In the midst of writing up the wonderful interviews I had with members of Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online development team, I saw that the game's April calendar was posted and contained some interesting new events. This was the sign that it was all right for me to discuss the new Klingon mission that is set to be released on Thursday, April 5th! So today, I will lightly touch upon my experience with testing the mission in this column. I don't expect to be delivering spoilers, so everyone will be able to experience it for himself when it debuts.
In releasing the new mission, Cryptic decided to take advantage of a community-based effort called Klingon Awareness Week (KAW) and set the release date to occur right in the middle of the event. This week also sees the return of First Contact Day events for the Federation side, which will showcase its own unique rewards. Let's dig in to each of these great events!
I am very excited to be writing about Klingon Awareness Week. I happen to know that many of the game's most fervent Klingon advocates have been working long and hard in order to raise the pyres of Gre'thor and be noticed.
The seven-day event began on Sunday, April 1st, and will continue through Saturday, April 7th. There are tons of missions to run and lots of very eager Klingons waiting to assist any player who has not yet ventured into First City to try the bloodwine.
Rest assured that players can also access all the information they may need on the forums (the links are provided in STO's announcement above) or from this handy-dandy PDF written by the community event coordinators! Also, several podcasts intend to focus their shows on the Klingon faction in order to heighten player awareness about them.
It still can be frustrating for many Klingon fans to get the word out about the faction, especially since all new players to the game are forced to play a Federation character to level 25 before a Klingon character slot will be unlocked. This event is a fun way to lure players to the faction by having groups of people ready to assist new players with everything from STF runs to skill training to sorties.
Regardless of whether it was actually planned or Cryptic was merely able to put the finishing touches on the new Klingon mission just in time to take advantage of the community-based KAW effort, it has been set for release on Thursday, April 5th, right in the middle of the event.
When I visited Cryptic Studios a couple of weeks ago, I was granted a unique opportunity to play the new mission before anyone else. Yes, it was hard (very, very hard) to keep my mouth shut about it. All I could do was acknowledge the fact that I had played it, but not much else. Thank goodness for the event calendar release because now I can talk about it. But don't worry; I won't spoil anything! I wouldn't want to ruin it for all of those wonderful Klingons who've been waiting what seems like an eternity for any new Klingon-focused missions.
At the time, I was escorted to a room that contained several computers but one had definitely been pre-prepared for my arrival. Content Developer Christopher Dods is the creator of the mission and was one of the people who met me in the testing area and took a chair directly behind me while I played.
It's a bit disconcerting to play a mission in front of the person who created it, especially since I have a knack for tripping over the strangest bugs (just ask Foundry authors; I'm known as the "Mission Breaker.") I just had this fear that I would have to report that I was the one responsible for breaking it irreparably.
I am happy to report I didn't break it. I did find a bug, but I didn't break it!
Again, I won't be saying very much about the specifics of the story of the mission other than that it begins with the player's Klingon team searching for a missing vessel and undertaking a planet-side search for the ship and her crew. It also involves a couple of members of other species and a few surprises that I was personally very happy to shoot and kill. No, they weren't spiders.
The mission also has a small set of very fast "puzzles." Wait! Before anyone freaks out, let me explain. They're not little children's slider puzzles, nor are they math or code puzzles. They're very simple puzzles... deceptively so. Calling them puzzles really isn't fair, but my vocabulary is failing me for a word that will describe them better.
Suffice it to say, it took me a few tries to get the hang of the things, and my husband (who was with me but does not play any MMOs) could not stop laughing at me when I failed multiple times. I'll just say failing to complete a puzzle in the time allotted provides a very Klingon result, and it's no wonder it hasn't been implemented on the Federation side.
I can say the mission is visually stunning. I've never seen a map look quite so lush, and the terrain is also gorgeous. Dods and his co-workers really put their redundant Klingon hearts into this mission, and it shows. I think the Klingon players will be very happy with its addition. I'm also sure they'll be asking for more!
Many Trekkies will recall that April 5th, 2063, is known as being the day Vulcans made first contact with Earth.
To celebrate First Contact Day, the Federation will be having a four-day event that will include the ability for players to visit the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards in orbit around Mars. There, they will be able to "meet" the new crew of the recently introduced U.S.S. Entrprise-F as well as retrieve a special replica of Earth's first warp-capable vessel, the Phoenix.
STO's new Ship Designer, Ian Richards (@JamJamz), has really outdone himself with this one, I think.
Now, if we could only get the developers to make that awesome First Contact jukebox and load it up with Roy Orbison and Steppenwolf for my ship's very subdued lounge. Oh, and my bartender doesn't have any tequila! How is this possible?! I need to celebrate First Contact Day with Steppenwolf and tequila!
Oh well. If you need me, I'll be in game working on leveling my Orion and Gorn and having fun with my Klingon friends. Until next week, Qapla'!
Incoming communique from Starfleet Headquarters: Captain's Log is now transmitting direct from Terilynn Shull every Monday, providing news, rumors, and dev interviews about Star Trek Online. Beam communications to firstname.lastname@example.org.