Failure

I had been planning on updating my blog for the past couple of days, but things got in the way as they usually do. Those pesky things! Ce la vie. I suppose my failure to update the blog is fitting considering the subject matter that this entry will mainly cover, failure. Don’t worry this won’t be an entry full of QQ, it’s just that things haven’t gone quite the way I had imagined for the past week.

What else has failed you or have you failed to do?

I had aspirations to get my toon in STO promoted to Commander but I came up wildly short. I did manage to make it Lt.Commander 8th grade, but between finishing Darksiders and then proceeding to pick up Mass Effect 2, my motivation to log in to STO disappeared. Before I move on, I first must give Vigil games a big Thank You!” for satisfying my craving for a Zelda’esque game. Darksiders was an incredible game and I am really looking forward to what Vigil puts out in the future, especially Darksiders 2.

Wait, when did I beam down to Zangarmarsh?

However that wasn’t all that kept me away from STO this past week. There was plenty of beer consumption while watching the Olympics in HD. You may wonder why I decided to qualify the watching of the Olympics in high definition, so let me explain. Up until about a week ago I had plenty of HD programming available to me, but after a visit from a Comcast tech to diagnose my HSI issues, he switched the connections at the house to give my cable modem a better signal. In the process the signal strength to my television in the living room dropped to where I couldn’t get NBC in HD anymore.

Fortunately this was only a temporary problem because he also put in a request to pull a new line to the house from the street to eliminate approximately 120 ft of coaxial cable to greatly reduce the signal degradation. For some strange reason the cable connections were on the opposite side of the house from the circuit box which meant running a cable along the exterior of the house to ground it at the circuit box and then back again. Once the new line was finally hooked up to the house all was good.

But let’s move onto something you might actually care about …

I did sneak some STO time in during the past week as I’ve hinted at by mentioning my level progression. I’m in a strange place with STO, part of me really wants to keep going to get bigger and badder ships but I’m getting really sick of ground missions. Yes it might be QQ and I sound like a broken record, but I’m at the point where I just want /quit every time I’m prompted to select my away team. There just isn’t enough substance in ground combat to make it interesting and with the sheer amount of enemies you have to kill, I just don’t have enough patience to grind through it.

Oops! But I survived! Barely ^^;

While the majority of space missions are similar kill-taculars, there are interesting encounters scattered throughout to keep things from getting too stale. It also helps a ton that space combat is actually FUN which makes killing 245082 ships during a mission not a chore. Okay, there are times where it does feel somewhat like a chore, but satisfying chore nonetheless. When I faced off against the Doomsday Device I had an absolute blast.

Protip: Don’t try shooting more than one Hargh’Peng torpedo after the thing fires. You’ll just waste the second. If you do waste too many torpedos you can refill/recharge them at the destroyed planet’s core.

Contrasting the awesomeness of the Doomsday Device encounter is the Crystalline Entity. Yes, I trekked back in to snap pictures and hope to not be grouped with epic-fail captains. I’ll be blunt about this encounter, it fucking blows. The mechanics are simple enough, kite the shards until phase 2 (~30%)  and then avoid the large shards like the plague during phase 2. Inevitably someone always get hit by large shards and from what I’m to understand everyone then needs to burn down the small shards that spawn before they get back to the entity, healing it for a substantial amount.

An encounter full of epic-fail, usually.

Unfortunately these small shards still have a sizable amount of health, so taking them down quickly is nearly impossible unless people pay attention and switch their focus as soon as they spawn. So as inevitable as it is for someone to get hit by a large shard, the small shards go unhindered and suddenly the entity goes from ~28% to 40%, then 50%, 60% and occasionally back up to full if the group is particularly full of epic-fail.

After reaching phase 2 three different times within one encounter I gave up. This is just not an encounter that the majority of players are going to get on board with. Hell, it only takes a few special snowflakes to make this encounter nearly impossible. As such I don’t think I’m ever going to attempt it again, at least not until Cryptic gives us the ability to join the encounter as a fleet-raid. It’s just not fun fighting with other players on how to kill the damned thing; I got my fill of that in Alterfail Valley.

So as I stated, I’m starting to wane on STO. There’s still so much potential with the game that I haven’t completely lost hope yet, but I may stop playing for some time and give Cryptic a chance to remedy some of the issues that I have with the game … namely ground combat. They really need to give us diplomatic missions and one-off episodes that take place in the interior of your ship once they put ship interiors into the game. Even in a time of war there needs to be diplomacy and it needs to be weaved through the entirety of the leveling process.

At least the devs are listening to the player-base so there’s hope. I just hope that they’re listening but keeping true to their vision and the ideals of the Star Trek universe.

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Persistence

I think I recall stating that I was hoping to blog a little more frequently about my STO exploits. I also recall stating that I would give a ground fleet action another go. Well, what do you know … I’m about to kill two birds with one stone. ^^;

Yesterday I had an opportunity to participate in a couple of fleet actions. Fresh out-of-the-gate I stumbled into the Crystalline Entity fleet action. Unfortunately I forgot to snap some screenshots, but I’ll be making a return visit to snap some pictures and hopefully join a group that knows what they’re doing. Well to be fair I had no clue what I was doing, but the general banter in the zone was eerily reminiscent of battleground chat in WoW.

Needless to say there was zero direction and zero cooperation. We’d get the entity down to 96% or so and then magically it would heal back up to 100% and so went the vicious cycle until I decided to abandon the mission and try my luck later. I’ll have to look up some leet strats for tackling the entity and then hope the next group is a little more receptive to implementing the strategy.

After the fail-fleet at the Crystalline Entity I licked my wounds and ventured off to tackle some standard missions and make my way out to the Pi Canis sector block to take care of a mission I had out there. When I finally arrived at the Laurention system I discovered that I the mission I had in my log was a space fleet mission. Sweet!

The calm before the storm.

I forget what the name of the mission was exactly, but it dealt with stopping a Klingon scouting fleet in the Laurention system. As usual with most missions in the game, there were a number of objectives to accomplish in sequence which culminated in an epic battle against a Klingon flagship and its escorts which were a +3 con to me.

I almost bought the farm twice, but I managed to keep myself up and provided plenty of assistance during the battle. At the conclusion of the encounter I managed to place 5th on the damage meters and scored a Quantum Torpedo Launcher Mk III [CrtD] from one of escorts.

After I swapped out my fore photon torpedo launcher I quickly came to one conclusion: quantum torpedoes are freaking amazing! They travel faster, hit slightly harder than photon torpedoes and just look cooler. I’ve since replaced my aft photon torpedoes with quantum torpedoes and don’t foresee myself going back, ever.

As I previously stated, I said that I’d give another ground fleet action a try and hope for better results. Fortunately the Laurention system offered a ground fleet action mission in addition to the space mission, so I decided to give it a go …

Ice Mining?! Again?

I’m not sure how, but I managed to jump into the Ice Mining mission again. I’m pretty sure my first go at the mission came in the Eta Eridani sector block, but maybe this particular mission can be undertaken from multiple systems. Despite strong desires to immediately abandon the mission I conceded that I would give a ground fleet action another shot, so in I went and hoped for the best.

Initially things were chaotic, but eventually I managed to “group up” with a small group of captains and we managed to limp through the first two objectives to the brick-wall I had previously encountered a couple nights prior. After a complete wipe, the small group I was running with encountered another small group of captains and together we formed a small army.

Teamwork is a requirement for ground fleet actions.

As with all fleet actions in STO, when everyone groups up and works together objectives are accomplished relatively painlessly. Our small army cut through the waves of Klingons with little resistance. What few casualties we suffered were remedied by other captains resuscitating the fallen; teamwork at its finest.

It still took a long time to clear the outer-ring and disable 20 consoles, but we accomplished the third objective to only be met with a fourth.  Fortunately the fourth objective only required killing 100 Klingons (/wrists). In the end we proved victories and we raised our blood-wine in celebration of being free to do something else … anything else.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever voluntarily join another ground fleet action after my first two experiences with the mission type. Ice Mining is a horribly designed and executed mission which bored me to tears with how long it took. I am thankful that my second foray with the mission proved successful, but if I encounter another ground fleet action similar to Ice Mining, someone at Cryptic is going to pay.

Oh how they’ll pay …