Star Trek Online Open Beta LiveBlog Bonanza Part 8

Continuing on from Star Trek Online Open Beta LiveBlog Bonanza Part 7.

Or you could start at the beginning (It’s a very good place to start) with Part 1!

5:44 am GMT, Day 7

The last day or so it has been almost impossible for me to log into Star Trek Online, owing to the servers being full. It looks like the weekend rush is over, and Arkturos Reh has taken to the skies once more!

He’s a rank 7 Lieutenant. Once he reaches rank 10 he’ll be promoted to Lieutenant Commander and have access to tier 1 ships (the starter ship being considered tier 0).

Star Trek Online Tutorial 36 Episode Guide

Star Trek Online Episode Guide

Above you can see all the missions I currently have. I prefer to deal with the lower levels ones first, so as to not have to do them later when they’re no longer any sort of challenge. Having already done the Patrol the Vulcan Sector, and Patrol the Orion Sector, I may as well finish off the Sirius Sector Block and Patrol the Risa Sector also. As I slightly outlevel this missions so it shouldn’t take too long.

In the Tazi system some geologists are being menaced by Klingon vessels. I have to destroy five groups of them.

Star Trek Online Tutorial 35 Outlevelled Klingon Enemy 300x177

I am armed with a fore phaser, and an aft disrupter.

If you take a look at the picture (If you’ve not noticed, you can expand the small pictures by clicking on them), the Klingon’s “healthbar” at the top has a -2 next to it. That appears to be their relative level to my own. You can really feel the difference that number makes, and it is always worth checking before you engage an enemy. Enemies with a positive number there can give you a real headache sometimes. It’s the equivalent of “conning” in other MMO.

At the Omar system I am asked to destroy some Klingon robotic mining facilities. This gave me some problems to begin with, until I realised that my objective was to just destroy the stations, not the squadrons defending them. The mining facilities being unshielded and quite flimsy, all I needed to do was fly in, fire off a salvo of photon torpedoes, and then run like heck!

7:06 am GMT, Day 7

The Donia System was another space combat, this time against the Gorn. I had a couple of players with me this time, and they did decently. It seems very random as to whether anyone turns up for these missions or not.

In the Koolhaas system I, and a couple of well-behaved players, had to scan some large asteroids within an asteroid belt. Needless to say, these were defended by Klingons.

With the final stop on the patrol completed, Patrol the Risa Sector was complete. It was four space combats in a row, and I estimate we destroyed about 70 or so enemy ships.

That’s my biggest concern with STO. There is not very much variety, and one space combat does not feel all that much different from another. Don’t get me wrong, space combat is fun, but it is too large a proportion of what is available at the moment.

8:29 am GMT, Day 7

We’re off to Deepspace K7 in the Aldebaran sector of the Eta Eridani sector block.

Star Trek Online Tutorial 37 Eta Eridani Sector Block Map 300x176

Eta Eridani Sector Block is contested

Eta Eridani sector block appears to be contested, with the Federation holding the west, and the Klingons in the East. In the middle, perhaps that is the neutral zone. I don’t think there is anything we can do at this time to increase our sides field of influence, but that is supposed to be one of the improvements which will give PvP eventual meaning.

Deep Space K7 is a small space station that serves as the hub for this Sector Block. There’s a full range of merchants

There are also a couple of folks marked as mission givers in the main hall, but they don’t seem to actually give you any missions. While here I decide to “buy” a new tactical Bridge Officer to round out my away team. When I try to purchase an “unknown race” one with skills I like the look of, the Starfleet merits are taken from me, but my new Bridge Officer fails to turn up, either in my roster or my inventory. I try again with a Vulcan, but still my officers fail to arrive. I would have them court-martialed, if I had the faintest idea where they are or what their names are.

8:52 am GMT, Day 7

Ahh wait, here they are!

Star Trek Online Tutorial 38 Bridge Officer Assignment

Maybe I won't court-martial them after all.

Slightly distressingly, both of those unknown race tactical officers appear to be complete clones of Ensign T’Rix. Weak. You would think the much-boasted customisability of characters might have extended to a little bit of randomness in NPC appearances. Seeing as I already have one T’Rix, I’ll go with the Vulcan instead.

Luckily I can expend one of those spare unknowns to teach T’Rix one of the abilities I picked them for, replacing T’Rix’s rather useless legsweep attack with a far more useful sounding photon grenade.

I go to visit the Admiral, the reason I came here, and she sends me back down to the main room to speak to those mission givers I couldn’t get anything out of earlier. This time they’re much more helpful, and one of them gives me a mission to take part in a Resource Battle, which I’m guessing is some sort of PvP scenario.

The missions description says I can find these at Otha or Kerrat. Kerrat is a space based battle, and I’ve had my fill of them for now, so I’m going to head to Otha to try some ground-based PvP.

We beam down, to find a mighty battle raging. Our job is to rescue 5 Federation hostages. This is hampered slightly by the presence of a Klingon team 5 levels higher than us. It was the greatest difficulty to get even one member of that squad on the floor, but it was quite good fun trying! By hitting the enemy from the sides or behind while they were fighting another squad, we managed to get enough of a flanking bonus to be able to hurt them properly.

After a rigorous search, the other Federation players and I decided that there were in fact no hostages to be found anywhere. I suppose they hadn’t spawned properly. From talking to my team-mates, it appears that the space version of this is similarly bugged, with the objectives being unscannable. I suspect the hostages here should be in the green tubes in the middle, guarded by plasma turrets, but they’re not interactable with.

I guess I’ll have to give up on completing that mission for a while.

10:16 am GMT, Day 7

In the comments JB has a question:

I have a question, when you are walking around space stations etc. How alive do they feel? Are there NPCs wandering around doing day to day things, or are there just a couple of static NPCs glued to the spot?

If you are in a zone with no other PCs does it feel like a ghost town?

There are NPCs generally chatting away and wandering aimlessly about. In this respect it’s a lot like Champions. Even so, the stations do feel a bit lacking in life, somehow. Here’s a pic in Deep Space K7’s main room. K7 is a bit quieter than Earth Spacedock, mind you.

Star Trek Online Tutorial 39 Deep Space K7 300x177

Deep Space K7 in Star Trek Online

You can see one of my other quibbles here too. All the architecture is massive (Though keep in mind my character is quite short). All the rooms are far bigger than they need to be, with vast amounts of empty space. Doorways are big enough to fly a runabout through. It’s the same on your Ship’s Bridge. It’s as if the scale for indoor zones is completely off.

10:49 am GMT, Day 7

Ah well. If I can’t complete my bugged resource mission, my next job is to carry on with one of the main plot missions. To the Kassae system in the Kassae sector of the Regulus Sector Block,we’ve lost contact with our science station. Perhaps all will be fine, but the fact the mission is called “Researcher Rescue” tells me otherwise.

Regulus Sector Block is the next area on from Sirius Sector Block in terms of difficulty. I’ve pretty much done everything that needs doing in Sirius, so it is time to move on.

On arrival it turns out the communications satellite used by the science station is surrounded by Gorn ships. After dealing with them, we still cannot hail the station, so we decide to beam down.

The Gorn are afoot once more, but they have also started fires which threaten to destroy. To prevent that, I am given a new toy to play with!

Star Trek Online Tutorial 40 Kessae Fire Suppression 300x177

Whooosh! Take that, Ensign T'Rix!!

While playing with the fire extinguisher, I also happen to rescue some scientists, who tell me that they have another base down on the planet, and that I’d better stop shooting my ensigns with CO2 and go sort it out.

It turns out the scientists have uncovered signs of a proto-reptilian race, which is why the Gorn are so upset. They feel we’re robbing the graves of their ancestors. They may have a point. We are not, sadly, given the option to negotiate.

1:02 pm GMT, Day 7

Wow, I’ve just finished the toughest battle I’ve yet seen. Coming back from the planet after discovering the hostages were already taken, you face the Hostage Ship.

The Hostage ship regenerates quickly, and has front weapons that will tear you to shreds extremely quickly. Your only hope is to never ever get in front of it. As it drops mines, behind it isn’t too healthy either, but if you can stay glued to it’s sides it can be done. that’s easier said than done with the limited manoeuvrability I’ve mentioned, and the need to switch shield-facings against even it’s side weapons. I died a few times before I got the hang of that, but finally I got it down low enough to beam the hostages off.

7:10 pm GMT, Day 7

There’s just been an extremely informative State of the Game letter released by Cryptic. You can see it here.

The adventure continues in Star Trek Online Open Beta LiveBlog Bonanza Part 9!

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