[OOC/Screenshots] Happy 8th, Kazta!

My favorite small angry spiky girl is 8 years old!

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Kazta by inkabunga @ ArtFight

She’s still my absolute favorite character to play, and she’s had so many adventures both in her PVE storyline and RP. I went through and found some screenshots of her! And I can’t mention her without her loyal Cat Husband, who has been at her side since day 1 — except for that time she was frozen in carbonite. But he never gave up looking for her!

Vanguard Trooper has also been super fun from a gameplay point of view, it’s never changed too much in all the time I’ve played, which I really appreciate. Nothing like coming home after a long day and blowing up some stuff with her big gun. Here’s to many more years of spiky goodness!

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Reunited ❤

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Custom Funko POPs

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The birth of Snacky!

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Cat kissin’

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Sith are jerks

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This is the VERY first picture I have of her!

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[Art] Best Present Ever

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[Screenshots] SWTOR: Onslaught

The new SWTOR expansion is out, and I’ve played through the main storyline with Kazta. (I think there might be more on the planets, but I haven’t gone to them yet as I’m working on getting everyone to the new level cap first.)

I also took my Knight through, because some important companions returned to him, and my Sith Juggernaut because I wanted to see the Imperial side. I was really impressed with how the storylines managed to show the same events from both sides — I mean, that’s always been a thing but I think it was done particularly well this time. I recognized scenes and situations from the other. I also really liked the  new characters and look forward to seeing more of them.

My Juggernaut is a Saboteur, which means he’s secretly helping the Republic while maintaining the appearance of helping the Empire. So from time to time, he will get options for actions or lines that are labeled “Saboteur”. I was worried at first, because it didn’t seem like the story would allow him any chances to do so, but later on it definitely picked up. I have to say, I really enjoyed his Saboteur storyline and I expect it’s more interesting than the loyalist version, but I’ll find out later on.

Pictures are behind the cut, as always. I tried to keep them in correct order, but I never do, people should be used to that by now around here. I have a lot of pictures with Cat Husband looming ominously in the background, he’s good at that.

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[Screenshots] Happy Birthday Kazta!

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I am not sure of her exact birthday, but her first mention here on my blog is January 11, 2012. So Kazta is 7 years old this month! Wow, time sure flies. She is without a doubt my favorite character in SWTOR, and Vanguard is maybe my favorite class in any MMO I’ve played. She’s super brave and loyal and fearless, and I love that the game gives you different options so you can answer in-character.

When I rolled her, companions had set roles (tank, healer, etc) so I was constantly swapping between Aric (DPS cat husband) and Elara (healer). I need heals for heroics and bosses, but for ordinary quests, DPS is faster. Also back then, you needed to gear your companions — fortunately Aric wore the same type of armor as me so he’d get all my hand-me-downs. For a while we were perfectly matched! (Then I figured out how to save appearances… hey, I was a noob.)

I always want to write or draw her more but I never feel like I do her justice. I love my little brave zabrak!

[OOC/Screenshots] SWTOR – Jedi Under Siege

The new story patch came out today, along with some systems like guild leveling and a new operation. I am mainly interested in the story though! Like WoW, I had hoped they would move toward the factions being united for PVE purposes, especially because (as in WoW) I play on the side with far fewer people — it’s about 3:1 overall. They didn’t quite do that, but they did do something interesting: your character can choose to support the Republic or Empire regardless of what class they are. Kazta is a Republic die-hard and would never pick otherwise, but I started my Sith Juggernaut on the quests having him support the Republic. While he still goes to the Imperial area for “appearance’s sake”, he’s getting orders from the Republic contact. I am really interested to see how his storyline goes as a traitor!

Cut for spoilers, also sorry my screenshots look terrible because I still haven’t got a new video card or more memory yet. These are mostly of Kazta, with a few of my Sith “traitor”, and one of my Jedi Knight meeting up with an old friend.

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[Screenshots] SWTOR – The Nathema Conspiracy

Today we got a new story flashpoint, as well as three returning companions. Unfortunately none are really ones that I cared about, but I did the quests on my Consular and Bounty Hunter.

Screenshots ahoy ~

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[Story] Grophet’s Gambit – Morning Meditation

This early, only the larger of Tatooine’s suns had yet risen. Its strange red light lent the dunes and long shadows an eerie air, as if the world itself was bathed in blood. Kazta tried, without much success, to clear her mind as the jedi had showed her to do. It had been some time since she’d come up here, and maybe she’d forgotten how. Or more likely, she was never really very good at in the first place. The sounds of the lonely desert morning kept bringing her back to the moment; the steady whoosh of wind over the sand, the far-off call of an animal, the whisper of leather bootsteps on sand. Kazta opened her eyes to see the cathar, the one she’d until recently been sheltering, looking on in surprise.

“I-I’m sorry to disturb you, Major. I didn’t know anyone would be up here.”

“Wait.” He paused mid-step as he was turning to leave. “I don’t mind. I might need a refresher on how to do this,” Kazta admitted.

He settled down eagerly not far away, his legs folded in that impossible way. “Good, first of all — oh.” The young jedi blinked, staring at her intently. “You’re all–” he gestured vaguely around Kazta. “Jumbled.”

Kazta scowled, pulling her cloak more tightly around her shoulders. “Stop doing that.”

“Doing what?”

“That thing where you look inside my head,” she grumbled. “It’s rude.”

Xarlo shook his head. “I didn’t! It’s all over. You can’t tell?”

Jumbled. Kazta frowned. That was a good word for it, she had to admit.

“D’you… want to talk?” he asked warily.

Kazta grunted. “Not really.”

But jedi were supposed to be impartial, weren’t they? And she knew his past — what little of it there was — she’d read the records. He had no hidden entanglements or dark secrets, in fact she’d not even seen him talk to anyone other than the other padawan who’d arrived with him. Maybe it would help to talk to someone.

“People are confusing,” said Kazta finally.

“Well, that’s for sure.”

Where to begin? First there were a lot of new faces around, ones that she’d assumed were more contacts of Shani’s. Now that she’d admitted to working with the SIS, a lot of things made more sense — such as all those contacts of hers. It probably also explained how she’d learned Imperial close combat technique. But a lot of them seemed to be exactly the sort of people Kazta had wanted to avoid — brash, reckless, ruthless, and disrespectful. They were unreliable and a liability, though she had to admit they’d gotten the data from the Geonosians without any blasters being fired. It had been pretty tense for a while there, though, and Kazta worried they’d now have to anticipate a counter-attack from the compound. After all, they had broken in and stolen data, against Kazta’s suggestion, and had to leave in a rather undiplomatic hurry once they’d been discovered. At best, they’d not trust the crew again, which was also discouraging. They needed allies badly at this point.

Em had somehow found the time to bring a new man around, and Kazta wondered just where one went to find one like that. He was a zabrak, which was surprising of itself, but it also gave her a little jab of homesickness. It had been so long since she’d thought about them: Xerok, Kovo, Maxa, Reso. Sometimes she thought about what they might be doing now, trying to contact them. Would they even remember her? Xerok surely would, they’d been close friends then, but it seemed like ages ago now. This one said he wasn’t raised with zabrak, which was plainly obvious — he seemed more like a human in his ways. And Kazta had thought she had reunited with the captain, but it really wasn’t any of her business. She had more important things to think about — but that didn’t mean she didn’t notice things. Things like how strange Shani and the captain were acting together.

The cathar was watching her expectantly for her to say something else.

“They say one thing, then they do something completely different. Then they’re surprised that you don’t believe them anymore.”

“That’s it?” Xarlo asked.

Was it? That was the essence of it. She couldn’t understand why Shani and others kept asking for her opinion when they didn’t actually want to hear it. Or when the zabrak said that Em had spoken highly of her — that was puzzling. She didn’t think Em liked her very much at all, certainly after Kazta had expressed doubts about her past. The captain had also asked what she thought — after the mission was already underway, when it didn’t matter. It was unusual to say the least.

Most of all, she missed knowing what to expect — the routine, the protocol, the time when “Major” actually meant something other than part of her name. In some cases, it replaced her name here. They weren’t bad people — most of them, anyway — but they were far from what she was used to. And while they’d made progress, they’d had to claw their way there. Last night, the captain had asked what she would do after their mission was over, which she found odd. She’d be given another assignment, why would she do anything else? She hoped it would be boring and ordinary after this one.

“More or less.”

The cathar sighed. “I know that’s not everything, I can see it, you know.”

“What?” Kazta blinked.

“That’s a joke. I can’t.”

Still, she glared at him.

“Come on, don’t you feel a little better?” he asked.

She didn’t feel any less confused, but Kazta supposed she felt a little better, even if she hadn’t actually told him most of it. “I guess,” she shrugged.

He smiled brightly. “Good! Now, let’s try again. Sit like this…”

[Story] Grophet’s Gambit – The Assault

Though the droids had hauled away the bodies, the sand outside the Tatooine homestead was still stained dark with blood. Kazta had expected the coalition to launch an attack, but she hadn’t been certain just how intense it would be. They were, after all, only a small crew against the combined might of the Empire and the Hutts — at least one Hutt. They were probably seen as a minor irritation to be swatted aside, and little more. Kazta had to wonder if they believed that now. Three transports of mixed Imperial soldiers, hired mercenaries, and pirates had assaulted the homestead, as well as a walker. Fortunately, they’d been preparing. Kazta had already inventoried what weapons and munitions were left behind, and Ema had turned up some more — maybe she’d bought them, Kazta wasn’t going to ask right now. She’d also managed to get the turrets operational, which made their position much easier to hold. Most unexpectedly, they’d had some help from above in the form of Gin, flying a Republic fighter that Kazta was frankly shocked they’d given to him. Maybe he had some strings that she wasn’t aware of, either way she was happy to see the Imperial shuttles go down.

They’d had some injuries on their side, the old jedi seemed to have taken the worst of it. He refused to stay in the med room and insisted that he was fine, but Kazta was worried for him. Perhaps once his pride had a chance to soothe itself, she’d try to talk him into seeing one of the medics. Son, in spite of his impressive new armor, also got rattled a bit, but he seemed to quickly bounce back to his usual strange self. Kazta hadn’t asked what brought the captain back, but not everyone was happy to see him. Shani punched him right in the jaw, which she had to admit he kind of deserved. Hopefully things would be back to normal once they’d all had a chance to talk, yet Kazta still couldn’t shake a feeling of unease.

She realized later what it was, all at once as she was disassembling and cleaning her weapon. It had just been a glimpse, a half a second, and in the middle of the firefight Kazta hadn’t even realized what she was looking at. After Kazta had dispatched the commandos attacking herself and the jedi, she’d heard Shani struggling with another. Through the sights of her scope Kazta saw them in close combat, and she recognized the move that Shani had done. She recognized it because nearly every Imperial soldier she’d fought used similar moves. Was it a coincidence? Possibly. Or, Kazta reminded herself, Shani could have been owned by someone in the Empire at one time. There were perfectly plausible reasons, weren’t there? But back at the cantina, Shani had said something that Kazta remembered now, that maybe she shouldn’t fully be trusted either. During the heat of things, she’d felt they truly were beginning to operate as a team, but now doubt began to nag at her. What did she really know about any of their motives? Perhaps it didn’t matter, Kazta reminded herself, so long as the end goal was the same. It’s what she had told herself that first night, and she believed it still held true today.

[Story] Grophet’s Gambit – Waiting

From her vantage point at the top of the tower, Kazta could see far out over the dunes, wavy and shimmering in the mid-day heat. Her patrol that morning had turned up nothing, as they had the past several days. She felt frustrated and restless; though she knew they were making progress, it was slow and lurching. In the meantime, they were a tempting target — the sith was aware of their presence here now. If the jedi could sense him, surely the sith could sense the jedi as well. And no doubt the rest of the Imperial operation had been made aware of their efforts to thwart them, either by the Hutt whose compound they had raided, or the loss of some of their slaves. It would be a simple matter to stage an attack against the homestead, and while the walls would provide some protection, they had little in the way of armor or munitions, nor any defensive turrets or towers. The Imps could just as well walk right in.

She thought tomorrow she might ask the new recruit to join her. He claimed to be skilled with a blaster, and he was sensible and blunt. Kazta had taken a liking to him right away for that reason, and more importantly, he understood the value of vigilance. And while he was reluctant to talk too much about his past, that didn’t matter much to Kazta. She didn’t need to know every detail, just that he could have her back when it was important. He didn’t have any armor, if he was going to be outside of the walls he’d need some manner of protection. They’d first found him in the fleet, Kazta had gone with Shani to secure some supplies and she’d later found the twi’lek sharing drinks with a human male. Though Kazta thought that Shani was trying to recruit him to their cause, Shani kept dropping suggestions that Kazta should talk to him. She did, but she had no interest in anything else he might have to offer, especially once she learned more about him. They both started in on that nonsense about wearing different clothes, a subject that Kazta was rapidly tiring of. She was accustomed to her armor, and she felt prepared for anything that might happen. Kazta just didn’t see the point of leaving herself exposed to attack and revealing herself to anyone who might be around. Maybe that was what some people wanted, but not her. Pri’kinth later joined them, and offered his skills to the crew. Shani agreed to take him on, and he went back on the shuttle with them to the homestead.

At some point, they’d need to find another ship. Pri’kinth suggested at first that Kazta could request one — which she had, already. Without any concrete results, the Republic army was reluctant to allow any more personnel or equipment than it already had. The mission wasn’t exactly the sort of thing that they usually funded, either. Kif’s ship was probably not far off, though Kazta didn’t know what sort of shape it was in — he’d still not told her what happened that night he had snuck off in the dark. Pri’kinth suggested stealing one from the spaceport, which was a terrible idea, but if the situation got desperate enough, it might have some merit. Stealing from Imperials wouldn’t really count as stealing, would it? Especially if its holds were loaded with slaves they’d just freed. Kazta still held out hope that Ginnus would return, though. She found it impossible to believe that he would just leave everyone and everything behind without so much as a word. As far as she knew, he hadn’t called anyone. Maybe he just had some soul searching to do.

[Story] Grophet’s Gambit – First Strike

Though the loss of their captain had dampened their spirits, the crew was making good progress in the past few days. The old jedi had led them across the searing sands to an ancient crashed cruiser, its flanks settled deep into the dunes. There, they’d been able to fight off a handful of Imperial troops and free the slaves that the sith had captured. Only a few of them, and they were in poor condition, but once back at the homestead, Kazta was hopeful they’d have some information about where they’d been working. More than likely, they were kept in the dark as much as possible, to prevent information from getting out. But they would offer food, water and shelter all the same. No one deserved to be captured and tortured by sith.

The two jedi went on ahead in pursuit of the sith — there were actually two, which worried Kazta. Were they somehow concealing their presence, or had the jedi just not mentioned it was more than one? Either way, they were able to kill one, while the other escaped. Unfortunately, he would now be alert to their presence, and more prepared for their next attack. Hopefully its pride wouldn’t permit it to seek help from its own kind — not that sith normally did that sort of thing anyway. As she’d said before, a sith’s weakness was often its overconfidence. Taking advantage of that was the best way to get the upper hand.

Then, they’d followed the trace of one of the slavers who they suspected was working for the Imperial operation. This time, the old jedi insisted that he could be taken without violence. Normally, Kazta was always willing to try diplomacy, but it seemed an impossible feat in this case. Inside the slaver’s camp, they found a young human girl, who either had too much sun or was just very odd. Strangely enough, her enthusiasm — or just talking enough — seemed to wear the slaver down. After she’d talked him into opening the sealed door, the slaver agreed to return to the compound with them. She seemed to hold no malice or ill will to the man who’d captured her and forced her into working beneath the burning suns, and he told the girl what he new. And he agreed to get out of the slaving business, though Kazta suspected he’d return just as soon as he stepped out of their sight. Still, they were closing in now. She just wished they had more — something, she wasn’t sure what. More people, perhaps, though the crew were obviously skilled. Shani and Son salvaged some parts from the slaver’s guard droids, hopefully they’d be able to use them in the hull of the war droid. Even one war droid wasn’t going to be enough, though.

The longer the captain was away, the more Kazta worried. Shani was a capable leader, but even Kazta could see that she was shaken by the loss as well. What they needed was his confidence, the assurance that everything would work out no matter the odds. She just wasn’t sure where it would come from now.