On the original blog, I would have a yearly sum-up of my previous year of MMOs at around this time. So guess what? The tradition continues.
Seven years ago, I dipped my feet in, and then plunged into, the MMO world. And now, seven years later, things are still going strong. So what’s filled the time in Year Seven?
Well, as usual, City of Heroes conquers as being the game I spend the most time in. The biggest news of the year there was the advent of Freedom, the freemium conversion of the game. Hasn’t changed much for me, though-because I’m still subbing, and still having fun.
A pair of characters reached the lofty heights of level 50 in the last year: Professor Dredd, a Mastermind character I’d had for the longest time (one of my earliest City of Villains characters, in fact), and a Warshade called Skyshade-who had originally been named Magic’s Shadow.
The game itself has undergone some significant additions: primarily the Incarnate Trials, allowing greater and greater power for those level 50s. Still, I have a fair stable of 50s now, so only a few got to start walking the path. The top incarnates are Winter Tornado, Operative Rostov, Ebon Thunderbolt, and Stellar Protector. Amazing Kane had a run at it, but when the developers introduced a new powerset called Time Manipulation, I knew I had to reroll the character to use that set. So for the first time, I removed a level 50 from the stable and made a new version. The original one made use of a free server transfer to the VIP Exalted server, in case I ever decide this was an incredibly stupid mistake. Another fun event was the opening of a new 12 potential character slots per server, making it possible to purchase to 48 character slots per server. Past history assures me that it still won’t be enough….
On the supergroup front, things have remained more or less stable. The Union Supreme is still around, although activity when I’m active is a hit-and-miss proposition. Hyperion Force has come off a year of assorted storylines, some of which were bigger hits than others. And I’ve also been pushing ahead full forward with a villain group, too-the Entropy Legion, with my representative being originally Baron Craven (who eventually left because he backstabbed the group) and currently Dracofire, an alien fiery flying lizard. Have I mentioned I love the Virtue server?
The next major MMO was Star Trek Online. And things are less pleasant there. The year started pretty strongly-a new feature episode hit in February featuring the Romulans and Remans, and it was-much like the previous feature episodes-a hit. The highlight was the “Coliseum” episode, featuring an arena combat with some classic Trek music, a huge map, a puzzle…it had a lot of stuff that was just right. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the end right there. Thanks in part to the sale of Cyptic from Atari to Perfect World Entertainment, there was very little that was released outside of the C-Store offerings. A publish did include a set of mechanical options, like “shooter mode”, but the next promised feature episode was pushed back…and back…and back. The only thing resembling content for a long time was a series of random space Borg invasions.
Then the developers announced (to the surprise of nobody) that STO would be going freemium. This, however, has been handled far worse than the CoH conversion. My recent posts have probably hinted (well, that’s a mild way of putting it) of my own dissatisfaction with things there, and my opinion hasn’t changed much recently. Despite this, there have been some good things. Special Task Forces have improved to a point where a relative noob like me can play in them via PvE queues, and not spend several hours in one. The Borg Invasions (now including a ground attack on Defera) have been pretty fun as well-they get you running around in space sectors, and the ground one seems nicely complex. It’s not all bad. It’s just a number of other decisions and actions involving the game that has me thinking that my time there is limited.
The Corps of Discovery still exists, but mostly in name only; it’s a place to exchange items and the like between characters, but there hasn’t been much in the way of fleet activity as everyone has drifted off into doing different things. The Freemium conversion may have changed that, however; I’ve noted more activity in the News section of the Fleet menu than I’ve seen in a while, with names I’ve not seen in longer. We’ll wait and see what the future holds there.
And then there’s the new kid on the block. Star Wars: The Old Republic has come among us like a titan. I obviously don’t have much to report on this one-it’s only been live for a little under a month. All the same, I have a new Coreth on Canderous Ordo server-a smuggler. And Alcarin is an Imperial Agent on Rubat Crystal, a member of the Correctors faction of the Sith Empire. The Hyperspace Outlaws formed up on Ordo (although technically they’re using the guild name of simply “Hyper”). The game’s been great fun for me so far, and I expect to be writing more about it in the near future as I indulge in my altaholism. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been growing pains-I read on the forums and on news sites about exploits and errors-but I’m not seeing anything I haven’t seen from other game launches.
Speaking of Star Wars: we saw the sunset of Star Wars Galaxies. Nothing to say on this one. I actually did manage to resurrect Coreth Landwalker briefly when SOE managed to have a huge data breach, giving me a free 45 days of compensation time; granted, since Corbantis server was no more, he had to be transferred off to another server, but I did it-and spent time taking screenshots of places, figuring I’d never get a chance to see them again. Ironically, not long after, they announced the end, so there you go. The timing of its expiration and that of the release of TOR is probably not a coincidence, no matter how much some folks might say otherwise.
A couple of other games claimed some time from me, although to a far more limited extent. I amusingly had another 45 free days from the aforementioned debacle also applied to Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Which I’d only done a trial for, when it was released. Funny, huh? My PC is able to handle that game a lot better now than the one I’d had then, but it still couldn’t capture me. SOE being in charge may have also had something to do with it. I spent very little time in Champions Online, even given its freemium status; I tried out their version of feature episodes, but they just couldn’t grab me. I spent even less time in Lord of the Rings Online; just enough to ensure characters were still alive, more or less. I did get a few free weeks back in EVE Online (but I missed the really entertaining period when the riots were ongoing in Jita); I trained up a few skills, picked up a new salvager-specific ship for Zhaven Rel, and managed to get a datacore which I’ll likely sell off if I ever visit again. DC Universe Online also went freemium, and allowed me to poke around there a bit. I did something I never thought I’d do again-give SOE any cash at all-but it’s also likely to be the last of the cash I give them. I expect to stop by there once in a while, but it’s no competition to the best superhero game out there. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a bit of time in the still massive World of Warcraft, where I got to see the Cataclysm hit; my free time literally spanned the space before and after the patch that wrecked the world, although the expansion itself hadn’t hit by the time I was done. Irritated as hell about the talent changes, and more is supposedly on the way, but I don’t have a horse in that race anymore.
As usual, I also sprinkled some fictional writing in for my various MMO characters, since that’s something I still enjoy doing. In a City of Heroes, Stellar Protector got put through an emotional wringer after finding out his wife had been replaced by a clone for a year, and I explored his reaction to that in “Facets”; but at least he had one victory earlier in the year in “Fall of the Gems” where a significant monkey was taken off his back (and a potentially nastier one was being put on-deck). The Old Ranger of the same setting also got a little play in “Web of the Spider” as a new set of villains begin to assert themselves. Meanwhile, in the Old Republic, the Imperial Agent Alcarin Rost began to get some time in with “Tales of an Imperial Agent”, and is a player in the open-RP fiction “The Arrival”. All of those stories are at present at the respective web sites (all linked to on this blog), but I’ve begun to consolidate all my work over on the current Hyperspace Outlaws site-a project which will likely take some time. Plans for the next year are ambitious: throw up a new story for each character I’ve written about in the past. That’s a lot of characters….
Seven years in, and a small horde of MMOs under my belt. When I took a glance over my earlier years’ thoughts, I can’t help but notice how much longer the posts have gotten; the first one was maybe four paragraphs and some odd sentences. This one is…well, bigger. I expect the strong emphasis in the coming year to be with the Old Republic, mainly because it’s new; but I won’t ignore City of Heroes, and I’ll be keeping an eye on Star Trek Online’s follies as well. I hope you’ll come along for the ride!