In my last post I mentioned that I never got the chance to play the new mission ‘Alpha’ recently released for the Klingon faction as part of the First Contact Day celebrations. Well having just finished playing it, it is so far hands down my favorite Klingon mission. The environments are top notch, from the space battle in the shadow of a huge gas giant to beaming down onto a moon into a jungle full of exotic flora and fauna. Of course, thats also not saying much considering that the Klingons don’t have many missions to begin with. Because of the extremely high leveling curve that the Duty Officer system brings (no, really, just by completing one days worth of off-line Duty Officer assignments it raised my level from 39 to 41!) I never did the Klingon-only Fek’hiri missions. I might do these next if only to complete the only real Klingon-only missions that Star Trek Online has.
Now, to be fair, when Star Trek Online released the Klingon faction was only intended to be a PvP only faction and so considering they had nothing when then game released the fact that they have as many missions as they do now is tremendous. Also, keep in mind that every mission the player goes on isn’t just another “collect 10 boar spleens” quest. Its a 30 – 40 minute space and land complete story. Star Trek Online has hands down some of the best “questing” of any MMO. The developers went into mission creation with the idea that it should be like the TV series that people remember. Long, but not too long storylines nested within a larger story arc, having action, diplomacy, and exploration. To tweak that into an MMO format, some of the exploration and diplomacy had to be pared down, but the overall effect is still there. As far as this new mission goes, ‘Alpha’ is solid with great environments and a good story. It’s great, but really it just whets the appetite for more…
Last night, in celebration of First Contact Day, I spent some time checking out Star Trek Online’s limited-time Utopia Planitia research facility. The added addition of the orbiting Mars shipyard is to give players the chance to meet the new crew of the Enterprise-F and pick up a replica of the Phoenix, humanity’s first warp capable vessel. The area will only be around for another couple of days, so head on over to check it out. I’m a little disappointed in Cryptic for not going all out and making this another hub for visitors of the Sol system to visit, but their reasoning is that in the Sol system, there is already Earth Space Dock and Starfleet Academy (and not to mention the entrance to the Captain’s Table) and they don’t want to make the Sol system TOO crowded.
They also made the Utopia Planitia facility map available as a Foundry asset. The Foundry is Star Trek Online’s player generated content creator, so having this map is another great asset to Foundry authors to use in their stories. However, it doesn’t come off as that great as the OLD Earth Space Dock map, before it’s revamp, is still the only ESD map available. The follow pet is nice, but follow pets tend to follow at a very long distance away from your ship, and so you can barely see them as you’re traveling. So as far as game incentives, the event isn’t that spectacular.
It’s in the non-gaming parts, though, to where this event shines. The best part about First Contact Day is getting to meet the new Enterprise-F crew! Since anything relating to Star Trek canon has to first get the thumbs up from CBS, that makes the new Enterprise and its crew, along with any official missions in Star Trek Online, full Star Trek canon. This is why, a long time ago, I purchased the lifetime subscription for the game. I grew up a Star Trek fan, and just love the series as a whole and wanted to be a part of any emerging canon. Star Trek Online isn’t the best MMO out there, it certainly has its flaws, but its the passion for Star Trek and the IP that makes Star Trek Online so great. I may jump from game to game, but because of this, I truly call Star Trek Online home.
P.S. – To be fair, they did create an entire new mission for the Klingon faction called ‘Alpha’, and I have yet to try that out. I’m sure my view on game incentives will change after I get the chance to play it.
He often used to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep and every path was its tributary. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.” – J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
This passage is how I feel as I begin to write the first entry of this blog. Trepidation, fear, but also excitement. First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to stop by. Let me introduce myself. My name is Mike, and I live in a small suburb of Philadelphia where I live currently with my wife of almost two years and a quite plump cat. To be honest, its a good life we have.
In my spare time, I do a ton of activities, from following sports, to fixing computers, to playing Ultimate Frisbee, to my primary hobby: gaming. I play a variety of every style of game, but I especially like MMOs. For those who do not know what I’m talking about, an MMORPG, or MMO for short, is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Essentially, its a game where you develop a character in a setting that is filled with hundreds or thousands of other players all doing the same thing. It adds a dynamic to your standard video game. Instead of going into the dungeon alone, you can grab friends or complete strangers and tackle the dungeon together. You can buy and trade items from other players in a shifting game economy. You can lose yourself in conversation and end up doing nothing more in a gaming session than just sitting in the game’s main city.
I first became interested in MMOs with the game that is currently sitting on the top of the MMO hill, World of Warcraft. I played it for about 5 years off and on. The world of Azeroth boasts huge numbers. The latest figures state a gaming population of about 10.2 million players. Relatively, thats comparative to the size of Haiti, or the 82nd largest country in the world. Huge. However, to me the game over time lost its lustre. I fell in love with the genre, but out of love with Warcraft. I started to read MMO blogs and news sites, taking in all that I can and then expanded my horizons with many more games… Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Star Trek Online, Fallen Earth, and Dungeons and Dragons Online just to name a few. Because I play so many games, I have taken on a very casual, exploratory style of play. I take my time, I like to see what’s in the corners of a zone, I like to climb that hill, I like to go into that forest or cave just to see what’s there. I like to jump from game to game, too. In a sense, I’m a MMO nomad, a wanderer. This blog will not mainly be about MMOs but will also focus on other games or just anything related to gaming in general.
Yet, I feel it’s time to take my relationship with MMOs to the proverbial next level. For years, I’ve been a consumer, reading articles and opinions, listening to MMO podcasts, and taking every quest and event the developers could come up with. It’s now time to take all of that MMO experience and give it back to the MMO community. I’m what is considered a “casual” player. I’m not into the big time consuming endgame raids, I will never give up my life to play, I just fit the MMOs in where I can. This is a universal style, though. To a degree, everyone is “casual” at some level and it is this perspective that I write from.
The last class in composition I took was way back in high school. I am not a writer by trade, as I’m sure you can tell, and do not expect to make a living from this. I write because I feel passionate about the genre and feel that I can make a difference. And if you have the ability to make a difference, then why not do so.
Most of my entries will not be as long as this one. They will mostly be thoughts or ideas or observations I come across in my gaming travels. I plan on periodically releasing a gaming journal, chronicling my explorations, including all the many screenshots I take along the way. Hopefully you’re as big a fan of screenshots as I am.
Again, thank you very much for coming to this site and for taking the time to read my scribbling. If you have any suggestions for entries or feel like getting in touch with me, please do so either through my Twitter account or email me, you’ll find my contact information below.