Now that the Breen series of weekly missions have been finished for a couple of weeks (giving players a chance to get that nice Breen Bridge Officer before he went away), now Cryptic have launched the next set of weeklies, starting with Skirmish.
Immediately different from the Defera missions, this series is taking place in the existing Eta Eradani sector that forms the border between Federation and Klingon space. The devs have mentioned this was deliberate, as they wanted to work the new content into existing sectors, rather than be continually creating new sectors, as they’ve tended to do thus far. I must say, I think its a great idea, as there’s a lot of sectors in the game that there’s pretty much no reason to visit once your character has out levelled its missions. Adding in new content to those sectors will help give them a more populated feeling once again, and draw attention to features you may not previously have visited (for example I never really knew about Drozana Station before). Hopefully the user generated missions that are going to be coming up soon will also help in this regard, as my understanding is the devs intend for user missions to take place in the main game universe (rather than some kind of simulation, like the Mission Architect in City of Heroes). As well as populating the older sectors, it also gives the developers the excuse (and resources) to go back and revamp aspects of those older sectors, like the revamp Drozana Station has received ahead of this set of weeklies.
This time, the action focuses around the Devidians. Fans of The Next Generation will recognise them from the two-parter Time’s Arrow, and indeed they already appeared in game, in the mission Ghost Ship, although as part of these weeklies, that mission is due to be revamped slightly to include the redesigned Devidians to make it more consistent with the newer content (and may already have been, I admit I’m not sure).
Skirmish finds you heading to the Federation/Klingon Neutral Zone, after being directed there by Section 31 operative Franklin Drake. A True Way (Cardassian/Jem Hadar) fleet has been detected in conflict with Klingons in the area. Its well out of their way, so Drake is suspicious and wants it investigated.
On arriving, you quickly get caught up in the fight, but once its over, one of the Cardassian ships is left disabled, allowing you to board it to look for clues. However once on board, you find something spooky is going on.
With us now on the run up to Halloween, the Devidians were a great choice for this new series of weeklies. They provide a nice opportunity for some ghostly goings on, as the environment slips in an out of phase with the Devidians, and you see them in battle with the Cardassians, and floating through the ship. They were similarly well used in the mission Ghost Ship, so its nice to see that idea expanded upon, and the spooky atmosphere definitely suits the time of year.
In terms of the mission itself, its the high quality we’ve come to expect from this newer content. From the big fleet battle at the beginning, to the more familiar combat with various Cardassian stragglers onboard the ship, we also get a little puzzle similar to the Deferi medical aid mission. On completing the mission, there’s the unique reward of a new ship device. I confess I’ve not tried it yet, but I none the less appreciate that the devs are trying to make each mission reward something new and interesting, rather than just “here’s a slightly different set of impulse engines”.
All in all, another winner by the developers, and this content still has people amassing at the zone come Saturday, and talking about it in the forums, so the weeklies are still a really strong offering in the game. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the plot of this series develops, since the teases about upcoming missions point to an old Starbase (should be a really atmospheric setting) and some time travel (with a shot that looks suspiciously like a classic Trek interior). Roll on Saturday 😀