Star Trek: Tirpitz


The Daily Grind

It’s feels like a year since the events of the Vendor system that we played a role in.  There was an inquiry into the incident.  In the end, I think it was our service record that prevented me and my officers from being assigned to make transport runs between San Francisco and Tycho City for the rest of our careers.  We remain as the command staff onboard the Tirpitz, assigned under Admiral T’nae for the time being.  

Scanning for decalithium

What changed was our assignments.  We’ve spent most of the last few weeks working under Lieutenant Anek as part of the Federation’s continued exploration of the Khazan Cluster.  It almost felt as if our superiors at Starfleet Command wanted to evaluate our performance before they trusted us with any important missions again.  Or maybe they just wanted to sweep us under the rug for a time while the Federation recovered from the black eye we gave it.   I can understand wanting to keep us out of sight and out of mind of the Romulan empire while our diplomats tried to smooth things over.  Searching for new sources of decalithium to mine and recovering parts from crashed stellar probes on pre-industrialized worlds provided us a way to remain useful to Starfleet without drawing attention to ourselves.  

Romulan revenge

The only problem with this plan was that it didn’t work.  After we liberated an unalligned space station from a Reman occupation force, with Starfleet Command’s permission to do so, everyone knew where to find us.  It wasn’t long before we found ourselves the target of attacks by the various different groups that call this sector of space home.  The Romulans, the Remans, the Hirogen all engaged us in battle at some point or another.  Even small organizations such as the region’s Kibo Cri’Box raiders, a small pirate group that the Federation had never encountered before, got in on the act.  We made repeated reports to Starfleet Command regarding these attacks, and all we received were orders to explore new unknown systems.  

The Battle of K7

All that changed a few days ago.  Several listening posts long the Federation/Klingon border had picked up evidence of a massive cloaked fleet entering Federation space.  Given the enemy fleet’s course and speed, Starfleet Command believed they were heading to assault Deep Space Station K7.  We received orders to report to the system to help defend it from the assault fleet.   When we arrived, we were assigned to guard a spacedock on the edge of the system.  It didn’t appear to have any strategic value to the battle we were expecting.  That did not prove to be the case.  While the majority of the two fleets engaged each other near K7 itself, our sensors did pick up several Klingon ships that attempted to circle around the Federation forces and come in from behind.  We ended up facing several powerful Klingon ships at the same time.  Thanks to some skilled maneuvers, as well as some well-timed boosts to our shield power, we were able to hold the position long enough to be reinforced by several ships from the main fleet.  In the end, we were able to turn back the Klingon fleet.  

With the battle over, we received orders to report to the Earth spacedock.  

Out of Character

My posts here so far have been a fairly accurate description of how I’ve been playing the game.  I would get a mission from one of the various different Starfleet officers that would hand them out.  After finishing the mission I would do a write-up here and then repeat the process.  Because of this, I had been skipping over a number of repeatable missions that the game offers.  To me, it was a question of how many times could I write something about the daily missions.  If I do an exploration mission, and I keep being sent to scan five objects in an asteroid field, how many times can I write a new log entry about doing the exact same mission?  And it’s the same for the other repeatable missions.  How many times can I write about battling a random fleet or taking part in the Klingon war before I keep telling the exact same story?  So for the most part, I’ve been trying to keep to the main story missions, and only do a repeatable mission the first time they appear in my log.  

This practice got me to about half way through Lieutenant Commander level 9 before I ran out of main story missions.  After finishing Divide et Impera, the next story mission I had in my log was listed for the lowest Commander rank.  Somehow I had to come up with a level and a half’s worth of experience.  I don’t want to say that there’s a mission gap around that level advance.  I think it was something that I created by the way I was playing.  I think the design of the game is that the player is supposed to be mixing the repeatable quests in with the story missions.  And because I had only been focusing on the story advancement, I ended up needing to grind the repeatable missions in the end to get to the right level to continue.  

This gave me a chance to look over and evaluate the repeatable missions the player has access to.  Probably the worst option right now, in my opinion, is the pvp.  Now don’t go and assume that my dislike of STO’s pvp is because I don’t like pvp in general.  I bought the Orange Box collection just to play Team Fortress 2.  Also, my main character in World of Warcraft has the kill 100,000 players achievement.  So I consider myself a pvp player, and I look forward to trying it in most of the MMOs I’ve play.  And it’s also not a factor of being on the losing team.  I’ve been very fortunate in that I would say seventy-five percent of the time I’ve done STO pvp, I’ve been on the winning team.  So it’s not discouragement because I keep losing.  It’s just that there’s a lot of refinements that I’ve seen in the pvp systems of other games that need to be added to STO.  Things like automatically being placed on a team together with the other players on your side and having a countdown before the match starts so the game doesn’t begin as soon as the first player enters.  Add that to the fact that I still can’t complete the first two pvp missions I received way back as a Lieutenant (I keep winning war zones, but they never seem to register), and the pvp just feels pointless to try to do.  

Now when I ran into my level gap problem, I made some comment about needing to grind out a level in fleet chat.  And a few people pointed out that there isn’t any grinding in STO.  And to some extent they are correct.  In other MMOs, if the player just wants to kill things to gain the XP to level up, they can just wander off into the wilderness and do so.  There isn’t really that option in STO.  The closest we get is the Sector Defense missions.  All the player has to do is find the randomly generated enemy ships in sector space, and then get to blasting enemies.  It’s not a bad way to try to do it.  I’m sure every player occasionally has one of those days where they just want to get online and get to killing ships.  It just feels like it’s not a good a time investment for the rewards offered.  It doesn’t feel like you get very much experience for finishing each of the three waves needed to complete a sector defense mission.   

Exploration, in my opinion, is the best of the repeatable options the player can currently do.  It offers a variety of missions.  You get a chance at space combat, ground combat, and non-combat missions.  When you complete one of the three missions needed to complete the exploration, you get a noticeable increase in experience.  And finishing the exploration missions gives the players tokens they can spend on some really nice equipment upgrades.  From here out, I’m probably going to be doing much more exploration than I had previously been doing.  

Of course, I’ll probably do most of that “off-screen”, and only continue to write posts about repeatable missions when I first get them.

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