Star Trek Online's Executive Producer, Daniel Stahl, released two blog posts over the course of the last week, outlining not only the alterations to the Season Seven material but also answers players questions in the November Ask Cryptic. Join me as I go over a few of the changes!
In last week's Captain's Log, I opined that while I thoroughly enjoyed the material in the new Tau Dewa sector as well as the New Romulan colony, I was stymied by the fact that the reputation systems had 40-hour cooldowns on their respective project timers. This fact placed me into the position of feeling that I was best to hold off playing the new material in order to keep what remained fresh for when I actually needed to garner more Romulan marks.
Apparently I wasn't the only person with this opinion; according to Stahl's updated Season Seven blog, one of the numerous changes being made to the new release is a reduction in the length of cooldowns on reputation projects from 40 hours to 20. Personally, I like this length of time. It will allow for daily play, and now that I also understand that other aspects of the game will require the use of marks, I'm more apt to move ahead with playing the new material.
Before Season Seven went live, Cryptic announced that STF players who had earned the old types of currency would have that currency converted into the new forms of reputation currencies but that they would not be allowed to access it right away. The currency was to be stored in a locked conversion box, which the player would be able to access when he reached the fifth tier in the new reputation system.
There was a very noticeable outcry from the STF playerbase, many of whom felt the conversion boxes withheld their earned credit; many argued that they were being forced to start over. Initially, Cryptic responded by making the conversion boxes accessible at Tier Three. However, this week Stahl announced that the conversion boxes would be unlocked for all players immediately, removing all barriers to their newly converted currency.
Dilithium, loot, and loot rolls
As discussed in last week's Captain's Log, Cryptic also decided to add a dilithium reward back into the STF missions. But what did come as a surprise to many was the fact that a dilithium reward was also added to the Romulan reputation system. Stahl clarified that "all XP Reputation Projects (projects that reward progress towards [the] next Tier) will now grant 240 dilithium (on average) upon completion." He further declared that the rewards are "in addition to the marks to dilithium conversion Projects" and that once a player completes a reputation line, "these XP Projects will go away, but the Marks to Dilithium conversion projects will remain."
Stahl also stated that Reputation projects that convert marks to dilithium will now be unlockable immediately, allowing players to convert Omega and Romulan Marks to dilithium just as they could trade STF items for dilithium prior to Season Seven's launch.
Finally, loot drops were added back to STF mobs and bosses, and loot rolls were returned to the STF missions, but interestingly, they also seem to have been added to Romulan mark events as well.
As in previous Season releases, Cryptic took its user-generated content tool, The Foundry, offline while player missions were re-published. The QA team assured everyone that the tool weathered the new changes without imploding like it did after the Season Four launch.
The Foundry missions became playable again last week, but the editing tool is set to remain offline until sometime this week in order to complete the mission regression testing. This will allow players to access existing Foundry missions to gain the available dilithium reward while the Foundry authors wait for the full tool to be available so they can create and edit their work.
Finally this week, Stahl released the November installment of the Ask Cryptic blog on the game's site. You can read the entire list of questions for yourself, but I will touch on just a few of the responses in this column. Of note, it looks like we'll be seeing a few new ships being released between December and February 2013.
Stahl explains that a new limited-time ship will be available during the upcoming Winter Event, a "modern" Andorian vessel will be available in January 2013, there will be new ship rewards associated with the game's three year anniversary event, and a new lockbox ship will be released following the anniversary.
Stahl confirmed that we will see a new "one-off" Featured Episode make its debut with the game's third anniversary celebration in February 2013. He also confirmed that the teams are busy at work on other open maps for future reputations systems for the game -- specifically, The Khitomer and Nimbus systems in the Tau Dewa Sector.
I have no doubt that as additional metrics of the new material begin to gel, we might see additional tweaks to the reputation systems over the course of the next couple of weeks. We've also been given a few little hints as to what we can expect from Season Eight from some of Stahl's answers to questions from the playerbase.
I look forward to seeing what might change while I'm away on my vacation. That's right, folks -- Captain's Log will be on hiatus while I take a few weeks to boldly go where I've never gone before. While I'm away, STO news will be covered by the extremely capable Massively news team. Captain's Log will return on December 24th, just in time to go over STO's Winter Event! Until then, be safe and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.