, but an experienced pilot need only exercise patience before dusting the soon-to-reappear target. 20 second cooldown.



Other Components

GSF is dense with content and strategy, and this list doesn't even begin to cover all the different component options available, instead focusing on some of the common, primary options for Scouts and Strike Fighters. Of course, most ships also have semi-unique system abilities or oddball alternative options, but theorycrafting such things is beyond the scope of this simple guide!

Above all, you are encouraged to experiment - I have my opinions on many of the components listed above, but many people swear by things I hate, or can't stand the components I love, so YMMV! Ultimately, every GSF pilot has to figure out for himself or herself which components suit their playstyle. Hopefully, this guide gives you a few clues about where to start!

11
GSF General / Galactic Starfighter: Rookie's Crash-Course
« on: 12/16/16, 12:33:52 AM »
Introduction

Galactic Starfighter is an unusual little mode, squirreled away in the bowels of SWTOR. My experience has been that a lot of people are intimidated by it, or otherwise scared away from diving too deeply into it thanks to its intense learning curve and PvP focus. I think this is a shame, because it's the deepest, and in my opinion, best thing added to SWTOR since launch (possibly rivaled by Strongholds, but that's just me!).

This guide is intended to be very basic and easy to skim through for newbies looking for quick explanations. For a more thorough instructional series, I recommend checking out Derrad's excellent guide here.



halp how 2 lock s-foils in attack position??

Well I'm glad you asked! In this guide, I'm going to focus on getting you through your first 10 matches or so - specifically, how the Tier 1 Scout and Tier 1 Strike Fighter that you start with work, and how to learn the ropes from there. I advise all GSF newbies I fly with to expect a lot difficulty in their first 10 matches - it's a steep learning curve, and it takes some patience to get the hang of things! So don't get discouraged if you seem to do poorly at first - that's normal!

Important Settings

Before you jump in, I recommend looking at the GSF settings buried in the options menu. Somewhere in there there's a setting that enables advanced tooltips for your hangar screen - I highly recommend turning this on, as it gives you much more information about your ship's equipment and upgrades!

Also be aware that the controls are very sensitive. Unfortunately, I don't think there's much you can do about it, so be prepared to learn very smooth, subtle movements to manoeuvre your starfighter!

In terms of keyboard controls, be prepared to use a lot of keys near WASD! You'll need your number keys, the function keys above them (F1, F2, F3, and F4), spacebar, and a few other odds and ends. Some dogfights can result in a lot of frantic button pressing as you desperately try to evade incoming missiles while recharging your shields and pulling a hard turn!

Hangar

One last thing before you start blasting into the nearest furball - hangar setup! As a rookie pilot, you don't have too much to worry about yet, but if your character is high level and/or has lots of story progression done, then you'll want to look at your Crew options. Some basic crew are available to all characters, but as your progress in your class story you also get access to your class companions and even Legacy companions. Each companion has different stat bonuses when assigned to a crew position on your starfighter, and an additional active ability when chosen as your Co-Pilot.

For these rookie matches, I recommend choosing crew who boost Evasion or Accuracy where possible, and the Repair ability on your Co-Pilot - this will give you a self-repair ability on your 4 key. As you play more, you'll get a better understanding of the various crew options, at which point you should experiment and see what suits your playstyle!



This is it, boys. It's time to cut across the axis and try to draw their fire.

Hit that queue button! Sometimes the queue can be a little slow depending on the time of day. For some company - and helpful pointers - don't forget to /cjoin GSF

Hopefully, the most basic controls are mostly self-explanatory, but just in case: Holding W will make you move fast, holding S will make you move slow, and holding spacebar will use your Engine Power to boost at high speed across the map. Left mouse button fires your lasers, and Right mouse button uses your secondary weapon (for missiles, hold it down to lock your target, then release once you have a solid tone!). Press E to target an enemy in front of you.

Your Tier 1 Scout - NovaDive / S-12 Blackbolt

Scouts are fast, agile, hit-and-run dogfighters - your abilities help you get into fights and then get back out very quickly! If you find yourself getting damaged, don't try to 'tank' it - RUN! Hit your boost and BOLT! Tactically, you want to try to ambush enemies who are already engaged with one of your teammates, then zip back to safety when the enemy notices you. It's very difficult for a rookie scout pilot to successfully dogfight an opponent who's aware of them - you are welcome to give it a try, but if you're feeling outmatched, there's no shame in boosting to the nearest teammates in search of some assistance!

Familiarise yourself with your weapons:
  • Rapid-fire Lasers - Unfortunately, these are terrible weapons for newbies. They are very situational, and you should focus the first Requisition you get on upgrading these to standard Laser Cannons.
  • Rockets - These are very good but tricky weapons to use. They're actually easier than they seem - they hit anything directly in front of you, exactly like your lasers. Don't let the graphics fool you! Unlike your lasers, however, they have a very narrow arc - only shoot them at targets right in the centre of your screen.

Your special abilities are on your 1, 2, and 3 keys, plus a Co-Pilot ability on 4. Your defaults are:
  • Engine Boost - This is your Scout's bread and butter. Piloted well, a Scout's lifespan is measured in its Engine Power Pool, and this ability recharges it! Use it as an emergency reserve, so you can boost out of a fight or evade a missile lock.
  • Quick-charge Shield - Similar to your Engine Boost, this will zap a little extra life into your shields if they've been hit. Don't rely on it for much, though - Scouts are flimsy, and this ability only serves to buy you an extra second or two to enact a more viable survival plan.
  • Barrel Roll - AKA Newbie Asteroid Collider. This is your default evasive manoeuvre - using it will break any active missile lock on your starfighter, and thus it serves as your last line of defence if you're being dogged by a persistent missile! Beware, however, as it propels your ship directly forward at very high speed, and many a newbie has detonated spectacularly against the nearest asteroid when panicked by a missile lock. It has its uses, but you may wish to consider upgrading to a more newbie-friendly evasive manoeuvre, such as Koiogran Turn.
  • Co-Pilot Ability - This depends on your Crew assignments in the Hangar. For starting out, I recommend a Repair co-pilot if you have one available. Activating it will give you a partial (but potentially life-saving) health regen for your hull.

Your Tier 1 Strike Fighter - FT-8 Starguard / F-T6 Rycer

If frenetic, high-octane dogfighting isn't your style, you also have a basic Strike Fighter available to play. Strike Fighters are well-rounded, multi-role fighters with a lot of firepower. They don't have the engine capabilities of Scouts, but they're tougher and armed with an array of long-range missile options. As a Strike Fighter, let the Scouts zoom into the fray - you are better served sitting back and lobbing missiles into combat. Your lasers are powerful, but work best after softening up your targets with missiles.

Beware - if you zoom into a furball with no exit plan, you probably won't be leaving it alive. Strike Fighters don't have the engine power to boost in and out of fights at will, so pick your engagements carefully.

Your weapons:
  • Rapid-fire Lasers - As above, these are not good newbie weapons. Luckily, you can switch to your alternate laser set with the 1 key.
  • Heavy Lasers - These are the heaviest, slowest, longest-range lasers in the game. They're also pretty good! Thanks to their range, they combo well with your missiles, and can dish out a lot of punch to hard targets like Bombers.
  • Concussion Missiles - Solid, all purpose missiles! Like many secondaries, they take a little getting used to, and benefit a lot from the first few upgrades (which reduce the locking time required to fire). These are good against all targets, though be aware that any decent Scout pilot will almost certainly evade your missile, so Strike Fighters, Bombers, and Gunships are usually easier targets. Hold RMB while keeping your current target firmly inside the centre of your screen - too much deviation and you'll lose the lock! Once it's locked, release RMB to fire away! Practice, and soon you'll get the hang of firing off entire volleys of missiles!

Your default abilities:
  • Switch Lasers - Your Strike Fighter can toggle its active weapon system with 1. Use it to switch between lasers at will - all lasers have advantages and disadvantages, and the Tier 1 Strike Fighter can capitalise on this to use the most effective type of laser in any situation. For now, use it to toggle to your Heavy Lasers, which complement your missiles well.
  • Quick-charge Shield - As above. Your Strike Fighter's shields are slightly more durable than a Scout's, but this ability will still only buy you a brief moment to shake whatever's killing you.
  • Koiogran Turn - A relatively newbie-friendly evasive manoeuvre that performs a Space Immelmann - you'll flip around 180 degrees, flying the way you came. In addition to being your go-to missile break, it's also useful for quickly turning around and boosting the hell out of dodge! Beware, until you upgrade it, it uses quite a lot of Engine Power, so it's very easy for a rookie to get caught in a missile lock, and no Engine Power left to evade!
  • Co-Pilot Ability

Spending Requisition

After your first few matches, you should have completed your GSF intro mission and/or daily, which gives you a fair amount of Ship Requisition (plus whatever you earn in the match). Use this to upgrade your ship's existing components, or swap them out for other components. For example, you can use 2,000 Requisition to replace Rapid-fire Lasers (which are not newbie-friendly) with the much more useful Laser Cannons or Quad Laser Cannons. You can also upgrade those components, improving their stats significantly. I recommend upgrading your Evasive Manoeuvre, your Missiles, and your Lasers, but feel free to experiment!

Save your Fleet Requisition (the purple points) - for 2,500 or 5,000, you can buy a new ship, which then benefits from your daily and weekly reward - the more ships you have, the more points you get from your daily/weekly! Using your Fleet Req, you can try out the Tier 2 Scouts and Strike Fighters, which are very effective, or experiment with Bombers or Gunships (ew).

Switch all power to front deflector screens!

I mentioned the function keys - F1, F2, F3, and F4. These are very, very important, but might be too much to think about for your first few matches. Once you're ready to start boosting your effectiveness, it's time to start paying attention to Power Settings.

Each key correlates to a Power Setting:
  • F1 - Weapon Power
  • F2 - Shield Power
  • F3 - Engine Power
  • F4 - Default
Toggling to a given setting will prioritise that Power Pool - so hitting F1 will recharge your lasers faster and make them do more damage, but at the expense of your shields and engines. F2 will supercharge your shields, at the expense of your weapons and engines. F3 maximises your engine power and speed, but sacrifices your shields and lasers to do it. F4 is the standard, neutral setting.

Precise usage of these Power Settings is vital to mastering GSF, but is beyond the scope of this simple rookie crash-course. For your first few matches, try using F3 to boost around the map, then swap back to F4 once you get in a fight. Once you start feeling comfortable with that, experiment with F1 and F2 to suit your current needs.

Conclusion

GSF is a very deep and intricate game mode - there's a lot to take in, but hopefully this guide makes the bare basics more palatable. Although I'm not as active as I used to be, if you see me online, feel free to ask me any questions you might have! And I always love to fly with wingmen, especially rookies, so if you're looking for a partner for GSF and I'm online, don't hesitate to ask!

12
Cantina / pvp teams always let you down
« on: 12/13/16, 01:40:54 AM »
Odessen has some unusual mechanics... there are "Battle Mods" scattered around that let you modulate the capture zones in various ways. Sometimes, a Clueless Teammate picks up one of these mods and just has no earthly idea what to do with it. But that's not what we're here to discuss.

What we're here to discuss is the silence in Ops Chat after I posted my explanation to my poor, hapless teammate:



Not a single response...

MEDIOCRE

13
Holocrons and Info Nodes / A Ghost by Any Other Name
« on: 07/22/16, 11:46:15 PM »
"The galaxy is... not the galaxy I am meant to serve. I was raised in the Temple on Coruscant, listening to war stories of returning Knights in the war against the Sith. My master was killed in that Temple's destruction, and I spent every waking hour training to fight this threat to the Republic. I am a Jedi born of war... and few things are so antithetical to the way of the Force as war. There is no more I can do here, and so I must leave, that peace may reign instead."

A select few farewells. There would be no grand ceremony of 'retirement,' no sombre funeral for the fallen - only spartan quarters aboard the Custodian's Watch that held a few personal effects one day, and were vacant and unoccupied the next. Like a ghost, all traces had been erased - the sparring chambers meticulously tidied, the meditation rooms pristine. Only the small archives aboard the Watch retained any information about an Echani duellist - mostly previously-written treatises on lightsaber combat, and a single, cryptic clue about being found only in the shadows from now on.

Arrangements had been made - others would carry the Custodum forward now. Somewhere, out in the galaxy, lurks a Jedi tired of the violence she honed into an artform. Spectral, ethereal, and unseen by friend and enemy alike, the Force takes one of its pieces off the board.

14
Cantina / Into exile, I must go.
« on: 07/22/16, 03:19:50 AM »
It doesn't take a genius to see I'm not around as much as I used to be. There's a lot of reasons for that: My workload requires a lot of my attention right now, a lot of my free time is devoted to a tabletop group that didn't disband as originally planned, I've been frustrated with KotFE and a lot of lingering issues in the game, and have had difficulty finding RP that works for me anymore. While I've been relatively inactive before, I'm afraid this time it's more or less permanent.

That's not to say I'm leaving forever, goodbye, or anything like that. I'll still be around for the foreseeable future, in that I'll pop in now and then to say hi and do a little RP. But I'm absolutely in no position to remain guild leader of Jedi Custodum or otherwise be an active member of the community, so those positions must pass to someone else. After discussing it, @Hawking has graciously agreed to take up that responsibility, and will be taking the helm of Jedi Custodum henceforth. I have the utmost faith in him, particularly given his recent efforts to keep Jedi RP alive and well, and I think he will make a fine steward of the guild's ethos and philosophy!

IC, the exact mechanics are not yet worked out, but I will soon be posting some IC things here on the forum detailing Iaera's departure, so that people can RP the news appropriately.

Again, this isn't goodbye-forever, so I don't want to blubber and blather on and on here. Nevertheless, I think it's an appropriate time to thank everyone I've ever RP'ed with for nearly 5 years of Star Wars RP. If you've ever participated in a Jedi Mission or another of my events, thank you for coming and giving it a try! For my Sithy/Empire frenemies, thank you for all the delicious antagonism that has so enriched this galaxy. I'm tempted to start listing off a few of the wonderful people who have helped make Custodum and BC a great place to be, but if I do that I will invariably forget one of the dozens of people who have helped make all this possible. So, if I've ever RPed with you, spoken with you, made a face at you, or ever just looked cross-eyed in your general direction... all my <3

May the Force be with you, BC.

15
As part of my Comprehensive Plan for Achieving Excellent Excellence in KotFE RPTM, I wanna talk (and ask) a little about good ol' Jedi Night.

For one thing, it hasn't been classic Jedi Night for awhile now. It started with Iaera and lecturers like Urso and others talking about Jedi topics and the Force on the steps of the Tythonian Jedi Temple. This was Good TimesTM, non-stop Troll Bombardment notwithstanding. Then strongholds came out, and we moved to Custodum HQ to remove the trolls, and it was good. Awesome lecture series like Hyse's Jedi History cemented Jedi kNight as the happenin' place to be. Good TimesTM.

Then KotFE happens. The galaxy changes. Our IC canon is fundamentally altered. I have less time, and am experiencing more and more burnout to boot, so I'm not really hosting much of a Jedi kNight anymore. The traditional Jedi kNight makes less and less sense in the new context of BC RP. I sorta-kinda wanted to transition the night to a more general Republic-loyalist meeting night, but I don't think that's really panned out.

I don't yet want to axe the event entirely - I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet. But it needs something if it's to continue. So I ask ye, friends, roleplayers, internetrymen, lend me your... thoughts. What do you want to see on Thursday nights? What do you think would be fun? Interesting? What would your character want to participate in?

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