Even as the recently-established Romulan Republic begins to make a name for itself in the affairs of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, Empress Sela and her Tal Shiar continue their tyrannical attempts to control and conquer them. The turbulent conflicts between two halves of a once-great Empire are now slowly enveloping the entire quadrant in their intrigue and violence. And on each side of the bloody feud, new technologies are continually being developed in order to safeguard their own versions of the future for the Romulan people.
Although the Tal Shiar's development of Borg-infused technology has been publicly decried as rash and dangerous, the effectiveness and power of these weapons and starships cannot be denied. Throughout known space, conflict after conflict has resulted in the destruction of entire fleets of Tal Shiar vessels, yet these strange "Adapted” starships seem to somehow be capable of rebuilding themselves long after their crews and captains have been captured or laid to rest in the vacuum of space. The Lobi Crystal Consortium, at grave risk to their personal well-being, have undertaken massive salvage operations in this region of space to obtain as many of these mechanical marvels as they can, in hopes of offering them off to the highest bidder.
Sometimes, your ship design just has to go where the story takes you.
In the process of developing the story arcs that Romulan players experienced, we had the opportunity to explore the interaction that the Tal Shiar had with both their mysterious Elachi allies, and their salvage and adaptation of derelict Borg technology. Nowhere is this interest in the Borg presented with such clarity as it is during the players’ interactions with Hakeev, and their attempts to undermine his efforts to indoctrinate the people of the Romulan Republic.
In the past, we have had the opportunity to explore this subject briefly through events like the Special Task Force “Khitomer Accord” and missions in the Romulan Front story arc. But even within those missions, we never really nailed home the true lengths to which the Tal Shiar will go to exploit this technology despite the grave risks taken in doing so.
Hakeev is the embodiment of this effort. When his eye is taken, he quickly and willingly replaces it with adapted Borg technology. When his ship is bested, he goes to great efforts to upgrade it using Borg technology, despite the danger this poses to his crew and allies. In the end, his flagship – the I.R.W. Khnial – becomes the epitome of fusion between Tal Shiar and Borg technology.
In our effort to continually offer only the most interesting and impressive starships within the lock boxes found in Star Trek Online, we will be offering our players the opportunity to obtain one of two separate variants of Tal Shiar Adapted starships in the upcoming Tal Shiar Lock Box.
The first of these vessels is a variant of Hakeev’s vessel. Based on the core architecture of a Dhelan Warbird, the Tal Shiar Adapted Destroyer [T6] has been extensively overhauled through an infusion of reprogrammed Borg construction nanites. This vicious-looking vessel – known as a Mandukar Class by its Tal Shiar creators - trades some of the speed and maneuverability of the Dhelan for added resilience and advanced technology. It maintains the Dhelan’s primary focus on Tactical seating and consoles, but the addition of Borg sensor technology allows the Llaihr access to Sensor Analysis, usually found only on dedicated Science vessels.
Included with its Borg technology upgrades is a universal Enhanced Shrapnel Torpedo Launcher console. This provides the vessel with a supply of replicator nanites specifically programmed for the task of fabricating Shrapnel Torpedoes. These deadly warheads are designed to fracture into smaller self-propelled projectiles shortly before reaching their target, providing each individual source of damage additional opportunity to penetrate the enemy's shields. Even though each bit of shrapnel may seem inconsequential alone, the total potential damage inflicted by such a barrage of incoming fire could be gigantic.
The Tal Shiar Adapted Destroyer [T6] can be obtained as the grand prize from the Tal Shiar Lock Box.
Meanwhile, its sister ship – available on the Lobi Crystal Store – is a true representation of Hakeev’s thirst for power. The Tal Shiar Adapted Battle Cruiser [T6] boasts core architecture based on the iconic D’deridex Warbird Battle Cruiser, yet extensively augmented with Borg technology. By augmenting the D'deridex, the Tal Shiar designed this vessel to focus on crippling and disabling enemy ships, or even turning them against one another. Due to its advanced technology, the Khlinae Class also has access to Sensor Analysis.
These vessels come pre-equipped with the sinister Enhanced Indoctrination Nanite Dispersal System. This universal console utilizes adapted Borg technology to deploy advanced nanites to subvert the weapons of an enemy vessel. Once the nanites have taken over the target's weapons system, they will cause the target to fire randomly at their allies, dealing Electrical damage to any nearby friendly units they can target. The enemy vessel will be unable to disable their own weapons during this time, or fire them on targets of their choosing, until the effects can be overcome.
The Tal Shiar Adapted Battle Cruiser [T6] can be obtained by purchasing it from the Lobi Crystal Store.
Both of the Tal Shiar Adapted ships possess a Cloaking Device. However, the Borg upgrades aren’t completely compatible with this bit of Tal Shiar technology, causing it to underperform when compared to standard cloaking devices. It also cannot be used during combat, unlike pure Warbird vessels. Despite these limitations, the Cloak can still be used to great effectiveness when preparing to ambush enemy targets.
But these are not the only vessels becoming available with the Tal Shiar Lock Box. After all, what would a Lock Box be without offering additional starship options in the form of Mirror Universe variants?
Federation and Klingon captains will once again find an opportunity to obtain variant versions of the Star Cruiser (Fed only), Assault Cruiser (Fed only) and Vor’cha Battle Cruiser (KDF only). In addition to these returning ships, this Lock Box will also allow Romulan captains to obtain a newly minted Mirror Ha’apax Advanced Warbird, which will offer a science-leaning variant to its Prime Universe counterpart.
Complete stats and information on all of the above ships will be published in a Dev Blog that will be published in the near future.
Now available for the first time on console, we have yet another Cross-Faction Console package to offer starship captains. This time around, we’re offering Federation players the chance to obtain a Plasmonic Leech Console, while members of the KDF can get their hands on an Ionized Gas Sensor Console for the first time, which can upgrade all standard torpedo types to create a “tailpipe” torpedo, designed specifically to sniff out cloaked targets and disable them. Romulan captains will be given the console that a member of their ally faction would have received, had they been the one to open the package.
The Tal Shiar Lock Box will be offering players an opportunity to enhance their numeric earnings in Star Trek Online in just about every way imaginable, by including all of the following bonus pool items:
100 Fleet Mark Bonus Pool
150 Fleet Mark Bonus Pool
25,000 Fleet Credit Bonus Pool
35,000 Fleet Credit Bonus Pool
500 Reputation Mark Bonus Pool
750 Reputation Mark Bonus Pool
Dilithium Mining Claim – VIP Customer (10 Claims)
Dilithium Mining Claim – Extra-Special VIP Customer (14 Claims)
And of course, the Adapted starships aren’t the only Tal Shiar technology that will be finding its way into the hands of players. The Weapon Pack being offered in this lock box will include an entirely new type of weaponry, known as Nanite Disruptors. This weaponry, seen in use by Tal Shiar NPCs throughout the game, has a chance to inflict a variant of the well-known damage resistance debuff used by Disruptor weaponry. However, in addition to reducing Damage Resistance on an afflicted target, they will additionally cause the target’s shields to block a smaller percent of any damage directed at them. They will still be boosted by abilities and equipment that improve Disruptor weaponry. Players at any level will obtain a Very Rare / Purple quality weapon that is appropriate for their level, while those above level 50 will also have a chance of finding Mk XII weaponry within these packs.
Each Tal Shiar Lock Box also has a chance of containing a full-sized R&D Pack, the same as is for sale on the C-Store. These bundles of crafting materials and other bonus items may be used with the R&D System to create a number of valuable items, including Tech Upgrades!
A few additions will also be made to the Lobi Crystal Store, offering even more Romulan-themed items for acquisition.
For players interested in expanding their Bridge Crew, a Liberated Borg Romulan Science Officer will become available, ready to join the crew of any starship captain, of any allegiance. This crewman comes with unique costume customization (a combination of Romulan Republic garb, and Liberated Borg outfits), as well as possessing the following unique combination of Traits:
Ground: Borg Nanites (Passive Health and Shield Regeneration)
Ground: Borg Neural Blast (Targeted Slow and Hold)
Ground: Stasis Specialist (Slow, Hold and Root abilities are stronger)
Space: Efficient (Increased subsystem power for low-power systems
New vanity pets can also be obtained from the Lobi Crystal Store, by picking up a Khellid Companion Pet Pack. Within this pack will be a random variant of the hardworking pollen-farming insects seen frolicking in the fields of Virinat colony during the new Romulan tutorial. Sixteen (16) variants exist in total, ranging from White to Purple in quality and rarity. Collecting all of them will grant you an Accolade, and access to two additional Unique (Gold quality) Khellid variants. Players interested in pets with a more fuzzy exterior can instead opt for obtaining a Driclae Pup Companion, which resemble anteaters from Earth, but with the telltale additional eyes commonly found on the native wildlife of New Romulus.
In order to assist players in taking down the resilient shielding of the newly-encountered Elachi, the Lobi Crystal Store will begin selling Tachyon Grenades. In addition to causing an AOE shield drain and a small amount of Kinetic damage, these consumable grenades will destroy any artificial force fields and knock turrets, drones and other non-living enemies offline for a short amount of time.
And, to counteract the psionic attacks being utilized by the Tal Shiar’s Reman shocktroopers, players will be able to purchase a Psionic Dampener. This consumable hypospray grants a large amount of Psionic resistance (also useful against Devidians and Species M-113), while additionally increasing resistance to all other energy types to a lesser degree. Each hypo lasts one hour, and will persist through death.
Tachyon Grenades and Psionic Dampeners may be purchased in either single variants, or packs of 15.
The Tal Shiar Lock Box will become available on consoles starting on February 14th.