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Star Trek Online

Perfect Ten: Great MMO time travel adventures

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, The Secret World, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Writers and geeks alike can't seem to get enough of time travel, although the ratio of horribly crafted time travel tales to fun and smart ones is pretty lopsided. I've come to realize that MMOs are positively littered with ways that players are invited to jump around the internal timeline of the game, and I wanted to share a few of them in this week's countdown.

When you think about it, the proliferation of time travel quests makes a lot of sense from a developer viewpoint. There is a ton of lore that goes into each one of these virtual worlds, but for the most part the players are affixed to a very specific (and unmoving) point in time. Hopping about in time is a great way to experience other eras and actually see history instead of just reading it in a quest box. Plus, if done right, these quests can be quite memorable.

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Star Trek Online selling ships at a discount

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

Oh, hello there huge coin balace.
It's a boring weekend, a sedate weekend, a weekend in which you're just not sure what you want to do. You could go cruising around in Star Trek Online, but you don't want to do it your busted old ship that looks as close to an El Camino as a futuristic warship capable of moving faster than the speed of light is capable of looking. No, you want a new ride.

Fortunately for you, getting a new ride is fairly easy this weekend, as the game is having a sale on all ships until 1 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 12th. A 20% discount has been applied across the board to everything other than the new Patrol Escort Refit, giving plenty of incentive to pick up some new refits and new ships if you've got money to burn.

Star Trek Online refitting two patrol escorts

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

Two big refits are in store for Star Trek Online's patrol escorts, so if you are partial to the Tempest or Maelstrom class vessels, pay rapt attention to the following announcement.

The Tempest class refit will be improved to include a fifth tactical console slot, better bridge officer seating, and increased aft firepower. It'll also come standard with a Nadion Saturation Bomb console that "lays down a string of explosive fire" to the enemy ship and beyond, leaving a damaging radiation field afterward. The ship will require Vice Admiral rank and 2,500 ZEN to purchase.

The Maelstrom class refit isn't as grand due to its size, but it will be beefed up, add a third engineering console slot, and include a fused aft Tempest tail gun. This ship also requires Vice Admiral rank to purchase along with five fleet modules.

Star Trek Online is giving players two free ship slots

Sci-Fi, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Giveaways

Boldly going where no one has gone before in Star Trek Online will be easier than ever come Thursday. Cryptic announced today that it will be gifting all existing players with two additional ship slots on Thursday, May 8th.

Players begin with two ship slots and obtain more by leveling, buying them in the store, or from other in-game achievements. A ship slot allows for the storage and use of a starship, giving players the option to switch between ships as needed. Two ship slots from the store costs 500 ZEN.

Star Trek Online launches Season 9: A New Accord

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

Season 10: A Used Nissan Sentra.  Season 11: Repairing Dad's Old Mustang.  Season 12: Bicycles.
It's been a long while since Star Trek Online captains had to fear the Undine. This mysterious race has moved off of the radar as the Federation and KDF have explored the Solanae Dyson Sphere, fought back against the Borg and the Tholians, and sought allies upon New Romulus. But the latest patch for the game sees the Undine stepping up their campaign of aggression from fluidic space, sending players through a new series of featured episodes, introducing a new reputation, and offering several new endgame activities.

Season 9 also brings with it a number of other changes, including a revamp to how both kits and reputations work. Both systems are now more flexible, with the former allowing captains more control over which abilities show up on the ground and the latter providing more player choice over the long term. Take a look at the full list of additions and get ready to set a course for new dangers in this update.

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Take a look at Star Trek Online's Earth Spacedock revamp

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

Star Trek Online's main hub is about to get a massive facelift, and Cryptic wants to give you a preview of the new design of Earth Spacedock as well as a tour through it.

In a dev blog posted yesterday, the studio went through the process of coming up with the ideas for a much improved Spacedock, including how it would be structured and what players would see: "A few solid points were decided. 1. It was all going to be on one floor. 2. We had to have a view both of Earth AND of the Shipyard. Point two meant that there was only one place for it. It had to be within the outer wall of the docking bay."

The blog also contains a link to an animated graphic showing a time-lapsed construction of one of the new areas. The Earth Spacedock revamp will come with Season 9's release on April 22nd.

Star Trek Online Season 9 is coming on April 22nd

Sci-Fi, Video, Patches, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play

Even though April 22nd has yet to happen, we have the time travel technology to see it because that tech is a dime a dozen in Star Trek. And on April 22nd, we can tell you with assurance that Season 9 will release in Star Trek Online to the wild split-finger salute of digital Trekkies everywhere.

Season 9 will contain a new feature episode, a space battlezone, overhauls to the Undine content, improvements to kits, and more heads. More heads make for a better galaxy, we always say! To celebrate the imminent content update, STO is doling out bonus XP from April 14th through April 21st.

Cryptic put together a trailer to help get everyone up to speed on the events leading to Season 9, which you may watch after the jump.

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Star Trek Online reveals Undine Infiltration mission

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play

STO Undine Infiltration
Star Trek Online's latest dev blog details a new level 50 mission called Undine Infiltration. Players can complete the event in 15 to 20 minutes as well as opt into a normal or elite version of it.

This isn't your typical MMO mission, though, as STO captains will investigate suspected Undine infiltrators "by asking a series of questions and based on the answers, deciding whether or not the suspect is an Undine and needs to be quarantined." After a player deals with the Undine presence in a series of Bajor caves, he'll be scored based on how many infiltrators he correctly quarantined as well as how many Bajorans he cleared of suspicion.

Star Trek Online shows off new head options for Season 9

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

It's good to see that lizard people and cave-dwelling mutants are getting more equal representation.
The character creator in Star Trek Online is pretty robust, but it has its limitations. There are only so many complexion options and only so many head shapes, and trying to create certain looks took an extraordinary amount of effort. So it's good news for all captains that Season 9 will bring with it a far more robust character creation setup with three new head shapes and three new complexions for everyone.

It all started with bringing Tuvok into the game; creating a model that matched Tim Russ' actual face required the creation of a framework that segued naturally into more robust player options. It also gave the team an excuse to redo facial textures that had always been seen as problematic, replacing them with slightly higher-resolution versions that have better mapping. Take a look at the full development blog for more details on the process as well as a closer look at what can be done with the new options.

Star Trek Online shows off a revamp to player kits

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

Hooray for fabrications!
Kits are your main method for grabbing ground combat abilities in Star Trek Online. You equip a kit and you're good to go. Despite that, they're also rather limited, as there are a limited number of different kit types and each kit of a given type contains a very set number of abilities. Season 9 is thus deploying an extensive overhaul of the kit system, allowing players to build the sorts of kits that they want to use in a more flexible framework.

The core of the system is simple. Abilities are split into two categories for each profession: Assault and Strategic for Tactical, Medical and Research for Science, and Fabrication and Mechanic for Engineering. Kits will become frameworks that contain skill bonuses as well as slots to equip abilities, with each slot allowing any skill within a given category. For more details on how the new kits can be acquired and how the flexibility will benefit players, take a look at the full development blog.

Star Trek Online previews the new Undine battlezone in Season 9

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

There's a lot of space in these spheres for stuff to happen.
Star Trek Online captains have been diligently fighting against the Voth in the Dyson Sphere for some time now, but when Season 9 comes out, the Undine will arrive. That means players will have to face off against new challenges, starting with the Undine battlezone. While this region of the sphere was previously under Voth control, the Undine have taken this area for their own, forcing Starfleet, the KDF, and the Romulans to work together in order to drive them out.

The Undine Battlezone will be accessible directly from the Ground Combat Zone and the Contested Zone. Players will be tasked with taking control of nine points within the map, followed by assaulting the Undine's planet-killer ships. Success earns Dilithium and Undine Marks, while failure... well, you can imagine what that involves. For more details on access and the point control, check out the full development blog.

Star Trek Online overhauls reputation bonus abilities

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

Yeah every day is like Dyson JC, popping Borg with homies, on Nukara in a suit made for the EV, but you don't care - you're running STFs in your sleep.  New Romulus needs another rep mark, Event project has another hour to start, but you don't care until we buff crit severity.
Reputation in Star Trek Online doesn't just give material rewards; higher reputation is directly tied to new abilities and enhancements for both ships and captains. Season 9 is already improving and renovating the system for advancing in reputation, and that means the developers are taking a closer look at the existing system as explained in the latest development blog. That examination showed off some real issues with the extra powers for veterans compared to new characters at the level cap. It came down to the simple fact that the setup was not viable forever, and as more reputations came in, the gap in power would start becoming sizable.

So what does it mean? A new setup for the various reputation powers. Starting with Season 9, powers will be renamed to Reputation Traits, with all captains receiving four slots for Ground Traits, four slots for Space Traits, and four slots for active abilities. These slots can be reallocated at any time, as well, letting you choose from a wider pool of tricks as your reputations advance. Take a look at the latest development blog for details on how the existing abilities will be changing to be more powerful with the new system.

Star Trek Online details a revamp to the Undine

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

Stupid Delta Quadrant, always getting us into trouble.
As Star Trek Online turns its focus more toward the Delta Quadrant, one of the biggest bads of that region deserved a fresh look. The Undine (also known as Species 8472) have been a notable threat to the Federation and the Klingon Empire since the earliest days of the game, but the developers have only briefly touched upon them here and there in storylines. The latest development blog highlights how the race has been revamped in light of the shapeshifters taking on a larger role in the Season 9 update.

The old Undine armor is gone, replaced with new appearances that are higher-definition and look more in line with existing Undine technology. The mechanics of the species both on the ground and in space have also been revamped, giving a more coherent but still unique set of challenges when players are taking on the masters of fluidic space. For more details on the new visual rank distinctions and the changes to enemy mechanics, check out the full development blog.

Why I Play: Star Trek Online

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Lore, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Why I Play, Subscription

The nacelles are different, but it feels right.
I always feel like explaining my desire to play Star Trek Online can be summed up quite simply with eight words. "Space -- the final frontier. These are the voyages..."

It sounds corny, but it's true. My various natterings on the site have covered a lot of settings for which I have no real affection, but Star Trek is different. It's been a fixed point for me since I was around seven years old. It's a setting I have an immense fondness for, something I've been invested in for most of my life. Really, the thing that amazes me is that I manage to take time away from Star Trek Online.

But loving the name on the box would only take me so far if the game were a big steaming pile. Every time I go back to the game, even though I have complaints here and there, I fall back in love with the game as a whole all over again. It's not perfect, but it's amazingly well-done.

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Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #10-1

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Lineage 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Ultima Online, LEGO Universe, Runes of Magic, Miscellaneous, Firefall, Jukebox Heroes, Music

We're finally here: my top 10 MMO theme tracks. I anticipate that out of all of the weeks, this will be the most controversial, since not only am I proclaiming the 10 best, but you'll realize which of your favorite games I've left out of the top 40 entirely.

A final reminder as to my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game. I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed earlier parts of this series, check out themes #40-31, #30-21, and #20-11. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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