I was away from the internet for a week and had three posts pre-written and scheduled to be published throughout my absence. I was looking forward to finding comments in reply to them in my inbox upon returning home. Unfortunately, I messed up the scheduled publishing process, so none of them actually went up until I returned home and made them all go live manually. I suck. If you missed any of these posts due to them all going up at once, I just wanted to briefly point them out now:
Assault on Tython and Korriban
Huttball on Quesh
I've pointed out before that, for someone who never misses an opportunity to mention how underwhelmed she's been by the Galactic Starfighter expansion, I've actually spent a not insignificant amount of time playing it. In line with this, I'm proud to announce that last Sunday I finally achieved mastery of my first ship, the SGS-45 Quarrel gunship. It only took me, what, four and a half months since the expansion's early access for subscribers? Go me.
I remember when I first looked at the way you can customise different ships in GSF: it seemed to me that the available options were all about playstyle choice. However, while there is definitely some of that in the different components that are available, there is a significant amount of vertical progression to it as well. Fully mastering a ship is essentially the equivalent of getting a player character to the level cap. The power difference between a ship with no upgrades and a fully mastered one is insane.
That isn't entirely bad, mind you. With some upgrades in particular, you can really feel the difference it makes once you get them, and that sense of having achieved something feels good. But the way people of such vastly differing power levels get pitted against each other at random... is less so. There's an achievement for getting a silly amount of kills without dying, which I figured I was never going to get due to not being all that great... until I ended up in a match against a bunch of clearly un-upgraded ships that popped like bubbles whenever my gunship shot them. While I was pleasantly surprised to get the achievement after all, I also felt vaguely dirty after that match, as if I had ganked a bunch of newbies - which, in a way, I had - except that it was simply a consequence of the game thinking that this was perfectly fine match-making! The problem is, I'm not sure they can afford to split the game into brackets for different upgrade levels without making queue times go through the roof. Not to mention that things like people with both mastered and un-upgraded ships would present difficulties for any matchmaking algorithm.
All that said, I have to admit that I've honestly warmed up to Galactic Starfighter. Having a fully upgraded ship certainly helps, but I also feel like I've got a better grip on how to play by now, at least when it comes to the slower ships. I'm still far from being a good player, and maybe I simply benefit from flying a gunship a lot (as a lot of people on the forums claim that they are overpowered), but during most matches I feel like I can carry my weight. I've also grown fond of my bomber - for domination matches at least, hugging a satellite of my choice, pooping out drones on cooldown and firing the occasional torpedo at people engaged in dogfights with my more agile brethren. It's almost relaxing.
Who'd have thought that starfighting could be an acquired taste?