Tag Archives: playing the game

The Cult of Dakka

There’s always a tension between gaming and blogging: if I’m blogging, then I’m not gaming, and in a world with a finite amount of time, why would I forego playing a video game in favor of writing about playing a video game?

This is my obtuse way of apologizing for my long blogging absence.

Suffice to say, I’ve been really busy in STO. For starters, I got my Romulan to level cap in the second or third week after Legacy of Romulus was released. For those of you familiar with my MMO-gaming habits, this is a big deal. I’m usually unable to commit to a game for an extended period of time, so I surprised myself by so consistent logging in and leveling up. It didn’t hurt that the EXP rewarded from storyline missions is absolutely absurd; I was gaining at least a level per mission. This, combined with my +5% experience boost for being a veteran, made leveling very easy.

But I’ve been done with the Romulan story arc for several weeks now, and I’m still consistently playing. This is another first for me; I’ve not hardcore committed to STO’s end game, but I’m still logging in every day or every other day, earning dilithium and slowly gaining Romulan and Nukara marks. It’s actually a pretty fun experience, slowly working toward some long term goals.

This, finally, gets me to my post’s title: I love my Mogai Heavy Warbird.

For the vast majority of my STO playing experience, I’ve been a fan of beam arrays. In my mind, beam weapons are the quintessential Star Trek weapon. In the same way that Gene Roddenberry said that the Federation wouldn’t have cloaks because good guys didn’t “sneak around”, I’ve always associated beam weapons with the (good) Federation and cannons with the (bad) Klingons. On top of that, I’ve always seen cruisers as the “true” spirit of Star Trek (more random childhood assumptions on my part!), and cruisers and beams were made for each other.

I’ve always known that there was a world of escorts and cannons out there, but I didn’t want to try them. That is, until I read about GeeCee’s continued love of cannons and escorts. So, slightly intrigued, I thought I’d try out cannons on my Mogai.

I… I don’t think I can go back. Decloaking, obliterating my enemies, and recloaking — truly, what is best in life?



As Harbringer Zero notes, spoilers for the Trooper’s Ord Mantell story.

In your mind, I want you to conjure up the plot of Die Hard 2.

Now imagine that, for whatever reason, John McClane isn’t at the airport to save the day; for the purposes of this thought experiment, his car isn’t towed away, but rather stolen by hooligans, and he has to go get it back.1 Without our perpetually-luckless cop, Colonel Stuart and his rogue special ops unit pull off their dastardly scheme, rescue General Esperanza, and then — we’re imagining here — go on to cause havoc and mayhem by joining a resurgent Soviet Union.

But now — remember that luckless new guy in the Special Force’s unit, the one that didn’t realize Major Grant’s team was also going rogue? (His name is Corporal Telford, by the way.) Imagine that Cpl. Telford doesn’t get his throat slit ingloriously, but rather escapes. And imagine that, as the sole remaining loyalist in an otherwise completely defunct spec ops unit, Telford is charged with bringing each and every traitor to justice. And then, imagine that Die Hard 3 isn’t the trash that was, but is instead the story of our new hero Telford traveling the world, from Timbuktu to Phnom Penh to St. Petersburg, hunting down these fugitives using whatever badass means that he wants to.

That is the story of The Old Republic‘s trooper.

And it only gets better! Apparently, my trooper is a Paragon fem!Shepard turned Orion Slave girl turned Republic loyalist. She and her sexy, brooding catman go around cosplaying as stormtroopers and shooting Republic traitors with gattling guns.

Yippee-ki-yay motherfucker, indeed.

1 This would make John McClane SW:TOR‘s smuggler, and… I’m really okay with that.

TOR: Things I’ve Learned

Things I’ve learned in my first week of playing TOR:

— You don’t need a modification center to modify weapons. Ctrl+Right Click on that orange item, and you can mod it wherever you are.

— The crafting station on your ship doesn’t actually do anything. This is a little unfortunate; I had wanted to craft on my ship, quickly cranking out mods and gear, but apparently I have to leave everything in the (in)capable hands of my companions.

— In a pinch, the crafting droid that comes with your ship can be used as a combat healer. Having tried it out with C2-N2, I can tell you that the crafting droid can’t be equipped with weapons–but he has a pretty mean heal, and the droid component I’m crafting with cybertech fit him out pretty well. It’s up to you to decide whether the extra healing with make up for the reduction in damage output.

— The “levels” appearing beside crafting missions are really just suggestions. Your character’s actual level doesn’t affect what tier of crew missions your companions can run; new tiers are unlocked as you increase a crew skill’s level. In my experience, it seems that the second tier of crafting missions opens up around crew skill level sixty.

— Unlockable crafting missions acquired through slicing and investigation are really, really good. They appear to innately provide more than one type of reward — in the case of slicing, an unlocked mission might net you a lockbox and a companion gift, if not four or five different items. Furthermore, it seems that the mission is permanently unlocked — but that doesn’t mean it’ll always be available, just that it’s now included in the pool of possibly available missions.

— In space combat, the space bar does a barrel roll. I have absolutely no idea why this is useful, though I have tried to pull off a Darklighter spin.

— Equipping even rudimentary ship gear makes space combat much easier.

— Many, many missions have optional “bonus” killing quests. If the bonus quest is prefaced with a “stage” — “Stage 1”, “Stage 2”, “Final Stage” — it means that the bonus quest has more than one part (no, duh?). However, after completing the final escalation of a multi-stage bonus quest, the bonus quest breaks off and makes a new fulfillable quest; this is usually completed by dropping off an item recovered from an elite enemy. These bonus quests reward bunches of experience (not that experience is hard to come by) — but they also reward three commendation medals, which can come in really handy. However, if you turn in the mother quest before completing the final stage of a bonus quest, the bonus quest disappears.

— In the codex, the planet entry of any given world has a breakdown of the types of codex entries on each world, and how many you still have to recover. It’s nice knowing that you still have two bestiary unlocks, versus a title that is still outstanding.

— In that same vein, it seems that some of the codex entries are bugged. I’ve had problems with both my Imperial Agent and my Smuggler.

— However, when the codex is working, Bioware has done a fantastic job making sure that the codex is tailored to each class. This means that every character should ostensibly be able to achieve one-hundred percent completion — when a class doesn’t have access to certain codex entries it just doesn’t show up, and some classes acquire entries in different ways in other ways. (Take that, Tome of Knowledge!) Furthermore, in my experience there are no missable codex entries in areas that can’t be returned to, i.e. in class story quests. I have seen a codex entry in a phased Heroic quest — but that can be repeated daily, and at any level.

— Emergency Fleet Passes are awesome, and every character has a free one on an 18-hour cooldown.

— Scoundrel Smugglers are the best, no take backs. Healing + shotguns to enemies’ backs? Yes please!

From Whence He Came

Star Trek Online‘s long-awaited (and much Tribble-tested!) Season 5 has just been released to the live servers — and this Christmas, instead of getting an itch to play EVE Online, I decided I’d return to my lifetime sub and see what’s up.

Of course, this means starting a new character! I’ll have a bio for the newly-christened MacKenzie Mallon up shortly, but meanwhile — a few returning thoughts!

  • Just read the update’s information page! There’s pretty much everything there!
  • The Duty Officer system has been released! yyyyyyaaaaayyyyyyy!
  • The Veteran Rewards have been a tweaked just a little, which I’m absolutely fine with that. Well, I think too many costume slots are rewarded, and not enough ship slots — but hey! The 5% skill boost received at the 400 day mark doesn’t cease at Lieutenant Commander 6, but stays with your character all the way. I know that STO is fantastically easy to level up in, but I’ve never hit the level cap — every little extra bit is going to help.
  • Space skills have been completely overhauled — gone are the weapon- and ship-type specializations. That means I can fly any type of ship I want, with any weapons I want, and I don’t need to worry about being sub-optimally specced. Which is awesome, and means I want every ship, ever. (Hence my sadness of not having more ship slots.) On the other hand, the majority of Engineering space skills are “must have,” while Science space skills seems a little too ability-specific to be of much utility.
  • I apparently have a Photonic Bridge officer now? I guess my brother did subscribe! This 1) makes me immensely happy, and 2) goes a long way toward ensuring my bridge crew keeps some semblance of balance between the genders.
  • “Auto-fire, non-combat cancels” is still broken — entering combat requires you either fire a non-autofire weapon, or that you be attacked first. It’s really annoying.
  • My audio has been popping something fierce, but a quick scan of the forums reveals  that this is a widespread problem, and a hotfix will be deployed next week.
  • I’m bummed that the lower-level version of the Nebula-class is now a C-Store item. I’ll buy it, because the Nebula is my pretty much my all-time favorite Star Trek vessel, but still — if only I had leveled up my earlier characters a little further and purchased the the refit Nebula a few months back, I’d have been grandfathered into having an un-refit Nebula for free.
  • Last but not least — if you have a lifetime sub that you’re ignoring, you should log back into STO sometime this month. Apparently some sort of winter festivities are starting next week, but even better: the TOS Constitution-class (240 C) and the Klingon Qorgh Raptor-refit (800 C) are both completely free, all December!