The last major arc in Star Trek Online meant saying goodbye to the Iconican threat that had been looming in the background of the game more or less forever. Every enemy race, ever dangerous scheme, every stubbed toe led back to the Iconicans. Most stubbed toes, anyhow. So now that the Iconicans are being consigned to the trash can of history and a new dawn is breaking over the galaxy, what lies in store for the game?
We had the chance to ask a few more questions of executive producer Steve Ricossa, and we asked about both the narrative impact of leaving behind so many years of development and the mechanical impact of introducing a major new feature with this patch, the Admirality system. The latter is a feature long requested by players, a use for the many ships that Captains outgrow over their careers. Read on to shine a little light even before the dawn hits.
Massively Overpowered: How will the Admiralty system differ from the existing Duty Officer system in sending out other crews on missions? Will there be any overlap?
Steve Ricossa: The Admiralty System will require a different type of strategic and tactical planning when sending your ships on missions. There will be certain variables to account for and it will require you to have a well-composed group of ships to send on each assignment. Assignments and progression between the two systems will be completely separate. You will be sending your non-bridge crew members out, as well as ships from the personal fleet you’ve amassed. There may be an overlap in numeric rewards, but the scope and scale of the rewards will be larger in the Admiralty System.
Will veteran players with more ships have a natural advantage over newer players? Are there hard caps on the ships that can be sent out?
Players with more ships will have access to a wider variety of options when filling out assignments, so they will be more versatile, but not have an advantage per se. There is currently a limit of three ships per assignment, but you can choose to send less than three if you feel you’ve met enough of the requirements for the assignment.
Are ships available via the cash shop inherently more potent or powerful than ships earned through gameplay? Will the equipment on those ships be relevant?
The ships’ powers are based on their tier and how easily they are obtained. We’ve built the system in a way to ensure low-tier ships have a place in every fleet, not just the largest and most powerful ships. The specific equipment on your ships doesn’t impact the system, but earning the trait on any Tier 6 ship will result in a bonus for that ship. We’re going to have a lot more detailed information in a blog coming soon!
How does it feel to move on from the Iconians when they’ve been such a major focus of the game since launch?
It feels freeing and sad at the same time, definitely a bittersweet change. It’s great to be able to tell stories outside of the Iconian influence after so many years, but we’re also very happy with the story we built and it’s sad to see it end. That being said, we’re all very much looking forward to the new long-term story we’re starting with New Dawn.
Are there any elements of the Iconian storyline that you feel were resolved a bit too quickly or too neatly?
This story has been running, in one way or another, for over five years. I don’t think anything that happened over that time could be considered quick. I’m incredibly proud with the pace which the Iconians were discovered, their influence revealed, they themselves were revealed, and the progress of the war. If I had to change anything, I would have liked to tell this story more quickly through the history of STO.
Is New Dawn meant to kick off another storyline built up to the same timescale, or smaller storytelling?
While the Iconian story was running for over five years, I would say specific arcs ran for about a year at a time. This starts from the Dyson Spheres through the Undine Invasion and the end of the Federation and Klingon War, to traveling to the Delta Quadrant and the Iconian War itself. This new story arc will take us through this time next year.
Can players expect more content focused on exploration with the kickoff of the new storyline?
The very first episode, in fact, will have people exploring some rarely visited space in the Alpha Quadrant. There are reports of some very abnormal readings from this region of space, and your ship needs to be dispatched to find out exactly what’s going on. The content in Season 11 will be focused on exploring the Star Trek franchise through our in-game narrative, rather than revisiting an exploration system. There are talks of revamping the system, but we cannot share any details on that at this time.
What sort of things do you think will be most exciting for players to experience?
From the episodic content, to the queues, to the battlezone, to the Admiralty System, there will be a lot for players to enjoy. I would say I’m really excited for players to check out the new story, and the beautiful new environments they take place in.
Thanks very much for your time!