By Jessica Sliwinski, Lead Narrative Designer
Today, we turn our attention to the second type of content: Away Team Missions. These missions are one of the best ways to level your crew members, get valuable items to advance them, and play out your Star Trek™ fantasies of resolving problems with diplomatic acumen, scientific solutions, or brute force.
Selecting an Away Team
The first step to starting any away team mission is also the most critical: selecting which crew members to send. Each mission is plotted out in a graph; the mathematicians or computer science majors among you may note its similarity to a directed acyclic graph. Examine this graph closely when selecting your away team, as it tells you exactly what skills will be needed from beginning to end.
We’ll definitely need an engineer on our away team.
Another important item to study on this screen is the list of Suggested Traits. Every trait listed either provides a bonus on one or more challenges in the away team mission or is required to attempt a Locked Challenge (more on those later). Selecting crew members who have one or more of these traits may give you the crucial edge you need during the mission.
An Innovator, a Hologram, and a Doctor walk onto a shuttle....
The Flow of a Mission
An away team mission is separated into stages. Each column in the graph represents a single stage. Missions may have up to 8 stages. A stage may have from 1-3 challenges, each representing a different way to go about completing the task at hand.
How will you locate Lore’s hideout?
Not every challenge in a stage leads to every challenge in the next stage. If you are trying to complete a specific challenge or win a specific Rare Reward, pay close attention to the paths drawn between the challenges. Make sure you are following a path that leads to your desired outcome.
Success or Setback?
Each challenge is themed around a particular crew skill. While you can send any crew member on any challenge (unless that challenge is locked--more on this later) a crew member that specializes in the specified skill will have the greatest chance of success. First, select a crew member to see the level of difficulty they will face in attempting each possible challenge: Easy, Moderate, or Hard.
Geordi LaForge is a legendary engineer, but he’s not much in Sickbay.
When you’ve decided which crew member you want to send on which challenge, either tap that crew member and then the challenge, or drag that crew member onto the challenge. You can either watch the challenge play out, or tap through to see the results.
If you succeed at the challenge, you’ll be allowed to continue to the next stage, and may receive some basic rewards.
The story goes on.
Achieving Critical Success gives you the greatest chance of receiving a challenge's Rare Reward.
Suffering a setback won't end your away mission. However, you won’t receive any rewards for that challenge, and a Future Effect is applied to make the mission’s final stage harder!
Let’s hope you’re saving your doctors and engineers for the end....
So, what determines whether you succeed, critically succeed, or suffer a setback on a challenge?
Each challenge has a base difficulty. That base difficulty may be increased if you suffered a setback on a previous challenge. In order to have even a chance of success, your selected crew member’s level of expertise in the specified skill must be higher than or close to that base difficulty.
Well, I would hope so, Geordi!
A challenge may also grant bonuses for certain traits. If your crew member has these traits, a bonus is added onto their base skill.
All those years of getting the Enterprise out of tight spots has paid off.
Finally, a random roll is conducted as a final bonus.
Even the most well-prepared captain needs a little luck.
Your success or setback is determined as follows:
Base Difficulty + Future Effect vs. Crew Member’s Skill + Trait Bonuses + Final Bonus
If your crew member’s final total is greater than the Base Difficulty + Future Effect, you succeed. If the final total is significantly greater, you may critically succeed. But if it’s lower, you’ll suffer a setback.
You MUST succeed at the final challenge of an away team mission to achieve victory. You can achieve critical success at every prior stage, but if you suffer a setback on the final challenge, you will fail the entire away team mission. Conversely, you can suffer a setback at every prior stage and still achieve victory as long as you succeed at the final challenge--though if you manage to achieve this despite all the negative Future Effects, you are a legendary captain indeed!
LaForge saves the day!
By now, you’ve likely encountered an away team mission which includes challenges that display a lock icon rather than a skill icon. These Locked Challenges require certain criteria to be met in order to attempt them. There are three kinds of Locked Challenges:
- Trait: Only a crew member possessing the specified trait can attempt this challenge.
- Success on previous challenge: You must have succeeded at a previous challenge in order to attempt this one.
- Faction reputation: You must have a higher reputation with the specified faction to attempt this challenge.
Locked Challenges exist both to support the narrative of the away team mission and to further challenge your skills as a captain. Can you achieve the results necessary to attempt and succeed at every challenge, in every mastery?
Without a diplomat, you’ll have to use force.
Rewards and Replaying
During an away team mission, your running total of Federation Credits, Captain XP, and Rare Rewards earned is tracked in the upper right of your screen. Note that you must complete and get an overall victory in the away team mission to actually receive these rewards; they are NOT granted per stage.
Can we crack three hundred credits by the end?
If you want to know what specific rewards can be earned from a challenge, tap on the reward icon to the left of the challenge image.
Which item does your crew need?
Similarly, you can get detailed information on a specific reward by tapping on the item itself.
All Earl Grey Tea items are always hot.
Upon achieving overall victory on an away team mission, you’ll get a summary of all the XP, Rare Rewards, and any other items you received as a result.
I’m a doctor, not a power leveler!
Like Starship Battles, away team missions can be attempted at three mastery levels: Normal, Elite and Epic.
To attempt an away team mission at Elite or Epic mastery, you must reach the appropriate Captain Level to unlock these masteries across the game, and achieve a 3 star victory on the lower mastery level in that particular mission. You achieve a 3 star victory by collecting all available rare rewards.
Be warned, the base difficulty of every challenge is significantly increased on a higher mastery--as are the Future Effects from a setback!
Those codes just got a lot longer.
Winning an away team mission on Elite or Epic mastery not only gives you bragging rights, but also comes with bigger and better rewards, so keep leveling your captain and hunting down those Rare Rewards!
We hope you found this Away Mission focused installment of Captain’s Guide helpful in your continuing mission to restore the galaxy. Please provide us with helpful feedback, suggestions, or just ask questions! You can find the TIMELINES devs and other players through our social channels:
And, as always, thanks for reading!