Personal Log, Stardate 96256.50.
It’s been a while since I updated this log. Where to start?
Should I start with the fact that my first round as a first officer wound up with me taking over after Klingons killed the Captain and winding up in a running battle with the Borg? That seems like it should be the first thing I start with. My ship’s logs can tell that tale better than I can. So even though I was a raw cadet, I was in command of a ship-and, in the parlance of the humans, it has “stuck”. In fact, it has been an absurdly short time and I have been promoted to Lieutenant Commander, and put in command of a Rhode Island-class ship, the Runner.
It’s a testament to the ferocity of the war against the Klingons that people are being promoted at a rate far faster than is normal. We are in an odd situation where we have too many ships, and not enough crews. The war is forcing the best officers to take command far sooner than they should-and I hope that it doesn’t end badly for them. Us.
The first action in the Runner got us involved with what appeared to be a rogue agency called “Section 31”. We found out, though, that things weren’t necessarily as they seemed.
To start with
Alert: the remainder of this entry has been redacted by Starfleet Intelligence.
Computer, end log.
Time to look in on my new Starfleet Cardassian, Selak, in Star Trek Online. He’s broken the level 10 barrier; during that time, I went though the early missions again, and I’ve noted a number of updates since the last time I went through-for example, a very early encounter with Quark from DS9, and Captain La Forge being heavily involved with the early missions as well. But once I got to level 10, and grabbed a new Science ship, I decided to go off the rails right off the bat.
The first thing I did was take advantage of a current queue being featured, the Romulan Minefield. This is a pretty straightforward mission, where the gathered captains go to rescue freighters from the Romulans-and blow up the Romulans at the same time. It eventually culminates in a fight with a Scimitar-class warbird, complete with thalaron weapon. There’s a number of hints that are given out on how to deal with the queue at this level-I don’t know if that persists with later level brackets-and I didn’t really need them, but I think they’d be very helpful to new players. So, props to the devs on that one.
The next step was fulfilling my promise to myself that I’d make heavy use the the Foundry for my leveling. This means that it tends to be very slow-I mean, I can knock down regular episodes fairly quickly, but some of the Foundry missions are significantly longer. But that’s okay with me; I mean, I’m at the point where I enjoy the experience. If I were a power-gamer, I’d hardly be going through so many alt characters, I’d think. So, I’m only running into the teens with my level, but I’m playing stuff that I’d be willing to bet most of the playerbase hasn’t.
Instead of selecting a mission through the Foundry interface, I decided to go a different route. Popular missions that are “hooked” to a star system often come up as options to play when you are close enough to enter the system in sector space. So, I stayed close to home and went to the Wolf 359 system-infamous for the first major fleet battle against the Borg (final score: Borg: 39. Starfleet: 0), and chose a mission. And to make it more interesting, I chose the one that was “part one” of a multi-mission story arc. Thus, Selak’s redacted log above, and thus, my following comments on “The Ice Cube”, written by TechieTrekie.
The mission opens with a seemingly routine mission-albeit a top secret one-by Admiral Quinn near Wolf 359. It didn’t take long to get jumped by Klingons near a class-L ice planet. It wasn’t long before a cloaked Starfleet ship revealed itself, captained by an operative claiming to be a member of the mysterious Section 31. Okay, it’s not that mysterious, but figure this is a new captain with no previous exposure to that group. Still, he had the codewords that Quinn used to verify that he was our contact there, and things ramp up from there. While it seems at first to be a fairly innocuous “clean up the Klingon mess” sort of mission, it soon develops into a mission that involves a first contact-at a location that shouldn’t be there (but the arc does eventually explain how that something that shouldn’t be there IS).
These are pretty long missions, especially if you pride yourself on reading the material. Additionally, the third mission doesn’t offer the standard Foundry rewards-which is acknowledged by the developer in the mission description as well-I recommend playing it through, though, since it’s very much story related, and heck, it’s the shortest of the four missions. Why deprive yourself of the full story, right? Folks out for mission rewards above all can skip it, though, without losing a whole lot. Really, though, if one is only out for mission rewards, there are easier ways to do that than using the Foundry.
The plot manages to hold together pretty well, and inconsistencies that crop up turn out to actually have reasons behind them. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, though-while it resolves the plot of the arc, it’s obvious that it was intended to lead into another story arc. Unfortunately, this seems to be the sole arc related to this story. It’s a pity-it did a pretty good job on showcasing what the Foundry is capable of. But having looked at the Foundry editor myself and fiddled with it once or twice, I can appreciate the time it takes to put something like this together-and this was done for four missions! Much respect to Foundry authors-it’s why I always make sure to donate dilithium at the end in appreciation.
The only regret I have is that, due to availability recently, and to the time taken by a Foundry mission (plus the time to take notes so I can figure out what to write about coherently) which leads to fewer rewards gained, I haven’t gained a lot in the way of levels. Only midway through the character teens right now, so it’s slow going. When I can free up more time, I expect things to go smoother and faster.