Dec 17, 2010
Are you ready to lead? Star Trek Online's executive producer Dan Stahl announced that the rank earned at the next level cap (61), Fleet Admiral, is more than just a name--players will finally be given the ability to control and manage a fleet of their own!
The details are light in the Q&A that announces the new rank, but having a small armada of ships under the player's direct control would be a huge change for STO's space combat system, which currently only allows players to control their own individual ship. The space combat is one of the things that Cryptic got right in STO--it's paced just right, with direction taken from the shows and movies to choreograph the ships as they battle in the depths of space. Adding whole fleets that could take orders from players wouldn't have to be overwhelming (the pacing is fairly slow in its current form), but it could be if Cryptic doesn't make these changes very carefully.
It's easy to picture this becoming a fantastic addition to Star Trek Online. The extra planning and tactics make sense in the Star Trek universe, and could create the perfect style of combat for high-level players--who should've learned how to control their ships by now, and can handle the added thought processes required to control a whole fleet. Players already control their A.I. away team members on the ground, and Cryptic could take a similar approach to a controlling your armada of ships as the Fleet Admiral.
I can't help but wonder why Cryptic is prioritizing this development over improvements to ground combat, though. Ground combat has never been the most lauded feature in STO, but lately I've begun to appreciate it more and more. Not that Cryptic's really changed much with it, but I've finally gotten the hang of using my away team's abilities and learned to put more thought into what I'm doing. There's some real potential here, and I hope they're working on fleshing out the ground combat more, in addition to these excited space combat changes. It'd be a shame to leave ground combat in it's current state, no matter how great the space combat gets!
Read the full Q&A for more information.
The latest free update to Star Trek Online has arrived, letting players loot high tech Borg components that can be slotted into Starships to make them Borg-awesome. The update also revamps sector space to give it a new look, and introduces the open beta of the Foundry, which will let players create their own Star Trek missions.
Season three will also let you hop into the Holodeck to replay previous missions for experience gains and greater rewards. Nearly every mission in the game is now replayable.
The new Borg items can be earned through Special Task Force missions, and can be attached to your ship for performance bonuses. Installing these upgrades makes optional changes to the look of your ship as well, ideal if you dig that 'just-assimilated' look.
Sector Space has been overhauled as well. It used to be a big glowing blue forest of icons, with oversized ships inching their way between pea sized planets. Now it looks a lot more like space. Players now navigate a vast star map with only a minimalist HUD to distract from the interstellar vista.
The new Foundry system is also going live, letting anyone create their own missions. The Foundry lets players create their own sectors of space and form missions using the huge selection of characters and planet locations in Cryptic's database.
These changes go live with the latest update, which has just been released, but there are plenty more changes planned for the near future, including the following:
Gorn Customization: Additional ways to customize your Gorn characters.
Exchange Updates: Improvements to the Exchange to make the experience more holistic.
New Loading Screens: More eye candy while you wait.
C-Store Additions: Including the Star Trek Motion Picture uniform, Open Jacket Uniform Variants, new ships and more.
Klingon-Specific Updates: Access to Pi Canis, a 200-day Veteran Reward, crafting and more!
New Item Sets: New STF and crafting rewards.
The full list of changes can be found listed on the Star Trek Online site.
Nov 16, 2010
You'll be able to make your own Star Trek Online content on 9th December when update Season Three arrives.
The Foundry tools are still in beta, but you'll be able to use them to make your own missions and share them with friends.
Season Three also brings the option to replay missions, plus you can now use Borg technology on your spaceship.
Cryptic has even spruced up Sector Space to make it look and feel more realistic.
Cryptic's other MMO, Champions Online, is being turned into a free-to-play game. Star Trek Online will follow depending on how well Champions Online does. At least, that's what Cryptic boss Jack Emmert told Eurogamer recently.
Nov 10, 2010
A bumper year for Cryptic Studios the MMO specialists behind Star Trek Online and Champions Online has encouraged owner Atari to shift its focus to the online market.
As reported by IndustryGamer, Atari's half year financial report has revealed a worrying slump for the publisher. Revenues are down 60 per cent to 29.6 million compared to 68.5 million over the same period last year.
The only good news was a strong showing for its online division with revenues soaring to 12.9 million from 1.8 million in 2009, largely thanks to Cryptic Studios' efforts.
Duly, Atari has announced it's planning to invest heavily in online gaming to address the decline. It has Asteroids Online, Deer Hunter Online and a new Neverwinter title from Cryptic all lined up, as well as Atari Games Online a new initiative set up to develop online casual and social games.
A new free-to-play strategy for Champions Online also goes live next year, with similar plans being considered for Star Trek Online.
Among more traditional titles slated for release from Atari over the next 12 months are Test Drive Unlimited 2 and Star Raiders for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and The Witcher 2 for PC.
Cryptic announced recently that Champions Online will be going free-to-play early next year, and many immediately wondered if their other MMO title, Star Trek Online would follow suit. Cryptic's boss, Jack Emmert, has been speaking out in a recent interview about Star Trek Online's chances of ditching the subscription fee, and about plans to introduce a City of Heroes style mission editor to Champions Online.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Emmert said “I’m sure people are wondering whether we’ll do it with Star Trek and the question is really how well it does for Champions. Does it work or doesn’t it? We’re not sold one way or the other with Star Trek yet. If people want Star Trek to go free-to-play then get in and play Champions and help make it a great success, because that would send a strong message.“
Emmert cited Turbine's success as one of the motivations for considering the free-to-play option. Turbine recently moved adopted a free-to-play model with Lord of the Rings Online, with impressive results. Emmert says that while Cryptic are hoping for a similar jump in players, he "wouldn't say we're betting on it".
“I’m not going to say we’ll do or die if we don’t get five times our revenue or whatever the stats were that Turbine did. We’re just hoping to open it up and increase the fanbase, and we’ll just wait and see – I’d love it if we got their results, but hey, if that doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen."
Cryptic also recently announced that they were releasing a set of mission editor tools for Star Trek Online called the Foundry. When asked about whether we could expect to see these features making their way over to the superhero MMO Champions Online, Emmert said "Ultimately, yeah. Eventually we would like to do it. User-generated content has always been part of our strategic plan for years and years and years. Ultimately I'd like to have it in every game we do in one version or another."
I had a great time blasting Klingons in the Star Trek Online's beta a while back, and would be mighty tempted to get involved again if it went free-to-play. Have you been playing Star Trek Online? Would you be tempted to check it out if it was free?
Shacknews - Jeff Mattas
Cryptic's head honcho, Jack Emmert, revealed today in an interview with Eurogamer that Star Trek Online could become free-to-play in the future, provided certain stars align.
Emmert is apparently looking to Champions Online, another MMO that just shifted from subscription-based to free-to-play, as a guinea-pig of sorts. "We're not sold one way or the other with Star Trek yet," he said. "If people want Star Trek to go free-to-play then get in and play Champions and help make it a great success, because that would send a strong message."
Champions Online's free-to-play model splits players into groups of subscribers and free-to-players. The free-to-play members don't have access to all of the bells and whistles that subscribers receive, but can still play most of the content for free, with á la carte purchasing options also available.
Nov 4, 2010
If you want Star Trek Online to be free-to-play then you had better jolly well say so, Cryptic boss Jack Emmert has told Eurogamer, because right now that decision hangs in the balance.
"I'm sure people are wondering whether we'll do it with Star Trek and the question is really how well it does for Champions," explained Emmert. "Does it work or doesn't it?
"We're not sold one way or the other with Star Trek yet. If people want Star Trek to go free-to-play then get in and play Champions and help make it a great success, because that would send a strong message."
"If we did Turbine's level of success that would certainly merit the discussion!"
But, he added: "There are more people than just I on that decision and I can't begin to say it would be an automatic 'Yes, we'd do it.'"
Champions Online will turn free-to-play next year. Why? Because Turbine made loads of money relaunching Dungeons & Dragons Online as F2P and found success with Lord of the Rings Online, too, which turned free-to-play in Europe this week.
"We hope for a success as big as DDO," Emmert enthused. "That would be great - but I wouldn't say we're betting on it.
"In other words, I'm not going to say we'll do or die if we don't get five times our revenue or whatever the stats were that Turbine did. We're just hoping to open it up and increase the fanbase, and we'll just wait and see - I'd love it if we got their results, but hey, if that doesn't happen it doesn't happen."
Video: Free-to-play too?
Champions Online turning free-to-play means there will be two ways to experience the game: as a Silver member or as a Gold member.
Gold members are existing subscribers who will pay $14.99 a month. Silver members, on the other hand, represent the free-to-play side of the game. Silver members have limitations on character class, costumes, and character slots - "all that kind of stuff". But they can download Champions Online and adventure from zero to superhero without spending a penny or a nickel or a galleon or whatever you use.
Of course there's the option to splash some cash if you so choose, picking content, items and buffs "a la carte" from the in-game C-Store.
Note, however, that if you're a subscriber-turned-Silver member then you'll have to pay to move to a Silver server. "You have to pay to transfer your characters over or you could just start from scratch again," revealed Emmert.
Gold members will have access to some areas that Silver members do not. But apparently the two sets of members can play Champions Online together. "We don't want to disallow that by any stretch."
He reckons the reaction so far to the Champions Online news has been "super great" by the "vast majority", although there have been a "few snarky comments".
"I'm hoping lots of new people would give the game a chance that perhaps didn't even look at it the very first time because it was a subscription MMO," Emmert said. "Naturally I expect a lot more people to come in - we believe strongly that the game was good at launch and even better a year later - and that those people decide to stay around and play in the world. "
Champions Online received 6/10 on Eurogamer at launch last September. But today Emmert reckons it's the best superhero MMO on the market - "very much better game than City of Heroes ever was".
"But hey, that's just my own particular gameplay style. I created City of Heroes so if anything I'm insulting myself! That's no slight against anyone but me," he said.
"Nobody sits down and makes games that aren't popular on purpose. You assume it's going to get 9/10, even though there are mistakes. If you told me that somebody would give Champions 4/10, I would have said to you, 'You're crazy! Who in the world would give Champions 4/10? That's for games that don't even run!' I think WWII Online got better than that.
"But it's a different marketplace," he said. "It's an incredibly demanding space now, and what was acceptable five years ago is not even worth discussing."
Turning Champions Online free-to-play is one idea Cryptic Studios has had to spruce up its MMO portfolio. The other: user-generated content. This will appear first in Star Trek Online, so will it carry over into Champions Online?
"Ultimately, yeah," said Emmert. "Eventually we would like to do it.
"User-generated content has always been part of our strategic plan for years and years and years. Ultimately I'd like to have it in every game we do in one version or another."
That doesn't mean that Cryptic's developers will simply abandon Star Trek Online and Champions Online to the community though. "No, no," Emmert insisted. "We'll still continue making content. It's just that now you've got more content to choose from. You've got the stuff created by the developers as well as the stuff created by your friends, other people and so forth."
Star Trek Online's user-generated content system is undergoing beta testing now. For existing games - and even for new project Neverwinter - UGC and F2P are on the cards. And Cryptic 3.0, as Emmert called it, has more ideas up its sleeves - several unannounced projects, for starters.
"A lot of our innovation is going to be coming in games that haven't been released yet. There are still things under development that we're working on at Cryptic.
"There's a project that I'm more involved with the design than I have been in a long time than anything," he added. "Something that's close to my heart. And so that's very exciting."
"It is definitely not fantasy-based. I can say that. It is something that's pretty exciting. It's under wraps and hopefully we can talk about it soon."
Oct 29, 2010
Cryptic Studios, creators of City of Heroes and Champions Online, are gearing up to release the Foundry toolset to players of space borne MMO Star Trek Online. The toolset will allow players to create their own missions, and then submit them to a database for the community to rate.
Players will be able to create entire star systems and planets from scratch, or edit pre-made versions created by Cryptic. Objectives, objects and characters can then be placed to create missions that span entire sectors of space. Cryptic are also putting aside some open world areas to allow for community made quests. In these areas, characters and objects associated with the community made mission will only be visible to those who are playing the episode.
Players won't be able to add extra models or artwork to the game, simply create missions using pre-existing content. Once an episode is created, others will be able to rate it using a five star system, and Cryptic are going to let members of the community sign up to be reviewers.
Superhero MMO City of Heroes received a similar editor called the Mission Architect. On the day it was released, users created more quests in one day than the development team had in five years. This could be a great way to give a flagging MMO a new lease of life. The toolset is currently in open beta for Star Trek Online players. For more information, check out the Foundry Q&A.
Oct 28, 2010
Cryptic Studios is trying new things to bolster the popularity of MMOs Star Trek Online and Champions Online. Its newest invention? Player-made missions. And Star Trek Online will integrate them first.
Dubbed The Foundry, the toolset allows anyone to make a story, fill it with encounters and play around with the scenery. You can either start a world from scratch or tinker with pre-made templates - Cryptic even allows existing STO areas to be used.
But The Foundry is not a modding tool.
"No. The goal of this toolset is to allow players to put their stories in the Star Trek universe using the same look, feel, and capabilities that Cryptic's own design team utilises," The Foundry FAQ states. "So while there are a lot of features for creating content, players cannot import their own images, 3D models, or audio into the game."
A five-star rating system will be implemented for the Community Authored Episodes. Judging them will be reviewers picked from the game's community, and nothing will be offered to the masses without passing their eyes first.
To begin with, custom rewards for Community Authored Episodes can't be made using The Foundry. But judging by the wording of the FAQ, they may be added at a later stage. What's more, "expanded functionality" such as missions aboard ships, is being "considered".
The Foundry toolset currently needs beta testing. If you have an existing Star Trek Online account you qualify.
City of Heroes - the Cryptic-created MMO that NCsoft ran away with in 2007 - introduced a very similar toolset in 2009 called the Mission Architect. The results "astounded" NCsoft and Paragon Studios.
In an effort to compete with its own genre-leading creation, Cryptic announced yesterday that Champions Online would soon turn free-to-play. Therefore, the chances of Star Trek Online adopting the same business model down the line must be high.
Star Trek Online was released at the beginning of the year but wasn't the genre-shattering launch the licence perhaps deserved. Eurogamer awarded a deflated 6/10. Cryptic Studios admitted it could do better and has promised to support the enterprising MMO even as "several other projects" - including online RPG Neverwinter - are revealed to be in development there.
Shacknews - Brian Leahy
[Update 9/7/11] The contest is now closed. The winners are Knuxsonic, Conrnchak, and *ahem* Whore. Congratulations to the winners.
[Original Story] Shacknews has teamed up with Star Trek Online and Intel to give away three $200 Best Buy Gift Cards! To enter, entrants need only create and save a ship in the Star Trek Online Ship Builder. Then, post here in the comments of this post with your ship and captain names to be entered for a chance to win! It's that easy.
You'll have until September 6th to enter at which point the three winners will be chosen randomly. Multiple entries are allowed as long as each entry is for a unique ship.
Must be 18 years or older to enter. Open to residents of the United States only. For more information please see the official rules.