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Space: Still the Final Frontier

15 Jan

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enjoying Rift quite a bit with the instance group, but I still get that Space MMO itch that just doesn’t get scratched very well. Something about the long nights of winter (even here in Northern California) calls me back to space.

Eve Offline

Over the holidays, I resubbed my Eve accounts having been sucked in by the exploits of Wilhelm and Gaff.  The intent was to play it “casually” with an alt that I had rolled up for solo piracy.  Rolling an alt in Eve is a bit of a challenge since you can only have one character training skills at a time, so although I have two accounts, I would have to forego progress on one of the “main” characters on that account to learn skills on the alt.

Also, I didn’t want to screw up the standings of our regular high sec PvE corp, so I put the alt in a separate corp.  In a fit of foggy memory, I managed to resub the wrong account, so I ended up resubbing both of my accounts.

I knew my horizon for the game wouldn’t likely extend beyond a month or so, so there was really no point in going through the rigamarole to go join Gaff and Wilhelm in 0.0.  After reading about the logistics and timing challenges, not the least of which is time zone based, I decided that was probably a wise decision for me.

Of course, that left pretty much either “dueling” pvp, high sec social engineering piracy (e.g., can flipping) or attempts at low sec piracy.  I loath all dueling and as an explorer/industrialist at heart, I really couldn’t take to can flipping unless I was going to go heavy RP.

So that’s left low sec piracy and/or ratting.  Diving into low sec, and learning the skills to survive there, has been pretty interesting.  One really never knows what could happen, so there is some excitement even when there are only a few people in a system.  You have to get used to looking over your shoulder quite a bit.

Of course, the hardest part of solo piracy is finding a mark.  Something that I’ve not been terribly good at, and given the challenges of low sec (i.e., the conventional wisdom that its “broken”) and the time required to do a good roam, I’m losing interest.

On the other hand, with my other account, I took the opportunity to check out Planetary Interaction which was introduced just as I was concluding my last visit to New Eden.  Its been reworked some, but I’ve been producing some goods off high sec worlds to get the hang of it.  So far, its a decent if minor source of passive income.  High sec worlds don’t have the density of rarer materials on them, so overall output is lower.

Nonetheless, in the course of looking for the best place to sell my PI manufactured goods, I discovered a few arbitrage opportunities which I’ve been exploiting fairly regularly.  At the moment, I have just enough isk lying around to acquire enough of a particular commodity to fill my fully rigged Iteron V industrial and make a run to Jita where it typically sells within an hour.  I’ve typically been able to make 15-30 million ISK per run which isn’t bad for sitting on the couch with a crappy laptop while watching the Daily Show/Colbert Report.

Fun in its own way, but I’m not drawn into the way other goals in Eve have caught my attention.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Having done the beta, I’m sure that our little group would find it amusing enough.  From my own experience and what I’ve been reading, Bioware is slowly addressing some of the bugs and issues that were present in the beta.  I’ve no doubt the game will be a better experience after the first few weeks and months.  One of the main reasons we aren’t playing this as a group right now, is simply the fact that there are five of us and small group content is made for 4 people.

Even with companions, that makes for some difficult math and even more difficult shared experiences.  We could conceivably do a group of 3 with one companion and a group of two with two companions, but that kind of flies in the face of the whole group play thing.

So while I’m still very interested in SWTOR, I’d like to figure out a way (or wait for Bioware to come up with a way) for all of us to have a shared experience.  I suspect we’ll have similar problems with Diablo III.

Star Trek Online

I did the beta, I even bought the collector’s edition, but in the end, I couldn’t justify a subscription beyond the initial 30-days.  Not that there wasn’t fun to be had there, there definitely was, but there were issues that I wasn’t willing to pay for while waiting to solve.

But, STO is going free to play Tuesday, so I thought I’d at least get patched and see what has transcribed since launch.  One thing that intrigues me is the user generated content creator.  STO, like SWTOR, was always so story driven, I think I may enjoy exploring both what has been added by way of the periodic season/episode content which was added after I left as well as user generated missions.

Heck, its been quite some time since I played with a UGC module in a game– probably not since map editors for shooter games– so I may experiment and see whether that dimension is satisfying.

Like LotRO, I suspect that STO will benefit greatly from going F2P.  Its certainly a game that I would have been looking at over the last year had it not required a sub to check out.

Finally a happy accident, it turns out that former subscribers can log in this weekend.  I expected to download and patch, but not be able to log in.  Much to my surprise, there was Lieutenant Commander Skronk aboard the U.S.S. Frinault drifting in Sector Space.

As is typical with re-entering a game world, there is an almost paralyzing amount of information to reassimilate.  Even more so when the game has been patched and tweaked for more than a year AND has gone F2P.  Fortunately, I spotted the Transwarp to Earth Spacedock button (I can’t remember whether that was there before) and beamed down to Starfleet Academy (which I don’t remember existing before either, let alone being in Marin County).

Either Starfleet moved to Marin, or Marin finally went "Pro Growth"...

So, with a three-day weekend, it will be a convenient time to explore STO again and see what’s new.  Stay tuned.

 

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5 responses to “Space: Still the Final Frontier

  1. Scott

    January 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Nope, the Transwarp button is new as of the latest patch a few days ago. Starfleet Academy (and the Klingon Academy) were added a few months ago.

    Welcome to STO! There are a few of us who have been at least logging in near-daily since the Duty Officer system went live, and some of us actually play the game daily in addition to the duty officers!

     
    • potshot

      January 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Indeed a new learning curve. Now where to put all those unallocated skill points…

       
  2. Scott

    January 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I’m not a min-maxer so don’t ask me, LOL! The new skill system (only a week or two old) is at least easier to understand than the previous one, but if you’re a min-max type it looks like you still have to do a lot of researching and really pick what you want to be “best” at, because you can’t be uber at every single thing on one character.

    I’ve been doing the end-game STF’s lately (the space ones, anyway, not ground) and learning how they’re supposed to go. It’s been a lot of fun, and I finally got the full Borg set that I’ve been drooling over other player’s for the past year.

    You guys can feel free to add me at @Talyn (both STO and CO and Neverwinter whenever that arrives).

     
  3. bhagpuss

    January 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Definitely going to be downloading STO when it goes F2P. It’s the only space MMO (other than Wildstar, which looks like space fantasy to me) that I have any interest in, and that mostly from Tipa’s posts on it.

    Whether I’ll find the time to play it is another matter entirely.

     
  4. Scott

    January 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    @bhagpuss: Honestly, STO is a casual game. Oh, there are hardcore guys, believe me. But generally speaking, especially if you’re soloing, a mission or three a day is plenty. I’m doing end-game STFs now, so I tend to stick around longer (or if the fleet wants to do something) otherwise it’s a great secondary casual MMO to dink around in. Very RP-friendly, if you’re into that; it’s one of the things I most enjoy. I love the space combat, and I’m even one of the oddballs who enjoys the ground stuff too.

     

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