I've had the opportunity to jump into the Star Trek Online's test server, Tribble, to catch a few glimpses of some of the character works in progress. With more material being pushed to Tribble on almost a daily basis, there should be lots to see in the next couple of weeks!
One of the inherent problems with being a player on a test server is, obviously, having to deal with material that isn't quite ready for prime time. When one aspect of the new content is humming along, another is either dysfunctional or missing altogether.
In STO, the character creation tool has been one of those things that has seen improvements being made in a piecemeal fashion. This week I was able to jump in and get my hands dirty with the creation of a new alien character and a new Reman character. It's important to note that I didn't realize the Reman character creation tool wasn't supposed to have been unlocked when I tried it out, and it has since been removed for further work. So please remember that the images of the character creation tool are very much a work in progress.
Some of this column's readers may know that I am involved in two podcasts in the greater Star Trek community, one of which focuses on STO and the user-generated content tool known as The Foundry. Those readers may also recall that there has been a bit of heated discussion on our recent episodes regarding revelations about the alien character generator that will be included with the upcoming Romulan faction.
Initially, representatives of Cryptic had announced that in lieu of a full-formed alien character generator (like those available on both the Federation and Klingon factions) for the Romulan Republic, a newfangled "limited" alien "hybrid" generator would be available only to Gold and Lifetime subscribers.
Well, in the long run those arguments all became moot when it was announced last week that the alien "hybrid" generator had been scrubbed because of a lack of time and that the original alien character generator will be made available to the Romulan Republic faction at no charge to any player. Now Cryptic gets to deal with the ire of the subscribers who were almost beginning to feel as if they might actually be getting something besides a stipend that would set them apart from the free-to-play customer. After the change was made, the reasons for the decision were tweeted by lead designer Al Rivera, who stated that the team simply ran out of time to achieve the goal of an "alien hybrid" tool and regretted that it had even been announced at all.
Be that as it may, because of the change, players will not be limited to the types of alien characters who will be asserting their loyalty to the Romulan Republic.
It's also no secret that I have had the desire to play a Reman character in STO since the day it launched over three years ago. While some people would consider my choice of character a bit odd, I have very personal reasons for wanting to do so. I've been writing Star Trek facfiction for six years, and one of my very favorite works involves a storyline that isn't dissimilar from what we are beginning to see unfold in Star Trek Online. One of my characters is a Reman woman who becomes very influential in the life of the main character. Imagine how happy I was to sit and make that character come to life, if only temporarily!
Reman women were never seen in canon Star Trek, and I'm thrilled that instead of taking the Lord of the Rings Online tack by never showing a dwarf woman (although we know they exist -- and yes, I know, they're never seen in the books or movies), Cryptic acknowledged the likelihood of Reman females' existence and they will be an option in the character creation tool.
Another dev blog released last week showed off concept art for some of the new uniforms that will be available on the new faction. It's actually very nice to see that in-game as well. The textures of the uniforms look great. There are even specialized options available for the alien and Reman characters. Those who purchased the Legacy Pack will get the shiny Reman outfit seen in the movie Star Trek: The Next Generation – Nemesis. I also understand it will be made available for separate purchase in STO's C-Store after the expansion goes live.
Next week I'll be diving into more of the story and game play of the LoR expansion as new material comes out. Until then, 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.