Engineering reports/20110819

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Time for a new Engineering Report!

First, I'm incredibly happy that Cryptic Studios is now a subsidiary of Perfect World. They are passionate about MMOs and have a tremendous amount of experience in both creating and marketing their products. You'd be as shocked as I was to know how well their games are doing in the US and they have found the right way to spend money to make money on their games. They deliver a great product with tons of content updates and great customer service.

What could be better than that? They are excited about Star Trek Online. They see huge potential in this game and in the discussion we've had about the future of STO, they want the game to be GREAT and BIG. That made my eyes light up and we are now in the process of sitting down and putting together a plan to make that happen, because frankly, Star Trek Online has been through the rough over the last few months.

Sure, Season 4 has been a success thus far and we've seen an increase in subscribers and people returning to check out the new Ground Combat, but as many are quick to point out, the awesome Feature Episodes that we all know and love have been missing from the regular release notes.

In the latest Ask Cryptic, I spelled out the timeframes that we are looking at to get content back on track. While features and new systems have been doing ok, we are all eager to have regular new missions to play. Luckily, new content IS on the way and over the next month you're going to have a bunch of new missions to play while we put our pedal to the metal to get Feature Episode 4 (which takes place on and around Deep Space 9) ready for October.

First up are the Borg Red Alerts! These are challenging timed events that will randomly trigger each hour in different sectors. When you see a Red Alert pop-up, you can transfer with 4 other players (Fed and KDF) to take on a powerful Fleet of Borg ships. If you can take them out in 15 minutes, then you'll face a new Borg threat that is bigger than anything we've done in game yet. Tons of new accolades. Tons of great XP for these Red Alerts (they give 5x normal xp and combined with other bonuses that can go up to 10x!). Look for this to hit Holodeck around August 25th.

Then, starting in September we are firing up the REDSHIRT closed beta shard where we will begin testing of the Duty Officer System and the remastered STFs (along with tons of other things listed below in the "in testing" section). Some of these features will be going live in September, and others later in October, and we will continue to put features on TRIBBLE when possible so that you can all get your hands on them.

September 22nd update will be pretty big and some might say even bigger than the launch of Season 4, but for those who understand our release methodology, where Season 4 was the code, this update will be the start of the content and features that take advantage of that code. Look for me to start twitter pic teasing a lot of the new and exciting gear sets and costumes that will be coming in that update.

As always, thank you for your patience and support. The team is overjoyed to be a part of Perfect World and we look forward to building this game into what it should be.

Tune in next month for even more details as this story unfolds.

And now, on to the report!

In Testing[edit | edit source]

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

  • Duty Officers: Active Roster and Assignments (crew that provide passive bonuses to ships and can be assigned to missions)
  • Duty Officer Commendation System (progression for Duty Officer Assignments)
  • New Klingon Academy Social Zone
  • More detailed Sector Space, Galaxy, and Hub Maps
  • Borg Red Alerts! Random encounters for any level Captain with Fleets of Borg in all sectors. KDF and FED can fight alongside on another in these timed missions with extra XP.
  • New Lore Quests that allow players to answer trivia questions and use their knowledge of Star Trek to earn exclusive Accolades.
  • Feature Series 4 episode 1
  • Borg Ground Invasion Event Zone and related repeatable missions
  • STF Improvements – Overhaul of Infected, the Cure, and Khitomer Accords – also includes testing of new 5 man Group Finder
  • Ability to create private 5 man version of STFs where you can invite cross faction friends to team with you
  • Updated FX on existing space powers as well as FX for new ship powers.
  • New ship variants of these ship classes - Galaxy, Intrepid, Defiant, Akira, BOP, Raptor, and Battlecruisers.
  • Fan Designed Enterprise - New Odyssey Class starship
  • 6 New End Game Gear Sets (18 items): Mk X – Mk XII, 3 Space Sets, 3 Ground Sets
  • 4 New Fleet Actions: 2 for each faction (1 Space and 1 Ground)
  • 3 New End Game unlock-able Costumes (1 Fed, 1 KDF, 1 Neutral)
  • Fed Tutorial Updates: Making Shooter Mode on by default, ability to skip the tutorial if you’ve done it before.
  • In Game Event Calendar
  • Combining Marks and Badges into a single scaled Emblem currency system
  • Ability to auction Emblems for C-Points between players
  • New Help Tooltips in the UI
  • Updating character stances

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.

  • Lag and other zone performance issues
  • Foundry crashes
  • Battle Cloak and heals not working properly with the B’Rel Retrofit
  • Battle Strategies I
  • Performance issues when using Mind Meld
  • Fleet Events cannot be managed if the Event creator leaves the Fleet
  • Duplicate Bridge Officers on player bridges
  • Mission progression issues with destroying the Asteroid too early in Saturday’s Child.
  • Incorrect head shots appearing in contact dialogs.
  • Issues with players logging out during or immediately after PVP matches
  • Photonic Bridge Officer issues with the Tailor
  • Ability to copy and paste colors in the Tailor
  • Ability to zoom in and out from Galaxy Map to see more details instead of having Sector/Galaxy as different maps

In Development[edit | edit source]

These items are actively being worked on by the development team.

  • New ship variants including but not limited to these classes: Akira, Connie, Intrepid, Galaxy, Defiant, Raptor, BoP, and Battlecruiser
  • Trivia and Lore missions for social zones
  • Adding consensual open PVP melee areas to social maps (Andoria, Vulcan, Qo'noS, Rura Penthe)
  • Feature Episode Series 4 (near DS9) – remaining episodes
  • Feature Episode Series 4 new hub zone
  • New PVP Map with Feature Episode Series 4 (King of the Hill)
  • Improvements to DS9 areas (wormhole now looks awesome and yes we are investigating resizing DS9)
  • Adding ability to warp to a friend and/or improving travel between sectors
  • Removing the restriction that you can only craft on Memory Alpha or Qo'noS
  • Additional missions for Borg Ground Invasion Event
  • Adding Borg Invasion Leaderboards (investigating what we can do here)
  • Removing the concept of "Off-Duty" costumes and simply giving everyone "costume slots" you can use to store costumes
  • Updates to Kerrat and KDF patrol missions
  • Separating the ability to Aim and Crouch in shooter mode to independent actions
  • Mission Journal 2.0 with new “suggested” missions feature and complete listing of all episodes (similar to the Feature Episode tabs but for all missions in the game)
  • More shuttle and fighter specific mission types

In Design Discussions[edit | edit source]

  • The lead designers are currently discussing these features for implementation in an upcoming update
  • Additional Fleet Action restructuring and implementing Feedback on Fleet Action queue
  • New Daily "Neighborhood" Events that take place near Sol and Qo'noS
  • STF: Into the Hive (most likely coming after Feature Series 4)
  • Considering 5-man versions of existing Fleet Actions
  • New crafting quests and/or new mini-game side-quests
  • Assigning bridge officers as duty officer department heads
  • KDF Episode conversions (converting FED episodes to a KDF playable version)
  • Sol System planetary system missions
  • Adding melee weaponsmiths to the game that sell specific ground weapons
  • Repurposing some Feature Episode maps as new PVP maps
  • More ships such as the Ambassador class and an Andorian ship
  • Improved on-screen Notification UI
  • More Feature Episode Series after 4
  • One sector map to rule them all (eliminating sector walls entirely)

Considered for Season 5[edit | edit source]

  • 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
  • New versions of Deepspace Encounters
  • Opening up shared exploration sectors (e.g. Hromi Cluster)
  • Adding more species specific customization options
  • 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 a functioning shuttlebay for ship interiors (allows you to switch to your shuttle without returning to Spacedock)
  • 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
  • Converting First Officer to Playable Captain and vice versa

Beyond Season 5[edit | edit source]

  • 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
  • Plenty more Feature Episode Series