Gaming and Long Distance Relationships

"Gamers Love" by ochiba1110 via deviantart.com

“Gamers Love” by ochiba1110 via deviantart.com

A few weeks ago before Valentine’s Day, Swtorista posted a question on Reddit asking, “Has anyone had an online relationship via SWTOR?”

I thought it was an interesting thread, especially because of the status of my own current relationship, which is long-distance. You’ll be happy to know that he is also a SWTOR player and that I have already met and hung out with him in person several times. In my opinion, he’s a much better player than me (though he adamantly disagrees), but I can confidently say that I play a Deception Assassin a lot better than him.

It’s nice dating someone that enjoys the same game as me (or even just gaming in general). I used to date someone that was uninterested in video games and even more so probably disliked SWTOR. I don’t really want to explain the complexities of how I felt back then, but amongst other things I felt like I wasn’t able to do anything I wanted to do.

I actually play much less than I used to back when I dated someone that didn’t like that I was playing video games, but back then I think I needed the gaming to burn off whatever crazy emotions I was feeling. I’m pretty happy now, and I don’t constantly need to be killing things (in-game) to dispel anger.

However, there are also not so happy things about maintaining a long-distance relationship. I don’t get to go to the movie theater, out to dinner, or do fun things in person with him. A lot of times it’s really lonely, which is probably why I keep myself constantly busy. Interestingly, we don’t play together as much as you may think. This is mostly because I have a set group of guildies I raid with, and he is on a separate server completely with his own group. I think this is best in the case that either one of us ever becomes tired of the game–that our relationship is not solely based on a video game. I’m excited though that I will get to see him at least two times (hopefully) in the next three months!

I have some advice for those of you that do have long-distance relationships with another SWTOR (or your game of choice) player. If you haven’t already met in person, I would recommend meeting up at some type of gaming convention or Community Cantina, because it is important to know if you actually like someone in-person, especially if you think the relationship is something serious that you want to pursue. Additionally, I would highly recommend meeting in a well-populated, public place and letting others know where you are going, what you are doing, and who you will be with, because safety is absolutely important when dealing with people you meet on the internet (though, this is not how my boyfriend and I met!).

Do you have any SWTOR or gaming love stories you want to tell me about? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @Heather_PLS!

SWTOR Operation Victory Tournament

SWTOR Community Manager Eric Musco announced yesterday that BioWare will be partnering with ESL to host their first ever “Operation Victory” tournament. I am so excited about this news! It is basically a speed-run contest for the two 8-man story mode Operations from Shadow of Revan. Prizes include cash, in-game items, and even a trip to Star Wars: Celebration! You can read the official announcement here.

Admittedly, my guild and I are definitely not the best out there, and I can name a few guilds that I know would blow us out of the water, but we can definitely one-shot the story-mode operations. I was excited to bring it up to my guild master, but he was less excited than I thought he was going to be. He brought up a couple points, aside from there being way better guilds out there.

“What if we get all the way to Coratanni and the door doesn’t work?”

  • I feel that, in order to do this competition, players should feel more confident that their hard work doesn’t go down the drain due to a bug that needs to be fixed. I definitely agree that this could be heartbreaking, especially if we had a good run up until that point.

“I’m not sure if we can consistently one-shot Underlurker.”

  • While we are very good, Underlurker is still a bit of a messy fight, in my opinion, and he’s right. We don’t always one-shot it, and that would put us out of the running anyway. Additionally, some of the mechanics are seemingly still unreliable and buggy.

I hope that we can at least give it a shot! More details will be released within the next week, so maybe there will be more information to convince my guild master and my guild to be more enthusiastic about it.

Buying My First Home #1

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Today my new home starts construction! It should take about two and a half months to build, so I really should start packing since it could take me that long! I picked out all of the flooring, cabinets, interior and exterior paint colors, and many other options–so everything looks exactly the way I want. Additionally, I love the open layout of the living area and that the home is energy efficient. Many of the resale homes I looked at did not have open layouts that I liked and were not built with the better, more energy efficient technology. My new home is also located in a fantastic neighborhood, which is very important to me if I decide to have any children and if/when I sell the house in the future.

I have also chosen to have the entire home networked so that internet access is easier in different areas of the home without necessarily having to use WiFi. This will be useful for the television, which will be using primarily internet services and not cable, and multiple desktop computer areas. I simply don’t watch enough television for me to justify paying for cable every month, so streaming Netflix, Hulu, Twitch, HBO GO, etc. will be sufficient for me. However, I will be purchasing the fastest internet possible!

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My kitchen is going to be utterly beautiful. I’ve never been so excited about being in the kitchen my whole life. I chose granite counter tops in grey with black and brown spots, and the cabinets are a medium brown, but not too dark. I am purchasing stainless steel appliances from the builder so that they will already be included in the house when I move in. It was more cost efficient to do it this way, since I only had to pay the difference between the stainless steel version and the standard appliances that were included in the base price of the home.  coloroptions

As far as furniture goes, I have quite a lot already, but there are a few things I want to buy right away, including:

  • Sofa (preferably white leather to brighten living area)
  • Coffee table, side tables for living room
  • Master bedroom set (preferably in white to match my mirror armoire)

All of the other pieces on my furniture wish list I can obtain over time, and are not absolutely necessary right away. Here are the other pieces I will want to get eventually, some sooner than later:

  • Neutral textured rug
  • Bookshelves/shelves for decorations
  • Bar chairs/stools
  • Dining table rug
  • Mirrors
  • Daybed
  • Headboard
  • Entryway bench/shoe rack

I also have a whole lot of things I would like to get to decorate the house, like a new bedspread, pillows, bathroom items, and more. I’ve started using Pinterest for home decorating ideas, and I think I can make the house look really nice, unlike my poor neglected SWTOR stronghold.

I will be writing posts periodically about my house getting built, moving in and settling, so if you’re interested, keep an eye out for them in the future!

Girly SWTOR Demands 2015: Then and Now

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My pink character from last year!

Last year around this time I wrote a post called “Girly SWTOR Demands” in which I made a list of different “girly” cosmetic items I wanted in the game! Basically, my list consisted of:

  • Cuter pets
  • Pink/black color crystal
  • Pink/black dye, black/pink dye, white/pink dye, etc.
  • Bigger outfit selection, including:
    • Short shorts, like what Lara Croft wears
    • Crop tops that aren’t exposing the chest

I definitely have to say, one year later, BioWare did very well with my wishlist! We have pink dyes galore (I stocked up recently during their Valentine’s Day sale), but I haven’t acquired a pink/black crystal. I’m pretty satisfied with my simple, Red Hawkeye Crystal.

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Admittedly there aren’t cute puppies and kitties or even adorable Star Wars universe creatures, but I’ve since cared less about pets than I did last year. I do like the mini dinosaur looking things, but I don’t normally have a pet out anymore.

Additionally, there have been so many different types of armor in-game and in the Cartel Market over the past year! I’m very happy that there is such a wide selection, and you can pretty much create and customize a look you really like. Nowadays, I think I seem to care less about how my character looks, because I haven’t been changing my outfits as much. Alternatively, I could be really happy with what my toon is wearing, which is why I haven’t changed. My main character simply wears a black hooded tunic, leggings, boots, and a great mask, which looks very practical and battle-ready.

New Demands for 2015

One year later: what would I like to see in-game now? Since I am pretty satisfied on how I can make my character look, I would like to see certain things in-game that aren’t so cosmetic and “girly.” I think I’ve written about this earlier this year already, but I thought it would be good to state these things again since last year’s list was fairly successful. Here’s a short list of my hopes and wishes for the rest of the year:

  • Another warzone map
  • Another game type for Galactic Starfighter (GSF)
  • At least one operation
  • Larger ignore/block lists, greater ability to block harassers (account-wide, not per character)
  • Megaserver or cross-server queueing
  • Better guild management tools (calendar, whisper from Guild list, etc.)
  • Ability to purchase Cartel Market items with real money instead of taking a chance on opening a pack or using in-game currency (this is not pay to win, because CM items are cosmetic or quality of life improvements, not anything that can improve combat or stats)

I think this is a much better list than asking for “pink everything,” don’t you?

Corellian Run Radio Episode 138 is Out!

Corellian Run Radio

Hello everyone! Corellian Run Radio Episode 138: From SWTOR With Love is out! I embedded the video here so you can either watch and listen to it, but it should be available for download on iTunes or your preferred podcast app. In this episode we talk about some news, like the release of Update 3.1 and the official SWTOR roadmap for the beginning of this year.

We also feature Vulkk in our Streamer Spotlight and the Order of Shadow Knights guild in our Guild Ready Check Segment!

Here’s the video of the show that you can watch:

I’ve already written my next post, so look out for a fun post tomorrow!

Decorating Your Stronghold vs. Your Real Home

My character in one of my guildie's strongholds.

My character in one of my guildie’s strongholds.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post explaining why I may not be attending any other SWTOR Community Cantinas this year, I am purchasing a brand new home! Construction starts next week, and I’m so excited that I’m losing sleep over interior design layouts, furniture I’ll need to buy, and decorations. Technically, it is not my first home, since I previously owned a very cute condo off of Las Vegas Boulevard (unfortunately pictures of it are long gone), but it will be my first single-family home.

So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, clearly someone that loses sleep over decorating a house that doesn’t exist yet must have an amazing galactic stronghold in Star Wars: The Old Republic! Nope. Still not decorated. I have a mailbox in my Dromund Kaas stronghold and attempted to decorate one of the staircases with achievement posters and a Krayt Dragon Skull.

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I like decorating homes in The Sims 4 as well (which I’ve been playing a lot recently!), but for some reason I can’t motivate myself to decorate my stronghold! My guild stopped asking me to do it long ago, but completed strongholds provide a bonus to your conquest point earnings. I came up with a few ways that decorating your stronghold compares to decorating a real home!

It’s Not as Easy to Earn Extra Money

Furniture and decorations are expensive! In real life, I’m trying to cut down on shopping and unnecessary expenses so I can have more money in the bank to buy things when the house is completed in a few months. Besides my full-time job, I don’t have any other sources of income, so I have to work with what I have!

On the other hand, if I’m ever feeling poor in-game, all I have to do is play! I could run a few dailies or flashpoints. I could also sell some crafted items I have lost in my cargo hold somewhere, or farm for materials! While I haven’t purchased any decorations in-game, I certainly could, because it’s a lot easier to earn credits for what I want versus in real life.

Clicking/Hooks vs. Heavy Lifting/Assembling

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Honestly, I don’t like the hooks system in SWTOR. I’m sure with practice and doing it enough I would figure it out and be familiar with it, but for me, I’m used to decorating Sims-style, which is far easier. You can put whatever type of furniture down anywhere, and there is no hook-type stopping you.

In real life, decorating is a much more physical activity! A few months ago I assembled a mirror armoire for my jewelry, and that was a little labor intensive, since some of the parts were pretty heavy. Also, while I am in pretty good shape, I don’t have the muscles to move around large pieces of furniture! I need a lot of help when it comes to furnishing, decorating, and even building things like shelves in real life. I really should just get used to the hook system in SWTOR because it is much easier to decorate!

Aesthetics

I think one of the barriers stopping me from decorating my stronghold is that it looks very different from real life homes! Instead of having beautiful paint, moulding, and baseboards, my Dromund Kaas stronghold has harsh grey walls that look like metal. I feel similarly about the other strongholds, in that they don’t look like traditional homes, which is what I know and like to decorate (also why I enjoy The Sims series). I’m overwhelmed on how to decorate when my selection of decorations includes metal beds and chairs and a bunch of interesting item drops I’ve won from flashpoints and operations.

Availability of Decorations and Furniture

In-game, in my opinion, I think it is more difficult to get what you want, even if credits are easier to obtain. Some decorations are only available as random drops from mobs, and some decorations you actually have to craft! I really don’t like to craft. In real life, the only thing stopping me from getting certain things is money. I can search the world for an item, and all I have to do is buy it in order to obtain it.

The closest comparison I would say is shopping at IKEA, which I do not have in Las Vegas! I would have to go out of my way to a store in California, and “complete a mission” finding an item I want in the display area and then locating the pieces in the warehouse to purchase. Then, I would have to “craft” or assemble the piece of furniture.

Do you have any advice for me as a new homebuyer? Any motivational words to get me to decorate my stronghold? Leave a comment here or tweet me @Heather_PLS!

Happy One Year Anniversary at Pretty Little Sith!

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Today marks one year after the first blog post I released on PrettyLittleSith.com! In the past year, I have made so many friends and met many people that play the game. It’s such a joy to see that what I have produced, either in written, audio, or video form has brought smiles to people’s faces. I am so happy to write this blog for everyone, and I’m thankful to so many different people!

Guild

Thank you to my guild Despair, who I’ve been with for a year and a half, and especially to my guildies Ben, Film, Sleeth, Drios, Bordeau, and everyone in my operations group! Thank you for being so supportive of my blog and my presence in the SWTOR community and continuing to treat me like a “normal” guildie, putting up with me when I don’t meet my conquest points, when I accidentally stand in reticles, my lackluster crafting attitude, and my Deception Assassin DPS!  I’m very happy to be in one of the greatest guilds together.

Readers

Thank you for being the best readers a blogger could have! I know some of my posts can get quite lengthy, and I’m so happy that my readers are amazing and intelligent people. I love reading and responding to your e-mails, and I look forward to more in the future!

Podcasts

Thank you to Carla and Jason, who thought I would be a good co-host on Corellian Run Radio, even though I originally asked if I could submit articles for the website! I’m very happy to continue the legacy that our podcast has and to take the podcast into new and exciting directions!

Thank you to Larry Everett for asking me to be on The Republic! It’s been an incredible experience so far for someone that does not produce her own videos or stream. I think it’s been a lot of fun to actually show my face when I talk about the game!

The Republic

Thank you to Teo, Chill, and Redna for interviewing and talking about me on OotiniCast early on, before anyone ever noticed me! It has been a pleasure to meet all of you in person. Thank you especially to Chill, for listening to my panicked messages about becoming a podcast host on CRR and living up to your name by being a cool, calm, and collected person that I can trust. Also thank you to Redna, for being one of my biggest blog fans!

Thank you Deltia for featuring me in one your interviews for gamers in the community! I felt like a guinea pig, but I’m so proud of your success with your site now! I promise I will try to play ESO when it’s free!

Thank you Chuck and Brian of the Bad Feeling Podcast! It’s like we’re celebrating our birthdays together! You have made me laugh so many times while driving. Brian especially, you have been so friendly and logical, and I’m glad you are a very open and easy person to talk to.

Thank you to Road for working so hard on so many podcasts and also inviting me to be on a few episodes of the SWTOR Galactic Gamer’s Coalition. It was so much fun to be able to talk and discuss SWTOR subjects with other podcasters.

Social Media

Thank you so much to Madmar for maintaining @SWTORFamily on Twitter and retweeting my work! Thank you for noticing when I try to bring a SWTOR player or community contributor under your nose so that they can be added to your lists. I’m very appreciative that you help to let others know about content that is being produced for the game.

Thank you Olib for creating SWTORNetwork.com! It’s such a beautiful website, and an amazing resource to access different sources of SWTOR content. Thank you for coding in the Pretty Little Sith image when I use the tag on submissions, and responding when my scatterbrain forgets my password!

Thank you to everyone that has “Liked” the Pretty Little Sith Facebook page and/or follows me on Twitter! I love interacting with people about all kinds of different topics, including the game, and I’m so happy that you appreciate what I do and give me feedback. Thank you for giving me ideas on what to write about. It’s also exciting to have met a few of my followers.

Ootini Knights

Ootini Knights

Thank you to my friends on the Prophecy of the Five server! If I hadn’t met some of you in person, the SWTOR Pot5 PvP Facebook group would’ve been a lot stranger, but it has been fun. I enjoy the different perspective on the game and even all the crazy things you guys post in the group. Thank you for helping me practice my anti-troll communication skills. Thank you also for being some of my first supporters when I’ve been on The Republic or have done any streaming. I’m sorry I’ve been too lazy to play a character to max level on your server, and that I’m still a bit of a “shitter.”

freeuglypot5

BioWare/EA

Thank you to the BioWare community team for including me in your fansites and to EA for inviting me to the EA Redwood Shores studio. That was such an exciting experience I will never forget, and I’m happy I was able to befriend Victoria (SWTORista) and Michael at the event. Thank you Amber Green, though I’ve only met you once at the 2013 Seattle Cantina, for being so nice, funny, and approachable. Thank you to Eric Musco and Courtney Woods for remembering my name and communicating with me about the game! I don’t think I will see you in person much for the rest of this year, but I hope we can meet again.

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In the future I hope to self-host the blog once I become more savvy with HTML and web design. I also look forward to writing more, and I’m glad I’ve been able to scratch my writing itch after a long period of writing nothing much at all. Thank you so much to everyone reading, and I’m ready for another year of Pretty Little Sith.

SWTOR 2015 Community Cantina Tour Schedule

Yesterday Lead Community Coordinator Courtney Woods e-mailed some of the SWTOR of BioWare’s plans for this year’s SWTOR Community Cantina Tour! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I really enjoy attending these Community Cantinas, and I’m excited that we have a rough guide on when and where the events will be.

The next one will be at PAX East next month in Boston, MA on Saturday, March 7th at the Hyatt Grand Regency, which is where it was last year! I attended that one, and I’m glad I was able to meet lots of people from the Prophecy of the Five server. More details, like the exact room location in the hotel, about this year’s PAX East Community Cantina will be released soon.

For the rest of the year, we were provided approximate months and conventions that the Community Cantinas will be centered around. Keep in mind these plans are still subject to change, so don’t buy your plane tickets or convention passes yet! Here’s the list so far:

April

  • Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, CA

July

  • San Diego Comic-Con

August

  • Gamescom in Cologne, Germany

September

  • PAX Prime in Seattle, WA

October

  • New York Comic-Con

Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be able to attend any of the Cantinas for the rest of the year! I’m buying a home and I need to put as much money as possible toward a down payment, and it is a little difficult and expensive to travel. I’m very glad I was able to go to the San Antonio Community Cantina though!

Based on the schedule do you think you will be attending any Community Cantinas this year? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @Heather_PLS!

New Corellian Run Radio + The Republic Episodes

Hi everyone! Here are the videos for the latest Corellian Run Radio and The Republic episodes! In both of the shows we have a guest host named Rachel, who writes the Xam Xam Says blog. We talk about the recent exploit punishments, and my experiences at PAX South and the San Antonio SWTOR Community Cantina.

Corellian Run Radio – Episode 137: The “Super-Cast”

The Republic – Episode 198: SWTOR’s Dealing Out Punishments

Adventures at PAX South 2015

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Last weekend, I flew out to San Antonio, TX to attend the first annual PAX South! I went to PAX East last year, so it wasn’t an entirely brand new experience for me. However, there were some differences I wanted to point out!

Since PAX South was in its first year, it was a lot smaller than what I had seen before at PAX East. However, it was much easier to see everything and walk around. I don’t attend a lot of conventions, so I couldn’t really compare the size to anything else. Even though it was “small,” there were still a ton of things to do!

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On Friday, I attended the panel, Where Did Multiplayer in MMOs Go? My co-host on The Republic, Larry Everett, was a guest on the panel, and he, along with the other panelists, talked about how some MMOs seem to be moving away from the social aspect by enabling players to be self-sufficient on their own without needing to communicate with other players. They mentioned Star Wars Galaxies quite a bit, and how it was an excellent MMO for social interaction, and they used garrisons from WoW as an example of how players sequester themselves from others.

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Panel of Where Did Multiplayer in MMOs Go?

 

While I saw many different games at the convention, for some reason I enjoy going to booths that aren’t games, but gaming products. I liked seeing the different gaming keyboards, mice, and PC components, like those from Logitech, Klevv, Astro Gaming, and Intel, because I like to see different products that could make my gaming experience better. I entered to win an i7 processor from Intel all three days of the convention, but I didn’t win! I’m sure they went to people that needed the processor far more than I, so I’m not bummed at all.

I’m not interested in playing a new game, and am not one that buys new games all the time. I keep my gameplay to a handful of games that I know I already like, so I wasn’t really that interested in seeing anything that was there.

Despite this, I did play a few games! I tried out Elite Dangerous, which was a space flying game that you played with joysticks and the Oculus Rift (if you’re lucky). The odds of getting to play with the OR were 4/7 which sounded good, but ended up working out for neither me nor my boyfriend. They should’ve never told us the odds.

I also played Super Mario on the Super Nintendo! I don’t remember what the room was called, but there was a couch and television set up in a corner with the SNES, and we played through a few levels!

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There was an arcade room that I enjoyed as well. I played this side-scrolling game that had crude language and feces flying through the air to damage your health. It was still fun, but eventually I somehow broke the computer because an AVG error message came up! Oops.

My boyfriend and I played some Dance Dance Revolution type game, and he shockingly beat me. I’m supposed to be good at this type of thing! One of the steps on my dance pad seemed like it wasn’t working, so perhaps I would’ve completely owned him if it did!

I would definitely attend PAX South again, but maybe not next year! Since I went to PAX East last year and PAX South this year, it’s time to travel back to Seattle for PAX Prime next year!