Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cartel Market Doldrums

The last few Cartel Packs in the SWTOR store have been pretty underwhelming for me.  There hasn't been anything introduced that I must have lately.  I think the last thing I really wanted was a Massive Anti-Air Turret decoration for a stronghold.  I've also enjoyed Bantha mounts, slot machines, and other various decorations.

Since I have been spending time in Star Trek Online, I've noticed quite a difference in philosophies.  STO introduces all sorts of desirable items into their store.  Of course, they also sell power where SWTOR does not.  Still, it's at least somewhat interesting.

I look forward to actually wanting something from the Cartel Market again.  I'm not sure what it'll be, probably a housing decoration.  The only kind of mount I'd want would be a walker.  I have yet to see an armor set that I really wanted. So hopefully BioWare can get me excited about the Cartel Market again soon.  I have a whole bunch of Cartel Coins to spend!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SWTOR Rises Again

I've started to come out of my SWTOR hibernation.  Next week, patch 3.2 launches which includes a new planet called Ziost.  The story introduced with the Shadow of Revan expansion continues here.  It involves the now out and about Emperor.  By all accounts, it should be a lot of fun.  I think it will only give me a few days of content though.

The big Star Wars Celebration even was held over the weekend.  BioWare held a cantina where they talked about the game and what's coming up.  The 'big' news was just another teaser, sadly.  Something called Fallen Empire will be announced (teased again) on June 15th.  That happens to be the same day of EA's E3 conference.  I'm guessing it is the name of the next game update?  BioWare has not said anything about another paid expansion this year.

Other news from the cantina:  a new stronghold is coming which is located on Yavin 4.  It looks pretty cool so far.  I'll definitely pick it up.  Hopefully they up the Stronghold limit from 4 to 5 to accommodate it.  No hints on when we might see this.

They also announced the return of 12x XP! I have been waiting for this one.  Starting May 4th, all subscribers will have access to 12xp for class missions.  No ending date was given, but Eric said it would be around for a long time.  This will finally let me continue on my alts.

So I am back in SWTOR.  My main is actually not at 60, as I stopped playing after I completed the expansion.  With double XP, I am just about there and should be this afternoon.  Then I'll mess around with some Cartel Packs and wait for Ziost to arrive.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pillars and 4x Aplenty!

I'm still alive!  All my efforts have been directed towards work lately, so I have not been in the mood to write.  I'm still playing games when I get a chance though.  Just not so much lately since the wife has been out of town and I'm acting as a single father.

Pillars of Eternity.  I just finished the first act.  It's still pretty awesome.

Star Ruler 2.  A new 4x game I picked up.  Sadly, one of the main screens is giving me motion sickness so I can't really play.  There is a spinning planet behind some text which just gets to me.  I love 2015.  The developer maintains an IRC channel, so I popped in and just asked him if anything can be done.  He's going to put an option in to disable it in the next patch.  How awesome is that?

StarDrive 2.  Another 4x game came out, two in a month?  Crazy.  I picked this one up too, as I can't play Star Ruler 2 at the moment.  It's really good so far.  Very polished with an excellent UI.  I haven't gotten too far yet, as I've restarted at least 5 times.  But I finally figured out how things work so this save might actually get played for a while.

Star Trek Online.  I still log in regularly to DOFF and R&D,  but just have not put much time into doing missions lately.  Too many distractions.

SWTOR.  3.2 is coming up soon, which means a new planet/story.  I really need to get that half level so I hit the cap.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Buy Pillars of Eternity?

Yes, probably.  I spent about 4.5 hours in the game yesterday, thanks to vacation I was forced to use or lose.  So far, it is an excellent game.  There is really a lot to it, so if you are thinking of buying it, ask yourself the following.  If you answer yes to any, you should probably pick it up.

Do you like RPG's?  I'm not talking about pseudo-rpg's that just have some leveling and a few skills.  I'm talking about deep leveling and tons of options.

Do you like to read?  There are voice overs, but there is also a heck of a lot of text to read.

Do you like long games?  While I am not sure about replay value, I'm hearing 60+ hours to finish the game.

Do you like to die?  There are a number of options when it comes to difficulty.  I've probably died 6 times on Normal so far.  You can't faceroll yourself through everything.  Remember to save often!

Do you like a good story?  Obsidian built a detailed and rich world full of lore and stories.  I mean there are a lot of stories, even if some are just a few paragraphs.

So far, it has been well worth the $45.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


It's been quiet here on the ol' blog.  It happens from time to time over the 7 year life of this site (yikes!).  There are basically two reasons.  One:  I have felt pretty awful the past couple of weeks.  I'm not going to go into details, but I've just not been right.  It really kills all gaming/writing motivation.  Hopefully it resolves itself soon.

The second reason has been work.  Things have really picked up (in a good way) so all of my available energy has been directed into those projects.  I'm just spent when the day is over.  How long will it keep up?  Who knows.

What I have been playing:  STO, Skylines, and starting tomorrow:  Pillars of Eternity.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A First?

Yesterday, STO broke the news that they are expanding the Pilot specialization.  Basically, they are talent trees.  Once you reach 50, you get 1 point per level.  Unlike most systems, you can keep on earning points after you hit the cap.  So you keep leveling forever by getting these points to spend.  Cryptic is adding something like 14 new skills.

The thing that was new (to me, at least), was the forum reaction.  There were actually complaints about Cryptic "moving the goalposts" and forcing them to grind more.  It's not normal for a game to add new skills, especially this many, outside an expansion.  They basically gave people more options, and were greeted with a lot of whining.  I'm not sure I'd be cut out for working at a MMO.

I can understand a little angst.  There really may not be enough new content for people who don't want to do what they have been doing for a while now.  They're also the type who feel they must have every skill in the game as soon as possible.  That's clearly not how Cryptic feels, as this system can provide a really high ceiling that could last players years.

Since I have been back in STO, I've really been impressed with the constant stream of news, changes, and additions.  Not all games are like this, so STO players should be a little happy at least.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Memories of SimCity

This weekend I picked up Cities: Skylines.  It had been getting good reviews and was a reasonable price, so why not?  I used to be a big fan of the SimCity games, going all the way back to the original.  Did you know there was a Super Nintendo version?

I remember, back before I had a computer of my own, I used to go to a friends house to play SimCity.  In fact, he used to bring print outs of the city into school and we'd plan what to do next.  It was on dot matrix paper, of course.  Good times.

Games used to feel so epic back then.  Sure, they are more detailed and complicated now.  Cities: Skylines brings back some of those feelings compared to SimCity 5.  So I certainly think it was a good purchase.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Event Mania

STO likes events, a lot.  Sure, they don't have the hourly variety anymore, but they almost always have something going on.  Right now things are a bit crazy, as there is a ton of stuff going on in the game.  I, as usual, am not taking enough advantage of it.

1)  Jem'Hadar Ship Promotion.  You can get the new shiny ship from R&D boxes.  I plan on getting a few packs later in the month during a R&D bonus event.

2)  Hearts and Minds.  Special Friday the 13th mission is available the new couple of days, with special rewards of course.

3)  Crystalline Cataclysm Event.  Running this instance 14 times will net a bunch of rewards.

4)  Bonus Marks.  This weekend, you get bonus Fleet and Reputation marks from doing your normal stuff.

So yeah, quite a bit going on this weekend.  The ship and Crystalline events last for a few weeks, while the others are just weekend.  Still, it is pretty good.  Compare that to SWTOR which has nothing really going on :(  This does beg the question, are there too many events?  STO has something special nearly every weekend.  Does it lose its luster quickly?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Entitlement and the Delta Recruits

Cryptic recently announced a new event for STO, starting next month.  It's basically a recruitment event for new (and returning) players.  They call it Delta Recruitment.  The idea behind it is that the 'allies' need recruits for the upcoming Iconian war.  It's more than just a simple event to get new players into the game though.

New characters made during the event get some bonuses:

  • Access to some new story missions
  • A nifty delta character next to their name
  • Dilithium for enemies killed.  This is just for the duration fo the event though.  They also give people in their group dilithium. 
  • If you finish a faction story, you get an account wide starship trait
  • Other special rewards while leveling
  • Contributes to server wide goals that provide bonuses for everyone
  • Free character slot
Sounds pretty neat to me.  However, the player response on the forums was sadly as you would expect.  I'll summarize...

"Cryptic, this is terrible!  Everything you do should be directed at me personally!"

It really makes no sense.  It is clear Cryptic made an effort to ensure everyone would have something to gain from this event. Veteran players can get the bonus Dilithioum by grouping with the new characters.  They also can get the trait for their main by rolling an alt.  They also get the server wide bonuses that recruits unlock, which are useful things like bonus skillpoints.  

Plus, Season 10 is coming up quick.  So there is a lot going on with the game.  I wish I could say that about SWTOR.  

All that being said, I probably won't make a Delta recruit.  I just got my Romulan into the 50's and don't really feel like making a new character.  That's ok though, not everything has to be for me.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Crystalline Entity

STO started a new event based around the Crystalline Entity.  I always enjoyed those episodes in TNG.  In the game, it's just so-so.  For the event, you have to do the instance 14 times.  Once complete, you get a lot of Dilithium, marks and a torpedo launcher.  It seems worthwhile, especially considering how quick it is.

The usual instancet takes about 5 - 7 minutes to complete.  You and a bunch of other folks zone in, and you just start shooting stuff.  You don't have to go very far and everything pretty much stationary.  There is really no danger, especially in the normal queue.  The Entity sends out a couple of aoe pulses, so if your shields are low you could get taken out.  No big deal though, you can just respawn.

If you place in the top 3 for DPS, you get some extra loot.  That becomes the real challenge of the event.  I've placed 3rd a couple of times, but my ship is hardly optimized.  So it is fun to try and keep improving.  I'd like to get 1st place so I can get the trophy for my ship interior.