Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tyrian Family Values

Ok I admit it...

It has taken some work to pry myself away from Guild Wars 2 long enough to actually sit and write my monthly blog. I even had my friend remind me that I needed to do my blog, and instead I ended up editing hers and helping her with her publishing schedule... when not playing Guild Wars 2 that is.

But I promise I'm getting better! (twitch twitch).

Ok so it has been a month since release, and to say the game has gone well is an understatement. As expected there were hiccups (no launch is ever perfect). I am sure by now those of you in the know, know about the first couple of weeks where the trading post could not handle the volume of players, and had to be shut down as it was upgraded.

The trading post is back up, and not a moment too soon!

I have to hand it to ArenaNet, for all the griping the playerbase has given them, they stuck their noses to the grindstone, and systematically figured the problems out with multiple crucial areas of the game. They even garnered further respect from this player, by turning OFF their sales of the game when server capacity exceeded what they were prepared for, just so they could ensure that the content was not trivialized by overpopulation. (As a sidenote- sales are ON again, so come on in! There are more servers now and the population caps have been raised.)

Here it is, September 30, and I have finally reached level 80 on Bel. Yay me! Now this is the part where normally I would get bored with a game and leave it for something else. That will not be the case this time because thanks to the many systems in place, I still have a TON of stuff to do! For starters, I have not even finished my personal story. I am also in the process of getting 100% completion for every single map in Tyria... and no where close to finishing that (I am currently at 54% complete). My crafting skills still need to be upped to the max level of 400 (I am both a huntsman, and a leatherworker). I am still trying to max out my guild- Sanctuary Of Hope [SANC] with guild updates (which is interesting since most of the guild are busy representing other guilds). Not to mention I have yet to really get my alts leveled; especially Ghita, Allyanis, and Tannia Shrike- the three redhead sisters.

In short... there is still a long way to go baby.

On top of the world ma... again.

In a game where people seem to be rushing to level 80 so that they can experience "end game", I am one who prefers to take my own sweet time and enjoy the world around me. I think as gamers we have been spoonfed this mindset that a game does not truly begin until you reach this nebulous "end game". With Guild Wars 2 I greatly disagree... It is not what you do after level 80 that decides your end game, your end game begins the moment you step out of the tutorial area for your character's race.... at level 2! How is this possible you ask? Look at it this way- In this game you can freely go back to any zone you have been in, and you are automatically down leveled to the level of the content you have to fight, thus making content still challenging. Let me rephrase that, there is NOTHING trivial about a level 80 going to the starter zone (level 1-15 usually). This greatly enhances replayability, and continues to reward you, should you have skipped content in a mad rush to level 80, and now you have decided you want to see more of say- Kessex Hills (level 15-25 human zone). Even if you have 100% completed the map, and gotten the rewards, there are still numerous events that can still use your help, and I bet my bottom dollar you have yet to see ALL of a given zone's events. There's your end game right there.

As a case in point of why it is good to go back to areas and immerse yourself in what is going on, I want to tell you a little story of the family I met in Wayfarer Foothills (level 1-15 norn starter zone).

You what? Is this some kind of joke?

I was running around minding my own business when this girl comes up to me, "compliments" me on my hair... yeah... about that... then proceeds to pelt me with a snowball. My initial reaction was, "Why you little runt!" I gathered up snowballs and began assaulting her and her siblings, of whom there were a LOT!

Wife gone, kids running amok... this sounds like a job for super dad!

I found their father inside the lodge, and asked him why he was so distressed, and especially why his kids were running amok throughout the homestead. He mentioned to me that his wife had gone off hunting and left him to take care of ALL of their kids. Needless to say, it was lunch time and he could not leave to get food for them all, so I volunteered my time to slaughter some Dolyaks, and get him some meat.

There's a moral in here somewhere... 

He then proceeded to grill up some of the finest Dolyak jerky I have ever tasted, and proudly shouted to his kids that lunch was here. He also graciously parted with some of the meat for me, as a thank you. At this point, I could have left Gareth and his brood, but the children were so interesting with their antics that I had to stick around and see what they got into next. Sure enough, one of his daughters stuck an axe in the giant Dolyak head mounted on the lodge. Her brother overheard the conversation and decided to take it upon himself to hunt a new epic creature that dad could replace the ruined Dolyak head with. My parental instincts kicked in, and I opted to go with the tyke to help him out.

Sure kid, we can hunt that.. why not.

In typical norn fashion, this kid- Jafri, picked the biggest, meanest animal he could find to hunt for dad... and luckily there were other players there to help me before he got gored with any of the four horns that this longshanks had sporting.

Yeah Gareth, he did all the work, I just looked pretty.

Successful from his hunt, a proud Jafri presented the head to his father, who damn near had a heart attack!

I always say the family that slays together, stays together.

Another satisfied customer... I felt it was time to leave... except... the girls were muttering about something inside the homestead, then one of the daughters asks her dad where their mom kept the honey. Uh oh, that is never good...

Umm, that's a lot of honey for one bear.

Not to be outdone by Jafri, the other kids decided to do a ritual to the bear spirit to ask for one of their own to wrestle. If I remember my bear rituals correctly, you only need a teaspoon of honey. Apparently no one told these kids that.

When bears stampede, on the next national geographic!

Instead of attracting one YOUNG bear, they managed to besiege the town with HUNDREDS of bears! All I can say is I am sure glad there were other passersby. It took us almost ten minutes to thin out the bear stampede!

Oh I am going to make a fortune in fur coats!

After all the hijinx that these kids got into, it will be any wonder if Gareth ever lets his wife go hunting again! It was at this point, when the calm of the shiverpeaks settled onto the Taigan Groves, that I decided now was the time to leave this peaceful homestead of Victor's Point in search of a beer.

Tell your wife when she gets home that she owes Bel Geode a case of ale.

As I left, i noticed that it was literally an hour later. I spent that much time in one area pushing things through to a happy ending, and only when I was sure there was no more danger to those kids, did I decide to take off. It had me thinking about norn family values, and how dedicated the homestead is to their kids. In a norn relationship, husband and wife are truly equal, and both have the same epic strength and desire to have their legends grow together. It's a great concept that I have to admit is something I strive to find in my real life relationships. I am just glad that ArenaNet gave me the chance to see this firsthand.

I am definitely proud to be norn!

Friday, August 24, 2012

This is where MY legend begins!

Howdy strangers, long time no see...

Well unless you have been under a rock, you must realize that tonight is going to be a very very special night! Tonight is when after 5 years of working on it, ArenaNet will unveil for those of us who have prepurchased- GUILD WARS 2! I have to level with you folks, a year and a month ago, when I had actually decided to look into this phenomenon known as GW2, I was very much on the fence, and very much disillusioned with the state of MMORPGs in general. I am sure if you have read any of the past blogs you can see that I have been looking for a virtual place to call home after all. SWTOR was a great ride, and while I may pick it up again when it goes free to play, I do have to confess that part of the reason why you had not seen any more on the subject is because the story was over too soon for me. I lost interest, similarly to what happened with Rift.

Of course this begs the question, well Drew, who's to say the same thing will not happen with Guild Wars 2 when something newer and shinier comes along?

While this is a valid concern, in the short (REALLY SHORT) three weekend and a couple stress test betas that I have been in, my appetite has been FAR from sated! I think that ArenaNet hit on a perfect ration of Tyrian goodness to keep us all hooked. Come on now, you know that you salivated every time they announced another stress test! Now that the night is at hand, I am about 99% sure if you check most of the social media, everyone is talking about this game. But WHY? Why has this game been so hyped of late? What is it about it that has seemingly converted the masses, both within the media and without?

Here's what I think it is:

1- ArenaNet themselves. In the short time that I was able to log in on those weekends, I noticed players running around with ANet logos above their heads, alongside other regular players. They PLAY THEIR OWN GAME! I have always heard devs (in other games) brag about doing it, and giving it lip service, but actually SEEING several of them running about, helping with events chains, harvesting, even leading dungeon runs at odd hours no less (way past their work time) fills me with a great confidence that not only does ArenaNet take pride in their work, but ENJOY being in the world they have created! They do not look at it as here is a game we made for YOU, but here is a game we made for all of US! That alone has my customer loyalty.

2- They listen. I am no stranger to beta testing, and I know the golden rule is to leave detailed feedback... and yes I do get tl;dr (too long; didn't read). However, I was amazed to see some of the things I and others had requested implemented by the next weekend test! Every bug I submitted was fixed, and profession changes I had been saying needed to happen happened! I know they know a lot more about programming and gaming than I do, but the fact that they also know when to admit something is not working the way it should, or is not as FUN as it should be, and they change it... I like that.

3- The beauty of it all. There have been many MMORPGs that I have played where I have explored to my heart's content, and been left feeling somewhat blah by what I have found. As time has gone on, and technology has improved, games have started to look more and more beautiful. ArenaNet has taken it above and beyond in this instance. Not content with just having a good looking world, they actually have encouraged you to see some of the best vistas they worked so hard on. I, in turn, would encourage all of you who will play this game, to find every single vista and take a moment to soak in the cinematic goodness. Don't forget you get rewarded for finding them all. I have never in my life played a game that rewards you for exploring... until now.

4- The community feel. In three short weekends, I met so many people... some random passers by that decided to pitch in and help me, some who took the time to talk to me and eventually end up on my friends list. Though all characters are wiped now, in preparation for launch, one thing ArenaNet insisted upon, was to leave your contact list intact! This means anyone you met on whatever server you were on over the three beta tests is STILL on your friends list! With cross server communication, and eventually the guesting feature (where you can actually be a guest on your friend's American or European server), this will make it ridiculously easy to play with the people you want to play with. Meanwhile on your home server you can be sure that the people you meet there will be dedicated and proud to be part of their home... especially when it comes time to defend our honor in WvWvW PvP (world vs world vs world).

5- The common sense approaches. Why is it in 2012, that no other game has thought of common sense things like mob sharing (no kill stealing... ever), resource node instancing (again no resource ninja-ing), dungeon loot for all (everyone get a full complement of loot, no more need/greed rolls), player re-leveling in lower zones (if you are a level 80 you can go to a level 1-15 zone and NOT one shot everything. It keeps being challenging, so that you can guide your friend who is a level 5 along), shared game economy (when you buy off the trading post, you are seeing listings from every server in existence... whether europe or america), and outdoor raiding (you do not even need to group up to kill a world boss, just jump in)... and on the outdoor raiding, this is as early as the first ZONE! This is not to mention the obvious things such as truly dynamic events that scale in difficulty the more players participate, and consequences for winning or failing any given event. Why has it taken so long for any game to do this? All I can say is I am glad ArenaNet has become the trendsetter in this.

There are so many more things I could list, but this list would go on forever. Mark my words folks, you are hearing it here first. This game has become the new paradigm that all other MMORPGs to follow will try to emulate. I would not be surprised at all if WoW starts adding some of these features just to keep up.

It's almost time to begin our legends, and you will find me on TARNISHED COAST server, with my guild- Sanctuary of Hope [SANC] (long time SWG players may remember us from Naritus server). Just look for the huge purple clothed, black norn... and be sure to say hi.

Going forward my blog will do what I was doing with SWTOR... chronicling my adventures as Bel Geode. I thank you all for reading, and see you on Tyria!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

We Interrupt This Program To Bring You... GW2!

Friday April 27, through Sunday April 29... Days that will go down in history as the first time I stepped foot in Tyria, 250 years later!

Howdy all, this has been a long time coming. The first official public beta weekend event just concluded, and those of us who pre-purchased the game (go here), as well as those lucky to be selected by random draw, were invited to invade Tyria for the first time since the game was announced so many years ago! To say it has been exciting is a mere understatement, and a quick google search of the terms "guild wars 2 beta" will pull up a plethora of experiences; whether textual, visual, or otherwise. It is my intent to give my first impressions here, and later on I will get into some of the nuts and bolts of what I experienced, if anyone is interested.

First let me say, this has been a weekend that conspired against me; between my gaming computer dying (mad props to Crucial Computers in Pittsburgh for helping me fix it cheaply), work friends getting together most of Friday, to having to actually go to work, and then band practice on Sunday, I did not get nearly enough time to play the game as I would have liked. I did feel under the gun to get a broad experience, and pick out the key features that need more work before this game can become polished to perfection. What I will present here is no where close to being a compendium of all I found, but a little glimpse into why I feel this game will be THE game for 2012 and beyond. If you are still on the fence, stick around... Maybe I can stoke some of the (now unabashed) fanboy fire for you.

Guild Wars 2 is indeed everything I expected it to be. I have to admit when I first heard about the game and what they were planning, I was HIGHLY skeptical. You may remember my first blog about it many moons ago. ArenaNet quickly won me over, as I began to see what they were trying to accomplish, and while still carrying guarded optimism, being able to FEEL and SEE the world for myself has made a HUGE impact on my opinion of the game, for the better! So to start with, I decided to make my future main character... my trademark black norn engineer- Belenos.

Without any real tutorial per se, and very little handholding by the arenanet help system, I was able to get into the game with relative ease. Now I did spend about 45 minutes just in the character creator alone fine tuning Belenos' appearance. What can I say... the dude has to be representative of ME, so he may as well look like Silky™ da pimp... Ya know? Once I finally got through the character creator, and into the opening cutscene, I have to admit that there were tears of joy welling up in my eyes. Belenos said "This is MY story", and I did a fist pump into the night (scaring the cat- Luna, in the process).

I materialized in Wayfarer Foothills, the starting location for all norn characters (each of the 5 races gets their own starting area, racially based). The first thing you notice in the world is just how simply BREATHTAKING it actually is! With the norn living the rustic life, you awaken to a pristine, alpine region that at once feels like old Vinland, as well as a more stylized Pacific northwest motif. Now bear in mind I am still running an Nvidia 9600GT graphics card... definitely an older model, and I was able to get some really impressive detail without sacrificing a lot of FPS (some folks reported their FPS was in the crapper... I did not have this experience). Color me impressed, considering the game is NOT YET optimized, and was running on only ONE of my four chip cores.

Now in case you have not heard, how you learn your skills is both unique and interesting. You learn by DOING. Let's say you are an engineer with a pistol (all engineers start with a trusty pistol). As you use said pistol in fights, AND successfully kill an enemy, you gain a percentage to your next skill's unlock (in the case of the pistol you get three skills for your main hand, then 2 more skills if you have an offhand pistol). By the time you have explored the tutorial area of Wayfarer Foothills, and fought your first epic boss, you will most likely have all your pistol skills unlocked (not to mention probably have already looted that second pistol). I have to say that I like this system way more than "buying skills" from a skill vendor. It seems more natural to me. Once you unlock your skills for that weapon, you DO have to unlock skills for say a rifle (you always get skill 1 automatically unlocked, which also doubles as your default autoattack). In the case of the engineer, your weapon choices are limited to firearms (pistol/ rifle) and a shield. Underwater you automatically get a spear gun. What makes the engineer shine however are the utility skills you acquire through gaining skill points in the world.

Skill points are nothing new, a throwback to MMORPGs of old. However you spend skill points similar to purchasing the skill. You do NOT need a vendor, you do it all from your own menu window. As you adventure throughout Tyria, you will encounter various npcs that offer you "skill books" to read (often at little to no charge), or in the case of norns, sometimes you have to prove your mettle by fighting a fellow norn. Let's just say norns love to fight. As you collect skill points, you add utility skills that you can use in your battles later. Skill point holders are easily found on your map btw, and as you load into a zone, the loading screen will tell you how many there are on any given map (the maps btw are HUGE). My favorite thus far has been the rifle turret, and the flamethrower. The rifle turret is a thing of beauty that auto attacks anything that is attacking you (provided you plop it down in range). It does not have a LOT of durability, but I found that little thing saving my arse several times! The flamethrower however... ooooooh mama. The things you can do with that ought to be illegal in Tyria! It has to be seen to be believed. I cannot do it much justice in mere text.

I just want to point out that Guild Wars 2, while it does have more traditional "quests", in the form of your personal story arc, is meant to be explored and experienced. I found myself outpacing my personal story ahead of time. The next installment being a couple levels higher than I was prepared for. This is where the beauty of the game comes in. You have random dynamic events in the world, and you also have the "reknown hearts" (think of it as gaining karma by helping people out). Between those, plus the random taking out your aggression on the odd flightless Moa, and you can find yourself leveling up well in no time. The world itself is littered with little easter eggs, and your exploration is greatly rewarded by the various things you can find and do. As an explorer type by nature, this game was tailor made for me. As a completionist... well I have my work cut out for me. Unfortunately one weekend barely scratched the surface. I am not going to lie here folks, I found very little to complain about. For sake of argument, I will attempt to list what I can and have found that has me scratching my head:

Chat- The local chat currently is anything but local. You chat with everyone on the server in your current zone. I think ArenaNet might be better off labeling it a general chat, as local is stretching it mightily. From what I heard, in WvW (world versus world versus world pvp), all three worlds see the same chat. I foresee bad planning issues with that. Imagine your enemy knowing your every move because some idiot on your team decided to announce in chat where you are. By the way, there are no chat bubbles over your head, though if grouped you do see a chat bubble next to the portrait of your group members, in addition to their words in the chat window. It is not far fetched for ArenaNet to add chat bubbles... I am sure they have enough feedback in favor of them. Perhaps that can be local chat.

Sitting- Non existent in chairs. You sit on the floor, and if you are crafty can sit on the couch... but for regular chairs... nope. I have noticed this trend of late with newer games. I hearken back to SWG where you could sit in any chair, and wish that ArenaNet will incorporate this feature...

Dancing- You heard it here first folks. Unless I missed it, there is NO /dance with the current build! I am sure it is a major oversight, and in my feedback I gave them this past Monday, I brought this up. I remember days in SWG with our "boy band", dancing in Theed in our stormtrooper gear. Come on ArenaNet, you just HAVE to institute dancing!

Drunkenness- Non existent. I was a bit disappointed there too, as I remember drinking MANY drinks in Guild Wars 1, and getting the title for being able to hold my liquor. Again, probably a minor oversight.

Home Instance- I used to be (and still am) big on having a "home" in game. When I played humans in Divinity's Reach, I was shocked to not be able to find where I actually live inside my home instance. I have heard that it is in the works, but I have no idea if it will be there come launch or afterwards.

Logging Out- In the original Guild Wars, when you logged out, you had the option of going to character select, then picking your next toon to log in. This is currently not so in GW2. When you log out... YOU LOG OUT! In addition to this, the current beta build really does not tell you what server you are on. This proved a problem Sunday night when I wanted to play with a friend, and told them I was on Augury Rock (what I thought I selected), but come to find out I was really on ANVIL Rock. I could group with my friend, though he was on a different server, but I could not see him till I physically transferred my character (thus transferring all of them) from Anvil to Augury. Methinks more improvement is needed there, especially since GW2 is touted as a social game. I kind of want to SEE my friends as I play with them. My bad for not paying attention to where I selected, but the fact that once you select a server, ALL 5 of your toons are there, with no option to create others on a different server, is a bit of a downer. Hopefully this will be rectified in the next beta build.

All in all however, I will say that the gameplay is sterling! I stated before that Guild Wars 2 is exactly what I expected it would be and MORE! The things I have nitpicked do make a difference, and again you must realize I am only scratching the surface of this gorgeous game. I am proud to have already pre-purchased the game, and can readily see it as my "home" for many years to come. The many lore references will have lorehounds smiling as they explore, and even if you have never even touched Guild Wars 1, you do not need to, in order to understand what is going on in the world around you. IT TELLS YOU! The first time a random npc runs up to you and tells you "Hey, one of those so called farmers just hit me in the face", you will know... ok it is clobbering time. You will feel better about yourself after once the npc thanks you for helping in the form of equipment you can use, and karma points you can bank to get items you normally would not find at the average vendor.

Is Guild Wars 2 ready for mass consumption? ALMOST! What they have done so far is far surpassing what I have played in the past, and with a little more tweaking, I can see this game eclipsing a lot of the MMORPGs out there... I dare say including the vaunted WoW.

Should you pre-purchase it? Well... to be able to get into all the forthcoming betas and give your own feedback, yes I say it is worth it. Remember there will never be a monthly subscription, and to me that is the biggest win of all. I personally cannot wait to get back into Tyria... It is going to be a looooooooong withdrawal filled month I imagine.

I think I have found my new home. I hope to see you there as well!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tatooine Is Not Enough

Curse that poor excuse for a Sith Lord, Darth Zhorrid. I had no idea why she has insisted on bothering me, but since her father was assassinated, she has been nothing but a pest. This was over the line though. She disabled my hyperdrive remotely, so that I could remain on Nar Shaddaa to carry out a kidnapping for her.

The bloody nerve... Once more Kaliyo and I are off into the night sky to find Vyord Yanol, and bring him into custody. Luckily for us, tracking him was like looking for a gambling chip in the casino. His trail was so plainly obvious that I was mildly amused when we eventually ran into his shocked personage.

After dispatching his guards, I decided to take out my frustrations with Little Miss Zhorrid on his pathetic hide. I could not kill him, but I could at least make him regret crossing my path.

Kaliyo and I were in agreement. We stuffed him in the cargo hold, and contacted Darth Zhorrid to humbly request she remove the limiter from my hyperdrive. Next stop, Drumond Kaas. In short order, we arrived on the Imperial capital world, and brought our unconscious friend to see his new living quarters.

Ugh... I will never understand the whims and fancies of the Sith. Granted I kill for a living, but my targets are strategic for the most part. This... this is just foolishness. To call people into your room just so you can murder them seems a bit over the top eccentric. Regardless, Zhorrid's appetite was sated, and she had her new toy... so we were free to leave. I think I even heard Kaliyo retching.

Safely onboard the ship, with light years between us and that mad woman, we were graced with the beauty of Watcher 2. Our assignment was bringing us closer to the Eagle. We were tasked to comb the desert world of Tatooine for the Ghost network, and bring them to justice, Cipher 9 style. I'd heard a lot about the planet, but this would be my first chance to see the land of the twin suns.

We made haste to Mos Ila, and new adventure. As I set the ship down, our personal droid insisted on packing extra flasks of water for us.

Mos Ila spaceport... Hmm... for all the Imperial veneer on the surface, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Essentially a lawless world, crawling with Republic agents, this was going to prove challenging to locate the terror cell notorious for sinking into the desert sands without a trace. After a few cryptic leads, we were sent to an abandoned office building to await our contact.

After some time, she revealed herself as a former Ghost cell agent, working for our side. Mia Hawkins... a scrappy, yet cautious woman who appeared legitimate... well as legitimate as can be claimed on this dustball.

Our target was clear... we were to infiltrate, seek, and destroy "The Old Man". First we had to go to the Sevarin Mesa wind farms and secure the building to draw out the Ghost cell. Easy enough task... Mia said she would meet us there.

Off we went into the scalding suns, and through the rugged Jundland wastes... For the record, they are not to be traveled lightly.

Upon our arrival at the rendezvous point, we were beset upon by Tusken Raiders. They were ferocious fighters, to say the least, but in the end, merely a minor obstacle. Once they were out of the way, we set our explosive charges in preparation for the ambush.

It was not long after booby trapping the building that a group of ragged men came walking into the trap. Sure enough... they were the Ghost cell operatives we were awaiting.

This was too easy... or was it...

I had not anticipated the meaning behind their name- Ghost cell... The ability to turn invisible. Well, I won't be making that mistake again. A protracted firefight ensued, but together, Kaliyo and I unmasked the Ghosts, and defeated them. In short order, Mia appeared. Something was not right, she was more flirty than usual... which is saying a lot, since she has the social graces of a Jawa.

I decided to test the waters and offer some flirtation back. For my trouble I was poisoned, and it was revealed that Mia was NOT Mia... but the elite leader of this Ghost cell we encountered! Kaliyo to the rescue... she saved my poisoned behind. Thanks girl, I owe you one.

After the fight, and my recuperation, we left to meet the real Mia in a place called Mos Anek. Naturally I was cautious when we found her, so I opted to flirt with her, and as expected, she rebuffed my advances. Good... it was her.

We were sent to find Milosh Varta, a noted leader of the Exchange crime syndicate... Supposedly he had leads on where this Old Man could be found. Off to the scorching sands once more... I am beginning to see why people refer to Tatooine as the armpit of the galaxy.

Milosh was easy to find... and easy to persuade... all I had to do was point a blaster at his most prized asset- his wife.

The information was flowing like rain SHOULD BE, on this arid world. We now knew where the drop point would be that would take us to the Old Man's camp, deep in the heart of the Dune Sea. All we needed to do now was travel the trackless desert to the correct location.

After several bottles of water, we finally found the drop point. As expected it was out in the middle of nowhere, guarded by Milosh's exchange brutes. The crates down there looked a decent enough size, so we found our infiltration point. Not surprisingly, riding around in crates was NOT a new experience to Kaliyo...

As expected, the exchange loaded us into the shuttle, and took us directly to the Old Man's camp. We were to contact Mia once we made it safely, but peculiarly, she did not respond to her comm call. I figured we would run into her sooner or later.

BINGO! Target in sight... and what's this? Oh no...

Well I should not have been surprised that they tracked her down, but she did help us immensely. I suppose I owed it to her to rescue her in the process. The Old Man and I exchanged mock pleasantries, and his information on a secret benefactor to the Eagle terror network was most intriguing. Business is business though...

He knew his lease on life had expired... but he put up a valiant fight nonetheless.

When all was said and done, we released Mia to fade into obscurity, in the hopes that we might meet again sometime over drinks... In someplace less... thirst inducing... than here. The mission was accomplished, and it was time to check in with Watcher 2 onboard the ship... Only one final stop to make.

The great pit of Carkoon... resting place of the all powerful Sarlacc monster... and the perfect hiding spot for a dead Old Man. Good riddance to bad rubbish.