It’s kind of amusing that this is (if WordPress is counting right) my 100th post on WordPress for the blog. I don’t recall how many there were on the original Faces site, so it’s iffy as far as landmarks go.
What isn’t iffy is that it’s been nine years since I started MMO gaming. Almost a decade now. It’s a combination of “my god what have I been doing with my life?” and “damn, that’s pretty cool!” Ah, the contradictory feelings of gaming!
Let’s take a peek at the last year, hm?
First up: there was no City of Heroes action. Probably because NCSoft killed it. Fortunately, some enterprising folks managed to put together an application that allows access to the costume creator, and even access to the maps in the game, which is great for screenshots and stuff, but not so good with things involving other people. That’s all I’ve got to say about that, as Gump would put it.
Okay, into the actual games.
A significant chunk of my time has been in playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. Thanks to the magic of paid server transfers, I consolidated my characters into one server-Jedi Covenant. I’ve managed to complete the class stories on the Sith Inquisitor, the Sith Warrior, the Trooper, and the Jedi Knight-which means they join the rarefied air breathed by my Imperial Agent and Smuggler. This leaves me working on the Bounty Hunter and Jedi Counselor as my final two class stories to finish. My BH recently wrapped up Chapter One, while my Counselor is still hip deep in it. The next step after those two will be the really insane idea of trying the other Advanced Classes; this would mean I’d have two of each basic class. My sanity may or may not hold out that long.
As far as the game itself, the Rise of the Hutt Cartel has caused me both irritation and joy. It was a nice enough planet-and a coherent story, and I liked the kind of sneaky end of the storyline on the Imperial side. I did complete the Republic one, too, which led to the amusing conversation of “why is Makeb still here? Wasn’t it falling apart last time I was here?” It makes sense when you do both sides. On the other hand, I hated the fade-to-black transitions when you take the speeders to each location on Makeb-I know some folks complain about time eaten up in travel, but I like the scenic views in flight! More of an annoyance was the way Bioware/EA treated the expansion itself. They charged for it, and made it free in less than a year. I know it’s traditional for an expansion to become free eventually, but that tends to happen when another expansion hits-maybe-and after a period of time substantially longer than a year. It’s a good thing that the latest expansion, Galactic Starfighter, was a free one, because after feeling burnt on RotHC when they gave it away after charging for it scant months before, I’m certain I wouldn’t have bought it-especially since it’s pretty much solely a PvP expansion.
A lot of the added content besides these two have centered on short maps and dailies. The Czerka facility and the planet Oricon are fairly small, and most of their story seems to be tied up into flashpoints and operations. Full disclosure-I’ve only really started doing some of the Oricon single player content, and am currently trying to figure out how to deal with a beast that can overwhelm my tank companions and then me in very little time. I really need to do some serious gearing up again…. Also for fans of the grind, the game introduced a Reputation system, so if one can work to get some gear and other stuff if they get on the hamster wheel. The good news is that it’s account-specific, not character specific, so it’s not like you have to really abuse yourself on multiple characters-all of your characters can help. And that’s a good thing.
Star Trek Online hit its own expansion with the Legacy of Romulus, bringing Romulans into the fold as a subfaction for Starfleet and the KDF. In spite of this game-mechanic status, they had their own set of missions-at least early on. By the time you get to the Beta Ursae sector block, you start sharing missions originally designed for Starfleet, but with a Romulan spin. Even more importantly in my eyes, however, the expansion raised the level for the Klingons, allowing them to FINALLY have a full 1-50 leveling experience. The situation isn’t perfect-the majority of stuff released is still Starfleet centric, with the Romulans being a distant second thanks to the fact that they were the focus of the expansion. The Klingons did manage to get a new ship this year, though, so you know, improvement. The addition of the Dyson Sphere prior to the end of the year brought us the dinosaurian Voth as new antagonists, and again, it seems that the hidden Big Bad of the game is involved. Whether or not we actually see any movement on this during the year is iffy-but on the other hand, the developers have indicated that they’re working on a new expansion for later this year-although it will not include a new faction-which might give hope for major movement on the setting’s story.
Not too much on the character front going on, though. The Corps of Discovery’s rush of activity faded, but not before we pulled up to a tier 2 starbase-which is really as good as can be asked for at this stage. Technically, the fleet’s working on an Embassy to tier 1, but the upgrade project for it is a long haul, and if it gets done before year’s end, it’ll be impressive. There’s two other fleet holdings available in the game, but there’s no chance they get upgraded. Most of my characters in the game are at level 50-including a few new Romulan factioned characters-but I’ve found my time shrinking in STO. With luck, I can work on ways to help keep my interest up there-either by going nuts in the PvE queues or learning how to use the Foundry to develop my own missions. (Given how things ended with the Mission Architect and I in CoH, though, I’m iffy on how far I will go with that.)
And then there’s Champions.
Well, I tried. I got a few characters to max level, but the content drought continued, and the folks I played with faded out from it, and ultimately, I felt there wasn’t enough to keep me around playing on my own-and I more or less crash and burned myself out on putting together supergroups (or guilds, or whatever you want to call them), so with absolutely nothing holding me there, I let the sub lapse, and that’s been that. I think I’ve logged in maybe twice since I hung up the cape there. During my time there, they’d introduced vehicles, and a few events-one featuring the attack of Lemuria on Millennium City, one involving the Forum Malvarum (I know I spelled that wrong) on the moon, and one involving a hack down to the big supercomputer of the Champions (did they ever actually finish that arc?). And put in auras for characters, but that was after I’d left. Not sure what lies ahead for CO, but it’ll have to be something that happens without me.
With my written fiction stuff, I didn’t get much done as far as number of stories. On the other hand, they also were longer than any of my previous efforts. “Landwalker” was written to fill in a blank spot from my SWG stories back in the day, while “Storm” is my interpretation of the big Coming Storm event that City of Heroes should have gotten (that one’s still being posted-there were not short bits of writing like most of my previous stuff).
It would seem that year 10 could be slowly winding down my time in the MMO-sphere; I expect to finish the class stories in TOR this year, and STO may or may not manage to hold on depending on what else comes along there. On the other hand, TOR is a freemium game, so if I decide I’m done, all is not lost there; and I’m a lifetimer in STO, which means even if I’m done, I’m never REALLY done (although there are actions being made by Perfect World Entertainment that could put a ticking timer on this-more on that in the future). And if there’s one thing I’ve been astonishingly bad at, it’s been predicting the future. Plus, hey, it’s possible I may simply spend some time at one of the other games I’d done in the past for short stints (EVE? WoW? DCUO-okay, now I’m getting crazy).