After the initial phases of Season Six were pushed to the test server, Cryptic announced the 900-day veteran rewards as well as information on the impending implementation of the new Account Guard system. Even better, more information about the starbase features, especially the ships players will soon be crafting, has been revealed by Star Trek Online's Lead Designer, Al Rivera. It's all after the cut!
Signing onto STO's Tribble (test) server revealed to me an interesting change regarding the way my character's ground weapon appears, and this change might just reach the Holodeck (live) server with Season Six. Players have always had the ability to hide the visuals of their ground kits and armor, but now there's an added option to hide the visual of the ground weapon as well. When the visuals remain on, the player's primary weapon will appear to be slung across the character's back. It's a nice visual touch as well as a fun new option available for players.
When I jumped on the Tribble server to take a peek at the new fleet advancement system, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the system's basic set-up. I am sure that there are many changes and tweaks that are coming, but on the whole, I found the system to be relatively easy to use. While there are noticeable and numerous graphics bugs in the starbase interiors, the guts of the system appear to be in pretty good working order at the moment.
Starbases will have five tiers; each tier will take an ever-greater number of commodities, currency and duty officers in order to be completed. Each fleet member will be able to contribute as much or as little as he desires. Fleet members earn Fleet "Marks" when they take on certain repeatable missions such as Colony Invasion ground mission or the Starbase Defense fleet mission.
These missions can be undertaken by anyone at any time. Players are not forced to run the missions with members of their actual fleet, either. They will be able to queue for the missions just as they would STFs, using the PvE queue system accessible just under the minimap in-game. They can also set up a private queue if they have a team ready to go.
The missions are timed and feature certain objectives; the more objectives a team or a fleet can successfully achieve during the duration of the mission, the more Fleet Marks participants earn.
At the end of the mission, each player is awarded Marks, which she can donate to her fleet's starbase effort. The donations are made by clicking on the "holdings" tab and then on the word "contribute." The player then has a choice of which project to donate her marks toward: engineering, tactical (military), or science. The completion of each type of project will unlock various starbase capabilities from duty officer assignment to ship building. Priorities for projects can be set by fleet leadership.
After making a contribution toward a project, the player will see the results of his efforts as they appear on the indicators, and he is then rewarded with Fleet "Credits," which he can use in the fleet store.
What's in the fleet store, you ask?
The fleet store will ultimately contain many different items, from weapons to ships. It's the ships I would like to focus on for the moment.
Recently, Star Trek Online's Lead Designer, Al Rivera, sat down with James Lee, one of the hosts of STO community podcast Priority One. The two had an hour-and-a-half-long discussion about the ships that will soon be seen in the game, and more specifically, about the ships that players will be able to craft using the fleet advancement system. You can listen to the podcast in its entirety here.
Notably, Rivera and Lee discuss the fact that players will be able to craft a wide array of endgame gear and ships and that Cryptic has placed most of the game's ship schematics into the system. Ships that will not be available for the tier-five upgrade will be the Oberth, Miranda, NX and Constitution classes; everything else will be up for the endgame makeover, including the little Nova class.
This should also put to rest recent rumors: CBS has not given the go-ahead for a tier-five Constitution class in the game.
Rivera also stated that ships crafted in the fleet starbases can employ a new material made especially for fleet ships.
Cryptic recently released a synopsis of the new 900-day veteran rewards, and among them is the use of a new starship material. There is a unique material for each faction, and when players utilize this material, they will find four "unique paint pattern options available on top of the usual 13."
Players can access the new starship materials by visiting any shipyard and using the "customize" facilities found there. Neither the allied alien vessels (like the D'Kyr, Caitian carrier, etc.) nor the lockbox ships (like the Jem'Hadar ship and the Cardassian Galor class) will be able to use the new material.
The 900-day veteran rewards also include a new variant of the Federation Jupiter veteran uniforms (gold accents as opposed to the silver). Klingons will have access to a new belt and wrist attaches.
Other rewards include a new title choice of "Guardian" and (finally!) a full respec token.
As reported by Massively earlier this week, Perfect World has put in place a new security system for the game's billing portal, not long after the embarrassing 2010 security breach that was uncovered by Cryptic a scant few weeks ago.
Titled Account Guard, the new system expects players to register their approved computers with the game. If an unauthorized machine attempts to access a player's account, an email will be dispatched to the email address affiliated with the account. Account Guard performs its security checks against the player's actual computer or web browser, not the originating IP.
This new system is in the testing phases on the Tribble and Redshirt test servers now; however, Perfect World has stated that the system will eventually cover all aspects of its games -- websites and game clients included. For additional clarification, peruse not just the article as posted by Cryptic but the follow-up comments by Community Manager Brandon Felczer.
Until next week, live long and prosper!
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