Archive for February 7th, 2011

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STO: Cracking The Vault

February 7, 2011

Alas, I was out running errands on Saturday when “The Vault”, the first Featured Episode of Star Trek Online Series 3 launched. I’d been looking forward to this for months and was a little disappointed not to be able to jump in right away, but as it turned out, that might have been for the best. Comments from Twitter and the forums were coming in about plenty of problems in the game like rubberbanding and killer lag, until finally the whole server just gave up and died.

It appears I’m not the only one who loves these FEs. The STO team were apparently not prepared for the unprecedented numbers of players hammering the server on Saturday. When I finally got home to play the episode, I could not believe it when I encountered a login queue, the first one I’ve seen since launch! But I suppose if you’re in the business of running an MMO, this is what you would call a happy problem; I just hope those returning to STO or checking it out for the first time won’t be too pissed off by the experience, as these problems are definitely not the norm.

Now on to the FE…

Note: Mild spoilers in the text and screenshots.

T’Androma and her crew are tasked to investigate “The Vault”, a giant Romulan space station rumored to have carried out research on Borg Technology. In connection to the overarching Star Trek story, this facility allegedly outfitted Nero’s technologically-advanced ship Narada before it and Spock were sucked into the black hole that sent them back in time into an alternate reality. We are to enter the space station covertly, our superiors advised, utilizing a small craft like a shuttle or a runabout. For more information on the mission, Tipa has done a very nice and detailed write-up.

The first thing I noticed when I picked up the mission, is that they have added some voice work! I hope there will be more in the future!

One thing neat about this FE, is that I got to obtain and pilot my first shuttle. I never bothered to get one until it was needed for this mission, and here you can see a fleet of them swarming around the space station. Hey all, I thought we were supposed to be sneaky!

Like fleas on a dog.

What I loved about this Featured Episode is the way Cryptic has managed to turn a mission with few relatively mundane objectives into an undertaking of a grand scale. And all they really did was make the Vault unbelievably crazy huge and you unbelievably crazy tiny.

After all, all you really do is fly around, scan a few things, blast away a couple security systems…but things invariably feel a little more overwhelming when you’re in a dinky little shuttle.

The situation escalates as the crew attempts a daring escape from the space station, only to encounter the Bird-of-Prey guarding the door between you and your freedom. The fight that ensues is your classic David and Goliath tale.

Next time, why don't you pick on someone your own size!

Boy, you wouldn’t believe how happy I was to get my Maelstrom back.