Choose My Adventure: The first steps as a Romulan in Star Trek Online

    
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Choose My Adventure: The first steps as a Romulan in Star Trek Online

In last week’s column, I mentioned that the start of our Star Trek Online journey would not be done alone, and sure enough I’ve got company with me in the form of my husband. He brings with him approximately two years’ worth of experience in the game, having joined in from launch and playing on and off since then. He’ll be our Sherpa through the new-to-me territory of Romulan space. As for myself, I have about a year or so under my own belt in total, though my playtime has been far more sporadic than my husband’s.

STO and I have always had a very random sort of relationship. Every once in a while, I’ll see my husband taking on a variety of TFOs and get the itch to play again, but I never really seem to follow through. If nothing else, I’m curious to see if playing as a Romulan Tactical Officer will entreat me more to the game or if I’ll slip back into the uniform of my Starfleet Science ship. And who knows? Perhaps I’ll hop behind those controls once I feel muscle memory returning, my husband and I might fire up those old characters again and see if we can’t do a little high-level something-or-other.

But that’s in the far future. For now, let’s take a look at what the starting experience of the Romulan Republic was like.

I know a bare little bit about greater Star Trek lore (please don’t attack me), so I know something about the Romulans and their tragic history. So of course, when the starting experience for my little Romulette took place in a thriving colony on the eve of a big celebration, I pretty much knew everything was going to hell in a handbasket soon enough. Narratively speaking, I couldn’t have been more uninvested, but I will say that the opening quests did a good job of explaining how things work.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how simple it was to team up with my husband for these first few missions. There even was an option to sync my level to his to make playing together even better. I came into this game expecting to be locked out of playing with my partner for most of the missions a la SWTOR, so being in a game that actually encouraged multiplayer and MMO gaming was a refreshing change of pace.

What wasn’t refreshing was the game’s combat, but perhaps having someone at my side made things just a hair too simple. It was less like the episodes of The Next Generation I was used to watching and more like a run n’ gun shooter most of the time, with my husband and I gleefully dashing along, chasing quest objectives and zapping every single face that was in range.

Of course, the inevitable happened and the festival was bombed by some folks who call themselves the Tal Shiar. I don’t know a lot about this particular enemy group, but I do know two things: They are wholly unoriginal villains in terms of their ultimate goal as I understand it now, and their ships look so much cooler than mine.

Seriously, the opening Warbird we both got has a Pontiac Firebird-style eagle painted on its belly. It’s cartoonish.

In any event, the mission continued to unfurl as I expected it to, with attempts at making me feel sympathetic to people I have no emotional or mental connection to. I’m not saying the story is bad necessarily, so much as it’s something I’ve heard before. I’m also not going to pretend that Star Trek in general has been the hallmark of deep narrative, either. Still, it’s a means to an end, as I was taught all of the ground controls and the space controls easily enough.

In fact, as much as I’m bemoaning the goofy story arc, I can’t say that I remember the opening beats I took when I first fired up STO being this well explained. It does come with a fair bit of handholding, but considering the number of things that one has to keep up with especially in space combat, it’s hardly a complaint.

Speaking of space combat, I’ve always loved the way ship-to-ship combat feels in this game. It really toes the line brilliantly between arcade action and naval tactics. It doesn’t do either of these things flawlessly, but the seemingly disparate pieces fit together in STO. Even if my Warbird has some of the worst firing arcs I’ve ever witnessed. Seriously, the cone of effect for my weapons is narrow.

Another thing I didn’t like about our first foray in space combat as a Romulan was the apparent inability to fly alongside my husband during this particular mission. I’m hoping it’s just a case of being locked away from one another due to it being a tutorial level, but it does make me a tiny bit concerned about future co-op possibilities going forward.

Speaking of (boldly) going forward (’cause we can’t find reverse), it’s about time that we open up our first poll question for where our Star Trekkin’ should go. Our playtime was, admittedly, a bit short due to my husband’s job beating him up to the point of not wanting to play much, but we did get to a point that a decision has to be made anyway, so we’ve lucked out. And that decision is regarding the quest chain to follow.

Right now, we’re at a crossroads that I don’t ever recall seeing when I was first playing STO. On the one hand, we’re being offered the next quests in the Romulan Republic story arc (presumably), while the other is a “Promotion” mission that is offering us a new ship but is also guiding us to tougher enemies and bigger challenges.

So that’s the question I’m putting to our readers: Which direction should our twin Warbirds fly off in?

What missions should we follow through with in Star Trek Online?

  • The Romulan missions. Stay in your lane, pick up more lore. (50%, 40 Votes)
  • The Promotion mission. Yes, maybe the missions are harder, but hey, free ship! (50%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 80

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You all know the drill by now: Friday, May 8th, at 1:00 p.m. EDT will be the closing time for this week’s poll. In the meantime, we’re both likely going to bite our tongues and not fire up this game some more. Or at least, I’m not going to. My husband also has a PS4 account and he can play any time he damn well pleases, really.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.

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vampire_eternal

Take the free ship mission. Once your done with it you’ll be able to pick up were you left off on the story ark, plus you’ll have a their 2 ship. Youll get one every 10 levels

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Daniel Reasor

Content will continue to level with you whether you do the promotion mission or not, so go ahead and get your new ship. You’ll have access to more bridge officer abilities in space combat.

An overlooked bonus that Romulans enjoy is that they’re just as crazy strong as Vulcans and Klingons. A Tactical Captain can take advantage of this by picking up some Lunge and Sweeping Strikes kit modules for ground combat. You can use these even with a pistol or rifle in your hands, allowing you to enjoy your species’ bonus to plasma damage while holding on to a good option for punishing anything that gets too close.

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Zero_1_Zerum

I’ve been seriously considering getting back into STO, once I have a computer that can run it. I’m pretty sure that there’s enough free content to make it worth my while.
I don’t much care about “end game” content. My end game is beating the story, then playing something else.

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Castagere Shaikura

The game is fun leveling up. But when you get to end game be ready to open your wallet. The free ships you get are all crap. Even the T6 free ships are crap compared to store ships and the end game content is built around those store ships and gear. It’s just like it is with Neverwinter at the end game.

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Greaterdivinity

Some thoughts as I read…

Ground combat: It’s not just you, it’s pretty awful. That seems to be the general sentiment of the community in my experience as well. 90% of the time I’m just spamming my main attacks and that seems to do plenty fine. The whole game is designed around combat, unfortunately.

Tal Shiar: I’m not super knowledgeable about them, but that seems to be a fair assessment : P They can be cool in the show at times, but more often than not their arcs (at least in TNG where I remember them being more active) were generally kinda frustrating.

Space combat: It’s much better!…but in the years I’ve played I fear I still don’t understand the first thing about it. For a while I was just rocking all phasers because it looked cool, knowing that it was probably a terrible, awful, no good idea. And your limitations are purely due to the weapons your ship starts with, Starfleet folks get phasers that have far wide firing arcs but lower damage.

Multiplayer: I legit don’t think I’ve ever grouped with someone in STO in the years I’ve played off and on. Seriously. Never in ground combat, and maybe I got into a “dungeon” for space combat years ago but I can’t remember. I don’t know what kinds of limitations there are, but the game really doesn’t seem to incentivize or make grouping super easy. I’ve kinda wanted to group up periodically, but never found the motivation.

Now you’re motivating me to log back in, but alas I yet again dropped the game on my high level Starfleet character a while back and have completely forgotten everything about how to play her. It’s been a while since I played KDF, so almost thinking of making a Romulan/KDF character and building a new crew. Time for a bikini-clad crew of Orion women, I guess, because I have the same level of maturity as Captain Kirk.

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Greaterdivinity

Made a new Romulan character. I do enjoy this little intro experience, forgot how rad the Tal Shiar ship hovering over the settlement is.

In a testament to how little I know of the game, I literally just learned that you can toggle ground based abilities to autofire like ship abilities…I never knew that. seems a bit wonky in practice, but it was hilarious running through the combat portion of the tutorial while my character spun around automatically killing everything that attacked me.

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Armsman

I’ve been playing STO since closed beta in 2009 – and whenever someone brings up the Ground combat in STO – my response: “STO has ground combat??” ;)

Look, it does have ground combat, and it’s IMO really lackluster (and hell even the STO DEvs agree for the most part) – but IMO the space combat is enjoyable enough to make up for it, and whole most mission do have a ground element the Devs try to keep the split 70% space #0% ground of late, which is welcome. (YMMV).

As for being locked away from playing with your husband, that’s only until you ‘pick a side’ (and if you pick a faction other than that faction your hubby chose; your ‘play together options will be severely limited) – which occurs at around level 12 after you’ve run most of the Romulan starting storyline. You need to get to that mission and pick a faction to align with for the rest of the ‘Universe’ to open up to your Romulan.

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Greaterdivinity

Oh don’t get me wrong, ground combat is not “awful” or a negative experience, it’s just…not great. Space combat is much more fun and I’m happy with it for the most part, but I do like seeing my crew running around as well.

My kingdom for a new Star Trek game where crew missions could be more than “Murder everything and talk to a few people.” Like, engaging in diplomacy and shit. I guess I’ll continue daydreaming about what larger budget, modern, massive scope MMO versions of games like STO or the upcoming Dune survival game could be.

Poker Brat
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Poker Brat

Totally agree. I have a good time in STO when I play it, and it’s come a long long way from launch. And certainly not a dig at the Dev team, they have done a ton. But like you I have to wonder what could be with the right vision, team, and budget for any of our favorite IPs.

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Greaterdivinity

Yeah, IIRC Cryptic picked up the project late in development to see it through to launch and…they got a pretty big lemon dropped in their lap. I remember it being awful at launch, and still not great when it went F2P. The work they’ve done over the years is impressive and definitely worthy of praise.

We can always dream though…

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sophiskiai

For anyone not old enough to get the “can’t find reverse” reference ;)

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Geoffrey Tillman

I personally love the TOS Romulan Warbird. Belly Eagle and all.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

You should add more polls that have more answer choices to these so the reader feels like they have more agency. Having 3 to 5 polls per article would be fantastic.