Archive for January 31st, 2010


Server Queue Woes

January 31, 2010

It seems all the problems I said I didn’t have on Day 1 are coming back to bite me in the ass.

Looking back at the last couple of days, perhaps this hasn’t been a very smooth launch for Star Trek Online after all. At the time of writing, I’m sitting in a queue at number 181 out of 682, but while the second number keeps growing by the minute, the first number has remained the same for the last ten. Is this simply a matter of Cryptic underestimating the popularity of this game (good problem), or is it something broken in their new queue system (bad problem)?

Update 1: Another ten minutes later, I’ve only managed to claw my way up to number 178, and they’ve stopped bothering to show the total  many players in queue all together. Well, the good news is the queue is actually moving–just very sloooooowly.

Update 2: Whoa, all of a sudden, I went from number 178 to playing the game, and so has my husband who had been somewhere in the 700s. My guess is that they’re using some sort of load sharing system and they’ve just brought a new server online, letting in a flood of players who had been waiting in queue. Well played, Cryptic, well played.

Update 3: In the end, the server loads won out after all. Guess I could always peruse the STO forums while the servers are down for emergency maintenance, as that’s almost always as entertaining as the game.

Update 4: Never let it be said that Cryptic doesn’t care. Despite all the hiccups, the devs are doing all they can to make the game playable again, and it shows. Servers are back up now, no wait queues, and the game is faster and more stable than before. Props to Cryptic.


Thoughts on Mass Effect 2 Companions Pt. 1

January 31, 2010

I’ll admit, this post is mainly here because I promised a friend of mine that I would write up a bitch-fest on my thoughts regarding the character of Zaeed Massani, the Mass Effect 2 DLC character that was available at launch. And well, with the Star Trek Online servers down for maintenance once again, I figured, why not now? I’ll update my progress in Mass Effect 2 while I’m at it, though I haven’t had much time to spend with the game since my husband has commandeered the Xbox 360 for Modern Warfare 2 this weekend. I’ve started working on gaining my teammates’ loyalty by doing their personal quests, so I’ll throw in my thoughts on a few of the other characters as well.  Once again, Bioware has succeeded in introducing gamers to a fantastic bunch of characters (though *ahem* some are clearly better than others). As usual, this post may contain spoilers, but I’ll try to keep them out and focus on the characters themselves.

Miranda Lawson

Two words: ice queen. Plus she’s arrogant to boot. For someone working for a pro-human organization, Miranda sure seems eager to distinguish herself from the rest of her species, never missing an opportunity to let you know just how perfect she is. That said, while my Shepard may be nasty towards her while I’m in roleplay mode, in real life I’ve never hated a character simply for their negative qualities. In fact, I actually quite like Miranda as a character, and I think Bioware has certainly done an amazing job with creating her. Being able to see her character unfold before you like a book has really made her grow on me, especially once you hear her story and start to understand the motivations behind her actions, and doing her personal quest was the turning point.

Garrus Vakarian

I was cheering when the first preview videos of the game came out revealing that my favorite Turian with the cool last name will be back. Garrus’s abilities meshed well with mine in the original Mass Effect, which made him an exceptionally reliable companion to bring along when I did my missions. I also viewed him as a sort of kindred spirit to my Shepard character, as his way of thinking and doing things closely matched the way I sought to play my own character. Granted, he’s no longer the same Garrus in Mass Effect 2, but in my opinion he’s changed for the better. He’s also currently one of the love interests that I am actively pursuing in-game, and I’m so glad I made that decision. During his romance arc, Garrus delivers what is quite possibly the best line I have ever heard in a video game: don’t click if you don’t want Garrus romance spoilers. Oh, Garrus, why are you so damn awesome?

Thane Krios

Thane has a pretty intriguing and unique personal quest and I think he’s pretty cool, though I had expected to like him a lot more. I understand what they’re trying to do with his character but I just can’t get into him, probably because I’ve actually known and dated people with personalities just like his, and let me just say this: tall, dark, handsome and brooding isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I enjoy hearing the stories about his life and I appreciate his presence as a crew member on my team, but that’s as far as it’ll go. I romanced him for about thirty seconds before I realized there’s just no way this is going to work–I can’t listen his whole sensitive-yet-deadly act without thinking about Edward Cullen in Twilight! That’s just so…wrong.

Zaeed Massani

Okay here we go. Oh boy, where to start? If this was Survivor: The Normandy, Zaeed would be the first one voted off Team Shepard. This is just my opinion, but I have to say I’m extremely disappointed in his character. I never expect much from DLC content, but sometimes they can surprise you. Bioware has impressed me in the past, with the character of Shale in Dragon Age: Origins. This was a companion who, like Zaeed, was a DLC companion available for download at launch to those who purchased the game. Shale was great from the get go–the character actually had me laughing out loud on several occasions. Zaeed, on the other hand, just made me want to knee him in the nuts.

First of all, it doesn’t feel as though Bioware tried very hard to integrate him into the game. Yes, he’s DLC content, but even the tiniest things could have gone a long way in making him feel like part of the Mass Effect 2 story, the same way Shale felt like part of the Dragon Age story. But as it is, Zaeed feels completely separated from the rest of the game content. He stands there like a tool blurting out random stuff at me, and with the exception of a single comment made about him by Kelly Chambers, no one else on board the Normandy seems to know or care that he exists.

This is all something I can deal with if the character is done well, but I don’t even think he’s all that interesting. It’s almost like Bioware wanted to save up all their good ideas, and for the DLC they just decided to fish into their big box of cliches and happened to pick out “angry tough guy”. Still, even the most boorish of tough guys can become memorable characters if done right. With Zaeed, maybe if they had gone with a little more Clint Eastwood and a little less Crocodile Dundee meets Steven Seagal. And perhaps it’s appropriate that his room is adjacent to the trash compactor, because I want nothing more than to crush him into a little cube and eject him out the airlock.

Go on to Part 2 or Part 3!