Captain's Log: June's Ask Cryptic hints at more changes for STO

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It's been more than two weeks since Star Trek Online saw the implementation of the Legacy of Romulus, its first expansion. The game has seen its fair share of queues and server crashes, as well as frequent maintenance closures to address the stability problems.

In the game's most recent Ask Cryptic column, Star Trek Online's Executive Producer, Daniel Stahl, addressed some of those issues, answered numerous player questions about the current state of the game, and also gave hints of what we might see in the months to come. Join me past the jump as I attempt to prognosticate on what his answers actually mean.


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Server lag, queues and bugs, oh my!

I think it's pretty safe to assume that Stahl was bombarded with a plethora of questions from players about the consistent problems they've experienced with performance issues the game has seen since Legacy of Romulus launched, because he addressed the concerns in a long preamble in the Ask Cryptic column before undertaking other questions.

Reports from my fellow players have included complaints that they've experienced frequent server crashes as well as long queue lines. I, personally, haven't experienced many of these issues. It might be because I've had less of a chance to actually play the game for the past couple of weeks. It might also be because I've been a lifetime subscription holder since before the original launch of the game and don't have to suffer the non-sub queues. But I have seen the server crash once.

However, things are bad enough that Stahl stated in the column that Cryptic would be moving forward with several maintenance sessions to address server performance issues. He admitted that the company had indeed prepared for the onslaught of players when LoR launched by buying new hardware and upgrading the network, but admitted that "sometimes bad things just happen for no good reason." He stated the teams have "had to replace some new hardware, rewire some networks, upgrade some firewalls, and pretty much anything else that you could think of from an infrastructure standpoint. We're sorry and we're working around the clock to whack the moles as they pop up. But in general, we've had more people in and playing the game than any previous update in STO. We're seeing record numbers of captains creating new Romulan characters. It's pretty awesome."

Of interest, Stahl also stated that the team would be moving forward with another update in the near future that will introduce bug fixes such as those seen "in game mail, Romulan mission bugs, and much more." He wrote that QA is currently checking these updates and fixes and they will roll them out as soon as they can.

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A new playable species this year?

One interesting answer came in response to player cookiecrook's question about whether or not we will see a new playable species in the game. Stahl hinted that the team seems to be aiming at the release of a new playable species by the end of the year and also hinted that while the species would likely be seen as part of the Romulan faction, it also would not be likely be Hirogen, namely because the Hirogen are so tightly aligned with the Tal Shiar that it wouldn't make sense for the story of the game.

So let the speculation begin! Who will it be? Yridians? Suliban? A completely new species that we haven't heard of yet? (Hey, it could happen, the Deferi didn't exist until STO!) In any event, Stahl also made it clear that the new species isn't a done deal, nor is the target date. In other words, if we see a new species, we might not see it for a long while.

STO Romulan singularity core
Fleet holding change?

One of Stahl's more confusing answers came in response to sterlingwarbird's question about a small fleet's capability to complete fleet holding projects. It goes hand-in-hand with another of his answers revealing that the STO development team is already putting the finishing touches on a new fleet holding project that "will introduce some new dilithium-based mechanics specifically for fleets." Stahl stated that the new updates will "have a significant impact on a small fleet's ability to complete other fleet projects."

This appears to mean that there will be new tech that smaller fleets will be able to take advantage of in order to complete their dilithium-based requirements at a pace more in-line with the larger fleets. I know I'm one who is definitely looking forward to how this new mechanic might work, as small fleets have been suffering from recruitment problems since they cannot offer the higher-tiered stores that larger fleet starbases can.

STO Suliban NPC
Mission overhauls already in the works?

One of the more exciting questions came from psycoticvulcan who asked: "Are any of the Federation or Klingon missions slated for remastering in the near future?" Stahl replied that they would like to remaster all of the previous missions if they can find the time between updates. However it was his statement that they're "already working on Fed ones now," that got me excited. I'm looking forward to hearing how they might be brushing up the Federation missions to bring them up to the higher standard they set for themselves with the Romulan missions and the Klingon mission makeover.

STO Grenna
Will we finally be able to DOff on the Gateway?

One of the subjects that made many of us very jealous of Neverwinter players has been their ability to access the game's auction house and professions (crafting) system using the browser-based Gateway portal. Once again, STO became the beta testing area for Neverwinter (see Foundry) which got to launch a superior product based on the STO community's testing of new tech.

The moment the duty officer system was launched in STO we began to clamor for a way to access the system outside of the game. Many of us thought that when the STO Gateway system was released for beta that we would be seeing the consistent development of such an interface. Little did we know it was really a way for Neverwinter developers to test out how to make their Gateway work first and work better.

Well, the question was asked by player dcblackman and Stahl replied (rather cryptically I might add) that STO is planning on using the Gateway "hopefully before the end of the year." However Stahl made no mention of exactly how the Gateway might be utilized and whether those plans included the implementation of the DOff system, or whether it will just be used for the exchange and/or what passes for a crafting system in the game. Be that as it may, I can pretty much guarantee that players won't be satisfied with a Gateway system that doesn't include a viable and functional DOff system interface, and I hope that it's in that direction that the team is working.

There were many more great questions from the STO playerbase, so I recommend you read the entire column at the Star Trek Online site. 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.