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Captain's Log: Around round of Star Trek Online potpourri

Captain's Log: Around round of Star Trek Online potpourri
Terilynn Shull
Terilynn Shull|@TerilynnS|September 9, 2013 12:00 PM
STO Romulan tactical warbird
Over the course of the last few weeks, Captain's Log has chronicled a series of interviews with various members of the Star Trek Online development team. Today, I think it's time to take a break and bring everyone up to date and outline some of the interesting things that happened in Star Trek Online in the past month.

STO Lead Designer Al Rivera issued a special dev blog outlining the new changes to security for fleets, and Executive Producer Daniel Stahl also posted about the integration of material from Star Trek: Voyager into the game, so join me past the break as I cover what has happened in STO since we got back from Las Vegas!

STO ST Voyager cap
The next likely expansion? The Delta Quadrant.

A couple of weeks ago, Dan Stahl posted a special dev blog on the STO site explaining that the team is currently about "mid-way through" development of the upcoming Season Eight patch. He reiterated that the Voth from Star Trek: Voyager will be heavily featured, as will the new Dyson Sphere space adventure zone. Concept art images of the new Dyson Sphere interiors can be found both in my previous Captain's Log that summarizes the news as well as on the STO screenshots page.

In his blog, Stahl posted the results of an in-forum poll that had asked the players, "Which Trek series' ships, characters, species, and stories, would you most like to see more of in a future STO expansion?" The results weren't very surprising, but the numbers were very clear:
  • Enterprise – 409
  • The Original Series – 198
  • The Next Generation – 371
  • Deep Space Nine – 474
  • Voyager – 1,216

STO Voyager aft view
As you can see, Voyager won the poll handily. I think part of the reason for that success is that, frankly, Voyager's ships, species, and stories are really the only ones that haven't been addressed at all in the game. Yes, the Intrepid is a ship in the game, but there's still very little else. There are numerous ships from TNG and DS9, and DS9 is even a social zone in the game. The Original Series takes place so far in the past of the STO timeline that integrating much more than has been already might seem out of place. Voyager's tales are simply the ripest for picking at this time.

We can infer from the blog that after the teams are done working on Season Eight, they might be turning their attention to a new expansion and that expansion will focus on the Delta Quadrant. Stahl did say the Delta Quadrant is extremely distant from the home areas set on the edges of the Alpha and Beta Quadrant. Because of this, "any journey into the Delta Quadrant would be long-term missions due to the expanse being traveled."

Stahl hinted heavily at the integration of new fleet holdings and projects that will lay the foundation for the advancement of the Federation and Klingon factions as they move toward the Delta Quadrant. However, Stahl also seemed to be eliciting responses from players by delineating several potential options for gameplay style with any future expansion that involves the Delta Quadrant.

STO Voyager Vidiian
He said that one option would be to "fling" captains to one side of the Delta Quadrant and have them undertake a series of missions and projects akin to Voyager's in the series. However, he admited this option may not play very well in an MMO. Another option might be to introduce a new playable faction that would allow Cryptic to virtually introduce a new species every week. Voyager had hundreds of species from which to choose, and Stahl noted it would be daunting to narrow them down to a faction that would work best for the game.

Stahl said that there is a lot for the team to discuss, but it's looking to the players for their input. So expect more polls in the forums and participate in them. Currently, the next asks, "Which of these societies from Star Trek: Voyager would you most like to encounter in STO?" I don't want to hear from anyone that he was denied the opportunity to have his voice heard about a new Delta Quadrant-themed expansion because the door has been opened and they're listening right now!

STO KDF & Fed bases
A subject near and dear to my heart.

As many of you know, several months ago I wrote about the tragic (tempered in the sense of gaming; no one died) loss of my fleet's, well, fleetness. We lost everything; our starbase, our embassy, our bank inventory, and access to the fleet itself. Every single member was booted out by a rogue fleet member.

How could that have happened, you ask? It was actually quite simple. From the information I was able to gather, a fleetmate became angry over his demotion in the fleet due to his inactivity. So angered, he either hacked a fleet leader or had been given that fleet leader's password and used it to sign in as the leader. Once he was in the game, he used the fleet leader's clearance to demote all other leaders in the game (of which there were five or so) and proceeded to kick every single member from the both our Federation and KDF fleets.

Thousands of hours had been spent earning our holdings' tiers, and admittedly, an ungodly amount of money. Luckily for us, the STO community proved to everyone why it's considered to be one of the finest MMO communities in the world, and hundreds of people came forward to donate to help us start all over again. No one could have prepared us for the amazing generosity we experienced, and we're still incredibly grateful for the kindness shown to us by every single one of them.

STO Elachi ship 1
New security measures

I have since found out that we have not been the only victims of this tactic, and the developers at Cryptic have hear our pleas. This week Al Rivera posted a dev blog that outlines the new security measures that were put into place during the game's last patch. Like any set of security methods, these are not foolproof, but they are a welcomed addition for fleets like mine that use a more democratic approach in their operations.

I have never believed in the term "benevolent dictator." I have never experienced a solo fleet leader who didn't eventually become an egomaniacal bleeper-bleeper who uses his so-called power to be nothing less than a jerk to those under his command. I don't react well in those circumstances. I get cranky. I'm too damn old to be told that my playstyle doesn't conform to the ideals of the fleet leader. I deal with that in real life and get paid damn well for it. I don't need it in a game I'm supposed to enjoying on my free time.

STO Elachi ship 2
The new measures are a huge and extremely positive step forward for fleets like mine where a small group of people hold equal access to power. Now none of them will be able to boot another leader without approval from others. Again, there are things about the new security system that will likely have to be tweaked in the future, but for right now any tool that will help us protect our team's hard work is appreciated.

Next week, we'll be hearing more about the new Romulan tactical ship that will be put into the game, and we're being teased that we might hear more about the new Featured Episode bridging the story-gap between the Legacy of Romulus expansion and the upcoming release of Season Eight. If not, then I'll pick back up with my interviews with the STO art team! 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.
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Captain's Log: Around round of Star Trek Online potpourri