Contrary to its showing in 2012, Star Trek Online was the focus of not just one but two complete formal panels this year. The first featured two of the STO devs in a discussion with actress Denise Crosby, who voiced the characters of Empress Sela as well as Lt. Tasha Yar. The second panel was co-hosted by Massively and Trek Radio and featured a panel of STO devs who talked about the game and gave us some great sneak-peeks at Season Eight works in progress!
Crosby seemed genuinely happy to be there and affiliated with the game (so much so she participated in another event that I'll discuss below). She has a true affection for her Star Trek characters and appears to relish the fact that both of them have been included in the game. In fact, she admitted that she always had hope that the Sela character specifically would experience a lot of growth and gain complexity, she seems pleased that STO is allowing that character development, more so than she could have ever hoped.
The ceremony took place on the refurbished bridge set of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D saved from demolition after the closure of the Star Trek Experience attraction once housed at the former Las Vegas Hilton. A non-profit organization painstakingly rebuilt the command, operations, and helm positions and transported them all to the convention site so fans could enjoy them once again. The ceremony was, as one fan put it, "the nerdiest thing I have ever been a part of, and I'm proud to say so."
On Saturday, I was once again glad to moderate the Star Trek Online developers panel. In attendance on behalf of Cryptic Studios were Al Rivera, Brandon Felczer, User Interface Artist Thomas Marrone, and Executive Producer Daniel Stahl. The panel was co-moderated by Lisa Guetzkow of Trek Radio, on whose site you can view the recorded version of the panel.
The panel opened by going over the developers' duties and responsibilities. We followed that up with a recap of the Legacy of Romulus expansion and its success. Stahl informed us that we should soon see the release of a new Featured Episode mission in the game that will progress the game's current Elachi/Iconian storyline into the new plot that will become Season Eight, which is set to be released "before the end of the year."
The first time a Dyson Sphere was seen and used in Star Trek was during The Next Generation episode Relics. In that episode, Montgomery Scott's stranded shuttle is discovered on the outer shell of a Dyson Sphere.
It was a bit of a challenge to be on stage listening to the panel and keeping notes on the news at the same time, but from the sound of it, the team is trying to put together a form of PvE territory control or maybe even some sort of "capture the flag" mechanic for the new area. Stahl stated that Cryptic is aiming for a type of gameplay that allows players to capture areas of the sphere's interior controlled by the Voth. I also distinctly heard the term "20-captain mission" spoken during the Season Eight discussion.
One thing I am sure of is this: We'll be hearing a lot more about the upcoming Season Eight material in the coming months, and we'll be speculating in the meantime! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.