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Star Trek Online

One Shots: Shroud of the Santa

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, The Secret World, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, Shroud of the Avatar

Well, this pleases me like punch: One Shots' very first Shroud of the Avatar screenshot submission! I recall thinking that this indie MMO looked so much better than I previously thought when I got my hands on it last August, so I'm glad to see Massively readers going on a photo safari in it.

Reader JohnD is responsible for this unusual sight: "Here is a shot of Johanis Lolar, who is busy adventuring. I'm not sure his Santa cap helps him blend, but he's doing his best."

I always like to assume that Santa spends his off-season lurking in weeds and ambushing stray travelers with presents, so this picture plays into that fantasy. What? I'm normal; my parents had me tested.

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Star Trek Online starts its fifth anniversary celebration

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Patches, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Giveaways, Anniversaries

It was five years ago February 2nd that Star Trek Online came mewing into the MMO world, bringing with it final frontiers, infinite diversity, and canon-approved lockboxes. Cryptic's so excited to share this milestone that it's starting the celebrations a little early with a daily giveaway from today through Thursday, beginning with a free research and development pack.

The real special treat is more than just casual freebies, however. The team's introducing a brand-new featured episode, Dust to Dust, starring Garrett Wang as Harry Kim. Q is also returning with his annual events, although this time around he's adding an Omega Particle minigame to the mix.

Completing both the featured episode and Q events will earn tokens to spend on various rewards (including a Kobali Samsar Cruiser) and fragments that can be assembled for an Omega upgrade kits.

One Shots: Haiku edition

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, The Secret World, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, Elite: Dangerous

Believe it or not, I have been listening to you guys in the comments, and I know that there's been an ongoing desire for One Shots to provide the full-size pictures that are otherwise shrunk by our size limitations. So I'm happy to announce that starting this week, I'm including a gallery at the end of the column that will allow you to pull up larger screenshots if so desired.

A few weeks ago I issued a screenshot challenge for folks to send in a haiku poem in addition to their picture. A select few of you did, starting with this striking pose from Final Fantasy XIV by reader Wolfyseyes:

Facing this challenge
One thought repeats in my mind:
Please, please, please don't suck

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Al Rivera discusses his role in Star Trek Online on Reddit

Sci-Fi, Culture, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

There's always a nebula.  Or an anomaly.  Or a distortion.
Who is Captain Geko? It was a fairly innocent question posed on Reddit earlier in the week by a user who happened to group with someone using that name in Star Trek Online. The answer is that it's the usual screen name of lead designer Al Rivera, who took the opportunity to respond to the question with a larger discussion of what makes the game what it is and how the game's microtransaction model is set up.

Rivera discusses his experience with the franchise and being a longtime fan from the age of 10, as well as the fact that the game's microtransactions are decided upon chiefly based on what will keep the lights on and keep the game fundamentally free-to-play. While he states clearly that not every decision comes down to him, at the end of the day he's proud of what the team has accomplished and the state of the game. If you want a look behind the curtain at one of the people in charge of Star Trek Online, take the time to read Rivera's full answer.

[Thanks to Lootcritter for the tip!]

STO Producer's letter hints at anniversary celebration and story to come in 2015

Sci-Fi, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Anniversaries

Star Trek Online's first producer's letter of the new year hailed 2014 as a fantastic year and suggested that 2015 may be even better. After recounting many of the additions to the game over the past 12 months and summing up the story arc thus far, Stephen D'Angelo stated that the past year was just setting the stage for what's to come! The continuation of this arc includes some challenges that even the grand alliance may not be able to handle. The next step in the story, along with the first of the new captain and bridge officer specializations, will release with the anniversary update in that's just over three weeks away.

Just what kind of events and celebrations can players expect for this fifth anniversary? D'Angelo didn't share, but he did say that the details on that -- as well as the future content -- will be forthcoming piece by piece in dev blogs starting in the next few days.

Star Trek Online revamps bridge officers

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

Your loyal Star Trek Online crew deserves some recognition for its tireless work at raking you in XP, don't you think? Well, even if you don't agree, Cryptic is planning to give some major love to bridge officers in an upcoming patch.

The team posted a dev diary today outlining the revamp to players' faithful companions: "From a high-level standpoint, the updated bridge officer training system is focused on allowing players to invest in their bridge officers by training them in any of their class and specialization abilities, which can then be easily swapped in and out on the fly."

These changes will allow for a more flexible and customizable crew that can cross-train in intelligence and other potential specializations. The dev diary goes on to detail how officers will be trained going forward and what benefits players will get from these buffed-up buddies.

One Shots: Today is a good day to fly

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, Miscellaneous

Klingons have long been the second-class citizens of Star Trek Online, although as of recent expansions they've come into their own in both content and culture. Reader Sean sends us in his wicked-looking avatar to be our final One Shots of 2014. See you all on the flip side!

"Behold, my alter-ego, Shia'Tor of House Breknar, who is busy making plans aboard the IKS Heart of Praxis," he wrote. "There are plenty of Federation carebears to troll -- I mean, hunt."

Want to be featured in a future edition of One Shots? Send your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, and don't forget to include your name, the name of the game, and a description of the scene. Large, colorful, UI-free shots that tell a story and really show off the game make for the best images. Look ma, we brought back One Shots!

One Shots: Cruising for Borg

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, Miscellaneous

We're kicking off our two-week series of daily One Shots with this picture of a pair of Star Trek Online starships getting ready for some serious action.

Reader Chris sets the scene: "Futures passing in the night. A Galaxy-X dreadnought from the TNG finale All Good Things dangles in space with a heavily Borg-modified Galaxy-class ship in the background. Borgified Galaxy cruisers always remind me of the chilling moment at the end of the episode Parallels where Riker exclaims, 'You don't know what it's like in our universe. The Federation's gone! The Borg is everywhere! We're one of the last ships left...'"

Want to be featured in a future edition of One Shots? Send your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, and don't forget to include your name, the name of the game, and a description of the scene. Large, colorful, UI-free shots that tell a story and really show off the game make for the best images. Look ma, we brought back One Shots!

Captain's Log: Why Star Trek Online is kind of a mess right now

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Patches, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Subscription

A little messy and incoherent despite... hmm.  Commentary.
I haven't had nearly as much time to play Star Trek Online lately as I would have liked; I've had other projects to work on, other games to play, and a lot of holiday stuff going on. So my main captain, who's been trekkin' around since launch, is still woefully underleveled. I accept entirely that this is my own fault, but I haven't been stressing out over it; I have no need to rush up to the cap.

That attitude is helped substantially by the fact that the people who are rushing up to the cap or already did rush up are awash with complaints. The speed of leveling. The speed of upgrade mechanics. How the Tier 5 and Tier 6 ships interact. The price of items. The amount of mission content. Gaining new specialization points at the cap. Sure, some of it is pretty normal complaining, but there's a general sense of discontent with the game at the moment. And I'm honestly not surprised because this problem was always going to crop up, and it could have been managed so much better.

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The Game Archaeologist: Perpetual's Star Trek Online

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, Star Trek Online, Legal, The Game Archaeologist

If you're among the legions of Trekkies, then you are almost certainly aware of Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online. Since early 2010, players have boldly gone where no one has gone before in this MMO that blends spaceship battles, ground combat, and faithful tie-ins to the long-running franchise. Star Trek Online appears to be thriving following a free-to-play adaptation and two expansions, and some see it as the only official continuation of the TV series right now.

But what players encounter in Star Trek Online is not what it originally started out as. You may or may not know that STO began development under Perpetual Entertainment, which handled the game for several years until it went bankrupt and passed the license and art assets to Cryptic.

It's another tantalizing historical "what if?" scenario to think about what this game would look like if Perpetual had taken it to launch and beyond. But what did this version of Star Trek Online look like? Let's investigate.

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Star Trek Online releases a Delta Rising bonus epilogue

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Lore, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

Oh, right.  All of the problems.  We forgot about the problems.
Maybe you haven't quite finished the storyline for Star Trek Online's second expansion, Delta Rising, but you can probably guess that it ends with the Delta Quadrant in better shape than when you arrived. You are the triumphant heroes! Except... nothing is ever really that easy, is it? Nothing ever ends perfectly. And sometimes there's just a little more going on than you think from the surface, which is exactly what's hinted in the bonus epilogue episode releasing today.

The epilogue, What's Left Behind, features the voice talent of Robert Picardo and Denise Crosby capping off the existing story of Delta Rising and resolving some last-minute unanswered questions. It also raises a few new ones along the way because why not? Just because you could handle one threat doesn't mean you're prepared for another this soon. The episode is beaming on to the live servers today, so set your course and engage promptly.

One Shots: Snowblind

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, Champions Online, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

Water comes in many forms: gas, liquid, squirt gun, and cheaper beverage option to Olive Garden's wine menu. It can also be frozen in a variety of ways, which makes it perfect for an aquatic-themed expansion as seen in our first screenshot for the week.

"Here's a picture from RIFT's expansion, Nightmare Tide," reader Bill sent in. "This is from the glacier area above the main city. The main city is deep underwater and is protected by a blue 'bubble' that extends just above the water line. To reach the upper areas, you use a bouncer (near portals) that shoots you up and into the water."

Caution: Do not look at this screenshot for too long, lest you be robbed of your sight by the blinding glare.

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Star Trek Online posts lore on a mystery object

Sci-Fi, Lore, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

Oh, yeah, it'll all turn out great.  No worries.
So let's get this straight. While exploring Star Trek Online's Delta Quadrant, the USS Voyager comes across a mysterious object. The ship's crew immediately brings it aboard and tries to figure out what in the world it's supposed to be, coming to a lot of conclusions about what it isn't while being unable to find many answers beyond "it's probably a communication device of some kind." It also doesn't quite match any of the technology seen from the obvious sources of technologically enhanced mystery objects like the Solanae Dyson Sphere.

And yet everyone thinks keeping this on a ship is a good idea? There are a lot of episodes arguing against that.

All joking aside, there's a fair bit of lore to be found in the latest official dispatch from Star Trek Online, hinting rather solidly toward potential new encounters for players in the future. What it all means remains to be seen, but you can take a look at the lore and puzzle over what Voyager found.

Star Trek Online restores players flagged for exploits

Sci-Fi, Bugs, Expansions, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

Cryptic Studios: Not the Vaadwaur.
Star Trek Online recently launched a new expansion with a level cap bump, and unfortunately some people decided to quickly exploit the mechanics to race up to the renewed level cap via exploits. Unfortunate, but not totally surprising. Cryptic Studios, needless to say, rolled back the gains made by those players. Unfortunately, as can happen, a few innocent players were caught in the crossfire, but what can you do about that?

Well, in this case you can re-examine players who were erroneously rolled back and restore their points. Producer Stephen D'Angelo made a post on the official forums stating that instead of trying to make another adjustment, all players will have the points that were removed restored to them. So it's back to how things were before, and if you lost out on points through no real fault of your own, you have them back. Or even if it was through direct fault of your own.

[Thanks to Some_Guy for the tip!]

Star Trek Online introduces playable Talaxians, discounts lifetime sub

Sci-Fi, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Races, Promotions

Big things are afoot in the Delta Quadrant, as Star Trek Online has not only added the Talaxians as a playable race but thrown them into the lifetime subscription package and then discounted that sub by $100 for a limited time.

From now through November 20th, the Star Trek Online lifetime sub can be bought for $199. This marks the player as an eternal gold member, with the Talaxian race, a ship upgrade token for Delta Rising, a monthly ZEN allowance, and other veteran rewards.

As for the Talaxians, players who pick one as a captain will not only have the honor of looking like Voyager's resident space hedgehog but also get access to two unique traits: salvage specialist and loyalty.

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