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Captain's Log: The state of Star Trek Online


This past week, Star Trek Online's developers proved they're listening to community feedback. STO Executive Producer Daniel Stahl has released this month's state-of-the-game letter, Foundry missions are playable again, and a few of the game's developers began preparations for their appearance at the upcoming Discussion with the Devs panel, which will be co-hosted by Massively and Trek Radio at the official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas.

Still, there are some outstanding issues that haven't been addressed by Cryptic or Perfect World, and some players are beginning to wonder whether PvP has been laid to rest in STO. Also, the addition of a new EV suit to the ZEN Store has ruffled quite a few feathers, including mine. Join me while I sift through what happened in STO over the past week!

STO Tholian Lieutenant
You want how much for that?

This week, we saw the introduction of two versions of an EV suit in the ZEN Store. Each version is faction specific; there's the canon-inspired white Federation suit and a darker, sturdy-looking suit made for Klingon characters. EV suits are used in missions where space-walking is required and where the environment of a planet or asteroid is hostile to the player. Currently, EV suits are required during the Boldly They Rode mission, the dilithium mining mission, and any of the ground-based Tholian missions on Nukara Prime.

EV suits can be obtained in the game by undertaking the Boldly They Rode mission, which rewards the player with a basic model. Basic armor EV suits of different colors can also be purchased from the Ferengi NPC at the mining asteroid. Higher-quality armored EV suits can be won through mission completion on Nukara Prime.

But the additional suits added to the ZEN Store this week shocked players for a couple of reasons. The suits are listed as 700 ZEN ($7.00 US) per character, and they offer no better protection than some of the mid-level Cardassian suits currently received as drops or as rewards in the game. Essentially, the suits are cosmetic in nature, and altaholics like yours truly are now cringing at how cost-prohibitive it will be to outfit all of their characters with canon costumes.

The backlash from the community has been fierce and swift, but it remains to be seen how well the suits will sell and whether this price pressure-point trial will give way to more high-priced per-character unlock items in the future.

STO Academy Logo resized
PvP languishes on the sideline

Prior to the launch of Season Six, Cryptic reportedly had one developer, Dan "Gozer" Griffis, working on an overhaul to the game's decaying PvP system. However, last month Griffis announced his departure from Cryptic, and since that time, we haven't heard a word about the alleged overhaul from the studio.

The community does seem to realize that the dev team has been focusing on the massive amount of new material that came with the Season Six launch, including the new fleet starbase system and the Tholian content, but many players were looking forward to whatever attention the PvP system could get.

Given the fact that the game will soon be seeing an influx of high-end fleet starships as they are crafted, I think PvP could be a potential avenue for extended endgame play. But without any proof that the system will see the overhaul that was apparently abandoned when Griffis departed, it's been difficult for the straggling PvPers to believe that the system won't just be gutted altogether.

STO KDF Starbase interior
The Foundry is back... well, sort of

The QA team responsible for The Foundry, STO's user-generated content tool, has certainly had its hands full in the weeks following the launch of Season Six. According to posts in the game's forum as well as in the recently published state-of-the-game letter, both the editing and play functions of the toolset were locked down in order to prevent a catastrophic crash when Season Six launched. Since that time, the team has discovered "very specific" bugs in certain player-created missions that required addressing before the toolset could be reopened.

This week, the ability to play Foundry missions has been unlocked; however, the ability to review the missions has been deactivated. The actual creation toolset remains locked and will remain so until the QA team can squash the lingering bugs. Once the issues have been addressed, those missions will be republished and the editor will be unlocked. We learned more on the forums, where "jfinderdev" posted the following:

The editor will not be coming up this weekend. Why are we waiting? To avoid the repeat of Season Four. One very small bug caused all the problems in Season Four. There were other bugs in Season Four, but this one bug is what made Season Four so bad. That bug would throw away entire dialog trees. And what was really bad about it was that for anyone who entered the Foundry editor, even just once, we had no way to get those dialog trees back without throwing out all the other changes made.

So for Season Six, we are bringing up playing (without reviews) first. Once we feel confident that there are no data loss bugs like the type that destroyed Season 4, we will bring up editing. And after all of you have had a chance to fix your projects, we will bring up reviewing.

There was also a bit of interesting news in Stahl's SOTG letter:

In addition to new Foundry features, we will also be diving into the Foundry Spotlight feature. We expect this feature to go live, along with the ability to add standard rewards to Foundry Spotlight missions, in the near future, well before Season 7 launches. Expect more information on this feature by the next State of the Game.

This is a nice gesture that many people were hoping to see. Once per week (when the toolset is operational), the game prominently features a single player-created mission. In the past, the spotlighted missions were posted to the front page of the game's website and highlighted in the pop-up bulletin displayed on login. The addition of a standard reward for those who undertake the mission is a great way to entice players to try the spotlighted mission.

STo Sovereign with Jem Hadar set
Discussion with the STO devs in Las Vegas

Preparation is underway for the Discussion with the Devs panel at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas! The convention's initial schedule has been posted; it outlines the four days of activities for attendees. The Discussion with the Devs panel is set for Saturday morning, the 11th of August, at 2:00 p.m. EDT (11:00 a.m. PDT, local time in Las Vegas).

Scheduled attendees from Cryptic are:
  • Daniel Stahl, Executive Producer
  • Jesse Heinig, Content Designer
  • Thomas Marrone, UI and Concept Artist
  • Brandon Felczer, Community Manager
I am proud to be co-moderating the panel with Risa from Trek Radio. Feel free to leave questions you might have for the devs in the comment section below. And 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

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