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29th October 2017

Did some work behind the scenes of the game blog page so that the game filters now work much better.

30th June 2017

A couple of months back I found loads of old notes about all the old Epic Space Marine games we played, starting from back when I was in high school. I thought it would be a good idea to type them all up as best I could, and upload them all. While I was at it, I also converted the Epic-S and 40K battle reports from their PDF state to HTML, and they can be found on the Warhammer 40K page.

16th May 2017

Finally got my pointing pictures up and into the Vault. Don't ask me why.

Latest Blog Entry

Bloody Hearts & Wine Stones

Computer Games Blog

This is where you can read any of my irregular wafflings about computer gaming. The whole point of this blog is to help motivate me to properly finish games, whether they be recent ones or older ones I played when I was younger that I never managed to beat.

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25th July 2016 - Star Trek Online Update

After giving Star Wars another go it was only fair to give Star Trek the same treatment, and I reinstalled STO. Initially, I had no intention of playing this again at all, as I was only interested in seeing what they had changed when they redesigned the galaxy map. As it turns out, I was very disappointed with the map, as it's still not all in one piece, though it is vastly improved over the original sector blocks.
What got me sticking around for a while was finding out that they had added a bunch of new missions for players who were 50+. A huge problem with this game when I played it last was the lack of content when they raised the level cap from 50 to 60, but with the new missions I was hoping things had changed.

It always takes me a while when I come back to this game to get my head around things, as it is quite different to other MMORPGs. It didn't help that in these intervening months they had completely changed the skill trees and I had to learn what was going on with that to get Macan and his crew back into action. In addition, something strange had also happened to several of my ships, and their appearances had been reset. Gone were their cool dark blue patterns to be replaced by the dull, plain Federation standard. Bums.

Once I was up to speed I was off to the Delta Quadrant and plugging away at the missions. This time, I was able to go through all of the Delta missions, and the Iconian missions, and was able to hit level 60. I think a good chunk of that also came from doing daily quests, red alerts, and other rep quests as I was trying to get some better gear and extra traits. Without those extra missions, I think I would have probably stalled around level 57 or 58.

The game is mostly still the same, that being a huge buggy mess. And it's such a shame, because if this was completely fixed it would be a decent game. In just a couple of weeks play I had my away team officers getting stuck on terrain, lots of server timeouts, graphics bugs, and quests failing to continue or complete. The ground combat is still shockingly bad, and a complete janky pile of crap. But space combat is really interesting, even if I still don't know what's fully happening.
At times when playing it, I was wondering whether to subscribe for a month and then work towards getting a better ship, but overall I don't really think it's worth much more of my time. Also, a lot of the new ships look pretty crap, and not very Trek-like at all. Some seem to be from the future, some from different timelines altogether, and some are from other species that just seem weird mixed in with the classic Federation, Klingon or Romulan ships I'm used to. And I really wouldn't want to spend good money on any of those.

Seriously? They haven't fixed this shit yet?

Seriously? They haven't fixed this shit yet?

Evil Changeling doing some Dhalsim shit

Evil Changeling doing some Dhalsim shit

Another evil Changeling trying to grope Karynna's boobs

Another evil Changeling trying to grope Karynna's boobs

The Kaloris gets hit with some proton beam thing

The Kaloris gets hit with some proton beam thing

Macan and Vaadwaur villain strut their funky stuff

Macan and Vaadwaur villain strut their funky stuff

There's some serious Alien stuff going on right now

There's some serious Alien stuff going on right now

Hanging out with the Voyager crew

Hanging out with the Voyager crew

A huge three-way scrap breaks out

A huge three-way scrap breaks out

Kinda nippy in here

Kinda nippy in here

Can't be all that elite if Macan can punch it into submission

Can't be all that elite if Macan can punch it into submission

This guy stands on his chair to give me orders

This guy stands on his chair to give me orders

Neelix hides

Neelix hides

Now, now, ladies. Settle down.

Now, now, ladies. Settle down.

Yay, we're awesome. Kinda.

Yay, we're awesome. Kinda.

This happens way too often

This happens way too often

Giving T'Ket a bit of a shock

Giving T'Ket a bit of a shock

Nog is still tiny it seems, though not as tiny as Jade.

Nog is still tiny it seems, though not as tiny as Jade.

This Klingon has stolen Yoda's hover chair

This Klingon has stolen Yoda's hover chair

Anyone up for some basketball?

Anyone up for some basketball?

This is not how you carry a wounded ally

This is not how you carry a wounded ally

9th February 2015 - What Did They Do To STO?

I recently found out there had been a free expansion to Star Trek Online last year that added areas from the Delta Quadrant and raised the level cap from 50 to 60. I hadn't played the game for a good 18 months, so I thought it would be good to re-install and just go through the new missions. I'm kind of wishing I hadn't bothered.

I got a bad feeling when I went to install it as it seemed the game needed a new launcher from Perfect World called Arc. Now I absolutely fucking hate that there are all these pointless launchers like Steam, Origin and Uplay, and I've never used any of them. I was very glad to find in the forums that the old standalone installer still worked. I also really didn't want to use Arc after finding out it installs spyware into your browser. How can they get away with that shit?

Upon logging in I was met with a host of changes, most of which I did not appreciate. For a start, they have completely changed the crafting system in game, and everybody's crafting skill had been set back to 0. I don't disagree with the fact that the old crafting system was shit, but to reset everbody's skill levels is a dick move, especially when I was at max skill level before.
What makes it worse is that they have also removed the old daily exploration missions, which were the missions where most of the crafting materials were gathered. So if I wanted to get my crafting up again I would have to hope to find resources while doing episodes and other dailies. I quickly decided to ignore the new crafting system.

How much ZEN?

How much ZEN?

Back when I first started to play STO I don't remember there being any reputation grinds like there are in games such as World Of Warcraft. Maybe there were high level rep grinds that I didn't see, but I don't think so. Fast forward to 18 months ago during my last stint in the game, and a few rep grinds had started to appear, and I think I was first introduced to them in the New Romulus missions. Unsurprisingly, I did my best to ignore them. But now there's a whole list of factions that you have to grind rep with. And yes, I mean it when I say you have to, as due to the changes to the skills and traits system, many skills and traits are unlocked by increasing your standing with those factions.
In an even shadier move, some traits do not unlock unless you have the new tier 6 ships, or upgrade certain tier 5 ships, both of which can only be done by spending real money. Back in the past, the game did not really feel pay-to-win, as the ships you could buy with real money had only tiny advantages over the ships you could get for free. But now, with a whole new tier of vessel and extra unlockable traits, players who pay will surely have a clear advantage over those that do not. And payment in this game is a huge problem.
Look, I get it. The game is free to play, and they need to make money somehow. But just take a look at the prices for the tier 6 ships: they all cost 3000 ZEN. Now ZEN is the game currency you have to buy with real money, and it works out at $1 for 100 ZEN. In America therefore, it would cost $30 to buy a tier 6 ship. In the UK, at current exchange rates, this should work out at around £19.70 for a tier 6 ship. This is fucking expensive on its own, but because Perfect World are a bunch of dicks, we get even more screwed. Because we're in the EU, it only lets us buy ZEN using Euros, not pounds. Also the EU store only allows you to buy ZEN in set amounts, but get this: it does not show you how much ZEN you will receive for each amount of Euros. As it is highly unlikely that 20 Euros would get 3000 ZEN, for me to buy a tier 6 ship I would have to pay 45 Euros which is over £33, which itself is over $50, nearly twice as much as it should be.
I quickly decided I would not be giving this game any money.

In my few days back playing it the very typical STO bugs that used to plague me were still very much evident. Even after all this time they have not fixed the simple things. It just shows you how little the people that work on the game actually care. I had server disconnects, lag and rubber-banding, my ship and some NPCs turned invisible a couple of times, and I even had to re-do missions when they did not give me the option to complete even though I had done all the tasks.

But even all the problems above do not stack up to the enormous problem that has been introduced with the expansion: the clear and obvious lack of content.
I didn't realise the problem was so bad when I first started to play again, as there were a few missions I never did that were new to the game 18 months ago when I last played. So to start things off I went and did all those. Then I had a few missions in another new-ish area called the Solanae Dyson Sphere which I went through as well. So when I got round to starting the Delta Quadrant missions, I had already gone up a level or two.
Warning bells went off when I was near the end of level 53 and the game would not let me pick up the next mission as it required me to be level 54. I had to go and grind dailies and other annoying tasks to get me to the next level. Then it would only let me do the next two missions before telling me I needed to be level 55 to pick up the next one. Those two missions on their own were not even enough to get me half way through level 54, and I did not fancy the grind to the next level as it would have taken me hours if not days. Looking down the list of missions it looked like the grind to get to the next level and be able to pick up the next missions would have gotten worse and worse, so I decided to just forget it and leave the game once more.
What kind of shoddy expansion is it when the new missions themselves are not enough to help you level up? No other MMO would get away with such a dire lack of content. I know World Of Warcraft is huge and has a lot more resources, but in that game each new expansion gave you enough content that you could probably reach the top level twice over. There is just no excuse for STO to be so empty.

And so, for very probably the last time, here are some pictures from my adventures as a Starfleet captain:

Beware the giant alien jizz-bombs!

Beware the giant alien jizz-bombs!

Earth Spacedock gets destroyed...

Earth Spacedock gets destroyed...

...and rebuilt

...and rebuilt

Spanking some Vaadwaur ass with Seven Of Nine

Spanking some Vaadwaur ass with Seven Of Nine

Seven fits in quite well with my away team

Seven fits in quite well with my away team

The Kaloris heads to the battle

The Kaloris heads to the battle

The Arquina in a large battle

The Arquina in a large battle

There is supposed to be a Ferengi here according to the dialogue

There is supposed to be a Ferengi here according to the dialogue

I see they still haven't fixed the vanishing arm problem with the mining event

I see they still haven't fixed the vanishing arm problem with the mining event

And here are all the ships I unlocked throughout my journey:

U.S.S. Yasui, Light Cruiser

U.S.S. Yasui, Light Cruiser

U.S.S. Turzo, Danube Class Runabout

U.S.S. Turzo, Danube Class Runabout

U.S.S. Terrinak, Escort

U.S.S. Terrinak, Escort

U.S.S. Distor, Heavy Escort

U.S.S. Distor, Heavy Escort

U.S.S. Sydor, Support Cruiser

U.S.S. Sydor, Support Cruiser

U.S.S. Codan, Long Range Science Vessel

U.S.S. Codan, Long Range Science Vessel

U.S.S. Kreethen, Star Cruiser

U.S.S. Kreethen, Star Cruiser

U.S.S. Arquina, Reconnaissance Science Vessel

U.S.S. Arquina, Reconnaissance Science Vessel

U.S.S. Kaloris, Odyssey Star Cruiser

U.S.S. Kaloris, Odyssey Star Cruiser

And for the sake of completion, I've just written bios for my officers that were missing them.

The other bios can be found here

Gaila

Gaila E'phelyth
Aenar, born in 2383. The quiet and caring Gaila was the clear and obvious candidate when Macan and his crew were looking to recruit a new chief medic. One of the few Aenar to join Starfleet, she was a very fast learner in the healing arts. The skills she has learned at Starfleet complement her telepathic abilities, which help her heal the psychological damage some soldiers can sustain. As a staunch pacifist, she was initially unsure whether she wished to travel on a starship because of the front line action they can see. But she found herself swayed by a personal appeal by Meiden. She has proven to be very easy to talk to and very trustworthy, fitting in well with the rest of the team.
She is the chief medical officer and ship's counselor.

Xenia

Xenia Koza
Human, born in 2380. The gregarious and more than a little cocky Xenia is the latest addition to Macan's engineering team. A warp core specialist, she has quickly become the person Nine trusts the most to keep the ship moving and at maximum efficiency. She can be headstrong and stubborn sometimes, which would maybe rub people up the wrong way if she was not so friendly and polite. When not on duty, she can usually be found encouraging other crew members to join her on the holodeck for either lounging around on the beach, or partying hard in a very loud club.
She is an engineering officer.

Jeff

Jeff
Breen, unknown birth date. Very little is known about the very mysterious and private Jeff. Intently focused on stopping his fellow Breen from attacking and imprisoning the Deferi, the warrior asked to travel with Macan's crew as the Arquina travelled through the Orellius sector. At the end of that crisis, he accepted an offer to join the crew, and his abilities and combat prowess have been invaluable in many situations since then. Despite his help and vigilant nature, he never answers questions about his past, or his motivations, leading some among the crew to wonder what he wants or if he is really trustworthy. Most believe he truly wants to help keep the peace and is going about it the only way he is comfortable.
He is a tactical officer.

17th June 2013 - Forward Momentum

Where things have been moving forward a bit are on Star Trek Online, where I've joined a fleet at last: The Liberty Task Force. Things have been going well so far, but there's no doubt the game is an absolute grind fest. This is even more true in a fleet than in solo play. Hey, MMOs, right?

Vizna puts her opponent on his ass

Vizna puts her opponent on his ass

That's one tiny woman

That's one tiny woman

Mining for the Fjords

Mining for the Fjords

Arrrggh, where's my arm?

Arrrggh, where's my arm?

Fire phasers!

Fire phasers!

Glass floors. Bad news for acrophobes.

Glass floors. Bad news for acrophobes.

Fleet flagship the USS Liberty attempts to eat the Arquina

Fleet flagship the USS Liberty attempts to eat the Arquina

Dirty Macan, probably thinking about sex on the beach

Dirty Macan, probably thinking about sex on the beach

All hell breaks loose as we defend our Starbase from the Orions

All hell breaks loose as we defend our Starbase from the Orions

I've also just bought more games in the form of old classic Duke Nukem 3D, and sequel to another game I've barely touched yet Witcher 2. I'm not sure why. It's unlikely at this stage that I'll ever get around to them. Hopefully I can shake LoL's grip and get working on something else.

25th May 2013 - Boldy Going Where I've Been Before

It's been nearly a year since I last engaged my warp engines and travelled the various quadrants of the galaxy in STO, but I thought it was time to have a few more adventures in it. Learning the game again has been a bit awkward, especially as I never really knew fully how to play it before. It's helped that my bro has also joined to give it an evaluation. He's created the pretty beasty looking Damascuss, who has already been promoted from the U.S.S. Ess to the U.S.S. SlipperyNipple. Travelling around with him has helped me pick up the basics again, and also let me get some use out of my own early ships like the U.S.S. Yasui and the U.S.S. Terrinak.

Sitting down often proves problematic for Macan's officers

Sitting down often proves problematic for Macan's officers

Arrrrrrrgggggh, bright light!

Arrrrrrrgggggh, bright light!

Macan's first mission back on duty is to go back in time and rescue the Enterprise C

Macan's first mission back on duty is to go back in time and rescue the Enterprise C

Macan is lost as usual

Macan is lost as usual

Macan is so brave that even balloon starships do not scare him

Macan is so brave that even balloon starships do not scare him

JIK joins the game as engineer Damascuss

JIK joins the game as engineer Damascuss

The Ess and the Yasui get stuck in

The Ess and the Yasui get stuck in

Nobody is impressed as Damascuss boogies on down

Nobody is impressed as Damascuss boogies on down

The Terrinak and the SlipperyNipple

The Terrinak and the SlipperyNipple

So we meet again. Do you have my bananas yet?

So we meet again. Do you have my bananas yet?

Who farted?

Who farted?

 

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