Executive Producer Dan Stahl checks in with 31 answers in this month's installment of Ask Cryptic!
Q: Captain-Lang: Will we have refit for lower tier ship such as a miranda refit?
A: While we do not currently intend to add specific lower tier refits into the ship requisition stores, a future goal of the crafting system is to allow players to outfit and refit their own starships. Under that new system, I would hope that you could take a Miranda class ship and using a budget, refit the class to be something more appropriate to modern times. We're a ways off from having details on this type of feature, but I can say we want to see refits in the future.
Q:deeboboy: In the up coming weekly series are you going to continue stories from the earlier missions in the game or are you going to continue down the same lines as the current episdes by adding new stories?
A: We plan to do both. While the previous two series were not directly connected to existing plots, the next series is a continuation of a plot that has existed since launch.
Q: Admiral_Tade: With a new year coming up are we going to see more advances in ship mechanics such as the mutli-vector assault mode for the Prometheus class ships and teir 6 ships? Will we get more species ships such as the vulcan Suurok class or maybe even the vulcan cruiser seen as a graphic in the Enterprise episode, "Future Tense"?
A: The ship design team is doing some early R&D on how a Prometheus design would work (which section of the ship would you control if it separates?). This is one example where we are looking at an existing top tier ship and designing ways to make it even more unique. As far as other Vulcan ships, we plan to continue introducing species based ships and while I don't have the Suurok on the schedule, we do have an Andorian ship on the schedule coming up soon. So stay tuned.
Q: Costigan: I was extremely pleased with the improvements from Season 3, mostly the Sector Space visual improvements and the crafting improvements. I was wondering what you might be adding to the crafting system to make it unique? Is the Aegis set the first of many to come?
A: We are well on our way to fully improving crafting and Season 3 was one of the baby steps along the way. Next up is the Duty Officer Roster (formerly known as the crew system) which will start to introduce new craftables based on the Duty Officers you assign to various departments on your ship. We absolutely plan to make more sets and to look at possibly adding weaponry to future sets.
Q: samwize1701: Will the price to change my ship's appearance ever be reduced? I can appreciate a small fee, but charging 70k+ ECs just to modify the class on a few pieces of my ship seems a bit pricey.
A: We are investigating the EC pricing in the ship customization window. If we find that something is out of range, we'll adjust it so that it makes more sense.
Q: Armsman: Are you guys ever going to revisit the Fleet Action "temporary fix"; and restore the ability for players to just eneter a Fleet action (regardless of level) and be able to run them, contribute; and in general, make this group content something the playerbase at large might want to do more often?
A: Yes. A major feature of Season 4 is the Fleet Actions queue (very similar to the current PVP Queue) which will not only allow Fleets to create private instances of Fleet Actions, but it will also allow players to visibly see what Fleet Actions are currently running, how many players are in them, at what levels, etc. At that time we'll also be looking into the level banding issue to ensure competition and rewards are fair, while allowing the maximum number of people to participate.
Q: Pikoy: Will we be able to create diplomacy missions in the foundry that will yield diplomacy XP?
A: We are reviewing the reward structure for Foundry missions with the goal of ensuring there is proper incentive to play and experience player made missions. Adding the ability to gain Diplomacy XP for non-combat gameplay seems like a no-brainer. We'll be sure to add that to our review.
Q: Fractal_Eye: Will the second mini-game make it's way into the game soon? Will the 400-day Veteran Reward, the Captain's Yacht, be a controlable ship, or a pet, like the shuttles and runabout reward? Also, will there be a Klingon version, or will it only be for Feds? Will we be seeing Poker (and, hopefully, 3D-Chess) during Season 3, or will they more likely be introduced in Season 4+?
A: The 2nd Mini-Game that was designed is being looked at for introduction sometime in an upcoming episode, but for now there aren't many details.
The Captain's Yacht (both Federation and Klingon versions) will be a player controlled ship.
As much as I want to see Poker and other mini-games, our Software team is a bit crunched at the moment, and until we hire a few more developers, I've got them focused on more meatier features such as the Duty Roster, and Fleet Actions systems. Poker will be there... someday.
Q: Dalxien: When will we be seeing specs on the new Andorian and Vulcan ships upcoming? Are any melee weapons on the table? I am particularly interested in the Vulcan Lirpa, the Andorian Ushaan-tor, and the Nausicaan Swords, but any info would be appreciated greatly.
A: The Vulcan ship is coming out before the Andorian ship is. We'll get the Vulcan ship specs posted in the next week once it has been finalized. As far as Lirpas and other melee weapons, I wouldn't be surprised to see one pop up as a reward in a future featured episode series.
Q: fourbearsstanding: With Star trek online first year anniversary coming up in February, Dan, can you give us any hints to what you DEV Lads are cooking up for the first year anniversary of STO?
A: We've had our kickoff meeting for our Feb 2nd event and so far most of the fun will be taking place on either Earth Space Dock or Qo'nos. Those that plan on attending the celebration will be able to walk away with a tchotchke to say 'you were there'.
Q: maximus92: With the Borg and Aegis sets changing the appearance of our ships, are there plans to have ship items already in game add further customization of the look of our ships?
A: When we were designing the Aegis set, we discussed this and there is nothing technically preventing us from doing that. However, considering the amount of work that goes into ensuring the customization pieces work on ALL the ships, we want to limit this cool new FX to special items and rewards. Over time, you'll see these cool geometery FX on more and more items.
Q: xXLocutusXx: There was talk about open pvp from Stahl, I was hoping that you could possibly elaborate on where you would like to take this idea in game wise.
A: This is a tough subject because there are those who love PVP and those who don't. Looking at the Star Trek Online playerbase, I don't forsee a future where we ever move to a completely open PVP architecture. What I do see are opportunities where we can make Open PVP areas a part of the Story and allow players to play out scenarios where they make sense. My gut says that you'll see more planned PVP contests before you see open world PVP.
Q: LordOfPit: Do you actually see fervently desired Foundry features, like multiple branches in mission objectives and dialogs, appearing in the normal content Cryptic will produce for all three titles as the rule rather than an exception?
A: Yes. Many of the dialog features we are just starting to play with are tech that Neverwinter has been using in their development for some time, so in many ways STO is just starting to use the tools you mentioned, and you can count on Future Cryptic RPGs to use them.
Q: FizixMan: It's been discussed several times how the exploration star cluster missions could use some improvement. Specifically, we keep repeating the same handful of generic missions with new skins. Unfortunately, setting aside the amount of resources required to make hundreds of truly unique and engaging missions probably isn't feasible. Any thoughts in leveraging the foundry for this? Perhaps player-made missions can be specially designed, then nominated (by staff, players, community, etc.) and hand-picked by Cryptic staff. As players "explore" those clusters, they essentially load up a random foundry mission with its unique plots, characters, and gameplay. It might make cluster exploration more fun because you never know what you're going to get (exploring!) rather than rolling the dice on the same set of missions every time.
A: This has been discussed quite a bit internally. We wholeheartedly agree that The Foundry could add some much needed spice to Exploration. There are some technical and consistency challenges to making this a reality. We have a vision of how to make it work, but it requires some more features that are a little ways off on the Foundry schedule. In the meantime, we are looking at Cryptic made redsigns for exploration to get the ball rolling towards improving this type of gameplay in the near future.
Q: crazyhooligin: The Foundry could possibly be the greatest thing yet to happen to STO. It allows the game to be improved by Star Trek's ultimate weapon, it's community. Given that maps can be designed in the current tool, will we see the capability to design ship bridges/interiors given to the Foundry in the near future?
A: Yes, and much more than that! We hope that the Foundry will someday allow players to design their own starbases as well as their own starship interiors. You may even be able to design your own home planet. The power of the Foundry will continue to grow and I'm excited about what we'll be seeing a year or so from now!
Q: Z3R0B4NG: Are there any plans to go back to the initial request from the Community to add the already existing PvE Orion, Gorn, and Nausicaan Ships, (at least as Skins) for the lower Tiers of the KDF line of Ships to fluff out the boring lower Tiers? I really just want to play an Orion Commander who fly's Orion Ships and works for the Klingon's but isn't part of the Klingon Military.
A: I certainly would like to see this. It does take time as there are some key differences between how enemy ships are constructed vs. how player driven ships are. I'm hopeful that in time, you'll be able to fly any ship you see in game (well... almost any ship :P)
Q: forresto: Will all the standard starfleet NPC's be given one standard uniform (Hopefully the B-01) instead of the whole crazy rainbow we have now? It seems the uniforms the way they are now are very un-starfleet like.
A: We are discussing this with Starfleet and attempting to come to a concensus on which uniforms should be the "current" default. Once we come to a decision, we will begin the process of retrofitting all the "standard" NPC uniforms to be consistent.
For now, they will remain as colorful and diverse as player uniforms.
Q: raddicalrabbit: How will the First Officer system affect that selected BO, and will they get special bonuses with that status e.g. ability to have 2 weapons? a kit? bonus skills? (The same question can be applied to any major ship position like Chief Engineer, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Tactical Officer).
A: This is all TBD as we work out the designs, but some of the earlier concepts gave the First Officer an additional universal "Bridge Slot" on whatever ship you are currently captaining, in effect increasing that ship's Bridge Officer Power selection by freeing up the slot normally occupied by your #1. This is one example of how we want to make First Officers unique.
Q: matteo716: Is there a way to make pvp only/pve only gear so it cant be used in one or the other? is there a way to make bridge officer powers capable of this as well?
A: While we want all gear to be usable all the time, no matter the battlefield, we do hope to begin introducing items and gear that are more appropriate to PVE vs. PVP.
Q: JWaterman: Are the Devs going to fix the "My Characters" section of the Community Page? I've had "N/A" for a picture and Rear Admiral rank for months now. Recently, the page also forgot my ships as well. I have a fleet, but no ships, crew, or bridge officers.
A: We've submitted tickets to the web team to get this fixed, and currently they are slammed with several issues. I've been told that it will be resolved as soon as they free up some time from one of their key programmers.
Q: DekuScrubby: How is ground combat looking? I recall certain devs metioning a real need for change as to the way the game plays on the ground. I also remember talk of experimental builds where players used the mouse pointer to aim weapons. What have you learned from these tests, and how do you plan to improve ground combat without having to redo or modify every ground combat instance?
These tests are ongoing. We have landed on the goals and features for the new system and now are in the implementation stage of ensuring that all the weapons in game can make use of the new aim/fire modes. In addition, we are also reviewing enemy group AI to ensure they can take advantage of the new improvements as well. These changes will inherit down through the enemies that are already placed in locations within the game.
Q: Acceleron: What are the chances of a "retrait" token being added to the c-store? Will there be set bonuses for ground combat and space weapons? Is there another stf in the works? or is it currently on the back burner?
A:I'm still a big fan of being able to "re-species" your character which would allow you to re-trait them as well. We are in need of some core software support to make this a reality, but I hope to see it someday, so the chances are good.
We have talked about adding ground sets, so that's in discussions.
New STFs would be awesome, but I've currently prioritized getting the existing STFs to work properly higher than anything new. The Borg STFs still need work before I'll be really happy with them.
Q: StrykerV: I feel at the end of the undine series, there is a big question mark left. Namely who the mysterious ship was and the iconian gate on planet. Once the KDF is up to par with the Fed and other game content is smoothed out, will we see the level cap raise due to new Fed content to continue from this point we are left?
A: I think the writing is on the wall that when we increase the level cap up to Fleet Admiral, players will primarily be dealing with the Iconian threat. That is something we've eluded to since launch, and do plan to feature later on in the game.
Q: bkzland: Will there be an option to buy the Guramba for an ingame currency, like the Nebula was available for Marks of Exploration?
A: As Stormshade has mentioned, we’ve been working on getting this added to the referral program as a Klingon alternative to the Galaxy-X. However, after listening to your feedback, and talking to the team, we’ve decided to shoot for making the Guramba available in-game via emblem purchase instead. Keep an eye on the threads in the C-Store and Promotions forum for more updates on this.
Q: Slong;3242676: With the ship yards out side the space doc can we see them being used as when u get a new ship it starts inside one and when u come back to space dock u doc to get your repairs to your ship instead of seeing the guy in the shipyard? Do you see having the shuttles being driving from a first person view and seeing the full scale of the ships? if that could be done i would buy a runabout. How about when your crew is hurt u go to your sick bay and get healed not stoping by starbase for every bump on the head?
A: I've asked the content team to start working on "Leaving Shipdock" sequences that we could use when getting a new ship. We are also working on new and exciting ways to use shuttles, which we hope to show off in future episodes. Adding a working sickbay to your ship interior has been on the design schedule for some time, and hopefully we'll get to that in the near future.
Q: Jas-: What ideas for additional uniforms/costumes do you have for the future? Is craftable clothing or stat'd clothing a possibility? Any plans to let us place KDF exchange officers in Federation outfits (not just the convert-to-captain ones, but kept as bridge officers)? Is more fleet and personal bank space being planned?
A: We have been working on a bunch of new Starfleet Uniform and Jacket variants. We also have the Gorn customization options coming in the near future. The exchange officers are specifically intended to user their original uniforms as they did in the officer exchange program in the TV shows. If those officers later on become Starfleet personnel via the "Alt your Boff" system - then we'd consider it.
Q: Dassem_Ultor: Can we expect any quick fix to the borg protodrone madness we got in season 3?
A: Yes. The team is reviewing this and looking to get an update in soon.
Q: Geoduck360: Will we be able to allow our Bridge Officers to wear "Off Duty" uniforms? For example the Mercenary outfit set?
A: We are discussing an update to costumes that would allow us to change the restrictions on which uniforms could be worn in different environments and hopefully do away with the differences between "off-duty" and regular uniforms.
Q: Peregrine_Falcon: Dstahl said months ago, during the Death Penalty discussions, that NPCs camping our spawn point in Deep Space Encounters was going to be fixed. So my questions is when will this be fixed? Star Cluster explore missions still have a lot of problems. BOs disappearing into the ground, Borg covertly supplying rebel factions with weapons or searching for artifacts from their 'Third Dynasty', Dual Pistol wielders insta-wiping whole teams, etc. When will these problems get fixed? Also, since Season 3 went live there's a bug that causes Tellarite BOs to shrink uncontrollably if you try to edit their costume. When is this going to be fixed?
A: Deep Space encounters will be fixed in Season 4 because they are being replaced with something new. Star Cluster issues are also being addressed over the next several months as we begin to look at ways to improve exploration. Look for a new concept to be discussed in coming updates. As far as Tellarite height, our lead character artist has posted that we use the Archer to Tellarite reference where Archer is 6.0 and thus our max Tellarite height is currently 5.5. We consider this reference to be more current and accurate to the Tellarite species definition than TOS refs. If you'd care to debate Matt on this, you can follow the discussion in this thread.
If we ever had an, "Ask the Cryptic Fans" - one of our questions would be "Why do players make their humans 6'4 or taller?" :)
Q: Cpt.Clango: Is there any reason for the plans to ad a tax to the Exchange?
A: The primary concern is to prevent exchange abuse where some players are using it as extra storage. While we've been discussing an exchange posting fee for a while, we have yet to implement it as we are still debating it internally.
Q: nailpeter83: Are there any plans on releasing the Delta Flier, or other shuttle types that players might be allow to fly?
A: Yes. And sooner than you think!Talk about it in the forums!