Ranting Redshirt: Second Wave, Much Like the First

Second Wave, Much Like the First

During season six of DS9 the Cardassians occupied the station, however before leaving Sisko laid a self replicating minefield in front of the wormhole. After Sisko returns aboard the Defiant and undergoes a long battle trying to break though the Cardassians blockade, the Defiant finally arrives at DS9 to witness the destruction of the minefield which was impeding Dominion reinforcements from coming through the wormhole.  Having no other choice Sisko takes the Defiant into the wormhole and just as Sisko was about the engage the reinforcements, the prophets deemed that this was a suicide mission. (I’m not some wormhole alien and even I knew that.) Anyway, after much debating over the fate of “The Sisko” the prophets decide to ‘move’ the 2800 Dominion ships so they never arrive at DS9, however the prophets are kind of jerks and decided to move them to our time. Thus thanks to Sisko we have to deal with this mess in the featured episode story arc “2800”.

Now this isn’t your father’s STO mission! By that I mean these story arc missions have a few little things added to them that change the game slightly, which is understandable as it was the first time Cryptic attempted this concept. What I’m talking about is Career based optional objectives, meaning that you get a special little bonus objective based on your character’s career which also unlocks an accolade when completed. However, being that there are three careers and only one you, this gives players an incentive to team up with players of other careers to complete the mission together, all while being completely optional!

Now with it being out for some time I’ve had a chance to play it on all 3 careers, but for this Ranting Redshirt I played it with 2 other individuals to complete the optional career set and oh did the fun begin.  We found that if you beam from sector space to start the mission and one of your team mates beams from the DS9 Space map they’ll be put on a completely different map, which promotes team gameplay right?

The mission starts out where our group has to play host to these Diplomats all because DS9 is a little busy and Captain Kurland was delayed. I’m a doctor not a waiter and since when are Commanders allowed to issue orders to Rear Admirals and up? So after you’ve read your orders, or listened to them you can start out on your mission, except you can’t, if you’re a fast reader you’re going to have to continue to listen to some of the cringe inducing dialogue from Commander Andrews. Our group ran into the problem of Andrews continuing the vocal dialogue long after we’d read what she had to say, and her faux-cent is terrible, I can’t even place it cause its sure not Irish or Scottish.

Now that you’re back on the promenade you have the fun task of meeting with the Diplomats for the talks on the Borg threat to the Alpha quadrant, so it would be wise to pull in the heavy hitters but what we got was more like the B Team.

For the Klingons we get S’Taass, a sizeable Gorn, who (if playing the mission as KDF) will give you 3 Doff assignments to plant surveillance devices and such, each taking about 5 minutes, and is about the only decent NPC on this entire map but more on him later.

Captain Va’Kel Shon, an Andorian, who is the Captain of the Enterprise F who still can’t match uniforms with his crew. If you are playing Fed he will give you 3 Doff missions to send some repair teams and such to the Enterprise F.

A Cardassian known as Rugan Skyl, who must be the only bald Cardassian in the Alpha Quadrant, wants you to get him a bottle of Kanar distilled during the Bajoran occupation, which is odd as last time I checked I didn’t have huge lobes and go by the name of Quark.

Last but not least the space hippies, not the ones from “The Way to Eden”, it’s the Defera who have decided to and I quote, “Offer assistance as best we can.” No just no, go sit in the corner and play with your crayons while the big boys focus on actually trying to save the Alpha Quadrant. We don’t have time to indulge you with your endeavours to play on the holodeck.Once you’ve meet with these fellows and did their dirty work (which is optional thankfully), you get a message from Andrews again telling you that you need to locate Admiral Trem whose voice is even worse than Andrews. This little Tellerite sounds like he’s drinking buddies with Rob Burgundy as the audio is incoherent and at times it sounds like its slurred. How come the Admiral is allowed to drink on the job and I’m not? Once you finally drag him out of the temple you can actually begin the negotiations.  Except the room you’re dumped in is dimly lit and the LCars graphics looks like it was made by the Defera.

RR_003_03.30.2013Now in DS9 there were some awesome war time LCars yet we’ve been left with these cheesy ones. Taking your seat locks you into the longest most annoyingly un-skipable cut scene in the history of the game, full of standard cookie cutter animations as well as the overused “Bigfish LittleFish” hand motions. So it’s time to tab out and go to Facebook or check your emails while this plays out. Sorry Cryptic but dimly lit, the same generic actions we’ve seen before and cringe worthy voice acting doesn’t make for an entertaining thing to watch, especially for a second or third time. Taken into account the costs to produce the featured episodes it would be nice if it played out rather smoothly or at least be skipable.

Now remember I mentioned S’Taass? During the cut scene he is the true hero of the group of NPCs, as a Jem’hadar attacks the Admiral, Shon and Skyl don’t react to it, but this guy? He pounces on the Jem’hadar and is the only diplomat who will fight alongside you on the promenade (unless you are tactical for the ‘arming the diplomat’ option). That’s right; the Captain of the Federation flag ship doesn’t like to help you.

One of the problems we encountered was if one person progressed out of the door before the other two were ready they are locked in the room, that wasn’t fun that’s for sure meaning we then all had to stop what we were doing, beam out of the map, and then beam back down and make sure we were all in range when one person clicked the door progression button.

However this next part isn’t fun on solo play, especially as a science officer. The Jem’hadar have shrouds which if you have nothing to target you can’t use most, if any, of your science kit abilities, so you have to wait for them to decloak before you can hope to get your offensive abilities off. Even with other players getting from one side of the promenade to the other often feels drawn out and repetitive.

This issue is also prominent with the space portion too, as after clearing out the swarm of Jem’hadar bugs and pushing though back to your ships you’re met with the “Defend this ship against an enemy” objective, which you have to do 5 times in a row, and I don’t just mean one after the other, it is literally a straight line, which feels sloppy and repetitive. However you are rewarded, mid-combat, with a cut scene of Andrews in ops, who someone thankfully silenced, but alas all is not fine, as this new Dominion lady slowly runs into Sisko’s office in ops. This is another instance where bad animations break player immersion. Cryptic should just change the animation to the walk cycle she was doing 2 seconds before, that felt natural, if a cat walk model pose is ever natural for a military commander of a Dominion assault fleet.

Having completed the mission with DS9 now under Dominion occupation we were allowed to make our get away to Bajor to lick our wounds and collect our rewards.

Join me next time as I review the next mission in the story arc, oh boredom, wait sorry no, “Oh Behave”, oh yes the drudgery that is ’Of Bajor’.

Ranting Redshirt

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