Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My love hate relationship with Defiance

When Defiance was announced I thought it would be the second coming of Battlestar Galactica. Until I watched the first episode.

I found it to be cliched, boring, and full of dumb things that seemed to be put in there just to cater to nerds. I also found it utterly confusing and heading in 100 different directions at once.

What happened to the Earth? Who were these aliens? Why did the Earth look like an aquarium? What the hell was that stuff floating in space? Who the fuck were the Volge and why were they attacking this town in the last 20 minutes of the show for no reason.

I wrote the show off for about 9 weeks.

Recently I decided to put the video game Defiance through its paces in hopes that playing that game would let me learn more about the show. I didn't want to give up as something inside me told me that maybe I should sit down and force myself to watch episode 2.

In game meanwhile (I had played the beta and written it off as well) I decided to learn the ropes and ignore the hideous interface. Despite one of the worst chat systems in an online game ever I managed to forge ahead and learn how things were done. Eventually I grew to love logging in and blowing things up. Even if the game was worthless at one point due to the same old same old I was determined to value out of it.

Defiance the game has terrible chat functions, an interface worse than Borderlands 2 and quite a few bugs here and there (like getting stuck on terrain) but for some reason I kept playing. Then I got my girlfriend involved and we found even more irritating issues with grouping and phasing (something Blizzard really perfected in what...2008?) but we kept playing together. Despite all the setbacks we were logging hours and having fun. 

I went back to the TV show. I watched the episode where

"A Castithan willingly undergoes torture to compensate for his cowardice in the defense of the town, but Irisa stops the ritual. A traitor who destroyed the town's field generator flees to a series of underground caverns in the ruins of Old St. Louis and attempts to force a nuclear reactor to explode, destroying the town above."

After I saw underground St. Louis I was hooked. The show had me. It was also quite violent and no one was safe from dying.

So then I watched number 3...and then 4 and then a marathon of 5,6,7,8 and so on using Comcast On Demand. 

I read all I could on Wikipedia and became somewhat of a Defiance expert. My question still exists however: If you are going to make a TV show with so much going on why on God's Green Earth do you force people to go to a Wiki to learn your show's history and background. No flashbacks, no flash forwards, no explanations no nothing. We did get a few brief commercials and some flash backs in later episodes but honestly they still have not explained WHAT THE HELL E-REP (Earth Republic) is. Or why it is considered the evil empire (I had my generic sci-fi suspicions but still). 

As I watched more of the show I noticed some characters popping up in my game with quests related to TV show episodes. I found this quite cool even though the game was set in San Francisco. 

So as I go forward my opinions on the TV show are now very high. I am addicted to the characters even though I could do without the lame teen couple with their emo issues. I love Nolan and I have to understand that the show is more of a border town western type theme than a epic sci fi tale. Once you accept that each week will be a border town story then you can start to appreciate it more as I went in with the wrong feeling toward it.

Now as for the game who knows. I can see Trion doing a lot with it but will they? There are some points where I think the game would have been better as a true MMO. Along the lines of Fallen Earth. Set it in St. Louis, let us meet the townsfolk, give us dangerous DLC areas to explore and make it a semi action MMO shooter. However as a straight up shooter I am not sure how long the game can last. With Destiny and Planetside 2 and some others out there Trion has their work cut out for them. They need to make the world feel more alive and they need to fix the hideous interface and tools they have given the community. 

At any rate what I am saying is before you watch the show go to WikiPedia and do the research. It makes things 100% clearer. And I do not mean the Defiance Wiki either. You will want to go here and read about it:


By the way the soundtrack is good as well. You can look it up on Google Play. The theme music, while 23 seconds long, is haunting and sticks with you.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Company of Heroes 2 beta

More #CompanyOfHeroes2  tonight. Didnt think this could happen but they have made this game BETTER than the first one. I actually managed to unlock commanders tonight and get the offboard artillery rolling in

This time I focused on build order and getting more units out. I started by saving resources to move up to the next HQ level and built a small vehicle garage and then   placed Anti Tank Guns in the road and covered the middle of town. You can see in the later screenshots I uploaded where they tank gets blown to bits

I wanted to be more prepared for the blizzard conditions by building more campfires all over so that my men were covered with heat. I had some guys in buildings and built forward bunkers. The enemy came at me hard too with APC's but the AT gun did its job.

The online achievements and the experience you can earn even in skirmishes against the computer make this game really fun. Its also really socially integrated which I like. So far a big thumbs up!

Anyone that gets this we need to do some co op skirmishes against the computer. I noticed he was very aggressive even on easy mode

Monday, June 10, 2013

Federation Commander Online: bad points and good points

Played some Federation Commander Online Sunday with Crabby Old Gamer. The client is downloadable from this website:

"FCOL is designed to allow you to compete in an environment that emulates Face-to-Face play. However, the computer automates many functions and acts as your friendly assistant for many mundane tasks. There is no limit to the number of games you may play during your subscription period--well, except for your endurance. Our subscribers range in skill level from beginners to skilled aces"
We were able to get it working for the most part but I did have some niggles I would like to point out:

  • A yearly subscription is expensive. I understand that the developer needs to make a living and I know its better than nothing but what you get for your money is absolutely NO help and no manual. There are smaller subscription models so I opted for one of those before I wasted my cash
  • There are 3 really bad tutorial videos on their site but they skip too much information and do not show enough to be worthwhile. 
  • There is no written manual. The only manual is for the Star Fleet Battles portion of the client. 
  • There is little to no help on the official forums. So basically if you jump in and spend money on this prepare to do a lot of studying on your own and a lot of random clicking. For a forum that has players running tournaments and doing things online there is surprisingly very little help from anyone.
  • There are also few players so don't expect a VASSAL like experience when jumping online.

The good news is once you take the time to figure it out (IF you go that far) it works pretty well and allows you to play a fairly complex game online with a buddy. I still think that it is easier to play this game in person than to learn the clunky software but sometimes you have to make do. However at least you get tons of ships to choose from and it does provide the SSD's so not everything is a loss. The client also has many many ways of sharing your game from print outs to log reports.

Here are some shots of the client:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Learn to play Star Trek Online Parts 1 and 2

A simple You Tube video series I am doing that covers the ABSOLUTE basics of the Cryptic MMO.

I have embedded parts 1 and 2 here on the blog for everyone to watch.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Current TV rotation

Generally there is no show that I MUST watch when it is on its run throughout its season. There are a couple of exceptions however.

The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy and American Horror Story I almost always watch the night of or the day after if I DVR it. Remember when the phrase used to be "TIVO it"? It was only a few years ago.

Anyway here is what I am watching now:

Game of Thrones
The Killing
Orphan Black
A load of dumb shows in between like Bar Rescue and things on Spike TV or TRU TV.

That is about it. I would say I watch very little TV at all anymore. I watch a LOT of movies however. In fact on any given day or night I probably crank out 1 or 2 movies. These can be anything from rentals to movies on PLEX or even cheesy crap like murder movies on Lifetime.

My shows will pick up when the new episodes start to show up in the fall but right now it is very slim indeed. And Game of Thrones is over so really I am just waiting for the Killing every week (so is Orphan Black). Most TV really sucks. There is not one regular network show I watch because they are terrible in general. So a lot of my shows are on AMC or FX (like Sons of Anarchy). I don't touch ABC, NBC or CBS except for Big Brother during the summer.

"The Killing” is back, and if you loved the first round, it’s still a killer"

Monday, June 3, 2013

Star Trek and weekend activities such as Marvel Heroes

This weekend was a good weekend in getting things done in online games. My love of Neverwinter has all but diminished as I rediscovered RIFT. I have just gotten overly tired of Neverwinter's boring generic dungeons that lack all sort of cohesion and class roles. The dragon encounter in the level 30+ dungeon is the perfect example. For all purposes it may as well be a 5 man raid that is almost impossible to finish at the initial level grouping.

Moving on past that game, in which I will basically now just log in to pray for free XP, I had a blast all weekend in Star Trek Online where I went from level 27 to level 32 by running instances such as Mirror Universe, Fleet Actions and ground dilithium events. I have not picked out my new ship yet. I hit 32 this morning by doing Duty Officer assignments. Currently I am in the Devidian quest line where I must travel back through time. I have not played my Romulan or Klingon too much as I am focusing on this human Captain.

Elsewhere Marvel Heroes went live this weekend for 60 and 20 dollar pack owners but I was in last week. However I did not get to play Friday due to login issues so I saved most of my playtime for Saturday and Sunday. I managed to get Cyclops to 10 and a few others to level 8-9. I have not decided on a particular character yet I just enjoying logging in and playing whatever. Thor is next on my leveling Q. Crabby Old Gamer has already hit 11 with Black Widow which for him is a minor miracle. I haven't seen him get by level 5 in any game for a while.

The zone chat in Marvel Heroes continues to be annoying but so is the assumptions that Marvel Heroes is an MMO. In a way it is a lot of people online but in another way it does not fit the moniker of an MMO. People need to stop comparing Marvel Heroes to typical RPG's. It's a Diablo 3 clone. There are people that get mad they cant make their own Hero. That is like saying I am mad that I cannot make my own Barbarian in Diablo 3. There are TONS of characters in Marvel Hero and each has its own skill tree so you can design a character anyway you want. How that fits into the end game I have no idea. I am sure like any game there will be cookie cutter builds.

There are still some bugs in MH that irritate me. My sound sometimes cuts out in the game and takes about 4 minutes to come back (the special effects and fighting sounds) and at one point yesterday my options were not being saved. Also: why guilds? And why not achievements? And why is auto party enable so that some douche can waltz into your instance and clean house?

I also picked up Star Fleet Captains Friday and the Romulan Expansion. This is a pretty good Trek game by other standards. It certainly embodies the exploration and discovery the show did with a good chunk of features and great miniatures included. So a pretty busy weekend altogether started off Friday with Federation Commander and the decision to start our own campaign. Should be some fun times ahead.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

First Federation Commander game

My first true Federation Commander game went about 3 turns. I learned a lot. One thing was to better use my energy. The next was to plan photon torpedo use better. Also I needed to keep at a range of about 8 hexes and learn to turn sooner. Over all it was a good game and very fun. I had my chance to deliver a death blow and blew it in the last turn when I made a High Energy Turn to unload and missed with my photon. The Klingon ship raped me at close range.

The battle was a simple duel between a Federation 65 point Fleet scale New Light Cruiser and Klingon 70 point D7 Battle Cruiser. My notes were as follows:


  • USS Bane chooses 8 speed and pre loads both photon torpedo tubes
  • IKV Wounded Knee chooses a speed of 8
  • IKV Wounded Knee launches a Drone at the USS Bane.
  • USS Bane increases Speed to 8+1
  • USS Bane shoots Phaser 3 and damages the drone for one. The Klingon vessel fires phasers 1 and 2 at a range of 17 and hits for 3 on the Banes front shield.
  • USS Bane fires Phaser 1 at drone
  • USS Bane fires a drone
  • USS Bane fires photon torpedos. One hits home and two damage is absorbed for total of 6 damage
  • Klingon fires phaser and disruptor. Phaser misses drone disruptor hits the Bane for 3
  • Klingon phaser hits the Federation drone
  • USS Bane shoots the 360 degree phaser at the Klingon drone and blows it up


  • Both go speed 8.
  • USS Bane fires 2 phaser 1's and a 360 degree phaser 3. 4 damage is score
  • Klingon fires 3 phasers and a disruptor. Total of 8 damage weakening Feds left shield. Klingon fires phaser 2 at the drone
  • Fed Drone gets blown up
  • Two more drones get launched
  • USS Bane fires phaser 1 right side hits for 5. Klingon misses disruptor start
  • Drones hit each ship. ADD goes off. The Klingon ADD misses. He fires his last phaser and kills the drone
  • The USS Bane now uses his ADD. The Klingon drone is destroyed.
  • Klingon fires another drone at range 2
  • The Klingon drone strikes the front shield of the USS Bane. the ADD destroys it.
  • Another Klingon drone as the USS Bane accelerates past the Wounded Knee. The Drone comes in on the rear shield. The Bane's ADD destroys it.


  • The USS Bane has a torpedo armed now and moves 16. The Klingon moves 8
  • The USS Bane unloads everything after a HET. Including the armed torpedo.
  • The Bane fires a torpedo, a phaser 3 and a phaser 1
  • The Klingon fires two phaser 1's and a phaser 2
  • Klingon hits for 11 with a bleed through
  • USS Bane torpedo hits for 8 then total of 15
  • The Klingon takes two internal hits the USS Bane takes 1
  • The Klingon loses a phaser and a disruptor. The USS Bane loses a 360 degree phaser 3
  • Both ships fire drones
  • The Klingon ADD stops the drone but the Federation ships ADD misses the Klingon drone and that hits
  • The USS Bane has weakened front shields and takes massive damage. Meanwhile the Klingon looks for more weapons. He fires a phaser 2 and hits.
  • The USS Bane takes 8 internal. Lab, IMP, TORP, HULL, BTTY, SHUTTLE

With the front shield down and now with less energy the USS Bane surrenders