Now that we have wrapped up our first Weekly Episode series, Star Trek Online Executive Producer Dan Stahl delivers the answers in this month's extended special edition of Ask Cryptic! Read on for 29 answers to 29 of the most-asked questions from the STO player base!
Q: Anon-E-Mouse: Are you going to review the in-ability to get Marks of Honor once you attain the rank of VA?
DStahl: We are adding in the ability to convert Emblems to Marks in a future update. It will be a one way transaction.
Q: Dassem_Ultor: Will we get more repeatable endgame content? Like STFs or other repeatable episodes? STFs? Please?
DStahl: We are in discussion about reworking our end game repeatable content as a major feature of Season 4. I’d like to see some big changes here to improve end game playability.
Q: Lilravegirl: Tholians Tholians Tholians Tholians!!! Tholians?
Dstahl: We’re very interested in the Tholians. It could be some time before you see them in game. However, here’s some concept art we submitted to CBS for our take on Tholians. We think it still needs some tweaks. What are you impressions?
Q: Kovorn: Fleet Starbases...i.e. player housing but for guilds/fleets. I've had a few people in the fleet requesting so I thought I'd ask. On the radar?
Dstahl: This is on our radar for the upcoming year. We want this feature to be released when we increase the level cap to 61 as a Fleet Admiral level feature. The goal is that it would work in conjunction with Fleets and the UGC tools.
Q: CrimsonSpot: Is the bug that some paid for clothing slots can't be used for off duty clothes even being looked into?
Dstahl: We are aware of the issues with purchasing costume slots, especially how it pertains to off-duty costumes. While there is no immediate quick fix for this, we do plan to find a solution that will clear up the confusing way that costume slots are purchased so that players can have more control over the slots they want.
Q: EzriRayne: Will we be getting the chance to unbind items?
Dstahl: We are presently reviewing our philosophy around item binding. We are evaluating having some items becoming available for trade but at present there are no plans to unbind existing items you own. It may be possible that future rewards have less binding restrictions than existing items do. Nothing definite yet.
Q: Spots: I'm curious about the Crew stat on ships. Is it really working just as you'd like it to? I imagine there's some desire for a greater meaning in the game. If so, what's the grand vision for the Crew stat and when may we start to see some changes made in that direction?
Q: Elerial: Will we ever get Passive BO abilities?
Dstahl: We have a grand vision for how crew relates to your starship and have plans and design discussions around when we can introduce these changes. The current concept is that officer candidates you receive become “crew candidates” instead and that crew candidates come with passive abilities that improve your starship performance. You can decide to either slot crew in your ship as standard crewmembers, which would then add those passive abilities to your ship. If you decide to convert a candidate to crew it would be a one way commission and the officer “personality” would be lost, but the stat bonus would stay on your ship roster. You would also be able to promote a crew candidate to an Officer (similar to how you can now) and then give them a slot on your bridge. All of this is in early planning, but is a feature I’d like to see in game within the year.
Q: Angelphoenix12: I’ve been thinking about my question … Are we ever going to have crew death? i dont mean for a death penalty. I mean for when a torpedo hits the hull.
Dstahl: Similar to the idea I mentioned above regarding adding passive crew-members for your ship. If we implement that feature we do hope for crew death to be a factor and for “crew” casualties to have the chance of removing some of the passive crew members. All TBD at the moment.
Q: Bfelczer: Has there been any thought to a paid expansion? If so, what might be a major update that it would be released as one?
Dstahl: It is unclear if we will ever produce a paid expansion as the market is leaning away from expansions and more towards smaller microtransactions. However, if we ever did release a paid expansion, it would be a significant update and add some new functionality to the game that would be deemed worth the price of the release.
Q: Xaben: ...Could you tell us more about those set-items?
Dstahl: We will be introducing an item set in the Season 3 release. These items are new special rewards for completing the STFs. These items are thematic Borg components that when equipped on your ship not only provide the stat bonus with the set, but with each item you slot, unique Borg FX and GEO is added to your ship model (we expect this to work with almost all ships). The concept comes from Voyager where they added specific Borg tech to their ship in order to survive specific encounters in the Gamma Quadrant. They look pretty cool. Here’s a screenshot of an Escort enhanced with these items.
Q: HotStuff_ST: When can we expect to get Caitian Bridge Officers?
Dstahl: We’ve been holding on to some very specific Bridge Officer species so that we can first finalize all the details of converting a Bridge Officer to a Captain. Since Caitians are a premium species offered through the C-Store, we do not want to trivialize player’s purchases by allowing everyone to simply go get a Caitain bridge officer and converting it to a playable Captain. So once we’ve worked out the details of how the conversion feature will work, we will come up with a fair way to add these rare Bridge Officers into the game.
Q: MustrumRidcully: How about some Accolades regarding PvP Success?
Dstahl: While not specifically Accolades, the software team is working on the earliest implementation of PVP Leaderboards which we hope to introduce soon so that you can track basic Win/Loss ratios across a set period of time. We hope to expand on this once we get the tech in place.
Q: Simale: Will you enable larger player groups for Fleets to form and play Fleet Actions like the Big Dig or Crystalline Entity or epic space battles?
Dstahl: We still have a vision for allowing Fleets to queue into Fleet Actions. Our software team has been investigating this for a while and we do hope to have it in game eventually, but at the moment software is focused on the User Generated Content tools. We hope to get to Fleet Queues within the year.
Q: JohNyNorMus: What kind of challenge can you offer the players at end game now that you are talking about moving away from special task force missions?
Dstahl: We believe that end game replayability needs a big revamp and I’m hopeful that this can be the focus of Season 4. I’d like to see better dailies, improved star cluster exploration, and a rethink of the “get tokens to trade for loot” stores we have now. In addition, I’d like to see some solid fun challenges for players who are looking to maximize their character builds.
Q: JohNyNorMus: Why is it that whenever there is an ask cryptic that folks only answer cherry picked questions that have been answered already in other interviews or forum posts or otherwise just give vague "soon" and "i'd like to see this" answers? The good tough questions always get skipped over or are never truly answered.
Dstahl: I randomly select questions to provide a broad sampling of topics that I’d like to answer (considering I do a lot of interviews and get asked a lot of different questions – it is nice for a change to be able to select answers that I’d like to discuss).
Q: Popov147: Memory Alpha additions - any progress?
Dstahl: Yes. There will be at least 1 big item at the end of each research tree that will be only attainable via crafting. The current plan is to make these 3 items have synergy via a set bonus and to ensure they are not bind on pick up. This also involves making crafting available on Qo’nos and adding missions where KDF faction players can raid Federation research stations to nab anomaly data. We have a lot more plans but this is where we’re starting and hope to continually add more benefits to the research game.
Q: Renko: The star cluster npc race, whether skinned as Phanoian, Starlian, Crimto, Vito'D etc etc etc etc etc who all use the same ships, the same space tactics and the same ground tactics, are there any plans to make changes?
Dstahl: Yes. I’d like to see Star Cluster exploration completely re-done and created in a way that makes more sense with real factions in specific parts of space and more replayability. I’m hopeful that we can make this a priority for the Season 4 release.
Q: Sleeves: It is posted in the next patch that there will big increase in sector space. How big? Twice the current size? Can you give some idea of how much bigger it will be?
Dstahl: Sector Space will be getting a visual touch up in Season 3, but will not be physically getting any bigger. However in current testing, the visual changes we’ve made already make the sector “feel” bigger. Ultimately we want to be able to drop the multiple sectors altogether and have one seemless world, but we’re a ways off from being able to implement that.
Q: willriker09: When can we expect a little variety in our melee weapons?
Dstahl: We had talked in the past about adding a lot more variety in terms of the types of melee weapons that you could use, but we have yet to add any of these in game. What we’re currently working on is a change to how melee works. We want melee weapons to have a variety of attacks so that when you hit the melee button, you get a variety of attack animations instead of the same one over and over. Once we get that working then our plan is to evaluate the melee weapons in game and work on adding the new weapons that make sense with this new system.
Q: Z3R0B4NG: Any playability improvements coming for Crystaline Entitiy or Undine Fleetaction in terms of PuG's?
Dstahl: Anyone who’s played those Fleet Actions know that they can be annoying and less fun than other Fleet Actions in the game. I’m hopeful that with our additional content development resources next season, that we’ll be able to go back and make these Fleet Actions more playable.
Q: Galan_Vaurek: It was mentioned back in Beta that it was hoped that we could eventually by-pass the tutorial missions and go straight to ESD. When will this be implemented?
Dstahl: Within the next year we hope to have the beginning sequence to the game ironed out and improved and plan to add the by-pass in at that time.
Q: Brodie0854: Are you planning on revisiting earlier mission maps and overhauling them, ie adding the smaller sliding doors that are present in the newer missions?
Dstahl: Yes. We have a dedicated content designer who has started doing this and making notes of everywhere we can improve the existing storyline episodes to bring them up to par with newer content. It is a slow process, but over time we hope to have all episodes retrofitted and made better by this overhaul.
Q: Alecto: Please can you make the idea for PvP Racing in STO a reality...
Dstahl: We recognize that there are a lot of great ideas for PVP gameplay or match types. We’ll be evaluating these as we take a closer look at end game and finding designs that make sense and are fun for everyone to play. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to add a match similar to the one you suggested within the next several updates.
Q: LordOfPit: How will the UGC handle story-arcs that attempt to offer different gameplay paths to the two different factions in STO?
Dstahl: Players can decide to make a mission for one faction or the other, or for both. If they select both, they will have the option to write specific dialog for each faction. It is still TBD where multi-faction content can take place in game (it may be limited to very specific locations that all players have access to).
Q: Sapphi: When can we expect to see the free aiming ground combat that you mentioned in the recent State-of-the-Game report? Season 3? Please?
Dstahl: We are testing the proto-type internally. We have a goal to release it live with the Season 3 release, but if it isn’t ready, we’ll put it on the test server and release it shortly after.
Q: Captain_Kell: With the addition of new races in the future; Android, Hologram, etc. will there be a way to change the race of one of our established captains?
Dstahl: The “change species” feature has been discussed for some time and we currently do not have plans to add this in the near-term. However, we recognize that some players want this feature and so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in game eventually. There is a lot of tech between here and there on the back end to make this work the way we want it to.
Q: Ellri: Could we please have a crew costume template so that the random members of the crew are wearing the same uniform as my BOs and myself, please?
Dstahl: We agree that this would be awesome and want to see this added in game. Once we sort out all the issues with costume slots and costume “types” we hope to be able to dive in and look at this issue.
Q: JeanNYGUARD: Will you guys be working on a Mac Edition of Star Trek Online?
Dstahl: We have looked into making a Mac Edition and there was some talk of one a while back, but currently there are no “official” plans for a Mac version.
Q: picardalphaclearance: Sitting in chairs...ever? Mission replay ever?
Dstahl: Sitting in chairs has been low priority as we have far more urgent requests for the animators and tech-art developers, but it’s something that we will get to eventually. Mission Replay is scheduled for Season 3’s release.