saving the universe

Star Trek Online lasted 3 months, including the freebie. I’m not annoyed that I wasted money on the “digital deluxe” edition or even that  I wasted that particular chunk of gaming time. Cryptic, as an organization, clearly has a lot of work to do in their testing/design infrastructure before they can compete with the AAA crowd. Art? Top notch. Seriously. Look at my last post for reference. I LOVED flying around the universe in my Defiant. The “experience” of just tooling around in space with my gorgeous little ship was just plain nerdy fun.sto_no_face

The problem was that the Defiant is an escort-class ship. Escort ships, especially those flown by “tactical” captains were imbalanced. When they were putting the game together apparently no one thought the players would ever chain together every single buff/debuff they had for a full-speed alpha-strike. Cue the forum QQ and the inevitable nerfbat lashed out crippling virtually every aspect of the escort playbook. They attempted to offset these massive DPS changes by making escorts slightly more robust. So now you have tiny ships with crap shields, crap hulls and cannons that have about the same effectiveness as those  little party poppers you give the kids on the 4th. Cruiser captains (the new king shit invincible douchenozzles) rejoiced.

I’m not a PvP guy. Under the right conditions I have enjoyed it, but I don’t play games FOR the PvP, nor do I generally leave games because of PvP. Star Trek Online is unfortunately far too shallow of a game to disengage yourself from PvP or the effects of “balancing for PvP” have on the rest of the game. In WoW there are clearly abilities and class synergies that are designed to be used in PvP. They have limited or no effective use unless you’re trying to smite that fucking druid who keeps running around the damned pillar. While some would consider this a weak or inelegant design it does allow the balance team to tweak certain PvP configurations up/down without harming PvE viability and vice-versa.

STO ain’t got that. Almost every ability you have is multi-purpose. Of the slew of abilities I possessed as a Rank 9 captain (5 short of the cap) maybe 3 were “designed” for PvP or PvE and had no use outside of that bubble. Long story short – PvE was NOT fun after my cannons stopped hurting things. I logged out in disgust after a particularly brutal pasting in a mission and checked my account status. It was due to expire the next day.

Yoink!

I’ll try and get some pictures up, but that may be a trick as the folder they were housed in got destructificated. This just in: Dropbox is fucking awesome. I know, I know, you already knew it was awesome, but sometimes you have to reiterate!

Anywho, on to bigger and better things. Since then I’ve had some sort of mental health problem that renders me incapable of passing up a sale on Steam. I just finished my first Mass Effect 2 game – very nice.

reprint: Mr Angry Reviews Aion

Originally published @ Bite My Review on Oct 19, 2009

Prologue

Aion, for those of you living under a large, Tauren-shaped rock, is the latest MMO from NCsoft. Originally released in the Asian markets a year ago the North American launch begins with the expanded 1.5 release. Titled “Shadow of the Belaur” the birds-eye highlights are a significant boost in content from the original including 12 new instances, the Dredgion PvPvE battleground and an additional 10 levels tacked on to the cap.

In the interests of effective time-management (HA!) let me take a moment to point at the review score in the corner. I gave the game a five. Neither positive nor negative, but right in between. In the last week I’ve read more than a few Aion reviews and if I mash them all together I’m not sure they deliver a single nugget of useful information. Reviewers seem to be deathly afraid of actually talking about the game. They seem content to regurgitate press info or something they saw on Wikipedia, as if that could in any way assist a potential game-buyer in making an informed decision. If that’s what you’re looking for you can give this review a pass. My goal, dear reader, is to tell you about Aion. Launch Aion to be precise. Together we shall explore what is and what could be, the pitfalls and possibilities, so that in the end you will be more than capable of deciding if it’s worth 50 of your hard-earned simoleons. Continue reading

unplanned maintenance

Just a quick note for all you folks running WordPress blogs. There is apparently a hack in-the-wild that can lead to a site compromise. There’s no patch as of yet, but it does seem to be “under control” per some of the news I’ve seen.

Regardless, I wiped out 99% of the user accounts in the system as a precaution. Basically any username/mail address I didn’t immediately recognize as legit got the axe. If that included you and you are a human being with eye-holes and whatnot take heart that it was not an intentional slight. Just re-create your account and it’ll be right as rain.

While you’re at it, feel free to post a comment. Or don’t.

ghacks.net story * Trend Micro Coverage * Network Solutions * Christopher S Penn’s Coverage

I’m very curious as to what the infection vector for this is, as after 48 hours NO ONE seems the have a fucking clue – least of all WordPress. That in and of itself is curious, if a bit frightening. They are rarely at a loss for words when something like this comes up. The silence, as they say, is deafening.

edit:

It seems that WordPress is side-stepping the issue today with a general statement on file permissions. The implication is that the host screwed up and it has nothing to do with WP directly. But that doesn’t seem to fit given some of information out there. Are general users safe? Are they not safe? This kind of ambiguity absolutely KILLS me when I encounter it professionally. Accept blame if it’s due and fix the problem OR state emphatically that there is no problem. Either way the steps are easy:

  1. know
  2. tell your “customers” what you know
  3. profit

set phasers to grind

Yeah, so I’ve been playing STO quite a lotta little bit lately. It’s actually pretty fun once you learn to ignore the parts that, well, aren’t. Like crafting. Jesus H Christ on a crutch is the crafting bad.

More on STO later, maybe, but for now enjoy a couple vids I snapped in XFire. Yes, it’s only a LC1, I rerolled after discovering that Engineering is not my forte so fuck off, k?

This one is me flitting about a +1 Battleship. I failboated 2 attack runs in this video, but the result was still an easy kill. Much like WoW, you have to get to the Commander (or beyond) tier before fights start really becoming dangerous.

Here is me vs 3 gimp frigates. Zero challenge in this one but I still managed to failboat 1 attack pass by firing off a spread. Mentally I was going for the clump AE setup, but I used it from the wrong side of combat and only managed to hit 1 target. He took some damage, but it was a poor use of the combo.

I may cap more vids as time goes on. Obviously I’ll take time to make them good later so just consider this a proof-of-concept. The one is shot at “half” resolution and the other at full. I can’t really tell if there was a discernible FPS loss, so kudos to the XFire crew for the tech. Both were shot with full audio @ 25fps.

reprint: bite me, Aion

Originally published @ Bite My Review on Sep 15, 2009

First off let’s get the disclaimer out-of-the-way. I’m fairly new to Aion, having only participated in the last two closed beta events. These tests required a legacy invitation from an earlier event or a confirmed pre-order key. Based on my experience I can say that the closed environment was able to produce a superior quality of play and an honest feeling of cooperation among those involved. The players in the CB events genuinely seemed to care about making the game more fun and even *GASP* finding/fixing the odd bug or three. Never a question was uttered without a helpful response. Communications between players were limited to useful information or the occasional humorous quip. As one progressed into the adolescent/elder (read: PvP) game and associated zones discussions of strategy or attack alerts were the norm. Continue reading

needs more hamlin

The summer of 2009 was rather lackluster, despite being pretty damn profitable. What you say? You didn’t think the summer of Transformers 2, Half-Blood Prince, Wolverine, Star Trek, GI Joe and Terminator wasn’t amazing bomb-diggity mad-propz rooflecopters? In a word? No. Entertaining for certain, but nothing life-altering.

2010 seems to agree with me. I’ve already mentioned the Kick-Ass teaser, but the hits just keep on a-comin’.

I still have a VHS of the ’81 Clash of the Titans. The stop-motion campy mythological fun isn’t something I was overly excited about getting redone. Especially given the track record of Hollywood when it comes to “re-imaginings”. Some things were actually good the first time, kthx. Anywho, this looks good. Feast, my pretties!