SWTOR PTS – Screenshot challenge

swtor 2013-09-09 16-17-22-37This is a screenshot I took today while checking out the PTS.

Mini-challenge: First one to duplicate this screenshot, in-game, with your own character, will get you some kind of (minor) prize on Jedi Covenant. I know it’s not all that inspiring, but I had fun getting this pic.

Introducing the SWTOR Escape Pod Cast

SWTOR Escape Pod Cast-Artwork

The SWTOR Escape Pod Cast is a Star Wars: The Old Republic and Alea Iacta Est Community Podcast

@MaxTheGrey and @AIESema send an astromech droid to bring you the latest SWTOR news as well as updates from the AIE Guild in SWTOR. Listen in for the Super Mega Important News (according to us) and rotating segments including, All The Things, Ask Us Anything, Altered Deal and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Subscribe on iTunes (available here soon), catch us on Twitter or track us down in SWTOR on Jedi Covenant. Talk to you soon!

Final Fantasy XIV – Launch

NO_post - FFXIV start screenFFXIV has launched over the past week or so and while interest and popularity seems high the game infrastructure has been struggling mightily to hold up under the typical MMO launch onslaught. Square Enix has plans in the works to update the datacenter hardware and infrastructure over the next few days, so hopefully we’ll see a recovery on that front soon.

With the strong interest in FFXIV among the AIE community an “Expedition” has already been established. For those not familiar with AIEs entry into new games, a structured process (the G.E.R.P.) is used to first explore the game, determine interest and fitness to the community and take the necessary steps, if warranted, to establish a home.

So far, AIE has set up a Linkshell (a sort of general chat channel) and a Free Company (guild) on the Gilgamesh server. However, with the guild in expedition and the general lack of stability and availability of the servers in general, AIE members are currently spread across a few different servers. This exploration will help to find the final home for the guild as things settle in the next week or so.

As for my time in game, I rolled an Archer on Gilgamesh during pre-release. I’ve not had all that much luck on a day to day basis in getting in and playing (the dreaded 1017, world is full notice being the main issue) I was able to play for a few sessions and am up around level 16. I got far enough to get a good sense of the solo/leveling experience and some grouping aspect. Here’s a few of my notes so far.


  • The art style and environments are nice looking in general. Clean graphics and smooth animation are nice to look at, fit together well, and support game play well.
  • The class system provides plenty of flexibility and will be a benefit to players that would like to stick to a main character and yet still be able to change classes and roles, even on the fly.
  • The lore and quests are what one would expect of a Final Fantasy environment and should feel comfortable to all FF fans. They are relatively easy to follow with map markers and mob indicators to show what you should be doing at any given moment.


  • The abilities and controls scheme are a bit more simplistic that some other MMOs. This is likely due to the design goal of a unified experience (and server environments) across Playstation as well as PC. This is instead an upside for players preferring a controller for gameplay. There are a few other simplistic elements and gaps in MMO feature sets that I miss, but again, those may be in an effort to streamline gameplay.
  • The initial server instability has had a big impact on the launch, to date. Inability to create characters on specific servers and at times any server, coupled with the inability to log on to various or all servers since launch has caused quite a bit of expected frustration. As mentioned, there are plans to fix this, but it will take some work for Square Enix to recover.

I’ll be interested to see where this goes over time and I’ll continue to post significant updates as they come up. Let me know your thoughts on the game so far. Enjoy!

Nerdtacular 2013!

Having a spectacular time out at Nerdtacular. Great opportunity to meet up with  lots of the usual suspects, Frogpants producers, and friends. I need to get more pic going but wanted to post a few for the virtual attendees:

Update: I need to recreate this gallery of NTXIII photos, post site migration. Coming soon

SWTOR 450 Crew Mission Analysis

Mission returns analysis including average profit now online for (also on the tools menu for future reference):

These show the average returns for their respective 450 Crew Mission sets. These include failures and critical successes averaged in for a more complete picture of actuals over time. I’m running about half my companions at 10k affection with some bonuses. Average profit is calculated based on current low GTN prices for the materials returned (Jedi Covenant GTN.) I do plan to update these for a while at least until there is a nice statistical sampling.

Let me know if you have any questions and what crew missions you’d like added!

BioWare – Best Support in the Multiverse

Hi team! Just checking in from a parallel universe to yours where I wanted to highlight the awesome job BioWare has done with the recent server outage. I understand things may not be as perfect in your particular quantum branch of reality but fear not, things are great in the “larger” reality. Here’s some of the stuff we’ve seen today:

10:48 AM CDT – Server outage begins

10:50 AM CDT – Amber Green posts a note on Twitter, the forums and Facebook letting us know they see the outage and are scrambling the black helicopters

11:00 AM CDT – Amber updates with a note on what the engineering are seeing from the operations software and names off 3 top engineers that are personally heading into the datacenter to take a look at the issue.

11:15 AM CDT – Amber starts a liveblog and posts a photo of the engineers testing the routers. One of the engineers joins the conversation and explains that they are getting the ISPs on standby as well.

11:30 AM CDT – In the liveblog Amber posts some pictures of some seriously fried switching hardware that the ISP was able to forward.

11:45 AM CDT – Over the next hour the liveblog is updated with the ETA on the fix, photos of the guys getting the switch replaced and rewired.

11:55 AM CDT – Amber lets everyone know that they’ll have an XP boost waiting in game to help make up for lost time.

12:45 PM CDT – The community sees live video of light flashing on the installed switch. Cheering is heard across the interwebs.

1:15 PM CDT – Servers are back up, Amber has 73 marriage proposals, 3 Fortune 50 companies have forwarded job offers to the engineers, and BioWare has already been nominated for multiple customer service awards.

1:20 PM CDT – SWTOR subscriptions continue to grow, outpacing all other MMOs for first quarter 2013


Off to go level some more. I’ll send some positive quantum entanglement your way as soon as I can. Enjoy!

Gree Event Wrap-Up

The Gray Secant has left the skies over Ilum. I’m pretty impressed that they were able to take it out of the sky like that. Here are some wrap-up notes on where things stand with the Gree:

  • The missions are done: The mission terminal has been removed and the Gray Secant has left. Upon landing at the bases the droid you first meet does explain that they will return in the future for “comparative analysis.”
  • The vendors remain: The two Gree vendors remain and their inventory is the same as it has been since the start of the event.
  • The Wampa and Worm bosses remain: This is an important twist. These two bosses still do spawn, still drop random Black Hole gear, and still drop Gree reputation trophies. I expect plenty of grinding of these bosses for those that still need additional reputation in the coming weeks.
  • Reputation turn-in still works: Still a 12000 cap to activate a turn-in with a 13410 maximum. If you’ve been clever and have done 13410 each week so far you’ll be 230 into Champion at this point. Congrats! 30k rep to legend is confirmed.

That’s about it. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll update or answer here in comments. Feel free to continue to use the calculator to see how far you are from Champion or Legendary. Long live our new Gree overlords!

SWTOR – Free Doesn’t Cost Much!

“Free-To-Play” for SWTOR has been launched fro a couple weeks now and we are all settling in with the new model. Let me first say, of course, that I, for one, welcome our new micro-transaction overlords.

I know there is marketing power behind “FREE” but it’s sort of misleading to talk about what we’ve got as “free to play” and I think Bioware and EA would have been better served and set better expectations by calling it something else. What they’ve actually done is built a solid, flexible unlock and subscription model that includes three ways to play.

FIRST, there is an absolutely free mode that allows you to play the core game, including every class story all the way 50. Sure, it has some limits on it, but for someone new to the game there is a huge amount of content and a taste of almost everything for absolutely no cost, no credit card at sign up, no nothing. It’s like if Bioware make KOTOR 3 and just put it out on Steam for free download.

SECOND, there is an ala carte mode that allows you to “pick and choose” to unlock only the parts of the game that you CHOOSE to pay for, like just PvP, or operations or space missions or the mix of anything you feel like playing for the week. You pay for and unlock ONLY the additional races, storage and slots that matter to you. Spend $4.99 in any way, and you are in the “preferred” status and they throw in some quality of life unlock, that were mostly locked up to help throttle credit farmers.

And THIRD, there is still a full subscription mode that unlocks ALL the various parts of the game. This is still a great deal, in my opinion, and still the way I choose to pay.

So… how much does free cost. Here’s a bit of a breakdown. The two different dollar amounts are for if you buy your cartel coins a bulk discount or in little bits. The “credits” represent how much I’ve seen these unlocks going for in game. That’s correct. By design, almost every unlock is purchased as an in-game item that can be gifted, traded or sold for in-game credits. Yes, enterprising players could probably play as much of anything they want and never pay a dime by grinding credits and buying their unlocks in game.

Unlock Cartel Credits Low High
Weekly   Warzone 240 $1.75 $2.66
Weekly   Flashpoint 240 $1.75 $2.66
Weekly   Operations 240 $1.75 $2.66
Artifact   Equipment 1200 420000 $8.73 $13.31
Crew   Member Apperance 325 349000 $2.36 $3.60
Section   X Authorization 600 200000 $4.36 $6.65
Inventory   (+10 Bag Slots) 175 90000 $1.27 $1.94
Quickbar   (Beyond 4) 250 122000 $1.82 $2.77
New   Race 600 $4.36 $6.65
Hide   Head Slot (Cosmetic) 350 $2.54 $3.88
Major   Experience Boost (3 Hour) 120 48000 $0.87 $1.33
Display   Titles 100 $0.73 $1.11
Unify   Colors 350 $2.54 $3.88
Trade   Network (+10 Additional) 125 75000 $0.91 $1.39

So, to sum it up, for the price of say, that cool sparkly pony in the World of Warcraft cash shop, you could unlock the following and play for FREE:

  • 14 weeks of operations, OR
  • 114 hours of experience boost, OR
  • A new race, head slot customization, some customizable gear, epic equipment access, access to Section X AND extra bag slots


SWTOR – Custom Chat Channel Moderation

I can’t find this in the patch notes but apparently custom chat channel moderation has been implemented in sometime recently (probably in 1.5.) Our guild found out on reddit, including this list of commands that I wanted to drop here for future reference:

/create [channelname] [password]- Create an Channel and an optional password
/cjoin [channelname] [password] – Join an already made channel also including a password if needed
/cleave [channelname] [password] – Leave a custom channel also including a password if needed
/lock [channelname] – Allow only invited players to join the channel
/unlock [channelname] – Allow all players to join the custom channel
/cinvite [channelname] [player] – Invite someone to the custom channel
/password [channelname] [password] – Set a password for the channel
/password [channelname] – Clear a password from a channel
/ckick [channelname] [player] – Kick a player from the channel
/ban [channelname] [player] – Ban a player from the channel
/unban [channelname] [player] – Unban a player from a channel
/mod [channelname] [player] – Give a player the moderator status in the channel
/unmod [channelname] [player] – Remove mod status from a player
/mute [channelname] [player] – Remove the ability to send messages on the channel
/unmute [channelname] [player] – Grant the ability to send messages on the channel
/moderate [channelname] – Set the custom channel to only let moderators speak
/unmoderate [channelname]- Set the custom channel to let anyone speak
/channellist – List all custom channels you are on
/list [channelname] – List the players on the custom channel

I can’t get /list to work yet but most of the rest seems to be working. Mod away!