Star Trek Online Preview – Open Beta

Posted by on January 25, 2010 - No Comments »

Star Trek Online LogoAs the open beta for Star Trek Online (STO) comes to an end, we reflect upon our experiences in this Star Trek Online preview. The player starts aboard a Federation starship and begins the game’s tutorial (voiced by Zachary Quinto). The tutorial summarizes the key points of the game mechanics, and introduces the story of how your character becomes the captain of a Federation ship. After the tutorial the player is free to follow the main storyline and partake in the game’s many side missions.

STO comprises mainly of space combat; somewhat similar to which can be experienced in Pirates of the Burning Sea (POTBS). Space combat is comparable to submarine warfare. The battles are not extremely fast paced and strategy plays key to victory. The ground combat is a bit more in-depth than POTBS; although, at times it too can be rather mundane. One of the most enjoyable aspects of ground combat is the ability to select your away team and to equip them with items and abilities such as you would in a RPG game. STO offers a large amount of customization. Not only is the player customizable, but also the bridge officers and the ship itself. This can include designing and customizing your ship, or changing the costumes and physical look of you and your bridge officers.

One of the notable aspects of the leveling system is the inclusion of skill points and rank. Each rank has 10 grades, such as Lieutenant – Grade 5. As you progress in rank, you obtain access to new ships, and as you progress in grade you will achieve new skill points to spend on yourself and your bridge officers. The skill point system adds variety to player builds, similar to what Star Wars Galaxies was pre-NGE.

The game allows you to play as two factions; the Federation or Klingons. The Federation side allows you to experience a pve storyline, as well as participating in pvp combat. The Klingon faction is more pvp oriented, and at the time of launch will not include much pve content. Klingon characters can level up primarily through participating in the pvp zones. Each faction allows for different race selection, and each race has particular traits associated with it. If you choose to do so, you can create your own race and select your own traits. Some races such as the Cardassians are not available as a playable race; however, you can still create the look of one using the custom race creator.

Klingon Montage Video

Star Trek Online includes plenty of lore and references for Star Trek fans. Leonard Nimoy provided the voice-over work for the different space sectors, and for some of the missions. Occasionally the missions are based upon the films or movies; such as The City on the Edge of Never which references the original series episode The City on the Edge of Forever. You do not have to be a die-hard Star Trek fan to enjoy this game, although that does add to the immersion.

Leonard Nimoy Narrates

Although the open beta has been met with mixed results, the game does fulfill its genre of MMO quite well. Additionally, Cryptic Studios has been impressively responsive to player feedback. While the game is not for everyone, it certainly offers a lot of content and immersion for Star Trek fans. Star Trek Online officially launches on February 2nd, 2010. May you play long and prosper.

Get Your In-Game Loot Codes

Posted by on January 25, 2010 - No Comments »

mmoc_fallen_earth_bannerI was doing some house cleaning the other day, and I came across a few items that I’ve decided to give away.  My WoW TCG loot code giveaway via Twitter worked pretty well, so I’ve decided to follow that model.  During the course of this week I will be giving away a few items from various trade shows that I’ve attended.

Any players of interested in some in-game exclusives for Warhammer Online or Fallen Earth should follow iTZKooPA to be notified of the giveaways shortly before they happen.  The items codes are first come, first serve, so get those fingers ready.  Please @iTZKooPA when you claim a prize so everyone knows.

Actually, I’ll start the giveaway right now to benefit the RSS subscribers.  Here’s a Fallen Earth code for Brass Goggles: 72B5-56D2-7CAF

A Most Unfortunate Encounter

Posted by on January 25, 2010 - No Comments »

darkfallI’ve had these Selentine Keys in my bank for quite a while now and have never seen a Selentine Chest (the lowest level “cool” chest) in which to use them. Recently, I found a nice spot, with an easily accessible chest and nothing more than Dire Zombies guarding it. Dire Zombies can still give me headaches, but if I play smart, I can handle three at a time without too much trouble. So, early one morning, I grabbed three keys and headed to the chest, hoping for my first taste of phat Darkfall loot.

The fighting at the chest location went pretty well. I killed the first wave of zombies and cleared the area as new ones spawned. The danger in a situation like this isn’t the mobs, it is the fact that lots of other players know a chest is out here too and thus you are very likely to be ambushed by a player-killer. Every 6-8 minutes, I would check the chest to see if it had refilled, fight a couple zombies, hide, heal, scan the horizon. About a half-hour of this and I had about 1000 gold in my backpack, an enchanted leather chest piece and two enchanted scale chest pieces.

This is good stuff… not great, but good (I have never owned scale armor, let alone enchanted scale), and the money alone was about 1/3 of my current bank balance. I decided to back off and recall to home, which was the nearby hamlet of Skarnibben. Unfortunately, as I sat there helpless, waiting for the recall spell to complete, a zombie wandered back to my hiding place and zapped me, cancelling the recall. I killed the zombie, but the damage was done. I would either have to wait for recall to become available again, or walk back to the town.

I am impatient, so I start the run back to Skarnibben. About 1/2 way there, clan chat lights up. There are reds at Skar killing the various harvesters there. I come over the hill and in the distance, I can see a blooming ball of fire and some other glows that indicate magic is being tossed around. I could charge in and fight… and most likely die and lose my precious new scale armor pieces. I could charge in and try to get to the bank, but I would likely be killed before getting everything banked. Ugh.

I decided to turn east and head for the nearest NPC town. Hopefully, I could get there without running into anyone. So, I sprint and keep to the mountains, rushing to get back to the safety of a guard tower. About 2/3 of the way back, I clamor down a mountainside and fall a bit, taking some damage. I pull my staff and fire a heal as a reflex, but as I look around, I sure wish I hadn’t, because there, no more than 25 yards from me, are the two gankers who were wiping people in Skar. One is on a drake and the other is off, heading for a nearby chaos chest. I hesitate and start to back away, hoping they hadn’t seen me…

But they heard the heal and I don’t get out of sight quickly enough. I run, but there is no chance and I am bitten to death by the drake. Very disappointing.

Mistakes & Lessons Learned

There was no excuse for my recall being interrupted by a zombie– This was my first mistake. If I am going to “back off an recall to home”, then I should have backed off. I just ducked around a corner and thought I was safe to recall, but I could easily have backed off an additional 50 yards and ensured the completion of the spell. Had I recalled, I would have been involved in the fight at Skarnibben, but I would have had ample time to bank all of the goods I wanted to keep.

Use all the information the game has for you – At some point, I should have known the bad guys were headed out of Skarnibben, because the ClanKills tab went quiet. If the bad guys are killing and re-killing everyone at the bindstone, a steady stream of kill messages will appear on that tab and when that stopped, I should have known that Skarnibben was safe. Had I turned around and walked to Skar, or recalled again, I would have been counting my noob loot at the bank.

Stop rushing every so often — Had I not been in such a hurry to get to town, I might not have sprinted down the hill and I might have been able to see the reds before they saw me. Instead of sprinting down the hillside, perhaps a few moments of crouch walking was in order. Slowing down and being aware of my surroundings would have allowed me to avoid the reds.

When in doubt, be aggressive — Finally, when I saw that I had landed on top of these two player-killers, I should not have hesitated. I was not going to outrun them, and the chance of them not spotting me was small. I played scared and thus had no chance of surviving. Had I been a little more on the ball, I should have charged. One of the reds was off his mount heading for a chaos chest. Had I charged past him, I might have stolen his mount which would have given me a much better chance to escape to the safety of the watchtowers… and would have made for a much better story.

Star Trek Online Vigilant Class Ship

Posted by on January 23, 2010 - No Comments »

Vigilant Class Ship

Vigilant Class Ship

Today Atari released details regarding the Star Trek Online Vigilant class ship. The tier-4 tactical escort is based off the designs of the Defiant class ship seen during the Dominion War. The ship is designed for front-line attack and is configurable for massive, single-target strikes or multi-target volleys. The Vigilant also features dual phaser coils, improved torpedo guidance systems, dual-ablative armor, and can be outfitted with tetryon, plasma or polaron weapons. This ship can be obtained at the rank of captain. Star Trek Online launches on Febraury 2nd, 2010.

The Vigilant is designed for one thing: combat. It has limited space for crew and no quarters designed for families or guests, a feature that is standard on Starfleet vessels assigned to long explorations.

Hellgate: London Returning To North America/Europe

Posted by on January 22, 2010 - No Comments »

mmoc_hellgate_londonAfter the collapse of Flagship Studios in late 2008, the company’s pseudo-MMOG Hellgate: London had its servers shutdown by Namco-Bandai in February 2009.  HanbitSoft, the game’s Korean publisher, continued to run the game in Korea under the free-to-play model, later purchasing the intellectual property outright.

Shortly after the acquisition, HanbitSoft rechristened the title with an apt name, Hellgate: Resurrection, and promised to re-launch the title internationally.  HanbitSoft itself was then purchased by T3 Entertainment, who assured players that the game would still be returning.  Going so far as to promise its own development power to create an expansion, Hellgate: Tokyo.

Now you’re caught up on the situation of Bill Roper’s gig before Champions Online.

/me wipes brow

HanbitSoft announced a few days ago that Hellgate: Resurrection is still coming to North America, Europe and Japan, but a release in China and Southeast Asia are the first targets.  Hellgate: Resurrection continues to be F2P in Korea, and it’s likely that the game will remain that way for its upcoming re-releases.

In case you are wondering, HanbitSoft also owns Mythos, Flagship Studios’ other project.

Star Trek Online Beta Patch Released

Posted by on January 22, 2010 - No Comments »

Star Trek Online features a new user-interface.

Star Trek Online features a new user-interface.

Today Cryptic Studios released a much anticipated beta patch for Star Trek Online. The patch has addressed over 150 issues and updates, with mission bugs being summarized simply as fixed for nearly every mission. The most notable change is the removal of level restrictions. Players can now reach the level of admiral and fully experience the game as intended. Players will also notice an improved user interface and map system. Cryptic still lists 24 known issues and states that they are working to address those soon. Star Trek Online open-beta will run through January 26th, with a launch date of February 2nd.

Bethesda MMO Details Leaked

Posted by on January 22, 2010 - 7 Comments »

Elder Scrolls may soon be experienced online.

Elder Scrolls may soon be experienced online.

Recent court transcripts between Bethesda and Interplay were uncovered recently by Duck and Cover, and reveal that Bethesda is likely working on an Elder Scrolls MMORPG. Bethesda filed to have the public transcripts rescinded; however, it seems the cat is already out of the bag. What is not known is the actual intellectual property being used for the MMO in development. The court transcripts state that the MMO in question is not of the Fallout franchise. What is known is that Zenimax Media, parent company of Bethesda, has opened an MMO division. Given the large success of the Elder Scrolls franchise, it is within reason to speculate that Bethesda would invest in such an MMO.

Global Agenda Has Arrived

Posted by on January 21, 2010 - No Comments »

 Global Agenda doesn’t actually launch until the beginning of February, but I received a nice treat in the mail the other week, the Limited Edition.  It’s not because I am some well known blogger, on a special list, or friendly with the developer.  The reason I received the game nearly two weeks before the servers go live is just because Hi-Rez Studios is smart.

Hi-Rez has spearheaded a multitude of issues by delivering the game to players early – I am not the only one to have the game in hand.  The most obvious is that the arrival of the game itself, and all of the extras included within, will create a bit of (hopefully positive) media buzz ahead of the official release.  That’s something all video games would enjoy.  The inclusion of beta access in the box only adds to this.  While waiting for the live servers I’ve taken the opportunity to get a handful of hours in with each character class.  Sure, I could have done that as part of the beta that’s been running, but I didn’t bother until the game was in hand for some reason.

Speaking of the beta process, I think it’s safe to assume that the developer is watching who’s in the beta, who’s a pre-orderer and who went from beta to having a purchased copy.  By doing so the company could estimate how many players are signing up for the game, as opposed to being beta participants.  Thus extrapolating what kind of server load can be expected on February 1, 2010.  Hopefully this negates any over or underpopulated server issues that can decimate a game’s launch.

Being ready for that fateful day may be the best perk of all.  By having the game already installed, patched and ready to go, everyone should be on the same playing field.  No shipping delays, missed UPS delivery persons or other shenanigans to force your friends to leave you behind, never to catch up.

/me cleans his gun, readies his jetback and polishes his mines in anticipation.

It’d be nice to see other MMOG getting in our hands a few days early, don’t you think?