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: 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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Tamriel Infinium: Where did the Elder Scroll Online Summerset come from?

Even though I don’t believe that Summerset was the best choice for the next expansion for the Elder Scrolls Online, that doesn’t mean that the chapter is without merit. According to ZeniMax Online Creative Director Rich Lambert, Summerset will be bigger and have more to do than Morrowind. It’s hard to believe that the actual island is bigger, but I do believe that there is much more playable area on Summerset than on Vvardenfell because it doesn’t have a giant volcano sitting in the middle of it taking up a lot of room.

Because this island hasn’t been seen since Elder Scrolls: Arena, it’s hard to know what to expect from this land. We know that certain things exist, like the Crystal Tower and the home of the Psijic Order Artaeum, but we haven’t ever really seen some of these places in any games.

Because I’m a lore buff, I’d like to take a few moments to talk about the first settlers of the Summerset Isles, the Aldmer and their “purest” descendants, the Altmer. But really, I’m only going to be able to scratch the surface of this deep and isolated culture.

Read more

Hyperspace Beacon: So SWTOR’s Update 5.8 happened

Yesterday, Star Wars: The Old Republic launched the delayed Update 5.8: Command Authority to the servers. BioWare now offers its first complete operation since Shadow of Revan. For those keeping score at home, SoR was launched way back in December 2014. We also see some much-needed improvements to the guild questing system that was originally launched with Strongholds expansion earlier in June of 2014, although BioWare has been adding to and improving strongholds since then. And lastly, we are introduced to some of new interactions companions Arcann and Ashara.

It’s only been a day since the launch, but I’ve had a chance to take a long look at most everything BioWare introduced in this expansion. And overall, I’m glad to see an update, but it’s just kind of… there. I have to wonder whether it was really necessary to make the bulk of what was introduced into a major update at all – or the developers could have placed the individual pieces into a much more impactful update. Let me explain what I mean by breaking apart the major pieces.

Read more

Hyperspace Beacon: Why SWTOR fans should be excited about Fogbank

This week, I’m going to depart a little from the usual insights into the world around Star Wars: The Old Republic and talk about another studio that isn’t owned by LucasFilm and certainly isn’t owned by Electronic Arts. I’d like to talk about Fogbank Entertainment.

Some people believe that a studio makes a game what is it. Others believe that it’s the IP that the studio carries that makes the video game unique. I think that IP and the studio name carry weight. I certainly would not play SWTOR as much as I do if it carried an IP like Valérian and Laureline. But one of the primary reasons that I believe that SWTOR performed as well as it did (or didn’t, depending on your opinion) was the quality of the people behind it. For me, some of the most integral people to making a good game are the writers. And many of the SWTOR writers have moved on from BioWare and have effectively started their own studio: Fogbank.

If you recognize names like Daniel Erickson, Alexander Freed, Drew Karpyshyn, and Hall Hood, then you will definitely want to see what they are up to at Fogbank Entertainment. If you don’t know who they are, then give me a moment to explain why they are superstars of the gaming and MMO industry.

Read more

Hyperspace Beacon: Carving up the new SWTOR Conquests

The original Lead Systems Designer for Star Wars: The Old Republic was a man named Damion Schubert. A friend of mine used to call him my nemesis because he seemed to be in charge of everything that I disliked about SWTOR. At community cantinas and other interaction with fans like the Guild Summit, he said that he is work on SWTOR would not be done until he was able to give guilds their own flagships. He was true to his word. On May 11th, 2014, BioWare launched Galactic Strongholds, and with it guild flagships. Shortly after, we found out that Shubert had moved onto a different project.

Now, Shubert isn’t really my nemesis, but Strongholds in many ways have been a point of love and contention for me, especially when it came coupled with Galactic Conquests, a system that never really lived up to its potential.

With Update 5.8, the BioWare team is looking to revamp Conquests. As promised in the 2018 roadmap, BioWare Community Manager Eric Musco gave us a more detailed update on Conquests on the forums. But the changes to Conquests won’t be as meaningful to you unless you understand where Conquests are currently.

Read more

Hyperspace Beacon: What was not said in the SWTOR 2018 Roadmap

Star Wars: The Old Republic players leaped for joy when Producer Keith Kanneg finally released the winter and spring 2018 roadmap last week. It was good to hear from him after so much silence over the holidays. I don’t begrudge the silence, personally. It’s typical for people in the games industry to slow down some over the November and December holidays. And many companies do not receive their annual budget until mid-to-late January. So the simple truth is that BioWare Austin probably couldn’t make any real promises for 2018 until February.

Also, Kanneg made some great statements at the beginning of his letter to the SWTOR fans. He said, “We’ve decided to use the Forums as the means to get you the information about the next couple months versus waiting for a Roadmap.” I’m completely on board with this. And I hope that SWTOR fans on the forums allow the developers to be more open and honest with their communication. That would mean that there will probably be things that are said that have to be taken back and more we-hope-we-can-do-this statements that aren’t actually promises.

Despite the good things, there were a few subjects that weren’t talked about or were glossed over in the roadmap that do raise some concerns.

Read more

Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online’s new outfit system is close to perfect

I can spend hours with an outfit designer in an MMORPG. When APB was a new thing, I literally spent whole game sessions in front of its customization terminals. And I am only slightly embarrassed at the hundreds of millions of credits that I’ve spent on Star Wars: The Old Republic cosmetic armor. I knew it was only a matter of time before Elder Scrolls Online created its version of an outfit designer to steal away my time and money.

When ESO introduced wardrobes and costumes years ago, I believed that we weren’t going to get anything more. However, Update 17 last week added a new layer of character customization. With the addition of the Outfit System, there isn’t really anything else players need to make their character look the way that they want.

ESO‘s designer takes elements from other outfit systems that work and create its own unique way of allowing players to piece together items. In fact, I would say that ESO‘s outfit design is close to perfect.

Read more

Tamriel Infinium: Where will the next Elder Scrolls Online ‘chapter’ take place?

In case you missed it, a couple of weeks back there were a couple of spoilers datamined from the testing files that seem to point in one direction for the next chapter of Elder Scrolls Online. By chapter, of course, we mean the next Morrowind-tier expansion, not just the regular and ongoing DLC and updates. And let’s be honest, we have long suspected that we would eventually see the location mentioned in that article open up as an explorable; it was just as obvious as Morrowind itself. But it’s not the only possibility! There are other more interesting locations that could eventually be on the ZeniMax agenda, either this year or beyond.

As I speculate on the possibilities for the next chapters and what these locations have to offer, imagine what would be the most interesting story and offer the most potential for content. There is also the aspect of nostalgia and attachment to new players that have to be considered, too; after all, one of the reasons that the Morrowind chapter worked so well was because of its strong connection to Elder Scrolls III.

If we look at the map of ESO as it currently stands, thanks to the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages, we can see five major areas that have not been filled in yet. Those areas could probably be separated further, like the east and west banks of the Nibenay Bay. The Nibenay Basin and the Blackwood on the east side and Elsweyr on the west. But those are not the most likely areas to open up next. I’ve narrowed my picks down to three.

Read more

Hyperspace Beacon: No, Star Wars The Old Republic isn’t on the verge of sunset

I recently read a wild argument based on unsubstantiated rumor that Star War: The Old Republic is nearing its end of life, that BioWare is tired of it and is considering shutting it down. It’s just one among many I’ve read lately, and I don’t believe they are right. Instead, some appear to be repeating the same tired premise: “I don’t like it, and therefore no one should like it.”

Now, I don’t like many games, but I understand the merits and positive qualities of even some of the oldest, most shop-worn MMORPGs. First-person shooters make me disoriented because of the camera placement, but that doesn’t make them bad. In fact, one of my favorite series of games, Bioshock, was all told in first-person, but that didn’t affect the quality of the game. (Of course, I had to play it in super-easy mode just so that I could get through it without getting sick, but that’s beside the point.)

So in that vein, I would like to present my argument for why I believe the rumormongers are wrong about SWTOR.

Read more

Hyperspace Beacon: The case for mature-themed guilds in the SWTOR community

I am a huge advocate for guilds that can remain friendly to the under 18 crowd. One of my favorite Star Wars: The Old Republic guilds, Unholy Alliance, is open to everyone. They have rules in place that make the guild friendly and fun for both adults and those under 18. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend any MMO for those under 13 that wasn’t specifically made for children unless they are accompanied by a trusted individual over 13. If you’re a guild leader, I believe it’s in your best interest to keep your guild friendly to those under 18. It gives you a greater opportunity to grow the guild, and teenagers are some of the best advocates for the game.

On the other hand, many guilds are 18+ and with good reason. Some have even gone so far as to say they don’t want members under 21. Granted, the guilds I’m talking about are usually roleplay guilds. In fact, SWTOR has the most 18+ guilds per capita over any other game from my perception. It’s tough to find a roleplay guild in on Star Forge that accepts players under 18. Although I don’t believe that every guild should be this way, I can understand some of the reasons why, and not all of them have to do with erotic roleplay — although that’s in there. What are the mature-themed guilds that you will find in SWTOR? And do they have to be mature-themed? Let’s answer that below.

Read more

1 2 3 22