Task Force Khitomer; A New Way to Explore the Final Frontier Online!

Written Bylancaster
Published On
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Space. The final frontier. Except it’s not so final anymore…

Star Trek Online (STO) has somewhat received an unfavourable reputation over the decade and a half it has been running. Most of this stems from the stigma associated with being a F2P (Free to Play) MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). However, regardless of what you may say, the game has endured, and Obsidian Fleet, in partnership with Pegasus Fleet, have launched Task Force Khitomer (stylized as TaskForceKhitomer), a brand new Fleet (or guild, for those of you familiar with other MMOs who haven’t played STO before), which is a rapidly growing community!

Now, before I talk anymore about this, let’s take a look at the gameplay.

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In STO, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a vast array of factions, each with its unique narrative and distinct playstyle. You can choose to embark on your journey as a Starfleet Officer in the year 2409, upholding the ideals of exploration and diplomacy. Alternatively, you may opt to join the formidable Klingon Defense Force (KDF), embracing the warrior spirit and the pursuit of honor. Perhaps you’re drawn to the enigmatic Romulan Republic, where you can take on the role of a Centurion, navigating the intricate political landscape. Or, if you seek a more unconventional path, you can experience the game as a Jem’Hadar, serving the enigmatic Founders with unwavering loyalty. Furthermore, the developers have expanded the character creation options, allowing you to roll characters from the iconic eras of The Original Series (TOS) and Discovery (DISCO) Starfleet. However, it’s important to note that regardless of your initial faction choice, the overarching narrative will eventually lead you to align with either the 25th Century Starfleet or the Klingon Defense Force campaigns, due to specific storytelling elements that shape the game’s progression.

Once you’ve selected a faction, you then get to choose which division you want to be in; Tactical, Engineering or Science. I went Tactical, purely because I have been playing this game since launch and it’s honestly the most fun one for me, being a meathead who enjoys a shooty shooty bang bang approach to gaming; yes, I’m an unironic, unapologetic fan of Call of Duty and purchase the new one every year, but I’m getting side tracked.

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So, to return to the point, why did I roll a new character? Two words.

Delta Recruit

Delta Recruit is a limited-time event that allows players to create a new 25th Century Starfleet, KDF, or Romulan Republic character, known as Delta Recruits. These recruits gain access to additional objectives in missions, such as finding Iconian technology, which reward them with extra reputation marks for completing reputation projects later in the game, as well as level-appropriate Very Rare tier gear upon every tenth level up. Moreover, Delta Recruits benefit from an XP boost, enabling rapid character progression. In my experience, I reached level 32 with my new character in less than 48 hours, approximately 14 hours of gameplay! In essence, starting to play during this event, which runs from April 11th to May 2nd, is highly advantageous for new or returning players. As long as you complete the tutorial within this period, you retain the Delta Recruit perks. Additionally, returning players can access their legacy unlocks in the store and switch from the starting Miranda to any T6 ship, essentially as soon as they complete the tutorial, granting access to their preferred vessels, such as the iconic Defiant Class.

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Now, onto the nitty gritty. As with many MMOs, STO features a gear system with different rarities for the gear. The rarer the gear, the better its stats and additional perks. The tiers are Common (grey), Uncommon (green), Rare (blue), Very Rare (purple), Ultra Rare (violet) or Epic (gold). These tiers are upgradable, and if you collect enough dilithium, it’s easy to upgrade with the purchase of Phoenix Prize Packs from the dilithium store, which can then be used to get Phoenix Universal Tech Upgrades which, at early levels, give your gear enough tech points to be guaranteed scaling gear up until the higher levels of the game.

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Once you’ve assembled your equipment, you can embark on missions. The majority of these involve combat, featuring a combat system typical of MMOs, but they occasionally incorporate intriguing puzzles to add variety. For devoted fans, the game is replete with a wealth of lore that I highly recommend taking the time to explore whenever it is presented; the Romulan storyline, in particular, offers a trove of captivating narrative richness. It’s worth noting, however, that the game takes place in an alternate timeline from the one depicted in the Picard series, but this should come as no surprise given that the game was launched nearly a decade before the show’s debut, and aligning the narrative to fit the series would have been prohibitively expensive, requiring massive script re-writes, re-recording of dialogue and even re-designing of entire sections of the game.

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In the vast expanse of Star Trek Online, you’re not merely confined to the terrestrial realm; your adventures span the cosmic depths. True to the franchise’s essence, your starship can be meticulously customized to suit your preferences. However, one criticism worth noting is that many aesthetic ship components are locked behind the Zen store, a cash shop where top-tier ships can cost upwards of £30 in Zen currency. While these purchases are entirely optional, it would be disingenuous to claim that they don’t enhance the overall gaming experience. Nevertheless, the developers have implemented alternative avenues for acquiring Tier 6 ships, such as periodic events that challenge players to engage in a moderate level of effort, typically requiring participation in a single raid per day for a couple of weeks. This approach strikes a balance between accessibility and rewarding dedication.

I could delve into a more comprehensive analysis, but the most compelling endorsement I can offer STO is my substantial playtime statistics on Steam since its initial release on PC in 2010 – a staggering 660.6 hours. During this period, the game has maintained a consistent schedule of updates, introducing fresh content to continually expand its narrative. This includes voice-over appearances from various cast members of the Star Trek franchise, such as Kate Mulgrew, Jeri Ryan, Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs, René Auberjonois, Nana Visitor, Michael Dorn, Tim Russ, Garrett Wang, Robert Picardo, and even the late Leonard Nimoy, who provided the narration for entering new sectors at launch. These are merely a few of the actors featured in the game; the comprehensive list on IMDb is extensive, a testament to the game’s dedication to authenticity and its deep roots in the Star Trek universe.

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In short, head over to Steam and jump into STO now and come join TaskForceKhitomer. Spend some time hanging out with fellow fleet members on Earth Space Dock or even DS9’s promenade, go to Quark’s and play some Dabo, or go on missions with your friends. It’s all waiting for you.

See you out there!