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Captain's Log

Captain's Log: Arc Q&A with Perfect World's Noel Holmes

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

Arc Header Proportionate
A week or two ago, I came across a dev blog about the new portal called Arc on the Star Trek Online website that seemed to raise more questions than provide answers. Not unlike most passionate gamers, I reacted emotionally and admittedly with some unfounded anger. I realized very quickly that if I was having that kind of reaction, then there were likely many others who were having similar reactions.

So I did the only thing that I could: I contacted the representatives of Perfect World to gain some clarification to the blog and hopefully ease my concerns. Instead of a shoving a palm to my face, Perfect World made available Noel Holmes in the hopes he would be able to clarify not only my concerns but also concerns borne by other Star Trek Online players as well.

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Captain's Log: Star Trek Online's Season Eight Preview

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

STO Voth Fortress Ship Header
It's almost here: Season Eight in Star Trek Online releases tomorrow, November 12th! There is a lot of new material that will be implemented into the game when the season goes live, so much that there really hasn't been a single list of everything that's to come. So in today's Captain's Log, allow me to do a breakdown of all of the new content that Star Trek Online players can expect to see when they finish patching.

You can also catch a quick glimpse of Season Eight's material by watching the official Season Eight trailer that Massively revealed last week. As you can imagine, this column will be chock-full of spoilers!

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Captain's Log: Star Trek Online's Sphere of Influence, Season Eight, and reruns

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

STO Sphere of Influence Header
Just ask the Massively writers and they'll agree that writing about a specific game is a lot like chasing the tide; information about a game comes and goes in waves. It's been no different with Star Trek Online, but now the tide is rolling in. A lot is happening in Star Trek Online: release dates have been announced, a new beta Mac platform is coming, the new featured episode is live, old featured episodes have a rerun promotion, and a lot more is on the way, so let's just jump in because the water's fine!

New featured episode

Let's start with the most recent featured episode introduced into the game. Called Sphere of Influence, the mission involves the player being invited back to New Romulus to witness the power-up of the Iconian gate that he helped discover. Upon arriving, the player is informed that Klingon Ambassador Worf is also there to act as a consultant. Worf has had prior dealings with Iconian gates, and sure enough, when the player is introduced to the Ambassador, he will hear actor Michael Dorn's voice.

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Captain's Log: Solonae space zone in Star Trek Online

Sci-Fi, Patches, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Captain's Log, Guides

STO Dyson Space Zone
It's been another great week of new information about Star Trek Online's upcoming new Featured Episode and Season Eight. We've learned that the new FE, which is set to be released on Thursday, October 31st, will be called Sphere of Influence. The title isn't a much of a surprise as most of us have been expecting that the new FE will carry Star Trek Online's story from the Iconian gate on New Romulus to the new content featuring a Dyson Sphere in Season Eight.

A new sponsorship system will be added to STO's reputation system, which should benefit those of us who like to play multiple alts. I've also had a chance to peruse the new Voth Command reputation faction on the Tribble test server and learn it contains some interesting new passive skills.

Finally, a lot more content has been released onto Tribble, including the new Solonae space adventure zone. There's also some great news for those who don't subscribe to STO but still want to test the new content: Tribble has been opened up to all players, not just subscribers! If you don't want to know anything about the new content, be warned: This column will have a few spoilers!

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Captain's Log: Star Trek Online's Dyson Sphere ground battle zone

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

STO Dyson Sphere Robot
Finally! We finally have some news to report involving Star Trek Online's upcoming new content! Some of the new Season Eight material is up on the Tribble test server, and the new Featured Episode will be released on October 31st!

We still aren't exactly sure when Season Eight will be released, but it's now easier to see what's in store for us, including a new set of space missions and new ground missions that feature territory control. I've had a chance to jump onto Star Trek Online's Tribble server to try a few things out and to see these "dinosaurs with frikkin' lasers on their heads" for myself. So let's get to it.

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Captain's Log: New-user tips on Star Trek Online's duty officer system

Sci-Fi, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Guides

STO Avenger class
Let me first wish all of our readers in Canada a very happy Thanksgiving Day! This week I will continue my informal series for new Star Trek Online players with a brief primer on the game's duty officer system. More commonly referred to as DOffs, Star Trek Online's duty officers provide a player with an additional means to obtain XP, dilithium, and other rewards without his having to shoot a single thing.

Many people have likened the DOff system to that of a trading card game, and to an extent they are right. The duty officers have also become a commodity that can be used in other ways outside of the assignment system itself. So join me past the jump as I delve into the very basics of the STO duty officer system.

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Captain's Log: More Star Trek Online new user tips - bridge officers

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

STO Dyson Sphere Spire
Before I dive into the next installment of my new player tips, I'd like to let everyone know that the Star Trek Online site has issued a few new dev blogs hinting at some of the cool news about the upcoming Season Eight: The Sphere. There are some great new blogs featuring the concept art of the new Dyson Sphere space adventure zone, too.

But back to the original topic. Last week's column that provided a basic outline to the Star Trek Online user interface proved to be surprisingly popular and generated far more emails from readers than I had anticipated. Many of the readers have asked that I continue on with the new user tips and I think it's a great idea. So if you've always wondered about the very basics of STO Bridge Officers, join me past the jump to learn more!

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Captain's Log: More Star Trek Online help for the new player

Sci-Fi, News Items, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Guides

STO Fleet starbase conf table
The news is out! Lobi are now accessible account-wide! They're no longer bound to a single character! While I would love to be able to write an entire column about how happy the change has made me, I won't make our readers endure it, but it sure was a fun way to start off this week's Captain's Log.

The good news for some is that this week's column will be dedicated to the brand new players of Star Trek Online. This decision was triggered by an email I received from a reader who wanted to know how he could change his character's outfit without having to go to the tailor all the time. He was a very new player and was embarrassed to ask anyone else, and trusted I wouldn't make him feel a fool.

It was then I realized that there are lots of little things in Star Trek Online that aren't obvious to new players. While many of those things are second nature to me now, I recall with bitter clarity what it was like to be so new that asking a stranger for help was akin to playing Russian roulette. So join me past the break as I touch on what all those tiny little icons on the HUD mean.

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Captain's Log: It's speculation time in Star Trek Online

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

STO Caspian FSB
It's that time again, folks: that time when the Star Trek Online playerbase begins to get edgy as we wait for new stuff. It's that "quiet time," although it's never truly quiet at Star Trek Online -- not in the forums, not in the game, and most definitely not at Cryptic Studios.

However, we're also at that crucial point in the cycle of content releases when the dearth of real information is all too obvious. So what's a player to do until the next Featured Episode is released? Well, dwell on the teasers, of course! So join me past the jump and we can speculate together on what we will and won't be seeing in the upcoming FE and Season Eight.

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Captain's Log: An interview with Star Trek Online's artists

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

STO TS destroyer
This week I will be (yes I know, finally) finishing up with my series of interviews with the developers of Star Trek Online. I traveled to Cryptic Studios last July and had the opportunity to meet with several of the people responsible for the game, especially the new expansion, The Legacy of Romulus.

In this column I'll be outlining my conversation with three Star Trek Online artists: Environment Artist Nick (Tumerboy) Duguid, User Interface Artist Thomas (TheCrypticCat) Marrone, and Ship Artist Ian (JamJamz) Richards. So join us past the jump to see what it took to bring the look of Legacy of Romulus to life.

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Captain's Log Supplemental: Remembering Star Trek Online video artist Mark Valentine

Sci-Fi, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Champions Online, Captain's Log

STO - Cryptic dev Mark Valentine
Massively tonight extends its deepest sympathy to the family, friends, and coworkers of Cryptic Studios developer Mark Valentine. Mark, also fondly referred to by his handle "h2orat," was a noted artist who was best known for his exceptionally crafted videos for Star Trek Online, especially the trailer that was used to announce the game's transition to the free-to-play format.

Before working on Star Trek Online, Mark also worked on the Champions Online team. Prior to his tenure with Cryptic, Mark also worked on Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 for Atari Europe S.A.S.U. as well as Star Trek: Away Team, Battlezone II: Combat Commander, Heavy Gear, Heavy Gear II, Battlezone, and Interstate '76 for Activision.

He was a respected STO player and Foundry author whose most recent mission, The Rising Phoenix – Part One, was chosen by his fellow players and the game's community managers to be highlighted as a featured mission.

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Captain's Log: Around round of Star Trek Online potpourri

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

STO Romulan tactical warbird
Over the course of the last few weeks, Captain's Log has chronicled a series of interviews with various members of the Star Trek Online development team. Today, I think it's time to take a break and bring everyone up to date and outline some of the interesting things that happened in Star Trek Online in the past month.

STO Lead Designer Al Rivera issued a special dev blog outlining the new changes to security for fleets, and Executive Producer Daniel Stahl also posted about the integration of material from Star Trek: Voyager into the game, so join me past the break as I cover what has happened in STO since we got back from Las Vegas!

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Captain's Log: Interview with Star Trek Online's Christine Thompson, part two

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

STO Cryptic headquarters sign
Loyal Massively readers will know that just after the launch of Star Trek Online's first expansion, the Legacy of Romulus, I visited Cryptic Studios and met with several members of the Star Trek Online development team.

This week I'm picking up where I left off in my conversation with Star Trek Online's lead writer, Christine "CrypticKestrel" Thompson. Join me past the jump to see what more she had to say about the challenges of writing within accepted canon as well as creating a more personal tale for STO players.

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Captain's Log: Interview with Star Trek Online's Christine Thompson, part one

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

STO RRW Vittius Header
The past couple of weeks, I took a bit of time to head to Las Vegas to moderate and cover the Star Trek Online panels at the official Star Trek Convention, but I'm happy to say I'm back in the saddle and picking up where I left off with my series of interviews with the people responsible for making Star Trek Online and conducted when I visited Cryptic Studios in late June.

This week I begin my summaries of my interview with STO's lead writer, Christine Thompson. Many of you may know her as Cryptic Kestrel. Read on to see what she had to say about writing for the Romulan Republic!

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Captain's Log: Star Trek Online Las Vegas recap

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Previews, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log

STO Las Vegas
It's been a couple of weeks since my last entry, and to be honest, I'm still recovering. The Official Star Trek Convention was an absolute blast. Thousands of Trek fans descended upon the Rio Suites and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, for four solid days to celebrate all things Star Trek. One of those things, of course, was Star Trek Online.

Contrary to its showing in 2012, Star Trek Online was the focus of not just one but two complete formal panels this year. The first featured two of the STO devs in a discussion with actress Denise Crosby, who voiced the characters of Empress Sela as well as Lt. Tasha Yar. The second panel was co-hosted by Massively and Trek Radio and featured a panel of STO devs who talked about the game and gave us some great sneak-peeks at Season Eight works in progress!

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