Singularity

A black hole:  a hungry devourer from which nothing can escape, not even light.  Also:  the ultimate destination of most money paid to MMOs.

A black hole: a hungry devourer from which nothing can escape, not even light. Also: the ultimate destination of most money paid to MMOs.

I promised I’d get back to the new Tzenkethi stuff in Star Trek Online, didn’t I?

The last time, I’d mentioned issues with the new Tzenkethi battlezone.  Well, those issues appear to be fixed-at least the technical ones.  You could make a case for other issues existing, but…let’s get to that, shall we?

The Tzenkethi battlezone is similar in concept to the pre-existing ones in the game such as the Badlands, Solonae and Undine battlezones.  There’s a map-and this is all in space, so no worries about ground terrain-divided up into sectors, and they have one of three possible minigames that you have to complete to turn that sector “blue”-in other words, under allied control.  Of course, there are opponents who are trying to stop you-Tzenkethi warships.  One you have all zones under allied control, you take on a trio of their dreadnoughts, each protected by a special shield that you have to disable before you can destroy the individual dreadnought.  If you manage to get all three of them down in the time period given, you achieve total victory-well, until the zone resets and it begins again.  Also worth mentioning:  if you leave an allied zone alone for long enough, the Tzenkethi will come and take it back-and you’ll have to do it all over again in that zone.

A never-ending war for control-which has worked pretty well in other battlezones.  This one, though…it irks me a little.  At least one of the minigames is on a timer which requires you and other players to take down ships hard and fast before it makes you start it all over again.  That’s a hell of a slog to fight the timer and the Tzenkethi.  That shouldn’t be as big a deal as it feels, but there it is.  The locations in the zone are also pretty spread out-it’s very difficult to nail down all the zones unless everyone in the zone is working together.  Let’s look at the odds of that happening in this game.  If you said “unlikely”, you’d be a winner.  Fleets making runs with members will have an easier time of it, but unaligned pilots, not so much.  In this respect, the Tzenkethi zone is rougher than the Solonae zone (which is on ground, admittedly) and the Undine zone (which is space).  I honestly can’t compare it with the Badlands zone, since I’m not sure I ever bothered to run that one-although I might have at the time; I got my Terran Empire marks from somewhere…but it might’ve been through Crystalline Catastrophe runs a ways back.

Unless you’ve got a lot of cooperation going on in the Tzenkethi zone, I wouldn’t recommend it for gathering Lukari marks for the new reputation.  The only thing it has over queues is the fact that it doesn’t have a cooldown like the queues.  The queues, on the other hand, are a lot more doable, leading me to the second of the Tzenkethi queues in this new Season:  Gravity Kills.  The Tzenkethi in this queue are setting up shop here to assist in the creation of protomatter, the substance of choice for mass destruction.  In order to do this, they need particles that are produced in a distorted area of space-so they generated a black hole.  A relatively small one, but enough of one to do the job-and to cause a ship crossing the event horizon a very very bad day.  Your job:  collect exotic particles to supply to an allied ship so that it can destroy the stations-protected, of course, by Tzenkethi ships-by hurling them into the singularity.  As you get closer to the singularity yourself, you’ll see images of your own ship almost echoing, which is a good sign that you’re getting too close!  Did I mention that there is a pull to the black hole?

This queue is pretty fun; the tactics are pretty similar to other queues, but the environment makes all the difference.  Fighting ships around a singularity?  Watching stations and other ships make the mistake of crossing the event horizon and getting crushed down to the diameter of a dust mote?  My initial run here was longer than I expected to take in the queue, but nonetheless, pretty fun.  I can’t say I have any arguments with either of the two queues introduced in this Season; I’m more likely to harvest my marks through them than through the battlezone.

From a personal point of view, I’m doing well on my attempt to get that Lukari anniversary ship; I don’t think I’ll have any problem having that done well before the anniversary event ends.  I’ve not been bothering with the Academy catch-the-Q mission; I’ve done that more than enough times in the past.  I also haven’t encountered any unwelcome bugs this year with the Omega particle collection; I recall last year when some particles spawned in locations inaccessible to players, which was incredibly frustrating, at the beginning of the event.  No such issues this year!  Also of note:  my fleet (thanks to largely to the efforts of the two people still active in it) managed to get our K-13 station to Tier 1, which happened a lot faster than I expected it would.  So our fleet now again has all holdings at Tier 1 or better, which is always worth smiling about.

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