Listmas 2013: 5 Similarities between Star Trek Online and The Secret World #TSW #STO

The Secret World, Tyler Freeborn

I know what you’re thinking: What? Similarities between Star Trek Online and The Secret World? Hey, they’re both fiction, and you’ll find element of everything in everything else if you look hard enough. What, truly, in this world is original? It’s not so much that we use these assets, it’s how we use them that make these stories great.

So, as Richard Sonnac would say when imitating his (probably) favorite British actor, “Engage!”

Star Trek Online, Secret World, Sword, Dual Pistols, Flamethrowers

5) The Weapons: Swords, Dual Pistols, and Flamethrowers

I feel like some of these really shouldn’t be in these games. Star Trek has a flamethrower?! The Secret World, with it’s shotguns and assault rifles has swords?! And dual pistol wielding classes are everywhere these days, so why not, I guess.

Star Trek Online, Secret World, Androids

4) Androids

Human-like machines capable of performing tasks. In Star Trek, they’ve been given quite a few more personal rights than we see in The Secret World, but in Star Trek mythos, the advanced programming of Androids borders on conscious thought, and in one of the greatest episodes of Star Trek, Next Generation: The Measure of a Man, the court rules in favor that Data, an Android, does indeed have rights and benefits of any other sentient being. If there’s one great takeaway from Star Trek, it’s that you should fight for your rights, and fighting is the right thing to do, be it Android, Hologram, or Klingon, our rights are one of the greatest gifts we hold dear.

Star Trek Online, Secret World, Agartha, Wormholes

3) Portal Transportation

Entering a portal on one side of the world and suddenly being thousands of miles away. There isn’t any teleporting in The Secret World yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it made an appearance at some point (that Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is rather tricky). On the Star Trek side, we have wormholes. Stellar phenomena that link two points in space over vast distances. In The Secret World, we have the portals, linking many different points in the world to the mythical Agartha.

Star Trek Online, Secret World, Time Travel

2) Time Travel

It wouldn’t be Star Trek without some time travel. Though the Department of Temporal Investigations tries to keep all altering of the timeline to a minimum, shenanigans still happen. My favorite Star Trek time travel episode: Deep Space 9’s Trials and Tribble-ations. Hands down. Not a lot of gravitas, and the episode leans on the side of humor, but boy is that episode candy to a Star Trek fan. In STO, time travel also occurs quite frequently. One of my favorites is the mission Everything Old is New, part of the Devidian Featured Episode series. In Secret World, time travel happens quite a lot less, except in the Last Train to Cairo, Indiana Jones styled missions. The mission A Time To Every Purpose sends the player back in time to recover an artifact for the ever stylish Said, and starts the player on a pretty kick-ass journey through time to prevent another Tokyo disaster.

Star Trek Online, Secret World, Holodeck

1) Holodecks

I thought I would never see this in The Secret World, but again taking a page from Star Trek’s futuristic books, the Council of Venice creates a series of, well, Holodecks. You use them in the game’s latest Scenarios to provide extra training and ways to augment your own abilities. So in TSW, they’re not used as a way of relaxing, but I’m sure the Council, when they have a few minutes, might program in a Jamaican vacation or two when the boss isn’t looking. I know I would.

In the realm of fantasy, nothing is absurd. Sometimes, it’s great to let our willing suspension of disbelief have free reign.

Do you think I missed any? I’m sure I did.

// Ocho

P.S. – Whoops, I missed a day of Listmas. Bah humbug.

Listmas 2013: 5 Games That I Have Zero Interest In #Listmas

Privateer, Star Citizen

To correspond with yesterday’s list of 5 Games I Am Really Looking Forward To, today my list is the opposite, 5 Games That I Have Zero Interest In. None. Well, it’s none, or it’s very minimal. Whenever I see a post come up on these games, my first reaction is generally a huge eye-roll. Like “Oh no. Not this again.” I’ve left the hype train at the station a long time ago and I am just not jumping on.

I’m not entirely sure why I’m not getting on all the hype trains. Maybe I’m tired of jumping from game to game. Maybe I’m tired of making what seems like stagnant progress that adding yet another game to my currently playing list (which would also mean kicking one of them to the curb), isn’t that enticing. My current stable of MMO’s that I’m playing primarily are The Secret World, then Neverwinter, then the sidegames Guild Wars 2 and Star Trek Online. The last two I even haven’t played in a long while, so any of these new games will have to top my interest of even them.

So, these are the games I am wholeheartedly NOT on the hype train for.

5) Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games Corporation

Chris Roberts had a big hand in some of my favorite old school games, the Wing Commander series. And Wing Commander IV is still one of my favorites. Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies, Malcolm McDowell, and Tom Wilson are just a few in the star studded cast. Star Citizen, which has received an exuberant amount of funding, and looks to be a rebirth of the series in the MMO space, looks fantastic on paper. But yet, it doesn’t feel right. Have you ever played Privateer? Privateer is the base of Star Citizen. An individual pilot, you making funds trading and taking out the random pirate here and there, helping the local authorities, and then when you think you’re good enough to explore outside your own system, you’re shown how wrong you are. The game has an intense ability curve, such that if you leave the starting area of like, 4 planets, you better have already grinded out the best ships and the best weapons. If not, you’ll be coming back to those saved games over and over again. I also feel like they’re going for a more active combat EvE Online, and since I don’t really have any interest in EvE Online, either, this isn’t helping.

4) Wildstar by Carbine Studios

I do have a little interest in Wildstar, but it is only after hearing some of the news coming out after the press NDA drop. But that interest is slim. From what it sounds like, Wildstar is essentially an active-combat stylized World of Warcraft in space, mixing in some elements of Guild Wars 2. That sounds great and all, but when the game’s closest cousin is World of Warcraft, that is not that enticing. I played the heck out of World of Warcraft ages ago, then completely stopped after I looked at exactly how much I spent on that one game. On a whim, I bought the Cataclysm expansion, signed back in, took a few steps in Azeroth, and realized all the things that made me quit in the first place, and haven’t returned. The cheesy dialogue, the overly cartoony graphics. It just rubs me the wrong way, and Wildstar looks like it’s taking all the things that Warcraft has that I found annoying (including the subscription), and making them the game’s focus.

Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls Online

3) The Elder Scrolls Online by Zenimax Online and Bethesda

I love the Ender Scrolls series. I’m a huge fan. I started playing with Arena, skipped over Daggerfall, and then played the hell out of Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. I love the lore, I love the open-ended single player style. So much so, that I don’t think the game will work in the MMO space. Making an Elder Scrolls game into an MMO, you’re taking away some big keys of what makes it feel like an Elder Scrolls game. Yes, the games do have a linear story, but in the single player games, you could ignore the single player story for as long as you want and still have a massive game ahead of you. In themepark MMO’s, if you ignore the main story, you don’t get very far. I don’t think there’s a way to have your cake and eat it, too. Trying to create a game that’s a Themepark and Sandbox simultaneously, you’re going to either make a terrible Themepark or a terrible Sandbox. And what makes The Elder Scrolls single player games great is that they get that combination right! I just don’t think that it will work as an MMO.

2) Rift by Trion Games

My apathy with Rift first started during the game’s beta. Not only was my system having a really hard time with the graphics, such that I had to turn all the settings down to their lowest, but I found the game’s core mechanics terribly annoying. I started as a Defiant character, and started the standard moving from quest hub to quest hub, leveling up. Except I would kill my ten rats, come back to the quest hub, and there would be a rift having taken it over. And I remember thinking “Cripes, this rift is just getting in the way. I just want to turn in this quest and head on to the next hub, but I can’t!” I found the rifts to be annoying, and when the game is called Rift… yeah, it’s just not going to work out.

World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor

1) World of Warcraft by Blizzard

World of Warcraft was my first foray into MMOs. And I loved it for the few years that I played it. I met some great friends that I still have and keep in touch with to this day, and I have a lot of great memories from the game. But I feel like I’ve matured, I’ve grown up, and going back to World of Warcraft is as appetizing to me as going back to high school. It was a great starter MMO, but it is far from perfect. I’m not a fan of the end-game grind, which is then completely nullified when the next expansion comes out and you start at the beginning again. Over time, they’ve included some great improvements. Tokens, instead of a slot-machine loot system. Easier grouping tools, and easier access to raids. But, even with that, I feel like I’d be taking a large step backwards if I headed back to WoW. So, this new upcoming expansion with housing? No thank you. I wish Blizzard and all WoW players well, but it is simply not for me.

Now, please, go ahead and tell me how wrong I am.

// Ocho

Listmas 2013: Top 5 Games I Am Really Looking Forward To In The New Year #Listmas

Mirror's Edge

A Happy Listmas to you, kind sir! What?! You haven’t heard of Listmas?! But, tis’ the Listmas season!

Listmas is the time of year when we bloggers get together and make lists! Why? To entertain! To inform! To annoy! To… well you get the picture. So I decided to join Mr. C.T. Murphy over at Murf vs Internet and Ms. J3w3l at Healing the Masses and am getting myself into the Listmas spirit with my first list of the season.

However, I’m not that imaginative. So sue me. My first list is a little thing to break the Listmas ice, if you will, games that I am really looking forward to in the new year. Now, I know, I read the same Massively article you probably did, that 2014 is going to be a big year in the MMO space. We’re going to have The Elder Scrolls Online in April, Wildstar, Everquest Landmark, etc. three games which are highly anticipated… and I don’t really have any interest. Maybe a little for Wildstar, but at this point, not a single one has really drawn my interest.

So what AM I looking forward to?

5) Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey by Red Thread Games

I won’t lie, I have actually never played The Longest Journey or Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. But this title, being created by Ragnar Tørnquist’s independent Red Thread Games, under license by Funcom, has caught my attention. I feel like, as a gamer, I have missed out by not playing The Longest Journey series. And after playing The Secret World for as long as I have, and loving it as much as I do, if the story is anywhere near as good, then I need to go back and play them as soon as I can. This iteration isn’t slated until November, so I do have plenty of time. But around that time, my dance card may be a little filled up with other games on this list…

4) Broken Age by Double Fine and 2 Player Productions

The second of  three Kickstarter funded games on my list so far, Broken Age is the name decided on for the big Double Fine Adventure Kickstarted what feels like ages ago. You know, who knows if this will even launch in 2014. It may not. The Kickstarter funded fully in March of 2012, and since then, they’ve been working hard on the project. I haven’t payed the greatest of attention because I really want to be surprised, but so far it looks like they’re pulling in voice talent from all over the place including both Jack Black and Wil Wheaton. And the artwork? I can’t wait.

3) Might and Magic X: Legacy by Limbic Entertainment and Ubisoft

I started playing the Might and Magic series all the way back with Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen. Combined with Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen, this created a seriously epic experience that made a tremendous lasting impression on me. Since then I’ve played a few more of the series, but they didn’t have that same feel that World of Xeen had. Then they came out with the Heroes of Might and Magic series, and I played a ton of that as well. But the Heroes series is totally different than the originals, and though they are fun (and lengthy) strategy games, they don’t hold up to the initial Might and Magic awesomeness. However, it looks like Might and Magic X: Legacy will change that. Take a look at that trailer on the Steam page. That looks like it will be simultaneously back to basics, but in a modern way. This is set for a release in January, so it may be the first game I pick up.

2) Mirror’s Edge 2 by Electronic Arts

Alright. I’m not a huge fan of EA. I feel like they played a big part of ruining one of my favorite game series of all time, Ultima, with their intervention in Ultima 8 and Ultima 9 and for that, I will always see them in a negative light. However, not too long ago I picked up Mirror’s Edge in a Steam sale, played it, and was blown away. A First Person Shooter, where the protagonist doesn’t shoot. She runs, and jumps, and kicks, and slides, and bounds from rooftop to rooftop in this utopian world with a dark underbelly, trying to make right a terrible wrong. For me, it hit all the right notes. So, when I heard about Mirror’s Edge 2, I was really excited. So far, it looks like it has a 2014 release date, but we’ll see. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Shroud of the Avatar

1) Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues by Portalarium

The first RPG that I ever played was Ultima 6. It was a true game changer in my young world. Interaction with NPC’s was fully text-based with keywords. The game had an economy where you could make money without resorting to fighting. And the lore, the lore of the game had already stretched back 5 games before it. So, when Richard Garriott announced his Kickstarter campaign to create another game, not in the same world, but in the same spirit of the old Ultima games, I was right there. So last weekend, I jumped into Release 1, the first release of the playable Alpha for Shroud of the Avatar, and I came out of it a lot more impressed than I thought I would be. I’m going to expound more on this at a later date, but the overall impression I got was that it truly felt like an Ultima. I’m sure the text conversations I had played a lot into it, but I don’t care. I think they’re definitely on the right track, and with 10 months still to go before they release Episode 1, I’m sure they will get there.

So what are you excited for?

// Ocho