Captain's Log: Star Trek Online's PvP community steps up

STO Q Winter Event Header
Three weeks away from home and any legitimate connection to the internet can certainly make one feel a bit disjointed. However, I've discovered it can actually be a bit more disconcerting trying to reintegrate into the previous patterns that existed before the break was taken.

When I left on my vacation, I seriously anticipated that very little news about Star Trek Online would occur. I expected the news about the 2012 Winter Event to come out, sure, but what I didn't expect was all of the other little bits of news that seemed to blindside me when I got back last week. Join me while I go over a few of the more interesting tidbits -- from the grassroots effort to reinvigorate PvP in Star Trek Online to the changes made to Foundry rewards.


STO Winter Event Snowmen
PvPers yell, "We're not quite dead yet!"

For more than a year (honestly, for more than the past two years), the PvP community in Star Trek Online has more than just dwindled -- it has virtually disappeared due to a lethal mix of a rather apathetic playerbase and a lack of personnel devoted to the creation and maintenance of PvP-devoted material.

Let's face the truth: PvP doesn't appeal to the majority of gamers. Sure, it may have been a mainstay of the gaming foundation a long time ago, but the influx of the dreaded "casual" players and their unwillingness to be subjected to humiliation by other players laid the foundation for the wasting away of that era.

Making matters worse, PvP has always seemed more convoluted in STO than in other games. PvPers, for the most part, have always been an integral part of the game's community, and those who participated in the limited choices for play were still some of the nicest in the game; it was just that their numbers were always thin compared to those who preferred to take on an enemy that was far more predictable.

STO Breen Cruiser
Enter the new grassroots effort called the PvP Boot Camp. Beginning on December 29th, 2012, players who sign up for the community-based effort will be able to receive some open advice and tips from more experienced PvP players. There will be two sessions offered to players in order to accommodate those who live around the globe. The organizers promise, "No 'noob' is too noobish to participate in Boot Camp. Come with the gear and the ship you have. Regardless of your equipment, you are certain to learn something and grow as a player."

I'm actually quite happy about this new endeavor. I have avoided PvP for years now as I know for a fact that my characters are not anywhere near capable enough to take on experienced PvP veterans. However, I'm willing to learn, and if a more experienced player is willing to help me spec one of my characters to the point of just being able to compete, I'll be more than happy to perfect my skills in the PvP arenas. Congratulations and many thanks to the PvP community. I'll be signing up for the sessions, and I recommend that anyone who might be remotely interested in becoming a more well-rounded player do the same!

Captain's Log Star Trek Online's PvP community steps up
A new video podcast from PWE

Also new in the last few weeks is the On Screen video newscast being produced by the community and PR/marketing teams at Perfect World Entertainment. The new videos are currently scheduled to be released on Star Trek Online's YouTube channel on a quarterly basis.

They feature STO Community Manager Brandon Felczer and Whitney Henderson from PWE's PR/marketing team. The first episode was just under five minutes long and contained an overview of all of the new material that was released over the course of the last month. Some of it was new to me (because I was away for so long), but a lot of it was old news. Be that as it may, it's nice to see a good quality, official video production from PWE and Cryptic pertaining to STO.

Personally, I think they'd be more useful on a monthly basis as opposed to a quarterly release, especially since the videos are so short. They would be a great conduit of information for the STO community and might very well be a great addendum to Executive Producer Dan Stahl's monthly Ask Cryptic column.

STO Breen Cruiser 2
Ask Cryptic and a plethora of new ships

The December Ask Cryptic column was released a couple of weeks ago. While most of the information contained in the blog wasn't news to most players, a few choice items stood out for me -- namely, a question about the rewards for completion of Foundry missions. While Stahl answered it by stating that rewards would be altered by the end of the year, that those reward changes have in fact already taken place.

First of all, the notorious "console clicker" missions (missions that required a player complete only a very mundane and simple task) have essentially been wiped out. It's no longer possible to exploit the game's dilithium economy by making and/or using simple one-task missions to gain the rewards. Secondly, the rewards for completing legitimate Foundry missions have increased.

Prior to the change, the Investigate Officer Reports "wrapper" would reward 1440 dilithium and 50 fleet marks once a player completed three Foundry missions. That mission could only be undertaken once per day. The new Investigate Officer Reports mission now rewards players 960 dilithium and 50 fleet marks for completing just one Foundry mission, and better still, it has only a 30-minute cool-down time. Playing Foundry missions has now become a great way to earn dilithium in STO! This is great news for Foundry authors and the playerbase in general!

STO Akira variant
What's this about a bunch of new ships, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Earlier this past weekend I tripped across a tweet issued by STO's lead designer, Al Rivera (CaptainGeko); he mentioned that he and four new employees are designing at least nine new ships for release before the end of February, 2013. When I asked him for more info, he told me his team is working on the Andorian escort, the Ambassador, two ships destined for lock box release, a Klingon vessel, and a "type 8 equivalent" for the KDF.

Then he noted that "some of the nine" would be variants of ships that are already in the game, and some will be fleet variants that will be available via the fleet store. The team is also working on additional ships for release throughout 2013; Rivera intimated that his crew is "thinking" of creating another Andorian vessel as well as possible ships from the Tellarites and the Xindi. Other ships being discussed were a C-Store (ZEN Store) variant of the KDF Negh'Var and possibly a Hirogen vessel.

In any event, it seems that the teams are quite busy, a fact touched upon by Stahl in the most recent Ask Cryptic. All that I know is a lot actually happened in the three weeks I was away. I'm glad I have the holidays to play a bit and catch up with some of the new changes and the Q Winter Wonderland event, which is set to run through January 14th. 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.