A Somber Anniversary

It occurred to me recently that an MMO anniversary was coming.  It wasn’t the good kind, though.

It was five years ago today (minus a few hours) that NCSoft closed down City of Heroes.

Wow.  Five years.  Feels like just yesterday.

Not all of that venerable MMO is gone, of course.  The Titan Network folks have set up a couple of applications that can access the assets in the game to allow you to at least create an avatar and see the zones and other maps in the game.  So if I felt like it at any random time, I could take a quick hop into Paragon City and stand under the statue of Atlas in front of City Hall, or listen to Lord Recluse’s villainous motivational speech in Grandville.  I could go into the Pocket D extradimensional nightclub, or visit the alternate Earth of Praetoria.  And, of course, I could make characters-or remake them, as I still have all my costume files.  But of course, it’s not the same.  The number of people you might find there are much smaller than you’d have found back in the day; you can’t access your superpowers (mostly-travel powers are accessible), and you can’t beat up bad guys.  At least, not in the way you could in the actual game.

In an era where superheroes are more popular than ever, you’d have thought that CoH would be going strong even today.  Certainly, its competition couldn’t touch it-well, its genre competition.  Obviously, its MMO competition were still leaps and bounds ahead; it’s hard to beat World of Warcraft on its worst day.  But it was cut down just before it was ready to start resolving one of its longest running storylines, and aside from a few annual AMAs from its former devs, those secrets remain unknown.  What might have been.

I’ve lost touch with most of the people I’d played with back in the day.  I know a couple read the blog, and I’ve interacted with a couple more outside of the MMO-sphere on a weekly basis, but-just as I’d seen happen with the fall of Star Wars Galaxies-people drift to different games, different hobbies, and just quietly vanish into the ether.  Nevertheless, I’m hoping that they’re all well out there in their various hobbies and interests-and I hope they know they’ve been remembered.

Here’s to you guys.

Try to guess how many of these were alts.

The core of the team; wish I’d had more data to have included more members.

Advertisements

The Alpha is the Beginning

Soon, free players can fly one of these…no matter what faction he belongs to.

It’s been a while since I’ve put up anything involving EVE Online.  It’s probably not shocking that I had spent about a month doing stuff, and then kind of went away after the Alpha Clones got released last year.  I’d gotten my free guy to the point where he could fly destroyers and do a reliable job on cleaning up level 1 missions, and use an ammo blueprint so that ammunition shouldn’t be an issue, but as I knew I’d not be spending a lot of time in EVE-really, I bounce between three other games as it is-I ended up quietly putting the character to the wayside.  I was going to be running into issues anyway, as Alphas have a limited number of skill points (although I was nowhere near the limit) and could only use a limited amount of equipment, which included ships.

But last month, CCP devs dropped this bit of data on everyone:  in December, Alphas are going to get some expansions.  For starters, and probably most significantly, Alpha players will no longer be limited to a Cruiser sized ship as their top tier; Battlecruisers and Battleships are being opened up.  That’s a big deal, because it means that level 3 missions will be much easier for players, and level 4 missions will actually be possible (well, solo, at least; I’m sure the smaller ships in a group might be okay).  That’s a big step up in available income.  You also will be freed from your initial faction’s ship type-if you’re a Gallente Alpha, you couldn’t fly anything other than Gallente ships.  But now, it seems that the floodgates are open, and you can train up and fly the ships of the other three.  And for the truly daring, it also allows use of pirate faction ships, so if you’re desperate to join a pirate factions like the Serpentis and fly their stuff, your time is coming.

Another bit of news that makes Alphas more of a force upcoming is the ability to use some Tech 2 weapons, at least for medium or small weapons.  That’ll keep the smaller class of ships a bit more attractive-not that the battleships are all that bad with just Tech 1 weapons.  This apparently also includes the ammunition for those weapons.  It’s good for the small ships, but since the large ships aren’t getting the Tech 2’s, I wonder if more Alphas will gravitate to the Battlecruisers instead.  No idea how that might influence group play; my experiences in group play were pretty limited way back in the day when my old guildmates were with me prior to the release of Star Trek Online, and we mostly did mining or mission operations-and there weren’t really enough of us to match the kind of stuff you read about on the various MMO sites involving EVE fleet battles.

The skill caps are getting fiddled with too, but there is still a semi-hard cap of five million skill points, but you can apparently get beyond that from subscription time or skill injector items-I’m not sure where those stand on market value, or if they’re being sold for PLEX, the RMT currency.  That said, I can again say that my own Alpha is a long, long way from 5 million skill points, but then, he hasn’t started training those battlecruisers/battleships yet.  He might never-after all, “never fly what you can’t afford to lose”, and that destroyer is pretty much presently at the upper end of that for the character.  But then again, I’ve been limited to level 1 missions, and only recently logged in to start training up cruisers; the income does go up with level 2 missions and beyond.

The changes are coming in December, but I haven’t seen a specific date in the month.  I’m not sure how this will change the dynamics of the player base-or if it’ll encourage more people to join in.  But it’ll be interesting to watch, and who knows?  I might see about getting my Alpha a bit more time to mess around.

After the Merge

Well, the server merges have completed in Star Wars: The Old Republic.  And things shook out pretty well, on my front.  Only one character name had to be renamed, and it was one of my minor characters that I’d thrown together at one point.  My “primary” eight, plus Sorshan and Anthrandos, all made it through the other side intact.  Just as importantly, the guild names came through intact as well, so all is well with the world.

So, my first order of business was to ensure that I was able to get the Darth Hexid companion-well, to be more accurate, qualify for it.  The companion won’t be awarded until near the end of the month.  But there is a pair of achievements that key to it; either one will qualify a player for the companion (and a pet, if I recall, but that’s no big deal for me).  Both rely on grouped content:  either 3 Flashpoints via group finder, or 3 PvP warzones.  Not a combination of both, so if you do two of one and one of the other, it won’t work.  Oddly, for me, the warzones were the easiest to do.  Heck, I might even log into my Republic and Imperial mains to get the PvP locked companions while there’s still demand in PvP.

I’m kicking around rolling a new character in SWTOR to help fill out the time while I wait for things like the Foundry in Star Trek Online to come back up.  It’ll probably include a random element again, but I am purposefully excluding a few options in my head-no Knight or Inquisitor, no Mirialan or Rattataki.  Mainly because they’d been covered by my Dark Vs. Light characters.  I’m also likely to choose advanced classes based upon what my mains don’t have-why repeat when I don’t have to.  Heck, I could conceivably make a healing based character, which I haven’t done much of.  (I’ve never had that mindset, but I’m willing to try anything once, right?)

One thing I’ve also discovered with the server merges is that with so many new people (relatively speaking), finding a name for a new character is a lot rougher than it used to be.  Fortunately, somewhere along the line, the devs put in the ability to include a space in the character name, so if you aren’t heart-set on using your Legacy name as the character surname, you can make a full name your character name, like “Darth Vader”.  I’m dead certain the devs would’ve blocked that particular name…right?  Anyway, it’s just one of those little things that I should have realized but didn’t connect the dots on until after the merge.

With the merge complete, I will probably at some point continue the SWTOR version of “The Cast List”, to sprinkle in with the other games’ lists in between activity for Dathiro in STO.  On with the show!

The Unifying Force?

Merge Ahead

The devs at Star Wars: The Old Republic recently put up their roadmap for the next few months, and…well.  This can’t be good.

The biggest news coming out of it involve server merges.  It’s not a new thing-it’s happened at least twice before with this game (I freely admit there may have been another I missed at some point).  We’re now going from seventeen servers down to five:  two American, one European (English), one European (German), and one European (French).  They can put up a nice face on this all they want, but the simple reality of it is this:  you don’t see server merges of this nature unless the subscriber base has dwindled severely.  And that bodes ill for SWTOR entirely.  You can dress up the reasons for merges up in pretty language (More competitive PvP!  More people to group with for raids!), but in the end, the simple fact is that the developers feel that the seventeen servers don’t have the population to support their current “group focus”.  How much of this is a result of having focused too much on the last two expansions is an open question (I’m not convinced that a “raid or die” philosophy would’ve done much better).

With the merges comes the usual potential drama with names.  Legacy Names will not be impacted, and guild names will potentially have a former server slapped on it (so you could well end up as the “501st Fist – Jedi Covenant” because another guild on another server had the same name.  If one of those guilds should go belly up at some point, the suffix will be removed.  Of course, god forbid that the devs offer free rename tokens to the guild leaders to rename the guild to something that doesn’t have a server suffix on it.  Character names are, of course, an entirely different issue, with priority going to subscribers, then “highly played” characters.  I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people who are going to discover that their characters aren’t going to be what they last saw them as.  Characters who have been inactive for an extended period and not beyond 10th level will also be flagged for renaming prior to the big move.  So, good times.

(I’ll be putting any Cast List entries in my queue for SWTOR on hold until the merges hit; no sense in posting names that may be obsolete when the merges hit in early November.)

It’s not all doom and gloom here.  A new Flashpoint is set to land which continues the storyline with the Alliance Traitor, and offers the return of another lost companion, scheduled for late November.  Another step in raid progression is in the works, but they won’t be hitting until early 2018.  There is a lot of class “balancing” going on; whether or not that’s a good thing depends a lot on what classes you play, and I’ll leave it to other more analytical sites to go into that sort of detail (I always recommend Dulfy for this sort of thing).  There’s an anniversary celebration slated for December (let’s hope it’s not the last one).  There are updates being planned even for the Galactic Starfighter stuff, centering on Iokath (which I imagine would be a pretty fun map to fly on).  A minor but welcome thing is a new vendor at Fleet that will allow you to purchase customizations for opposite-faction companions (so Republic characters can change Vette’s coloration, and Imperials can slap on new T7 designs).  And there are some rewards for encouraging grouped behavior on deck, which can earn you the Darth Hexid companion.  If that names sounds familiar, it should:  Hexid was one of the two possible companions that were offered during the Light vs. Dark event, which Hexid lost (I guess folks liked the light-sided Chiss Jedi better).  I always suspected that Hexid would make an appearance sooner or later, but I figured it would be a gamble pack thing.  Instead, you need to play content under the Group Finder (PvE or PvP); I believe the target number is three of either of these (I don’t think it triggers from any combination; it’s gotta be three of one or the other).  Finally, there will be double rewards (xp, command xp, etc) for about two weeks after the merges go in.

November is shaping up to be a big month for SWTOR.  Whether or not this is a good thing is the big question.

Magic Gathers in the MMO-sphere

Well, Cryptic/PWE kind of threw a curveball at me recently.  Not being an industry insider or anything like that, I didn’t have too much warning on this, but it looks like the next big thing for Cryptic MMOs is a game famed far and wide:  Magic the Gathering.

My first rare in my first Magic starter pack. Had a soft spot for this guy ever since.

For the folks who aren’t familiar with it:  MtG is a trading card game that’s been around for years and years now; I’d played it myself for number of years, roughly from the tail end of the Unlimited run to the last of the Invasion block.  Yeah, that probably requires a bit of explanation too:  Unlimited was pretty much the third edition of the main game, and they’ve cranked out revised editions regularly (including, if I recall right, one actually called Revised).  Additionally, the producers of the game-Wizards of the Coast-would release expansion card sets, and it didn’t take long for them to follow a pattern of releasing a big expansion, then two smaller expansions that followed on the same theme; these would be called “Blocks”.

I’m not getting into the mechanics of the rules-this is an MMO blog, so I’m going to instead talk a bit more about the setting.  And the setting is a little tricky, because it’s actually many settings-a multiverse of worlds, with their own societies and problems.  Some are more fantastical than others, but for the most part, all are fantasy settings, from Dominaria-which was the “primary” setting early on, to Phyrexia, which could best be described as “Borg Hell”.  Additionally, there are individuals who have a “spark” which gives them the ability to travel from plane to plane-from world to world, and they’d be called Planewalkers.  (Early on, they were the next best thing to gods, because they were intended to represent MtG players.  That changed somewhere along the line.)

Given the possibilities of this setting, with all the possible worlds it represents, it makes one wonder just how they’re going to put this together.  Will Cryptic be focusing on a single world?  Multiple worlds?  How will the players be represented-will they be Planewalkers, or something more traditional in class?  The fact that Cryptic is involved tends to make one dubious as to how they are going to distinguish characters, from a mechanics standpoint.  I feel pretty confident on the appearance customization, as that’s a Cryptic hallmark.  Races to choose from can span all kinds of possibilities, given the span of the card game.  Humans and elves are usually a safe bet.  I don’t recall heaps of dwarves in the setting-this could just be my memory getting involved, but back when I was active, there were always a lot more elves published than dwarves.  The setting shines with less traditional races, and even brand new ones; minotaurs and goblins are active in the setting, angels and demons, merfolk and vampires and even stranger beings:  slivers who became stronger when more of their species were around and gained the abilities of their fellows, plant-creatures that could breed more plant-creatures, lizard men and more.

Gearing should be no issue; the setting has heaps of artifacts which can easily be adapted to an MMO.  Magic…well, it’s in the name, right?  We can probably expect wizards to show up.  Priests are also around, although one doesn’t necessarily have to be one to use healing magic in the game.  I’d be shocked if the game didn’t include a roguish sort of character, somewhere-and fighters are always with us.  So I’d expect at least a core of wizards and warriors-and from there, all bets may be off.

There are web sites out there than can tell people more about the assorted settings of MtG; they’ve all got a story, and it’s been expressed via the cards for years.  I’ve not followed said stories for over fifteen years (yes, it really HAS been around a long time), and not actually played the game for almost that long-but I’ve still got fond memories of going to the local game shop and playing in games with friends, and took a lot of personal satisfaction in their reactions to my card decks (which were less “OMGHe’sGonnaKillUs” and more “WTFKindofDeckIsThat!?”  I built for personal entertainment as much as utility…).  I’m not sure how big a splash an MMO with MtG’s pedigree behind it will be; big properties do not necessarily translate into big MMOs.  We’ve seen example after example of that over the years.  If the developers for this MMO try to keep realistic expectations and don’t expect a flood of card players to suddenly translate their passion to an MMO based on their game, we could be looking at something interesting here.  I’ll be watching where things go.  There isn’t much information out there yet (they DID just announce it), but since this is Cryptic/PWE, there’s only one thing we can be dead certain of.

There will be lockboxes.  Lots of them.

Driving with Roadmaps

A couple of days ago, the developers of Star Wars: The Old Republic released a long-awaited “roadmap” describing their goals for the next few months.

This has been a breathlessly awaited bit of information.  Some people on the forums declared it could make or break their continuing subscriptions, if it didn’t include their pet issues.  You know the ones:  raids, PvP, story content, companions, iterations on previous systems; it’s a song that’s been heard before in multiple games.  (Well, not the companions part, but the general idea is sound.)  And if it didn’t include their issue, that was it!  Game over!

Take with some salt; forum goers are, by definition, the loud sort.  Not to be completely ignored-particularly if it’s in overwhelming numbers (e.g. the NGE of SWG responses); they tend not to be a unified voice.  When they are, then it’s time to worry.  But I digress.

So, what did they have to say for themselves?

The raiders will be getting a new operation boss to add to the one out there now on the world of Iokath roughly every couple of months.  I was guessing that they’d be going to roughly 8 such, but it seems that the next one is a package deal of two, so that may be counting as a single boss encounter.  I can’t speak to that sort of thing; I remain entirely uninterested in the raiding thing ever since my WoW days ended-City of Heroes trials notwithstanding.

PvPers will be getting a new season of play, with new unspecified rewards, and a new warzone is expected.  Additionally, the neglected Galactic Starfighter side of things will be having some changes as well.  Classes can expect a balance pass (again), which will undoubtedly include nerfs which will make life more miserable for PvE people.  (I could be wrong here.  Not all balance passes are bad.  But man, they feel like they are.)

More story content is incoming, in the form of a “Crisis on Umbara”, which will feature a new Flashpoint; no word if it’ll be a solo FP or a group-only, although I’m inclined to believe the latter.  That doesn’t rule out a solo version at one point, though; it’s just that with the group-heavy emphasis after the Knights of the Eternal Throne wrapped, I expect FPs to be the same way.  Speaking of story related stuff, the missing Companions are supposedly going to continue filtering back.  (There’s a good number still MIA, though, and most of them were potential old flames for the player character.  No indications on the rate of return, but I’m not optimistic.  What does intrigue me more, though, is the ability to finally customize the newer companions that have come down the pipe since Knights of the Fallen Empire.  Theron and Shae Vizla are first on the list.  Still, there’s no word as to whether we’re looking at true customization, where you can put on the large assortment of armors and weapons on the companions like you can with your original ones, or if we’re looking at the “change the faces” kind which you see with the ship droids or HK-51.  I’d like to think we’re looking at the first of these options, but I’m dubious.

The first of the results in the roadmap are scheduled for mid-June, where we’ll see the return of the Nar Shadda Night Life event with new rewards (who wants a Gamorrean companions?  You know you’ve always wanted one!), along with some improvements and legacy perks-such as new Mount skills to make you drive even faster than before-along with the aforementioned Shae and Theron customizations.  In July, the new bosses for the Iokath raids land-along with a new “ocean view” Stronghold, for those who have been wanting a new place to decorate.  (I’m kind of kicking myself for recently shelling out credits for the Tatooine Stronghold now.)  More customizations at this time, but specific companions weren’t mentioned.  The balance passes begin here as well-be afraid!  Finally, in August, the Umbara FP lands.

The developers plan to release a similar roadmap quarterly; we’ll see how that works.  More communication is promised, but I’ve seen those promises come and go before.  The question is how long it’ll last.  A lot will depend on if the current team manages to avoid major shakeups in the near term.  I’m keeping a semi-optimistic outlook on where things are going from here; very little of it tends to be my speed, but the way I see it, I got my turn in spades with the last two major expansions-I can sit back and let the raiders and PvPers have their time in the sun.  We’re all in this together, right?

Old Reliant

Back when Star Trek Online launched, there was only one absolute truth:  you began your time in the game on a Miranda.

The Miranda-class ships have been in since the beginning; the very first tutorial ship.  Sure, people who had bought the game with the pre-order Constitution-class could fly those at the low levels, but you couldn’t swap ships in the tutorial.  And technically, there were other ship parts available so when you got your random ship, you could just as easily be in a Centaur-class or a kitbashed mix of both.  Regardless, it was the Miranda that was most frequently seen, so it gets top billing.  (Not to mention it was a wee bit more infamous being the ship class of the USS Reliant, best known for being captured by Khan back in the day.)

So the painfully slow moving, slow turning Miranda-class vessel was the very first ship new players flew.  This was back when Klingons couldn’t be created until you had a level 6 Starfleet character and had unlocked an accolade for completing a certain mission, and when Romulans weren’t anything more than another opponent for both factions to fight.  You could eventually get into the ship tailor after the tutorial, and either swap to your pre-ordered Constitution or fiddle with the appearance of the ship.  As time went on, C-Store options became available to fly a more tactical or science oriented low level ship, but that was that.

The Klingons didn’t have it much better.  At level 6, they were flying Birds-of-Prey, and that was it.  When the Romulans came to play, they got the T’varo light cruiser.  The one thing these ships had in common was that players generally wanted to get away from these ships as soon as possible.  Even if the appearance appealed, the lack of weapons and bridge officer spots just made using them painful.

The light cruisers, in other words, got no respect.  The Bird-of-Prey got some, since its general appearance kept following along at almost every tier of starship for the Klingons, and the T’varo got a retrofit version which allowed it to play with the big boys.  The Federation, though?  Nope.  No love for the Miranda.

Until now.

A new light cruiser for a new era!

With the recent patch, a trio of light cruisers-one for each faction-has been given the Tier-6 treatment.  The Klingons get the brand new QeHpu’ cruiser, the Romulans get the equally new Deleth warbird, and Starfleet updates the Miranda to new specs with a new appearance-and adds a new light cruiser of the Reliant-class.  (Aside:  I’m really surprised Starfleet was willing to name a class based on that ship; I mean, it’s famous, but look at what it’s famous for:  being captured by Khan, nearly destroying Enterprise, and finally being at ground zero for the Genesis torpedo explosion that created the short-lived Genesis Planet.  Not exactly a thrilling career, right?)

As usual with C-Store ships, they’ll have a unique console, only usable on these cruisers, and as T-6 ships, they will have access eventually to starship traits that your captain can slot.  Since the bundle contains ships for each faction, the ships don’t have a shared set of consoles to create a 3 ship set bonus like you’d see with, say, the Odyssey bundles.  Given that they’re in different factions, it’s probably not hard to see why.  It…probably goes without saying that you can purchase these individually as well as in a single bundle; I know many players tend to stick with one faction.

With every other starship that’s been on the big and small screens having T-6 variants, it was only a matter of time before the Miranda got its turn; if there are any others out there that haven’t, I’d be hard pressed to name them.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be going out of my way to comment on a C-Store release unless it was to deliver a rant, but the arrival of this once-lowly ship to the top tiers of the game was something I felt was worthy of commenting upon.  I’ll be very interested to see just how many of these ships I see in the queues-not to mention in orbit near Earth Spacedock.

The Cast List: An Introduction

I’ve run into any number of occasions where, in between new content in the MMOs I play and the work on commenting on current character activity, I run into periods of time where there just ain’t all that much going on.  Whether it’s a minor content drought or a period of time where I haven’t really gotten much done in my assorted games, I sometimes run into long stretches were I just have nothing to really post about-and accordingly, sometimes there’s a significant gap in between blog posts.  (Or, on occasion, I am away from the nearest gaming computer and thus unable to do anything, which leads to “nothing to post on” and so forth.)

This hasn’t been a major issue of late; my rededication to posting up on the activities of new characters has helped a lot; but it’s always wise to look ahead.

It occurred to me that what I could do is have the occasional post that showcases past characters, then.  I’m an altoholic-I blame City of Heroes for that, but it was already beginning to bloom as far back as World of Warcraft.  I imagine the only reason it didn’t go hog wild in Star Wars Galaxies was that-at the time I played-there was a 1 character per server limit.  And even then, I just made a character on a different server.  (After the NGE, of course, they went up to two characters per server, and I added a pair accordingly; pre-NGE Jedi players were able to get three characters on the servers that had their Jedi, but that wasn’t a majority of the population.)

Ever since CoH, I’ve had a significant stable of characters.  I had well over thirty characters in CoH, over a dozen in Champions Online, about the same number in Star Trek Online, had at least six in WoW, over a dozen in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and heck, I even had two in EVE Online-a game which really didn’t encourage same-account alts.  Many of these characters had a story behind them.  (Many also didn’t-sometimes I made a character just to mess with them.)

I tended to come at creating characters from three potential directions.  The first was “get a look, and build on that”.  This works better in games where you’ve got a robust character creator, and particularly well with the super-hero game genre.  I saw outfit pieces that I liked, found a way to put them onto a character, and then started developing the character from there.  One character who came about from that sort of thinking was my recent character of Willforge in CO.  The second was “get a character concept, and build on that”.  If I have an idea for a character, I might build the character’s abilities and look around that.  Stellar Protector from CoH is a good example of that style.  Finally, I may find I want to try out new abilities and see how they work, and build around that.  There are probably too many characters to mention on that front, but Rick Masters from STO spawned from my desire to mess with the 23rd century stuff.

Anyway, that leads to the creation of a load of characters.  And it’d be a damned shame to let them all toil in obscurity.

So, just like I’ve done with my Building Character posts, I’m putting together a new category:  the Cast List, where I’ll pontificate on a single character I created at some point in the past.  By definition, these won’t be the ones who are currently being developed-that’s for my Building Character category.  The Cast List will be for the lesser lights, the characters who I’ve created but never really posted on anywhere-the ones who aren’t likely to see too much further work, either because I’ve gotten them to where I want them to be, or because I don’t play the game they were made for anymore.  (That’s not to say they’ll never see play again, though.  But there’s only so much time in a day.)  They will also usually be characters who haven’t been posted up anywhere else in a lasting manner:  in other words, I don’t expect to say much about characters who exist on the PRIMUS Database site for CO, Virtueverse for CoH, or the late and semi-lamented STO Geekipedia.  (Characters may well appear on a personal wiki if I ever manage to get one rolling again, though.)

So, that’s the lead-in.  How far this goes depends on how busy I get with the games; I’m thinking of this as the occasional mint after the heavy meal of my regular posts.  We’ll see how things develop.  There’s a fair chance we can expect one in the next week, though, since I’ll be away from the computer in that time.

We Make This Look Good

There’s an odd little currency that exists in Star Trek Online that tends to sit on the high end of the rarity spectrum.  It’s called Lobi, and for the most part, the only place where it can be obtained is by opening lockboxes.  There was a time when there were events that ran where doing certain missions could award Lobi, but I haven’t seen one of those in a long time.  But when they did run, I was an active participant.

Thus, I had a bit of Lobi to play with, awaiting the next Lobi sale.

Let me back up a moment.  If it’s currency, after all, then it stands to reason that it can purchase stuff.  The Lobi Store (accessible either on Drozana Station or simply right clicking the Lobi in your inventory) has stuff from equipment to weapons to ships.  And uniforms.  Shockingly, a lot of the good stuff is priced disgustingly high.  And it’s not like you get a large amount in the lockboxes; they tend to be almost “consolation prizes” when you open a lockbox and it has garbage in it.  So, most of them.  And back in the day, you weren’t getting a heap of Lobi either through those events.  Finally, to add insult to injury, items procured in the Lobi Store were not account unlocks.  A ship purchased here was only good for the character making the purchase, and nobody else.  (That said:  most of the stuff purchased come in a box, which means they can be slapped up on the exchange, for oodles of energy credits.)

Every so often (not all that often), STO throws out a Lobi sale.  This isn’t a method of procuring Lobi; it’s a sale on the stuff in the Lobi store.  So I’ve been patiently waiting with my small amount of Lobi, looking to buy a new outfit.  I’d been looking at the Vaadwaur outfit for a long time; it put me in mind of Star-Lord of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and I liked the look.  But it was a bit too expensive by a whisker for my Lobi, and I don’t have the raw cash in energy credits to pull down buying it on the exchange (something to do with blowing energy credits on fleet holdings over the years…).  But I knew that the next sale would put the outfit in reach.

So, the next Lobi sale has hit.  And…well, I started doing something dangerous.  I started thinking.

The Lobi was no small investment, so I wanted to make sure I got the most use out of the outfits.  The problem was…I couldn’t justify in on my Starfleet guys, and I couldn’t see it working for my Klingons or Romulans.  I could make a new character and new crew (and heaven knows, that’s as inevitable as the sun rising in the morning), but I wasn’t really feeling like it.  Suddenly, I was faced with a new problem:  if I wasn’t going to pull the trigger on the Vaadwaur, should I purchase something else?  Or anything at all?

I toyed with one of the Mirror Universe variants.  I have the Mirror Universe uniforms from the Enterprise era and the Original Series era, but those had been available in the C-Store for Zen; the variants in the Lobi Store were 2409 versions, Mirror Jupiter and Mirror Odyssey variants.  And that had some appeal; I could see myself making a Mirror Universe character with crew.  But…I could also see myself not bothering with that.  A lot of the other outfits tended to be alien related, and thus, maybe suitable for one character on a crew.  I didn’t really feel I’d get my Lobi’s worth from them.

Until I noted the Wells uniforms.

The Wells uniforms are based on the outfits worn by Starfleet’s Temporal guys in the future-they showed up on Star Trek: Voyager back in the day, as the crew outfits for the USS Relativity.  And wouldn’t you know it, I had just finished going through the game with a Temporal Agent who had recently outed himself with a future starship.

The purchase was made.  And I outfitted Captain Rick Masters and the crew of the USS Connor with new uniforms that matched his status as a Temporal Agent.  And I think they look pretty decent, too.

NOW we look like we’ve been to the future and back. Of course, with all the time travel, who can tell?

So my Lobi is now barely in the double digits, and never likely to go any higher-but I have a crew using a uniform that makes sense to me.  Maybe someday I’ll find a way to get the Vaadwaur outfits-purchasing Master Keys and putting them on the Exchange for credits I can use to pick those outfits off the exchange is doable-but for now, I’m satisfied with my choice.  And best of all, no buyer’s remorse here.  Sometimes, in these games, it’s enough.

Five Years at WordPress!

As hard to believe as it may seem, five years ago on this date saw my first post on WordPress.  I’d been doing the blog thing for years prior to that (as can be seen in the posts now residing in “The Old Blog” category), but due to some dissatisfaction with GuildPortal’s blog site at the time and a realization that I was transitioning off of using GP anyway due to problems at that site-and a desire to go with software that was pretty much dedicated to blogging-I decided to head on over to WordPress and brought the Faces with me.

So it’s a happy fifth anniversary for this site!

Five years ago, my first post here spoke of the SOE developers having managed to flub their transition of DC Universe Online to a freeium model.  Since DCUO is still out there, it seems they’ve managed to hang onto its audience despite that, eh?  I was at the time in the closed beta for Star Wars: The Old Republic (but since I was under NDA, I couldn’t actually say anything about it for another week and a half).  At the same time, Star Wars Galaxies was approaching its sunset, although I was already gone after spending 45 days back due to SOE’s little problem with account security.  City of Heroes was still going strong, having recently undergone its own freemium transition (and with no hints of the horror to come in the next year).  And Star Trek Online was literally days away from completing its freemium transition.  (I’m seeing a pattern here.)

The games I’ve spent time in have remained remarkably stable in that time.  While I’d spent some time back in EVE Online and World of Warcraft when they had free return day promotions, I mostly stuck with a core set of games.  City of Heroes held the top spot then, and Star Trek Online was a strong secondary.  SWTOR hit, and I started spending time in that game (gee, I guess we can safely retire the TORtanic meme; a five year run is a pretty damned good run, with no indications that it’s going away soon).  CoH passed on, and I added CO to the rotation, although admittedly it was at the bottom of the list.  And that’s pretty much the way it’s been for most of my WordPress run.

That isn’t to say that the future is set.  Who knows what may happen in the next five years?  We could see one of the spiritual successors of CoH finally rise, or perhaps the Repopulation might finally drag itself out of the hole it found itself in.  Or maybe another MMO will get the attention.  Or maybe not.  Is it beyond the realm of possibility that at least one of my current games might still be around?

Let’s see what the next five has in store, then, shall we?