This week we were told that a new version of the infamous lock box is being released. Part of the announcement also addressed the fact that Cryptic Studios has decided to make some tweaks to the Lobi store. The Foundry has been kept offline since the Season Six launch and remains shut down. Capping off the week, Star Trek Online began a weekend-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek: The Next Generation! Join me after the jump to learn a little bit more about it.
On the evening of September 28th, 1987 I sat down in front of the television with my new boyfriend as we mentally prepared ourselves to watch the first episode of a franchise reborn: Star Trek: The Next Generation. We weren't sure how it would go; we only knew it was going to be awfully hard for the new series to live up to the mythos that The Original Series had started. To say we were skeptical about the new series' potential for success is putting it mildly. Yet by the end of the show, we were pleasantly surprised. The episode wasn't superb, but there was no doubt it had the bones of Star Trek. By the end of season one, I knew I would be marrying that boyfriend. Weeks shy of 25 years later, The Next Gen is still my favorite television show of all-time, and yes, I'm still happily married to that same wonderful man!
TNG 25th anniversary celebrations are popping up all over. CBS is releasing the first season of the series on blu-ray next week; Creation Entertainment will see most of the cast from the series making appearances at the official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas in August; and STO created a wonderful tribute to the series by giving away some free items in the game.
What do you get? Federation male and female characters will get a TNG Season One uniform (seen on my character below). Klingon and Federation male characters that have a hair option available to them can use Worf's short hair and warrior goatee from TNG Season One, and Klingon and Federation male and female characters can wear Worf's TNG Season One baldric (displayed on Worf's character above.)
If you haven't picked these up yet, remember they are per-character unlocks, meaning you will have to sign in with every one of your alts to obtain the items for every toon.
Much to the surprise of, well, pretty much no one, this week STO introduced the new Tholian lock box. Much like their predecessors, the Tholian boxes drop in addition to the game's normal loot and require keys to open. Keys can be purchased for 125 ZEN apiece or at a slightly lower rate when they are purchased in packs of 10.
Several interesting items can be obtained in the boxes, including fleet credit boosts, special warfare duty officer packs, the previously released Gamma Quadrant and standard duty officer packs, weapons (including a sword that would make Sulu blush, shown below), and finally, ships. Lots and lots of ships!
The new Tholian box actually has the potential to award one of four different ships: three Mirror Universe Starfleet ships and the rarer Tholian Orb Weaver.
What did come as a surprise to many of us was the fact that many items that were being sold in the Lobi Crystal Consortium suddenly vanished in favor of new Tholian-themed items. Gone are the MACO Bridge Officers; in their place is a new Tholian ship, a fighter called the Widow. Ferengi jackets are now missing, replaced by Tholian silk scarves and robes. The Lobi store also dumped the Ferengi shuttle and now boasts the new Tholian Recluse Carrier for 800 Lobi crystals.
Now that I have a better clue that items in the Lobi store are actually "limited time" items, I personally will look less at buying boxes. It takes so long to earn enough of them (there is a minimum of four crystals in a box, and the robe costs 200 crystals) for the higher-end stuff that I wouldn't want to place hope into getting the robe just to have it disappear when the box theme changes again.
The store's remaining items are all low-priced consumables, from batteries to combat modules. They cost between one and two Lobi crystals each, so if you buy one lock box, you can easily buy four of the low-end batteries in the Consortium.
As seems to happen with every major code push/change in STO, the Foundry became an unwitting victim of the overhaul.
Last week I reported that the Foundry editor had been taken down in an effort to bypass the problems the toolset faced in previous launches. Soon after Season Six went live, both the editing tool and play-through functionality had been locked down.
As of this column's deadline, the Foundry remains completely shut down while QA attempts to remedy an issue it discovered. No timeline has been given, although QA was hoping the playability of Foundry missions would be available before this past weekend. It is obvious now that the team has run into a rather stubborn issue and has decided to keep the entire user-generated content tool offline until Cryptic can ensure the authors' hard work isn't lost in a transwarp accident.
Has it really been 25 years?
I have to say it's been a little strange to think that TNG is on the verge of turning 25. There are people in the game whom I play with who weren't even born yet when the show was on. I find that both disturbing and utterly, wonderfully mind-blowing. Why? Because these kids know the show! They may not have watched a lot of TNG, but they play STO, and they know a lot about the show because so much of the game is based on the time period of the show. They know who Picard, Riker, Worf and Data are in the same way I knew who Kirk, Spock and McCoy were when I was their age. I take great comfort in that.
(I also want to take this quick moment to say something very personal: Allen, I love you very much, and the past 25 years has been incredible. I'm so lucky to have you as my partner in life and luckier still that you love Trek like I do. I hope the next 25 will be filled with new journeys through which we get to explore even more of this wonderful planet together!)
It's going to get busy for me over the next couple of weeks. As many of you already know, I will be co-moderating the STO Discussion with the Devs panel at this year's Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. More information about the panel will be released in the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled. Until then, as always, live long and prosper!
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 email@example.com.