Con Decompression Part 2: Cosplay


So welcome back to Part 2 of my Con Decompression. Dublin City Comic Con Anime Edition has still come and gone, and I’m still trying to decompress from it all. Still trying to quantify, correlate, and find the words to describe all that I saw and experienced. This time round we’re going to ramble and talk some nonsense about Cosplay. 

Now if it’s your first time hearing the word ‘Cosplay’, don’t be afraid. It’s not some crazy cult or some adult only game. Cosplay is basically dressing up as your favourite anime, manga, cartoon, comic book, video game or movie character. Think Halloween at a Con and you’ve got it.

You’ll probably want to go get a cup of tea or coffee before you buckle yourself in, as again this is probably going to be another long one.

I would first like to take a few moments to talk about ‘Cosplay is not Consent’.

If your not fimiliar with this concept/ code of conduct , or new to a Convention that has a Cosplay presence please allow me to fill you in (Parental tone activating ). 

Just because someone, whether that is a Man, Woman, or Child has gone to a Convention in Cosplay, it does in no right allow/ or entitle you:

  • To Touch that person in anyway.
  • To jump around that person in excitement or something similar.
  • To pressure that person into taking a photo with you or by you.

What is expected of you is:

  • To ask the person for permission to either take a photo of them or with them.
  • To respect a persons personal space.
  • Not to pressure the person in Cosplay for photos, signatures etc.
  • Not to stare at a person in Cosplay. Certain characters from Anime, Manga, Video games are hyper sexualised. Some of these elements may carry over to a persons costume but please, there’s no need to stare.
  • Cosplayers are artists, some have spent hours and maybe months working on their costumes so compliments are always welcome. Just be cool and kind.

(Parental tone disengaged)

Now just for the record I asked people in Cosplay if I could take their photos while at the Con, and they were cool with that.

Located on the ground floor of the Convention Center, just behind the traders could be found the Cosplay Village.


The Cosplay Village showcased an exhibition of professional Cosplayers, a repair station (to repair any unfortunate damage to ones costume), a makeup station, an exhibition of movie props, and a number of photo sets. Which I have to say was a great and unexpected inclusion.


The photo sets ranged in theme from Anime, to video games to movies…

As well as the Cosplay Village there were a number of panels and workshops running through out the weekend at the Cosplay Academy.

Some of the Cosplay panels included talks about Photography, How to take measurements for your costume, makeup, and how to choose a Cosplay character. 

The workshops focused on working with ‘Worbla’. ‘Worbla’ is a thermoplastic modelling material, similar in regards to EVA foam. Which when heated can be formed into different shapes, to make items such as armour and weapons. It is quickly becoming the go to material for Cosplayers.

These panels and workshops were in great demand at the Convention and I was unable to attend all of them.

The Cosplay segment of Dublin Comic Con Anime Edition concluded on Sunday with a Costume Contest hosted by Wayne Talbot of Rogue Comics and the Irishpubcast podcast.

All in all I think it was a great turnout over the weekend from Cosplayers and fans alike. It really goes to show how big the Irish Cosplay community is, and how big the Anime, Manga, Comic Book and Video Game community is that it deserved a Con focusing on itself, instead of being mixed in with a larger Convention.

Over the weekend  I met some awesome people and I’ve included some more photos of their awesome Cosplay costumes.



Until next time, I’ll see at the table.

– from The Man Cave 

Con Decompression Part 1: Guests and Trade Hall

Dublin City Comic Con Anime Edition has come and gone, and I’m decompressing from it all. Trying to quantify, correlate, and find the words to describe all that I saw and experienced. I’m going to have to divide it up into parts just so I can do justice to the Con.

You’ll probably want to go get a cup of tea or coffee before you buckle yourself in as this is going to be a long one.

It was a frantic weekend, but a brilliant weekend. I filled up my memory card with photos, video and interviews… And in typical Man Cave style a good chunk is unusable due to either bad sound, people photo bombing or plain old shaky hands syndrome.

Protips for moving forward:

  • When taking a photo, check photo before moving on.
  • When doing an audio recording, do a test recording first.
  • Note to self, stop drinking so much coffee.

I hope I salvaged enough to give you a feel for how good the Con was, and I hope you forgive my rookie mistakes. So with that being said, lets move on…

 I was able to attend the guest panel Press meeting which consisted of (both Brent Spiner and Tara Strong weren’t in attendance as they had prior engagements):

  • DC Douglas (Legion from Mass Effect 2&3, Albert Wesker from Resident Evil, Chase from Transformers Rescue Bots, Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans) 
  • Kira Buckland (Power Puff Girls, Blue Exorcist, Nier: Automata, Sailor Moon, Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans)
  • Eric Stuart (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Dinosaur King, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
  • Seth Gilliam (whose film and tv credits include Starship Troopers, Oz, The Wire and The Walking Dead)

 They were honestly fun and friendly people. Answering questions about their careers and freely offering antedotal stories from their careers. 

…and I was lucky enough to get a few minutes with DC Douglas.

I hadn’t quite realised just how tall of a man DC Douglas was prior to meeting him. 

As for the con itself, it was hosted in its traditional home of the Dublin Convention Centre located on the Dublin Docklands. 

As it was the first ‘Anime Edition’ of Comic Con’s in Dublin, it spanned the entire ground and first floor of the Convention Centre. 

The ground floor consisted of exhibitor/ trade hall, the cosplay village and photo sets. Personally, I wish I was a richer man, as there were so many goodies on offer from vendors. There was Asian treats from vendors such as Minamofoods and Kantanliving. Comics, graphic novels, figurines, toys and Gundams were available from vendors such as Dublin City Comics & Collectables, Big Bang Comics and Planet Minifigures to name a few….




… And there were cosplay and ancillary items available from vendors such as Hogwarts Wands, Otakuninja, Viking Drinking Horns, and The Cosplay Village to name a few.

Oh god it’s a good thing I don’t have a credit card, and that they don’t accept children as payment …
– from The Man Cave

Star Trek Online

MMO’s, the final frontier, these are the voyages of the Starship ‘Fighting Irish’, its continuing 6 year mission, to seek out STF’s and new epic gear, to boldly over come lags and bad FPS… wah hoo hooo ho ho ho ho hoooo (you know the music)…

Ingame, I’m Admiral Oberion Storm of the starship U.S.S Fighting Irish, NX 93704, an Oddyssey class Star Cruiser.

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An interesting tidbit of information is that the Oddyssey class starship is the same class of starship that the NCC 1701 Enterprise – F is. The Oddyssey class is the result of a competition to design the ‘new’ Enterprise, and was offered to players as a free ship during STO’s 2nd Anniversary.

Star Trek Online (STO) is an MMO, by Cryptic Studios based on the Star Trek series created by Gene Roddenberry. The game is set in the 25th century, 30 years after the events of the film Star Trek: Nemesis. It’s roughly the same time period that ‘future’ Spock came from, in the first Star Trek Reboot film.

Star Trek Online (STO), is the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game within the “Star Trek” franchise and was released for Microsoft Windows on February 2, 2010. Orginally when the game launched it was based on a subscription model but in 2012 it changed to Free to Play (F2P).

I started playing STO way back in its first year as a subscriber. Way back then players had only the choice of playing as the Federation (at least till you got to Level 25, i think it was). Once you hit lvl 25, you could then choose to play as a Klingon. Now-a-days players have a choice of factions from Federation, to Klingons, to Romulans (due to their first game expansion).

Over the years, STO’s updates have been broken up into ‘Seasons’ (currently we’re at season 11.5). Each new ‘Season’ has introduced game updates, new content and new story arc’s (which have introduced friends and enemies, both old and new).

Season 8: The Sphere

Season 9: A New Accord

Season 10: The Iconian War

Season 11: A New Dawn

So, Whats the game like?

In STO like most MMO’s, you level up your character. STO has a level cap of 60, which means when you start a new character you begin at level 1, and as you gain xp from completing missions etc , you’ld progess thru the levels till you hit level 60 (as its Star Trek you start the game as a luetenant and advance up to Admiral).

During character creation you choose a career path, Tactical, Engineering, or Science. They’re equivelent to a DPS, a Tank, or a Spell Caster in other MMO’s.

STO has Dungeons and Raids, just any other MMO. Although in STO they’re called Red Alerts and Special Task Forces (STF’s).

Instead of being based on just a world, or plane of existance, STO is based in the Star Trek universe (so that would be the Alpha, Beta, and Delta Quadrants of the universe). The missions/ quests in the game are based on planets and in solar systems, with your Captain and Away Team for planet based ones and you controlling your Starship for the space ones. Combat takes place on both planets and in space.

Just like other MMO’s, you have the option of joining a ‘Guild‘, although in STO, they are called ‘Fleets‘. Fleets can have a big impact on players, as they can be leveled up, granting access to improved versions of Starships, Equipment, Items, Doff’s, Boff’s and more Dilithium.

Just like any other MMO, there is a crafting system (called R&D, in STO). The crafting system in STO is a bit different to other MMO’s i have played. Instead of being ‘locked’ into a certain crafting skill, the whole crafting tree is available to you. By using the crafting tree your able to create your own weapons, shields, items and consoles for your starship. You’re also able to craft items and equipment for your Captain and Away Team aswell. Just like other MMO’s you have to level up your skill in R&D before you get to the juicy stuff.

Where would a Captain be without his/ her crew? In STO your crew play an important part in a number of aspects of the game. Most of your crew ( the Starfleet ones anyway) will have ground and space abilities. Your crew basically break down into 2 catergories ‘Duty Officers’ and ‘Bridge Officers’.

When you assign your Starfleet crew as Bridge Offiers (Boff’s) and Away Team members, they give you extra benefits and abilities. Once assigned, they’ll grant you access to different attacks, buffs, and debuffs. For instance, assigning a certain Tactical Officer will give access to ‘Special Attacks’ such as Fire at Will, Torpedo Spread, and Attack Pattern Alpha/ Omega, assigning an Engineer could give you Engineering Team, and a Science Officer could give you access to shield heals and debuffs . These abilities change depending on the Officer, and you have the option of teaching them new ones.

With ‘Duty Officers’ you have the option of sending your crew on Assignments. The Assignments basically break down into 3 catergories, Tactical, Engineering, and Science. The successful completion of Assignments can get you XP, unrefined Dilithium, Energy Credits, and even special items or new crew.

Your Character and Starship can be enhanced by equiping both Ground and Space ‘Sets’ of equipment. The ‘Sets’ usually come in 3 pieces. By equiping multiple parts of each ‘Set’ you can gain a passive and/ or usuable ability. The Sets can also alter your appearance ingame (thats how my Oddyssey looks Borg-ified).

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Some ‘Sets’ are available as mission rewards, and others are available thru the Reputation System.

There are a number of different currencies available ingame. The main currencies used are Energy Credits (EC), Dilithium, and Zen.

As its a F2P game, Micro Transactions are part of the game. You would use real world money to purchase ingame currency called Zen, Zen can then be exchanged to buy ingame items (such as different starships), or Character unlocks.

If you don’t want to spend ‘real world’ money to get the ‘Top Tier’ Starships and Account Unlocks you don’t have to. STO has a unique system among MMO’s. The Dilithium you gain thru completeing mission etc can be ‘Refined’ and then exchanged for Zen (you are however restricted to refining only 8,000 Dilithium per 20 hours). So with a bit of grinding (currently the exchange rate is about 370ish Dilithium for 1 Zen), you dont ever need to use ‘Real’ money to get whatever you want.

So, Whats the story content like?

all of STO’s story content is organised into ‘episodes’, just like in the tv series. each episode is then sub divided into sort of chapters for easy replayability.

There are more than several story arc’s available to play, that deal with the likes of the Klingons, Cadassains (thankfully Kim, Chloe, & family dont make an appearance), the Romulans, Speices 8472, the Borg, the Iconians, and even the Mirror Universe.

I really have to give it to cryptic here, as alot if not all the the story arc’s link back to either one of the Star Trek films or TV series.

For instance in the ‘2800’ story arc, it reveals what happened to all those Dominion ships that disappeared inside the wormhole during the Dominion War in the Deep Space 9 TV series. In the Iconion Wars story arc, it ties in with an episode of the original Star Trek series, and with an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Verdict

For me STO, is abit of an odd duck. Its the one MMO that i’ve kept coming back to year after year.

Im not going to lie to you, the higher you level your character up, the more you’ll have to grind away for those cool new toys. Your going to grind for Dilithium, grind for Reputation marks, grind for fleet marks, basically once you hit level 60 grinding is all you do.

Compared to other MMO’s I’ve played STO is a very numbers based game.

The reason i say this is, is that the majority of players buzz around in their Starships. Depending on what ship your flying, depending on how you have your ship kitted out, depending on what your skill tree is, depending on your Boff’s your ‘DPS‘ (Damage per Second), could be like mine at about 1.5K or like the higher tier players at 300K plus. It’s all to do with how they all interact and combine, their cooldown times, and abilities.

There is actually a DPS league, were people compete for the top spot of who can do the most.

Cryptic have done a great job of recreating the Star Trek Universe. Your able to travel to and visit places from Star Trek such as Wolf 359, the pleasure planet Riza, Deep Space 9, the Klingon homeworld, and the remains of Romulus to name but a few.

All in all, I’ld give Star Trek Online a 3.5 out of 5. If your a Trek fan or if you want to fly around in a starship, I’ld recommend giving it a go.

Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave