Star Trek Online’s New Dawn will be ‘full of mystery’

    
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Star Trek Online is on the verge of a storyline shift with the upcoming Season 11: New Dawn, as it puts the wraps on the Iconian War and sets course for the next chapter of the game’s unfolding narrative.

We sat down with Cryptic Studios Executive Producer Steve Ricossa to talk about the future of online Trek, a replacement for the exploration system, and a quick post-mortem of the game’s previous expansion, Delta Rising. A good captain, after all, is always well-informed.

Massively OP: Now that Star Trek Online is concluding its Iconian War story arc, do the devs feel that it’s time for the game to branch out in a new direction? If so, what are the thoughts behind that direction?

Steve Ricossa: Absolutely! We’ve really enjoyed the journey through the intrigue and outright conflict of the Iconian War, but we’re looking forward to the direction we’re taking with New Dawn in Season 11. It’s going to be a time of optimism and hope for the alliance in this post-war era, while everyone still has to deal with the fallout of the war and how it concluded.

We feel the war will have a very satisfying, very Trek-resolution, and it will set the stage for our plans through next year. We definitely want to do something that’s fun story-wise, full of mystery at times, and leads to some excellent moments that will really make the next year stand out.

Will the admiralty system be a glorified Facebook timer game, a la World of Warcraft’s garrisons, will be a larger copy of the duty officer system, or will it offer more interactivity?

The Admiralty System will be similar but also build upon our existing duty officer system. You will be required to use your assets more strategically. The assignments will push you to use your ships tactically and the rewards will definitely be more significant. We want to create a system that allows you to make use of all of the ships you’ve earned, won, or purchased in a way that’s satisfying and gives players another avenue of progression.

This system will truly put players in the position of Admiral of the fleet of ships they amassed over time.

Delta Rising was the source of a lot of player criticisms, especially over the handling of the Tier 5/Tier 6 ship upgrades and acquisitions. What lessons have the dev team taken away from that expansion to improve the future of the game?

It’s always interesting to go back and review the feedback we’ve gotten with each release. While there certainly was some vocal criticism, we’ve seen the players at large enjoy it once they got to experience it for themselves. We always review player feedback on anything we plan to release or have already released and take that criticism into account for current or future changes. We learn lessons from every season and expansion, and we put those lessons to use while planning for the future of our game. One of the most important lessons we’ve learned is to increase our communication and interactions with our fantastic players.

Will the Star Trek Online galaxy always and forever be in a perpetual state of multi-front wars?

Even in times of peace, there’s always conflict somewhere in the galaxy and the alliance, but the Federation is always there to help those caught in the middle of conflict. That doesn’t always necessarily mean war, but it means your shield emitters aren’t likely to gather much dust.

Will Star Trek Online ever receive a proper exploration system to replace the one yanked a while back?

We’ve had whiteboard-level discussions on how to create a richer and more expansive exploration system, and we hope to be able to get that design solidified and implemented sometime in the future.

What is the most popular starship models for each of the three classes?

Without digging into our data, the newest ships generally tend to be the most popular, with any ship featured from any of the different series or movies always in heavy rotation.

What is it like to bring in Star Trek actors to reprise their roles? What do the actors think of being part of an MMO?

It’s always an amazing experience to bring them back and get them into characters that in some cases, they haven’t played for over a decade. Over the past few years, we’ve built a reputation of being a great studio to work with, and one that wants to create meaningful story arcs for the characters these actors played for years. We’ve found that all of the actors we’ve hired have really enjoyed their time, enjoyed the direction we’ve taken with their characters, and spoke positively about us to their colleagues. Providing such a quality experience makes it easier to resign our veteran cast, as well as hire new actors.

Thanks for talking with us, Steve!

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SimonBrownsword
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SimonBrownsword

Remianen  a common factor in game development is that you find what the players think they want and what the players will actually play in the long term are two very different things.

MMOs especially have to take what the players claim to want with a pinch of salt, most players will cry out for something, use it for a few days or weeks then get bored and never use it again.

Conversely a lot of players will go “That sucks!” “I’ll stop playing if you implement this!” “It’ll kill the game!” when something is presented to them, then go, “This is actually quite good,” when they play it.

The dev team aren’t idiots, they look at things other MMOs have tried, both successes and failures, and attempt to build on that.  They also have complete logs of everything done in game and can glean a good amount of information about what players will do based on that.

Actual player feedback on things is never outright ignored though, the problem is that they get a lot more feedback than the couple of hundred people who vocally hate some of the new stuff and say so everywhere they can on the internet.

ZenDadaist
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ZenDadaist

That screenshot… It’s like someone Cryptic’d a Rifter.

MrSlow
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MrSlow

MrVrodWPG MrSlow RicharddeLeonIII Now that’s what I call rubbing salt into a wound.

MrVrodWPG
Guest
MrVrodWPG

Vikaernes She’s trying to beam the hell out of that game.

MrVrodWPG
Guest
MrVrodWPG

MrSlow RicharddeLeonIII I got the same offer except my code was #N/A. It was nice of them to remind me why I left in the first place.

Remianen
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Remianen

“It’s always interesting to go back and review the feedback we’ve gotten with each release. While there certainly was some vocal criticism, we’ve seen the players at large enjoy it once they got to experience it for themselves.”

Translation: No, we haven’t learned any lessons. We’re going to continue to do things the way we want because player feedback does not trump player metrics.

Hirku
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Hirku

There’s something very, very wrong with a Star Trek game where you cause more death and destruction in the tutorial than there was in the entire original series. Seriously, I felt like I was playing in the mirror universe with my Evil Spock goatee. The changes to the scale and population of sector space were very exciting because of the potential for exploration, now they just need to fill that space with something other than sacrifices to the Federation Blood God.

KiwiRed
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KiwiRed

MrSlow RicharddeLeonIII I might be convinced to log in again with an offer like that.

KiwiRed
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KiwiRed

Peregrine_Falcon I love Star Wars without Lightsabers – not everybody wants to be a Jedi.  But I do agree with you about exploration – Star Trek should be more than pew pew pew.

GoJammit
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GoJammit

I don’t know why any of us are still shocked that STO is all about the war. From the get go they said we are in a time of war. The exploration was never anything more than a minor appeasement so that they could say there was some in there. Personally, I found those missions insulting.
As an aside I think STO should have had their map system done like Elite definitely would have made it feel bigger. Let’s just hope Elite doesn’t copy STO’s idea of exploration, because I gotta tell you, it kinda fees like they are going in that direction.