Merec is now firmly ensconced in the cantina on Carrick Station, after another couple of days of derring-do, high adventure and amusing scrapes. I've finally picked and trained in my Advanced Class as well as my Crew Skills, as well as run my first Flashpoint on the Republic Side. It's continued to be a lot of fun, but things haven't always gone according to plan...
Upon arriving at Carrick Station the first thing I did was meet my class advanced trainer (well not quite the first thing; I had a little adventure on the Esseles first, but more on that later). I had already made my decision about which AC to pick and the summary I was given confirmed my choice - Merec is now a Gunslinger. After picking my AC I was given a shiny new blaster and the ability to wield two at once, so my character is already twice as cool as he was before! I then learned some new skills (make sure you check the new advanced class tab on the training window after picking your AC - it's easy to miss).
Next it was off to the crafting area. My primary crew skill is now Cybertech. I picked this as I figured that it would be allow me to supply any alts with useful gear as well, regardless of their class. Also, based on the final beta patchnotes it will allow me to craft new vehicles at high level. For my other crew skills I took the ones recommended by the in-game codex for supporting Cybertech - Scavenging for my harvesting skill and Underworld Trading for my mission skill (also a good choice as my first companion gets a bonus to Underworld Training).
Whilst exploring Carrick Station I came across a new vendor, a Security Key vendor. This vendor sells exclusive items for players who are using a security key with their account. A security key is an authenticator that gives an added layer of security for your account. You can either purchase a physical one or download a virtual one (for free). Anyway, I was surprised to see this vendor, but it seems that Bioware is trying to encourage people to use authenticators, which from a security point of view is a good thing. I got a key with my Collector's Edition of the game so I was able to check out what the vendor sells, and he has some exclusive companion customisation kits, clothing and speeders.
So, that brings me to Merec's adventures aboard The Esseles, a luxury cruise liner that he took from Ord Mantell spaceport to Coruscant, the capital world of the Galactic Republic. As a player you have the option to just quick travel from the spaceport to Coruscant, but I would encourage everyone to play The Esseles, which is the first Flashpoint on the Republic side. It takes about 60 to 90 minutes to play through but is one of the most fun dungeon experiences I've ever had in an MMO.
The multiplayer dialogue system is just as fun as I remember it from beta, and the set-pieces and combat in the Flashpoint is always fun and exciting. I teamed up with Mook, a fellow member of Convergence, and things started to go badly from the start...
First of all, we ended up running the wrong way because we thought we knew where we were going, but obviously we didn't. Then I managed to accidentally flag myself for open world PvP (note: /flag is NOT the command to do the /flagdown emote!). Finally, we managed to lure the first boss Ironfist into a false sense of security by letting him beat us five times in a row! At that point my five month old daughter decided I needed rescuing and woke up crying, so I had to call it a night.
It was however a total blast from start to finish. The next day I went back and formed up a pick-up group, and this time we managed to get through the whole Flashpoint with nary a scratch (we only lost one party member in the final fight), plus I managed to pick up a really nice looking orange chestpiece (orange items are fully modable items, which means I could if I wanted keep that chestpiece until endgame, just by upgrading the mods).
That's it for my Merec update for now. Next time I'll be arriving on Coruscant and discussing my thoughts on how I'm going to set up my talent trees up to level 20.