Star Trek Online has released a new episode in its ongoing arc concerning the Lukari and the Tzenkethi, and it features a bit of a sidetrack. The Lukari are nowhere to be seen in this one, and the Tzenkethi are less important to this mission than Klingon politics. The episode, “Brushfire” features, in fact, a Klingon warrior long thought dead: former Chancellor Martok. One has to credit the devs on this much: they have done an amazing job on recruiting the voice acting of the original actors of many characters for this game. This episode features no less than three.
It features a mission to sneak into a prison operated by the disgraced House of Torg, a name recognizable by the players of the Klingon faction. General Rodek (remember him?) has been ordered by the current Chancellor to headline a rescue mission, with the muscle represented by the player character and crew. However, it does involve a modicum of stealth. Fortunately, the definition of stealth for a Klingon means “blow up the ships guarding the place before they can get a signal off”. Did I mention this takes place in the Briar Patch, a region of space known for explosive gas clouds? And did I also mention that there is a new group of aliens-new to STO, that is, not to the franchise-that is known to operate in this area that make their debut here?
Once past the defenses in space, it’s time to infiltrate the station as prisoners. If all goes right, you will escape with the former Chancellor and flaming wreckage in your wake, and into a final conflict with the House of Torg (well, as final as anything ever is in Klingon politics). And as if the Klingons and the aforementioned other species wasn’t enough…the Tzenkethi are also on hand because they want a piece of “the Butcher”. (Hint: that isn’t you.)
As far as missions go, it’s not what you’d call deep. It does feature a potentially life-changing moment for Rodek, who is given cause to question a number of things he has always(?) believed, and it brings a very potent political force back into the mix for the Klingon Empire, even if that force denies it. But it doesn’t do much to advance the current quest line in the episode arc. That’s actually okay-we got breather episodes in the Star Trek series that focused on story arcs; it’s not unreasonable to have one here. And the Klingons deserve a spotlight once in a while, too-although I do think that it would be more interesting at some point to see a Gorn, Orion, Nausicaan, or Lethean oriented episode at some point; be nice to see some of the cultures that make up the Klingon faction these days. But that’s sidetracking myself.
A couple other things landed with the patch. Naturally, new lockbox, centered on the aforementioned newly arriving species. Big shock there, right? Another thing introduced is an “Endeavor system”. This tends to be a limited time achievement-based event, where you do something x amount of times in y amount of time. The one I saw first was a Borg related one, where one had to blow up 15 Borg ships. Being on a team apparently does not help on the count; I was in a Borg Red Alert on a team, and got credit for exactly four kills. That said, I may have failed to read the instructions clearly enough-I thought it said 15 ships, but it may have said “15 Cubes”. That would make a big difference, as it wasn’t only cubes being blown up. The rewards didn’t seem like much to me, but I’m going to hold off on judgment until I actually run a couple of these and see what shakes out. For those who enjoy doing the Admiralty thing, there is a new campaign that features the Ferengi, and offers gold-pressed latinum amongst its rewards-as well as Dilithium, which apparently a focus in this path. (This should do all kinds of amusing things to the Dilithium Exchange if true.) Finally, as is habitual for new episodes, there is a weekly reward offered in addition to a choice of either a specialization point or an equipment tech upgrade item.
Obviously, I ran my primary Klingon character through “Brushfire” first, and the screenshot reflects that. Still working on a decent framework design for the images, and it’s likely that I’ll wind up having a separate one for Klingons and one for Starfleet. (Don’t get me started on Romulans-I’m not sure I’ll bother, but it could happen.) Clearly, I’m no graphic designer, but it has most of the elements I’d look for. Just need to figure out a border design for the edges that fits for a Klingon-oriented look. I’ve made strides in my Starfleet design, but it’s not ready for primetime yet.