Trans Geek Girl Meets Mundane World

Archive for January, 2010

New Link: PvP Online

PvP Online is a webcomic that transcends the sometimes uneven quality of webcomics and consistantly delivers the funny. It parodies the excesses of geekdom with the insight of a geek; Scott Kurtz is unquestionably one of us. I’ve loved this strip for years now, but it only occurred to me to link to it now because today’s strip  so perfectly captures the geeky joy of Star Trek Online. If you’re a geek, or somebody who loves a geek, you’ll enjoy this comic. Delve into the archives if you haven’t read the strip before. It’s worth it.

Game Killer: Predictability

I’m tired of predictable games.

I logged into Champions Online the other night with one of my low-level alts, and stood atop a building and considered my mission log. I could go fight one of the Millenium City gangs for bandanas… but I’ve done that with my other characters, the gangsters always spawn in the same spots and once you’ve learned the standard powers of the four or five thug types in each gang, there are few surprises. I could go confront Foxbat over his theft of a shipment of ping-pong balls… but again, I know that when I get to the warehouse where he’s stored his stash, all I’ll find is a few of his robotic henchmen and I won’t confront the zany supervillain himself until the battle at the television station where the same lame Network jokes will play out in sequence. All of my missions were the same old rides.

So I logged off and went and played Second Life instead.

I’m not bashing the Cryptic development team. This is an industry-wide issue. Once you complete a quest, there may be some replayability in doing it with another character with a different set of abilities… but in general, once you’ve got the patterns memorized it’s just a rote grind.

What I would love to see is more randomness. Unpredictable spawn points. Henchmen with a wide range of possible configurations. Quests that offer mutally-exclusive branches. Crafting systems where the same recipe can render hundreds or thousands of permutations of the same item, depending on luck, skill and player choices. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

I don’t want quests to go away. I like the roller-coaster. But a roller-coaster that rebuilds itself continuously so it’s never the same ride twice? Now THAT would be cool.

Failed Saving Throw Against Stupidity

The Oakland Tribune reports that a Federal Court of Appeals has upheld a ban on playing Dungeons and Dragons in a Wisconsin prison (Wisconsin, ironically, was the birthplace of Dungeons and Dragons).

The prison argued that Dungeons and Dragons “promotes fantasy role playing, competitive hostility, violence, addictive escape behaviors, and possible gambling.”

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It’s the End of the Galaxy as We Know It, And I Feel Fine

The Star Trek Online beta ended with a bang – a number of Borg cubes, spheres and probes invaded Federation space. Lt Commander Tirak of the starship Diomede fought the Borg hand-to-hand at Earth spacedock before making it to his ship and warping off to confront one of the massive Borg cubes.

Boom.

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A Plea for Gaila

I want more Gaila.

Gaila is the green-skinned Orion girl in the recent Star Trek movie who is Uhura’s roommate and (presumably) Captain Kirk’s very first alien babe conquest.

She’s a throwaway character. She exists to show Kirk’s xenophilia, create tension between him and Uhura, and provide a conduit by which he cheats the Kobiyashi Maru simulation (though the latter was not obvious in the final cut).  She’s eye candy, and remarks by the creators of the movie demonstrate that they didn’t give her much thought beyond that.

She’s captured the imaginations of a segment of the fan base strictly BECAUSE, while she may only be eye candy, she’s very yummy eye candy. While I don’t disagree with that assessment (Rachel Nichols is a lovely woman), it’s beside the point. (more…)

Star Trek Online – Open Beta

I’m a Trekker (or Trekkie, I’m not getting into the terminology debate). I’ve followed the show since its first run, and while it may take me a second to recall the name of Admiral Archer’s prize beagle, I can still give you a data dump of information on a fictional universe that I love.

Star Trek Online filled me with a certain degree of trepidation, though. My hopes for Champions Online (produced by the same company, Cryptic) were… tarnished. I LIKE Champions Online, but I don’t love it. I see the skin of the RPG I used to love stretched over the skeleton of the defunct Marvel Universe MMO and I don’t think it really does justice to either.

I’m happy to report that Star Trek Online is a different kettle of fish. I still don’t LOVE it, but I definitely like like it. Let me hit some highlights. (more…)