Having played all the currently available missions for the Romulans, I thought I would leave some feedback for what I have seen.
First off, I would like to thank the devs for finally making the Romulans a playable faction. I would have preferred to have started as a Romulan several years ago but I am just grateful that we are getting them at all. I have enjoyed playing as a Fed but the Klingon side holds very little interest for me so having the Romulans is going to be a breath of fresh air.
To my delight, I was invited to the closed beta and almost as soon as I had patched the game, I was straight in and creating what would become my Romulan tactical officer. The login and character select screens look fantastic, a great improvement over what was already a fairly decent effort. They really add to the atmosphere and push the game an inch closer to a proper trek feel of exploration and the unknown.
The character creator in my opinion has been improved in some ways but messed up in others. The creator looks far too dark when creating Romulans, making it difficult to judge colours. When I created my character, I found that her skin tone was far lighter than I had intended and the colour of her clothes were not as I had hoped as well. Thankfully there is a tailor in the game to make alterations as I go along.
Another issue with the creator is the lack of hairstyles, and there are a number of hairstyles used by Romulan NPCs which are available for many other species that are not present for Romulans. In my opinion Romulans should have similar options to Humans and Vulcans and other similar species, along with styles that are common amongst Romulans in the various tv series and movies. A further issue with the creator was that I felt the basic options are pushed on you too much, and I would like to have a hide button to hide the faces and hairstyles columns.
A final issue with the creator is a lack of a back and forward buttons. These are essential to correct any mistakes that you have made without having to spend ages trying to manually return things to how they were.
First Impressions - Virinat
The opening world of Virinat was a beautifully done. As soon as I began walking around the settlement, I said to a fleet buddy on Teamspeak "the devs have really outdone themselves this time" and that was before all the action starts. I though it was a shame to have it get wiped out by those new aliens but I figured, when this comes out in May (and possibly during beta), I am going to slaughter every last one of them for destroying my home. I didn't really encounter any bugs on the opening mission (except for those that you have to deal with as part of the mission).
Ship and Crew
Once off the colony and onto the ship, I enjoyed getting to fly my first Romulan Bird of Prey, even if it was a rusty old relic of the TOS era. I also liked the way they worked the bridge officers into the missions and how they had their own back story and personalities. What I do hope is that they can be fully customised and renamed as this is great for a first run but I don't want the same people on all my characters, as I plan to create at least three Romulans (one for each career- tac, sci eng). Another issue is that the original four bridge officers cannot be set to department heads for the duty officer system. In my playthrough as a Federation aligned Romulan, I was able to set the Federation bridge officer that you are given and also a Starfleet Android which I picked up at ESD.
Now I checked out the interior of the ship and I do like what I see. The main issues that I have are the lack of trophies either in the ready room or the mess hall and there needs to be more variety in bridges and interiors. Perhaps they could add a small, medium and large interior as they have done with Federation and Klingon ships and a few extra bridges. For bridges they could make use of designs used in TNG/DS9 for the D'Deridex and the Valdore from Nemesis and then make variations of these for the other Warbirds. A TOS bridge could be released on the Z-Store for the TOS Bird of Prey as they did for the TOS Constitution bridge and this could be coupled with weapons/costume to make a bundle. The only other issue I can think of for the interiors is that there are no stars outside the windows.
Now based on the mission where you pick up the painting to add to your ready roon for decoration, they could use this again to add additional items and this could be added to both Federation and Klingon missions thereby allowing any players to make their ready room or quarters more like a home away from home than the current feel which reminds me of some cheap hotel. In real life I like to collect things and my bedroom is full of useless junk and random trinkets, Picard's ready room had the Mintakan tapestry which he was given during a mission so perhaps we as captains should get similar items throughout the course of the game.
Missions and Bugs
Over the course of my journey from Virinat to my current level of Subcommander, I enjoyed each of the missions and was pleased to see that there was a good level of variety and that there wasn't an overuse of either ground or space combat and in fact, I felt there was a good balance between the amount of combat and the amount of time searching areas, interacting with NPC and following the story without having to kill everything.
Throughout the missions, most of the bugs that I encountered were minor and were not overly prevalent. The two biggest problems that I encountered were as follows:
? Tal Shiar Deflector - This item is bugged and prevents the use of Hazard Emitters I and II and some other science skills. Simply removing it and using a different deflector removes the issue until this is fixed.
? Subcommander Promotion - When I finally reached the rank of Subcommander, I went to get my new ship and then I logged off for the night. When I returned the next day, I realised I hadn't finished the promotion but when I went to complete it, it would not complete. Now it tells me to go to the command centre but when I get there, it no longer tells me what to do and when I check the mission progress it has everything ticked, but I cannot turn it in.
After those bugs, the rest were minor and did not really affect the overall gameplay, and were mostly cosmetic issues but the most noticable were as follows:
? Costume Glitches - Some of the costume pieces had clipping issues. Some boots stuck out through the trousers, belt passed through the tops and on the female civilian wrap, some skin was sticking through the wrap near to the bottom of the wrap on the front.
? Wrong weapon - During a cutscene after meeting one of the bridge officers, his weapon changes from a Romulan rifle to a Federation-style rifle and then back after the cutscene.
? On the mission where you first meet the first Reman bridge officer a message popped up on the screen towards the end of the mission but it vanished straight away and I was not able to read what it said.
? Cutscene subtitles - Some of the cutscenes go by a little too fast to be able to read the subtitles at a normal pace. This will less of an issue if voiceovers are used and it was mainly the opening cutscene that was the worst offender for this.
Romulan Specific Skills
At the moment I am still getting used to flying warbirds and making full use of their unique singularity abilities but I really like the idea behind this as it is a brand new game mechanic that will affect how you fly the ships to a certain degree.
If this works out well for the Romulans, It might be worth trying a similar mechanic for warp cores for the Federation and Klingons. Perhaps one skill could be to eject the core and detonate it for a massive AoE blast that could take out a ship but then leave you vulnerable with very low power levels until you die and respawn or for a set time.
I could go on forever about all the good and bad points but I will end it hear so I can go and play the game again.
In summary, I am very impressed by the new content and am pleased to have been invited to take part in the testing. There are still issues to resolve in the expansion and there are many areas that can me improved to varying degrees but I understand that what I have experienced is not the complete expansion and that there are still many things that are probably not finished or even on tribble so for now I am happy to overlook the minor issues and concentrate on the fact that this is going to be the best update that the game has ever seen. It is my hope that other players will see the expansion in the same light as me and hopefully this will bring back some of the players that have become disillusioned with the game over the years.
So thanks again for letting me test the new content and at sometime in the near future, I may update this thread with new things that I have found (hopefully good things and not too many bugs and glitches).