About David

David Holloway has been involved with gaming since the early 1970′s and with virtual worlds since heavy use of a MOO in 1993 – he even admits to having owned a Vic 20 and used it heavily to play cassette-based roleplaying games. As far as Star Wars goes, he still owns his original set of Star Wars figures and can vouch for the fact that a 1978 Stormtrooper can be blown to bits by shooting it with a slug gun from a distance. He’s also played Star Wars games as far back as the Super Nintendo console and to this day is devastated by the accidental erasure of all his progress on Lego Star Wars on the Wii.



New Investigation Missions for The Secret World

further_analysisFuncom have announced a new pack of investigation missions for The Secret World. The nitty gritties from Funcom on what the missions involve:

We are introducing a new type of downloadable content pack for The Secret World called Sidestories. These packs offer new content outside of our regular Issue structure, and is available for everyone in the in-game Item Shop.

Sidestories: Further Analysis gives you the chance to delve into four brand new Investigation Missions! Hone your puzzle solving skills and play through four fresh stories spread throughout the game world.

An epic reward, The Inspector’s Gadget and a Deep Mystery Box, awaits those who complete all four missions! You get the Investigation Mission called Immersion from Lisa Hui in the Scorched Desert, where you investigate Orochi comms equipment in Egypt to try and get a signal from Tokyo HQ.

In The Animate Clay you return to Dr Anton Aldini in New York and follow the trail of one of his lost creations as it struggles to find its purpose.

Trials of the Dragon starts you off in the Shadowy Forest and lets you explore the monster hunting prowess of your old friends, Tibor and Luminita. Here you get the opportunity to undergo the Draculesti trials to become a true monster hunter.

The fourth Investigation Mission, The Abandoned, marks a return to the mysterious  Mosul and sweeps you  into the back stories of the fairytale creatures of the Shadowy Forest.

Over to you – anything in there that get’s you excited?

Flash Point 75: Dodgem Cars on Tatooine

flashpoint-podcastWe’re all agog about setting up shack in SWTOR, plus we gabble on about TESO, Diablo and a whole lot more. And it all happens amongst a tsunami of internet issues.

Points of discussion:

SWTOR
- 2.7: Invasion game update
- Double XP weekend starting April 11th
- Galactic Strongholds expansion
- The Asteroid ship option for Galactic Starfighter
- David’s datacron balloon ride on Tatooine
- My Lore Is Stuck In Your Cannon: Human History
- last week’s super special sale (and lack of promotion of same)

Jawa Junk Pile
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- Diablo Reaper of Souls
- Star Citizen breaks 41 million dollar milestone
- EVE online breaking news!

- Shout outs for our Facebook page, Twitter account, Simon’s Twitter account, Kris’s Twitter account and ODS-1′s Twitter Account. – And don’t forget to buy an Oceanic Gamer T-Shirt or thirty!

Please review or rate the podcast on iTunes if you can – it makes a huge difference!

Listen via iTunes, on Stitcher or right here:

SWTOR 2.7: Invasion – Full Patch Notes

swtor-patch-incoming-banner

 

Game Update 2.7: Invasion

Highlights

New Story Arc: Forged Alliances! Start this story arc by speaking to a droid on the Fleet near the new Outbound Mission Hangar.

New Flashpoints! Beginning the next major storyline of Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Korriban Incursion and Assault on Tython Tactical Flashpoints are now available to players at level 55.

Nightmare Mode is now available for the Dread Fortress! Even greater horrors await those who wish to challenge the bastion of the Dread Masters, and the Operation provides even greater rewards in the form of new Dread Master equipment!

Ranked Warzone Season 1 has ended! Characters that had a qualifying rating have been mailed their rewards. We are currently in Pre-Season 2 and Season 2 will begin with 2.7.1! Giradda congratulates the winners and looks forward to the bloodshed in Season 2! Ranked Arenas are still active for teams to prepare for the next season.

Quesh Huttball Pit, a new Warzone, is available for play! Baron Deathmark hosts the latest Huttball match on the toxic planet Quesh. Join the Warzone Queue and Go Berserk!

New Galactic Starfighter Domination Map: Denon Exosphere! An ongoing space battle featuring massive capital ships is ongoing in the exosphere of the ecumenopolis Denon. Wreckage from the battle is scattered around the area as forces fight to control a strategic space station. This map features two permanent spawn points for each team, adding more strategic spawning and attack possibilities.

Bounty Contract Week is back! The In-Game event runs from April 8th to April 15th, starting and ending at 12:00PM GMT.

General

  • New options are available for the Ground Target Area of Effect reticle:
    • Sticky Ground Target Reticule – When active, this option makes it so your Ground Target Reticule doesn’t disappear if the target location is out of range or the ability otherwise fails. Example: Bounty Hunter attempts to activate Death From Above, but their target location is out of range. With this option active, the GTAoE reticule will persist and allow the player to instantly attempt to use the ability again. If this option isn’t active, then the reticule will disappear and the player will have to click again.
    • Quick Ground Target Activation – When active, pressing a hotkey that belongs to a GTAoE twice will use the ability at the feet of the Player’s target. Example: The Player has the Pass the Huttball ability saved to Hotkey #3. The Player targets an ally and then presses 3 two times. The Huttball Pass will be activated at the feet of the targeted ally. If this option is turned off, then there are no changes to the existing behavior.
  • All equippable gear pieces have their Item Rating displayed in the tooltip. Weapons and armor have not changed.
  • In the equipment tooltips, mods/enhancements now display their Item Rating in parentheses instead of their Item Level.
  • While unequipped, mods/enhancements display their Item Rating in their tooltip.
  • The “Species: Weequay” Codex Entry can be obtained via a Lore Object on Nar Shaddaa.
  • The “Species: Trandoshan” Codex Entry can be obtained by killing a Trandoshan on Belsavis.

Cartel Market

  • New Starfighter Pack: The Hotshot’s Starfighter Pack!
    • The Hotshot’s Starfighter Pack items can now be previewed in Collections.
    • The Hotshot’s Starfighter Pack will be available on May 6th. Cost: 320 Cartel Coins
    • Hypercrates containing 24 Hotshot’s Starfighter Packs will be available on May 6th. Discounted by 10% for a limited amount of time! Cost: 6912 Cartel Coins.
  • New bundles of Imperial and Republic Galactic Starfighter cosmetic items are available in the Cartel Market. Discounted by 30% for a limited amount of time! Cost: 2037 Cartel Coins
  • The new “Data Entry” Rest and Recharge item can now be previewed in Collections.
  • Many items that were previously missing temporary bind timers have had them added.
  • After an extensive summit meeting, a council of Dark Side elders has decreed that silent theatrical mediums are no longer considered “inherently not dark” and players with Dark Side alignment can now use “Emote: Mime.”
  • The M8-3R Astromech Droid and Model FT-6 Pike now have entries in the Promotional Items category of Collections.
  • The Weekly Pass: Operations is now a level 15 item. This allows non-subscribing players below level 50 to use the Weekly Pass to gain access to appropriately-leveled Operations during Events that feature them. Level restrictions on Operations still apply. The description of the item in its tooltip and on the Cartel Market has been updated to reflect this change.
  • The Charcoal Dewback can now be unlocked through Collections.

Classes +Combat

Jedi Knight

General

  • Force Sweep now requires a primary target to activate.

Guardian

  • Focused Defense has been redesigned: It now empowers the user with 10 charges of Focused Defense, lasting up to 30 seconds. Whenever the user takes damage, a charge of Focused Defense is consumed to heal the user for a moderate amount. This ability can be used while stunned or otherwise controlled but cannot be used while above 70% health. Cooldown increased from 45 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Enure now has a 60 second cooldown (down from 90 seconds).
  • Challenging Call now immediately reduces threat by a moderated amount while not in Soresu Form.

Vigilance

  • Commanding Awe now applies its 7%/15% damage resistance while Enure is active (instead of Focused Defense).

 

Focus (Guardian)

  • Through Peace reduces the cooldown of Focused Defense by 15/30 seconds.
  • The bonuses from Felling Blow and Singularity now only apply to players if they are the primary target of Force Sweep. Non-player targets are always affected if they are inside the Force Sweep radius.

Sentinel

 

Focus (Sentinel)

  • The bonuses from Felling Blow and Singularity now only apply to players if they are the primary target of Force Sweep. Non-player targets are always affected if they are inside the Force Sweep radius.

Sith Warrior

General

  • Smash now requires a primary target to activate.

Juggernaut

  • Enraged Defense has been redesigned: It now empowers the user with 10 charges of Enraged Defense, lasting up to 30 seconds. Whenever the user takes damage, a charge of Enraged Defense is consumed to heal the user for a moderate amount. This ability can be used while stunned or otherwise controlled but cannot be used while above 70% health. Cooldown increased from 45 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Endure Pain now has a 60 second cooldown (down from 90 seconds).
  • Threatening Scream now also immediately reduces threat by a moderate amount while not in Soresu Form.

 

Vengeance

  • Deafening Defense now applies its 7%/15% damage resistance while Endure Pain is active (instead of Enraged Defense).

 

Rage (Juggernaut)

  • Through Passion reduces the cooldown of Enraged Defense by 15/30 seconds.
  • The bonuses from Dominate and Shockwave now only apply to players if they are the primary target of Smash. Non-player targets are always affected if they are inside the Smash radius.

Marauder

 

Rage (Marauder)

  • The bonuses from Dominate and Shockwave now only apply to players if they are the primary target of Smash. Non-player targets are always affected if they are inside the Smash radius.

Jedi Consular

Sage

  • Force Barrier now has an additional effect. While protected by Force Barrier, charges build up and grant Enduring Bastion. Enduring Bastion is a shield that absorbs an amount of damage based off the charges (1-4) that are present when Force Barrier ends. Enduring Bastion also grants immunity to interrupt and lasts for 5 seconds after Force Barrier ends. Force Barrier now has an additional rank to train at level 55, so visit your trainer!
  • Mental Alacrity also gives 100% pushback resistance in addition to its other effects.

 

Seer

  • Healing Trance is now immune to pushback.
  • Egress has been moved to Tier 2 in the Seer Tree. Pain Bearer has been moved to Tier 1 in the Seer Tree. Psychic Suffusion has been moved to Tier 4 in the Seer Tree.

 

Telekinetics

  • Psychic Projection now has a 50%/100% chance to grant a Psychic Projection charge when using Disturbance on a target affected by the user’s Weaken Mind. The Psychic Projection charge causes the user’s next Telekinetic Throw to channel and damage twice as fast.
  • The chance to trigger Tidal Force is now 100% (up from 60% for Disturbance and Turbulence and 20% for Forcequake) and is based on ability activation rather than dealing damage with Disturbance, Turbulence, or Forcequake. The 10-second rate limit remains, and Forcequake now shares a rate limit with Disturbance and Turbulence.
  • Concentration now decreases the pushback from Turbulence by 50%/100% (up from 35%/70%).

 

Balance (Sage)

  • Presence of Mind now builds up a charge whenever the Sage deals damage with Telekinetic Throw. At 3 charges, the next Disturbance or Mind Crush is activated instantly and deals 35% more damage.
  • Telekinetic Focal Point now also decreases the force cost of Disturbance by 15% per stack.

Shadow

  • Spinning Kick is now a stun rather than a knockdown against players and stronger enemies.

Sith Inquisitor

Sorcerer

  • Force Barrier now has an additional effect. While protected by Force Barrier, charges build up and grant Enduring Bastion. Enduring Bastion is a shield that absorbs an amount of damage based off the charges (1-4) that are present when Force Barrier ends. Enduring Bastion also grants immunity to interrupt and lasts for 5 seconds after Force Barrier ends. Force Barrier now has an additional rank to train at level 55, so visit your trainer!
  • Polarity Shift also gives 100% pushback resistance in addition to its other effects.

 

Corruption

  • Innervate is now immune to pushback.
  • Fade Out has been moved to Tier 2 in the Corruption Tree.  Empty Body has been moved to Tier 1 in the Corruption Tree.  Force Suffusion has been moved to Tier 4 in the Corruption Tree.

 

Lightning

  • Lightning Barrage now has a 50%/100% chance to grant a Lightning Barrage charge when using Lightning Strike on a target affected by the user’s Affliction. A Lightning Barrage charge causes the user’s next Force Lightning to channel and damage twice as fast.
  • The chance to trigger Lightning Storm is now 100% (up from 60% for Lightning Strike and Thundering Blast and 20% for Force Storm) and is based on ability activation rather than dealing damage with Lightning Strike, Thundering Blast, or Force Storm. The 10-second rate limit remains, and Force Storm now shares a rate limit with Lightning Strike and Thundering Blast.

 

Madness (Sorcerer)

  • Wrath now builds up a charge whenever the Sorcerer deals damage with Force Lightning.  At 3 charges, the next Lightning Strike or Crushing Darkness is activated instantly and deals 35% more damage.
  • Focal Lightning now also decreases the force cost of Lightning Strike by 15% per stack.

Assassin

  • Spike is now a stun rather than a knockdown against players and stronger enemies.

 

Deception

  • Voltaic Slash no longer requires spending points in Impose Weakness.

Smuggler

General

  • Defense Screen has had its cooldown reduced to 20 seconds, its maximum duration reduced to 10 seconds, and now absorbs slightly more damage per use.
  • Flash Grenade now blinds a single target.

Gunslinger

  • Hunker Down is no longer removed when leaving cover. However, the player must return to cover to gain the protections offered by Hunker Down.

 

Dirty Fighting (Gunslinger)

  • Hold Your Ground now reduces the cooldown of Defense Screen by 2/4 seconds (down from 7.5/15 seconds).

Scoundrel

  • Street Tough now allows Flash Grenade to blind up to 5 targets within 5 meters.
  • Scamper has been redesigned. Using Scamper grants a charge lasting 10 seconds that allows the player to Scamper again within a 10 second window, after the second roll the ability goes on a ten second cooldown. If the charge is not used during this ten second window the ability remains off cooldown to be used again at a later time. In addition the energy cost has been removed making the ability free to use and the player no longer Scampers a shorter distance if snared.

 

Sawbones

  • Emergent Emergencies’ now grants Upper Hand when Emergency Medpac is used regardless of the target’s health, but this effect can only occur once every 10 seconds.

 

Scrapper

  • Slippery Devil now gives the Scampering Scoundrel a short window of defense against all attack types (which stacks with Scamper’s normal defense bonuses).
  • K.O. now grants a buff that makes Backblast not require being behind the target after using Shoot First for 10 seconds and now immobilizes the target 3 seconds instead of knocking them down.

 

Dirty Fighting (Scoundrel)

  • Smuggled Defenses now reduces the cooldown of Defense Screen by 2/4 seconds (down from 7.5/15 seconds).
  • Scurry now has a 50%/100% chance to make the next Kolto Pack activate instantly, cost no energy, and not require or consume Upper Hand.

Imperial Agent

General

  • Shield Probe has had its cooldown reduced to 20 seconds, its maximum duration reduced to 10 seconds, and now absorbs slightly more damage per use.
  • Flashbang now only blinds a single target.

Sniper

  • Entrench is no longer removed when leaving cover. However, the player must return to cover to gain the protections offered by Entrench.

 

Lethality (Sniper)

  • Hold Your Ground now reduces the cooldown of Shield Probe by 2/4 seconds (down from 7.5/15 seconds).

Operative

  • Preparedness now allows Flashbang to blind up to 5 targets within 5 meters.
  • Exfiltrate has been redesigned. Using Exfiltrate grants a charge lasting 10 seconds that allows the player to Exfiltrate again within a 10 second window, after the second roll the ability goes on a ten second cooldown. If the charge is not used during this ten second window the ability remains off cooldown to be used again at a later time. In addition the energy cost has been removed making the ability free to use and the player no longer Exfiltrates a shorter distance if snared.

 

Medicine

  • Surgical Precision now grants Tactical Advantage when Surgical Probe is used regardless of the target’s health, but this effect can only occur once every 10 seconds.

 

Concealment

  • Shadow Operative Elite now gives the Exfiltrating Operative a short window of defense against all attack types (which stacks with Exfiltrate’s normal defense bonuses).
  • Jarring Strikes now grants a buff that makes Backstab not require being behind the target after using Hidden Strike for 10 seconds and now immobilizes the target 3 seconds instead of knocking them down.

 

Lethality (Operative)

  • Escape Plan now reduces the cooldown of Shield Probe by 2/4 seconds (down from 7.5/15 seconds).
  • Quickening now has a 50%/100% chance to make the next Kolto Infusion activate instantly, cost no energy, and not require or consume Tactical Advantage.

Trooper

General

  • Full Auto now deals 4 ticks of damage instead of 3, with the first tick of damage occurring at ability activation. The total damage of the ability is unchanged, so each new tick of damage does slightly less than before.

Commando

  • Tech Override now has a base cooldown of 60 seconds.

 

Gunnery

    • Overclock now reduces the cooldown of Tech Override by 7.5/15.
    • Steadied Aim now prevents 50%/100% of pushbacks towards Full Auto, Charged Bolts and Grav Rounds.

 

  • Curtain of Fire now has a 33%/67%/100% chance to occur when using Grav Round or Charged Bolts.
  • Special Munitions now reduces the cost of High Impact Bolt by 3/6/9 Ammo while in Armor Piercing Cell.

 

Combat Medic

  • Combat Shields is now a Tier 2 Skill.
  • Efficient Conversions is now a Tier 3 Skill.

Bounty Hunter

General

  • Unload now deals 4 ticks of damage instead of 3, with the first tick of damage occurring at ability activation. The total damage of the ability is unchanged, so each new tick of damage does slightly less than before.

 

Mercenary

  • Power Surge now has a base cooldown of 60 seconds.

 

Arsenal

  • Power Overrides now reduces the cooldown of Power Surge by 7.5/15.
  • Stabilizers now prevents 50%/100% of pushbacks towards Unload, Power Shots and Tracer Missiles.
  • Barrage now has a 33%/67%/100% chance to occur when using Tracer Missile or Power Shot.
  • Upgraded Arsenal now reduces the cost of Rail Shot by 3/6/9 Heat while in High Velocity Gas Cylinder.

 

Bodyguard

  • Power Shields is now a Tier 2 Skill.
  • Heat Dampening is now a Tier 3 Skill.

Flashpoints +Operations

Flashpoints

  • The Korriban Incursion and Assault on Tython Flashpoints have been added to the Tactical Flashpoint category at level 55.
  • Added the Outbound Missions Hangar level to the Imperial and Republic Fleets with access to the Assault on Tython and Korriban Incursion Flashpoints. These new Hangars can be accessed via the Mission Departures elevators.
  • Adjusted the health and damage of the bosses of the Czerka Corporate Labs and Czerka Core Meltdown Flashpoints to bring them in line with other Tactical Flashpoint bosses.
  • Reduced the radius of Security Chief Zokar’s Rocket Launcher ability in Czerka Corporate Labs.
  • Added two more Kolto Stations to the Security Chief Zokar encounter in Czerka Corporate Labs.
  • The CZ-2X Infiltrator Droids in Czerka Corporate Labs have had their weapons upgraded and now have increased range.

Operations

  • Nightmare Mode is now available for the Dread Fortress! Even greater horrors await those who wish to challenge the bastion of the Dread Masters, and even greater rewards in the form of new Dread Master equipment!This iteration of Nightmare Mode is a little different than others. The usual additional mechanics are present, as well as a new buff on the enemies called Nightmare Power. This buff grants the usual additional health and damage that has been added to previous Nightmare Modes. Anyone powerful and coordinated enough to defeat Dread Master Brontes while she is under the effect of Nightmare Power will be granted a new unique title!

    At a future date, we will remove this buff, leaving the new mechanics in place but the health and damage dealt will return to usual Hard Mode values, and the title will no longer be possible to obtain.

  • Hard and Nightmare mode Operations no longer share the same lockout. Completing a Hard Mode Operation does not prevent the completion of the Nightmare version of the same operation.  You can check the status of your lockouts in the Lockouts tab of the Mission Log.

Galactic Starfighter

General

  • The cooldown on Koigran Turn, Snap Turn, and Retro Thrusters has been increased.
  • The Power cost of Power Dive has been reduced.
  • The cooldown and Power cost of Barrel Roll has been increased.
  • Upgrades relating to the cooldown times and Power costs of these abilities have been rebalanced to account for the changes.
  • Missile lock breaking effects now consistently evade Cluster Missiles with the “Double Volley” upgrade.
  • Shield Projector’s visual effects now show up properly on all ships in the ability’s radius.
  • Icons for EMP Field’s accuracy debuff and Sensor debuff now show up on affected targets.
  • Bombers can no longer drop Drones inside of structures or asteroids.

Ships + Hangar

  • Two new Scout ships, the Spearpoint and the S-SC4 Bloodmark have been added. These support ships have access to new components designed to improve the effectiveness your squadron:
    • Combat Command – This system component increases weapon accuracy and power generation for all nearby allies (including the user)
    • Tensor Field – This system component increases the speed and turning rate of all nearby allies.
    • These ships can also equip a Repair Drone as their shield. (Identical to the Repair Drone found on the Bomber)
  • Two new Strike Fighters, the FT-7B Clarion and the FT-3C Imperium have been added. These command ships only have one primary and secondary weapon, but have system components that improve the effectiveness of your allies:
    • Combat Command – Increases weapon accuracy and power generation for all nearby allies (including the user)
    • Repair Probes – Attaches a repair probe to all nearby allied ships, which slowly restores hull over 20 seconds.
    • Remote Slicing – Transmits a slicing code that disables a ship’s system ability, and slowly drains shield power, making the ship vulnerable to your allies.

Component + Crew

  • The Dustmaker, Comet Breaker, and Demolisher Gunships can now equip Thermite Torpedoes.
  • Missile Sentry Drone concussion missiles and Seeker Mines are no longer launched at ships that are immune to missile locks.
  • EMP Field’s “Missile Lock Immunity” upgrade now cancels in-progress missile locks when it is activated.
  • Seeker Mines now have a proper in-game model.
  • Seismic Mines and Hyperspace Beacon have ended their ongoing battle for dominance and no longer share an icon. Seismic Mines now has a new icon.
  • The amount of weapon and engine Power drained by Ion Railgun hits is now linearly scaled by the current charge level of the Railgun. For example, a Railgun hit at minimum charge (25%) that previously drained 60 units of power, now only drains 15 units.
  • EMP Missiles now have sound effects when launched.
  • Scourge and Jaesa (both Light Side and Dark Side versions) no longer have their names and descriptions hidden in the Galactic Starfighter crew list.

Items + Economy

  • Brutalizer is a new tier of PvP gear obtained via Ranked Warzone Vendors on the Republic and Imperial Fleets. It requires Ranked Warzone Commendations as well as the associated Obroan piece.
  • Warzone & Ranked PvP gear vendors have had their items updated:
    • Ranked vendors now sell Brutalizer gear.
    • Warzone vendors now sell Obroan gear.
    • Warzone & Ranked Enhancement Vendors have been updated with new enhancements.
  • The effect of the Obroan Relic of Shield Amplification now occurs in PvP areas.
  • Many head slot items that were missing voice modulation have been given voice modulation.
  • Dread Master gear now drops from Nightmare Mode bosses.
  • Dreadforged gear is now craftable.
  • New Legacy Offhands are now available from the Gree Enclave Galactic Reputation Vendor.
  • All Czerka Weapons sold by the Ordanance Acquisition Corps (Empire) and The Adjudicators (Republic) vendors have had their costs reduced to 120 Elite Commendations.
  • A new “Galactic Starfighter” category has been added to the Galactic Trade Network. All Starfighter ship unlocks and customization unlocks have been moved into this new category.

Missions + NPCs

  • “[WEEKLY] Tactical Flashpoints” is a new Mission available on the Priority Mission Terminal which provides rewards for completing five level 55 Tactical Flashpoints each week.
  • Certain Companions no longer jump into frame during the cinematic on the Mission “A Family Matter.”
  • The Mission “The Heart of Darkness” in Act II of the Bounty Hunter chain now properly updates even if players choose the Dark Side option.
  • The Ship Training Dummy is no longer hogging the camera and doesn’t obstruct the view during the conversation with Risha in the Smuggler Mission Beryl’s Bargain.

Warzones

  • The Leaderboards have been reset for the end of Season 1 and preparation for Season 2. Archived data for Season 1 can be found on the main Leaderboard page.
  • Quesh Huttball Pit has been added to the Warzone rotation. The normal Warzone queue has been temporarily adjusted to increase the amount of times the Quesh Huttball Pit will be selected.
  • Power-up icons (Healing ‘plus’, Speed ‘run’, etc.) have been added underneath power-ups in all Warzones to show which power-up respawns at that position.
  • Daily and Weekly PvP Missions have been updated to include credit for the new Warzone.
  • Added the Mission Terminal that begins each of the various PvP Missions to the spawning area of each Warzone.
  • Corrected an issue that would cause combinations of lower level mods (such as the popular 46 Prototype mods) and higher level color crystals (including those from the Cartel Market) to result in a higher Bolster bonus than intended.
  • Corrected an issue that prevented weapon damage ranges from being properly bolstered. This results in an increase in damage coming from abilities that deal weapon damage.
  • Bolster has been updated to account for the new tiers of gear, and now provides additional Expertise to elder game PvE gear. Bolster still caps at a level slightly below Obroan gear.
  • Characters who do not wield weapons with Expertise mods and crystals are now capped at 1936 Expertise instead of the full 2018.

Bioware Announce Next SWTOR Expansion: Galactic Strongholds

Strongholds___Star_Wars__The_Old_RepublicBioware have made an announcement of the details of the next digital expansion for Star Wars The Old Republic.

Titled Galactic Strongholds, it’s an interesting expansion in that it is solely about Player housing or guild ships. It’s slated for a release this August, exact date to be confirmed.

Player Housing

Called a stronghold, your personal space can be located on Nar Shadaa or Coruscant / Dromund Kaas depending on your faction – and you can have one in Nar Shadaa and your capital as well, via your Legacy.

Customisation is available and will be via crafted furniture and the ability to display rewards. Some decorations will also drop in Flashpoints etc as well. It’ll be interesting to see just how far customisation can go, because as we discussed on the last podcast, it could be a make or break for how successful the strongholds are. As far as how you get a stronghold in-game, the FAQ states:

You will be able to purchase ownership of Personal Strongholds with credits you earn in-game or with Cartel Coins in the Cartel Market. For a limited time, Subscribers as of May 11, 2014, receive a complimentary unlock of the luxurious Nar Shaddaa Stronghold plus THREE ADDITIONAL ROOMS ALREADY UNLOCKED (no purchase necessary – a value of 1,500,000 credits)! Subscribers as of June 24th gain a complimentary unlock of the Nar Shaddaa Stronghold (minus the additional rooms) through July 28th.

There’s also a ranking system for strongholds, based on a ‘Prestige Score’ each time you add a decoration. And last but not least – there’ll be an option for shared storage amongst your Legacy – that alone will have a lot of people cheering.

Guild Ships

Guild flagships are also on offer in this expansion, but the details on them are a little more limited at this stage. In fact, there’s no significant information beyond confirmation from BioWare that PvP will not be an option at this stage.

Access dates

For subscribers (active by May 11th if you want the three unlocked extra rooms), access to the Nar Shadaa Stronghold will be available from June 24th to July 28th, then Preferred players (former subscribers or those who have purchased items from the Cartel store) will have access from the 29th July until whatever date the expansion actually launches.

So over to you, how much of a bonus do you see the stronghold being? And what’s your predictions for the guild flagships? Oh – and don’t forget to check out the short announcement video here.

Lucky-77 Swoop: Thoughts?

Ok, it’s not as ugly as I thought it would be, but it’s still not great:

lucky-77-speeder1

Anyone out there likely to make this their main vehicle? Thought not.

Flash Point 74: Qyzen Fess and a Ball Gag

flashpoint-podcastIt’s a veritable storm of MMO news over the past few weeks, and we jump boots and all into a bunch of it.

Points of discussion:

SWTOR
- Player housing
- Double XP weekend

Jawa Junk Pile
- TESO beta
- Wildstar
- Star Citizen
- Warlords of Draenor
- Titanfall

- Shout outs for our Facebook page, Twitter account, Simon’s Twitter account, Kristy’s Twitter account and ODS-1′s Twitter Account. – And don’t forget to buy an Oceanic Gamer T-Shirt or thirty!

Please review or rate the podcast on iTunes if you can – it makes a huge difference!

Listen via iTunes, on Stitcher or right here:

Hearthstone Patch Notes – 1.0.0.4944

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General

  • Golden Heroes have been added and now can be unlocked after winning 500 Ranked games with a Hero! Track your progress on the deck selection screen in Ranked Mode.
  • New card backs have been added.  Collect these by doing awesome things such as participating in each Ranked Season!
  • The Hearthsteed mount reward has been added and can now be obtained for your World of Warcraft account! Win 3 games in Play or Arena mode to acquire one of your own!
  • You can now connect to other regions (Americas, Europe, Korea, Taiwan) of Hearthstone regardless of the region that is set on your Battle.net account. Account progress and card collections are saved separately per region. This feature will become available once the patch is live in all regions.
  • The “Players Near Me” feature is now enabled by default.  You can disable this feature in the Options Menu.
  • The queue timer now only shows up after you’ve been waiting a while.
  • The total amount of gold that an account can hold at any given time has been set at 20,000 gold; gold cannot be earned on accounts with 20,000 or more gold until some gold has been spent.  This cap is intended to combat certain methods of gold acquisition that violate our Terms of Service. The spirit of fair play is extremely important to us, and we will continue to monitor gold acquisition activity closely to ensure a fun and enjoyable game environment for everyone.
  • Certain Expert cards have been changed and the amount of dust that you get from disenchanting these cards have been temporarily increased such that it is equal to the amount of dust that it would have originally cost to craft those cards. Affected cards are:
    • Nat Pagle
    • Tinkmaster Overspark

 

Ranked Play

  • During each Ranked Season change, players may now start the new season at a rank higher than the default Angry Chicken rank, depending on the rank that was obtained at the end of the previous season. You’ll receive one bonus star for every rank you achieved in the previous season.
  • The Angry Chicken rank now starts with 0 stars, instead of 1. Bawk!?

 

Arena

  • Arena rewards at 10, 11, and 12 wins no longer reward common non-golden cards.

 

Visuals

  • Many new card effects have been added. +3 Sparkles/+5 Shinies.
  • Minions who have Taunt and Stealth now have an effect that more clearly indicates that Taunt is temporarily disabled during Stealth.
  • Mass disenchanting now has new and improved graphics. Now you can mass disenchant in style!
  • The UI that pops up when challenging a friend to a duel has been improved. Wow, so challenge.
  • Minions that have been blessed by Blessing of Wisdom now show the trigger “lightning bolt”. Talk about a bright idea!

 

Gameplay

  • If you disconnect from a game, you now have 60 seconds to try and reconnect and pick up from where you left off.
  • The Expert AI has been sent to Hearthstone training camp and should now be more challenging.
  • If a player’s deck contains all Golden cards, a Golden Coin will compliment your deck if you happen to go second.
  • Unlocking a hero now plays that Hero’s emote. Well met!
  • Secrets can now only activate on your opponent’s turn.
    • Activating your own secrets feels a little strange, but mostly, the ability to do this was preventing us from creating new and powerful secrets that trigger off of events you can easily control (like a minion dying).  They end up functioning just like spells, instead of trying to bait your opponent into a bad play.  This change keeps secrets working like traps you lay for your opponent, instead of spells that you cast and use on your own turn.

 

Card Changes

  • Nat Pagle now reads: At the start of your turn, you have a 50% chance to draw an extra card.
    • Nat Pagle will now draw a card at the start of your turn rather than at the end. Nat had too much draw power for a card that is fairly hard to counter so early in the game, making it almost an auto-include for many decks.  This change reduces the power of the card and gives players more time to counter the card before it starts.
  • Tinkmaster Overspark is now a 3/3 (up from 2/2) and now reads: Battlecry: Transform another random minion into a 5/5 Devilsaur or a 1/1 Squirrel.
    • Tinkmaster is a neutral card that silences and often shrinks big creatures. This reduces the amount of big, fun creatures in the environment. We think this change will increase the amount fun creatures in the environment, and bring him more in-line with his cost and overall power. Tinkmaster should still show up in certain types of decks, but will no longer be appearing in every high level deck.

 

Bug Fixes

  • Water Elemental (Mage) will now properly freeze armored heroes as intended.
  • Ancestral Healing (Shaman) will now always attempt to heal a minion for its full Health regardless of its current Health.
  • The issue where minions randomly swap battle positions with other minions is a result of many factors and issues. All known circumstances and issues that result in minions dancing randomly around have been resolved.
  • Cards now better respect personal space while in a player’s hand. Similar to the minion swapping issue, all known circumstances and issues that result in cards overlapping with other cards in a player’s hand have been resolved.
  • The New Deck button in the Collection Manager no longer stays highlighted if you quickly click the Done and No buttons after selecting a hero.
  • The Hearthstone client will no longer remain in the foreground when you click on another program.
  • You can now select a friend in the friends list by clicking on their medal in Play mode.
  • If you were playing a friendly game when daily quests were granted, you are now correctly notified after the game.
  • The Repair Bot’s healing ability now generates an entry in the game history.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause the buttons to stop working for a short moment when transitioning back to the main hub.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented some accounts from properly receiving friendly challenges.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented some accounts from joining Play, Practice or Friendly games if they have a custom deck in their collection.
  • Fixed an issue where entering a new Arena run while getting a new daily quest can cause the Arena purchase and the back buttons to be unresponsive.
  • Fixed an issue where you will receive a toast stating your friend has just come online if you log into Hearthstone and that friend was already online.
  • Fixed an issue where attempting to create a new deck would cause the game to time out after about a minute.
  • Fixed an issue where backing out of a deck list while its deck tile is animating to the top of the list will cause the deck list buttons to become unresponsive.
  • Fixed an issue where cards opened in packs or earned from defeating heroes may not appear in your collection after restarting the client.
  • Fixed an issue where clicking on the Last Played player area in friends list opens up the Add a Friend prompt without automatically filling in the player’s BattleTag.
  • Fixed an issue where the credits can be played while in the Today’s Quests screen.
  • Fixed an issue where the quest Level Up! is completed upon reaching a total level of 10 instead of level 10 on one Hero.
  • Improved many graphical effects and fixed various graphical and game behavior issues.
  • Fixed a number of audio and sound issues.

 

Mac

  • Toggling full screen mode on some resolutions and monitors will no longer cause the window borders to be visible.
  • Fixed a graphical issue that could occur when changing resolutions.
  • Loading into a game will no longer cause graphical issues while on high graphics settings.
  • The system menu bar will no longer display over the client in full screen mode.
  • Using Alt + Tab to switch focus while in full screen mode will no longer cause the dock to appear over the client.

The Elder Scrolls Online: A First Hour Mini-Review

The_Elder_Scrolls_OnlineI thought I’d deliver an initial verdict on The Elder Scrolls Online. Its been a hectic weekend so I’ve only played the TESO beta for a little over an hour, hence the title of the review. So no flaming with ‘but you barely checked out the game!!’ comments. I have no doubt the bigger and better quests are further down the track, but all MMOs live or die on their initial areas, so but here’s my impressions for what they’re worth:

Character creation:  Love it, lots of customisation options (although some don’t appear to be working quite yet), but you can skip them if you want to get set up quickly. I like the number of classes on offer too.

Graphics: TESO copped a hammering from the gaming community based on early leaked footage. Like many others have already said, TESO has come a long way from then and I liked the graphics a lot. Some of the facial features on NPCs are a little bit bland but that may improve further by launch. Loading times for screens seemed very good and I did enjoy the lighting and atmospherics I saw.

Sound: Kudos for both the soundtrack and atmospheric sounds – lots to like here.

Interface: Making a judgement on this is a hard one as I’m guessing a lot of people will like it, but I for one HATE the ‘point your mouse / reticule in the direction you want to go’ style of gameplay. I find it hard on the eyes even with a decent mouse and it doesn’t allow the level of free movement that I like. That said, it does making visual scanning of your surrounds a lot easier. As I said, I think I’m in the minority here, but this is one of the main reasons I won’t be playing TESO ongoing.

Gameplay: this isn’t a criticism, just a fact – TESO is another bog standard questing MMO. For Elder Scrolls fans, I have no doubt you’ll be enjoying the storyline. For me as a first-timer to the franchise, it neither disappointed or impressed me. I like the speed of conversations with NPCs and although the map looks terribly generic in the beta, I’m sure that’ll improve. The mouse-aiming interface annoyed me for combat but again I’m guessing I’m in the minority. Nothing particularly innovative in the quests, but again that’s standard MMO fare.

Performance: I’m impressed with the frame rate and speed of the game overall – I was using the Mac version and it seemed to run much better than WoW for me, and streets ahead of SWTOR and The Secret World, though given I run them on a virtual box it’s not a fair comparison.

Overall impressions: This is a solid MMO, but for me there’s nowhere near enough interesting stuff in it for me to pay a subscription. For our New Zealand readers, you’re being scalped on the subscription price as well. Even if my unreasonable hatred of the reticule / mouse pointing  system weren’t an issue, I can’t see me playing this game ongoing – there’s just nothing unique for me to get excited about. For someone new to MMOs or a long time fan of the franchise – you should have a close look at TESO.

More impressions from the whole team next week on the podcast.

Did you play the open beta? What did you think?

 

 

SWTOR 2.6.1 Patch Notes

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2.6.1 Patch Notes

Highlights

New Mount! The Desert Sleen creature mount can now be obtained from the Bounty Brokers Association vendor in exchange for 50 Completed Bounty Contracts. It requires Legend rank with the B.B.A.

General

  • The Item Modification Stations in the VIP areas of the Republic and Empire Fleets now work correctly.
  • The achievement “Galactic Beastmaster” no longer requires “Beastmaster of Ilum” to complete.
  • The Starfighter Launch Decks on the Republic and Empire Fleets now grant Rested experience.
  • Sith Warriors and Sith Inquisitors will now be able to receive the “Species: Ugnaught” Codex entry by interacting with the Lore Object next to Rudd in Nemro’s cantina on Hutta.
  • Sith Warriors and Sith Inquisitors will now be able to receive the “Species: Evocii” Codex entry by killing any hostile Evocii on Hutta.
  • The +10 Endurance Datacron on Makeb will properly grant its corresponding Codex entry.
  • The +10 Presence Datacron on Makeb will properly grant its corresponding Codex entry.

Cartel Market

  • The Space Jockey’s Starfighter Pack items can now be previewed in Collections.
  • The Korrealis Duke no longer thinks it’s a weapon and has moved to the correct category in Collections.
  • The “Pushups” Rest and Recharge item now ventilates Heat when used.

Flashpoints + Operations

Flashpoints

  • During the Station Guardian One encounter in Kuat Drive Yards, the red ground indicator for the Hail of Bolts ability will remain in a fixed position.
  • Players will no longer be pushed into the environment when Lord Modo/Master Khoris uses the “Force Shockwave” ability in Kuat Drive Yards.
  • The Reprogrammed Repair Probe in Kuat Drive Yards will now properly attack and use abilities after casting Alarm.
  • Master Khoris/Lord Modo in Kuat Drive Yards can no longer stun companions with Force Distortion/Force Crush. These abilities will now only deal half damage to companions.

Operations

  • In Karagga’s Palace, Force Barrier and Entrench/Hunker Down are no longer interrupted by Bonethrasher’s Overhead Smash or Sweeping Knockback.

Galactic Starfighter

General

  • Properly executed defensive maneuvers will now avoid lock-on from Missile Sentry Drones and Seeker Mines.
  • Due to a strike organized by the Capital Ship Defense Operators, the Capital Ships in Galactic Starfighter’s Team Deathmatch mode will no longer fire at opposing players.
  • A third spawn point has been added to Team Deathmatch battles.

Component + Crew

  • The Railgun firing arc on Gunships is no longer dependent on the primary weapon that is assigned to the ship.

Items + Economy

  • The D6-S7 Astromech now properly appears when summoned.

Missions + NPCs

  • The Tactical Flashpoint daily reward now resets as intended.
  • Addressed an issue with The Secret War and The Ranken Initiative where group members were not getting quest updates if the group leader was not on the same quest step.
  • Smugglers will now properly be granted the Codex entry “Smuggler: Butcher’s Bane” and its corresponding title when completing “The Butcher.”
  • Jedi Knights and Sith Warriors who have completed The Sand Demon/Demon’s Blood missions will be properly granted the “Bestiary: Sand Demon” Codex entry. Those currently on the missions have had them reset.
  • Jedi Knights are now granted the “Persons of Note: Darth Angral (Knight)” Codex entry when completing “Race to the Ruins.” Knights who previously completed this mission will be granted it automatically.

The Elder Scrolls Online: New Zealanders Beware of Currency SNAFU

The evil Euro monster

The evil Euro monster

Today we had an interesting email come in from a New Zealand based gamer, who like a lot of people is gearing up for the launch of The Elder Scrolls Online.  It seems that New Zealanders are being billed in Euros:

After some back and forth with Customer Support at Zenimax I have found it’s now their policy to charge all New Zealand people their subscription fees and cost of game as well, in EUROS rather than in our own currency or in USD (both would be much cheaper for us).

Obviously it’s odd to charge us in EUROS anyway, we’re nowhere near Europe, plus it not converting very nicely for us to our own currency.

Here’s what we’re getting overcharged -

Subscription fees each month (we’ll be getting charged in EUROS) -

12.99 EUR = 21.422623 NZD

14.99 USD= 17.991116 NZD

So that’s a difference of almost $4 a month we’re being overcharged.

The cost of the game for me was 79.99 EUR = 131.920763 NZD whereas I should’ve paid – 79.99 USD = 96.006686 NZD – so I got overcharged around $36 NZD as well.

Customer Service has told me this is absolute and they are not planning on changing it any time soon (if ever).

Tried getting some attention in the beta forums and while a ZOS staff member passed by the post and edited out the @names of ZOS staff members I has added into the OP (she edited them out so they didn’t trigger notifications to other ZOS staff members) she did not bother answering the thread, so all out of avenues for getting help/getting this sorted for New Zealand people.

Need someone to draw attention to this situation for the New Zealand people. We are obviously a small country and probably not worth paying attention to on a financial level…so yeah, basically this is why we need some help and support. We’re going to be horribly overcharged every month and nobody cares to fix it.

In addition, the NZ gamer received a formal response from Zenimax Customer Support:

Greetings XXXX
Thanks you very much for your patience with this issue.
Due to NZ$ not being supported for now we can not give you an different option then to pay the game and the subscription fee in Euros. I’m aware that this is not the answer you were hoping for and I’m very sorry not to be able to help you with this.
Should we support New Zealand dollars at some point in the future we’ll update the storefront at
https://account.elderscrollsonline.com for the appropriate regions.
I would be happy to help you with any further questions.
See you in Tamriel
[name of support staff member was here]
The Elder Scrolls Online Team

So it sounds like it’s going to take a bigger groundswell of support to get any consideration of a change. We’d be interested in hearing from any other New Zealanders – is this decision going to be a deal-breaker for you?

Flash Point 73: Jugs, Pubes and Wormholes

flashpoint-podcastWe’re a bit excited this week with not one but TWO emails with some great MMO debating points.And don’t be put off by the podcast title – it’s not what you think!

Points of discussion:

SWTOR
- 2.7
- Lucky 77 speeder: lamest vehicle ever?
- The shitty macro binocular final quest
- Death of the Smash Monkey

Jawa Junk Pile
- Discussion about the Free to Play MMO market rankings
- EVE Online update from Kristy
- Emails from Shawn and Timo on TESO – thanks to you both!
- TV recommendations
- Shout outs for our Facebook page, Twitter account, Simon’s Twitter account, Kristy’s Twitter account and ODS-1′s Twitter Account. – And don’t forget to buy an Oceanic Gamer T-Shirt or thirty!

Please review or rate the podcast on iTunes if you can – it makes a huge difference!

Listen via iTunes, on Stitcher or right here:

Flash Point 72: Tight Circles and Tanking Walls

flashpoint-podcastSpecial guest Joe Foran from Wildstar Radio joins us this week as we range across a bunch of games, with the usual healthy dose of SWTOR as well.

Points of discussion:

SWTOR
- 2.6 for everyone
- Producer’s roadmap for 2014
- My Lore Is Stuck In Your Cannon: Kuat Shipyards

Jawa Junk Pile
- Hearthstone further impressions
- Why Kristy fails at end-game content
- EVE Online
- Elder Scrolls Online beta
- NDA discussions
- Wildstar
- Marvel Heroes / DCUO
- The Repopulation

- Shout outs for our Facebook page, Twitter account, Simon’s Twitter account, Kristy’s Twitter account and ODS-1′s Twitter Account. – And don’t forget to buy an Oceanic Gamer T-Shirt or thirty!

Please review or rate the podcast on iTunes if you can – it makes a huge difference!

Listen via iTunes, on Stitcher or right here:

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