Friday, March 28, 2014

Fish in trees arrived by comet

So, I just learned that Ray Comfort actually asked a geologist if fish hitched a ride on comets to Earth[1]. Apparently, this was part of a question series about why there is so much water on Earth and the geologist suggested that much of it could have come from cometary bodies during the formation of the planet.

Well, if fish arriving on comets explains fish to Ray Comfort; perhaps it would also explain why there are fish in the trees to Brother Jed Smock.

The latter point comes from something Brother Jed once said to thunderstruck listeners on ASU campus, saying something about how “fish don’t live in trees,” which shortly became a meme mocking him for whatever failed point he was attempting to make.

Those fish living in the trees arrived on comets.


[1] paulchartley, Noah Proving Bullshit Pays [Video file] , Retrieved from

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Interview: On Being a Captain in Star Trek Online

The folks over at MMO Anthropology had a chance to talk to a mutual friend of ours from Star Trek Online about what it’s like to be a captain in the game. Then I took a chance to write up an article about the interview over at SiliconANGLE. Be sure to watch the video and read the article to get a glimpse of some of what happens in STO and how it affects personal experience and expression In virtual worlds.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Reflections on chasing space bunnies: Epohh tagging in Star Trek Online

With the introduction of the Legacy of Romulus expansion in Star Trek Online, Romulan reputation became a thing—also, so did, chasing, petting, tagging, and fostering furry, antennaed, irradiated space bunnies called epohhs. The prolific and agile epohh tagger engages not just in a quaint little minigame (the chase and tag) but also research and a bit of animal husbandry and can generate up to 600 reputation marks as the result of along chain of duty officer missions.

I’ve been playing around with this system and I have some thoughts on how Cryptic has implemented it and the social phenomena that have emerged.

Epohh Tagging

To get the whole chain started, players head to Mol’Rihan (New Romulus) and transport themselves to the Epohh Fields. An aptly named area that’s filled with space bunnies and NPCs offering missions related to them.

Tagging involves rushing out into the field and using a tricorder on every epohh visible.

Some basic advice: Get used to the geography so that you can run between the areas that have a lot of epohhs, avoid going in when there’s too many other players already on the ground (competition lowers tagging opportunities), when tagging an epohh get an eye on the next target so you can get moving immediately.

The last part is extremely important so that you don’t accidentally chase the just-tagged epohh—which race off as if shot out of a cannon and vanish after a few yards of running.

While it’s possible to easily solo this mission (netting 2-3 tags easily) to get the maximum of 4 it’s necessary to grab a group. As a result, there’s numerous people in the area looking for FED or KDF teams who are doing tagging. Three people can easily get 4 every time.

Researching epohh tags

For every 4 tags it’s possible to run a duty officer mission that “researches tags.” Do this to generate Epohh Research—you need five of these to buy a space bunny kit (I mean an epohh pup.)

This assignment will always end in success so you can run it with any science DOFF, as a result, you can ignore the “success condition” trait on DOFFs and should instead aim for DOFFs with the critical traits of Efficient and Logical. Any DOFF with both would be superb.

Once you have an epohh pup you will then start running DOFF assignments to foster and care for them. The assignments grow epohhs through pups, to moppets, to adults, to elders. The same traits—Efficient and Logical—assist with criticals on the epohh fostering missions so keep those DOFFs in stable to run your farm.

The elders can be sold for 400 Romulan marks; or you can collect the various colors and have a nice Pokemon stable of space bunnies.

To discuss, read this thread on the Star Trek Online official forums.

Tagging Teams

Players seeking that lofty 4 tags from the tagging mission have started to band together to form tagging teams. Usually players can Pick Up Group (PUG) this and there’s usually some people all hours of the day seeking teams. It’s hard to tell so far how effective that is, but people seem to do well with it.

Fleets already provide a social infrastructure that many players use to put together tagging teams and it’s common to see similar Fleet names on players in the Epohh Field when I’ve been observing.

In 2012, an in-game channel was added called “Epohh Tag” similar to other social channels in the game to assist people in finding tagging teams.

That players can at-best get three (3) tags (and not the maximum) and even a group as small as two (2) players can get the maximum reward allows for a highly casual experience in the Epohh Fields for most players. However, it also provides strong encouragement to form groups and the presence of people seeking groups (and finding them) suggests a thriving grouping experience.

There is no epohh trade—this is because epohhs are bound-to-character and not tradable. The gotta-catch-em-all element of space bunnies could have made for a thriving epohh trade; but Cryptic’s decision to make the husbandry and fostering of space bunnnies part of Romulan reputation has probably caused the developers to segment epohh raising from the economy-at-large.