Another year has come and gone with my MMO gaming-and my MMO blogging! And as is traditional for me, it’s time to look back at 2017 and the games I spent my time on-and perhaps take a peek into what is planned for the future.
I’d closed out ’16 with the beginnings of putting my characters through the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and 2017 continued that work. I was aided a great deal in the fact that most of the publishes last year focused on class balance, raids, and the other sorts of stuff that I tend to have little interest in. We did get a couple new strongholds, but I haven’t gone out of my way to get access to them-I’m still way under-decorated with a couple I have now! Thanks to the lack of newer story content, though, I did manage to get all eight of my “class representatives” to finish the KotET expansion-and a couple have gone beyond that.
When I say “beyond that”, it’s because there were at least a few bits of story that sprinkled through the year. Nothing to the scale of previous years, but hey, it’s an MMORPG; that means devs have to deal with other aspects of the game such as those little details I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Still, we got a renewed flareup of the Sith-Republic War on the world of Iokath, treason against the Eternal Alliance on Umbara (and I still love that mission, even though I haven’t done it much), and a game of “catch the traitor” on the Chiss world of Copero. Two of those missions features the return of three companions as well-although you can only get two of them, since that involves a decision as to who your Alliance will support on Iokath. (Alas, I still regret that there wasn’t a choice of “how about I just conquer both of you? I mean, Valkorion had no problem doing it….”) It’s still slow going for folks waiting for the return of companions-pity the Jedi Consular! It’d be nice to think that 2018 will finish the job-and as of this posting, three more are scheduled to return on the 23rd, two of which will make the Smuggler VERY happy, and some will be pleased by the return of an Inquisitor’s as well. Maybe we’ll see the rest this year after all…. Due to my significant number of characters who had to get through content, I only did the Iokath and beyond missions with my two “primary” main characters. My Trooper and Sith Warrior got to get a jump on Iokath, though, since it was their companions being offered as returns. (For folks carrying a grudge against the Imperial one, it is possible to kill him. I let him live, though-and I still have him using a bunch of cybernetic limbs to show that all is “forgiven”. Heh heh….)
There was a short bit of entertaining activity with the United Forces update, which consolidated the servers dramatically, and included a bit of “encouraged grouping” in order to get the companion who didn’t win the Dark vs Light event in ’16. I’d always suspected Darth Hexid would show up sooner or later.
What’s next for SWTOR for me this coming year? Well, since I wrapped up the last of my original eight through the expansion, I think it’s time for me to bring the stories of the Jedi Anthrandos and the Inquisitor Sorshan to a conclusion-both of these characters were chronicled heavily in 2016, but left hanging since I wanted to get my other characters through the then-new expansion. I’ve caught up, so expect somewhere between two to four posts featuring the conclusion of their saga. I don’t plan to put either of those characters through the post-expansion content, as it’s already hard enough for me to push through the eight. Speaking of those eight, I will probably also put them through the post-expansion content to get them all caught up; who knows what lies ahead for the game in 2018, after all?
Star Trek Online actually got a decent chunk of my time in 2017. I chronicled the adventures of two major characters through the year. The first month concluded the adventure of temporal agent Rick Masters, Agent of Yesterday. Then, starting in September, I began to chronicle the Orion pirate-at-heart Dathiro, giving a look at the Klingon side of life, as well as exploring the usefulness of the Foundry missions out there. In between all that, we got a couple of new missions.
Those missions featured the Lukari, encountered during the Future Proof series, and expanded upon their story-which also brought in the Tzenkethi on their mysterious sterilization crusade. We reunited the Lukari with their cousins, so to speak, and discovered that the Tzenkethi might have a point with their campaign. We got a new fleet holding-well, I sort of threw in the towel with that one. Fleet holdings are a game for the larger fleets, and I’m not involved with any larger fleets to mess with it. We also got a couple of missions more or less independent of that storyline-like recapturing Sela (AGAIN!) after some fallout from the Temporal Ambassador mission way back, and a return to the Nexus (of Star Trek: Generations fame) with the coming of a being who I’m not convinced we’ve seen the last of. Oh-and we also get the return of a Klingon warrior long thought dead, which could make the political situation on Qo’noS very, very interesting indeed.
What does the future hold for my work in STO? I expect to get Dathiro at least to level 50, and I’m very likely to try to push him to level 60-again, solely through non-episodic content, so expect more Foundry commentary, as well as comments on the PvE queues at that point. Dathiro might get a bit derailed, though, because we got hints in the back half of ’17 that the Dominion of the Gamma Quadrant will be returning in a big way; I won’t say the word expansion, but-oh, wait, I just did, didn’t I? I expect big things out of 2018, and I expect some good stuff to come down. I won’t be surprised if we get yet another sub-faction related to this (I’m so cynical), and perhaps a new region of space to actually explore. (Take what you can get, exploration fans; I’m still dubious we’ll ever see new “exploration content” like in the old days, much less better than the old days….)
Unlike last year, Champions Online got a lot of love from me. I’d noted that I hadn’t put any real time into that game in ’16, and I resolved to run a character through that game up to max level, and I chose to do it with the character Willforge. Chronicling his adventure through the various content in the game was a blast, and while nothing really new came out for a solo sort of guy, it had been a long enough time since I did anything at all in the game that stuff felt at least a little fresh. And best of all, since it isn’t as linear as STO or SWTOR (which isn’t to say it’s perfect, but it’s still a heap better), I was able to pick and choose a bit as to how I leveled the character. The game did get some new content in, but it seemed to tend to the group oriented, and because I keep floating from game to game, it’s not really that simple for me to get that involved with them. I do expect at some point in 2018 to return to CO and run a new character-I have a couple of concepts I’ve been kicking around-but with Dathiro’s story rolling in STO, along with its expected content, finishing Sorshan and Anthrandos in SWTOR, and whatever rolls up in that game, well…we’ll see what happens..
EVE Online, despite its transition to a freemium model, didn’t get all that much time from me. I did get my character up to the point where he could fly a cruiser, but he’s still training up skills to actually survive flying one; and of course, gaining income enough to afford to fly one. And that was before the big update that opened up battlecruisers and battleships to the character. I’ve recently done some minor dabbling in it again, mostly consisting of resuming training skills, flying the occasional set of level 1 missions (and just recently upgraded to level 2s!), and messing with ammunition blueprints to reduce dependency on outside arms dealers. Currently, I’m flying a destroyer, which is handy to deal with frigate sized opposition. If I get to the point of purchasing and flying a cruiser, I may well start in on those level 2 missions. No hurry, though-it’s not like I don’t have enough going on elsewhere, right?
That wraps up my look back on 2017! Thirteen years, right? Who would’ve thought I’d have been doing this that long? I don’t have any great plans to continue writing up fiction for my assorted games-although one never knows; maybe I’ll do a serialized sort of thing on WordPress and link to it. I also keep kicking around reviving the “Images of the Ranger” site, since I still have heaps of screenshots and heaps of related images (and that site still has heaps of upload space); I’d been considering doing a series there on player housing, and I think it might work better on that site than on this primary site. So stay tuned-anything can happen. Hopefully I can make 2018’s gaming as enjoyable as 2017’s!