Posts tagged ‘mmo’

Delta Rising Debrief

Several dev blogs have come out in the last two weeks that I’m just now catching up on. My favorite new feature has to be Grapple Guns! While I would love to be able to use these anywhere, I really doubt that will be the case. None of the existing maps will have been developed with the idea that players can move in three dimensions. I actually wonder too if even for maps where grappling is intended to be used if it will be something where it can be used on any surface or only against specific attachment points. The latter case would be much safer from a development standpoint, but I really hope it’s not that limited.

More details are out on Intelligence Specialist Bridge Officers.  In space combat Specialists can go into a regular bridge seat that matches their profession or a universal one, but they can’t use their specialist abilities. There’s no restrictions for ground combat, which means even if you’re not in a Tier 6 with specialist seating, these new officers will still be valuable for away teams. Intelligence abilities will be thematically focused on debuffs, stealth, and crowd control. Some ground examples:

  • Feign disintegration and get a short term stealth effect, speed bonus, and ambush bonus.
  • Spawn a photonic decoy to draw enemy fire.
  • Tag an enemy at distance and initiate a site-to-site transport to bring them to you and disorient them briefly.

Space combat examples:

  • Fire an EM pulse probe that will travel towards a target disabling any intervening enemies and then explode damaging the target and any nearby enemies.
  • Evade target locks to give a massive accuracy debuff against an enemy and become untargetable by enemy torpedoes and mines.
  • Transport warhead will allow you to beam a torpedo directly onto an enemies bridge, bypassing shields and possibly knocking a system offline.

These are just a few that I liked, there are eleven ground and eleven space abilities described in the blog. As primarily a Science Captain, these look especially fun to me.

The new Kobali Adventure Zone is for players level 54 and higher. Similar to the Voth ground battlezone, for Kobali you beam down with two bridge officers. You can also team with other Captains without having to send your officers back to the ship, which you can actually do for the Voth mission as well if you wait until you’re in the battlezone before teaming up. Cryptic is promising that Kobali will be as scalable and team-friendly as the Voth ground zone while also allowing for a rich personal story-line. That sounds perfect if it works as advertised. While I enjoy the Voth ground map on occasion it does get repetitive quickly, despite how much dilithium you can earn doing it

Of course reputations are a given with any expansion or major update to the game now, and Delta Rising is no different.  The Delta Alliance Reputation will be added with the expansion and bring Delta Marks as the basic reputation currency along with Ancient Power Cells for equipment unlocks (or getting bonus dilithium ore). The reputation offers a four piece space set called Delta Alliance Assault (engines, shields, deflector, and warp/singularity core), a three piece space set called Delta Alliance Ordnance (console, polaron beam array or heavy cannon), and neutronic torpedo), and a three piece ground set called Delta Alliance Elite (combat armor, unimatrix shield, compression phaser rifle). All gear is listed as Mark XII, which seems odd given that the new maximum gear level is Mark XIV. Possible typo?

Nope. not a typo and there’s also a new Gear Upgrade System. So items will now have a leveling system called Tech Points. Once an item has enough to qualify for an upgrade a Basic, Improved, or Superior Tech Upgrade item can be used to upgrade it to the next Mark level. Basic Tech Upgrades will be available from vendors (or crafteD), while Improved and Superiors upgrades will be crafted only. Crafting recipes unlock at 5, 10, and 15 respectively, and the recipes won’t require dilithium. This seems to be intended to promote crafters putting them on the Exchange. The dilithium cost comes in when an upgrade is applied. Upgrades will use a similar slotting system to the revamped R&D system, so you’ll be limited to how many items you can upgrade at a time. Also the upgrade process will take a certain amount of real time to completed. It’s not mentioned but I assume you’ll be able to pay additional dilithium to speed that up just like you can with R&D projects.

There’s also a Research Point track for items, which I wasn’t so clear about from the blog that allows bumping up an item’s quality (common to uncommon, etc.). That doesn’t seem quite as important as bumping the Mark level up, and seems like it over complicates things. Of course until it’s in the game we won’t really know.

We’re finally starting to get some solid details about the expansion now. I expect Cryptic’s dev and PR arms to continue to get busier as we near the October release date.

Delta Rising Intelligence Ships Design

Yesterday, Cryptic posted a dev blog about the design process behind the ship design for the new Delta Rising ships. I’m not going to get into the whole debate of whether they’re Trek-like or not. That’s completely subjective. I will say I liked the thought process behind going for a visually cohesive set of ships designed around a set of themes.

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ea6f653a84709eff9d2361ef6103083a1410803753Of the three, I still like the tactical one the best. The nacelles look influenced by the Defiant design. I’m not totally sure about the swept back part, since I haven’t seen a side view, but it reminds me just a bit of Moya from Farscape which I’ve always loved. The blue lighting is great, although I prefer the grey hull material above to the dark material on the right.

dc3ae406801cc585115ed7afe8e4791a1410803795Unfortunately the science ship is still my least favorite of the three. It is nice to see that the open area in the hull can be filled in, having an open ring in the saucer section just doesn’t look good to me. My other issue is that the ship seems to be patterned after the Luna-class ships, like Riker’s Titan. Vaulyn - Recon Science VesselI’ve never liked the extra science pod that sticks out on top of these, although I did eventually get used to it when I flew a Recon Science Vessel. So, it’s possible that the design of the new science ship will grow on me. Pictures are nice, but nothing really compares to seeing it in the game and the ship customizer.

 

STO Fleet Nights

Sunday night was Fleet Night in Star Trek Online. I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to go. I had been playing Shadowrun: Crossfire all afternoon, and just barely losing, and I really wanted to keep at it until I finished a Crossfire mission. But it’s kind of bad when you don’t go to an event you’re organizing, besides having Fleet Nights was supposed to get me playing STO more regularly. So I logged in and figured if no one showed up then I’d go back to Shadowrun.

Scopique and Ocho were already one though and Mindstrike, Talyn, and Warren all showed up as well, so we ended up having a pretty good night. We plowed through the Crystalline Catastrophe and Azure Nebula Rescue, and then Defera Invasion hard missions (which were slightly more bugged than in previous weeks), and then finished the night with Undine/Voth space battlezone. It was a fun night. Ocho was just coming back to the game after an absence and we kind of pulled him straight into the fire with us, but he did fine.

So the Fleet Night experiment continues. For me at least, it’s doing exactly what I’d hoped by getting me to play more frequently.

Return of Fleet Night

Last night was our second fleet night. It went even better as we had a full team of five and were able to run all of the Defera hard quests, Into the Hive, and the Voth ground battle zone. The Borg Queen gave us some trouble again in the Hive STF (normal mode still) but we eventually succeeded. We ended up playing from 9 until midnight, which made for a rough morning for me getting the boys up for school and daycare, but was totally worth it.

We also added some Mercy Gaming members to the fleet. Warren joined us for most of Fleet Night, Jaren and Torek hadn’t unlocked access to the Dyson Sphere yet unfortunately.

This is only the second organized night, but I couldn’t be happier with how well it went. I’m looking forward to playing Sunday night. Now if I could only remember to hit my Fraps hotkey to take screenshots.

Three Dev Blogs! Ah! Ah! Ah!

Cryptic release not one, not two, but three dev blogs today. The biggest news by far for me are the additional Voyager cast members doing voice work. Robert Picardo’s The Doctor was my favorite character from the series and I really hope he’s heavily used in the new content. In addition to Tim Russ as Tuvok and Garret Wang as Harry Kim, Jeri Ryan will be back as Seven of Nine (although I believe she goes by Annika now) and Ethan Phillips as Neelix.

The second dev blog us about a new Space Event involving the conflict between the Borg Collective and the Cooperative. This one interests me more from the lore discussed in the dev blog than in thinking about playing the actual event. Seeing this contrast between two versions of the Borg is fascinating to me and I’m very interested to see where Cryptic takes it.

The third blog outlines what Cryptic is calling the Delta Rising Operations Pack, which is the equivalent to the Legacy of Romulus pack that was released for the last expansion. At $125 it’s too expensive for me. I’ll wait an buy ships and equipment piecemeal like I did with Romulus. Despite that, there is some good new information in the dev blog regarding the new type of ship.

The new type of ship will be called Intelligence. There will be three for the Federation, I assume in Tactical/Engineering/Science flavors, and one each for Romulans and Klingons. There will also be an additional Intelligence ship for each faction that is based on the theme of Voyager’s journey home. The blog mentions in passing that Intelligence ships will be able to launch drones to scan enemies for weaknesses which the Intelligence Bridge Officer can exploit through powers. This sounds to me like a combination of the current Science scan power plus the singularity powers that Romulan captains can charge up and unlock.

The screenshots of the new Intel ships look really good. Unfortunately the Science ship is my least favorite of the three Federation ships. Hopefully that changes when I see it in game, sometimes screenshots don’t do these ships justice.

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Tier 6: Intel Cruiser, Tactical, and Science Ships

Fleet Night

Blaugust is over! Huge thanks again to Belghast for organizing this, it was just the motivation I’ve been needing. Also congratulations to the Survivors and other Winners.

Star Trek Online is the only MMO I’ve really stuck with on a regular basis after hitting the level cap. That’s not to say I haven’t taken extended breaks from the game, which I have, but it’s the only MMO that I actually return to unlike LotRO and Champions which I want to play but never seem to actually login to.

Unfortunately STO isn’t too popular among my circle of Internet friends, so I often log in do some stuff solo and log out. Our small Fleet of bloggers and friends generally only gets active in the months leading up to and following a content release. In an attempt to correct that a bit, I’m trying to push myself to organize some events, the first of which was last night. I’m hoping to make this a semi regular thing, depending on people’s schedules, to try and get the Fleet to be more active.

Scopique from Levelcapped, Talyn from Pumping Irony, Mindstrike, and myself got together in-game last night and had fun queueing up as a team for half a dozen events. My favorite of the night was the Into the Hive task force. It had some great voice overs of the Borg Queen that really added to the atmosphere of the mission. I never seem to remember to take screenshots when playing games, I suppose I’m just too involved in the moment. Fortunately Mindstrike remembered and snapped this victory shot after we defeated the Queen.

screenshot_2014-08-31-23-02-44

 

Tier 5 Upgrades

Yesterday Cryptic released the one dev blog a lot of people have been waiting impatiently for, upgrading Tier 5 ships.

Upgrading is done via Zen through the C-store, for between $5 and $10 (subject to change as is all of the dev blog information). The upgrade is per ship but account wide, although I don’t seem many people flying the same ship on different alts. T5 upgrades are free for special ships, basically anything that came from a reputation event, the lobi store, or a lock box.

Upgraded T5 ships only have four levels unlike the five for T6 ships. Just like T6 though the ships will scale up their hull and shields as they level. Since they don’t have the last level that T6’s do, they cannot unlock a Starship Trait. Of course if you have a T6 and unlock a trait you can still use it while flying a T5+ ship. T5+ ships also won’t have specialist bridge officer seating.

There’s a linked page with a list of all of the ships in the game along with whether they are upgraded for Zen for for free. What I found interesting about the page though was just seen how many ships are in the game now, and those are just the Tier 5 ships.

I’m still having a hard time getting worked up over the new ship tier and the upgrade process. Apparently I’m one of the few based on the 204 page forum thread regarding the upgrade post. T5+ ships won’t get the Starship Trait or specialized bridge officers, neither of which we have details on. There’s also this quote from the blog:

Only the most challenging new level 60 content will strongly benefit from using an upgraded Tier 5 starship or a Tier 6 starship, however it will not strictly require it.

The two bolded sections basically read to me that T6 ships will have an easier time, but are not required for any of the new content. For me, that means that I’ll likely stay with my current ship, a Vesta-class, unless I really like the look of one of the new T6 ships.

Picard Maneuver

Speaking of how many ships are in the game, add one more. The Constellation class is being added to STO. The most well known example of this class being the USS Stargazer, Jean Luc Picard’s first ship. This is C-Store ship that adds a new skin to the Heavy Cruiser Refit, a Tier 3 ship, along with a new console called the Warp Burst Capacitor. This emulates the Picard Maneuver, which involves a ship performing short duration a high warp acceleration directly towards another ship causing them to appear in two places at once. The STO console gives a brief  untargetable status, moves your ship forward a short distance, and gives you a short ambush attach bonus.

The console is nice enough that I think a some players will pay the 1000 Zen, $10, just to get that. Then there’s the ship collectors and role-players who’ll want it too. The majority of the player base isn’t going to buy ships right now anyway given that no one’s likely to buy new ships until the T6’s come out with Delta Rising. Personally I’m tempted by the console, but I don’t think I’ll get it unless I come up with a build where I think it will be handy.

Day 28 of Blaugust

Delta Quadrant Developments

t6report It turns out my guess yesterday was pretty good about what the redacted Engineering Corp Report was. We got a little bit more detail today about Tier 6 ships. The additional bridge officer slot was to be expected along with the usual hull and shield points and additional console slot, but the new stuff sounds pretty good: Specialist Bridge Officer seats, Starship Mastery system, and Starship Traits.

The Specialist Bridge Officers have access to the normal abilities for either Tactical, Engineering, or Science depending on which profession they belong to. In addition they’ll have a access to a new Specialist pool of abilities. Unfortunately that’s all Cryptic is saying for now. The way the report is written suggests that there’s only one new pool of abilities, but I may be reading too much into it.

The Starship Mastery system is a little bit more interesting to me. Basically Cryptic is adding a level attribute to Tier 6 ships that will grow from 0 to 5 as Captains gain Skill Points. Gaining Mastery levels will unlock passive abilities which vary depending on the class of the ship. A Starship Trait will unlock at level 5 and if slotted into your Captain’s traits gives a powerful bonus regardless of whether or not you’re flying a Tier 6 ship.

Unfortunately that’s the extent of the details in the latest Dev Blog. This has become a theme so far where Cryptic unveils some new information about the upcoming expansion but only really provides an outline of what’s coming. I was starting to get a little frustrated at the trickle of information Cryptic is releasing until I saw the new expansion trailer.

This has gotten me excited again. I’m especially curious about what ship is at 0:57, and more importantly can I get my hands on one.

Unknown Ship in DR trailer at 57 seconds

Day 26 of Blaugust

Different Kinds of Excitement

Since becoming a parent, I’ve had to say and do a lot of things that I never thought I would ever say or do. For instance tonight I had to explain to my five year old that it doesn’t matter if he only pooped a little bit in the tub, he still has to get out of it so I can drain it and clean it. Fun times.

Star Trek Online

On a more fun note Captain Smirk, the Community Manager for STO teased this today:

Calling all Captains, this will be a big week for #STO so keep your com channels open! So much cool stuff is coming…

I can only guess that means there will be a bunch of dev blogs released. Hopefully with substantial details to placate and/or inflame the playerbase.

And after checking the STO site, there is indeed a Starfleet Operations Report posted. Most of the sections are marked redacted for now and lead to a “Coming Soon” page, but I like the LCARS-ish format they’ve been using for these posts. I’m not sure that the Engineering Core report would be, maybe something more about Tier 6 ships? There’s another Intelligence Briefing about a Delta Quadrant species. Hopefully it will be an exciting week in the no-drama no-forum rage sense of the word.

Adventure Co.

I got my copy of the D&D Player’s Handbook today for 5th Edition. I had actually already started  on my character but I’m not sure now. My first impulse was to make a Human Wizard, which is the same character I ran in our first campaign. My character in our aborted second campaign was a Goliath Warden, but the quick start rules I was using last night were pretty bare. Flipping through the book today, I’m leaning towards rolling a Gnome instead but either keeping the Wizard class or maybe going with Sorcerer. I’ve always loved magic-using classes.

Day 25 of Blaugust

Firefly Online

FFO_bgrdFirefly Online (FFO) was announced over a year ago at 2013’s San Diego Comic Con. I watched the teaser video and got excited. Then I saw in the video description that is was a “multi-user, social online role-playing game that will initially be available for smartphones and tablets” and got depressed. I’ve kept a hopeful eye on it anyway, and over time the direction of the game seems to have changed dramatically. Or it could just be that someone really screwed up the original PR for the game.

IMG_20130723_132123One of the reasons why I kept an eye on the project, aside from sheer contrariness and masochism, was that QMx was listed as working on the project with Spark Plug Games. Quantum Mechanix has made a lot of really nice Firefly merchandise including the Serenity Little Damn Heroes Maquette that I have on my shelf. This gave me a little hope that the game would at least look good and be true to the series.

A game play article posted near the end of 2013 specifically called out the social tag as well as clarified that the game would be available on desktops, both of which helped allay my initial fears. Based on an article about persistent play, it actually looks like the mobile platforms will be for a limited subset of the game features. If the actually game works like the article outlines, it will actually be pretty nice and something that myself and many other players have been wanting for Star Trek Online’s Duty Officer system. It would be great to be able to manage Doff assignments from my phone rather than having to wait until I can log into the full game.

With the Big Damn Heroes announcement earlier this summer, I’m getting cautiously excited about the game. Spark Plug Games has already gotten voice work recorded by Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Ron Glass, and Sean Maher. At the time of posting Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, and Summer Glau were scheduled to come in. And Gina Torres is still getting the timing worked out. I really hadn’t expected SPG to get that kind of support for the game. It’s also interesting from a timeline that Ron and Alan are doing voicework.

The release date has been pushed back two quarters from summer 2014 (which is nearly over anyway) to spring 2015, so I’ll have a while longer to wait and see if my initial skepticism was warranted. I have to say though that I like that the release was pushed back. It says a lot about Spark Plug, QMx and Fox that they were willing to invest several more months into the project rather than just release with what they had and fix it afterwards. Not every development studio gets that kind of support.

Day 22 of Blaugust