Monday, March 2, 2015

Success!

This weekend was a good one for me in STO.  I took full advantage of double XP and got my Romulan to level 50.  Duty Officer missions were just crazy.  I got a critical success on one and it gave me 20k xp!  That's quite a lot.  So I have reached the old cap, only 5 years after launch too.

Here is where the game really starts.  At 50 (Vice Admiral) you can buy end game ships.  Those are T5U and T6.  Up until this point, I was going through a new ship a week so it was hard to get attached and really pay attention to what was going on.  But I pulled out the ol' wallet and bought a Faeht Intel Warbird, which will probably be my main ship for quite some time.

The game really changes at 50 now that I can concentrate on a ship.  Plus, the reputation system opens up, and the specialization system opens up at 51.  I still have loads of content ahead of me, which is nice.  Plus, there are a lot of PvE queues available now too.  I kind of feel overwhelmed.  That's not necessarily a bad thing though.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Quite a Weekend

Big gaming weekend for me coming up!  Star Trek Online is having a Double XP weekend (well, longer than that).  As I am still leveling, this will be a big help.  The XP was just pouring in last night between missions and Duty Officers.  I should be a good bit into my 40's by the time it is over.  The great things is that missions scale in STO, so I will not be out-leveling any content.

As if that were not enough, they are also have a ship sale in the c-store.  While I am still leveling, I don't really need any of those special ships.  However, now might be the time to buy my T6 Intel ship, the Faeht Intel Warbird.  It's $6 off this weekend.  Now, a T6 isn't a necessity, but it might just be cool to have.  It looks nice and has some nice abilities.  Plus, I like the word Intel.




So I'm thinking I may as well pick that up while it's on sale.  Spending $24 in the c-store is a lot, but it's really just less than 2 months subscription.  I have no plans to buy anymore ships, so I think it'll be worthwhile.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why I love Forge - #1

Forge, if you are not aware, is a streaming and video highlighting system.  It runs automatically when it sees a supported game, live streaming it.  When finished, you can then easily make highlights/screenshots of your session and share them with the community (or social media).  It requires no extra software like OBS or XSplit.

One of the things I love about the service is that it is all about the games.  I get to watch people play the games they truly enjoy and play on a regular basis.  With services like Twitch and Hitbox, it is often about viewership numbers so people play what they think will bring the people in.  There's nothing wrong with that, I still watch twitch regularly.  It's just a different mindset.

With Forge, I can see how people normally play a game.  Sure, there is no interaction (yet) but that's not a deal breaker for me.  I'm not against a chat system, so long as it is optional and unobtrusive.  I don't want a second monitor just so I can monitor chat.  I also don't want to have to use a mic to effectively communicate with whoever is watching. However, doing that all without interfering with the game I am playing is going to be a challenge.  We'll see what the Forge devs come up with.

Want to try it out?  Click here:  http://forge.gg/invite/Uvjgy5

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shame

Yesterday, it occurred to me that I don't have any characters at the level cap in any MMO.  Usually, I have at least one.  My SWTOR Trooper is the closest, just half a level from the cap.  I finished up all the new story content and there's nothing I really want to do at level 60 so there I sit.  When the PvP bug bites, I'll be getting him to 60.

I'm making great progress in STO, where most of the leveling is quite easy.  However, I hear 50 - 60 can be quite a task and the story content doesn't fill it all up.  So who knows if I'll actually reach the cap there.  Once I have to start doing repetitive things, it's usually time for me to take a break from the game.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Great Scene

I was playing some STO last night and came across this really entertaining scene.  Where else are you going to see a Gorn and a Romulan in a Wild West showdown?  It takes place on Nimbus III, which is the location of Star Trek 5.  All recorded with Forge, of course :)


Monday, February 23, 2015

Getting back to SWTOR

Recently, Star Trek Online has been my game of choice.  It's been going really well so far.  I am enjoying all of the Romulan content and have worked my way up to level 33.  The old cap is in sight at 50, with the new one at 60.  I hear the story content doesn't really stretch over the last 10 levels, so we'll see if I make it.  Even though I have been playing it a lot, I still don't consider STO to be my primary game.

That honor still goes to SWTOR, even though I haven't played it in weeks.  So what is it going to take to get me actively playing again?

12x.  I just can't play my alts without 12x XP.  This seemed to be quite popular, but BioWare has not mentioned it in a long time.  They did give us 2x XP, but that's just not enough anymore.

New Content.  It looks like the earliest we are going to see new content is late April with Ziost.  That's a little over 2 months, which feels like a long time to go without anything new.

PvP.  I might come back if I really get the urge to PvP.  Right now, I don't really feel like doing that though.

It feels like BioWare has hibernated for the winter.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Man in the High Castle - TV Series

I recently found out that the pilot episode for The Man in the High Castle was available through Amazon Prime.  I happen to have Prime, score!  I had never read the original, but I like history and alternative history, so I gave it a watch.  This was the first Amazon original series I've watched, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Overall, it was actually really well done.  Good acting, good quality all around.  It's no surprise that Amazon already ordered a full season.  Will I watch it when it comes out?  Probably not.

It was really good, but that actually worked against it.  The basic premise of the show is that Germany and Japan won World War 2 and took over the US.  The show did such a good job of portraying it that is was just revolting.  I can't stomach watching week after week of that version of the USA.  I might be able to if the story was about fighting back against the invaders, but that doesn't seem to be the case.  It's more about politics and some weird mysticism.

I do recommend it, if you have a strong stomach :)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Exploration is Impossible

In a recent forum poll, STO players put Exploration Missions as their top priority (40%) for the coming year.  Star Trek Online used to have an exploration system, but it was removed.  I think they were just not happy with it and how it fit into the game.  It was basically sectors with randomly generated systems that had some randomly generated missions.  Overall, it was not very engaging.

Exploration is a core aspect of Star Trek, it's in the opening theme.  However, I don't feel it is possible to do it justice in a game.  They key to making exploration good is to make it meaningful.  The old system wasn't meaningful in any way.  But Werit, Elite Dangerous and No Mans Sky!  I don't feel that their systems are meaningful either.  Procedural content lends itself to quantity, not quality.  300 billion star systems is a great tag line, but so what?  What's happening in these systems, anything interesting at all?

Interesting.  In Star Trek,  exploration involved interesting crafted stories.  You need writers for this,  we're just not at a point where this can happen from procedural content.  Now, there are some thoughts that PWE might leverage the Foundry.  However, that relies on players making new content, as old content wouldn't make sense in an exploration system.  The rate at which players will explore will far out pace any content creation, so procedural seems like the only way.

Persistence.  If the worlds you discover just vanish when your done, how is it meaningful?  Making things stick around is not an easy task.  The way STO is setup with quadrants, I just don't see that as a possibility.  You would need a system to re-access every place you visited, as the standard mapping system won't support huge new areas.  However, if everything is bland and boring, why would you want to revisit?

While players want Exploration,  I just don't feel like they can be given a system that will actually meet their expectations.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Truth about SWTOR PvP

I like PvP.  I played Warhammer Online its whole like and PVPed 99.9% of the time.  However, I am under no illusions that SWTOR is a PvP game.  When the latest Producer's Letter came out, there was no mention of any PvP additions to the game.  This, of course, caused a little-big outcry from PvP players.  While few in number, they can make a lot of noise.

It's time to face facts.  PvP in SWTOR is not, and will likely never be a priority.  When I first started to play the game,  I played it for its PvE content.  PvP was a nice distraction, but that's all it was.  So I have never been too invested in that part of the game.  I think it is pretty clear that the focus of the game in story based PvE content.

BioWare is not guilt free though.  They started out with Ilum, made additions to PvP, and even added Galactic Starfighter which was a whole new PvP system.  Looking back on GSF, what a huge waste of resources it was.  I wouldn't feel this way if they continued to support it, but they haven't.  So, in the past, BioWare has tried to keep PvP players around.

That tone has shifted, where they are now doubling down on Shadow of Revan content.  That's the future of the game.  I wish BioWare would just come out and say PvP would only get basic support from here on out.  Star Trek Online did exactly that, the players didn't like it, but at least they knew for sure.

So where should PvP folks go?  Sadly, there really are not that many options for MMORPG based combat with PvP.  Camelot Unchained is about all I can think of and that's still in Alpha.

I miss WAR for PvP :(


Friday, February 13, 2015

Heading Offworld

Stardock/Mohawk Games released their new economic RTS game yesterday: Offworld Trading Company.  By released, I mean early access.  Normally, I'd shy away from early access, but this is Stardock and the guy who made Civ 4.  So they get a pass.  It's available through Steam too.

I don't play RTS's much anymore, I used to though.  This is a new take on the genre, as it's not about combat.  Instead it is about economic decisions with some shady dealings on the side.  The games are meant to be pretty fast and different each time.  Random maps, AI for solo play, and multiplayer are all available.  Multiplayer looks like it will be a big part of its future, with ladders planned.  I'm unsure if I will partake, all depends on how reflex intensive it plans on being.  With no units to command, it may be slow enough for me to compete.

I only played a little last night, but it was fun.  I lost my first game, but I was still just figuring out what was going on.  You can see a clip of my defeat below.