Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Farewell Celebration on Risa

I had the good fortune of hooking up with a great fleet recently. Their roots are in SWG, where they still maintain a presence. The members are mature and I appreciated their laid back application process. The process of most fleets I looked into felt too much like a job application. So it's been a good fit so far.

As the final hour of open beta began to count down, the vacation planet Risa seemed to be the place to be. So popular, in fact, that several versions of Risa were generated. We hooked up in Risa #5 and made our way to a secluded end of the beach for some photo opportunities followed by dancing with the natives.

Head start begins this Friday. Can't wait!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting Quieter Around Here

While Alganon has always had a small player base, I logged in last night and there were 13 players on my faction's side. Considering even fewer people play the ugly faction, I'd be surprised if there were more than 20 people on.

With Star Trek Online being much more fun, I've been logging in less and less. I ran out of quests in Alganon at around level 44 so have been grinding the last five levels. I don't object to some grinding if only I had more places to go and see. I've been killing the same mobs in the same zone for all these levels. There is one other zone I suppose I could alternate the grind. But for some reason, whether by design or an oversight, chests don't drop at all there. So if I'm going to grind, I at least want to make a little money while doing it.

I've been sitting at 49 for awhile now, logging in now and then to kill more of the same mobs. There's really no reason to hit 50 any time soon. I've tried some alts, but with only four classes total, the other three classes just haven't been much fun. Dungeons are supposedly coming. They've released some screenshots of them this week. But considering no mobs were visible in any of the screenshots, I'm guessing this is still a long while off yet.

So I'm logging in mostly for the wonderful people in guild and the community in general. A very poor reason to stick around I know. But I keep hoping more and better stuff is on the way.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lag-Free in STO

I'm coming across so many posts and blogs regarding lag and stuttering in STO and I have to wonder why I'm not experiencing this. With my very mediocre system, I can't play Vanguard, AoC, or even LotRO without lag issues, but have had absolutely none in STO.

Missions have been a lot of fun and with open beta being much more populated than closed, there's pretty much always someone auto grouped with me when I enter an instance. I've met and spoken with more players in a few days here than I have in six months in most other MMO's.

STO is not without issues though. The first couple nights, the server was so overwhelmed that I was experiencing too many disconnects to bother. And there was one instance I've come across so far that wasn't functioning. The last couple days the server definitely seems to be behaving better and I've had no disconnects.

Similar to LotRO, they are offering a lifetime subscription deal. A bit too steep for me at this point and still not sure if it will be as fun six months from now. But for now, I'm having a blast.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Unplanned Detour Into Space

I wasn't planning on playing Star Trek Online. While I've been a Star Trek fan since the original series, I've read all the previews over the past months and knew this wouldn't be the kind of Star Trek I had in mind. Plus, I hate to fly. Or at least I did in every attempt I've made in other games including SWG.

It was out of sheer boredom that I accepted a closed beta invite and began the long download. My husband even remarked, "Why are you bothering with that? You know you're not going to like it." I just shrugged. Maybe at least the ground missions might be somewhat fun.

I've gotten so spoiled with quest markers in more recent games, that sometimes I wasn't sure where to go in the tutorial. But nothing that a bit of exploration couldn't resolve. Once out of the tutorial and onto the space station, it astounded me the number of players asking where to find certain npc's on the station. The station is not that big and is easy to navigate. Yeah, we've gotten spoiled with quest markers and have become lazy.

I picked up some missions here and out into space I went. And I had no idea what I was doing. And I blew up. A lot. I logged off frustrated as I expected but was determined to give it my best shot for the duration of closed beta. Taking a better look at all my ship options, it really wasn't all that confusing relative to other games and after a few changes to how I was handling fights, I was the victor more often than the victim. I was flying and actually having a bit of fun.

One of the aspects to the missions I enjoyed was auto grouping. If someone else just zoned into the same mission, you'd be automatically grouped with them (however, you can change this in options). Usually, there would be three or four of us and it made the missions more quick and efficient. On easy missions, generally nothing would be said. We'd go in, get the job done, zone out and disband. On some of the more challenging missions, we'd talk about trying things differently and have a good laugh when we'd get blown up. Fortunately, at this point there was no death penalty and you could just fly right back in to join the fight.

Then I came across the larger scale missions. These reminded me of the public quests in Warhammer. There generally would be 15-20 players with a mission to kill several groups of enemies. After completion, the zone resets in 5 minutes so you can do them over and over. One of the final patches before open beta resulted in an increase in the difficulty of the smaller missions. They became almost impossible to complete solo and eventually everyone just seemed to stick with the large scale battles, as it was more efficient to level this way.

Ground missions weren't particularly exciting, but I hadn't been able to experience many of them since I just was not receiving many of them as quests. But oddly I was having enough fun in space that I wasn't missing it.

There's a lot of zoning. Everything is instanced. But the upside to this is that there is only one server and I like that. And as I said previously, you do need to do a bit of digging sometimes to find your way around. Sometimes a mission may take you to a certain cluster that's in a different system. You'll need to check the star chart to find the cluster, see what system it's in and determine what direction it is relative to your current point. It's nothing difficult, but just takes more time than what some players might be used to.

Unexpectedly, I did find myself having enough fun that I preordered. I know some players feel the missions are too repetitive and maybe my enjoyment will be short-lived. So we'll just have to see how long the fun lasts.