Anniversary Companions

Well, it’s been an entertaining week with the MMOs I play.  Both Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Trek Online had significant publishes this week.

Let me look at SWTOR first.  One of the big deals with that publish is the release of a new raid boss.  (Okay, “Operations boss”.)  Since I don’t really do those, I can’t really speak for that sort of thing.  There’s a number of warzone patches, which I don’t really do much of unless I feel I have to.  I keep promising myself that I’ll at least run a bunch with my Smuggler and Agent mains, just so I can wrap up getting all the companions possible for those characters, but I never do.  I’m glad I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution on that one, because it’d clearly have been busted by now.  There’s double xp rolling, which isn’t really a big deal for me, running until the end of the month.  This also applies to Command XP, though, so if you’re going for the upgraded gear stuff by getting those Command boxes, this would be a good time to start running dailies and the like.

The “Unhappy” part involves an old “friend”….

Oh, and there’s some returning companions.  There’s a couple of caveats, of course.  Firstly, these are literally returning companions:  if you didn’t have Risha, Corso, or Andronikos in your roster before, you aren’t getting them now.  There’s talk on the forums about making them available the same way you can get any companion who hasn’t returned back via the Odessen terminal in your quarters, but that isn’t the case at the moment.  Secondly, you have to have completed the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion.  At that point, if you happen to be a Smuggler or Inquisitor, you’ll get a new Alliance Alert which results in the return of said companions.

The good news is that, unlike most Alerts, this is fully voiced-you don’t have that KotR interface that most Alliance Alerts do.  But…honestly, there isn’t much to these.  There’s moments if one of the companions were a romance during the original story, but for the most part, it’s “Oh, here they are!”  I get the impression that these missions were along the lines of “let’s just get this done so bloggers stop complaining about the rate of returns”.  That said, I imagine actual missions on the scale of other returnees would have meant we’d have gotten one companion back this publish-if at all.  At this point, being a couple years out from the loss of the companions in the first place, I’m all for this for companions who aren’t likely to be pushing forward the continuing story in the game-and the number of those prospects are awfully short.  I could see Lord Scourge as a big deal, for example, but Vector Hyllis, not so much.  If I were to make a guess, I’d say that we’ll see Alliance Alerts for non-Jedi, non-Sith, non-Mandalorian characters, while Jedi/Sith/Mandalorian ones will be incorporated into the ongoing story somehow.  (Given that I can only think of one outstanding Mandalorian, I’d be willing to bet that she could wind up as just an Alert, but Mandalorians are big deals, given the Eternal Alliance’s reliance on them.)

Still, this does at least bring the Smuggler-who I’d derided for so long as not getting any of their people back-generally in line with most of the other classes.  I note that all of his returnees, however, came from Alerts.  Just an observation.  In fact, there’s only one outstanding Smuggler companion now.  The Inquisitor companion brings that number to two outstanding.  Still the big loser:  the Jedi Consular, with a whopping one Companion still around.  If that class doesn’t have at least a couple coming up in the next wave of returnees, they’d be justified in going to Bioware and giving in to the Dark Side!!!!


Anyway, the companion thing for Smugglers and Inquisitors takes maybe 10 minutes if you don’t spacebar through conversations, at best.  No excuse for qualified characters to get their people back-and with a lot less hassle then most.

Two stations, a horde of starships, unexpected allies and enemies…just another day in Starfleet.

On to the second one:  Star Trek Online, which hits its eighth year anniversary.  The last week and a half has been spent giving stuff away, some of which was more impressive than others.  (And believe me, some of them were really unimpressive.)  We do have the usual festivities:  Omega particle hunting, a new anniversary ship (a Bajoran ship, interestingly enough-more on how that ties in momentarily), the Q-in-the-Box at the Academies, which includes a new type of anniversary popper device; at some point, I’m gonna grab four random poppers, equip them all, and run around Spacedock in a frenzy.  Well, maybe not.  Eight years is nothing to sneeze at, anyway:  no single Star Trek series has gone on so long, although you’d have a good argument that a series delivers at least as much entertainment.  It’s also remarkable for being a long runner in a genre that has seen many others pass away.  MMORPGs that make it this far have demonstrated serious staying power.  I don’t know if it’s the setting, the lockboxes, or what, because I wouldn’t have predicted this long a run when the game came out-hell, there were times when I thought things were as good as dead-but STO is still with us, and by all appearances, will be with us for at least another year or more.

Also of note:  a new Feature episode, with appearances from Captain Kurn, General Martok, Geordi La Forge, and…well, let’s just call it a surprise appearance, shall we?  I wouldn’t spoil things.  The Tzenkethi are upping their game, about to go after multiple worlds to with protomatter torpedoes, and your crew is called upon to stop them.  The good news is, you do get help.  The bad news is, one of those worlds is Bajor.  (My conscience is clear in noting that; the presence of an anniversary ship tied to Bajor with the notes about it talking about its use in the defense of Bajor has already spilled those beans.)  The attack on Bajor seems to be a catalyst, however, because just when you think you’ve gotten the Tzenkethi under control…all Hell breaks loose.  Expect a battle royale in space with multiple factions getting involved, a return of an old adversary (sort of), and ramifications that are guaranteed to lead to the theoretical expansion this year (as far as I’m concerned, it remains theoretical until we get more than a segment of a trailer video).  I’ll admit to being impressed with the episode; it did a great job in ramping up the threats.  You’d think a worldkilling fleet would be the climax of an episode, but they’re just the appetizer.  Every time a battle ends, something kicks up the stakes another notch.  Klingons in particular should be overjoyed by this episode.

Starting up year nine in STO promises to be exciting.  I better get cracking on Dathiro, because I have a feeling that I’m going to be very busy later this year.


Thirteen Years In

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.

Moving towards its first major story content update.


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?

The transition from wartime to peacetime begins.

There is no content but what we make for ourselves-okay, that’s a minor exaggeration.

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….)

There had to be a loser here somewhere.

Willforge’s Big Year

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..

Returning for a new engagement....

Didn’t see a lot of activity, but….

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!

Special Feature

For players of Star Trek Online, a rare opportunity has opened up.  I figure if it hasn’t shown up in over a year, it count as being a “rare opportunity”.

I am not Slamek.

I Thot I would be a good officer.

Back in the day, when the game was still young, Feature Episodes were a thing.  And I don’t mean just “it’s a new episode”; it was a series of episodes, four in all, released in fairly rapid succession.  The conceit was that they could be looked at like an actual new weekly episode for Star Trek-and they backed it up by releasing them weekly.  At the end of each were limited time special rewards.  The episodes were eventually folded into the main game, but the special rewards at the end of the final episode on each were not.  They were brought out for special occasions.

Like now.  Going on until the 25th, you too can get your characters equipped with the rewards from these original Featured Episodes!  With two weeks to get them all, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting them for all of your characters (or at least the ones you want to have the goodies).  Caveat:  you DO have to be of the appropriate level, so your brand new character is going to have to level a bit to get them all.

Let’s take a quick peek at just what one can get.  Getting these rewards don’t require you to do the full series of each one; you only need to do the final episode of those arcs.  In the order in which these episodes were originally released:

  1. Cold War, aka the Breen arc:  this was the very first Feature Episdode arc released for STO, even though it’s now listed as a late game arc (well, relatively late, anyway).  The final mission in this arc is “Cold Storage”, and it’s big reward is a special bridge office:  a Breen tactical officer.  For some reason, I seem to remember this guy actually being awarded at the time at the end of the episode “Cold Comfort”, but it was a long time ago.  The officer is not customizable, but it’s currently the only way to get a Breen officer, so if you’re looking to include one of these guys on the crew, by all means, run the episode.
  2. Specters, aka the Devidian arc:  specifically, the mission “Night of the Comet”.  Completing this mission rewards a special device called the Ophidian Cane.  The Cane has a number of neat traits to it.  First, it is an area effect ability that hits enemies around you, and stuns them in a short levitation.  Next, and more importantly, it drains them of some health-and transfers it to you.  It’s a nice “Oh crap!” sort of ability when you find you need some more health and some time when NOT being blasted.  It’s definitely worth the effort to get a hold of.
  3. Cloaked Intentions, aka the Romulan arc:  specifically, “Cutting the Cord”…or maybe it’s the epilogue “Darkness Before the Dawn”.  You can’t replay that one alone, I don’t think.  The big feature on this one is acquisition of a Reman science bridge officer.  That may not seem like such a big deal these days, thanks to the coming of the Romulan Republic and the ability to get those officers at New Romulus, but back in the day, that was a pretty big deal.  Unlike most such officers, this one is not customizable, but he’s got the telepathic attack ability, so he’s not necessarily a bad officer to grab for your crew.
  4. The 2800, aka the Dominion arc:  specifically, “Boldly they Rode”.  The grand prize on this arc is the Shard of Possibilities, which is a really handy device.  It’s got a confusion effect when used, but that’s not the great part.  The great part is that it summons a pair of copies of yourself!  Now, before one gets too excited, they aren’t the same level as you are, and they aren’t using the same gear as you are; Klingons use disruptors, Starfleeters use phasers, and Romulans use whatever their factional allies use.  That said, they ARE fully functioning allies, which means they’ll shoot bad guys and take damage.  This is especially handy if you need more meat shields or damage output, and goes great with tactical officer’s ability to bring down security teams, or engineering officer’s multiple fabrications.  I’d go so far as to say that if you do just one of these features, do this one.

In previous Feature Replay weekends, there was also an opportunity to pick up free Lobi, 1 per episode per account (sorry altoholics-you couldn’t run fifty characters and rack ’em up that way).  However, that does not seem to be the case in this event.  More’s the pity; I keep looking at some of the Lobi uniforms, but can’t bring myself to spend the kind of real-life cash to open lockboxes to get enough Lobi to purchase the items, and I don’t have anywhere near enough energy credits to pick them off the Exchange.  That’s one of the dangers of bouncing from game to game.

All that said, it’s still a good time to grab these rewards; I plan to grab them for Dathiro and Rick (from my Agent of Yesterday chronicle), as well as…well, just about any other character I feel like abusing myself with.  I have a LOT of alts….  Take advantage while you can!

DO: Time for Freedom!

I could get used to this ship.

Entry Eighty-Five

I don’t have to technically do this anymore, because I’ve kicked off every stinking Klingon from my new ship.  Well, at least the ones that are all about “honor” and “glory”.

That’s right.  No more Imperial Intelligence on my back.  No more annoyances by that arrogant ship-master at Qo’noS.  I’m free at last, thanks to the sale of the Varon-T disruptor, and a bit of fortune involving time travel.  I’ve taken command of a Vorgon Ryn’kodan carrier along with a selection of the more trusted members of my crew, and have sent my most sincere “regrets” about abandoning the Klingons.  It’s a glory day for me!

But…I’m still worried about my future.  The time travel mess indicated that I’d be “important to the Klingon Empire”, which means that even though I’ve cut my ties…I’m still somehow linked to them.  Is there no way to avoid this?  Then again, who knows?  Maybe the Klingons will respect me more if I don’t require their goads anymore.

This is something I’ll have to think more about.  First, though, I’m going to buzz the shipyard and send my “thanks” to the ship-master for all he’s done to me.  Then I’m going to take a long drought of the bloodwine I have in my cabin that won’t be decanted for another 400 years.

Signing off.

The Sphere Builders have nice cities. Shame we’re going to blow it up.

Well, as the fiction above indicates, Dathiro has finally slipped loose of the Klingons in a manner of speaking in Star Trek Online.  His bridge crew/away team no longer contains any Klingons (although certain bridge officers remain on the roster because I can’t actually get rid of them), and he’s flying that shiny new Tier 6 Vorgon carrier that I picked up last Summer.  I said I had plans for it, didn’t I?

And it tied in neatly to the Foundry missions I used to get there:  the Temporal Warrior arc, a three-mission arc by Captain_Revo, which brought Dathiro in contact with the Department of Temporal Investigations (from the future Federation, naturally), the Suliban of the Cabal, and the Na’kuhl-not to mention the Sphere Builders.  I get the impression that these missions were designed before the Temporal Front arc in the game, based on the details.  This is a great alternative to the episodic missions, though, and give me a chance to have a more unique leveling path than, say, Rick Masters had in his Agents of Yesterday path.  And hey-when time travel is involved, paradoxes are just standard operating procedure.  But let’s get down to some comments on those missions.

The first mission is “The Fire in Which We Burn”, which features an apparent attack on a Klingon outpost by Starfleet.  No big deal there, but in the aftermath, the Klingons there seemed somewhat unenthused by your continued presence.  A little searching and poking noses where they don’t belong reveals time travelers, apparently directed by a shadowy figure-and a member of Starfleet’s Department of Temporal Investigation.  This detail leads you into a conflict that not only threatens the galaxy, but time itself!  The second mission is “Future Shock”, in which you are sent off to serve as security for a Klingon Ambassador for peace talks, thanks to the cooling of open warfare caused by the involvement of the Romulan Republic.  A Tholian attack trashes the station where the conference is being held-and worse still, it seems that the Tholians are engaging in all-out war to destroy the Empire completely.  Fortunately, aid comes in the form of a time-ship who knows of your involvement in the previous mission-which sort of helped form up the alliance of powers that have manipulated events to destroy the Klingon Empire.  Only by going into the future and into the past can you reverse the tide and defeat the manipulations of the Sphere Builders.  Finally, in “Tempus Fugit”, you’ve annoyed the Sphere Builders enough that they’re coming after you, personally.  Allies from the past return, and not content with simple escape from the trap, you will take the war to the Builders in their own space, and put an end to the Temporal War.

I enjoyed the missions; while there were some minor issues involving spelling errors, the story held up pretty decently.  There’s conflict, I’m pretty sure, between certain elements of this arc and related elements of the Temporal Front missions in the game, but like I said:  time paradoxes are just a way of life when you deal with time travel.  Both can be equally true.  Thanks to these missions, plus judicious use of duty officer missions, plus the daily holiday race, I’ve gotten Dathiro to level 45, and not too far from the good PvE queues.  We’ll see what happens when he gets there.  But so far, the choice to run missions through the Foundry has proven to go pretty well.  It’ll be interesting to see how that holds up when I get to the slog between levels 50-60.

Closing out ’17

Just a smallish post today-getting ready for the holiday season tends to eat into the gaming time.  Still, I’ve managed to put a bit of time in anyway.

Dathiro in Star Trek Online is proceeding quite nicely; I’ve gotten him to where I’m almost ready to do the next big post with him, although-again-time has more or less guaranteed that it won’t go up before the New Year.  I’ve done a couple of Foundry missions and have a third lined up, but I’ve also been doing a bit of the Winter Event to see if I can manage to get enough of the vouchers this year to get the Winter ship.  It seems doable, even with the time I’ll be away from the keyboard, but we’ll see how things finally shake out.  I’ll have some thoughts on leveling and the specific Foundry missions I’ve been doing next time (unless something big happens in the MMO-sphere that gets my attention).

I’ve also put some time into my Star Wars: The Old Republic Bounty Hunter, since he’s the last of my original eight main guys who needs to finish the Eternal Throne content.  He’s recently hit his max level and is about to attend the big party (and accompanying party-crashing) on Zakuul.  I’d hoped to have that all wrapped before the end of the year, but that’s so not going to happen.  SWTOR’s winter event/anniversary is also happening, but there isn’t much new to grab; a new flair for your portrait for free, another you can earn with the snowball game (I think), and most amusingly, a commemorative statue of Valkorion for your stronghold-because after all the time you had to spend with him lurking in your mind, you just can’t quit him.  (Honestly, that’s the sort of thing that should be clickable so you can throw rotten fruit at it.  Missed opportunity here, Bioware!)

It’s probably also worth noting that I’ve started doing short log-ins with my EVE character, mostly to start training up some skills so he can start looking at cruisers and higher; since the big patch came down with the changes in character limits, I’ve thought about putting a bit more time into EVE, but for now, it’s just limited to “swap skill training”.

So that’s where things are at the moment-aside from me wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (I know, I’m practically closing the barn door here), or the holiday of your choice!  See you in ’18!

DO: Cut Free

Ferengi prisons aren’t really all that impressive. I think the prisoners are just still here because they like to troll the Ferengi.

Entry Seventy-One

I’ve finally been able to try to get back to doing what I was doing before I got conscripted by the Klingons.  Wait, lemme make sure my encryption is on.

Good.  Hopefully, Imperial Intelligence can’t read this entry.  I’m not sure why I’m making it, but I need some record out there so I can refer back to this.

It’s been sort of a mixed blessing, wheeling and dealing with the Ferengi.  I managed to swipe a heap of latinum from the a Ferengi smuggler, and planned to donate most of it to the KDF-and keep a good chunk for personal use.  At least some of my crew were willing to assist, which is a good sign for the future.  Unfortunately, thanks to his associates, and his own inability to stay marooned where I left him, I got jumped at a neutral outpost and wound up killing him-and just in time for one of the Ferengi’s FCA friends coming in to arrest me.  Fortunately, they didn’t get my crew, which meant after I got through a sham of a trial, they were able to rescue me from a prison world-which wasn’t as hard as it sounds.  Ferengi prisons seem to have regular riots, and it wasn’t hard to incite one as cover to leave.

I had better luck at an auction for an old weapon, the last surviving Varon-T disruptor.  I was serving as an intermediary for a significant chunk of latinum-for a Ferengi, of course.  He tried to weasel out of things by including a clause in the fine print that forced me to be an assassin.  I didn’t actually kill the target-who was glad to hear I had no interest in killing a fellow Orion-and the Ferengi tried to get out of paying me.  Of course, he probably should have acquired the disruptor from me first before trying to scam me.  So now I’ve got feelers out to some of the other people who had attended the auction-who all ran when Starfleet showed up-and I’ll just take the best sounding offer.

Then I made my biggest mistake yet.  I went to First City to talk to some contacts about certain plans that are getting close to fruition-and the Varon-T may help here-and wound up being shuffled into a “Winter Wonderland” by a being calling itself Q.  I HATE Winter.  I got into space so I wouldn’t have to ever deal with Winter again.  And I wound up fighting for my life…I think…against a crazy Klingon legend called the Kramp’Ihri.  With a name like that, you’d figure it would tie into Klingon Hell-again-but it seems a bit less insane than that.  Only marginally.  Because you would think that a good disruptor would be the way to deal with this, but turns out that no weapons work in the Wonderland except packed balls of snow, a device that spews out hot sugary substances…and foam darts.  Even crazier…they work.

I miss the days when I wasn’t stuck commanding a bunch of Klingons and getting involved in the insanity they like to share.

Signing off.

How does this sort of thing keep happening to me?

The journey through the Foundry has begun for Dathiro’s adventure through Star Trek Online.  As previously mentioned, I’m avoiding the “common” episodic path through the game to avoid putting up awfully similar posts to what I’d done for Rick Masters’s run, and that means doing stuff like this.  I’m so happy with it so far that I might have to consider doing something similar with a Fed-aligned Romulan at some point so I can comment on Starfleet and Romulan side missions.  But for now, it’s all Klingon, so let’s take a peek at the offerings I’ve done lately.

First up, we have Raktajino in a Jar, by drogyn1701, a tale of treachery and backstabbing.  I was thrilled to see that we had a mission that suited a character of substantially lower moral value than your average Klingon-one might’ve gotten that impression of Dathiro from his logs.  The mission would’ve worked just as well for said average Klingons-you don’t have to scam latinum off the top, and you don’t have to maroon the Ferengi.  But, Dathiro sure did.  There’s a couple of spots where it’s good to just leave your bridge officers behind for story purposes; one of the Foundry’s weak points is that it has no ability to limit the number of bridge officers to travel with you, so unlike the episodes, you are always with your entire away team.  The trial is cleverly done, and I’m pretty sure that in spite of what may appear, there’s no way to avoid being sentenced to prison-the math doesn’t support it, and I’m sure if you enter in a larger number that you’ll be accused of lying and sent off anyway.  It was a pretty solid and enjoyable mission.

Next, we have The Honour of Profit, by Bazag, where you can indulge in the seedier side of life again by assisting a Ferengi in bidding in an auction.  The story was pretty solid and straightforward, but there were a couple of bugs I encountered that triggered some events early-not sure how it happened-like the Starfleet attack.  Fortunately, beaming out of the mission and restarting that segment reset everything, allowing things to get back on track.  Interactions with the bidders felt right, and the Ferengi’s attempt to stick it to the player character was exactly what I’d expect from a Ferengi.  It’s also perfectly possible the bugs came about with the recent patch; quite often during new season releases, the Foundry goes down and when it comes back up, sometimes things wind up broken-it’s one of the reasons why reviews are usually not turned on until a while after the Foundry is brought back up.  It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that’s what happened here.  And again, after I reset the mission segment, things went smoothly.

I got sidetracked hard by the Foundry being down, so I filled in some time by running lots and lots of duty officer missions.  They’ve helped the leveling experience quite a bit, but I expect another slowdown because the Winter Event has begun in STO, and due to the somewhat lengthier time it’ll be running, there’s actually a microscopic chance that I can earn up the grand prize for this Winter, the Breen Plesh Tral Heavy Raider.  It’s a Tier-6 ship, and acts like a Klingon Raider ship, and also has a Pilot specialization bridge officer seat, which makes this highly attractive as I keep getting spread among characters officers who can use those seats, but no ships that actually have them.  I don’t plan for Dathiro to take this ship, though-even though he’ll be the one putting the work into earning it.  I’ve already got too many plans for Dathiro’s future T6 ship.

Be peachy keen for a future character, though.

Now that the Foundry is up again, I’m hoping to run some more of those missions.  In between running the “Fastest Game on Ice” endless times over the next month….

DO: We’ll Have to Destroy Them, Ship to Ship

The U.S.S. Sol is having a bad day.

Entry Fifty.

As things have settled down on the political front, I can now “indulge” in the “glorious” tasks of assaulting the Empire’s enemies.  I can’t tell you how many Starfleet vessels my ship has destroyed recently-they seem to have an endless supply of these ships.  I don’t remember there being this many a few years ago; I think I can blame the war between “our” governments for this.  Nothing encourages ramping up starship production than a good war.  Wish I was in a better position to profit from it.  But since my conscription, I’ve been unable to get to my usual contacts to try to make a killing from all of this.

The Romulans are beginning to nose around, too.  Not as much as Starfleet, but the crumbling Star Empire’s warfleet has been poking around our borders.  Since their involvement with assisting the House of Torg, I’ve had no complaints about going out and blowing up their ships as well.  They’ve got a lot of ships out there, too, but I suspect that attrition will catch up-after all, I’ve been hearing more and more about the “Romulan Republic”, which has to be annoying the Empress.  How sad.

I’ve also been hearing rumblings about yet another transfer to yet another ship.  And unless I manage to pull off a coup (not a literal one!  I don’t need Imperial Intelligence reading anything more into my entries than I’m putting in!), I’m likely going to end up in yet another Bird of Prey.  I’m not in much of a position to defy the shipmaster, but the time may come where I might need to see if I can get someone to kill him off.  Maybe then I can get into a vessel where my odds of survival go way up.

Either that, or I have to get creative.

Signing off.

Honor among thieves…yeah, that’s cute.

Man cannot live on the Foundry alone in Star Trek Online-at least not if you are avoiding the episodic missions like I’ve been doing.  This gives me the opportunity to talk about the lesser known methods of advancing skill points (particularly at lower levels).  So, here we go!

One of the big methods I was hoping for doesn’t actually exist:  patrol missions.  Starfleet characters can go to a random planet, and if it isn’t already tagged as being a location for an actual episode, odds are that it has a “Patrol this system” prompt when you arrive at it.  Those tend to be simple and straightforward missions, involving the old “find 5 things”, or “kill 5 groups”.  In the old days, they’d be possibly on the ground or in space, but I’m not sure where things are at with those nowadays.  I’ll make a note to investigate further on that.  But Dathiro’s not Starfleet, so what’s a KDF ship commander to do?

Glad you asked!

The first method is running dailies.  The dailies are actually sort of “wrapper” missions, which ask you to do certain other missions to complete.  Those missions also allow you to advance your skill points (aka XP in most games), so you’re kind of getting a double dip with these dailies.  They give a decent chunk of SP, so it’s good to make sure those are running before you do the missions called for.  These missions are either PvP related or PvE related.  I can’t really speak to the PvP stuff (as usual, I tend to avoid that sort of thing, and I’m not sure what the state of PvP at lower levels is at in STO these days.  I’ll defer to those more experienced in those matters in that regard).  So that brings us to the PvE side of things.

The earliest daily I know of involves “Empire Defense” missions, which can be picked up either at First City or-more conveniently-in your missions tab, under “Available Missions”.  These missions involve going to a star cluster/nebula/whatever and fight enemy ships there.  At Dathiro’s level, there are separate ones for Romulans and Starfleet ships.  You enter the cluster, and go to “hot spots” that you scan-if your scan works, you enter a standard instance where there are heaps of groups of enemy ships; blowing up six groups of ships (which may be groups of fighters, frigates, or single escorts/cruisers) means you have completed 1/3rd of your requirements for the daily.  For the mathematically impaired, that means you need to hit three different “hot spots” to complete the daily, so figure on blowing up roughly 18 groups of ships.  I found that I could do this fairly simply with my raider; attacking after a decloak helps, and I highly recommend bridge officer abilities that impact groups of enemies instead of single target for these missions.

Another daily is the “Pi Canus Path of the Warrior”.  The name comes from the old days of sector blocks, before the maps got consolidated into quadrants:  all the missions involved meant going to systems in that sector block.  Fortunately, even after the map change, the planets are in relatively close proximity to each other, making it no chore to do.  The Pi Canus missions have two parts: an Alpha and a Bravo sortie.  Each sortie involve going to a system and doing a mission in that system.  For the most part, they are smash and grabs; you blow up ships, and you grab supplies when appropriate.  No ground content involved here.  There are also optional goals in these missions; if you want to get the reward for the wrapper mission, though, they’re actually sort of required.  All that said, things must’ve changed a bit between the last time I’d done those and now; I used to fail on at least a couple of these missions, but I had no trouble completing them with Dathiro.  I don’t know if that says something about changes in the game, my relative amount of gear, my proficiency in playing over the years, or the fact that I’m using a raider instead of, say, a battlecruiser.  Regardless, it’s a handy batch of skill points, and worth doing if you want to get away from the episodes for a bit.

Did I mention that the wrapper missions also give you Dilithium?  It’s nice when you can get added benefit from these missions.  That said, you can grind out the sorties and the defense missions without the wrappers and still get skill points off of them, so while the wrappers are only daily, you can still work on leveling the character that way.  I’m not sure if the Dilithium gain is all that time effective, but honestly, my main point in doing these is for the skill points, not the Dilithium-that’s a bonus.  It’ll come in handy if I want to do apply any upgrades to gear I gain; I’m tempted to apply them to the Efficient engine, which last I checked gives bonuses to just about all the power categories (Weapons/Shields/Engines/Auxiliary) but I’m not married to the idea.  I may go for reputation gear instead.

Another method-although not horribly reliable-are the Deep Space Encounters.  Those have a history:  back in the early days of the game, you had wandering blobs of ships that would ambush you on the way to whatever planet you were going to mission on next.  You could go after them, but they were famous for just jumping on ships whose players had gone AFK.  There was much complaining, and they got nerfed like there was no tomorrow (which is to say, they became static).  They’ve mutated a bit over the years, but the basic premise is the same:  go in, destroy a heap of enemy ships, reap rewards.  These days, they’re similar to the assorted adventure zones that would have tiers of participation rewards; it’s also worth noting that they aren’t necessarily solo events.  You can have other players of either faction showing up to also participate in the fun.

Of course, these are really grindy methods of leveling up; not impossible, but it can start to get boring fast.  Fortunately, there’s the queue system, which has a number of group missions available-well, at least if you’re at high level.  At the moment, Dathiro has the choice of a space mission and a ground mission-and both are single-faction, which means that unless other KDF players are queuing up, there just isn’t a lot of action.  It should get better at level 50.  A ways to go, but I’m up to level 30 now, and things are going well.  And hopefully, I’ll be able to participate in the Mirror Invasion event that will be kicking off tomorrow, which might also assist in the skill point gain.  Stay tuned!

DO: Klingon (Episodes) No More

Well, looks like resistance wasn’t futile for SOMEONE….

Entry Forty-Seven.

The House of Torg seems like it still wants to make something of itself.  Bad enough it was allying with Romulans, but now they’re trying to steal Borg tech.  Because using Borg technology always ends so well for the users.  Idiots.  I’m having a hard time figuring out just why that House went so long without being stepped on.  Klingon politics….

I’ve a new ship-yet another “Bird of Prey” variant, Norgh-class.  It’s like Command wants me to stay in charge of ships with the relative hull strength of tissues.  At least the cloaking device is up to spec; it’s kept us intact against a number of inconvenient problems.  I’m making noises that I’d like to get in a ship that has a bit more muscle to it, but it seems that the shipmaster has a grudge against J’mpok’s House-and since the Chancellor seems to enjoy personally sending me missions, and since my reputation seems to be growing, he takes great delight in putting me in these crates.  I’d prefer a battlecruiser, or maybe one of the flight-deck cruisers that Empress Melani-may she contract a disfiguring disease-had the Syndicate churn out for the KDF.  Even a raptor would be better-it may be fragile, but it at least has a potent array of weapons to balance that out.  My ship must go into hiding if it wants to survive.

At least the crew is still with me.  My android bodyguard no longer has to make examples out of the crew, and some of the Klingons say that it’s an honor serving under my command.  What is with these people!?

Speaking of the Empress:  seems she’s playing both ends against the middle.  Some of the House Torg problems have had a large number of Orions involved.  We’re better than Romulans, at least.  The Orions are supposedly secessionists, but I’ve played that game before myself-it might work on the whole “we’re so honorable that lying would never occur to us” Klingons, but I’m more skeptical than that!

I’m getting a distress call from a downed KDF ship.  Guess it’s time to clean up another KDF mess.

Signing off.

Welp. Tricorder scans say he’s definitely dead. I’m sure the lack of movement or breathing could’ve told me that, too.

Well, it’s a sort of bittersweet entry in Dathiro’s Ordeal in Star Trek Online, because it features the last of the Klingon-specific episodes.  From here on out, it’s uncharted waters, as I have no plans nor intent to do the standardized mission path, in order to have a truly Klingon-centric experience.  This means that I’ll be running Foundry missions (well, when it’s up; at this writing, the Foundry missions are currently disabled), queues, some dailies, and “Empire Defense” missions.

I should probably mention that, technically, the Vigilance arc includes a mission that isn’t actually a Klingon mission; it’s the Temporal Ambassador mission.  Now, originally, I would’ve added Beyond the Nexus to that list, but it seems the devs sneaked it out of the Vigilance arc when I wasn’t looking and into one of the much, much later arcs.  That’s a good thing, considering that originally it was in a slot where Klingons would be asked to help Starfleet in a time of war with them!  Kudos on the recovery by the devs, there.  It just made no sense for Klingons to be helping Starfleet prior to the Undine attacks.

With my turn away from “joint” missioning (because honestly, that’d just be rehashing what I did with Rick Masters during my Agents of Yesterday run), that left just a trio of missions, two of which involved the House of Torg, who for some reason blame the player for the fall of their House (they’ve got a case there, although a better case can be made that they did it to themselves), and appear to be meant to tie into the next episodic arc Wasteland, which takes place in the Nimbus system.  The last mission features a crashed Klingon vessel and a confrontation with the Hirogen, who were brought in to ally with the Romulans early in STO’s run.  I always thought that was a missed opportunity for the Romulan expansion; they had exactly three species to work with (okay, maybe a liberated Borg version, too):  Romulans, Remans, and Aliens.  It could’ve used the Hirogen to round out the possible species for the Romulan faction, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be-that the Tal Shiar would be the ones who had Hirogen on their side exclusively.  Ah well.

The specifics of those missions are mostly standard fare, although “Alpha” at least had a bit more to it.  If memory serves, that predated the Legacy of Romulus expansion that brought Klingons a full leveling experience, and made it one of the few solely-Klingon missions of that era.  So it’s sort of fitting that it’s the last solely Klingon mission in the leveling experience.  You can easily make a case that some of the missions in the episodic arcs are Klingon-centric:  I can think of two just off the top of my head without doing any research, and one can make a case for one more.  And maybe I’ll do those missions when my level gets high enough for it.

On the other hand:  I may wind up having no choice BUT to do some of these episodes; I can hit the “Skip” button on most of these missions, but some of them have that button grayed out and it won’t allow further skips to later episodes.  It’s likely that to proceed on those two (or three) missions, I’d have to do a couple of others.  But as I’m a long way from that, I think I’ll just leave that be for now and continue on with the Ordeal.  Hopefully, the Foundry will be back up soon, and I can take a look at some of the other works there.  Wait and see!

DO: Keeping with the Season

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?

Entry Thirty-Three.

There is something worse than Klingon politics after all.

Being in Klingon Hell.

I wish I were speaking figuratively.  But I’m not sure how much of it was a fever dream, and how much of it was real.  The real stuff first.

A bunch of aliens calling themselves the Fek’Ihri with a grudge against the Klingons started taking shots at the Fleet-and at their homeworld.  Crazy stuff, though-there must’ve been something involving sensor warfare going on, because I could swear we were picking up ghosts flying around my ship.  Then again, when we landed on Qo’noS  to help with the defense, we ran into more of those “ghosts”, not to mention a bunch of other strange weirdness.  The Klingons say these Fek’lhri are some kind of demon from their version of Hell.  It’s tied in with their creation myth.  Fortunately, Chancellor J’mpok sounds a bit more rational about it-which is to say, he says that maybe it’s real, and maybe it’s some science thing made to resemble their myths.

From there, things got weird.  Cloned emperors.  Battles for a weapon of legend.  A barge of the dead.  A battle against Ultimate Evil in the Heart of Hell.  I don’t know…I don’t know if it was some kind of drug, or a gas, or what.  The only thing I’m sure of is that there’s no way under the stars that any of it could’ve been real.

Except stuff did happen, and after that fight, the Fek’Ihri stopped attacking.  We did something.  I…just can’t remember what.

Not unless it really happened.  But that can’t be, right?


Signing off.

When I say “I’m in Hell”, I usually don’t mean it so literally.

For the longest time, this was the Klingon arc for Star Trek Online.  It highlighted their mythology, their outlook, everything from their creation, their devils, and their afterlife.  Plus, ties to the greatest Klingon (according to the Klingons) and his most legendary weapon.  It may not have been as iconic as Klingon politics, but it did feature more about what it meant to be Klingon.

Of course, the Fek’Ihri Return arc has a bit less of an impact if your captain isn’t an actual Klingon.  For Dathiro, it was just an adventure into insanity.  Well, I figure he took the “science” view of things.  Easier to believe that then to believe he’d been hip-deep in Klingon mythology-made-real.  (If I were really demented, I’d have him use the Fek’Ihri Kar’Fi battle carrier when he ranks himself up.  He’s lucky I have other plans for him.)

The arc itself is a pretty decent one, mostly ground based as opposed to space based; the set pieces are impressive, though.  For long-timers in STO, it features a brief visit to what was once First City before it got a massive graphical revamp; and it featured the Barge of the Dead, as seen in Star Trek: Voyager, back in the day.  Finally, instead of seeing where the honorable Klingons go in their afterlives, you go on a raid into where the dishonorable ones end up (and at the same time, you have the opportunity to rob the place of some folks destined there by giving them the chance to reclaim honor).  For Klingons, this arc is as about as epic as it gets.  Nothing else comes close until you get to the DS9 arc and the invasion of the station.

But that’s not going to be an issue on this character, since I’m avoiding the joint mission arcs shared between Klingons, Starfleet, and the Romulans.  This arc has improved my character level to 17, which means I can directly go to the next-and, sadly, final-Klingon specific arc.  After that, it’ll be all queues, the Foundry, and the Empire Defense missions which basically involve nothing but blowing up enemy ships.  And maybe some Red Alerts, if I qualify to enter them.  The bad news is that (at the moment), the Foundry is down; this happens distressingly frequently in the game, often just after major publishes because things break.  Hopefully, it’ll be back up by the time I wrap up the next arc.

As a final note:  some promotional items have returned to the C-Store for free until the end of the month.  The uniforms from Star Trek: Discovery are back, as well as the Next Generation’s Type-7 Shuttlecraft.  If you didn’t nab them earlier, now’s the time-they’re in the Promotional section of the C-Store.  They’re free, so for heaven’s sake, don’t pass ’em up!

DO: Hearts of the Hero

Assault on an Odyssey-class bridge? Not exactly…

Entry Twenty-Six.

My great deeds with the Empire seem to have caught the attention of the people at Qo’noS.  Which is to say, I’ve got stories being told about me.  Some of them are even true.  Even minor incidents have been inflated to some seriously epic tales.  I have to say that I’m honestly surprised I got singled out for this.  After all, I’m an Orion, not a Klingon.  Maybe the High Council is trying to engender greater loyalty with the non-Klingons in the KDF by hyping a non-Klingon “hero”.

Well, at least it’s getting me a lot of free drinks when I’m in First City.

Things have finally quieted down ever since the whole thing with the House of Torg.  The biggest thing to note has been an odd incident with a lunatic Vulcan and his…experiments.  I saved a copy for my ship’s use, and I wanted to burn the entire facility to the ground (so to speak), but II wants to comb over it, and who am I to interfere with what Intelligence wants?  (Do I get points for saying nice things about you this time?)

I’m still a little worried about those stories, though.  Becoming more famous means less opportunities to escape this trap-and more opportunities to “die gloriously in honorable battle”.  As I find that low on my list of priorities, I’m trying very hard to avoid that fate.  There’s at least one extra benefit, though-my crew seems less likely to want to kill me off to advance in their positions.  So as long as I don’t screw up or do something that they seem “dishonorable”, I should be safe from assassination attempts for the near future.

So I just have to act like a Klingon.

I have got to find a way out of this.

Signing off.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t this.

With the conclusion of the Warzone arc for the Klingons in Star Trek Online, I found myself at a crossroads.  The next episode arc is the Devidian arc, but I’ve said that I have no interest in retreading that territory for this run for Dathiro.  So I can reveal my leveling plans at last for such periods.

My primary method to continue advancing will be to utilize the Foundry:  player generated missions.  It should be obvious, but I will be avoiding the blatant farming missions (blow up 1000 Starfleet ships!), but will instead be going for story based stuff.  I’ll be starting with the missions that the devs have featured in the Foundry menu, but I do expect that I may be branching out at some point.  I truly doubt that the Klingons have anywhere near the content in the Foundry that Starfleet does (which amusingly echoes the content and goodies the devs work on).  I also expect to hit some of the queues, particularly at later levels when I have better odds of actually seeing one kick off.

I’m not sure how many Foundry missions it’ll take for me to level a character up; it’s likely that I’ll be putting only the ones that impressed me the most up on the blog here if it tends to be a large amount.  I’ll try to correspond each post with the level ranges of the content I’ll be skipping; in this particular case, I only had to worry about one level before I could start the next Klingon-centric arc, so I only did one Foundry episode so far:  “Hero of the Empire”, by Rogue Enteprise.  This mission starts out with a secret mission delivered by one of J’mpok’s personal aides, to simply escort a freighter back to Qo’noS.  But nothing is ever that simple, and the mission quickly goes off the rails thanks to the freighter captain.  The real adventure, however, begins once you’ve made it back to the homeworld….  I found the mission to be interesting enough with the early part of the mission, if somewhat standard fare.  What really elevates it, though, is the back half of the mission.  I won’t go into further detail on that-I can’t bring myself to spoil it for people who haven’t played it-but its rationale at the end makes perfect sense, and says something about player habits as much as it does about the Klingons in general.  I found myself nodding at the character revealing the whys and wherefores, and thinking “He’s absolutely right.”

I had been fairly close to leveling when I did the mission, so I was all set to move on to the next arc, but timing worked out nicely for another mission.  Every Friday the Thirteenth, STO opens up a special mission called “Hearts and Minds”, which is touted as a scary mission of sorts, and offers a special duty officer at the end.  The interesting thing about this officer is that you can get him repeatedly with succeeding runs (although not on the same day; you have to run it again on a different 13th to get a working duplicate).  I’ll confess, though, that I wasn’t exactly finding much in the mission that caused me any dread or fear; if you’re looking for something that gives a good sense of foreboding, better to play the Devidian arc mission “What Lies Beneath” (“Bonnie-kin…Booooonie-kin….”).  But it’s still an entertaining mission, and it’s a very, very short mission, so even the most crazed altoholics can run all their characters through it in a single evening.  But no fear-because in addition to the Friday the Thirteenth releases, the mission is also available on (wait for it) October 31st:  Halloween.  One final note:  there is a new reward (or maybe it’s been there a while, since I don’t recall seeing it the first time I played it when this started to be a thing, and I haven’t really done it since) on the 31st only:  a zombie dance emote.  So if you want to add the ability to dance like the undead to your character, get ready to blast through this mission on the 31st upon its release!

Next up:  a return to Klingon-specific episodes!