I thought I'd give some feedback on my experience with "Boldly They Rode" and the whole "2800" series in general now that it's complete. Let's start with the most recent featured episode:
Boldly They Rode
This is probably the most exciting installment in this featured episode series. It's a great way to put the series to bed with a very action-oriented endgame. The EVA on DS9's hull was interesting; a definite change of pace that the game needed and holds up well. Movement is very realistic, with no running or jumping (since doing so would risk flying off into space). While this easily could have made this part of the mission a chore to get through, the ability to use your thrusters to maneuver to different NAV points makes up for the loss of running ability.
I wasn't too fond of the Bird of Prey crashing into the station's hull; aside from the fact that there is no way that could happen the way it was depicted in an actual zero-gravity environment, it just seemed to make the external EVA longer than it needed to be. You've already got sensors and isoleniar rods (as they're called in Cardassian stations) to re-route, and electro-static discharges to dodge. Combine these things with the relatively slow pace of the EVA and I think my point is easy to see. I will concede though that it made for some very nice visuals.
The fight inside the station can be frustrating at times. You can only fire your weapon when you have the Jem'Hadar targeted and he's not shrouded! Hopefully this can be fixed because otherwise the interior combat would be solid.
The fleet battle is much better and is a pretty by the numbers affair. It was nice to finally get some good space combat, something which this series didn't seem to focus on too much.
Finally we get to beam down to DS9 and talk to some of the major NPC's of this series. The dialog with Kurland and Loris is fairly routine, but I was looking forward to talking to Captain Shon of the new Enterprise. Apparently he survived the last episode! That was unexpected considering how the Belfast went out in "Facility 4028"; but the beauty of this plot twist being in a game rather than a TV episode is that it can easily be fixed. Anyways, I was hoping to see some information on what happened to the Enterprise-E, but unfortunately we don't. Hopefully we'll get some answers about that in the future.
I was satisfied with the Female Changeling's voice in this installment. As I noted in my review for "Facility 4028," the voice over for the Female Changeling was just too far off from Salome Jen's (the original DS9 actress who played the role). Thankfully, in this episode the voice sounds much closer to the original. It's not a carbon copy, but it's close enough. The Jem'Hadar's behavior is also much more satisfactory. This is how renegade Jem'Hadar behave! Nicely done.
Overall, not a bad little episode. Some minor details here and there that could be worked on in a future patch, but still a great ride.
The 2800 as a whole
So now that "The 2800" is complete, what is the final verdict? Well, it's definitely a satisfying end to the so-called 2011 Content Blackout. Four out of the five episodes of this series are solid with interesting game play and nice visuals. The series has everything from raw ship-to-ship combat, ground combat, a shuttle mission, and even a little diplomacy. Some may take these things for granted, but keep in mind that STO has faced criticism for having repetitive game play, even by MMO standards. The fact that "The 2800" obviously tries to break away from that is praise worthy. And lets not forget that this series blessed us with the stunning prison map from "Facility 4028."
It's not a perfect series though. The Dividian series is in no danger of loosing it's status as my personal favorite right now. There are plot holes here and there, and "Of Bajor" is outright boring and long-winded (funny coincidence that this is the problem with Deep Space Nine's worst episodes huh?). Still, the series offers some diverse game play, some very nice rewards, and a decent story line that will leave players satisfied.
The EVA was dull, in fact I very nearly stopped playing after only a few seconds because I knew it was going to be dull and long.
I think it was KOTOR that had a similar eva section and it is often recalled as the very worst bit of that game (with good reason), i feel the same here. As its the start of the episode I feel it put me in a negative frustrated mood right away which was a shame.
the interior combat was ok I'm not a fan of the ground combat in this game so I wont go in to any detail here other than it was better than the eva imo.
The space combat was more or less what I expected but not sure starting you in the middle of the enemy fleet makes much sence. In fact the first 30 seconds of that fight are pretty silly as you work out where you are whats happening and what your against whilst having to tank 20+ ships.
I will replay this section in an escort as it was a bit drawn out in my oddy that has almost no dps and hope for better results allthough I expect the inital spawn point to just result in death.
Overall it wraps the story arc up nicely and from a story point of view works well. I still think the eva doesn't work as enjoyable gameplay however.
As for the Enterprise showing up with the andorian captain it threw me a little, first off was oh that guy is alive how? secondly and why is he thanking me for saving his crew? I seem to recal being forced to run away and not help at all in the last episode.
please do something about the EVA its long and boring and because its boring it feels even longer than it is
I expect that a lot of people might get lost and frustrated during the space walk. I was able to get through it fine the first time by keeping my eye on the red markers on the map. My VA engineer had an easy time inside Deep Space 9, but it will probably be a bit more difficult for some of my other characters. I got blown up a few times in the space battle at the end. It's pretty disorienting to just get thrown into the middle of a massive battle. It will be interesting to see if any of my other captains can make it through that fight without getting blown up. My namesake character has some nifty tricks to stay alive, so it might very well be possible.
I'm pretty patient with the puzzle solving, as long as I don't get horribly lost, so I don't mind the spacewalk at all. The puzzles were quite reasonable. Overall, I'd say the mission was good, and I didn't encounter any bugs. I'd be a little annoyed at the final battle if I had to worry about a death penalty, but I don't, and it was fun to watch all those ships going at it.
Boldly They Rode was without a doubt one of the most tedious episodes in STO - and as one of those F2P noobs who's already reached VA, I can remember the others pretty well. I can't think of another episode I would actually hate to replay.
The EVA thing was a nice idea, but my lord did it get old fast. If movement had been a little faster and had more environmental hazards it could have been an interesting bit of platforming, but no, it turned into "Select beacon, trigger ability, select beacon, trigger ability, interact with object, select beacon, trigger ability" - if we'd had some automated defenses or some enemies to face (Explained away as "Jem'Hadar don't often need to go EVA" - how convenient) then we could have had some First-Contact action. I could even draw my weapon, but alas, no targets. I can't imagine anyone having fun in this section after the initial novelty wears off.
Inside DS9? severe deja vu from Second Wave. Run around in a circle, kill jem'hadar. It was frustrating, but not challenging or fun. Being able to salvage supplies was a nice touch though.
The battle in Ops wasn't really that great either. Fighting shrouded Jem'Hadar in a confined space never works out all that well
and the space finale? More ships does not make it more fun, especially when they were all crammed together like that, it either turned into AOE spam/multitarget attacks or just flying off and letting the fleet deal with it. It wasn't exciting, it wasn't challenging, it was just boring - not only boring, but an utter waste of the new Enterprise's unveiling, it got lost in the scrum of ships and I couldn't make out what it was doing. The Odyssey got a better intro than the Enterprise.
I really hate for my first post to be so negative, but this episode suffers from a bad case of thinking that more = better.
What's better than an interesting little spacewalk section? MORE SPACEWALK!
What's better than the few Jem'Hadar you fight in Second Wave? MORE JEM'HADAR!
What's better than the few ships you fight off the first time? MANY MORE SHIPS!
Sorry, but it doesn't work like that, the corresponding sections in 2W were much better than they are here, and the spacewalk was unnecessarily dragged out.
As far as the 2800 as a whole goes? It's been great, some interesting new features, some nice rewards, interesting new environments and a good continuation of a dangling thread from DS9. Voice acting was good and the characters were mostly great, especially Loriss.
Very let down by the finale though, every other episode I've replayed ad nauseam , but the finale I got sick of halfway through.
Too many spoilers with this one made it not exciting. I knew I was going to be walking outside DS9 from all the spoilers given ahead of time. I know they want to make exciting trailers and post pics up on the website of the FE, but it took away from this episode's excitement IMO.
They need to better emphasize that the navigation points need to be targeted to jump to them with the EV suit on, I can see a lot of new players getting frustrated with that. It wasn't frustrating for me, just a little boring to be honest. As a veteran, I think just a tad more clarity on what to do would help our newer players out.
The Jem'Hadar inside the station shrouding made it hard to target them and annoying at times, but that mechanic is intentional though and had it's intended effect.
The space battle was not balanced well and very fast paced, again I'm sure this was intended effect/feeling they were going for, but it didn't feel fun.
That Andorian punk gets to captain the Ent-F!?? Pft, my credentials are better, they should have given it to me.
I decided to do the mission with my VA Tactical/Cruiser next. Everything went surprisingly well, now that I know what's going on. I got through the final battle without getting blown up. My tactic was simply to move to the outskirts of the battle and pick off ships one by one (using no AoEs) until only the dreadnought was left, then I helped the rest of the fleet destroy it.
I hate the "Rotate isolinear chips" part. The interface for a slider puzzle is absolutely terrible. What's the trick to slide them in to the proper order?
This EVA sequence is awful. I didn't think a featured episode could get any worse than the dumb shuttle-required ones, but kudos to Cryptic for figuring out how to do just that.
EDIT: And now, having finally gotten inside DS9, it's nice to have an endless, impossible wave of enemies that keep killing me over and over. Thanks for giving us the ability to don personal shields and armor that are beyond worthless. This mission is chock full of epic fail.
I have never seen someone cry so much about simple things...
The trick on the iso-rods / slider puzzle is to look at how they are lined up and read the control options on shifting one row across or down
And there weren't endless waves of enemies within DS9, groups of three for the most part that are very easy to dispatch with a weapon that can target more than one enemy at a time (dual pistols for example )