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Captain's Log: Gearing up for Star Trek Online's fourth anniversary

Captain's Log: Gearing up for Star Trek Online's fourth anniversary
Terilynn Shull
Terilynn Shull|@TerilynnS|January 27, 2014 5:00 PM
STO Tuvok concept art
We're only a few days away from the release of Star Trek Online's fourth anniversary celebration, and a lot of information about upcoming events is rolling out. As the team prepares for the launch, several new blogs have popped up teasing players with information about upcoming content and changes including news that actor Tim Russ, who played Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager, will reprise his role in Star Trek Online's Fourth Anniversary Featured Episode!

It's only logical

Last week's announcement that Tim Russ would be providing his voice for upcoming content certainly made a lot of Trekkies happy. Community Manager Brandon Felczer interviewed Russ for the game's video blog and asked a lot of great questions. It was also revealed during the interview that recordings of Russ' voice won't just be used in the upcoming Featured Episode (called A Step Between Stars); it will also be heard in "upcoming content" including "Season Nine and beyond."

STO Tuvok in command chair
For those who have not yet listened to the interview, the spoilers are that Tuvok is now a one-pip Admiral in the STO universe and is the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Voyager. By my calculations Tuvok is pushing a mature 145 years old in 2409, and that would be late-middle-age for a Vulcan. Other than that, there's really no other information on what the mission will entail. The only thing we do know is that the ships that will be rewarded to those undertaking the mission look pretty incredible!

STO KDF anniversary ship creation
New ship development

Late last week another dev blog was posted on the game's site. It's one of the most in-depth posts the team has made about any topic in a very long time. In order to address some long-standing questions about ship development in STO, the team got together and created a detailed outline of the process that's involved with getting a playable starship into the game. One of the best parts of this blog is the fact that there are numerous screencaps (some of which are in this column) and concept art photos of the upcoming anniversary ships!

The new ships will all be Dyson-hybrids, meaning that they will all contain technology that the three factions were able to glean from the Solonae Dyson Sphere. The new ships are being described as science destoyers, science vessels with a heavy lean on tactical BOff slots and console slots as opposed to engineering skills. There will be one ship made for each of the three factions: Federation, Romulan, and Klingon.

STO Romulan anniversary ship creation
I have to say, it's been a long time since I've been really excited about a new ship in the game, and these Dyson-hybrids look pretty cool, even from just the concept art we've been shown. It's also nice to see a new tac-heavy science ship in the game. I have a feeling that I might have to roll a new Romulan science character now!

However, unlike previous anniversary events, the new ship will not be rewarded to players simply for playing the featured episode once. This year, according to an interview on the Priority One Podcast with STO Lead Designer Al (CaptainGeko) Rivera, players will be rewarded with the vessel and its two pieces of gear (one that remains undisclosed and the other being a secondary deflector) if they play the mission consistently over a 15-day period. This new tack will be what provides players with the elevated versions of the new ships for free which in the past were typically sold in the ZEN Store. The anniversary event goes live on Thursday, January 30th, 2014.

STO Starfleet anniversary ship firing
Lockbox promotion

As has become a tradition when a lockbox is phased out, STO devs have posted the news that for the next few days until the Voth lockboxes fade away on Thursday, all previous versions of the lockboxes (and their unique rewards) will drop during gameplay. So for those of you who want to take a chance on getting holonovel storage devices from the Feregni lockbox or maybe a phased polaron weapon box from a Dominion lockbox or even a Tal Shiar Adapted Destoyer from a Romulan lockbox, now's the time!

STO Intrepid
Event Calendar overhaul

Another great bit of news was released on the game's site this week. System Designer, Charles Gray, posted a short blog outlining the fact that Cryptic has done some hard data research on STO's hourly event calendar. The calendar currently appears at the bottom portion of a player's mission journal and offers small bonuses for undertaking the featured quest. For instance, it's possible to gain extra fleet marks for running any mission that awards the marks during the prescribed time period. Another event offers multipliers on anomalies that are scanned during the multiphasic event. Yet another hourly event rewards players who undertake specific PvE missions.

To be honest, I've rarely participated in any of the events mainly because they never really did fit well into my own schedule. I play when I can, not when timed events are scheduled. It seems I wasn't the only one not to utilize the hourly events. According to Gray's blog, many of us failed to use the hourly bonus events with any kind of consistency. Therefore, it looks as if the hourly events are being scrubbed in favor of less-frequent (but longer) weekend bonus events. I have to say I am personally comfortable with this idea. It's far more likely that I'll be able to participate for a small portion of a multi-day event than I am in any regularly occurring two-hour event. Gray also points out that the rewards for the new multi-day events will also be appropriately elevated to make them even more appealing.

STO Intrepid Class at Dyson Spire
ZEN store giveaways

Finally, as part of the Fourth Anniversary Celebration, STO will be giving away ZEN store items to all players for the next three days! As reflected in the blog posted late last week, beginning January 27th (today) and ending on Wednesday, January 29th, 2014, a new item will be listed on the game's site as being a free giveaway. Eligible characters can access the ZEN store and navigate to the featured item, for which the price will be "0 ZEN." A player can obtain the item by clicking on the word "Claim." According to the blog, all of the items will be account-wide unlocks, so there won't be a need to sign on with every eligible character to receive the featured item! The announcements of the daily featured items are to be posted at approximately 1:00 p.m. EST on those three days.

All in all, it sounds as if the STO team and the playerbase have a lot to look forward to as they get ready to celebrate the game's fourth anniversary! 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: Gearing up for Star Trek Online's fourth anniversary