Yet here we are, on the eve of the release of Star Trek Online's first expansion and a flood of new material. Beware, I will be writing spoilers about the new content, but if you're not worried about that, feel free to join me as I touch on most of what we're going to see!
For three years, Klingon fans have had to endure the fact that their faction wasn't even a "real" faction and that players could only roll a Klingon character once their initial Federation character reached level 24. The Legacy of Romulus expansion changes all of that. All players will be able to start a Klingon faction character from level 1 and will be given enough material to play to reach the current level cap of 50.
I was able to participate in the first 11 levels of Klingon play on the Tribble test server and was absolutely thrilled with it. To be honest, I think Klingon play never really did interest me, and I have two Klingon toons (an Orion and a Gorn), neither of whom has exceeded level 26. Why? Low-level missions suffered from so many bugs that I gave up hope and went back to my Federation characters. Another reason was simply that I didn't feel any sense of emotional connection to the faction. Everyone just seemed too much like Nero from the film Star Trek (2009): They were all angry, but there wasn't any tangible reason for the anger.
I can honestly say that all of that has changed. The Klingons no longer carry unfocused, unexplained anger. They're now granted the sense of the honor and pride we always knew that they were supposed to have.
A player now begins her life in the Klingon Empire with one of the most legitimate expedited career advancements in the game. In their respective tutorial segments, Federation characters find themselves being the most senior surviving officer of their ship after a Borg attack, while Romulan characters are civilian specialists that survive a Tal Shiar attack and are able to escape by commandeering an empty warbird. In their brand-new tutorial, Klingon characters all begin as an existing ship's second officer. The Captain of the vessel is revealed to be a dishonorable to'bah, and his command is challenged by the first officer.
The captain has taken on a Federation prisoner, yet he has no intention of returning him to the prison on the Klingon homeworld. Worse he intends to return the prisoner to those Federation dogs. The captain is, without a doubt, a traitor!
To those who know anything about Klingon lore, a captain's cowardice can be challenged by the first officer, and that officer has a duty to challenge that cowardice. The challenge is nothing more than a duel to the death. In the new tutorial, the first officer fails in her attempt to challenge the captain and the player's character is promoted, thereby becoming the new first officer. It's then that the player, based on the information that he already possesses, also challenges the captain of the vessel and succeeds, thereby becoming the commander of the vessel through appropriate and time-honored tradition. It's an excellent touch and one that forever sets up the Klingon faction (and certainly adds new life to gameplay).
The KDF will also see two new low-level ships introduced to the C-Store (ZEN store) in the new expansion. The new Tier 1 ship, the B'Rotlh bird-of-prey, will have a console that can be moved to other KDF ships as well as to Romulan ships for Romulan players who have allied themselves with the KDF faction. The universal Enhanced Induction Coils console will provide a short duration increase to a player's weapon and engine power levels. It will also repair disabled weapons and engine subsystems.
Along with a new trait system, updates to the duty officer system, a new reputation faction, an overhaul to Drozana Station, and a completely overhauled user interface system, the Legacy of Romulus expansion will also feature a brand-new adventure zone.
Trek fans may remember the Planet of Galactic Peace from the film Star Trek: The Final Frontier or from the Star Trek: Vanguard series of novels. It's also known as Nimbus III, a planet first inhabited by members of the Federation, Romulan Star Empire, and Klingon Empire as a diplomatic experiment. However, none of the participating governments really had any faith in the experiment's success, so they sent their less-than-honorable citizens to reside in the capital, Paradise City. Not only did the experiment fail, it failed so miserably that it became a mecca for every thief in the sector.
Nimbus III was created for levels 21 through 25; however, higher-level players will be scaled to level 26 when they beam down to the planet. There is a new series of featured missions, a dance competition that will reward players with an emote, and missions that will reward dilithium, including one that rewards the player based upon how well she completes it.
The game began patching for current players last week, and it's due to go live tomorrow on (Tuesday, May 21st), but no specific time has been announced. Be prepared for long queues, the potential for a few server crashes, and long download times if you haven't had the opportunity to pre-patch. See you all in game, and until next week, live long and prosper!
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