Star Trek Online

With the second season of Star Trek: Discovery over, you might be looking to fill the hole in your life with something else Trek-shaped, and free-to-play MMO Star Trek Online's upcoming major update might just fit the bill. Rise of Discovery continues the crossover with the show, this time featuring Captain Lorca and Commander Landry, voiced by Jason Isaacs and Rekha Sharma. Watch the trailer above.

The first season of Discovery left some unanswered questions about Lorca, while Commander Landry had an unexpected and bloody exit, so Rise of Discovery aims to fill in some blanks and give us a bit of backstory about the pair across two episodes. It's set before the events of the first season, and players will need to help the commander rescue a stranded Captain Lorca and deal with the Klingons of House Mo'Kai. 

While Star Trek Online is set in the post-Next Gen era, it frequently dips into the other eras thanks to time travel, Star Trek's favourite MacGuffin, so you can make TOS or Discovery captains but still play with everyone else in the current era. You don't need to make a new captain to play through the Discovery episodes, however. 

As well as the new episodes, Rise of Discovery introduces a new Tier 6 reputation, Discovery Legends, which will net you rewards for Task Force Operations. Discovery themed, naturally. Tier 6 vessels, meanwhile, are being converted into free-for-all ships, available to players of any level. They'll scale to the player's level, so everyone can take them for a fly. No longer will you have to stare at them on space stations and dream about the future. 

More details on the update and the changes to Tier 6 ships will be available ahead of of Rise of Discovery's launch on May 14. 

Star Trek Online

The Foundry is one of the neatest feature in Cryptic's MMOs, Star Trek Online and Neverwinter. It allows players to use game assets and tools to create their own scripted quests to share with fellow captains and adventurers. Inside these MMOs, an unlikely community of modders sprang up. Unfortunately, Cryptic has announced that the Foundry will be closing its doors for good next month. 

While the Foundry has been kept alive by player imagination, it still requires resources and maintenance from Cryptic, and sadly the developer has decided that it can't give the Foundry the attention it deserves while still creating new features. 

Star Trek Online and Neverwinter continue to receive regular, meaningful updates, with the former currently taking advantage of finally running concurrently with a show through the free Age of Discovery expansion. There's clearly plenty of life left in them, then, but they've both been around for a long time, and MMOs don't seem to draw in the sort of crowds they used to, so it looks like some cuts have to be made to keep the new stuff flowing. 

I'll miss the Foundry, but I confess I can't remember the last time I used it. It's got nothing to do with the quality of the custom missions, but Star Trek Online, which I still pop back into, has so many missions and activities that I never have any time to look for more. But it was nice to know it was around if I wanted to mix things up.

You could hunt down some story-rich diversions, solving murder mysteries in country mansions outside Neverwinter, or you could just blow off some steam by shooting the crap out of 1,000 terrans. In Neverwinter especially, the Foundry was evocative of the brilliant modding community that sprouted around BioWare's Neverwinter Nights, which had the best modding support of any BioWare game then or since. 

Players will receive some rewards for participating in the Foundry. In Star Trek Online, everyone who has played a Foundry mission will get a badge, authors will get a Botany Bay space pet and anyone who created a spotlit mission will earn a Genesis Torpedo ground device. Things are a bit more stingy over in Neverwinter, though. You'll get a title of you've played at least ten missions, while creating at least ten will net you a cape. 

The good news is that if, like me, you've not browsed the Foundry for a long time, you still have time to play a whole bunch of missions. The lights will stay on until April 11.

Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online has been taking advantage of finally running concurrently with the TV show. Last year saw developer Cryptic launch the Age of Discovery expansion, and on the cusp of the MMO’s nine-year anniversary, a new update will continue to delve into the Discovery universe, as well as introducing the ruthless Captain Killy. Check out the teaser above. 

Even after some overhauls and the 2016 makeover, STO is pretty creaky. Ground combat is worlds better than it was at launch almost a decade ago, but it’s still shallow and looks a bit naff. The space combat, though? Stellar. It’s real-time with some tactical sensibilities, but the real treat is just designing the ships. Not visually, which remains a bit limited unless you shell out real money, but the components you cram inside them let you make all sorts of different different warships, bristling with phasers and torpedo launchers. 

It’s the missions that I’m really enjoying replaying, however, which isn’t something I could say for many MMOs. The writing quality isn’t all that consistent, but the storylines all feel like classic Star Trek fare, even structurally, and they’re bursting with nods to the shows and cameos from Star Trek actors, most recently Discovery’s Mary Wiseman, who plays Ensign Tilly. 

Tilly’s Mirror Universe counterpart, Captain Killy, is the star of the Mirror of Discovery update. Evil Tilly and her crew were in the Mirror Universe’s ISS Discovery when it was believed to have been destroyed by Klingons, but it actually hopped over to the regular universe. Players will find her on the planet of Pahvo, where they can meet Captain Killy and stop her from destroying a planet.  

I really like the idea of the MMO fleshing out bits from the show like this. We never actually saw the real Captain Killy, since she was presumed dead, so this is the first time we get to meet the character. Trion Worlds’ Defiance did something similar with the show of the same name, though it never really capitalised on the relationship beyond some events loosely linked to things happening on the show and some brief  cameos. It’s still around, though the show was cancelled in 2015. 

The update will feature two new episodes, available to all factions, as well as the return of the Omega Molecule Stabilisation event. Collect enough particles and you’ll net yourself a new T6 Vulcan scout ship from Discovery. A new system that offers daily challenges and account-wide performance boosts will also be included, with more details coming before the launch on January 23. 

Star Trek Online

I guess the first order of business should be to establish that Star Trek Online is in fact still online. It's been awhile since we last talked about it May 2013, actually but the Star Trek-based MMO is still boldly going, albeit to where no one seems to notice. Today, however, Arc Games announced some pretty big news: It's getting the band back together.

"The band," unfortunately, is not Kirk and Spock, or Picard and Data, or even Worf and Wesley. It's Seven of Nine, Neelix, the Doctor, Harry Kim and Tuvok, who you may or may not recognize as supporting members of the Star Trek: Voyager cast. A minor disappointment, perhaps, but also to be expected, since the Star Trek Online: Delta Rising expansion takes place 32 years after the events of that show.

The in-game characters will be voiced by the actors who originally portrayed them Jeri Ryan, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Garrett Wang and Tim Russ although how they'll be integrated into the action hasn't been revealed. The announcement says only that the Delta Quadrant is now "easily accessible" through an Iconian gateway, and that players will "fight alongside legendary crew members of U.S.S. Voyager to investigate an unknown enemy presence."

It's fun, in a nerdy way, to note that everyone in the "group photo" looks more or less the same as they did in the television show except for poor Harry, the lone human in the bunch. I might also venture the opinion that he's the least interesting character among them too, but let's be honest, none of these guys are exactly Scotty or Bones. Arc says a more in-depth look at the expansion is on the way.
Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online: Legacy of Romulus

The epic sci-fi MMO's introduction of the Romulans has been in the making for quite awhile, and it looks like the time's finally come. Due to launch next Tuesday, the next Star Trek Online expansion, Legacy of Romulus, is already available for current STO players to preload. Here are some screenshots of what the Legacy has in store for intrepid starship captains.

Meanwhile, posted over at the STO blog is an in-depth look at the planet of Nimbus. Once an intended symbol of peace, the planet's inhospitable atmosphere instead turned the place into a crime hotspot. What does that mean for you? Why, a personality-stuffed new questing zone, of course! It's accessible any time after level 19 (and high-level players will have their level automatically adjusted to the max of 26 upon their arrival). An episode series will take you on a sightseeing tour of Nimbus' most legendary must-visit destinations, including the poverty-stricken Paradise City and a destroyed ship-turned-crime-stronghold.

Meanwhile, daily missions rewarding Dilithium Ore can be completed, and—as one is surely wont to do when visiting a third-world planet—there's also the daily dance mission to participate in. The things one must do to survive, y'know?

Nimbus becomes available for all factions to play upon Legacy of Romulus' launch on May 21. Beam yourself up to the STO site for the full details on the expansion's offerings.

Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online Tasha Yar

Star Trek Online is about to boldly go into its third year since engaging back in early 2010, and from January 31 through February 14, players can take part in a celebratory episode called "Temporal Ambassador" where they'll cross paths with the late Enterprise Chief Tactical Officer Tasha Yar, played in-game as she was in The Next Generation series by Denise Crosby.

Yes, Lieutenant Yar was cruelly offed at the end of the first season by the mean tar monster Armus in "Skin of Evil," but we're guessing her appearance has something to do with "Starfleet transponder codes dating back to the mid-24th century" emanating from a temporal anomaly created by the highly territorial Tholians.

Stick around, and you can also expect to be partying with no less than the omnipotent space troll Q, who'll be hosting a special in-game event that will bag you a special Federation Ambassador Class or Klingon Kamarag Class ship.

Crosby's appearance in Star Trek Online will follow other appearances by veterans of the series, including Leonard Nimoy (Spock from the original series), Chase Masterson (Leeta from Deep Space 9), and Zachary Quinto (Spock from J.J. Abrams' Star Trek film) who have lent their characters' voice and appearance within Perfect World's space-voyaging MMO. Still no sign of Wesley, but considering the ensign earned his own death parody video, we're probably better off not letting him on our bridge.

Star Trek Online saw a fair bump in player count since going free-to-play in January of last year. Earlier this week, Executive Producer Dan Stahl announced that more than 2 million captains are continuing to ply the galaxy's warp-ways after the transition. But that's just a fraction of the 4 billion Tribbles stowing away on everyone's ships, as shown in the milestone infographic below.

Star Trek Online

The next chapter of Star Trek Online's ongoing voyages is set to engage next Tuesday. Players will be able to explore New Romulus, the largest ground exploration zone in the game to date, as they aid the Romulans in building a new home. Check out the trailer above, and read on for more intel.

New Romulus is the centerpiece of the new content, representing STO's largest continuous planetary zone so far. Max level Federation and Klingon officers will gain access to new daily quests, a new reputation progression system that unlocks unique ground and space combat perks, and the ability to establish an embassy for your fleet that will level up and unlock now rewards as you complete cooperative objectives.

Season 7 will also launch with new fleet actions and special task forces (STO's end-game instanced content.) Notably, you will be able to face off against the Borg Queen in "Into the Hive." We can only hope that this ends with a "snap robotic spinal cord" objective.

Last but not least, players will be able to purchase the Vesta Class Federation starship from the Destiny novels. I'm not knowledgeable enough on the Star Trek expanded universe to know why that's significant, but it looks slick and a lot of people seem pretty psyched.

Barring any sort of catastrophic and somewhat hilarious disasters (looking at you, Wesley), you should be able to boldly go into Season 7 beginning next Tuesday, November 13th.
EVE Online
Star Trek Online - The 2800 2

Star Trek Online producer Dan Stahl spoke with listdaily about well-known science-fiction franchises spearheading free-to-play MMOs and how the genre's constantly shifting content isn't in harmony with traditional review systems, saying, "In my opinion, the whole game rating business doesn't necessarily do a great justice to MMOs."

"MMOs are designed to grow over time and get better with every major release," he continued. "It might be better if sites like Metacritic could find a way to rate MMOs by releases instead of just the initial day one."

Stahl said "plenty of MMOs" enacted "huge strides" since launching with detracting or beneficial effects. Since launching in February 2010 to mediocre reviews, Star Trek Online, for example, retooled its ground combat, added a "duty officer" system of modular ship boosts, and empowered players with homebrewed mission content via its Foundry creation kit.

By contrast, Sony Online's Star Wars Galaxies earned initial critical acclaim when it released in June 2003, but subsequent major updates—including the infamously divisive New Game Enhancement—soured its reception among the community for apparently ruining an otherwise enjoyable sandbox experience.

We wouldn't necessarily disagree—reviewing MMOs is a fundamental challenge. Our original EVE Online review scored the game at 55, and we've continued to cover the game's growth after launch. Our reviews-in-progress are an attempt to give timely impressions when they're arguably most valuable—immediately following release—while allowing us to stamp a verdict when we're ready.
Champions Online
Cryptic, the dev studio behind Champions Online, Star Trek Online and the upcoming MMO Neverwinter, has just released a notice that some of their servers that contain users' personal information were hacked in 2010 and that the encrypted data had been compromised. But the good news is that if you follow good internet practice and have changed your passwords sometime in the last two years, you probably don't have to be worried by the bleak letter that just appeared on Cryptic's website, or the cautionary email you may have just received.

In their letter and the email (which I received because my account was one of those compromised--thanks, hackers!), Cryptic stresses that they only have evidence that account names, handles, and passwords were stolen. They do not believe that billing addresses, email addresses, date of birth, or credit card information was compromised. All affected accounts have had their passwords reset--so that might be why you're having trouble logging in right now.

If you have a Crpytic account, make sure to check your junk mail inbox for a warning to see if your account information was stolen. And even if it wasn't, it's a good idea to change up your passwords--especially if you're still using the same one you did in 2010.
Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online's following up on its recent relaunch as a free-to-play MMO with a new episode titled "the 2800," which will start on Saturday. The new season of story quests will kick off with the reappearance of a Dominion fleet of genetically engineered super-soldiers called the Jem'Hadar at Deep Space 9.

The remaining four episodes will be released every Saturday after that until the season finale on March 10, in which the you thought was god turns out to be who can only be stopped using .

You can play Star Trek Online for free by signing up and downloading the client from the Star Trek Online site. As well as the trailer above, there are these four screenshots featuring wormholes and space-walking.


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