And they lived happily ever after – A first glance into end-game content

“You have taken your first step into a larger world.”

-Obi-wan, Episode IV – A New Hope


Of late, my toon has been racing across the galaxy, conversing with thousands of citizens of the Republic approaching him for help. He has killed countless enemies, gathered, destroyed, pillaged, escorted…and generally had a blast doing it all.

At the pinnacle of it all was his own defining story, a truly epic and heroic tale, of which he was the center of a major conspiracy which drove straight through the heart of the Republic. Not only did he survive the entire ordeal, but in the end he emerged from the ashes of conflict as a true hero of the Republic, and all the glory she stands for.

Then, the unthinkable happened.

Dodd hit level 50. His class story wrapped up shortly thereafter.

As a SWTOR player, this changes the context and psyche of the game considerably. Dodd is still very much the carefree flyboy with a heart of gold that I had intended him to be, however…the class quests and xp grind have both come to a fairly abrupt end. And also, the class story is done. No more Voidwolf chasing me around the galaxy. No more big schemes to thwart. The loading screen, which constantly provided me with an updated SW-themed scroll with Act I, Act II, Act III now reads…”Interlude”.

I found myself quickly asking…ok, what now?

I’m fairly sure as a n00b level 50, others have asked themselves this question, as well as those within the guild who will be getting there shortly. I owe big Props to Dashl for grouping up through several planets, and Jeezbus for running us through several flashpoints. I also freely acknowledge that I devoured this game content in relatively short time and found myself slightly ahead of the leveling curve in comparison to my Alvian guildmates. This was done consciously, for personal reasons I won’t get into here.

So I’m taking the time to document my research on life after level 50, and present it to you, spoiler-free. I’m sure this entry will not necessarily be complete, and perhaps might even become outdated by the time you read this. But here is my best attempt. Here is how to gear up and get ready for Alvis Operations. I admit, we may be getting slightly ahead of ourselves on this one, since they might be a ways off. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared ahead of time…

Things to remember as a level 50 n00b:

1) You don’t need regular XP anymore, but you will be continuing to gain legacy XP. Keep this in mind if you’re still on Corellia at level 50, on a bonus quest and somehow thinking you still need to kill n mobs of x in total. Bonus quests provide a nice xp boost, but you don’t need xp anymore. So unless you think there is a hint of getting additional credits or commendations from the bonus, ask yourself if this grind bonus quest is worth it for legacy xp, or if it will help you move your character forward in any way. If the answer lies somewhere in the negative, or if you’re uncertain, or just plain bored, you may wish to discontinue the bonus quest and just focus on the overall quest objective.

2) All quests still provide you gear, credits and legacy xp. Average payouts for most Corellian quests are decent in the 6K+ range/quest. So they’re worth doing.

3) Continue to earn as much money as you can. If you go with Speeder 3 training, you’ll need about 500K or so for class training AND speeder 3 training when you hit 50. I was flat broke afterwards and could barely afford fuel costs when I was done on the Republic fleet. Sure, the 1.5 mill speeder which you can buy from vendors might look enticing, but keep in mind this is a vanity item, an expensive one at that, and might take time to grind that kind of cash. For now, speeder 3 and a nice Aratech Dagger will get the job done at 110% speed, quite adequately.

4) This is an MMO. MMO endgames usually involve the eternal quest for better gear until the level cap is raised and more content is added. SWTOR continues to deliver story and purpose to this MMO grind, but overall, the goal as compared to every other MMO remains the same. Get more gear!

5) According to Devs…more moddable endgame gear is on the way. This is a complaint on the forums I’m reading. The best thing about an MMO is that it is ever evolving, patching, ever improving. We’ve only just begun with SWTOR, folks. If there’s something you don’t like about the game…sit tight…chances are the Devs have noticed and are already working on it.


Things to experience at level 50, while your guild is getting ready for Operations:

1) First things first. Help other guildies, to the best of your ability. Class quests and Heroics aren’t always easy, having an extra blaster or saber at their sides will help (not to mention a level 50), and while you won’t earn XP anymore and you’ll be potentially gimping their XP gain for killing the mobs, you will nevertheless earn good karma xp. I’ve had the good fortune of Jeezbus running us through several Flashpoints, and I would say that I am extremely grateful for his assistance. Not only this, but consider the more people hit 50 in Alvis, the more available help you’ll have for some of the more difficult content, just as daily heroics and flashpoints (see below). So help out others and enjoy the content this game has to offer.

2) Gear up, and get ready for endgame PVE content. Here are the known current ways of getting started…

  1. PVE Repeatable Daily Quests. Without story spoiling, if you’re really stuck…Go back to the Republic Fleet. A Twi’lek located in the Cantina will point you to Belsavis, where you will eventually unlock around 8 repeatable daily quests on that planet, in a level 50 zone. These quests, unlike other regular quests, will provide PVE Commendations (along with credits) which can be traded for PVE items on the fleet.  Each quest (there are at least 7) earn 1 commendation and 7150 credits.
  2. Hard mode flashpoints. Group up and try some of the higher-end flashpoints (Directive 7, The Battle of Illum, or The False Emperor), or redo some of the original content on hard, and nightmare modes. The way these work is that the bosses up to the final boss will drop epic gear, and the final boss will drop a class token. All bosses will also drop Tionese Crystals, which are used in conjunction with other commendations to purchase epic PvE gear from the Tionese vendor on the Fleet. The main disadvantage here is that the gear drops are random, and from what I hear, Bioware still has some patching to do to ensure equal distribution amongst classes. As of today, the endgame loot bags we were promised while the game was in development aren’t there yet.
  3. Flashpoint Dailies and Weeklies. These are straightforward and gotten from the Fleet. Complete 1/day and 3/week on Hard Mode to get the max reward. Basically you’ll just be doing Esseles to complete this quest.

4) Gear up, and get ready through endgame PVP content. So – yeah. The PVP item purchasing system is a little confusing at first. But it’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. For this, you’ll mainly do PVP Warzones. Lots of them. I’m guessing premades will help a lot in winning if you can find a good group of people who communicate and work well together. Otherwise, be prepared to swallow your pride and lose…repeatedly. I’ve been in about two dozen battlegrounds so far with Dodd and haven’t won one yet. I keep hearing that Republic isn’t that bad, and I’ve probably just experienced a string of bad luck. You might win a bit in the process, and develop l33t skills, pwn teh nub (then go to iHop).

  1. Grind Warzone Commendations through warzones, and trade them in for Mercenary Commendations at the PVP vendor (at a 3:1 Conversion Rate). Essentially, once you’ve accumulated 800 Warzone Commendations (specifically, 200 Warzone Commendations and 200 Mercenary Commendations), you can start buying Champion and eventually Battlemaster bags once your valor rating is 60. If you’re serious about this grind, you’ll basically want to set aside your tokens until you hit 60 valor so you’re skipping the Champion bags altogether (Rating 140 versus 136). These bags have (at the time of this article) a one in ten chance of dropping random epic items, as well as Champion / Battlemaster tokens which you trade in on the fleet for gear.
  2. Daily and Weekly PvP Warzone Wins – These two quests are picked up on the Fleet. Win 3 matches a day, and 9 a week. Daily gets you 1 Champion Gear bag, and the weekly gets you 3.
  3. PVP Dailies – Similar to Belsavis PVE quests, you will also get a quest to head to Illum, and there are daily quests there which also give rewards for completing specific objectives within a PVP zone. The slicing there is excellent, also…incidentally.

5) Crafting. At the time of this article, there aren’t a whole lot of schematics worth crafting for endgame, from the research I’ve done. Nevertheless, it’s still worth investigating and ensuring both you and your companions have the best crafted gear available.

6) Have you discovered all the holocrons and looked at Matrix Cubes yet? If you’re anything like me…you probably rushed through and never bothered. But they will give you a slight extra edge, so look them up on swtor-spy, and get cracking!

7) Do your companions love you, or hate you? Do you care? Do you want them to open up to you more? Romance, and possibly marry them? Try building your relationship with them by offering them gifts, and questing some more with them.

8) Roll an alt! Same server toons earn shared Legacy XP and it’s easy to run some PVE/PVP dailies on your main to get a couple mods and ship some credits to your new toon and blast through crafting much faster.

9) Social Points, titles, space content…there’s so much more the game has to offer.

I might have missed some stuff here, or there may be some clarifications required. Again, I’m still a newbie level 50, and I’m still putting the pieces together. But I hope this helps you, fellow Alvian, to quickly find your way in the universe after you’ve completed the leveling grind.

May the force be with you.

Tak’s Take: Being a Filthy, Filthy Codex Whore

Does this describe you?  You have just finished the last bonus quest on Taris.  You are ready to leave that planet and its horde of rahkgouls behind.  Suddenly, a persistent itch presents itself at the base of your skull.  Something is missing.  A quick look at your codex reveals your sense of deficiency.  There are things you have not seen, people you have not met, and lore you have not read.  If you cannot relate to this feeling, then congratulations, you are most likely a healthy well adjusted individual.  Otherwise, you are a filthy, filthy codex whore.

Mario Skills FTW!

Mario Skills FTW!

I have only ever played two MMOs: Star Wars: Galaxies and Star Wars: The Old Republic.  The games approach exploration in vastly different ways.  In the Galaxies sandbox, you had vast open vistas that, while often presenting nothing more than a pretty view, offered the hope of discovery.  As a theme park game, The Old Republic often rewards exploration with big red barriers.  So I see the codex as Bioware’s attempt to throw us explorer types a bone.

Curse You Missing Species!

Curse You Missing Species!

The codex encourages exploring areas on the map where no mission icon exists.  It tempts you to take on that champion mob to see what may be hiding behind it.  Loot is secondary to discovery.  However, the codex can also be maddening.  Datacrons, for example, reward exploration with stat bonuses, but require a level of jumping dexterity that I seem to lack.  Oh, Super Mario Bros, did I learn nothing from you.  It also drives you insane when a codex entry is bugged.  I must have travelled the entire map of Ord Mantell five times searching for those last two species entries that were impossible to find.

I like to poke my head in strange places

I like to poke my head in strange places

And yet, my futile attempt to complete the codex entries of Ord Mantell introduced me to my next obsession: completing the world map.  It is always fun to see all those little hexagons disappear from my word map once I have visited every area on the planet.  The bit of XP I get, does not hurt.  Even this has bugs, though.  The only way I could complete the world map on Coruscant was to poke my head through the roof of the starport.

No Hexagons!

No Hexagons!

Those of us who score a 100 percent explorer on the Bartle Gamer Psychology Quiz will find their options limited in Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Thankfully, Bioware has given us a couple of outlets. We have become filthy, filthy codex whores.

Basic Healing Theory

This is not about healing in SWTOR, this is a very very broad overview of healing in MMO’s in general.

Healing is all about “just enough.”  With DPS, you want to do as much as possible, period.  With tanking, if you have extra threat, so what?  With healing, you are constantly balancing health versus your force/energy/ammo bar.

HPM versus HPS

Oh noes, scary letters!  Breathe.  Let me explain.

HPM = Heal Per Mana.  In our case, it’s force/energy/ammo and totally not mana, because that’s so “WoW”, right?  This means what is the heal going to COST you.  After all, a healer who is out of mana is a useless healer and people start croaking.

HPS = Heal Per Second.  This means how much health you’re delivering in a given amount of time.  How fast are you filling up those health bars.

Each healer of every class has hard-hitting expensive heals (High HPS, Low HPM), and slow-ass cheap heals (Low HPS, High HPM).  Your job as a healer is to judge incoming damage and balance between HPS and HPM.

That’s it.  Really.  If the tank is taking slow damage, you can use cheapie heals.  If the tank is dropping fast, you use the big fat mana-hoggy heal-bombs and hope that you will have time later to use cheapie heals and build up your resource pool again.

It’s Probably Not Your Fault

Sure, if you ONLY use your big fat hoggy heals and run yourself out of mana early and the whole group dies, maybe you’re doing it wrong.  However, could you have used anything smaller at any point?  Did you need to spam those huge heals to keep people from croaking?  If so, it’s not your problem.  Someone ELSE was effing up.  Maybe the encounter was too hard.  Maybe morons were standing in the fire.  Maybe the tank overpulled.  Maybe the tank forgot he had cooldowns that he could have used to mitigate the damage.  Maybe there was crowd control fail.

Not every death is your fault.  In fact, most of them are NOT.  Remember that.  And if someone dares to blame you, come down with the fury of Alvis and smite his sorry ass.

Practice Healing

I know, this is DUH, but bear with me.  It is FAR easier to level as DPS and switch to healing later, and that’s fine.  But before you throw yourself hyperventilating into a flashpoint, why don’t you do some heroic quests with your buddies?  Maybe it’s “too easy” but it’s the laboratory where you can learn.

How much of the health bar does the heal fill?  How much of my mana bar does it consume?  Often you’ll be eyeballing the health bars and soon you’ll know exactly the right heal for 1/4 a bar.

It’s a good way to get comfortable with the slow-ass cheapie heals.  Often when you get into your first flashpoint, you kinda panic and go “zomg everyone’s gonna DIEEEE” and start throwing out the heal-bombs and next thing you’re out of mana.  Practicing can give you the confidence to say “this will take care of the damage, nobody will die in the next 3 seconds, I CAN afford to be cheap.”

And finally… where your buttons are.  You do not want to be FUMBLING later.  Half of this is muscle memory.  I am a total dork for about a day after I move any keybinds.


The last thing you should take away is that you are super-important.  You are more important than anyone else in your group.  The tank may feel important, but he’s a loser.  You are the backbone of the group. They will die without you.

It is totally ok to let someone die on purpose.  You won’t get dark side points. Don’t do it just to be mean.  Ok, you can do it to be mean, but not too often.  If they can’t get their asses out of the fire, they need to learn the hard way. There are times where you are skilled enough to pull out the miracles to save someone who is about to die.  Whether you choose to go to those extreme lengths is up to you.

If you are out of mana (or whatever) you can (and should) stop the entire group and tell them STOP AND I HAVE TO REGENERATE.  If they wander off anyway, they are just asking to die.

DPS are a dime a dozen.  You are a superstar.  They need you.  Never forget that.

Flashpoint Group Play: A Primer

In recent conversation with a guildmate who hasn’t played an MMO in earnest since Galaxies, he confessed he was afraid that his lack of Warcraft experience would hinder him as he went higher in level. This prompted me to want to write a primer for how group play in MMOs like SWTOR generally work. This is intended to help close the knowledge gap between the WoW vets and the people who skipped that.  Some of the information may seem obvious or elementary, but it is all building to more complicated concepts later.


Basic Group Theory: Division of Labor

In group play there are three main roles that people play. Either you are designed to take damage, heal damage, or deal damage. We commonly refer to these roles as Tanks, Healers, and DPS respectively. Unlike in single player games, where at some point you become a god, MMOs divide up the jobs over different classes so people specialize in something and have only moderate abilities if any in the other areas. Tanks for example have talents and equipment designed to reduce that 1,000 point hit down to 750 or even 500 points. They tend to focus on having more health than other roles as well. But the cost to those abilities is they can’t heal themselves and their damage is mediocre compared to a character designed for DPS. Let’s take a look at what the roles do.

Tanking in a Nutshell

If MMO combat was a dance, the Tank would be the one leading. They often plan how the enemies will be pulled, they designate which ones will be crowd controlled, and they decide the kill order. But a tank’s main goals are two fold really:

  1. Stay Alive
  2. Keep enemies hitting them and no one else

The staying alive is partly up to the healer who we will cover later, but also up to the tank. Tanking in general is a very equipment focused role. Your gear directly influences your health pool, armor rating, and your ability to dodge, parry, deflect, or absorb attacks.

In addition to the gear, they also have talents designed to increase their survivability. It may be a talent that adds a debuff limiting the damage output of an opponent. Or it may be a talent that massively reduces incoming damage. Some will be passive requiring now work at all, while others will be something you want to use in special circumstances.

The final part of the staying alive job is knowing when to use your cooldowns. Cooldowns refer to special abilities that cannot be used more than once a minute. These tend to have big effects and should be used judiciously. Warding Call for a Jedi Guardian is an example. It reduces incoming damage by 40%, but can only be used once every three minutes. You would want to save this for when you need it and not just use it every time you can.

Keeping enemies hitting you is the second job a tank must master. Think of enemies (or mobs as they are often called) as having little lists of who they hate most. They will generally always attack the one they perceive as being the biggest threat. If the enemies were rational they would realize that the healer should die first, then the DPS and save the tank for last. But mobs are not terribly rational and we have tools to make them think the low damage guy in heavy armor is way more of a threat to them than the sneaky smuggler who just two shot his friend. Having the mobs attacking you is often referred to as having threat or aggro. One of the key skills a tank must master is when to use his taunt. A taunt forces the mob to switch who it is attacking towards the tank. This is really useful when an enemy is pummeling your healer and you want to redirect it to yourself.

Healing in a Nutshell

Healing is key to any advanced encounter. A good healer can keep bad tanks standing and dumb DPS alive through some rough patches, but a bad healer can let the tank die from simple neglect, wiping the group. The key to healing is knowing your priorities. A healer’s first job is to stay alive. A dead healer does no healing. A common ‘ailment’ of healers is tunnel vision. They get so focused on keeping everyone else alive and watching health bars they neglect to notice they are standing in the fire. The second job is to keep the tank up. Remember tanks are so much better at taking hits than anyone else that in many fights a good tank and healer can finish a fight long after the DPS has died. It may be close, but barring a fight mechanic like an enrage timer or the healer running our of resources (force power, ammo, energy etc), the tank and the healer can often finish the fight. That said keeping your DPS alive really does help.

The key to being a good healer is knowing how much to heal and when. Some fights are just a steady trickle of damage which can be responded with a regular heal. Other fights have large spikes of damage, but they are less frequent. Those might require a large powerful heal to respond, after which the healer goes easy in order to restore the resource pool for healing. Each healing class has strengths and weaknesses. Some are good at AoE heals (an area of effect heal that can heal multiple targets at the same time), others specialize in heals over time (HoTs) which are good for keeping people topped off. Some have really good single target heals but might not be as strong in other areas. It is important to learn the playstyle for your healing class and knowing which heal is the right way to respond to a given situation.

DPS in a Nutshell

DPS gets the reputation of being the easy job. People will rag on you as being a dime a dozen and easily replaceable. And while there are a lot of DPS players out there, the difference between a good DPS player and a bad DPS player is huge. A good DPS player will stand out for the small things they do that help a group out. The fundamentals of being a good DPS player are as follows:

  1. Minimize unnecessary the damage you take
  2. Crowd Control wisely
  3. Focus Fire on the right target

The first thing to know about being DPS is minimizing your incoming damage. If you are the Jedi Knight who insists on standing in the lava for some reason, you are going to irritate your healer who will have to choose between throwing heals at the tank or you. In that case you will lose and you just made the rest of the group’s job harder. Now you can’t always avoid damage. There are plenty of reasons you might take damage. Grenades have splash damage, things fall form cave roofs, and you might have to off-tank something for a second until the tank can pick it off you. Put the important thing is to try and keep it to a minimum.

The second fundamental is mastering your crowd control abilities. The tank may think they are indestructible, but I guarantee you that if enough enemies are hitting him, they will die. Crowd control makes this easier. Before a pull the tank might mark up mobs and tell you to crowd control (force lift, cryo grenade or something else) a particular mob. That essentially reduces your number of enemies everyone is fighting for some period of time. The tank is happy because they have one less thing to worry about, the healer is happy because that is one less source of damage. Keep your target crowd controlled as best you can until the tank turns the groups attention to it. Which leads us to…

Focus fire on the right target. The thing about mobs is they do the same damage output usually whether they are at 100% health or 1% health. The most efficient way to get rid of them is crowd control up some of them and then focus fire one mob at a time until it is dead. Sometimes with many weak mobs it might make more sense to just use area of effect abilities, but when dealing with strong, elite, or champion level mobs, focus firing is the best way to go. Make sure you stay on the right target, and don’t break someone else’s crowd control.

If you do those three things you will get a reputation as being a good DPS player and people won’t think of you as easily replaceable.

Final Note on Kill Order

It seems like Bioware likes to mix the difficult of mobs in flashpoints and heroic quest zones. A strong mob might be surrounded by a few regular mobs. An elite or champion may have a few strong mobs surrounding it. It has been my experience that the best approach towards killing them is to work from weakest to strongest. Crowd control elite mobs and strong mobs if you can and focus on the regulars first wiping them out quickly. As soon as you cannot crowd control the strongest mobs in the pull, have the tank focus on that. A DPS can easily offtank regular mobs since it is just a few seconds of incoming damage before they drop. Stong and elite mobs however generally need a proper tank to absorb the damage.

I hope this helps lay a foundation for group play for players who are new to mmorpgs and want to make an impact in group play in SWTOR.

The Church of Alvis defeats SD-0 and Other Doings of Early Access

Early game access has been with us for about a week and guild chat has been filled with comments like “Hey guys I just saw….”. Here are a few highlights of my week in early access.


Celebrity Sighting

We are on Juyo and one of the guilds on our server is named Porkins Pigs. I don’t know if this guy is aiming to join them, but quite frankly his look was well done and I wanted to give him props.

This man is on a mission

Lieutenant Porkins if you ever read this, I salute you for all your hard work and dedication to the Republic.

Alvis Defeats SD-0

Thursday night I was questing on Coruscant when I stumbled upon a world boss known as SD-0. Being the guild spammer I am I said “Hey guys I found a world boss.” I didn’t expect anyone to act on it since people were focusing on leveling at the moment. But to my surprise Jeezbus offered to come and tank it. The team of Jeezbus (level 33 tank), Dashl (Level 18 dps), Bulwark (level 17 dps who was healing), and myself (level 12 tag along) gave it a shot. It took us a few times to master it, but once we got the fight mechanic we got it down.

4 maned the world boss. Props to Jeezbus for tanking.


The key for us was me calling out who had the linking debuff and directing them where to run to minimize damage.


Crafting is Fun

I’ve played SWG and WoW and crafting has always been somewhat tedious to me. The reason I have figured out was I hated gathering things. When I’m out in the field I want to be shooting and looting, not looking for flowers and rocks. In SWG the resources you needed required a lot of work to get and quality mattered. In WoW my problem was the people I were shooting were always surrounded by materials I couldn’t gather yet. SWTOR has succeeded in helping me enjoy gathering crafts. Namely by allowing me to outsource.

Welcome to my crating workshop.

Being a GM I find often I have to take time away from the action to get involved in helping guild members. The SWTOR crafting minigame allows me to truly do both with competence.


Tak’s Take: Smuggling for Fun and Profit

So you want to be a smuggler. Good for you. Smuggling is an exciting and potentially lucrative endeavor. Here is a beginner’s guide to this less than noble profession in four easy steps.

Cloaking is for Pussies

Who needs a cloak?

When you first consider entering the exciting world of smuggling, you may have a moment of weakness: cloaking technology. You should avoid this at all costs. I cannot stress this enough. First, a ship capable of cloaking eliminates your light and medium freighters. As we all know, no ship that small has a cloaking device. If you are so wealthy as to be able to buy a ship large enough to carry a cloak, then why the hell are you smuggling in the first place. Besides, using a cloak to sneak past a blockade will lose you a lot of credibility with the smuggling community. Seriously, we will all point and laugh at you. Sack up and get a light freighter.

Nooks and Crannies

Choose Wisely

Now that we have settled on a light freighter as the ship of choice, it is time to focus on the contours. If you want to be an effective smuggler you are going to need a place to hide your stash. The key is to avoid simple geometric shapes. While your cubes and spheres may be great for hauling around your collective, they tend to make for poor hiding places when you inevitably get boarded. “We are the Borg. We do not know how all that pot got on our ship, officer.” No, the keys to a good smuggling vessel are nooks and crannies. The closer your ship looks like it was designed during an epileptic fit, the closer you are to passing that inspection.

Blasters and Enforcers

One big ass wookiee. . .or three or four.

Now that you have your ship, it is time to get your gun and someone bigger than you. Your choice of fire arm can mean the difference between walking out of the cantina and being dragged out of the cantina to be thrown in the nearest dumpster. You are going to want something quick on the draw, so stick to a small carbine or a blaster. For the love of Alvis, do not pick a melee weapon. They may be great for prancing around in robes or for a good ol’ fashioned baby seal clubbing, but they won’t do you much good when the guy you double-crossed is on the other side of the hanger bay.

Remember, hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a blaster at your side (unless your religion is all about blasters, like The Church of Alvis). You know what else no match is for: a big ass wookiee. What’s better than a big ass wookiee? A big ass wookiee with a life debt is, let me tell ya. Do your best to find the nastiest, foul smelling, so-ugly-his-mama-wouldn’t-kiss-him, bruiser out there, and save his life.

See, simple.

The Crevice that Dare Not Speak its Name

The beer may be warm, but at least it's close.


At this point you may think you have everything you need to be a successful smuggler. You would be wrong. Every smuggler reaches a point of last resort; the point where no other hiding place is immediately available. Yes, I am talking about the dirty, dirty business of anal cavity smuggling. Every smuggler must ultimately really on his or her resourcefulness. And nothing says resourcefulness more than being able to cram that balloon up where the sun don’t shine seconds before the authorities break through the hatch. Here are some tips:

  • Wrap that thing in something. Nothing kills resale value more than
    skipping this step.
  • Avoid pointy ends. This tip, as it were, speaks for itself.
  • Lay off the roughage. ‘Cause, you know, gross.

Mazel Tov

Congratulations, you now have the basic steps to successful smuggling. You have taken your first step into a larger world. One last thing to remember; even I get boarded sometimes. When that bounty hunter comes after you, shoot first.

Guild Launch Alliance Offer

The implementation of the guild launch program has assigned The Church of Alvis to the Juyo server. Unfortunately we did not have nearly as many guilds coming along with us as we would have hoped. As a result members of the following guilds are being extended an offer to relocate.



Cult of the Wolf

Lost Smugglers


The Snark Side

The Watch

For Science


For those guilds we want very much for you to locate on Juyo from your assigned server and play with the Church of Alvis. We are prepared to give your members temporary use of our guild to coordinate until such time that you can form your own guild. And that is not all we are prepared to help raise funds for your guild charter as well.


Please be part of the growing Juyo server culture and take us up on our offer. Use our forums to coordinate the transition or the comments on this post.

Cuspar’s Corner: Failure to Pre-launch

Welcome to Cuspar’s Corner! I’m pretty sure I can solve your problems better than you can, so without further adieu, let’s make your life better.

Our first questions come from a real go-getter named Bruce, in Dallas.

1) How do I unlock the TaunTaun rideable mount?
2) How do I defeat the last boss in the Black Talon flashpoint?
3) Is there a female voice for your droid companions?
4) Is there a continuity argument against playing a Hutt Bountyhunter trapped in a Twi’lek consular’s body? Can I do this on an RP server?
5) Where is the app for my iPhone that lets me know when my companions have returned from a crafting mission?[/i]

Wow. Well, thanks for the questions, Bruce. You sound like quite the “leet-dude”, but obviously, not leet enough.


1) How do I unlock the TaunTaun rideable mount?

Ahh, the tauntaun. Who didn’t see Episode V and think to themselves, “That looks awesome! I wish I could ride a herky-jerky hunk of clay through a faux snow storm.” Thanks to the fine folks at Kenner, your dreams are now a reality.

I can understand your difficulty with “unlocking” this majestic mount. Firstly, you will need a nice pair of scissors or a pocket knife. There are often nearly invisible pieces of tape keeping the box flaps closed. Once these are severed, the cardboard inner packaging should slide right out. Untie the twist-ties to unlock your mount. Before straddling your mount, you may want to coat it in 30-40 bags of cotton balls to avoid inner thigh chafing. My wife’s adopted cousin posed to illustrate how you can expect the mount to look once unlocked and prepped for mounting.

2) How do I defeat the last boss in the Black Talon flashpoint?

The boss of the Black Talon is one of the first REAL challenges you’ll face in SW:TOR. Spoiler: it’s a Jedi, and it’s a GIRL.

Yadira Ban

Also found when one googles “Yadira Ban”

It’s important that you use your “special abilities” during boss fights. These “special abilities” take more time to use but inflict heavier damage on the boss. You should also make sure that your character stays out of the range of the boss’ “special abilities”. Be certain to do these things and it shouldn’t take more than 5-6 attempts to kill the boss.

I happen to have a link to the end of this fight saved in my YouTube favorites and have it save below.

3) Is there a female voice for your droid companions?

Yes.  But your wife told me that you’re not allowed to have female droid companions anymore.

 4) Is there a continuity argument against playing a Hutt Bountyhunter trapped in a Twi’lek consular’s body? Can I do this on an RP server?

Your question requires a two part answer. Regarding the first part, no. Most people like to cherrypick a bizarre species/occupation combo and play them trapped inside the body of another character. I, for instance, am playing a Mon Calamari bounty hunter trapped inside the body of a Miralan trooper. For roleplaying’s sake, I will pretend my trooper eats only kelp and that he has ink-black urine because of the trapped soul inside of him rather than space-gonorrhea.

As for “role playing servers”, feel free to do what you want. “Role playing servers” are referred to in game programmer-speak as “loser-bot test servers”. All visible avatars are actually computer simulations of sad and lonely players. If you want to have some fun on a “role playing server”, make your hutt-twilek bounty consular a busty female and try to have cyber-intimacy with one of the test avatars. There is a flaw in the bot system where the male avatars will ALWAYS engage in cyber-intimacy with busty female “role play” avatars. This is rarely tested because most created busty female avatars try to engage the computer-controlled busty female avatars in cyber-intimacy.

Role Play Server Screenshot


5) Where is the app for my iPhone that lets me know when my companions have returned from a crafting mission?

Unfortunately, no such app exists. Crafting was a beta-only feature and has been removed from the final release of the game. It remains a very popular feature among the bots on the “role playing servers”. I’ve actually given my real life “companions” (my wife and son) crafting missions to do while I play SW:TOR. They sent me a picture of their craft on my iPhone to let me know that IT was done. Perhaps you could try the same thing!

Well, Bruce, I’d really like to thank you for being the first shattered soul to come begging for help in Cuspar’s Corner. I’m sure I’ve helped you immeasurably, and would love to hear how my advice works out for you! I’m looking forward to offering ongoing help as we approach the launch of SW:TOR and beyond. Don’t feel that you have to limit yourselves to gaming questions – relationships, politics, homework help, and health advice are all available as well! Catch you next time!

– Cuspar Inirv’E

The opinions of Cuspar Inirv’E do not represent the opinions of The Church of Alvis, nor is The Church of Alvis responsible for the content of this blog. Cuspar Inirv’E is not qualified to dispense advice about anything, to anyone, ever. This is intended to be a work of satire and adherence to the stated advice could result in bodily harm, illness, or marital strife. Cuspar Inirv’E is not responsible for any outcomes should anyone act on his stated opinions.

An Important Imperial PSA

With Beta Closing I went to Nar Shaddaa and picked up the Slave Girl Social gear for Mako for the picture of her below in a cut scene. The idea popped in my head to make a WW2 style anti-VD ad and this is what I came up with.



Remember every time you sleep with your companion you are sleeping with everyone they slept with and since there were 2 million people in Beta that is a lot of people.

A sight-seeing stroll through SWTOR

AT-AT's Great-Great-Great........Great Grandma?


Twas the last day of SW:TOR’s beta, and I found myself not wanting to move the story forward anymore (despite the fact that I’m playing Republic at launch. So I finished up the arc I was on and went on walk about. There’s a lot of fun details and environmental touches that the game holds if you take a few moments to look around. The gem above struck me because from far away I thought it was an AT-AT.

Amused by the show of imperial force I headed into local Imperial city to snap some other shots. The cities, space ports and cantinas are some of the finest places to find some interesting characters. These folks apparently had caught some rebel scum and the female Captain seemed determined to lecture them until their ears bled.

Imperial Guilt Trip


Making my way into the local cantina I found some poor guy who had been assigned to clean up the floors outside what might have been the bathrooms. Rebel or not – that’s a horrible job. Cleaning a cantina has got to be a terrifying, humbling, and disgusting job. I decided to stand over him and share the lecture I had seent he Capt give him outside to help with morale. He didn’t seem interested.

I'm going to tell you how to do your job while Vette watches.


But that wasn’t the only interesting sight the cantina held, oh no. Per the usual Star Wars experience there were slutty

No cantina is complete without them...

twi’leks. Everywhere. Now I get it – that’s what that race is known for, but I played one of them in SWG so they have a special place in my heart. Seeing them objectified just doesn’t sit well with me. So I took pictures and threw credits at them. You know. For taxi fare.


But it’s not enough to have half nekkid Twi’leks. No, that wont do! This is the future, or the past or this has all happened before and will all happen again – whatever.


The point is – holowhores.

The future has crappy resolution


For some reason the Twi’leks needed to be objectified further in a holographic for where they can properly be ogled? Again I did the only human thing and threw some credits at them and told them I could /flourish better then them.

But it wasn’t enough to ogle the women-folk, I had to see what the band members had going on. There was a Twi’lek and a Rodian going at it on the kloo horn and key-tar with the usual number of dancers. But

Mr. Beefcake

there… back int he corner dancing alone next to the jukebox was some corn-fed wide-shouldered creepy guy. He bopped and shook in the shadows, possibly watching the guys on stage, possibly eyeing the reveler in black? Who knows. But Mr. Beefcake is that guy in the club. You know the one. Sometimes I scam him for drinks.

Tired of half nekkid women, I headed to the starport to see what was going on over there. I bumped into a threesome of imperials who seemed to be reprimanding their own peers. This was not the first time I had run past this group. Last time the gentleman on the right was outright cussing her out, waving his hands and accusing her of something. I didn’t stop to ask. This time around I was more stuck by the early Leia hair and the fact that now the two guys seemed to be considering how to punish her. Since server reset was coming I threw her a gun, some credits, and some advice.

“Alvis shot first”

Hmmm... how shall we punish her this time? Look at those sweet buns... On her head..


Boarding my ship for places unknown, I stopped to take a photo of this neat looking droid. Nothing nifty about him – just


thought he looked cool. It’s clear that a lot of work went into creating a lot of the characters around the game. Even the dewbacks looked good!

It was then that I discovered that I could do space combat. Now I’ve never really enjoyed space combat in other games (SWG:JTL most notably) but I did play a lot of flight/fighter sims as a kid so I usually try them at least once. (I suck at BF:1942 despite my best efforts) I was shocked to find that i really really loved the space combat in SWTOR. It’s not really like flying at all, it’s more like a mini game you’d find in a browser or in an RPG for a console, but clicking away like a madwoman – I found myself repeating quests in space out of sheer entertainment.

The ship flies on rail and you have to shoot targets, take out fighters and place your missiles wisely. Maybe I enjoyed it because I felt good at it. Maybe it was really easy – either way I’m going to have a LOT of ship upgrades come launch.

Ice clusters>My ship


It was a really great last day of Beta. I was grateful to get to see more of the game (I got to 20, woo!) and even got my “love interest” companion. Who I promptly flirted with until he was awkward. I’m getting this game, and I miss it’s warm embrace already. But I know the wait will be well worth it. And when that time comes – I already logged the time off request.

See you in SWTOR!