First Thoughts of Star Trek Online

I pre-purchased STO because I knew it was one of those MMOs that in spite of the previews and revires, both professional and amatuer, was one which I wold have to try for myself.  Recently people’s thoughts of it have been discussed on my guild’s forums.  I posted the following to that topic…

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I Would’ve Sucked as a Sub Commander.

During this past Christmas Steam had a massive sale on video games.  Among other things I picked up a package deal that included Silent Hunter 3, Silent Hunter 4 and an expansion pack to Silent Hunter 4.  I’ve been sticking to SH4 in a Porpoise class sub based out of Pearl Harbor.  Mainly because I am used to SH3 where the player can upgrade boats later on.  I always like running a few patrols in the older boats and earning a newer one at a later date.

First couple of patrols were no problem.  Mostly uneventful runs though one patrol I did bag a pair of merchants.  Then, shortly after the events of Midway, I pulled a patrol in the China sea.  Topped off at Midway (the Porpoise in game cannot make it that far from Pearl Harbor) and started the long trek across the Pacific at 10 knots just to conserve fuel.

1 night out from Midway the radar officer picks up several warships closing from the south.  I take the sub underwater and let them close on my position.  It’s a Japanese task force, 2 DDs, 1 CA and 1 heavy CA.  The DDs and CA pass me by but I end up with a perfect shot on the trailing heavy CA.  1500 yards, nearly 90 degrees off his starboard.  I fire all 4 forward tubes.  2 torpedos run under his hull.  I had set them to contact so, wiff and wiff.  3rd was a dud.  4th hits him in the rear quarter.  Severe listing but he’s still able to crank it up to 23 knots (5 faster than my boat can do on the surface) and get away.  I slink off before the DDs can come back to trounce me.

2 nights later I get another batch of ships coming from the north.  4 escorts with a 5th ship in the middle of a diamond formation.  That’s got to be something juicy!  So I get my sub in position, drop to parascope depth and let the formation run right over me.  The 4 escorts are all DDs, the 5th ship is a troop transport heading for Guadalcanal.  Not only that but again, set up the perfect shot.  Less than 1500 yards, 90 degrees off his port.  Set the torpedos for contact and just shy of his draft.  Fire all 4 forward torpedos again.  All 4 sail right under his hull.

I didn’t even slink off that time.  I just quit out.  I’m going to redo that patrol or maybe start out with a boat that has a little more legs to it than a pre-war sub.  But it’s clear I need to rethink my torpedo tactics.

Massively Forgotten Features – Exemplaring

To be honest I cannot believe I haven’t mentioned sooner.  It was introduced in City of Heroes and is called Exemplaring or Reverse Sidekicking.  Both terms are tied in to CoH’s penchant for naming features with a comic book flair.

Sidekicking in in CoH is when a higher level character teams up with a lower level character and, in the process, boosts the lower level character’s effect level up to near that of the higher of the two.  It is so named after some of the famous duos in comicdom such as Batman and Robin with Robin being the sidekick.

This is a good idea but, really, not exceptionally needed since higher level characters could just tag along on the missions the lower level character has.  However there is a problem with that.  The absolute boredom of fighting in missions which pose no challenge to the higher level character.  That is why the reverse, Exemplaring, is the forgotten feature.

Exemplaring is when a high level character has their effective fighting capabilities lower to those of the lower level character.  This allows them to complete the missions of the lower-level chracter in a manner that is challenging and thus fun.

In all my years of playing MMOs the most prevailant impediment to effective grouping has been the snooze-fest low level content is to high level characters.  I have had lots of people who were willing to help me clear out a few quests if only they weren’t so overpowered it was no fun for them to do it.  If the challenge was there, if they could shrug their uber power for the sake of fun, I (and many others) would find group content while levelling up far more accessable and fun.

City of Heroes introduced the concept shortly after its release in 2004.  Since then I believe the only other games which have followed suit have been Everquest 2 and the soon-to-be released Star Trek Online.  Neither of those are surprising as EQ2 prompted another MFF entry and STO is being developed by the same company that made CoH.

We’re Still Here…

I just wanted to point out to the prudes of America who blame all the ills on all things not bubbled wrapped for the children (or those who bleat the phrase “for the children”) on TV that it has been one year since Kathy Griffin said “dicks” on TV.  America did not spiral down to become a wretched hive of scum and villiany.  Seriously, with a year between then and now does it really seem like that big of a deal?  Nope.  That’s why when it happens you just need to suck it up.  It isn’t the end of the world as evidenced by this shocking (yawn) incident.

BTW, CNN, you’re still around, too.  You still need to grow a pair.