STO Romulan colony
It's starting! The Season Seven sneak peeks are beginning over at the Star Trek Online website, and I have to say that I'm rather intrigued. The updates began with news about the long-awaited Borg strategic task force mission, Into the Hive, and continued with the news that the game will see the release of not just a new ground battle zone but an entirely new sector block!

Due to be released in November, Star Trek Online's Season Seven suddenly holds more promise, especially since it appears that one of the franchise's key enemies, the Borg, may finally have their story-line tied up and put to rest. Hit the break and we'll talk about what's coming our way in November!


Chimera 100 Day ship resized STO
The Borg's dénouement?

I can hardly believe it myself. It's true! Into the Hive will actually be released with Season Seven in November! The strategic task force mission has been promised-content for well over a year, and its release seemed to hit every possible snag known to MMOdom. Designers left the studio, Cryptic Studios got sold, the game went free-to-play, another developer left, a new developer inherited the project and finally -- finally -- the game will see what appears to be the final installment of the enemy known as the Borg.

Frankly, it's about time! Look, don't get me wrong;I like the Borg -- I really do! But they're not enemies who work very well in an MMO. They're supposed to be really, really scary. In STO, they're simply not; they can't be. It would be an unwise business move to create enemies who permanently assimilate players who lose a battle to them. Attempts to make the Borg more formidable in the game resulted in the current strategic task force format (STFs are akin to five-man raids). According to the first installment of the Season Seven Dev Blog, Into the Hive appears to be the mission that actually sends sends the Borg packing. I can't say I'll be sorry to see them go!

STO Borg Queen Into the Hive
Taking on the Queen

Most Star Trek fans will know that the Borg are a collective, a species that shares all thoughts, directives, power, and will. Individuals are assimilated from the species and cultures the Borg overrun. Think of them as really big locusts, only instead of eating your food, they take over your individuality and replace it with automatized functions and a whole lot of cybernetic implants to "enhance" your pathetically weak biological organs. While they are a collective, the Borg utilize a queen as an (albeit ill-defined) center-point, and the Federation knows that, as with bees, you must kill the queen to disperse or kill the hive.

As such, the dev blog reveals that Into the Hive will involve a strike team entering the heart of the Borg Collective, the place known as Unimatrix 01, to undertake the enormous task of taking down the Queen and in turn the rest of the Borg. Like other STF missions, Into the Hive will be available on the PvE queue 24 hours a day but will offer additional rewards if played during the special times listed on the game's event calendar. It will be available in two difficulty levels, normal and elite, and players will have to be at least Vice Admiral for the Federation and Lt. General on the KDF in order to play it.

STO Infant Nanov
A whole new sector

It's been well over a year since STO released a new sector of space to explore, and that sector, Orellius, was released along with the Featured Episode series that involves the Breen. Players were excited to hear that a new sector would be released with Season Seven, but we're just now beginning to hear more details of what can be expected in it as the second dev blog in the Season Seven series was released late last week.

The picture above is a screenshot of a new creature that can be found in the Tau Dewa sector. It's said to be the image of an "Infant Nanov," and just from looking at it, I'm not sure I want to be running into the parent(s).

The new Tau Dewa sector will be "south" of the Psi Velorum Sector Block and "east" of the Regulus sector block. The big blue line shown bisecting the sector below is the infamous Romulan Neutral Zone, known by some fans as the RNZ. Everything to the left of the line sits in Federation Space; everything to its right is in Romulan space. I'm glad to see this small detail make it into the game!

STO Tau Dewa Sector block
New systems!

The new Tau Dewa Sector will include 17 new systems, 13 of which will have missions that involve the Romulans and assumedly the new Reputation system inherent with the release. Tau Dewa will be open only to Vice Admirals and Lt. Generals, and the missions will also be available at all times. Extra rewards will be granted if missions are played during their special times as listed in the game's event calendar. The new systems where Romulans have need of Federation and Klingon assistance are:
  • Archer System
  • Narendra System
  • Gamma Eridon System
  • Beta Thoridor System
  • Japori System
  • Carraya System
  • Pheben System
  • Nequincia Alpha System
  • Jouret System
  • Acamar System
  • Beta Lankal System
  • Starbase 234 System
  • Galorndon Core System
And the remaining systems are:
  • Suliban System
  • Khitomer System
  • Nimbus System
  • New Romulus System
STO Tau Dewa battle
Those of you familiar with the Star Trek television shows and films might be as intrigued as I am by some of the names listed above, especially the Suliban system, home to the mysterious species introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise. Also, the dev blog states that the New Romulus System will be home to the game's new "adventure zone," about which we can expect a new dev blog next week!

Again, both the Federation and Klingon factions will need to build up reputation from the Romulans in order to access new rewards, all of which have yet to be clarified by Cryptic, but it looks like we'll be hearing about them in the days leading up to the release of Season Seven in November. Until next week, 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 terilynn@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.