Friday, February 24, 2012

Requiem for a Duty Officer

Captain's Log, supplemental
Lt. Cmdr Green Armadillo, commanding officer, USS PVD-2

I lost a member of my crew today.  Crewman Lozza, a Tellarite hazard system officer, was conducting a routine systems overload exercise.  I doubt that I even read the entry in the assignment list when Lt. Thol K'jhyv, head of my engineering and operations departments, put it on the list for my approval.  These types of tests go off without a hitch more than 80% of the time.  Occasionally, the exercise fails, uncovering some flaw in our response procedures.  Once in a while, a crewman even ends up in sickbay.  The odds of a mishap killing someone outright are low - but apparently non-zero, so I suppose it was a matter of time.

I can't say I really got to know Lozza very well.  Her file says that she was occasionally stubborn, but generally congenial and a member in good standing of the Founders of the Federation association.  I wouldn't say that she was an uncommon quality officer, but she was a hard worker.  I vaguely remember her face, and past missions she carried out without a hitch.  She's not the first crewman I've lost, and undoubtedly won't be the last, but the sheer unexpected nature of the incident sticks with me.

Every day, I approve dozens of assignments, big or small, routine or rare.  Sometimes I knowingly send men and women - usually well aware of the danger - off the ship and into harms way.  And sometimes the person who does not come home is the quiet crewman running routine tests in the very heart of my own ship.  Such, I suppose, is the burden of commanding a Federation starship.


  1. Never happened to me personally, but the friend I play with lost one very early. I had 5 people end in sickbay, but that's it.
    One solution may be to avoid to send valuable officers on trivial assignments (= low reward) since the risk of losing them is not worth it. But I'm having some trouble at determining how valuable a duty officer is.... I would need statistics on the types of missions.

    On a side note: I'm getting submerged in prototype plans which I seem unable to convert to real prototypes EVER. I only had an assignment once, expensive materials, and it failed miserably....

  2. Wow, I had no idea your guys could get murdered running missions. Very neat. In a lot of ways, STO is much more innovative than it generally seems to get credit for.

  3. @Helistar: I've lost a few other crewmen, usually on high casualty risk missions like espionage, inspecting for contraband, etc. So far, I have not yet lost any uncommon (or better) officers.

    That said, I won't hold my crew back for fear of losses - the purpose of having them is primarily to accomplish missions (though someone with especially useful active abilities might be permanently parked on my active roster). I actually fly the galaxy looking for missions, so I generally don't have slots available to attempt missions that I don't want to complete.

    And yes, the mismatch between prototype plans and missions to turn those into actual gear is a known issue that they're supposedly working on. I've gotten far more gear by doing science/exploration missions to get crafting materials to make stuff for my ship.

    @Yeebo: The mission will specify the risk of casualties (from "none" to "extreme") - you can suffer casualties on missions that succeed as well. That said, it is possible to overstate the impact of losing some people - your crew starts at 20 and steadily increases through recruitment missions, rep rewards, etc.

  4. Despite the "farmvilleness" of the Duty Officer system, this kind of thing does nothing but boost my immersion in the game.

  5. I've lost one duty officer so far to death, had a half dozen visit sickbay, and dismissed a couple to make room for others as I've hit the 100 cap and have no cryptic points to raise it. I suspect I'm going to have to do a spreadsheet to figure out all the kinds I have and what gaps I need to fill. I know I need some more diplomats since their missions tend to come in groups and require at least 2 diplomats per mission.

    I think it pays to note what attributes increase failure for certain types of mission, as well. I ditched my technician with the Stubborn attribute because that kept being a critical fail attribute for most types of missions that asked for a technician. Yet it's often a critical success attribute for security/tactical officers on reinforcement missions.

    I'll have to remember to toss you a friend invite in-game when I get a chance. Keep an eye out for Queeg.

  6. This post actually inspired me to sign up to STO over the weekend. I had some issues Sunday. Significant rubber-banding and then I got stuck in space so I couldn't move or fire and my ship got killed. Somewhat better Monday though.

    I'm Lieutenant (3) and I haven't found these types of missions yet though.

  7. Mike - the duty officer system does not open up until level 7. I was seriously questioning whether I was going to stick with the game as far as level 10 until I got there.


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