Many of you may have played the “final” mission in the Iconian War: “Midnight”. This is not just the conclusion of Season 10.5 but the conclusion of more than five years of the continuing war saga with clandestine subversion and mysterious influences. This really is a pretty big deal. Fellow blogger, STO Heidy wrote a nice piece about the “final” mission here.
So without revealing any spoilers I can say that the featured mission: “Midnight” does in fact lead to the absolute conclusion of the Iconian War; I mean really, it’s over. Nobel Peace Prize and Traité de Versailles, yeah, like that kind of over. The Iconian War seemed to be Star Trek Online’s “War to End All Wars”… and like it’s predecessor some 500 years earlier they left the door open for future conflict. No, I don’t think Adolf the Elachi is going to be pissed off about how they were treated at the end of the war and plot diabolical revenge on the Alliance. Neither will Neville the Vulcan play the appeaser. But we are not likely done firing our phasers and disruptors at bad guys. The end of “Midnight” does leave that inevitable feeling that some additional conflict is pending at some point in the future.
The word on the street is that STO will enter a new era of exploration and discovery. This is where I feel that Cryptic has the “golden opportunity” I labeled this post with. They can choose to take this MMO to new heights. Worry not my fellow lovers of warp core explosions and smoldering Tholian ship debris. We will continue to enjoy those timeless Klingon traditions of brute force diplomacy and the exhilarating thrill of battle. But now that conflict is no longer an overarching theme, the game can take a direction of a more cerebral nature. Like I said before, a little less J.J. and a lot more Gene. (Spirit of Star Trek)
I would like to see us be able to chart new worlds, seek out new civilizations and boldly go where no one has gone before. Build colonies, defend them against enemies, negotiate treaties, find resources and open trade. All the tools are already in the game, they have just been relegated to background duty. Perhaps we can take our captains and use their career paths in a less violent way. Engineers can help locate and extract resources, scientists can discover new life and seek out medicines and such, Tactical captains can negotiate difficult and potentially volatile situations. The opportunities are endless.
Imagine having all of the cool stuff STO has created thus far plus a whole new style of game play. We can continue doing everything we have already done through PVE, PVP, replaying missions, plus future content. We can also have a kind of Age of Empires thing going on where we use DOFFs and our Admirals to start colonies, set up defense, etc. All the raw materials are in place it will just take a little bravery in the studios of Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment. You hear that Cryptic, that’s a good idea and you know it… go ahead steal it, I’m good with that 😉
The boffins in the lab have already released information about our Admirals being able to run DOFF like missions using our reserve ships and that is certainly a step in the right direction. This is part of a new “Admiralty System” that has been mentioned in the STO news feed.
Having those DOFF style missions just run and end however is dull and boring. Rather than just a success or fail, why not have those missions lead to a conclusion that then requires a counter mission depending on the results. Have these DOFF and Admiralty missions be linked to new DOFF and Admiralty missions. For example there could be a mission to send a starship to the Kassae System to negotiate a cease-fire between rogue Orion pirates and the local Government. How you set up that mission could determine whether the Orions simply give up, whether they increase their attacks, or perhaps they make additional demands in exchange for leaving, etc. You could send in a heavily armed “security” force or a more diplomatic force and the success or failure of either would depend largely on the personnel you assign to it. And even a failure could lead to a new mission parameter aimed at continuing the story line. Success of the initial mission could also lead to a follow-up mission like aid the injured or repair destroyed facilities, etc. This could create a whole series of outcomes and additional DOFF or Admiralty missions tied together and part of a contiguous story. If you are unable to properly conclude the mission or things escalate and get out of hand the game could then create a “real” mission that you would be required to personally intervene and “fix” the problem. For example after a series of these Admiralty DOFF style missions, the Orion marauders decide to bring in reinforcements and things get real dicey. So you actually come in your primary ship and kick some ass. I think this would make the DOFF and forthcoming Admiralty system more interactive and exciting. It would have purpose and become more than just a series of daily mouse clicks to grind away at experience or dilithium and such.
It could be like you send “Kirk” in to negotiate but the Orion is really hot and you know, Kirk likes green chicks so things get a little squirrely. You have to make an appearance in your big fat Admiral ship and clean up the mess 😉 Then you learn, next time your in that situation, send in a Vulcan or a Klingon!
What ever STO ultimately does with this “opportunity” I feel like they want to offer additional experiences that provide a wider appeal for the game. There is not a whole lot more to do in the J.J. Abrams style, guns a blazing arena. They have that down pretty well. Now it’s time to show us the Roddenberry side of Trek, not at the expense of J.J. but in addition to. This way they keep the current players and gain new ones as well.
Don’t forget to play the ‘Midnight” mission at least once per week to get the three pieces to the new Starship set! These featured missions often offer an opportunity to get great gear absolutely free. Who doesn’t want great gear, absolutely free 🙂 Go get the great gear and I’ll be back next week.