Engineering reports/20110516

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Time to check in with some more details about updates that are about to hit the TRIBBLE Test Server! The STO team has been hard at work and will finish principal development on Season 4 at the end of this month. What that means for you is that you’ll be getting your hands on Season 4 in early June when we put our first release candidate build on the TRIBBLE test server. For a list of the features we expect you to get your hands on first, look at the In Testing section below and note the items under Season 4 Features.

One of the biggest changes coming to the game is the reworking and rebalancing of nearly every ground weapon and kit power in the game. These changes can include range changes, modes of fire and area of effect changes, reload times, new audio, new visual fx, new secondary fire modes, as well as base stat and dps updates. This also includes a new optional camera mode which allows you to use an over the shoulder reticle mode to aim and shoot instead of needing to Tab or Mouse Select targets. It also means being able to drag weapon fire across an area an hit multiple targets, or dumb throw grenades in a general area. In all, the ground combat changes will provide an entirely different feel to away missions and completely change ground PVP. In addition to the weapon changes, enemy mobs have had their HP tuned so that they scale from easy to hard in a more reasonable way. This speeds up combat pace for the most part, but also adds more challenges when fighting higher ranked mobs, as a captain enemy mob can now be as challenging as a mini-boss in some cases. We can’t wait for you to get your hands on this and tell us what you think! We anticipate a lot of feedback from Tribble and we’ll be standing by to monitor and make adjustments.

In addition to Ground Combat, there are a lot of other features and updates that you’ll be able to test. We hope the new Qo’noS will add more character to Klingons starting area. Having Vivox integrated voice chat is already a big hit with some of our internal testing teams. The Duty Officer System is showing a lot of promise and it is easy to underestimate how huge this new system can be. We also hope players will take notice of the new texturing and character art options we are adding to make your characters look better than ever.

In addition to the Season 4 update, some of the development team is already working on new event missions which we will start releasing in Season 4. First up are some changes to deepspace random encounters and the addition of a PVE Fleet Queuing system which will allow up to 20 players to custom build teams and launch a Fleet Action map. Next up are some new Space and Ground 5 man challenge maps (think mini-fleet actions) which will allow both FED and KDF players to queue up and tackle a faction appropriate enemy on a daily basis for some new rewards. I’ve also been dropping hints about the Borg lately, and you can expect that soon after Season 4 goes live, the Borg will start to reveal their new invasion plans and the Alpha Quadrant will be faced yet again with a difficult challenge. By the time the Borg events are in full swing, Feature Episode series 4 will make its debut and we’ll be back to Feature Episode series on a regular basis. Over the course of Season 4, you’ll find that the team has been hard at work on things that we’ve only hinted at thus far. So excited and I wish I could tell you! (but I’m not going to yet).

So as we get ready for June and putting the start of Season 4 on Tribble, I want to thank everyone for all of the amazing Foundry content that has been posted thus far. I’m also glad that players are taking advantage of the Feature Episode replay weeks to not only claim the limited-time rewards, but to find the new goodies we’ve added as mission rewards to various episodes. I’m looking forward to the release of the new P’Jem and Image (Doomsday) missions later this month. The missions have been remade the way they were always intended to be and I think you’ll find the quality of these episodes worth replaying.

Lastly, I wanted to give additional kudos to Craig and Jack for providing solid leadership for Cryptic Studios since they took over their new positions. STO continues to get great support at Cryptic and the strategic partnerships they are working on for our near future will be a huge benefit for our game. Together we are working on ways to ensure STO has many season to come. So Stay Tuned!

Now on to this month’s Engineering Report!

p.s. Season 4 is tentatively scheduled to launch on July 7

In Testing[edit | edit source]

These items are currently being tested on either an internal test shard or on TRIBBLE/REDSHIRT

  • Peregrine (FED) and To'doj (KDF) Fighter Craft
  • 500 Day Veteran Rewards (Emblems, Fed Jacket, KDF Cape, Ship Slot, Relentless Title)
  • Feature Episodes get their own Tab in the Mission Journal
  • Updated “Diplomatic Orders” (P’Jem) mission with new reward
  • Remastered "Doomsday" mission with new reward
  • ”Jupiter” uniform series (2409 based jackets)
  • Season 4 Features
    • - Major Ground Combat Update including major changes to Ground Weapons, Ground Kits and Power, and a new over shoulder reticle mode
    • - Improved responsiveness of the power tray (removing frames of delay in most cases)
    • - New Running, Sprinting, and 8 direction of movement animations (keeping your weapon pointed where you are looking as you move in reticle mode)
    • - Vivox Voice Chat integration
    • - Duty Officer Roster and Officer Assignments (new mission that your crew can undertake to earn rewards)
    • - New Qo’noS city zone (replaces the old Qo'noS interior location)
    • - New Gorn character customization options
    • - New uniform combadges
    • - Combadge updates: Most any combadge may now be worn with most any uniform
    • - Updated Deepspace Encounter: Random Sector Space mobs no longer pull you into Encounters (this also means a new diplomatic immunity power)
    • - New Trill character options: spot patterns
    • - New female skirt and boot costume options
    • - New Ship Acquisition Screen (preview ship options and stats directly in the requisitions UI)
    • - New Loading Screens
    • - New material options for most costumes
    • - Reorganization of in-Game C-Store categories and items

Under Investigation[edit | edit source]

These issues are hot topics in the QA and CS world. It by no means represents all the bugs we're looking into, but instead new issues that I want you to know we are on top of.

  • Updates to the Fire at Will power
  • Random Client crashes when playing as a female Tellarite
  • Support pets attacking enemy faction on social zones like Drozana station
  • Additional cloak and contact window issues
  • KDF Shield quadrants not updating after using cloaking device
  • Kit icons displaying improper Marks
  • Weapon FX that fire twice when activated
  • Camera positions being reset when you transfer maps
  • Auto-Teaming not functioning on some maps
  • KDF Scan area function only tracks first scanned anomaly in ground maps
  • Ground settings being reset between map transitions
  • Latency causing some powers to remain "stuck on" after zoning
  • Ship customizations not saving properly when exiting the customization screen
  • Tons of Season 4 related bugs to prepare for Season 4 going to Tribble

In Development[edit | edit source]

  • These items are actively being worked on by the at this time by the development team.
  • Fleet Action Lobby System (organize teams up to 4 teams and join or launch Fleet Action map)
  • New Starfleet Academy Zone
  • New Klingon Academy Zone
  • Ability to skip new player tutorial after you've done it once
  • Ability to create a KDF character once you've completed the tutorial once
  • Several new ships and/or variants to fill in ship gaps at all tiers (FED and KDF)
  • Removing the concept of "Off-Duty" costumes and simply giving everyone "costume slots" you can use to store costumes
  • New craftables
  • Sol System planetary systems
  • More detailed Sector Space and Galaxy Maps
  • Mob and balance updates to STFs
  • Fan Designed Enterprise - New Cruiser Ship Class
  • New Daily Challenge Maps - 4 New Challenges - Unique "any level" Space and Ground challenge for Each Faction
  • Releveling KDF Content Progression
  • Reworking Kerrat and KDF patrol missions
  • Updating missions that take place on and around Qo'noS
  • Overhauling the body-scaling sliders in Character Customization
  • Allowing players to purchase more inventory and bank slots
  • Adding BOFF abilities to power list on the ground (so you can slot them in your power tray)
  • Adding ability to switch ships from your interior (instead of returning to spacedock)

In Design Discussions[edit | edit source]

  • The lead designers are currently discussing these features for implementation in an upcoming update
  • New Daily "Neighborhood" Events that take place near Sol and Qo'noS
  • New versions of Deepspace Encounters
  • New Admiral Level Gear (Ground and Space)
  • New crafting quests
  • Feature Episode Series 4 (most likely to take place in Cardassian Sector)
  • New PVP Map with Feature Episode Series 4
  • New Foundry Assets
  • Finishing the STF: The Hive
  • Assigning bridge officers as duty officer department heads
  • Marks, Emblems, Merit, economy overhaul and the possibility of combining Marks and Emblems to a single scaled currency system
  • Re-leveling Fleet Actions and restructuring the Fleet Action reward system
  • Considering 5-man versions of existing Fleet Actions
  • Making KDF versions of episodes across the game (retelling some episodes from a Klingon perspective – Example: Saturday’s Child, Kuvah’Magh, etc)
  • Opening up shared exploration sectors (e.g. Hromi Cluster)
  • Updating character stances
  • Adding more species specific customization options
  • Adding melee weaponsmiths to the game that sell specific ground weapons
  • Adding open PVP melee areas to social maps (Andoria, Vulcan, Qo'noS, Rura Penthe)
  • Repurposing some Feature Episode maps as new PVP maps
  • Removing restriction on number of players required to create a Fleet
  • Allowing Fleet Bank size to automatically scale with the size of the Fleet
  • Adding ability to warp to a friend
  • Redesign for Exploration Sectors (and Exploration in general)
  • Restructuring kit powers to be more customizable
  • Moving Kit and Armor costume options off of the items and putting them in the tailor so they can be part of your outfit
  • Andorian Ship
  • Ambassador Class ship
  • Adding a functioning shuttlebay for ship interiors (allows you to switch to your shuttle without returning to Spacedock)
  • Removing the restriction that you can only craft on Memory Alpha or Qo'noS
  • Replacing Deepspace Encounters with more instanced missions
  • More shuttle and fighter specific mission types
  • Adding leaderboards
  • Adding ability to display accolade score as part of player name
  • Ship customization adding Fleet emblems by default
  • Fleet Starbases
  • Ability to construct new ships at Starbases
  • Territory Control Game
  • Customizable ship interiors
  • More Species (Androids, Aenar, Talaxian, Hologram species)
  • New advanced Tutorials for FED/KDF (We are postponing the previously planned KDF tutorial for now in lieu of new features added above. We are still looking to get these in at some point, but don’t feel an urgent rush to get them in, so long as KDF players can get into the game without needing to level to 6 as a Fed first)

Long Term[edit | edit source]

  • Designs and features being considered for updates further in the future
  • Converting First Officer to Playable Captain and vice versa
  • More Remastered Episodes
  • More Fleet Actions
  • More PVP Maps
  • Improved Social Planets with social gameplay
  • More Minigames
  • More parts for AlienGen
  • Additional Playable Factions (Romulan, Cardassian...)
  • New Foundry Features
  • Vesta Class ship

Reminder: Just because something on the list doesn't mean it isn't being looked at or being worked on. If you have specific issues or questions about upcoming content, feel free to post your questions below.