Game Log: Pirate101, Star Trek Online

In the cellar of any tavern

It took a long time, too long, before it all connected: there was a reason Bonnie Anne kept wanting to meet me in the cellars of any tavern. I’d noticed before that its patrons were all companions, of course; what I didn’t realize until after I’d recruited Rat Commander Ratbeard that they were all of MY companions.

So there ya go. If you want to see your companions outside of battle, head down to the cellar of any tavern. Also, on your companions screen, look for an exclamation mark on their portrait. This means that they have a promotion quest available. Bonnie Anne got hers at level 8; Ratbeard was recruited with his already active at level 10. I haven’t gotten to promotion level on any of the others, but in a random group, I heard that once Subodai, the horse barbarian, is promoted, he is pretty powerful.

Promotion for Ratbeard and Bonnie Anne got them each two “epic” powers — passive abilities which make them more dangerous to be around.

I finished up most of the quests in the Skull Island area and have moved to Puerto Mico, just in time to the headstart to end and millions of new players to start playing. The harbor master in Puerto Mico wants me to upgrade my ship, but I was poking around a bit and saw that for a bit more gold and a couple more levels, I could buy the next class up from THAT ship, a full on galleon. Though it’s doubtful I could also afford the fittings, still, we’ll see how long I can stick with my current ship.

The couple random encounters I’ve had haven’t been hopeful. I spent some time raising my nautical level, but the Monquistador ships still give me a pounding. I might have to take that minor upgrade and then start squirreling money away for the galleon. Maybe the money will be better in this new zone. I remember in Wizard101, you literally could not spend all the gold you’d get. But that was at the end game, where things are different.

Star Trek Online

I’d heard on G+ that Cryptic was giving away some pretty cool ships for their 1000 Day subscriber veteran reward. I like cool ships! There’s been issues with the counting for my vet rewards, though, and I didn’t really know if I’d passed the 1000 day point by their reckoning. Turned out I hadn’t, but I was eligible for the 900 day vet rewards, which weren’t all that incredible, but did include a special ship texture.

So I flew my Nebula-class science ship, the Concord, to Earth Star Base, and saw the ships master about a paint job. There it is above. It’s not very distinctive, especially considering how ornate some of the standard paint jobs can be, but it’s nice enough in a subtle way.

I saw work was progressing on the fleet starbase, but I didn’t travel to it, nor did I do any of the missions Starfleet had waiting for me.

They must consider me a sort of rogue captain, sailing the stars deep in some far quadrant, answerable only to my own missions of exploration. Probably Captain Kirk is out there, somewhere, chasing me down.

I still don’t know why I stopped playing. I was working all my characters through the last featured story arc, and then I didn’t feel like logging in again. I like the game, I like flying through space, I love internet spaceships, the game just lost its pull. I hope I get it back. A game really just needs to be more fun than watching TV or reading a book.

But, unfortunately for MMOs, there’s been a lot of good books this year, and TV has managed to be worthwhile, several times a week.

When an MMO gets all grindy, it’s really, really easy to find something else more fun to do. Just saying.

STO: “Operation Gamma”, part 1.

I’ve been struggling to get through this comic. The only good joke I had was toward the end, and it was a slog getting through to that point. So, I’m going to just make a NEW comic that speeds through all this beginning stuff. Since it shouldn’t go to waste, here’s the prologue to part 2.

Star Trek Online: Enter the Vorta

Vorta Heerza Huo

I love MMOs. I love leveling in MMOs. Shepherding a character through her own unique path, growing in power and becoming more awesome — that’s what keeps me in a game. Once I’ve finished with the leveling, more often than not I’m done with the MMO. The max level grind can’t hold me. World of Warcraft, EverQuest, EQII, Rift, Wizard101 — once I hit the top, I was ready to move on.

What’s different about Star Trek Online? The customization, to be sure — you can build nearly any alien ever seen in the Star Trek universe, and mix and match the hundreds of parts to make your own unique creature.

My first character was a regular Andorian, though light-skinned so she might be an Aenar (who live in relationship with ethnic Andorians similar to ethnic Japanese with the Hokkaido Ainu). My second character was a Klingon — but not a modern Klingon. I went old school. I had pictures of the Klingons from the original series as models and went back to the 60s with my Klingon. Sometimes I see other old schoolers around…

My third character, standard Vulcan. She flew the “Star Trek Enterprise” version of the Enterprise, and unlike Enterprise’s T’pol, T’pral wore a uniform. She’s currently on detachment to the Bajoran militia for the duration of the Dominion crisis.

Heerza in happier times

In the center of that crisis is my fourth character, Heerza, a Vorta. Put in charge of a squadron of Alpha Jem’Hadar during the last days of the Dominion War, Heerza led many attacks against entrenched Alliance positions both on ground and in space, until finally crashing on an unexplored Class L planet. Though the ship was damaged beyond repair, Heerza and her surviving Jem’Hadar were able to rig stasis pods and survive until a Federation exploration ship discovered them while on a mapping mission.

Knowing that she faced certain euthanation should she return to the Gamma quadrant (her successor clone would certainly see to that), Heerza elected to stay in the Alpha quadrant, making a living as an adviser on Dominion affairs and staying below the radar, hoping not to attract the attention of her masters.

The return of the 2800 has changed all that forever. Now she must confront the Dominion and stop a war, even if it should cost her her life.

And that’s why I’m still with Star Trek Online, you see. It’s that rare, non-sandbox MMO where I can tell my own story.

Heerza's first ship

Also, seriously? Heerza’s first ship in the game was a refurbished Constitution-class starship, a sister to the Enterprise itself! Just can’t get cooler than that. Well, it would be cooler if Cryptic would let me buy a Dominion ship… Maybe someday.