Archive for August 30th, 2010

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STO: You Can Cold Call Me Anytime

August 30, 2010

Last week was a pretty eventful week for me in Star Trek Online, having leveled to Vice Admiral just days after grinding my diplomacy experience to Attache rank. With this flurry of activity, also came a downside. I knew that soon after reaching both these goals, my interest in the game could very well wane again. For some reason, I’m faithful to a fault when it comes to my character in STO; all I want to do is work on T’Andy and I can’t bring myself to start an alt or a Klingon. But just as I was thinking of freezing my subscription (again), STO rolls out their feature weekly episodes.

See, I’m not always impressed by the improvements they add to STO. Sometimes, I even think the decisions they make over there are downright nutty. But I’ll give credit where credit’s due and I’m always grateful when Cryptic exceeds my expectations and comes out with something awesome. And the first ever feature weekly episode, “Cold Call” (detailed wonderfully over at West Karana), which debuted Saturday was an example.

Color me blown away.

“Cold Call” wasn’t a long mission by any means, but from beginning to end, I felt like I was part of something coherent. Like my fleetmate the Combat Archaeologist observed while we were in the in-game chat yesterday, it felt like being in an actual Star Trek episode in some ways, complete with all the ingredients of a great story:

A dash of diplomacy…

"Quick question, Ambassador -- anyone ever tell you your vessel looks like a Republic warship? Oh, you don't even know what that means? Never mind then."

A beautiful planet with an intriguing population…

Honestly, the most gorgeous place in the game by far. Right off the bat, it felt like a city that was full of life, with NPCs milling about and Deferi ships dotting the sky.

Like the financial district at lunch time.

Mix in a ruthless (but oftentimes humorous) foe in the form of the Breen…

Oh, they’re fun to fight too.

"Like the Romulans say, 'Never turn your back on a Breen!'"

Throw in a healthy dose of ground combat…

"And stay down!"

Add some space combat for flavor…

"Sorry, Defera, but I'm going to be leaving your orbit with more space junk."

Finish it off with just a hint of mystery…

"I solve a puzzle and then nothing? Illogical!"

And everything comes together to create this intense, plot-oriented experience. In theory, there was nothing new — still the same type of mission to escort, find and kill enemies, do some patrols…but I was surprised at what a difference the details of the weekly episode made. When all is said and done, it’s just another mission, but I had a great time with it and feel that the devs deserve a pat on the back and a huge thank you from me for all the effort put into its design. This is why I play STO, and why I’ll continue to play STO if the future weekly feature episodes are released at this caliber.

Well played, Cryptic, well played.

And while I’m showering the devs my appreciation, might as well thank them too  for my fluidic space tribble!

"Whoa, so fluidic that my brains are turning to mush."

Looking forward to “Episode 2: Out in the Cold” next week.

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