Curious about what Champions Online going free to play means for Star Trek Online's future? Dying to know what the future holds for PvP? Maybe, you're wondering if we're adding another faction soon? Star Trek Online's Executive Producer, Dan Stahl, answers all in this month's Ask Cryptic!
Q: raddicalrabbit: Are there plans to extend the amount of bridge officers viewable on a player's ship either by having them located in other sections of the interior (e.g. engineering, sick bay or ten forward) or expanding the numbers avaliable on bridges?
A: We are looking to expand on the concept of a ship's crew roster as a major feature in Season 4 so stay tuned!
Q: Staran: ...does Cryptic plan on doing anything with the many storyline threads they have created?
A: We do not consider any of the storylines to be abandoned and similar to the tv series, we plan to go back and revisit species and stories over time, we just can't do them all simultaneously.
Q: Gastank: Any plans on adding more fleet actions to the random daily list, like DS9, breaking the planet, starbase 24, CE.
A: We understand the pain that is the daily content at max level as well as the trouble in how the Fleet Actions are currently level banded. We plan to address this after we get Season 3 out the door by taking a closer look at ways to get more players into all the Fleet Actions and make them a more viable daily mission option.
Q: Z_Cochrane: A while back, Dstahl mentioned something about adding new items purchaseable using RA level marks. Is this still happening? Or was this a reference to purchasing the Tier 5 Nebula for 200 Marks of Exploration?
A: This was in reference to the Nebula, but I really don't want to see it stop there. We recognize that there are too many currencies in the game and we have a goal to start cleaning this up and finding a better way to move to a single currency for all levels of gear so that it is less of a one-off grind. In the meantime we've added some conversion options for players to convert Emblems down to Marks. As we move forward we will be evaluating the items in stores and ensuring that more gear gets put into the game.
Q: chevenix: Could we get "endless" sectors with the exploration revamp? I mean, is it technically possible to create really huge sectors or you guys have a better idea on creating the feeling that space is endless?
A: We certainly could do this - but would it be fun? The first step we have on "revamping" exploration is to come up with a concept for what exploration gameplay should be like in STO. Once we create an area in the game that truly feels like you are exploring - then we can start to replicate that success and continue to add more locations that you have traveling into the unknown.
Q: Fractal_Eye: With the Weekly Episodes returning in January, are there plans for more series after the 3rd one? (Please say yes! These are probably my favorite part of the game at the moment.)
A: We are very happy with how the first 2 feature episode series turned out and we want to build on this success and continue to develop episodes of this caliber and try adding some new components. So while I can't go into specifics just yet, you can expect more feature episodes moving forward.
Q: Commodore_Stipe: Any chance of re-using old patrol mission maps for random encounters that "pop" up as you fly by. Like the distress singal one in Sirius sector. Those patrols have some awesome maps and would love to see them again but with new missions.
A: Yes and in fact you might find one in the Eta Eradani sector as early as next week!
Q: jkstocbr: What are the future plans for ship advancement/improvement beyond the current Tier 5 as the level cap is expanded.
A: We will be looking closely into this issue as a major component of our Season 4 release. We want to expand the concept of "crew" customization. Also over the next year we will be evaluating the skillevel cap and making the move up to level 61 ranks and I'd expect some ship news around that time as well.
Q: Admiral_Daedelus: With all the awesome updates lately in regards to art and environmental tech, will we see ESD, K7, DS9, Drozana and all other interiors get an update of sliding doors, enhanced civilian populations, better scaled interiors in the future?
A: This is high on our content lead's wishlist with ESD and Qo'Nos first up for an interior retrofit.
Q: chrislove: will our Klingon ever be able to have a war targ and use it in combat like NPC targ masters?
A: Our systems design team has been looking at this for a while and they would like to see some sort of Targ breeding metagame similar to Tribbles. Extending that one step further would allow what you're describing but it will require more development time to allow Targs to be controllable.
Q: booker9172: How about the TOS bridge? I know its been asked for, but ... how about it?
A: This is one of the top requested interior features and we have been looking for some art time to be able to add this (and updates for other bridges) to the game. I can see this getting done in the next several updates.
Q: LtSmith: If I hit Lt. General before the new KDF refit ships come out and spend my token on the carrier will I have to a chance to get another free token or will I have to buy the new ships in the C-Store or with emblems?
A: This is TBD. However, to be safe, I'd hold off on spending your ship token on the carrier if you are really wanting one of the other ships.
Q: gx4th: Season 3 is scheduled to be released, is there something for us pvpers to look forward to? Any new maps for ground and space, any new game types, etc?
A: We have no official PVP updates planned for Season 3 as we are primarily focused on the Foundry. We are however working on some Open PVP map tech and I wouldn't be surprised to see us release an Open PVP zone in the near future. We are also working on ways to incorporate new PVP maps into future content updates.
Q: Majosea: When will lower level players be able to go into DSE's without the higher levels "testing" their builds and causing the instances to spawn ships 40+ levels above them...
A: Deepspace encounters aren't that much fun in their current implementation. I've asked our content lead to come up with a better solution for how random encounters while flying in sector space should work. Once we get the new sector space updated in Season 3, you can look for us to make some changes to make DSEs more compelling for all players.
Q: sithterror: ...Romulans.
A: We are in fact discussing Romulans and how to get more of their story and faction into the game. We have always talked about the next faction we add to the game being Romulan. This would involve them having their own ships and storyline content. It is a big endeavor and as we've learned with the KDF, not something we could do in the span of a single update. So our long term plans are working on ways to start tackling this over multiple updates but I've no specific dates to give on when you'll see a Romulan playable faction.
Q: HotStuff_ST: Any progress on us getting Caitian Bridge Officers?
A: Rare bridge officers are still part of the First Officer/Alt your Boff and now Expanded Crew discussion. We do plan to get them into the game at some point but want to nail the specifics of these other features first to make sure everything works well together.
Q: Mawby: Will you fix Klingon scanners so that they function properly?
A: The content team is in the process of turning on the scanning feature for Klingons in all existing maps. I'd expect an update on this with the Season 3 release, and if not then shortly after.
Q: lilravegirl: Is there any possibility we might see a future weekly series centred around the Orion syndicate?
A: Its often overlooked that the KDF contains more species than just Klingons and I'd personally enjoy seeing more story added to the game for Orions, Nausicaan, and Gorn. This even goes for some of the species in the Federation as well. Feature Episode series is definitely one place where we can spend some time diving deeper into these species world and something I'd like to see as well so an Orion series is definitely a possibility.
Q: Armsman: With Memory Alpha starting to be revamped; will there EVER be a point where we can tweak our existing gear with bonuses we'd like?
A: Yes! There is some crafting tech that another team created which we are hoping to take advantage of in a future update which will allow us to rework crafting to be similar to what you describe. Also, you mentioned mini-games and the content team is working with our software devs to come up with some more games that can be used in missions as a fun way to get past objectives.
Q: Kasensal: When are you going to make Bird of Prey wing animations optional?
A: The recent update to make wings animate was a one way conversion and after talking with the ship designers, there are currently no plans to offer an option to not have them animate as it was the intention all along that they would animate as they do on the shows.
Q: MustrumRidcully: There have been many concerns by canon people that the game risks losing verisimilitude by making Vulcan ships, NX-01 or the Excelsior refits or the Galaxy-X available in game...
A: We do discuss this topic internally and with CBS and at the end of the day our goal is to ensure that if we do put a legacy ship into the game, it is scaled appriopriately to make sense for our current era. We use the concepts of refits and retro-fits to explain why certain old ship classes would still be available for Captains. We certainly want fans to be able to fly their favorite ships in game and are always looking to find the right power balance to make sure there is a reason why they'd still be around in our timeline. This is why most of these ships are limited in terms of configuration layouts.
Q: captain_quack: Is there going to be a level increase in diplomacy above Federation Ambassador?
A: We don't anticipate any further level changes for Federation Ambassadors, however we do want to create more missions that allow you to use your ambassador rank to resolve issues in a non-combat way as well as offer different dialog options based on your skills/class/diplomacy rank. This last week's feature episode "What Lies Beneath" is a small step towards this sort of skill based sub-objective mission design.
Q: tryulis: As Champions Online is going free 2 play, could this effect the way we pay for this game?
A: We're very excited to see Champs go F2P but this has no direct impact on Star Trek Online. Our subscription and C-Store model will continue forward without changes.
Q: Trueheart: I'd like to toss in that I'm also curious where on the priority list "more functional ship interiors" sits. And while it was mentioned that some chairs in ESD are getting the special "sit" option, please say the captain's chair and ready room chairs on the ship are going to be tagged with that option as well.
A: We now see functional ship interiors greatly tied to future Foundry updates where we want players to take direct control over designing their ship interiors. The sit conversion is currently focused on social areas where multiple players tend to hang out, and once we've hit those, we'll be going back and getting all the bridge and ship interior chairs to work.
Q: Admiral Dr. Leonard McCoy: How about making it feel like your actions shape the trek world more?
A: Even though this is a tricky proposition for an MMO, we are looking into options where groups of players can impact some elements of the game. I'd personally enjoy seeing the KDF and Feds competing for the attention of a neutral species such as the Deferi where ultimately they might side with one faction or the other.
Q: Fenrir1536: Are the new Nassusican, Orion, and Gorn ships going to have both lower tier free and higher tier C-store variants or are we just getting tier 5 ships?
A: These are Level 51 LG ships only (similar to the Galaxy, Intrepid, Defiant on the fed side) so there will be no lower tier version of these ships.
Q: Tiberion1701: Are there plans to retrofit the new dialog pop-ups (from today's episode) in older episodes? Those are great!
A: Yes once we are happy with how they are appearing on screen. They still need a little bit more polish before we retrofit them all over the game.
Q: CraigSam: Can we have an unlimited run ability in "safe" places, such as ESD, Kronos, DS9, K7, etc.? It would make the long distances much shorter.
A: A sustained run is in the works. Also, I'm looking at the Breen Capital ship spawn rates to see if there is an adjustment that needs to be made.
Q: RamaSeb: We have too many "currencies" , is there any chance to simplify the "currency" system?
A: This is being discussed as a possible Season 4 release feature. I'd personally like to see a single scaling currency for gear rather than unique currencies for each tier.
Q: John_pain: Will we ever see the abillity to join section 31, become Merc's, Traders or Pirates?
A: There's a chance we will be able to do this well down the road, but first we'd like to get other factions into the game. So this is definitely a long term plan. I could see a future Ferengi faction as a "trader" faction.
Q: icebluz Will we ever see the new faction that appeared in Pelia system? The ship with the purple glow that came in and killed the borg cube, then said "Thats right, we are bad a**es and you must fear us" Well they didn't say that exactly but that was what i got from it.;)
A: Yes! They will be making a return in the future so stay tuned!Talk about it in the forums!