Claiming your STO Pre-Order Rewards

Mrs. P and I ordered the Collector’s Edition of Star Trek Online.  The only CE I’ve ever ordered before was the WoW Wrath of the Lich King CE for Mrs.  (primarily because of the Frosty Pet).  She likes the pets, what can I say.  For those of you who don’t have the great good fortune of having a gaming wife, I pity you.  For those of you that do, I’m sure you’ll understand.

Now its obvious that the coolest STO item is the Kirk-era Constellation class starship Enterprise.  That of course was on offer from Gamestop.  Best Buy, however, offerred the tribble pet… You see where this is going.

As a result, our household ordered two STO CE’s.  One from Gamestop and one from Best Buy.  My schedule being what it is of late, I opted for delivery rather than pickup.  I had my doubts about Best Buy…

Gamestop dutifully shipped my CE over the weekend and it arrived today (launch day) as planned.  Best Buy, however, was only able to report that it had in fact just shipped the other CE today.  Fail.  No Tribbles for launch day.

Regarding the live launch– I got home late, fired up STO, patched a small patch and found myself in game.  No queues, no lag, utterly uneventful.  Apparently one of the 3 or so patches Cryptic pushed out between Sunday and tonight was a miracle patch.  In the two hours or so I was able to spend online (admittedly between 9-11pm Pacific time, later than peak), I had absolutely no problem.  Good job Cryptic.

Mrs. P, being somewhat shanked, decided to sit out launch day and got sucked into Frontline:  Digital Nation – Life on the Virtual Frontier.  Eff that.  Its launch day baby and I’m takin the Constellation Class ship out and kick some Gorn/Klingon/Whoever comes along Butt.

If you want to know what comes in the CE box, go here.  Yes, I got the communicator badge.  I’ll save it for jury duty.

Ok, time to enter my key and claim my rewards.  How hard can it be? (pssst, their name is “Cryptic” tee hee).  So I go to the STO website and log in, then go to my account page.  Hrm.  Other than a download link, nothing obvious like an “enter my key” link or anything like that.  Flipping to the back of the lovely full color hard cover art book that came with the CE and which houses the CD for the game I see the game key and instructions directing me to http://www.startrekonline/activate.  A little obtuse, but well, ok, maybe there is some rational reason (like security) to obscure the key entering part of the web site.

Key entered, a few hitches with the subscription part of the deal (yes, you are required to subscribe even though you get a free month… get over it) and then I’m in game.

Inventory check.  No stuff.  Run around Earth Spacedock to the mailbox, no stuff.  Go to the Shipyard and try to select ship, no stuff.  Type /claim, no stuff.  Ugh.  Cryptiiiiiiiiiiiic!

Reluctantly I went to my global chat tab.  Someone says to go to the C-Store, Cryptic’s version of the microtransaction store (Down arrow by the minimap or type /cstore).

Thar she blows.  My beloved Constellation class ship (oh, and that crap red matter thingy too, whatever).  Double clicking or “claim”ing these items puts them into your inventory.  Once in your inventory double clicking again makes them available to you.  In my case, the Constellation class ship was unlocked and all I had to do was go to the “Shipyard” section of the Earth Spacedock  and talk to Ensign Obin to select your ship and make the new ship active.  Don’t forget to transfer any cool components from your old ship to your new ship.  Note the Conny has TWO engineering stations.  Gonna have to get me a second engineering BO…

Then it was just a matter of selecting my new ship.  It was originally called the USS Alexandra (blech) but I customized it and changed it to the USS Penbryn with a quick visit to Dirz Raxx nearby.

Constellation in hand, what about the Uniform options?  Subspace communications indicated that uniform and appearance changes were available through the tailor, or rather Ghemik “The Cardassian” Telur, located about 8 o’clock in the Requisitions Sector of the Earth Spacedock.

Once there, I could choose between the TNG Series or Film Uniforms or the DS 9 versions.  Uniform and appearance changes are NOT free which is kind of a screw job, but they were cheap enough that I got over it quickly.  I went with a DS 9 variant.

So after futzing around for a bit, I had to take the Conny out for a shakedown.  I headed out to Delta Volanis and set a course for the nearest anomaly.

Unfortunately, the first mission I drew was an exploration mission on the Ice World Hoth Planet Gamma Orionis something something.

The mission involved scanning a number of alien devices and generally kicking booty in a fairly complicated fashion, though I was hoping for a more space based mission for the Enterprise Penbryn.

So aside from the amateur night regarding the actual subscribing and claiming rewards, performance was entirely stable and for the brief time I was in game, fun was had.  Good job (at least from my perspective) Cryptic!

E-Z Credit

Still two days until live release and only six gold energy credit spam emails in my Star Trek Online mailbox…

No credit? Bad credit? Come on down!

Hell, I only found my mailbox today after closed beta and open beta… Considering the downtime during headstart weekend, how could anyone even GET 100k energy credits to sell?

I guess the credit crunch is over…

(Note the new standard feature “Report Spam” for all new MMOs).

/shakeshead

Star Trek Online: Headache/start Weekend

Well, first the good news is that Star Trek Online‘s headstart got underway Friday more or less on time.  I managed to get on Friday evening, get my character rolled up and get underway.

Meet Lieutenant Skronk of the U.S.S. Boursault.

Who you callin' "Butthead"?
Set a course for adventure...

Familiarity with the tutorial at this point meant I could blow through that quickly and get into space in short order.  Things were rolling along quite nicely with only the occasional long wait at loading screens, but overall, things felt smoother and I quickly lost track of time in space battles.

The weather here was supposed to be rainy this weekend, so I was looking forward to hunkering down and perhaps getting my Science Officer Skronk to Lieutenant Commander and a new ship…

Alas, many things are not as they first seem.  The weather cleared and it was quite a nice day Saturday.  As it turns out, I should have been outdoors.  Certainly the weather turned cloudy for STO.

Long zoning times quickly turned into quite an extended “unexpected downtime” Saturday afternoon (Pacific time).  That of course is probably global peak concurrency on the weekend.  We’re GMT-8, so 12 noon here is 3pm on the east coast of the U.S. is 8 p.m. Greenwich.  Pretty much any zone boundary left you hanging with the now all too familiar:

SERVER NOT RESPONDING

Not good for a game with many loading screens.

The server finally came up late in the early evening I believe, so I was able to squeeze in a bit before our Saturday WoW group convened.  I was also able to squeeze in a bit of time late night Saturday too.

Sunday brought more down times and then the new arrival of login queues– the first we’ve seen of them.  At least sitting in a 1000 person login queue is better than staring at a loading screen wondering if the server is crashing.

Needless to say, it continues to be rocky.  Once in game, things are usually pretty good.  Sunday performance seems to have stabilized somewhat, but by now everyone is a bit gun shy and assume that any blip in performance or laggy loading screen is yet another server crash.

Sad that yet another MMO launch is fraught with stability issues, but on the plus side, that seems to be due to extraordinary turn out.  This would ordinarily bum me out or piss me off, but the space combat is worth it.  When I was able to get in for a reasonable period of time, I was able to plow through quite a few missions and had quite a bit of fun.

STO clearly has two significant hurdles in its immediate future– get through Tuesday’s launch and then get through the first fully live weekend next Saturday.  I sincerely hope they can get the stability issues dealt with quickly and get back to focusing on developing the rest of STO to its potential.

So, in the mean time, I leave you with a few random screen shots of some of the fun had so far.

Away Team Boursault. Ready for Action.
How about a rifle butt sandwich, hold the bat leth?
Who's got the biggest brain?
Federation and Klingon and Undine, Oh My!

Archyteuthys of Doom

STO Open Beta Weekend Getaway

After a rough weekend with servers up and servers down for the last weekend of Star Trek Online’s open beta, who couldn’t resist a little R&R on Risa?

A few snapshots from my weekend getaway.

/e sitlounge FTW!
Good thing I don't have allergies
Why can't I stop signing "Bali Hai"?

I still don’t understand why I don’t get invited to parties.