In this brand-new edition of Ask Cryptic, Executive Producer Dan Stahl delivers answers to player submitted questions.
Q: (black08567) I love STO and all the ships, but I’d like to see more Klingon ships. Any chance of getting a bundle or maybe a Negh'Var Retrofit?
Dstahl: While the KDF will get access to the new ships being released in the Dominion Lock Box later this month, the next Klingon-specific ship is a brand-new design that will be released in both a T3 and T5 version around our 3 Year Anniversary.
Q: (draven1907) What’s on the menu for STO in 2013 and especially Season 8?
Dstahl: 2013 is going to be a very busy year for STO when it is said and done. Season 8, releasing in the first half of 2013, will focus on adding new missions and storyline to the game in the form of a new adventure zone, new episodes, and another big feature, which is yet to be revealed. We also have Season 9 scheduled to launch in the second-half of 2013. In between all of that will be additional updates, new ships, a few new features and perhaps a mid-year event before next year’s Winter Event.
Q: (lorne12) Will there be new Episodes anytime soon?
Dstahl: There is a new episode coming at the end of January for the 3 Year Anniversary of STO and then the bulk of the new episodes will come with Season 8 and beyond.
Q: (tpai99) Will there be a Fleet version of the Vesta? What about the new ships that you guys design yourself? Will there be more possibilities to create your own ship?
Dstahl: We haven’t made a final decision on the Fleet Vesta, but it is one of the ships we are considering for a Fleet refit. We do have several new ship designs in the works, along with some older designs from both the TOS and Enterprise era. One of our long term goals is to allow Fleets the ability to customize and/or create their own ships, but we want to make more customization parts for existing ships before we implement that.
Q: (h00tgibson) It’s easier to get MACO or Omega gear now. What are the chances of seeing legendary or epic items in STO in the future, very rare and loot-only?
Dstahl: We plan to increase the level cap in the future so that captains will be able to obtain the Full Admiral Rank. As part of that change, we will be introducing a new tier of gear, along with new very rare and ultra-rare items that are loot only. That said, we are going to be releasing more Reputations with new gear associated with them as well, but we understand that some players still want to get lucky and find that very rare item that no one else has found yet. We won’t lose sight of that as we move up in Ranks.
Q: (Stojonathan) Any chance of seeing the Enterprise-J ingame?
Dstahl: Unfortunately, there is very little chance that you’ll see this ship in the game due to its massive size. It is too big in comparison to other ships and would cause issues with gameplay. That doesn’t rule out the possibility of seeing other Enterprise ships between ENT-F and ENT-J, though.
Q: (warp04) Will the Heavy Jem’Hadar Escort be playable as well? Will there be more factions that offer reputation systems?
Dstahl: The upcoming release of the Dominion Lock Box will also introduce new playable Jem’Hadar ships to STO, and the Heavy Escort might be one of those ships. As far as Reputations go, we are planning to introduce several new Reputations over the next two years. Some of the reputations being considered include PvP, FED/KDF Warfront, Tholian Task Force, Foundry Play, and Crafting, to name a few.
Q: (ekumulum) The Winter Event was cool. Are you planning on extending it for next year? Do you have something similar in store for spring time?
Dstahl: The Winter Event will be returning next December, and due to this year’s popularity, we are considering adding a companion event mid-year that will offer new challenges and new rewards, while providing a more sunny atmosphere.
Q: (maddinm214) When will social zones receive an update?
Dstahl: With the success of the New Romulus and Tholian Adventure Zones, we are looking to go back to our existing social zones and give them a similar treatment. One of the zones being thrown about for a possible Springtime or Summer event is to have it take place on Risa or somewhere similar where all factions could enjoy some fun in the sun.
Q: (larsh1) Will there be anything to make use of our ships in Spacedock? I have a whole fleet of unused craft now since I only play with a select 3. I would enjoy being able to send these ships on doff missions, or have them as extra help on missions.
Dstahl: We are looking at some future designs for the DOFF system that may be quite similar to what you are suggesting. In general, we want Admiral level players to make good use of the ships they have in space dock and send them out on missions. Expect more discussion about this later in 2013.
Q: (salacnar070890) What are the plan for 10/25 man Normal/Elite STFs?
Dstahl: There are two things being discussed related to this. We want to see more STFs when we increase the level cap, and have a good mix of 5/10/20 man missions that offer challenges geared towards those players. We are also looking at large scale competitive PvP and/or competitive PvE scenarios that would allow a large numbers of players to participate in scheduled events. Both of these concepts are on the table for later in 2013, but will not be picked up until after Season 8 releases.
Q: (cratchmaster) With this season, players now require far more resources to contribute to their reputation system, embassy projects, and fleet projects. As a result, many players have noticed a trend of some players going AFK during PvE bouts, presumably to simply claim the reward at the end without having to do the work to earn it. Are there any plans in the works to correct this so that the players that DO play the matches don't become discouraged?
Dstahl: We are disappointed that some players are doing this so we are discussing possible changes to the Dilithium reward structure that will take into account whether or not the player is contributing to the event or not. We wish that all players would play these events as they are intended instead of trying to milk the rewards, but in the meantime, we are discussing a solution that should not be detrimental to those actually participating.
Q: (timjerrom) Now im personaly not a fan of flying round a box where you just get the same old missions over and over again of having to scan 5 anomolies and warp out, blow 5 sets of hostile vessels up, beam to a station/planet kill 5 sets of hostiles. Its not Trek! Where are the ailens that you talk too to sort the situation out or just the ailens that you don't have to kill full stop? Also where is the exploration to seek out new life and to boldly go where no one has gone before...
Dstahl: We’ve poured significant resources into creating procedurally generated random space encounters and, unfortunately, they never quite feel like the Trek you are talking about. This is why we created the Foundry, so that players could author missions that are much more genuine and offer something new. The next step will be to marry the Foundry to a solid Exploration concept where you can be rewarded for exploring new sectors of randomly (but player created) strange new worlds. That is the basis of what we want to do with Exploration in the future.
Q: (akpa) can you provide use with more information about the starbase 24 and gorn minefield 's rating system? and will be any improvements so that we may see the top and how we earned our place there?
Dstahl: We have refrained from sharing specifics because each Fleet Action is slightly different in the way they score (i.e. it depends on the structure of the mission). For example, the Gorn Minefield event scores on Frigate Defeats, Mining Facility Repairs, and the final Boss Defeat, in addition to other factors at different intervals. The real issue is that the score may be too complex to display in a meaningful way, and so we will consider this as feedback when we look at how we could improve player participation, much in the way that Call of Duty or Halo would.
Q: (wesleycrasher) When will we see the much anticipated re-trait token in the c-store?
Dstahl: This has recently been moved up in the schedule so that it will release with Season 8.
Q: (kirimuffin) Any chance of licensing more official Trek music? I'd love to have stuff from the movie soundtracks, as well as the DS9 theme for the station exterior. I might even be willing to pay for music packs, depending on how they're priced!
Dstahl: We have had several lengthy back and forth sessions with CBS trying to get approval for more music but due to the way that Viacom was split, the rights to this music are proving very difficult to obtain and get in the game. We haven’t given up, but it is far more challenging than getting a cast member to record VO for the game.
Q: (flash525) What is the Cryptic's policy where other designs from other games are concerned? The DS9: Dominion Wars game has the Federation Achilles, Klingon K'vorcha and a couple of Cardassian designs, the ST: Armada game has the Romulan Griffin and Shrike, along with a bunch of other Cardassian and Klingon designs. I'm sure there are other Trek games out there with further designs. Are we ever likely to see any of these within STO?
Dstahl: Good question. Our license with CBS is restricted to the TV Shows, the movies (up to Nemesis), the Animated Series, and some of the book fiction. Unfortunately, this license doesn’t extend to other video games. However, if those ships or factions appeared in any of the previously mentioned properties, then it is fair game.
Q: (gerwalk0769) Will STO consider implementing savable ship-specific DOFF and BOFF configurations?
Dstahl: Yes. Our goal is to get this in game sometime this year before the next Winter Event in either Season 8 or 9.
Q: (mbp101287) Are we considering the addition of a section in the duty officer UI for listing which assignments are on cooldown and how long is left? This would help alleviate some of the player confusion over why an assignment might not be available at any specific time.
Dstahl: The Duty Officer UI in general is something we will be addressing after the release of Season 8 and we will be looking heavily to incorporate some of the great feedback like this into the new design. If we can get this into Season 9, we will!
Q: (eradicator84) PvE queue players numbers. Any chance you can bring them back?
Dstahl: The Software team is looking into returning this column to the queue and adjusting the number of players in the queue to be more accurate than it was before. Previously, it was incorrect most of the time, but since queues fire off frequently, it probably wasn’t noticed without seeing the actual data.
Q: (joelzidane) 20 years of DS9 and no celebration in Star Trek Online?
Dstahl: We wish we could create events and celebrations for every Trek holiday or anniversary. Right now, the team is primarily focused on the upcoming release of Season 8. Having more in-game celebrations is something we plan to get better at and you can look forward to more effort in this area in the future.
Q: (nyxadrill) Would it be possible to add a "My favorites" tab to the foundry list UI? There are several excellent foundry stories that I like to go back to from time to time but they are fairly well spread through the list. I know we can custom search which is fine but it would be nice to be able to add them to a favorites list for quick reference.
Dstahl: This is one of the features that we hope to port over from Neverwinter after they launch in addition to the ability to subscribe to a Foundry author. Look for this feature late in 2013.
Q: (cerritourug) Considering that the Spanish is the second more spoken language in the world, and that the Hispanic community in the STO is growing each day, there is a possibility of translating the game into Spanish?
Dstahl: This is one of the languages we are considering, along with Portuguese. We are working with our international offices to determine where we might be able to expand and have continuous localization support. Thank you for the request and stay tuned as we work with on this issue.
Q: (justin2384) Could we see a way where two or maybe even more smaller fleets could for an alliance and build a star base together?
Dstahl: This is an interesting option - or similarly, the ability for Fleets to merge - that we are considering as a way for smaller fleets to handle some of the challenges to building a Starbase. Nothing has been decided but it is definitely an interesting option. It would be useful to know if other fleets feel this would be worthwhile or if there are concerns over something like this.
Q: (eisenw0lf) Will the KDF ever get access to the mercenary costume? There are lots of 'alien'-characters on the red side who would love to have something to wear which is not an Omega armor or a distinctive klingon outfit. Some people like to play a Cardassian or Romulan and they look just stupid in the outfits currently available to KDF.
Dstahl: We agree with you that non-Klingons need more costume options, although we don’t necessarily think they look stupid. Rest assured that we are working on some new uniforms for the KDF side in Season 8 that are similar to the Mercenary outfits because not all KDF players want to wear spiky boots and shoulder pads.
Q: (keeny75) Will / Can there be a way to change the species that we are? When I first joined STO I opted for human than later on you released playable Caitian faction in the c-store. I would love to be a Caitian but I don't want to start again from scratch to do it.
Dstahl: Now that we are working on a way to respec your traits, this is one option we are considering, but we haven’t made a final decision. We generally aren’t looking for players to be able to swap their species back and forth as easily as a respec, but we do appreciate that some players may have made a decision that they would like to change. Once we get the Trait respec in game, we will make a call on whether we will open up this option. If there are others that feel strongly about this, it would be good to see some of opinions in the forums.
Q: (chalpen) Can you give us a definite, “Yes Season 8 will have KDF only playable content” or “no, none at this time” answer?
Dstahl: The KDF are getting some love in Season 8 but I can’t discuss the scope of it yet. As we get closer to the release, more news and specifics will be released along with some previews of what we have been working on. I personally believe that Season 8 will be a positive release for the KDF.
Q: (psycoticvulcan) It's probably safe to say the Tholians are among the most mysterious races in Star Trek. Will we see their culture fleshed out, so to speak, in STO? Also, we haven't heard from the Undine in a while. What are they up to?
Dstahl: We agree that the Tholians are very mysterious and we have included them in STO because we want to delve deeper into who they are and what they want. Whenever we’ve seen the Tholians, they always seem to be focused on something else as if they are up to something. We will continue to tell stories that explore who these aliens are and what their goals might be.
By the way! Foundry authors will have access to the Tholian space critters and Tholian EV suits as antagonists in next week's Holodeck update. This will also let our players begin to tell their own Tholian stories.
As for the Undine, they are going to be returning to the focus after Season 8 when more details begin to emerge about the Iconians and how they have been manipulating other species. For now it is safe to say that the Undine would not be happy to learn this. The question will be whether or not anyone can convince them that they’ve been puppets. Good luck with that!
Q: (sirrichardbutt) What are YOU most looking forward to in the future?
Dstahl: Season 8 and Season 9 are both going to be BIG releases. I’m very much looking forward to them because they represent the first big releases we will have been able to do with the increase to our live team staff. While I can’t spoil any of the details on what exactly is coming, it is exciting to come to work every day knowing that we are building some great new experiences for STO in 2013 that will give fans some of the things they’ve been wanting for a long time (including myself!). It is a wonderful time to be working on STO, and while I’ve always been excited about our potential, it is great to see some of our efforts start to pay off. The game is growing and that is an exciting place to be for an MMO.
Q: (treadstone79) When will STO be released for Mac OS X?
Dstahl: We are investigating this now and would like to see it happen in 2013 if we can work it out. Stay tuned!
Q: (wildthyme467989) Can you give us a release date for Season 8, and a rough idea of what will be in it?
Dstahl: We are targeting a May release, but production dates are always subject to change. The rough idea is that it will be awesome and have lots of new missions, ships, and things to do! :) Sorry, I wish I could share more, but you’ll have to wait just a little while longer for details.
Thank you for all of the great questions. Sorry if your question did not get answered, but you can rest assured that I do read the questions and even questions that don’t get answered to get flagged for the internal team to address. Thank you for continuing to make Ask Cryptic a useful feature for the game team.
See you next month!
Star Trek Online