Mission Review: Broken Circle – 4/5 Stars. Bugs and lag not withstanding.

A somewhat ‘spoiler-free’ review. 

Despite the efforts of the past several weeks, this mission was loaded with Lag Spikes.  Lots and lots of lag.  It wasn’t game-ending frustration, but I get the impression that today’s launch delay may have had an impact on the game which is still being felt tonight.  On my second run, I came to a screeching halt with a bug.

Broken Circle

The latest featured episode certainly cranks up the war to a new level.   To be honest there hasn’t been a sense of urgency, partly do to the limited effect the Iconians are having in the rest of the game.  Unless you’re actually tuned into the featured episodes and a few STF’s, the Iconian War so far has felt like something happening to someone else.  This mission changes that impression.

1-mission briefing

The mission begins with a briefing in the Kyana system near the Delta Gateway, and home to the Alliance/Krenim Research facility and a quickly gathering strike force. A quick count of the Armada in the background makes it the largest task force ever assembled in Star Trek Online.

3-armada
Click to View High Def

Once you beam over to the station – stop – and don’t trigger the welcoming statement from the Klingon aide.  Take the time to see the station, walk around and come back to trigger him to proceed to the next introduction.  It’s worth a look.  One thing you can say about this featured episode is that the environments are incredible.  Kudos to the environmental team – this place feels like the Krenim Weapon Ship.  (On an aside – I know why they held back on offering the Krenim Weapon Ship yet… we haven’t built it yet).

After meeting with old friends (I swear Seven’s gotten younger), you join the Alliance Commander in the briefing room.  As you arrive you have a chance to talk with other mission members, and for a moment have a decent conversation about efficacy of researching a temporal weapon with a member of Temporal Investigations.  Lets be honest – we are talking about violating the Temporal Prime Directive.  The conversation is a nice nod to to classic Trek.

2-prime directive

The music during the briefing will fill you with dread.  It’s so not trek-like, and yet fits the scene setting the tone for the discussion.  We’re in deep do-do, and we’re about to do something very Klingon.

After joining Captain Tom Paris with Alpha Wing, Phase One of the combat is entirely in space outside the Iconian Dyson Sphere.  The battle does not go well. Subtle details of ships in need of help and the Klingon’s direct choice of how to continue the mission were pitch perfect.  Another nice nod to Trek canon.

Click to View High Def
Click to View High Def

Phase Two takes us into the sphere to press the attack on the Iconian Command Ship, which is desperately trying to regain energy.  Your job is to hold off reinforcements while carrier teams bring in boarding parties.  Like The Herald Sphere, you’re inside the ring of gateways holding off emerging attacks from multiple directions.

Phase Three you join the boarding parties, who are facing tough resistance from Herald reinforcements. Luckily you have experience dealing with them by now, and after running Brotherhood of the Sword, you now know how to shut down the Iconian power junctions.

After the first junction goes offline, you meet your next major combat.  M’Tara herself.

4-Mtara
Click to View High Def

You have to admit this is what you’ve been waiting for since you saw the Kahless clone battle and wound one of the Iconians during House Pegh.  The running battle has multiple stages, slowly revealing little details of what gives the Iconians thier strength.

Take the time to stop and look around.  The environments inside the Herald ship are amazing.  With each section you clear, and more power conduits you turn off, it’s becoming clear you might just win this.

The ongoing ground battle is glorious 😉  It takes everything you have to survive. And yes, something cool happens.

(Bug: during my second run of the night with another alt, the mission bugged during my second encounter with M’Tara.  Thinking ahead, I had deployed engineering gear where she appears.  The mission came to a screeching halt as M’Tara refused to appear.  Even waiting for the gear to disappear did not help.  I used task manager to stop the process, and returned to the game, only to be stymied again.  Very frustrating.)

(Workaround 1: Simply push on to the Command area highlighted on the map, the mission will continue regardless if you’ve shut off the second power transfer station.)

Phase Four – escaping the sphere, you begin to search for survivors as you make a hasty retreat.  The view screen is devoid of life as the entire Armada of Alliance ships has been eradicated, apparently taking a significant chunk of the Herald ship with them.

Like the Undine attack on ESD from ‘Surface Tension in season nine, this mission is expansive in it’s scope and and intensity.  No part of the space combat felt contrived.   If it were not for the lag and the episode ending bug, I think I would have run it a few times tonight on different toons.

4/5 Stars

Rewards:

5-rewards6-rifle

6 thoughts on “Mission Review: Broken Circle – 4/5 Stars. Bugs and lag not withstanding.

  1. An insane amount of lag.

    For me, the mission slowed to a crawl. I could barely click anything. My toon ran at a snail’s pace. Actually no, a snail would have been faster. Game crash x 2.

    After first crash, I was able to resume the mission, but after the second, I had to start over. Why bother? I was so near the end. Very disappointed. If it’s that laggy for one mission, the game itself is unplayable for me until they fix the damn lag.

    I understand they’ve done a lot to fix the lag, but not enough. Time for me to find a new hobby.

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  2. Personally, (as a Starfleet officer) I had some ethical problems with this mish that make me not want to play it (and yes, I got through it first time I tried; must’ve been lucky).
    There seems to be a blithe desire for the Klingons to have everyone commit suicide against the Sphere, simply because “we have to”.
    There was nothing really in the writing of the episode that gave it a sense of urgency, or desperation, or criticality, beyond some *meh* dialogue. I just didn’t see a reason to attack the Sphere…was it to distract the Iconians? Or just to blow up lots of ships?

    And the death of M’Tara to me was very pointless, other than to prove we could kill an Iconian under very specific circumstances. We know who some of them are (from Time In A Bottle), and now we seemed to have united them to come after us, when they were divided on how to deal with us.

    All I see is the Krenim becoming the new big bad of Season 11+ after we time-wipe the Iconians and fix things…but it just doesn’t seem very “Trek” like to me.

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    1. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on the episode, and for many it just didn’t live up to the quality people were expecting. In an odd way I went in knowing that this was going to be a set-up for the final episodes, and likely have a few large plot holes to make it happen.

      I surmise they are going down the path of having to press a big cosmic ‘reset’ button as the way of solving this storyline – and I hope I’m wrong. For Starfleet to violate it’s own rules openly, there needed to be a bad decision that would force them on this path. A pointless battle seems to have been that choice. I think they could have sold it better had this maneuver was a massive false flag-type operation, the losses a necessary risk to keep the Iconians off balance in some way long enough for the real solution to be deployed.

      We’ll see.

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  3. I guess my biggest issue with this mission, and the previous ones – that the authors/writers push us, our characters, to be okay with this *clearly* bad decision of using the weapon, to ‘erase’ the Iconians. The implications of doing so raise one ‘red flag’ after another. By erasing those, there are so many implications, as to what could be affected. This is, imho, just poor story-telling. Even a small child would see how bad decision it is, to mess with the timeline, in such way. Again, there’s no ‘simple’ way of erasing the Iconians from the timeline, without screwing it entirely.

    I’ve honestly not been the fan of Iconians storyline from the start, and things like this just don’t help. Sure, I had fun playing the last mission, although M’Tara failed to deliver proper challenge for me, personally, but from purely storytelling value? Not all that impressed. It seems as everyone in the story is… too stupid to see what is blatantly obvious. (Altering the timeline)…

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