The Back Half of the 2800

  It’s a bit late, but since it’s still in-game, it’s still fodder for my posts.  What is “it”?  Well, it’s closer to “what are they?”

  I’ve posted my thoughts on the first three episodes of the Featured Series “The 2800” for Star Trek Online.  Well, it’s time for me to comment on the last pair of episodes-and my thoughts on the series as a whole.

  Picking up where we left off was a trip to the super secret high security Federation prison called “Facility 4028”.  As a concept, it makes sense; you have to keep your prisoners somewhere, although this appears to be the kind of “fire and forget” kind of place that Section 31-a shadowy and somewhat-less-than-moral organization working within Starfleet-would put together and sanction.  (And judging from one of the dev blogs posted when this was released, 31 is well aware of what goes on here….)  It features a new map-the aforementioned Facility.  And it really doesn’t spoil much when I say that your character is on hand when the inevitable happens.

This is what it looks like before you have a riot.

  One of the neat ideas behind the Facility was how it was staffed:  by photonics, such as the Doctor from Voyager.  Of course, this meant that when the computers go down, things go to hell fast.  Fortunately, your captain is on hand.  Unfortunately, not all the prisoners are rounded up in the end….  That detail is something I hope gets followed up upon in future content-but given the “speed” that content comes out in the game, we can only wonder when we’ll see those seeds sprout.

  On the brighter side, for people who felt there wasn’t enough action going on in the previous episodes in this series-well, this one is for the ground pounders.  While you got a minor bit of ground combat in Bajor’s holodecks, you haven’t gone toe-to-toe with anyone since the opening episode.  Fighting your way through a prison riot to resecure the prison is a good way to get back in practice!  On another hand, though-at least during my run through-this episode had absolutely no accolades to celebrate any special achievements or choices.  Given the possibilities in this episode, that had been disappointing.  This has been corrected since, but I haven’t done the mission since that time, so I can’t comment.  I can say, though, that it was a misstep to miss this in the initial release.

  The episode finale is where you get your resolution-the episode where you help retake the station.  Despite your earlier work, though, some of the bad guys just don’t want to give up the game; Kurland, DS9’s CO, remarked, “Tell me you haven’t run into a problem.”  “We have a problem,” you reply.  Kurland must be at least a little genre savvy….  So you have to get into the station the hard way.

  The REALLY hard way.

Er, no, I really am supposed to be out here. Really. Please don’t shoot me?

  This is a first for STO, and was a great move in my opinion.  In order to get to Ops and kick out the bad guy, you can’t beam aboard, you can’t take a shuttle-so you spacewalk your way across the station’s structure from the outside.  Naturally, it’s not quite that easy-there’s a few obstacles that need to be overcome before you can get inside.  (Oh, and thank you, Klingon Empire, for making a simple spacewalk more complicated by jumping the gun!  I’d ask for that captain’s execution if he hadn’t gotten himself killed in the act.)  Once inside, it’s time to find a way into Ops and deal with the threat once and for all.  Alone.  Fortunately, you have a few ways of evening the odds.  But even that won’t stop the trouble outside, and you’ll get your chance to fight alongside two legendary Starfleet vessels.  Well, one legendary, and one-about-to-be.

  So how did the 2800 measure up to the previous features?

  In terms of content, pretty well.  It gave us a whole new persistent zone, which almost matches the coming of the Orellius Sector Block and Defera way back in the Deferi series.  A new shuttle-only mission, similar to the Vault back in the Romulan series.  The cutscenes were decent; the voice over work was a bit iffy, but I may have been spoiled by some great work in the previous group of series.  For the Trekkie in me, I got a thrill out of fighting through DS9 not just once, but twice; walking on the structure of the station was a big deal, and while I wish we could have gotten a whole new sector block out of the Gamma Quadrant, at least I got to go see what was on the other side.  And the best part was that we got little bits and hints about what may come in the future (maybe).

  All the same, I didn’t have the same “wow” factor I had gotten from previous series.  It wasn’t until the final two episodes that I felt greatly impressed; while the Bajoran hub is great, the episode’s content didn’t give me that wow factor.  I got it in the prison, though, and I got it during the spacewalk, and that’s the kind of thing I want out of my feature episodes:  the kind of things that emphasize what makes these missions stand out from the rest of the leveling content in the game.

  But all things end, and so did the 2800.  Sadly, we may only see one more Feature Series this year, which is a pity (and honestly, there had better be good stuff on the way between then and now, and I don’t mean just C-Store junk; and it had best involve getting the Klingons to a point where they can level starting from 1 to 50).  The features are really the best examples of what STO can be, outside of some player-created missions in the Foundry.  STO’s calendar indicates there’s a few things scheduled for April; hopefully, it will be the beginning of a trend.

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