The AOY Queues

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In the last week I made it a point to repeatedly run the two new STF queues that came out with the Agents of Yesterday expansion, partly to get the Temporal Defense Reputation going and partly for review purposes.

Gawd, I deserve a medal for doing these.

Battle of Procyon V

I’m going to start with the Procyon V, because from what I gathered so far, this STF is universally reviled.

Standard 5-man queue; the team needs to race around the map to close time portals, while enemies spawn from said portals trying to stop you. After you cleared the map… you do it all over again, only with more enemies as the Nakhul join the battle. And after you cleared the map a second time, you get to… wait for it… do it a third time! This time with the Krenim added and the Annorax going after the Enterprise-J.

Sounds repetitive? Yeah, because it totally is.

The worst part of this STF is not the mere fact that it’s repetitive, but because of the portal closing mechanic. There are a ton of enemies constantly spawning by the third stage, and your portal closing interaction is aborted every time some enemy takes a pot shot at you. Or if you’re hit with an AOE effect. Or if someone sneezed in your general direction. This makes for a loathsome, frustrating, extremely annoying experience, because it means that unless you have a very stealthy ship teamed with very high-threat teammates to draw aggro (and no, at the last stage even that won’t work when enemies are FAWing and AOEing), the only reliable way to close portals is by rapidly clearing all enemies through high-DPS/BFAW spam.

Sure, why not put more emphasis on DPS and mind-numbing button-mashing?

This portal-closing mechanic is not new; some past STFs used a non-interruptible version, like Gateway to Gre’thor. Others, like the Mirror Invasion queue, were interruptible, but those weren’t accompanied by an endless stream of enemies. In addition, the Mirror Invasion and Elachi Alert queues are particularly noteworthy that Science Ships can close portals/disables much faster than other ships, whereas I haven’t noticed a significant difference in Procyon V. That would be at least be something that’s not DPS-focused.

This is a very poorly and lazily designed STF. I definitely recommend avoiding this unless Cryptic changes the portal-closing mechanic.

P.S. During phase 3 the team also needs to defend the Enterprise-J — this ship is doubtlessly the most hideous Starfleet thing ever designed, and it’s no fault of STO’s!

P.P.S. Also, I’m not entirely sure why after each repeat Daniels looks more and more discrepid. Can anyone explain that to me maybe?

Days of Doom

Days of Doom is by far the better of the two STFs, but it comes with its own set of problems, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Again, standard 5-man queue, where the team is out to stop the “Doomsday Machine” from TOS as it slowly marches on a Starbase. The team has to fly to a shipyard at the opposite end of the map, pick up shuttle warp cores and ferry them to the Doomsday Machine to slow it down, allowing time for Scotty to build a Dreadnaught Warp Core to destroy the Machine. Meanwhile, Orions arrive in waves to destroy the Starbase, so the team has to fend them off as well, for about 10 minutes. Once the Dreadnaught Warp Core is complete, the team has to pick that up, ferry that to and feed it to the Machine to destroy it.

The mechanics of the queue aren’t very clearly explained at the beginning, so it led to quite a bit of confusion the first few times I pugged. Essentially the team needs to split into two; one group has to stay and defend the Starbase, while the rest does the warp core ferrying. Defending the Starbase is tricky because the thing has like zero damage resistance, and you can’t heal it as its health decreases. And if the ferry team doesn’t know what they’re doing, the Doomsday Machine is going to get within range before Scotty builds the Dreadnaught warp core, and then you’re really screwed. Ideally you want two tanks with decent DPS to defend the station, while the remaining three team members focus on ferrying warp cores between the shipyard and the Doomsday Machine.

Once the Dreadnaught warp core is finished, everyone should fly escort for whoever ends up picking it up to fend off raiders. Once the warp core is fed to the Doomsday Machine, you would’ve won the STF.

So it’s nice and varied compared to Procyon V, right? Well, yes it is, with two problems.

A, for whatever reason, the reward for this STF is pathetically low – and this is a 15-20 minute queue. Only 30-40 Temporal marks for a run? Really? Not a lot of buck for your bang.

B, for those of us who don’t play on a dedicated, high-performance gaming platform, Cryptic chose to use those horrible Delta Patrol backgrounds for this queue which slow PC video performances to a crawl. Yes, you can turn your graphic settings to minimum and it’ll run smoothly, but that’s a bit annoying to reset it every time for a particular map. Seriously, stop using those Delta map backgrounds already!

Temporal Defense Mark Grinding

So what does this all mean? Well… neither of the AOY queues are worth playing, in my opinion. Days of Doom can easily be fixed if Cryptic would just give it a proper reward pay out, but Procyon V is just overwhelmingly frustrating to play. If you’re looking to farm Temporal Defense Rep marks and obtain those Temporal Buffer trinkets, your best bet is to do a round in the Badlands Battlezone.

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3 thoughts on “The AOY Queues

  1. Agreed Portal mechanics SUCK! Also I noted in one queue on Procyon V that the Enterprise J got all the way down to zero and did not end mission, maybe in elite or advanced it might but also killing the Annorax will end the battle as well thus ending the mission. The moment the Annorax appears I immeditaly go kill it and every time it has led to the final cut scene. I have yet to have fail scenario on the doomsday mission. three consequetive warp core hits will just about guarantee the doomsday machine wont make it to the base. The Procyon V is one of the more annoying PVE Rep building missions ever done in STO the doomsday one I like because it is at least a little different. That said if you are trying to master a fresh new ship the Procyon V will allow you to kill a crap-ton of enemies 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh right, I probably should have pointed that out. I was testing the queues on Advanced difficulty; on that setting destroying the Annorax isn’t enough to end the mission. Similarly, I suspect that losing the Starbase in Days of Doom won’t automatically fail the mission on normal difficulty.

      The problem with running these missions on Normal difficulty is they don’t reward the Temporal Buffers trinkets you need to buy rep gear later on. That’s why it’s still better to run Badlands BZ; destroying each Terran starbase grants you one Temporal Buffer, and beating the final Terran fleet rewards another, so completing a BZ run can net you up to 4 Buffers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow… This sucks. I think if I ever return to the game, I’m definitely going to stick with the Badlands battlezone, because that’s just ridiculous. Thank you, Heidy, for going thru all that and reviewing it so I won’t have to! Now where’s that medal so I can pin it on you?

    Like

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