Larry 'Shaddoe' Everett

Reporter

When not sitting at his computer, Larry... just kidding. He is always sitting at his computer. Larry has made a career out of running websites and playing MMORPGs, so posing in front of a monitor is a way of life. If he is not busy updating his web designs, he is digitally painting or typing out that novel he will never finish.

You can follow his Star Wars: The Old Republic writing in his long-running column, The Hyperspace Beacon.

"Listen, you don’t know me, son, so I’m gonna say this once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake, you’ll be facing me, and you’ll be armed."

Personal blog: Hyperspace Beacon
Twitter: @shaddoe

Tamriel Infinium: Unpacking the Elder Scrolls Online presentation at E3

Elder Scrolls Online is obviously a huge draw for MMORPG players, but it’s far from an exciting title for the vast majority of gamers attending E3, so I was surprised to see Game Director Matt Firor on the stage at all during the Bethesda presentation. It’s not to say that ESO isn’t a great game; it’s just been around awhile, and the hypetrain is hardly running at full speed right now.

During his presentation, Firor mentioned a lot of things worth considering. He had a very short time to not only tell existing fans what was happening in the game this year, but he also had to remind people of how great ESO is right now. Of course, he was hoping to get new players interested in the game. He knew that ESO wasn’t always well-received, but he had to show how far the game has come. Here’s how he did it.

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E3 2018: Dissecting the Elder Scrolls VI teaser that broke the internet

Last night, Bethesda Director Todd Howard took the E3 stage and practically broke the internet. Of course, he talked about Fallout 76, which everyone expected. After all, Bethesda teased that days earlier, and if he didn’t give us more details, the internet would have rioted. However, the thing that really broke everyone — especially Reddit — only took 36 seconds. He announced what everyone wanted but no one expected: The Elder Scrolls VI.

It’s amazing how a small teaser will set people on fire. Massively OP’s chatroom lit up with speculation. Admittedly, it was mostly me and Bree going nuts over this particular game, but we were doing our best to try to determine where The Elder Scrolls VI would take place. All we had was a 36-second fly-by that featured a bunch of rocks, bigger rocks, and a little bit of grass. In other words, it told us practically nothing. But that didn’t stop me from attempting to pull apart each little detail — what was shown and what wasn’t.

Let’s break this down.

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Tamriel Infinium: With Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset, more of the same is a good thing

Today is the formal launch day for Summerset! My goal during the PC early access was to finish the main storyline, and I’m happy to say that I did it and some of the side quests as well. And I was also able to do a bit of exploring around the island just to see what was there. As an Elder Scrolls Online fan, I have to say that I’m satisfied with what ZeniMax delivered. If you are a fan of the game and really enjoy what the team has given so far in the game, then you will also like the Summerset chapter.

I strongly believe that ZeniMax over-delivered with Morrowind, so when making a direct comparison between the two different chapters, I will, unfortunately, have to admit that Morrowind was the stronger chapter. But that’s not to say that Summerset was a bad expansion to the game. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are some very strong characters, glorious set pieces, and fun Easter eggs.

As I talk about the story of the next chapter, it will be impossible not to talk about spoilers, but I will keep them as light and vague as I can. And I promise that anything that I reveal is not a major plot point. With that in mind, let’s talk about this story!

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Hyperspace Beacon: The sorry state of roleplay in Star Wars: The Old Republic

Since the server merges, the Star Forge server has unofficially become the roleplay server for Star Wars: The Old Republic. And roleplaying’s fight to remain a relevant way to enjoy this MMORPG has never been tougher. Roleplayers, if nothing else, are resilient. We are still in the game and attempting to find our place in this world where there is little support for our gameplay style from the developers.

Some of you might remember the late ’80s, but for those who don’t that was a period of time when the only thing keeping Star Wars alive were the RPGs. Timothy Zahn would not pen Heir to the Empire until 1991, the best video game we had was arcade-only made in ’83, and The Phantom Menace was well over a decade away. This was the period of time that the keeper-of-canon Pablo Hidalgo started his quest to become a part of the Lucasfilm family. It was the time when only two things were keeping the Star Wars alive: the Kenner toys and West End Games’ Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. We know it wasn’t the made-for-TV Ewok Adventure movies.

Roleplayers have been the undercurrent that has kept the franchise alive, even during the dark times — during the prequels. What is their current status in SWTOR?

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Tamriel Infinium: Eight things you need to know before jumping into Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset

Monday, the Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset chapter went live for early access accounts. For the first time since 1994, players can visit the island of Summerset. And needless to say, 24 years makes quite a difference in the world of gaming. I’m not going to pretend that I ever played Arena, but think its safe to say that things look a lot different and the mechanics of the game have changed, too.

I don’t think that Summerset is as highly anticipated as Morrowind was, but that’s can be a positive for ZeniMax Online Studios because there is scrutiny when it comes to the lay of the land and the storyline. On the other hand, it means less hype for the expansion.

As an MMORPG enthusiast, I’m excited to see MMOs continuing to grow the way ESO has. And I know that you might not be as familiar with Summerset, so I would like to give you my list of what you should probably look out for when you jump into the next chapter.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The SWTOR Summer roadmap might get you back into PvP

Star Wars: The Old Republic producer Keith Kanneg just dropped the next roadmap earlier today, outlining the features upcoming before September and a little bit beyond. Although he didn’t give much detail about the future of the story for the game, he gave us enough hints that we can speculate about the direction it’s headed.

At the very top of the roadmap post, Kanneg thanks everyone for such a great first year as producer of SWTOR and hopes that everyone enjoyed the traitor storyline. The story ends with a lot of questions unanswered, but unfortunately, those questions will not be answered until sometime after September according to the post. However, it’s possible that some of the setups this summer are pointing toward what the developers have planned.

Kanneg said the devs have been listening to players and “as a result, [they will] be making a lot of changes based on your feedback, beginning with our PvP plans this summer.” 2018 will be the summer of PvP for SWTOR, so let’s break down everything that the developers are doing.

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Tamriel Infinium: Deep-diving the mechanics of Elder Scrolls Online Summerset’s Psijic Order skill line

Many MMO gamers – including me – are a bit underwhelmed by the next chapter of the Elder Scrolls Online. Although Summerset is not a bad bit of content, I have concerns about the amount of content that is coming with this expansion compared to the last expansion, Morrowind. The island of Summerset is a nice size, probably bigger than Vvardenfell, but there seem to be fewer things to keep people interested for longer than maybe a couple of weeks.

That being said, what it does, it does very well.

I’ve already mentioned in a previous article how gorgeous the island is, especially the extra zone of Artaeum. I was blown away by that. But I didn’t go into depth about Psijic Order skill line. At the time I wrote that article, I really hadn’t had a chance to play around with it. But now I have, and although I can’t say that everything about that skill tree is perfect, there are more than a couple of skills that I will be considering for my live character when the expansion launches.

I’ve broken up the Psijic skill line into three categories: utilities, healing, and passives. Keep reading and I will break it down further. And I would like to caveat before I get into the details, that if I give specific numbers, that those might change before launch, and that my character was Champion Level 750 Sorcerer without any CP spent.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s Update 5.9 concludes the traitor storyline in classic style

May the fourth be with you, Massively OP readers. I hope you are having a wonderful unofficial Star Wars holiday. And if you’re thinking about jumping back into Star Wars: The Old Republic to celebrate, then I would highly recommend that you drop down enough subscription money to play through the recent storyline.

I’m rarely surprised by a SWTOR storyline anymore. Even if there is a nice twist, it’s not totally unexpected, and it can usually be predicted that your character will play a side role in whatever conflict is happening in the galaxy at large. But it seems to me that BioWare has taken that criticism to heart and shifted focus in its storytelling in a big and surprising way.

In order to get into the depths of what I mean by SWTOR returning to form, I will have to spoil the storyline, but I also would like to help encourage people to play through this storyline. So I will compromise: The first part of this article will be a spoiler-free discussion of the long flashpoint that makes up the majority of Update 5.9, The Nathema Conspiracy. But the second part will be completely hidden under spoiler tags and will discuss what sets this storyline apart from the previous two years of storylines.

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Tamriel Infinium: First impressions of Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset (mostly without spoilers!)

Over the years, I suspect I’ve made it well known what I find most important in my Elder Scrolls Online gameplay. I enjoy the environments and the quest storylines. I play most of the game solo with very little interaction with any other players. It’s not that I don’t like other players; it’s just that when I started playing ESO, the main storylines in the game where not very group friendly, so that kind of gameplay is what I expected and enjoyed. Of course, that means my primary focus, when playing through the Summerset Chapter for ESO, was story and single-player gameplay.

There are many things added with Summerset that aren’t single-player focused, like the new Cloudrest trial and the Abyssal Geysers, but I’d hardly call myself an expert in those areas. But we solo players do have many things to look forward to in Summerset besides the story quests, like jewelry crafting, a new skill line, and daily login rewards.

For today, I would like to focus on the main reason I play ESO: the story. I’m not going to spoil any major plot points as I describe my playthrough, obviously, but I would like to make mention of key players and things to watch for as you play through the newest chapter.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Five things Star Wars The Old Republic still does well

I have been harping on so many things that BioWare is doing wrong with Star Wars: The Old Republic that some have wondered why I still play the game. I will admit that I have been playing it less and less. Some of that has to do with the amount of free time I have, but if I’m honest with myself, my desire to play the game has dwindled. But I still enjoy it. I know that I don’t need to justify myself; if I like something, I like it, and if I don’t like it, I don’t.

But there are still reasons to like SWTOR, and that’s what I’d like to talk about today. I think it’s time to put a bit of a positive spin in my column, so in no particular order here are five things that SWTOR still does well.

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Tamriel Infinium: Understanding Elder Scrolls Online’s Mephala and speculating on Summerset

Let me teach you how to understand Mephala the Webspinner. Maybe that’s misleading; she’s a Deadric Prince, and who can really understand the motivations of a god, especially one as complicated as Mephala? That’s also what is really wonderful about the characters in Elder Scrolls Online: They never seem to be all good or all bad. There always appears to be some sort of nuance about them that requires explanation.

If you buy the physical Collector’s for Summerset, you will get a 12-inch statue of Mephala, which might be the first collector’s edition of ESO that I buy, and it’s because of that statue. During the introductory livestream for Summerset, Creative Director Rich Lambert simply said that “she plays a role” in the upcoming expansion but didn’t really go any further than that. But if she’s like any of the other featured Daedric Princes, she’s likely one of the formidable enemies – maybe the main enemy – for the chapter. But if the story falls in line with Mephala’s character up to this point, it’s likely that the story is more complicated than her being the villain for Summerset.

First, we should talk about Mephala’s history in the franchise, but then I have a fun theory that I’d like to share.

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SWTOR teases its new expansion, Cartel Market updates, and more coming by year’s end

With all the April Fool’s updates and misinformation that were flying around this weekend, it was a little difficult to tell what was a prank and what was real, especially after developers saying they were not going to do “traditional expansions.” That said, during an interview with influencer SWTOR Central, Community Manager Eric Musco and Creative Director Charles Boyd confirmed that they are currently working on an expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, but not much more was said about that other than one quote from Boyd:

“We’ve got the story in 5.9 coming out in May, and that’s going to conclude the whole Theron traitor story arc and put a capper on the Eternal Throne-related activities, for the most part, in terms of being the focus of the story. And we’re definitely going to be getting back to a Republic-vs.-Empire-core storyline — getting back to that war — revitalizing it into the core original SWTOR conflict.”

However, it’s not quite time to jump up and down, yet. After Boyd said that during the interview, Musco inserted, “We’re still figuring out what the expansion really is,” hinting that most of the pieces aren’t really settled, yet.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The SWTOR prank that revealed so much about the hungry fanbase

With April Fool’s Day falling on a Sunday, Passover, and Easter, I didn’t actually spend a lot of time on the internet watching the pranks and funny videos. Even Star Wars: The Old Republic didn’t have its normal joke videos or Cartel Market sales. However, the SWTOR influencers did have a little bit of fun. SWTORista, Kid Lee, and especially Vulkk participated in a little bit of fun on the prankster’s holiday by making videos about the game.

Sid Caeser is quoted as saying, “Comedy has to be based on truth.” And I was surprised how close to the truth Vulkk’s video was. But that’s not the only things that as hitting home with long-time SWTOR players and even the most loyal fans of the game. Let’s take a few moments to talk about Vulkk’s video and the recent changes to the Cartel Market.

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