Totally agree. They went above and beyond in a really short amount of time. When we first play tested the episode all the Romulans were in their standard uniforms and it just felt wrong. So as a complete "drive-by" to their schedule, I asked them what they could come up with that would give us a 3rd Romulan look (1 being the Military, 1 being the Remans, and the new one being Civilian).
It feels much better when the NPCs look like ordinary Romulan citizenry instead of military walking about. I think it is a superb touch that there is a hint of Nero and crew in the way some of these miners look. It helps tie things together visually.
Great work to Matt and Denis on this (not to mention they also did the Horta and well... every other costume and NPC face in the entire series).
Very well done indeed! I look forward to more missions that are of this calibur in the future. I also want the Romulan outfits and weapons for my toons... but we'll save that for another discussion
I must also admit that I am very impressed with the work so far on the new weekly series. The cut scenes are awesome and the story line is very well thought out. One thing that really impressed me was the voice overs. Very well done and i'm glad to see the weekly series take to this kind of quality.
Mine Enemy was by a wide margin the best mission I've seen so far. I've only managed time for one run through so far so I haven't seen all the way it can play out but a short list of things that I noticed and liked (spoilers):
1. Subtle forshadowing:
The Ferangi mentions getting information from the romulan "gang" in the mine. This forsadowed the Tal'shi'ar base without giving it all away.
2. Hints of Diplomatic solutions:
I saw a couple diplomacy dialog options, though I wasn't able to bypass any fights with diplomacy (probably because the character in question is only level 1 in diplomacy), but the hints that it possible (in particular the "are you sure?" prompt before the fight with Janek) have given me hope that we're moving away from the "Shoot-em all and let Q sort it out" approach to mission design, that resulted in some of the lower quality episodes.
3. Dead end foreshadowing:
There was some heavy foreshadowing about a Horta encounter. Either I missed it or that was a red herring. Either way I say well done because it was nice to know that not everything the NPCs make a big deal out of will end up being a big deal to _me_. It was nice to see someone else's problem actually being someone else's problem for once.
4. Realistic levels of NPC awareness:
If you walk up next to or directly in front of the analysts that were "so engrossed in their work you could sneak past them", they take notice and start a fight (as opposed to standing there while you use their terminal like "game logic" suggests they might). That was well done. I liked that you have to ignore the glowing consoles and keep your distance if you don't want to start shooting in that room, and the implication that you can avoid the fight (I ended up getting noticed, but not before I got daring and used on the the consoles) is encouraging.
5. The cryptography mini-game:
It made use of my ship interior, was a non combat mini-game, and put information I got by completing the storyline missions to use giving a sense of continuity. All and all a nice touch.
First let me say I am way to inebriated to be posting just had a nice dinner with my wife but I will post anyway.
I loved this mission. It is quite likely the best mission I have played in STO. The reasons I like it:
1) The place actually felt alive. People walking around. Animals at play. The "mine" car traveling between buildings. All added a depth of being alive I really adored.
2) There were people I could talk to that had a bearing on what I felt about the place without having them actually be needed to complete the mission. Very nice touch.
3) The cut scenes were well done and I actually had a little bit of sympathy for Jana.. yeah she was a romulan but she seemed dismayed over killing innocent civilizians. It made it that much easier to spare her life later.
4) The diplomacy solution. The guard that could be won over with enough diplomacy points... just cool. Sadly I didn't have enough so he died... still I like that diplo rank actually had a use. More of this please
5) Decoding the data. Just way to cool. Actually have a use for all the missions we have done. All that knowledge gained actually was usefull. Again more of this please.
Overalll I totally had a ball doing this mission.
I would post a negative comment if I had one but I dont. Server issues aside this mission was awesome.
Oh and my new Horta friend was a sweet added bonus.
Wait, there was an option to let Jana live? Woops
That level was jaw dropping awesome. The first words out of my mouth were "WHOA, its like Bizzaro Disneyworld for Romulans" when I saw those carts going by.
I loved that Tactical assignment of taking down some thugs. I wandered outside and took out a pack of whatever they were too. All those little touches that let you interact with the world, but arent pivotal are SOO appreciated to help our Star Trek immersion.
"No Kill I" probably Top 5 epic STO line of dialogue so far
Wait wait! XP Glitch? I just read this whole thread. I thought I was just imagining it, but my XP DIDNT move did it. DAMMIT, and I had 20% boost on at the time too. How are we supposed to get that now?
My only other beef that nobody mentioned yet is that there was no explanation at all for how I ended up with a horta hatchling. Maybe it should have started following you after you saved eggs from Romulans or after getting the Horta accolade? Make sure that we knew it chose to follow us instead of being like a non-sentient pet?
I don't know if it was there originally, but if you look up info on the Horta inventory item, it has some pretty cool text that explains exactly this.
Might as well post my comments/critique here. As other the mission was overall excellent. Everyone else has touched upon all of the good/excllent things about the mission so I' want repeat them here. So here goes my things I don't like about the mission.
1) The presence of the Horta seems just to too gratuitous and out of place for the flow of the mission and story line. It seems forced just to include the Horta Hatching pet reward and the Accolade. I and most players know about the Horta, but my character might not know about them. So there should have been some reference to them from my officers or ship or something. There should have been something more than just "NO KILL I". The Horta is intelligent and the Federation Captains should have made more of an effort to communicate.
Im summary, the who scene seems forced and gratuitous. There should have been something more to the Horta's present. Like the obvious question, how did a Horta (Horta) get from Janus IV or a moon in the Hfifar system? I'll reserve final judgment until the rest of the series premiers. I have a hunch there isn't the last we'll see of the Horta in this series.
2) The non-diplomatic branch of interacting with Janek. The node "Is this how you want this to end?" gives "Yes" and the continiued fight. And the other branch "Enough lies Tell me the truth..." which loops back to the previous grand-parent node. It seems like a bug. It feels like there should be another node or two. A way of sparing Janek untilmately even if you have to right her again for a bit.
I liked the mission so much, I played it multiple times with different captains and didn't realize I was not getting XP (and wasting the XP bonus) until I read it here. It was that good!
I like that it plays differently depending on if you are Tactical, Engineer or Science and are great with diplomacy or not.
I really like the fact that you can talk to different npcs to get a feel of the place.
I did find one small problem, that may be a bug.
When my Ferengi Captain exited the mine and managed to bring 3 of the 4 prisoners out alive, I went back to the woman who lost her brother. I explained that I found him at great expense to me, and his body could be found under a large boulder in the mine collapse. She refused to pay me the 10 gold pressed Latinum I feel is a small and reasonable recompensation for all the expense I went to. In fact, she chose to ignore me at this point. My Ferengi captain feels this is a bug and hopes this is corrected at the same time the lack of XP is fixed.
Again, this mission felt so alive, it put me in a sense of immersion each time I played it. Great job guys.