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Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online details four Delta Rising starships

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Previews, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play

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Star Trek Online fans are eagerly -- and anxiously -- awaiting information about the new Tier 6 starships coming with next month's Delta Rising. Cryptic is beginning to roll out ship details and specs by listing four of the Delta starships in a dev diary today.

The Federation will get the new Guardian cruiser, a very durable and flexible ship that can convert enemy fire into a weapons boost, and the Dauntless experimental science vessel, which can project fake copies of the ship to fool enemies. Over on the other side, the Klingons will enjoy the Mat'Ha Raptor, a vessel with an insane amount of firepower. Finally, Romulan characters can snag the Aelahl Warbird Battlecruiser, which can throw out a collapsing singularity for fun and horrible consequences.

These starships will be sold on the C-store and accessible by players level 50 and above.

Star Trek Online explains the Voyager MSD redesign

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

With this much attention to detail, you would think that the powers that be could ensure that the same button fires all weapons from one week to the next.
If you're even passingly familiar with the various Star Trek shows, you'll recognize the MSD. It shows up on the bridge of every single Federation ship, offering a detailed breakdown of what is where for eagle-eyed viewers. Star Trek Online's next expansion is bringing the game into the Delta Quadrant, the stomping grounds of the eponymous USS Voyager, so it was only fair that the Intrepid-class MSD could get a nice new redesign to reflect the years of upgrades that the ship has received.

The new MSD represents a much clearer picture of the ship from the series, with several elements improved to more accurately reflect in-show layouts and incorporating modifications made after Voyager's maiden flight such as the airponics bay. Take a look at the full development blog for a closer look at how much work has gone into what seems like a little detail but still forms a vital part of the aesthetics.

Star Trek Online's Delta Rising arrives October 14th

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Crafting, Subscription

Have you tried reversing the polarity though.
Cryptic has just announced that Star Trek Online's Delta Rising expansion will be released on October 14th, 2014. As previously discussed, it will not only raise the level cap but jump into Voyager story space with new territory and famous figures from the franchise.

Developers have also released a new dev blog detailing equipment in the expansion. One of the simple rules of existence is that when Delta Rising goes live, a lot of your old equipment in Star Trek Online is going to be a lot less relevant. There's no way around it. A jump in the level cap that leads to Mark XIV equipment naturally makes Mark XI stuff less potent by comparison. But rather than forcing you to earn a whole new set of loot, the expansion's upgrade system for gear should allow you to take an old favorite and bring it up to par. Players can buy, trade, or craft upgrade kits, which add a certain number of tech points to an item being upgraded. Once enough tech points are acquired, a small dilithium fee is paid and the item can be upgraded to the next rank, possibly increasing in quality along the way. For more details on how to accelerate the procedure, check out the full blog entry; it looks as if you won't have to say farewell to all of your old equipment after all.

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Star Trek Online details the art of the new Intelligence ships

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

No one seemed to much mind the darker hull finish option back in the day.
The Intelligence ship designs in Star Trek Online are like nothing else in the game, especially for the Federation. They're dark, angular, and aggressive. A new development blog on the official site sees art director Brad Stokan explaining how the new designs went from concept to finished ships and how the art department juggled the tasks of adhering to the design principles that make a ship distinctly Federation while also making something new and unique.

Stokan explains that most of the choices going into the design were weighed against these two rules, such as adding in glowing sensor panels that both highlighted the ships' scanning functionality while providing a distinct silhouette. The design blog also stresses that players can expect extra customization for these ships, including the option to make the hull finish look a bit more typical for Federation craft. Check out the whole process and more bits of concept art in the full blog entry.

[Thanks to Lonegun for the tip!]

Captain's Log Supplemental: A look at Star Trek Online's history with lead designer Al Rivera

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

You can amost hear the cries for coffee now.
Star Trek Online is a game that's got some history, not just by virtue of the franchise that's been running for half of forever but because the game itself has a rather madcap development history. Cryptic Studios got the license to develop the game at the eleventh hour, and the caveat was that the game needed to be shipped in the same timeframe as the original developer had promised -- leaving almost no time for development.

I sat down and talked with lead designer Al Rivera about the game's history, its development ethos, and where the game is going with the upcoming release of the second expansion, Delta Rising. It's been a long process, but Rivera shed some light on how the game is designed by its modern team, why things launched the way they did, and what players can expect as the game continues toward its five-year anniversary.

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One Shots: Avian servitude

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, Humor, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Miscellaneous, WildStar

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Birds? I don't hate them, but I don't trust them either. Anything that can travel passportless with impunity is something to be wary of, especially if it has access to flight without clearing it with the FAA. And ever since the bird flu scare, I'm quite sure that our feathered "friends" are out to eradicate our entire race.

That said, I'm happy for reader Bill because he's finally putting birds where they belong: under us in full service of their land-masters. "Luck has found me again on RIFT patch day when this 'Lovely Budgie" popped out of a box. I can't help but think there is evil hidden beneath pink feathers and those big black eyes!" Bill wrote.

Oh, but there is evil, Bill. No doubt about it. Hopefully the rest of this week's player-submitted screenshots will not reek of foul intent the way that this cute birdie does.

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Perfect Ten: MMOs that deserve another chance

Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest II, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, Marvel Heroes, The Secret World, DC Universe Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

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First impressions matter. First impressions count. First impressions are lasting. These commonly cited maxims are true, but I would like to add one more: "First impressions can be deceiving." Due to our nature of making snap judgments, experiencing something at the wrong time or being impatient, we can rush to a conclusion that could rob us of something we could truly love.

There are few things that frustrate me more than seeing MMO gamers adopt the gospel of the first impressions and refuse to ever return to a game afterward. We keep treating MMOs as disposable, one-shot entertainment that must be plundered quickly right out of the gate instead of seeing them as reusable fun that gets better with time.

So the next time you feel bored waiting for the next MMO to launch so that you can make a two-month first impression and then leave forever, why not give an older title a second try? In this week's countdown, I'm going to make a case for 10 MMOs that deserve another chance even if you wrote them off long ago.

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Star Trek Online's artist explains Tier 6 ship designs

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

One of these things is not quite like the others.
The new Federation ship designs in Star Trek Online's upcoming expansion are a pretty big departure from the norm. Sure, the shape of the ships is familiar, but instead of the usual bright Federation white and sweeping curves, they're all hard angles, dark shades, glowing lines, and so forth. They don't look much like the Federation. Concept artist Hector Ortiz took to Reddit recently to explain why the ships look as they do and how the design of the new ships ties into their point of origin despite the departure.

Ortiz explains that with the heavy emphasis on intelligence operations in this expansion, it was only appropriate to design ships that resembled nothing so much as spy planes: angular, stealthy, and dark. That led to the inclusion of the blue lines to help the ship silhouettes stand out against the blackness of space, with the unique nacelle designs also part of an effort to minimize the ship profile. There's no assurance that you'll like the new designs after reading his comments on the rationale, but at least you'll understand why they look the way they do.

Star Trek Online launches the Delta Rising: Operations pack

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

But why did you make this the cruiser?  Why?  It looks like an escort!
When you head out into the Delta Quadrant in Star Trek Online: Delta Rising, you're going to want to be prepared. You'll want the best possible ship, one capable of making use of everything the quadrant has to offer. That's what the Delta Rising: Operations pack is meant to do. It's the equivalent of the Legacy of Romulus pack from the last expansion, a collection of ships, titles, officers, and bonuses to get you going in the expansion when it goes live.

Eight ships are included in the pack: four Federation ships, two KDF ships, and two Romulan Republic ships. Some of these ships also come equipped with Intelligence Officer bridge stations, the new type of officer being added with the expansion, allowing you to scan for weaknesses in enemy craft and exploit those flaws. It also contains exclusive titles and officers, three ship upgrade modules, and special Talaxian uniforms. The pack is priced at $125 and is available for purchase now if you'd like to be kitted out and ready to go for launch.

Star Trek Online announces more Voyager cast members in Delta Rising

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

STO
When you're out exploring the Delta Quadrant, you want people around you who have been there before. It's a big, unfriendly place, after all. Star Trek Online players will have a bit more help than they had previously expected, though. In addition to Tim Russ (Tuvok) and Garret Wang (Harry Kim) reprising their roles from Star Trek: Voyager, Ethan Phillips (Neelix), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), and Robert Picardo (The Doctor) will be making appearances in the game.

No details on these appearances have yet been revealed, although Neelix is likely still in his role as ambassador, and the game's backstory has Seven of Nine working with the Daystrom Institute. It's likely that more lore will be uncovered as the expansion approaches its release this fall.

[Source: Cryptic Studios press release]

Captain's Log: Star Trek Online's expansion and communication

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

We're hard at work developing stuff, some of which will come off as tone-deaf.
So we finally know what the next expansion is going to be for Star Trek Online, and my speculation regarding the Xindi and points related turned out to be way off. Nope, we're heading into the Delta Quadrant, which is less interesting to me than the Gamma Quadrant, but I suspect the powers that be are exploring all the angles of existing content first. It's coming with a level cap increase, a new tier of ships, a bunch of new tricks, and apparently some bonus communication misses.

Delta Rising is really on track to be a pretty divisive expansion anyway. It was inevitable, really; raising the level cap now was going to lead to problems no matter how it was handled. Unfortunately, Cryptic Studios hasn't done a great job communicating what's in the works for players, nor have the first few things that we've heard exactly countered some early suspicions. It was a minefield that's thus far been navigated largely with a push and a blindfold.

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Star Trek Online celebrates the end of summer with giveaways [Updated]

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

Those must be pretty big fireworks.
The days get shorter, the heat diminishes, and students collectively go back to actually studying things. Yes, summer is coming to a close, and the team behind Star Trek Online is pretty happy with how this past summer went. Sure, seasons are kind of a meaningless concept when you're talking about a setting that spans multiple planets with their own annual cycles, but the players are still here on Earth, and they can celebrate the end of the season with free stuff.

An as-of-yet undisclosed ship will be going live in the game's cash shop tomorrow, but that's not the really free part. From August 29th to September 1st, around 1:00 p.m. EDT, a new promotional item will be flagged in the store as free. These items are all account-wide unlocks so long as an eligible character is available to claim the item. Who wouldn't like some free stuff for the end of summer?

[Update: The team has also today released more information about upgrading tier 5 ships.]

Star Trek Online drops a Delta Rising trailer, new ship tier [Updated]

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

THANKS, JANEWAY.
The Delta Quadrant in Star Trek Online isn't a pleasant place. It's filled with many threats, some familiar to players already (the Borg and the Voth spring to mind) and others heretofore unseen. Delta Rising is going to bring players into contact with this violent region of space, and the newest trailer for the expansion shows that players will find no shortage of enemies -- including many races that had faced off against the USS Voyager years earlier.

Players who watch the trailer can catch several familiar locations and enemies from Star Trek Voyager, including some minor enemies such as the Vaadwaur. Click on past the break to view the trailer in all its glory. It doesn't have a whole lot of story provided just yet, but it serves as a clear indication that the quadrant hasn't gotten any friendlier since the last time Starfleet visited.

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Star Trek Online lays out the path to level 60 with stellar rewards

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

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One of the selling points (so to speak) of Star Trek Online: Delta Rising is the game's first-ever level cap increase. Ever since player captains heard that they'll be able to level up to 60, they've wondered what that might entail. Fortunately, today Cryptic posted a dev blog that gives a good idea of what to expect as players progress to become Fleet Admiral or Dahar Master.

"The level cap increase is meant to be a simple solution to rank progression and yet the resulting change to the endgame play will be very noticeable," the team said.

The big change with these new levels is that skill points will be used for specialization trees, the details of which are still forthcoming. Players can keep earning specialization points after hitting 60 until they max out these trees. Cryptic also has several rewards planned along the way, including a duty officer pack, upgrades to abilities, and a new bridge officer.

Star Trek Online sells costumes at a discount this weekend

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

Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed Bajoran.
They say that clothes make the man. Is that true? Who knows. But clothes certainly do make your Star Trek Online captains stand out, and wouldn't you like to look particularly pretty with a new expansion coming up? Of course you would. So pick up some costumes this weekend and do so at a steep discount.

All costumes for sale in the game's microtransaction store are priced 20% off until Monday, August 18th, at 1 p.m. EDT. Whether you want to grab Seven of Nine's bodysuit for the upcoming Delta Rising content or just have your eye on a racing uniform, you can nab it now for less. Who wouldn't like that?

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