Captain's Log: Epic adventure, revenge, and an interview with Adam Ihle

Enterprise F Dry Dock
This week, after what seemed like an interminable period of waiting, Star Trek Online's acting Executive Producer Stephen D'Angelo posted a dev blog that outlines most of the details for STO's second anniversary events.

Beginning Thursday, February 2nd, STO will see the return of the infamous Q and his mischievous ways. Players are invited to sign in every day between February 2nd and 6th to participate in a challenge handed down by Q. After doing the entity's bidding, players will be rewarded with a different daily prize, although what those four prizes are has not been revealed.

However, the news that really has the playerbase buzzing is the announcement that the new and very highly anticipated Federation and Klingon flagships will also be up for grabs -- for free.

I will be outlining D'Angelo's follow up posts that give us more details into both ships. Also, in light of the announcements, I took the opportunity to catch up with Adam Ihle, whose winning starship design became the inspiration for the final look of the Odyssey class; we'll hear his reaction to the ship's debut in the game.

Enterprise F at ESD
The Odyssey begins

According to D'Angelo's announcement, the Odyssey will be handed out for free to every player level 5 and above who completes a mission assigned by Engineer Kani, who will be in front of Admiral Quinn's office during the event.

The Odyssey is a Tier 5 ship and can only be flown by those characters who have achieved the rank of Vice Admiral (level 50). So although players will be able to earn the ship at levels 5 and above, they won't be able to utilize it until they reach VA. Instead, they'll earn a token that will sit in the player's inventory until he reaches level 50; at that point, he can go to Earth Spacedock to commission the vessel.

Dev Blog #13 soon followed and contained the specs for this incredible ship. It will sport four weapons slots both fore and aft, four device slots, two tactical, four engineering, and three science console slots. It also appears to be a very versatile ship; in addition to the single lieutenant tactical, commander engineering, and lieutenant science bridge officer seats, the ship also has two universal bridge officer slots -- one at lieutenant and the other at lieutenant commander levels, ensuring that what would normally be considered an engineering ship can be easily tweaked to be attractive to tactical and science officers as well.

Topping things off, the ship will have a hull strength of 42,000, a maximum warp of 9.996, a turn rate of 6 (yes, its turn rate is wider than the Galaxy class -- she's a big ship!), and +10 power to both shields and auxiliary.

Her final design was born of Adam Ihle's winning Design the Next Enterprise drawings and the modifications to those drawings by the Cryptic art staff, including Adam (CapnLogan) Williams.

It's very important to note that the ship will no longer be available to obtain as a reward after the anniversary event ends, so make very sure you log into STO between 1:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 2nd and 1:00 p.m. EST on Monday, February 6th to finish your mission. We have been told that the ship will eventually reappear, but there is a common belief that in all likelihood it will no longer be available for free when it does. Indeed, STO is thanking its veteran players and welcoming its new players with a wonderful gift.

Bortas class
Of vengeance, revenge and honor

Not to be outdone by the United Federation of Planets, the Klingon Empire responded by launching a flagship of its very own, as revealed in Dev Blog #14.

The new Bortas class (to my Klingon friends: Duj perDI' Qangpu' jonwI'. bortaS poQ quvHa'ghach?) will be launched in very much the same way as the Federation's new ship. The Bortas class, which is said to mean "vengeance" in Klingon, will also be available by every Klingon player level 21 and above who undertakes the anniversary-specific mission. Details on how to pick up the quest have not yet been revealed but will likely be similar to those outlined for the Fed players, meaning that it can be obtained from an NPC on Qo'noS.

As with the Odyssey, if a player earns this ship before she reaches level 50 (Lieutenant General), she will receive a token for the ship that will be unlocked when she eventually reaches endgame.

However, make no mistake: This is a beast of a ship, and I would expect nothing less from a Klingon faction that feels the need to do thing just a little bit bigger than those Federation petaQs.

Like the Odyssey, the Bortas will have four weapons slots both fore and aft as well as four device slots, but the consoles will be arranged a bit differently, with four tactical console slots, four engineering console slots, and one science console slot available. The bridge officer arrangements are identical to the Odyssey's. Balancing out the obvious tactical focus of the ship, the hull strength was buffered down to 43,500 and her turn rate is lower as well, with a staggeringly low 5.5. Devs gave a bit more power back, though, by giving the Bortas +15 power to weapons and +5 power to engines and throwing in the standard Klingon cloaking device -- but this animal can equip cannons.

This is the one ship that will actually get me to level my two Klingon faction characters just so I can fly her. In fact, the moment I heard the ships were being released into the game (for free, no less!), I contacted Adam Ihle, the winner of the Design the Next Enterprise contest, to get his take on her anticipated launch. Enjoy the interview below!

Odyssey Developement patch by Thomas Marrone
Massively: First can you tell us just a little bit about how long it took you to dream up and complete the drawings of the design you entered?

Adam Ihle: I can't actually give you a timeline, but I did do about 30 preliminary and thumbnail sketches over a few week's time before landing on the final concept. I knew I wanted to incorporate the double necks early in my ideas. A lot of my original sketches looked like a backwards Protector from Galaxy Quest.

Besides the obvious thrill of having your design in game, what else did you receive for winning?

I got a few things: a lifetime subscription to STO (kinda moot since it went F2P), an Alienware Laptop, a plaque stating my win, and although I have yet to receive it, I am getting a model of the finished design.

How did you feel when you were informed you entered the winning design?

My first reaction was that it was a joke. Seriously, I really did. It wasn't until I went online and saw the massive backlash to the decision that I knew it was real. Amazing how passionate Trekkers are!

On the eve of the ship's debut as a playable class in the game, what do you think will be going through your mind as you see hundreds of them flying around?

To be honest, I am only one of lots of people who brought the Enterprise F to life. I really feel that although I was the concept designer who inspired the ship, the final credit should go to Adam Williams. He did an amazing job on the final design. So I am pretty sure I will be thinking we -- a collective "we" -- did a damn good job on that.

We assume you play the game when you can. Are you going to obtain the playable version yourself, and if so, what will you name her?

As of now, I have two ships. I have the cruiser you get initially at the start (the U.S.S. Melissa Bertsch, named after my beautiful girlfriend and mother of my new twins). I also fly an NX refit, the U.S.S. Optimus Prime. So if and when I get one of the Odyssey class ships, I think I will name her the U.S.S... you know, I am not sure, but as soon as I do I will let you know.

Thanks for talking with us, Adam! You can find more of Adam's work on his site, and you can also follow him on Twitter @adamihle.

STO
Well, this girl's got to prepare one main and 10 alts for next weekend's festivities. Looks like I'll be in game a lot! As always, live long and prosper!

Incoming communique from Starfleet Headquarters: Captain's Log is now transmitting direct from Terilynn Shull every Saturday, providing news, rumors, and dev interviews about Star Trek Online. Beam communications to terilynn@massively.com.
This article was originally published on Massively.