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Topics - Orell

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So, here's a thing I thought might be interesting. Below are the notes that I made for the Jedi Night event on 1/18, mostly written up between projects at work. Generally ideas, concepts, names, planned structure that I created as a guide for the event, fully understanding that things would go off the rails.

And that last part's important. There's a military saying about how the first casualty of contact with the enemy is the battle plan, and that's often how it works with RP. You make a plan and watch how it utterly, completely falls apart... but it also means you have a plan, a structure involved that you can push things back to. Notes below on how things played out and how I compensate :).

Side-note: The below isn't "canon" (for lack of a better word). Stuff happened and changed things because I had ideas or had to react to situations. I just thought people might find it interesting. But yeah, since I'm having trouble sleeping tonight anyway, enjoy!

Corso/Carth Hemdall: Professional, welcoming to the Jedi, frowny and curt towards the attackers. Seems a bit tired. From Ord Mantell, ex-military, ran the Orell Medical Clinic in Kyri's stead during her exile from Coruscant.

Mostly as-is. Carth's been a very minor char for Kyri's stuff over the years, and due the the SHEER NUMBER OF PEOPLE he didn't have to do much overall :).

Clinic is in the Vadirean Sector, pretty typical for lower levels of Coruscant, step or two above Black Vulkar dominated sectors, local gang is the Dura-Steals. Kyri and Carth roll their eyes at the name.

Names are suuuuuuper important. Vadirean is just my usual "oh fuck I have to try to think up a name" attempt, a bit overcomplicated but it works.

But Dura-Steals... I just love this. It's so goddamn stupid a gang name that it kinda loops back around to awesome. It's not super-threatening, it's memorable, it's kinda fun and silly, for what I was going for (bad guys that aren't, you know, evil), it's a perfect fit.

Patients: Mostly quiet and thankful for the help, but a lot of... mysterious wounds, bruises, cuts and burns that seem consistent with combat, particularly on the young men/women.

A bit cliche of me, I'll admit. It didn't come up much, just trying to emphasize that the situation's rougher than might be expected from a standard hospital.

Other doctors: Nervous, young medical students. Somewhat overawed to see so many Jedi around.

Intent was that, if the students were pressed, they'd admit that they got threatened by local gang members. But the chaos of trying to manage 11 people doing things meant that I just had to kinda roll with events.

Gault/Gerak: Comes in friendly-like with ~10 people, demands one of the barrels of kolto after a bit of meandering. Makes it clear that he and his men will open fire on the crowded clinic if refused. Gerak and the others can be sent to be in a mix.

1: idea what that last sentence meant.

2: He did not come in friendly like. This was partly because the chars were scanning the crowd (since so many of them, some were doing crowd control), and I had him be detected and getting nervous.

3: But yeah, the "holding innocent bystanders hostage" is a pretty good way to neutralize Jedi. All you have to do is hold the bluff longer than the Jedi are willing to push it. Thankfully, the Jedi didn't start fighting :).

4: In my habit of just throwing in random races wherever because people are people are people, Gerak was originally going to be Devaronian (with Gault as a stand-in)... but I had used Gault elsewhere in the instance and forgotten about him, so I had to improvise with Gerak. I might just retcon this and say he was always Devaronian (more on that relevance later), but yeah. Weirdness happens when you have to scramble :).

If handed over: Carth will reveal that the kolto barrel has a tracker in it, this isn't the first time someone's stolen kolto from their shipments, just the first time it's been this brazen. Tracker leads to a store not very far away.

So, this totally didn't happen!

Part of running an event with too goddamn many people is that you have to find places for everyone to shine... usually by seizing whatever opportunities were granted.

So, when Sibyl-ko separated from the group to follow the dastardly thieves, instead of having Carth reveal "hey, we can track them", I just let her go with it. Another person joined her (sorry for forgetting names!), and while it wasn't in my original plan, it made sense, rewarded a player's ingenuity, followed logically from the events of the scene and let two characters do some awesome things!

If attacked: Gerak and some of the others will open fire at the Jedi, but very inaccurate weapons means that, unless multiple people are going full defense one of the med students and a few patients are struck. Lethality depending on player actions. Rest run off. One of the slain people have weapons that one of the locals would say could only come from a "general equipment store" operating not very far away.

Also didn't happen! But for a good reason this time.

Point generally was... yeah, the PC's might not like thieves coming in and stealing shit. If violence is possible, plan for violence, if only because it makes things better when they figure out a way to avoid the bad shit.

If refused but not attacked or handed over: One of them will move towards the barrels and take it if not physically impeded, at which point tussel, then firing.

Middle grounds! And also what ended up happening. Just figured there was a chance this would turn into a stalemate, and wanted to have the antagonists force the issue.

Carth would tell them to investigate. He'll call CSF and knock a few heads together and get some proper security.

Wasn't needed, exactly, since SO MANY PEOPLE, but just being ready with an explanation of "why the players should move on instead of sticking around" is a good thing :).

==Kaly's General Equipment Store==

Kaliyo/Kaly and Bowdarr/Fluffy: They seem calm, actually nervous. Pretends not to know where the weapon comes from or where the Kolto is, she and Fluffy occasionally do technical stuff or repair equipment. Shocked to see Jedi, they stonewall wherever they can.

If sufficiently threatened/persuaded, they'll reveal the hidden doorway to the underground(er) clinic. Can also be found by inspecting.

I forgot to add this to here, but the 2V droid was originally detritus from the Sacking that they had repaired and reprogrammed.

But generally, yeah, obvious place where crime-type-stuff would happen. And again, random races thrown in because screw it why not. Fluffy and Kaly have nothing about them that requires them to be Wookiee or Rattataki, aside form Fluffy trying to be the muscle to Taelios and...... nope.

But this section got pared down a lot, mostly because the party had real good knowledge that they were connected, no point in delaying.

==Underground(er) Clinic==

Risha/Rin: Treating two small children, boy and a girl, ~8-10ish, while two men are standing nervously nearby. Children are afflicted with a disease, dark spots on their faces, coughing fits. A trained doctor would be able to identify it as Helaxian Blight in the late stages. Easily treatable in the earlier stages, definitely lethal now.

And the point of it. I don't like writing "Evil" characters, mostly because... I find them dull.  Evil for Evil's sake is easy, doing bad things for good reasons is... a lot more human. And stealing medicine from a fairly well stocked clinic (was always the intention that they only steal some of the Kolto) to save the lives of two children that, for whatever reason, they don't trust to the outsider clinic?

Similarly, the “they’re Force Sensitive” twist regarding the kids was added in to better justify why they weren’t just brought to the clinic. For whatever reason, the gang members would’ve heard about Kyri’s connection to the Jedi, and that whole “Jedi Recruitment” thing... even if it weren’t 100% true, it’s believable enough to make people afraid.

It can be an ugly reminder about how things can be.

Important bit? It wasn't my intention that Gerak was related to the kids, not when writing it up. It was only during the interrogation by the Jedi that it became clear that... there needed to be something more personal. It didn't need to be blood relation (I debated a bit in the moment about making them adopted children instead of younger siblings), but there needed to be something to explain how far they were willing to go.

(oh, and Helaxian Blight was 100% "I need to think up a suitably lethal-sounding name. Blight usually works...)

If Kolto was stolen, it's being used to treat the kids, and is right there. Being applied a bit wastefully (using more than needed), but still effectively. Rin refuses to deal with the Jedi until the children are treated. Won't stop the Jedi from taking the Kolto, but will spit on them for doing so.

If Kolto was not stolen, she'd be trying to ease their comfort and won't turn their back on them. Asks for help.
Rin makes it clear that she doesn't trust Jedi, they ran off for years and didn't give a shit about anyone. She doesn't trust the free clinics either, no one does, no one from high up gives a shit about anyone down low. Can be calmed and reassured the Jedi are not the bad guys, but the Dura-Steals do more for the people around there than Coruscant or the Republic does.

First part, well, mostly what happened. Duh.

Second part... it came through a lot, and it's something that we too often forget about. Why should people trust the authorities if the authorities do little-to-nothing for them? It's easy to be optimistic about it, but cynicism can win out so easily, but how many times has Coruscant been attacked? How often has the Republic run off? And the Coruscant planet quests are like 95% "the authorities don't give a shit about any part of Coruscant where the sun doesn't shine". Gangs as a form of informal authority and protection, in lieu of an official authority actually doing their job... it's kinda inevitable, people need to feel safe in their homes.

Jedi know how things should be. But that's not how things often are, and that gap is some of the most interesting story material for the Jedi that I can think of. Here's hoping we have more fun with it in the future :).

So, I've linked to this guy's videos plenty of times before, most relevantly with The Hero's Journey and The Shadow's Journey, lengthy video essays on the making of original Star Wars, and the two follow ups Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Well, he's closed out the series with the logical follow-up, The Hermit's Journey, tracking what Lucas did after Return of the Jedi, mostly focused on the prequel trilogy but also the Special Editions, the other Lucasfilm projects outside of Star Wars and culminating in the sale to Disney.

It's an interesting (if long) watch, and particularly fascinating with how the story came together... because it sure morphed a lot along the way...

Outside Realm / So, Lootboxes
« on: 11/14/17, 09:12:12 PM »
Sooooo, there's a few things that I really want to bring up regarding Loot Boxes and Microtransactions and really just general issues regarding finances in the video game industry. But real important ground rule:

Please keep an open mind.

If you hate the concept outright? At least try to understand why they exist, and why this is probably going to stick around for a while...

Players as Content in Multiplayer Games

The number 1 killer of Multiplayer games in the world is, honestly, the most obvious thing out there: No one plays it because no one is playing it. One of the biggest reasons that Overwatch, for example, is so popular is because it's popular: You can log on, start queueing and be placed in a low-latency match that's approximate to your skill level fairly quickly.

It also lets you find niches a lot easier. My jam back in the COD4 days was a very specific gametype: Hardcore Search and Destroy, and at it's height I could easily find plenty of servers hosting that specific game mode in <100 ping.

Meanwhile, if you can't find a game quickly, it's really easy to just get bored waiting. It's what happened to GSF here in SWTOR: Some people stopped playing, so it got harder to find matches, so more people stopped playing, making it even harder to find matches. It's the low population death spiral, and if you fall into it your game might be well and truly fucked.

It's why Bioware did the server merge, to make queues pop faster and minimize the effects of low population counts. It's also why Battlefront II went from Paid DLC to Microtransactions: Because every time a new piece of DLC came out, those that purchased it became separated from those that didn't, splitting the player base.

That's why you see the barrier for entry for multiplayer games and their post release content getting lower and lower: Because for the game to get successful, it needs to become successful so that it can stat successful. Stumble on the start, and everything can collapse.

The Inconsistent Value of Money

Say you have three people: Alex, Bob and Charlie.

All three of them play the same game, and they all enjoy it a lot. However, in their work lives, things are a bit different:

  • Alex has a shit job and earns only $10 per hour
  • Bob does alright for himself and earns $25 per hour
  • Charlie's job is great, and he earns what amounts to $100 per hour

Yeah, it's basic economics, but it's important when it comes to this subject. Each player, assuming no P2W shenanigans are involved, has an equal effect on the other players when it comes to their presence in the game. Charlie doesn't act as ten more players than Alex does, after all.

But their assessment of "what something is worth" is different. Alex sees a $50 price tag and sees that as most of a shift. Bob sees it as two hours of his time, in effect. And Charlie, well, he gets that much for the daily meetings he browses his phone during.

...and with wealth inequality what it is, there's a number of people that earn a lot more than $100/hr.

Box games have been doing this for a while with Collector's Editions: Taking more money from those with more of it and keeping prices lower for everyone else. It's not like a rich guy's going to buy five copies of Assassin's Creed Tedium, so sell him a box with some fancy stuff thrown in.

But for games with large amounts of post-release development, that doesn't work as well. You get the money up front, but if you want to keep developing the game 6-12 months down the line, or longer, you need an ongoing revenue stream. You can fill that with cosmetics to direct purchase, boosters, power items if you're feeling a little evil...

...or you can use the loot box.

So, Why Lootboxes?

...let's leave gambling down to a final section.

Loot boxes are very, very useful for a few reasons:

  • They're cheap. Paying $1.50 - $2.50 on a random thing? Not much more than a bottle of soda. Those without much money can toss a few bucks in and get some nice stuff, those with lots of money can buy, well, more. A lot more.
  • They make everything inside have value. If you make a six outfits in SWTOR, probably only a couple of them will sell, and it can be hard to know which ones. Same with skins, emotes, weapons, decos, etcetera. By making them all and bundling them into loot box, none of it will be "wasted effort", even if it's only to keep away the more valuable prizes.
  • They disguise prices of high-value items. Malgus' outfit is currently being sold in the shop for 1650 CC's, or ~$16, depending on your conversion rate. That's... pretty pricey for a lot of people. Over an hour and a half of work for Alex. The loot box, sold for $2.50, might have a 10% chance of having that outfit... but it'd still have a chance. And yeah, this... is one of the more evil parts of them.
  • They're easy. Sure, you have to code them, but code reuse makes that a breeze past the first one. But you don't need to market test every item, figure out "what is X worth" for everything, determine specific points of value... you just shove a whole bunch of stuff in a crate, give the better stuff lower odds and then move onto working on something else.
  • Design it right, put the bulk-discounts right, and the high-spenders will gobble up way more than you'd expect. If they have the money and they don't mind the cost and Mr. Skinner isn't pushing their buttons, then... well, it can keep a game afloat, being able to take in $100+ per month from a smaller group of people

I don't know SWTOR's balance sheet. There's a reason that isn't made public. But it's probably quite likely that, without the loot boxes, SWTOR would've been shut down by now. And a lot of other games would probably be shut down or in dire straits too. But... yeah, there's an elephant in the room.

Are Loot Boxes Gambling?

...look, this is the sort of question I hate the most: Arguing over Definitions. But it's the word bandied about the most when it comes to Loot Boxes.

On one hand, No. You will always get something from one, you will never gain money from one, and in basically every single case I've seen, the closest thing to an Actual Value for the item you get is worth more than the box itself.

On the other... if it ain't gambling, it's sure pushing a lot of the same buttons. Skinner boxes, non-consistent reward values, jackpots and dummy prizes, and there's always going to be outcomes you love and outcomes you despise.

And there are the horror stories. The kid who steals their parents credit card and charges thousands of dollars. The person with little money and addictive behavior that spends way more than they should. And the lesser cases, how many people here haven't opened boxes, not gotten what they wanted and then bought some more?

I don't have an answer to that question. Just that it's a big question, and legal changes... I wouldn't be against them.

Cantina / The Last Jedi Discussion
« on: 04/14/17, 09:41:41 AM » in discussion on the film the last Jedi, not the last discussion about Jedi, stupid ambiguous titles.

Figure it might as well be nice to have a place for this sorta chatter, so we don't overload the shoutbox. But yes! Trailer stuff!

The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer

At the risk of baseless speculation? Two thoughts are running through my head:

1: It's going to be more about getting away from Light Side/Dark Side dichotomy. Not "the perfect balance is right in the middle", but rather that Luke's trying to find that third path. And hopefully won't annoy the hell out of me by saying "THE LIGHT SIDE'S JUST AS BAD AS THE DARK SIDE GUYS"...

There's a difference between "both sides have problems" and "both sides are equally wrong". The Sith tend to mass murder a whooooooole lot more than the Jedi do :P.

2: Part of the story will involve Rey kicking Luke off his ass and getting him to realize that, yeah, all that noble philosophy shit's all well and good and all but there's actual shit going down right now, people are dying, what the hell.

Because there are two big problems that Jedi tend to have: Perfect being the enemy of Good, and a failure to understand that Inaction is an Action.

...two things that it seems like Luke's doing in spades, based on that trailer.

Cantina / A Hero's Journey: The Making of Star Wars
« on: 01/20/17, 12:58:27 PM »
So, one of my favorite scifi online critics, SFDebris, has finished putting together a documentary on the making of the original Star Wars, from the start of Lucas' career in filmmaking to the film's completion. Clocks in at 1.5-2 hours, huuuuge number of little facts, and a real appreciation for Lucas' skills as a filmmaker...

Totally worth a watch :).

Cantina / [SPOILERS] Who is the Outlander?
« on: 01/19/17, 10:20:21 AM »
Okay, so this has been a long time coming.

Unmarked Spoilers for KotET below!

Plots are wrapping up, characters are moving forward, but there's still a big ugly question:

Who the hell is the Outlander?

One of the three most powerful people in the galaxy, the leader of the new third power, is a player-defined character. This is not going to be the most stable thing for RP >_<.

I mean, just leaving aside the issue with gendered pronouns...

Basically, how should we address this in RP? There's two obvious possibilities that I can think of... but I don't really like either one fully right now:

Option One: Outlander is Jedi Jesus

Basically, we go the route of "Star Wars games with choices usually have the main character be male, pick all the LS choices and be a Jedi if possible", and so the most likely Canon Outlander is a male Jedi Knight who did all the LS stuff.

He didn't even punch Saresh.

While this is the most likely possibility as to what the Outlander will actually turn out to be, I find it lacking in a couple ways.

First, I don't like the idea of just defining the canon character like that. A lot of the Dark Side choices are... pretty pragmatic and understandable ones (keeping Vitiate's daddy in the Holocron, for example).

But it's more that I don't feel that Jedi Jesus works as a third faction leader. Why would he set up a third galactic power? Job's done, time to dismantle the warships and send everyone home. Maybe stick around long enough to encourage a peace treaty in the wake of the glorious victory, but that's about it.

And I kinda prefer option two...

Option Two: Outlander is the Mysterious Stranger

It's even his arena name!

In Chapter 2 of KOTET, the Alliance nearly falls apart because the Outlander's reported as dead. In Chapter 9 of KOTFE, there's apparently no argument about who should be in charge of the Alliance, it should be the Outlander. It kinda paints a picture of the Outlander as the leader of this Cult of Personality.

Basically, this option expands on that, and makes it so that all choices are practically valid (...although whether or not you execute Arcann on Live TV is a trickier point). The Outlander's identity, goals, motives, all of that? The Outlander's not telling.

He's got the Eternal Fleet, he's got an army, he's got territory and he doesn't have a lot of trust in those outside the Alliance.

It's tricky to work around, especially given the questions about the more obviously visible actions in the story, but I think it'd work better long-term. Bioware has to prevent the decisions from having too much of an impact on the world, for the sake of making future story content not impossible to manage, it'd justify both Republic and Empire looking at the Alliance with a very wary eye, and work with whatever comes next in the story, whether it's take over the galaxy, dissolve the Alliance or force a peace treaty.

Those are just my thoughts on the subject... anyone got their own?

Events and Occasions / Gray Coalition: Voss Recon
« on: 01/03/17, 01:42:02 PM »
Okay! Time to actually schedule this damn thing!

On Saturday, January 14th at 3:00 PM Server Time (aka PST), I'll be running an event for Coallition forces that takes place more or less at the same time as KOTET Chapter 1.

If you've played KOTET, you can probably guess what might happen >_>.

This will be a Chatroom Event (since cross-faction), and we'll be using a rolling system I used, um, a while ago when I last ran a dice'd event, info listed down below, no traits or anything you have to figure out :).

I'll have an IC intro message from Quarasha when we get closer to the event, shall be fun... >:D.

It's a basic rolling system, to work as follows:

Attacks (and other contested actions) would roll: 1d100 +WotF -HP

<= 9: Attacking character screws up some part of their attack and take a "hit".
10-39: Defending character does something to negate the attack (if they're getting shot at with a blaster, they dodge the shot or duck behind cover, for example).
40-89: Attack goes as intended, defender take a "hit".
90+: Attack goes even better than intended, defender takes 3 hits.

All that said, hits work a bit differently for the event. Enemy NPC's will have health based on their intended importance, of course, and for them hits will just reduce their health until they hit 0.

For player characters, taking a "hit" is not necessarily damage. Players can choose for a hit to be anything from being physically injured, to emotionally shaken, to knocked off balance, to whatever they want, so long as it's a rationale for them becoming less effective, or ground down, in the fight. It's entirely your choice what, RP wise, the hit means for your character.

The mechanical impact of Hits, however is that they give a stacking -5 penalty to your attack rolls (that's the HP notation) for every Hit you take past 2 (3 hits means you roll at -5. 8 hits means you roll at -30), but your number of hits is halved, rounding down, after each encounter completes, to denote that you've got some time to recover from the fighting.

And, yes, this means that you won't get knocked out by me. You can decide that your char gets knocked out, of course (and can make a miraculous recovery at an opportune moment when your turn comes back up). It's entirely up to you.

The other part of the combat system is Will of the Force:

Every time a player gets a hit on an enemy (or a sudo-hit on a skill check), they get a Fate Point. During any of their rolls, they can use any amount of FP's they accumulated for a stacking +10 to their roll, allowing them to make their attacks possibly automatic successes if they choose.

(If you use a Fate Point on a roll, you don't get back bonuses from that hit)

And, to give you a reason to save them up: At every 20 point interval over 90 that your roll is, you do +1 damage. So:

Roll of 90: 3 damage.
Roll of 110: 4 damage.
Roll of 130: 5 damage.

And so on.

...and I thoroughly encourage people to save their character's dramatic "This is why I rock!" moments for these bonuses :D.

Cantina / Rogue One Spoiler Thread
« on: 12/16/16, 02:18:41 PM »
Spoiler thread for a Star Wars film on a Star Wars fan site wow what surprise.

So, I liked it overall! Fun sci-fi blockbuster that's a bit darker than the usual Star Wars fare, and taking a fair bit of risks. I have my nits to pick, however, and that's how I get my jollies off...

The Good

I just love love LOVE Chirrut and Baze. While I'm a bit annoyed that Chirrut is just a blind human, instead of giving the EU (and non-humans) some love by making him Miraluka, since......... that's more or less how he acts, they are both fantastic characters performed amazingly, and I'm now really angry that they both die, because I want more from them! Blind Monk Guy and dude with the most epic gun in the galaxy, OTP!

seriously bioware make that gun for swtor figure out a way

Really, the whole cast does an excellent job. Alan Tudyk was hilarious as K2, Cassian and Jyn play well off each other, Bodhi was... a surprisingly great character, I thought he was going to be a drag or pushed off at the first gate, but he had a nice sort of oddness that made him a treat.

Action, for once, was well shot. Only a few "artistic flourishes" and I got a good sense of where everything was and what was going on. Never got taken out of the action by the bloody camerawork, and if you know how much I love to harp on this crap, you know that's a feat :).

Oh and uh also yes HOLY HELL THAT VADER SCENE. Besides being Vader finally cutting loose and just killing the shit out of everything in his path, it's also works wonderfully as a subtle summation for the whole final act: The Empire is too powerful to beat here, it can't be stopped, the plans are the only thing that matters... and even then, it might not be enough. I so wish the film had ended on that...

The Bad


This was supposed to be a dark movie, right?

I mean, it's not sunshine and lollipops. Killing off the entire principal cast will do that. But... it goes on and on about hope how hope is a wonderful thing how it can save us all and it just clashed so, so much with the early scenes with the good guys murdering and torturing and being pretty terroristy.

Maybe it was just trying to lead into the return of the Jedi in a New Hope? But... it felt like I was watching a care bares movie at some points.

As much fun as the action was? A lot of it felt pointless, especially in the third act. The stuff in space, for example: I know why it's needed, they need to bring down the shield so the plans can get transmitted (presumably too large to easily transmit to other systems), but there's no characters we care about up there, it seemed to pop back up just to remind us "hey, there's this shield thing they need to take care of" now and then.

...and... my main concern with the film going in was kinda confirmed. Sure, they do some worldbuilding, but basically every location they show is nuked, and... yeah. It's a nice, semi-self-contained story not trying to be anything else, but I guess the point is just that... there's no real purpose to it on a franchise level, beyond "make money, get butts in seats and tide us over until Episode 8 can come out". :(

The Ugly

New rule, Hollywood: Don't CGI deceased people into films anymore. Tarkin looked like the dictionary definition of the Uncanny Valley. I don't know exactly what was wrong with his face, but it did not look right.

Similar with Carrie Fisher, but... at least young is easier to CGI than Wrinkly-as-Hell.

The film really didn't need her in it. Let it go from Vader staring down at the departing ship, ship that we all know very very well enters hyperspace and that's it. It just KILLS the mood and fairly subtle theme of how unstoppable the Empire is from Vader's slaughter of the rebels with some grade A, factory farmed cheese.

We're smart moviegoers, we're capable, let us make the connection ourselves! It's not like we're not going to remember the FIRST SHIP EVER SEEN IN STAR WARS.

But yeah. Solid B+, would see again :).

Cantina / KOTET Spoiler Thread
« on: 11/30/16, 09:46:14 AM »
...okay, splitting off the threads a bit. Lets leave the spoilers out of the other thread, and use this one for discussing everything that happens, because hooo boy does things happen...


Chapter 1 through 7 only so far

Not going to go into too many specifics? But the big, big change I'm noticing is that there is a WHOLE lot less faffing about. I mean, there's still lots of trash mobs and side objectives and stuff like that, but it feels like everything we're doing has weight and impact.

Chapter one? Zak fleet gets trashed, Senya's half-dead, Arcann's free and on the run now but Voss also got wasted HARD.

Chapter two? Potentially make an alliance with the Sith Empire, arrest/kill Saresh, fight off the GenoHaradan(!!!!!!!!).

And it's like that all the way through so far, even with the fun, and combat-light Party Infiltration chapter. Would I prefer longer chapters? Yeah, sure, of course. But compare this to KOTFE:

Chapter 1? Okay, lots of stuff happens here. As it should.

Chapter 2? Dream sequence with the Mind Raper, and... um. You're told you're important a bunch.

Chapter 3? You escape Vaylin and Arcann and get some exposition.

Chapter 4? You find a big ship and repair it. Woo.'s just a lot less stuff happening, and usually stuff that's only important because of other stuff that happens later. I mean, Chapter 12's great thing is that you meet up with Satele, she and Marr exposit at you a bunch, you get a new weapon and... that's it, and that's only relevant because it'll come in handy in the finale.

Don't get me wrong, I have gripes. What would I be if I couldn't find nits to pick?

...seriously, the Alliance wouldn't be this giant cult of personality around Story!Shaantil... and Arcann's whole "going good" thing is way too sudden, even if he is a whole lot more interesting now...

But the major thing is that there's MEAT here. A lot of it. Fascinating developments, good character work, Vaylin getting a "Kylo Moment" that is just wonderful...

Oh, and it's fun to play too, with a lot of fun moments. Piloting a walker! Indiana-Jonesing a tomb! Metal Gear Squeak! I AM LIBERTY PRIME!

And really, the base fights are often fun. I'm really loving the number of wave fights here, Shaantil's just flying about the area blowing shit up. I'm a bit sad I had to turn down the difficulty to "Story" once I got a level under my belt, but I'm probably going to be coming back to it once I get some gear, because those fights are feeling FUN.

Events and Occasions / Next few Anti-Zak Nights...
« on: 11/22/16, 12:12:55 AM »
Okay, so, for obvious reasons, Anti-Zak Night's going to be a bit less populated for the next few weeks >_>.

This wednesday, I won't be there, by virtue of either being at my parent's house a few hundred miles away from my PC, or by virtue of me still being on the road somehow trying to get up there >_<. If folks still want to congregate, go wild!

As for next week, I won't be there... probably because I'll still be playing or trying to process the new content, and I wager I won't be the only one. The whole status quo's gonna get shook up, and there's going to be discussions about how RP will be affected by it...

...point is, literally day after release is going to be stasis time, without question. Again, won't stop anyone from going, just stating where I'll be, making sure Story!Shaantil keeps making bedroom-eyes at Lana.

Yes, even without the eyes.

Outside Realm / Desert Bus for Hope 10 Starts Saturday!
« on: 11/10/16, 09:48:29 AM »
Okay, so it's time for me to talk about those crazy Canadians again...

Desert Bus for Hope 10 is starting this Saturday!

To put is simply, it's a week long internet telethon of sorts, benefiting the Child's Play Charity, run by the people behind "LoadingReadyRun". It's a very... gamer-y thing, as they spend the entire week, 24 hours a day, playing a game intentionally designed to be outright horrible and dull.

They also do raffles, giveaways, auctions, they have live call-ins, they do wacky things on camera to stay amused (and awake), it's really just this delightful thing to experience, even if you just have it on in the background while you're doing something else.

And hey, it's giving money for a good cause too...

Events and Occasions / 11/9 Anti-Zak Night
« on: 11/09/16, 08:09:05 AM »
Hey all,

So, I was tempted to cancel tonight's event for... well, obvious reasons. Between all the real world crap that's fresh in minds and things kinda entering a limbo state with the upcoming expansion and the undoubtedly significant change to the status quo that's coming, I'm just not feeling it right now.

...but I don't want to cancel the RP night entirely. Quarasha will be at the cantina in Gabe's stronghold, hopefully lighthearted RP to follow.

Cantina / Knights of the Eternal Throne coming Dec 2
« on: 10/07/16, 11:32:32 AM »
So, the trailer for KotET is now live, and... pretty fucking awesome as a piece of storytelling:

I mean, a lot of the symbolism is a bit obvious and such, but I'm a sucker for a six minute video that shows so much about the relationship between these two characters, and who they are, with almost no dialog.

Also, Senya is fucking badass in there. That's how I'd picture Shaantil or Merrant fighting, especially when outnumbered.

Additional details have dropped here:

Don't be confused by all the "Preorder Now" bits, it's the same deal as with KOTFE: Be a subscriber and you get the sexy sexy stuff with bonus stuff for being sub'd earlier (Including Shae Vizla as a companion which....... super-meh for me, but I know some like her, and better than the nobody we got for KotFE).

Other bits I found interesting:

- Oh joy, 5 new levels I'll grind out before the third chapter's done...

- Interesting that they're shifting away from the monthly episodic content, at least they seem to be. Part of me wonders if we'll get ALL 9 chapters on release, or if something else is going to be happening. Either way, don't expect the KOTET chapters to be correlated to the KOTFE chapters, it wouldn't surprise me if there was more going on.

- The Galactic Command stuff... well, looks like no raids, but still some high-difficulty fights? There's a lot of question marks with all this, but sounds like the main post-story content that Bioware will be trying to engage us with, like what the Star Fortresses tried to be.

Still... looks interesting.

Events and Occasions / Anti-Zak Night EVENT - 10/05
« on: 10/02/16, 06:15:55 PM »
Hey all,

So, this upcoming Anti-Zak night is going to be a bit different: One of Quarasha's contacts/spies turned up murdered, and she's gone to the other Coallition members to ask for help...

Quarasha had an arrangement with low-level aide for a minor Republic Senator, representing Hrolthma, a mid-rim garden world. He'd sell information to her; he didn't know who she was, just that she had credits and wanted dirt on the Republic Senate.

Recently, most of his body was discovered in the Works beneath the Senate, with all of his limbs chopped off by a Lightsaber (one more jagged cut, three very precise and careful). A datapad was found on his body, revealing his correspondence with an anonymous person purchasing Senate gossip.

Coruscant police have been keeping the killing under wraps. The only reason Quarasha knows anything about it is because a DIFFERENT agent of her's on Coruscant sent her the photos, enough to suspect that a Zakuul Knight is behind it... but no proof.

Telline has asked Kyri Orell (Doctor, native to Coruscant, friend of the Jedi, some past as a smuggler, wanted terrorist) to help out with the investigation, and anyone else that can head to Coruscant is welcome to come along... just be prepared for making an enemy...

This will start at 7:30 PM Server Time in my Coruscant stronghold, anyone that has a way to arrive on Coruscant is welcome :).

Worldbuilding and Community / The Gray Coalition Status
« on: 08/24/16, 01:22:36 PM »
Hey all!

So, the Gray Coalition is the current name for the Anti-Zak night group, mostly because we needed an IC name, damn it. Due to the, shall we say, unique structure of the group (not being a guild, not having a set membership or a chain of command beyond Quarasha muttering "...can't we all just remember who the actual enemy is already?"), it can be tricky to know what's going on and what the Coalition has accomplished (beyond ruining Quar's liver).

So, this thread! Suggested by Karmic, this is a thread where people can bring up the plans their chars are taking that are tied into the Coalition, the results of their efforts, that sort of stuff. I'll probably add stuff to this when I'm not on lunch, but if you've got something to add, go wild!

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