Season Ten of Star Trek Online kicked off last week, and things have already been hopping.
The season included not just one, but two episodes (and given how these things usually work, that’s actually news). So my Delta Recruits were set aside for a time while I brought the headliners up to deal with the opening shots of the Iconian War. The Klingons got their crack at it first, followed by the Romulan Republic and then Starfleet. And these episodes allowed me to get some opinions on the Heralds of the Iconians, the primary antagonists of this phase of the war.
The first episode is your standard “things go to hell right away” sort of thing. The enemy has revealed its strength, and the protagonists are scrambling to defend their own. During a briefing of some of the most significant captains of three governments (including, of course, the player’s character), word goes out that the Iconians have begun an attack on New Romulus. A simultaneous assault is going on at a nearby Federation starbase, where you get to see the power of the Iconian warships. The ships themselves are striking, particularly their big cruisers and dreadnoughts. Some ships will be able to deal with them better than others, although gear and bridge officer abilities will matter as well. My Klingon had trouble, but was generally able to handle the fights; my Romulan had her hind end smacked around silly, while my Starfleet rep had little trouble. The running battle on New Romulus demonstrates that the Heralds are just as nasty on the ground as in space; some of the melee attacks from the heavy hitters are literally heavy hitters. If you can avoid melee with these guys…do. It’s rough. The battle eventually reveals the reason behind the attack on New Romulus, which seemed…odd to me for a variety of reasons; given Iconian capabilities, it seemed like a roundabout method of accomplishing a goal that they could’ve achieved by just being direct. (Yes, I’m being purposefully vague-but I had a feeling that it would involve what actually came to pass, because it made sense to me that there would be some relationship here. And yeah, that’s vague, too. I’m bad that way.)
The second episode is an attempt at a counterstrike-and just as important, a means to keep the odds from getting even worse. Led by Captain Tom Paris, famed for his time on the USS Voyager, a crack team of pilots-and you-are out to destroy a subspace pocket that will allow the Iconians to bring the Solonae into the war-complete with their own set of warships. A race through asteroids leading to the target sets the tone, and a massive battle with an Iconian Dreadnought before the pocket goes online adds the spice to the trip. This episode isn’t nearly as long as the first episode, but it’s satisfying in its own way. It includes a skirmish on board one of the vessels that endangers someone very close to Paris: his daughter, last seen being rescued from the past by the player-Starfleet crew. (She’s been redesigned, too, probably because of the celeb voice acting going on that’s becoming more prevalent in STO.)
The episodes are pretty good, although there are some bugs that afflicted the episodes early-like when allied ships would try to repair and get stuck on the battle against the Dreadnought in the second episode (which makes the fight against it obscenely difficult, if not impossible; certainly, it was impossible for my Romulan until the bug was fixed. My Klingon laughed at the mission, on his side).
These episode, unsurprisingly, don’t take all THAT long to do. There are queues that have been introduced which are on my list of things to try later on-particularly since they’re the only way I know of at the moment to get the Iconian marks for the new reputation grind, but as I’ve mentioned previously, I’m uncertain if I’ll actually bother with it. In the meantime, I still have some Delta Recruits going through their grinder. Commander Xenon is still working his way through the mission arcs, and he’s recently entered the Alpha Quadrant (did I mention the sector space redesign? It’s got positives and negatives; I may have to comment more on that at a later date). At present, he’s getting ready to enter Empok Nor, and it probably won’t be long before he’s doing the Dominion Feature Episode series. He’s still got a fair ways to go as far as episodes go, but on the other hand, he’s getting very, very close to Vice Admiral level-in fact, that’ll be his next level. At that point, I’ll have to figure out his destined end-game ship, which quite possibly will have to either be the ship he’s flying now, or a tactical-based Scimitar. The perils of being a Romulan….