Posts tagged ‘star trek’

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

Perks of being a Fleet Admiral

The Path to Level 60 in Star Trek Online

Cryptic released the first of many, I assume, dev blogs regarding the Delta Rising expansion. This one deals with raising the level cap from to 60 from 50, Admiral to Fleet Admiral ranks. Before I get into it, I just wanted to mention how much I’ve enjoyed the LCARs formatting they’ve added to most of the blogs recently. It’s the small touches like this that add so much to the game experience.

A new Specialization Tree system is going to be added, with captains awarded 1 point per level after 50. This doesn’t stop at level 60 but continues to award points every time enough skill points are accumulated that you would have earned another level. So theoretically you’ll eventually be able to max out all your Specialization Trees. The blog doesn’t say what the curve looks like for skill points per level or if the curve flattens out after 60, nor are there any specifics on the Specializations yet.

I’m think the Specializations sound interesting. I like that Skill Points will stop converting to Expertise. I believe I have about 5 million points of that unused by now (after checking I actually have 6.1 million), so it’s not like Expertise is in demand once you get your Bridge Officers’ skills figured out. There’s not enough detail here yet though to get excited about.

Jasyla’s Gaming Questionaire, Part Two

With STO news out of the way, here’s questions 11-21 from Cannot Be Tamed:

11. Describe your perfect video game.

Highly customizable character, great story, smart dialog, combat and puzzles that gradually get tougher and prepare you for the challenges that follow.

12. What video game character do have you have a crush on?

Tali’Zorah

13. What game has the best music?

My favorite game soundtrack, at least recently, has been the one for Planetary Annihilation from Uber.

14. Most memorable moment in a game:

There’s more I’m sure, but the first one that popped into my head was wandering into the Lone Lands in the Lord of the Rings Online and seeing Weathertop for the first time.

15. Scariest moment in a game:

Nothing comes to mind, I don’t play horror games though.

16. Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

Mordin’s final scene in Mass Effect 3.

17. What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?

That’s what blogrolls are for! :)

18. What’s the last game you finished?

I think it was Dishonored. Since I play a lot of MMOs and Minecraft, I really can’t finish many of the games I spend time on.

19. What future releases are you most excited about?

Star Crawlers and Last Life are two games that I backed on Kickstarter that I’m excited to see come out (and hopefully do well). BioWare’s new Shadow Realms looks interesting but there’s hardly enough known yet to warrant excitement.

If I could pick any game that’s been announced as in development and have it magically done and released tomorrow, I’d go for the next Mass Effect game that’s in the works. Looking at my answers today and yesterday I apparently have Mass Effect on the brain, no clue as to why that is.

20. Do you identify as a gamer?

Absolutely. I’ve taken some crap about that in the past, normally from co-workers saying it seems like a waste of time, more than once they’ve said this after talking about watching football all weekend on the couch.

21. Why do you play video games?

The same reasons why I read books: entertainment, escapism, and mental stimulation.

Day 20 of Blaugust

Starships and Capes

Astrometrics Report

Cryptic released a little more background on the Delta Rising expansion. It looks like the content will focus on the volume of space from the Nekrit Expanse towards the Alpha Quadrant. Very few of the species in Voyager are ones I’m interested in except for the Voth which we’ve already seen. But the article touches on the Borg Cooperative, which is from the Voyager episode Unity, which I’d totally forgotten about. I’ll definitely be interested in seeing how they’ve gotten on in the last 30-something years.

Silver Hunter Returns?

I was surprised to see a big article on Champions Online on Massively today. It looks like they’re making a big content update in September. The new areas sound interesting. The new mission arc I’m curious about but in the past their arcs have always seemed to have frustrating vertical difficulty curves near the tail end (at least for a non-min/maxed hero playing solo).

Cryptic’s Champions team is also taking a page from their old City of Heroes incarnation with a new archetype that only unlocks once a player gets a max level character, just like the Kheldian Peacebringer and Warshade classes from CoH. I’m pretty skeptical of how well that will go over. The strength of Champions, to me anyway, over City of Heroes was that I wasn’t limited to a specific set of powers. Or at least not as long as I was subscribing, and I bought a lifetime sub way back so for me that’s a permanent feature of the game.

Regardless of how well the new archetype goes over, I hope the new content gives the game a boost. I’d love an excuse to dust of the Silver Hunter and return to Millennium City for a while.

Day 12 of Blaugust

Delta Quadrant Bound

05311098887bcda9712b9209e89c445d1407361503Cryptic and Perfect World formally announced the second expansion for Star Trek Online today, Delta Rising. I say formally because the initial announcement was made at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas last weekend, a video of which is linked in the announcement.

Voyager is not my favorite series, I found several of the characters either bland or annoying. That said, I was very impressed with Tim Russ’ reprising Tuvok for the Season 9 update so I was pleased that Garrett Wang is being brought on to voice Ensign Kim. Except he’s finally been promoted to Captain. Even cooler is Garrett only the first Voyager cast member to be announced, there’ll be  more in the coming weeks. I’m really hope that Robert Picardo is figuratively waiting in the wings.

Game-wise the biggest feature, in my opinion, is the level cap increase from 50 to 60. I don’t think I’ve played any MMO that’s gone four years without a level cap bump. A new level cap means new story content which is sorely needed.

Cryptic is also adding a new post 50 infinite progression system as well as a new tier of starships. I’m skeptical about how infinite this new progression system will be. I imagine that either means it will be a massive grind to achieve anything or it will offer diminishing returns on improvement. The new tier of starships sound interesting as there’ll be something new with bridge officers among other hinted at features. Unfortunately with so little real information yet the forum warriors have already begun beating their war drums over concern that their current min/maxed Tier 5 ships suddenly won’t be as godlike as they are now.

Personally, I’m looking forward to more content regardless of any other changes. In the absence of a regular TV show, this is the Star Trek franchise for me.

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations Day 7 of Blaugust

Looking Back at 2013

What a weird year 2013 has been. I started the year looking forward to several MMOs none of which lasted. City of Stream imploded, Defiance and Neverwinter both fizzled for me, and Elder Scrolls Online didn’t release. Defiance turned out to be the least social MMO I’ve ever played, and add to that the bugginess of the interface after launch, and I lost interest after the first month or two. I’m still not sure why Neverwinter didn’t click for me, I was very excited for the game and really enjoyed the demo I played, but somehow I shifted from mostly playing to mostly doing offline crafting to not doing anything. This year was also the first time I didn’t buy the Lord of the Rings Online expansion, and even now I’ve not logged in to try out the class changes that came along with Helm’s Deep. I just didn’t have that moment of nostalgia this time around like I did when Isengard was being released.

Star Trek Online was the only MMO I played regularly this year, and I think that this past year was probably STO’s best year to date. Romulans have always been one of my least favorite non-Federation factions, so when Cryptic announced their expansion plan at the beginning of the year I was ambivalent. I did get excited though after I got a change to try some of the new Romulan content on Tribble. Cryptic really hit a home run with the mission content for Romulan characters and the upgraded tutorial missions for the Klingons, so much so that updating the Federation tutorial became a priority. I was very surprised that Cryptic had decided to add a new faction but allowing them to ally with either the Federation of Empire allowed people to play as Romulans without further splintering the PvP community, as well as fitting with existing canon. Then in the second half of the year with the Season 8 update and the incredible visuals of getting to fly my ship inside a Dyson Sphere. I’ve enjoyed the space adventure zone much more than the ground zone of New Romulus, and I’ve especially enjoyed the more streamlined and far grindy Dyson reputation. I’m hoping that Season 9 includes a redesign of the other reputations along the same lines.

Besides STO my other main game this year has been modded Minecraft. I started with the Direwolf20 pack from Feed the Beast but eventually moved on to making my own mod pack in order to stay on the most current releases of Minecraft and mods as possible. I haven’t tried yet, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy playing standard Minecraft again. I enjoy designing and building automated systems too much, and exploring the different magic systems, alternate dimensions, and building with a wider array of cosmetic blocks than vanilla Minecraft provides. Minecraft has always been a favorite game of mine, but generally I’d always get to a point where I was bored with a map and move on to something else. Having mods available changes that. Minecraft is always changing now as mods add new features or new mods become available, there’s always something to try, and starting over in a new world also means a chance to make big changes to which mods I’m using.

This year I’ve also added board/card gaming to my collection of hobbies. After going to GenCon and picking up Firefly, I realized that there were board games out there that would play well solo as well as in a group. Since October I’ve been spending a lot of time on BoardGameGeek and started collecting some games. Ironically, I’m playing board games now much the way I play MMOs. Solo. So far, in addition to Firefly I’ve picked up Space Hulk Death Angel, Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Thunderstone, Marvel Legendary, and Pathfinder the Adventure Card Game.

My proudest achievement this year though has to be finally winning National Novel Writing Month. Not only has it motivated me to spend March doing a first revision but it’s heavily influenced my plans and resolutions for 2014.

Feature Episode series comes to the STO Foundry

Authors from Starbase UGC have teamed up to make a six part series on the level of Cryptic’s Featured Episode series. I can’t wait to check the first one out come October 1st, while I really enjoyed the Romulan expansion my favorite character will always be my first Federation one, Bryn, and I’m looking forward to have some appointment playtime like in the first years of STO when Cryptic was doing their features.

Check out their teaser trailer.

h20rat

I’ve been on an extended MMO break, but I still check in once a week or so on a few sites to keep an eye on things, which is how I found out that Cryptic’s Mark Valentine, h20rat, lost his battle with cancer. Mark did all of the marketing videos for the Cryptic games. He was very involved with the community and even had a spotlighted Foundry mission, The Rising Phoenix – Part One.

My thoughts and best wishes go out to both his Cryptic and personal family.

Fuck cancer.