On Tuesday, the 31st season of the massive multiplayer game Star Trek Online launches. The new “Both Worlds” season features a storyline that brings back Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Nicole de Boer, voicing Captain Ezri Dax leading the fight against the Mirror Borg. One of the new features is a recreation of one of the biggest conflicts in Star Trek history, the Battle of Wolf 359. TrekMovie got an exclusive early preview of this new simulation in Star Trek Online. We also have an exclusive first look at the new Wolf 359 Memorial Station.
Join the Battle of Wolf 359
“Both Worlds” includes the Battle of Wolf 359 as the latest “Task Force Operation” for Star Trek Online. These Task Force Operations have been part of the game since its launch and are the main way players can work together on a single mission. Usually, each new season includes a new TFO which is built into the overall story. For “Both Worlds” the Battle of Wolf 359 is a simulation players do to prepare for the fight with the Mirror Borg, by learning how to fight in the Federation’s first big face-off with the Borg. STO Community Manager Mike Fatum took TrekMovie through a preview of the battle. He explained how it fits in with the new season story:
“We’re currently in conflict with the Borg from the Mirror Universe. While they’re running around rampaging and blowing everything up, we are replaying the Battle of Wolf 359 in order to learn better tactics to battle the Borg.”
The Battle of Wolf 359 comes from the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II,” which featured Captain Jean-Luc Picard being assimilated by the Borg and leading an attack on the Federation as “Locutus.” Starfleet assembled a fleet to take on Locutus and a massive cube at the Wolf 359 star system. The USS Enterprise-D was still repairing damage from the previous encounter with the cube it was not present at the battle, later engaging (and defeating) the Borg in the Sol System. In the TNG episode, some elements of the battle were shown but much of the Battle of Wolf 359 was told through communications from the fleet to the Enterprise during that episode, but now you can be part of it in Star Trek Online.
Of course, you cannot actually defeat the Borg cube as part of the simulation, but Fatum explained how the simulation plays a part in the overall story:
“Just like in our other historical simulation, The Battle of the Binary Stars, events are set in motion. The point of this holodeck program is to see what we can learn from those events even though we know Starfleet lost, we’re trying to figure out what we can learn from the situation and how best we can use those tactics against the Mirror Borg, storyline-wise. Gameplay-wise, it’s a fun opportunity for players to get to reenact one of the most famous battles to start Star Trek.”
The simulation requires five players. Like all TFOs it is balanced so you really need a group working together. You can be automatically matched by the system or organize your own group. Many players in STO are part of “Fleets” and TFOs are a great way to play together, coordinating over voice chat. Regardless of your character’s faction (Federation, Klingon, Romulan, etc.), you can take part in the Wolf 359 simulation. Each player captain has their own ship which you use in the TFO (with all of its capabilities), but as part of the holodeck simulation, your ship will appear to be one of the Starfleet ships that took part in the historical battle.
The Wolf 359 simulation starts and ends with cut scenes that use elements from Star Trek: The Next Generation including Patrick Stewart’s voice as Locutus from “Best of Both Worlds.” Paramount provides Cryptic with the original audio tracks from the Star Trek series and films to use in the game and this simulation makes good use of them. You can also hear Admiral Hanson and there is additional new dialog from Nicole de Boer as Captain Dax for before and after you start your simulation. You will also hear the voices of Locutus and Hanson throughout the battle, adding to the immersion of the simulation.
The battle itself can take 20-30 minutes and is divided into multiple stages with different tasks during each. As the battle goes on things get more and more hectic, especially after some of the Starfleet ships get assimilated. During one stage players are tasked with fighting these assimilated ships as well as rescuing crew in escape pods from destroyed ships while also destroying “assimilation pods” launched by the Borg, which is a new element introduced by the game. “A nice thing about the Battle of Wolf 359 is we don’t really see it on camera, so we have a bit of leeway,” explains Fatum. It’s during these chaotic moments you truly get a sense of the desperation of the battle, and you can see how the STO simulation encourages cooperation. As noted by Fatum: “That’s the thing about a TFO, it’s meant to be a crazy thing you do with multiple people.”
The final stage has players taking on the cube again, reminding you are trying to buy the USS Enterprise time as they are on their way. You can hear Hanson trying to surrender as Locutus coldly replies: “Discussion is irrelevant. There are no terms…” Once you do enough damage the cube warps away to Earth leaving the aftermath of the battle and another cut scene with Captain Ezri Dax assessing your performance. It is now you are given your rewards for taking part in TFO which includes important progress for the season’s big event and getting you closer to winning the coveted new Tier 6 ship for the season. You also get marks you can use as part of the game’s reputation helping you earn new rewards such as new captain traits, weapons, and uniforms.
Star Trek Online is free to play with in-game purchase options (using the in-game currency “Zen”) but there are no required purchases to take part in the Battle of Wolf 369, or any Task Force Operation. There is a requirement to achieve level 10, which would require going through the tutorial and some early missions (or around 3 hours of gameplay). This isn’t an issue for most players as the vast majority have already hit the level 65 cap.
The Battle of Wolf 359 as part of “Both Worlds” shows how after 14 years Star Trek Online is still adding new features that tie into the 25th century storyline they are building while also using elements of Star Trek lore. The goal isn’t to blow up the cube, but just to survive and rescue as many members of Starfleet as you can while buying acting Captain Riker and the USS Enterprise enough time for their daring plan. The preview was a lot of fun and reminds you how intimidating the Borg were back in those early days. Participating with other players in this live simulation only adds to the themes of Star Trek of cooperation.
Wolf 359 Memorial Station
“Both Worlds” will also introduce a new location for the game: the Wolf 359 Memorial Station, located in the Vulcan Sector of the Beta Quadrant.
The station is home to a Starfleet memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives during the Battle of Wolf 359 with the Borg in 2367.
The memorial is a brand-new design created for Star Trek Online, built by Senior Environment Artist, Nick Duguid. It includes damaged wrecks from the ships that participated in the Battle of Wolf 359.
This new station replaces the previous “Battle of Wolf 359 Social Zone.”
“Both Worlds” launches on January 23, 2024, for PC and will launch on PlayStation and Xbox consoles on March 12, 2024. To download and play Star Trek Online today for free, visit www.playstartrekonline.com.