Captain's Log, Stardate 64918.1...

Hello, computer (and players)! Isn't it amazing how the MMO gaming world works? One week you might be ecstatic about the planned updates for your favorite game, and the next week you are wondering if that same game is even going to last another day. Like many other Star Trek Online players, I was in this boat just last week. When Atari announced that it was going to be divesting interest in Cryptic, many players initially went into panic mode. But as I stated in my entry last week, I strongly felt that things were going to turn out just fine, possibly for the better -- and they definitely have.

Earlier this week, Perfect World Entertainment announced that it would acquire a 100% equity stake from Atari, with Cryptic Studios remaining as the sole shareholder. Made famous for its free-to-play games, including Perfect World International, Pocketpet Journey West, and Forsaken World, Perfect World has the potential to help STO continue to grow. While the new owners are very excited at the opportunity to utilize the engine Cryptic is famous for, they are also excited at the fact that Champions Online uses the free-to-play business model. Oh dear -- here we go again.

Ensign, warp 10! Everything is going to be OK and here's why...

STO players have been very vocal about the news regarding the acquisition; to be honest, I dare to say that we are the most vocal bunch of any game out there. I mean, hello! We are Trekkers and Trekkies -- what do you expect? While some of us have let out huge sighs of relief, others are still crying out doom. To get a little bit more insight on what some are thinking, I recently reached out to Elliot Tan, Community Manager over at The Quantum Cafe, to see what he thought about the news:
"I think Cryptic has been heading in the right direction for a long time with STO. I love the game more with each new iteration. My hope is that Perfect World will see the inherent value in the work that Cryptic already does and allow [it] to continue to improve the game for its loyal playerbase."
This is exactly the same sentiment I have. Month after month, through the Ask Cryptics and Engineering Reports, we have seen that there are features in development that are "game changing" -- there is little doubt that Perfect World would alter development plans already set in motion or slated for release this year. I actually feel that that having new blood on board may help things in development get developed even more quickly. Speaking of new blood, I can report that a whole slew of new developers, assigned to the STO team, had their first day this past Tuesday, and I am really looking forward to what each of them is going to bring to the team.

One big question that is floating around out there yet again is "Will STO go free-to-play?" Over and over again in the past, we were assured that this model was not in consideration for the game, even though CO had converted. Overall, STO has made much more profit for the studio, and there are new accounts being created everyday. A week ago, I would have still been on the "no way" side of things, but after learning about Perfect World's main business model, I honestly now think that it is just a matter of time until STO is converts.

For those of you who have lifetime subscriptions for CO or know of them, this can actually be a pretty nifty thing. We may start receiving a stipend for the C-Store, gain access to all areas, and have more characters slots than those just playing for free. One limitation that I could see going into effect is that each captain type would only be able to fly the type of ship that matches its class -- tacticals in escorts, science in science ships, and engineers in cruisers. I also know that a lot more of my IRL friends would pick up the game and play with me. Again, I would love to know what you guys think about this hot topic.
Among the bustle of the acquisition news, Executive Producer Dan Stahl has had a chance to sit down and deliver the first entry of a dev diary series that will feature plans on designing the next enterprise. From the looks of it, we will be getting inside information about the original talks with CBS, the development of a working sketch and model, and the completion of a fully functional, playable ship. What I am most interested in seeing is how it uses the saucer separation mode -- as it looks right now, it aint gonna be pretty, but we have been assured it will in the end be marvelous. I would really like to know what you all think of the model, too! Make sure to comment below about it below.

Dan has also started a new craze dubbed "TweetLeaks" -- he has been leaking photos of upcoming content. If you are not following him already, make sure to subscribe to his Twitter feed, @cryptic_dstahl. Recently, we saw work-in-process photos of the new Gatling Phaser Burst Turret, new badges that will work on more costumes, and the Golden Gate Bridge -- not new but just as historic. Remind me to test out jumping off of it to see if you can actually die from falling. Before you sign out of your account, feel free to also follow yours truly, @bfelczer.

Well, Captains, we have come to the end of this week's log entry. I would like to give another shout out to Elliot Tan for providing our header image for this week's column -- it's very post-apocalyptic with a hint of salvation. Foreshadowing, anyone? Nah. Also, I hope you all join me this week yet again for a very exciting STO livestream; this Sunday evening, I will be jumping into the space PvP queue to show off mah tactical skilz. I will also be sharing some of my builds for different toons and how I use each of them differently, so you won't want to miss it. If you are available and would like to team up with me or attempt to blow me to smithereens, send an email to brandon@massively.com and we can plan it out. Until next time, continue bracing for impact -- you never know what is around the corner.

Computer, terminate recording.

Boldly going where no one has gone before, Brandon Felczer transmits Captain's Log through Subspace right to your PADD every Thursday. Join him as he discusses the latest news, gossip, and dev interviews about Star Trek Online. Hailing frequencies are always open to his bridge through brandon@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.