Season Nine has launched and it brings exciting developments to the table. I will avoid any big spoilers. The “Featured Mission” will be glossed over to keep from leaking plot details. I will say that an absolutely EPIC story line change will occur in the Featured Episode. This change in direction tears asunder the base of story that began this great MMORPG back in 2009. The featured mission is open to all players level 10 and up for a short time, then it is level 50 only. If you want to experience the new plot twist and don’t have a level 50 toon, do it now while the window is open. You will enjoy the company of Admiral Tuvok once again and this time you fight alongside the USS Voyager as well.
The first thing players will see is a completely remodeled Earth Space Dock. Gone, is the ring around the rosey bit. Everything you need to do on ESD is in one general area of the station. The old ESD had us able to run around a station that is larger than most big cities in about 45 seconds. Now everything is in a small “corner”. It is much easier to navigate. My only gripe about the new ESD is that Club 47 is missing 😦 ESD looks great, kudos to the design guys at Cryptic. Now bring back Club 47!
As part of the update, Cryptic has redone the traits system and the reputation abilities. You may need to respec your toon and you will definitely have some trait and reputation ability work to do. The system has simplified the utilization of the reputation abilities. Be sure to log in with all your characters and update those items before rushing into battle only to find them disabled.
Unfortunately this reputation abilities change is nothing more than great big character nerf. I spent many hours grinding away to get to Tier V in every reputation faction and now many of the percs I earned for that are essentially gone. Previously you earned four passive percs as you worked your way up to Tier V in EACH reputation system. Then at Tier V you gain a powerful active ability. They have now limited those usable active powers to a total of four. Even when I make it to Tier V in this new Undine reputation system, I will have to give up an ability to gain the Undine active power or go without it. What’s worse, is that prior to the update, I had a whopping 16 passive abilities. Four each from each of the four factions I had at least Tier IV. Now I get just eight maximum. Whereas under the old system I would have added another four passive abilities (total of 20) and 1 active (total of 5) with the completion of 8472 Counter Command; now I must choose between four ground, four space, and four active. They have quite literally cut the number of simultaneously usable reputation abilities in HALF. Grrrr! It does appear however that you can modify your choices at will. If you want to use one reputation ability for one mission or ship or whatever, you can switch on the fly. (not while in combat probably.)
The title of this post gives away the enemy faction that appears to be the focus of Season Nine; but that is not a spoiler since the Undine make an appearance in season 8.0. Cryptic has added a new reputation faction based on the threat posed by the Undine. 8472 Counter Command offers up similar goodies as the other Reputation factions. Admiral Sager is maxed out in the other Rep systems so here we go again 😉
A new reputation system needs new PVE missions. There are several Undine PVE queues available for both ground and space. I have played the Viscous Cycle on Elite and the Undine Assault on Elite. I like the Viscous it has a clear objective although the lead ship’s Captain has an annoying voice. The Assault mission seemed to be a confusing mess. I have yet to complete it since everyone bails out early when they can’t figure it out. You hear that Cryptic? You need to fix that one 😉 I found it very interesting that the Viscous mission has a side optional mission to defeat a Borg Raiding Party! The Borg and the Undine at the same time… cool.
I really like the Viscous PVE mission. It is one of my overall favorites. If you haven’t tried it do so, you may like it. The boffins in the back at the Cryptic labs have offered up a more generous marks prize and even offer bonus marks once per day! That will help get through the reputation system. Bonus marks are always a welcome sight.
You may want to run that featured mission right away so you understand some of the changes. All of this change is tied to the new story line. You will find that PVP queues now allow cross faction and faction vs. faction. There is much to explore and many an hour of great game play. Helm, set a course for fluidic space; Warp 9 on my mark… Engage.