Yeah, things aren’t looking good for the crew of the U.S.S. Pickled Worm. But that’s when you get when you allow a temporal agent to start calling the shots and sending you careening across time.
So last week Star Trek Online released its third expansion, Agents of Yesterday. It might well be the smallest expansion to date — more than a content release, for sure — with about 11 missions, a temporal agent reputation system, and more ships (gotta sell those ships!). Six of the missions are the 23rd century captains-only, so if you don’t roll up a new character, even a temp one, you won’t be seeing them.
It’s a strange format that’s trying to have the best of both worlds and not quite satisfying the hunger for either. Cryptic said that it had discussed creating an original series (TOS) version of Star Trek Online, but wisely decided that it wouldn’t be worth splitting the community and dividing its efforts. So instead we get an extended TOS tutorial/story arc, some one-off missions that anyone can do, and the bizarre inclusion of 23rd century ships in the 25th century universe (then again, it’s probably too late to start nit-picking “should this ship be present and flown by Starfleet captains” in STO).
I’m not saying that the expansion is bad — I actually enjoyed the first six missions. I loved the attention to detail in creating this past Star Trek era, down to the sounds, visuals, and music. The cameos were neat and it’s pretty cool to see how well the STO interface and mission system works with this era. It’s not the first time that we’ve gone back to the 23rd century, so we knew it could be done, but it is nice to see some love for it.
Good to see Uhura getting some time in the command chair! Also, did anyone else find it strange how very little (almost non-existent) we see Kirk in this expansion that features the Enterprise so heavily?
But for the life of me, I don’t get its purpose other than to be a throwaway 50th anniversary promotion. Brand-new players who choose the 23rd century will be yanked out of that era within a couple of nights, and veterans have to roll up disposable characters just to see these new missions. It’s kind of awkward, especially for those who might have wanted to stay in the 23rd century. Cryptic’s always had a problem with scope in STO — just ask the Klingon faction, which for years struggled with a dearth of content. Yet here we have a new “faction” that’s not one at all, it’s merely a different Lieutenant experience before you’re doing the same thing as everyone else from levels 10 through 60.
Gimmick? I wouldn’t be upset with you if you called it such.
It just feels like a missed opportunity with the 23rd century faction. Again, the missions ARE really well done. Having them pay homage and even intersect with classic episodes brought a smile to this ex-Trekkie’s face. But I would have expected 23rd century sector space to be a semi-permanent home to those who wanted it to be. Maybe open it up to Foundry content creators to pick up the ball and create more missions.
Full disclosure, I still have yet to do the cross-factional Agents of Yesterday missions that anyone can access, which should throw in more time travel and TOS-era adventures. I’m merely expressing my consternation that the “23c” captains are robbed of a full experience the way that the other factions get.