A majority of the new material is already up on Star Trek Online's Tribble test server, and this past weekend, a special Tribble test event was held. Players who signed into the test server and played for at least one hour will be granted a special reward.
I had an opportunity to take a quick run around the new Tau Dewa Sector and the new adventure zone on the planet of Mol'Rihan (New Romulus). I've also had the opportunity to give the new Romulan reputation system a spin. So join me as I go over my first impressions of the material that's coming in Season Seven!
My first exposure to the new Tau Dewa Sector was admittedly a bit confusing. To be honest, I'm used to being spoon-fed most of my missions, so it took me a moment to realize that the mission assignments for space missions would come from a new Ambassador in the area. When I finally realized that a new contact button had appeared on the right side of my screen (a similar contact button appears in the Orellius Sector Block for the Deferi daily missions), I was able to undertake the new daily patrol mission easily.
The new patrol mission can be repeated daily. Currently, as listed on the test server (remember, much of this may change before the new material goes live), 60 Romulan Marks are awarded for completing the series of smaller patrol missions.
Since I had no clue which planetary system might offer a specific type of mission, I chose to fly in a clock-wise rotation through the sector and just play what I was given. I was happily surprised by the challenge of a few of the space battle missions, specifically one that involves an encounter with the Borg and yet another in which I was participating in tactical testing with a Federation Starbase. The rest of the missions ranged from a trading mission that involved no battle to herding and protecting our favorite space-cows, the Gekli.
After completing the daily set of space-based patrol missions, I made my way back to Earth Spacedock to do a little house-cleaning. That's when I tripped across a new NPC standing near the fountain outside of Admiral Quinn's office. This new NPC is a Romulan Ambassador asking for the player's assistance with colonization efforts on Mol'Rihan. This is where I accepted the new mission to head toward New Romulus.
Once there, I beamed to the surface with my trusty engineer in tow and was once again surprised when I was greeted with a substantial cutscene re-introducing me to two characters who are integrally involved in the new region of the game. The player is allowed to witness an interesting conversation with Obisek, the popular leader of the Reman militia, and D'Tan, the de facto leader of New Romulus.
D'Tan is a character seen a few key times in the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled Unification Parts I and II. He is the young man who is swayed to the purpose of unification of Romulans and the Vulcans by Ambassador Spock. It's a nice touch to see his character brought forward into the STO timeline. As for what is said, I'll forego the spoilers for now and let you all discover the story for yourselves.
Again, I was quite impressed with the size of the map in the new zone. I have yet to really explore the majority of it. When accepted, the ground missions, like the patrol mission dailies available in space, allow a player to choose which assignments to undertake to fulfill the requirements. Of note, it appears as though tasks are weighted differently and provide a varying percentage to the overall goal. An easy, short mission appears to give less credit toward the percentage of completion than a longer and more difficult mission.
There was also a smattering of other missions that had their own rewards and methods of completion, including duty officer assignments.
The new zone will also play host to the new Fleet Embassy Portal. If the player is a member of a fleet and the fleet is undertaking the construction project, he will be able to access his fleet's embassy by walking up to the door in the main city on New Romulus.
A brief walk around of the facility as shown on the test server reveals an extensive layout, from the reception rotunda to a social area/bar as well as an impressive-looking ops area and a shuttlebay on different levels of the building.
This will be where participating fleets will be building their new embassies and will use Romulan marks as a means to do so.
A brief bit of experience with the Romulan version of STO's new reputation system reveals it to be virtually identical to the layout used in the Fleet advancement system. The version I used on the test server showed there were two projects that a player could contribute to: Supply the Romulan Star Empire and Support Colonization Efforts. Both of the projects required a player to contribute dilithium, expertise, Romulan marks and varied supplies, duty officers, and commodities.
For example, the project titled Support Colonization Efforts of the Romulan Star Empire requires a player contribute 900 Dilithium, 5500 Expertise, 17 Romulan Marks, 50 Provisions, 40 Water Purification Systems and 10 Entertainment Provisions. Again, as noted above, I earned 60 Romulan marks just from completing the daily patrol mission.
Once the player contributes all the required materials, the project goes into completion mode and it appears to have a 35-to-40-hour cooldown before the player can begin to contribute to the next project in line.
I am hopeful that there will be more than just the two projects when this aspect of the game reaches the live server. I can't imagine that it will be all that much fun to keep buying the same major regenerators over and over. However, I have yet to really see most of the new area on New Romulus and have barely scratched the surface with what seems to be available there. Stahl made it clear that players should expect multiple tweaks to the reputation economy based on player feedback on the test server.
Dan Stahl also announced that in December, Q will once again grace us with his omnipotent presence and will be bringing an updated version of the winter event to the game. Stahl stated the event will contain new rewards and activies.
Also Stahl intimated that we will see a new Featured Episode to be released in conjunction with STO's third anniversary in February of next year. Finally, he stated that we'll begin to hear some news with regards to Season Eight and "how it will begin to resolve some of the long standing issues surrounding the two factions within the game." It all sounds, in the words of Spock... fascinating. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.