Under Siege

The latest update to Star Trek Online went live last Thursday, Season 6: Under Siege. Like everything Cryptic does, it’s a mixed bag. Though , for a change, mostly positive. I’ll break my thoughts down below.

The Good

Overall, this is one of, if not the, best releases in STO yet. There are quite a few things to do in game, that still conform with its general short time frame playability (15-20min missions). A new planet with, Nukara Prime, was added with several levels of missions and a new enemy, the Tholians. I haven’t encountered Tholians in space yet, but on the ground they are a nice addition. A planet where you have to wear an environmental suit adds a nice dynamic.

Most of the other missions revolve around the new fleet starbases. Several defense missions you can pick up. One involves defending the base from invaders who have transported aboard. Two more are in space plus one where you need to defend transports that are arriving, pursued by enemies.

The really cool thing about these missions is that there’s a different dynamic to them than we’ve seen before. The Blockade mission, for instance, is all about saving the transport. You can do this by blowing up all the attacking ships as fast as you can. But you can also just keep the transport healed, or use some of the fun science abilities to keep the enemies from reaching the transport. This gives me a reason to use my Nebula as I unload Chroniton torpedoes, gravity wells and tractor beam repulsors on them.

As for the starbases themselves, it’s still early but it’s fun having a goal to work toward. Running missions has a purpose, as you are acquiring Fleet Marks to contribute to the starbase. There are new ships and equipment to look forward to in the future. The base is pretty bland now, but we’ll be able to slowly upgrade it over time into a fully functional place.

Bad

One of the small things I was looking forward to with this update was the inclusion of the Vault shuttle event to the mission queue and being able to run it at any time. Up until now, I’d never done it before because I was never on when the event ran. Now, while they did add the event so it can be run anytime, you can only get the Remand datalogs during certain times.

The event is fairly fun to do, but if you want to get the Mk XII Reman gear set, you need to run it 96 times. I don’t want to run it more than that when I won’t get the necessary datalogs. It does run more often during the day, which is nice. But it’s still annoying to be limited when I can work on getting that gear.

Like all patches to an MMO, Season 6 was also not without bugs. The most annoying bug, outside of the server being laggy and up and down on Thursday, is the Exchange being busted. There were several things we needed to purchase to complete a Starbase project, but couldn’t buy things off the exchange. This slowed us down some.

One of those things we kept running out of, were white quality Duty Officers. Before season 6, I had no use for these and kept converting them into Green quality (need 5 to do this). So when it hit the server, I have no whites. I had to strip my alts of all of their DOFF’s and run the recruitment missions to try and get some (since I couldn’t buy any on the exchange).

And the starbases are greedy for DOFF’s. One project to get Military XP requires 24 tactical and security DOFF’s. This is going to be the major slow down point as we go forward. Every 2-3 days you can run a bunch of recruitment missions and end up with about 15 new doffs, mostly white. Half are random and the other half come from each category. So every few days you can get a guaranteed 2 DOFF’s in the category we need, with a small chance for more.

Now, a large fleet will have an advantage and will have dozens or hundreds of people contributing 1-2 each. We are a small fleet so are seriously hurting in this area. I hear that the starbase upgrade missions require even more. Like 100+. I can only imagine the upper tiers are going to require higher quality DOFF’s, which are even harder to get in quantity.

Ugly 

Now for the dark side of this otherwise awesome update. The monetization of it. While it is very hard to get a lot of DOFF’s in game missions, it’s very easy if you go and buy a bunch of DOFF packs. For $2-$2.75 you’ll get 4 whites and 3 higher quality. Random but it’s a fairly good distribution. So you can always spend a ton of cash and get as many DOFF’s as you need.

What’s worse is the new Fleet Ship’s that were added to the game with this launch. The Fleet ship’s are improved versions of existing ships that your starbase can produce. They require a lot of time, earning Fleet Credits and upgrading the starbase and shipyard to acquire. But they also cost money. To purchase a fleet ship you need these new Fleet Modules which cost $5 per. And each ship requires 4.

So in order to buy the advanced fleet ships, you have to do a lot of work in game and then spend $20. If you have already purchased the lower quality version of these new ships, it will only cost you $5.

Now, charging something for these advanced new ships makes sense. STO is a F2P game, they need to generate revenue. It’s not charging for these ship’s that bugs me. It’s the amount. Currently, most T5 ship’s in the C-store cost $25. Pricey, but it unlocks it for every character. You can dismiss the ship and claim a new one as often as you like.

With these new Fleet ships, it will cost you $5-20 to get ONE. You can’t dismiss it. You get it on one character only. Cryptic once claimed that things that were for one character instead of for an account would be significantly cheaper. $5 isn’t significantly cheaper.

This fact put a damper on my interest in fleet ships. At this point, I only plan on upgrading my Defiant and maybe my Nebula, since those will only be $5 each. The Galaxy, a T5 Nova, an Intrepid, all ship’s I was considering getting the Fleet version of aren’t wroth $20. I might get the basic T5 Nova, which only costs 200,000 Fleet Credits, but that shouldn’t be to hard to come by.

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