Just tried the new expansion and i got to say it is epic! the story is really good so far. didn't want to go too far in it because i didn't want to spoil it for the 21st. the voiceovers are great. i didn't find anything i didn't like. can't wait tell the 21st. great work, lovin every bit
One of the 0.7%ers Markus Urelious 12000+ Accolades [Fed Tac VA] Viper [Fed Tac VA] Athena [Fed Eng VA] T'ozz [KDF Tac LG]
Sleepers - the Borg cube is still OP; this is the third toon to go thru the mission, and this time I did manage not to die. This feat was only achieved thru judicious use of all abilities, devices and singularity boosts available. From the start of the fight, I rarely had any shields and was barely keeping my hull at anything close to 50%. The so-called derelict cube fights like a fully operational cube and the NPC support is almost useless in taking aggro off of the player's ship. This still needs to be retuned or have more NPC ships come in to support.
The next mission (cannot remember the name) involving the rescue of another colony had definite pathing problems on two of my Boffs, Khev kept getting stuck in terrain and I almost had to "baby" walk him to the last of the four evac sites. Another Boff just plain disappeared at the second evac point. This bug is new since the other two time I went thru this mission I had no problems keeping my ground team together.
Overall, the game ran fairly smoothly, however there still seemed to be some rough edges. The whole experience seemed like it was a well written game, but it still felt as if it was in the beta stages overall. After moving from one mission to another, The video would show the previous area shortly after the "fade in" as if the video memory wasn't refreshed. Also, the ship turned erratically, as if it had a problem deciding on which angle it was at. During combat, the warbird would not bank smoothly, and sometimes would not bank at all. There was no description or help over what the new charge up ability was, and had to learn from playing. The beginning had me believe that there was an alternate choice to be ruled under Seyla, but when I skipped the tutorial, It went straight to the fleet. The text faded in and out too quickly, and I had a hard time keeping up. I did not see any warp cinematics, and the warbird seemed to just go from start to very fast without any trails or visual warping.
Some of the fonts looked a bit too big, and the edges of the UI are overy contrasting looking like it's a basic menu type system and a temporary setup. Character avatar selection was a bit confusing, but I eventually learned where the buttons were. Selecting from the pictures gave a nice indication, but the list from the old version seemed to be a bit better. The presets for the head seemed out of place and un-needed which added to the confusion of the customising screen.
Mission "cloak and dagger" the mission text eludes to the mission involving Remans, which is what used to be in this mission but there are none now, given how Remans hate bright light and how bright the environment is it may be better to to change the mission text to refer to a Romulan separatist group instead of repopulating the map with Reman characters.
K why you you are sopose to be a tal.shar you look at the link pad and it says you get plans to go to the replcter and make a tar'shar uniform i did'nt find it so i was running around in my dress.now if you are sopose to be tal'shar we should have to dressthe part .cause if you go down to a tal'shar basnot wearing there uniform they would shot you first then ask you waht you wanted
Right, so... I played "Revelation" and "Mind Games". I'm a little hesitant to get into these. Firstly because there is a lot that is wrong with them, and secondly because other people seem to think they are okay so I feel like maybe I just didn't get it?
But, here goes anyway.
First off, we're told by our new Tal Shiar handler that they want us to investigate anomalies in "staffing manifests". So, they've got some people that are in the wrong place, or too few, or whatever. Our first officer sifts the data and tells us something is probably going on in Hobus. Instead of just saying "We should go to Hobus", tell us WHY. Are there discrepencies with passenger manifests in and out of that system? There's a lot of missing and redacted data... What kind of data? Give us some context here. "I found a pattern" and then "We should go to Hobus" doesn't sound like an officer giving the captain a brief upon which to make a decision.
When you get there, data indicates the presence of a base. It does? Is the same data that we haven't heard anything about? The lack of motivation feels like I'm being led around by the nose here. Tovan needs to explain his thought process.
We scan the system, isolate the background signals, and then scan the system again. We find a something. Let's check it out. "The contact is a Romulan ship. What are they doing here?", my crew doesn't wonder. "They're charging weapons!", they fail to exclaim. Is nobody else on my ship surprised to that a Romulan ship fired on another Romulan ship without any attempt at communication?
"I wonder what they are trying to prevent us from finding". Who is 'they'!? Why does my crew seem to know who we're up against but I don't?
"This is probably an ambush, sir". Which is why I was cloaked. Emphasis on was.
Scanning the planetoid, I'm told that we can expect resistance. But at this time we don't know who's down there.
Up to this point, the mission is written by somebody who already knows what's going to happen and what's going on. It's NOT being written as if it's from the perspective of somebody who is trying to figure things out e.g. our character. Our Tal Shiar handler makes it sound like we're hunting down a suspicious clerical error to hide a mole, and then suddenly we're engaging multiple warships and a large asteroid base with no indication about who or what they are. Importantly, nobody seems to think this abrupt shift in our mission is at all strange.
We're handed the name "Taris". Perhaps I should point out that as a new player joining STO for the Romulan campaign, I have no idea who Taris is. The whole revelatory paragraph is frankly poorly written. It should read something more like "Here's an authorization for research materials from Taris... The same Taris who was a Praetor of the Empire? Wasn't she responsible for the subspace weapon that destroyed Romulus? Wait. She is here. Here, on this station! We have an opportunity to bring this monster to justice!"
Speaking of poorly written... "Assault the command room". My first officer should never presume to give me orders.
As Taris explains her position, it would be nice to know what, exactly, she thought she was doing for the benefit of all Romulans. "I thought I was doing something for the greater good" is completely unsympathetic since it lacks context. Also, her comment about appealing to the Iconians makes her look like a complete idiot. Hakeev was working with them, and Hakeev built the bomb (at least in her version of the story). Why would the Iconians help in any way.
Why are the Tal Shiar assault troops hostile to us? We're here as agents of the Tal Shiar, and they knew we were coming. At their request.
The ending was kind of silly. We have no idea where that gateway leads to, we don't know how to operate it, and it takes the same amount of time to yell in your commlink "Get me out of here!" as it does to run across a room into a big alien portal.
What should have happened is that the Tal Shiar ships would have set up a transporter inhibitor field. Your crew escapes back to your ship in a shuttlecraft, but you stay behind first to operate the shuttle bay controls and then to blow up the gate. As the facility starts to explode, a Tal Shiar assault squad runs up and says "It's all coming down! We need to get out now!" (remember, the Tal Shiar are not hostile because they think you're one of them). In the confusion, you get beamed to Hakeev's ship instead of your own. Except Hakeev knows you're not who you seem...
(Mind Games starts here)
Continuing the theme: A neat idea, but the execution is not very good.
First off, don't show us the indoctrination. Tell us "Hakeev is very creative". "Let me show you what my masters have taught me". Hakeev raises some device, and then the screen flashes white. As we fade to black, we hear disturbing mechanical and grisly sounds with no visuals. Then we wake up in the detection block.
Do not give us an inner voice.
The fact that we have an inner voice instantly tells us firstly, that we are still we, and secondly, that the indoctrination isn't working. Don't give the player this information. The player shouldn't be sure whether they are still controlling their original character or somebody else. For that matter, change the mission segment to something innocuous like "A day at the office". We should wake up, think "Wow my head hurts", and then we immediately get a message from our handler that we are supposed to be reporting for our duty assignments. Give us a friend to escort us there, somebody sympathetic. The food is terrible, when are we going to get paid, did you hear about that brawl the other day? Hakeev should be trying to ram into our head this alternate identity, and he will do that by giving us supporting illusions like those of having persistent friends and affairs as a Tal Shiar agent.
Nobody should mention conditioning, or indoctrination. Because you don't know anything about that and Hakeev wouldn't be eager to tell you. "You" just completed your special training, and now you are ready to take your proficiency tests.
At the morality decisions, we don't have an inner voice. Take the color coding off the choices and mix them up. Give us some "duds". The morality choice needs to make sense in the context of our forced reality. In our conscious reality we are a Tal Shiar agent and we should have no problem with picking up the pistol. But our subconscious (emphasis important) will balk at shooting somebody we recognize. Our choices at this point should be "Yes, sir" (accept the brainwashing), "Who is this prisoner?" (hesitate/dud), and "Wait, don't I know her..." (reject brainwashing).
Every time you reject the brainwashing, you're "punished" by the screen going all bloomy and whobbly, and the situation will slightly alter itself. Continuing the example, if you initially reject the brainwashing, you are punished and then Satra is replaced by somebody with a different name. It's still Satra, but our programming has been adjusted and refined so that we don't recognize her as Satra. That's how you play mind games.
This continues until Khimek tells you to go to the med bay. When he knocks you out and deprograms you, now is when you throw in the exposition about the programming you received, and the player is relieved to know that they are still themselves. Khimek needs to provide some kind of proof that he is who he says he is since both the player and the character should be suspicious as hell for more shenanigans, and he also needs to mention that he's giving the player a covert in-ear communications device.
After that, the rest of the mission is fine.
So... Yeah. Mind Games. It's an interesting premise but it could benefit from some RADICAL overhauls. Remember: I'm tough because I love you. <3
Quoting all of this because it deserves it. Thank you for writing it and posting it, it states the issues better than most of us could. Cryptic, please take these concerns seriously, and the alternative options proposed.
I will just ditto the comments about the story not holding together and assuming that the player knows too much already about Taris. But I have some of my own to add on Mind Games:
This is an important episode and concept because it's definitely true to who the Tal Shiar are and the ideas behind some of the better episodes of Trek out there, but because of the potential and because it's such serious stuff it really needs to be handled with care. Some will argue it's just a video game and some will argue players are just going to click as fast as they can but Sci-Fi especially is about more than that and y'all know it or you wouldn't bother.
I liked the dynamic of having choices change underneath me. That allowed me as a character and a player to keep resisting, but still have the story advance outside my control. Yes, it removes agency from the player, but it does so in a way that doesn't require the player to become complicit. Having the later options require me to go along, however, is horrid and will prevent me from playing this mission with my real characters. That removes agency in that I have to go along to advance the story, but worse than that it requires the player (not just the character) to choose to do these things. And having that mechanic change as I go actually works in the direction of conditioning *the player*.
Some will claim that's good storytelling because it extends the theme beyond the game itself, but I disagree. It's a railroad, and I daresay any pen and paper player would walk out of a game where the DM told them they were required to do something completely opposed to their idea of their character's alignment without some kind of saving throw chance. Again, having the player push one button and something different happen was a reasonable way to accomplish the conditioning aspect you want without making things overly complicated or doing a real branching plot.
I also object to the later parts that provide injuring or even euthanizing the prisoner as the only green option and then using the borged prisoner as a prop to create a distraction as the way forward. Those are moral quandaries of their own and the latter happens after our indoctrination is past, so it's presented as just the obvious thing to do.
No, this is not something you'd see on a normal TNG episode. They dealt with these topics but you never saw someone give in to the brainwashing and you rarely saw them succeed in carrying out their orders. Picard cried as Locutus, you knew he was in there fighting. Geordi resisted the Romulan order to kill fake O'Brien and was ultimately stopped before he hurt anyone real. Picard always insisted he saw four lights, no matter what he really perceived. Our heroes resist as long as they have any option in front of them, they don't ultimately choose to do the evil thing to progress the railroad plot.
PS: This is the first thing that prompted me to post since coming back from a hiatus and I haven't checked my profile settings or dealt with the forced forum name change stuff but I've been LTS since open beta, FWIW.
Last edited by mineforfish; 05-13-2013 at 07:01 PM.
At the close of the sequence on Drozana Station (where we have just met with the Klingon Intelligence officer and we are set to infiltrate the Tal Shiar), we receive a Tal Shiar uniform and an isolinear chip. To receive this reward, we must speak with the Romulan Republic Intelligence officer, who presents these, the XP, etc., while she praises us for a job well done.
Then, the next window pops up to offer the beginning of "Enemy Action" tabs. When you click on the mission tab, she instructs you to "meet [her] on the Drozana Station in the Eta Eridani Sector block"...while are standing in the lounge, on Drozana Station, LOOKING RIGHT AT HER!
She then "presents" you with an isolinear chip ("...here, take this isolinear chip...") - that you already received as an award from the close of "Inside Job!"
Now, I chose to ally with the Klingons, but also in this sequence, she informs us that "our allies in the FEDERATION" are going to stage an attack on the Tal Shiar outpost. Satra explains the attack further on the way to the outpost, but says (correctly) that "...the phony KDF attack..." will commence momentarily.
So, in short, it seems some of these sequences are disordered (and the one redundant and unnecessary), and there is a disconnect between our alliance choices and the set dialogue.
Having said that, these missions and all the Romulan content thus far have been fantastic - thanks! Can't wait until launch, but a little more spit and polish might make it shine all the more!
(...actually active since November 2010, which may one day be important to archaeologists, but not to anyone else...)
Loved the arc for the most part. Mind Games in particular was just elegantly evil. Two things in the arc though that might need tuning.
Cloak & Dagger, my boffs had a lot of pathfinding problems throughout the ground part of the mission. I ran it several times, and every time someone got stuck around the fountain in the middle of town and just stayed there. I don't know if they don't recognize it as an obstacle or what. Second, the two big Tal Shiar mob groups around that same fountain, if you die and respawn there, because of the close proximity I aggroed both at once. That was....unpleasant.
Revelations, the dialogue with Taris, my captain seemed to make some large logic leaps and jump to conclusions, and make some pretty wild accusations without any evidence against Taris. I as a player may know more based on the Federation-character Romulan arc, but my Rom captain didn't have any of that information, just knew everything anyways. Plus some of my dialogue selections seemed to jump even further into the tree, skipping even more. That whole conversation, while creating a potential new light on things, was just scattered and random. With more build-up and back-and-forth it could have been one heck of a plot twist too.