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Having returned the Federation diplomats to Earth’s spacedock, we were given a few days to take shore leave. I extended leave to all members of the crew that wanted to take some. After some of the recent events we’ve been through, I can’t fault anyone for wanting some time off. Dr. Franklin and Amy both took me up on the offer in order to attend some seminars on new findings by Federation scientists. Dr. Franklin was interested in some new developments in emergency tissue regeneration. Amy was more interested in attending a demonstration on the potential uses of nanites to perform routine maintenance on ship systems. I felt obliged to remind them to take some actual time off while they could, since I wasn’t sure when the next time we’d have a chance to relax would come up. I was planning to take the opportunity to see if I could beat my best time on the holodeck’s Chicago marathon program.
Unfortunately, our shore leave had to be cut short due to an emergency. Reports from Starfleet vessels continuing our exploration of the Delta Volanis Cluster indicated a major outbreak of a resilient strain of Ankaran flu had occurred in the sector. With the proper treatment and the right medical supplies, Ankaran flu isn’t life threatening. But the size of the outbreak had depleted supplies in the region. The Tirpitz was being sent as part of a relief convoy to resupply several systems with the needed medicine. Among the systems we visited was one we had helped in the past. The trade outpost on Theta Columbae Xi 524-V made it a target for piracy, but as a stop on many of the region’s trade routes it was a great distribution point. I can only hope that those crew members that had their hearts set on a little vacation can take some comfort in the number of lives our delivery would save.
Out of Character
A very brief post today to cover some of the new training missions.
First, I feel I should apologize to those that have visited this blog recently looking for information to make the game easier. When I gave one of my bridge officers the title of Chief Medical Officer for the story of my ship, I had no clue how important that title would become in the game. As such, I’ve recently gotten a spike in visits from people trying to find a mission objective and not necessarily interested in reading about my experience in the game. So for them, I provide this info, along with my regrets for teasing them for the past few days with a useless hit on the blog search:
For the “A Difficulty Decision” mission, the player is first asked to find the Chief Medical Officer on Earth spacedock. He is located in the personnel section of the base, where players can purchase bridge officers and train them with skills. If you’re standing in front of the bridge officer vendor, turn left and you should see him in a little alcove by himself.
After speaking with him, the player is then sent to find the Chief Engineering Officer. He tells the player how they will be able to repair damage to their ships and is appropriately located in the shipyard section of Earth spacedock. I think he’s right next to the person that gives out the “Search for the Azura” mission.
The final person the player needs to visit for the mission is the Assignment Officer. This was the one I had the most trouble finding. She’s actually located in the center of the starbase, near where the player picks up the mission to visit Memory Alpha. Unlike with the other two npcs you need to locate, the placement of this one can’t be determined by logic. You need the chief medical officer to fix your personnel. You need the chief engineering officer to fix your ship. Along those lines of thinking, I was expecting to find the assignment officer in the same room with the two people on Earth spacedock that gave me so many missions in the past. Why she’s in the scientific research area makes no sense to me.
But that’s a problem I have with a lot of the training missions in Star Trek Online. They make very little sense. A lot of my problem with it is the writing for the missions. I’m sure many a player is familiar with the “Where’s Sulu?” situation. The player is sent by Admiral Quinn to talk to Commander Sulu very early on, and the write-up doesn’t include the Quinn being polite enough to say “He’s just standing over there on the opposite side of the room”. It’s the same problem with the “A Difficulty Decision” mission, but three times as bad. There’s no clue in the mission briefing about where you need to go to find what you’re looking for. The writing for the training missions is the same as it is for all of the missions in the game, but it works better in the other missions because of what you’re being asked to do. If you need to blow up enemy ships in space, they’re usually the only other ships you’ll see. If you need to speak with a diplomat or a negotiator on a ground mission, they are usually one of the very few people around you can talk to. Being told to find one very specific person on Earth spacedock without instructions on where to look, is like being told to find one individual person in a shopping mall on the day after Christmas. It’s possible, but it would be a lot easier if you told me they were returning something at a specific store.
But “A Difficulty Decision” is not the new training mission that bothered me the most. The one that did won the right to be the title of this post. I should have known there would be something not right with a mission named after the let down tie in book. This mission is designed to show the players how much easier it is to complete planetary aid missions when they come across one. The problem is coming across one. Since the patch on Thursday, I’ve spent the vast majority of my time trying to find a planetary aid mission to complete the training, but have had no luck. Planetary aid missions are part of the exploration sectors of the game. Because they’re in exploration sectors, you don’t get a known mission. You get a randomly selected mission. It’s like someone teaching you how to play poker by randomly dealing you cards until you get a royal flush. If you want to teach someone something, you eliminate as many random events as possible. This should be a short mission with a set location. The broker they introduced that gives the players ten shield generators for free should have a follow-up mission that tells the players to deliver those shields to planet X. I’m sorry if I’m ranting a bit, but spending over three hours trying to get a random event is ridiculous. I would love to see someone do the math to figure out what the chances are of getting a planetary aid mission. If you look at the patch notes for the update that dropped on Saturday, they mention that they’ve tried to increase the chances of the aid missions spawning. I hope it helps, because the last time I tried to do it I felt like the chances of finding an aid mission were around one percent.
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