EoA: The Ravaged World

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“When we arrived on Taris to locate Dr. Godera, I hadn’t anticipated my own reaction to the devastation visited upon that world.  Three hundred years ago, it was bombarded into rubble by the Imperials.  It’s hard to believe that this savage world used to be a thriving world, one covered with cities.  But the wreckage left behind even after all these years bears mute testament to the cruelty of the Sith.

Yet, the Republic is trying to restore this world.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of Governor Saresh, I believe it may be possible.  Her determination to rebuild this world humbles me; idealistic, but strong-willed, I think that if anyone can bring Taris back from the dead, it will be her.  At her behest, I have assisted in protecting the people working to reclaim Taris from the vicious creatures known as rakghouls.  They’re everywhere on Taris-savage creatures, I originally thought, with the horrific ability to transform nearly anyone injured by them into one of their own.  But as I discovered as I traveled on Taris, there may be more to them than meets the eye:  some are learning to use tools.  And some are learning to use the Force.

There was only so much I could do, however.  I wasn’t the only one looking for Dr. Godera-an agent of Imperial Intelligence was looking as well, and he was able to delay me long enough to get to him first.  I was able to rescue the doctor, but not before the agent had sent all he had learned from Godera to Darth Angral.  Godera’s ready to help against the Sith Empire-despite disagreements he’s had with earlier administrations-and I’m preparing my journey to my next destination:  Nar Shadda, a Hutt world where General Var Suthra has lost contact with one of his agents….”

-From the Epic of Anthrandos

Well, I can put Taris behind me now.  And man, what a trip it was!

The character’s now well into his level 30’s, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that he could hit level 50 long, long before I get to Corellia.  There are a few reasons for this.

First, I’m doing every mission I can find, with the exception of most of the heroics.  I could probably research and see which heroics aren’t “open world” ones, but since that would cut into my time playing when I encounter them, I just ignore them unless I actually already know that they’re instanced.  This is likely to mean the later planets, as those are the ones I was running for the whole “Alliance Commander” achievement on getting my KotFE Alliance contacts up to influence 20.  (Did I mention that in an earlier post?  Well, I did.  Was glad to get that done before the last chapter comes out, which has been pushed a couple of weeks back into August, as an FYI.)  This also includes doing the Bonus Missions, which I decided to do for Taris.  I think other ones will be a case-by-case thing, but I will admit that I badly want to do the Alderaan ones, since I never really did go through that whole series.

An aside on the Bonus Missions:  as I feared, they no longer reward any orange gear.  Looks like that vendor on Fleet is going to be the only place to get that stuff.  At some point, as I fill out my companion roster, I’ll stop by to see if any of it looks like it would look good on my companions.  I’ve pretty much settled on my character’s new look-I wanted to differentiate him a bit more from my BH, who used the Restored Triumvirate armor first-and put a recent acquisition on Kira.  I believe Doc may be next on my list, but it’ll be a while before he shows up-so obviously, no hurry.

The second reason is my willingness to do Flashpoints.  I’ll admit it:  it’s not usually my first choice of things to do, especially since you can run into individuals who have no patience with people or people who are out to screw over the others on the group.  One day, I should consider just joining an active guild again-but given my altitis and the open question of “how long will I be playing the game this week”, it seems like I’d be an iffy investment.  Plus, I do have a bit of an emotional investment in the Outlaws.  Plus, I tend to operate on Republic and Imperial sides at any given time…you get the picture.

That got off on a tangent.  In addition to finishing Taris, I also ran the Athiss Flashpoint, the next on my parade of Flashpoints to cross off the list.  That one isn’t a hard one, ordinarily-but we went in with four DPS role people.  (Yes, I’m Jedi Guardian, but I’m Vigilance-spec; it’s not an ideal tank.)  Fortunately, as these are Tactical Flashpoints these days, there are healing stations at the really big boss fights that can help if someone activates them.  That said, one of our group members apparently had chat turned off or was just trolling us; plus, he didn’t seem to understand the concept of “don’t go into a fight when you’re at 1/8th health”.  The final battle was basically three people, as he managed to get himself killed by the glowy fireballs a quarter of the way through-the ones that tend to be lethal if you just stand there not moving.  Did I mention that I’m reasonably sure he did “Need” on every loot drop roll?  Whatever-I wasn’t in it for the gear, anyway.  It’s not like the drops are all that spectacular anymore since orange drops have been rendered extinct.

All those complaints aside, we did beat the Flashpoint, so all of those complaints can be rendered moot.  Next on my hit list will be Mandalorian Raiders, which I can’t remember a damned thing about.  I must’ve done it at one point, either solo or in a group, because I have the Stronghold trophy in my Nar Shadda vacation spot.  Also on my list is the Kuat Drive Yards Flashpoint; it was the first Tactical one designed, and it was designed for just about all levels-and even more importantly, I’ve never done it before.  I’ll have more to say about it when it happens.

These two reasons are the big reasons I expect to hit 50 before Corellia-hell, maybe even before Voss.  But the biggest reason is that my character is thus far sitting on the xp boosters he gets as a subscriber completing certain quests.  I haven’t used a single one yet, but I tend to wait until later levels to use them anyway, where xp gains seem slower.  Given that I’m doing everything I can, I’m not sure that will be an issue-but I’ll do ’em anyway.  I’m like that.

And so, the next target on the list will be Nar Shadda, land of the greedy Hutts!  Bright lights, big city-Vegas in space!

AoY: Time Jump

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USS Champion-it’s amazing the thing still runs.

Personal Log, Stardate 47634.44

No, that’s no mistake on my dating.  I usually don’t do this in my logs, but….

What the Hell?

WHAT THE HELL!??!

Okay.  I’m better now.  Let’s do this dispassionately.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be saying half of what I’m going to be saying on this log, but my tricorder isn’t linked to any ship’s computer now, and I won’t ever be doing so.  People will just think it’s an affectation or quirk that I keep an “old style” tricorder in my quarters.  But it’ll allow me to remark on things I couldn’t otherwise.

For weeks, I’ve been a “temporal agent”, working under the direction of “Agent Daniels”, who had infiltrated my crew to set me on this path.  Ever since K-13 pulled its vanishing act, I’ve been more or less conscripted to help preserve the future timeline.  I wasn’t sure how to feel about that-the future hasn’t happened yet.  My first mission seemed pretty praiseworthy-prevent a conference at Babel in the past from descending into utter chaos.  Most of my work involved messing around on Enterprise, and trying to pretend to be a member of their crew.  Mr. Scott recognized me, though-except he was saying something about Drozana Station.  Since I’ve never been there, and since I seem to be involved in time now…well, I can only conclude that at some point, I’ll be traveling through time to meet him there.

The next mission was in the past as well.  We stopped that alien species-the Na’khul-from destroying a Tholian convoy, including a Queen.  But one of Champion’s sister ships, the Defiant, was…lost.

The kicker, though, happened in my own time.  After a battle with the Klingons, it seemed like it was all over for me.  Certainly, the Champion fought like its namesake.  But it wasn’t enough.  Still, Daniels wasn’t done with me yet.  Instead, he dragged me to the future.  To the year 2409.  Over 150 years in the future.  And we’re at war with the Klingons.  Don’t get me started on that.  I’ve heard Starfleet had actually allied with them for a while, but not anymore.  Color me shocked.

I’m being billeted to a new ship-ironically, an updated variant of the Constitution-class, an Excalibur-class starship:  the USS Triton.  It seems like the battle I just fought in was just the beginning….

End Log.

The adventures of Rick Masters continue through the back half of the “Agents of Yesterday” early level missions in Star Trek Online.  As one might tell from the log, the character has made the big jump from the 23rd century to the 25th.  But before that happened, he had to take care of a couple of missions for Agent Daniels-from the future!  And the process puts the character behind the scenes of a couple of significant events in Star Trek lore.  Let’s take a peek after the spoilery break.  Don’t read if you want surprises!

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EoA: Esseles, Coruscant, and Hammer Station (And a Surprise)

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“Events have progressed faster than I would have expected since leaving Tython as a Jedi Knight.  The trip on the Esseles turned out to be more than expected-I wonder if Master Shan had a vision or premonition of what was to come on that fateful trip-one which was punctuated with my first conflict with a Sith.  This encounter was not to be my last-for I would face Sith on Coruscant as well, in the form of Darth Tarnis.

But this has opened up a greater danger.  Tarnis stole data on secret weapons, dangerous on a planetary scale.  With the help of Master Kiwiik’s Padawan, Kira Carsen, I was able to defeat Tarnis and prevent him from isolating Coruscant from the galaxy-but at the cost of awakening the anger of his father, Darth Angral, a Sith Lord who had led the Sack of Coruscant years ago.  That sacking has still had consequences that reverberate to this day; the Migrant Merchant’s Guild have been a force of oppression there; a criminal syndicate called Black Sun has been operating openly; and Justicars, former military, have taken a sector of their own and ruthlessly enforce their own brand of justice.  I’ve tried to help where I could, but I am just one man-and the Empire is making moves that General Var Suthra needs me to help counter.

Before I could go to the first destination recommended by the General, Master Shan asked that I join a task force in eliminating Hammer Station, another Republic superweapon that had fallen into the wrong hands.  Along with a group of other Jedi, we were able to eliminate the threat.  Now, Kira, T7, and I are preparing to land on Taris-a world destroyed by the Empire long ago, and the focus of a reconstruction effort unlike any other the Republic has yet attempted….”

-From the Epic of Anthrandos

Things have moved fairly swiftly for my Jedi for the Light versus Dark event in Star Wars: The Old Republic.  First, I was able to take the advice of a reader here and actually discover that I’d not enabled my “view exploration missions” toggle, which is why I couldn’t find those couple of missions referred to in the last of these posts.  Once I cleared those all out, I returned to dealing with the Esseles Flashpoint, which is one of the better ones in the game.  I did it under solo-mode, to make my life as convenient as possible, and everything went as well as I’d expected.  Esseles isn’t exactly one of the hardest Flashpoints out there.

From there, I did the Coruscant missions.  And I did almost all of them; I might have skipped a Heroic mission or two, mainly because I’d still be working at it due to the fact that they require takedowns of mobs that everyone else is hunting.  I’ve got better things to be doing.  Plus:  after doing every other mission on the planet, I found myself at level 29.  I’m so far ahead of schedule as far as levels go that it’s disgusting.  This did conveniently mean that I’d achieved Tier One in the LvD advancement, by getting a character to level 25.  My rewards were some LvD packs to open.  I didn’t get anything spectacular, but I did get the upper part of the Ceremonial armor set (hooray?), a cool rifle that I could see my Agent using (too bad it’s bound-I haven’t checked the Collection unlock cost for it yet), and two identical lightsaber crystals that conveniently matched the color of the one I was using for this character, but instead of upping Endurance it was upping Critical, which I sort of preferred for this character-so no real complaints.  Hopefully, the Tier Two rewards awaiting at level 50 and the completion of the Jedi Prisoner Flashpoints will do better.  Plus, it’ll award the first parts of the Victorious Pioneer’s Armor Set (and a pet).

In the middle of all that, I decided to bite the bullet at low level and get the PvP Valor 5 requirements out of the way.  It took two runs, one of which was a straightforward “kill anyone not on your team”, and the other was a capture point map.  My team won the first, didn’t win the second.  But it got the requirement out of the way for me, so that’s one more problem down.  After wrapping Coruscant, I also ran a Hammer Station Tactical Flashpoint, via Group-Finder.  That FP isn’t horribly difficult either, and we got through it and thus allowed me to check off another box on the way.  Athiss should be the next one on the list, I think, but I will likely wait until Taris is complete before running that one.  My level has also opened up the aforementioned Jedi Prisoner FPs, but I’m going to hold off a little longer on those, since they can be solo FPs.

So far, I’m doing as well as I’d wanted for the LvD event, and it’s been pretty fun reliving all of the quests.  The big question upcoming:  I’ve vowed to do every mission I could (minus Heroics that may be more trouble than they are worth as far as competing with other players).  But I haven’t thought about the Bonus Missions on various planets.  They can be a slog, but still, they’re more xp, more credits (I DO need to get a million on one of these characters, after all), and they used to have some decent orange gear to either use or give to companions.  I’ve got some time before I have to make that choice, fortunately.

The Epic continues!

AoY: Speaking of Beginnings….

Space...the 23rd century. These are the voyages....

Space…the 23rd century. These are the voyages….

Personal Log, Stardate 6457.14

I’m still settling in to my first command.  I hadn’t been the First Officer very long on board the USS Pioneer, and now, thanks to the events of the last month, I’m in command of a Constitution-class heavy cruiser, the USS Champion.  It’s not as prestigious as one might thing, unfortunately; the ship has been mostly gutted to repair other ships of the line, so it’s not quite up to the same spec as, say, Enterprise.  But she’s mine, and I’m proud to serve on her.

And not a moment too soon.  Klingons are getting antsy again, after their trap on Taurus II failed.  Then there was a near-miss diplomatic incident at Edren IV and the Gorn; fortunately, cooler heads eventually prevailed-I wouldn’t have wanted to be remembered as the CO who kicked off a Federation/Hegemony War.  The craziest thing, though, was the events at Deep Space Station K-13; it was so insane that I’m not even going into detail in these logs.  Seeing what happened to that station…no, better not go there.

But it wasn’t all bad.  I’ve met the crew of the famous starship Enterprise-or at least a good portion of them.  I got some strange looks from Mr. Scott and Dr. McCoy, though-not sure why.  They seemed to recognize me, but that’s impossible-this was the first time I’d met any of them.

I’ve heard the rumblings around Spacedock that I shouldn’t even have this command-that I should have remained on Pioneer.  But when your former captain gets promoted, they say, you tend to get rewarded with plum assignments.  Somehow, I’m sure that they’d feel differently if they’ve seen Champion.  I’m still tripping over exposed cables on the bridge.  Don’t get me started with Engineering.

I’m confident, though, that this will be a stepping stone to a better ship-like a Constitution-class that hasn’t been mostly cannibalized, or some of those new Ranger-class vessels they’re beginning to crank out at the shipyards.  My captain believed in me, and he still does as an Admiral, and I’ll be damned if I let him-or Starfleet-down.

End log.

As you may have guessed, the Agents of Yesterday expansion landed for Star Trek Online, and as previously posted, I’ll be following the adventures of Rick Masters for the duration of his career.  I was originally going to do one post per episode for this, but the episodes aren’t quite as meaty as, say, one of the ones from Star Wars: The Old Republic, so instead, I’ll mostly be posting the story arcs.  This beginning arc will be an exception, as well as the other new episodes of the expansion; since they’re brand new, they deserve a bit more exposition, wouldn’t one think?

Of course, since it is brand spanking new, it’s only fair to put spoilery sorts of stuff after a “read more” break, right?  But first, let’s look at the future Temporal Agent and Captain, Rick Masters!

I wasn’t really sure what kind of profession to have him go into:  Tactical, Engineering, and Science.  There just isn’t the same room for variety as you might see in other MMOs there-even if you mix and match with types of starship.  I decided to make Rick an Engineering captain, and after the tutorial, I ditched the starter ship and went with the TOS Constitution that I’d gotten way back when.  That said, it made no sense in my mind for a Lieutenant (and be sure, that IS your starting rank here) to be in command of a starship that was-at the time of the Original Series-the top of the line, or near enough to it.  So I came up with a backstory that could explain that:  the ship could have been up there with Enterprise and the like, but due to damages done to the other Constitution-class vessels over the years, the Champion‘s parts were cannibalized to the point where it’s really not up there with those famous ships.  This will become important later on down the line….  So for now, using the somewhat predictable Engineer Captain/Engineer Ship combo.  What will happen further down the line?  We’ll find out as we go along!

And now, the meat of it!  So, if you don’t want spoilers, stop reading here!

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EoA: It Begins!

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“It seems like only yesterday that I was arriving on Tython, birthplace of the Jedi Order, and I, Anthrandos, hoped to find a Master to guide me through the Trials.  Now, I sit on a passenger ship heading to Coruscant, a Jedi Knight.  It wasn’t supposed to happen so fast.  But with the Flesh Raiders undergoing unusual aggression-in part, thanks to Master Din’s former Padawan-and the fact that I was already combat trained meant I had to adapt swiftly.

It was good enough.  I was able to keep the peace in Kalikori Village, and hopefully bring the Jedi and the Twi’leks closer together.  I felt that it had been an injustice that the Jedi had been forbidden from aiding them, but my hope is that now, things can improve.  The Matriarch is certainly willing, and I believe Grand Master Shan is as well.  I have gained the company of an astromech droid as well, T7-01-whose valor I cannot deny.  And with the defeat of Master Din’s old student-who I hope can be rehabilitated one day-I was proclaimed a Jedi Knight by the Council.  Truly, the greatest honor of my life.

But there’s a dark cloud on the horizon.  There is a dark shadow upon the Force, and it seems to center on the capital world.  Master Shan has booked me passage aboard this ship, the Esseles, from Carrick Station.  My hope is that we will arrive on Coruscant soon.  Presuming the Force holds no surprises, of course.”

-From the Epic of Anthrandos

Yes, I’ve wrapped up the latest chapter in Knights of the Fallen Empire for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and now it’s time for me to put my Light versus Dark characters through the wringer.  I have chosen to go hard on the Light Side, which should be straightforward enough for my Jedi, and should be interesting for my Sith.  So, we begin the Epic of Anthrandos, Jedi Knight!

Doing the leveling thing (yet again) allows me to observe some of the little changes done since the KotFE expansion landed, particularly in light of the leveling path changes.  I’ve been doing all the side quests as well as the main questlines on Tython, which puts Anthrandos at a respectable level 14 at the end of the Tython experience.  Interestingly, this is without at least two quests that seem to have been booted off the planet.  One was actually a short series of quests-to test out fighting droids prepared by the Jedi Battlemaster on Tython.  That’s probably not a bad one to lose, since it featured a limited number of activation areas, with an iffy respawn timer-and the event has gathered a LOT of people starting new characters.  The other one that I noticed missing was the “Padawan Romance”; where two Jedi Masters are worried that their students are…let’s just say “getting attached”.  That doesn’t cause me a lot of loss either; it felt a bit awkward.

And obviously, the loss of those missions didn’t really cause a big problem.  I recall when I was just hitting level 10 leaving Tython; clearly, that’s not the case anymore.  When they said leveling was going to be easier now, they weren’t kidding.  You can, legitimately, level by just going on the planetary quest and the class quest-but doing the side quests have other benefits, like rewards and-especially for this event-opportunities for Dark/Light Side choices.

Speaking of making choices:  the coin-flip at Fleet sent Anthrandos down the advanced class path of Guardian, and a die roll put him on the Vigilance tree.  It’ll be interesting to see how that works out.  That pretty much takes care of all the random choices for the character, so next stop is the Esseles Flashpoint and Coruscant!

Are They the Dark Side…or the Light?

And here they are: the new guys! How will their adventures unfold?

And here they are: the new guys! How will their adventures unfold?

The Light versus Dark event has begun in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and as promised, I’ve started up a pair of characters to participate.  I hope to nail down a few tiers of the event’s rewards, at least.  Not the eight character one with the heaps of other requirements (nope-not happening.  Many of those I’m not willing to do again, and certainly not in the timeframe for this event), and the one with the PvP Warzones is looking pretty damned unlikely too.  And since a recent dev livestream indicates that you can’t get a higher tier without completing the lower tiers, there’s a pretty good shot that either I don’t wind up with that companion, or I leech off of people in the warzones for PvP-and I’m fairly sure I won’t care about anyone screaming about it.  Thank the devs for it.  (I’d still at least be trying, though-it goes against the grain to just sit there and do nothing.  It’s just that I recognize that I’d suck at it and don’t care if I do.)

Okay, enough of that.  So who are these heroes?

The one on the left is Anthrandos, a Rattataki Jedi Knight.  The one on the right is Sorshan, a Mirialan Sith Inquisitor.  I randomly determined the classes for these two (although I restricted to the Force users) with a coin flip.  I also randomly determined the gender with a coin flip.  I chose the species-I wanted to use ones that didn’t ordinarily fit in with that class, taking advantage of all the unlocks I did; and aside from the Cartel-only ones, I’ve unlocked all of them (I did flirt with purchasing the Cathar and the Torguta, but chose not to).  I originally randomly determined their appearance, too, but I hated the results on them so much that I just went with designing the looks myself.  I expect that upon wrapping up Tython/Korriban, I’ll randomly determine both their advanced class and their chosen area of expertise in that class.  I may weigh harder on paths I haven’t previously used on other characters, though.  That said, Anthrandos sure looks like a Jedi Guardian to me, and Sorshan has the look of a Sorcerer.  But then, we’ll see.  These are only initial looks I’ve used based on unlocked collection outfits (thanks to Bioware for that handy collection unlock sale a few weeks back!); odds are I’ll change up the looks based upon how those choices go.

The plan is to do Anthrandos first, up to the end of Ziost, followed by Sorshan for the same.  Then the two will alternate with the KotFE content.  Whichever one feels like it works best will be my entry into the Eternal Championship and my attempt to get that last achievement for the companion unlock when it happens.

You’ll note that I haven’t said which side I’ll be on.  Well…I’m still waffling.  (I’m bad.)  I’m still running characters through Chapter 15 for KotFE, and then there’s the Agents of Yesterday expansion due to land in the upcoming week, so juggle juggle!  I haven’t had time to make a hard decision…although I’m trending Light Side, based on the fact that I’m kind of curious how a Light-minded Inquisitor might go.  I’ve done Dark and Light for the Consulars and for the Warriors, but haven’t hit the Inquisitor.  Yes, I also haven’t done a dark Knight, either-maybe I’ll save that for my free 60 which is still waiting for me to use.  And yes, technically, my “main” Consular is still more Light than Dark, since he’s only been going off the deep end hard since KotFE.

I still got some time to put off that choice for sure.  But it’s coming.  And expect Anthrandos/Sorshan related posts as we go along.  Frequency is something I’m undecided on; the Agents of Yesterday for STO I’ve chosen to do by episode, but SWTOR isn’t quite that nice and neat.  I might do this one by planet + whatever intermissions fit in.  Flashpoints I’ll treat separate.

I anticipate some interesting posts upcoming in the next few months.

In semi-unrelated news:  the same livestream that will inflict me upon the PvP area of the game-maybe-also noted that the Heroic nerf will be reverted in the next Chapter, although they still think the number’s too high on payouts (I disagree, incidentally-I’ve seen the costs of some of their new Legacy unlocks plus the stronghold costs-the nerf hoses any hope of seeing those in a long, long time if it stood).  So I anticipate something happening at some point still.  There’s also some talk on companions that would be far too spoiler-y for me to go into; suffice it to say, I can’t believe the devs didn’t think it through after the shouting about losing them in the first place when KotFE started.  They’re looking at a solution for that, which I expect will operate much like the terminal in the Odessen base-but honestly, how could they not have seen this coming?  It boggles me sometimes how little developers understand the way people think.

Penultimate

Well, it’s time for the next chapter of Knights of the Fallen Empire for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  As usual, there will be spoilers after the break (although I do try to gloss over some stuff), but first, my commentary on non-chapter related stuff.

The biggest (from my own biased point of view) is that Guss is not returning after all with this chapter.  The devs put up an amusing post indicating that Guss “carried out an overly-elaborate con job to convince the galaxy that his recruitment mission would go live with Chapter XV […].  But as with most of Guss’s con jobs, this caper has failed spectacularly.”  (And I immediately pictured my Smuggler saying, “Dammit, Guss!”), so it looks like we won’t see him until the final chapter.  Maybe.  Is it just me, or is it that none of the other classes have had any trouble having their alerts work okay, but Heaven Forbid that the Smuggler companions get released on schedule.  Of course, that’s probably the issue right there-they’ve probably learned from the Smuggler to never cooperate with authority….

The next biggest detail is something that has not gone over well with the forum population, at least.  There’s been a hard nerfing of Heroic missions as far as payouts go.  I’m glad I managed to finish up my “Alliance Commander” achievement, because from what I’m reading, the payouts got slashed by up to half of what they were.  Guess most of the interesting stuff on GTN just went out of reach of most people again; not to mention returning a painful grind for anyone hoping to unlock rooms for strongholds or flagships.  I’m not thrilled with the change, myself.  But I’ll live-I just won’t worry about doing the Heroics anymore.  The whole point was to get payouts commensurate with the effort, and while not all content in the game does do that, that content often makes up for it in other ways (like, say, being a compelling story).

Light versus Dark began as well; I’ve already put up my thoughts on that in the last post, and I won’t regurgitate here.  I’ll likely have a series of “Building Character” posts chronicling my two representatives to the event at some point, similar to how I’m planning the “Rick Masters” posts for the Star Trek Online expansion in July.  I’m actually looking forward to taking a new look at the content I’ve done, and I haven’t really put effort into leveling characters since KotFE rolled out.  My expectation is to do as much as possible, including side quests that I no longer have to do; way I see it, it’s more opportunities to get Light/Dark Side choices and weigh into the event goals.  Still no decision on Light or Dark Side for me.  Stay tuned.

For those looking for info on the next HK-related toy…it’s not July yet.  It’s a July reward-so it didn’t come in yet.  So don’t panic when you can’t find the new poster in your mail.

So, without too much to comment upon aside from the main event, spoilers await ahead!  Last chance!  Turn back if you don’t want to see the details on the GEMINI Deception!

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Oh, For the Love of Alts…!

Bioware/EA had been indicating an interesting event upcoming in Star Wars: The Old Republic independent of the Knights of the Fallen Empire’s story.  What we knew was that it would involved eventually getting a brand new companion, and that companion would either be a Light Side or Dark Side companion depending on the choices made during the storyline…for everybody.  To be a bit more precise, every single player involved in the event would tilt the scales, and whichever side won would determine the nature of the companion-who would be available for all participants as an account unlock.

The devs recently slapped up a blog post going into greater detail-and there’s a wee bit more to it than just “get more Dark/Light Side points”.  Oh, is there a lot more.

First up:  the only participants in the event are new characters.  If you’ve already filled up all your character slots on a server, you can buy new ones (they’ll be going on sale next week) or do the event on a different server.  In theory that would work; they did say it would be an account unlock for that companion, but since everything is being tracked by Legacy achievements, I’m withholding judgment on that.  Still, the point remains:  you have to do the event with a brand spanking new character, and it can’t be one starting at level 60 if you’ve got one of those tokens.  Nope.

Next:  it’s not just a question of Light/Dark points.  See, there are different levels of achievement here.  Each one will give you some gamble-packs, with some decent stuff (one of which is Satele Shan’s outfit; well, that’s one item on the GTN market that’s about to tank in price) which will be bound on pickup, but will unlock in the Collections tab so that your other characters can benefit.  Each one will have other stuff attached, too, like event-related armor, pets, vehicles, titles, and yes, the aforementioned new companion-which will either be Darth Hexid or Master Ranos.  Whether or not we’ll ever see the one not chosen is an open question.

Whose side are YOU on?

These levels of achievement are tricky, to say the least.  The first level is straightforward:  get that new character to level 25.  Nice and simple, right?  The next level is a bit more complex.  Get that character to level 50, AND complete three “story” Flashpoints.  Well, with the solo Flashpoints out there, that’s not horrible; the first one for each faction, and the Jedi Prisoner/Foundry ones will do nicely for that.  Level 50 isn’t simple, but it is doable, as I certainly have cause to know!  The level that comes after that takes that character up to level 60 and through the Shadow of Revan and into the first 9 chapters of KotFE, plus doing the introductory stuff for the Galactic Strongholds (which is no big deal).

So, everything seems nice and simple, right?

It continues, and now it starts getting into the deeper water.  The character must complete KotFE (up to the final chapter, revealed as the Battle of Odessen-that’s a bad, bad sign-which launches late July); he must do ALL of the Flashpoints in Solo or Tactical Mode (and a good chunk of those have no Solo Mode, so hang onto the hats) AND must reach Valor Rank 5, which is achieved by doing PvP Warzones-and since I don’t really do the PvP thing, I have no idea how difficult that detail is.  Oh, and complete 5 Alliance Alerts, but that’s no big struggle.  (Yuun’s doesn’t count.)

The next level appears to be independent of the previous ones-which is good, since that’s the one that has as its reward that companion mentioned above.  However…you need to have that new character each level 65, AND a new character of the opposing faction to level 65.  AND you need to complete round 5 of the Eternal Championship with one of them.  (That one I’m less sure about; it might be that you could get that with one of your other characters, but I’ve no confirmation either way on that.)  Now, that’s just beating up players.  Altitis Hell approaches.  But it hasn’t arrived yet.

That’s for the next level:  this is just a bit of what you need:  level 50 for all classes, 1 million credits (that’s not as impressive as it used to be), reach Dark 5 and Light 5 alignment (thankfully, not on the same character), kill 5 specific World Bosses, Kill 5 specific Operations Bosses, all Hard Mode Flashpoints and the Eternal Championship.  Among other things.  If you have to do this on the new characters-effectively making 8 new characters-this will be a bit of a living hell.  I mean, I’m an altoholic, but come on, now!  (And that IS eight new characters; they have to be “event characters” made for this event.)

So, my operational plans are to pretty much do a Republic and Sith character thru KotFE and go for the first three levels, and then focus fire on the Eternal Championship fifth round to qualify for the character.  I haven’t decided what side to be on; I like the look of the Light Side character, but I hate to make snap judgments.  As for the characters themselves…well, if one is going to do this sort of Dark/Light sort of thing, I kind of feel I gotta go Jedi and Sith.  The only question is:  Knight or Consular, Warrior or Inquisitor?  I might finally do what I’d been considering for a while:  let random rolls determine everything about the characters, from appearance to class to advanced class choices.  The plan originally was to also do the same for Light/Dark choices, but I think if I do this, I’m going all in with my choice.  So both will either be staunchly Light, or seriously Dark.

Light Versus Dark begins on June 28-which is, ironically, when the next Chapter for KotFE lands.  KotFE has priority, followed by the Alliance Alert for that chapter (I need Guss back!), and once those are done…THEN I can begin the journey…for the seventeenth time.

Yes, I have had questions about my sanity before, and I will probably be hearing them again soon…!

Timeline Crash

They swore up and down that it couldn’t be done.  It was the difference between two media companies that ensured that it would never happen.  Except now, it is.

What is “it”?  It’s upcoming content for Star Trek Online.  We knew about the Agents of Yesterday being heavily involved with time travel.  We knew about the Temporal Cold War storyline going on in the late-game episodes.  Messing around with time travel has become a big deal recently.  So if you look at it in that light, it’s not so surprising that the most significant time travel alteration might be approached here:  the one that came about when Spock and Nero got sucked through a black hole (well, not technically) and into the past, where the U.S.S. Kelvin was destroyed and one of the founding worlds of the Federation was literally destroyed.

Or to put it simply:  we’re about to see some kind of crossover between the “prime” Star Trek setting, and the one being explored by the last couple of Star Trek movies.

The evidence is clear: TIME IS NOT A TOY!

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  My understanding was, Paramount owned everything related to the movies, and CBS owned everything related to the television shows.  And it seemed damned unlikely that there would be sharing involved-but there were hints that things were going to happen recently.  There were reports of seeing one of the more visually distinct characters from the movies appearing in STO.  His uniform was also distinctly not in the 2409/2410 style, nor was it really in the same style as the TOS uniform, precisely.

Now we’ve had an actual dev post that pretty much says, yep-something’s coming, all right.  Specifics, naturally, have been vague, but we’re definitely seeing something that will bring together-even if only for a single episode-the timeline of STO and that of the movies.  What we don’t know is where in the timeline we’ll go.  The post sure implies the Kelvin’s time, which would be around the birth of Kirk in the movie timeline, but given the fact that we have a new movie AND an anniversary coming up, it seems crazy to ignore the prospects of using a later time there-where the movie Enterprise is active with Captain James T. Kirk on the Center Seat.

(I have to admit to being interested in how a meeting with the new crew available from the TOS faction in STO would interact with the movie Enterprise crew.  Surely it must seem awfully different….  “What’s with all those lens flares?”  “Heck with what our lighting looks like, your Captain’s Chair looks like a brick.”)

But…where are the lens flares?

Interesting times upcoming….

(I’ll take a moment to remark on the passing of Anton Yelchin, the current movie’s Pavel Chekov.  It’s a reminder that sometimes things just happen in freak accidents, and a promising life cut short.  He’ll be missed.)

 

If you thought the Constitution-class was wrong in 2409….

Here’s an interesting little thought experiment for Star Trek Online players.

One of the crazy things discussed in their forums on a semi-regular basis is the utter inappropriateness of some of the ships available.  Especially at higher tiers, when you have the Excelsior class-designed over 150 years prior to the game-being as good as if not better than new designs, or even later designs like the Sovereign-class.  Then you have the Andorian and Vulcan ships sitting at tier 5 as well-granted, the in-game rationale is that they only look like those ships that date back to the Enterprise era.  And of course, this starts the argument as to why they never came out with a tier 5 version of the Constitution class.

That brings us to the present day, with the Agents of Yesterday expansion slated to hit early next month, which will have a set of missions that take place in the Original Series era-and so your starting ship is basically following that aesthetic in design.  It’s not a spoiler to figure that you get propelled out of that era at some point and into the 2409 era, where you could figure on flying the ships of the line as designed in the game.

Got it?  Good.  Here’s the brain killer.

As they did with the Legacy of Romulus expansion-and I think also with the Delta Rising one, although I can’t prove that one-Cryptic/PWE is releasing packs that include uniforms and ships.  Here’s the fun part:  most of those ships are higher than tier 1 and up.  And given what has been released so far on the test server, that’s a bunch of ships that are using the TOS aesthetic well after they’ve gone the way of the dodo.

Thaaat’s right.  The good news is, the endgame versions of said ships are redesigned to the 2410 aesthetic.  Recognizable as that class of ship, but clearly more modern.  Still, though, there are going to be a fair chunk of these “why are these ships even operating” flying around in sector space.  Is Starfleet really that hard up on starships?  Of course, that could explain why your characters go from Academy graduates to Admirals in a year of in-game time….

It’s a nice enough ship, but is that really a ship you’d expect to see in the 2409/10 era?  (And I didn’t pick this ship because of its name or class…really.  Just a coincidence!)

I’m just flabbergasted that this is a thing.  If the AoY storyline took a longer period of time in the TOS era, I could see tier 2 ships, but once you start getting out into the main storyline, we’re looking at what we’d call “out of period vessels”.  And because they are new, you can be sure they will be everywhere.  And yet, despite this, you can be sure that we still won’t see a top-tier Constitution-class starship.  (Again:  I’m not advocating for or against that particular detail; but it’s not too hard to see arguments why you shouldn’t at least get a tier 5 (upgraded) version of the ship.  Most of the arguments have been blown away by the releases.)

This will be mitigated somewhat by the fact that all of these ships are C-Store ships, either via pre-order for the assorted Temporal packs, or singly.  As far as I’m aware, there are no TOS ships that are available as a standard “level up” ship; the closest you get is the one you start with (and, I suppose, the TOS Constitution if you have it-but you have to wait until you’re out of the tutorial to do that).

I’m not sure if I’ll pick any of them up.  I’m unlikely at best to go after the early tier ships; my needs are met just fine at early tiers by the existing ships, plus the ships I’ve picked up over the years during give-aways (all of which made the list of give-aways likely because of low sales).  I might look at the high tier ones, as they aren’t in the aesthetic of the TOS era-and so are more appropriate to the game’s setting.  I’m especially looking at the ones that are similar in design to the Wells-class vessel that hides in some Temporal Lockboxes, although I won’t rule out the “updated” TOS ships.  I mean, I do have a brand spanking new future-captain waiting in the wings, and as a Temporal Agent, he’s sort of practically custom made for that sort of thing.  Fortunately for me, that’s a game-time decision; after all, that Zen stipend accumulation isn’t doing me any good just sitting there.

And as a note about the other C-Store offering upcoming:  I’m not planning to pick up the TOS uniforms.  I’m not interested in the species-specific outfits, I have the TOS era Starfleet uniforms, as well as their Mirror Universe variants; I will admit to being tempted by the torn-up TOS uniforms, though, simply because of nostalgia.  Depends a lot on price point, since I’m not likely to have too many characters who’d use ’em.