Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hunting the Hunters

Captain's Log, Stardate 87846.70: We are approaching the Sienae System on standard patrol.

Tarah looked up from her viewscreen and turned to Rowan. "Captain, the Romulans have been meeting the Hirogen in this system, and Starfleet Intelligence assesses that they may be in talks to form a formal alliance. Which could be bad for the Federation, given that Starfleet is stretched thin, fighting Klingons on one front and the resurgence of the Borg on the other."

Rowan looked at her first officer. "Voyager encountered the Hirogen in the Delta Quadrant, as I recall. They were considered very dangerous."

"Yes, Captain. Having the Hirogen hunting in this area is bad enough. If the Romulans get them to sign a treaty, Empress Sela will have a powerful ally in her bid to regain the prestige of the former Empire.

"Our orders are to engage the Hirogen in this system and force them to find new hunting grounds. Starfleet needs them as far as possible from Federation civilians."

"Very well, let's hunt us some Hirogen. Mister MacKenzie, lay in a course around . . . Sienae V, half impulse. The moonlets and rings may be harboring our prey. And go to yellow alert."
"Yes, Ma'am." Wayfarer slipped forward as the helmsman brought her into position.

"Larrea, see if you can boost the sensor sweeps of the planetary rings as we come into range. Let's see if we can flush them out."

"Already working on it, Captain."

Before long, the quarry came into sensor view: A Hirogen hunter ship, in co-orbit with a base that had been established on a moonlet in the ring system.
Tarah called out, "Shields up! Red Alert!" The atmosphere of the bridge tensed as the lighting went from standard to the characteristic red tones and the red-alert klaxon sounded. The Hirogen ship had seen them and was moving to intercept.
"Auzzie, blind them."

"Yes, Captain." The trill played her console like a finely tuned piano, the harmonics of which sang out from Wayfarer's deflector dish, ringing in the enemy's sensors and overloading them. Torpedoes and plasma beams intended for Wayfarer went wide as Tarah let loose disruptors and and high yield payloads of her own.
Wayfarer came around for another pass, but the Hirogen had recalibrated their targeting sensors and finally had an answer for Rowan and her crew. The hunter became the hunted. Plasma played over the shields trying to eat its way through to the hull. Helmsman MacKenzie swung the ship around to bring the stronger shields between them and the Hirogen.

Larrea reported, "Captain, shields are down to sixty percent, they're attempting to lock onto us with a tractor beam."
A torpedo salvo slammed into the ship as the starboard shield collapsed under the plasma onslaught.

"Captain, hull integrity is below seventy-five percent."

"Evasive maneuvers. Polarize the hull."

Wayfarer slipped free of the Hirogen's grip. "Larrea, begin an energy siphon. Tarah, target their shield generator with a high yield salvo."
Tarah programmed the torpedoes' targeting system. "Torpedoes ready, Captain."

Rowan watched her tactical display as the enemy's facing shield dissolved. "Wait for it . . . FIRE!"
"Torpedoes away."
The bright pinpoints slipped into the Hirogen ship's shield perimeter, striking the shield generator and collapsing its already precarious defenses.

"Hard about, ready another salvo."

The Hirogen ship was attempting to flee by this point. But it was too late, Wayfarer sent forth packets of destruction, which ripped the the engineering section of the Hirogen vessel, causing a catastrophic reaction in its warp engines.
Rowan sat back in the Captain's chair in relief. "Computer, stand down from Red Alert. Well, that's one down, how many more?"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

ICC 25

In all this excitement, I forgot to mention that I ran 25-man Ice Crown Citadel with my guildmates last night. Great run, we beat each of the first three boss encounters on the second attempt, and the fourth boss encounter on the third attempt. Pretty good for the first time as a guild.

I enjoyed the raid immensely, though I have yet to figure why I don't heal at the same rate as the other healers, according to "Recount." Between my rotation, talents, and gear, I am deficient in something. I understand that, when I use my Discipline spec, many of my talents are devoted to damage mitigation rather than healing. But when I shift to Holy, I am barely better off. <Sigh> Only once has anyone said anything and then only obliquely. But it still bothers me.

Consolidation

I have decided to combine my two blogs, "Rowanblaze saves Azeroth" and "I Have Touched The Sky." This second blog will continue to be the URL I use, since people seem to be reading it. I consolidated the posts, so if you look back through, you may see posts you hadn't before. Within a few days I'll discontinue the former blog.

I am also thinking of switching over to Wordpress,  though the inital startup seemed a little complicated. Can any Wordpress users tell me what they think of the service/interface? Especially any that have used Blogger and switched?

LOTRO, Ten Minutes In . . .

OK, so I got the game downloaded, at least enough to play while the rest downloaded. Pretty cool technique, gets the newbie right in and playing ASAP. +1 for Turbine. Game mechanics? Generic. WoW is at least as good. You say I shouldn't compare, Dear Reader? Oh but I do and I did. Fortunately or unfortunately for every MMORPG I play, it will be compared to WoW, because that is the game I cut my gamer chops on.
OK, this is Golwing, my test elvish minstrel. Basically the healer class, as far as I could tell. A little haughty for a level 1, dontcha think? Why "Golwing"? Because the names I wanted were taken and I wanted to start playing.
Here she is fighting, after having looted a knife off a dead elf. He didn't need it anymore.
Here she is rockin' the mandolin. Eat your heart out, Bruce Hornsby. I have to say though, the way she spins the mandolin is pretty cool.
Goblin Scout: OMG, you did not just whip out a guitar in the middle of our fight!?!
Golwing: Oh yes I did. And I crit-healed myself while I was at it.
Kickin' it with Elrond Halfelven. We're tite like dat.
Elrond: Pooh, did you do that?
Pooh Bear: I don't think so.
Random Elf: Thanks for showing up, Ellie. Too bad you run like pond scum.
Elrond: Where's the cool stuff that was here?
Random Elf points at Golwing.

LOTRO for Ten Bucks? Hell Yeah!!!

Bio Break what have you done to me? What have I done to myself? Am I a (queue the Psycho violins) GAMER?!?!?
I may have to expand the scope of this blog. =/

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Casual Wear

OK so I've come up with casual outfits for Locke and Rowan, there's not as much variety as I'd hoped for, but it's still cool.
For Locke, I attempted to create a look that vaguely said, "I threw this stuff on," just like a surfer might. Too bad they don't have shorts, flip-flops, and a Hawaiian shirt. I think my attempt at jeans turned out well.
For Rowan I went with the Vulcan-style robes, though with more earth/forest-tone colors, hopefully reflecting her First Nations background. Again, more variety would have been nice.
I may try to be more clever with this later. I just wanted to get it out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

!?!? (Non STO)

So I says to my 14-year-old daughter, I says, "I think I'm gonna go buy a big-screen TV tomorrow."


Her response? "I thought we were going to get a chest freezer."

What !?!?!

On Respec'ing

Took some time last night to respec Rowan. I'll get to Locke soon, but want to play out Rowan tonight. Galo discusses the procedure at some length, so I won't go into it other than to say it was probably a little easier for me because Rowan is still such a lowbie, versus some Admiral trying to figure out what to sacrifice in order to take advantage of both BigBadB's findings and the new Starship skills. Two things I like about it:
  1. According to the Patch FAQ, you can respec at each promotion, which means you can throw skill points into specific ship classes and then recycle them later when you outgrow the ship. Obviously of limited value to an Admiral, but great for those players still leveling characters.
  2. Your old spec is highlighted, so you don't have to try to remember where you had skill points you don't want to change. Plus, you can mess around with deleting individual skills or start over from scratch, in both cases with your former spec still visible, so you can see the changes you are making. In contrast, when you respec in WoW, all of your talents disappear, and you have to save your spec somewhere besides the game interface if you are trying to tweak only a few things and keep most of the talents in place.
Of course, there are other things about the patch that I like, including the off-duty outfits and other cosmetic changes. My Klingon faction captain ended up with an extra ship, the new tier-2 cruiser. I am not sure if that was a glitch, because I had barely made LC, but I took it. My Fed fleet got together on the Klingon side and made a Klingon fleet, too, which was quite an experience. A bit different than starting a guild on WoW. (lol, I just realized the blog interface registers "klingon" as a spelling error, but accepts the capitalized "Klingon.")

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If you're reading this, you probably ought to thank a game developer.

OK, so MMO Gamer Chick has told me it's Developer Appreciation Week, an event founded by Scarybooster, and she has not steered me wrong yet. Thank you so much, Devs, for creating the games I play. You're not perfect, but you put out entertaining games that millions of people enjoy with little or no complaint. Don't listen to those few whiners that have too much time on their hands and too much unsupervised access to their mom's computer. (Oops, did I type that?) I haven't played as many different MMOs as some others, but I have thoroughly enjoyed both Star Trek Online and World of Warcraft, despite any perceived flaws. Keep working hard to improve on these wonderful properties. We love them.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"A Good Day to Die"

I just thought this was hilarious. "Die by the hands of another player . . ." as a mission goal.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Surfing the Cosmos

During a lull, Locke looked up at the January sun, partially hidden by one of the few puffy clouds in the sky. As busy as he was, Locke didn't get a chance to surf as much as he had even in the Academy. The shoreline of Hanalei Bay stretched around him. He had surfed the Suraya Bay on Risa, the Opal Sea on Betazed, but even the beaches where he grew up in Malibu and Santa Monica could not compare to the North Shore of Kauai in winter. The conditions were perfect, three- to five-meter swells, and while the water was chilly, it was not cold, at least not with the wetsuit he had on. He'd been out here an hour or so in the mid-morning surf, having caught a few nice rides. Normally this place would have been crawling with other surfers, but Locke had the waves all to himself this morning. Never a religious man, Donovan felt his most spiritual connection with the universe while on a board inside a sweet barrel. “I guess I am a disciple of Poseidon,” he chuckled to himself. “Or even better, Kanaloa.”

It was hard to see the distant beach from where he sat on his board, but he imagined Ginny was there sunning herself while she waited for him. He looked back and saw some lines coming his way, so he moved into position, deciding to take the third wave, as it looked to be about a meter higher than the first two. He paddled gently, turning the nose of his board toward the shoreline. The first wave passed and he picked up speed. The second wave almost caught him and he eased up, letting the lip pass before paddling furiously again. He felt the board lift with the third wave and got to his feet, exhilarated. He slid down the face, executed a bottom turn and rode back up. The wave was starting to curl, Locke snapped at the lip, catching a little air as he strove to cut back and stay with the tube.
At that moment, just when it couldn't get any better, the telltale of an incoming message sounded over the roar of the surf, “WITKO TO LOCKE.” Locke closed his eyes in frustration, he had almost hit the zone.

“Computer, freeze program.” The wave stopped as if it had suddenly turned to ice, held in place, as was everything else, by the simulator forcefields. Lock was too sure-footed to lose his balance with the sudden lack of apparent motion. “This is Locke. Go ahead.”

Witko's voice crackled over the holodeck intercom, "Sir, we are being hailed by Deepspace K-7, Commander Makza.”

“Bogus schwag,” Locke muttered, recalling the lingo of his youth. “Can you put him through down here?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Computer, arch,” The arch materialized surprisingly close by, and Locke stepped across the “water” to the small view screen. Makza was already on the pick-up.

“Greetings, Lieutenant Commander Locke. I will get right to the point. We are diverting all available ships to the Ker'rat System to halt an incursion by the Klingons. As the Red Cloud is in the vicinity, you are among the ships ordered to respond. Be careful, Commander. I feel this could be a trap. But we are forced to spring it. That is all. Good luck, Commander.”

“Understood, Locke out.” Locke sighed, looking at the now blank screen then at the wave held in suspension by the holodeck. “Computer, end program.” The sun, the waves, and the shore dissolved into a five-meter cube as Donovan Lock picked up his board and stepped out into the corridor.

(photo found on Jamie Sterling's Professional Surf Guide.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Enterprise at the Smithsonian

So we went the National Air and Space Museum today. Imagine the nerd-fest that ensued.
This is the original studio model from the original series, built in 1966.
It was donated to the Smithsonian by Paramount Pictures in 1974. If you go, you can find it in the museum store on the lower level of the store.
My RL crew.

BTW, Happy Saint Paddy's Day, everyone!
Erin go bragh!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In DC

I am in Washington, DC, for the week with my daughters. I don't know when or if I'll have another entry before the weekend, or play for that matter. The connection at the hotel is not great. I do have a couple vignettes percolating though, thanks to Adventurer Historian.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rowan and Her Crew

Whew! So I finally got the screencaps I wanted. The light was more yellowish, which was good for everyone but Tarah. That, coupled with the crew bios, makes this entry ready for the shoot. So here we go.

Rowan Ashayam Starblanket:

Rowan is half Vulcan and half Human, born in 2370 aboard the U.S.S. Farragut, where her parents were serving. Her father is a full-blooded Cree from Saskatchewan, old Canada. Her mother was a Vulcan from Shi'Kahr province. Both parents were members of Starfleet, but Rowan's mother was killed in action during the Dominion War. Her father resigned from Starfleet in grief over the death of his wife, returning with Rowan to his home on Earth. Having been raised among humans, Rowan is more relaxed about her emotions than most Vulcans, but still more generally reserved than humans. Some Vulcans might consider her V'tosh ka'tur, though she does not formally subscribe to that philosophy. Her keen and logical intellect contrasts with her spiritual outlook, a result of her First Nations heritage.  Rowan studied at Starfleet Medical Academy, completing her residency in 2401. She specializes in Xenoendrocrinology, and Combat Trauma. Not a starship commander by choice, Rowan nevertheless has accepted the mantle of command, as she feels it is a logical extension of her Hippocratic Oath to care for her crew.

Rowan's full name comes from several sources. "Rowan" is part of my main avatar's name in World of Warcraft. It is a tree species sacred to the druidic Celts. "Ashayam" is Vulcan for "beloved," according to the Vulcan Language Dictionary. "Starblanket," despite what you may think, is actually a town in Saskatchewan, and the surname of a former chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada. I rolled Rowan as a Vulcan with the inherent racial attributes. Her mixed heritage is purely RP.

Shintarah zh'Rithsiria:

Tarah is Rowan's First Officer, Chief Tactician, and closest friend, having been with her since before the Battle of Vega. Born on Andoria in 2376, she is one of the last Andorian children born before the resolution of the Andorian fertility crisis and therefore seen as precious to her people. Her zhavey was particularly upset with her decision to join Starfleet, considering Tarah's responsibilities to her bondgroup to be more important than her "personal ambitions." Tarah graduated from Starfleet Academy in 2400, with a major in Tactical Analysis and a minor in Military History. Like all Andorians, Tarah is bonded to three other Andorians, but none of her bondmates are aboard. Though efficient in her duties, Tarah can become despondent over the long separation from her family. The crew of the Wayfarer have in many ways become her surrogate family, especially Rowan and Thierry.

Tarah is my favorite Bridge Officer, Rowan's Spock. It's cool that when I visit my bridge, a Voyager-like setup,  Tarah is there in the XO's chair where she belongs. I have come to realize she needs at least one bondmate with her, so I got another Andorian officer, but have not used or developed it yet. I don't even know if it is male (chan/thaan) or female(shen), but it will be one of Tarah's bondmates. In these pics, she appears a little green with blond hair. But that is a trick of the light. Tarah is very much blue-skinned with white hair. There are some players who choose to ignore the four-gender concept for the Andorians for various reasons. I happen to think it adds RP interest to the race. Plus, it seems to be an in-game (if not canon) fact, as the Andorian genders are part of the character creation screen.

Jean Thierry Brasseaux:

Thierry is from the bayous of Louisiana, born in 2367. He holds advanced degrees in Warp Mechanics and Electro-plasma Systems Engineering. A wonderful amateur chef, he often treats his crewmates to delicious Cajun meals. He is also a bit of a father figure to many of the bridge officers, being the oldest member of Rowan's crew, though less than three years older than Rowan herself. He could be a starship commander if he so chose, but Thierry is more comfortable in the position of chief engineer, maintaining and improving the efficiency of the warp engines and ship systems. He is one of Rowan's most trusted advisers, spinning sage advice in his characteristic Cajun drawl.

Thierry is not my first human engineer, I had a younger one named Wyatt. But when I restarted Rowan not long after I started playing, I rethought his backstory, making him older and changing his name and culture as I tweaked his look. He had the most fully developed backstory besides Rowan, before I started this blog. BTW, even though pronouncing his name as "theory" would be fitting, it is actually more like "tee-airy."


Auzran Torbin:

Auzzie, an unjoined Trill born in 2392, is the youngest member of Rowan’s crew. A prodigy, she is on the waiting list to join the Symbiont candidate program, but has been deemed too young to be a host for now. Auzzie applied to and was accepted to Starfleet Academy in 2406, graduating just this year, 2409, with degrees in Exobiology and Anthropology. She is an invaluable member of Rowan's crew, though she needs a few more years of experience before she will be ready to take command.

I just thought Auzzie would be a cute name, this was a variation on the game-provided name that I can't even remember.


Ymiro Larrea:

Larrea hails from the rural Kendra Province of Bajor. Born in 2379, she attended Starfleet Academy around the turn of the century, graduating in 2402 with degrees in Advanced Theoretical Physics and Probability Mechanics. She joined the crew as a lieutenant when they transferred to the Wayfarer.  Having led a sheltered childhood with her very traditional family on Bajor, Larrea went a little wild at the Academy and continues to be a bit of a man-eater. Also a bit of a loose cannon on away teams, Larrea frequently gets in over her head, and needs to be rescued by the rest of the team.

I am not kidding about that last bit, I don't know if it's her weapon or her other ground abilities. I frequently look around for her, only to discover her hip deep in enemies.

Surveying Anomalies

The anomaly survey missions that are part of the exploration repeatables are among the most maligned parts of the game. Some folks just don't get why they're there. However, I enjoy them because they are quick and easy and I can just enjoy piloting my ship through a benign region of space. This morning in the Hromi Cluster, I had one mission defeating Klingons on a space station. For whatever reason (that I suck comes to mind), I could not get the last group. Finally after dying quite a few times, my away team and I synced up and we beat the baddies. It was very nice to go the the next anomaly and find that it was a cataloging mission.

There is a ton of precedent for this sort of mission in canon. In Star Trek VI alone, the Excelsior was just finishing up a three-year mission (her first) cataloging gaseous anomalies. And this was one of the Federation Flagships, with the legendary Hikaru Sulu in command. And the Enterprise-A was involved, too. Uhura pointed out that they had special gas sensing equipment aboard that they then used to track General Chang's Bird-of-Prey while it was cloaked.

If anything, the quiet "research" quests are the ones most in keeping with the spirit of Star Trek. Not that I would want to do them for three years straight. But then again, that's a lot of time in the Holodeck.

Short Names

I think it's kind of interesting that I chose Rowan's first name to be her short name, whereas with Locke it is his surname that is the short one. It changes the in-game interactions with NPCs and such. For example, Admiral Quinn generally addresses people by their short names. His use of "Rowan" seems to indicate an avuncular relationship, as if he is a mentor or family friend. He addresses Locke by his last name (a common practice in the U.S. Army, if not all the armed services) which shows a possibly friendly but certainly more distant relationship.

Rowan's "personality" (as I imagine her) allows for this kind of address. She is more casual about Starfleet protocol than Locke, who is very much the military man. I do like that STO includes long names, as there are occasions when NPCs do use them as appropriate. I seem to recall at least one of the quest givers addressing Rowan as Lieutenant Starblanket. Plus, the promotion ceremony dude at Earth Starbase uses the full name, as is appropriate for a formal occasion.

Which name do you use for your captain's short name. Does he or she have a full name as well?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunsage

In case someone decides to look for me online in STO, my handle is Sunsage.

Rowan's Ships

OK, so I guess it hasn't been that long since I published Locke's stuff, but it seems like it to me, I haven't had a ton of time to play STO, between blogging (who knew that would be so much fun) and raiding on WoW. Anyway, I got Rowan's ships screencapped and so here they are. I'll screencap Rowan's crew and introduce them today or tomorrow.
The U.S.S. Cervantes (NCC-93134) was named after Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. His influence on the Spanish language has been so great that Spanish is often called la lengua de Cervantes (The Tongue of Cervantes). I worked for AOL for a time in 2000, and had USSCervantes as one of my logins for the Star Trek community, named after the author and the pirate from the Souledge/Soulcaliber games. Unfortunately, when I quit I lost all my screen names. When I found out I could choose my ship name, this was my first choice.

Dedication Plaque: "Truth will rise above falsehood as oil above water." Cervantes, Don Quixote de La Mancha

Ensign Rowan Starblanket took command of the Cervantes following the death of her captain and senior officers during the Battle of Vega. Rowan's quick thinking and valor enabled her to lead the ship and crew to victory, for which she was awarded permanent command of the Cervantes.
The Cervantes is a Light Cruiser, ShiKahr Class, with Centaur-style pylons. She sports a (mostly) Corvus paint scheme, in blue and orange. I liked the way the Centaur pylons gave the ship such a slim profile, as seen in the picture above. Obviously, this impression is similar to that of Locke's Powhatan. This one came first though.

The Battle of Vega, a.k.a the tutorial missions, must have been a major disaster for the Federation, since so many senior Starfleet officers were killed, leaving relatively inexperienced Ensigns (soon to be Lieutenants) in command of vessels.


Rowan's next command was the U.S.S. Wayfarer (NCC-91972). No special name here, I like the wandering/exploring theme begun (kind of) with Cervantes, and will continue it.

Dedication Plaque: "Not all who wander are lost." J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Rowan joined Starfleet to explore the galaxy, and the Wayfarer is perfect for that, and for Rowan and crew to gain needed experience.
The Wayfarer is a Science Vessel, Aurora Class, with a Nova hull and pylons, and a plum and black Columba paint scheme. I have a couple issues with the design but I like it better than the Tier 2 escort selection. I really like the science (debuff) capabilities, coupled with the weapons bay arrangement. BTW, can anyone tell me what the "windshield" thing on the front of the saucer is? A number of ships have this feature; it is not the deflector dish, and I don't think it is the front of the bridge, because the dome is too far back. Edit: I finally decided this must be a sensor array.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Festergut

Well, we got Festergut down tonight. And some lesser Valkyr boss too, don't know her name. Not so much luck with Rotface, though we did much better on the last fight when I had switched to Holy spec. It's hard do that because one of my go-to spells is Penance, which I lose by switching specs. Plus I am not really geared for Holy, so I don't have the haste items I should.

Ice Crown Citadel

OK, so I haven't been raiding for about a month, between travel and STO, but I went into ICC last night with some guildies (Mutiny!) and we went through the first four bosses "like budda." It was nice to see the fights running smoothly, something which wasn't happening a month ago, and which contributed to my WoW ennui. This trip through was much better; and I am excited for tonight's continuation.

Selective Compression

There is a concept in model railroading called “selective compression,” wherein you might model a few houses to represent an entire neighborhood, or a single factory to represent an entire industry. I think MMO devs do the same thing, with lesser or greater success. The sometimes drastic transitions in WoW (and I am sure other MMOs) reflects this desire to represent in a small space (even virtual space isn't unlimited) a wide variety of environments. I'd be interested to see exactly how big Azeroth really is in real space.

At Disneyland, there is a building (sorry no picture) that transitions from jungly Adventureland to old west Frontierland, with all the strangeness that implies. But the Adventureland side (end) fits, and the Frontierland side (end) fits. Having been there, many times, I can say the transition is fairly seamless.

I had a big issue with one reviewer of STO who complained about the galactic map representation of Warp Space, because I thought it was one of the cleverer ways to represent getting "from here to there" right when I first saw it.

Overall, it is not at the edges of a game environment where you should judge its effectiveness, but the middle. Do you feel like you are in the middle of a strange planet, or a starbase, or a jungle, or a medieval town? Someday we'll actually have holodecks where you can truly immerse yourself in the game. But honestly, you don't really want a game world as big as the real one, because in the real galaxy there is a lot of "empty" where nothing is going on.

Mistakes and Refinements

Am I the only person who goes back repeatedly to make minor changes to my posts?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Locke's Ships

I decided to put the ships in a separate entry. Since Locke is currently a Lieutenant Commander, he is only up to Tier 2 ships. So I will add ships as I get them. I also discovered a couple days ago that I can have "extra" BOs that are not currently assigned on the bridge, but possibly usable as away team members. This after having dumped all the ones I'd accumulated, but that were not assigned. =/ So I'll have to investigate the possibilities there, and maybe pick up a different ship to try out. I also won't normally italicize entries unless I am talking out-of-universe in the middle of an in-universe entry.


The U.S.S Powhatan (NCC-93491) was named after the great chief of the Powhatan tribe of Native Americans who spared the life of the English soldier John Smith.

Dedication Plaque: “. . . if there is to be more killing, it will not start with me.” from Disney's Pocahontas.

Ensign Donovan Locke was serving aboard the Powhatan when its crew responded to a distress call from the U.S.S. Khitomer, under attack from the Borg. Locke had beamed over to the beleaguered ship when the Borg attacked the Powhatan, killing most of her senior officers and leaving Locke the ranking officer. Locke was later given permanent command of the Powhatan in recognition of his quick thinking and actions in bringing the ship and the remainder of her crew to safety.

The Powhatan is a Light Cruiser, Centaur Class, with ShiKahr-style nacelles and a Miranda "rollbar", and Leo paint scheme, in red and black. I liked the way the Centaur pylons on the Miranda strut gave the ship such a slim head-on profile.


Locke's next command was the  U.S.S. Red Cloud (NCC-91995), named after the 19th century chief of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) nation.

Dedication Plaque: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” Napoleon; I thought it fitting.

The escort ship is nimble and powerful, though Locke and crew can't wait to "stretch their legs" in something larger.


The Red Cloud is an Escort, Ushaan Class, with a Rapier secondary hull and Saber nacelles. She also sports a Leo paint scheme in red and black. Honestly though, this was making the best of a design set I am not fond of at all. Commander cannot come too quickly.

Locke and His Crew

So Locke is my second character on STO. But his crew's backstories are a little more developed than Rowan's, so I am leading off with him. Because I am alternating him with Rowan, neither is as far along as they might otherwise be. But I did the same thing with my WoW toons; it was over a year after I started playing, and nine months after TBC came out, before I got a toon (Rowanblaze) up to 60, and she was the fourth toon I'd started.

Anyhoo, here is Locke and Crew:

Donovan Taggart Locke:

Donovan Locke is a California native. Born in 2384 and raised practically on the beach, Locke is an avid swimmer and surfer, with the stamina and build to match. While a gifted tactician, he is a sometimes brash risk-taker, much in the vein of Jim Kirk. Donovan is loyal to his crew, and possibly a bit overprotective, drawing fire away from them when he needs to, risking himself in the process. An ace pilot, he often takes over the helm of his ship personally. He met both his wife, Ginny, and his chief engineer, Blish, at Starfleet Academy, where Blish often helped Locke through the required engineering courses.

For the first time, I have modeled an avatar somewhat on myself. The human males in WOW are stupid looking, so I never rolled one, and none of the other avatars even come close. Locke is a leaner, younger me, complete with spiky bangs and a goatee.

"James" Blish:

Chief Engineer Blish hails from Deep Space 9, where he was raised after being born on Bolarus IX in 2385. His parents were shopkeepers on the promenade, but Blish insisted on joining Starfleet, much to the dismay of his mother, who had lost family during the Dominion War. A genius at warp theory, he obtained a Doctorate in Engineering from Starfleet Academy, before receiving his commission. He acquired the nickname "James" and its diminutive "Jimmy" from his friend and classmate, Donovan Locke, who found it inexplicably funny. Blish was injured in the Borg attack on the U.S.S Khitomer, his first assignment, where Locke found him and rushed him back to the Powhatan.

James Blish wrote the Star Trek anthologies based on the episodes of the original series. When Blish's name popped up, apparently randomly, I couldn't resist.

Ginevra Prinos Locke:

Doctor Ginevra Locke (nee Prinos) is the ship's Chief Medical Officer. She was born in the Loneel Valley on Betazed in 2382. Ginny's maiden name resembles the Latin genus of the alder tree. She was accepted to both the University of Betazed and Starfleet Medical Academy, but chose the Academy as a chance to get off-planet. She met Donovan while attending the Academy, and he was a Starfleet cadet. Like most full-blooded Betazoids, Ginny is a telepath and tends to be brutally honest, a trait which endeared her to Locke, but can be exasperating to her other crewmates. Of course, having a Betazoid at your side is always good during negotiations.

Ginny is not based on anyone I know, well ok maybe a little. She shares her name with Ginny Weasley Potter, Ron's sister and Harry's eventual wife.

Sera, daughter of Yuri, Shi'suk'izh-skish:

Sera was born and raised in the city of Vulcana Regar. Taciturn like most of her race, she is an expert in multiple martial arts disciplines, including suus mahna, mok’bara, and capoeira. She prefers dual pistols as opposed to long-barreled weapons, as they allow for quick strikes in close quarters combat. Sera is fiercely loyal and protective of her captain, using her fighting skills act as his bodyguard in hostile ground situations.

Sera’s family name means "Place of the (Snow) Avalanche." It is unknown as to where this name originated.

I struggled with my missions until Sera came along, I should have had a tactical sidekick from the beginning, but thought at the time that I needed a more rounded crew, as Locke was already Tactical.

Chief of Security: Thasungke'Witko:

Witko is descended in part from Jem'Hadar stranded in the Alpha Quadrant at the end of the Dominion War. No longer dependant on "White," the second generation members of Witko's colony applied to join the Federation in 2383. Born in 2391, Witko joined Starfleet Academy in 2401 as an adult of his species, where he proved adept at both ground and space tactics. He joined the crew when Locke took command of the U.S.S. Red Cloud. A crack shot, Witko is Locke’s weapons expert, though quite capable of hand-to-hand combat. Witko’s full name resembles that of the Lakota warrior “Crazy Horse.”

Witko is, of course, my attempt at a Jem'Hadar. I have no good explanation for why he doesn't need Ketracel-white, though there is precedent in canon for this.

The crew on an away mission:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Blog About My Experiences With STO (Originally posted to my first blog)

I haven't been playing WoW much recently because I have a new addiction: Star Trek Online. Picking out characters, bridge officers, ships, etc. and then customizing them to fit my idea of coolness = AWESOME!! All those complaints about mismatched armor in WoW? Not a problem in STO. Of course the game has issues, but from what I have read, and continue to witness, WoW started out with many flaws that have been fixed and or replaced with new flaws even to this day.

My biggest current complaint is the incredible amount of spearphishing emails I am getting since I converted my WoW accounts to battle.net, which requires the use of my email address as my login. The authenticator has made my account more secure, but left my email open to SPAM. Just today I received a spearphishing attack into my inbox, and two were caught by the spam filter. None of that happened before November of 2009 when Blizzard forced everyone to convert.

Whew!! This was not supposed to be a rant. I am excited for Cataclysm to come out; the graphics, the new game mechanics (talents), and new content are all shaping up to be great. Right now I need to get promoted to captain, then admiral.

First Post for STO

OK after reading MMO Gamer Chick's Blog, I decided to start this one to complement my blog about WoW: Rowanblaze saves Azeroth. What got me off my ass was GeeCee's entries about her character and crew on STO. So my version will be forthcoming.

In case you have no idea about my blog title, it's a reference to the most poetic (IMHO) Start Trek episode title ever: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"