Jul 012014
 

Welcome Everyone

Indeed; hello again everyone and welcome to yet another instalment of the “Zuikaku Chronicles”. A six part series describing my ship, the USS Zuikaku’s foray in 2014, and what continues to occur and may occur with my ship in Star Trek Online. As usual, this “blog” will feature both my discussions on how my ship has faired in the past 2 months, as well as several “Captains Logs” from the role playing nature of my ship.

So, Ladies and Gentleman, without further ado. I hope you enjoy the third part of this series “Contrapunctus”

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Stardate 91932.11 – Season 9 had released on Holodeck, and the community at large were shocked. A massive attack on ESD by the undine, the ending of the war between the federation and the Klingons, and the iconians revealing themselves fully. However, for the USS Zuikaku it was business as usual, continuing to have fun, exploring strange new STF’s and foundry missions, and seeing what had changed in the builds of the community.

However, with the start of Season 9 came a massive STO community “Rage” event. A mistake in the undine and voth in STF’s had caused their torpedoes to become alot more deadly to the player base. Escort flyers who could just park their ships and fire at targets were blown out of space, A2B Cruisers were vaporised and science ships were busy dodging and going everywhere to avoid the torps. Alot of STO community members refused to play the missions at all because they had become “impossible” or where not worth the “effort” to complete.

Of course I agreed the mistake in the coding left alot of players rightly angry that they couldn’t just “spacebar” there way through the missions, and I could understand their frustration. However, another side of me saw the opportunity, the missions were now really challenging and required teamwork to make sure you reduced the threat as much as possible.

The side of me that liked the challenge won with no competition. Zuikaku was now in her prime, she was now fully realising what she was built for and was using that to the maximum amount of capacity. I ran those missions with friends, fleet mates and puggers as much as possible while the bug was still around. I was loving every moment of being the “agro tank” drawing those dangerous torpedoes away from others and onto myself. Basically, I was having some of the best fun I have ever had 🙂

Eventually the bug got fixed, and everyone went back to being happy. But it was definitely a interesting period for the STO community, and hopefully a wake up call for the STO Communities “DPS only wins everything club”, the NPC’s in this game can be made to really make you pay for your playing style :), and that teamwork should always come first.

Stardate 91959.47

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Several weeks had passed and I was getting a stronger feel for the “post season 9” Zuikaku. The reputation system changes had basically reduced my damage capability and tanking capability slightly. However, my potential damage capability and tanking capability had shot through the roof. With the 2 x Nukura T4 reputation space passives as some of my slotted reputation passives I had chosen, my ship would basically get more powerful the higher my auxiliary power got on my ship.

Of course this would work in the reverse as well, the lower my aux power would get, the less powerful my shields, hull and weapons could go. This would be a real danger in PvP matches where a “drain build” could really comprised the capability of my ship, and would be a even stronger threat than before. Or if a science ship managed to removed my aux power altogether, it would again be a major danger. However, looking at what happened when my ship reached 0 aux power, while a massive threat to my ship, would not be a “death stroke”. Lucky I have built my ship with the aid of friends, allies and fleet mates to have multiple redundancies, so I would have a good chance to get my power online before my ship would get destroyed.

The Undine proved to be quite a challenge. With their fluidic rifts holding alot of ships stationery or even drawing them back into the rift, which could cause a bit of damage. Or the Undine’s beam weapons and beam overload strikes could very quickly blow a ship to pieces. Also, the unpredictability of the Undine choosing their targets was fun as well. Being a “agro tank” didn’t necessary mean all the undine would target my ship, as sometimes they had ideas of their own who they wanted to target.

Also, the undine had a good ability to blast through shields and hit straight to your hull. Zuikaku learnt a bit from the undine, as I did as well. I definitely personally think the Undine are equal or a greater threat than the Borg in-game. If you dont’t play attention, which I saw several ships do, you can be escape pods before you know it. Alot of times I would relish the challenge when the Undine dropped their fluidic rifts on me. Zuikaku has enough power and engine power to slowly get herself out of any rift, and alot of times when I was powering myself out of rifts I would be thinking “Come on, is that all you got with that rift :)”.

Stardate 92005.98 – This was a dark time for me, when I doubted myself, my ship, and the way I had built USS Zuikaku. For sometime I wondered to myself “had I made a massive mistake” or “Am I always a liability to my team with my ship”.

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This had come about after I had been doing some PvP testing with some community members. I had been fighting a Jem Hadar dreadnought with JHAS fighter pets. This dude basically outplayed me at every step, USS Zuikaku was constantly fighting but wasn’t making much of a dent in his ship, and when I fired at his fighter pets, when I damaged them enough they would make suicide runs at my ship damaging it a bit. I was really fighting hard, and while he didn’t destroy me in the test, I knew eventually that my ship would get worn down enough that I would lose.

It also didn’t help that when I called for a ceasefire 5 times in a row due to me needing to do some real life stuff that he ignore the proper rules of the engagement agreed before hand and destroyed my ship when I wasn’t doing anything or even able to get to my keyboard. This really made me angry and frustrated.

The next day I started to doubt myself. Had I done everything I could? Was there anything I could have done differently? And the biggest one was “Is my ship completely crap or being left behind, in the ancient ways of thinking or ship building?”. It took my some days to rethink everything, and actually look at everything logically and not emotionally. However after a short amount of days I calm to my senses.

USS Zuikaku was built for team support, NPC agro, and tank capability. She is never meant to be able to vaporise ships in one pass; or completely destroy any player I fight against. I have always known my ship in PvP is more about “kill denial” than adding kills to the scoreboard. She is meant to support the players who can get those kills with hull heals and shields heals, as well as take the heat from them whenever possible and be able to survive it.

I am always honest with myself, eventually the player I was fighting against would have overpowered me, and he always had me on the defensive and unable to do much against him, basically he was better or had built his ship to take advantage of my type of ship’s weaknesses. However, I take comfort in I gave my all against his ship, and wasn’t a easier mark for him to take down. Yes he would have eventually destroyed me, but it would have taken him a very very long time to do it 🙂

I also take comfort in alot of people love having my ship on their team, as they can always count on my giving them as much support as possible. Team player is what I love doing, I may not get any glory out of it or any kills on the scoreboard, but if sometime likes having me on their team because they know they can count on me, that is worth to me tons more than 1000 kills on a scoreboard by my ship alone :).

Stardate 92055.23 The 101st Fleet’s 2nd birthday had come and gone, and the Risa summer event was now again live. Zuikaku was again her normal self, as she was now getting closer to being 2 1/2 years old. I look back at how far she has come, what she has done, and where she came from 🙂

I also made a decision to get a Risian Cruiser, this cruiser would be the “test bed” for any new gear or weapons I may want to look at for Zuikaku. This would enable me to look at the end-game sets and see what different set combinations would change my ships stats and capabilities. This way, If I wanted to test something new, I wouldn’t need to temporary decommission Zuikaku to run the tests.

It also meant with the upcoming Crafting system changes in Season 9.5, if there were any new weapons, consoles or end game set changes, I would have a “guinea pig” cruiser to test them on who wouldn’t mind getting blown up. (I am sure Zuikaku now has a bit of a ego like her captain 🙂 ) While there are differences in console layout and BOFF layout between a Risian cruiser and a Fleet Assault cruiser, I don’t think they are big enough that the testing would not still be valid for comparisons.

So that was the 2 months to the end of June. Surprising there were no changes to USS Zuikaku’s BOFF lineup, no gear or console changes. This is the first time this has happened in about 16 months. Would I say USS Zuikaku’s build enhacements or changes are over, nope, not at all :). I am sure Cryptic have some big changes on the horizon, especially with the second expansion coming ever closer. I believe the second half of this year is going to be very interesting :).

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Admiral’s Log

Computer, Being recording.

Stardate 91926.63 Zuikaku has completed her repairs after the Undine attack on Earth and other major systems in the Alpha and beta Quadrants. The Undine attack has hit the fleet hard and the 101st Fleet is no exception.

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The Queen Mary, Reisen, Beowulf are just some of the 101st Fleet ships that were involved in the Earth battle, and most ships suffered heavy damage. The Queen Mark requires a big repair effort and retrofit that will most likely keep her dry docked for several weeks.

Starfleet command has ordered Zuikaku to head towards Deep Space Nine, and keep a eye on things near there for a short period. Command is worried that the Undine might try to strike against Cardassia Prime or Bajor, and the loss of either world would be massive.

This will stretch the 101st Fleet a bit thin, with the majority of the fleet deployed on the Undine and Voth frontlines in the dyson sphere, there are not many ships left in the Alpha Quadrant. My hope is that we get some sort of peace and quiet now we are no longer at war with the Klingions.

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Stardate 91943.05 Zuikaku has picked up a Starfleet emergency frequency, very weak that appears to have come from the badlands, a area of plasma storm activity that is famous for ships disappearing along with its mystery. The Code hasn’t been used since the dominion war so we are diverting course to investigate.

Admirals Log Supplemental – We managed to track down the emergency signal to the Tendor Moon in the Kestral system. What we found was a community of ex-maquis who had been stranded by the dominion, had built a community that a group of feregini had been taking advantage of.

However, what we found beneath a facility on the planet was even more terrifying. Legate Rumak, a Cardassian left over from the war, had managed to find and make operational a Doomsday machine, which he had intended to unleashed on the quadrant.

Myself and my senior crew managed to confront him, Legate Rumak realised what he was going to do and stepped back from unleashing the weapon the way he had intended. However, the weapon had already been activated sometime after our arrival.

We managed to destroy the doomsday machine, and rescue most of Legate Rumaks men, and the Macquis colonists. However, the Tendor moon was destroyed by the doomsday machine so they will be resettled on a federation world. Legate Rumak has agreed to stand trial and plead guilty to his crimes. We are en-route to Deep Space Nine now to drop off the cardissians and the colonists.

However, one thing that worry’s me is in the past 2 years 2 doomsday machines have been discovered and attempted to be turned on the quadrant. Exactly how many of those things are there out there, and what more dangers does the Badlands hold.

Computer end recording…

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Stardate 91962.2 Zuikaku has returned to Starbase 101, the 101st Fleets starbase. We will be stationed here for a couple of weeks defending the 101st Fleet ships undergoing repairs and retrofit in our shipyards.

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The Tal Shair attempted to crash the part a few days ago when our starbase was nearing completion of being a class 5 starbase, which is one of the most advanced, armed and capable starbase possible outside of Sol System. The Tal Shair were sent packing pretty quickly.

It is nice to come back to our home port, which we don’t get to visit much these days. It is also nice to see Queen Mary’s repairs and retrofit coming along. It is also nice to see the new commander of the USS Gunfighter put his ship through its paces with its new crew.

It is also nice for my crew to get some time to rest, even if it is still on-duty and helping the starbase personal out. However, I have a surprise waiting for them which I am sure they will enjoy :).

Computer end recording….

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Stardate 92027.87 Zuikaku has arrived at Risa for 3 weeks of crew leave and holidays. I swear when I announced the holiday Starfleet command had given us, and where it was my crew’s cheers could be hear half way across the galaxy :).

Being that this crew has not really had a rest in close to one year, I am grateful Starfleet command finally decided it was our turn for some R&R.

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I personally are enjoying the new powerboards, I just hope I don’t do myself a injury while on them 🙂

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Stardate 92088.06 Well, vacation is over and Zuikaku is due to depart Risa tomorrow, all crew are encountered for and safe. They have enjoyed their holiday and relaxing on the sunny beaches of Risa. I also sure some very unusual things while there.

I saw Commander Jones and Ensign Tatayana fight out one of the best volleyball rally’s I think anyone has seen, with the one rally lasting 15 minutes before Commander Jones won that one point. I also saw Lietunant Ronu pull some master power board surfing moves off on the surf like she was a professional competitor (I am still sure she may have been at one stage). I also enjoying some hulu dancing the Risian’s were trying based on Hawaii back home, I am sure the crew got some embarrassing shots and video of me trying to get the dance right. I am also sure that video has circulated the ship twice by now. No doubt my Chief Engineer’s handy work. I am not bothered by that video, as I keep a very loose and relaxed commanding style most times. However, I will need to find out some way to pay my Chief Engineer back though 🙂

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We are not quite sure were we are headed now, but as I discuss our potential ports of call with Lt Randy, the future is looking bright and better. For the crew of the Zuikaku, we are truly feeling now we can boldly go anyway in the galaxy, and face any challenge.

Computer end recording.

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I hope everyone enjoyed this third instalment of “Zuikaku Chronicles”. The next part should be posted sometime in late August 2014.

Until then, I wish everyone a happy “half way through the year” and I will see you ingame 🙂

Fleet Admiral Aaron S. Lawford

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