Eleven Years In

When I looked back at 2014 in my MMO gaming, I had some concerns that I might be reaching a nadir in my enthusiasm for the genre. While it’s true that the number of games I played around in didn’t budge, the amount of time I spent in them did tend to vary. And in all the cases, it came down to “new stuff”.

So: eleven years. That’s a pretty lengthy amount of time to have put into MMOs. What did 2015 hold for me and my games?

Moving towards its first major story content update.

There has been an awakening…have you felt it?

Star Wars: The Old Republic probably has a slight edge in the amount of time spent this last year. I’d completed all eight of the class stories in the year before, but I still had an ambition to also complete the stories on all the advanced classes. Since there are two advanced classes for each class, it would effectively mean doing the entire story again, all the planets again, all of it another eight times. Even with that, I was willing to slap some time into it. But Bioware/EA helped out a lot on that when they put in the 12X xp for subscribers on class stories, which cut down a lot of the time spent, and made it possible to achieve that goal: which I did, thankfully. Finances in-game have been better than ever, as well, as I’ve managed to purchase the opening area for the Yavin stronghold after making the “mistake” of looking at one in-game and deciding “I want one”. My Coruscant stronghold was shoved into the locker (and after unlocking all of its rooms, too. Good thing I didn’t spend cartel coins on that one).

The biggest news for the game, of course, was the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, which is still a work in progress: we’ve gotten nine chapters of the story, and more is slated to come in the coming months. With that came the addition of the release of Shadow of Revan for subscribers as well, and I finally got to play through that content. A lot of flashpoints and heroic missions also became doable solo, which meant some of these I was able to do for the first time. It wasn’t all fun and games, of course; companions have been buffed then nerfed, xp has been buffed considerably (too much? Hard to say), and the refocus on story has come at the price of operations and PvP. As I never did any of the ops and tend to avoid PvP, I’m obviously not too sorry, but I do recognize that raid-like stuff and PvP are pretty much an accepted part of any MMORPG these days, and there should be some content aimed in that direction. I’ve been looking to push through my “eight mains”, one of each class, and so far I’ve gotten five through to the end of the available content, one of whom even unlocked all his Star Fortress companions and rank 10 with the assorted supply contacts. It’s not unreasonable to think that by the time the next chapter is released in February, I’ll have gotten all eight in the same boat as far as story progression.

Not much to say about the guild(s) in game, as they’ve been mostly been quiet, although some folks appear here and there occasionally. The expansion may have helped a bit with that recently. Admittedly, I also haven’t really been looking to join any of the active guilds around, either-in part because I tend to muck with different games, which means my focus is constantly divided. That’s a theme going forward here. I did take advantage of a Cartel Market sale, though, to properly rename the Republic side guild to “Hyperspace Outlaws”. I’d been meaning to get around to that for a long time.

The transition from wartime to peacetime begins.

The transition from wartime to peacetime begins.

The next on the list is Star Trek Online, which has had a roaring comeback after last year’s Delta Rising debacle. The entire year just about was a grand finale of all the story content that had been released up to that point, culminating in the Iconian War, and while there were minor missteps, for the most part it delivered on wrapping up most of the loose ends hanging around as a result of Iconian meddling. (That said, there’s one prominent Iconinian still out there with one hell of a grudge…) There have been the usual number of queues released, but for a number of months, we could expect one feature episode per month for the duration of the War, and that was a relief-because unlike a good chunk of the Delta Rising missions, none of those missions were basic filler. Speaking of Delta Rising, it seems that there has been some adjusting of level requirements as well, which means it’s not as painful to actually get that content done now. The year closed out with the Admiralty system with the coming of a “New Dawn”, which so far has involved what could be a reopening of a temporal cold war-or perhaps its origins. (This is why time travel makes my head ache.)

Despite this flourishing of content, I found that I didn’t spend all that much time in the game. I seem to be mostly one for short periods, especially once KotFE for TOR was released. Earlier in the year, though, the Corps of Discovery performed a hard push between its few active players to get our starbase up to tier-3 status, and after blowing through a large amount of energy credits and dilithium, we succeeded. My own credit reserves are still recovering from that push. We also managed to get the dilithium mine up to tier-1, and we’re eyeballing the research facility as the next tier-1 target. There had been some thought that we’d benefit from being in one of the new fleet armadas (basically a tiered coalition of fleets), but that never really panned out. Activity levels matter, and that includes mine. I suspect time will balance again once I’ve managed to get through the KotFE content with my “eight mains”-which isn’t as far away as it sounds.

There had to be a loser here somewhere.

There had to be a loser here somewhere.

Champions Online, sadly, was the victim of all this content. I didn’t really work on any of my heroes there much at all, and haven’t had the craving to do so over the last year. Despite this, CO actually managed two bits of content worth noting. The first was a new tutorial, which I honestly still shake my head over. It wasn’t actually so much a “new” tutorial as a shell around the tutorial. The bigger deal was the Onslaught content, which basically allows you to transform into one of the big villains of the franchise and wreak havoc (and potentially have your havoc wreaked) on both the law and other heroes. It’s a PvP sort of thing, because heroes can attack you, and you can attack them if they attack you first-but in my brief bit doing it, it was sort of fun. Of course, since it is PvP, I didn’t spend much time with it-and ultimately, other games were calling, so that was that.

For most of the years I’ve been playing MMOs, I’ve always managed to find time to write my own bit of fan fiction based on my characters in assorted games. Last year was a milestone in that I didn’t write anything. I’d flirted with a concept I’d been nursing for a while for my spy character from SWG, and I keep wanting to find a reason to get back to my STO characters, but for the first time in ages, none of the characters in my head have been demanding my attention. We’ll see if the next year brings out any creativity to shake loose.  The year got punctuated with the passing of the long-running guild host, GuildPortal, which closed up its doors at the end of the year-I sincerely hope people managed to save the content they wanted to save from any guild sites there.

My fears of burning out last year seem to have been unfounded, and while I’ve yet to join up with any active guilds in any of these games, I’ve at least found enough going on that I haven’t felt the need to wrap things up in the genre. So the odds are high that I’ll be here again next year writing up something for “Twelve Years In”.

An Admiral’s Job

The recent season in Star Trek Online has been a bit light on the story content; at this writing, exactly two episodes have been pushed out (well, not counting the revamped Cardassian arc, and I’ll have something to say about all of them down the line, but I kind of want a few more in the can first).  But it has brought a new system into the game, designed for Admiral level characters (specifically level 53 and up).  That description headlines its name nicely:  the Admiralty system.

Time to put all those ships to good use.

Early on, it was looking like duty officers by another name, and there is some truth to that.  Like the duty officer system, you are filling slots for assignments on up to two campaigns at present:  the Klingon front and the Federation front.  Each of these fronts have ten levels of growth, each with a special reward at the end, and each also has littered in with the assignments a “tour of duty” assignment, where ten of these will rewards their own special rewards (for Klingons, it’s dilithium; for Starfleet, it’s a pair of specialization points).  And just to be clear, your faction doesn’t matter here:  your Federation character can do the Klingon assignments just as easily as the Starfleet ones.  (Presumably, one figures that for new characters, by the time they get to Admiral the two factions might have at least an uneasy truce thanks to their mutual alliances with the Romulan Republic.)

Where it differs from the duty officer system is in what fills the slots.  Instead of a group of duty officers…you have starships.  Yours, to be precise-all the ships that you have on your roster.  When the system becomes available, every ship on your roster generates a “ship card” representing that class of ship.  These are the ships you can begin to do the system with, and each ship has its advantages.  Each has a value towards the three branches of advancement similar to how your captain advanced:  sciences, engineering, tactical.  Each mission has a value that must be achieved in each of the three branches, and you can assign up to three ships to a mission-important since many of these will be difficult to complete with a single ship.

You don’t have to get your numbers to exceed the target numbers for the mission; but the further you are from meeting those numbers, the chance of success drops accordingly.  If you’re willing to slap a ship in that will only have a 50 percent chance of success, you can.

Once the mission is complete, the ships involved go into “maintenance”, which is the big time-gate on the system.  Some ships can cut that down, but for the most part, it’ll be quite some time before they can resume activity.  I don’t believe I’ve seen any that exceed a day, though, so if you just do this daily, then you’ll rarely notice the maintenance problems.  That said, the missions often do not take that long, so you’ll have a disproportionate amount of active-to-maintenance times for the ships.

This seems to give a great deal of advantage to folks who have over time accumulated ships beyond just the ones received as you rank up.  C-Store ships are available, as are the special promotion ones such as Winter Event or Anniversary ships, and of course those lockbox ships are available too.  If you have more ships than you have roster space, there’s a solution to that too-discharge any ship you are able to get back (C-Store or account unlock store, or even vet ships), get the other ships you have available at the shipyard, and you will receive a card for that class of ship-and you can rinse and repeat until you’ve covered all of your ships.  At that point, just get the original ones back.

Even if you haven’t, though, you aren’t doomed to forever be limited to your promotion ships.  Some of those missions will award one-time use of another ship card.  These can often be pretty significant, better than many of the lower level ships, and can rival the big boys.  And those rewards I mentioned for doing ten levels of the system for Klingons and Federation?  Those would be high-quality ship cards that aren’t one-time use.  (You don’t get an actual ship for those, though.)

The rewards of the missions themselves vary, but tend to be more significant than what you get from the duty officer system-possibly to balance out the fact that you can do the duty officers a lot more frequently.  Between a fair heap of dilithium, very rare crafting materials, those aforementioned ship cards, and even energy credits in the tens of thousands, you can certainly get a fair amount of stuff for your time.  Even if you max out your levels in the campaigns, you can still do the missions-and the tour of duty missions will repeat after you do ten of those, so you can keep building towards those dilithium and specialization point rewards as you choose.

It’s not a hard stretch to imagine that new campaigns will eventually become available.  If nothing else, you got to figure there should be one featuring the Romulans at some point.

It’s not a bad system, but if you weren’t fond of the Duty Officers, then you’re not likely to be enthralled by the Admiralty system, either.  It’s as close are you’re going to get to actually being an Admiral in STO, though-at least as far as running multiple ships around with their own captains.

Robots and Subs

In the wake of all those posts on the new Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion, we got a bit more information as to the future, thanks to livestreams and announcements.  They’re worth a look at.

Year of the Meatbag-er, HK Unit

Year of the Meatbag-er, HK Unit

First:  the next Chapter for Knights of the Fallen Empire will be released in February, not January as I’d heard previously.  The plan appears to be to release a chapter a month, but honestly?  Name one development team that’s managed to hold to that sort of bold claim.  (Actually, that’s rhetorical-there may well be games that release new content consistently on a monthly cadence, but I doubt they’re as intensive as the chapters in KotFE.  In my experience in playing and reading assorted dev claims, none have managed to pull that off for a year’s worth of time-and most blow it the second month in.)  So I honestly will continue to figure that at the very best, we’re looking at a chapter every two months.  And that’s probably optimistic.

Of more interesting import was the announcement of subscriber rewards on a monthly basis up to next August.  The actual rewards themselves-for the most part-have been unannounced, but they include a couple of days early access to the next chapter (for each chapter), and something related to the HK-55 unit you meet in KotFE.  That’s no spoiler-it’s on their KotFE page.  And it’s even less of a spoiler when I say that the first month’s reward-in time for the new chapter-will be a permanent HK-55 companion, which I believe is an account unlock, similar to how they did the Nico Okarr companion prior to KotFE’s release.  My interpretation is that this will likely allow a starting character to use their own HK droid.

That said:  it sure kind of kills the need for hunting the HK-51 unit with those missions and unlocks.  Then again, if you don’t happen to have been subscribed in this window, it doesn’t become completely irrelevant-so it’s a question again of “do you sub or do you play free?”

I don’t mind the companion.  Apparently, though, he will not have any in-game interactions like your usual companions in the pre-KotFE game; of course, HK-51 didn’t either, and while I can’t speak for Treek the Ewok, I’d bet that would also be the case for her.  I’m dead certain that early Nico doesn’t.  So if you’re looking for commentary from companions in the pre-KotFE game, the new HK unit won’t be doing that.  Still, it’s another companion, and if you like the thought of an HK unit and don’t want to pay up the credits or cartel coins to unlock the other HK unit (not to mention the missions to unlock that capability at all).

Now, if you were to sub all the way through August uninterrupted, the devs have an interesting reward lined up:  a special chapter wherein you step into the shoes of the HK-55 unit and play as that.  It’s not unprecedented for Bioware to do something like that; I recall a section in Mass Effect 2 that was similar.  It’s not big deal to me, but given the interesting humor that tends to be attached to most HK units, I think it should be at least amusing to play.

Needless to say, forum-goers are unimpressed.  Big shock there.  Sometimes I wonder why I bother to read reactions when I’m apparently so out of step with them.  Ah well-how boring would it be if we were all alike, anyway?

As for my own progress, I’ve pretty much gotten my Smuggler where I want him to be; he’s unlocked almost everything he can unlock, blowing up all the Star Fortresses and getting the associated companions.  The only companions I haven’t nabbed have been M1-4X (because PvP) and Doctor Lokin (because medical supplies).  I will probably spend a lot of time in the Rakghoul caverns during the next event to get some of the supplies that will grow his affection to the point where I can unlock Lokin.  My Agent isn’t that far along, but he does have all the companions he can get except for Pierce (because PvP) and the Star Fortress ones (because I’ve been busy doing them with my Smuggler).  My Jedi Knight has completed the story to date, and my Sith Inquisitor is working out on Yavin, and I expect soon to hit a landmark with him:  my first character to max out Dark Side points.  He was pretty Dark Side, but he had moments of actual decency at times, which hindered his progress to the Dark, but he’s been on a nice streak of evil lately.  If I haven’t maxed out my Dark Side points before I leave Yavin, I’ll eat my shoes.

Next time, I’ll take a peek back into what’s been happening in Star Trek Online; we’ve had a couple of new episodes, which are worth commenting on.

Fallen Empires: Let’s Tell a Story…

Big shocker here:  this post will have spoiler-stuffs for the Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire.  By extension, that means it will also have spoilers for most of the storyline in the entire game, potentially.  So, if you’re reading this and don’t want spoiled…stay far, far away from this post!  Do not click the “read more” link!  Pretend you didn’t even read this!  I will try to step lightly around some details, but even the setup is semi-spoilery, so read at your own risk!

Think I’ve put up enough warnings here?  Here’s to hoping.  My comments after the break….

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Fallen Empires: Mechanical Overview

Okay, it’s been a few weeks since Star Wars: The Old Republic kicked off the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion and story, and in that time, I’ve been able to run through my two “main” characters through the content-my Imperial Agent and my Smuggler.  (I do plan to run the other six “main” characters through, but I will probably not spend as much time on certain activities, as detailed below.)

As with a number of recent posts, I’m going to slap that big old “read more” tag on my story review, so that those interested in avoiding spoilers can do so.  But with this post, I’m going to cover some of the stuff that impacts the game as a whole, which requires no special knowledge of the KotFE story.

One of the biggest changes involves equipment.  Prior to the expansion, every bit of equipment was geared to specific classes; Aim attributes were key for the Troopers/Bounty Hunters, Cunning for Smugglers/Agents, Strength for Knights/Warriors, and Willpower for Sages/Inquisitors.  Companions could use equipment based upon those four stats as appropriate:  Jaesa was best with Willpower equipment, while Guss was a Cunning fellow.  In theory, this meant that in flashpoint content, a perfectly balanced team of four-one of each class, I mean to say-would not have a conflict on loot rolls, because it would be obvious who would benefit best from that.  (MMO vets know just how much of a pipe dream that concept is.)  But it also meant that people who were new to the game and disinclined to read up on things could be confused by all these stats.

I don’t have much sympathy for that, incidentally.  The learning process is the learning process; people who were there at the beginning of the game had to start the same way.  You learn by reading and doing.

The expansion has changed all this.  Now, all four of those statistics have been folded into a single Mastery stat, which means any bit of equipment is usable by everyone-well, within certain details:  heavy, medium, and light armor restrictions still exist, and weapons of the characters are still regulated, so you won’t see Vector whipping out an assault cannon.  But if you find medium armor, it won’t matter if it looks like something a Smuggler would wear or if it’s something a Jedi Knight would wear:  both would be able to use it with equal facility.

Another big change-actually, a whole heap of big changes-impacts companions.  Those stats I mentioned before for companions?  Completely irrelevant now.  Gear no longer has any impact at all on companions.  (There are posts on the forums that claim otherwise, but the dev intent clearly indicates that if this is true, that’s a bug-so don’t expect that to stay that way.)  Instead, your level and your Presence score is what impacts their effectiveness.  Additionally, the companions no longer have a set role; where once your character would have a melee tank companion, a ranged tank, a melee DPS, a ranged DPS, and a healing companion…now you can set their roles manually.  Bowdarr the Wookiee can be a healer now; C2-N2 (for the truly mad among you) can be a DPS companion.  Their skills are not necessarily all identical:  setting Kira as a tank has her using a Force Pull to bring enemies close, while T7 would use a set of cables to do the same thing.  Same mechanics, different style.

Affection has changed as well into Influence.  Companion stories are no longer based on Affection, but at predetermined points in the class stories.  (Some of these are apparently broken; I can confirm that Skadge wasn’t able to be listed as “complete” as of the last patch prior to today.)  A higher influence score impacts their effectiveness.  There’s a new cap on this, too, so maxed out Affection will get a companion to level 10 influence-and there’s a lot more levels to it now.

Companions with high Influence and a character with a high level are startlingly effective, especially if the companion is in a healing role.  So much so, in fact, that the healing has a significant nerf incoming in today’s patch.  The jury’s out as to whether or not this nerf is appropriate or too much.

There’s also some restructuring going on with abilities and skill points, and folks who have been with the game for a while have seen this before; I’m not going into specifics, but it’s the same sort of deal when the level cap raises:  some abilities come sooner, some later, and a couple new ones are put in.  It’s annoying how skills you can use before the expansion are suddenly unusable until you get to a higher level after it happens, but it is what it is.

So that’s the mechanics; took a bit more wording here than I’d anticipated, and there’s a lot to cover with the meat of the expansion, so I’ll save that for the next post.  We’ve covered most of the big changes here; the arguably biggest one is tied in to the story of the expansion:  what happens when empires fall?  And what role do the player characters play in all of it?

Stay tuned….

Passing into Legend

The post title is probably pushing it, but I can’t help but feel that there’s some level of truth to it.

A few days ago, the host for a whole heaping bunch of guilds in assorted games, GuildPortal, announced that it would be shutting down for good by the end of the month.

This isn’t actually a big surprise to me.  The site was never really the same as far back as a few years ago when the site experienced a massive database failure which resulted in a rollback that amounted to weeks.  I think a lot of folks stopped really trusting GuildPortal at that time-and I think that was about when the person who administered the site pretty much gave up on it, too, because there was no word from the administrator pretty much since that event.  This was one of the prompts, in fact, that led me to moving the Hyperspace Outlaws guild off of GuildPortal.

At the back end of last September, the web domain expired, and all GuildPortal sites were offline for a day or two.  When it came back, I was rather surprised-that hinted at actual activity!  But it seems that it was to only clear the decks, because that announcement of shut down appeared as a small banner over every GP site last week.

I’d been affiliated with GuildPortal as a member since the early days of my MMO playing.  This very blog, in fact, had begun there, before I’d moved to WordPress.  GP didn’t have a convenient method to transfer my blog entries from there to here-no RSS feeds, no exports, nothing-so I just put a link from this blog back to the old one for archival purposes.  When the domain name registration became an issue, I’d been prepared to lose those entries; I’d paid attention to the domain and knew it would be expiring, and given the inactivity of the admins, I had figured there was a good shot the site would be gone at that point.

This time, I have slightly under a month’s advance notice, and I’ve decided:  nah, I don’t want to lose that blog history after all.

So I have gone through the painstaking process of going post by post in the old blog, and transferred those posts here, preserving date and time stamps (although the time stamps are suspect; between changes in blog software and the local time not being recorded properly, those times aren’t anywhere near correct).  Over 250 posts worth have been added to this blog, and now my entire blogging history can be found here, categorized as “The Old Blog”.  This took me a good chunk of my weekend, but I had nothing better to do when football was on.

I’ll likely go through the posts again at a later time to properly categorize the posts and tag them as I have with all the posts I’ve made since moving to WordPress.

It was nice, in a way, to revisit the posts of the past, and see the highs and lows-not to mention watch the evolution of just what I blogged and how I blogged; kind of evolved from a “this is what my character is doing” to bigger thoughts on MMOs and gaming concepts.

I did make a few edits on the posts, to correct spellings long uncorrected, make a few comments on a few of them, and remove all the links that referred back to GuildPortal (since they’ll become invalid links); for that matter, I got rid of a couple other invalid links (such as ones that referred back to CoH forums or SWG forums).

I’ll wrap up here to urge anyone who has any content they’ve got on a GuildPortal site to hurry up and save it somewhere else, because all that data is going to vanish like smoke in just a few weeks.  Active guilds will want to find a new home-fortunately, there are a number of options out there these days, with their pluses and minuses.

RIP GuildPortal.

Me and My Shadow

Well, here we are, a couple weeks into the new Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire.  (Man, that’s a lot to type!)  And I wasted no time starting the old content.

Readers may recall that I never purchased the Shadow of Revan expansion, feeling somewhat burned with what had been done with the Rise of the Hutt Cartel one and its extremely fast turnover from purchase to free.  Sticking to my guns on that has actually proven somewhat beneficial, as the first character I’ve run through it all got very close to level 65 (the new maximum level) before finishing the storyline for Revan.  It helped that this character was effectively sitting at 1 xp before level 56, the previous maximum level available to a guy who hadn’t purchased Revan, so when I killed a bug, I leveled up.  (That’s an exaggeration-but not by much.)

So here it is, extremely belated:  my thoughts on the Shadow of Revan content.  Don’t worry:  a future post (and likely to be the next one) will cover my thoughts on KotFE.  There may be spoilers in this post, so if you want to remain unspoiled as to the secrets of Revan…hit that “back” button on your browser now-or at least, don’t click “read more” below.

It's never a good sign when you see lots of ships flying so low....

It’s never a good sign when you see lots of ships flying so low….

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Eve of the Fall

Why yes, this IS a photoshopped image....

My Main Republic Heroes, ready for Revan!

As I write this, it is approximately one day before early access to the newest expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Knights of the Fallen Empire will be hitting computers at some point tomorrow, and as a subscriber who’s been with the game throughout the promotional period, I’ll be one of the many with that access.  Hopefully, I’ll also get the toys that go with it, such as the Nico Okarr companion, the Nico duster, the Nico guns, and the Knights of the Old Republic-inspired speeder.  Gee, sure sounds like they’re pushing Nico hard, aren’t they?

No matter.

With the early access comes the end of the 12X xp for class missions plus Makeb.  And I’m happy to say that I made my goal of completing the class stories of all sixteen advanced classes-and more importantly, got my eight “main guys” geared up to level 55 gear so they can reap the side benefit of the expansion:  the opening up of the Shadow of Revan expansion at no cost.  Which makes a certain amount of sense, since you can’t get to higher levels than 60 if you can’t get to 60.  So I’ll finally get my shot at doing that content about a year later.

It was worth it.  The time I’d have spent messing with Shadow earlier would’ve been time I couldn’t have pushed all those characters to the end of their respective roads-including some of the main guys.

Things I’m going to be interested in seeing:

  1. How companions will be handled.  The devs have been hedging their bets on revealing much on this.  Still, what I’ve heard sets me at some ease:  old companions will still be around, just not in a “story” context.  Or so that’s the way it sounded to me.  On the other hand, one wonders what will happen if one gets killed.  (There is one or two of them who I’d certainly not mind killing off.  Many Sith Warriors may agree with at least one of my choices.)
  2. Flashpoints.  At one point, the devs indicated that some “story critical” flashpoints will receive a solo mode.  Depending on what they are, I may actually see some for the first time.  I’ve done some of them, of course, but some have been pretty much on the list of “not happening” for an assortment of reasons.  Group finder only helps so much…
  3. Shadow of Revan.  This really shouldn’t even need to be said.  If I recall correctly, the missions involved also include bits where character classes clean up “old business” with their class stories-nothing major, but I’m interested to see the effective grand finale for the classes-and the effective finale of the pre-KotFE game

Things I’m “eh” about:

  1. Crafting.  Crafting is being hammered like crazy with changes in schematics and in materials.  A lot is going away, and a lot is transmuting into something else.  I’d be more angry about it if I did a lot of crafting.  But I never did max out Synthweaving, Armormech, or Biochem, and the only things I really put time into making on occasion have been the assorted mod parts for armor/weapons that could use ’em.  Cybertech sounds like it’s going to get hammered with its desirable crafting results being migrated or removed.  So honestly?  I’m not sure I will really be that sorry about the changes-or interested in further development of my craft skills.  That said, the changes being done with Companions making their gear effectively “appearance only”, I may take a second look at where things stand with my Synthweaving and Armormech guys and see if any of the gear they can make looks interesting enough to use.
  2. Level Sync.  On the surface, it sounds like a great idea.  You go to a planet, and your level is “synced” to the max level of the world if you are higher level.  You get commensurate xp to go with it, making it practical for a level 50 guy to help out a low level guildie, for example.  It’s good for team-ups.  Not so good for soloists looking to finally deal with a heroic that a high level guy can solo, but a matching level guy can’t.  One can argue the value of the heroics, but completionists might be a bit miffed that they can’t go back and solo this.  While you can argue that it’s an MMO and meant for grouping, there’s a segment out there who prefers to do things without having to wait on people-and that’s a debate I’m not really interested in rehashing, since there isn’t a “right” answer for all people here.  If the sync was an optional thing, I think you’d find few people arguing against it (there will always be a few who argue against anything).

My basic plan is let my Smuggler get first crack at the content on the Republic side, followed shortly after by my Imperial Agent.  Both will first work on any story-critical Flashpoints that they have missed for one reason or another (particularly if they’re soloable now), then move them onward to Shadow of Revan content.  Once I’ve gone through all of that, then it will be time to leave behind the old story and move onto the new-and see how a few years locked in a carbonite slab has changed the galaxy far, far away.

Why yes, this is a photoshopped image, too!

It’s a safe bet these guys won’t be happy about it, though.

Aside

Sometimes I feel like I could take a job in fortune telling.  In the previous post, I predicted that the next Season for Star Trek Online would be late October or early November.  A post today on the STO site indicates that release will be on October 27.

(Of course, the prediction was a wide enough net that I really couldn’t get it wrong, right?)

Aside on New Dawn

The Iconian War: Looking Back on Galactic Armageddon, Part Three

The last couple of posts have looked at the Iconian War in Star Trek Online, episode by episode.  What I’m going to do in this post is talk about my thoughts about the War in a larger scope.  As with the previous posts, there will be spoilage here, so don’t click on the linky below if you still haven’t done the missions and don’t wan’t to know the spoilage stuffs!

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