I’ve been playing Star Trek Online since right after launch, but up until the release of the Ferasan playable race for the KDF, I played solo. I never joined a fleet as I just never saw the benefit. All of that changed when I got the chance to join the Ferasan Shadow Force KDF fleet. To understand why this is a big deal, I’d like to share my gaming background.
I grew up playing games by myself. The idea of playing a game where multiplayer interaction was a requirement never appealed to me. How could I trust a stranger on the internet to have the same goals as me?
The only time I regularly played multiplayer was when my US Army unit in Iraq hooked up two XBOXs together for Halo 2 runs every Saturday. While I enjoyed the experience, it was with people I knew, not with people I’d never met!
The reason I gave Star Trek Online a chance was because of the subject matter: Star Trek. Fortunately, the game was designed to be simple for new MMO players like me. The handholding was what I needed. But it had an unintended side effect: I never played a single level with another player because I didn’t need to. Other than a few PvP matches, I never as much joined a team. What changed?
A New Day
On May 17, 2012, the Ferasan playable race was released for the Klingon Defense Force -- I purchased it on opening day as something about this race intrigued me more than the other KDF offerings. Later, I stumbled upon the thread “Ferasan Shadow Force” in the Qo’noS Fleet Administrative Station sub-forum.
As it turned out, one of our Community Moderators was starting a Ferasan-only fleet and I decided to ask for an invite. Over the next couple hours, I was made an honorary Fleet Founder. That endowed me certain benefits, like total control of the fleet, but I also gained the great responsibility of ensuring that the fleet continued to grow and remained active. I had never even been a member of a fleet, yet here I was, a leader within a new fleet.
But the camaraderie our fleet enjoys is so pronounced, that I miss it when I am not online. Before, I would just pick something to do in-game, but I now find myself somewhat disappointed when there are few fleet members online.
More than Brothers
A fleet is more than just a group of people you hang out with. They are, to steal an Army term, battle buddies. These are guys and gals who will happily run Infected Space with you for the 500th time just to enjoy seeing you get that one rare tech drop you needed to complete your Mark XI Omega Force set. It doesn’t matter to them if they are stepping down in competition; what makes their day more than anything is seeing a new player advance. They will even talk you through an STF step-by-step to ensure you understand it, even if that means delaying the start of the mission by 15 minutes.
As a man who grew up as a solo player, this completely reinvented the game for me. With a fleet, I find myself further along in my quest to outfit my ship with special STF gear than I did playing solo. Not only have I tried playing different STFs, I already have the optional objective on two of them on elite. For a family man who only gets to play for an hour or two a day, this is a big deal. And this is only possible because of my fleet.
A Great Time to Start
With the addition of fleet starbases, this game is going to jump to another level. Even though I now think fleets are great, players are nomadic and are constantly traveling from one place to another. Fleet starbases will help create a more central location of congregation. I believe this will improve fleet participation and communication. Just go to the fleet starbase and you will find a handful of fleet mates who are ready and willing to run that STF with you even if they have run it 100 times before. And while the STF store will remain on DS9, I know I will spend my idle time on the fleet starbase and will be dedicated to helping it grow.
If you have not tried a fleet, I encourage you to look around. You can use the “Find a Fleet” feature in-game through the ‘Social’ menu to search for fleets based on your interests. There are fleets for every style of play style, whether it be hardcore, role-play, or just the occasional grouping. Or, you and your friends can start your own fleet! If you have a Ferasan character, feel free to look us up.
So, join a fleet. Get to know other players who share a passion for this game. And take advantage of the benefits fighting as a team brings. You will not regret it.
I know I don’t.
Commadore_Bob/ LG Twinkers
Ferasan Shadow Force