I’m Thankful to be Playing STO

stoblog-2Hello and happy Thanksgiving to all in the US and other countries where this day marks an official day of Thanksgiving. Yes today is a day that Americans tend to consume large amounts of turkey and other assorted holiday foods, watch some football and hang out with family.

The holiday is really stemmed from a tradition of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest and the fruits of our labor. For those of us playing Star Trek Online, we can be thankful we get to play this fun game with an opportunity to immerse ourselves in an interactive Star Trek universe. Gene Roddenberry’s classic quasi-utopian expression of a plausible future for humanity is ours to explore.

I am also thankful that Cryptic finally added the Fleet Admiral rank insignia for us to proudly display on our uniforms. Yay!

Well, I do not intend to spend this entire blog post blathering on about food and holidays, but it is always a mentally healthy exercise to be thankful for what you have regardless of whether others have more.

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OK, last week I offered an opportunity to get free stuff! Rodanna hung out in the renovated Club 47, three times over last weekend trying to give away an awesome Mark XIV weapon. None of you showed up? That is the first time I have run a meet up event and had no takers. :(

OK enough about that. Beams or Cannons? Wow that is a loaded question and one that is sure to spark intense debate.

Beam weapons are often seen on big cruisers that have a difficult time turning and keeping weapons on target. A “beam boat” can effectively keep targets in a 360 degree arc constantly under fire. It can also be very good at targeting multiple enemies in a 360 arc. The problem with beam weapons is that the two primary tactical BOFF boosts for them are a little weak. Beam Overload provides a big, one time punch of up to eight times the “normal” weapon damage. Fire at Will is great for targeting multiple enemies but it fires randomly so you lose some tactical control. I have used beams effectively on smaller more agile ships such as the nimble science vessels and the Veteran reward destroyers. Typically if the ship can turn at 12 degrees per second base, then the dual beam banks up front can be useful. Dual beam banks hit real hard. Beams however don’t seem to do as much destruction as the cannon weapons. Honestly I am not sure if it is the BOFF abilities or my imagination.

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Cannons just seem to rip ships apart better. Maybe it is the rapid fire and scatter volley BOFF abilities with that awesome spray of “bullets” that makes it seem like such a badass way to dispatch your hapless foes. The single cannons have a little higher DPS than standard beam array weapons but suffer from a narrow firing arc of only 180 degrees to the beam array’s 270 arc. Dual cannons have a very narrow 45 degree arc and that means you better have them mounted on an escort.

I think it all depends on how you want to play the ship. If you want to have a major frontal assault with devastating DPS then cannons are probably your best bet on a Battle Cruiser, Escort or one of the more nimble Science ships. Big slow cruisers with sub-10 degree base turn rates are better suited to beam weapons. Heavy tank ships can use beam weapons to fire on a variety of ships anywhere within a 10km sphere and help draw fire away from escorts and science ships.

Sometimes when I am feeling extra lazy as opposed to my normal regular lazy ;) I like flying a big beam boat cruiser. I don’t have to really pay attention to the target location since I can hit it hard in any location. Sure when I am ready to unload to a finishing move of a torpedo spread, I need to get the ship into one of two 90 degree arcs, fore or aft. That is half the sphere! No problem. The lazy man’s ideal setup six beam array weapons and a torpedo launcher front and rear. I just sit back, suck down a frosty beverage and fire away :)

When I feel like I want to rage kill a bunch of enemies then it is cannons for sure. A hail of bullets followed by a pleasing fireworks show as the warp core explodes and the fools that dared to challenge me ponder existence in the next life… **snicker**. I know I am not alone on that ;)

Enjoy this fine Thanksgiving Day or this great miscelleneous Thursday, which ever suits your situation and be thankful you get to play Star Trek Online :)

Below are a few of Admiral Sager’s ships with a variety of beams and cannons.

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Club 47 is Back!

First, last week I posted a poll about the difficulty on the Advanced and Elite PVE missions. Here are the results so far. More than 90% of respondents think the Advanced/Elite PVE missions are at least a little too hard and over 60% think they are WAY too hard. Come on Cryptic, let’s dial those Advanced missions down a notch. Funny how there’s always that one guy… you know the guy that thinks he’s such a badass. The guy that marks “way too easy” on the poll ;)

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So many of you may have noticed a the extra patching that happened this week. Much of the new content appears to be around the reborn; Club 47. Yes the Federation’s home town nightspot has returned for your dancing, drinking and general after hours pleasure. The club is located between the transporter pad and the Infirmary on Earth Space Dock.

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Zog hangs out in Club 47

This weekend the Cryptic team is offering up a freebie as part of the Grand Opening Celebration of the “new” Club 47. Visit the club between now and Monday morning at 10am, and you can get the new Clubwear costume and a new dance move called “shuffle”. Both are absolutely free. Just go talk to Zog and you will see that the two items are currently “0” bars of latinum. After the weekend they will come at a price, probably a hefty one. This is an account wide freebie so there is no need to bring all of your toons.

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Rodanna in the new Club Wear

The new Clubwear offers up some really bright neon type colors and a variety of options to make your 25th century club experience as bright and unique as possible. Hey, it’s free, go get it!

The dance move is more complex than most of the dance moves I have seen. This one has several distinctive steps and you need to keep it active for at least a minute to really see the whole routine.

You can read more information here on the ArcGames page.

The club is definitely bigger than before and the bar is much better. The El Aurian is a nice touch.

Social zones are an important part of what makes an MMORPG different from a single player RPG. Interacting with the unpredictable “real” people can make the experience very unique and interesting. It can also be a real drag, but let’s focus on the positives, shall we?

I have decided to have another fun little exercise. The character shown in the photo with the new outfit is Admiral Rodanna. Regular readers of this blog may recall she was sporting a sexy yellow bikini during the Summer Festival on Risa and offered an opportunity for players to win prizes. Well, she is at it again my friends and during this weekend she will be hanging out in Club 47. Ask her to dance if she is on the floor or offer to buy her a drink if she is at the bar and earn a prize. She will make several appearances during this weekend’s freebie event so follow my twitter feed for announcements that Rodanna is at Club 47. @rodsager.

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Omega Force Ground Set is Pretty Boss

omega1I have been working on getting my top Romulan character up to level 60 since the launch of Delta Rising. She is currently sitting just a few skill points shy of level 57. One thing I noticed about her is that she was getting her ass handed to her by those hard-hitting and speedy Vaadwaur on the ground missions. The interesting thing about that of all my toons, Be’ina has the highest amount of skill points invested in ground abilities. Despite her superior skills in ground my other two top dog toons in the Federation and KDF fare better in Vaadwaur ground missions. Honestly I prefer the space side of STO, so most of my toons have 66k in ground and 300k in Space skill points. Be’ina however is the exception as she has 96,000 skill points invested in ground abilities. So why then are Vaadwaur having such an easy time dispatching her?

First of all it needs to be said; the Vaadwaur may be the toughest ground enemy STO has ever had. These guys move around and flank you from every angle and when you finally kill the last one, they all respawning again. I know Cryptic wanted to make them tough, but holy shit they are really badass!

So I figured that Be’ina needed some better ground gear. I forgot I had outfitted her with a bunch of miscellaneous dropped gear. That is no way to beat the toughest ground enemy in STO. So I decided to outfit her with the complete Omega Force Ground Set. I had to run a few Omega PVE missions to get the remaining marks needed to buy the set. Once I had the 1500 marks, I outfitted her with all three pieces. Of course I figured I better upgrade the whole shebang to Mark XIV. These Vaadwaur are menacing sons of bitches.

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Well I can safely say, that did the trick. The lizards of the Delta quadrant are still challenging, but now it is often Be’ina’s away team members lying unconscious rather than Be’ina herself. I like the Omega Force Ground Set. Once you have all three pieces you can get a tailor unlock for a custom costume. To get the unlock you run a reputation project and then visit a Tailor.

The Omega Force Set is a tough set that offers great general protection and a couple of solid usable set powers. Stealth boost and team buffs. It was originally designed to combat the Borg so it also has a feature that allows the player to instantly overcome Borg weapon adaption. Against the Vaadwaur it has been an effective agent. I do like the Omega Force Ground Set and I can say it is worth the effort to acquire.

Don’t forget to upgrade the equipment on your away team also. I had some of Be’ina’s key officers still sporting Mk VI gear! Oops!

On another issue. Have you guys noticed that Cryptic has made the Advanced PVE queues even tougher than the old “Elite” missions in the pre-Delta Rising days? Now we have Advanced and Elite. I have run about 20 Advanced PVE missions with random players selected from the lobby. I have yet to have a group successfully complete one of the missions. O for Twenty, are you kidding me? I really need to get my hands on some of those ancient power cells but the Advanced missions just seem to be damn near impossible. I find it hard to believe I have just been paired up with super-noobs in every single PVE queue. I rarely had a complete fail in the old Elite missions. I even ran some of the Omega Force PVEs and they have all been ripped up like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 80s! These are not even Elite, they are Advanced! I like a good challenge but this is a little ridiculous. I have a poll… of course I do…