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.