This morning Cryptic Studios launched an update for Star Trek Online. They have completely revamped the game’s crafting system, introduced a new standard uniform for Federation players, and added the Xindi too. TrekMovie spoke exclusively with Cryptic’s Thomas Marrone to get the lowdown on the changes for STO. Get the details below.
Star Trek Online Season 9.5 Now Live – Cryptic Artist Talks To TrekMovie
Star Trek Online – the free-to-play massive multiplayer game – has just launched a ‘mid-season’ update. Season 9.5 restructures the game’s crafting aspect, altering crafting material acquisition and the user interface, as well as adding a schools mechanism. Exploration clusters, once useful for obtaining crafting materials, will be removed.
“One of our core goals in developing Star Trek Online is not just to add new content…but to also improve and refresh existing content,” Cryptic User Interface Artist Thomas Marrone tells TrekMovie. “The new [crafting] system introduces more nuanced progression, a much higher variety of items to craft, and more interesting recipes and components that are more specific to Star Trek lore.”
With the new system, crafting is broken up into seven different schools: shields, beams, science, projectiles, ground weapons, engineering, and cannons. Players gain experience crafting in each school; duty officers can be assigned to work on specific crafting schools. As players gain more experience in each school, more powerful items can be built.
“It’s safe to say that with crafting it wasn’t so much an alteration of an existing system as the creation of a completely new one,” said Marrone. “Its involved efforts from systems and content designers, programmers, and artists to make sure the new crafting system is integrated with the game completely.”
Players will now also be able to obtain research and development materials through PvE queue rewards. Research materials come in two types: Normal Queue R&D Material Reward Packages, which contains a random assortment of 20 R&D materials of varying rarity, and Advanced Queue R&D Material Reward Packages, which contains 25 R&D materials of carrying rarity.
R&D materials are also available throughout story missions and through duty officer assignments. R&D packs can be purchased from the C-Store; booster packs, containing 40 R&D materials, cost 300 ZEN, while a set of 4 R&D packs cost 1000 ZEN.
Exploration clusters, systems in space used mainly for obtaining crafting items, will be removed due to the crafting update. This removal means players can no longer access that area of space; duty officers assignments once linked to specific exploration clusters will be transferred to a neighboring sector.
“[Exploration cluster] missions used automated tools to facilitate creating large quantities of widely varied content,” states a Season 9.5 Dev Blog. “The end results are missions that all play the same…nothing close to what we originally planned. One of the main reasons they’ve stayed in the game for as long as they have is that exploration clusters remain a major source of crafting.”
Season 9.5 also implements standardized Starfleet uniforms. These uniforms will be available to all players; this change serves to continue the Star Trek tradition of signifying milestones or time periods. Players will still be able to equip their own uniforms if they wish.
“By standardizing the uniforms with the sleek “Odyssey” design that has a strong heritage to "canon" Star Trek outfits we’re hoping players will feel more immersed in the Star Trek universe,” said Marrone. “In addition to that effort, we’ve made these uniform options available to all players so that they can match the new standard if they so choose.”
Season 9.5 also includes a new Xindi-themed lockbox, a race first introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise. Players can potentially obtain the powerful Narcine Dreadnought Carrier, the smaller, more nimble Contortrix Escort, a new selection of consoles, Xindi bridge and duty officers, Xindi uniforms, Mirror Universe starships, space and ground character-augmenting traits, kits, and weapons containing a new type of energy, phased biomatter.
Xindi lockboxes are accessible by purchasing keys, used to unlock a lockbox’s contents. Lockboxes can contain the aforementioned contents or Lobi Crystals, a currency players may use to buy certain Xindi items from the Lobi Store. For more information regarding Xindi lockboxes, visit this dev blog.
STO at STLV
Star Trek Online is headed to the big Star Trek Las Vegas Con running Jly 31st through August 3rd. They will be holding a developer panel on Saturday so if you are looking for news on what is coming in Season 10, that will be the place to be. They are also holding a number of other events during the show. For details CLICK HERE.