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

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s Umbara is shrouded in darkness

Have you heard of the planet Umbara before? The Star Wars fan who has seen only the movies will likely say no, and even if you are a BioWare or Old Republic Star Wars fan you will probably say no too. The only people who would likely know what Umbara is are those fans who watched the Clone Wars television series. However, any Star Wars fan who has seen the prequel trilogy has seen a character from Umbara. You probably don’t know the name, but you’ll know the face of Sly Moore, the bald, pale woman who stood next to Chancellor Palpatine in Attack of the Clones. She was his senior administrative aide, and more importantly, she was the bearer of his secrets.

Star Wars: The Old Republic takes a journey to the shadowy world in the next update, dubbed Crisis on Umbara. Of course, since this is the Old Republic timeline, we are thousands of years before the Clone Wars, and really anything can happen. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have clues for what to expect, however. Let’s discuss the things we know about Umbara and what we know the update is going to bring us.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Star Wars The Old Republic’s Uncle Owen problem

When Star Wars: The Old Republic first released, an old Star Wars Galaxies argument popped up, and the crux of that argument was this: “No one wants to be Uncle Owen.” If we say that SWG pre-NGE was the Uncle Owen game, where players could successfully play a simple moisture farmer, and compare it to SWTOR, where you can be a member of the Dark Council, then we would see that SWTOR is clearly the winner if we are talking about the sheer number of players. However, SWG was one of the founding MMOs; it helped kickstart the genre. There were just not that many people playing MMORPGs at that time, so comparing the raw numbers is a bit unfair.

The argument continues. If we look at the story in the upcoming Battlefront II game, we see a kind of Uncle Owen story. The main protagonist of the game is a Commander of a squadron of Imperial soldiers that we have never heard of until now. Her name is Iden Versio, and she is, for all intents, a faceless Stormtrooper. Star Wars fans are very excited about playing through this storyline. I’m one of them.

However, the biggest place where we see the Uncle Owen controversy is in the SWTOR roleplay community, and I believe that if we study their arguments for and against playing a powerful character, we will gain a greater understanding why some storylines work and others do not.

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Tamriel Infinium: Impressions of Elder Scrolls Online’s Falkreath’s Hold dungeon, part of the Horns of the Reach DLC

Although the vast majority of my time in Elder Scrolls Online is spent solo, running through the single-player storylines, I raid and have done a lot of group activities in other MMORPGs. So when I was invited to run the newest dungeons with some of the developers, specifically Creative Director Rich Lambert and Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan , I had to say yes. The actual run was livestreamed yesterday and since posted to YouTube. (I’ll post the video below.) But during that time, I didn’t really get a chance to give my impressions of what was happening, so perhaps now would be a good time to let you know what I thought.

Most of us here are PC players, so you will be glad to know that this dungeon releases on August 14th with the Horns of the Reach DLC for PC, but for those playing it on consoles, you will have to wait another couple of weeks until August 29th to actually play the dungeons. As for the whole DLC itself, it’s much like the Shadows of the Hist DLC: There are new achievements and meta-changes to classes, but for the most part, it revolves around two four-man dungeons. The one I ran was called Falkreath’s Hold.

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The Stream Team: Stepping into the Reach with ESO’s Creative Director

The Elder Scrolls Online continues with its quarterly release schedule despite the recent launch of its next chapter: Morrowind. ZeniMax Online Studios named its next DLC Horns of the Reach and it’s releasing this month. This DLC features two dungeons Bloodroot Forge and Falkreath Hold. And we bet you want to take a look!

The Stream Team invited Elder Scrolls Online‘s Creative Director Rich Lambert to join us today as we explored the later of the two dungeons, Falkreath Hold. So tune in at 2:00 p.m. EST as our ESO columnist Larry Everett and Rich Lambert a gather a team of developers to tackle the latest ESO content.

What: Elder Scrolls Online
Who: Larry Everett and ZOS Creative Director Rich Lambert
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

Enjoy the show!

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Tamriel Infinium: The problem with Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind plot is the twist

I played the Morrowind expansion for Elder Scrolls Online to death when it was sitting on the test server. But oddly, it was a bit more of a struggle to compete on the live servers. Despite this, I believe that Morrowind is a wonderful addition to ESO, and I am looking forward to seeing future content like the Horns of the Reach.

Now that we have all had a couple of months to get through the Morrowind content, I believe that it’s safe to talk about some of the spoilers, especially since the thing that bothered me the most about Morrowind was the main story twist.

This is your warning: Beyond this point, I will probably spoil everything for you. Turn back now and finish the main story for Morrowind or risk being spoiled!

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Hyperspace Beacon: The sexual harassment problem in SWTOR

As most of our readers probably know, I consider myself a member of the roleplay community in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have been a part of MMO roleplay communities since 2004, and there isn’t a lot that I haven’t seen. However, there is a problem in the online communities, in general, that I have been quiet about, but I feel that something needs to be said about it before it hits a breaking point. And the gamemasters of the SWTOR world are stretched too thin and have to take extreme action — an action that will likely limit those who are innocently trying to have fun. The problem is harassment against women.

In my community, we have some very strong women, and I don’t want to call them out because I don’t what to make them targets. But I do want to thank them for their effort, and I would like them to know that their extra work has not gone unnoticed.

I myself merely play female characters sometimes, and many times when I’m on those characters, people assume that I am a woman in real life. Although I know that my experience only scratches the surface of what a woman gamer goes through, even I can see that it’s a problem. So I would like to touch on what I’ve seen and why I see it as a growing issue.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Star Wars The Old Republic’s mid-term report card

You would probably expect me to cover the new Star Wars: The Old Republic Manaan stronghold because it just released yesterday, and indeed, I will be covering that in my livestream with MJ this afternoon. But if you came here for my elevator-pitch impressions of the new stronghold, I can only say that it is mixed. There are some really great things about the new stronghold and some really bad things about the new stronghold; the base would have a bigger impact if there were visuals connected with it. I will lay that all out in the livestream with MJ.

Here, I would like to give my impressions of where Star Wars: The Old Republic sits in the middle of the year. As always, I like to use the Bartle Taxonomy to see how it appeals to different types of players. Bartle’s archetypes are Socializers, Achievers, Explorers, and Killers. I’ll get more into the details of what that all means in a bit. No one will fit any one of these archetypes 100%, but people will tend to lean heavily into one category or another.

Massively OP writers took a test based on Bartle’s Taxonomy a while back, and although it doesn’t cover everything that players are interested in, I believe it gives a good impression of what players of MMORPGs are looking for. Below, I have pulled apart the key features that each archetype is looking for in SWTOR and measured them with a letter grade scale.

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online’s mid-term report card

At the beginning of every year, I give the games that I am embedded in a letter grade centered around the four different player types featured in Dr. Richard Bartle‘s taxonomy. And at in the middle of the year, I like to see where things are so far.

Of course, I know that the paper that the taxonomy is based on is over 20 years old now, and the theories don’t apply 100% to MMORPGs. But I believe that there is enough of a connection between what people want from an MMORPG and the player types from Bartle’s paper that we can draw a connection.

The four different player types are Socializer, Achiever, Explorer, and Killer. For grades, I take a look at Elder Scrolls Online and ask, for instance, “What would an Achiever think of what ESO has done this year?” And then just as important, I ask, “What could be done to improve the game for the Achiever?” Of course, it really just boils down to my opinion, but I’d like to think I’ve been pretty good about putting myself in other people’s shoes in the past and looking at games from their perspectives.

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Hyperspace Beacon: An open letter to all roleplayers in MMORPGs

I really hate when non-RPers get their kicks out of making light of what roleplayers are doing to have fun. Many times, the roleplayer will be standing at the bar minding his own business on an RP server no less, when all of the sudden some bored 12-year-old in a 40-year-old body spams as many particle effects at the people just attempting to have a conversation in character. You’d think if that happened enough that it would cause people stop roleplaying; I’m fairly certain that’s in the back of the griefer’s mind. Sometimes it works, but most of the time, I like to believe that it just strengthens the roleplayers’ resolve. They try harder to find a place where they can be comfortable doing what they enjoy doing, or they simply ignore the flashing effects around them and barrel through.

But the funny thing is I don’t believe it’s that kind of thing that actually drives roleplayers from a game. I believe that the biggest detriment to roleplayers is other roleplayers, and the biggest hurdle in attracting new roleplayers to the gameplay style is ourselves.

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Hands-on with Secret World Legends: A second chance for a first impression

I would like to start this article by saying that there are a lot of things to like about Secret World Legends, but for me, those good things — despite their being some of my favorite things about RPGs and MMOs — make it hard to overlook what I consider the flaws of the game.

Although there were always weird bits to The Secret World’s storytelling, like the silent protagonist, I’ve long considered it to be some of the best storytelling in MMORPGs. With the launch of Secret World Legends, that has not changed. In fact, I would say that as an introduction to the game, it’s improved. The weak point to the game has always been the combat. There were some very confusing things about it, which have been fixed, and there were some aesthetic issues, which have not been fixed.

I am very torn about how to approach my impressions of the game. I want to come at it as someone who hasn’t played it before because it’s being sold as something new. But at the same time, I have played the game, and I know exactly why I never played it for more than a week at a time. I approached the game from two different perspectives: Would this impress someone who has never played it, and will returning players who didn’t stick with it over the last couple of years be interested enough in the changes to come back?

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Hyperspace Beacon: A three-step guide to conquering SWTOR’s Nightlife event

Last week, Star Wars: The Old Republic brought back the Nightlife event on Nar Shaddaa. In a nutshell, it’s a gambling event. After all, Nar Shaddaa is an underworld haven, and if mob movies have taught us anything, it’s gambling and casinos go hand-in-hand with the underworld.

The sad thing is that I kind of like this event. It’s not because of the activity of the event; that part is the most boring thing to watch because you’re literally just clicking on terminals. And it can’t be because of the cost; a player can literally go through millions of credits in just a few hours.

It’s because of the prizes. They really are some of the coolest things that you can get without having to touch the cash shop in any way.

I was watching Sechari from the Passionately Casual Podcast hang out with his Twitch chatroom as he was playing through the Nightlife event when I realized that it’s possible that not many people know how to maximize their credits for this event. I’m going to give you the same advice I gave Sechari, in three easy steps.

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Tamriel Infinium: The major flaw in Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind’s PvP

When I spoke to ZeniMax Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler a few months back, I was intrigued by the PvP that Morrowind was offering The Elder Scrolls Online. When it hit the test servers, I found it to be exactly what I thought it would be. But because of my playtimes or just the general activity on the PTS, the queues didn’t pop much, so I didn’t get enough of an impression of the Battlegrounds during the test.

However, since the chapter hit the live servers, I’ve been able to spend a good bit of time in the no-Champion Points version of the instanced PvP zones. (As many of you know, I have a heavy aversion to Champion Points, so I apologize that my impressions of the Battlegrounds are only reflective of that.)

Now, I enjoy PvP sporadically. I would not consider myself a hardcore PvPer. But there was a time when I spent all of my game time in both instanced and open-world PvP, so I am not ignorant of the interests PvPers: balanced classes, interesting and unexploitable maps, and strategic and engaging objectives. Of course, there will always be balancing issue when you’re dealing with the number of class combinations ESO carries, but they are relatively balanced. And the other interests fall in line with most other MMO PvP. There is one major flaw that appears effective on paper, but when you factor in human nature, it fails almost every time: 4v4v4.

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind is the MMO you want and don’t want

I have been head-over-heels for Elder Scrolls Online since One Tamriel, and the Morrowind chapter has only added to my enthusiasm for the game. I understand that this game now feeds into the things that I really like in my MMOs, but it didn’t always. And I know that other people clearly have different tastes from mine

What I would like to attempt to do today is to face some of the desires and questions people have for MMOs, to examine some of the common pitfalls afflicting MMOs to see how ESO Morrowind fares and avoids those it does. I’ll attempt to imagine that I am looking for a new MMO and stumble upon Morrowind – what am I going to look for and what are some other people going to look for in the game?

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