Pretty Little Weekend: Salons, Tanking, New Headset!

Sometimes I feel like during the weekend, I don’t spend my time effectively or enjoyably. This weekend, I think it did pretty well! I got a lot of girly things done, as well as lots of gaming, and even made an exciting purchase! Here’s a glimpse into my life from this past weekend.

I started Saturday out with an 8:30am appointment getting my eyelash extensions refilled, which I think might sound horrifying to some people! I’m actually really allergic to mascara, and got rashes on my eyelids when I wore it. When I first tried lash extensions, I stopped getting rashes on my eyelids, and I don’t have to wear additional makeup on a day-to-day basis because they make my eyes look really great. This saves me a ton of time, and lets me sleep in just a little longer after long nights of gaming.

nomnom burrito

After that, I stopped by at my favorite organic coffee shop in town, Sunrise Coffee, and picked up a dirty horchata after seeing SWTOR Live Producer Amber Green tweet about them earlier in the week. Lattes and horchatas are two of my favorite drinks, but together?! I hadn’t even heard of it before, so I had to have one. I got that and also a Nomnom Burrito, which has spinach, egg, avocado, tomato, beans, potatoes and cheese.

Then I went to the hair salon for a half-inch trim and an update on the ombré . For those that don’t know what that means, basically my hair color gradually changes from the roots to the tips. Currently, it’s my natural hair color on top and gradually changes to a nice dark red at the bottom. This is a change from the caramel colored ombré I had previously.

IMG_4781

By then, it was early afternoon, and I wanted to get some gaming in! When I picked up my headset to start talking to my guildies in Mumble, I realized that my poor Logitech headset had finally broken. I didn’t want to tape it together, because this was a good opportunity to get something new/shiny. Plus, if I’m going to be on camera at all (The Republic? Streaming? Possibly?) or recording podcasts, I didn’t want to be using broken equipment.

I was due for a new headset anyway, so I drove to Fry’s Electronics here in town. I’m so glad we have one in case of emergencies like this. I wasn’t sure which headset to buy. I figured I’d just pick up another Logitech one, and there was one there for $99.99. However, I also know that my webcam is really, really bad (“Your camera quality makes you look like a Monet painting.”), so I decided to pick up a camera also. I didn’t see the one I was looking for, so I stood around the million employees until one quickly and enthusiastically asked if I needed help. Unfortunately they were out of stock on the camera, but he asked if I needed help with anything else.

When I said what I needed, he suggested, “Have you thought about getting a gaming headset? They are pretty similar to a regular headset.” This poor guy had no idea what kind of person I was, but I’ll give him a break. I played along and let him lead me to the aisle with the gaming headsets. He pointed at the Razer Kraken Pro Neon and said, “This one comes in bright colors!” I picked up the pink one.

broken headsetThe best part was when he tried to sell me a computer, because the headset was definitely easy commission for him. When I said I already had a pretty good computer and he asked what kind—I giggled a bit inside before telling him about my i7 processor, 780ti graphics card, brand new water cooler and solid state drive. “Are you a gamer? What games do you play?” he asked. Star Wars: The Old Republic!

Razer Kraken Pro Neon

 

 

I checked out and left the building: Total time spent inside Fry’s was 13 minutes! I’m an efficient shopper.

Prior to purchasing the new headset, I ran the Hammer Station flashpoint using Mumble on my phone, and I actually tanked it! The queue was taking too long with two DPS and a healer, so I decided to take one for the team and tank it for a faster queue pop. I think I did fantastically well, using actual tank gear (surprisingly in 168-186 rating gear) and spec. I will have to learn a bit more about my Assassin’s Darkness spec, because I didn’t think it was too difficult barely knowing what I was doing. Reading the procs that came up helped with knowing what abilities I should use (Energize for Shock, Harnesssed Darkness for Force Lightning). I held agro the whole time also!

The rest of my weekend was more gaming focused. I filled in as DPS in Dread Palace HM for one of my guild’s operation groups, and also worked on finishing my flashpoint weeklies. Additionally, I earned lots of achievements in GSF, playing 50 matches as a gunship and several other things, which I was very proud of! I hit my conquest points goal, which is excellent because my guild conquered Balmorra (Empire) with the #1 spot!

I also tried out Ranked in Hearthstone, and I’m up to 23 right now I think. I’ve been playing with my custom Priest and Rogue decks. Hearthstone is a lot of fun! Add me (“Dianah”) if you would like to challenge me to a match.

How was your weekend? Were you able to get some gaming in? Did you try any new foods or drinks? Did you get any personal grooming or shopping in?

Upcoming SWTOR Expansion 3.0 Info….?

Today I tweeted, “What should I write about on #prettylittlesith today?” A quick response came from @ColeBennett, who suggested, “why @SWTOR is so slow to release news about an expansion that is coming in 3 months or so. Kind of frustrating as a player..” I decided this would be a good topic.

I really have no idea why they haven’t released news about the new expansion yet. They’ve given us the twenty-second teaser of what looks like Revan (spoiler alert?), but that’s pretty much it. I’m not sure what they’re waiting for, especially if they have been working on its content for a while, and since deadlines have been getting pushed back this year.

Maybe they want to announce everything at once and they’re not sure if certain aspects that they want to include will be ready by the time the expansion comes out. I certainly would be more disappointed by a broken promise than lack of information. For example, if they promised a redesign of Ranked PvP, but then couldn’t have it ready by the time of the expansion.

Perhaps they are still evaluating everything to see if the developers can finish and not disappoint. I guess they could tell us something about the new expansion, but that goes back to my previous theory, that they want to announce everything at the same time.

Personally, I’m not stressed at all about it. Maybe I’m just a really patient and undemanding person. We were told two expansions this year, so I simply expect another expansion by the end of the year. I’m not itching for new information, and don’t really care. When I get it, I’ll get it, and I’ll probably be excited about it when it happens. If you expect nothing and get something, you will be much happier than to expect the world, and be disappointed when you don’t get it.

Additionally, I’m still really satisfied with the game. I haven’t cleared all of the NiM operations with my guild, and that is something that I do in the game. I haven’t gotten top-tier PvP gear yet, so that is something I will still happily work on. I haven’t maxed out my gunship in GSF. I’m really excited to be conquering planets (which is a new thing in the game), and having a purpose to doing older content. I haven’t even decorated my damn stronghold yet! There are lots of things for me to do in-game, and I’m still having fun with it.

Leveling Up In Real Life Part 1: Exercise

As a gamer, there are lots of things I do that are pretty unhealthy, like sitting hunched over in an uncomfortable desk chair for long hours, staring at a computer screen, staying up way past when I should be going to sleep because I’m trying to get something done in-game, snacking on whatever processed foods happen to be in my kitchen, etc.

However, I try my best in other aspects of my life to offset these things. While this seems really superficial, I think that if you like how you look and you feel healthy, it makes a difference in how you feel about yourself and being confident.

Gaming is an extremely sedentary activity—unless you’re playing one of those Wii or Kinect games that require you to move around. I also find myself snacking on things that are bad for me (Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Puffs), because I was too lazy to eat a real meal before doing a SWTOR operation for a few uninterrupted hours. It’s good to get your blood pumping and do some physical activity! Not only will this help with your heart, but you might even lose a few pounds or gain some muscle depending on your body type.

I personally like to do a couple of the cardio dance classes at the gym, along with Pilates, weight machines, and once in a while I’ll get on a treadmill (but that’s the most boring thing to do). Once in a while I might go hiking or walk around for hours at the mall, which are fun activities that will still get my heart rate up.

One thing that motivates me to work out seems a bit silly, but it totally works. I subscribe to Fabletics, which is a clothing service for women, in which you take a little quiz on what kind of exercises and workout clothes you like, and every month they recommend personalized outfits based on what you like! You can always choose to skip a month if you don’t want to purchase anything (or be lazy like me and never remember to skip), but I find that having cute, new workout clothes makes me want to wear and use them. Eventually you can earn enough points for a free outfit! Here’s my referral link for Fabletics if you are interested.

I think starting out is a little hard at first, but after a while, exercising becomes a routine. You WILL start to feel better after going. I also recommend having someone in your life that will motivate you (in a positive way) to exercise even when you don’t feel like it.

FAQ for Community Cantina Prospects

Las Vegas

Earlier this year SWTOR.com posted approximate dates for the Las Vegas SWTOR Community Cantina, November 7-9, and one of my readers sent me an e-mail to ask some questions about attending! I thought my answers would be helpful to more people interested in going to a Cantina in the future since I’ve been to two of them so far. Here is a bit of what I sent back to Terry, who plays on the Harbinger server!

Question #1: How do I find out WHERE in Vegas it will be?

Answer: Usually SWTOR announces the exact date and location a few weeks before the actual event, however they did post something earlier this year that gave approximate dates, so that you could schedule your life/travel around it. We won’t know where in Vegas it will be for a few weeks to a month from now!

 Question #2: Will it really be taking place over 3 days?  Or will it just be for a few hours on one of the days?

Answer: The cantinas are only for a few hours on one of the three nights, and they usually have them at bars or hotels, somewhere they can serve food/alcohol and hold a lot of people.

Question #3: How much time will I actually get to ask questions?

There’s a Q&A session in which the devs and community team answer questions in front of everyone, but what you may want to do is talk to one of them after the Q&A is over. They go into the crowd and they are pretty easy to talk to! I spoke with [Eric] Musco and Courtney [Woods] when I went to Boston, and they’re very nice and approachable, but of course, many people want to talk to them. I think if you get a hold of one of them you will have plenty of time to ask questions.

20140411-234317.jpg

The Las Vegas Community Cantina is coming up soon, so if you’d like to go I would start making some travel plans! I will definitely be there since I live here, and I hope to see some blog readers and listeners there as well!

And, if you are really interested in reading about my Community Cantina adventures, here are more blog posts by me about them:

SWTOR Community Cantina Guide

Why You Should Go To a SWTOR Community Cantina

SWTOR Community Cantina Boston: Q&A

SWTOR Community Cantina Boston: Bonus Questions

 

Corellian Run Radio #127, Hearthstone, & Sickness

IMG_4370.PNG
Happy Monday everyone! A new episode of Corellian Run Radio is out, and it’s a day early! If you’re paying attention to our release schedule, it’s actually a week early because we normally record every other week. Click here to listen to the latest episode!

In other news, I think I’m slightly obsessed with Hearthstone. A friend recommended that I try it (for the second or third time, I’m sure), and I think I put at least 12 hours into it this weekend. It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve already unlocked all the heroes and gotten them to at least level 10! I’ve also already made some custom decks, but I still need a lot more cards! If you haven’t tried it yet, I definitely recommend it. Also, I wasn’t feeling too well the past couple days, so it was a lot less taxing on me to play Hearthstone than SWTOR (only have to use one arm to play, haha!).

Speaking of SWTOR, my guild took a break this week on planetary conquests, so I took a little break also and didn’t get to my personal conquest goal this week. I still did my normal two nights of operations, and that was a lot of fun!

However, it’s a brand new week, so I get to start fresh again! I will definitely be playing more SWTOR than last week, taking my vitamins regularly, drinking lots of water, and motivating myself to go to the gym on a more regular basis!

SWTOR Confessions: I Haven’t Completed the Rakata Prime Flashpoint

I haven’t done this flashpoint yet. What madness is this? A PvE, carebear queen has not done the essential ending to the three part Forged Alliances storyline? No, I have not. I actually did not complete any of my flashpoint weeklies last week, but I did do a whole lot of PvP, GSF, and operations.

Of course, there are spoilers galore on Twitter, so I already know what happens. Thankfully, I’m not terribly into the lore and story of the game, which you might think is a shame, but I really do enjoy simply killing stuff in-game.

In my previous SWTOR Confessions post, I had not decorated my stronghold yet. Guess what? It’s still not decorated. I did one of the hallways in my Dromund Kaas apartment, and it’s filled with posters of bosses I’ve downed and one Krayt Skull, which looks pretty cool. Hopefully one day I’ll be motivated to decorate, because it definitely helps to have the bonus to my conquest points.

Do you have any SWTOR Confessions? Let me know in the comments, tweet me @Heather_PLS or e-mail me at heather@prettylittlesith.com!

New Corellian Run Radio Episode & Returning to The Republic!

IMG_4526-0.JPG

Hey guys! I’ve been really busy taking over planets in SWTOR, but I also had a bit of time to install and play Hearthstone and Skyrim this weekend too.

IMG_4370-0.PNG

In between all this, I did record a new episode of Corellian Run Radio! Click here to listen to me and Jason talk about guild conquests and how I thought my guild Despair was going to lose 1st place! (We ended up winning Tatooine big time with over 17 million conquest points.)

IMG_4528.JPG

In other news, I will be back on The Republic on GAMEBREAKER.tv this week on Thursday with Redna and Larry Everett! Make sure you tune in to the live show, but I will definitely post the YouTube video here on the blog when it’s available as well.

Happy gaming! (FYI I did this all on my iPhone 5s and have no idea if images are centered. Probably not.)

PvP Series: Gear Upgrades & Ranked PvP Guilt

I admit I took a really big break from warzones and arenas and stunted my progress earning PvP gear. For those of you reading the blog for a while, you’ll know that my initial goal with my “PvP Series” was to do enough PvP so that I was geared out and comfortable. You’ll be intrigued to read that so far this week after reset I have hardly done any PvE content (have not run any operations or tried the new flashpoint), but I have done a lot of GSF and Ground PvP.

I’ve been PvPing a lot more lately. I’ve been having fun in unranked warzones, and it’s exciting to see lots of medals and my damage/kills. I’m also trying to get used to using my taunt. I’ve recently been motivated to PvP by planetary conquests, earning more points that way, and participating in Season 2 Ranked in the final hour! I didn’t make it to the first or second tier, but I got the title and satisfaction that I participated. I only did 11 matches on the last day of the season. I think I could be even better if I started PvPing more and working on my gear again.

Last night I turned in some missions and had enough Warzone and Ranked Warzone commendations to buy some new gear! I traded in my Obroan offhand for a Brutalizer one (I already have a Brutalizer mainhand), and I now also have an Obroan four-piece Stalker set bonus. I still need to earn more commendations for Obroan gloves, belt, bracers, and I need to upgrade my implants, which are embarrassingly still Partisan.

I did step into Season 3 Ranked for a little bit last night with a few guildies, and we queued for group Ranked. I felt like my gear was really lacking. This makes me feel a little sad and guilty that I ran a few matches and lost. I don’t think I belonged in there without having the gear. I don’t want to go back into it until I have it. I don’t want to bring others down because I wanted to go in before I was ready.

As a player who does extremely well in most aspects of the game, it’s frustrating to not be as good as I want to be at something. It doesn’t help that unranked warzones don’t really prepare you that well for arenas either. I suppose I could start reading guides about my class (which I never do!) in Ranked PvP, but I usually like to learn things for myself in-game.

How Voice Comms Can Enhance Your Guild Experience

I read something the other day about how no one knows who you are in large guilds, that it’s not a welcoming environment or a place where you can develop and nurture friendships in game. My experience so far in Despair has not been this way.

A little story of when I first joined (pre-blogging!):  We were running some kind of group content, most likely a 16-man operation, with everyone in Mumble. My guild leader Filmadeus or some other officer decided to play a game and made everyone in the group introduce themselves to me, and I had to guess, by the short bio they provided and the sound of their voice, what their profession was. I will never forget this, because I had mistaken a helicopter pilot for a “banker,” which I think at the time was absolutely hilarious to them. The guild quickly embraced me, and not even a month after joining I met one of my new guildies at the Seattle Community Cantina.

I’ve been in the guild now for more than a year, and I’ve written quite a few pieces on what it is like being in the guild, including: My Guild As A Communist Society and How I Joined Despair. However, I would also like to say how important voice communications are. I believe this is how we are successful, for a couple reasons, including efficiency and effectiveness in group content, getting to know each other, and building comradery. (I would also check out: How To Find a Guild: It’s Like Dating).

Obviously, not everyone likes to be in voice communications, but if you are doing group content with the guild, we will always request that you connect to Mumble. Members don’t always have to speak, but it is necessary if you are going to be in an operations group, to at least be able to listen to the ops lead. I can live without hearing my guildies while we do a flashpoint, but most likely we are already chatting with each other in Mumble. Voice communications simply make gameplay more enjoyable; you don’t notice that you’ve had to run Hammer Station twice in a row when someone is cracking jokes in your ears. Additionally, it is so helpful to be speaking rather than typing to someone in the middle of a warzone or arena. No one has time to type out a sentence while they’re getting attacked.

Also, if you can hear someone talk, it’s easier to get to know them, know what they like to do in-game, and more easily be able to form groups for things. Thus, it’s easier to gather and motivate everyone to work towards a common planetary conquest objective. Personally, I keep the Mumble overlay on my game so I can memorize a voice and personality with a name I can see visually.

There are few exceptions to people that I’m extremely familiar with that don’t speak in Mumble (hello Zissou and Jurckad), but otherwise, if you aren’t in the channel, it’s really difficult to get to know who you are. This is fine, but I wouldn’t complain about your guildies not knowing who you are if you never familiarize yourself with the majority using Mumble. No one has complained about this as far as I know, but we have had a huge influx of new members since the advent of planetary conquests.

I highly recommend for guilds to use voice communications. Even if you are not actively running an operation, warzone, flashpoint, etc., it helps so much to get to know your guildies and to plan, strategize, and talk about things in and outside the game. I think you will find that the guild is strengthened, people are less flaky, and you will enjoy playing with your guildies more.

Grinding For Conquest Points

IMG_4397.JPG
My guild Despair has conquered CZ-198, its third planet in a row! How exciting! I’m especially thrilled because, while I still did not get a full week of gameplay (and I’ve been uncomfortably sick), this is the first week I’ve been able to hit my individual conquest goal, due to my computer being in the shop and going on vacation since Strongholds has been out.

As someone with only one character that I regularly play, hitting my conquests points goal of 25,000 this week was pretty easy. I completed it with a combination of group finder operations, flashpoints, crafting, planetary heroics, and more.

However, I did have a guildie that was trying to reach his goal on his fifth or sixth toon Sunday. That is a lot of grinding. Of course I helped, along with a few other guildies, and we queued for a lot of ranked and unranked PvP matches. I admit I did lose a lot of matches (carebear forever?), but in one match that we won I did blow everyone away at the top of the board with the most damage and kills, so that was a point of pride for me during the night! I picked up a new piece of PvP gear last night too, so I’m getting closer to having a full set. It’s almost about time for me to work on another outfit, because I don’t want to look funny when I go into a warzone or arena.

Simultaneously, I suggested that we complete the heroic missions on Makeb and get the 250 NPC kills while we were there. We also ran a few flashpoints and completed Toborro’s Courtyard in 8-man SM earlier in the day.

My guildie did end up making his conquest goal yesterday, so I don’t think it is unattainable to hit the threshold given an entire week. I don’t think it is as much of a grind to spread it out over a few days, and it’s fun having another incentive and goal in the game to play something you like. It is also definitely very helpful to be flexible in what you like to do in-game and to be ready and able to do anything. My guild is pretty active, and there are always groups forming up for something, whether it is for a quick operation, GSF, flashpoints, etc.

We are still winning, and I don’t believe for a second that my guildies are worn out. I think they are having a lot of fun with this new expansion being rewarded for things they already like to do, and I think that is one key to success that we have.