STO: Cold Case Investigation

September 20, 2010

Members of the Federation News Service fleet gather around to ponder this discovery.

I got intimately familiar with the latest Star Trek Online feature episode “Cold Case” on Saturday, partly because it was one of those missions that was heavier on the story, but mostly because I had to do it twice — a consequence of getting invited into a group after the first objectives have already been initiated, though the quest log will still track your progress like you’ve completed it. Still, that meant I got to do it with my fleetmates the first run through, an experience I had been waiting for since the first weekly mission debuted. And on take two, I got to absorb the sights and sounds and enjoy the story at my own pace. Things worked out for the best.

The mission starts off with a familiar sight — the mysterious ruins on Defera with the strange puzzle that we encountered back in Episode 1: Cold Call. Back then, solving it did nothing, but doing so now reveals a star map piece, kicking off a hunt across the entire sector for more of them. This one felt like a longer mission than the others, possibly due to the many places you have to visit, not to mention all that time you spend hauling your crew from one side of the map to the other. Such as it is.

The fleet ambushed by enemy ships.

These weekly episodes are starting to become a lot of fun. At the end of every week, I find myself looking forward to my Saturday afternoons when I can log into STO again and check out what’s new. And I enjoy the conversations with my fleetmates and other players afterward, when we talk about what we liked, what we didn’t, and speculate on what STO has in store for us next.

I get what Cryptic is going for, delivering them in a manner that makes you feel like you’re experiencing an actual Star Trek episode as you play it, but what they’ve done for me is even more than that. They’ve managed to get me to anticipate these episodes the same way I actually would for a favorite TV show — clearing my schedule, settling in with a drink and getting comfy for the next hour, the whole shebang. Sure, I play STO mostly on weekends now, and while a pragmatic part of me thinks I should be putting more hours into a game I pay an active subscription for, no other MMO right now stirs me to that state of enthusiasm. Every week.

I plan on riding on this feeling for as long as possible.

It's like...Terrokar Forest in winter.

Oops, wrong turn.

Cryptic has managed to offer a good mix so far, each episode with its own unique flavor. The last two have not been quite as explosive as the first two that kicked off this story arc, even though this week’s certainly had its moments with its brief bouts of combat. That is not to say I wouldn’t welcome more of these “fact-finding” and “problem-solving” missions in the future, but I wouldn’t complain either if next week’s episode happened to have a little more kick to it. If nothing else, they have me curious as to how all this will end.


  1. I guess the question is just how long they can keep episodes going?

    cryptics got a pretty fast development schedule, turning out entire games in 2 or 3 years it seems, so I suppose it’s not all together surprising they can turn out episodes like this.

    How much of these episodes use new art assets though? Or new quest structures, or anything new really? Is it all recycled?

    • I was curious also, about what Hunter was asking.

      Glad to hear the game has you excited. It’s great to have that feeling, especially lately.

      • Yeah, I wouldn’t say I’m in an MMO rut, but I’m definitely not overly motivated either. The STO weeklies do help a bit.

    • That’s a good question, I wonder myself. The quest structures are still somewhat the same, still the same combat mechanics, etc…but some of the environments and art are definitely different and improved. I’m more concerned about the quality of the missions, and how well they will be written or put together in the future. We are only in the first “story arc” after all, so they had time to polish it. The real test will be in the subsequent sets.

  2. I’m pretty much the same right now. I log in every weekend and run off to see the new episode. I’m kind of in a slump with the main game (Romulans missions just don’t get to me so far and Heavy cruisers are fugly) so its a great change of pace.

    • Heh heh, I remember when I was stuck with what I thought was an ugly ship. It actually motivated me to level faster so I could get my next one 😛

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