Dec 2, 2011
Shacknews - Xav de Matos
The new season of content, dubbed 'Call to Arms', features a new Borg invasion of Defera "action ground combat map," along with additional content.
'Call to Arms' also includes "re-envisioned" Borg Strategic Task Force maps, which have been streamlined to improve the gameplay experience before being given a free-to-play version and an Elite version.
No release was mentioned for the content; however, D'Angelo says that the content has just completed "two months of extensive testing." He also mentioned Tribbles, which is required by law in all conversations pertaining to Star Trek.
A full listing of changes can be found on the official Star Trek Online blog.
While everyone’s going doo-lally about Star Wars, another licensed sci-fi MMO based on a loved franchise is feeling sadly neglected, like an old dog who’s just had to give up his favourite basket because of a new puppy. Star Trek Online was a bit of a failure on release, but it seems that Cryptic still has faith in the MMO, and the “seasons” (read: updates) have added new content and addressed player’s issues.
The latest “season”, numbered five, has been detailed on the official STO blog, and adds the Borg Invasion of Defera (which we inevitably read as DEFRA), Federation and Klingon Academies, as well as a brand new event calendar. Gameplay improvements include a “Duty Officers” minigame (we bet they get shot a lot), the ability to Transwarp to episodes, and a Dilithium Economy.
The new “season” is available now for current subscribers, and will be released for all when the game goes free-to-play on January 17 2012. Hit the jump to see the full list of new and improved content and gameplay.
New and Improved Content
Borg Invasion of Defera – An all new action ground combat map that features multiple play areas, boxes, and a variety of game play.
Re-envisioned Borg Strategic Task Force (STF) maps – These were cleaned up and streamlined to improve play. Then they were given a “Normal” version so everyone can experience the content, as well as an “Elite” version for some seriously challenging play. And finally, we threw in some great new rewards and elite gear that you can earn.
Federation and Klingon Academy – All new academy maps to explore and do non-combat game play.
Lore Missions – A whole new type of non-combat play. Learn about the Star Trek universe while playing these fun little missions.
Patrol Mission Revamp – The patrol missions got a new feel, now requiring some exploration to discover them. They also got better Skill Point rewards.
Event Calendar – A new event calendar that features nearly a dozen new events that happen around the clock.
Threaded Storyline – The whole storyline for STO has been put together in a cohesive way by threading the Episode content. Now it’s easy to know what to do next, and to play through the core storyline.
Tighter Klingon Storyline – The Klingon game play was tightened up to play starting at level 21, so that the whole experience for Klingon play is improved.
New and Improved Game Play
Duty Officers – This is a whole new game play experience within STO. Collect, trade, and manage your Duty Officers as you send them on assignments. It’s a great down-time activity and really fun!
Space Skills Revamp – The whole set of space skills in STO was taken apart and put together in a way that makes it a lot clearer what you’re getting with your valuable skill points.
Transwarp to Episodes – We’ve made it even easier to get around the galaxy to key content. All of the episodes now feature the ability to transwarp to them.
Faster Leveling – The leveling curve has been adjusted through the game, particularly at the earlier levels.
Dilithium Economy – The game now ties together the various daily missions, Duty Officers, and end game play around a new currency called Dilithium. Dilithium adds value to players at all levels from the early game onward. It replaces many of the narrow use currencies previously in the game, such as Marks, Emblems, Badges, and Merit.
Dilithium Exchange – You can trade Dilithium to other players for Cryptic Points, giving you a way to get your hands on Cryptic Points without spending money.
Mission Journal Upgrade – The mission journal UI got an upgrade to make it faster and easier to find that great content you want to play.
Social Map Facelift – The key social maps in the game, such as Earth Space Dock and Qo’noS, got a facelift. They are now better organized, better performing on lower end graphics cards, and easier to get around.
Tutorial Facelift – The tutorial mission set got a nice scrub and cleanup to make the experience better.
General Game Polish – Many hundreds of bug fixes across the whole game were rolled in to really improve the overall game experience.
After months of testing, beefy Star Trek Online update Season 5: Call to Arms has been released.
In a nutshell, Season 5 brings a Duty Officer System, the story of The Borg Advancement, Klingon gameplay updates, a skills revamp, a mission revamp, lore missions and economy restructuring.
STO executive producer Stephen D'Angelo offered an overview of the changes in a dev blog.
Star Trek Online turns free-to-play on 17th January 2012.
New and Improved Content
- Borg Invasion of Defera - An all new action ground combat map that features multiple play areas, boxes, and a variety of game play.
- Re-envisioned Borg Strategic Task Force (STF) maps - These were cleaned up and streamlined to improve play. Then they were given a "Normal" version so everyone can experience the content, as well as an "Elite" version for some seriously challenging play. And finally, we threw in some great new rewards and elite gear that you can earn.
- Federation and Klingon Academy - All new academy maps to explore and do non-combat game play.
- Lore Missions - A whole new type of non-combat play. Learn about the Star Trek universe while playing these fun little missions.
- Patrol Mission Revamp - The patrol missions got a new feel, now requiring some exploration to discover them. They also got better Skill Point rewards.
- Event Calendar - A new event calendar that features nearly a dozen new events that happen around the clock.
- Threaded Storyline - The whole storyline for STO has been put together in a cohesive way by threading the Episode content. Now it's easy to know what to do next, and to play through the core storyline.
- Tighter Klingon Storyline - The Klingon game play was tightened up to play starting at level 21, so that the whole experience for Klingon play is improved.
New and Improved Game Play
- Duty Officers - This is a whole new game play experience within STO. Collect, trade, and manage your Duty Officers as you send them on assignments. It's a great down-time activity and really fun!
- Space Skills Revamp - The whole set of space skills in STO was taken apart and put together in a way that makes it a lot clearer what you're getting with your valuable skill points.
- Transwarp to Episodes - We've made it even easier to get around the galaxy to key content. All of the episodes now feature the ability to transwarp to them.
- Faster Leveling - The leveling curve has been adjusted through the game, particularly at the earlier levels.
- Dilithium Economy - The game now ties together the various daily missions, Duty Officers, and end game play around a new currency called Dilithium. Dilithium adds value to players at all levels from the early game onward. It replaces many of the narrow use currencies previously in the game, such as Marks, Emblems, Badges, and Merit.
- Dilithium Exchange - You can trade Dilithium to other players for Cryptic Points, giving you a way to get your hands on Cryptic Points without spending money.
- Mission Journal Upgrade - The mission journal UI got an upgrade to make it faster and easier to find that great content you want to play.
- Social Map Facelift - The key social maps in the game, such as Earth Space Dock and Qo'noS, got a facelift. They are now better organized, better performing on lower end graphics cards, and easier to get around.
- Tutorial Facelift - The tutorial mission set got a nice scrub and cleanup to make the experience better.
- General Game Polish - Many hundreds of bug fixes across the whole game were rolled in to really improve the overall game experience.
- All told, this is an exciting release. We're in the final phases of testing now on Tribble. Even if you have played on Tribble earlier in the test phases, come on back and check out the latest build.
Full Star Trek Online Season 5: Call to Arms patch notes can be found on the STO website.
It’s been a rough ride for Star Trek Online. Many Trekkies lamented that the space combat lacked some punch, and ground combat felt more like watching paint dry than a space-faring sci-fi adventure. Previous updates have addressed the first problem, and the latest patch offers some exciting new enhancements to ground combat.
The “shooter” control scheme is simple to enable: either go into the menu and select it from a drop-down, or hit B on the keyboard. A targeting reticule will pop up on your screen, and the camera will switch to over your shoulder, similar to a third-person shooter. Going into shooter mode also changes the way you enable your abilities. The left and right mouse buttons are your main and alternate attack, and the middle button is your melee attack. Just point at your target and use an ability to activate it. No more Tab targeting for you!
This might seem like a simple change, but it adds a tremendous amount of fun to the ground combat. Running and gunning through Klingon and Romulan outposts seems much more epic when you can dive into a Max Payne–style leap across hallways with your dual phaser pistols. Not very Star Trek, but a hell of a lot of fun!
While the majority of the game remains very solo player friendly, the end of the game leans heavily on fleets, which are STO’s version of guilds. There just isn’t as much to do as a solo player when you reach the higher ranks as there is when you’re leveling your captain through the earlier portion of the game. Klingon content, a lackluster afterthought at the game’s launch, has grown immensely, but it’s still not as vast as the Federation content.
But even with the issues at the end of the game and in the Klingon content, I still have fun when I log into STO. The changes to ground combat have helped to relieve some of the frustration with those missions, and Featured Episodes make me feel like a character in one of the shows. If you were frustrated with the ground combat, and you wanted some more excitement, then you’ll want to jump back in to explore new planets and new civilizations.
Star Trek Online will be go free to play in the new year on January 17. Massively mention that Cryptic are planning to move the current test build to live servers in the first week of December in preparation for the full switch over, and they're starting the monthly in-game currency wage early for gold members.
In the free to play version of Star Trek Online, subscribers will get 400 Cryptic points a month. Even though STO will go free to play in January, subscribers will get some bonus credit in December. "We are starting the Gold member stipend early as a way to thank our loyal customers during this transition period prior to the launch of Free-to-Play," say Cryptic on the Path to F2P blog.
The move to free to play will divide Star Trek Online's player base into two tiers. There's free players, who will have access to every level and zone, but don't get the Foundry mission creation tools. If you become a gold member, you'll get extra inventory slots and unlimited access to in-game chat and mail. For a full run down of how free accounts will differ from paid ones in Star Trek Online, plug yourself into the Free to Play Features Matrix.
Nov 9, 2011
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
Star Trek Online will boldly go free-to-play on January 17, 2012, developer Cryptic has announced. "But which stardate is that?" you may ask, feeling a little cheeky and clever. And I won't reply, because you didn't specify The Original Series, The Next Generation, or 2009 reboot stardate format. This is the Internet; there are rules.
As detailed before, the free-to-play STO will let users access all missions, sectors, episodes and so on. However, there will be restrictions on bank and inventory space, character slots, and the like, and you'll need to pay to access features such as the mission editor. Subscribers (monthly or lifetime) will be spared these, and get other bonuses too.
Executive producer Stephen D'Angelo also announced that STO subscribers will start receiving free Cryptic Points, the currency used for microtransactions, every month. Starting in December, on the day of the month when your subscription began, you'll get 400 Points. That's about enough to buy a classic Star Trek costume for your characters and an extra bank slot, for reference.
Sep 7, 2011
We mentioned last week that Star Trek Online will be free to play before the year is out. Cryptic have just released more information about exactly what free players will and won't have access to.
All missions, levels and zones will be available to free players, including daily quests and missions created by paying members using the Star Trek Online Foundry creation tools. The Foundry will be off limits unless you upgrade to gold membership by paying a monthly subscription of $14.99, this will also give you access to more bridge officer slots, the ability to join a guild, unlimited use of in-game chat and email features, and a monthly wage of 400 Promotional Points to spend in the item store.
The full list of features that will be available to non-paying players and subscribers can be found on the new free to play section of the Star Trek Online site.
Star Trek Online has plenty to recommend it. You get to pilot your own starship, for a start, fight enormous space battles and then transport down to planets with your away team to phaser aliens in the face in the name of peace, diplomacy, and the will of the Federation.
My overriding memory, though, involves Tribbles. An icon on the taskbar will let you pet them at any time, even in the middle of a fire fight, whereupon they make an initially adorable noise that quickly becomes the most annoying sound in the universe after about five seconds. If you leave them in your inventory, they eat any food in there and multiply, so there are plenty spare to go around. After a while the entire away team would habitually stop in between fights to stroke their pets, giving rise to a chorus of wibbly "woooo!" noises that would alert every enemy in the vicinity.
Cryptic's Tribble-breeding sim is set to go free to play some time later this year, though there's no precise date yet.
Sep 6, 2011
Star Trek Online will go free-to-play before the end of 2011, developer Cryptic Studios has announced.
Confirming reports that surfaced last week, the MMO will still offer a standard subscription model but players will now be able to jump in without opening their wallets.
While free-to-play users enjoy the same level cap as subscribers and can access all of the game's sectors and missions, they'll have two character slots rather than three, a smaller inventory and credit storage limit.
Access to Create a Fleet is limited and the Foundry Creator is locked off entirely. Free-to-play users will also see restrictions on in-game chat, forums, mail and customer service, and will have to put up with advertisements in In-Game Vivox Voice Chat.
Take a look at the lengthy FAQ over on the game's official site for more details.
"In addition to seeking out new life and exploring strange new civilizations, part of our continuing mission for Star Trek Online is to expand and improve," commented Cryptic CEO Jack Emmert.
"Transitioning to a free-to-play model is a natural way to share all we've built with a broader community of players and we couldn't be more excited."
Late last week it was revealed that Cryptic Studios' massively multiplayer Star Trek Online would be going free-to-play later this year, swapping required subscription fees for an active player base. Today we find out what's free and what'll have players reaching for their gold-pressed latinum.
The free-to-play model being applied to Star Trek Online really isn't all that restricting to free (silver) players, something that might annoy those that plan of shelling out $14.95 a month for gold status. Free players are limited to two character slots instead of three; 48 inventory and bank slots as opposed to 72 and 96 respectively for paying players; and they won't be able to create new missions using the game's Foundry system, though they'll still be able to play player-created content to their hearts' content.
Free players also get limited access to forums, in-game mail, in-game chat, and customer service, are not eligible for priority login or veteran rewards, and have to deal with ad-supported in-game voice chat.
It seems restrictive, but looking over the full list it looks like free players will have access to just about everything Star Trek Online has to offer, without having to drop a dime. That should boldly go a long way to repopulating a universe that's steadily declined since launch.
Star Trek Online Free-to-Play [Official Website]
Sep 6, 2011
Shacknews - Garnett Lee
Perfect World's announcement last week of its plans to take Star Trek Online free-to-play later this year left many unanswered questions. An extensive update to the game's official site now provides an overview of what will be included, a comparison of features for free and paying subscribers, an FAQ, a message board for asking specific questions, and a copy of the press release laying out the upcoming changes. Some highlights follow below but the most important part is that the bulk of the game--all sectors and missions, PVP access, fleet actions, and more--will be playable for free with unlimited access.
"Transitioning to a free-to-play model is a natural way to share all we've built with a broader community of players and we couldn't be more excited," said Star Trek Online developer Cryptic Studios CEO Jack Emmert.
The new system classifies free-to-play players as "Silver Members." They have access to pretty much the entirety of the game, with the two big purchasable items being captain respecs and additional bridge officer slots. Silver Members also have limited in-game chat and email, and access to forums and customer support. They will be able to use Vivox voice chat, but with ads.
Subscribers, including those who bought lifetime memberships, become "Gold Members." In addition to getting those things listed above that Silver Members pay for, they also get unlimited access to guilds, unlimited energy credit storage, veteran rewards, more slots in their bank and inventory, and priority login rights. The cost for the benefits of being a Gold Member will remain at the subscription rate of $14.99 per month.
The only thing left to answer is when the change over will take place. The wait won't be too long, though. The press release states that Star Trek Online will be free-to-play in 2011.