Lootcritter here: Part Two of SirBoulevard’s opinion discussion on the state of the game with Agents of Yesterday. Enjoy!
SirBoulevard is back to offer his opinion on the matter. What started as a ten-page explosion of consciousness has evolved as we find out more, and we’ve decided to offer his views in bite sized chunks 😉
SirBoulevard is a prolific foundry author, co-leader of the E.W.O.C. fleet, he’s a guy who thinks he can build a canon build and DPS at the same time. We might be concerned about his mental health, but luckily the voices in his head have some good ideas.
“Only Six Missions” – TOS Character: Faction or Fraction?
THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR AGENTS OF YESTERDAY ON THIS PAGE AND GENERAL SPOILERS FOR STO IN GENERAL.
Last time, we talked about the complaint that there were “only six missions for TOS characters.” Today’s outing is to discuss the likely reasons why that is the case and why there has been backlash about exclusive content.
First, we are going to talk about the new TOS faction content. So why is this so controversial? Well, we need to look at the past content of the game from before the Romulans were introduced. Namely, the Klingons. This was seriously the problem we had with the Klingons when they had no story. We learned then that wasn’t enough to make people want to play that faction. And even worse, unlike the Klingons, our existing characters can get TOS ships. So there’s not even any uniqueness to this faction. And my existing Blue/Red/Green characters can play all but six of these missions.
And I have to call this out, because Al “Captain Geko” Rivera said that TOS Federation characters would be as much of a faction as the Romulans are. You know, we’ve called the Romulans a “fraction” as a colloquialism about how they had to partner up with another faction. But damn, they got a much better bargain than these TOS toons ever will. And they don’t even get to keep their unique social zone. Why? Spoilers incoming! Because the reason they get shunted to the 25th Century is that their Starter Ship was destroyed in the Battle of Caleb and they were saved by Daniels and dropped off, with their home time period assuming they died and were celebrated heroes of the past.
Now, that was a good story choice, however, it feels should’ve happened after nearly 30-40 levels of content, after we had so much TOS we were sick of it. We would have had this situation where people could have lived in TOS for a while, breathed it in, lived it, and then, “gave their lives” for it only to be dropped off in the future that would have been impossible without them sacrificing their future in that time frame. But, instead we get a couple of missions, barely a taste of the 23rd Century before being kicked forward in time, so for many people it feels like…
And frankly all this proves is how bad casual time travel is for the franchise. To quote SF Debris about how Casual Time Travel should’ve directly affected the Dominion War more than trying to commit genocide on the Founders;
“Why aren’t we using time travel to turn all our defeats into victories? Because FUCK YOU! That’s why!”
Honestly, Cryptic, you’ve done a lot to redeem the Temporal Cold War, one of Enterprise’s weakest plotlines. And ironically, its being undone because of the forced time travel of our player. But before you say anything, I know why you did this, with near 100% accuracy. And its time for one of this game’s longest complaints to be addressed because I know it’s the reason you limited the 23rd Century stuff to that time frame. And its this one starship:
Oh yeah. We’re going there. This starship, the original Constitution-class is the reason. And why? Because it is a Tier 1 Starship. Yes, this is the classic Tier 5/6 Connie debate. But this time, it’s actually affected content unrelated to the player’s ability to fly the ship. You know many players will only want to fly the Connie in a 23rd Century setting. And the solution was obvious: put the player in the 2410 STO so that Connie is outdated and CBS is happy. My response is: this is the time you needed to stand up to CBS and make the Connie a higher tier ship for our TOS Captains. Because otherwise, we’re getting denied the chance to get to really experience life in the 23rd Century Star Trek universe. And frankly, this executive decision should have given the team enough pause to seriously discuss this.
Sitting where I am, I can already give you an alternate option: make it a Tier 3 ship, with the Battle of Caleb occurring in the Commander-levels. This would allow the player to jump from Connie to Galaxy-class, almost symbolizing their transition from TOS to TNG/STO. It’s literally perfect. 29 levels of TOS-era missions would have allowed us to live there long enough to appreciate it, we get a slightly more powerful Connie for TOS captains only (hey, there’s money to be made there!) that isn’t end-game worthy for the majority, and your transition to the modern STO era has far more impact.
Now, the question is, does this make TOS Characters a true faction? No. Are they a “fraction” as we derisively call the Romulans. No, and the “fraction” debate about Romulans will be coming back in a future part of this series. So what are they? Well, I’m going to use another term here, I’ve seen Cryptic and the community throw around a bit and I think it is the accurate description. TOS-era Federation characters are an Alternate Starting Experience for the Federation faction. And this is a good thing.
You’re probably sitting there saying, “Wait. This is a good thing?” First, I can’t hear you, this is a prewritten article. And second, yes, it is. Because it means that Klingons and Romulans can have an alternative starting experience as well. I already can see how it works for Romulans. You start as a young Tal Shiar agent under Colonel Hakeev and as a member of the RSE instead of the Romulan Republic. As the story progresses through the first 10-20 levels, you commit atrocities in the Empire’s name, as you hear more and more Romulan voices cry for mercy until at level 10, you are told to execute your first officer (a Tovan if he was a loyal Imperial officer) by Hakeev. Instead, you finally defect to D’Tan’s movement and join up with the Republic, and the arc continues as it does for normal RR players leading to the same climax with Hakeev: “This is less than you deserve!” BAM! It carries the same emotional weight as it does for the Virinat survivor, and gives those Romulan players who wanted to play an Imperial Romulan the chance to do so (and still end up in the Republic). Win-win.
I still stand by that 23rd Century Characters needed more, but that has more to do with the fact that its 200 years removed from “present day” STO. As of right now, I want Cryptic, PWE, and CBS to drop the faction terminology. It is rather misleading and doesn’t do the TOS characters the proper justice. I also strongly disagree with the decision to not allow Caitian or Saurian player characters. I understand the need to keep the TOS aesthetic. But if we’re going to spending time in 2410 social zones from level 10 onwards, what does it matter? I’m not asking for Bolians or Bajorans in the past. But Caitians and Saurians were seen in the TOS movies, only a few years after when these missions take place (and what’s more TOS than people in cat and lizard suits?). Also, you don’t personally get to say that TAS is why we can’t have Caitians, but is why we can have Personal Shield Generators. If TAS is why we can’t have Caitians, lose the PSGs. If you’re gonna split hairs like that, you can’t reject someone wanting to use the same excuse when the reasoning is the same. I understand it might be too late, but LTSers need a special race for this faction, so maybe after launch LTS players can get TAS-style Caitians, complete with M’Ress hairdo. It’s just very frustrating when we get these same explanations for why we can and can’t have things (yes to PSGs and TOS-era T5 ships, no to TOS-era Caitians/Saurians and a T5/6 Connie).
I’m also still not convinced that making the rest of the arc cross-faction so early is a good thing either. It works, but I think it would be better if TOS characters got access to them sooner and the rest of us get to experience it after our dicking about with time travel in Season 11.5’s arcs. It just feels more natural there. And don’t give me the “time travel doesn’t care” argument. Our minds still want structure and linearity. Let the characters whose entire creation is based around time travel get “early” access to it. It really doesn’t matter for our existing max level characters when it’s set.
As an opportunity to explore the factions more, its great concept and really someone at Cryptic needs to make a note for how it could work out good in the future. Still, that Imperial Romulan starting experience sounds like a great opportunity, right? Well, that’s what our next piece will be about: STO’s storytelling opportunities, those being missed, those being squandered, and those that really should have been avoided.
See you next time in: Only Six Missions – Star Trek Storytelling and the Opportunities That STO Has Been Presented With