T’Leia was six years old again, still hidden behind the marble pillar while she listened to the accusations heaped upon her father. The words never ended, and her father’s distress would not stop. He argued so vehemently against sending aid to the Romulans, because he genuinely believed the threat was not real. It brought nothing but regret and shame to himself, his family and his people, while billions of Romulans paid the price.
Okay, so a couple of weeks into Swordsman Online, and I’ve gotten a better feel for the game.
This entry is going to sound more than a bit negative, so let me preface this by stating that I am still enamored of the in-game graphics and the music, and the interactive emotes still fascinate me. I do still love the source material, so it’s always fun to see a character from the novel show up in-game. I hit level 40 last week and learned a couple of new martial skill sets, and have tried to come up with a workable combo set to replace the original, limited and boring skill set. At this point several things became obvious:
Just a quick profile of my toon on Swordsman Online.
(Caveat: So yes, I’m ethnic Chinese. You’ll be able to tell if you read the rest of this post.)
A few days ago we started playing Swordsman Online, which for me is an alternate to STO (but “the next thing” for my gaming buddies). This game is evidently relatively new to North America but has been around for a while in Asia, in a sense it’s similar to traditional fantasy-themed MMORPGs, but with some uniquely Asian elements that can be jarring to North American players. To me though, it’s refreshing, and here are my first impressions:
A rooftop view of the town. Isn’t this pretty?
Taking a break from T’Leia’s stories, I am going to write a little bit about my Romulan toon R’Jal today. He is arguably one of my “mains”, behind the Fed (Heidy) and the KDF (Gortusk) toons, and right now I am trying to rush him through the story missions before Delta Rising hits in October. The interesting thing about R’Jal is how he breaks the Romulan male stereotype on STO.
As an afterthought, I neglected to mention one game feature in Rift, that in my opinion, is brilliant and brilliantly executed: Zone invasions.
I remember the first time I ran across a Zone invasion in Silverwood; first came the ominous message that an invasion is imminent, and not knowing what the heck was going on, I blindly followed a bunch of people running past to one of the spots that needed to be defended. After frantically beating back invading hordes, I followed them to the Silver College to fight the Big Bad — holy crap that was an epic fight! I still remember that first invasion fight very fondly.
A few things about these zone invasions really stand out for me:
(1) When an invasion hits, it doesn’t matter where you are in that zone — you’ll be involved one way or another. Invasion forces travel across the map to their targets, and you will run across them as they move. It truly gives the sense that this is a major event; even if you choose to avoid the enemy and not participate, you still have to make the effort to hide or run away.
(2) A lot of players would drop whatever quests they were currently in to repel the invasion; part of the reason is that if the invasion is successful, some key NPCs (trainers/vendors/quest-givers) can die, some settlements may be overrun and become inaccessible, and well, what do you do then?
(3) I love how the NPCs take up arms to fight as well — and they can lose and die. Prior to my experiences with MMO, the “base town” is a safe haven; this is where you do your maintenance, trades, equipment purchases/upgrades, crafting and so on before you head out to the wilds again. Not so with invasions — the enemy comes to your town and can destroy it!
(4) The big bosses are suitably epic and tough. There were 50-60 players in our first boss fight; my squishy mage was standing on top of a wall tossing fireballs at that huge thing but barely denting it – that’s what it’s like to fight Godzilla! It was a very satisfying end to the event.
How I wish there is something similar to a Zone Invasion on STO. That would be EPIC.
With the new Star Trek Online expansion: Delta Rising on the horizon, it’s been interesting watching the explosive uproar among the player base. It’s not exactly a surprise: the prevailing concern is over endgame ships. When someone has spent years investing, outfitting and polishing their favorite ships with time, effort, in-game currency and real money, you can expect them to be rightfully miffed when they’re told “by the way, your ship will be obsolete in a month from now”. The fact that they have a choice of upgrading those existing endgame ships (with money, of course) to be “competitive”, only seems to add to the anger — really, what is “competitive”? Is it almost as good, but not quite?
I have bought two ships since I started playing STO a few months ago: my main Feddie, Heidy (and hence the name of this blog) flies a Fleet Science Recon Ship; my main KDF, Gortusk the Gorn flies a Bortas’qu War cruiser. I paid real money for both, so I also have a vested interest in what’s going to happen to my ships. I was about halfway geared-up for both of them when Delta Rising hit, and without knowing the details behind ship upgrades and gear upgrades, I put everything on hold and have not purchased any more equipment.
I am doing the same with my remaining toons – including T’Leia. None of them has an endgame ship yet, including my Romulan main — whom I have been saving up for something but now that’s out the window — so here is an opportunity for them to jump straight to Tier 6 ships. That being said, it sounds like the free T5 ships may not be competitive enough in future STFs and queues, and frankly, I can’t afford to buy an endgame ship for all of them. It looks like I’ll have to be trimming back when Delta Rising gets here.
I find it interesting to see how the rollout of the expansion has been handled: I can see the reasoning behind revealing a bit at a time to entice the audience, but in this case I think Cryptic mismanaged the rollout. Like I said, this uproar and controversy should not have been a surprise; the Devs needed to be immediately upfront about details regarding ship-upgrades and new tier of ships. They needed to allay the main fear of their player base, not cause a massive outcry, anger and confusion; only then will the player base be excited with the new content. All that’s required is more transparency and information – even now the player base is operating on incomplete information and individual assumptions.
So come on, Crypic, give the players more information. You want your customers to be happy, not angry and frothing at the mouths.
P.S. And yes, I have to agree with everyone else on one point: the new T6 Federation cruiser is hideous. That’s not a Star Trek ship. >_<