Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Star Trek Online - Exploration, Star Trek: Online, Star Trek: Online - Arucanis Arm, Star Trek: Online - non-combat, STO, STO Arucanis Arm, STO Exploration, STO Non-combat
With so many of Starfleet’s resources going into our current war with the Klingon empire, our efforts to catalogue the many unexplored sectors of space have been reduced. To get our research efforts back on track, Lieutenant Grall was given special dispensation to select a number of ships to increase the Federation’s exploration efforts. The Tirpitz was one of the ships Grall selected, most likely due to our efforts to help chart the Delta Volanis Cluster. The Tirpitz was assigned to a number of systems in the Arucanis Arm, a region of space near the Romulan neutral zone. And I’m sure the many science teams onboard the Tirpitz were looking forward to this assignment.
Our first destination was System 1395-B. Initial surveys had detected unusual energy readings in space around the fifth planet in the system. Using the ship’s sensor array, we were able to track down a number of alien artifacts that were emitting the energy. Our scientists were able to determine that the energy out put from the artifacts would not pose a threat to the ship or the crew. I made it very clear that the research teams assigned to study the artifacts were to follow our highest safety procedures before allowing them to beam the artifacts on board.
Our next stop was 6301-Chi, a planet in the IG-652 system. As we entered the system, our scans picked up some unusual life form readings coming from the planet’s surface. We established an orbit around the planet and were able to perform a more detailed scan. The life form readings we had picked up appeared to be some strange form of plant life. Dr. Franklin expressed an interest in leading an away team to further study the plant life. On the planet’s surface, Franklin’s team took samples from several different locations where they had found the flora. The plants seemed to exhibit the ability to spin a cocoon for itself, much like several known species of insect. Dr. Franklin requested permission to collect a few cocoons for our exobiologists to study further. Once the good doctor was able to convince me that the cocoons posed no potential threat to the crew of the Tirpitz, I allowed him to collect one cocoon for further study.
The Tirpitz then proceeded to System 7345-U. Probes left in the region had detected several spatial anomalies scattered through the system. Our scans of the system picked up several unusual radiation emissions. Because there was no pattern to the radiation, we suspect that it may be naturally occurring in the system. We collected several samples to transport to Memory Alpha for further study.
Out of Character
“Oh, fascinating. Twenty particles of space dust per cubic meter, 52 ultraviolet radiation spikes, and a class-2 comet. Well, this is certainly worthy of our attention.” – Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: First Contact.
When the player picks up an exploration mission, they have to complete three missions that are randomly given to the player. And somehow, this time, the random assortment I received was all non-combat scanning missions. They were fairly quick and easy. There’s a little button on the mini-map that when pressed will direct the player towards objects that they can scan. In most missions, that’s just the randomly generated anomalies that the player collects to use for the crafting found at Memory Alpha. In the space missions above, those anomalies fill in for the items the player needs to scan to complete the mission objective. On the ground mission, there are mission specific items the player needs to find and scan, but the scanner system will still work to point the player in the right direction to find them.
Playing this exploration mission, I had the feeling that I was a red shirt ship. If I remember the episodes of Star Trek I’ve watched correctly, any time any ship that isn’t named Enterprise takes on board any random scientific samples, the crew soon ends up either all dead, all insane, or a mixture of the two. Even Data’s not immune to some funky artifact screwing around with his programing. If these missions were actually parts of a Star Trek episode, I would imagine the crew of the Tirpitz would have to prevent the artifacts from taking over the ship, before having to battle body snatchers trying to replace the crew, and then having to return the radiation samples they collected because the samples were an alien life form of some sort.
The writing for the ground mission seemed a little off. On the ship in orbit of the planet, scans detected plant life. On the ground, my science officer kept calling them cocoons. And when it was finally time to beam back to the ship, the dialogue was back to calling them plants again. I don’t know if they intended to do that. When I read it, it felt like the writer had either gotten confused or had failed biology.
Before the game came out, there was a lot of discussion about how much combat should be in a Star Trek game. Websites looked at how much violence was in each one of the different series. Some people did polls during open beta to see if a fan’s preference of one series over another had an influence on if they liked the balance of combat to non-combat missions in the game. And currently, there are still a number of people who want to see more non-combat missions added to the game.
For me, I’ve been enjoying the game the way it is right now. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing more non-combat missions in the game. When they do pop up, they are a nice break from blowing up ships from alien A, then from Alien B, then from Alien A again. What I would hope though, is that when they start to include more non-combat missions, they also include more to do in them. Right now, the player ends up talking to a series of people or scanning a number of objects. All the player has to do is find the thing they’re looking for and press the right button to advance. As an example, maybe in the future if we get a mission to deliver vaccines to a planet in need, we have to do a mini-game in sick bay to actually create the vaccines. Doing so would probably involve a lot of work adding in code for the new functionality, but they really need to advance non-combat game play past “go here, press button to talk to X”.
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