July and August

July was pretty simple. Pretty much did the same thing as usual: ESO, Dragalia Lost, a bit of STO, Granblue Fantasy, Pokemon Masters, and so on. That’s the thing: when you have so many games that are every-day-games, you don’t get much chance to play other games. But, I did manage to fit a couple more in.

First, V4. It’s Nexon’s new (to the West anyways) mobile MMO. Yes, you can play on PC, but it’s obviously built for mobile. I won’t be giving a whole review in a post, because it doesn’t deserve one. It’s terribly boring, especially on mobile. Basically just auto and press buttons when they show up. Not terribly deep, nor engaging. I dropped it after three days. The story is nothing at all. Extremely generic. And the mobile aspect limits one of the few good things these Korean grinders have: character customization. It’s relatively limited here, though compared to some other games it’s still decent enough. But you still end up with some soulless character, no matter what you do. Oh well, it’s free to try out if you want.

Next, I got Destroy All Humans. I loved this game on PS2, and was quite excited for the remake. And the excitement actually was justified. I am going to do a full post review, once I finish it. It’s not a perfect remake, but nothing ever is, and the good well outweighs the disappointments. From the sales figures we can estimate, it looks like this sold even better than originally, so there’s a decent chance the superior sequel will also get a remake (and I’ll finally be able to finish it – a game-breaking bug/scratch prevented finishing the PS2 game).

For the next month, I’ll continue on my present course. I have a new character in ESO that I’m leveling, a High Elf healer, so that will take some effort. I’m getting better at Bang Dream, though I might have hit a skill plateau. Granblue Fantasy has daily missions for the next little bit, as part of their summer celebration. STO will have its summer Risa event starting next week, so I’ll be participating in that (the ship isn’t the one I wanted, but what’re you gonna do?). I of course need to finish Destroy All Humans. Pokemon Masters got a major update, which actually significantly changes how you interact with the game, so I’ll be keeping up with that too.

I think I’ll also make a list of the games I’m keeping up with for the near future, what I’m planning on playing, what I’ve dropped, and so on. That seems like something that might help me keep focused.

Daily Games:

  • ESO
  • Dragalia Lost
  • Granblue Fantasy
  • STO
  • Pokemon Masters
  • Bang Dream

Games playing until finished:

  • Destroy All Humans

Games to play when I feel like it:

  • Cities Skylines
  • Stellaris

Dropped games this month:

  • V4

Games I should look at again:

  • Blue Reflection
  • Atelier Ayesha
  • Splatoon
  • FF12
  • Tales of Zestiria

Spending, with Games-As-Service

Today over at Massively there’s an article regarding MMO end-of-service issues, as regards to player spending for virtual items. It’s particularly about STO, which got my attention, with the person who wrote in talking about how they’ve spent a lot of money for a rare ship, which ship will of course go away once the game shuts down.

This is of course a thorny issue. All games will eventually end. But, traditionally, you buy the game itself. In a lot of MMO’s, among other games, you can buy in-game items for real money. Sometimes a lot of money. But still, the game will go away someday. In a game you actually own, you can at least look at the item in your inventory, or on your character. But if a MMO, or gacha game, or any other sort of game where those items are stored on an exterior server, dies, that’s it, poof goes the item.

The article was more talking about emulators and stuff, so the person who bought whatever could potentially continue enjoying their purchase. That’s not what I’m going to go on about, though. I’m more talking about the very idea of in-game purchases, and my philosophy on these.

The way I see it, it’s not “is this item worth the money?”. It’s not. It’s just a part of a game. It’s not real. No, the real question is “will I enjoy the game enough in the future to justify spending the money?”. Of course, I take the actual whatever into consideration when making that purchase, since being without can potentially change the answer. But I look at the game itself as the product. Will I get $X of enjoyment in the future from this game? Does the publisher deserve $Y for providing this game for however many hours I’ve played it? Will I play for Z hours in the future?

Let’s look at a couple examples. First, ESO. That is a buy-to-play game. However, there are also in-game purchases, as well as a subscription. I have no problem buying games themselves – I do it all the time (even ones I have no intention of playing any time in the near future!). But paying extra, when I can play just fine for free? This, however, is one of those times where not making the purchase would have made me not have nearly the enjoyment I’ve had otherwise. I got a sub, which includes an infinite craft bag among other perks. But without this craft bag doubt I’d still be playing the game – crafting and gathering is a big part of how I play. It’d be a serious pain without it. In fact, even at the beginning it was, which is why I subbed very soon after I started. I haven’t bought any in-game items otherwise, though. (I did buy both expansions, but that’s different.)

For a negative example, let’s look at STO again. At the anniversary this year, there was a big ship pack being sold. Very big. All the hero ships from the shows, with new end-game versions. Some of these were lock-box-only before. But being such a big ship pack, it was expensive. Years ago, I would have bought it, no question. But this year? I decided against it. I didn’t think that I would enjoy the game in the future to the tune of $150+. Or maybe not even $30. With the way the game’s going, I thought it’d be best to stick to f2p for now.

Purchasing in-game items as in-game items is a losing move, I think. You absolutely will lose them. I guess it’s alright if you think of said items as perishables, like food: the food will go away, but the immediate benefits are worth the cash. I mix this approach with what I said above when it comes to gacha. No, buying these rolls isn’t worth it, in-and-of-themselves, even if I get exactly what I want the first time. But the act of rolling is fun, in a sense (I imagine it’s kinda like what gambling feels like, though I’ve never done that), and I do generally figure that I’ll get further enjoyment of the game worth that amount, even if I don’t.

The Best Star Trek Games?

For some reason Screen Rant has a list of the ten best Star Trek games. Now, I haven’t played all of these, and have played some others, but there are a couple of things I wanted to say, which I didn’t think merited making a comment on their site.

First, they have Star Trek: Timelines on the list. The fact that this prime example of a mobile kusoge is better than any game out there, let alone Judgement Rites, is a disgrace to all people with brains. The “game” is 95% comparing the stats on your unit with the required stats + rng of some situation: basically a whole game of saving rolls in a RPG. Except without the story or fun. That last 5% is an actual game that involves space combat and making a decision or two. A simple game, which isn’t presented particularly well, but it is at least a better game than nakedly rolling dice against a table. All in the service of its gacha, of course. I’m sure that the other major Trek mobile game, the one set in the Kelvinverse, is better than that garbage.

The next thing is that they have STO as the best Trek game of all time. I’m not so sure of that being true – but I’m not sure it isn’t true, either. If it was just a spaceship game, Starfleet Command (any version) beats it, hands down. (Heck, STO space combat is just a simplified version of Starfleet Command.) And just about any competent game beats it on the ground game (STO is competent too, but just barely). And as a story, it’s not exactly that great either (though, again, competent – which is good enough for me in this area). But I don’t think there’s any game that brings it all together like this. STO is definitely more than the sum of its parts. Thinking on it, while I don’t think STO deserves the title of “Best Star Trek Game of All Time,” I can’t think of another game that does, either.

Granblue Fantasy Episode 10 and Other Things

This episode is much improved: certainly the best episode since we left Albion and Vira. The pacing is much better than it’s been in a while as well. This was one of those episodes where look at the clock and think “how did so little time pass? so much has happened!”. Still, the arc isn’t over yet, and the episode isn’t without flaws.

We start out with the rest of the crew discovering what had happened at the end of the last episode. Rackam is of course shellshocked, but he is quickly roused back to fighting trim. Also, who else but Rosetta swoops in to help save the day! I actually like how the anime has portrayed her: she is a primal beast, after all, so it makes little sense that the crew would have been in so much trouble, so often, if she was there. (Also, she was with Gran’s dad’s crew, and thus knows all about Lyra and Vyrn; the fact that it all stays so mysterious in the game for so long is a major plot hole; here, she herself is much more mysterious, and much less involved, though always present if needed…much like Sierokarte…) So, Rackam and Rosetta team up to save Noa, while the rest go with Siero to save Gran and Lyria.

Meanwhile, Gran and Lyria get an audience with the PM herself, Freesia. She basically tells them everything is going according to her plan, which is to rewrite history so the Astrals never had any influence. I’m not sure if this is a change from the game, or if this is just a front she’s putting up. I mean, “I hate Astrals because they’re invaders” is a lot more impressive than “I hate Astrals because my girlfriend married one”. And I don’t really like the whole “just as planned” thing they have going on here. “Oh yes, I certainly assigned a new officer with a savior complex to watch over a cute girl (who had reached her limits in the lab), because I certainly expected said knight to abscond with said girl, and for them to go on wild adventures that lead to personal powerlevel growth, instead of just getting the hell out of Dodge, or going into hiding.” Yah, not really buying it.

Of course, the various rescues go off without a hitch. Though this scene really shows how incompetent, or weak, Gran is: he got beat right quick when the Imperials showed up earlier; but Io and Katalina just bash right though several mooks (it’s nice to see that Katalina is actually the combatant she was hyped up to be, even if it’s not portrayed very well (because anime can’t into effective armor); I don’t expect this to ever happen again). Noa is saved too (there’s a lot more exposition there), and apparently everyone gets away and the Grancypher is fixed, because that last scene seems to indicate that the crew is completely out of the Empire’s grasp at present…OR ARE THEY?

I don’t really know how they’re going to wrap this one up. I think next episode is the last “proper” episode of the season, with one more special episode (like the beach episode last season). But there might be one more afterwards. Sticking the Halloween not-rerun in there really threw things off. But as for this arc, I guess they have to do something with Mithra. I wonder if they’ll bring Orchis in for this like in the game, or just do it without her; either way works.

In other, BREAKING NEWS, the Mouse/Rat Zodiac character is NOT a Harvin. I feel robbed. Mouse would have been perfect for a Harvin (because they’re small, get it?), and there isn’t any real opportunity for a while. I mean, Erunes are easy for this, because they already have so many animal ears, and Draphs work for the zodiac animals with horns and tusks (so the next is Ox, obviously Draph for that). Then Tiger, another Erune, and Rabbit pretty much has to be another Erune. Not until 2024 is there an ambiguous one, with Dragon. Oh, and by pattern, it’s Harvin’s turn. Not only was I robbed a cute Harvin, but the Harvins themselves were robbed! This is a sad day, for sure.

And, it seems, Dragalia…Lost… Doomposters going to doompost, but things seem serious over this game. Even Reddit, the bootlickers of the century, not only let a series of doomposts through, but actually gave them upvotes. Of course, the big tell is that the new Christmas Dragonyule Malora is unvoiced. In a game where a large draw for the unit (at least for Japanese audiences) is the fully-voiced units and character stories (at least for the high rarities), having an unvoiced unit is terribly alarming. Having two unvoiced units, one of which has SEIBAH (Ayako Kawasumi) voice, who is BIG NEWS for the voice actor lovers, is pretty much a death flag. I’m going to reserve judgement until we at least see the next main story chapter and banner, but this is severely troubling. I’ve already curtailed my (admittedly limited) spending, just to see if it’s worth spending any more in this game. It might seem like a little thing, but this, combined with the garbage Megaman event (collaborations are usually huge deals), and the constant stream of rerun events, even for holidays, are deeply concerning.

And I’m going to predict an announcement of STO 2, perhaps as soon as the anniversary (at the beginning of February). Probably not that soon, but the dev team has definitely been working hard on something, and it’s not the game in its current state, that’s for sure. I figure that STO 2 is going to be the next major Cryptic project, after Magic: Legends. (For which I’ve already signed up for the beta.) I just feel it in the air: player counts are down, spending is down, player retention is down, vets are getting upset (who knew that going All STD All the Time would hurt player counts for a game primarily made of fans of the older shows, to which STD bears very little resemblance besides in a couple of spaceships?). And yet it persists. I guess we’ll see.

And then they kissed and lived happily ever after. Oh, wait. Not that. But it would have been convenient later.

IntPiPoMo: The End

It’s the end of November, which means it’s the end of IntPiPoMo. I said at the beginning that I wouldn’t have any problems making the goal of 50 pictures, since screenshots count. Well, unfortunately I almost never post from the computer where all my screenshots are, so I only count 29 entries in the past! Can I do 21 in one post?

Of course I can. Should I? Probably not! But I will anyways!

I figure most of these will come from Star Trek Online, not only because it’s the game I’ve played the most, but because it’s one of the most screenshot-worthy games I’ve played. Well, at least for the purposes of IntPiPoMo: I have a bunch from, say, ESO, but most of them are just of amusing dialogs, so I don’t really count them.

Just two admirals shooting the breeze…and the poor adjunct that has to stay and watch…
Ah, the good ol’ Placeholder Nebula
Some people have interesting names for their ships.
Found some ERPers on Old Risa, and I decided to have fun too!
The mission creator was pretty limited, but with some creativity could still create good art.
Need a big guy for those big chairs
Don’t talk to me or my son or my son’s spider ever again
Too early to celebrate?!
Revenge on the tentacle monster?
This really deserved to win the screenshot contest, if I might say so myself.
Even little ships look big from down here.
Put in time-out for being bad.
No one could insert any innuendo into this picture at all.
Whew, close fight!
Kinda want to know what happened here, kinda don’t.

There we go, that should make 50, and then some. Kinda sad I had to make a make-up post like this, but on occasion it’s fun to go through the old screenshots to see what I was thinking about back when.

Some days it just be like this.

Quick Review: Elachi Qulash Frigate (Star Trek Online)

In Star Trek Online, a new “season” was released about three weeks ago. I’ve talked about it before, so I won’t get into it. But a big part of it was the ability to get a new end-game ship by grinding out some of the new content every day. Which I did, and I got the ship. Now, the above shot is of my ship; you can see the official news page to see how it looks by default, its stats, and all that fun stuff.

I’m going to talk about my experience with it the past couple of days. I’ve only flown it in a few patrols, so it’s not like I have extensive experience or anything. I’m also probably doing it wrong. I didn’t take any screen shots with my ability bar (or any ui at all), so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I put what I believe is the Lukari T6 vanity shield on it. That’s why it looks so different from the default. I like that shield, though it’s a lot more blue than purple, compared to a lot of other ships I’ve used it on; and thanks to the lighting, it looks pretty gray. But I’ve never really liked the Elachi default skin, so having this makes me a lot happier.

But how does it fly? Pretty good, I guess. It’s a lot slower than I thought it was going to be. I think I was just expecting it to be more of a raider than an escort, based on its size, and the fact that most of its boff slots are universal. But it still turns well enough to use cannons or dual beam banks effectively, especially when using the Competitive reputation engines.

As I said, I don’t think I’m using the thing right. It has an Intel specialization boff slot, but I’m not using any of those abilities; I’m just sticking to the boring ol’ vanilla stuff. I’m not going to upload my whole build (mostly because I don’t have the game with me, and I don’t remember), but for the universal slots I have tactical and science in the LtCdr slots, engineer in the Lt slot, and tactical in the Ens slot.

Also, the thing is pretty squishy, as one would expect from a “frigate”. I really don’t know where Cryptic is going with this in its naming scheme: NPC frigates are the lowest of the low, while this thing is actually rather good. I think I should have put five DBB’s in the front, instead of three with two regular beams. It’s clear this thing was meant for cannons (and that’s what the NPC version has), but I’m not a huge fan of them. (Now, going full turrets, THAT’S where the fun is. But it’s also not terribly effective.)

So, overall? Not really sure. But even in the last two days it’s grown on me. I’ll call this one a success.

September Gaming in Review, and October Plans

Another month has come and the last one is gone. Let’s see what I’ve done, compared to what I was thinking on doing. Well, I did make level cap in ESO, as expected. And I also made it to the next “content” cap, 160 Champion Points. Everything after that is gravy, I guess. I’ve also maxed crafting on all the actual crafting things (blacksmith, clothier, and woodworking), so I can make gear for my maxed-out level. I’ve gotten into The Rift in the Ebonheart Pact storyline, and am working on that.

Didn’t even boot up FFXIV, though. I’ve been so engrossed in ESO that I haven’t had time or will to even start a new sub in FFXIV, after the first month expired. Might re-sub for the Halloween-ish event, but might not. So, obviously no progress there, still at like lvl 30 or 31. I do plan on playing it again, it isn’t dropped.

In STO I did the new content for the season. Not that there was much there. And I did the daily event, every day. More or less every day. But I got the new ship a couple days ago; I don’t know if that was on Sep 30 or October 1, though. I mostly did it with two TFO’s per day; that seemed like the shortest, easiest, and most fun path. (Today I tested out said ship; more on that in a future post.)

In mobage land, I mostly did the bare minimum. I’ve been sorta burnt out on all of them; or rather, my gaming energies are fully focused on ESO, so I don’t have much spare thought for them. This recent event in Dragalia Lost was surprisingly good though (the actual event, not the anniversary celebrations, which are also pretty neato). The boss is something a little different, and actually impressive. Like, it actually looks impressive to just watch someone play; this is a rarity with mobage in general, and DL is no exception. In GBF I skipped Guild Wars, completely. I haven’t really participated more than the barest minimum in half a year, if not more, and these past couple of times I just checked out completely (sorry dancho, exams…). The recent event was good, but it’s just the same thing as far as gameplay goes, just like every non-summer event for the past 5.5 years. Since I’m at the point where these events don’t give me good gear I need, but I’m not good/dedicated enough to grind out the boxes, I’m kinda just out of it. And in Pokemon Masters, there’s a new event, but again, not really doing it. I spent money buying all the one-time crystal packs, and didn’t get Hilda. Very sad, since she’s the reason I bothered with the game in the first place. Still in chapter five or six there, too, because performance issues.

Now, for October. I expect my play patterns will mostly stay the same. There will be events towards the end of the month for all the continuing-content games I play, so I’ll participate in those as needed. But I figure it will mostly be ESO, with dailies (or less) for the rest. For ESO in particular, I’m going to finish the EP quest line, then go to the Summerset expansion, to get jewelry crafting kicked into high gear (and also the content, I guess…).

As for games coming out this month, the only one I’m really looking forward to is Atelier Ryza. I’ve heard little but good things, and it’s selling like hotcakes in Japan (well, as far as a niche series like Atelier goes, at any rate). But that’s the 31st (according to Gamespot), so it won’t really affect my October gaming much, I think. Also keeping an eye on The Outer World; while Fallout New Vegas is one of my most very favorite games, I’ve mostly lost my faith in Obsidian. But we’ll see.

Holonerds: A Star Trek [Online] Rant

The Star Trek Online twitter put up the above poll. Pretty self-explanatory. I’ll tell you what I voted for, why I think other people voted the way they did, and then why I don’t like the holographic helpers that Trek does occasionally (which came to mind because it happens again in the above episode).

First off, I voted for the TFO as my favorite new thing this time around. Partially, that’s because I just plain like it. I like ground combat generally. And this queue (Cryptic calls them TFO’s because they have to be special snowflakes) avoids most of the pitfalls that make ground queues bad: there are no convoluted mechanics, there are no time gates, and it’s not just wave after wave of mobs. There is some mechanical involvement (get your bug-buddy to the red monolith), but it isn’t difficult. There is a timer, but it sets a maximum time the group can spend in a task: it’s short enough that if your team fails, it’s not a huge drag, but long enough that your team has to go Full Packled to fail it. I also like the enemies: the Elachi are somewhat interesting in that their shields are a lot tougher than their health, so shield-penetrating weapons – which typically have less pure damage to balance the fact that they go straight through shields – are viable here. This lets me use my tommy gun, which is great fun. Lastly, the queue itself is short, which is great for repeatable content like this.

Another reason I picked the TFO as my favorite is that the other stuff just didn’t excite me. The episode was pretty much just pure STD, despite the tricks Cryptic made to make us think it was for the modern timeline. That, and it heavily featured themes I heavily dislike: multiverse theory, holonerds, and bad pulp biology becoming bad sci-fi plot devices. I’ve ranted on this already, so I won’t go on. I also wasn’t impressed with the patrols, which all have an “undending wave” style mob at the end of the traditional patrol, which I feel is unnecessary and unfun. And the new event system…it’s just a ui element. I can understand why the devs think it’s great and hype – it’s apparently way different for them – but as a user, it’s just a menu that places the relevant content in an easy-to-access place. Nice, but nothing to get excited about.

As for the rest of everyone, their thoughts seem to be the opposite of mine. Understandable. The episode being the main popular thing makes sense – people tend to play the game for the story, and there it is. Some people seem to actually like STD, so getting one of the main cast is cool for them. Though I think that a lot of people picked the “event system” because they didn’t like the rest. The patrols are kinda blah, but not offensive, and if you want to level your ships, they’re a really good place to go. And ground queues tend to be rather unpopular with the players in general (they want spaceships to go pewpew, not layzorgunz), and apparently there’s a huge afk problem, though I have never seen it myself (might just be that I play at a low-traffic time).

Now, I’ve told you all that to get to the rant. It’s about a think that Trek has done a few times, that STO does here in this episode (and has done before), what I will call the Holonerd. Basically, it’s using the holodeck to recreate a person with expertise to help solve the problem of the week. It was first used in the TNG episode “Booby Trap,” where Geordi makes a holographic recreation of one of the Enterprise’s design engineers, Leah Brahms, to help him figure out a way out of the eponymous booby trap. (It’s also a holowaifu episode, since of course that huge nerd can’t get a real gf amirite?) It’s done again at least once in Voyager (adding an additional ethical problem, because they recreate a Cardassian Mengele to solve the issue), and as I said, here in this episode of STO, where they recreate Stamets from STD, because he’s an expert on space shrooms.

Why does this bother me? Well, because it makes no sense. It’s not like the holodeck actually has the soul, or even merely the memories, of the person in question. All it has is, at best, historical recordings of the person, and whatever research they’ve done and is in the computer. Now, I can get how a problem-solver might want to have a personage to bounce ideas off of, rather than just a terminal, or disembodied voice. But there is no reason to try to recreate an actual person, because they aren’t the actual person, no matter how they might look and sound (as Geordi found out later, the real Brahms was not the holowaifu). In STO, there was no reason to get a Stamets hologram, certainly no reason to get the personality (although the episode did lampshade this a bit, since the computer initially brought up a grouchy, retired Stamets first, before the more cooperative Starfleet Officer version). And of course, the holonerd doesn’t actually think like the person in question, nor have their memories and expertise. (Again, to STO’s credit, they bring this up with the holoStamets – he can’t really help you, in the end, until the shroom people just happen to give the faker the real deal’s memories/soul/whatever that was left behind when they went there in that one episode – so now holoStamets is as close to a Real Boy as possible [this is not to STO’s credit, in my opinion].)

Basically, what the holodeck is doing is making an avatar of the ship’s computer. That’s actually kinda neat (and I believe the show Andromeda does this), so why not just go with that? It still gives all the other aspects of the plot (such as the holowaifu thing, or the ethical dilemma of using the gains of evil), and it isn’t just plain dumb. As far as STO goes, it gives a reason to use STD’s cast (since it’s 160 years after the show, you can’t just have the characters show up). But in the rest of Trek doesn’t have this excuse.

While I’m here, I’ll rant on another bad use of the holodeck, this time reserved for STO specifically. In the episode “Butterfly” the Allies have built an Anti-Plot Gun, which erases whatever from time itself, in order to change the past so we don’t get shreked by the Iconians (who are a whole Kardashev level above even Starfleet). (It’s the same weapon Annorax used in the Voyager episode “Year of Hell”.) Since changing even a little thing can lead to huge changes down the line, of course we want to make sure that we’ve got it all calculated out: the whole thing with “Year of Hell” was that Annorax tried to change history by erasing things, but he could never get the history he wanted. But in STO, we use the holodeck to recreate what might happen if we made this change or that. Now, why do we need to enter the holodeck and run some simulation of some particular event. Indeed, what the PC is actually doing is just grabbing some historical info at the end of the simulation. The simulation didn’t need to be run – the simulation that the PC goes through is based entirely on the simulation of history the computer has already run! It’s literally a waste of computing power (it takes a lot to simulate all that stuff going on) and time (since the computer already has the answer before you even go into the room, or at least before the end!). Even in “Year of Hell” the computer doing the simulation just did its calculations, then displayed the results – no need for holomumbojumbo.

So, this is another instance of writers not thinking through the implications of their plot devices. Though this time they go for the more complicated answer, rather than the simpler solution!

Everyone of you reading this…

New Things! Second Impressions

Gotta say, I’m really disappointed with my new device. Well, not in the device itself. More like the things I can do with it. Maybe if I was a bit more tech savvy, I could make it sing. Like, use the linux mode to force a proper browser, instead of having to use mobile browsers. Or how to get the toolbar to show my RSS feeds. Things like that. I mean, having to use Chrome (I know, using Chrome on a Chromebook? How absurd!) is a bit of a I Hate It situation. At least I finally found I RSS reader extension that Just Werks, after like a whole twenty minutes of searching and fiddling (as opposed to the twenty seconds it took to get one for my old laptop’s Opera – Smart RSS, in case anyone wanted to know).

But the biggest disappointment is that, of the three games I wanted to play on it, two are incompatible, and for no real reason. Dragalia Lost said it was incompatible in the Play Store, but I’ve gotten that message for other things in the past, and with a simple workaround gotten around that issue. I downloaded, installed, connected to my Nintendo account, and updated, no problem. But, when I got to the point of actually playing the game, I got the dreaded 160 Error. While it says there’s a connection issue, it’s actually a compatibility issue. Or rather, it means your OS version is blocked. DL worked on Chromebooks until Feb or Mar, at which point they were blocked. Probably falls under the broad emulator block. I don’t know if I blame this on Cygames or Google. But it really pisses me off something fierce.

Also, Pokemon Masters won’t work, at all. Not in the Play Store, period. QooApp wouldn’t even let me download it. And getting the .apk directly didn’t install. That’s actually really weird. I know whoever developed the game (I don’t know if it was DeNa or Game Freak or what) really screwed the pooch on compatibility – it only works on 64-bit systems, which excludes 90+% of American phones, let alone all the phones across the world – but this is sad. I know I have a 64-bit system – I have 8 GB of RAM, so that’s necessary. But no. No dice.

I haven’t gotten around to trying Princess Connect, but I figure it will work, since that’s more platform-agnostic. I just need to get the will to open it up on my tablet, figure out the menus to get the system link, and we’re probably golden.

I also can see zero reason why Granblue Fantasy wouldn’t work, since that works on Chrome in the first place.

So yah, half the reason I got this stupid thing is out the window. I still need it, since the other half is still valid (laptop coming apart at the seams). But it’s a real drag, since I paid hundreds of dollars more for a system that could supposedly also play my games.

Oh, and also, that second look at Star Trek Online was a disappointment too, but one I was expecting. I did the new mission, and I just have to say everything STD touches turns to garbage. Even in the hands of (slightly more) competent writers, it’s garbage to the core. Even the sci-fi concepts introduced to the Trek universe are garbage. I hate the whole ‘mycellial network’ concept. You just know Kurtzman heard of one of those giant fungus bodies and thought, “What if that was, like, connecting the whole universe, man?” while doing various drugs. It’d be one thing if it were just another realm of subspace, or one of the dime-a-dozen parallel realms in Trek. But no, it ‘connects to all mutiverses’ and ‘if it gets hurt it kills all life in all realities’. And now the baddie-of-the-month is hurting it. But they got Rapp for STO, and Stammets’s whole character is >muh shrooms, so that’s what we have in STO.

Not a great start to my day.

New Things! First Impressions

Me, when I opened the door this morning.

I talked about that 2-in-1, convertible, flip-tablet laptop Chromebook whatever, last week. I talked about the reasons for getting it, and so on. I wasn’t expecting it until tomorrow. You know how they give estimations for when packages will arrive? Well, I got that, and it said between anywhere Sep 6-11. I’ve found they tend to arrive either in the first two days, or the last day. So I was despairing, having to wait a full week from the ship date (which was a couple days after the order date) to get my thing.

So, when I opened the front door to go to work (a bit behind schedule, I might add), what do I find but a rather large box! Inside the box was a lot of plastic air, and then at the bottom a much smaller box, with my laptop in it. As I said, I was already behind schedule, so I just grabbed the machine and charger, shoved it into its case, and ran out the door. (Forgotten: SD card.)

So, my very initial impressions of this machine, my first Chrome OS device: I don’t like it. Well, that’s not at all true. I like the machine. It’s very nice. It doesn’t pop and crack when I open the lid, which is a huge plus right now. In tablet mode the screen is HUGE. But I really don’t like Chrome OS. For one thing, the file system is all wonky. Then, I can’t install my preferred browsers (hint: not Chrome), except for the Android versions. Opera for Android doesn’t allow extensions (like a RSS reader…), so I had to do Firefox, which does. I don’t know how to right-click with the touchpad (though I did it on accident several times; unfortunately, I don’t know what I did to do it). Some of the gestures are counter-intuitive (you mean I have to move my fingers down to scroll down, which is the exact opposite of what you do on a touch screen?), and of course I don’t know all of them, since I use a mouse with my laptop now, and always have.

Oh, and nothing can be installed, except from the Play Store. Unlike Android, where you can give an app permission to install, you just straight-up can’t do it. At least not out of the box. You can set the machine to developer mode, which allows you to actually use the device. But that involves wiping all the data. Fortunately at the time I learned this, I only had one extra app installed anyways (Opera), so not a huge deal, but it really shouldn’t be this way. I’m going to be installing apps that aren’t on the American Play Store, which means using QooApp, so being able to install outside of the store is a real big plus.

I said using the thing in tablet mode was impressive. And it is. For one thing, it’s heavy. Of course it is, it’s a proper laptop. It’s light for a laptop, in my experience, but that’s still heavier than your typical tablet. And it’s big. 14 inch screen, I think. In laptop mode that’s a bit smaller than what I’m using now (15.5″), but way bigger than I’m used to for my tablet (9 or 10″). Doing DuoLingo on that…wow. And it was loud and clear, too.

I only used the thing for a couple of hours, mostly just trying to get the initial setup going, like one does on every machine. Once I get actually using it, I’m sure I’ll have more to think about.

Another thing that happened was the new big patch for Star Trek Online. I’ve said before that I wasn’t too excited about it, and I’m not. But hey, free ship to grind for, that isn’t inherently STD tainted, so yay! Too bad the missions themselves are. But I’ll live. I just did the new queue twice (since you can grind for 60 points a day, and the queue gives 30 points each time), and I have to say, I like it. It’s ground-pounding, which is a nice change: ground pub queues almost always are a lot faster than space pubs, and for a grind, this is important. I think the average run time is less than ten minutes, and that’s with it being brand-new and no one knowing what’s going on. There isn’t a lot of running around, like the last ground queue, and no fixed timers (besides the few seconds at the start of each phase, to let players get in the instance). And, most importantly, there’s no cooldown for the queue, like there normally is. 20 minutes in and out, no big deal.