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Hello STO community,

This is the first installment of “Sensor Sweep,” which is meant to be a non-technical and entirely impressionistic review series.  I’m not going to give any real spoilers, point-by-point plot summaries, or a long list of categories and ratings.  Instead, I’ll simply talk about what I loved or hated and why.

It’s more of a general scan of a new or old Foundry mission that focuses on my first impressions and take-aways from the general scene.


Mission: “Checks and Balances” by MyGodItsFullofStars

Let me start by saying that I’m very jealous of this author’s ability to add an immense amount of detail to a mission.  I’m not talking about big, impressive sets, like a temple or coliseum.   I’m also not referring to complex plots, twist-and-turns, and crazy things done with triggers (although the mission contains all three).

Rather, I’m referring to the immense amount of detail put into characters and npcs.

This mission is ALIVE with three-dimensional characters.  They have personalities, back-stories, and individual quirks.  From an arrogant, but delightful scientist to a side-splitting Breen captain, the characters in this story will make you grin, chuckle, and even slightly tear up.

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Hello there all, this is Dionsol. I ran a walkthrough of Altexist mission Tipping Point. I thought I’d pass along the Youtube links for your viewing enjoyment

This is part 1 Of  4:

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In advance, I’m going to apologize to the author. As far as I could tell, he hasn’t really advertised much on the mission. If he wanted to keep it that way, then notify me as soon as possible and I’ll remove this post immediately.

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In advance, I’m going to apologize to the author. As far as I could tell, he hasn’t really advertised much on the mission. If he wanted to keep it that way, then notify me as soon as possible and I’ll remove this post immediately.

As I started trying to write this review, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to say. This isn’t to say that this mission was bad, actually on contrary. This mission was actually quite good. To prove my point, here’s a quote from bfelczer on said mission (for those of you who don’t know, he’s the one who does the Priority One podcast):

Out of the dozens of Foundry missions I have played, this was the best so far. It was SO Trek like and had so much detail. This is the kind of content that will keep us busy between dev content and stay still hooked to the game. AMAZING JOB!

So I’ll start with a little intro to the mission itself. I do wish the author tried selling his mission a bit more in the description box. When I was searching for missions to review, I almost decided to skip over it since the description seemed a little bland for me. I’m actually glad I decided to stick it through though. It was actually quite an enjoyable experience.

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So here’s a review for one of our own, Highbone, and his mission: “Here Today, Gorn Tomorrow”. It’s a quick little mission. Right now it’s a little rough around the edges for my taste, but with a little more polish here and there, it could be a strong experience.  The mission starts out with orders for you to go out to the Europani system in the Regulus Sector block. It’s a little hard to miss so I didn’t really waste time finding it or trying to remember exactly what I had to do.  Anyways, for those interested in the review it continues below…

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In advance, I’m going to apologize to the author. As far as I could tell, he hasn’t really advertised much on the mission. If he wanted to keep it that way, then notify me as soon as possible and I’ll remove this post immediately.

Alright, so as usual, I’ll start out with gameplay.  I got through most of your mission in one piece without needing to bang my head against anything that  so that’s definitely a good start. It’s a bit short though, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I didn’t really have much of a chance to get into your mission.  There’s a few minor things that I wanted to mention that could improve your mission. One thing is to create a character costume for when you hail the USS Mayweather. As you have it currently, when you hail the USS Mayweather, a Constitution class cruiser appears. It definitely couldn’t hurt to have either the captain or a senior officer on board chatting with you. Another thing is the “Alien Cruiser” you have nearby. You do give that ship a name in your story, so it would definitely be beneficial to add a name to that ship.

The last little thing I wanted to note was the last mission objective you have. If I recall, it was simply, “beam back to your ship” as a space objective. I’d rather see a few more objectives out in space if you plan to do this, since it’s a bit of a bland experience. Maybe you could have a few objectives dealing with how you get back or something or another. Also, I believe it’s a waypoint that you used as that last objective marker, you need to make that larger. I was slightly confused when I had beamed back to my ship and I couldn’t figure out what to do next. (Flying closer to the SS Polaris actually completed that objective for me.) It’s a bit of pure luck whether or not people will know what to do. Also, as a side note, the Mayweather and the Polaris I think were actually intersecting with each other. You might want to consider moving them apart slightly to fix that.

As for your story, it started out rather strong. I enjoyed the beginning dialog. But it didn’t really hold up past that. I wish there was more buildup to the main villian in the story. She pretty much popped up and essentially said, “You foiled my evil plan, so I have to kill you now.” I would have preferred seeing her communicate with the player while completing the mission.  Like maybe there’s an objective to rescue some hostages on the Polaris and upon rescuing them she scolds her minions and tells the player they won’t stop her mission to destroy the starbase. Speaking of which, what was her mission? What did she plan to do? Just questions that I felt needed to be asked and hopefully answered at some point.

My last point on the story is I feel it was a bit fuzzy on how I got home as a player. I think I might have liked to see more elaboration on that. Maybe more of the mission going through my ship getting it prepped to go home.

So my rating of your mission? I think I’ll go with a 2.8 stars out of 5 for single players. It was a pretty bland experience. Your mission had a go here and do that feel, and the story kinda caused me to go into autopilot. I definitely think you have some room for improvement though. Your mission is rather short so you could add a few things to bring players a little further into the story of the mission.

And as usual, I’d like to stress that I’m not trying to be mean in any way shape or form. I’m just trying to give you some honest feedback on the mission I know you worked hard on.

I think I’m going to star this review with a reminder that the author did mention that he intended the mission to be played with three players. Unfortunately, since teaming on Foundry mission isn’t available yet I had to go it alone. But I decided to trooper on with the review as best as I could.

So as usual, I’ll start out on gameplay. It’s heavily combat orientated, which I suppose shouldn’t surprise you when a mission recommends for three players to do the mission. The mission starts you off in a space encounter with multiple NPC groups smudged in close formation. It was helpful as a single player doing the mission that the author through a couple allied ships to help you with the encounters. But I figure for your average player, it will cause a lot of frustration. The first third of the mission routinely pits you against four encounters which wasn’t really something I enjoyed by myself. Maybe if I had a few other players with me, it may have been more enjoyable, but I’m not quite sure since I figured that the Foundry would have just upped the individual encounter’s strength to compensate for the increased number of players. But without teaming activated for Foundry missions, we’ll have to wait and see. But moving back to the mission itself, I think it would be nice for the author to include respawn points closer to each encounter. Not exactly on top of them, but close by so I don’t have to jet to full impulse for a few seconds, then wait until power returns to the settings I want it to before re-joining the fight.

Once the space encounters have been cleared you get to beam down to the surface of a nearby planet. The first few encounters of the ground battles have Starfleet officers assisting you. It’s mostly the same kinds and the same number of encounters. Or at least it felt that way while I played my way through. Since I’m not too well-versed in how teaming would affect gameplay, I’m not sure if there’s much I can recommend here. Maybe removing some of the friendly NPC groups to remove some of the cluttering elements and raise the difficulty of this particular map for teams.

The next board has a few frustrating moments. I’m not sure if it would be the same for a team of players, but I died several times. Without the support of the Starfleet NPCs \, it was hard going against 4 groups of Klingons waiting at choke points. It’s not the dying that bothered me though as much as location of the respawn points. A couple of the respawn points were stuck right in the middle of where the Klingon NPCs had just finished shooting you up. It’s a bit frustrating to respawn and already the Klingons are shooting at you again. It gets a little worse when one or two of your bridge officers start off unconscious before you can sneeze at the Klingons. There’s a few interact objects scattered in between the fighting with the Klingons. It seemed to work for the most part and was rather unremarkable in terms of gameplay.

After securing the facility, you jump back into your ship and start fighting again. It’s fairly unremarkable from here. Like I said, I’m not sure if I struggled because I was soloing your mission or because the encounters were spaced too close together. I suspect it might be both on this one though. I know there are several more actors in the Battleship and the Cruiser groups so I’m wondering if it may be too much even for 3 players. Maybe you should consider spacing your encounters a bit further just in case.

I really get the feeling your story took a back seat to the action. Frankly, I wasn’t really sure what was going on for the most part. There was a morality element that I picked up on, but instead of making me think about the situation and wonder which side I exactly wanted to stand with, the story made that decision for me. I think it would be slightly better to have some build-up to that decision. Or maybe the dialog could not come out so… I guess, “black and white” about the situation. I know it’s hard to bring in some shades of gray with the limited toolsets, but I think having a few more pop ups describing the situation would help. Also, I think I would have enjoyed to see some characterization in your mission. It just seemed that everyone was introduced, did their part in the story and then I didn’t hear from them again.Was this supposed to be part of some kind of series? Maybe you could use this mission as the climax to a story line.

So my rating of your mission? I think I’ll go with a 1.8 stars out of 5 for single players. It was a pretty frustrating experience for me, I died a lot. But I think the experience might be better with a team. Though we’ll have to wait until it gets tested with one. Anyways, with the story, it didn’t really do much for me. It may have been better than I’m letting on here, but since I was concentrating on getting through your mission, I didn’t really read too carefully into it. Though, I wasn’t really too enthused about the parts I did read.

And as usual, I’d like to stress that I’m not trying to be mean in any way shape or form. I’m just trying to give you some honest feedback on the mission I know you worked hard on.

In advance, I’m going to apologize to the author. As far as I could tell, he hasn’t really advertised much on the mission. If he wanted to keep it that way, then notify me as soon as possible and I’ll ask an administrator to take down this post immediately.

Alright, as usual, I’m going to start with the gameplay of the mission. I’m happy to report that on the author’s part, there weren’t any major bugs that would prevent me from completing the mission. Though this mission demonstrates the need for Cryptic the fix the bridge officer pathing AI. Eventually I gave up trying to hold their hands, which ended up having some dire consequences later in the mission.

Moving into the mission itself, the mission starts off with a few talk to contact where bits and pieces of the mission background are pieced together. Though a point I would like to make is a quick layover to Memory Alpha just to talk to a contact wasn’t exactly my favorite part for this portion of the mission. It fit somewhat well into the mission’s storyline, but I just felt like the time spent going there just to talk with one person wasn’t really worth the effort. I think it might be better to just compress the entire event into one location, like Earth Space Dock. Unless the stopover at Memory Alpha has a bit more meaning like to talk to more people and get more information on what’s going on.

The last gameplay note I want to make is that you have an object floating near the USS Caliburn. I wasn’t exactly sure of the purpose of the object was. But it existed. I think you were trying to have an interactable object in place so you could scan and beam over? I’m not sure, but I think if you used a waypoint and had a popup that started it, it would work just as well. Minus the floating object though, which polishes up your mission a little. Though on as a last sidenote, you don’t really need to have the very last sequence of going to that planet. Just the implication of it is fine.

Anyways, at this point you move in to the action bit of the mission. The first part of the action-driven sequence works rather well. I enjoyed the environment created by the author. The second ground based part I had few problems though. One wasn’t exactly the author’s fault, as I mentioned above, my bridge officers really seemed to enjoy getting stuck in the terrain. But that aside, I noticed a few small details. One such detail is that one of the first contacts you talk to when entering the map is a tad incomplete. Once she finishes with her part in the mission, she actually starts saying, “Default Text.” Not a huge deal, but still, a small oversight. Also, the directions given to find a few interactable objects aren’t that great. It suggested going, “straight west” and then “straight north”. Because the last set of directions were accurate, I figured I might as well trust this set as well. Unfortunately, I must have done something wrong, as I ended up trying to run up a cliff. I think you might as well mention that players should just follow the most direct path toward the objective. It’s just a lot easier that way. Lastly, during the second encounter of Starfleet personnel, one of the ensigns you placed into the map is standing out in a tree.

The story was pretty good. I enjoyed it for the most part. But I had a few minor points that I thought I’d make the author aware of. When being…I guess identified by my contact, he used the title, “Mr.” which is fine but my mission testing character is a female. I know in the Star Trek Universe, Starfleet tends toward “Mr. T’Pomme” when referring to an officer on the bridge. But I really don’t think it was necessary here. “Are you [rank] [lastname]?” I think would flow better that way instead.

Also, I’m a little confused at the role of Starfleet Tactical. I think you have somewhere in there that they have a research division it just seems a bit weird that Tactical is involved with research and development. You should probably spend a little while looking up another division name that fits the job description better. The word “tactical” invokes things like strategy planning or command…you get the idea.

The last thing on my list was when you finally reach your person of interest. She’s a bit grouchy over our late arrival (I think she said it was 2 days) and that they had been running for the greater part of it. You also have some fairly large crates next to them implying they had been running with them. Just a minor detail, but I’m assuming those crates were pretty heavy and they wouldn’t be getting anywhere fast with those crates in tow.

So my rating of your mission? I think I’ll go with a 3.8 stars out of 5. Gameplay was good, a few sticks here and there that I mentioned already. (I probably should have written this sooner though since I think I may have forgotten something …) Anyways, the story was actually quite good. It really pushed the story along and had a small air of mystery to it. There’s even a bit of a bridge officer personification. I was a little impressed when one of my engineer remarked on how sad it was to see a broken shard of a ship hull. It was a rare and short moment for the spotlight to be on a bridge officer rather than my captain, which I thought was an awesome touch. Also, the appearance and explanation of the motives of the main villian was an interesting point in the story. I enjoyed it quite a bit without revealing details (I believe it’s a shame that the villian died.) I think it would have been nice to get a little closure at that moment from a bridge officer as well. Though I do have my gripes in the story. You have a few misspelling and grammar errors here and there. (Like using “there” instead of “their” at one point early on.) I also wasn’t a huge fan of the consistency in speech of my bridge officers. I felt at times they were a highly professional bunch on par with being Starfleet officers. Then other dialog pop ups had them saying something like, “we need to find a new thingamajig!” which makes me wonder how you wanted them to be portrayed. Did you want them to be the professional types? Or did you want them to have the slapstick-ish humor? It doesn’t bother me which way you choose, but choose something consistent. Otherwise, it gets a little wonky and hurts your story. I’d also suggest you’d highlight some of your mission details. There were a few points I wasn’t exactly sure what you wanted me to do. Highlighting these kinds of directions would be pretty beneficial, especially if you’re planning not to use waypoints.

And as usual, I’d like to stress that I’m not trying to be mean in any way shape or form. I’m just trying to give you some honest feedback on the mission I know you worked hard on.

Well, here’s another review for LordofPit’s mission, “Project Revava”. For those of you who haven’t read up on the mission, I suggest you do so. It’s an interesting concept to be used in a Borg story. But I’m sure LordofPit didn’t want me to give another post on background information for this mission.

I’ll start with gameplay for the mission. I didn’t really expect any showstoppers going in. With reviews already on Tribble and the ones posted here on the SBUGC, it would have been a real waste of time trying to dig them up really. So I decided to dig in deep and scour the finer details as well as I can. I did find a few minor things here and there, but it’s nothing big or game-changing.

So here goes and as usual I’ll try to avoid mission spoilers as best as I can. On my first run through, I didn’t really see the exact location of a waypoint that was supposed to be a weakened area of some kind of inhibitor field. I didn’t mind the fact there wasn’t a waypoint on the mini-map. I think I’ve grown a little too accustomed to staring at that thing for mission advice anyways. Which makes me believe I actually liked how the bridge officer told me its position. I guess my problem with it is the descrption on where to go. A bridge officer says “Look, it’s right there in between two objects.” I don’t think it registered for me on that first run to see the particular red object. If I remember right, there were quite a few red things in that room. I think I might have picked up on it better if it mentioned some other quality about the object, like it was broken. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s something I thought worth mentioning.

Next on the list was a part where I needed to scan a particular object in a room. I’m thinking the author might have buried an object out of sight so the player could scan an object that isn’t normally interactable. It works fine in-game. I think people could do it when they do play through the mission with a little effort. But it made for a bit of an odd experience for me. On my first run through I knew I was supposed to move in and scan the object but I couldn’t really get in the right spot to do so. It took some moving and jumping around to get in the right so I could scan the object. I think the best advice I could offer is to move the object underneath where the player would be (in front of the uninteractable object) and keep everything the same. It might save a few players from unnecessary frustration.

Last on the list, was short running through a horde of enemies bit. The heads-up one “you will die during this segment” helped cut down on my frustration, though I’m not sure if people would feel the same way. At least I knew I was bound to die at least once or twice. I have to say though, I’m pretty glad you put in as many respawn points as you did. It’s a bit of a hard run through and I only ran through it on the advice found on the SBUGC website. In retrospect, I probably should have tried fighting my way through, just to see how things would go from the viewpoint of a player who might try fighting their way through. But I guess for expediency’s sake, I decided not to. I’m a little ambivalent to this particular section of the mission. It was a cool thing to try in the Foundry. Nothing quite like it has appeared elsewhere in the limited number of missions I’ve tried/reviewed. But I’m not sure if it fit as well as I would have liked it to. I definitely liked the uniqueness of this part, but I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of it either. Maybe it’s a video gamer thing, where you don’t like having to die and sort of reach as many respawn point as you can so you can respawn from there when you meet your inevitable doom. So this my long circuitous way of saying, I’m a bit stumped on how to improve this part or if it even needs improving. I think Star Trek Online definitely is missing those moments where you just say “you know what? they’re too strong, we’ll have to run away.” and either do so, or find another way to do the objective.

Alright, I think it’s a good time to shift gears for a moment and run through a few story elements that I thought were a little weird. The first part of the mission has players meet a contact at Earth Space Dock. I thought this segment was a particular good one that set the mood for the secretive nature of the namesake project.Though, there were a few points here I thought I’d make. There’s a part in the dialog where the contact asks about information like my ship class. It came out a little weird to say ” …USS Danzig, a advanced research vessel retrofit…” It was a bit of a clunky moment for me in the dialog. I think it would work fine without the ship class in there. You already give off the vibe that the contact knows a lot about you without the ship class in there, which is something I think you were going for with that piece in the dialog.

The next thing wasn’t really the fact that they had been watching me as it was that the contact said she had been watching the ship as well. I’m not particularly sure why she and her cohorts would be watching the ship itself, especially in my case where it was a ship I had just recently purchased and switched’s not a huge deal and I could believe in nonetheless. I think that might have been for people who kept the same name of the original their original Miranda class. Though it’s effectiveness was a little lost on me.

Also, a small point I would like to make is that I think it would be better to use the word, “tricorder” instead of “scanner” in the next highlighted portion of your dialog chain. It just fits in a better with the game lore, I think.

Anyways, I’m not exactly sure at one point I needed to move into Cargo Bay 4. Maybe I missed the point where it was described, but it definitely felt like to me, one of my bridge officers said, “Let’s go to Cargo Bay 4!” And then we went there. I think I would have liked to more on why I went there. Otherwise, it’s just a point in the mission where my captain and his bridge officers go to Cargo Bay 4 without much of an explanation.

Moving on, later in the mission there’s another contact whom you glean more information about the situation. You, as the player, have to set in motion a series of events before you can get this information. Though talking with this contact causes her to spit a bunch of 0’s and 1’s at you. It’s not this that bothers me as much as that some of them were highlighted. Not being fluent in binary, I was a little confused as why they were highlighted. When I had finished playing through the mission, I realized I hadn’t used them. So that nagged at me a bit.

This contact has the additional background on certain topics that explain the situation in more detail. One of the topics you can bring up with her will cause her to talk about the project leader and the captain. I’m not exactly how it went, but there was a point in the dialog where the contact in describing the fate of a character (not exact words), “He’s a liberated Borg. I think he was re-assimilated!” I wasn’t exactly sure who she was refering to. Was it the project leader or the captain of the ship? It’s a relatively minor detail, but maybe the discussion should be separated or at the least clarified.

I know it’s a weird thing to mention, but why were there “tortured souls” in the ship? I didn’t really notice the name until my second run through. I found their existence to be a bit strange in game. Though, it was something I hadn’t quite experienced before in Star Trek Online. So if they do have a reasonable place buried somewhere in the story, then they’re a cool effect to have.

The next part I would like to address is at one point in the mission a bridge officer sees some prisoners in tents and goes off on how disgusted he or she is at their treatment. I’m not quite sure I shared in this sentiment though, especially since I thought it was actually nice that the Borg/Revava gave the prisoners shelter from the elements since, you know, the Borg/Revava don’t need shelter from those kinds of things.

There’s a few grammar and spelling issues here and there. I’m not 100% on the rules with this, but I think with names, in sentences, you have to have a comma after the name or a title acting as a name. Like “Hey LordofPit, I’m writing a review of your mission!” It’s not a huge deal though. No one else really noticed it and I’m not an authority on grammar. There’s also a point where you’re describing the social nature of the Revava and you use “cast” when you really meant “caste”. Just minor details, really. I wouldn’t suggest spending a whole lot of time perusing your material for other grammar things. I might not have noticed them if I weren’t being so detailed in my review of your dialog and story.

So my rating of your mission? I think I’ll go with a 4.3 stars out of 5. There wasn’t any showstoppers in gameplay, not that I was expecting any. And as I said, there’s a lot of polish in this mission for gameplay, there’s only a few moments I thought might cause frustration to players but I think it’s a pretty enjoyable experience. From the storyline perspective, it was a neat mission. I think the first scene might be my favorite of the mission, since it definitely gave the vibe of something fishy going on, which I thought was a great touch actually. The last large conversation you have with the “main” villianess was also a strong moment in my book. It had the hallmarks of “Picard, in general from The Next Generation, and a bit of Kirk in the last bit “Arena” which I really liked. From minute details incorporated in the conversations, you could tell the author really knew his Trek. But for most of the mission, I didn’t really get the feeling of uncovering a mystery, which is a bit of a pity in my opinion. Maybe I was overthinking things just a tad while playing through, but without it, I feel like this mission is missing a great deal of “oomph” that makes a mission just that much better.

I am pretty curious to see how the Revava “evolved”. I didn’t really want to write on it until I had gotten through the entirety of the mission’s storyline. I’m sure that’s something that will be addressed in future updates.I had some questions on it, but I think I’m going to wait until the story is fully complete before trying to poke holes in that.

And as usual, I’d like to stress that I’m not trying to be mean in any way shape or form. I’m just trying to give you some honest feedback on the mission I know you worked hard on.

In advance, I’m going to apologize to the author. As far as I could tell, he hasn’t really advertised much on the mission. If he wanted to keep it that way, then notify me as soon as possible and I’ll ask an administrator to take down this post immediately.

Where to start with this mission? I really had no idea to be honest. So I’m just going to start with a quote from Galactrix on the STO Forums where I first heard about this mission. Galactrix writes,

“I’ve just played “The Celes Snare” by RichardJ.

It was amazing! I recommend that other people try it out. It really has a Star Trek feeling storyline and the dialogue was very well written – no spelling or grammar mistakes I could notice from my playthrough (for people who worry about that sort of thing).

It’s a mission that does not appear in the Big List, and had zero reviews. But I thought I’d give it a go because it sounded interesting and found a real gem!”

I’m not really sure I could put it much better on how I felt during the mission. From the perspective of  gameplay, it’s almost as though the mission was flawless. With a review like that from Galactrix, I didn’t expect any major flaws or showstoppers, but nevertheless I kept my eyes open for them just in case. I really only have petty sticks here and there while I played. So I think I’m going to stick with those rather than spoil the mission.

There’s a couple mission objectives that direct you to interact with an object somewhere on the board. It says something along the lines of “access the computer” (this is not exactly what RichardJ wrote but I’m approximating). So when you approach the computer, instead of actually using the computer, it’s a waypoint that triggers an event pop-up dialog. It was a cool concept in-game, but I thought it worked a little weird in the story. The actors in the story act like you accessed the computer and started to do whatever process you needed to do for the objective. But I can tell I haven’t done anything except approach an object. Maybe if the dialog reflected my approach instead of my supposed action I’d feel more comfortable about it. Or the other way around, I interacted with the object and the dialog reflected the real action (me interacting with a console).

Also, there’s a segment where the anomaly begins to spread to a ship and you need to stop it. One of the last objectives in that mission lacked a waypoint. A bridge officer directed me to find and access a  “master console” I believe the words were and interact with it. I wasn’t exactly sure where this console was (If I remember right, it was a large room with several computers lining the wall). I admit I actually considered backtracking through the rest of the map and checked my map a few times before deciding to scout the rest of the room. Fortunately, from scouting the rest of the room, I found the objective. It was more or less dumb luck that I did. Anyways, this part is actually one of the parts I was alluding to above where the dialog doesn’t exactly reflect my actions. The essence of a message I received (or at least I perceived it to be) as I approached the “master console” was “Stop accessing that console” which as I described above. In reality, I really didn’t do quite that yet so it felt slightly out of place. Though on the other hand, I was actually a little freaked out when I suddenly received this message from a fairly creepy looking entity staring at me from out of the blue. So I’m a little torn on what exactly I’d prefer. I think I’m leaning toward actually interacting with this but I would like to see this element somehow preserved in the mission.

Another little detail I noticed was that some of the eyes on some of your aliens didn’t quite match up. Some hard pitch black orbs and others had humanoid eyes. A plausible solution was mentioned in the mission for this, but it was just something I noticed in case the author wanted to fix it.  It’s not something easy to pick up on. But I noticed it a few times so I thought I’d remark on it.  Anyways, I know I’m being a little nit-picky here but this is probably the best I could come up with when missions are actually this good.

So my rating of your mission? I think I’ll go with a 4.5 stars out of 5. Gameplay worked very well in this mission. Nearly flawless execution in my eyes for everything with the exception the few minor details I mentioned above. The story definitely wins a lot of points here as well. It “felt” and played very Trek-ish. The story was definitely intriguing and definitely kept me wanting to know more and progress through the mission. I personally enjoyed how it felt nice and tidy at the completion of the mission as well. I know this is a bit of a strange comment to make, but the mission definitely had the feeling of complete-ness to it, but at the same time left the author some space to to revisit the story if he really wanted to.  I’d also like to make note in this review of one of the settings in game. This one in particular on the ship gave an incredibly creepy vibe which I enjoyed during the mission that went very well with the plot in the mission. The mission itself, in retrospect, feels a bit short. But I definitely wasn’t really paying attention to that in game. So, I’d definitely recommend that this mission be placed on your list of missions to try in the near future, after of course, testing and reviewing some of the other available missions on Tribble.

And as usual, I’d like to stress that I’m not trying to be mean in any way shape or form. I’m just trying to give you some honest feedback on the mission I know you worked hard on.

Mission: “Sleeper Agent”
Author: Chemkarate

Well, I had some free time tonight to check out some of the community’s latest missions on Tribble. When I saw that “Sleeper Agent” was gaining a pretty consistent high score, I decided to play the mission. Here is my personal review:

This was a really interesting mission, with lots of well-written dialogue and a few unforeseen plot twists. The author uses many different sets and locations, with some clever tricks with doors and npc hunts. The space combat was excellent.

Overall, I invite all of you to check it out, but be warned: It is a long mission.

Due to the borked AI of the Foundry, the ground combat takes forever, with my officers often staring at walls, trying to shoot the bad guys through the walls. With so many enemies (and with so little help from my team), I died many, many times. Most of the problems with the ground combat are not due to the author’s design. Instead, we can point fingers at the beta version of the Foundry, because it needs a ton of work.

However, there is definitely a big difference between the difficulty of space combat and the difficulty of ground combat, which could be revised by the author. Making the ground combat less of a zergfest could really improve this mission.

Additionally, the author could also have added some props to certain sections of the interior, such as in a large room that only contains 1 npc and very little else. Details would have added to immersion, reminding me that I wasn’t just playing the stock version of the interior map. Other details would help, like npc animations of the crew.

Otherwise, the plot was interesting, and the dialogue flowed really well. If the problems of the toolset and the AI can be fixed by Cryptic, then this player-made mission would be a welcome addition to the game.

4.3/5 stars.

Now just looking at the title, I know it’s not the most exciting of topics in the world, but bear with me. Grammar and spelling do have an overall effect on your UGC. It is an important topic to address in the world of UGC.

Let me start by going through the hazards of  having poor grammar or spelling can seriously injure the story of your UGC. Worst case scenario, it might even confuse your audience on what to do in your mission. For example, if you were to create a mission where you needed to locate some missing miners in a station and accidentally wrote “Find the missing minors (0/5)” you might end up send your player on a wild goose chase until they figure out they’re not looking for children. I know it’s a pretty lame example, but believe it or not, people are going to read your work to find out what they need to do next.

But the worst damage is to your story. I don’t think a lot of us came to the Foundry and said, “I’m going to make a kill 5 enemy squadrons mission.” Though, if that is what you want to do, more power to you. But I would think that many of us here wanted to tell our own stories from the Star Trek universe and the Foundry is our chance to do so.

So you’ve written your epic story and  is it time to put it into action? Well, I’m going to urge you to sit down and proof read your work. Or better yet, ask someone else to work through it with you. (It tends to be that authors are too connected to their work and won’t pick up on their own mistakes!) Poor grammar can turn anyone off from reading and simply go into autopilot for your story. Pretty much anything that came out of that unfortunate character known as Jar Jar Binks can attest to this. (Jar Jar: Mesa cause one, two-y little bitty axadentes, huh? Yud say boom de gasser, den crashin der bosses heyblibber, den banished.)  If your audience decides it needs to go into autopilot to finish your mission, then you’ve definitely written a bad story and you’re going to lose some points when it comes time to score your mission, even if you do decide to try and tell your audience that’s how your alien speaks. I like to believe there’s a reason universal translators were invented in the Trek universe.

I’d also like to point out that  it’s not a huge deal to have minor mistakes like using “Their’s a Romulan!” in your missions once or twice. Though, I like to believe that your audience may cringe a little when something like that pops up. But minor errors like that can really take away from the professionalism of your UGC. It’s no secret that we all want to make the best UGC possible. I’d like to point out that there are several components of doing so. Most you probably know such as an interesting storyline or you create a map that makes everyone’s jaws drop in awe of your map making skill. But having poor grammar in your story chips away at it. It destroy the professionalism in your UGC that would otherwise cause people to vote for your missions to enter the Star Trek Online world as one of the best that UGC has to offer or at least win over a few more 5 star votes. Therefore, I would like to conclude that professionalism in your UGC could possibly be a deciding factor in whether or not your mission(s) make it in the big leagues. So when you’re finished creating that awesome mission, take a few minutes to reread and proof-read what you wrote. A lot of early 1 star ratings can seriously hurt your mission’s appeal in the long-run. So thanks for reading everyone! Good luck with your UGC missions and remember to proofread your work!