Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Playable Factions Poll

Cryptic has a new poll out on the forums. You'll need to log in to vote, and the deadline is Saturday, 1 May, around midday in the U.S.; although I think the result was a forgone conclusion. (I know: short notice, sorry.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Offline Leveling on Age of Conan

Adventurer Historian and MMO Gamer Chick have both alerted me and/or opined on Funcom's recent implementation of offline leveling. Here's my perspective as a brand new inhabitant of Hyboria.

*For other Players: Max level players who have no clue how to play their role.

*For Funcom: Players who are "easily bored" getting to the max level, becoming bored and not playing, canceling subscription, etc.

*For Funcom: Players disgusted with the new policy canceling their subscriptions out of spite.

*For the Player: The chance to more quickly level an alt, bypassing certain grinds, if you're already a veteran player with at least one max level main character.

*The chance to catch up with your friends if you're a newcomer to the game or a more "casual" player.

*The chance to gain a little advantage and kill that mob or finish that quest sooner, because you picked a low DPS but otherwise valuable class (tanks and healers).

*The chance to enjoy more content because this is the third online game you are subscribing to. (Because let's face it, otherwise Funcom might not even get those potential subscribers, or retain them for long.)

*The chance to level and keep up with friends even if you are not a pimply faced fourteen-year-old kid (what are you doing playing this rated-M-for-mature game anyway, where are your parents?) and actually have a job and a life, and therefore limited time to play any game. (see above)

OK, I rag on teenagers a lot because I find that they (and some immature college kids) don't understand that adults may also be interested playing in the game, but do not have time, nor interest, to be "hardcore" PvPers, raiders, etc. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that most hardcore players, the ones that look down on so-called casual players, fit that demographic. I personally consider myself a hardcore casual player. I am online a lot, but certainly not as much as some, given my RL responsibilities. On the other hand, I am a hardcore "loremaster." I know much more than the average player about the backstory in WoW and Star Trek, and I nerd-rage over people who refer to Malygos as female or Onyxia as male. But I do not care if I have the greatest gear score, nor would I spend hundreds of gold to get a couple more points of spell-power.

Hopefully, Dear Reader, you have read enough of my blog entries to know that Content and Story are of paramount importance to me. The journey to the max level is as important, if not more so, as end-game content. I have repeatedly said to fellow players that if they are bypassing content/quests and grinding/racing to the top, they are playing the wrong game, and wasting their money every month. I had a friend who was a hardcore raider on WoW prior to the the release of the Burning Crusade. He told me the game didn't even start until you hit the end-game content. I disagree. Of course, he quit the day TBC came out. The thing is, he also described the experience of hardcore 40-man raids as long bouts of boredom punctuated by minutes of adrenaline. Even though I am now running Ice Crown Citadel (the current end-game raid dungeon in WOW) with my guild, I hardly consider it more enjoyable than having the game story unfold as I explored Azeroth and Outland. Other than logging on in order to raid and do the occasional daily, I honestly hardly play. There is no story left. I like going through the storyline on STO and AoC. When I hit the max level, I may either curtail my playtime or (more likely) start an alt.

Having said all that, I understand that there are times when the content is thin at certain levels and it may be better to "skip" a level or two in order to properly enjoy the story Funcom has prepared for me. This actually reminds me of my own thoughts of a few days ago and the discussion started by Tipa. What is more important, experiencing the story of Hyboria or killing a few extra mobs in order to level?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Age of Conan: Welcome to Tortage

This was going to be an awesome introduction to my new character, Chamomile, a former galley slave who gets shipwrecked off of the Isle of Tortage.
Chami (still working on a nickname, because Chamomile is kinda long) is an Aquilonian Priest of Mitra, currently level six. She has no memory of her life before the shipwreck, but is discovering an ability to heal herself and her friends and smite her enemies through the power of faith.
I like the spell animations. I took a lot of screenshots from the beginning, only to discover that, unlike STO and WoW, Funcom in their infinite wisdom decided to key bind the screenshots to F11. Couple of quick shots of things and here we are.

I am feeling uninspired as far as cleverness. But I do want to say that I have enjoyed the beginning quests. The world seems different enough from WoW to keep my interest, as opposed to LOTRO, which was different from and yet the same as WoW in all the wrong ways, IMHO.
I feel the need to say here that I loved reading the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, and watching the Peter Jackson films. OTOH I have not read any of the Conan books, nor really seen the movies. Now that I think about it, I had no preconceived notions of WoW, not having played any of the Warcraft RTS games. So the element of discovery about a world may contribute to my enjoyment of the game. Of course, that theory is shot to hell by my enjoyment of Star Trek Online, a universe about which I have considerable knowledge. Meh, I don't know. More later, I promise.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

One Minor Annoyance

There is one thing, OK two things, I wish Cryptic would fix about Bridge/Spacedock.

1. Fix the chairs. I shouldn't have to fiddle with my position for 5 minutes in order to look right while seated. In WoW, you click on the chair and the game seats you. Granted there is little variation at that point. But I'd like to have my cake and eat it, too.

2. Fix the camera please. This may only apply to a few of us who take a lot of screenshots. But it would be nice to take a picture from the floor. This situation is made worse when my Captains are seated, because the camera stays trained on where their heads would be if they were standing. Along that line, a full first person view would be nice; but I guess I am spoiled by WOW, AoC, and even LOTRO allowing for FP views. It would make taking screenshots of interesting things a lot easier without my Captain's big noggin in the way.

Levels vs. Experience

 This is a response I wrote as a comment on my STO Fleet's "Editor-in-chief" Tipa's West Karana blog:

I remember talking to a friend about an alternative progression scheme where XP would be used to "purchase" skills and attributes (SA), with no real class distinctions limiting which SA are available, nor a particular level system other than the amount of XP spent (hello STO). He didn't think it would be practical, as the choices would be too complex, and people would be frustrated by the system; or that people would still define SA a la "Elitist Jerks" and pigeonhole "classes" or roles. I never played Tabula Rasa, but the leveling system seemed kind of like this, from what I read; where you started with a generic soldier character and specialized as you went.

What we are really talking about is a system that reflects reality in terms of the way we think we train in real life. Expertise is important. You wouldn't expect a peewee soccer player to make it in the World Cup. River rapids, cliff faces, and ski runs are rated for the expertise required to navigate them successfully. Of course, a game is compressed in almost every way, including the time it takes to become an "expert." But is leveling not the way we train in real life? Martial arts have a colored belt system, where participants demonstrate certain skills and are certified to have achieved a higher level. We have levels in school all the way from kindergarten to twelfth grade (in the U.S.) and then levels in college (albeit only slightly less regimented). I like the way WoW refers to the levels as "seasons of adventure," at least in the letter you get in-game when you hit 80.

Of course, I know my own skills as a player are much improved from when I first started playing WoW about four years ago. It takes much less time to level a lowbie toon than when I first played my hunter in June of 2006. And thankfully, this understanding of game mechanics translates to new games to one degree or another. The question then becomes: how do we make the leveling process less repetitive and more like true experience? And perhaps just  as important especially in our STO fleet: how do we get characters of different level playing together so that each player has a meaningful experience in the encounters?

StC3: Pyrrhic Victory

The deck heaved again.

A power surge ripped along the starboard side of the bridge shorting out Sera's weapons console and frying the ship systems engineering console, which exploded in Ensign Jackson's face. Ginny bolted across the bridge to the unconsious officer, even as the ship's fire suppression system activated, flooding that side of the bridge in halon gas.

The doctor hit her commbadge, "Medical team to the bridge. Bring burn kits and a stretcher."

The voice of the ship's computer rang out, "WARNING: Hull integrity is below sixty percent."

Sera had moved to an auxiliary console on port side of the bridge. "Captain, firing control reports severe damage to the rear disruptor banks. Forward banks at eighty-four percent. Cannons and torpedoes nominal."

"See if you can jam their targeting sensors. Witko, move us out of the immediate battle zone. Open a channel to the Laibok." The comms telltale chimed. "Locke to Mullins."

"Mullins here."

"Can you take some of the heat for us while we get into position?"

"You got it. Prepare your attack run."

"Witko, bring us about. Sera, do you have the torpedoes ready?"

"Aye, sir. Target locked. High yield ready for your mark."

"Soften them up. Fire rapid cannons."

Red Cloud screamed at the Borg scout, whose shields finally buckled. "Fire torpedoes!"

The scout disintegrated, throwing debris in Red Cloud's path. Her captain called out, "Brace for impact!" And the little ship rocked again.


Lieutenant Murphy, who had taken over for Ginny at the science console, responded, "Ajax has destroyed the other probe, sir. However, a partially active cube is now approaching the Bonaventure and T'Pol."

"Thank you, lieutenant." Locke hit his commbadge, "Locke to Blish, We've lost the engineering console up here, and one of your engineers is injured. How're you holding up down there?"

Blish answered, "We have partial impulse, but the warp engines were pretty beat up. We're venting plasma. I have a repair team on it."

"We aren't through this yet. More hostiles are incoming. I need to be able to move."

"Understood, I'll do what I can."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Shout Out to My German Friends

I just got done looking at a version of my story "Hunting the Hunters" in German. I have no idea of the quality of the translation. It was done by Google, and I don't speak more than a few words of German myself. I was led there while reviewing the stats on my account with Statcounter.com, which indicated that my story had been linked on a search page from Germany. I thought it was pretty cool. Though the person was probably looking for information on the STO quest "Hunting the Hunters," which I was not aware existed when I wrote my vignette, I hope he or she enjoyed my tale.

Anyway, it was really cool to see my own words and blog layout represented in a foreign language.

How I Role

After a long, fruitless night (my daughter needed to go to the emergency room, but they found nothing wrong) and a day recovering and setting up a couple initial pages (the pages listed underneath the blog header), I am ready to throw my two cents into the the blog discussion started by MMOGamerChick, and also touched on by Adventure Historian and Amuntoth. EDIT: CaptainRuz put forth his perspective, as well.

So here are my discernible character trends:
1. I am an altoholic.
I am addicted to "The Glow." I have 30 characters on WoW, 3 captains on STO, and I started 3 characters on LOTRO although that was  mainly to try out the different mechanics. I guess that's why I have so many toons on WoW, as well. This can be a good thing. My main on WoW, Rowanblaze, is the fourth character I roled. I don't know if I would have continued playing the game if I had been stuck with one character. Plus, Blizzard kind of encourages multiple alts with the "rested" bonus, where you get more XP per kill when you haven't played the character for a while. I never really play most of the toons I've started, but I am attached to them nonetheless.

2. Most of my avatars are attractive females. Those that aren't are "cool."
I know there are opinions about men rolling female RP characters. The friend who hooked me on WoW always played male characters because "that's me having that adventure." OK, I didn't know you were a 3-foot gnome who can shoot fire from your fingers. I may not be the first guy to say it, but I never heard anyone else before I did: I would prefer to follow around a female than a male. I didn't realize that preference would call my sexuality into question.

I do have male characters, but for the most part I didn't like the male avatars in WOW, which is the game I've played for far longer than any other online game. Some notable exceptions, in the "cool" category: Tauren males, troll males, and dwarf males. I thought it was interesting that the dwarves in LOTRO could only be males.

Along that line, Locke is the first avatar that I even tried to actually make to resemble me in real life.

3. I have a definite, if subtle, naming convention. Almost all my characters have a plant as part of their name. OK This is obviously an intentional thing. Some of the names I've come up with are pretty clever if I do say so myself. A few examples:

-Poppyshock, a Draenai Shaman, is one of my favorites, and my Twitter handle.

-Hazel Wingnut is named for an herb reputed to be used by witches.

-Pawpaw Mojo (a male) is named for a banana-like fruit grown in the southeast United States.
-Rowanblaze and Rowan Starblanket are named for a tree sacred to the Celtic druidic religion. Ironically, I think "Rowanblaze" is a little stilted, definitely not my favorite name, yet she is my main on WoW.

Notable exception: Donovan Taggart Locke. I couldn't come up with a good in-universe plant name for a human male after using "Rowan" for my first STO toon.

4. I prefer healers.
My two main characters on WOW and STO--the aforementioned Rowans--are both healers. I have played a ton of toons on WoW. I like the survivability of being able to heal myself in the middle of a fight. And other people appreciate someone willing to perform in that support roll.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ship Interiors Poll

OK all you STO captains. Take a minute to vote in Cryptic's latest STO Poll. It will close on the afternoon of 23 April 2010, and you'll need to log in. I read a few of the user comments, and it stayed pretty civil, from what I could tell.

Which player ship interior customization option is most important to you?
  • Floor Plan – the layout of my hallways and rooms
  • Mood – the lighting and textures of my interior
  • Authenticity – my engine room is modeled after the Sovereign Engine Room
  • Uniform – my non-bridge crew members wear this uniform by default
  • Functionality – is more critical to me than what it looks like

Saturday, April 17, 2010

StC2: Battle of Ker'rat


Captain's Log, Stardate 87830.12: On orders from Starfleet Command, we have arrived in Ker'rat System near the Klingon Neutral Zone.

The Red Cloud came out of warp, the swirling non-colors of subspace giving way to the familiar stars of the galaxy.  Donovan Locke was in sitting at the Helm, personally guiding the ship as was his wont.  A hailing chime rang out across the bridge.

"Sir, the Bonaventure is hailing us. Captain Thrax."

Thank you, Mister Sera."  Locke responded to his Tactical Officer, as he arose from the flight control station. His second officer, Lieutenant Witko, moved quickly to replace him.  "Put him onscreen."

The screen flickered from the starfield to the bridge of the task force flagship, and the face of her Captain.

"Commander Locke, Welcome to the Ker'rat system.  You were the most distant ship, so we are ready to begin the operation.  You will have noted the presence of the Borg vessels in the asteroid belt.  We are to investigate their activity and shut it down before any Klingons arrive in the system.  As soon as your ship reaches escort position we'll move closer to the Borg."

"Acknowledged, sir. Red Cloud out."

Locke sighed as he took his proper place in the Captain's chair.  "Mister Witko, take us in."

"Aye, sir."

The turbolift doors swooshed open and the ship's surgeon, Dr. Ginevra Locke, emerged.  Locke looked over his shoulder and winked at his wife.

"Sickbay is ready.  Dr. Kijembe has it covered for now."

"Great. Thanks, Hon.  Locke to Engineering. Status, Jimmy."

Chief Engineer Blish's voice crackled over the intercom.  "All systems are nominal, Captain."

"Thank you, Chief.  All hands: yellow alert."

The Red Cloud slipped into formation with the rest of the task force, on the port flank.  A total of seven starships now faced the Borg facility.

Locke turned to his tactical officer.  "Sera, inform the Bonaventure we are in position and ready."

"Aye, sir."  She paused, then said, "Captain Thrax is hailing the fleet."


Bonaventure's Saurian commander reappeared.  "Wayfarer, move in to ascertain the Borg's purpose in this system.  Ajax and Red Cloud, you will provide escort coverage to Wayfarer, while the Bonaventure, T'Pol, Occitan , and Laibok maintain perimeter security."

Locke joined his "Acknowledged" to the chorus and terminated the transmission.

"Witko," Locke addressed his first officer and helmsman.  "Move in slightly ahead of the Wayfarer and prepare to draw fire if needed."

"Aye, sir."

"Ahead one quarter impulse."  The Jem'Hadar officer moved to comply.  Locke sat back in the command chair and fidgeted.

The three starships approached the closest, typically large, Borg structure.  It dwarfed the cube that hovered nearby.  The Wayfarer increased its speed to one-half impulse and maneuvered into a flyby scan of the structure.

Lieutenant Commander Starblanket's voice came over the open channel.

"Wayfarer to Bonaventure.  Captain Thrax, the structure appears to be a repair facility.  There is a cube on the opposite side that is non functional and moderately damaged.  We are also detecting possible Klingon contacts in the system, but the Borg emissions are making it difficult to be sure."

"This is Thrax.  We need to disable that repair facility, and destroy the Borg technology before the Klingons can exploit it. Ascertain the shield frequencies around the Borg hubs."

"Acknowledged."  The Wayfarer scanned the hub again.

Sera piped up from the tactical console.  "Captain, I have detected several Borg signatures coming this way.  They appear to be scout spheres."

"Relay your data to the Bonaventure and open a channel to Wayfarer."  The telltale chimed.  "Locke to Starblanket, we have incoming hostiles."

A slight delay, then, "Understood.  We need a few more minutes to assess the frequency pattern from the encryption nodes."

"We may not have a few minutes, hurry.  Locke out.  Witko, put us between Wayfarer and those spheres.  Red Alert!"

The Ajax and the Red Cloud moved to intercept, joined by the cruiser, Laibok.  The spheres accelerated toward the formation and opened fire.
"Evasive. Open fire!"

Sera let fly destruction at the Borg spheres, as Witko took action to avoid the response.  Not entirely successful, as the tremors which rocked the Red Cloud indicated.


"A glancing shot on our starboard shields, sir.  They are down to 90 percent and holding."

Locke looked at Sera incredulously.  "That was a glancing blow?"

"Affirmative, sir."

"Attack pattern Alpha.  Prepare the quantum torpedoes."

The bridge rocked again.  "Shields at 78 percent.  The lead sphere's facing shield has collapsed."

"Fire torpedoes!"

The Red Cloud delivered its deadly payload at the Borg sphere as the Ajax followed suit.  The sphere broke apart, no longer a threat, but there were two more to contend with.

"Wayfarer to fleet.  Transmitting shield algorithms now."

"Thrax to fleet.  We and the T'Pol will destroy the repair hulks.  Keep those spheres off us."

"Occitan to Bonaventure.  Some of those cubes are not as defunct as we thought."

Another blow to the Red Cloud sent Lock an inch off his chair.

"Evasive pattern Delta-Five, Mister Witko."

The Red Cloud's port shield buckled, and the Borg cutting beam ripped into her side.

Ensign Jackson, the bridge engineer, replied, "Hull breech on decks nine though thirteen, starboard, forcefields holding. Structural integrity at 70 percent."

"Dammit, keep us out of their fire!"  Locke shouted.  "Sera, ready another photon spread.  Witko, bring us around."

The deck heaved again.

New Ships for Locke

Captain's Personal Log, Stardate 87882.64: Admiral Quinn has given myself and my crew an unusual assignment. Along with my promotion to Commander, I have been given command of the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Massasoit. During the mission brief we received during the transition, the admiral informed me that we would be receiving a secondary assignment aboard the U.S.S. Black Hawk for occasional missions requiring dedicated firepower and a more agile profile. The escort will be pre-positioned at Starbase 39 in the Sierra Sector and maintained by a skeleton crew. The current shortage of qualified starship commanders has necessitated the unusual dual assignment. I am interested to see how the two ships perform in the shakedown cruises later this week.
The U.S.S. Massasoit (NCC-91632) is named after the great chief of the Wampanoag Confederacy that befriended the Pilgrims of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 17th century.

Dedication: "Ense petit placidam sub libertate qvietem" The official motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A Latin phrase which means, "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty." 
The Massasoit is a Heavy Cruiser, Dakota Class, with a Stargazer secondary hull and Cheyenne style pylons, and a mixed paint scheme in red and black. I have unintentionally given both my cruisers name-titles of Native American chiefs who were at least somewhat friendly with the British colonists, while the escorts were named after warchiefs who fought against the U.S. expansion.

The U.S.S. Black Hawk (NCC-91767) was named for a Warchief of the Sauk who fought on the side of the British in the War of 1812 and again opposed the Americans in what history remembers as the Black Hawk War.

Dedication: "In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind." Napoleon Bonaparte
The Black Hawk is a Heavy Escort, Akira class, with an Oslo catamaran hull and Zephyr nacelles, painted with the Sagittarius scheme in red and black.

I have actually played with both ships and understand a little more about having many Boffs. A lot of players use dedicated away teams, which I never got other than perhaps an RP reason, because the space abilities have no influence on the ground abilities, and vice versa. Suddenly, with two ships, the extra Boffs make sense. Witko has cannon skills that are great on the escort, but useless on the cruiser. So I use Sera in the ensign spot on the escort for her high-yield torp skill and the only tactical spot (lewey) on the cruiser, where her fire-at-will beam skill is of more value. Interestingly, as you may know if you play STO, all the Boffs are present on every bridge, regardless of their roll in the bridge assignments tab.

The Massasoit turns like the Titanic with a broken rudder, but I don't mind because the extra weapons and durability of the cruiser make it more than a match for the encounters I have had so far. The Black Hawk seemed a little squishy at first, but I think I got overzealous, and so she does much better now. I have two consoles on the Massasoit dedicated to turning ability and one on the Black Hawk, which leads to interesting effects. The escort seems to skid around a bit in battle. The issue I had with keeping weapons on target in the Red Cloud is not a problem on the Black Hawk, helped of course by the extra weapon slot in back.

STO Costumes on Picasa

Ah the joys of sharing out your creations. As you may know, Dear Reader, the "skins" of your captains and bridge officers in STO can be saved at the tailor screen. These files are kept as .jpg files in the "Screenshots" subfolder where your game client is stored on your computer. They can also be shared and used by other players, as long as the target character is the same species and gender as the original (at least as I understand it).

At the request of my fleetmate @Longasc, I have posted the skins of my characters on Picasa Web. The bridge officers are included with only their short names. I keep a consistent uniform scheme, so it should be easy to tell which officers belong with each captain as I add more to the gallery.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Prurient Load Effects

OK, so I noticed this little artifact of the graphic loading process the other night coming out of the tailor screen on STO. Rock it, my sexy Vulcan.

In the Clutches of the Nefarious Longash

Starfleet OpSec Bulletin, PI CANIS Sector Block:
Be on the alert.
Klingons take no prisoners. At least, the Federation used to think so. Recently the privateer Longash has abducting Starfleet officers and forcing them to tour his bridge. We have been unable to ascertain his motives at this time. Until further notice, take heightened personnel security precautions during away missions and station stopovers.

Thanks for the tour @Longasc.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

That's Commander Lo-- What? She beat me to it?

So Sunday was spent getting Locke to Commander:
And in front of the UFP banner.
Ship pics to come.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sojourner: Battle Near Icari

Captain's Log, Stardate 87877.66: Enroute to the Ra'kholh System, we received a distress call from the U.S.S. Monmouth, under attack by a mixed squadron of Romulan vessels. Though not strictly a combat vessel, Sojourner and her crew are equipped to bring considerable weaponry and advanced ship systems to bear in support of a deep space battle. We were joined in the battle by the escort U.S.S. Tirpitz, captained by Judon Ruz.

Upon approaching the beleaguered Monmouth, we detected six Romulan vessels: three birds-of-prey, two Mogai-class escorts and a D'deridex-class warbird.

Tirpitz ably provided cover fire, while we worked to weaken their defenses and contribute to the fight ourselves.  All three Starfleet vessels suffered damage, especially Monmouth. We destroyed the warbird, one escort, and two birds-of-prey, before the remaining two ships cloaked and warped away from the system.
I am noting commendations in the service records of my crew, particularly Lieutenant Commanders Ymiro Larrea and Shintarah zh'Rithsiria, for their actions coordinating the Science and Tactical departments during the encounter.

OOC: I was caught up in a deep space encounter (one of the more annoying things about traveling through the sector map) and noted that my fellow blogger and and fleetmate, captainruz, had joined me. So I snapped a couple pics for a vignette. There was another player in the encounter, but I didn't note the cruiser's name and made one up.

These Are the Voyages . . . of the U.S.S. Sojourner

U.S.S. Sojourner Captain's Log, Stardate 87876.30: Commander Rowan A. Starblanket reporting. [Rowan grinned at Tarah, who just rolled her eyes.] After several days at Starbase 1, we are finally underway in our new vessel. She's a lot bigger than Wayfarer, with four times the crew. I can only hope to lead them safely through our journeys. Sojourner is equipped with an advanced sensor system dominated by the globe array on our primary hull. Lieutenant Commander Ymiro and Lieutenant Torbin are enthusiastic about the opportunities they and the research staff (over half the crew) will have during our upcoming exploration of the Khazan Cluster.
The U.S.S Sojourner, NCC-94742 is a Research Science Vessel, Horizon Class, with a Hope Secondary Hull and Olympic Pylons and Nacelles, and a blue Corvus paint scheme. The name is a thematic cousin to Wayfarer.
Dedication: "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." Ferris Bueller's Day Off
I won't go into the specs here, but suffice it to say, that even though I think the design is a little odd, and there is no true explanation of the forcefield "saucer" section, I like the way the ship handles. She certainly seems faster in warp (sector) space, and her maneuverability in combat doesn't seem to have suffered for her size.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Old Laptop vs. New Laptop

I commented in another post how much better the graphics of STO are on my desktop vs my laptop. Now with my new laptop, it's even better, mostly with distant objects. Up close it's about the same. Anyhoo, I got shots from my old laptop and though I'd compare them.

I'll start with Blish, Locke's Chief Engineer. Realize, Dear Reader, that I made many initial appearance decisions half-blind. For example, I didn't realize what the slider next to the tattoo/scar dropdown did. Auzzie the Trill ended up with drastically raised spots that I had to fix.

Witko, Locke's Chief of Security, also looks much better on the new computer. Check out the backgound, as well. Same "location," the tailor screen.

Locke himself benefits from the heightened graphics. The old laptop didn't show a difference between the Heroic complexion and the Standard1 Complexion.

Rowan. Notice the difference in the uniform texture.

Shrel, one of Rowan's Andorians, shows the differences there.

Finally, though not a crewmember, Sulu was one of the drastic things I noticed. I hadn't realized how old he actually is supposed to be.


I have played Lord of the Rings Online a couple of times over the past week or so; and frankly, it's a bit disappointing. The graphics are great and I like the animations. The controls are a little off, in my opinion, especially since I use a trackball mouse for movement and sometimes the toon would keep moving even when I thought it should stop. I couldn't auto-engage enemies the way I do with WoW, and I even have a better time navigating STO. Ultimately, I just don't find the game-play engaging enough to continue. WoW (and STO to a lesser extent) drew me in, within a few minutes I was excited by the game, and within a couple of sessions, I was hooked. LOTRO, not so much. I can't explain better than that, given the level of interest I have right now. I just wanted to update anyone who is interested. I took few screenshots, but I will probably not return to Middle Earth anytime soon.

Starfleet Officers in Short Skirts!

Thanks to GeeCee and Beckett, I am now the proud owner of TOS Uniform options on STO. Rowan and Larrea are already decked out, but I'm thinking about the others. I am also debating whether to use the actual full uniforms for various reasons, I like the shiny "leather" outfits and the TOS stuff is cloth and not shiny. And I don't have a good reason RP wise for actual uniform colors and styles from the TOS era like Adventure Historian. Anyway, I should be in bed. I'll get better shots of Rowan and the others, but here's what I got for now.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Equipment Upgrade

From a gaming standpoint, my laptop wasn't cutting it, and my desktop is stretched to its limit, so it was time to get a new computer.

I am currently downloading WoW and the patches for STO, while watching a History Channel show about "How the States Got Their Shapes."

Monday, April 5, 2010

That's Commander Starblanket to You

Say hello to Starfleet's newest commander.
Rowan in her dress uniform.
Her mother would be proud, if Vulcans ever expressed pride.