Monday, May 16, 2011

Thoughts on the Game #001

it's monday again, and i'm playing with the idea of making this little hobby a weekly installment. naturally this will be a much easier process once the game comes out, but right now as long as i don't force myself to post i feel i am accomplishing a goal of some sort. keeping with the theme of making all of this sound much more official than it actually is, let me begin the first edition of Thoughts on the Game.

other than finally getting to play it, it's hard to say what i am looking forward to most about SWTOR. at first it was the prospect of off-tanking on a jedi knight, but as my friends came into the fold of sort of planning out what we were all going to roll as our main characters, my tastes began to corrupt a little. in general, the group of friends i'm going to be playing SWTOR with are split pretty evenly when it comes to opinions of the light and dark sides of the force - which has led to many a friendly, intoxicated discussion, to say the least - despite varying levels of interest in the star wars universe. ultimately it was the fact that bounty hunters are technically imperial that shifted my character plans to the dark side. as it stands now, out of the three people i will primarily be playing with there are two bounty hunters, a sith sorcerer healing, and me main tanking on a sith juggernaut.

A Sith Juggernaut, filled with the power of the dark side.

while i still prefer the play-style of the light side and plan to play all eight classes through to the end of their stories, the idea of investing most of my time into a sith character helped spur me on to try and learn as much about both sides of the force as i could. reading everything i can get my hands on from the sith era has helped me build a framework for how i want to play a dark side character. learning about characters like darth revan, malgus, and bane has given me a much better feel for the philosophy of the dark side which i plan to incorporate into my decision making for SWTOR.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Old Republic Era Literature Reviews

even though i'm not a big fan of reading, i do enjoy a good book - more so when the book is set in a universe i enjoy, which is a criteria that star wars easily meets. in preparing myself for total, geeked-out, nerd slaying immersion in the old republic MMO, i took it upon myself to begin reading the star wars books and i feel i couldn't have picked a better time. the following pieces are my reviews of the old republic era literature currently available.

Lost Tribe of the Sith by John Jackson Miller

if you are like me and traditionally favor the light side of the force, have a hard time being a dick in choice-centric role playing games, etc., then the Lost Tribe of the Sith series is a great introduction to the other side. the fact that they are free e-books/pdf downloads is just icing on the cake (i'll provide links at the end of this review). each of the six that are currently available are fairly short and easy reads, but tell a pretty rich story that fans of the movies may find as refreshing as i did. you get a good glimpse of the sith as a people, who from the interbreeding of the sith race and dark jedi have nurtured ancient ties to the dark side into a culture that values power and cunning.
Lost Tribe of the Sith books:
1/Precipice, 2/Skyborn, 3/Paragon, 4/Savior, 5/Purgatory, and 6/Sentinel

The Old Republic: Deceived by Paul S. Kemp

this was a great book. i found darth malgus to be very intriguing, as he offers a view on the dark side and the empire that i hadn't really seen before. the idea that because the force has both a light and a dark side, it in itself represents conflict; therefore it is through conflict that one achieves a greater understanding of the force - as someone who finds the philosophy of the force pretty interesting, i feel that this is just a great addition to an overall understanding of the star wars universe. also, you can't really go wrong with a star wars book that has its own trailer.

The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams

while i feel that the character development in this book was a little slow, it was only because it was so action packed. you get unique views on the story as you witness major events from each character's perspective, and it is accomplished in a way that is easy to follow while offering variety. on an overly analytical note, i think stories written this way work well in the star wars universe because you sort of get sense of how the force brings everything together the way it must happen - but i'm not going to invest too much time going down that road. getting a good glimpse at key players in SWTOR like satele shan is a definite plus to this book.

Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber

let me preface this particular review by saying, generally, i don't even start books i don't think i'll really enjoy - so pretty much everything i've read is about something i've already been interested in or something that came highly recommended to me. also, like some video games, it is easy to lose interest in something if it's boring or poorly written.

that being said, Red Harvest is the worst book i've ever read. any good aspects of the story were completely overshadowed by what boils down to be poor writing and the fact that mr. schreiber had absolutely no place writing a star wars book. here's a quote from page 53:

"Listen to me, Trace told him. I don't know who you are, but I am in possession of a very special set of skills. If you bring my sister back right now, unharmed, then I'll let you go. But if you don't, I promise you, I will track you down. I will find you. And I will make you pay."

sound familiar?

the worst part about it was that it was completely unnecessary. it's from a jedi who is trying to telepathically send out a message to someone he knows will never receive it.

all of the star wars aspects of this book appear to be thrown in just so it can have star wars in the title. there is one part where the author mixes up two names, and toward the end when he's trying to show what's happening from another person's perspective he completely messes up the order of events. it could have been a good book and i read it through because it was set in the old republic era, but it was just so poorly written and edited that it makes me a little angry that it was ever published. the only capacity this piece of literature should have ever existed in was on the fan fiction section of some obscure horror forums under the title "STAR WARS ZOMBIES!". long story short, if bad writing, overused ideas, supporting mediocrity, and poorly injected star wars aspects bother you - skip this book.

these are all the books currently available that predate the setting of SWTOR (3643-3641 BBY); Knight Errant and the darth bane trilogy do occur within the old republic era (aka the sith era), but they are over 2500 standard years after the setting of SWTOR, so they were not a priority to me. i may talk about the darth bane trilogy at a later date.

Monday, May 2, 2011

About SWTORe (The Old Republic Experience)

the time has finally come - i had decided that i wasn't going to make any posts here until i finished all the current old republic era literature and had everything set up the way i wanted. granting this is not a huge task, it has helped make the wait and anticipation for SWTOR that much easier and greater, respectively.

there's a special brand of nostalgia one experiences when looking at old screen shots from video games they've played - and this is much more prevalent when it comes to MMOs and other RPGs where you have spent a lot of time nurturing your character into awesome-hood. a lot of people also know how it feels to lose those screen shots - whether it's from computer problems, forums dying, or just the general passing of time. because of these things, i wanted to have a place to gather all of the memories and experiences dealing with SWTOR that are important to me. it's looking to be an incredible blend of the aspects that i value most in games, and in all honesty i would be happy just to play each of the eight stories through; the fact that there is an MMO side makes it that much better.

since there are so many great resources for SWTOR information already available, i won't be using this blog to regurgitate game news or updates. that being said, i will be commenting on things that i feel i have an opinion on. once the game releases i will only be using screen shots and videos that i have taken myself, or that i am in. this blog is about recording my SWTOR experience and sharing it with anyone who may have had a part in it or may just be interested in the game.