Star Trek Online: New Dawn
Tuesday saw the release of the eleventh season of Star Trek Online. New Dawn includes not only the latest feature episode Sunrise but also the new admiralty system, a revamp of the Cardassian story arc along with a Badlands battlezone for level sixty players and above. There is also a new Terran Empire rep faction and associated rewards. Now it probably hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that Cryptic are providing more of the same. However it’s a tried and tested formula so I guess they cannot be blamed for adopting a policy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
After my recent disappointment with the Guild Wars 2 expansion Heart of Thorns, it’s been pleasant to return to the familiar routine of STO. After the conclusion of the Iconian war at the end of the last season, a new storyline based around exploration and first contact is a welcome change of pace. That’s not to say there isn’t any combat involved. It would seem that the Tholians are up to something in this latest episode and once again the plot relies on temporal meddling. As ever the narrative draws upon characters and plot devices from a specific episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But this is one of the game’s greatest strengths.
So having played through Sunrise, which I found to be totally agreeable, I decided to check out the new admiralty system. It didn’t take long for me to regret having deleted all the various ships I acquired while levelling. As a result I only have five vessels to use on my primary federation character. Naturally the various low and intermediate level ships that have been languishing on the exchange for months have all now massively increased in value. The system itself which is very similar to the duty officer system, is adequately entertaining but the cool down on missions seems somewhat long.
Although I am currently sharing my time between several MMOs, STO still seems to be the least problematic and trying of them all. It a curious thing that my relationship with this genre has reached a point where I even use such terms. However despite not being the most polished of MMOs, STO still manages to satisfy and engage. The IP is a major contributory factor and the game is extremely functional. Too many games creak under the weight of their own complexity. I suspect that STO will remain installed on my PC for the immediate future, whereas certain other titles may well have out lived there usefulness.