Star Trek: Tirpitz

Breaking the Planet

Admiral Grigori Yanishev issued orders to all Federation ships working along the Klingon/Federation border.  Starfleet Intelligence had just been able to verify some information they had acquired from sources behind the  Klingon lines.  A General D’ald of the Klingon Defense Force had been ordered to set up and oversee mining operations on what was left of a planet that had suffered a massive explosion in the Pi Canis sector.  According to our intelligence, the Klingons were attempting to gather a ferromagnetic material from what was left of the planet’s core in order to construct a “planet-killer” weapon.  Our orders were to prevent the Klingons from getting their hands on the materials needed to finish their weapon at all costs.    

Setting spatial charges

By the time we arrived in the system, a MACO pathfinder team had already landed on the planet and established a command post for the Federation.  We sent down several away teams to assist in defense of the Federation position and to attempt to disrupt the Klingon’s efforts.  They reported to the officer in charge of the pathfinder team, who laid out the battle plan.  The away teams were assigned to aid in the destruction of several pieces of Klingon mining equipment.  Doing so would prevent the Klingons from gathering more materials than they had already managed to get out of the planet.  The Starfleet forces on the planet broke down into smaller groups, to make the sabotage efforts much faster as well as to lower the chances of being spotted by the Klingon troops guarding their operations.  Even in the smaller groups, our away teams encountered some resistance, but they avoided being spotted by some of the larger patrols.  It wasn’t long before the we had managed to destroy several large pieces of equipment.   

Advancing on the Klingon artillery

As our troops were returning to the Federation command post, the Klingons began to shell the outpost.  Our forces on the planet received new orders to actively engage the Klingons and take out the troops operating the estimated twelve pieces of artillery assaulting the command post.  While the away teams had only suffered minor injuries during the initial phase of our operation on the planet, the direct combat action they needed to take to reach the artillery resulted in a much higher casualty rate.  Watching the battle take place from orbit, I was reminded of the words of a Starfleet military advisor from over a century ago that described getting into a land war with Klingons as “one of the classic blunders”.  We lost a lot of good people down there in stopping the bombardment.   

Disabling the Klingon transporters

It was after our forces were able to disable the Klingon’s ability to shell our command post that the Federation ships were able to reestablish contact with the ground forces.  The Klingons had used the time while our ground forces were being bombarded to get all of the materials they had been able to mine ready for transport.  Our troops were deployed to disable the pattern enhancers needed by the Klingon ships to lock onto the materials they were gathering.  The away teams from the Tirpitz reported that they were constantly surrounded by Klingon soldiers as they worked their way around the Klingon’s operation.  As the away teams cleared their way to an objective, it often looked like new waves of Klingon warriors were being beamed in behind our forces.  It took a long time, but our forces were able to complete their assignment.   

Holding the high ground

After destroying their mining equipment and preventing them from escaping with what few resources they had been able to mine, General D’ald ordered a full assault on the Federation command post.  With so many of our ground forces committed to our attacks, a few of the Klingon attackers were able to get past the command post’s outer defenses.  As more of the ground forces returned to reinforce the command post, they were able to slowly clear the post of enemy soldiers.  The Klingons threw everything they had left at our ground forces, and it felt like hours had passed before the Klingons started to withdraw.   

This battle was some of the most brutal combat the crew of the Tirpitz had seen.  The casualty reports from this operation are going to be staggering.  I can only hope we were successful in our efforts.   

Out of Character

I think Breaking the Planet is the longest mission I’ve taken part in so far in Star Trek: Online.  And that’s ignoring the bug that prevented advance ment for several hours.   

For the longest period of time, the mission was bugged out every time I entered the system to try to do it.  During the first part of the mission, players need to blow up several pieces of mining equipment by setting five charges on each one.  Somehow, the game bugged out in such a way that the last piece of equipment that needed to be destroyed to advance to the next stage of the mission had five charges planted on it, but only registered four of them.  After needing to be offline for several hours, I  come back online to find the mission was working again.   

I think in the end, it took somewhere between two to three hours to complete all the stages of this mission.  And I think part of the problem was that what works well in the space missions doesn’t work well here.  In the earlier, space based, fleet actions as long as you’re not alone you’re usually safe.  It’s common to see one or two groups of five ships off away from the main force attacking their own targets.  On the ground, with the high number of Swordmasters, Targ Handlers, and Munitions Officers that will frequently respawn right on top of the players, you really need everyone involved moving as one solid group.  I think that’s where we wasted a lot of our time, because instead of grouping up to punch through the patrols to reach the second ring to complete the second stage of the mission, a lot of people just tried to sneak past the guards that would aggro and kill them.   

There were probably a couple of other things that we the players could have done to make things easier.  One thing is that I think we should have been using more expose attacks.  The common strategy for ground combat is to give all your away team members expose weapons, leaving the captain to carry two exploit weapons to switch between.  I’ve tried that, and it works fairly well when soloing ground missions.  But in a fleet action, where everyone is a captain, you don’t have your support there to set you up for exploits.  I was fortunate that I had some dual phaser pistols in the inventory to switch to.  I’ll probably end up balancing my weapons choices for my away teams from here out because of this.   

But I think was the number one thing that hurt the group I was with, was that there wasn’t a single science officer among us.  Which is honestly not something we could have controlled.  What’s worse, is that some of those that were with us didn’t know how to perform CPR.  Every player, regardless of what profession focus they chose at character creation, has an ability to revive fallen allies.  This can be used on knocked out bridge officers as well as other players that fall in combat.  You just have to get close to the target and press the button, and in a few seconds, they’ll be back up and running.  I think the developers were smart enough to automatically include it on the players ground mission toolbar, because I don’t recall needing to search through the ability list to find it.  I’m hoping at the higher levels, especially in task force missions, that everyone has learned of its existence and have it somewhere they can easily access it.  As much as we were hurting for scientists, we were lucky that we had two very good engineering officers in the group that leap-froged arround the battlefield setting up shield generators and other objects to help us out.    So it was slow going, but it was still possible.  I would have hated to see how badly things would have gone if the entire team was nothing but tactical officers.   

All in all, it was fan.  I enjoyed myself.  It reminded me a little bit of the old days of Alterac Valley in World of Warcraft, when it was just a big cluster of non-stop fighting.  I’m hoping there are a few more missions like this out there yet to come for me.


3 Comments so far
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It’s a shame that this fleet action seems constantly bugged. It was bugged in beta and then at launch, then fixed, then bugged and fixed again. But once you finally get it working, it’s a lot of fun.

Just wondering, how many people were doing it with you? I don’t remember Breaking The Planet taking me that long to do, but I think it was because I did it as part of a full raid. There were at least a few dozen people with me on the planet when we did the charges and the fighting.

Comment by mmogamerchick

I ended up in a group with four other captains, and I think there were two or three others that were going around with the group I was in. Definitely not a dozen.

Comment by captainruz

I think I did a few weeks ago, but Rowan is a doctor, so I was healing a lot. We ended up moving as a group, just as you describe.

Comment by Rowan

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