It was a very bumpy start
There's no doubt about it: Something got discombobulated with the code with the launch of Star Trek Online
, and what should have been a day when people complained about extremely long queues turned into a day when players complained they couldn't even get into a queue.
From the moment the announcement that the expansion went live, launchers simply refused to allow players into the game at all. As a matter of fact, at the time of this column's writing, announcements regarding server maintenance were still being made in order to improve game performance issues.
It's really not all that uncommon. I now play several MMOs and have yet to see a smooth launch of any expansion, but the Legacy of Romulus
patch problems left the game for dead for pretty much most of the initial launch date. Even after initial fixes were pushed in the day that followed, many people were left hanging in a technical purgatory with loading screens that would never finish. Server crashes were also very common.
Although I tried to jump into the game on the day of the launch, unfortunately (or fortunately depending, on how you look at it), I was unable to try to get into the game again until this past weekend. By the time I fired up the game, most of the issues noted above had already been handled, but there are still some notable sound file bugs, especially at the very beginning of the Romulan tutorial introductory cutscene. Most of the major hurdles to gameplay seem to have been handled, and I was not presented with a single queue to play when I signed on.
As I touched on in last week's Captain's Log
column, another new adventure zone was added to the game in the LoR
expansion. The Planet of Galactic Peace, otherwise known as Nimbus III, was designed for all players between levels 21 and 25. For those who may already be at endgame, the zone will automatically scale higher-leveled characters down to level 26 when they beam down to the planet.
I took my Vice Admiral to Nimbus III to get a taste of the new content and run around and was pretty impressed with the zone. I also liked the fact that it also has a lot of future potential should the devs decide to develop it further.
The main mission calls a player to the planet by informing him that the Orion Syndicate may be in possession of thalaron trigger devices, devices that can enable thalaron weapons which are feared by pretty much everyone in the galaxy. Those of you who might recall the film Star Trek: The Next Generation – Nemesis will also remember that thalaron was the weapon of choice of Shinzon, who used them to annihilate the entire Romulan Senate and seize control. The player heads off to Nimbus III in the hopes of finding the triggers and keeping them out of the hands of enemies who would actually use them.
I know it will sound a bit ridiculous to be so excited over so small a thing, but there is a fundamental difference in how the game is played on Nimbus III than in any other area I have seen to date. The player's bridge officer functionality has a quirk that I personally have not seen in any other area of STO
. When the player reaches Nimbus, he is presented with the typical away-team selection screen, and he chooses a team of four officers to accompany him.
However, the moment the player crosses into the city boundary, the BOff team disappears without the player's actually having to change instances
. There is no loading screen at the city gate. When a player enters the city, his BOff team goes away, and the moment the player leaves the city gate, his team automatically reassembles for battle. It's a great touch that allows a player to roam around the entire area without having to worry about NPC BOffs getting stuck in the close-quarters of the settlement. It also keeps the player from having to go through extra steps to call for reinforcements or load a transition screen for battle that takes place outside the city walls.
I really wish this function would become an option for Foundry authors to utilize. There are so many great Foundry missions in which an author has had to ask players via a dialogue box to use away-points to stop away team from messing up the story. A function by which a BOff team could de-spawn at a point of the author's choosing would be a boon for Foundry story-telling!
I had only an hour or so to play on the planet and am looking forward to going back, but I was able to complete the first three objectives in the first set of missions seeking the triggers. I was also pleased to see that there were also several other missions being made available via NPC contacts in Paradise City's seedy bar. One of the missions I was able to undertake awarded my character with a common duty officer (something I desperately needed to donate to my fleet's starbase construction projects).
I understand that there are a variety of mission rewards available, including a dance emote that recreates Uhura's rather infamous fan-dance from the Star Trek: The Final Frontier. However, all players, especially high-level players, should note that all drops from the battles in the zone are scaled for levels 21 to 25, meaning the stuff you get from killing scorpions will be Mark IV and V gear.
Rough start or not, STO's Legacy of Romulus
expansion has put an awful lot of new content into the game, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of what it has to offer. Until next week, live long and prosper!
Incoming communique from Starfleet Headquarters: Captain's Log is now transmitting direct from Terilynn Shull every Monday, providing news, rumors, and dev interviews about Star Trek Online. Beam communications to firstname.lastname@example.org.