Star Trek: Tirpitz


Acting Captain’s Log, Vulcan Sector Patrol

With the crew of the Azura safely delivered to stardock, Commander Sulu gave us a new assignment.  Our orders were to patrol the Vulcan sector, a key area of space which contains several mining outposts that supply materials the Federation needs to construct, repair, and maintain Starfleet vessels.        

Mining outpost on Beytan V

Our first stop was the mining outpost on Beytan V.  The manager of the facility, Brian Vanderberg, had requested Federation assistance in mediating a labor dispute he was having with the miners.  T’Lol and I beamed to the surface of the planet, and we spent the day speaking with the disgruntled workers, finding out exactly what their grievances were.  They had very valid concerns regarding their safety (both due to the equipment they were using and from the possibility of attacks by the Orion Syndicate), their job security, and their quality of life.  Once I was able to explain to Mr. Vanderberg what the miners were requesting, as well as what assistance to expect from the Federation in fulfilling those requests, he agreed to the miner’s terms.        

Pico system asteroid mining.

Our next stop was the Pico system, where the Federation had established an asteroid mining facility.  We contacted the facility and asked if they needed our assistance.  The station manager informed us that while he was glad to see an increase in Federation patrols of late, that currently the station didn’t need any assistance.  However, as we were setting course to continue our patrol of the sector, one of the mining ships suffered major systems failures.  We were able to render aid and escorted the damaged ship back to the facility where it could receive the repairs it needed.       

Fighting the Orion Syndicate in the Kei system

We then traveled to the Kei system to check up on another asteroid mining facility.  When we arrived, we discovered a blockade around the facility.  The manager of the mining operation contacted us, informing us that the Orion Syndicate had been trying to extort mineral shipments from the facility in exchange for “protection” from raiders.  The quantity of ships the Orions had brought for this attack was staggering.  I put out a request for assistance, and we were soon joined by the USS Jaynestown, the USS Mako, and the USS Dyson.  Between the four of us, we were able to drive back not only their initial assault force, but their reinforcements and the command ships waiting out on the border of the system.      

Destroying drydocks in the Bhea system nebula.

After studying salvaged computer cores from the ships we destroyed in the Kei system, we discovered that the Orion Syndicate had constructed several drydock facilities in a nebula in the near by Bhea system.  If those drydocks were left standing, the Syndicate would have a base of operations from which to launch pirate attacks on several key trade routes in the region.  We contacted Starfleet, and received authorization to wipe out the Syndicate presence in the Bhea system.  Unlike the previous battle, the attack on the drydock facilities was much easier.  Mr. Scharf suspected that due to the losses suffered in the battle in the Kei system, they were unable to mount a significant defense.  With the system cleared, and the last system on our patrol route visited, we reported back to Commander Sulu for further orders.    

Out of Character

Sector patrols are a different style of mission in the game.  They don’t have any real impact on the storyline of the game.  They don’t even have a real storyline within the patrol itself.  The player receives a list of systems the player will need to visit, and it is only when the player enters those systems that they will be informed as to what they will need to do.  Each system mission is self-contained, and they do not lead the player from one to the next.  The player can choose to visit any of systems in the patrol in any order.  They can even break up the patrol by visiting only a couple systems and then doing a story Episode before visiting the other systems to complete the patrol.  The order of events provided above isn’t the order I actually did the patrol in, but it seemed to provide a better flow of events.  In any case, what happened in each system above is accurate.   

The miner strike on Beytan V is the example most frequently used in reviews of the game as an example of the game’s non-combat missions.  The player beams down to the planet, talks to the facility manager, wanders around the facility to read the complaints of five miners, and then returns to the facility manager to answer five yes or no questions regarding the miner’s demands.  I’ve seen some people complain that it’s really to simplistic, and in to some extent I can see what they’re saying.  However, in this case, I can’t really think of a game mechanic way of handling a diplomatic situation.  Personally, I think it works alright as it is right now, although I think they could do better by asking what a specific miner’s concern was instead of asking if any of the miners wanted shorter hours.  

The two combat missions in this patrol introduced me to the game’s auto grouping system.  If you enter a patrol system, and there’s already a group of ships attempting to complete the objectives, the default game settings will attempt to place you in a group with others before just creating your own private version of the system.  I guess this is to encourage interacting with more of your fellow players that you may not have grouped with otherwise.  But there’s no real interaction.  You don’t need to communicate with the other people in the group to succeed.  You just need to follow the rest of the group and attack what the rest of them are attacking.  This early in the game, there doesn’t appear to be any need for a more complex strategy.   

The other thing the auto grouping system does is increase the difficulty.  If you’re in a system by yourself, you’re only going to face maybe three of four ships at a time, and it’s going to be a fair fight.  If the game detects that you’re in a group with others, the number of ships you will be facing will increase.  When grouped with three other players, the Orion reinforcements that I think normally would have been one battleship or two light fighters became two battleships and four light fighters.  It definitely makes things interesting, especially if you’re not paying attention and charge in well ahead of your back up.  

And if anyone is curious, the Janyestown, the Mako, and the Dyson were not the names of the ships I fought alongside in the Orion combat missions.  I’ve made a choice to come up with names for player ships I end up being grouped with.  I have two reasons for doing this.  First, I’m only want to anger anyone by including their captains and ships without their permission.  Secondly, I want the blog posts to feel like they belong in the Star Trek universe, and names like the USS Pwnzurnoobs just break immersion.

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