Sunday, April 29, 2012

Challenge #18--Favorite In-game Outfit

I've already mentioned how glad I am that the outfits all tend to coordinate for each class.  (Except the trooper.  Every so often, there are some absolutely horrible combinations which show up.  But, as I'd guess they're looking for functionality more than fashion, they may not care as much.)

It always seems to be that my Consular grows to love whatever outfit she is wearing.  And then, when it becomes imperatively obvious she needs to upgrade, she hates her new outfit until it sort of grows on her . . .  So I can't complain much about her current outfit, or even the outfit before that one . . .

I do remember, however, the first time I really, really liked one of her outfits.  It was the Stalker Robe she got on Tatooine.  It was striped, with really cool detailing on the bodice!

And while it looked rather funny on some of the male Consulars, it looked really good on her.  I used to look smugly at the screen and tell whichever daughter was watching at the time, "I make this outfit look good!"

She managed to pick up a lucky purple random drop--Anointed Drammasian Silk Lower Robe--which perfectly matched the style of the Stalker Robe.

Unfortunately, at about level 40, she had enough PVP points to pick up a set of PVP gear with a collective increase so high it didn't make any sense to continue wearing the robe for strictly sentimental value.  I didn't like the new outfit . . . for a few levels, anyway . . . so I put the Tatooine robe in her cargo hold to wait for the day, one day, when she could mod it up to the point where it made sense to wear it again.

And that day could be today!!  If, of course, she chooses to do so.  Right now, she's kind of enjoying looking like Nadia's sister, but that Stalker Robe outfit is calling her from her cargo hold . . .

Friday, April 27, 2012

Challenge #17--Favorite Place

What is my favorite place in-game?  That's a hard one.

I live in a desert and have to deal with sand blowing in my teeth, so all my favorite places in-game are NOT deserts.  I have enough desert in real life to want to spend my fantasy existance in other locations.

On the flip side, we very rarely get snow, which delights me to no end, so my favorite places are NOT snowy.

And although I live in a rural area, my favorite places in-game are NOT cities.  Coruscant drives me about as crazy as it does Qyzen.  (Not that I'm looking for things to hunt, but you get the idea.)

Actually, my favorite planets are Tython and Alderaan.  The mountains on Alderaan are spectacular to the point where I took a few screenshots, thinking I might use one as my blog background.  And I greatly enjoyed my time questing in that zone.

But Tython, of course, as the seat of the Jedi, ends up feeling like home.  It seems to be a place where my Consular can go and know she is among like-minded people, in a beautiful, peaceful environment.  And as the place where it all started, it remains in a special corner in her heart.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Highly Decorated

The other night, queueing for warzones on my Consular with a raging headache, I managed to end up in the Alderaan Civil War.  This one has usually been hit or miss for me when it comes to wins.

But this time, the team seemed to have the right idea.  We captured the middle and the left, then settled down to defend them.  I have usually been a defending type, so I stayed in the middle with a Jedi Shadow, and together we took down the silly single players who thought they could run up with impunity and get past the two of us.

The group in general responded well to calls for help from either node, and by the time the Empire had captured the left node, they were so far behind they could only win if they captured all three.

In a lull in the fighting at the middle node, I wondered with curiosity how many medals I had collected, as it seemed to be a lot.  I looked up and I saw this:

See that Rakata stim?  Gotta love it!

Not having any idea what that pink/red thing was next to the medal count (10, wow!), I moused over it and read the tooltip.

I was kind of surprised.  I don't think I'd ever reached the point where I had reached maximum medals for awards, so I had no idea this feature was in there.

Now I was really curious.  How could I get all these medals if I hadn't been doing anything outside my normal habits?

When we were finally victorious, I took a look.

Fully six of the ten medals were because I parked my Consular by a node and stayed around to defend it!

After a little poking around in the patch notes, I discovered I wasn't going crazy and I hadn't been completely clueless prior to 1.2.  Some of these medals are new to this patch, and the "Highly Decorated" designation as it stands now, which stops handing out rewards at 8 medals, is apparently raised from whatever number it was beforehand.  (Just tells you how few medals I habitually got.  If I had 5, I was doing really well.)

I guess this means it should be fairly simple for me to max out my effective medals on a regular basis now.  I can routinely get three non-defender-type medals, and with the new medals for attacker or defender, there is really no excuse.  Simply do something which will actually help the cause, and everything should work out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Challenge #16--What I Miss

When I started this, I knew this particular WoW challenge was the only one which could not be translated easily into SWTOR language . . . or so I thought.

The challenge was to describe what the blogger misses most post-Cataclysm.  Well, SWTOR doesn't have anything like that, but what we do have is . . . . <trumpet fanfare> . . .  1.2.

What do I miss post-1.2?  I miss easily manageable Force on my Jedi Consular.  Hands down, that's what it is.  Resplendence was my best friend.  Once I got the habit down of hitting Noble Sacrifice every time it popped, I found I could juggle my heals well enough to not worry about running out of Force.

Could I run out of Force?  Absolutely, if I became tunnel-visioned and forgot to pop Healing Trance every so often to greatly increase the chances of getting Resplendence.  (Been there, done that.)  But as long as I paid attention, I could handle just about anything . . .

I remember one time when my husband and I ran an Heroic 4 with our companions and managed to hit a boss which never seemed to die.  His life was being whittled away, but it was taking much longer than expected.  In the mean time, he kept tossing random damage out to everyone in the group.  My husband was a little concerned.

"This is going to take a while," he told me.

"Don't worry," I responded, not breaking rhythm.  "I can keep this up all day."  With the heal priority system I had established, I could.  Although not everyone could be topped off all the time, I could keep the four of us alive well enough to complete the encounter.

It's frustrating now to hit Noble Sacrifice upon the Respendence proc and realize I now have to heal myself.  Although the NS doesn't cost any Force, I find myself with much less benefit by the entire exercise because of the extra healing which must now come my way.  I have to wonder if it's even worth it to hit NS upon the proc anymore.  And I know I'm going to have to rearrange some of my secondary stats to be optimal, as the emphasis on Crit before this was a direct result of the desirable effects of Respendence.

But, that said, I understand that MMOs are always being tweaked, usually to appease PVP players.  It is what it is, and I can't change the universe that much.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Challenge #15--My Desktop Background

I wish I could say I had a magnificent picture of a Jedi Consular meditating or throwing rocks or something on my desktop background, but I don't.

When I played WoW, I had a black background, with the Night Elf crest centered on it.  When I quit, I decided I needed something non-WoW-related.

But I still felt some kind of connection to trees, having spent so much time with an avatar looking like one in WoW raids over 3.5 years.  So I decided, instead, to find a nice picture of trees.

I found this picture on the Internet and picked it because the autumn trees, with their golden glow, just seem really cheerful, and because I can almost hear the stream splashing over the rocks.  It makes me feel peaceful.  (This is a good thing, because the icons on my desktop are so plentiful and so disorganized that the chaos of it all could overwhelm me without it.  I'm afraid that in sizing it down, it lost some of its realism, but it really is a photograph.)

It's the kind of place at which I would love to sit and just feel what it feels like to be alive.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Peer Pressure

When my husband told my daughter I had made an Inquisitor (and she squealed and hugged me), he also made a side comment.

"Well, girls, now we know what it takes to make Mom go to the dark side."

I looked at him and laughed.  "Peer pressure, right?"

I might like to chat with a friend every so often, but I can't be accused of allowing social pressure to dictate my every move.  For example, social pressure from my first Inquisitor companion, Khem Val, is not going to hold me back from being nice, despite his expectations.

The other day, I ran a quest in which I not only helped free a captive, while being nice to him even though he was a royal jerk who did his best to insult me, but also allowed a man who wanted to defect to the Republic safe passage to his chosen destination.

Holy moly, Khem Val did not like either of those!  By the time I was finished, I had lost a full 191 affection points from Khem Val.

When I first saw the large amounts of affection being removed, I wondered if I should continue with my chosen course, but the next instant, I decided Khem Val could just go jump in a pit or something.  Just because this monster doesn't like my choices doesn't mean I'm going to be the rude and arrogant Sith he thinks I should be.

I am a little curious, however . . .

What happens if my affection level reaches zero?  Will he finally decide to eat me, as he threatened when he first came into my service?

This is the difference, I guess, between having Qyzen, who follows my Consular around because he respects her, and having a monster who is only staying with me because he feels bound to do so against his will by his defeat at my hands.  (He attacked me first, by the way.)  It's freedom of choice versus the perception of captivity.

I think that could make a big difference in a companion's viewpoint.

I have no idea who or what the Inquisitor's second companion is, but I sincerely hope it is someone I can afford to bring with me, instead of Khem Val.  The presence of my arms and legs may depend upon it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Challenge #14--Things which upset me.

Children who do not get up in the morning when I call.

Seriously, not a whole lot really upsets me in game.  Obviously, like most people, there are personality traits which annoy me, such as condescension, disloyalty, etc., but it's reasonably simple, when your primary communication is a chat window, to keep such things to oneself or at least keep them in controlled quarters.  Just don't type.

Now, in real life, I can't say I'm terribly angelic about this, as it is more difficult to not become upset when face to face . . . The thing is that I know nothing can upset me if I do not choose to let it do so.  Therefore, when I become upset, it is because I have allowed myself to become upset.  When I remember that, it empowers me to choose not to become upset or at least not to act upset, which is very liberating.  (I'm a reasonably decent actress . . . remember that role-playing job I once had . . .)

In game, I think what annoys me (rather than upsets me) the most is if I have been fighting critters around a gathering node, specifically for the purpose of gathering it, only to see some other player come swooping in while I'm busy and snatch the node out from under me.  That's kind of rude.  Because I know how much it does annoy me, I make it a point, if someone is fighting near a node, to wait until they are finished and have moved on before approaching any such node.  After all, that's how I would want to be treated.

I still permit myself sometimes to become upset when children are disobedient, but I'm working on getting better at that.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Well, That Was Fast

I mentioned there was a possibility that playing with my Inquisitor would end up with story lines which might turn my stomach . . . but I didn't expect it to happen quite this quickly.

My story line has now taken me to Balmorra.  On the Republic side, of course, your purpose is to help the people fight for their freedom.  On the Empire side, your purpose is to take over the world and place all the people in subjugation.  Now, this should be obvious, from the idea that it seems to be the general purpose of the Empire in general to take over worlds and place people in subjugation.  But it's another thing to finally encounter quests which are to that end.

I also understood why, but still found it disturbing, that the common people were afraid of me and started stammering when they realized I was there.  (Not to mention started spouting off lines to the effect that they were trying to help "our glorious Empire".)  On the Jedi side, they either welcome you or feel free to start complaining about the injustices/misfortunes/whatever they have experienced with the Republic.  (Not that we like complaining, necessarily, but people have to have a certain amount of trust in you to do it.  They have to know you aren't going to pull out that lightsaber and relieve them of a few body parts if they open their mouths.  From my Jedi's perspective, it's sort of a compliment.)

My poor little Sith was left with little option but to decline quests (actually, I escaped out of them), focus on her class quests (which location she hasn't actually reached at the moment), and queue for warzones (long queues, for some reason).  There was no way she could reassure the people who trembled at her presence that she wasn't one of "those" Sith.

I mentioned this to my husband, commenting that I had the same problem when I finally tried to play Horde in WoW.  He mumbled into his pillow something to the effect that this was why he'd been so surprised when I had picked up an Empire character.

Maybe after she's PVP-leveled out of Balmorra, she'll be able to find quests more to her liking.

But you know, I don't mind spending time running warzones as a healer, because it is still a lot of fun, even though the Sages and Sorcerers got nerfed in 1.2.  After all, there's not much better than a nice, evenly-matched, vicious game of Huttball . . . no matter how many times you die.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Challenge #13--SWTOR players or bloggers you admire.

This is a tough topic, because almost all the blogs I have read have had exceptionally interesting material at one time or another, so it's difficult to select one.  But I'll make a stab at it.

One blogger which comes to mind is Njessi, of Hawtpants of the Old Republic.  She always seems to have an insight or two which make me chuckle.  I totally laughed out loud at her blog entry about BSOCKs, which I thought was an hilarious term.  (My Jedi Consular, of course, being a real "toe-the-line" kind of person, has never encountered BSOCKs, btw.)  I appreciate her frankness in her evaluations of the various gaming experiences she encounters.  And when I was trying to figure out what other blogs about healers were out there, I stumbled on her extensive blog list, which was very, very helpful.

A player I admire is someone in my Republic guild on Vrook Lamar server who goes by the name Mercutio.  I don't think I've seen a more enthusiastic SWTOR player, ever!  Between being aware of every new development coming down the pike, pushing research efforts, raising alts, and writing a very long and detailed character biography which threatens to become a novel, Mercutio shows a willingness to dive into the game and enjoy every bit of it.  It is refreshing to see someone with so much drive and excitement.

Generally speaking, the people whom I admire the most are those who tend to have qualities I do not, and this is no different.  Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Light Side of the Empire

/looks both ways

/whisper . . . I have a Sith Inquisitor.

(Ok, Fanthisa, you can pick yourself up off the floor.)

When my eldest daughter found out last night, she squealed, ran across the room, and hugged me, saying, with a slight catch in her voice, "Mom has joined my side!"

With my husband not playing with me anymore, and not being on a team or anything in my Republic guild (which tends to build friendships), I have found playing to be a rather lonely process.  When I'm running quests for the third time, having something with whom to chat makes it bearable, while otherwise, I'm reduced to listening to audiobooks or podcasts . . . and it can start to feel tedious.  ("Bored to tears" comes to mind.)

When it comes down to it, what makes the difference between a good MMO experience and a mediocre one?  It's not the flashpoints, the operations, or the armor styling.  The developers can beat their heads over new ideas, buffs, and events, to no avail, especially with people (like us) who are recognizing the general MMO format has lost much of its luster.  In the end, the undeniable truth of MMOs is this: 

What makes an MMO fun for an individual player in the longer term is the people.

Most of my old WoW guild who created accounts in SWTOR ended up on the Empire side of the house, on various servers.  So I decided to look up one of the players with whom I had raided for a long time.  While trying to maintain some calm during the long process of my daughter working on her school project (projects make me agitated, which reduces my patience and doesn't help kids feel confident in their ability to successfully complete said projects), I went to the server on which he played Empire and created a character on that server.  Interestingly enough, at about the same time, unbeknownst to me, this player had created a Republic character on Vrook Lamar and sent me an in-game e-mail in which he referred to a previous discussion which would reveal his identity.

(What's funny about all this is that when I later messaged him via other means to ask him the names of his characters, he started by commenting I had done a good piece of detecting.  I was completely puzzled until after I went back and found that message to my Consular.  Oooooh, that's what he meant!  Would have been a dead giveaway, anyway, as he well knew.  No real detecting there.)

I chose the Sith Inquisitor because I'm a die-hard healer and because a Sith Inquisitor is basically a Jedi Consular in red clothing.  In a manner of speaking, I know what I am doing.  The skill tree is very similar, and I can put the corresponding skills on the keybinds I am already using.

I'm playing this character completely on the Light side, which I'm sure is hardly surprising.  (*ahem* Read the name of the blog!)  I never felt the need to create any kind of a back story for my Consular, because she's a very "toe the line" kind of person, who delights in meditation and in communing with her fellow Jedi, but somehow I felt I had to make excuses for my Inquisitor being Light side . . .

My take is that she didn't have a hand in choosing her faction, as she was a slave who was forced to learn the ways of the Sith.  Given the choice, she would have gone to the Jedi Order and she believes in their code, but she knows that even when she gets a ship, the likelihood the Republic would even let her get close enough to talk with them is slim to none.  (And if, by some miracle, they managed to let her defect, she would never be truly trusted, because "traitors" are never truly trusted.  Witness Elora Dorne.)  So she tries her best to get along in the negative society in which she finds herself, living according to her light the best she can.  (She avoids some tasks completely . . . like scanning people for loyalty and dispatching the disloyal.  After all, she's not exactly sure how she would scan, herself.)  I do not yet know how she plans to keep her sanity, recognizing that her whole life, as something of a closet Jedi, she's going to have to stay under the radar to some extent, never being able to completely relax and be herself.

My husband shook his head when I told him about it.  "You're desperate," he said.  "You won't like the Sith story line.  How will you feel when you have to corrupt a Jedi?"

He may be right that the story line will some time end up turning my stomach, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  I could simply stop progressing the class story line and play general quests and warzones . . . (I've been informed, though, that Inquisitors don't have to corrupt a Jedi . . . I suppose it's all in the point of view.  Again, bridges and all that stuff.)

I found myself rather surprised to be having fun doing the "new" quests, but even more, I was delighted to be in a situation where I could talk with people with whom I had some kind of history.  (I discovered, to my surprise, that another former guildie, as well, was playing on that server.)  The guild to which they belong accepted me as a friend, and as there is a lot of activity in the guild chat, I feel less alone, even when I am not talking with my former WoW guildies.

So while I do not plan on abandoning my Jedi Consular, especially if I can get my husband to log on now and then, it looks like I'll be splitting my time between servers and factions.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Challenge #12--A Usual Day

A usual day in my life is not terribly exciting; I'll tell you that up front.

About 6:00 am, I go wake up the girls for school.  My 3rd daughter sets the alarm on her iPod before bed, so by the time I get in there, they've been listening to some song or other for about 5 minutes.  I go start up the hot chocolate maker and pull out scriptures for morning study.  After the girls and I do our reading, they finish getting ready for school.

At around 7:00, the bus shows up, and the three girls still attending public school head out.  Depending on the day, the eldest (passed GED well) might be heading to work at this time, or she might be waiting until a little later.

I remind the 2nd daughter to pack up her laptop.  Roughly 7:30 or 8:00, she and I head down to my office.  (I have the great situation of working in a more relaxed environment about 5 minutes from my house, in a private office which was once a one-bedroom apartment.  People know my daughter is autistic and was bullied out of the local school last year, so they don't mind that she comes and sits in my office to do her homeschool work.  Sometimes living in a rural area is a really good thing.)

My work consists mostly of computer work, with a few other things interspersed.  So while I stay busy at my desk or run around talking to the people I need to see, my daughter keeps busy doing her studies, asking questions if she needs to do so.

We return home around 4:30 or 5:00.  (The school girls will have returned home around 4:40.)

Then it's homework time, as well dinner preparations.  (As well as dishes, a load of laundry . . . all that "normal" stuff . . .)  Generally, the 3rd daughter will end up doing her homework in the kitchen, where she is away from most distractions and where she can ask me questions as they come up, instead of getting bogged down and stymied.

At 7:30, it's time to get the younger girls ready for bed, which is at 8:00.  The 2nd and 3rd daughters retire at 9:00, and the eldest . . . well, we figure she's graduated, so as long as she gets her stuff done, holds down her job, and doesn't disturb anyone else, she can decide when she goes to bed.

My husband may be playing games on his computer, may be playing console games, may be watching YouTube, or may be streaming Netflix.  And I . . . I might be doing housework, gardening until it is dark, baking bread, blogging about bread, or reading on the computer or in a book.  Any SWTOR time is usually after the little girls go to bed, which means only a couple of hours, maybe three.

It's a lot simpler and less hectic of a schedule than when I was raiding in WoW and having to fit everything in before a four-hour block three nights a week, but by the same token, it's not as interesting to most people.

It is what it is.

Local flowers.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Challenge #11--Bad Habits and Flaws

Bad habits and flaws?  You expect me to admit these?

I already admitted I'm socially challenged . . . Um . . . I never get enough exercise . . . I get single-mindedly focused on accomplishing tasks sometimes and forget the bigger picture . . .

I am a horrible housekeeper, and my daughter management skills need work.  Housekeeping seems to be an exercise in futility:  no matter how well I do it, it has to be done again the next day.  (Can you sense a bit of procrastination here?  It could probably be listed in its own paragraph.)  If I was a really good manager, I wouldn't have to worry about the housekeeping, because, as the Country Bunny in the old story, I'd have my kids doing a good deal of it.  And sometimes I try.  But I get so tired of cajoling, persuading, threatening, or whatever else I have to do to get them to do stuff, after they've come home from school and I've come home from work, that it just doesn't seem worth the effort.  (And, after all, I want them to like being home--to feel it is a haven.  Therein lies the quandary.)

To be honest, it's simple enough for me to pick apart myself, and I can find more bad habits and flaws than I would care to write about.  But it's hardly a productive exercise.  I find it more difficult, but more constructive, to notice where I've managed to improve on things, because I can feel buoyed up and encouraged to improve something else, instead of thinking I may as well crawl into a hole and die now.  (Not literally "die", but you know what I mean.)

Soooo, looking on the bright side, this weekend, in spite of the fact one of my high school daughters was being very difficult about getting her school poster project done ("But, Mom, I just don't know what to do . . ."), I put on my happy face, made her laugh, helped her work through the process of planning out her project, showed her how to use rulers in Word (so she could print out her material to the needed sizes), and cheerfully got her back on track every time she derailed.  It was a lot of work, and it took a lot of internal, focused discipline, because my first thoughts were along the line of a bunch of nagging.  But by the time it was done, she had a poster of which she was proud, and she had told me, "Mom, I think this is the first project I've done where I really felt I had been creative."

A small step to becoming the person I should be . . . a small step.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Challenge #10--Favorite Websites/Blogs

Blog favorites:  Look to the right.  ;)

That is not a complete list of all the blogs I have read at one time or another, however.  I'm still discovering.  :)

SWTOR Website favorites:

Interestingly enough, I don't really go in search of reading material outside of blogs, the basic SWTOR forums, or the Redeemed guild website.  While my habits pertaining to doing basic character research are still in full force, I'm not trying to be a cutting-edge progression raider.  There comes a point where "good enough" is good enough.  (Luckily for me, my guildies are really good about putting up guide information.)

Non-SWTOR Website favorites:

Drudge Report  (Collection of headlines and links.)
Amazon  (When you live in the sticks, you order a lot of stuff.)
Rush Limbaugh (Yep, I'm a "Rush Babe".)
Reuters' Oddly Enough  (They do collect some interesting stories.)
Tempest  (This is the WoW guild with whom I raided for almost 3.5 years.  I still keep up with them, even though I'm not playing WoW.  Yes, I miss it, but with everything I have going on, especially with my teenagers, . . . well, you know . . .)
LDS site (Official church website for members.  As a Sunday School teacher, I find it handy to be able to look up curriculum and resources easily.  The site geared toward non-members, with more basic information, is at

(I will refrain from being so tasteless as to link my own blog as a favorite website, lol, but I sure do spend a good deal of time here.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Challenge #9--First Blog Post

This seems a silly topic.  After all, you can just look in my blog history to see my first blog post for this blog.  Or, if you really want to see my first post identified as a blog, you can check out the first post for my WoW blog.

But in a manner of speaking, none of these were my first blog.  Years ago (Before 2000), I created a family website, mostly so I could have a "web presence", so old friends could find me if they wanted.  (Facebook and such weren't around.)  I started on a free service called "Angelfire", then moved to "Geocities".  Later on, we moved it to our own domain, hosted by Godaddy, and there it sits, not updated for the past four years . . .

I had a page with books I recommended.  I had a page linking to some of my bad poetry.  I had a page with recipes.  I had a page "About Me", mostly so I could have a place for my full name, including maiden name.  (For those old friends who may not have known my married name.)  And I had one oddball page with a colorfully-told (in my opinion) story of my battles with the family hamster, complete with a MIDI tune from "Sailor Moon."

I didn't really consider it a blog, as I didn't know what a blog was at that time, but it was my first foray into web publishing.  I had to code the HTML when I first started it, which meant I did some learning from on-line tutorials and discovered the joy of looking at someone else's webpage and reading the code to see how they did something.  (That's how I learned how tables work, for instance.)  Web publishing has come a long, long way since then, but that page is still the simple thing it was, and if I finally get around to updating it, I will not change that aspect.  (Or I may just start over and change to "blog" format . . .)

I will not link to that page, because that really would be more information than I am willing to give out in conjunction with this blog.  I had thought to leave you with one of my pieces of bad poetry, but then I Googled it and found it lead right to my family page . . . (Bing didn't have me in the first 5 pages.  Didn't look after that.)

Oh, well.  If you want to see bad poetry, you can check out my WoW blog.  I haven't written any for SWTOR yet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Energizer

I'll be frank:  when it comes to SWTOR in my family, things haven't been looking promising.

You may be wondering why I've been sticking with my blogging challenge topics, instead of interspersing them with other posts, as I had intended.  Well, I haven't found myself playing a whole lot in the last week or so.  There are a number of reasons for this, generally boiling down to a lack of enthusiasm in my family or a lack of enthusiasm in myself.

My husband finds himself not terribly interested in playing on a normal night.  He is interested in the story lines of the individual classes, and he's willing to play if I make an appointment with him to do so, but with his main, he's not sure what he really wants to accomplish by logging in without a defined purpose.

"What's the point?" he asked me.  "I finished the story line, but the operations seem disconnected to the main story.  I'm just not clear how they fit in, unlike some other games, where the end game was something toward which you progressed the entire expansion.  In addition, I worked hard at raising my companions' affection levels--even got married--and now my wife doesn't even talk to me anymore."

I laughed and told him that might be some people's impressions of marriage in real life . . .

The fact is he's been finding other things he wants to do more than play SWTOR.  We finally got Skyrim from Gamefly, and he and the girls liked it so much he picked it up for PC and paid for the PS3 used copy, so two of them can play at the same time.  And he and the girls have had a great time lately watching the Castle DVDs we've been getting from Netflix . . . or streaming survivalist shows.

The girls still play a little, but not much.  They are having fun on the Xbox and the PS3, as well as reading, watching/listening to things on their iPods or laptops, or finding outdoor activities, now that spring has arrived.  (I have one who is really good about watering my garden for me.)  My eldest daughter--the one who plays Sith--completed her GED and is now working full-time to save for higher education, so when she comes home, she wants to veg on her computer, reading mangas.

And me?  Well, again, I love my main, but I'm not intending to be a hard-core progression raider, so I don't feel the motivation to grind things terribly much.  Nishaa is now about level 14, but she's on Coruscant, which means aside from the class quests, this is the third time I'm running through these quests.  I find myself space-barring through the conversations, clicking on whichever option is most "STRAC", knowing those ones will usually be the ones Aric likes, while listening to Audible books on my phone.  (I've found more satisfaction some evenings cleaning or doing dishes, let alone baking a new bread for my bread blog . . .)

Last night, however, when I logged on my consular (after an emotionally exhausting night of preparing and e-filing taxes), I decided instead of running circles around the fleet base and logging off, I would go run a warzone.  Just one.  When I finally started zoning in, I realized I was entering a Voidstar encounter in progress.  Great.  (When you enter one in progress, it's almost always a loss.)

Our turn as defenders ended about three seconds after I finally saw the scene.  Then it was time to attack.

It didn't take long to figure out this team was most likely not heading anywhere very quickly.  But in spite of this knowledge, as I ran from point to point, I felt that old familiar thrill.  The pace of the action and the amount of full-scale attention required boosted my adrenaline levels and overall mood.

I couldn't help laughing as the Empire characters ganged up on me after realizing I was keeping people alive despite their efforts.  As purple lightning surrounded me, I giggled, knowing if I was drawing their attention like this, I was doing a good job as a healer.  (Comforting thought as I fall down dead, right?)

And every time I jumped back off the platform after rezzing, buffing as I fell, I felt a renewed sense of energy as I charged back toward my teammates, ready to bubble and heal like crazy.

I got the strange feeling I needed woad . . . and a barbarian cry . . .

After so many days of lackluster play or not logging on at all, it was great fun to feel that rush again.  It carried over into the quests I ran with Nishaa afterward, until finally I realized bedtime had snuck up on me, and I logged her off where she stood.

So now I know.  If I need a boost of energy, if I want to feel more enthusiasm about playing, it's time to log on my consular and queue for a warzone or two.

It works for a while, anyway.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Challenge #8--Ten Things You Don't Know About Me

When I wrote this for my WoW blog, I stuck with 10 things people didn't know about my character or how I played my character.  But I had a few years' worth of history from which to draw by the time I was writing that, so it was relatively simple.

SWTOR's only been around a little over 3 months (I resisted jumping on the meme . . .), so there's not much of real substance I haven't already spoken of in my blogging.  This means . . . I guess I'll have to reach into my real life to find 10 things you don't know about me.

1.  I was born in Germany.  (Army kid, after all.)

2.  I graduated from high school on Okinawa, Japan.  (Ditto above comment.)

3.  I have been on Good Morning America.  (Sorry, not going to link it here or you'll know my RL identity and where I live . . . not that I'm terribly afraid of stalkers, because we're in the middle of nowhere and because of item #4.)

4.  I have a concealed carry permit.  (Living in the middle of nowhere sort of necessitates this.)

5.  I am terribly socially challenged.  My husband wonders if our second daughter, who is autistic, got her condition from my genetics and, therefore, he wonders if I might also be somewhere on that very broad spectrum.  Might be; who knows?  At this point, whether I am or not, it doesn't matter, as I don't need special considerations to function in society.  To most people, with whom I interact superficially, I seem normal enough, if quiet.  To those who get past the superficiality, I just seem a bit eccentric.  This means, of course, I fit in very well with the geek crowd, where eccentricity is readily accepted.  /shrug

6.  When I was 15, my family had a ping-pong table on our enclosed porch.  I used to put one side up and spend hours batting the ball against it as a cathartic exercise.  It also helped hone my ping-pong sense to the point where I could trounce most people I met in college and everyone in my family.  While I never became expert, I am still at the point where most people consider me a reasonably good player.

7.  I don't get brain freezes; I get back freezes.  Seriously!  There's a spot about half-way down my back which seizes up and hurts like crazy in reaction to eating something cold, similar to a brain freeze.  When my husband realized I wasn't kidding him about it, he shook his head and said, "I knew it!  You really are wired differently."

8.  My favorite job ever was as a role player in training scenarios.  There's nothing quite like being in a house which ends up with the front door explosively breached (i.e., they use explosives to blow it open), then either being rescued or captured and questioned extensively, depending on the role you're playing that day.  I've been hysterical, evil, sneaky, obnoxious, etc., all in accordance with what was needed in the various scenarios.  I've screamed my head off, thrown myself at the pavement while running full tilt, lain on the floor amidst broken glass and dead insects (and worse), shot someone in the back with a very dense paintball and taken long-lasting bruises on legs and hands from said paintballs (other locations had armor).  Talk about an adrenaline rush!  I was very sad to have to leave that job, but . . . real life reared its ugly head, and I needed a full-time job instead of intermittent work.  /sigh.  It was then that I realized I would have absolutely loved to have been an actress . . .

9.  I have no fashion sense whatsoever in real life, and I hate shopping.  When my husband shoos me into a dressing room and starts passing clothing over the top of the door, it's not because he wants to control my wardrobe; it's because he knows if I don't get some help, I will never get any clothes.  (I always have final say.)  This also means that I am happy to leave the task of helping our teenage daughters shop for clothes to my husband, who has great fashion sense.  (This is probably one reason I'm glad the Sage clothing tends to coordinate . . . Not much thought required on my part.)

10.  I had PRK laser surgery when I was 36.  We investigated Lasik at first, but my corneas were too thin to maintain stability after Lasik, so the doctor recommended PRK, instead.  It's a much slower-healing and more painful process, but I was so absolutely delighted at not having to wear lenses (after 26 years of wearing them) that I still considered it money well spent.  Now, however, my age is starting to catch up with me, and I have to wear glasses in certain low-light situations.  (Or with certain kinds of fluorescent lighting . . . Wal-Mart, I'm looking at you!)

That's enough for now . . .

Monday, April 9, 2012

Challenge #7--Blog Name

Why did I pick this name?  It's very simple, really . . .

It's simple because overall, our family plays Republic characters, many of us Jedi, where staying on the Light side is generally better.

In addition, if you could say we have a goal in real life, it is to choose the Light, so to speak, or "Choose the Right," as our church frequently says.  (There is even a whole industry around "CTR" jewelry, from the classic rings to the more varied.)  This is similar to the more widely-popular "What Would Jesus Do" (WWJD), which we like, as well, but don't tend to wear as frequently.

So "Light Rank V" is a reminder to always "Choose the Light," as I spoke of in my first post, and the subtitle "What Would Jedi Do" is a play off WWJD, Star Wars style.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Challenge #6--Workplace/desk

There is no way I will put a picture of my workplace here.  I doubt I will ever take a picture at all, to be honest.

Our family lives in a three-bedroom house.  Fortunately, the master bedroom is so huge, my husband and I decided to give it to the girls.  Their three bunkbeds (two with full-size beds on the lower bunk), fit in less than one half of the room.  (You read that right--less than one half, even with nightstands in between the bunkbeds.)  There is room in there for chests of drawers, as well as space to play, even on the Kinect.  My husband and I have one of the smaller bedrooms (which still fits our king-size bed and a bunch of drawers.)

The third bedroom is the "catch-all" room.  In this room, there are three sets of wire shelves about the size of rhino racks (18"x3', 18"x4'), one reasonably large bookcase (poor books are double-shelved), one other bookcase about half the width of the first one, two 2-drawer filing cabinets, two standing gun safes, and two fairly small desks, sitting back to back.  The closets are full of sewing stuff, a fire safe, some of my lesser-used but still occasionally useful clothing, a few 1980's formal gowns someone gave me in case I wanted to remake them for my daughters' Homecomings and proms (probably will alter a couple--the girls love 'em), and more than half of my husband's shirts.  (He has much more clothing than I do.)  On one of the walls is a hat rack made of deer antlers from a hunt my husband's grandfather went on years ago, and on another wall is a hat rack made of horseshoes.  (They are both full of hats, by the way, some double-stacked.)

I sit at one of the desks, with my back to the wall holding the deer antlers, facing the door.  I purposely put my desk that way when we moved in, so while I was on the computer, I could see the kids in the living room and keep tabs on any shenanigans.  (I have since developed a sense that I don't like to have my back to people when I am on the computer.  It gives me the creeps.)  One of the wire shelf sets is next to my desk, forming a sort of wall next to me, holding my computer, UPS, and printer.  My widescreen monitor is on my desk, and my G15 keyboard and 5-button mouse are on a nice, wide keyboard drawer.  (The wide keyboard drawer is why I chose this particular desk out of the two used desks which were given to us.)  I keep a stack of various papers all over my desk, which I occasionally go through, sort, and destroy.

It sounds pretty chaotic, and it actually is.  I keep trying to brainstorm, figuring out ways to rearrange the room to still allow functionality, but make it seem more orderly.  But if we still want to be able to access everything, I'm not sure there is a better way to organize it all.  (Maybe I should just go through a bunch of it and throw it away . . .)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Challenge #5--Favorite In-game Items

Um . . . . . I don't think I've become attached to most things enough to call them my favorite items . . .

Actually, that's not quite right.  Since I've been able to run a couple of operations, I've managed to pick up the appropriate crafting materials to make my Rakata medpac, stim, and one adrenal.  I have plans to make another Rakata adrenal, for situational use.

I love knowing I simply don't have to go pick up stims and adrenals for operations!  I spent so much time in WoW just gathering my herbs, mixing my flasks, fishing my fish, and cooking fish feasts, it was like having a part-time job to support my raiding habit.  (Between the actual raiding hours and the preparation hours, it actually took about as much time as a part-time job . . .)  With Rakata supplies, I am always prepared, without having to put in all that extra time.

I can even pop a stim while running warzones without worrying about the cost . . . What isn't cool about that?!

Sure, I still have to supply my husband's Trooper with stims and medpacs, but with only one of us to supply, and with the blue stim recipe available in my list (persists through death), the load isn't terribly heavy.

Everlasting stims and adrenals . . . definitely a great perk for Biochem.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Challenge #4--Best SWTOR Memory

It's hard for me to call up a "best SWTOR memory" about which I haven't already written . . .

After all, the crazy path to defeating the Lord Vivicar challenge was pretty epic . . .

Or the time I first used the Jedi Mind Trick . . .

And seeing my 8-yr-old daughter progress well through the game was really cool . . .

And playing in warzones is always a source of great fun . . .

I have screenshots from the closing scene in Chapter 3, which was nice, although the conclusion was rather bittersweet.

I don't think I'll identify one here as the "best."  Just count on it that whenever I find myself delighted in-game, it will be reflected in my blog, so you won't be missing anything.  ;)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Challenge #3--First Day

My first day of playing SWTOR was on a beta weekend.

To be completely truthful, I had no idea I would end up playing at all.  My husband had preordered the game months previously, but at the time, I was still raiding in WoW and had no plans whatsoever to look at another game.  And when I quit playing WoW, my emotions were too raw (a combination of burn-out and emotional distress caused by certain players and family members) to consider signing up for another MMO.

So when my husband received his beta weekend invitation, roughly a month and a half after I had become a non-MMO-player, I was happy for him, but that was about the extent of it.  There was only one detail which marred his excitement about the whole thing:  he had to leave for a business trip that Sunday morning.

"Since I can't play on Sunday, why don't you take a look and see what you think?" he told me as we were packing up his clothing.

I shrugged.

I had done a little reading about the game when my husband had been researching it and already knew the Consular would fit my playstyle the best.  And, as I wanted to have eyes and didn't want horns, I figured the Mirialan would be my racial choice.  (Humans are boring.)  With these more simple choices out of the way, I was surprised how long it took me to fine-tune my character's appearance.  I knew there was no way I would ever remember the settings upon which I settled, if I ever found myself wanting to duplicate it, so I wrote them down.

I was delighted to find that most of the interface/movements/etc., was very familiar to me, being similar to WoW.  (Made life simpler.)  I was even more delighted to see the map go translucent when I ran with it up.  (Also made life simpler, if I wanted to follow marked paths.)  And I found I connected well with my character's demeanor.

Long story short, I fell completely in love with my Jedi Consular on the beta . . .

My husband figured out pretty quickly I'd had fun, so he bought me an account as an early Christmas present.  He got into early access before I did, obviously, but as we were in no hurry, it wasn't a big deal.  I don't remember that first day much, but the beta weekend, I do.

And I did use the character settings I wrote down when I created Anachan . . .