Star Trek: Tirpitz


The Needs of the Many

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: 

Chief Medical Officer

 

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.  

Chief Engineering Officer

 

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.  

Assignment officer

 

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.



Acting Captian’s Log, First Entry

I find myself at a loss for words.  So much has happened, has changed, in the last few hours that I’m still trying to process everything that’s happened. 

It could be argued that The Borg are the greatest threat the Federation has ever seen.  And for over thirty years, we had no contact with them.  They were gone for so long that some in Starfleet believed that they had been destroyed by the actions Admiral Janeway took to bring her ship home.

Today, the Borg returned. 

The Tirpitz was ordered to the Vega system to assist with the situation.  Upon arrival we received a distress call from the USS Khitomer.  They had been boarded by the Borg and were fighting to retake the ship.  Captain Qat’Anmek ordered me to take an away team over to assist the Khitomer.  We were given the coordinates for their sickbay as our transport point, as the crew had been able to prevent the Borg from taking that part of the ship.

Sickbay was over capacity.  They had lost a good portion of their medical staff in the assault, so their EMH was understaffed.  It wasn’t long before we were contacted by engineering.  The Borg were making a push to reach the warp core, and the defenses needed our assistance.  I had Franklin remain in Sickbay to assist with the wounded, while the rest of us went to reinforce engineering.

We had to fight our way to there.  The route we took led us down a corridor where drones were constructing Borg alcoves.  I didn’t intend to engage the Borg at this point.  I wanted to make sure they didn’t have a chance to adapt to our weapons before we were able to reach engineering.  However, a drone detected our presence and attacked.  We defended ourselves from the drones, but they never adapted.  We took the opportunity to destroy several alcoves as we continued to engineering. 

The Borg assaulting engineering were no different from the Borg we had encountered in other sections of the ship.  They never adapted to our weapons fire.  The only reason they were a threat was because of their numbers.  We were able to successfully turn the tide of the attack.

And that’s when we were notified that the Khitomer had been bait for a trap.  Several Starfleet vessels had responded to the distress call, and all of them had been attacked by the Borg.  The command officers of the Tirpitz had been abducted by Borg boarding parties.  When I returned to the ship, I was informed that I was the highest ranking officer left aboard.  I contacted Starfleet to appraise them of the situation, and received orders to beam aboard survivors from several  severely damaged ships before going to the Federation colony in the Vega system to lend aid in repelling the Borg invasion.

The Borg on the planet’s surface were no different from the Borg encountered on the Khitomer.  I would even go as far as to say their behavior was stranger than those encountered aboard the Khitomer.  We encountered small groups of Borg that had surrounded Federation colonists, but did nothing except prevent them from escaping.  They weren’t being assimilated.  They were just being held prisoner.  When we rescued them, the colonists reported that they had seen several Borg constructing a device near the edge of the colony.   The theory was that this group of Borg had become disconnected from the collective somehow and they were trying to build a beacon to reestablish their connection.  It didn’t really matter if that was the case.  We didn’t want them to establish any kind of foothold on the planet.  I lead a team and was successfully able to destroy their structure.

As we were finishing up clearing the planet of the Borg invaders, I was contacted by the Tirpitz.  Long range sensors had picked up a Borg sphere and Borg cube on route to the planet.  My away team returned to the ship, and with the combined effort of all of the ships Starfleet had sent to the system, we were able to defeat the Borg reinforcements.  Like the drones we had encountered, the ships also displayed none of the adaptability of previous encounters Starfleet has had with the Borg.

With the invasion halted, we received orders to return to Earth Spacedock in Sector 001 for a debriefing and repairs.

Out of Character: 

This is the tutorial mission for Star Trek Online.  Players start off as an ensign aboard a ship they name during the character creation process in the middle of the most recent Borg invasion of the Alpha quadrant.  I’m a little torn on the use of the Borg for the tutorial.  The initial response is “I’m fighting the Borg!  This is awesome!”  But at the same time, there’s very little danger to your character from these Borg.  It’s like wrestling an alligator that’s had all its teeth removed.   There’s even a few crewmen aboard the Khitomer that are standing over a fallen drone having a conversation about how it’s like no other drone Starfleet has ever encountered before.   But if these Borg the player encounters during the tutorial are supposed to be the next evolution of their species, it looks like the last race they assimilated into the collective was running Vista.  I guess it is better than killing the player repeatedly during the tutorial.