OK, let me first explain the reason for this thread. This is not an intentional knock against the FE. I have yet to play it, and I don't want to create an us. v. them attitude.
It's more a curious experiment.
I don't know if the majority of you will say: "How can you even compare Cryptic stuff and foundry stuff? Of course, a foundry mission is sub-par. The FE is far, far better than the best foundry mission I've played."
In some ways, I think that reaction would be understandable. They have all the tools. They put in the resources. Meanwhile, foundry authors struggle with a half-broken tool that never gets updated or expanded. Cryptic can simply do amazing things that foundry authors could never do, so of course their content is better, right?
Foundry authors are inherently handicapped by the toolset, although perhaps some have far more time, I guess.
So, anyways, how would you compare today's FE to the best foundry mission you've played?
If there is any possible mission that could even compete with Cryptic content, wouldn't you say that this is a good reason for the devs to expand and fix the toolset?
Again, sorry if this experiment completely flops. It's probably a dumb question from an over-enthusiastic supporter of foundry authors and their potential to add truly epic quality stories to this game, in a way that is far more powerful than 2 Cryptic FEs a year, despite all the tools, skills, and playing field advantage that the Cryptic devs have.
"City of the Polmar Rhee" is one of a stratified handful of top-notch Foundry missions I have played. The art assets and storyline reflect the great (and largely untapped) resource (and resourcefulness) of Foundry authors.
"Second Wave" simply *cannot* compare to some of the greater Foundry stories.
Perhaps Cryptic will start approaching the level of "City of the Polmar Rhee" and their own Rommie/Reman FE series starting with next week's episode.
So, anyways, how would you compare today's FE to the best foundry mission you've played?
Today's FE wouldn't compare well to some of the best Foundry missions IMO. Although I couldn't tell you what it was missing it was definitely lacking something to make we want to do it again, compare that to some of the Foundry missions that I've played many times (Conjoined is still one of my favourites, I love the twist at the end) and it's a strange one.
If I had to say why it didn't compare well then it would probably be the pacing, something the best Foundry authors do very well; some parts of the FE seemed a little forced and either too quick (like dumping me in Bajor at the end with just a dialogue box to talk to) or a little too long (the space battle above DS9, just seemed long for the sake of being long) whereas some of the Foundry missions are nicely paced so that even a slow non combat mission that'll take an hour or two will leave you surprised so much time has passed. The above mentioned City of the Polmar Ree (sp) is a good example of that; a fairly long mission with beautiful sets (I love the arboretum at the beginning) and paced so that there's always something going on to keep your attention. Today's FE lost my attention a couple of times, especially running around doing the optionals as it just wasn't interesting to be running around DS9 fetching consumables for an NPC.
I'd guess it just comes down to the little details that a Foundry author can spend the time getting right more than anything. Today's FE wasn't bad, it just seemed a little strangely paced so I'm waiting to see what the others are like, I've always found the first of the series to be my least favourite so I'm hoping the same carries on for this series and I enjoy them more than I did today's.
Whether the toolset should be looked at I have no idea as I haven't used it in months. If it meant that it was easier for Foundry authors to make good quality missions like they are now then go for it, if they're being held back by the toolset then I'd love to see what they can do without those limitations.
I think it would have paced better if they opened the Bajor social hub upon completion and had us beam down and speak to someone who would get the process started of investigating. It would also give people the option of, well, not going back to DS9 as much through the week.
The abruptness feels similar to the ending of Coliseum, which I would otherwise say is the best mission in the game.
There isn't closure. They don't, to use writer jargon, put a button on their scenes. As a result, it feels like one thing happening after another. The characters
I really liked the bits with the Cardassian guy. The diversion of blame. The frustration over his people's lack of military. The snark. He was the stand out character for me. Going after a wine that Bajorans slaved over, perhaps thoughtlessly or perhaps using us to get something he could never ask for himself. The Ferengi also felt like a real Ferengi.
I liked the Gorn but he seemed awfully loyal to the KDF. I felt like his loyalty needed to be addressed. He felt like a Gorn raised by Klingons.
Starfleet still feels hollow to me in terms of how they're portrayed. It's like everybody is Riker. The Andorian feels especially... not Andorian to me. Was he raised by humans? Lots of human figures of speech.
I thought the inclusion of DOffs as a mission requirement was good. That could be developed more. Classic Trek has an A-plot and a B-plot. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of DOffs doing stuff offscreen that can influence missions. Have them work on lowering a forcefield is disabling weapons inhibitors. It's often said that our BOs yank us around. (I don't see it as them giving us orders, as some do, but the plot grinds to a halt if we don't follow our BOs advice.) Delegating to DOffs makes me feel more in charge and I almost think every mission from Lt 10 on should have DOff assignments integrated.
But the big thing is the lack of structure. The plot doesn't flow in acts. The action doesn't rise and fall in a satisfying way.
The one thing I REALLY do like is that we're dealing with another problem when the Jem'Hadar arrive.
But there isn't a lot of unity to the story. And there isn't a theme that's addressed in a satisfying way.
Love. Loss. Betrayal. Redemption.
That's the difference between a story and living out a moment in real life. Stories are about something. They have a moral or a theme that they address.
I think they got close to that with some of the Reman episodes but it's like they're shying away from it. And it makes the factions seem shallow and hollow and makes it seem like we're wandering around aimlessly while things happen.
I really enjoyed this weeks FE, especially the non-combad lead in (atmospheric, with dialog options), which was good for scene setting. This is also something the best found missions typically do, and always something I welcome in STO (a game where I'm looking for Trek content more than I'm looking for just 'action').
There was a nice non-combat "puzzle" in the forum of dialog during the meeting room (in an original set, which was really nicely done!). This was a kind of gameplay FE's can't really do easily, to a large extent they can only spoof this kind of interactivity as best they can.
With regard to the set, original assets are always great in FE's, because they expand the content base of things can be reused in both official missions and Foundry missions.
Lastly, the combat was good, but actually not up there with the best Foundry missions - better than the majority of them, but not overwhelmingly so though. It's interesting that I very often feel good Foundry missions are better balanced than original STO maps. :-)
The FE's (as a whole) are undoubtedly some of the best missions in the game. They have voice acting and there is always something new to see. But (as is often the case with TV shows) some of the stories and premises of Foundry missions are just so good, and so well told, that I'd put a handful of Foundry missions as being the very best content in the game.
Edit Agree about the ending, very abrupt! I guess they want to keep Bajor reveal till Next Week, so as not to detract from the impact. I assume this won't be a problem when this series is unlocked as presumably Bajor will become a permanent public social zone and players will be able to continue straight to the next episode, but for this week it feels a bit jarring that you're dumped in the system.
I agree with much of Leviathan's feedback. Perhaps there's a bit being banked on the fact that they're pulling on a string from DS9?
There was probably a story created that was then hacked into 5 pieces is what we're seeing here with the new FE. The other FE's more or less had their individual adventures that linked together into a cohesive story.
There are Foundry creations that certainly handle multi-part stories much better than the new FE does so far.
I would have to say that the "Second wave" does not match the best foundry missions by a long shot. If I were to rate the "Second Wave" at completion, it would get at most a 3 star. The side missions were a good idea, as was the DOFF integration, but I could actually do without voice acting when its BAD.
The ground combat section was terrible. I think they could have improved upon the simple, "attack 2 guys, move to next group". They could have had a larger battle with other starfleet/klingons fighting in the promenade, and you had to push forward but more Jem'hadar beamed in behind. It would give sense of urgency and push you to your goal. The station didnt really feel like it was being boarded. It seemed like there was about 10 Jem'hadar.
I have to say that I too have played some multi-episodic Foundry missions that had more story in them then this FE had .
When I finished this FE , I had to stop from going "meh" and remind myself that I just played one part of the whole .
The multiple options with the optional tasks were fun , but the discussions held about an alliance seemed to be ... simplistic . The characters were interesting enough , they just did not say much of interest around the discussion table .
True , I may have been spoiled by Babylon 5 , and Sheridans attempts there to forge an alliance against the Shadows .
The ground combat seemed to suffer the STO-DS9 curse -- no NPC's arround , but the combat itself was fun .
Space combat was ... a big let down .
At no point did I feel overwhelmed , or seriously challenged .
Nor did I feel like I was faceing wave after wave of ships . It just felt like an exploration mission -- go here , kill 2 ships , go here , kill 2 ships . Yeah ... . fun .