The Mirror Invasion, also known as the Terran Empire Incursion, is no stranger to Star Trek Online. This five-man event has appeared six times since its launch in 2104. Despite some minor revisions and different event rewards, the basic premise remains the same. The players must defend Vauthil Station from a Terran Empire assault from the Mirror Universe. Rifts appear and have to be closed before they unleash enemy vessels. There are also four power substations that charge the stations defences, that have to brought online. In the final stage of the event, an enemy Dreadnought and support squadron make a final attack on the station. It’s a fun ten-minute team event and if tackled correctly, is not too challenging. Science vessels can close rifts quicker than other classes and Command ships can initiate the power substations more efficiently. Players are awarded a Multidimensional Transporter for playing this event. By turning in 14 Transporters through the Reputation System, players will receive Dilithium Ore, Reputation Marks and the new Interphasic Instability console.
Sadly, there is a problem with the Mirror Invasion. A problem that has been present for a while and one that remains uncorrected by Cryptic. Upon joining this event, either via the PVE queue system which auto groups you with other players or through creating a private encounter, you can simply spawn and go AFK, allowing the event to run without any discernible player interaction. You may get reduced rewards for not passing the all the event challenges but you will receive the Multidimensional Transporter. This is because the Mirror Invasion is driven by it ten-minute duration and it is the passage of time that triggers different stages of the event. You can safely neglect to close the rifts and allow the vessels to swarm the area without any major consequence. If Vauthil Station gets too damaged it simply initiates repair protocols. Eventually the Station fires an anti-tachyon pulse and forces the Mirror Universe forces back to their dimension, clearing the area. The final Dreadnought attack can be similarly ignored until the timer expires.
Some STO players consider this situation an exploit, where others do not. Naturally this is hotly debated but I think that particular discussion is essentially missing the point. This is a significant flaw in the event design and anything that actively encourages players to not engage with the activity erodes the relationship between the player and game. This is not the first time this has happened in STO either. There is a similar defect in the First Contact Day event where you can bypass the scavenger hunt to upgrade your replica Phoenix. It further disheartening to know that both of these problems are known to Cryptic but do not seem to be high on their priority list. Then there is the “social” issue of going AFK in pickup groups. Unless this is something that is mutually agreed by all parties, it does seem somewhat ill-mannered to take a seat while others do all the work. Again, encouraging such behaviour through a correctable flaw is bad for STO and its community. Sadly, Cryptic are not known for being quick off the mark, so I suspect this problem will persist.