Breached Whale (and Other Tales)

One of the things that I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about have been the queued content of Star Trek Online.  Given how prominent that content is in the game-after all, re-running queues a lot is in some cases the only way to get certain reputation marks-it’s a bit of a glaring omission in my running commentary on the game.  So today, I’m going to look at a couple of the queues I’ve been running in the last couple of months.

The queued content comes in two basic varieties:  the kind that are performed in space with ships, and the kind that are performed on the ground with your Captain.  In each case, you are teamed with (in theory) four other Captains.  Yes, that means all of these are grouped content.  It’s also worth mentioning that there are usually three varieties of the individual queues:  a “Normal”, an “Advanced”, and an “Elite” version.  Having no illusions about my level of uber-ness, I tend to hang around in the Normal queues-and I’ve found a preference for the space queues more than the ground queues.  The last time I did a ground queue, it had been an accidental click of the wrong one (I’d been trying to click the one above it in the list), and by the time I found I’d hit the wrong one, it was already too late.  I did stick around to do what I could to help in that queue-thank heaven it wasn’t an Advanced or Elite version; I figured why penalize the other players for my mistaken click?

So with all that in mind, let’s take a peek at the queues I’ve been running lately.

The first came out with the latest Season, and it involves the Mirror Universe-led by Admiral Leeta-attempting an invasion at Deep Space Nine in “Counterpoint”.  And this invasion isn’t simply “beam an army on the station and fight inside”; this is along the lines of physically bringing her own space station to that space:  Terok Nor (which was the original Cardassian name of the station before the Federation and Bajor claimed it).  The goal of the queue, in a nutshell, is to stop the invading fleet, perform a counterattack by beaming assault teams onto Terok Nor (one of which is covered in the aforementioned ground queue that I’d accidentally joined), and beat the Mirror heavy-hitters to force Terok Nor to retreat back to the Mirror Universe.

As far as queues go, it’s a fairly uncomplicated one.  Blow up lots of ships.  There’s a couple mechanics that are interesting, such as going back and forth between DS9 and Terok Nor to pick up and deliver assault teams, and you want to inflict damage on Terok Nor while keeping DS9 more or less intact-but you can’t ever destroy Terok Nor, and I’m not entirely sure if DS9 can be blown up (seems unlikely); there’s also a section where you can try to close off portals to the Mirror Universe to stop reinforcements from coming in, but that’s optional.  At least on Normal; I’d be willing to bet that at least on Elite, those are required objectives.  All this said, at the Normal level, it’s a fairly straightforward “Fire Everything!” sort of queue, which doesn’t require much out of the player.

The second queue came out during Season Eight, but was temporarily retired when the current Season rolled out for some modifications.  “The Breach” involves a massive Voth ship that dwarfs pretty much every starship in the game (up to and including the Borg command ships).  This is pretty much in keeping with what we’d seen on the Voyager episode that introduced the Voth.  But it makes for a terrific opportunity for starships to fight in the interior to at the very least disable the vessel.

Size matters not?  Right.  Those specks on the left?  Those are your FLAGSHIPS.

Size matters not? Right. Those specks on the left? Those are your FLAGSHIPS.

This queue has five major phases to it.  The first involves something out of Star Wars and its famous trench run; you go in, blow up hardpoints at high speed, and weaken the defenses enough for you to blow a hole into the hull of the ship wide enough for starships to go through.  This tilts the advantage heavily to ships with the bridge officer ability “Fire at Will”, although if you were one of the players crazy (!) enough to use a ship with nothing but turrets, you could probably use “Scatter Fire” as well.  Weapons with wide fields of fire like beam arrays and yes, turrets, will find that they have a cornucopia of targets.  The second phase is to deal with the initial internal defenses:  Voth starships much closer in size to yours, requiring you to shut down hangars to stop more reinforcements from coming.  Next, you have to deal with one of the Voth Dreadnoughts deeper inside, which is set to 10 levels above your own; if you don’t have abilities that allow you to bypass shields at least some of the time, this fight is going to be a major slog.  On this section, I would usually pop any abilities that could do that, as well as deploy any other ships I could, whether it’s a Scimitar’s Scorpion fighter complement, the saucer of an Odyssey ship, or the Fleet Support abilities derived from either your Captain skill or rewards gained from other content like Nimbus or Delta Rising.  You really can’t have too many ships shooting away.

The next section is a bit of a shell game; there is a subspace core protected by one of three power transfer conduits.  You can open them up, but only one of them has the core you need to hit; the others are either empty or have a decoy.  This area isn’t undefended, either; but if you handled the previous phases, these ships aren’t hard.  Each time you knock a third of the health of the core down, the conduits close and it’s moved to another conduit.  Rinse and repeat.  The following section is the grand finale:  a massive core crystal protected by rotating shields.  It’s got some nasty defenses, but again, if you survived that dreadnought, you should be able to handle this.  Once it explodes, you have to speed your way out of the Voth ship before everything blows up.  (That’s not actually required, but if you want to maximize your rewards, you want everyone to make it out intact.)

As you can see, the Breach is more complicated than the DS9 queue-but it takes correspondingly longer to complete.  The big reason it’s getting a big push these days is because of an event running that follows Cryptic/PWE’s usual methods of “do this for fourteen days and you get something neat at the end”-in this case, an Admiralty ship “card” for the Admiralty system.  Oh, and a heap of fleet marks and Dilithium.  I was “eh” on the ship card, but I’m all for more Dilithium and Marks (so I can be ready for when the next big holding push comes-or maybe put some towards those vanity holding projects that are collecting dust).  Because of the length, though, I decided to only run three characters through this ordeal-one of which is Klingon aligned.  The bright spot is that the daily completion also gives rewards-mostly your choice of reputation mark type, or just straight fleet marks.  That got me a heap of fleet marks, plus all the Terran reputation marks I needed to complete my main Federation character’s Terran grind, and what I need to go from 0 to top-tier in that grind for my Klingon, too.

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