It’s that time again! It’s been another year of MMO gaming, MMO blogging, and now it’s time for me to look back at 2016 and throw out some thoughts on the past as I look to the future! Specifically, let’s see what’s been going on with the games I play.
2016 was a pretty good one for Star Wars: The Old Republic-at least from my point of view. Updates came regularly with new content, tied to the ongoing story of Knights of the Fallen Empire, and concluded the year with the conclusion as Knights of the Eternal Throne. The story feels like it effectively concludes the stories of the assorted classes into one funneled end (maybe two-I still haven’t thrown a dark-sider through KotET, and things may be different there), which does lead one to wonder if we’re at the end of story content. Certainly we are for most of 2017, as the developers are rededicating themselves to group content; just how that unfolds is something we’ll be learning early this year.
I’m a tad annoyed at the fact that a significant number of companions for the classes remain unaccounted for, and that aforementioned rededication makes it unlikely we’ll see any make a comeback in 2017; yes, they can be brought back in a game mechanics sense, but they’re still effectively gone in-story. All that said: the companions have mostly been irrelevant in-story at the end of the class stories (with perhaps a sop thrown in depending on your class in the Shadow of Revan expansion), so one has to wonder if it’s really a big deal at this point. Something to think about.
From a personal point of view, this year saw the return of my tracking assorted characters through content. Thanks primarily to the Dark vs Light event that kicked off in the summer, I began the journeys of Anthrandos the Jedi Knight and Sorshan the Sith Inquisitor, and brought them from humble beginnings on Tython and Korriban and through the KotFE expansion. Neither have as yet gone through KotET, but they will-so expect at some point “final” posts for those characters that will encompass that expansion, once I’ve finished getting my primary class characters through. Naturally, those primary characters have gone through the entirety of the KotFE expansion, one of which maxed out his alliance contact reps, one of which got them all to at least level 10. My smuggler and agent win the prize for most total companions now, as they both have all the Star Fortress companions, and almost all of the companions available in alerts, excepting ones who were refused on moral grounds (or killed off) and the PvP related ones.
Coming in at a distant second in my time is Star Trek Online. Last time I did one of these posts, we were just beginning the New Dawn, heralding the rebirth of exploration in the galaxy. Guess that was mostly hyperbole, because what we actually got was the latest outbreak of the Temporal Cold War introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise. Things started really rolling, though, with the year’s free expansion, Agents of Yesterday, which created a new sub-faction: the 23rd century Starfleet. This was tied in hard with the Temporal Cold War as well, but man, it was fun seeing missions and characters in the 23rd century look. The New Dawn arc concluded and a new one is underway now, which returns a station from the past returning to the limelight.
At roughly the same time as developing the idea of characters in the Dark vs Light thing in SWTOR, I decided to chronicle the adventure of a character starting out from the 23rd century with Rick Masters, and while my time has been more limited than usual in STO, the character has finished his run through “New Dawn” (or “Future Proof” if you want to use the episodic arc name), and has caught up to the present time in the game. Since the new arc seems like it’ll at least somewhat involve the space station the character saw go away back in the 23rd century, Masters will likely see at least some participation there, but I’m likely to look to focus on my Starfleet, KDF, and Romulan mains a bit. That said, since the 23rd century guy is in his own sub-faction, I can easily justify promoting him to a “main” status. Does anyone else out there have multiple main characters, or is it just me? It’s hard being an altoholic.
Champions Online, still technically in the stable of games, didn’t get a lot of joy from me this year. I did finally manage to level up a character-Overload, my Reawakened Automaton-to max level, so that opened up a new character slot for me to work with. Unlike previous years, this year saw a bit of content introduced, as well as some significant reworking of the “endgame” experience as far as gear grinding goes (which, apparently, is another way of saying “more grind”). I’ve never been about the endgame, though, and the new content is highly group oriented-which is good, honestly, but for a guy who is as irregular as I am on the game, well, not the biggest attraction.
Here’s the other hand: with things wrapping up with characters in SWTOR with the KotET expansion, and its focus on grouped content, it opens up some time for me to do a leveling experience in CO as I have with Anthrandos/Sorshan/Rick Masters. It may be a little less structured, since CO is less structured, storywise, but that could work for the best in many ways. I’ve already been laying the groundwork in my head on how that’ll work, so stay tuned.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t remark upon the Freemium conversion for EVE Online, which has allowed me to return to New Eden to fly spaceships again. I’m not anticipating much time in here, particularly given the Alpha Clone limitations on ships and skills, but hey, it’s good to fly out into the unknown for a bit. My character being developed (independent of the original ones I had) is likely to stick with Minmatar Frigates, although I’m spending time on a Minmatar Destroyer to help clean out frigate annoyances in Level 1 missions. I’m debating trying to hit some wormholes and see if I can find any data/hacking sites; the problem is that skills only go so high, which means even locating the sites are a challenge-and worse still, the hostile mobs in the area probably outmatch me in skill and equipment. But seeing as I’m basically using cheap stuff, I may well decide “why the hell not? Frigates are disposable.”
On the fictional front, I’ve restricted myself to reposting some open-RP posts rescued from the fall of GuildPortal last year, including “Injustice” from the Justiciars site, “Birth of the Union” and “The Darkening” from the Union Supreme site. I’m planning to do a repost of “Invasion of the Gems” from the Hyperion Force site at some point in the coming year. As far as new works, though, nothing really came to mind. I am in the middle of writing what I anticipate will be my last MMO-related story, and hope to have something put up this coming year on the Outlaws’ site. Fact is, my motivation on writing this stuff has been fading considerably, and in combination with finding time to actually do the writing, that just spelled a “time to put a bow on it” in my mind. Of course, putting that bow on it will depend a lot on me actually finishing the one I’ve started; we’ll see how that goes.
That’s 2016 in a nutshell! The latter half of the year helped reinvigorate some of my blogging, thanks to the decision to start chronicling the actions of my characters again as I had in the old days, and helped fill the empty spaces between game publishes. It puts me in a positive frame of mind as we move forward in 2017 to start year thirteen of my MMO adventure!