Included in yesterday’s patch is a new ground queue called Miner Instabilities, which is appropriately 23rd Century and AOY-based. Given the poor performances of the two AOY space queues (which made farming Temporal Marks difficult), and the relative dearth of active ground queues lately, this one is particularly noteworthy.
P.S. Technically the patch has increased the reward for the Days of Doom queue, so that queue might be worthwhile to play now.
The premise is that as Temporal Agents, the players are sent back to the 23rd Century to investigate a Romulan attack on the mining colony on Edren IV… with suspected Na’khul involvement. The colony is unique that it’s a joint operation between the Federation and the Gorn Hegemony, so you get a bunch of rubber-suit Gorn miners on your side!
The progression is pretty straightforward: In the first stage, the team has to defend the mining camp from Romulan attackers, who either approach from the south or west entrances, or beam in directly in the middle of the camp. Listen to the guy telling you where the Romulans are coming from! The team needs to be mobile and not split up too much for this — each wave consists of a fairly large number of Romulans and they loooove their plasma grenades. Eating more than one plasma grenade burn at the same time is particularly hazardous to your health.
Once the camp is secured, the team moves on to Stage two, which involves fighting your way to another campsite that has been taken over by the Romulans. You can approach from either direction – west or south – I don’t think either is easier than the other. The Romulans are barricaded behind some high walls/cover so short-ranged pistols may have difficulty with them. Additionally, the NPC Gorn miners will batter down the gates for you, but the team need to heal them as they take damage. This is not as easy as it sounds as these Gorn are pretty weak and they die quickly once they’re down. Again, watch for multiple plasma grenades.
Stage three commences once the camp is recaptured, and the team needs to defend it from the Na’khul while an NPC Gorn Engineer gets things repaired. Now if you remember how the primary tactic of the Na’khul using temporal distortions to grant them immunity, imagine a veritable army of them all doing this… and spawning endlessly in all directions. OUCH. Painful and annoying; I don’t think I’ve ever died this often in a ground queue before. The worst thing with fighting the Na’khul in huge numbers/close quarters is that you can’t tell whether you’re auto-targeting an immune enemy, not until you fire a few shots and realize his shield/health are not dropping — then you’re hastily cycling to the next enemy hoping he’s not another immune one. Between the Na’khul and their distortions the area is usually overrun and it becomes extremely difficult to visually see your target on the ground, plus there are a lot of machinery in the area that can block line-of-sight. As a result this last stage tends to take a while and the frequent team dying seriously drops the quality of the overall queue for me.
Now I don’t have a toon who’s specifically designed to do ground content, but I ran Heidy (Sci), Gortusk (Eng) and R’Jal (Tac) through this queue last night just to see if the various careers make a difference. I think they all died a bunch, but I did notice certain things:
- Bring the usual Pulsewave/Split-Beam guns to hit multiple targets.
- TR-116B are always useful, as usual, but with so many enemies it becomes a bit difficult to search out the high-value targets (the commanders with personal shields).
- The Crystalline Spike (Taunt/Attract Fire/Explode) is useful in distracting and hurting the enemies.
- The Herald modules are great here.
- AOE effects: Bring lotsa grenades.
- The Graviton Spike module (AOE, ground GW) seems particularly useful here.
- There are a bunch of Science modules that would help here, including Seismic Agitation, Electrogravitic Fields etc. for crowd control.
- AOE attacks like Exothermic/Endothermic Induction or Hyperonic Radiation while you have the enemies all bundled up.
- Fabrications like turrets, health/shield generations, drones, help in distracting the army of enemies. What I find though is that they generally don’t last very long under such heavy fire.
- Chroniton mines — I think the Na’khul spawn in three fixed locations around the central area, so it’s feasible to mine the spawn points ahead of time.
Since this ground queue is so challenging (even on Normal difficulty), I would strongly recommend switching to Commando spec before entering the queue… if you have it. That said this is based on three runs I did last night, so definitely subject to changes later on. Interestingly, this queue managed to make me pay closer attention to ground specs, which never happened before!