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 …

Tedium

There are moments where STO is extremely enjoyable and I find myself thinking that I’ll be in for the long haul. Then there are moments where STO falls apart for me and I struggle to keep going and find the motivation to log back in. But I am committed to giving STO a fair shake, so until something happens that is utterly game breaking for me, I’m all in … at least for another month.

So I’ll start with the bad and work my way towards the good.

I had my first taste of a ground fleet action (Ice Mining) which at first seemed like a lot of fun. It was great to run around with other captains without fear of poor AI pulling groups accidentally and being able to exercise crude strategies against the plethora of AI controlled Klingon enemies. Achieving the first and second mission objectives was easy enough, but by the time we faced a third objective things started to fall apart and I decided that I had enough.

Probably the largest issue that faced me was the endurance to tackle each tedious task after another. It wouldn’t have been as bad if the respawn rate of the Klingon AI mobs been a bit slower. It wasn’t so bad in the beginning because the first objective targets were close to your spawn location, but once you made it to the third objective this became a brick-wall. Any death at that point pretty much meant re-clearing all of the mobs to get back to where you were.

So yes, to say that I did not enjoy my first ground fleet action would be somewhat of an understatement. I’ll have to give another ground fleet action a chance, but I don’t have much faith that any ground fleet action will be able to sway my opinion on them.

Another oddity that I discovered that gave me pause came in a deep space encounter I joined in the Regulus sector. I don’t think I meant to join the encounter, (I was four beers in and just travelling to Memory Alpha, I think) but when I first joined, the Gorn ships were a -5 con to me. “I’ll cut through these guys like a hot knife through butter” I thought to myself until I saw an escort fly into a group and get vaporized.

At first I thought this escort was vaporized because of his stupidity for flying directly into a group without his big cruiser buddy to get that initial volley of disruptors and torpedoes. I thought this as I nonchalantly flew in and proceeded to get vaporized as well. WTF?

After I respawned I was able to ascertain what had occurred; I flew into a group of Gorn that were a +27 con to me. I’m not sure how it happened, but the deep space encounter had gone from a -5 con to +27. The only thing I can think of was that a Federation admiral had joined the encounter and caused the enemy ships to adjust accordingly.

I’m hoping the enemy level change was merely a bug and not a design decision on Cryptic’s part. Having enemies go from level 7 (I’m Lt.Commander 2nd grade) to level 39 in a beginning sector deep space encounter on account of a level 40+ player joining is a horrible idea. I really hope it was bug. I really really hope it was.

While there are still plenty of bugs in STO, there is one thing Cryptic put into the game that I am having a hard time understanding the implementation of. I am of course speaking of the Exchange, or in other words, the auction house. Simply put the Exchange is a disaster. Why in the world did Cryptic think it would be okay to implement an auction house without allowing you to sort the items based on price, quantity or name? I’m sorry Cryptic, but you need to improve the Exchange as soon as possible. Sure it might be functional, but it is a nightmare to use effectively.

The beginning of a 20 min epic battle.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten my gripes out of the way, let me move onto a moment I had that gave much pleasure: epic space battles.

Let me set this up …

It was your standard deep space encounter with 4 other captains; a mix of cruisers and escorts. We were cutting swathes through the enemies as a group until the fateful moment where an escort and I zigged where everyone else zagged.

As usual, the escort felt cocky and flew into a group ahead of me which consisted of a battleship, a couple of cruisers and a handful of frigates. Needless to say the escort didn’t stand much of a chance and was swatted down in a matter of seconds. My attempt to save said escort obviously proved fruitless, but I did manage to gain the attention of the group and thusly began my own epic encounter.

It wouldn’t have been quite as epic had I not mistakenly flown close enough to another group of ships with a similar composition. When I noticed what had happened, it was already too late and I began burning cold-downs just to stay up and pray for help.

Unfortunately that help did not come until I managed to aggro a third group. I somehow managed to limp away from the epic 20 minute fight-for-my-life battle with my hull sitting at a precarious 4% integrity. I managed to take down a number of smaller ships, but it wasn’t until the cavalry arrived that the larger ships started to fall.

So let this be a lesson: always be aware of your surroundings so that you don’t accidentally flee into another group. Taking on multiple groups of ships can be very hazardous to the well-being of your crew ^^;

I’ll conclude with the admission that I’ve been meaning to blog more frequently about my STO exploits. Between continuing Comcast HSI issues and real life responsibilities opportunities to blog have been few and far between. Hopefully I’ll get more opportunities to blog more frequently, but at the very least I’ll try to blog once a week.

Until next time.