The Death Penalty
STO's injury system arrived hand in hand with the difficulty settings. Apparently players very loudly demanded some sort of death penalty -- to the extent that Executive Producer Craig Zinkievich mentioned it in the game's very first State of the Game letter -- and now here it is.
When your character or a Bridge Officer dies, or when your ship blows up, you have a chance of receiving an injury, which will appear as a red-bordered icon where buff and debuff effects normally appear. Each death can result in one of three injury types.
- Minor: The negative effect of minor injuries is small enough that it would take several minor injuries before most players would notice any difference in performance.
- Major: These injuries feel significant, but the character or ship can continue to function with only slight performance decreases. Sustaining more than one major injury of the same type (which modifies the same stat) will begin to noticeably impact performance.
- Critical: These injuries will really start to mess you up. A character or ship may still continue on in a mission (and succeed) with more than one critical injury, but each additional critical injury will prove costly to treat and will severely weaken the character or ship.
So for example, I died twice on a mission the other day. I received Shield Systems Damage, a minor injury that weakened my shields, and then Impulse Engine Malfunction, a major injury that lowered my engine power level. They didn't seem to hinder my performance, but they were there.
Injuries only occur on Advanced or Elite difficulty and only once you reach level 5. Also, while the severity of an injury is determined by chance, untreated injuries increase the likelihood you'll receive a major or critical injury the next time you die.
Treating injuries is a fairly simple system that consists of using an injury pack or paying certain NPCs -- a Chief Medical Officer for physical injuries or a Chief Engineer for ship injuries. Treatment is available on Earth Spacedock and Deep Space Nine for the Federation and on Qo'nos for the Klingon Empire.
Oh, and minor injuries only last 30 minutes, so you can just ignore them if you don't feel like treating them. Major and critical injuries require treatment, though.
Chief Medical Officers
The level 5 Federation quest Medical Attention introduces you to the Chief Medical Officer on Earth Spacedock and grants you three Minor Regenerators, which heal minor physical injuries. There are three CMOs in the game.
- Earth Spacedock: Located in Personnel, in the northeast quadrant of the station.
- Deep Space Nine: Located near the Exchange, which juts off the eastern side of the station.
- Qo'nos: Located next to the sparring ring where you first earn Bridge Officers, in the large room on the southwestern section of the map.
After you complete the mission Medical Attention, the Earth Spacedock CMO offers a new quest, Out of Commission. This sends you to the station's Chief Engineer, who gives you three Minor Components, which heal minor ship injuries. Like CMOs, there are currently three Chief Engineers in STO.
- Earth Spacedock: Located in the Shipyard, in the southeast quadrant of the station.
- Deep Space Nine: Located in the Shipyard, which juts off the western side of the station.
- Qo'nos: Located in the Shipyard, in the far western room on the map.
Instead of jetting off to your nearest CMO or CE, you can use items to treat injuries. Regenerators heal your character and your Bridge Officers, and Components heal your ship.
Each type of injury pack comes in three self-explanatory varieties: minor, major and critical. All varieties of injury pack can appear as drops from enemies, while minor and major packs are also available for purchase in -- you guessed it -- three places.
- Earth Spacedock: Components are sold in the Shipyard. Regenerators are sold in Requisitions, in the northwest quadrant of the station.
- Deep Space Nine: Components are sold in the Shipyard. Regenerators are sold by the two Device Merchants in the southeast portion of the first-floor Promenade.
- Qo'nos: Components are sold in the Shipyard. Regenerators are sold by Lt. B'Eora in the southeastern room on the map.
That's about it. The difficulty slider has been a wonderful addition to STO, providing a satisfying level of challenge where once there was none. And the injury system provides the death penalty for which so many players apparently clamored without being overly bothersome to those of us who didn't care about it to begin with.