Star Wars: The Old Republic, Free to Play, and the Makeb Expansion

I’ve been playing SWTOR for a year, now. I’ve got four characters at level fifty (the current max) and six more anywhere from baby eleven through thirty. I haven’t yet finished most of the class stories (waiting for that level cap increase) so the end is nowhere in sight for me.

With the conversion to free-to-play for the game, I took a hard look at how I play and how much I would spend on frills and unlocks that BioWare has included in the price of a subscription. Then I considered how the restrictions would affect me.

I came to the conclusions that, with so many alts in mid-story, being restricted to only two would drive me bonkers. Some days I want light sabers. Some days the pew-pew-pew is the only way to go. Hubby and I play some characters together and others are strictly solo and PUGs.

How Long Should an RPG Be?

There’s an interesting discussion about game play length taking place over at the BioWare Social Network. Rather than post several hundred words (the dreaded Wall of Text) there, I thought I’d post my thoughts here.

I see complaints with, to me, ridiculously small total hours into BioWare’s games. Most of my Dragon Age: Origins plays end up about 90 hours. I do my best to find all gifts, max out conversations with companions, and have an essentially empty quest journal when I head into the final string of battles. I wander around towns and talk to random NPCs, read some codex entries, click on everything that lights up, and generally act like my completionist self.

Why I Plan to Pre-Order Dragon Age 3: Inquisition

While many Mass Effect and BioWare fans feel betrayed, abandoned, and otherwise shunned by their formerly beloved game company, you may have noticed that I feel different. It seems I have different in-game desires than many.

When it comes to the recently announced Dragon Age 3: Inquisition, my excitement stems not from blind love of whatever BioWare does, though they’ve not utterly let me down even with ME3, it comes from having found something to love in each game, no matter the flaws.

In particular, the Dragon Age series has captured my heart. There isn’t a particular character or love interest that I feel the need to continue, as much as I’d love to see what happens with my Wardens. The characters and setting in general have, instead, drawn me into that world.

Tidbit Tuesday: Tactical Retreat, Part 1

I crossed the open room toward Admiral Anderson, surrounded by people in familiar Alliance blues going about their business. Six months’ isolation had allowed me too much time to contemplate the fact that I had, as accused, blown up an entire star system and killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The anticipated dramatic accusation, or at least gasps of recognition from the soldiers around me, never came. No one paid much attention to the notorious Commander Shepard in their midst, at least openly. I suppose I should have been relieved that the staff at HQ had that much discipline.

In all the time I’d been under arrest only Anderson and James Vega, the soldier who’d guarded my cell on the day shift, had been even vaguely friendly with me. I’d been held strictly incommunicado, even from my closest friends. Anderson had passed along a couple of declarations of support, though not the one I wanted most to hear. Otherwise it had been aloof guards and interrogators going over the same information for the hundredth time.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Will Go "Free to Play"

For those of you who are curious about SWTOR and its vaunted class stories (and excellent voice acting) but reluctant to pay for the privilege of experiencing it, good news has arrived! In the near future—sometime this fall, which could be anytime from next month through the end of the year, depending how you define fall—you’ll be able to pick up the game and play up to level 50 without paying a subscription.

Fifty is the current level cap, so that number may change. If they increase the maximum level for characters the free-to-play (F2P, as they say) limit may be raised as well or it may be extra incentive for non-subscribers to buy access or pony up that fifteen dollars a month to see the end of their story.

The point is that you can leap into the Star Wars universe, run through the main story line in at least one of the classes, and get a good sense of what SWTOR is all about without committing to the monthly subscription. In fact, I’ve seen the possibility of two free character slots thrown around the forum so you may be able to unlock your legacy and establish a relationship between a pair of them without paying a dime.

Tidbit Tuesday: A Pilot's Best Friend

“You know, Corso,” the Captain said casually, her eyes on her screens and the still-distant docking bays, “it’s times like these for which pilot’s pants were invented.”

Corso never knew where she was going with these nonchalant little comments but they invariably led to his blushing madly at her audacity and making him want her even more. She was so different from anything he’d ever known. His stint with the Republic Army had left him feeling urbane and experienced compared to his fellows on Ord Mantell but the smuggler operated on a whole different level.

“All right,” he said with a nervous laugh, “I’ll bite. What are pilot’s pants?”

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 49

Some of My Best Friends Are Artificial

Dance I did, a wild and wooly, high-kicking celebration with Garrus while Mordin sang salarian show tunes for accompaniment. The shuttle pilot finally told us to pipe down because he couldn’t hear Joker over all the pounding and yelling.

Garrus’s mandibles were spread wide in what passed for a cheese-eating grin among the Turians and Mordin’s flat lips were pulled back to show his own teeth. We sat as quietly as we could for about twelve seconds and then I jumped up and started pacing. The deactivated Geth lay in a tumbled pile off to one side and I was itching to boot it up but most of my energy came from relief at feeling no scrabbling claws in my head.

The shuttle docked and we staggered out, dragging the Geth between us, and found half the crew milling around the shuttle bay, slightly dazed and euphoric. They’d all been suffering the same sorts of exploration from the Reaper and were at least as relieved as I was to have been so suddenly released.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 48

Head Games

A couple of relay jumps and hours’ worth of cruising through the backwaters of the galaxy brought us to a Reaper, as TIM had promised. Its presence made no sense at all, considering it had have floated there since the last invasion 50,000 years before, but there it was.

No one on my ship wanted to go into that thing, me least of all. I still didn’t fully believe Miranda hadn’t inserted some sort of control chip in my brain while she’d been up to her elbows in my skull. Well, so to speak. My head isn’t that big.

The idea of intentionally going inside something capable of commandeering my brain made my morning coffee try to come up for a reprise. Going in I was, however. TIM was right about our needing the IFF and, unless we happened upon another handily disabled Collector ship laying about the galaxy this was likely to be the only one available.

The Muse’s Grieving Process

I’m having a tough time making progress on any writing lately. In part it’s because I haven’t been playing Mass Effect or Dragon Age but the worlds in which my stories live don’t necessarily depend on much input from the games themselves. In part my lack of motivation rests in being terribly busy during the time of day when I traditionally write. But the biggest part of my muse’s sleepiness comes from my investment in SWTOR.

On top of the lack of inspiration I’m getting from the story lines, though they’re interesting enough in their own right, I managed to destroy the jump drive on which all of my stories (and posts for my other blogs) live. I backed up the files recently enough that I don’t feel I’ve lost much, if any, content but it means that I cannot work on new chapters (or finishing the ones in the middle of which I’m paused) when I normally do until I replace it.

All of which is meant to be an apology for the lack of progress on any story lines and an explanation of my utter neglect of Just a BioWare Fan in general. I’ve been carrying that little piece of plastic around with me for three years and it surprises me how attached to it I had become. I’d hoped a couple of days drying time would bring it back to life but, alas, it remains an inert lump that no computer will deign to recognize.

Take this as a cautionary tale to clear your pockets well, no matter how little you normally use them, when doing your laundry. And take it, as well, as a promise that I’ll finish grieving and replacing my old jump drive and continue my on-going stories soon. I also have a long-promised new on almost to a point where I’m ready to start posting it. I’ve been anti-angst of late and that one’s awash with it so it’s taken me much longer than intended to actually write the thing.

As ever, I’ll have more one-shots and drabbles as well. I haven’t even downloaded the extended ending for ME3, yet, so hopefully that will spur something. I have updated my Mass Effect-related music list recently and have another short piece almost ready to post, if I can ruthlessly slice its puffery to ratchet up the intended tension. There’s also another naughty bit of Shenko play time ready to go one of these days. If you’ve any questions, suggestions, or prompts I am, as ever, wide open to them.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 47

War of the Words

The nature of the place wasn’t the only surprise Pragia had in store for us. Halfway in we found a freshly-shot varren. I tried not to think of Urz, all alone on violent Tuchanka without me, while Jack, already edgy from the revelation that she perhaps hadn’t been the worst-off kid in the galaxy, paced about raging. It got tougher when the wild dog-lizards started rushing us from dark corners and corridors.

We soon began running into mercenaries, as well. Miranda made half-hearted attempts to counsel us on control, more to prevent Jack from bringing the whole place down on our heads than actual training. I remembered to toss the occasional blast at someone between sniper shots but mostly I just pegged idiots in the head from behind cover. At that I’d had plenty of practice and Miranda barely noticed.

We passed down a hallway of cells that seemed to frustrate Jack even more. “What the hell?” she finally asked. “These cages are even smaller than mine.” Her entire memory, everything she’d believed about herself, had been undermined by what we’d found here. Instead of the most-abused victim of Cerberus she’d been protected from the absolute worst because she’d been the strongest all along.

Mass Effect Timeline Issues and Kaidan’s Doubts

The events of Mass Effect 2 rightfully make Kaidan distrust Commander Shepard, particularly in light of their ME1 anti-Cerberus missions. The timeline that BioWare gives us for the entire span of events in Mass Effect 1 through 3, however, squeezes character arcs and the acts that influence them into a too-narrow slot.

They timeline that BioWare gives for events in the Mass Effect games runs from 2183 through 2186. Even assuming that you being in January of the first year and end at the very end of the last that's only four years for the entire series and Commander Shepard spends half of that dead.

Here’s how it runs in my head canon:

Swingin' Saturday: The Swing of Things, Chapter 11

Two more relatively uneventful weeks passed, filled with work and practice and three performances. On a Thursday evening the band met in the same corridor in which they’d gathered for their first Turian-Human dinner show.

Ambassador Udina strode down the crowded hall toward them, nose first, in one of his innumerable white tunics. He gave the crew a once-over before every performance, though he’d never found reason to complain. His persistence finally paid off.

“Where’s your pin?” Udina snapped at Jenkins.

The corporal paled and fumbled with a flap on his dress blues. “Sorry, sir,” he said. “I just had my uniform cleaned and I hadn’t put it back on, yet.” His shaking hand fished out the little note but it fell from his fingers. Udina made an impatient noise that prompted Anderson to step in to help.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 46

Some Powerful Therapy

Kaidan and I finished eating and he tucked everything away in that clever basket. It had begun to get dark by the time he finished and he came over to sit close, pulling me into him. We watched the sun set over the far hills, the lake turning a dozen unlikely colors, and a sense of unreality washed over me.

In all my life, I’d never known something like this. My defenses had dropped, even with my heart so exposed. It wasn’t that Kaidan would be with me forever, it was that he would never use my emotions against me. I trusted him never to exploit this weakness, something utterly new and wonderful. And so I sat with him, the most content I’d ever been, watching the sun go down on Horizon.

There were some other things soon after that that you don’t need to know about in detail. Suffice it to say that the springy grass under the blanket made for a comfortable surface and that we spent quite some time working off those sandwiches.

Swingin' Saturday: The Swing of Things, Chapter 10

The men practiced and played, worked their day jobs as usual, and socialized of an evening. Kaidan and Anderson made no headway in figuring out what Udina’s angle might be in arranging these performances. At the Alliance gatherings their energetic numbers had people dancing but turian reactions evolved no farther than polite applause and the occasional, furtive tapping toe.

Dr. Chakwas flitted in and out, now showing up for a drink or brainstorming a set list at a rare lunch, now popping in to practice for an hour, otherwise disappearing for days. It was no wonder so many had shown up to celebrate her birthday. She’d treated soldiers on nearly every ship in the fleet helped members of several species over the previous twenty-odd years.

Many of them kept in touch and the doctor followed on-going cases when they docked on the Citadel. Several high-ranking Turians and Salarians owed her their lives. At least one Asari refused to see any other doctor. That all made for a lot of demands on her time.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 45

If Life Were a Picnic

Just as Morinth was leaning in for whatever freaky thing she intended to do to me, the door slid open. Samara didn’t even speak, just hammered her daughter so hard that the backwash of her biotics sent me tumbling off the couch.

The pair seemed evenly matched and only the colors of their catsuits let me tell them apart as they and assorted debris flew about the room. I stayed on the floor, propping my back against the couch but otherwise keeping out the storm of objects and flailing limbs the two Asari created.

The fight raged on for about three weeks and I barely dared to get the occasional lick in when I could. I managed the occasional, biotic cheap shot at Morinth as she flew over my head before bounding back to charge a toaster for use as a projectile but mostly I just tried to keep my head attached to my body by keeping it down.

The two were having the sort of family fight about which I’d heard. It involved a lot of “because I said so” and “you made me like this” and “I brought you into this world and I can take you out” sorts of things. In the end it was Samara who was right: she did take Morinth out.

Swingin' Saturday: The Swing of Things, Chapter 9

The men met Chakwas at the rear entrance to the hall where the first reception was held. The dim corridor bustled with people of every species, the work that went on behind the scenes that few people even considered. Jenkins kept dodging trays of one thing or another that the serving crew carried past at impressive speed.

“Turians can’t even eat real food,” Pressly observed as a passing tray of some mysterious meat left a lingering, pungent odor. “The cooks have to make two full meals.”

“Half the species in the galaxy have different metabolisms,” Kaidan said, irked a bit by the navigator’s superior attitude. “It’s not like they chose to evolve that way, any more than we did.” Pressly shrugged and they both dropped it.

Kaidan hadn’t thought about how awkward parties would be to throw on the Citadel. You’d have to make sure that the right species got the right food or all of your guests would be off to the infirmary instead of celebrating. As he pondered how much must have gone into pulling off Chakwas’s birthday party Udina strode down the hall, beak of a nose in the air, impatiently maneuvering around various aliens without ever deigning to speak to them.

Mass Effect 3 One-Shot: Confirmation

Huerta Memorial has terribly narrow beds. The hospital also fails to provide the usual gowns to its patients, which was how I’d ended up lying tucked up in one of those beds with a nearly-naked Major Alenko in the first place.

He’d been in the hospital for a while and the now-greening bruises on his face reminded me anew each time I visited how close I’d come to losing him before we could do this again. The weeks he’d lain here, first unconscious and then too badly hurt to touch, we’d talked about what we’d been doing for the past four years without one another.

He’d told me he still loved me, that coming so close to death had proven to him there was no reason to hold back and no time to start over. Then he’d held my hand while I swallowed the relief I’d thought might burst my heart. He knew I was no good with words but his smile, even through the wince it caused, told me he knew what I couldn’t quite bring myself to say.

Tidbit Tuesday: An Awkward Proposition

“Let’s get married, Captain,” Corso said to me, all earnest puppy dog eyes and hopeful expression, down on one knee. “Will you marry me?”

I had a hard time keeping my own eyes from rolling in their sockets. “We’re in the middle of a war, Corso. I’m not really thinking long-term right now.”

“I love you,” he said. “I want you to be my wife, like you would be back home.”

I sighed. His constant idealization of his backwater life sometimes made me want to fly back to Ord Mantell and drop him right back where I found him.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 44

The Sins of the Mother

Jacob and I saw the women and what few men could be coaxed out of hiding into the shuttle the transport had sent. All of them were crying and some seemed as much afraid as relieved. I imagine nine years of chemically-induced forgetfulness would make any new and strange experience a little scary.

The woman who’d given me the datapad wrung my hand awkwardly, not quite able to shake it normally but knowing some such gesture was appropriate. It gave me hope that they could recover. “You brought us the sky,” she said, “just like he promised.”

I nodded solemnly at her. “I will remember,” she said insistently. Then she turned and shuffled up the ramp. She lifted her hand briefly before disappearing inside and I realized I didn’t even know if she knew her own name any more than I did.

Swingin' Saturday: The Swing of Things, Chapter 8

The weeks passed quickly. Kaidan and the others found a real groove in rehearsal and spent more time together outside the practice room as well. Despite his enjoyment of his day-to-day duties he hadn’t pursued much of a social life since his last shipboard assignment. The Alliance discouraged fraternizing with subordinates and, under normal circumstances, he simply didn’t see other officers much.

He found himself out for raucous evenings with the others. Jenkins warmed up slowly, intimidated by the ranking officers and the age difference, but he turned out to have a talent for imitation that kept the group in stitches over drinks.

Pressly acted as the perfect foil for Joker’s derisive sense of humor, a straight man with a face of iron. Kaidan was never sure whether he truly didn’t understand the pilot or just loved egging him on for comment after sarcastic comment. Even Dr. Chakwas showed up from time to time, sipping a glass of wine and smiling indulgently at the hi-jinks of her band. Some nights Kaidan felt more like he was living out a classic vid from the 1940s rather than his own life.

An Obituary for My Commander Shepard

Picture, if you will, the dedication of a memorial to Commander Shepard in her absence after she’s saved the galaxy. This is both a picture of her as she lives in my head (at least one version of her) and a complete and utter spoiler of the Mass Effect series as a whole. Remember: this comes from the perspective of a person on Earth when the ending happened.

Shepard was the Chuck Norris of her century, guns and all. Sure, all of those touching emotional scenes in the games made for a more-human hero. She could have love affairs and close friends, could be affectionate and even playful.

But Commander Shepard, as the Mass Effect series plays out, can’t be those things at heart. Shepard had no well-connected mother out there, easing her path up the ranks. She grew up on the streets, tough as nails and twice as hard. She paid for everything she ever won, one way or another. Even my fail-Shep was six kinds of epic but she had a terrible, heart-wrenching time of it in Mass Effect 3. This eulogy is for her. I don’t know who’s giving it but apparently he knew her well.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 43

Daddy Know Best?

Naturally I ordered Joker to head straight for the Citadel, it being essentially next door. Once I’d changed back into my BDUs and thrown my armor in the wash I thought I’d visit Jacob. Hopefully his little display in the shuttle bay had only been an aberration.

When I walked into the armory, he turned from cleaning my sniper rifle. “What were you doing, bashing mechs to death?” he complained good-naturedly.

“That may have happened once or twice,” I laughed. “We were rather outnumbered.”

He set the Viper to one side. “I’m glad you came down,” he said gravely. Ah, crap, I thought, he’s going to bring it up.

ME3 Guest Post Fic: Longing

Today's fic comes from the lovely Acidqueen of BioWare Social Network fame. As the contents are explicit and inappropriate to those of you who are under 18 or happen to be easily shocked or embarrassed, as ever I ask that you not click the "Read More" button or scroll down to see the delicious details.

Longing was inspired by a Kaidan sketch from diraemythos. Most of her work is more R-rated than NC-17 but this particular piece is definitely not something you want your boss, your kids, or you mom seeing over your shoulder. You've been warned!


Kaidan sighs. He reaches over to touch the button on the sound system...and smells her as his nose mashes into her pillow.

The scent is intoxicating, and memories flood back to him. Their first night, her visits during his hospitalization after Mars, their reunion after the Udina Coup. He breathes in deeply, then rolls onto his back, alone with his thoughts.

Mass Effect 3 and Tali's Face

Commander Shepard and Garrus Vakarian can’t have babies because they’re of different species and neither is an Asari. Believe me, I’m not one of those people who wants their Shep to retire and start popping out the kids so I’m okay with that. But that wasn’t my point.

If they could, the kid might look like a what BioWare shows as a Quarian in Mass Effect 3: human face, Turian arms and legs. And that’s why I think Tali’s face in ME3 is a bunch of bullshit. I love a lot of things about Mass Effect, obviously, but even though I don’t much care for the character their “reveal” of her face disappointed me.

Can Tali look humanoid? Certainly. Lore has all of the aliens (except the Keepers and the Hanar) looking more or less human. She’s got boobs, for heaven’s sakes, something apparently universal to all species except Krogan and, perhaps, female Salarians and Turians. As I’m not sure we ever saw one of the latter two I can’t really say.

More Thoughts on the End of Mass Effect 3

Let’s play a little logic game with changing the ending to Mass Effect 3. The prevailing winds seem to be blowing the idea that Shepard was indoctrinated when Harbinger lazed him or her at the bottom of the beam to the Citadel and the rest of the game was merely the Commander’s internal struggle against it.

That’s fine as far as it goes though normally I despise the “it was just a dream” ploy as a cop-out of the highest order. Many have suggested that the best possible thing for BioWare to do would be to release an expansion pack that lets Shep “wake up” and then have an epic space and ground battle between the Reapers and the galactic fleet, not destroying the mass relays and most certainly, definitely not having the Normandy en route to god only knows where before the fight truly began.

While I’d love to see such a battle, it removes Shepard from the playing field and relegates our champion, savior of the galaxy, to the cheerleading squad. Considering how difficult it was for the ground team to take out one reaper on the way to the beam, I hold out little hope of such a war being won by humanity.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 42

All Dressed Up and Somewhere to Go

On the way across the galaxy I had time to get into an argument with Miranda about removing the Cerberus logo from the shuttle. “Look,” I said for the fifth time, “we’re undercover. A badass pirate isn’t going to be flying around in a shuttle with that freaking logo on it.”

“This is Cerberus property, Shepard,” she said, crossing her arms and cocking her hip. “The logo stays.”

I cursed colorfully for a bit. “I’m in charge, damn it, and the logo goes.”

We stood in the cargo hold and the crew I’d detailed to paint over the thing all sat around watching the show. I gestured at the shuttle and they crawled to their feet, waiting to see if she would try to countermand my orders.

ME3 Fic: Kaidan Learns a New Trick

It’s time for another NSFW one-shot, dear readers, this one a Mass Effect 3 story. As ever, you young (or shy) folks out there ought not to click to finish the story. Here’s my retelling of the night Kaidan finally gets up the nerve to visit Shepard in her quarters. He knows her well enough to understand that she needs something to take her mind off the next day’s fight and the last few weeks’ horrific events. He’s decided he’s got just the thing.

I was keyed up, pacing my quarters in impatience. We had finally pinned down Cerberus headquarters and, in a matter of hours, would be knocking in TIM’s front door. I could hardly wait to get my hands on the bastard.

Until then I had nothing to do but brood. Fantasies of the hundred ways I could kill the twisted son of a bitch warred with the reasons I wanted to do it in the first place. I owed him more suffering than I could really dish out, not being a morally-bankrupt, sadistic puppet of the Reapers…like he was.

Mass Effect 3: The Ending

SPOILER ALERT! I have some questions about and some support for the ending. Naturally that requires me to write about things that those of you who have not finished the game do not know. If you’re anti-spoiler please don’t click and then yell at me for giving it all away, okay?

I can say, without spilling any details, that the finale was moving. It wasn’t what I wanted but what happened with Shepard made sense within the context of the story. My issues lie with the aftermath. I’d love to hear your thoughts so please do share any comments or quibbles with me.

Tidbit Tuesday: A Slow Resolution

A quick word of warning: this is a précis of the Kaidan-Shepard relationship in Mass Effect 3. It contains spoilers...kind of a lot of them. If you don't want to read spoilers, don't click "Read More" below. Naturally I've added rather a lot of conjecture and dialogue that you don't get in the game. I wrote this as a way to explain to myself how the relationship worked at the incredibly slow pace at which it progresses. Naturally, it's all Kaidan's fault.

Mass Effect 3: What a Ride

I’m violently opposed to spoilers. I’ve avoided watching or reading anything about Mass Effect 3 for months, as hard as it has been to resist looking. I wanted to be surprised by every plot twist and retcon in the game.

In part it’s because I wanted the intended effect of BioWare’s writers’ and actors’ efforts. I don’t want to know if someone is going to die or blow me off or betray me. Commander Shepard doesn’t cheat.

Imagine my shock at the Horizon scene with Kaidan in Mass Effect 2! Had I known what was coming it would have all but drained the impact from the confrontation. (I’m avoiding spoilers with this example. See how nice I am?)

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 41

Fast Friends

We calmed down after a last, bumping little shuffle. Tali explained the Quarians had come to Haestrom to look for any evidence of solar instability from when the they’d briefly settled there—after being driven from their home world by the Geth and before being chased outside the Veil entirely.

It seemed that the system’s sun was deteriorating much faster than normal solar forces would account for, thus the excessive heat and radiation that were melting us in our armor. They wanted to compare any old data with new readings to verify their concerns.

“Why the hell do you care?” I asked. “It’s not like this is your home world. Did your people love it so much here that they just want to make sure the planet’s okay?”

Tali scoffed. “If the Geth can destabilize a star, we need to know. No matter where we settle, we cannot be safe if they can threaten the sun of our new home…assuming we can find one where we can live without these suits,” she added bitterly, gesturing at her mask and hood. Kal was nodding in agreement.

Mass Effect 3 Demo: A First Reaction

You know I couldn’t possibly wait more than half an hour to play the Mass Effect 3 demo when it became available. I didn’t. Though the taste whetted my appetite for the game (new abilities! familiar faces!) what it did more than anything was frustrate me.

If you’ve played the demo, you know what I’m talking about. “Do you know Shepard?” “I used to.” Squees became howls of frustration (and let’s not talk about Ashley’s dye job.)

All I can say is that BioWare better have come up with a damned good explanation for why loyal Shep hasn’t been with Kaidan or Ashley between games. “I used to…” I ask you!

A Word on Space Combat in Star Wars: The Old Republic

Space combat plays an important role in Star Wars, as much in SWTOR as in the movies. But how does The Old Republic handle those battles?

Those of you who cut your digital teeth on flight simulators likely look forward to skimming enemy space stations and making that skill shot down a ventilation shaft. (How many of the rest of you are picturing the Death Star exploding right now?)

Why Does BioWare Charge a Monthly Subscription for SWTOR?

I had a thought the other day, in reading the SWTOR forum. At yet another accusation of greed, something to which I’m sympathetic, it occurred to me that servers, hosting, and patches are not BioWare’s only costs.

What’s the name of the game, here? Star Wars, of course. And when you see that splash screen while loading LucasArts appears prominently. Are they known for being loose with their copyrights? Do you suppose EA Games perhaps pays a hefty, on-going license fee to set this game in George Lucas’s universe? I would bet you a month’s subscription fee that they do.

I’d also bet that any new content BioWare plans has to get the stamp of approval from the folks over at LucasArts. This added layer of bureaucracy, understandable and possibly even necessary though it may be, adds to the cost of running a game of this nature.

Sideline Wednesday: The Champion's Side, Chapter 38

If Wishes Were Horses

Anders glanced up from healing some sweet-looking, filthy child while his parents wrung their hands. He’d known I was coming and his own freshly-scrubbed face shone in the light of his magic.

The tableau showed me a dedicated healer exhausting himself in the service of others, but I couldn’t help but suspect he’d arranged it for my benefit. It echoed the scene in which we’d first met so closely that it seemed precisely the sort of obvious ploy Anders would try.

The image of the endearing bumbler couldn’t stand up, however, to the fact that this was yet another attempt at deception. He might as well have put up a shrine to Andraste in one corner and a choir or urchins in the other. I crossed my arms and leaned against a nearby table to show that I wasn’t fooled.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 40

A Quarian in Need Is a Friend, Indeed

Kaidan whispered lewd suggestions enough to keep me entertained during trips to the dance floor. He made them casually, all the while looking as bored as one can with three quarters of one’s face covered.

I was glad for my own mask several times, though the exposed skin on my chest colored enough to make him laugh once or twice, despite his act of sophisticated nonchalance. In part my flush came from pleasure at knowing he never showed this side to anyone else. He was the consummate professional, a military man to the bone, regimented and controlled.

But once we’d become friends, and then broken that pesky fraternization rule, our time away from duty was filled by a man I’d never have known filled out those tasty, generic BDUs.

Technical Difficulties

Please excuse the recent interruption of posting here on Just a BioWare Fan. Sadly, I broke my template and it took me days to find the problem. By then I'd changed it twice and have now reinstalled the original template but all of the widgets got eaten. I will get back to regular posting within the next week. Thanks for your patience!