I hope Cryptic won't think : "fine, they can't accept to be manipulated, we'll make our missions EVEN MORE SIMPLE now. Let's not forget that the idea was good in the first place. It just ended up in an epic fail.
The problem is not to be manipulated or to fail (actually I'd like to fail more often), it is to make it unavoidable and perfectly OK in the end. If I'm manipulated I shouldn't get a blue crap as a reward.
1) The game is young and has not a lot of content : if you start skipping episodic missions, it's making things worst
2) Once you play the next missions, the game assumes you completed Divide et Impera anyway, which means you are stuck with the undine who fled after manipulating you even if you skipped the mission.
You're overstating the problem of content. A quick exploration mission or three will put likely you back on track if you were to choose to skip this mission.
And you can probably assume that if YOU don't do this mission, the Undine in question will find a suitably morally reprehensible Starfleet Captain to help it complete it's goals anway.
Yes, it's a slightly irritating and perhaps marginally non-Treklike story. But at the end of the day, if you follow the mission through to it's conclusion suspecting what you do (and I did), then at the end of the day, you only have yourself to blame for the conclusion.
I don't think it's a storyline entirely without promise, though. The idea of an "Undercover Starfleet Operations" does kind of echo the kind of grey morality of Section 31, and it would be interesting to offer more of these missions... if the devs can find a way to reflect your choices in your personal storylines.
I just finished "Divide et Impera" and I'm a bit puzzled. After clearing the first room, finding no WMDs there and reading in the Romulan computer that the place was all about discovering Undine, I was quite sure what was going to happen.
The problem is, the mission was a one way road and I had no alternative to outsmart Zelle/8472. Why? In "The Defector" Picard finds an option to do both: Make sure, the Federation is safe AND prepare to doublecross the bad guy's plot. I think one should have the option to end the mission prematurely and not to force the player to walk right into the trap. (I don't mean beaming up and dropping the assignment)
I know, this mission may be important for the overall story arc. But it is really unsatisfying to be forced to do all the wrong things for the wrong reasons and help the bad guy win without wanting to. In interviews Craig talks so much about giving the players choice and how important it is. Well, I feel, if you can not mount a mutiny against what are clearly immoral orders, than the game does not allow for much choice at all. And why the heck am I rewarded by Starfleet with loot and merit for almost certainly igniting a second war front?
Sorry, that was really a lowpoint so far regarding storytelling. And so far it was surprisingly good!
I completely agree. I am sure many of us have gone over how this we would have worked it.
The instant my officer reported there was no trace of weapons I was immediately suspicious.
And that old "just following orders" doesn't apply to Starfleet.
Wouldn't have it been more consistent if it went something like this:
[Tac off]: Captain subspace priority message from SF
[Capt] I'll take it in my ready room.
*Capt's ready room*
[Zelle]...this is a top secret mission vital to preventing development of new Romulan subspace/viral weaponry.
[Capt] Yes sir. I will await your arrival.
*closes comm* *looks thoughtful for a moment and then hits the comm again*
[Capt] Sci off I have a special mission for you. *screen fade out*
*rest of mission begins to proceed like the original script up until*
[Capt] Set weapons to stun. Medical officer utilize the short-term memory loss hypo we discussed.
[Zelle] Capt I must protest...
[Capt] You may file a formal protest but while we are on the ground I have operational authority.
[Zell] *walks off in a huff*
[Sci off]: *quietly* We found something interesting in one of these crates sir.
[Sci off] This appears to be a new method of identifying Undine sir.
[Sci off] In addition there has been no less than 17 incidents where Zelle has displayed atypical behavior or given orders which were not keeping in the spirit of Starfleet regulations.
Capt] I see anything else?
[Sci off]I've taken the liberty of upgrading our tricorder with the new scanning protocols.
[Capt] The results?
[Sci off] Zelle is an Undine sir and now we can prove it...
Or something similar...would it be so bad?
I agree with the OP's sentiments and I believe that this mission is an excellent example of lack of meaningful choices. To be honest, out of the entire storyline arc, there was only one, count them, one meaningful decision to be made and it didn't seem to make all that much of a difference in the end.
Please . . . be more creative with the missions and deliver real choices. As much fun as Infected was . . . it still fell very, VERY, flat in the storyline department.
Yeah. It just keeps on happening. I suppose that means that right now 90% or more of all the admirals in starfleet (allowing for NPCs and a few players who actually refused to complete the mission for moral reasons. It's probably way less than 10% though) are war criminals.
Zinc somewhat elaborated on this matter in the recent interview with altern8 (goto page 4):
Let’s say Bob kills Roger the Cardassian, but Jim doesn’t. What happens six Episodes later when Roger is supposed to show up? It’s pretty easy to say Roger doesn’t appear for Bob but he does for Jim. But what happens if Bob and Jim are in a group? Multiply this by thousands of players and any number of sweeping decisions, and it becomes a difficult problem to solve. One every MMO designer out there is working on, I imagine.
Does not explain however why they choose to make this specific mission go this specific way. If you only have one path to go, in my opinion it should be another one. Would help a bit if you could blow up Zelle's ship in the end and do a mission for the Romulans where you offer reparations.
Also, the story editor does not seem to be sure thing. They are worried that people mess with it ("Vulcan Love Slave", anyone?):
User-generated content is a very exciting and new way for developers to connect with fans. The major question to keep in mind is: Does this work for the IP? There’s a lot to consider with Star Trek in order to capture the feel of the universe. Extending that out to a broad group may not grant the returns we’d all like to see.