Personal Log, Stardate 94350.27
When you talk to the old-timers in Starfleet-not counting me, although my situation is a bit different-they speak in hushed whispers about the Borg. Way I’ve heard it, they were considered unstoppable. One ship demolished an entire fleet on the way to Earth before Captain Picard pulled a rabbit out of a hat-or maybe it’s more accurate to say his crew did, since he’d been assimilated by the Collective. Another ship came close to changing history and wiping Earth before First Contact. I wonder why Daniels never mentioned that one to me; maybe because things were already effectively taken care of. I’m not the only temporal agent wandering around, it seems. The threat seemed ended when Captain Janeway of Voyager slammed their transwarp network shut on her way back to the Alpha Quadrant. Then there was an attack on the Vega colony, and suddenly, the fear was back.
Thing is, the Borg have degraded a lot. The Borg batted around the fleet, but it involved multiple ships on both sides, and it was arguably a victory for Starfleet. But then they’ve come again, assimilated entire worlds-literally-and everybody started talking. I was even at a conference at Deep Space Nine to help seal an alliance to fight the Borg. Battle Group Omega seems to have been the response.
The Borg aren’t the same. We’ve encountered their ships, and the walking monsters themselves, and while they offered a tough battle…they aren’t the invincible juggernauts of yesteryear. Something’s changed. Things got a bit more interesting when the Undine showed their faces again-the Borg have clashed with them before-and suddenly the Borg are ready to try to assimilate them-when they never had before. It worked-and my crew barely put down that monstrosity.
We capped the encounter with a probe into fluidic space, where the Undine hail from. We didn’t need to bother. The Undine had it well in hand, blowing up Borg command ships with ease. But…we did get some intelligence on something else. Ships matching our configurations, constructed with Iconian tech, attacking Undine “space”. Is this why the Undine have been infiltrating our space again? Seems likely. The Iconians and their technology keep showing up; I feel like we’re on the cusp of revelations.
I hope we can survive them.
The Borg get a bad rap in Star Trek Online.
It’s honestly a no-win situation here worthy of Kirk himself. If the Borg were really portrayed as they are in the shows and movies, we’d have a dead game; the whole point behind them is that they adapt to whatever can harm them, and they never. Stop. Coming. It’s like zombies with a hive mind and superior technology. Except they don’t eat you-they assimilate you and make you just like them. Which, actually, is pretty similar to the whole zombie outbreak sort of thing.
But that doesn’t make for a fun game, now, does it? An opponent you can’t really beat in a combat oriented game? (Let’s face it-STO is more like Kirk’s era than Picard’s, no matter the trappings.) No, what we got was the other extreme: Borg who are imminently beatable. Where fleets once fell to a single cube, now you have fleets of cubes falling to a single player ship. The only time the Borg are truly terrifying are during the special task forces (does anyone still run those? I lose track with the zillions of queues out there now).
Some of the reason for that might be explained in-game somewhere that I missed; I seem to remember that one of the STFs got involved with time travel and the like for that, but that was far enough down the chain that I never actually completed it-at least in its original incarnation, when ground and space were not split up into a pair of queues. Maybe we can explain it with Janeway really knocking them out of whack by finishing off the Borg Queen of her era. Maybe maybe maybe.
So, all that said: the Borg Advance arc really isn’t that bad of one. It’s been streamlined down to a smaller number of missions, but also sets the stage for the future missions in the game. Once, this was the endgame; now, it’s just a part of the chain. Nature of the beast, as far as MMOs go.
Rick Masters has managed to wrap up the first tier of specialization in the Temporal Operative branch-all space related, naturally. The mathematically inclined will recognize that he’s halfway through the Admiralty ranks, and this is positioning him well for the grind of the Delta Rising missions. That’s still ahead, though. He’s still working through the Temporal Rep at tier 5, and I’m probably a week and a half away from finishing that rep grind. By completing this episode arc, he’s also finished locating all the temporal probes-I took some time to take care of the two that got skipped; turns out that watching the videos related to them won’t cause the condition to complete; you have to investigate the probe again without watching the vids. It was pain to get to the one on Nimbus, though, which did, after all, require me to fight through to the stronghold there.
Having finished all the probes, well, it’s somewhat disappointing. There was no link to the whole “Agent of Yesterday” sort of thing like there was for the Delta Recruits, and there has been very little aside from the Yesterday’s War mission arc and the initial intro missions to make Agents of Yesterday an expansion worth the name. Even Delta Rising had more to it, while Legacy of Romulus is still the gold standard for STO expansions. When I look at Agents of Yesterday, I see six missions in the past-none of which are terribly involved-and three cross-time missions (plus an intro if your character wasn’t already involved in the temporal shenanigans). One new regional map, which is only used in those first missions. A new rep, a new specialization-which could’ve been folded into a regular Seasonal patch-and C-Store ships, which tend to pay for themselves. And if I remember right, a pair of new queues.
Contrast that with a heap of missions from even Delta Rising (and I’m not counting the missions that were tacked on afterward-that wouldn’t be fair), two regional maps, a new hub, and a new reputation; or with Legacy of Romulus, which had new missions, a new viewpoint (where shared missions with Feds/Klingons were outlined from a Romulan POV), a new regional map, a new pair of hubs (one hardly counts-the Flotilla you tend to stay away from once New Romulus is founded), new ships, and I can’t recall offhand if a new rep was introduced for Romulans at that time or not-that might’ve come later. Both of these included new queues, and “adventure zones”. Agents of Yesterday didn’t even have that different viewpoint, as Daniels demands once you hit 2409 to not say a word about where you really come from.
As far as expansions go, in the final analysis, I’m not horribly impressed. I’m aware of the fact that the devs have just announced the next part of the Agents of Yesterday expansion, but I’m again comparing the original release with the other original releases-and Agents of Yesterday comes up short. It’s not that it’s a bad expansion; it just has a hard time being justified as an expansion.
Nevertheless, the adventure of Rick Masters continues, because it ain’t stopping until we catch up to the current content-whatever that may be!