Star Wars: The Old Republic Live-ish Blog. Chapters 8-10 of “Knights of the Fallen Empire”

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Spoiler Thoughts:
  • Chapter IIX: Taking Flight
  • Scorpio and HK-55 might not be BFFs.
  • Hm. Is this a bad time, Heskal?
  • Oh, I guess it was.
  • Heskal, useless to the last.
  • Well I guess it’s Mother-Daughter dance night.
  • I think Senya still wants to think Vaylin isn’t batcrap crazy.
  • Ok, I thought we left Koth behind, but now he’s here?
  • Not sure what to do, at this point. Maybe a bug.
  • Ok, restarted, and had a fight they skipped last time.
  • Always a bad sign when you walk into an area and there happen to be a bunch of kolto stations just hanging about.
  • Wow, Arcann is rag dolling us pretty good here.
  • Oh and now he’s all “NO TOUCHEE!” You have some complexes Arcann.
  • Noooo! HK-55!
  • Oh that looked like it smarted.
  • Like worse than a bee sting.
  • I’m glad we can just walk off an impalement.
  • Arishok all over again.
  • That hole in my back doesn’t look so good.
  • It’s really stealthy with me screaming and groaning every few seconds.
  • Boy, it’s a good thing these guys are terrible shots, because it looks like the Gravestone has no shields.
  • Chapter IX: The Alliance
  • The music for this game is really good.
  • Montage! Montage!
  • Theron’s back! At least it’s going better than Horizon with Kaiden.
  • Our shiiiiip!
  • Even dead, Heskal is sending crazy messages from beyond the grave.
  • I feel like we just reached Skyhold.
  • Oh, romance lock-in time. Who shall it be? Lana, Theron, or Koth?
  • Well we made C2-N2 happy but we may have also just killed him.
  • That was a pretty sedate romance scene.
  • This is apparently a family show.
  • Senya is just a barrel of laughs.
  • Arcann, you dupe.
  • Satele, what if you stopped just hanging out with dead guys, and came and helped?
  • Well the ship seems same as always, although a lot emptier.
  • Qyzen! He doesn’t seem that surprised to see me, after I’ve been frozen for five years.
  • Well at least these alliance-building missions don’t make us waste a lot of time in travel.
  • M1-4x is basically the Tom Cruise character in the film where he dies a lot.
  • Ok, you need to do PvP to get him, so forget it.
  • Lokin needs…a bunch of stuff you have to pay for? Or wait for an event?
  • Pass.
  • This is turning out to be kind of a weak alliance.
  • So now it kind of feels like we’re back to the class storyline-ish missions. Understandable, but kind of a let down from how good the last 8 chapters were.
  • Also, I guess they couldn’t keep up with all the voice work, because some of the time we’re back to the silent protagonist.
  • Uggh. The Star Fortress is a Flashpoint.
  • Oh and we’re not going to get any help at all. Fantastic.
  • Died immediately. So that’s good.
  • In jail with a prison collar on.
  • Ok, after dying half a dozen times, it turns out that you can call a companion.
  • Oh uggh. Every time you die, you go back to start.
  • Man, I do not know how this seeker droid works, for nothing.
  • Ok, apparently we can’t progress in the Star Killer quest without doing Heroic missions.
  • That seems hard.
  • UGH. Back to flashpoint.
  • Oh great. It says the heroic missions are only for two or more players, or for solos who have strengthened their alliance.
  • I guess we’ll find out if we strengthened it enough.
  • It won’t let me in the Flashpoint, because it says I already have an open one on solo difficulty.
  • Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to live with the star fortresses.
  • Ok, came back to it and now it’s letting me in.
  • Fun fact: if you submit a ticket about a flashpoint not working, you get an email stating that they only give support for class missions.
  • So I guess this bit is just doing these heroic missions until you maximize your alliance strength with each advisor, and your friendships with your companions.
  • Kinda grindy.
  • HK-55! He fixed HK-55!
  • HK is so fun.
  • Ok, raised all the associates over 10, and have Lana to 11. Now let’s try the Star Fortress again.
  • Died at Praetorian.
  • Died at Praetorian.
  • The guards respawn.
  • Ok, I think we may officially bag the Star Fortress quests.
  • So long whoever I was supposed to recruit from them. We never knew ye.

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  • Chapter X: Anarchy in Paradise
  • Oh good. A potential ally no one likes, who’s a terrorist.
  • So the Alliance is going well.
  • She keeps saying I stole her thunder. I’m not sure it means what she thinks it means.
  • Oh you’ll leave me to it, Theron? With this deranged terrorist and skytroopers on the way?
  • Kaliyo isn’t exactly a people person.
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Firebrand has a pretty plush pad for a terrorist.
  • These mission descriptions are getting kind of terse.
  • Valkorion sounds like he has a thing for Kaliyo, which would be none of my business if it wasn’t going on inside my head.
  • At least Vaylin seems like she’s having fun.
  • Well, chapter X was probably the least impressive of the ones so far.
  • The missions were pretty repetitive, stealth was useless, and Kaliyo as a character seemed pretty familiar.
  • Like if Jack was slightly less insane.
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Once Upon A Time, S5E19: “Sisters”

Royal Thunderdome: Two princes enter, One prince leaves.
Are you watching this show? Do you wish someone would watch along with you because everyone else you know thinks it’s dumb?  Here is what I was saying while I was watching it–I WILL WATCH WITH YOU.
Spoiler Thoughts:
  • There are so few good things that are preceded by “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire.”
  • Didn’t Hades also know Zelina for about half an hour before he decided she was his true love?
  • I guess you don’t need much time to determine such things. 
  • Mini-Regina!
  • Shades of “Frozen.”
  • Time to visit the Rock Trolls. 
  • Like Zelina has ever been a master of rational thought. 
  • That’s right. Involving Cora is always a good idea. 
  • Not sure Rumple loses a lot of sleep over letting anyone down. 
  • Pretty sure the jury’s out on Cora’s “good witch” denomination. 
  • Oh, here we come. James on David showdown. 
  • Wow, that was a fast fight. 
  • Hey, remember when Emma could tell when people were lying? 
  • Maybe she lost that superpower when she got her other ones. 
  • It is amazing how much smarter the evil incarnations of people are. 
  • Asking Cora is also one of those things that is rarely a good idea. 
  • Man, Hook has more powers than anyone down here.
  • This really doesn’t seem like it’s going to end well with Zelina. 
  • Yep. 
  • This kind of seems like an abrupt turnaround for Cora. 
  • Remember when Emma had powers? 
  • Or before that, when she could take care of herself before she had any powers?
  • This family reunion may not end as well as the last one. 
  • James is gonna end up in the drink. 
  • Yep. 
  • If Cora’s so sad about leaving, why doesn’t she stay? It doesn’t seem like any thing’s demanding she take off now. 
  • The power of last-minute repentance. 
  • Dude takes his true love to Granny’s instead of the chicken and waffles place, he deserves what he gets. 
  • Oh Peter Pan!
  • I like him. He seems like such a nice kid. 

Once Upon A Time, S5E18: “Ruby Slippers”

Are you watching this show? Do you wish someone would watch along with you because everyone else you know thinks it’s dumb?  Here is what I would have said while I was watching it–I WILL WATCH WITH YOU.
Spoiler Thoughts:
  • Mulan is the most mirthless character. 
  • Dorothy is pretty grim as well. This is like a medley of unpleasant characters plus Ruby. 
  • I don’t entirely get Zelina’s train of logic all the time. She doesn’t seem to want to be Team Hades, but then she’s not looking to be part of Team Swan, either, and those are kind of the only games in town.
  • Well actually, Belle, you were protecting Rumple. The baby wasn’t really in the picture. 
  • It’s nice they overtly acknowledge Charming isn’t the alpha hero in this family. 
  • Why are they all sitting there letting Cruella rip out the phone? Like they have to observe her mayoral powers?  
  • I don’t think the Underworld is where I’d start obeying municipal authority. Just bean Claude with a rock–it’s not like you’re gonna kill him.
  • Zelina really isn’t that thrilled at the prospect of becoming as earnestly dull as Regina. 
  • Whenever Regina shows up to chat with Zelina, she’s stuck being the Snow/Emma, and Zelina gets to be the Regina.
  • I thought Ruby found her pack and had to kill her Mom to stop her from killing Snow?
  • I guess we’re not getting the big David/James throw-down. 
  • Ugh. The Belle-Zelena mutual pity party is pretty sad. 
  • Maybe y’all are in your respectively pitiful states because of bad decision-making, and not some malign fate. 
  • Charming and Hook are always a good pairing. 
  • How is Ruby not going to smell the poppy when it’s stuck in her waistband?
  • When you control your powers, you can transform with your clothes. 
  • Are you KIDDING me? There’s another place to eat in town and no one ever went there?
  • And it serves chicken and waffles?! 
  • The idea that everyone still hangs out at Granny’s when they could be having chicken and waffles is maybe the most unbelievable thing ever in OUAT. 
  • Taking away the chicken and waffles cements Hades as total evil. 
  • If past results are positive predictors, Mulan is possibly the worst person to give relationship advice. 
  • Wait. If Hook can change the names, why doesn’t he change them to Gold and Zelena and Belle, and the rest of them can take a powder?
  • Or even some Joe Blow who is already stuck there?
  • I feel we’re not taking full advantage of this power. 
  • For that matter, why can’t they use the slippers to go back and forth every day? Do they get used up?
  • Maybe this is when the PR tour for Zootopia started.
  • Didn’t Hades just say it wasn’t about Zelena?
  • There are some good hairdressers in Oz. 
  • It’s very romantic, until you remember Aunt Em became liquefied for this reunion. 
  • Like Rumple could stop Hades doing boo in the Underworld. 
  • Poor Belle. Her only hope of true love is the Dad who tried to marry her off for political reasons, and then kidnapped her and tried to give her amnesia. 

Once Upon A Time, S5E17: “Her Handsome Hero”

Are you watching this show? Do you wish someone would watch along with you because everyone else you know thinks it’s dumb?  Here is what I would have said while I was watching it–I WILL WATCH WITH YOU.
Spoiler Thoughts:
  • Well, they did a pretty good job in matching this guy’s outfit to the movie Gaston’s. 
  • Belle is kind of a pushover. 
  • GDI Belle. Gold’s not good. He doesn’t wanna be good. He’s never gonna be good.
  • It must be pretty cold if they finally got Emma a sturdy jacket. 
  • Maybe Emma could tell Snow about the foreshadowing of her doom?
  • Hades is kind of a mouth-breather. 
  • Does Gaston work in an animal shelter?
  • The way to Belle’s heart has always been to support her half-baked plans. 
  • Like literally, Merida almost crushed her skull with a rock, and she still helped her because she was flattered anyone believed in her magical prowess. 
  • Yeah, I think once someone kills you and makes you suffer for eternity, it’s probably a little late to kumbaya that over. 
  • Wait, doesn’t Zelena hate everyone again, since Hades told her he was on her side?
  • Gold does have a point. Belle is just using him like AAA when she wants something. 
  • “Here’s where she meets Price Charming, but she won’t discover that its him till chapter three.”
  • Regina became Dr. Phil all of a sudden. 
  • Well, Emma is kind of right. This was a terrible plan. 
  • But, it’s not like this is any different from all their other terrible plans. 
  • Actually Emma, I seem to remember you forcing Gold to come down here pretty good. 
  • I like how Gaston and Gold are totes down with murder, but breaking into a man’s locker? Sacré bleu!
  • It is a bad day for Gaston. 
  • Belle is such a dip. There is no way Gaston didn’t orchestrate all this. 
  • Holy Lipsmacking Gobstopper. Does Belle actually think Gold will keep his word to her?  When this has never happened before?
  • You are all the bad judgement, Belle. 
  • “We don’t like what we don’t understand, in fact it scares us, and this monster is mysterious at least…”
  • Gold does like to chat over his vengeance-getting. 
  • Well that could have gone better. 
  • Belle’s Dad is so much worse than Merida’s Mom. 
  • I guess you’d think Belle would like Gaston better for being a monster, like with Rumple. 
  • Glad Belle is apparently ok now, with all the lies and evil and betrayal Rumple’s accomplished during their marriage. 
  • By this time, I feel like Hades might be a better parent than either of them. 
  • Red’s back!  Yay!  Er…is she dead?

Review: “Dragon Age: Magekiller” # 5

Cover Image from DarkHorse.com

Magekiller #5 continues Greg Rucka’s story of Tessa and Marius–mage-killing mercenaries set in the Dragon Age universe, at the time of Dragon Age Inquisition.

In this fifth and final issue of Magekiller, Tessa and Marius are drawn into the Inquisition’s end-game battle against Corypheus.  Called back to Skyhold at the end of the last book, they are tasked with preparing the way for the Inquisitor’s last charge to defeat the ancient darkspawn and close the rift before Thedas is overrun by demons.  

While the issue has its usual grandly satisfying battle at the end, it’s possible to feel a little disappointed that ultimately the story of Magekiller never really intersects in a major way with that of Inquisition.  In retrospect, it seems obvious that this is the easiest way to ensure the least amount of conflict with any of the player-dependent resolutions, but it does make Tessa and Marius’ story seem a little smaller in scope than it initially appeared.

What it does get right in these final moments with the two mercenaries-turned-heroes, is a good look into the core of the whole story–the relationship between the two mercenaries.  While the past they clearly share has resulted in a close partnership, we’ve never really been given much of a picture as to exactly what that is.  The romantic couplings they’ve each revealed with time has shown us that they’re not lovers, but has also shown us that there is much they simply do not know of each other.

Preview image from DarkHorse.com

As with the successive volumes, the biggest thrill is seeing familiar faces and places, and this time we get some quick views of Skyhold and the boyishly enthusiastic Sutherland and Co.  Similarly to the game, I continually found myself expecting their death and destruction, but they constantly prove to be hardier than the red shirts they appear.

While our heroes do get some resolution, there feels like so much more that was hinted at in previous issues that we never learn.  Issue #2, my personal favorite, held so much potential with its view into Tevinter and its decadent politics, not to mention Marius’ past life as a slave, that it seems a waste none of that was ever alluded to again.

Preview image from DarkHorse.com

From her voiceover, we have a constant view on how Tessa feels about Marius…but how does he regard her?  Is he capable of putting anything above his mission?  In only 27 pages, we don’t get all the answers, but we get enough to wish we had more.  Cross our fingers, maybe we haven’t seen the last of Magekiller.

Dragon Age:  Magekiller #5 release date:  April 20, 2016.

Once Upon A Time, S5E16: “Our Decay”

Spoiler Thoughts:
  • You know, Rebecca Mader gives it all she’s got, but Zelinda continues to not be my favorite character. 
  • This crazy/evil thing she’s got going is entertaining but starts to get one-note when she can’t seem to move past her abandonment issues. 
  • But that’s the same as all the villains, I think–Regina kind of stalled out for me when she kept flip-flopping back into evil because of Daniel, and Gold’s in danger of the same. It’s fun to see unabashed evil, but if it doesn’t go anywhere…it doesn’t go anywhere. 
  • Wow Dorothy. That was quite possibly the worst plan in the history of plans.
  • It’s a good thing Zelina suddenly forgot how to be effective. 
  • Gold can make portals? Wasn’t there roughly a jillion times where we really needed a portal and couldn’t get one?
  • Oh, and Zelina’s back in Storybrooke. Good thing she suddenly remembers to be competent when the plot requires it. 
  • Too bad we didn’t leave anyone with any power back in Storybrooke to protect against her. 
  • Blue is all “well that’s that. Peace and quiet at last.”
  • That’ll teach Zelina not to wear rubber soles. 
  • “No one loves you.” Ouch Hades. 
  • Hansel and Gretel’s witch is surprisingly helpful. She ought to have moved on by now. 
  • You tell them Henry. Like any of them are doing anything. 
  • “The Catch” is pretty repulsive looking. 
  • Everyone in Storybrooke celebrates their birthdays with a sad cupcake. 
  • Aw. Hades and Zelina bonded over their mutual vortices of perceived self-victimization. 
  • Oh wow, Rumple. Now might not be the time to go the full disclosure route. 
  • Yeah, this isn’t going well. 
  • Harsh truth times with Belle tonight. 
  • Belle, if you stay with him after all this, you are dumber than a sack of bricks. 
  • Regina, Evangelist for Good. 
  • This weird Shatner-esque delivery Hades keeps using is pretty distracting. 
  • Didn’t the bicycle actually belong to Elmira Gulch?
  • Robin the Credulous Hood. 
  • Wow, who could ever have predicted Zelina’s shocking betrayal. 
  • Serious? Those dudes couldn’t catch up to a limping woman in heels and a top hat?
  • It’s hard to think what Dorothy ever thought she could do against Zelina in the first place. 
  • Not being afraid of a homicidal lunatic when she’s got you paralyzed just shows a bad analysis of your situation, IMO. 
  • If all you needed was a baby for the spell, this doesn’t seem like the easiest one Hades could have gotten.
  • Everyone is as revolted by Zelina’s maudlin self-sacrifice as they were by her psychosis. 
  • Hades hasn’t really gotten out much. 
  • Oh wow. I can’t believe that they actually made me feel bad for Hades, putting the moves on Zelina. 
  • Oh Hades. If only there were someone who really loved you. 
  • This is the creepiest love scene ever, and it’s still more appealing than “The Catch.”

Star Wars: The Old Republic Live-ish Blog. Chapters 4-7 of “Knights of the Fallen Empire”

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Spoiler Thoughts:
  • Chapter 4: The Gravestone
  • Lana’s going to try burying a whole spaceship with a shovel?
  • HK-55 is the best.
  • “Target has achieved deadness.”
  • There’s banter?  We’ve achieved banter status?
  • Oh, my subscription just ran out. Well, I guess we’ll see how that effects gameplay.
  • Found the Gravestone which appears to be a bit of a fixer-upper.
  • So I guess, unlike the other non-class quests, Fallen Empire is really just solo, because I can’t imagine how it’d work if you had another player with you.
  • It looks like it was just was well we slept through the last five years, because they sound like kind of a bummer.
  • It’s kind of lame that it keeps making me fight these rancor saying they’re blocking my way when I’ve already totally stealthed by them.
  • Glad Lana is so understanding that I might have the Emperor of Evil living in my noggin.
  • I like these poor lost droids, just hanging out in the swamp, available for trade or medical assistance.
  • Man, HK-55 did a lousy patrol job.
  • OMG, a musical repair montage.
  • I’m surprised they aren’t playing Eye of the Tiger.
  • Who makes a ship with a floor called “Dark Sanctuary?”
  • How long have we been on this thing, and no one noticed a huge monolith in the basement?
  • Chapter Five: From the Grave
  • Oh man, are they actually going to let Lana die if I don’t go dark?
  • I would have rather worked the shields with Lana instead of the gun, but ok.
  • How did all these guys get on the ship? We’re in space now!
  • Wow, that was some Tholian Web level destruction.
  • Well this crew certainly is a little more vocal than the last one.
  • Satele made it!
  • Marr, not so much.
  • Chapter 6: Asylum
  • Koth is doing kind of a suboptimal parking job.
  • Four companions, and only HK-55 is dealing straight with me.
  • Oggo didn’t even drop any loot. Some crime boss.
  • It’s interesting that in general, you don’t get a choice of companions. I guess so your relationship can be deeper rather than broader?
  • Senya set us up for hazing?
  • I feel like eventually, someone’s going to notice we talk to dead people.
  • The Emperor keeps threatening us with dire consequences if we don’t let him use our body, but so far we seem to be doing ok on our own.
  • Trial’s up man. You guys in or out?
  • OH. SNAP.
  • Senya, burying the lede.
  • Chapter 7: The Lady of Sorrows

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  • TMI Senya.
  • Kinda weird that all these people are so attached to the Emperor of Eeeevil.
  • Senya likes job/personal life separation.
  • I’m glad Valkorian is using my skull to go sight-seeing.
  • Ok, I totally don’t understand Arcann’s deal. He was so anxious to get us, but then lost interest?
  • Nice.  Zakuul is kind of a crap place.
  • Well given that Koth wants to negotiate with the Heralds, and Senya just wants to bust heads, I think we’ll go with Koth.
  • If the Lady of sorrows ends up being the Shadow Broker, I’m going to laugh.
  • I like how he blames me, because his boss killed his partner.
  • Scorpio isn’t much of a conversationalist.