Nov 15, 2012

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A Trip Down SW:TOR Memory Lane – Hang A Left At Free-To-Play Parkway

Ah, the memories.

Chances are you’re reading this post now because you were a fan or follower of Ask A Jedi back in the day. I started this site back in 2010 because, quite simply, I couldn’t get enough of Star Wars: The Old Republic! There were already plenty of great sites like Darth HaterMos Eisley RadioTOROcastCorellian Run Radio and soon TORWarsRepublic Trooper and more, but that wasn’t enough for me! I wanted to be fused at the hip with the next great MMO, which by the way was set in the STAR WARS UNIVERSE and made by BIOWARE!

The next 20-some odd months that followed were nothing short of amazing, and running this site while following the game’s development was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Obviously, it was great getting so close to the game in its early stages of development, but you know what made it really special? The people!

Over the course of that time, I got to meet a lot of great peeps from all of the fan sites above (and more!) What was so special about all of these folks is that what they were doing, they were doing out of passion. Everyone traveled to every corner of the map, from conventions like E3, PAX and more. And they did so on their own dime and their own time. I can tell you from personal experience that it was hella expensive being a TOR groupie for a few years, but it was worth every penny.

Not only that, I had the great fortune of getting to meet many designers, developers, marketing and community folks from BioWare, Electronic Arts and LucasArts. It was my first real exposure “inside” of the game industry, and I have to say everyone was absolutely awesome. The hospitality shown by each of those companies and especially individually by all of the folks we met was incredible. I felt like they really cared about the fans and the fan sites, and they did. The Fan Site and Guild Summits held at BioWare in Austin… I’ll never forget it!

And of course, there’s no way I could forget the peeps who helped me run this site… You think everyone running by you on Tatooine is some random gamer until you get to know them. We had a special team keeping the wheels greased at AAJ – dare I say the best in the business.

No, I’m not getting the band back together, but felt like I wanted to do a special post here to commemorate the occasion that today is, especially for those of us who were so close to the game!

Looking Forward

It’s hard to believe that this time last year, we were all eagerly anticipating the launch of a brand-new Star Wars MMO. It’s even harder to believe that very same game is relaunching today, less than a year later, as a free-to-play title. So on this dawn of a new era for Star Wars: The Old Republic, I just wanted to take a minute to remember what is so great about this genre we all love – the people we play with.

Anyway, there’s a lot of Light side mushiness going on here, so I’ll start to wrap it up.

While I don’t have a lot of time to devote to gaming these days, I’ll be joining my buddies from TORWars, along with *many* other community members over in the newly formed TORWars guild on The Shadowlands server. Yes, they went Empire, but don’t hold that against them – they’re good peeps! :)  I’m looking forward experiencing TOR this time around casually and socially in the best possible way – with friends!

– Bill (Lethality)

P.S. Some folks have asked what I’ve been up to, so I figured I’d give a quick update!

  • I’m still working my day job as an interactive producer at a large advertising agency, desperately trying to make the jump to the game industry (If you’re hiring, let me know! :)
  • I’ve also taken up as a news editor for ZAM Networks, and you can find my stuff there every day! By the way, you should keep an eye on ZAM… big things ahead.
  • I’m also doing some blogging over on my MMOpinion site. If you know me, you know that I’m never short for words when it comes to how MMOs “should” work and be played, so you can find some commentary and discussion over there! You can also follow me on Twitter, which is the old Ask A Jedi feed, except re-named!
  • Finally, I’ve joined forces with Andy and the fine chaps from Republic Trooper to form a new site called Titan Everything dedicated to following Blizzard’s upcoming MMO, code-named Project Titan. Right now, “following” is a loose term as I’m sure we’ll be AARP members by the time it releases, but stop by, join the community and chat it up a bit!

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Mar 19, 2012

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Important News About Ask A Jedi: The Sith Did It!

Although I knew the day to write this post would come, I didn’t expect it to sneak up on me so quickly!

Recently, my personal and professional life has gotten more demanding on several fronts, and I found that I was struggling to put the time into Ask A Jedi that it needed and deserved. Unfortunately I just could not work it out to my satisfaction, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon. So,  rather than letting Ask A Jedi wither and die on the vine, I decided to stop publishing the site all together as of today, March 19, 2012.

I understand that this might come as a shock to some fans, as we remain one of the largest and longest-running Star Wars: The Old Republic fan sites. This wasn’t an easy decision in the first place, and that’s entirely due to all of the members of the AAJ Army! We’ve grown quite a community over the 2 years we’ve been doing this, and many of the friends I made extend outside of the game.

Turn The Page

So what’s next? Glad you asked!

I’ve become really good buds with the guys over at TORWars during our incessant chase of TOR during it’s development. If for some reason you’ve never visited before, you should be ashamed. It is easily the highest-quality, most professionally written Star Wars: The Old Republic site out there. Thanks to Jeff and Co. over there, I’ll be a guest poster and editor on TORWars from time to time going forward, which will give me an opportunity to stay involved with the community at the same time dealing with the increased workload at work. I can’t thank Jeff enough for this opportunity, and want everyone in the AAJ Army to now consider themselves TOR Warriors and make themselves at home over there!

A Million Thanks

I’d like to thank BioWare, LucasArts and Electronic Arts on the behalf of Ask A Jedi, all of our staff, and myself for all of the support and generosity they’ve shown us over the years. The incredible accessibility to developers, gameplay at conventions and not to mention being invited to Austin on several occasions made the dream possible. The dynamic duo of David Bass and Stephen Reid are easily the best 1-2 punch in community management in the games industry. I’d call them Batman and Robin except I think Stephen’s more of a Marvel guy. I can’t call out everyone else on the community teams and the development teams by name, but suffice it to so I was blown away time and time again how nice and accommodating everyone was. And on the several occasions I got to meet and chat with BioWare co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk, they inspired me to be better at what I did and to never let go of your dream! Doctors – thank you.

I’d also like to thank the AAJ staff… Momus, Zlatto, Kray, Lady Republic, Reedyn, Cormeister, Professor Walsh, Lord Paladin, Twin Hits, Sa’Chi, Cealog, ReDDoT as well as all previous staffers and contributors for helping to make Ask A Jedi what it is today, and that is nothing less than a top-quality narrative-driven fan site. I owe all of you big time.

And last but definitely not least, I want to thank you, the readers – the AAJ Army! I never in a million years that I’d be able to start some blog and have several hundred thousand visitors read it every month. Meeting many of you either virtually or physically has made this one of the more rewarding things I’ve done.

Please let me know if you have any question or concern about any of this in the comments below… and please visit every day for all of your TOR needs, including class guides, videos, opinons and more… and as I mentioned, I’ll even show up there from time to time so come and flame be over there instead! :)

May the Force be with you. Always.

– Bill


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Feb 2, 2012

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Ask A Jedi: Class Quests And Speeders

Stand aside Master Gnost-Dural! The Ask A Jedi crew is here to answer all of your burning questions about Star Wars: The Old Republic! Powered by R2-Db’s question and answer feature, we will answer the highest rated questions each and every week. So sit back, relax, and let us drop some knowledge on you, Ask A Jedi-style!

Just a pair of questions for you this week. First, Winterborne asks: “Can other people help out with class quests?“. The answer to that question is comprised of two parts. To begin, yes, as with any quest in the game, you can group up with someone to make your class quests a little bit easier. However, since your class quests are your personal story, the player that you group up with will not be able to participate in the dialog options for any of your class quests (but they can listen to the dialog).

Your choices for your class quests are your own and no one can force you to watch a cutscene or make a choice that you do not want to make. By contrast, you can be forced to watch a cutscene that you did not want to see during a normal group quest Flashpoint, depending on what dialog options your group mates selected.

The second part of this is that if the player you are grouping with is the same class as you, they will need to go into the game settings and enable an option to allow them to enter class quest areas of a player that is the same class as they. The main reason for this is that your character may be farther along in the story than the player that you are grouping with. In order to prevent story spoiling, the game will actually disallow a player from entering the class quest area of another player with whom they share the same class, unless they specifically say that they want to be able to enter those areas. Be careful of spoilers if you plan on going into a class quest instance of a friend who is playing the same class as you!

Lastly, gnarf posted this question on R2-DB: “Where can I buy 110% speeders?” If you just recently hit level 50 and bought the highest level speeder training, you may be on the lookout for vendors where you can buy better looking 110% speeders. Credit must go to DevliN who found this terrific article on that lists most (if not all) of the 110% speeder models available in TOR. This compendium describes where all of the speeders are located and how much they cost or what is required to obtain them (some drop off of Operation bosses). You will definitely want to check out this article if you are in the market for a new 110% speeder.


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Jan 19, 2012

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Ask A Jedi: Legacy System, Magenta Crystals, And Operatives

Stand aside Master Gnost-Dural! The Ask A Jedi crew is here to answer all of your burning questions about Star Wars: The Old Republic! Powered by R2-Db’s question and answer feature, we will answer the highest rated questions each and every week. So sit back, relax, and let us drop some knowledge on you, Ask A Jedi-style!

The most popular question over on R2-DB this week was posed by Ajamison. He asks, “Is there any more information on when the Legacy system will be fully implemented instead of just allowing a Legacy name and Legacy leveling which currently does nothing?”. Indeed, this week got us our first update from a developer about the upcoming plans for the Legacy system. James Ohlen (Game Director) gave an interview to Gamespot about the Legacy system and other game features. Very generally, here is Mr. Ohlen’s vision for the Legacy system:

We wanted to have a system that encouraged players to create alts and to play the game through the different story paths. So the legacy system is meant to do that.

More specifically, here are some details from the Gamespot interview about the Legacy system:

…and then you gain legacy experience points and legacy levels, and with legacy experience points and levels, that gives you–that allows you to unlock abilities, perks, a whole slew of different advantages, essentially, that all the members of your legacy tree will be able to enjoy.


…and it’s something we want to push towards players who enjoy the level-up game. It’ll also be beneficial to the end game, but it really is going to have a lot of abilities that make leveling up even more enjoyable and allow you to customize your leveling experience.

TOR has really made me an “alt-aholic” so the idea of more perks as you level more and more characters really appeals to me. Like a lot of people, I plan on making at least one character of each class and I suspect I will be utilizing the Legacy system perks rather extensively.

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Jan 11, 2012

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Ask A Jedi: Commendations, Reverse Engineering, And Game Settings

Stand aside Master Gnost-Dural! The Ask A Jedi crew is here to answer all of your burning questions about Star Wars: The Old Republic! Powered by R2-Db’s question and answer feature, we will answer the highest rated questions each and every week. So sit back, relax, and let us drop some knowledge on you, Ask A Jedi-style!

To start us off this week, MammaGamer asks What has the best drop rate for Hutta Commendations? Well, unfortunately the game is too new to have definitive drop rates on items yet, but we do know that Hutta Commendations, and indeed all planetary commendations, have a chance to drop from most if not all mobs on a planet. It is probably safe to assume that commendations have a higher chance to drop from Strong or Elite mobs. So, get out there and get to “persuading” those mobs to give up their commendations!

R2-DB user Sakasa asks this question: Does reverse engineering have more then one path? For those that don’t know, when you reverse engineer a item, you have a chance to learn a new schematic of either higher quality (blue or purple) or learn a new schematic with a “prefix” that indicates the type of stats that the new item has. So the short answer is yes, there are many different schematics that you can learn through reverse engineering just a single item. For more information about reverse engineering (including what all of the prefix’s mean), check out this article from our very own Zlatto and this collaborative article from Slaign. They know way more about crafting and reverse engineering than I ever will!

Last up, ido-goldberg asked: Will SWTOR settings save for 2 PCs? Basically, he wants to know if SWTOR’s settings are saved on the server so that he can switch computers easily without having to re-enable a bunch of options. This is a tough questions because it seems that some settings are saved server-side while others are saved locally to your computer. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to (easily) copy those local settings from one computer to another.

The consensus is that keybindings are saved to the server, while UI options and graphics settings appear to be saved locally and saved per character. This means that you will have to set up those UI settings for each computer that you play SWTOR on as well as each character. I can testify that I have had to enable the extra quickslots for each character individually when I have created them and there is not a way to copy the setting from one character to another in game or to set a default layout for the UI on all my characters, newly created or not. Hopefully with the UI updates that BioWare is working on, we will see a some improvements for the ability to copy settings between characters and computers.

Remember, if you want your question answered, visit R2-DB’s question and answer web page to ask your question. If you get enough up-votes, I shall do my best to find an answer for you!

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Nov 29, 2011

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Raid Forming: Ask A Jedi + Torhead = Win!

Good news everyone!

I’m very excited and proud to announce today a new partnership between Ask A Jedi and Torhead, the newly launched TOR database site from the developers of Wowhead!

Torhead was created by ZAM which, among other popular MMO sites, runs Wowhead, the industry-leading database site for World of Warcraft. Over the years, Wowhead has become the absolute definitive resource for WoW players to consult when they’re in need of planning their gear, class guides or other progression for their characters. In fact, even Blizzard links to Wowhead from its very own armory!

Ask A Jedi (along with our good buddies over at TORWars) will provide news and content for visitors of Torhead, and together with R2-Db‘s social features, will create a solid knockout punch for Star Wars: The Old Republic players around the globe! Here on Ask A Jedi, you can look forward to tooltips and features direct from the Torhead database embedded within our articles.

So when it’s time to look up that new piece of gear or figure out which abilities you should take on your Advanced Class, don’t mess with the rest, go to the best – Torhead!

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