Sunday, March 7, 2010

Eating Crow

Sometimes you just gotta eat crow.  And in this case its about Star Trek Online.  It finally got to a point where I've had to abandon leveling my Science Officer because of mistakes I've made in assigning him skill points.  Being that my SO was my first character in the game, I was bound to screw up a bit, but I thought that the mistakes wouldn't amount to much.  I was wrong.  So my SO is on the back burner until Cryptic allows for a respec.  The unfortunate cause of this is due to the lack of clarity Cryptic provides for skilling up your characters.  You have to go at it backward.  There is a Character Builder website that I found which is a Java application that allows you to plan out what ship, what skills, and what Bridge Officer abilities you want to have for your character when he reaches the rank of Admiral.  And really and truly, you need to do this before you start assigning skill points to your character in game.  Cryptic should have something like this inside the game itself...but I digress.  But here's part of the problem, unless you have a very firm grasp on:
  1. What abilities you want from your Bridge Officers, and
  2. What those abilities do exactly
then you're kinda up the creek without a paddle.  So you have to play to find out what abilities you like, and then you have to create a new character to get things working  the way you want.  Not the best tack, in my opinion.

Now, in addition to the Character Builder there is a STO Ship Chart which you need to look at to determine what kind of ship you want to be in as an Admiral.  It has a bearing on your Bridge Officer ability choices because the different ships allow for different numbers and ranks of Science, Engineering, and Tactical Bridge Officers.  And yes, the ship chart is still under construction - but its the most complete one out there.


So, having put my SO on hiatus, I've been leveling my Engineering Officer with great aplomb. I have to comment at this point that there are some significant differences between the SO and the EO.  As a SO the shields on my ships were frankly amazing.  I never felt like I was toast unless I was being swarmed by more than eight enemy craft.  My shields recharged at such a stupidly fast rate, only the most powerful, or the highest quantity of simultaneous attacks would penetrate my shields and decimate the paper-thin hull of my ship.  As an EO, my shields are no where near as strong or as quickly regenerative, however the strength of my ship's hull is vastly increased.  The power of the weapons systems between the two officer classes is almost negligible, but I feel the SO is slightly ahead of the EO in weapons' power output.

Alas for my hubris, I was unable to maintain my initial character through to either Admiral or the first respec available, whichever came first.

On a side note, I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who played on a Buddy Key I emailed him for STO and we were comparing notes about STO vs WoW; primarily about the whole WoW gear score/achievement score fiasco that I mentioned in a previous post.  And there isn't any of that in STO.  First, there is no gear score in STO, but after that, you can have multiple players with the exact same gear on their ships.  The difference comes from class abilities and from all of the different Bridge Officer abilities and how the player chooses to play.  Some people are naturally more aggressive, while others are more defensive.  And some are a bit of both.


Now to touch on something I posted about recently.  As a GM, the hardest thing I've ever had to do is to discipline a player in any way.  I don't like confrontation, and despite the reputation that GMs have, I don't like to crush the will and creative spirit of my players.  But you get to a point where something has to be said to a player for the good of everyone involved, including that player.  As my girlfriend said to me over the week when I was discussing the issue with her, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

As of yet, I have not heard anything back from my problem player.  At this point I don't expect to.  However the looming issue will come this Thursday - we both play in the 4E game.  And if he does show up to play (which was only a maybe before all this went down between him and me) and if he chooses to discuss the issue about my game that night I'll try to explain to him that its not a personal attack.  Despite all the issues I have with him as a GM, I can still be his friend and play along side him.  But I cannot be his GM, it just doesn't work.

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