Star Trek Online’s upcoming Experimental Upgrades feature will let players enhance their ships

    
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Star Trek Online’s upcoming Experimental Upgrades feature will let players enhance their ships

While Tier 5-U and Tier 6 starships in Star Trek Online are effectively the top shelf of space boat in the game, there will soon be a new system that will let players upgrade those ships to even bigger levels of power.

The Experimental Upgrades feature will let players add an additional Device slot, Universal Console slot, and Starship Trait slot, though the last one is only active on ships that have had an Experimental Prototype Upgrade applied. In addition, the ship’s class will get an “-X” appendix for a little extra visual flair. What’s more, the upgrade is account-wide, making the ship class free to upgrade for other characters on the account.

Getting an Experimental Upgrade is a matter of earning Experimental Starship Upgrade Tokens, which can either be gained through the Zen Store via individual purchase or packs of three at 1,000 Zen and 2,000 Zen respectively, or from the Phoenix Reclamation Store at the Ultra Rare tier during special events, the first of which will run through October 12th. Starship Upgrade Tokens can even be traded between players or sold on the Exchange, and more methods of earning these tokens via gameplay are planned, including as part of events, giveaways, bundles, special promotions and more. And speaking of special promotions, PC players will be able to claim one Upgrade Token for their account for free between October 6th and November 5th.

The new upgrade system is arriving to PC players on Tuesday, October 6th, and to console players shortly after as part of STO’s next story content update. More information and a brief FAQ can be found on the website.

source: official site, thanks Panagiotis for the tip!
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EmberStar

Personally, I’ll probably take the free token and stick it in the shared bank. Then forget I own it. I have an insane number of characters, but no “main.” I wouldn’t be able to decide who could use it “best,” so I just wouldn’t use it at all.

Putting the token in Pheonix boxes is just… yeah, whatever. They’re another flavor of lockbox, and the super grand prize tier you’d need to get one of these is at “less than 1% drop chance.” If I logged in every single day for the free box, my odds of winning a single token would still be hundreds of times less than my chances of going to Montana and being eaten by a shark named Bruce.

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Armsman

To be honest this is probably their solution to the idea of ‘Tier 7’ ships. I think at this point they realize that if they were to come out with a whole new set of ships at 30 or 40 bucks a pop; The player base would leave or riot en mass.

When you read with these experimental upgrades do, It pretty much is what they would add to a ship for a hypothetical ‘Tier 7’ ship.

It’s basically 10 bucks a pop to upgrade from tier 6 to this new “-X” STO ship level (or 20 bucks for three ship “-X” experimental upgrades).

And at least “-X” upgrades are account wide. IE- once you upgrade a given tier 6 version of a C-store ship you own; when you reclaim that ship on other characters on your account it retains the “-X”.

So yeah, in all honesty it probably would have been better if they instead just called the tokens “Tier 7 upgrade tokens” instead of this new “Experimental ‘-X’ ” system, but it is what it is.

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Richard de Leon III

T7s are inevitable just like T6s were. The question is at what point cryptic will feel the benefits outweigh the cons. Frankly, with the content doable with t5s one can argue anything higher is just cake. Another question is does one have the willpower to resist paying hand over fist until they start giving the t7s in the holiday events.

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NeoWolf

I think another concern relating to this is, what happens if once we spend a fortune and upgrade all our ships they drop a new tier of ship? Then everything is pretty much obsolete and all that expense will have been for naught.

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Richard de Leon III

That was the worry when they first introduced T6s. I hate to say it, its inevitable. Power creep is one of the few things people will spend money for aside from cosmetics. As a regular player I’m surprised they took this long to do T6u (5yrs?).

The game content itself, is doable with regular t5 ships (even t4 if you gear right), so its hard to say you have to have t6 or higher ships unless you pvp (which few people in the game do).

I cant really begrudge cryptic for trying to make a buck. I dont know their financials so i cant really say if they are being excessive with STO since basic story content is free.

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Kevin Robnett

Ah! If this works out, I can see them offering new T7 ships as well as a T7 upgrade token to make existing ships just as powerful (or just have new ships automatically be T6x). They kind of did that with the T5u, and the reverse with making the T6 usable at any level, so most of the heavy backend lifting is already done (or will be).

Even further, I can see such things a carrier upgrade tokens (add one or two hangers), science ship tokens, even adding (or converting) a pilot/intelligence/whatever station to ANY ship for cash. One more step in a “play your way” approach.

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Richard de Leon III

While possible, I hope that isnt the case. Cryptic is walking the fine line between being reasonable and being money-grubbing (at least for directly modding ships from one role to another).

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NeoWolf

*fingers crossed*

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mysecretid

Should be interesting, if it works as intended.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

So this is how they avoid adding Tier 7 ships to the game.

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mysecretid

I suppose, yeah, but who hasn’t been frustrated that they love starship type X, but wish that that it had equipment and console slots more amenable to what they like to play in-game?

As long as it doesn’t just turn into a constant money-grab versus higher-level players, it might be okay.

The problem with adding more tiers that I can see is that 1) the devs alone get to determine what fixed slots any new tier ships carry, and 2) ever-rising tiers might well scare off new players from trying the game.

Y’know, they research the game, and realize that everybody at max is running Tier 10 ships, or whatever, and they may think, “Why bother? It will take me forever to be flying something cool”.

So, maybe it will be a good alternative? I guess we’ll find out!

Cheers, friend Jon!

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NeoWolf

Additional tiers of ships doesn’t necessarily have to mean more slots. It could also be done via higher base numbers, variation of slot s(i.e more universal over specific slots), additonal levels of ship traits and additional grades of gear.

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NeoWolf

Or is it, what if this is the prelude to Tier 7 ships dropping sometime later on. Wouldn’t be the first time they’ve done that. They did it with the T5-U upgrades and then later releasing T6 ships.

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Jeremy Turnley

That’s a bit misleading. T5-U and T6 came at the same time, with Delta Rising. They even came out with the first CStore T6 ship upgrade a couple weeks after DR launched so it’s not like they were doing a bait and switch – we knew from the start T5-U was a stop-gap to keep your iconic ships viable until they put out a T6 version.

Considering they still balance the base difficulty for T5 ships and Mk XII VR equipment, everything above that is just gravy anyway. Cryptic has put a lot of effort into making at least this one aspect of the game noob friendly, even if the massive amount of systems and menus aren’t.

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NeoWolf

It isn’t misleading, T5-U upgrades came first, T6 ships came after. Yes they were part of the same update but the T5-U tokens rolled out first.
Also they pushed them in such a way as to imply the T5-U made them “more or less” comparable to T6 ships, which they are not AT ALL.

And if they did the same here (and they may not) with the experimental prototypes and then later releasing a T7 ship that would be a total money grubbing douche move.

Also if you honestly think the game is balanced for T5 ships with Mk XII gear, then you clearly haven’t tried doing it with a T5 and Mk XII gear any time recently because the base difficulty which they “upped” despite us supposedly being able to choose our own difficulty level is fairly brutal on a T6 ship with Mk XII gear let alone a T5… or are we all just assuming Dark Souls type difficulty is now the baseline for “fun” for games??? because it isn’t lol

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Richard de Leon III

I’ve done normal difficulty episodes with t4 mk12-15. Was in no way easy, but not dark souls brutal. T5 mk12 is definitely doable for normal difficulty episodes. Certain console choices do help more than others, which is where the power creep upends the balance.

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NeoWolf

Try doing any of the Iconian Wars onwards mission onward with such a ship and if the words “Dark Souls ” do not spring to your mind, your kidding yourself lol

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NeoWolf

5-U and T6 comparable… hmm that’s HIGHLY debatable Chris :)

I was hoping they’d come up with a token to finally make those 5U’s a T6 but this is not bad overall a new device, trait and universal console slot is certainly not to be sniffed at.

However the noted means of acquiring them.. i.e the Phoenix Packs… pffft To put in perspective as to how often you get an Ultra rare token from those packs is about the same odds of getting the special ship from a lockbox, which is to say SIGNIFICANTLY less than 1% chance.

So essentially the main way to get these will be zen purchases.

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Richard de Leon III

Considering i have more than 100 ships…im not looking forward to upgrading even just my favorites…I’m hoping I’ll get lucky enough with the pheonix boxes to upgrade at least a dozen or so of my fleet.

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Stormwaltz

On one hand, I get more powerful ships, and who doesn’t like that?

On the other hand, I already have a full kit of Epic-upgraded equipment, so I’m pretty powerful. After a decade, I’m sure many other players are as well.

On the gripping hand,STO “feels” to have become a game of cycling rapidly through the latest ships to unlock special abilities. So while I have one character who sticks to a single ship 95% of the time, I wonder if I’m an anomaly in that.

I think I’m long-term concerned about what this means for power creep in new content. Given the vast array of powers and upgrades we already have, does this indicate things are about to get tougher for those of us who don’t already have years invested in the equipment upgrade processes?

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Jeremy Turnley

They still balance the base difficulty for T5 ships and the gear that comes pre-loaded (Mk X common). The game is not easy with that config, but it can be played. I think at this point the worst we would have to worry about is them bumping basic difficulty up to T5-U or basic T6 and Mk XII common level gear, which would still be a cake walk for a T6-X with even decent gear. If they have shown us anything over the last decade it’s that STO will remain at its core a casual friendly game. Which it needs to be, because it is mainly drawing from a core of non-gamer middle-aged people as its audience, at least until a new audience emerges from the new shows, if that ever really happens.

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PanagiotisLial1

From what I understood the free token will be bound to character, those bought with zen(real money) will be tradeable and the those acquired with Ultra Rare phoenix tokens will be bound to account(asked Kael on this as I wasnt sure)

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Stormwaltz

Useful clarification, thanks. :)