Well, there's one way to remind me that I'm getting older: tell me that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is 25 years old. Despite also being 8 years old, Free-to-play MMO Star Trek Online is still looking pretty good, all things considered. The TV show's anniversary today marks the launch of its first major expansion in some time, delivered as a free update. Victory Is Life brings us back to Deep Space Nine, and beyond the wormhole into the Gamma Quadrant in a new story arc featuring a bunch of the original DS9 cast.
I'm honestly happy to see the game still alive and kicking, especially after a wonky launch and an awkward transition to a free-to-play business model. While the pleasingly authentic-feeling space combat hasn't changed much since launch, the on-foot combat engine got a major overhaul some time ago, replacing it with a Mass Effect Lite kinda deal. Still a little clunky, but a much better fit considering the setting.
While the Deep Space Nine station itself (given a fresh lick of paint in this expansion) has been in the game for yonks now, this marks the first time players have been able to travel beyond it into the Gamma Quadrant. The Dominion are under attack by the insectoid Hur'q, so players from all factions will be called to hotspots and planets under attack to squish some bugs as they explore the new region.
Victory is Life's biggest feature is a whole new player faction, former expendable baddies; the Jem'Hadar. They start out at level 60, and while they do have their own faction story arc centred around the new Gamma Quadrant conflict, they eventually unlock access to most of the other stories in the universe. Playable Cardassians are also available for both Starfleet and Klingon factions, but are a paid, mostly cosmetic item.
For the first time in a while, the level cap has risen from 60, too. Over the course of playing missions in the Gamma Quadrant, you'll get a token for a free Tier 5 starship, a new space combat ability based on your profession, and at the new cap of 65 you can just call up humble tailor Garak and his personal warship for help on Admiralty Assignments. There's no new ship tiers, so just by levelling, you'll get to fly with the big kids.