Executive Producer Dan Stahl sat down to bring you news about the next Tribble Test Weekend; musings regarding Lt. Ort; Diplomacy; Wormhole talk and a host of new information - all here for you in this month's Ask Cryptic!
Q: Cheysuli Will we be seeing new sets of uniforms and other variations of your toons for the Klingon Faction?
A: Most of our new costume options begin as either a costume for an NPC in a story, or as something developed with funding via the C-Store. Up to this point, we have only been able to add Klingon Costume options when our character art team is working on a related task such as the Gorn revamp coming in Season 4. Unfortunately, Klingon items don't sell very well in the C-Store and so making new Klingon outfits isn't happening as fast as we'd like.
Q: nailpeter83 Are there any plans to relase way to get uniforms (TNG,DS9,etc) in game with out having to buy them on the C-Store?
A: I'd certainly like to see this happen if it makes financial sense. We already do this with ships, but it is too early to tell if we'll be able to extend this to costumes in the short term. I could see it happening eventually.
Q: the_illustrious_q What's the word on a 100 day vet reward for Klingons?
A: For those who don't remember the history of this, early in the development of the game the 100 day veteran rewards were made focused primarily on Federation characters (since you have to make a Fed in order to even make a KDF toon). When I took over as EP, I started talking about ways to fix this and subsequent Veteran Rewards had Fed/KDF counterparts. This leaves the old 100 day vet reward of the Alternate Future Variant Badge as a Fed only standout. We have been doing some badge work for Season 4, and we may be able to sneak this one in, but it is a legacy issue that we haven't dealt with yet. My schedule shows that we'll resolve it before the end of the year.
Q: DecadeComplete What weekend is Tribble Test Weekend for Season 4? What future plans do you have for fleets and fleet leaders?
A: We will be announcing a TRIBBLE TEST WEEKEND sometime towards the end of June; so stay tuned!. Over the course of Season 4, we will be introducing new Fleet Features, such as the Fleet Action Private Queue, and start talking about the possibilities of Fleet Progression and Starbases.
Q: Cpt.Kain Will you ever be fixing the Sit_Chair emote, also why are the Aenar and Catain BOs C-store? also,will you be adding types of Bridge officers in the future?
A: While some chairs are setup to sit properly, not all of them in game are converted yet. Our lead animator is looking at this over the next several months. The rare BOFFs are going into the c-store since players have been asking for them and we have resolved the alternate method of how you will obtain them in game (which is tied to the Duty Officer System). We do plan to add more bridge officer types in the future, but details haven't been worked out just yet.
Q: Rexy The Akira class ship was designed as part of Star Fleets response to the Borg threat, and is a newer ship design then the Defiant, Galaxy, Nebula, and Excelsior classes, which are T5 ships. So, when are we getting a t5 Akira?
A: We are scheduled to release an enhanced version of the Akira to be released sometime during Season 4, but we are still on the fence about whether or not we will release a Vice Admiral variant of the ship.
Q: Quiiliitiila In April's Ask Cryptic you commented on the possibility of playable Jupiter and Typhoon ships. Is this possibility even on the radar or is it a VERY long term goal?
A: These ships are possibilities during Season 5, but not likely to happen before then.
Q: Kirkfat What can Foundry authors look forward to in the immediate and long-term future?
A: In the immediate future, Foundry authors can look forward to some much needed bug fixing and the eventual hook ups of new maps (such as Starfleet Academy) to the library. Long term, we plan to synch up with all the amazing Foundry work being done by the Neverwinter team and bring those new features over to STO to improve the toolset features. One thing I continue to stress is adding the ability for more "acting" and "blocking" features so that players can create their own dramatic scenes.
Q: Anyndil01 Are there any plans to add scripting to the Foundry? Are there plans to develop an online interface for the duty officer system? Are there plans to develop some kind of simulated combat system (holodeck, combat drones, etc.) to test new equipment?
A: No. Yes. Maybe. (Champs has this and we've discussed adding something similar - especially to test new ships - but it is technically complicated to give ships and take them away.)
Q: ArgentSF Is there any chance of having not only customizable transporter effects, but also perhaps some JJ Abrams style bridges?
A: Unlikely that we'll be able to do much in the way of customized Transporter FX other than the possibility of color shifting. And until CBS/Paramount come to some sort of agreement over the new movies, we will not be able to add any items or references from the "JJ" movies.
Q: drknight48 Can we give Lt. Ort something to do besides tell us where Cmdr. Romaine has gone. I understand he had his place in Beta, when you moved the Cmdr to Memory Alpha, but I think it's time to maybe to promote him and give him new responsibility's, after diligently working so hard at such a tedious job!
A: Great idea! Ort could use a new assignment. I've asked the dev team to cook up something new for Ort to do.
Q: Zoberraz From the looks of things, Gozer's going back to fiddling around with Special Taskforces. Does this mean that there will be less emphasis on Remastered Episodes? I remember you saying that you wanted to enhance a new player's early experience (the Azura and P'jem missions now definitely do that), but with solely these the experience is going to be a little inconsistent.
A: We will continue to work on Remastered Episodes as our schedule allows, but for now, the STFs are in far worse shape and in need of love. It is a constant give and take with our current resources to get everything to where it needs to be. A little bit at a time.
Q: Hookan91 Why don't Weekly Series rewards scale with our level? They all apear to be Mark items?
A: We previously released rewards that would themselves scale with you as you leveled up. We found two problems with this. One, you only needed to get the item once which discouraged replay of the episode. Second, the self-scaling item was challenging to make interesting at each level range. Instead, we have made it so that the rewards change at each rank you play the episode. This allows us to have rewards appropriate for your the level you play (or replay) the episode. Each rank you can go back and replay the episode to get a better version of the rewards.
Q: PhyrexianHero When can we have greater customization over the dimensions (rows and columns) of our power tray?
A: We are working on updating the power tray this month as we prepare for the ground combat update in Season 4. We want to allow more gameplay options and we will include investigating more customization options as well.
Q: ZeroIce Will there be a contest to design a new KDF ship like the one for the Feds? I've still got free ship tokens from when I made BG and LG last year and asolutely nothing I have any interest in spending them on at this time. It'd be nice to have some choices.
A: While we are not going to be running another contest for a Fan submitted Klingon vessel, we are going to be adding more ships to the KDF lineup during Season 4.
Q: HeathenStorm How will the upcoming Duty Officer system be integrated with the C-Store? Is there any truth in the rumour that there will be a random chance to obtain better quality (rare and unique) Duty Officers directly from the store?
A: While the details of the Duty Officer System are still being ironed out, we do anticipate three primary means of obtaining these crew - by running specific assignements designed to obtain them, by purchasing new random lots of recruits from the c-store, or by trading with other players. We don't have final details to share just yet as we are still implementing the feature design.
Q: Ashur1 Any chance the auto-pilot in sector space could be more realistic ? In the vastnees of space it´s nearly impossible for two ships to bump into each other by accident. But why does my auto-pilot take evasive action taking me 20 ly off course ?
A: We have a programmer assigned to revamp auto-pilot in sector space after Season 4 launches. We want to allow players to click on a location several sectors away and have the auto-pilot plot your entire course. We can investigate the avoidance system at that time.
Q: Kelmor_Branon Any possibility of enlisted ranks in-game?
A: We may be able to add these at Titles or self-selected details about your characters, but I do not expect to see these new ranks added to the official "rank" names that come at specific levels.
Q: Captan_Bhaal Can you please elaborate on Boffs being in the c-store. Will I be able to get a Caitian Boff free since I already purchased the race as a playable toon?
A: Playable captain Species and Rare Bridge Officers are two different types of upgrades. Purchasing Caitain Species allows you to immediately create a captain of that species. Later this month,you'll be able to purchase the ability to claim a Caitain Bridge officer of your choice. We are also working on ways for you to earn these Caitain Bridge Officers through other means such as emblems and via assignments.
Q: Armsman If you get the autoscale tech working properly, could the autoscale tech be used for Fleet Actions; and if so, could we get rid of the Current Level Banding on Fleet Actions and have it so Lts., Lt. Cmdrs., Cmdr., Capt. and Adm. ranked characters could all participate and enter the same instance on a Fleet Action?
A: Absolutely. This is a major feature of Season 4. We are making joining Fleet Actions a much more obvious and clear process by showing you available queues and what level range they are in (much like PVP queues). In addition, we are for the first time, allowing private Fleet Action queues where you can either set a private or public instance and invite players of all ranges who are then releveled appropriately using the Squad Level tech. QA is in the process of testing this now, and we hope to have this on Tribble this month for you to try out.
Q: The Nexus from Star Trek: Generations is scheduled to return to our area of the galaxy around 2410. Any comment?
A: We've talked about it internally. While it is possible to create some sort of story mission around this, the nexux itself is a strange place. If we can find a way to work it into the game we will, but it is not high on our priority list.
Q: SlothfulDragoon Will ground and space skill points be split for season 4? I know there had been some talk of this a while back, and I was wondering what came of it. When will the level cap be increased again?
A: We are not splitting up the skillpoints at the launch of Season 4, but I could see this coming during Season 4 or 5. We do not anticipate raising the level cap until we have the resources to make enough content to make it viable and fun. I don't want to repeat the way we level up the last time. It should be awesome and cool when we do it.
Q: Yreodred When will we get more options at the ship tailor?
A: We will be adding more ship variants at each tier over the next several months and then this fall we plan to add more "part and texture" packs so that there are more customization options for ships. This is also something we plan to add as part of mission rewards in the future as well.
Q: Six-of-Nine Will there ever be an option to allow you to defect to the enemy faction?
A: We don't anticipate doing this, but having played other games that allowed this and it is certainly fun. I did the super painful rep grind to make an evil Froglock out of Freeport in EQII until they made it so you can just make them from scratch. That really bummed me out.
Q: Killer8472 Will there be an option to give a name to an alien species we create or have as a boff?
A: This has been on my wish list since before the game launched. We wanted players to be able to create, name and trade species they made with other players. It isn't impossible, but it can be tricky. We have to revamp how many of our "alien" customization parts work in order to do it right. So maybe someday.
Q: trekker1988 will we be seeing any more remastered episodes (besides the Pjem and Doomsday) before the Launch of Season 4 on Holodeck?
A: Not before the launch of Season 4, but after the launch of Season 4 you are going to see some remade Klingon missions as part of the new Qo'noS First City as well as some work Gozer is doing to remaster the existing STFs. By September, we hope to have most of these redone and made fun with much better rewards and much better Borg.
Q: mrfixit Any plans to split the fleet action daily mission into 2 missions, a space fleet action daily and a ground fleet action daily?.
A: Yes. We are planning to completely revamp the basic replayability of Fleet Actions starting with and during Season 4.
Q: Commadore_Bob Are we going to see a revamped DS9 to go along with the "upcoming" Cardassian feature Series?
A: We've talked about the scope of what we can get done, and while I don't anticipate a MAJOR overhaul of DS9, I do think we can add and improve on it. One thing we are definitely going to be revamping is that not so accurate wormhole.
Q: Peregrine_Falcon Will the KDF get "anything" (paraphrasing) in 2011.
A: The KDF are getting a remade starting Hub, a new KDF only Daily Ground and Space Fleet Action, Remade Gorn, exclusive KDF level 51 gear set (space and ground), their own form of assignments, their own unique duty officers, several new ships, and a releveled mission experience. Anything else is possible, but those are the tasks at the top of my priority list for KDF right now. The KDF slowly improves, but not as fast as the feds. The future could change this.
Q: McItoshi Will we ever see a range of new and different alien ships to be used by the species we encounter in patrols and clusters?
A: Completly agree with this and it is on our task list for Season 5.
Q: Zeta_Otaku With the new voice chat system coming into play, will that information be handled by a separate server system or the same cluster as the Holodeck server?
A: Vivox runs on its own servers and have little to no impact on Holodeck performance. In addition, we are making several major technology updates at the launch of Season 4 to improve both the amount of data needed to patch the game as well as allow the server to run more users and greater performance levels.
Q: Aoav160 Will dabo betting limits be increased?
A: This is something we are considering as a possibility when we head to DS9 for the next Feature Epsiodes sereies.
Q: CaptainCorvoe When will the Fan Designed Enterprise be a playable ship?
A: The ability to captain one of these new class of ship will be introduced in the Fall during Season 4.
Q: AlgoMike Is Cryptic or Atari responsible for translations of STO? What is the status of the German/French translations?
A: Cryptic is responsible for handing over text to be translated to Atari publishing who then translate the text and send it back to the game team to be included in a Holodeck update. At present the future translations of the game are in discussion as part of other business dealing with Cryptic/Atari that I can't comment on.
Q: Linkdown Will we get any PVP love.
A: Yes. We plan some PVP love during Season 4, and more specifically Open PVP areas if we can get the tech and rewards ironed out.
Q: DarthModest Is there any chance of having a repository in game of all information presented to us so far, some form of encyclopedia that we add to by uncovering information or discovering artifacts?
A: Something similar to this is in the works and we hope to have introduced around the time the next Feature Episode series begins.
Q: FenixSS Are there any plans to improve the quality/rarity of the Diplomatic Bridge Officer (as opposed to the common rank it is right now)
A: Yes, and in fact a general update to Diplomacy is being added for both Factions as part of the Duty Officer Assignment System.
Q: Tucana How goes the progress with the Tholians?
A: These baddies are still on deck to become a major player in a future Feature Episode Series. We are looking to get in environmental suits as part of the gameplay with the Tholians.
Q: Alastor_Forthright What plans are there to make Tier 1 vessels available via in game methods?
A: A revamp to ship acquisition is planned for late in Season 4.
Q: Elysia_1 The foundry is Well on its way as a great game and mission creator with a good handful of features... I love it, but I'll put it simply... When are we going to see more features added to it? It's sssoo limited in the current form it's in. I really can't create the mission "I" want 100% without having to compramize.
A: The Foundry development team is currently full steam ahead working on Neverwinter but we plan to port over their new feature code any time we technically can do so. You will see minor features and bug fixes periodically in our patch notes. It will be on ongoing update process instead of a major "feature release".
Q: LordOfPit Are we ever going to get different types of Beam Turrets for ground combat, other than just the Phaser turret?
A: Ground turrets are being revamped as part of Ground Combat and there will be phaser and disruptor variants as well as three different firing modes depending on the level of the power.
Q: NEligahn Is there anything, even just being discussed now, about making the ships themselves actual "characters" rather than just some useless slottable armor you discard every level?
A: While the ship hull itself does define the layout parameters and capabilities of the ship, we like to think that the experience of the crew and the technology improvements they've made are the key components that follow you as you rank up, regardless of what your ship hull is. This is one way in which Duty Officers will become a very significant "carry over" from ship to ship as you progress.
Q: Primus01 When will we be able to craft on our ships?
A: This is a feature update we will be making after Season 4 begins. We haven't finalized exactly how this feature unlocks, but we do expect players to be able to craft directly from sector space or their ship interior without needing to go to Memory Alpha every time.
Q: Yoosty What will happen to the ground Weapons( i.e. Unc, Rare and Very Rare) we have already have bound on our Captain and BOF's and also in our Bank/Inventory when Season 4 goes Live.
A: The plan is that all of your weapons will be replaced with the new ground combat versions on the back end so that you shouldn't notice any change to what you own. When you log in, you'll be able to immediately start using your existing weapons in the new shooter mode.
Q: vchemist There is a entire forum post of non-humanoid aliens, do you think it might be possible (three legs, four legs, etc,etc)?
A: As much as we'd like to add non-humanoids to Star Trek, we are limited by the same types of "budget" constraints that the TV shows were in that it all requires a huge heap of animators to make special "one-off" animation rigs to support all of the various things characters and enemies need to do (such as hold things, move in many directions, emote, etc). We do have plans to add more rigs over time, but it is a slow and expensive process to make "playable" non-humanoids. One-off monsters aren't so bad, but they aren't exactly the best bang for the buck unless they are used in multiple missions (for example Tholians will most likely get done because we can use them repeatedly).
Q: AngelSilhouette Can we ever select different types of targets for which to scan with our tricorders? (Perhaps with another minigame that determines the thoroughness of our scan, placing waypoints on our minimap indicating the results, or perhaps visible waypoints like the current BO waypoints.)
A: Now that we have the infamous ThomasTheCat on our development team, we have high hopes to introduce more mini-games via upcoming Feature Episode series and introduce new types of "scanning" mechanics.
Q: Trek17 oh yeah, will we ever have a Warp Core equipment slot? we have shield, deflector and impulse equipment slots... so why not Warp Cores?
A: We opted not to have Warp Cores as an equipment type because they currently have little impact on gameplay. We instead chose to go the route of offering a crew system which will allow you to customize the "engineering department" to get more variety out of what your engines should be doing.
Q: Angelphoenix12 When will we see Fleet Admirals as well as the Icoanians?
A: Most likely at the same time, and sometime during or after Season 5. But the key here is that we want it to be awesome when we make the next level jump and have a wealth of content to explore when we do so.
Q: STOHardCore Can we get more info on the new Tutorials?
A: We have opted to postpone the new tutorials in lieu of other changes to the beginning of the game which will accomplish similar goals. Having a better help system, more info on how things work in game, clearing mission directions, a better auto-pilot, and clearer mission progression path will do far more good for new players over the course of the game than a single remade episode at the beginning of the game. Helping new players understand and learn the complexities of STO is a big focus for the team during Season 4.
Q: Neptune-A Will the year ever change on STO? I mean it has been open to the public for almost a year and a half now, yet the year still remains 2409, however, the Stardates tell us we have just entered the year 2412.
A: We have considered this but it is tricky to do across the game without updating many locations where we treat the year as 2409. We have a plan to do this, but it is not going to be an overnight or real life to game time conversion.
Q: fuzedatom Might we be seeing multi-phasic shielding sometime soon or the ability to craft it?
A: The systems team is working on new loot for season 4 and I keep hearing the term multi-phasic shielding so there is a good chance that you'll see something related soon.
Q: Bran_Mak_Morrn Can we expect to see any Devs on when Season 4 hits Tribble, to help test / answer questions pertaining to Ground Combat?
A: Yes! The GMs and Devs are cooking up plans for some events on TRIBBLE to take place later this month as well as some informative video on how the new systems work. See you there!Talk about it on the forums!