Aug 302014
 

Welcome Everyone

Hello guys, welcome to another instalment of the “Zuikaku Chronicles”. A six part series describing my ships foray into 2014, and what continues to occur and may occur with my ship in Star Trek Online. As is standard operating procedure 🙂 this “blog” will feature my discussions on how my ship has faired in the past 2 months, as well as “several” Captain Logs from the role playing side of my ship. It will also featured discussions on Cryptic’s game changes and how they affect things now and in the future.

So, Ladies, Gentleman, aliens of various species 🙂 without further ado. I hope you enjoy the fourth instalment of this series “Speculum Futures”.

Stardate 92110.74

USS Zuikaku

We had passed the terminus for the half way point of the year, June was behind us, and July was ahead. As was standard now in Star Trek Online, the Risa summer event was live and everyone was having fun, myself included :).

I had been working hard on a project. One day I was just playing in-game, and just decided at that time, on that spot, to start the project. I honesty don’t know what came over me, but I thought “why not”, it wasn’t really going to cost me anything, and I would have fun doing it.

This “project” was to do the races at the Risa event (the hover item ones) to get 100 pearls. My objective, to get a Risian cruiser! :). And on July 4th 2014 my timezone, I managed to complete my last race, and get the Risian Cruiser 🙂

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The USS Amagi was launched, under the registry of NX-94656. Her assignment was straight away changed from “active combat” to “Project ZFPD”. Project ZFPD stands for Zuikaku Future Project Division. Project ZFPD has 2 main mandates, after it was “activated” in October 2013. These mandates being;

1) To continue Zuikaku’s advancement with researching new and old technolgies, and make informed decisions on whenever changes should be made to the current build depending on what is occurring with the state of play in the game. Also to ensure Zuikaku does not become a burden on any team mates I am with.

2) In the event the Assault cruiser class is completely removed from the game, to find a suitably balanced ship, or a ship that could be balanced based on my play style, to replace my ship in-game.

Basically, USS Amagi was commissioned to be my main ships “guinea pig”. I would get some new consoles or reputation gear, and slot it on USS Amagi and see how the stats differ from my main cruiser in-game, To see what I gained, lost, and a overall picture of what different sets could potentially do.

Now, I know that usually when you want a “test bed” you want a ship that is exactly the same, if not as close as possible to the ship you are currently flying. The Risian Cruiser was fairly close to my main ship, apart from a BOFF layout difference, slightly different console layout, she was relatively similar to a Fleet Assault cruiser.

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There was also one important point that made me choose the Risian Cruiser. She was extremely similar if not dead on for a Odyssey Class cruiser available from the zen store. Now I extremely doubt that Cryptic would even remove the Assault Cruiser from the game, however I had thought if I were to ever fly a different ship on my main toon, a Odyssey class cruiser would be the most likely candidate.

I was all ready to start experimenting, to start slowly getting different gear and seeing what stat changes I could get and what would affect or change what 🙂 But as Life would have it, it decided to throw me one massive curve ball.

Stardate 92116.22 – Stardate 92154.52 – Fate had decided I had a too good of a run with my health in the year, and decided to knock me straight flat on my arse with a nasty strain on the flu. For 2 weeks I was home bound trying to get well, feeling like crap for most of the time and not having much energy.

I could still play Star Trek Online, but I wasn’t as active as usual and was feeling it every time I did a session. Of course me being sick put away any plans on me trying new gear or new consoles for Project ZFPD, as I did not have the energy to do any complex calculations, and didnt really feel up to doing too much.

But eventually I got better, and started to feel more “myself” :). However, soon after Cryptic would make another game change that would dramatically change the playing field.

Stardate 92183.82 – Cryptic had decided to change the way Beam Overload worked, to make it a more “attractive” power to take into PvE queues. They lowered the base damage on the power by quite a bit, however, they made another change. Every single Beam Overload strike would now “Critically Hit” it didn’t matter what your ships critical hit chance percentage was, every single one would now critical hit. They also made it that Beam Overload did not drain any weapons power, at all!

This has a dramatic effect on PvP, especially for Ker’rat and Romulan players. Now their strikes, while lower base damage, were alot more deadly, as they didn’t have to worry about power drain or their strike crit hitting, all they needed to do was load up on critical severity, hit as many tactical BUFFs as possible and they could really decimate their targets.

As a result, Ker’rat became a dangerous place for 1 – 2 days. Many Klingon’s would NOT attack the federation players on the spawn point, however, several other Klingon’s were not as nice and did whatever they wanted. My main cruiser however decided to do some “hit and book” runs. I would warp into Ker’rat, find a Klingon target who was attacking the spawn, and conduct a hit and run attack against him. I did this for the purpose of gaining information. Once I had done my hit and run attack, I would get out of red alert and warp out.

This had two effects, it really annoyed the Klingon’s who couldn’t take my ship down with their new BO ability. It also had the effect of giving the Federation players who had been attacked at the spawn point time to regroup and reform for a counter attack. Needless to say I got some extremely not nice PM’s from several Klingon’s :).

However, I was of the opinion if you attack another factions spawn point, and didn’t get the players a chance to even react upon warping in, you got what you deserved :). I am a very fair player who likes to play by the rules, and give everyone a chance to play and have fun, people who are bully’s and cheat, I really don’t like 🙂

That wasn’t the only bomb shell Cryptic would drop, another one was right around the corner 🙂

Stardate 92192.03 – Cryptic at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention had just announced the second expansion – DELTA RISING. This included a new area to explore, new gear (up to MK 14) and also a level cap increase from Level 50 to Level 60. What was most important was the announcement of Tier 6 ships, and the ability to upgrade our existing Tier 5 ships to be competitive with the new T6 ships.

Needless to say, the Star Trek Online forums went into a uproar. A lot of players demanded that the full details of Tier 6 ships as well as what a upgraded T5 ship meant. Cryptic eventually made the announcement we would get details nearer to the end of the month.

This did not please a lot of the players, and while I understood their frustration, I was shocked at the vile being slung Cryptic’s way.

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Personally, I was looking forward to it. I doubted I would get a T6 ship, as I love my Fleet Assault Cruiser to much 🙂 However, I was eager to see what and how we could upgrade our ships too, and what might be involved. I had said several times if Zuikaku got some extra consoles or BOFF slots what I might do, now it was a reality, and only several months away 🙂

Stardate 92260.43 – The next couple of weeks were both normal and eventful. USS Zuikaku continued to do what she did best, being a support ship and having fun while doing it :).

Cryptic then announced the details of T6 ships and how in a sense a T5 ship would be upgraded and what it would and wouldn’t receive in comparison. T6 ships would get some stat improvements, the ability to slot specialist bridge officer slots, as well as five levels of starship mastery. There would also be a new class of ship being introduced at T6 level, which at this time is still a unknown quantity.

T5 ships when upgraded would become T5-U or Fleet T5-U class of ship. T5 upgraded ships would receive the same scaling HP boost from Level 50 to Level 60 that T6 ships would receive as well. T5-U Fleet ships would also have 11 console slots over the T6 ships 10 console slots (exactly how you can “slot” or assign this console slot is unknown at this time).
T5 ships would also receive 4 starship mastery levels compared to the T6 ships 5 mastery levels.

However, they would not receive the ability to slot specialist bridge officer slots, they would only have 12 BOFF abilities compared to a T6 ships 13 abilities, and they would not be able to get the starship trait.

Also, while certain ships could upgrade for FREE, some ships would need between 500 – 1000 zen (final price not decided yet) to upgrade.

Personally I was OK with this. I always knew that Zuikaku if upgraded couldn’t receive every little thing that the T6 ships got. But considering the cost to what we got, I personally believed that Cryptic have done a extremely good job with this upgrade for T5 ships. It allows a PRO to CON method for choosing each side, and allows you to clearly see what you will or wont get from choosing either T6, or T5-U.

They haven’t released this change on the tribble testing server yet, but hopefully soon I will get a chance to test this new mechanic out :).

Needless to say, I believe the next several months for USS Zuikaku are going to be extremely interesting :).

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First Officers Log

Computer, Begin Recording

Stardate 92120.89 – The Admiral has been taken ill by the Human Flu strain. Strangely the admiral doesn’t prescribe in the medication shot that could have prevented him from contracting the flu in the first place.

He informs me that he does take medication for diseases that can be lethal, however, he prefers for his body to get sick and heal “the nature way”.

Doctor Trei keeps trying to get the admiral to take the hypospray that will instantly cure him, however the admiral has refused. I have to admit, I actually enjoyed the argument between the admiral and doctor Trei. Doctor Trei, while people say her bedside manner is lacking, genuinely cares about her patiences, and will be very stubborn when it comes to make sure they do the right thing.

The Admiral is a decent person, always willing to help out and defend those who cannot defend themselves. However he is also very stubborn when it comes to his health and will continue to work even to the point of collaspe. However at the same time he knows the doctor is doing her best to look after his best interests.

So it is interesting to see those two, apparently there is already a ships pool trying to bet who will win. This is definitely a unique ship the admiral has, as well as a unique crew.

Computer end log
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First Officer’s Log

Computer Begin recording.

Stardate 92131.83 – Zuikaku has just completed several operations in the Romulan sector. The Tal Shiar had set up a base in the region to attack transport routes. We discovered this base shortly after investigating a system that had sent out a distress call.

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Turned out it was a trap by the Tal Shiar to draw transports or other ships away to investigate, whereby the would pounce on their prey. There were several Mogai class ships in the region so it was a significant force in the region, and it is doubt the small amount on Romulan Republic forces in the region, considering with all they have to deal with, would have been able to stop them.

We eventually tracked transmissions down to a planet that had a underground Tal Shair base.

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It seems the Tal Shiar were trying to influence the local government to support them by giving them technology and assisting them to crush their opponents. The Admiral joined us on the ground incursion, against the express wishes of our Doctor. However, the Tal Shiar base has been destroyed and the local resistance force will now be able to deal with the corrupt government without outside interference, as they know have evidence of their corruption.

However, I will personally be taking with the admiral later, as I personally find it unacceptable he risked himself in his state of health on a mission, I need to try and convience him to rest up and get well, as it would do us no good if he got himself sicker.

Computer end recording
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Admirals Log

Computer Begin Recording,

Stardate 92167.4 – I have returned after 2 weeks of a really unpleasent flu, and I am happy to be back to work, exploring the unknown frontier. First Officer Jones had several words to me earlier this week about when and when I shouldn’t risk myself, saying it would do the crew and the ship no good if I “took myself out”. I think she has been taking human slang lessons from May too much 🙂

However, she is right, it was a bit stupid and idiotic of myself to take myself into a combat operation with the state of health I was in. Doctor Trei has had further words with me as well. She explained in no uncertain terms if I pulled a stunt like that again she would relive me of command.

It is honesty touching to see the crew so concerned for my well-being (though in the Doctors case, she has a unique way of expressing it). However, I am also proud to see they will not blindly obey or follow my commands without question, and are willing to stand up to me.

I cannot ask for a more finer crew or ship.

Computer end recording…
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Stardate 92184.62 – On our way back to the Sirius Sector, we discovered a planet that has some interesting sensor readings.

We discovered that the planet had some interesting readings coming from normal rocks along the planets surface. Further discovery seems to shows that the mineral within this rock as interesting properties.

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I have requested Starfleet command send a dedicated science ship to the system to determine what this mineral can do, and what effects it can have on humanoids.

One thing I will say though, this planet has some beautiful mountains, however standing on top of one looking over the edge isn’t exactly what I like doing all the time 🙂

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Stardate 92222.58 – We have lost contact with one of our shuttle Lincoln on a normal survey mission in the Delta Valonis Cluster . Chief Leporid has been leading a mission to explore planets in the region. However, they are not responding to hails and we cannot detect their shuttle. I have ordered Zuikaku to warp to their last known location.

Admirals Log Supplemental – We managed to find our shuttle in System 14 Sigma 9 of the Delta Valonis area and rescue its crew. However, what we found there was terrifying. A creature known only as Grimhilda, had been trapping crews from passing ships and inviting them to land to try and escape.

Really it was a double trap for them to lower their guard and allow her to slowly slap their life force away until they were nothing but memory. As a result of this I believe we can close the case of the missing ships USS Armstrong and USS Harrisburg who disappeared between 50 – 100 years ago, as we encountered several of their crew in that nightmare.

We managed to defeat the creature and stop her from taking any more souls. However,the things myself and the away team and shuttle team experienced down there has left us shaken. I am requesting everyone involved in the mission see our ships councillor.

Seeing the deaths of your crew is something I don’t think I will get over, while it wasn’t real it was still disturbing to see ones crew killed like they were in that nightmare. Sometimes I wonder how the universe creates such creatures.

End log.
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Stardate 92249.94 – Zuikaku has just come from a successful mission to destroy another Crystal Entity creature who was on its way to try and destroy another planet. Several other 101st Fleet ships joined us in the attack with Captain Patricks USS Wake Island and Captain Lujayne’s USS Phoenix Askani.

We managed to defeat and destroy the creature, which was alot larger than we have encountered before, however we did not escape unscathed. Captain Lujayne’s ship suffered sickbay and Auxillary power supply damage, however Lujayne’s cheif engineer expects them to be fully repaired within 1 – 2 hours.

Captain Patrick’s ship was a bit more damage, and it will take 2 – 3 days for his Soverign class ship to complete repairs. I also see a Galaxy Class ship also get cut in two by fragments from the entity. However, the Galaxy class ship is under tow back to a starbase to be repaired.

This makes 2 encounters for Zuikaku in the past 6 months for the entity, which leads me to believe there is something more to this entity than we know.

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Admirals Log

Being Recording

Stardate 92255.41 – I just have had a interesting communication and conversation with Admiral Tuvok. He has requested that Zuikaku be assigned to his task force, but not at this moment. He has informed me to “be ready” and to be able to respond as quickly as possible when he next calls me.

He couldn’t explain what was going on, however he has told me it is crucial to the future of the federation. I admit I am curious as to exactly why Tuvok called me, and that I do owe him after he most likely saved our lives in the Undine Assault on Earth.

But I have a funny feeling that whatever this is, it might have to do with the Delta Quadrant, which if true, is going to make things interesting.

Computer end Log

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I hope everyone enjoyed this fourth instalment of “Zuikaku Chronicles”. The next part should be posted sometime in late October 2014. I expect the next part is going to be massive because of delta rising 🙂

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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