Yesterday was mostly Star Trek Online day, as I haven’t put much time into that game lately yet was feeling the itch to get back into space. What really prompted me is when I found out that a new daily mission had been added to the game that allowed players to mine for dilithium (the main in-game currency that can be exchanged for store points or used to buy nifty stuff). As I’m dilithium-poor, I thought it was worth checking out.
The mining mission is actually pretty nifty. You suit up in an EVA outfit, then head out to the surface of an asteroid and look for shards of dilithium. When you find one, you can activate a little minigame that requires you to use the arrow keys to rotate and resize a triangle to match what’s on screen. The quicker you do it, the more dilithium is mined. I think my best was 753 in a minute.
I went to exchange my dilithium for Cryptic Points, and found that the market was currently around 253 per point, which seemed high but I have no idea. For people who like to play the market, there’s some money to be made selling high and buying low, but I don’t have the patience for that.
Next up on my agenda was to continue the Romulan featured series arc and hope that it would nudge me over the line from 39 to 40. I want me a new ship, darn it! While that didn’t happen, I did encounter one of the coolest episodes in the game to date (and that’s saying something). I’m just constantly amazed with how inventive and different STO missions can be, especially the featured ones, and this one is a great example.
It’s called The Vault, and I’ve seen it mentioned many times on other MMO blogs. The backstory is that the Romulans have a massive secret facility where they’re doing… something… and you’re called to break into it and find out what’s going on. Instead of using your ship or a ground assault team, the game requires that you hop into a shuttlecraft (or if you’re rich — which I’m not — a Delta Flyer or Runabout) and make like a mouse. Shuttlecraft missions are really interesting, because they make you so much more vulnerable and limit your options, which definitely ratchets up the tension. In this case, I knew that practically everything could squash me like a bug, so my best chance was to be stealthy.
Just getting into the Vault was tricky, because it’s got ships and a sensor net around it (and the facility is the size of “a small moon”). Your bridge officers give you a few options of how to do so, and I chose the path that had me jetting over to an asteroid, cutting off a piece, pushing it through the sensor net and following it in. Honestly, I really did hold my breath going through the net, certain that I was going to be spotted.
Once inside — and again, the place is HUGE — the next step is figuring out how to open a chamber door. I think there’s a couple ways, but I found a code that allowed me to head on in. It’s fairly straight-forward for a while, as all you have to worry about is disabling tractor beams and dodging these shield-damaging beams. But once I got to the very end and found out the TERRIBLE SECRET that the Romulans were hiding, I was discovered and had to make my escape.
This got awesome in a hurry, because you’re not only going through all the traps that you had to dodge before, but you’ve got fighters on your tail and the occasional Big Ship that cannot be fought but must be avoided. I was destroyed once, but just once, and after a few nail-biting moments, I was scott-free.
Honestly, I wish more games had missions like this, because that was completely engaging even though the combat aspect was minimal. MMOs can and should be about more than just fighting, and this is proof as to how they can achieve it.