Personal Log, Stardate 94437.86
I would’ve thought that when the Federation started to send ships to the Delta Quadrant, the primary goal here would be to explore. I mean, only one Starfleet ship has ever spent any time in the Quadrant, and it was mostly a straight-line path back to Federation space. So obviously, you’d think we’d send ships to expand the map a bit; do the whole Cochrane Credo of “explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations” and all that.
But no, turns out, we’re cleaning up the mess the U.S.S. Voyager left behind.
That’s probably a little unfair. We have some friends in that space, thanks to then-Captain Janeway. The Talaxians are a nice a species as one could hope to meet; the Ocampa are decent enough folks; I’m a little leery about the Borg Cooperative, as you would think a liberated Borg would do anything to STOP being a part of a collective, but what do I know? The Benthans are a decent bunch, even if they’re a bit too narrow in their law-and-order way.
On the other hand: the Voth still dislike us when they deign to even recognize us. There are Automated Personnel Units that have gone sentient and have “fond” memories of how Voyager’s engineer found a way to let them reproduce (so to speak). The Turei are hacked off because Voyager screwed around with their proprietary “Underspace”. Oh, and because they woke up the Vaadwaur. Who, in spite of Voyager logs, are awake in large numbers now, and using tech that allows them to blow up Borg and Voth with impunity.
Oh, and thanks to my ship and crew’s work here, I’ve personally been made a priority target by the Vaadwaur. You can’t expect good things from a group calling itself the Vaadwaur Supremacy. They’re wiping out everyone in their path-including another priority target, the Kobali species. The situation on Kobali Prime is stable for the moment, but I don’t expect the Vaadwaur to stop anytime soon.
So instead of exploration, we’re in another running conflict with yet another species. It never stops.
I had planned to hold off on a post on the Delta Rising arc in Star Trek Online until I’d finished it, but I’d forgotten how much of a slog it was, so since I’m sort of between a third and halfway through, I figured I’d at least put an update up on the ongoing adventure here.
When the Delta Rising expansion landed, there were two big deals going on. The first was that it introduced specializations along with a new level cap of 60. So it was effectively 10 new levels to work on. The second was that it was damned hard to go through the whole arc because the arc was level-gated, and the xp gains from the episodes weren’t anywhere near what you needed to do the next one. Lots of grinding was needed-I’m sure that PWE/Cryptic were hoping like crazy that people would purchase xp-boosters, but they didn’t really know their player-base: instead, they looked for the most efficient ways to grind for xp. Over time, that became less relevant; new characters could get a pretty good leg up on things by maximizing xp gain prior to doing Delta Rising, and eventually the level-gates were changed to lower numbers. But the impact of all this was that sprinkled in with the episodic content were “patrol missions”.
That is where the slog is. The Vaadwaur ships hit hard, and have sacks of shields and hull points, so fighting them is a pain in the behind. This is, strangely, where my current ship, the Galaxy variant, has really shined. It’s got a tough hull, pretty decent shielding, and can take a hard hit. I haven’t blown up nearly as much as I did when I had first done these episodes with other ships. Apparently, the Galaxy class is a tough little ship when it has to be. That said, I’ve also got max Temporal reputation (I’m not sure if I’d mentioned that in the last few posts on the subject), working on Delta reputation (hey, I’m getting the marks, might as well use them), and starting up tier 2 in Temporal specialization. Or maybe the Vaadwaur got nerfed-I can’t rule that out.
It’s still a royal pain, and I haven’t hit the really nasty encounters yet.
The ground game is much the same; the introduction to the Vaadwaur on the ground has gone better than usual-I often end up faceplanted at least three or four times on that mission in the climactic fight, but I was upright the entire time this time. I’m definitely inclined to believe nerfing has happened here. My ground gear isn’t as up to spec as my space gear, usually, and I didn’t bother trying to get any of the equipment sets available from my Temporal rep.
Speaking of the ground game, and STO in general, the devs recently slapped a patch that changed up how kits work, which is that they now just offer passive bonuses (but can be upgraded like other equipment now), and the modules are fitted directly to the character now. Of course, when the patch landed, not everyone’s old kits made the transition in what you’d call a healthy manner-kit modules went into the twilight zone, until they showed up again after some map transitions. That was a royal pain.
The other royal pain was the graphics “upgrade”, which beat the living crap out of my settings, since they apparently couldn’t be bothered to have it preserve the settings prior to the upgrade. I still don’t think I’ve gotten my settings fixed right, because they don’t seem as good as it had before. Performance is way better, but that’s because I’m using lower settings than I was-and I was doing okay with the higher settings. I’m not happy with how PWE/Cryptic handled this, and this is not the first time this has happened. If one needs a reason why I’m continually reluctant to open up my wallet and purchase Zen, it’s stunts like this.
The expedition to the Delta Quadrant continues….