Star Trek: Tirpitz

Acting Captain’s log, To Boldly Go

With Starfleet Intelligence still working to decipher the Klingon data we retrieved, Admiral Quinn sent us new orders.  The Tirpitz was to report to the Delta Volanis Cluster, an unexplored sector of space, to assist a Lieutenant Grall in exploring the region. 

The Delta Volanis Cluster

When we arrived in the cluster, we were hailed by Grall.  He explained that while the Federation’s study of the region had been slowed due to recent events, Starfleet had remembered that part of its mandate was to explore strange new worlds.  Our assignment was to explore for those worlds, and to report back frequently with our findings.  The other reason he wanted us to remain in constant contact was so that in the event of another emergency we could be notified as soon as possible.

A D'Arsay Grave Marker

The first system we explored had been labeled Pi Phoenicis 5022-F.  We discovered an M class planet that had ruins from an ancient civilization.  An away team was sent to the surface to document the ruins.  Among the ruins were a number of ornate grave markers.  The pictograms on the ruins match those recorded by the Enterprise D when it encountered the D’Arsay cultural archive in 2370.  Given the size of the find, this planet was likely an outpost of the D’Arsay, and not their home world.

The crystal formations of H-644 X

Our next destination was H-644 X.  While in orbit above the planet, we discovered several large crystalline deposits on the planet’s surface.  An away team was sent to study the crystals to determine if they should be mined as a potential energy source for the Federation.  After conducting their initial survey, an Orion ship also entered the system and transported  crew to the planet’s surface.  We were able to alert the away team to the presence of the Orion patrols on the planet’s surface, and they were able to avoid any major conflict with the Orions while finishing their studies.  While the crystal formations did contain traces of dilithium, they did not contain a high enough concentration of dilithium to make establishing a mining outpost on the planet worth while. 

Approaching Theta Columbae Xi 524-V

Our third stop was Theta Columbae Xi 524-V.  The Tirpitz was contacted by the owner of a trade outpost.  He requested our assistance in determining what had happened to a freighter of his.  He had lost contact with the ship when it had entered the system, and he was concerned that it had been attacked by Orion raiders.  We set course for the last known coordinates of the freighter, and it wasn’t long before we discovered what had happened.  The Tirpitz found itself under attack by several Talarian vessels.  We were able to successfully defend the Tirpitz from their assault, but unfortunately we had been too late to save the freighter.  Sensors scans indicated that it had likely lost life support in the initial assault by the Talarian vessels.  Scans of the Talarian vessels during the battle did detect one Orion life sign, but the species make up aboard the ships seemed to indicate that they were pirate ships, and not part of an offenseive action by the Orion Syndicate.  We returned to the trade outpost and reported our findings.  The owner thanked us for our efforts, even though we were unable to save his crew.

After reporting our encounter with the pirates back to Lieutenant Grall, we received word from Starfleet regarding a distress call in the Pico system.  We have left the Delta Volanis Cluster, and are currently en route to investigate.

Out of Character

In the same way that the “Scientific Mandate” mission sets up an introduction to the game’s crafting system, “To Boldly Go” introduces players to the exploration aspect of Star Trek Online.  The player is sent to a sector of space with no set missions or locations.  The game will randomly generate anomalies in the sector that the players investigate.  Occasionally these anomalies will reward the player with items needed for the game’s crafting system.  More frequently, the player discovers a system with a randomly generated mission.  These missions can be anything from delivering needed supplies to a planet to retaking a space station from a Klingon occupation.  I honestly have no idea what the chances are of encountering the same mission twice, but it’s highly likely that no two players will have the exact same experience in doing a set of exploration missions.

It feels like exploration missions are where Cryptic is going to throwing out a large amount of random references to the Star Trek universe.  My first mission had a reference to the D’Arsay civilization that took over Lt. Commander Data and altered sections of the Enterprise D in the episode “Masks”.  My final mission had me fighting Talarian warships.  While the Talarian civilization was only encountered in one episode of the Next Generation, “Suddenly Human” , their ships seemed to be used by several different cultures as cheap transports and starships.  Maybe I got lucky with the missions I received that two of them referenced events from the TV show.  But I find myself curious to see what other references I may end up getting in future exploration missions.

The one thing I’m worried about is how these missions are created.  There was a lot of talk before the game came out about the Genesis system.  The impression I got was that not only was the game going to select random missions for the players doing exploration, but that the missions themselves would be randomly built to some extent.  I’m hoping this isn’t the case.  If everything about the exploration missions is completely random, then a roll of the dice could be the difference between a mission working correctly, and one that the player can’t finish because it’s broken in some unexpected way.


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