Sharing The Love: Call For SWTOR Q&A Questions

leslie knopeI finished watching the television series “Parks and Recreation” and a while ago, and I loved it! If you are not familiar with the series, a woman named Leslie Knope (who works in the parks and recreation department in her city) works very hard to make her city a better place for everyone. Unfortunately throughout the series, she receives a lot of criticism and a lack of gratitude from the residents of Pawnee for the good things she has done. Eventually she works her way out of this and is very successful by the end of the series, but it made me consider a few things.

While I like most of people within the SWTOR community, I also have felt less passionate to talk or write about the game recently, due to some of the people I’ve run into. I would much rather just log into game and play with my guildies, who are fun, kind people. Although I can block and mute and avoid as much of the bad stuff as I can—and I do receive positive feedback—thinking about the bad, for me, overwhelms the good and makes me less happy to do anything. (FYI this is not about Facebook; I really like the Facebook people!)

Then I thought of The Princess Diaries. If you are unfamiliar, it is a book series and a movie in which a teenage girl named Mia Thermopolis discovers that she is a princess born out of wedlock to her prince father (who has died) and artist mother. She is not a genius nor is she extremely charismatic—simply average. And at first she does not want to be a princess. There was too much responsibility, she didn’t want to let anyone down, and she didn’t think that she could do it. However, her friend Lily, who runs a fairly unpopular public access television show discussing politics and social issues, says that Mia has a huge opportunity to make a difference in the world, whereas someone like herself tries very hard to do so but has no clout or people listening to her message.

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I’m certainly not saying I’m a princess, but I am saying that I have somehow made my way through the SWTOR community, and I do have a voice on Corellian Run Radio, on my blog, and whenever I’m not busy on Thursday nights to be on The Republic. I have an opportunity this weekend to bring questions directly to the developers of the game, and I know that players have many things that they would like to ask. It would be a shame if I let something like a voice go to waste because of “haters,” and I would still like to help people as long as they let me or would like me to.

If you would like me to bring a question with me to the Anaheim SWTOR Community Cantina and any other opportunities where I can speak to a developer, please leave a comment here, tweet me @Heather_PLS, or e-mail me heather@prettylittlesith.com.

Brunch With Brian of Bad Feeling Podcast

IMG_8176On Sunday I went out to brunch with Brian of the Bad Feeling Podcast! He, along with his cohost Chuck, were in Las Vegas for a conference. Unfortunately Chuck had less time in town and I wasn’t able to meet him, but brunch was still pretty fun!

There are many other restaurants that I like in Las Vegas that are excellent for brunch, such as Bouchon, MTO Café, Babystacks, and more! However, I chose Hash House a Go Go located at The Linq, which has very large, indulgent portions with a convenient location to where he was staying. It has also been featured on Man vs. Food!

I ordered the sausage gravy and buttermilk biscuits with two over-easy eggs and mashed potatoes! Brian ordered a corned beef hash, I think. It was absolutely delicious, but the portion size was huge! I took half of it home, which I actually ate during the first few minutes of my SWTOR operation that evening!

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We discussed SWTOR of course! He also plays a Deception Assassin, so I enjoyed talking to him about that. We also talked about the upcoming Community Cantina in Anaheim (which he will not be going to), and other aspects of the game.

I’m glad I was able to meet another member of the SWTOR community! I had not previously met Brian at any community cantinas before. It’s nice living in Las Vegas! Many people are drawn here, either on vacation, for conventions, or for work, and I feel like I get to see more people that I’ve “met” from the internet by being here.

Corellian Run Radio Ep 142 is Out w/ Tait Watson

Hello! This past Sunday I recorded Corellian Run Radio with my cohost Jason, and we interviewed SWTOR Community Production Coordinator Tait Watson. We asked a few questions to get to know him as a person and also about his job! We specifically asked about the best way to report bugs and the process in which developers put them on their priority list. You can download this episode on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, but here is the video of the episode as well! Click here to read the full show notes on the Corellian Run Radio website.

Upcoming Tait Watson Interview + Life Update!

Hello everyone! I am alive! I have so much going on in my life right now; it’s unbelievable. I’ve been preparing to move to my new house, which has almost completed construction. I’ve been searching for the perfect dog to adopt (no adorable cats unfortunately, because my boyfriend is allergic, and apparently cats don’t love you the same way?!). I’ve also been working really hard at work and at the gym. And my grandma is visiting from Hawaii, and I’m so excited to see her, along with my boyfriend who is visiting in a couple weeks! Plus Easter with my family last Sunday, my nephew’s huge birthday party this weekend, Brian from Bad Feeling Podcast coming into town…. On top of that, I am not playing SWTOR any less!

Conquesting With <Despair>

This week my guild <Despair> is going after Belsavis AGAIN because for some reason we have not gotten #1 on this planet yet! I’m glad there are many opportunities to get points with operations and flashpoints (my favorite things to do because I am a carebear). On Tuesday I did quite a lot of both with my Assassin and even played with Vengeance Juggernaut a bit!

Upcoming Tait Watson Interview

Also, I wanted to let you guys know that on Sunday, April 12th at 2:00pm PST, Community Production Coordinator Tait Watson is going to be live on my podcast, Corellian Run Radio! We will be streaming live on Corellian Run Radio’s Twitch channel.  I would like to emphasize that this is an interview to meet and get to know him—not a SWTOR Q&A. That blog post about asking serious game questions will come sometime after the Star Wars Celebration Community Cantina in Anaheim, which I will be going to next weekend! (On that note, if you have any questions you would like me to bring to Anaheim, please let me know!)

Eric Musco Interview Video

In the meantime, I realize I never posted about the interview I did with SWTOR Community Manager Eric Musco, so here’s the video! You can also listen to it directly on CorellianRun.com or download it on iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

I love my readers, listeners, watchers, and followers very much, and I love contributing to the SWTOR community. I have a few very special SWTOR things coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Playing Cities: Skylines

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My birthday was a few weeks ago, and I received the game Cities: Skylines from my boyfriend who purchased it via Steam. I’m obsessed! He bought me the deluxe edition, which had a few real life structures, like the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.

Cities:  Skylines is a city builder game, very similar to SimCity, but I have never been as addicted playing SimCity as I have playing this game. For the past few nights, I’ve been staying up late (on Saturday night past 3:00am), constantly trying to improve my towns and cities!

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So far I’ve made a few different towns and cities. The first one I made was to basically learn how to play, learning how to connect electricity, water, and building roads. After I got the basics down, I made another city where I tried to master plan the zones and use the entire map right away! That didn’t work out, and I had issues with the fire department and other services not being able to get around the city efficiently. Everything was too far out, and it wasn’t built how a city would naturally grow and develop.

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The third city that I made, I did a lot better! I was getting the hang of things, and my zones were placed properly. However, I almost destroyed an industrial sector of my town. By placing a sufficient amount of schools, eventually your whole population becomes educated, whereas when you start building, no one is educated. Those uneducated people are able to easily fill the jobs provided in the industrial zone. However, this depends on what industry you make it. My industrial zone had no specialization until I changed it to a forestry district. Over time, however, as the population became more populated, they had a lower desire to work in places that they were overeducated for, and so my forestry district began to suffer. Companies were closing down, and I had to bulldoze quite a bit. I eventually got it back to normal by having a better balance of industries, commercial, and office zoning, but that was a lesson that I learned.

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In the latest town that I made, I wanted to see how long I could go with only elementary schools and no other higher education. I did pretty well! I created large farming and forestry districts, but I noticed that many of the commercial buildings still lacked educated employees. There was a low demand for commercial zoning, so I didn’t bother with it too much, until I began to seriously expand the town. The demand for residential zoning was increasing, and I didn’t want to continue sprawling out with the low density residential zones, so I zoned out a few high density residential zones, which are your mid to high-rise condos and apartments. When the demand for commercial zoning increased, I didn’t want to continue building if they were unable to find enough educated employees, so I finally built a high school and a university. I had a lot of money at that point to do whatever I wanted.

Suddenly the demand for industrial zones became insatiable, and I noticed when I added to the forestry and farming districts, they also could not find employees because a lot of the population was overeducated and didn’t want to work there. You can also see the unemployment rate of your city, which at that point was at 18%, which is abysmal.

Eventually I built out lots of office zoning along the river, which I think looks fantastic and San Francisco-esque with the hills and sloping roads, and my unemployment rate decreased back down to less than 5%.

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So far, I have not tried to power my cities with anything other than wind and incineration trash power, so I’m going to try to build a town with a coal plant and the other power alternatives. I’m also going to put a little more effort into putting public transportation in my town and improving highways, which I’ve seen so far as unnecessary, since my citizens don’t seem to “tweet” about traffic.

Another fun thing I enjoy about the game is seeing land/property value increase based on the parks and amenities you put around an area. Sometimes I have to stop and place a park or two in areas that need an uplift!

I also like that the game is easy enough to work on perfecting one town in a night, and then trying something new for the next. When I get over the honeymoon phase, I’ll probably stick to one town for shorter play periods over a few days instead of a marathon playtime like I’ve been doing, but I’m excited to try different scenarios. I like that you can make it as easy or as hard as you want. There is an option for unlimited money and all the unlocks, but the game is easy enough that you are not hurting for money unless you’re really, really bad at managing it.

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For me, the game is so fun to geek over, especially considering the type of work I do in real life! I love working out the economics of industries and zoning types and keeping the citizens happy and healthy. If you liked SimCity or any type of city builder at all, I would highly recommend Cities: Skylines! It’s well worth the base price of $29.99 considering all of the hours I’ve already enjoyed the game.

Dinner w/ my Guildie Sleeth at Mon Ami Gabi

Sea Bass

Sea Bass

A few weeks ago, one of my guildies, expert crafter, GSF player and <Despair> guild officer, Sleeth and his wife were visiting Las Vegas, so we went out to dinner again! I’ve written about a few of our previous outings, which you can read here and here.

There are so many great places to eat here in Las Vegas, and I wanted to make sure that what I chose wasn’t too unreasonably priced and was also a cuisine we could all agree on. They were going to have steak the next day, and the last few times we’ve gone out to eat, we went to BurGR (Gordon Ramsey burger restaurant at Planet Hollywood), Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina (The Shops at Crystals Las Vegas), and Texas de Brazil in San Antonio. This time I wanted to go back to a restaurant my boyfriend and I went to the last time he was here in town, so I chose Mon Ami Gabi, a French restaurant, at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

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Mon Ami Gabi has a great outdoor seating area with a view of the Bellagio fountains! However, the weather was looking a bit overcast that day. I made a reservation for three at 7:00pm using OpenTable! In Las Vegas, even on a Wednesday night, I would always recommend making a reservation at a restaurant if you can, because it can get very busy at dinnertime! Additionally, I hate waiting to get seated for a table! A few minutes before 7:00pm we got into the reservations line (there were only a few people in it), and we were thankful that we had reservations! We were seated just a few moments after checking in, and I thought it was amusing when a random dinner guest followed our hostess to our table on accident. He said, “I think I was following the wrong girl…” Heh.

Escargot

Escargot

When we sat down, I ordered an iced tea and a fresh baguette was brought to us with butter and some other spread with shredded apples and some other stuff in it. I didn’t really like it, but I also didn’t want to get full off of the bread! We ordered the escargot for our appetizer, which was my first time trying it. Escargot is snail! I thought it tasted like a mushroom, which makes sense since snails hang out with mushrooms! There was also some garlic and I think pesto on the escargot as well. I probably wouldn’t order it again if given the option, but I would still eat it if it was served to me.

Glazed Lamb

Glazed Lamb

The server listed off a few of the daily specials, which actually sounded so much more scrumptious than what I was reading on the menu! Sleeth and I ordered the crisp sea bass, and his wife ordered the glazed lamb! I was debating on which dish to get, and I think I actually should’ve gotten the lamb after sampling her dish. The fish was still good, though!

During dinner we talked about quite a few things, including Harper Lee’s upcoming novel, the new canon Star Wars novels, SWTOR, dogs, and my new house! It’s always fun being able to meet and talk to your guildies in person about in-game things!

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs

For dessert, I ordered the warm chocolate cake, Sleeth got the bread pudding, and his wife got these chocolate cream puff things. They were all delicious!

The Republic Episode 200 Video is Out!

Best screencap of me ever.

Best screencap of me ever.

I know a few of you have been asking when episode 200 of The Republic that I recorded with Larry Everett (Hyperspace Beacon), Chuck (Bad Feeling Podcast), and Andrew (SWTOR Economics) for GAMEBREAKER.tv would be available on YouTube, and here it is! I think this is a great episode! We talk about some of the positive aspects of SWTOR and what we like about the game, and you can see me pull out my pink lightsaber!

Happy watching!

Corellian Run Radio Ep. 140 is Out ft. Snickerr and Upheaval Gaming!

Corellian Run Radio

This week on Corellian Run Radio, Jason and I talk about SWTOR news from the past two weeks, including patch 3.1.1, class changes, community cantina announcements, and win-trading. We have a guest on the show, streamer and progression raider Snickerr from world first guild Zorz and a Guild Ready Check spotlight on the Upheaval Gaming guild!

I think this is a fantastic show! You can download it via iTunes or your favorite podcast app, listen to it directly from the CorellianRun.com, or you can watch the video here:

Beating Bulo HM: Tips for Melee DPS and More!

On Sunday in my operations group, we downed Quartermaster Bulo, the second boss of The Ravagers operation, in 8-man hard mode for the second time in a row! Last week was the first time we beat him, so I’m glad to see some kind of consistency on beating the boss, even if we still had quite a lot of wipes.

In my group, we have three ranged DPS and one melee (me), so I just have a few tips for other melee players on this fight! I know that there are other things to worry about on this fight that I’m not assigned to do, like the barrels and the other adds, but as a single melee DPS (Deception Assassin) in the group, this is what I do to stay alive as long as possible and put out competitive DPS numbers with the other ranged players.

Drios, our operations leader, was really emphasizing maintaining the DPS last night during our pulls. The week before, I had simply been concentrating on staying alive for the entire fight, but this time I made an effort to put out more DPS. A lot of times, I manage to be one of the last ones alive long enough for our ops leader to tell us to /stuck out. A couple things I do to avoid damage:

Stay at max melee range from the boss

  • My tanks were also at max melee range in the opposite direction, so when the mine carts come out and explode on the tanks, they are not as close to me (avoiding damage)

Use damage mitigating utilities and abilities

  • The utilities I used for this fight allow me to take advantage of Force Shroud more often, which makes my character resist a lot of damage during this fight! I tried to use Force Shroud as often as possible when I anticipated getting hit by something. Here are the related utilities I took for this fight:
    • Insulation
    • Disjunction
    • Fade
    • Shroud of Madness

Stay on boss during Mass Barrage… kind of

  • In story mode, and when we first started doing this boss on hard mode, I simply moved my character out of the blue circles that would drop during Mass Barrage. At one point I was assigned to using them to get rid of the adds, but that has been assigned to someone else. What I do now is continue hitting the boss during this phase until two circles come up, and then move out of the circle. This way I’m hitting the boss longer and putting out more DPS. Also, if I can, I don’t stray too far away from the boss so it’s easier to get back in melee range of him.

Watch for and kite load lifters

  • Load lifters are the other damaging enemies that come out besides the mine carts, and they go after a specific member of your group. I don’t have to move away from hitting the boss if I can see that the load lifter is going after someone else. Usually I can see if they’re coming after me or not, but sometimes it’s difficult if I’m centered right in the middle where Bulo starts, because sometimes I don’t have enough time to realize the load lifter is after me and run away.

Keep your camera zoomed out as much as possible.

  • There was one pull where I died unnecessarily because I wasn’t paying attention and had my camera zoomed in. A few things exploded around me! I couldn’t see through the smoke and ended up moving my character in the way of one of Bulo’s blasts at the tank. However, if I had my camera zoomed out, I would’ve been able to see a bit better to avoid this.

Drop threat!

  • Use threat dropping abilities so that you don’t aggro the boss, especially at the beginning! My class and discipline starts with a lot of burst damage that can sometimes overtake the tanks before they’ve had enough time to establish threat.

I hope this helps you melee players and ops leaders looking to help the melee players on your team! Good luck!