Star Trek Online: Season 4’s Borg Invasion

With the release of Star Trek Online’s latest major update, season 4, we’ve seen the Borg receive a few changes; cosmetic updates, the ability to adapt to weapons and even assimilate players in ground combat. Soon the Borg will be invading sectors outside of Gamma Orionis; I was lucky enough to get a forum reply from Dstahl, a developer at Cryptic, detailing the four stage event that will take place across multiple maps and missions within Star Trek Online during season 4. Continue reading


WoW Patch 4.1: Rise of the Rehashed Content?

WoW Patch 4.1 has been released and I’m going to be testing it out on the last day of my WoW subscription! This will more than likely determine if I resub and dedicate some time to WoW or leave it be for a while longer. I don’t necessarily want to leave WoW but I’ve become somewhat bored with it’s content. I often find that I get bored of WoW after playing for a few months, end up leaving for a bit but returning. I’ve not been playing for the past two months or so and I’ve spent a lot of time playing other games such as Portal 2, Star Trek Online, Blizzard’s own StarCraft 2 and the closed beta for All Points Bulletin: Reloaded.

Patch 4.1 brings a fair few changes to the game as most patches do (patch notes here), but brings back two previous raids (Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman) as level 85 (tier 2) heroics. Whilst some new content is much appreciated I can’t help but feel I was playing this content mere months ago…I’d much rather be greeted with brand new dungeons instead of something I paid for a while back with level 85 based mobs and bosses surgically implanted in it. The upside to doing these dungeons however is the loot, tasty epic gear (item level 353) that ranks in just below raid (standard: 359/heroic: 372) but above rare (352). With the lack of raiding in my life (pugs and previous guild just failed at them…) I’ve finally got a chance at a wand I don’t want to hide from!

Blizzard seem to have changed their tactics regarding patching, seems we’ll be getting more of these smaller patches rather than waiting longer for larger ones which I’m all up for. I do find myself bored after a while so perhaps this approach to delivering new content will keep things fresh for me. Whilst reading over the patch notes I found myself disappointed that Blizzard still haven’t implemented a Feat of Strength for earning exalted reputation with the Shen’dralar (one…more…Libram…), however…It seems they’ve hidden some of the updates from the standard patch notes! Here you’ll find a list of undocumented changes including said Shen’dralar achievement entitled ‘Agent of the Shen’dralar’…I still think ‘One…More…Lirbam’ sounds better. Seems we’ll also be treated to new number of companion achievements for 100/125 companions gained and FINALLY portals from Shatarath/Dalaran leading to Stormwind/Ogrimmar!

Enough talk, time to load up 4.1, test out some content and own some Tier-2 Heroics!

A couple of Tier 2 Heroics Later…

First off, I enjoyed myself. The new content did make me want to come back and play, enough so that I bought a month’s game time prior to testing out the heroics themselves. (I was rapidly approaching the message stating I was out of game time >.< ) The first thing I ended up doing was tying up a few loose ends from when I last played, namely doing my Tol Barad dailies in order to purchase my Drake of the West Wind! I then set about repeating the children’s week content for my third year in a row meaning I’d obtain my third and final pets from Stormwind and Shattarath!…or so I thought. Turns out they’ve added a fourth pet to each set of quests! An adorable little snail named Scooter and a mini-Marsh Walker named legs! I’m glad that they realise most people have been repeating these quests year after year, and that they’ve decided to keep us entertained with an additional companion for each quest line.

One of the newest additions to WoW, which I was not aware of until queuing for a random, was the ability to earn Valour Points obtained through random heroics per week rather than per day! You can now undertake a series of random heroics one after the other, rather than being restricted to earning 70 valour points once per day. This definitely helps my game play habits as I’ll often come back some nights from work not wanting to spend time doing a heroic just so I can save up valour points. Now I’ll spend my entire weekend farming heroics! Well not quite…but I could if I wanted to =] There’s now a weekly valour cap of 1250. You can earn 980 of these by doing a combination of heroics (Heroics earn 70 per random, Tier 2 heroics earn 140 per random) and make up the remaining 270 through raid content.

So there I was standing in Zul’Gurub for the billionth time and I actually had to be wary of my opponents. I was no longer surrounded by level 60 something mobs, but groups of 85 and above’s! and they were aided by bosses! Sub-bosses! and all manner of ‘bigger mobs’! that were neither boss nor sub-boss! It was fun, refreshing. The dungeons have retained their layout but replaced the mobs, added environmental hazards such as poison clouds and fire and given the bosses new tactics to learn and love  loathe. With these new bosses comes some lovely new gear, my first two T2 Heroics have blessed me with a few new epics. Additionally the epics dropping from bosses are occasionally unwanted, meaning we have better access to maelstrom crystals for those not raiding for\crafting epics to disenchant. This has obviously changed the auction house’s price of Maelstroms, which in turn makes the highest level enchants such as Power Torrent or Peerless Stats more affordable.

If you’ve been waiting for some new content in WoW you should log on and check things out. You’ll find a few new quests, a more realistic way of acquiring epics if you’re not raiding as well as a selection of new companions to adore. The patch doesn’t come without its downsides however as you’ll discover the new sets of cooking/fishing dailies found in Ironforge/Darnassus lack an achievement. I find it puzzling why Blizzard has neglected something so simple from the update that would occupy players who have maxed out those professions for a short while. Saying that archaeology seems to have been granted a few new items and we now have access to a tanking heirloom set. Have Blizzard just rehashed content? Well slightly yes, but there’s a few new things. There’s also a few old things such as the Wintersaber Trainers now having a daily that you repeat 20 times in order to obtain the rare Wintersaber Frostsaber. Guess it’s not going to be so rare anymore, sort of makes you wonder why Blizzard are devaluing their older player’s achievements whilst simultaneously re-releasing old content. Patch 4.2: Rage of the Firelands shouldn’t be too far away however so if you’re not tempted back yet there may be hope. If all else fails The Old Republic shouldn’t be too long now ;)

Battlestar Galactica Online Open Beta

“In Battlestar Galactica Online, both the Colonial and Cylon fleets find themselves stranded in an unexplored area of space at the very edge of one of the galactic arms. Heavily damaged and critically low on resources, both fleets race against time to repair and rearm, struggling for control of systems rich in Tylium, metals and water. The Colonial fleet desperately searches for a way to escape and continue the search for Earth before the Cylons gain enough strength to destroy them once and for all”

Check out the game here

Battlestar Galactica Online open beta started today so I thought I’d give it a test flight. The browser based MMO allows you to take sides with either the humans or the Cylons and take part in a story where both fleets have been transported by a mysterious energy wave to an unknown sector of the galaxy. This is still in beta obviously so don’t be surprised to find bugs…and you will find them. I’ve currently given up exploring anymore of the game tonight as I’ve found my game crashing, browser compatibility problems and various in game text looking like it’s been smudged. I did get to test the Cylon faction a little so let’s take a look at what you get to do.

So far, bugs aside, the experiance has been enjoyable. I started off with the tutorial, learning how to fly/enable weapons and fire missles (which have the same awesome sound as the series). Whilst in the flight part of the game you’ll be treated to excerpts from the original score for the series by composer Bear McCreary,I loved hearing the track Black Market from season 2 kick in as I engaged a squadron of Vipers, dodged their weapons fire and pumped them full of Cylon missiles. I then went onto the character creation area. Sadly I encountered a bug where both the text for each customisation option and the 3d avatar itself were slightly blurred meaning I didn’t know what I was truly ending up with until I finished making my toaster. I’m hoping that somewhere down the line I’ll be able to alter the look of my avatar again as I’m not entirely happy with him just yet. What I did find cool was being able to have battle damage to give your Cylon that extra detail.

After grabbing my Cylon I proceeded to explore my Basestar and met a few of the cast of the series. The game currently features 4 of the original 12 Human-Cylon models who provide missions and information. There’s a Six an Eight (Cavil) a One (Sharon) who also handles anything regarding your ship such as selling you ammo, new weapons and repairing, and a two (Leoben). It’s nice to see the cast again and perhaps down the line we’ll get to have missions involving some of these or other human-Cylon models.

Overall I’ve enjoyed my first hour or so on Battlestar Galactica Online, I hope to test it out a bit further during the week and getting a taste of the Colonial fleet…I have to admit however I have ambitions of enslaving the human race so be nice to your toasters…or you might end up with more than burnt toast.

Before the Dark Times, Before the Empire, There were Darker Times

The Old Republic, MMO descendant of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic won’t be in a galaxy far, far away for too much longer. The game’s set three hundred years after KOTOR itself and features the Sith Empire knocking on the Republic’s door for vengeance. It’s your job to either protect the Republic from the Sith, or impale it on the end of your glowing-red lightsaber.

Having followed the game since its announcement I’ve been picking apart any information I come across, re-watched every cinematic, every documentary and digested as many stories as I can find. It’s about time these recourses came together so I’d like to provide what I’ve found so like me you can get your fix of the Old Republic prior to launch.

The first points of call are the cinematics. We’ve two so far, the first ‘Deceived’ depicts the Sacking of Coruscant where basically Jedi were drawn away on peace talks whilst the Sith invaded the capital Republic system. The second trailer ‘Hope’ gives us an insight into the ongoing battles between the Republic and the Sith Empire throughout the galaxy, this fight in particular taking place on Alderan. Both trailers feature Jedi and Sith clashing lightsabers and scream epic.

They might not be as flashy as the trailers but there are also two series of web comics, Threat of Peace and Blood of the Empire. Each tells a story from the creators of The Old Republic itself spanning several issues available for free on the Old Republic’s website.

Accompanying the pre-release content are a few novels, the first and only available at time of writing being Fatal Alliance which has both the Republic and Sith Empire racing to claim a treasure that will aid their cause. There are more novels on the way such as Deceived which tells a tale featuring the main Sith from the deceived trailer.

If you’re the sort who prefers watching something to reading, or you’re just wanting as much information on The Old Republic as you can get, there are also a series of Galactic Timeline videos voiced by Lance Henriksen (Bishop from Aliens). These are intended to be content of a vast Jedi archive and have a new addition from time to time.

Those interested in the making of the game itself can follow both the Developer Dispatches (video), and the Developer Blogs (written blog). These typically consist of world design and Class creation for various sections of the game.

It seems that these pre-release aspects of the game will continue to grow, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a third cinematic not too far from now too. It certainly gives people something to talk about, The Old Republic has had the floor at many a gaming even such as E3, allowing people to observe the game, test the game and generally crave the game’s release.

I’m glad that the MMO has stuck to the concept of choice as I’m wanting to be as dark as I can be in this game, my first mission is to construct or claim a double-bladed lightsaber (red of course) and learn how to use force lightening to fry my enemies. A famous Sith once said, “Join me and together we can rule the galaxy…”, this galaxy’s about to become mine, and I don’t plan on sharing.

WoW it’s Cataclysmic

World of Warcraft, It’s cataclysmic, literally come December 7th. Waters will rise, cities will fall, and all will burn as Deathwing ravages Azeroth. (the date Dec 7th comes from a blue poststating: ‘The next Arena Season will begin for level-85 players approximately one week after the official launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm’. Thanks to MMO Champion for the news.

But before the expansion is released WoW players will be featured to two separate major updates, the first being technical changes (stats, talent tree’s etc) and the second the world of Azeroth itself. Meaning bizarrely anyone without the Cataclysm expansion will be able to explore the land torn to pieces by a giant dragon. As someone who’s played just prior to the last expansion I’m yet again all hyped up about the changes and the ability to yet again level my warlock!

This expansion for WoW doesn’t have my entire attention; I must admit someone else has caught my eye. In fact I’m rather hoping she and I will have something special not too far from now, she’s the Old Republic. Don’t let her age fool you this gal’s full of life and I expect to be busy with her for quite some time if all goes to plan. I feel rather guilty at the prospect of cheating on WoW after all we’ve spent the past few years together and I’ve even got my third level 80.Sure I’ve dabbled with Star Trek Online but I know where my heart lies, The Old Republic however the descendant of one of my favourite games, Knight of the Old Republic and I can’t let that pass, more on The Old Republic soon.

So will the end of Azeroth actually be the end of WoW? The Old Republic’s already been named the WoW killer and I’m not alone in wanting to try her out of course, but I can’t help but wonder if people are really ready to leave behind nearly six years of their lives just yet, the real battle’s still to come when TOR actually releases. Until then, observe the destruction of Azeroth and ponder a Cataclysmic end to the World of Warcraft.