cryptic studios

A PWE studio known primarily for Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, and Champions Online.

Star Trek Online announces Season 13: Escalation, coming April 25 on PC

PWE has just announced Star Trek Online's next season: Escalation. It lands on April 25th for PC players and continues the ongoing Tzenkethi plotline. "Season 13 – Escalation takes the player on a journey to discover where the previously isolationist Lukari came from. Once they begin to understand their previous place in the galaxy, a Tzenkethi fleet arrives, presenting an immediate threat," says the studio.

Intriguingly, players are getting more than just story with the update; there's also a new gameplay system on the way.

"In addition to these exciting events, players will also be able to participate in the War Games system. This new type of queue allows two five-person teams to battle head-to-head in competitive PvE scenarios. To keep players on an even playing field, a new Player Potential system has been introduced that will match players of similar skill in the same matches. The War Game system will also have a new reputation tied to it, including for the first time ever, class specific-ship and captain gear. Captains can mix and match new gear they earn from any class and also have the option to specialize. To support the new War Games system, a full rebalance pass has been made to ground and space combat to ensure that no matter what choice captains make when outfitting their skills or ship, it isn’t a wrong one."

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Massively Overthinking: The City of Heroes Master X Master debacle

On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.

Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.

For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?

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Neverwinter breaks out Steam trading cards

Did you have a trading card collection when you were a kid? I went along with the crowd buying baseball cards, even though I didn't much care for sports or pictures of sweaty men looking constipated while swinging sticks. It got a lot more fun when Magic: The Gathering came around, fortunately.

Those who enjoy accumulating as many virtual trading cards on Steam as they can will be happy to hear that Neverwinter has come out with its own set of cards. These eight character cards feature characters from the game and can be used to craft badges or traded with other players. These cards are also your path to a better life through additional backgrounds and emoticons.

If you need a whole explanation of what Steam trading cards are and what they do (and this author did), there's a whole page on that.

Source: Steam


Star Trek Online preps Reckoning update for consolers in April

PWE announced this afternoon that Star Trek Online will drop the Reckoning update on console players next month on April 18th -- that's a pretty quick clip for console players, who just got Agents of Yesterday mid-February. Heck, PC players only just got Reckoning in January. What's in it? A brand-new-to-you featured episode, the new crafting school, two Tzenkethi-themed space queues, and the new space battlezone.

"Season 12 – Reckoning centers around the new featured episode, Of Signs and Portents. Captains will join the Lukari on a mission to investigate weaponized use of protomatter in a new region of the Alpha Quadrant. Further evidence leads them to the Tzenkethi, a highly intelligent, militant species who plan on using the deadly substance to build a bomb capable of wiping out entire planets. Teaming up with legendary Klingon General Rodek (voiced by actor Tony Todd), the Alliance must find a way to stop the Tzenkethi from enacting a potentially cataclysmic attack. Season 12 also unlocks expansive new content for players to discover, including the Lukari Restoration Reputation, the new Kits and Modules Research School, a full space battlezone and two new space queues, Gravity Kills and The Tzenkethi Front."

Don't forget there's a double experience bonus event running this weekend!

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Neverwinter proclaims the Day of the Dungeon Master

The dice are back, baby! A while ago, Cryptic paid homage to Neverwinter's tabletop roots by incorporating an Inception-like pen-and-paper experience into the MMORPG. If you missed them the first time around or want to enjoy them again, these campaigns are back for a full month that Neverwinter is dubbing the "Day of the Dungeon Master."

Starting tomorrow and continuing for the next four weeks, players can return to the Burrow Dawn Inn to experience four tabletop campaigns for fun and rewards. Rewards you say? Yes, there are plenty to be had such as a pewter golem and an "adorable pocket pet."

Perhaps the best prize, however, is a Beholder Personal Tank, which is just about the most awesome thing we've ever seen in an MMORPG. Check it out below!

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Perfect World sees mobile sales jump up in 2016

When it comes to financial reports, there's always one word that every investor wants to see: growth. And for those that read Perfect World's 2016 annual report, that's exactly what they saw.

The international publisher, which operates titles as diverse as Dota 2 (in China) and Star Trek Online as well as other media properties, reported that it had a very good year, raking in 6.1 billion yuan over the course of 2016. Its gaming division was responsible for over two-thirds of this revenue and an impressive 25% growth compared to 2015.

What's interesting here is that while PC game sales remained relatively stable and flat, it was the mobile market that was the driving force behind this increase in Perfect World's income. This means that we can expect to see the company put an even higher priority on developing and publishing mobile titles in the future.

Source: Superdata


Everything console players need to know about Neverwinter's Cloaked Ascendancy, launching April 11

Everyone loves expansions, right? Neverwinter's latest expansion, Cloaked Ascendancy, launched the last week of February, giving players the opportunity to delve in and enjoy the new areas and stories for the last few weeks. That is, PC players have that opportunity; fans who prefer to partake via consoles have to wait extra time for each update and expansion to pass certification by the respective console makers before they can release. And waiting is never very fun.

Thankfully, this wait is just about over: Cloaked Ascendancy will land on the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 on Tuesday, April 11th. In less than a month, all Neverwinter players (of the appropriate level) will have the chance to experience all the new stuff that the expansion offers, from the the new zone to the new story line to the new skirmish.

If that still seems a bit too far away, we've got something to help tide you over: I sat down with Thomas Foss, Lead Designer, to talk more about the expansion. We discussed the inspiration behind it to his favorite parts of it. He might have even shared an Easter egg or two!

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Star Trek Online offers a broad overview of upcoming space combat balance changes

The space combat of Star Trek Online is pretty much the crown jewel of the game. It's intriguing, diverse, engaging, and pretty much everyone who plays the game is all but contractually obligated to praise it. But it's certainly not perfect, which is why the game is rebalancing the space combat. A new post on the official site details the core philosophy behind the changes to keep the gameplay fun and vital while adding more choices, and the barest skeleton of the changes are also outlined.

Beam Overload is becoming slightly less powerful, while targetable kinetic weapons like torpedoes will be harder (but not impossible) to shoot down and no longer will be affected by abilities like Tyken's Rift. Several profession abilities are also being buffed up significantly to have a greater impact on combat, like a big boost to Miracle Worker's effects and a new Science ability to improve healing and exotic damage. The full list of changes will be detailed point-by-point in an upcoming test patch, so players can look forward to the full set of shifts with the upcoming change for feedback.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Michael for the tip!


Star Trek Online urges players once more into the Breach on console

The Breach queue in Star Trek Online has been trimmed up nicely for console players, shortened to the most interesting portions of the queue and generally improved all around. That alone might be reason for players to jump in and start playing it, but the designers are offering some added incentive to play from March 16th to April 7th. Queue up for either the normal or advanced version of the queue with a character at level 50 or higher, and you'll be able to earn a Voth Operative Transmission from a successful clear.

One transmission may be earned every 20 hours of real-world time, and a set of 14 such transmissions can be used for a special event project that rewards 50,000 Dilithium Ore, 500 Fleet Marks, 250 more marks of the player's choice, and a special Admiralty ship. The Advanced version of the queue will also award players with Voth Cybernetic Implants, as always. It's just a little extra push to get console players into the Breach, so we recommend getting ready to start heading in promptly once March 16th rolls around.


One Shots: No more worlds to conquer

There's that special joy that every screenshotter knows when you're able to get that perfect angle, that photogenic pose, and then capture it for all time. I kind of feel that Rob was able to get that with this first picture from Star Trek Online.

What is his captain thinking? Is he bummed that the Federation has put a kibosh on his plans to warmonger his way across the galaxy? Does he want that planet to be named "Glory to Rob the Magnificent" and populate it with adoring subjects? Or is he merely contemplating the deep mysteries of what was in that replicator ration he ate for lunch?

No matter which it is, he's looking profound and deep doing it!

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Neverwinter, Star Trek Online drop Windows XP support

Still clinging to Windows XP? Hope you're not planning on playing Neverwinter. PWE announced back in December that it would be dropping support for the XP operating system on March 1st, which means you actually got an extra week, as that build arrived today.

"As of March 1st, 2017, Neverwinter will no longer be supporting Windows XP and Direct3D 9, or Video Cards with a Direct3D Hardware Feature Level less than 10.0," the studio wrote. "This decision was made in order to improve game performance and to optimize the player experience."

The same is true for Star Trek Online, which dropped support for XP earlier this week as planned.

Source: Patch notes, FAQ


Star Trek Online goes once more unto the Breach queue

A special version of Star Trek Online's Breach queue is now hailing captains to adventure.

Cryptic brought back its five-player instanced Breach for a "faster-paced, action-packed" romp that's been streamlined and balanced to be better than before. And that's not the really good part! As with many STO releases, there are extra rewards for players who run this queue upon its return.

From now through the 23rd (and from March 16th through April 7th for console jockeys), Star Trek Online will award Breach queue victors with special currency that can be exchanged for a ton of currency, marks, and even a Voth melee weapon. After this time, the queue will revert to its normal reward payout.

Source: Star Trek


Perfect Ten: Every MMORPG bestiary ever

I have played a lot of MMOs. It's inevitable, given enough years in this job and hobby. And the sad thing is that I wind up seeing the same things over and over again. There's always a class called the Warrior, for example, and if your game doesn't have classes, you still have a "recommended path" that makes you a dude with a big two-handed weapon that smacks things. There's always an opening questgiver. You always need to collect animal parts.

Yes, even in games where there's no wildlife. Don't ask me what street thugs in Champions Online are doing with bear hearts; I just need the experience.

Of course, there are always bears. In fact, there are always pretty predictable enemies roaming around. Every MMO has at least some of the same things from the same bestiary, so it'd be nice if we could just accept these features of the omnipresent lineup and term them as such.

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