First off, this episode continues the Iconian War story arc, and I think it’s one of the better episodes I’ve seen so far. From a story standpoint, it moves the narrative along quite nicely, giving the Alliance a glimmer of hope against the Iconians, yet at the same time raising some interesting questions.
The playthrough is pretty straight forward, and my impression is that it’s not excessively combat-heavy. Which is a good thing! Because I think we can all agree that fighting Herald ground troops is a major pain (pun intended). The story dialog is, I feel, more important in this episode then just beating on random baddies.
One of the biggest set pieces is done in a cutscene: the Iconian conference. Cryptic already hinted that the number of actual Iconians left is very few — can the dozen or so who showed up be all that’s left of their race? It’s certainly an interesting thought. At the conference “The Other” is mentioned to have pulled the Iconians back together; who is this “Other”?
The time-shifted Krenim gave us the tantalizing prospect of a weapon capable of dealing with the Iconians, which also ties to a Voyager storyline. Now I will say this: time-travel stories always give me headaches, but I hope they come up with a good way to use this Krenim technology. Back in the “Uneasy Allies” episode, Sela told us that Iconians cannot travel through time; if they did they lose their memories (or minds? I’m not clear on that part). If the Alliance can build the time-ship, shove all the dozen Iconians on-board, and jump forward in time even a few seconds, can they all be mind-wiped? Maybe we should send the Iconians some coupons for a free luxury cruise on this brand new boat. 😉
All the big story aside, don’t forget about the mission rewards! You have a choice of either a chroniton gun (that shoots… time?) or a personal shield — neither of which looks exceptional in stats. You do get a purple Doff, a Ferengi Trader called Somog, who has an interesting specialization — you get GPL by killing ground enemies? Interesting! Sure it feels a bit medieval (because you’re shooting people dead and looting their corpses for money!) but that’s actually pretty handy. With the number of enemies we kill in STO, we should all get rich pretty quickly. I actually haven’t bothered with purchasing a sixth slot for Ground Tasks Doffs, because for the most part I don’t need it… unlike Space Tasks. With medieval Somog here, I just might go and get that sixth slot.
Last but certainly not least, you get a new emote called Ferengi Dance. What a horrible, awkward, ungainly and absolutely perfect emote! Oh how I love it. Makes me wish I had a Ferengi toon.
It’s also the little things that make this episode shine, not the least of which are the Ferengi showdown in the beginning, and Nog guest-starring (complete with celebrity voiceover Aron Eisenberg). And for once, Cryptic actually added dialog specific to Ferengi toons (apparently male and female Ferengi have unique dialog too — Fungi has a Ferengi female Dib) — I’m very impressed with that. See, my Gorn toon General Gortusk is still murderously miffed at the Voth for repeatedly calling him a MAMMAL. Stupid Voth are too dumb to be racists.
The other impressive thing is how regularly Cryptic is pumping out these episodes now; hopefully they can keep it up without getting to the end too quickly. It’s definitely keeping people interested, and it’s giving the Alliance a chance to fight the Iconian threat. If only we eventually find a weapon that can counter the Iconians’ greatest power: causing massive LAG in most of the scenes where they appear!