Just when I think I've got the simplest grasp on Star Trek Online's ground battles, I'm forced to be reminded of my own lack of skill. This time, like my previous foray into the Starbase 24 fiasco outlined in my last post, I have been forced to abandon all hope. My character, Beth (and I) have failed in our mission to rescue people who were taken captive by the Borg.
Surely, they've been assimilated by now.
Wait - technically, so has my character.
Just call her Bethutus.
My character is now a "Rear Admiral - Upper Half." (Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. I always thought that ranks would be - you know - ranks. Captain> Commodore> Rear Admiral> Admiral> Fleet Admiral ...)
However, since she made RA5 I pulled back from doing any sort of mission with her, knowing full-well that Special Task Force Missions really do require team-work.
Let's just say that my personal life hasn't given me much opportunity to connect with a new fleet lately. The fleet I once belonged to has, for all intent and purposes, merged into a new one. I just haven't joined yet.
In any event, I also put off doing any "regular" missions as well. When Season 2 patched earlier this month, I was all too happy to pull Beth out of the Gamma Orionis Sector and give her a few of the new diplomatic missions that were fed into the game. I like those missions and they've been a wonderful break from the constant and driving stream of battles, shooting and killing.
However, I realized I really did need to get back to accomplish at least ONE mission. So I packed Beth up in her new and stunning attack cruiser, a Sovereign class beaut that the computer had actually provided a decent name for - the U.S.S. Coronado, and headed back to Gamma Orionis.
In order to get her back into the swing of things, we started light. But the few missions in the B'Tran cluster were a lot lighter than I was counting on. One "scan wreckage" mission, an "aid the planet" and a "scan anomalies" do not allow for much practice with enemies in a ground battle.
So I tried three more cluster missions - and right off the bat got what I was looking for ... a ground mission. It provided an excellent challenge with the "flavor of the day" aliens whose names I can't recall, I can only recall that they're not the easiest of enemies to defeat. Eventually however, we did.
A couple more non-violent missions later, including yet another "aid the planet" mission and I felt that Admiral Beth was ready to take on a "real" mission. So I had her hail Starfleet Command.
Captain Klingon guy gave Beth a list of missions in the Gamma Orionis sector from which to choose. One in the middle of the stack was already highlighted, but Beth (like me) is rather OCD in some regards and likes to take missions from the top down. So we asked the good Captain about "Collateral Damage."
Apparently The Borg have been spotted in the Hotep system and the colonists have not been heard from. Sounds like they're in trouble!
Beth is all over it - she loves to rescue people.
So we double check our provisions, accept the mission from Captain Klingon Guy and the Coronado speeds toward Hotep!
But what surprises Beth and her operator when we arrive at the planet, is not just the presence of a couple of Borg spheres - but also the dreaded ... Undine.
I yell at Beth - BETH! You're a freaking Betazoid! Didn't you KNOW the Undine were going to be here too?! Couldn't you at least SENSE that all shit was gonna hit the anti-matter fan BEFORE we warped in?
Beth just rolled her eyes and told me to shut the fuck up - she can't hear what her tactical officer has to say.
I read the tactical officer's report. The Borg and Undine are fighting each other.
We have to fight them both to gain access to the planet and the colony.
Beth cracks her neck and tells me to get to it. As commanded by my alternate persona, I up the power on the main thrusters and we head into battle.
Making sure we don't look like we're really taking sides with anyone, we alternate initial victims. Undine go first in the primary skirmish - Borg go first in the second.
Once we defeat the enemies from both camps, Beth chooses her team. Sometimes she likes to bring two Engineers but this time, she was hopeful that her Tac officers might be more useful, considering that Proto-Drones are pretty susceptible to grenades. So she tells me she wants her "aggressive" team. That means Brint (Cmdr - Tac), Jer (Cmdr - Tac), Crem (Cmdr - Eng) and Jahnna (Cmdr - Sci). I set them all into place and click on "accept."
Usually one gets a slight moment to breathe when you first beam down to a planet - you know, just enough time to get a grip on where you are in the world and then - and most importantly - to arm oneself.
Not this time.
Beth is barely able to get a gun into hands before her personal shields are breached and she takes a massive blow. Strangely, and luckily - she's knocked back far enough that it gives her a moment to run back and out of range and a few seconds later her shields are back at full strength.
She courageously runs back into the melee.
Brint goes down. While this breaks Beth's heart, she focuses on her job and along with Crem and Jer, they take out the last remaining Borg and Undine that ambushed them on beam-in. Jahnna immediately runs to resuscitate Brint when the first battle is over.
Beth finds, remarkably, a colonist hovering in the corner by the building the team beamed in at. She runs over to him to talk to him. He confirms that there are several others that need rescuing from the Borg and Undine.
Brint, now fully recovered from his prone position in the dirt, interrupts to tell us that the Borg have effectively prevented beaming out the survivors without the use of a pattern enhancer.
Beth is all about getting this guy up to the Coronado.
I'm like - "Hey! Wait!"
Beth - annoyed - says to me... "What now?! Can't you see I'm trying to rescue someone?! It's my job!"
Me: "Uhm - but this guy has been at the mercy of the Borg for who knows how long - his body might be teeming with nanites that could infect the entire ship! Shouldn't we ... you know ... at least scan him first?"
Beth: "You do realize you're talking to an animated character that you, yourself is operating."
Me: "Yeah - so? You can't say I don't have a point about beaming up colonists that didn't somehow already get assimilated."
Beth: "Dude - the game devs aren't that creative. The ship will be safe. Trust me."
Me: "Well, okay - beam him up."
Click on "Beam Colonist to the Ship."
Beth: "Now, we have to find five more of these cowering fools and get them to the Coronado. Let's go."
The team runs down the hill and comes across another group of Borg. Following advice I received from my Twitter friend @Longasc, Beth focuses on the Medical Drone first, then the drones and then, and without warning - Undine beam-in on top of her in the middle of the fight.
The Undine alone cause Beth to get hammered and the wretched red light flashes and the stupid word beacons from the screen:
Shit. Click "Respawn."
Beth and the entire team magically reappear on top of the hill. Nonplussed, Beth and the team run back down the hill and, this time, are able to take out the remaining drones and Undine.
Another potentially nanite-infested colonist is shipped up to the Coronado.
Beth and team run onto the next group and this time, the Undine don't show. Another colonist is saved and sent to the Coronado.
Even better luck? As the team moves on, we get a lovely yellow-lettered message from the ethereal HAL-like command that says "New Respawn Point Unlocked." YAY! We don't have to run down the hill any more!
Beth and gang run down toward a large building outside the town center that is protected by a shield the Borg have put into place.
This is where Beth's good luck runs out.
Off in the distance Beth can see a type of "node" that she has to take out in order to drop the shields to save more people.
She never got there.
Between her team and the node stand at least 12 Borg. I tab through the targets to let her choose who she'll kill first and we're both surprised - not one Medical Drone; not one Tactical Drone; not one Heavy Tactical Drones - just regular Drones as far as she and I can see.
She shrugs and tells me to "Just pick one."
So I do.
Then the Undine beam in.
Then more drones.
TWELVE respawns later - this is where Beth - bloodied, tired and as far as I can tell - should have been COMPLETELY ASSIMILATED BY THE BORG - walks to me, looks at me via the camera and says:
"Fuck em. Stupid colonists didn't keep the Borg or the Undine out? That's their problem. Let's ditch these idiots and go back to First Contact Missions."
I nod in agreement and, with heavy heart, click on "Abort Mission."
Beth has been in sick-bay ever since. Poor thing.
I promised her I'd buy her a new dress when she gets out.
She seemed to appreciate the gesture.
I also promised her I'd find a way to help her rescue the remaining colonists - because, while Beth may have given up at this point - she has a serious case of "White Knight Syndrome" - just like her mentor, Captain Picard. She won't be able to tolerate leaving those poor colonists cowering in fear for too long.
So - help me help Beth, would you?
Do you have any advice for her and her team? How can you beat Borg and Undine that keep beaming down and beaming down without end?
Beth will be grateful for any advice you can give.
And so will I. :)