O Brother, Where Art Thou?

It doesn’t matter if I am writing stories set in fictional worlds and universes, or playing online games like Mushes — one of the first things (if not THE first thing) I look for or create is a map of the setting. It anchors the stories and provides a foundation for the setting to be built on. Imagine a book like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones without a map… readers will be so hopelessly lost in the story.

By contrast, many TV shows (especially Sci-Fi TV, of which Star Trek is a prominent example) have no maps of their worlds/universes — I assume this is done on purpose so that the ability to tell stories isn’t hampered by the confines of a map. Fans then pick up the slack and try to cobble together maps; it’s just part of our human instinct to codify things! There are MANY versions of Star Trek galaxy maps out there, but here is a simple one that seems to have the basic essentials that most agree with:


Continue reading O Brother, Where Art Thou?


Cheaters. You know who you are.

cheater-memeNo one likes cheaters, not even other cheaters.

I recently read an old forum entry on video game botting, quoted below. Interestingly, it’s titled “Botting Ethics”. Clearly, irony is a new concept to the original poster.

Hello fellow botters

Lately I am noticing a lot of other botters on the spots where my bots farm. Whats the point of making the same profile where I am?
I’ve already made multiple profiles for farming credits and moved from planets to planets and noticed new botters on almost all of them on different servers.
We are both getting less if we farm the same spot.
I’ve already moved my toons multiple times and I am getting really sick of it.
If I’m searching for a new spot I am investing my time and I find that the spot is taken I move on and continue searching for a new one.
Please guys you know who you are. Just move on and find your own empty spot. Its not funny anymore.
I know I don’t own the ingame terrain but whats really the point of making the same profile?
Continue reading Cheaters. You know who you are.

Post-War Speculation

star-trek-online-new-dawn2Now that the final mission is out and the war officially over, it certainly looks like the stage is set for a new age of Exploration to begin (in October, I guess). But given the scale of the war and resulting devastation, there should be a long, hard road to recovery, right? We already saw the destruction wrought within the Solar system, on the surfaces of Qo’nos and New Romulus, as well as across countless other worlds that were mentioned in dialogue.

At the same time, the galaxy is at peace. The Iconians have agreed to end the war to rebuild their civilization; the Alpha Quadrant Alliance stands united, and in the process helped forge the Delta Alliance. Even the Dominion and Cardassians showed up to stand with the good guys. Isn’t it time to hold hands and sing Kumbaya?

Well, hold that thought. Aren’t we forgetting something?

Continue reading Post-War Speculation

Heidy’s 5 Most Hated Enemy Species

header8735rf345tgf3465t567Every show, movie, book or video game has villains, and STO certainly has no shortage of baddies. Not just singular bad guys, mind you, but whole races and species of them. Ranging from the Tal Shiar, the iconic Trek baddies the Borg, all the way to the laughable Kazon. And then there are the game-created ones, like the Iconian “Heralds”.

Is there an enemy species in STO that you just HATE? Someone who is so diabolical you want to commit genocide on their entire race? Or someone who is so extremely annoying you just don’t want to see them again ever? Well here are my top 5!

Continue reading Heidy’s 5 Most Hated Enemy Species

Rift Zone Invasions

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.

Delta Rising

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. >_<

From Rift to STO

I have always wanted to put pen to paper, about my admittedly short experience with MMO, because I feel it showcases the differences between hardcore MMO gamers and a newbie like myself. I find it interesting to deconstruct MMO, and look at features that are considered “fun” by longtime players — and whether they are “fun” for someone with fresh eyes.

Continue reading From Rift to STO