Star Trek Online Season 9.5 Now Live – TrekMovie Talks To Cryptic About New Crafting System, Uniforms & More | TrekMovie.com
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Star Trek Online Season 9.5 Now Live – TrekMovie Talks To Cryptic About New Crafting System, Uniforms & More July 17, 2014

by Kyle Hadyniak , Filed under: Interview,Star Trek Online , trackback

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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.


Season 9.5 revamps Star Trek Online’s crafting system

“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 material package introduced for Season 9.5

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.”


Exploration clusters have been removed for 9.5

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.”


New Standardized Starfleet Uniform

Xindi Lockboxes

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 Narcine Dreadnought Carrier – Grand Prize For new Xindi Lockboxes In STO Season 9.5

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.


Xindi bridge officers also available in the new Xindi Lockboxes

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.

For more information regarding Season 9.5 can be found in Cryptic’s dev blogs. And more about Star Trek Online, visit the main site.

Comments

1. Ados - July 17, 2014

Tried this game…its no WOW….

2. NX01 - July 17, 2014

The new uniform is not very new. I looks like the racing uniform, that was sold at one point. Have they romoved exploration from the game completely? I still like this game, I admire that they are constantly add to it.

3. SpaceBunny - July 18, 2014

So while the new uniform additions are nice, and maybe the crafting system that was revamped *might* be ok (too early to tell yet, unsure of how much real money will be involved in making good gear later on), this update actually *REMOVES* more than it adds.

Basically, and regardless of their perceived value, all the randomized exploration content in the form of Star Clusters (short missions that might involve combat, non-combat, resource gathering, diplomacy, and first contact scenarios) have been removed from the game.

This means that a portion of the game that is alternative to grinding the same queueable missions (which you can do by sitting in a place like Spacedock and open a menu, pick a queueable mission from a list, and wait for team members to fill up to automatically jump to a fifteen-minute-long combat mission. Not exactly that immersive) over and over again is gone. Oh, and story missions, and some other stagnant content that’s been grinded to the nth degree.

I’ve never had a Season update to this game that I’ve ever felt was worth complaining about before. But any MMO update that makes it a feature to REMOVE huge chunks of playable content is a bad update.

This content needed love and care on the part of the devs to make it better, but it hadn’t been touched in years, but people still enjoyed it. And the excuses for their removal, stating newbies get lost in them? Well…that’s what adding tutorials and fixing it up is for. Takes up too much hard-drive space, the devs say? So do most modern online games.

Oh, and that DOff UI update, “streamlined” to the equivalent of going from something like Windows XP/7 to Windows 8. While it’s easier to shoot off a DOff assignment as it picks THE best DOffs to send right off the bat for you, it no longer is as informative or easy to deal with as it was. It’s as if they’re revamping the UI to make it easier for tablets or something…probably an upcoming thing. The forums are aflame about this right now.

Recent updates seem more skewed to trying to capture short-term players than holding long-term ones, and it’s worrying.

4. SpaceBunny - July 18, 2014

“Oh, and story missions, and some other stagnant content that’s been grinded to the nth degree.”

Should have clarified that I meant that those are still available as alternatives, but been done so many times over and over again.

Also, Memory Alpha has been removed as a visitable location. It was used for the old crafting system before, but while now useless for the new crafting system, was still useful as a location for roleplaying and general immersion.

It seemed like it was hinted at originally on the test server patch notes that it’d be closed for “renovations,” but there’s been no mention of it since, and it’s been removed with little fanfare on the live main server.

Overall, a lot of things removed or dumbed down. I’m usually pretty patient with STO and love the game as well as the devs, but this is really disheartening.

5. Uberskeeve - July 20, 2014

I’d have to agree with SpaceBunny… the “new” update is a big step backwards.. crafting especially has been turned into a HUGE time sink in a blatant effort to force players to “buy” crafting packs from the store, which I’m sure many will do…

it’s horribly obvious that this update is completely geared towards forcing the “free” players to pony up money to get access to more game features.

I for one am disappointed in this STO revamp … and unlikely to keep playing on a regular basis like I have been….

6. Pensive's Wetness - July 21, 2014

I stopped playing once i realized that my $15/month would be going to China… though im glad the game is still going, i think the removal of places to go is more of a lessening of a RL hardware hit (that is, allecuting game resources to other indevors in lue of actually adding more hardware to the servers) than a game improvement…

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