Hello all, and welcome to another installment of Subspace Communiqué!
One of the greatest additions to STO that Season 9 has brought us is the Undine Space Battlezone. Storywise, the setup is simple: the Undine have nuked the Voth from the face of the Solanae Dyson Sphere, and it is up to you and your fellow Captains to stop any more Planet Killers from crossing over from Fluidic Space. Before these massive siege weapons can be targeted however, nine Fludic Rifts must be closed around the remnants of the Voth-controlled territory.
Now we’ll delve into the mechanics of the battle that awaits you! The circular Battlezone is divided into nine distinct areas; at the center of each, you’ll find a single Fluidic Rift. The Klingon Defense Force, the Romulan Republic Navy, and Starleet each have a unique method for tackling these targets. The Klingons, naturally, have opted to blast the rifts shut with powerful energy weapons. The Romulans, meanwhile, have chosen a more subtle approach—they are using powerful singularity devices to implode the entrances to Fludic Space. Finally, Starfleet is relying upon the ingenuity of its best engineers and scientists to deploy tachyon devices at the center of the rifts. Each faction is tackling three of the nine rifts (although players of all factions will be helping at each point), and each type of point will demand a unique strategy. If you’re familiar with the Voth Ground Battlezone, the three different varieties of control points in the Undine Space Battlezone will look very similar to their ground counterparts.
At Romulan capture points, the goal is to move the singularity device (a small spherical object) through a series of rings until it finally reaches the Fluidic Rift. The approach is similar to the Omega Particle conveyor sites in the Voth Ground Battlezone; once the device has been manually activated, you and your allies will need to protect it from the incoming waves of enemies. If the Undine bioships begin to overwhelm the allied forces, the singularity device will be forced back. I’ve found it beneficial to post some players at each of the rings along the device’s track. This way, someone will always be ready to activate the device as it reaches each stopping point, and the other players at each point will be ready to repel the Undine (allowing the device to continue forward unimpeded). When the device finally reaches the Fluidic Rift, a player will need to activate the device one more time to detonate it and close the fissure.
The Klingon rift points can be likened to the artillery emplacements in the Ground Battlezone. Four cannons are arranged around the Fluidic Rift, and players must clear each point of Undine and activate each weapon three times to bring it fully online. The weapons have a limited amount of power, however, and if all four are not activated in rapid enough succession, they will go offline and need to be reactivated. Once all four weapons have been activated, players will need to destroy one final wave of Undine reinforcements (this wave will be comprised of Undine heavy-hitters like the Vila Heavy Bioship and the Tethys Bio-Dreadnought) to destroy the Fluidic Rift. The best approach for the Klingon points is divide and conquer: split up allied forces across all four weapons to ensure that they are activated quickly, and then rally together and focus fire on the final Undine at the rift.
The Federation Fluidic Rift encounters function similarly to the capture-and-hold points in the Ground Battlezone. Once the tachyon device at the center of the point is activated, allies must fight off increasingly difficult waves of Undine forces. The progress of the device is dependent upon the proximity of allied ships; in order to be fully powered, the number of players at the capture point must be greater than the number of Undine. Be advised—the affair is somewhat complicated by the presence of one or more Fluidic Puddles orbiting the perimeter of the capture point. In order to avoid becoming mired in the disgusting Undine mucus, make sure to be aware of your surroundings during combat.
Once all nine of the Fluidic Rifts have been closed, three Planet Killers will emerge at various points around the Battlezone. Just like the Planet Killer at the end of Undine Assault, these can only be damaged by attacking the cavernous firing mouths of the creatures. Once a Planet Killer reaches 50% health, it will activate an impenetrable shield bubble. This advanced shielding can only be eliminated using one of the three factional devices described above. Once the Starfleet, Klingon, or Romulan device has successfully eliminated the Planet Killer’s shielding, you and your allies can resume fire and destroy it entirely.
One of the most interesting aspects I’ve noticed about the Space Battlezone is that the difficulty at each point scales with the number of players in the vicinity of the point. With one player at a point, the Undine spawn in fewer numbers and the ships seem to be of much easier rank (predominantly Nicor Bioships). With two or three players at a point, the Undine spawn slightly more frequently and the waves contain a mixture of Nicor and Dromias Bioships. With four or more players at a point, Vila Heavy Bioships and Tethys Bio-Dreadnoughts will spawn alongside large waves of Nicor and Dromias Bioships. Additionally, the presence of more players at the Starfleet points will cause more Fluidic Puddles to orbit the tachyon device, creating even more environmental hazards to avoid.
That covers the Undine Space Battlezone! Until next time, fly safe and plain sailing!
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