STO: Ask Cryptic November 2012

In this brand-new edition of Ask Cryptic, Executive Producer Dan Stahl delivers answers to player submitted questions.

Q: (captaindjm15) Is there any release date yet for the Romulan Faction?

Dstahl: While we would love to see a Romulan faction in the game, and players have told us they really want us to make it, we have not announced anything officially about this yet. We think it would be awesome and the team is excited that players want to see this faction fleshed out, but we agree that there are some issues to work out first about how it would be implemented and fit into the existing game. If we were to make a Romulan Faction, we would want them to have their own storyline and mission structure as well as their own ships so that it would feel different than playing a FED or KDF character. We’ll just have to wait and see!


Q: (athourst) Are there any plans on adding in Dr. Crusher’s medical robe?

Dstahl: It is on our list for inclusion in a potential future TNG Bundle pack, so there’s a chance that you’ll see this in the future. We are going to try to release two themed bundle packs a year, so we may get to this sooner than later.


Q: (midniteshadow7) With many of the stack sizes recently being updated to 100, why is that hypos and the like are still at 20? Can these please be increased as well?

Dstahl: With most of the Reputation projects requiring items such as hypos, there is definitely a desire to have larger stack sizes. Traditionally we have limited these to 20 because they can be equipped as devices on your bridge officers, essentially providing lots of extra storage if we allow the stack sizes to be too high. We’ll look into it though because it may be ok to change this now.


Q: (drudgy) What hints can you drop for us about the 3 Year Anniversary?

Dstahl: Q will once again make an appearance. There will be a special one-off Feature Episode available to both FED/KDF that will add some additional story details to one of our favorite TNG Episodes. The episode will have a Limited Time Reward of a faction specific ship. There may even be a guest appearance in the episode from a TNG cast member, but we haven’t finalized the details yet, so that is a big “maybe” at this time. In general, it is going to be a fun celebration with a fun episode for everyone to enjoy.


Q: (tebsu) What did you do the STFs? I can’t remember the last time I’ve been killed but since the Season 7 update, I’ve been killed at least 3 times!

Dstahl: Sounds like the Borg have adapted to your tactics. :P Really though, the systems team is investigating some of the Borg STF enemies that seem to be doing more damage than they should be.


Q: (temp3rus) Have you thought about a Captain/Crew reputation system played much like a mini Starbase for ship interiors?

Dstahl: This is an interesting idea and would open up an interesting connection between the Duty Officer system and your Captain’s career. Nice suggestion, and something we’ll consider as one of our future Reputations.


Q: (tatterdemalion1) When is crafting going to be reworked? Aside from the Aegis set, there’s nothing craftable we can make that we can’t buy in the Dilithium Store, so what’s the point of all those crafting materials apart from putting them towards Fleet Projects?

Dstahl: Crafting is slated to get its own Reputation System and we also want to revamp the system. The earliest time frame the revamp will happen would be in Season 9 or later, but we may be able to get the Reputation system and rewards out sooner. We’ll have to see how Season 8 goes first.


Q: (hroothvitnir) Will we see possible ways of getting MK XII gear from non-store systems in the future, or is high level equipment now to be purely obtained through Reputation or Fleet systems?

Dstahl: For the current end game, MK XII is now intentionally only meant to be obtained through the Reputation and Fleet Systems, however any mob that is level 54 or higher will still have a chance to drop random MK XII loot. As we get closer to increasing the skillpoint cap, this will obviously need to change.


Q: (hoipoloi) Can the cost of Starbase feature projects be reduced? The Dilithium cost is stalling current upgrades and projects as it is.

Dstahl: This points to the challenge that smaller fleets are having with the special projects, because larger fleets (over 100 active players) are able to breeze through these pretty easily. We are looking at the variance of project spending between the Fleet sizes and are working on ways to improve the balance based on this. If nothing else, we may lower the special project prices when we start to re-run them in early 2013, so at least the second time around, they will be cheaper. We’ll have some more feedback on this as we evaluate the small Fleet situation.


Q: (captainrevo1) Any plans to add more missions to New Romulus? Also, will the map be added and/or hooked up to the Foundry?

Dstahl: Yes, there are more missions planned for New Romulus and Foundry doors exist on the map, but haven’t been turned on yet. We expect to have these on in the next month. Also note that there are new instance missions that take place on New Romulus that unlock at each tier in the Romulan reputation system.


Q: (luxchristian) Will there be more customization of the Starbases?

Dstahl: The next level of customization we are discussing is ways to customize the exterior of the base. We would really like to see some alternate styles and varieties to exteriors, but it will probably be Season 9 or later before we’ll see anything new in this area.


Q: (jonathanferro) Will we ever see a Klingon only adventure zone or Feature Episode series?

Dstahl: The expectation is that we will see more Adventure zones, and if we redo the Klingon Tutorial and early levels, we will most likely use a KDF exclusive adventure zone to do some of it. There are some Klingon only Episodes we are discussing but we haven’t set a timeframe that we can share with you yet.


Q: (ieyasut) So, New Romulus is amazing, but are you done with it? Throughout Season 7, will we be seeing updates similar to Epoh breeding make it to this new area? Will there ever be a city map behind those gates? After seeing the new First City and Hathor, I can’t wait to start running around another urban environment. Also, will New Romulus, or any part of it, be getting a day/night cycle like the one on Hathon?

Dstahl: The intention is that New Romulus will continue to expand and grow over the Seasons and we definitely have plans for opening up the interior someday (we have already done the concept for this). We’ve discussed a day/night cycle but need some better technology in our lighting engine before we can make it as awesome as we want it to be. In the meantime, keep an eye out for changes to the New Romulus city as the months lead up to Season 8.


Q: (gespensterjaeger) The Enterprise-F and Bortasqu’ NPC ship that comes and help during the missions near New Romulan patrol missions was a wonderful touch although very rarely seen. Will there be a possibility that more missions get this function with different ships and captains showing up unexpected and helps out for a better feel for the game I thought it was a lovely touch and would like to see more of it.

Dstahl: Absolutely. This is something we’ve intentionally set out to do in Season 7 – to add more IP and more familiar episode moments into the gameplay. We will continue to use the new Flagships and their crew in future content and focus on recurring characters and ships. Thank you for noticing!


Q: (azurianstar) Why isn’t the Tau Dewa Sector not following canon. The Archer System is 31 Light years from Earth, not 50. And the new Romulan Homeworld is in Klingon space? They feeling generous?

Dstahl: When it comes to “maps”, canon is a bit fuzzy. We do try to stick to the Star Trek star charts by Geoffrey Mandel where possible, but even his maps are a bit sketchy in some areas. We like to feel that we are following the spirit of the canon while adjusting for stories and gameplay within STO. As far as the location of Mol’Rihan, that will be the topic of debate in an episode of Season 8, so it was very intentional that we placed D’Tan and his followers in this particular part of space and on the edge of some contested boundaries.


Q: (ebrithil1) As much as I love all the new content you’ve been pushing out for the Feds, I like my Klingons too. When can we expect to see you fulfill the promise you made to expand the content on the red side?

Dstahl: Personally, I’m still very committed to ensuring the KDF has levels 1-50, more so than I can even publicly talk about because it would involve going into details about all the internal conversations I’ve had within the company about this topic. It is my goal as EP to make this happen and the only thing that I can give you is that I’m fighting for it and want to do it. It just isn’t official yet.


Q: (psycoticvulcan) What form would a playable Romulan faction take? Would it be Senator Harmien’s militants? The Tal Shiar? D’Tan’s unificationists?

Dstahl: Hypothetically speaking, if we were to release a playable Romulan faction, we would want players to feel very involved in their storyline and have a unique view that is different than the Federation or Klingons. Whether that takes the role of the factions you mentioned remains to be seen, but we would most likely focus on one faction’s viewpoints and go all in so that they could have a rich and rewarding experience.


Q: (jer5488) Are you ever going to expand the game in a non-combative way? Such as – making more random ‘explore space’ missions. Puzzles on planets. Running into Ardra and having to outwit her – things like that. As much fun as blowing stuff up and the like is, some more ‘Trek’ missions would be ideal in my opinion.

Dstahl: This has always been a goal of STO, to find ways to add more “Trek”-like non-combat to the game. We’ve added many types of puzzles and mini-games as well as systems such as the Duty Officers that don’t involve any combat. We will continue to make this an emphasis in the game because we agree, Trek isn’t always about combat. As a video game however, we do need to focus on our strength – which is unique and compelling space combat. We strive to strike a strong balanced between the two.


Q: (ocp011) I was curious as to what exciting new additions are on the horizon?

Dstahl: Well… The updated and exhilarating Winter Event is coming up in early December – there will be a new limited time ship associated with that along with tons of new prizes and events (including PvP snowball fights). In January we will be releasing a modern Federation Andorian ship, which looks amazing, but harkens back to the familiar design. In February, there will be the 3 Year Anniversary ship rewards, followed by the next lock box ship (which hasn’t been announced yet). We also have some costumes and Lobi store updates coming, as well as more missions related to Season 7. So plenty of stuff on the horizon!


Q: (voicesdark) Are there any plans for more unique ships made by Cryptic that are Star Fleet ships, or is there a chance to see Federation civilian ships added in-game with more unique ship profiles?

Dstahl: We definitely plan to add more Cryptic designed ships in 2013. We’ve been trying to finish our list of canon ships, but do plan to add in some unique designs that have never been seen before over the next several seasons. Some of these will have familiar “Starfleet” silhouettes and some will not.


Q: (ehgato) Can the Orions have their own bridge design? They currently use a standard Klingon bridge.

Dstahl: So far, we’ve only been able to build a few special replica bridges per year, but this is one of the bridges that we agree would be nice to have on the KDF side. We have long term plans to make some Gorn episodes, and in fact Season 7 was originally going to take place on the Gorn Homeworld, but was changed to New Romulus for reasons that will be revealed later. When we do come back and visit the Gorn (and possibly the Voth as well) we will get the opportunity to throw non-Klingon bridges onto the schedule.


Q: (captwilhelm) Any future plans for the Gateway?

Dstahl: Gateway has some pretty big goals for 2013, including putting the Fleet System, Reputation Systems, and other in game UI onto the system. The big ticket item we are all hoping happens is the addition of Duty Officers to Gateway so that you can manage your crew when you’re on your mobile device. That would be awesome, and we want to see that happen.


Q: (stoleviathan99) I noticed in an interview that you joked about a Kickstarter-style financed Ferengi faction. While it was a joke, I’ve noticed more gaming, toy, and entertainment companies using this model of financing. (Mattel just did it with a Castle Greyskull remake by Four Horsemen, by taking pledges for pre-orders.) I personally like it because it aligns paying for rewards with having a say in the content development process. Is that something that Cryptic might seriously investigate?

Dstahl: The Ferengi faction was the joke, but the kickstarter idea is something we’ve discussed because with only so many artists on the team, there is a massive backlog of ships that players want and only so many we can make. However, if we used a kickstarter model, we could potentially add more resources to getting ships that a majority of players want to see in game. Heck there might even be a future when externally designed ships could gain enough player interest that they would end up in STO. The Vesta and Odyssey class starships are a good example of this. It may also help us determine which KDF ships to make, because there have been several KDF ships that we actually lost money on unfortunately. This is one of the reasons why we are holding off on making a ton more KDF ships because we really need to get more KDF players into the game and that is a much bigger issue.


Q: (xxxhellspawnyxxx) Will you make Fleet Marks available via PvP Matches at some point?

Dstahl: Yes. This is going to happen.


Q: (thmichael) Are you going to implement the Ambassador Class at some point? And would it be possible to implement the Old Constitution Class for higher ranks?

Dstahl: Yes. The Ambassador class is coming in 2013. CBS is still pretty adamant about the Old Connie not being an end game ship, but you never know what can happen as time rolls by.


Q: (daxtarehatsu) What about missing planets like Trill(us) Prime, Betazed or Khitomer? Any plans for the future?

Dstahl: Khitomer is already put in as a placeholder in the Tau Dewa sector because it will be featured in Season 8. The others are expected to be released when we open up the “Founders of the Federation” update which will add the sector between Earth and the Cardassian sectors. No firm ETA on any of those, but we do plan to add them and have them on our long term schedule.


Q: (vawlkus) Please tell me there’s a timeline to get Klingon’s back to starting at level 1. I flat our refuse to start a new character at level 20. Even if the missions aren’t there, let us figure out our way upwards.

Dstahl: Totally agree with you and I’m working on it getting it approved and have been ever since I returned as EP. I’m not giving up on this.


Q: (psyloaf) One of the little tidbits I enjoyed when talking to Admiral D’Vak was that he mentioned Omega Force wasn’t just anti-Borg. In fact, it was a force for dealing with any powerful threats like the Undine and the Iconians. With this is mind, are there any plans to have more “themed” sets like these, whether they are MACO/Honour Guard/Omega variants, or entirely new pieces?

Dstahl: There are more themed sets planned and we will continue to make more badass gear as the Seasons move forward. These were only the beginning sets.


Q: (sc0ttish) Thx for Mol’Rihan. It really feels like a planet surface where people *live*, unlike Defera and Nukara, where everyone are in constant danger. I love to just sit down and chill out on New Romulus, or watch the wild animals running around. I don’t want to sound unappeasable, but could we expect other zones like this in the short term, probably by the time of S8?

Dstahl: There will be more adventure zones like this. We’re currently working on Nimbus which will be featured in Season 8 (thus the placeholder for it in the Tau Dewa sector).


Q: (cbp4964) Will we ever be able to send out bridge officers off on separate missions, or have them accompany us to battle in ships we assign them from our own selection?

Dstahl: We have some pretty awesome plans for when we increase ranks to Admiral level 60 which make good use of your bridge officers, ships, and crew. We ultimately want full Admirals to command their fleets. You’ll have to wait until at least Season 9 to get more details though.


Thank you for all of the great questions. Sorry if your question did not get answered, but you can rest assured that I do read the questions and even questions that don’t get answered to get flagged for the internal team to address. Thank you for continuing to make Ask Cryptic a useful feature for the game team.