Agent of Yesterday is the next expansion for Star Trek Online that brings the classic, original series into the game in celebration of its 50th anniversary. We had an opportunity to chat with Executive Producer Steve Ricossa to find out more.
MMORPG: Star Trek Online is leaping into the past with Agents of Yesterday. The original series was so impactful on science fiction, how are you bringing it into the online universe?
Steve Ricossa: With care! So many people on our team learned to love Star Trek thanks to the Original Series that we all want to make sure we do the best job possible. We put a significant amount of effort into everything that makes up this expansion, from the story lines, to the environments, the effects, the ships, the enemies, everything! It was almost like creating a new version of Star Trek Online because everything had to be retouched, redone, and rethought in order for it to make sense in the Original Series timeline. As Star Trek fans, we felt an incredible responsibility handling this era, especially with it being the 50th anniversary, and I think we’ve delivered something everyone will love.
MMORPG: The Original Series (TOS) setting in the 23rd century is also a place where players can do missions in a new zone. How can players get there and what will they be able to explore?
SR: When players create a new captain, that captain will be from the 23rd Century. They’ll know nothing of future events and will have the mystery of a temporal adventure slowly introduced to them. Players will be able to go to some favorite planets from episodes, check out a completely “devamped” Earth Space Dock, and participate in the background of some classic episodes from The Original Series. We definitely feel like we’re bringing a great Original Series experience to the existing community of Star Trek Online, and to anyone that chooses to pick up the game for the first time.
MMORPG: You will be bringing in a host of new star ships with this expansion. How are you mixing the technology of the old vs. new approach?
SR: This was a topic we went back and forth on internally for quite a while. As people now know, they will eventually transition from a standard Original Series captain into a full-fledged Temporal Agent. Our explanation for how the 23rd Century technology works against foes from the far-flung future is by saying these 23rd Century ships are kitted out with future technology. It may look like your run-of-the-mill Original Series-era ship, but that ship is hiding some serious technological advantages under the hood. If you’re an undercover Temporal Agent, you should have an awesome undercover ship to go along with your persona.
MMORPG: Tell us about the new Temporal Operative abilities that players will have access too. What will these do to create new options when flying ships?
SR: Players will have a variety of new space and ground bridge officer powers to use that are themed around Temporal Operatives. An entire list is detailed here. The main theme for these powers is using your temporal manipulation mechanics to hinder your foes in such a way that their technology is falling apart from the inside out, and then you are free to take advantage of that gap in their functionality. A new mechanic introduced here is featured around entropy. Captains can execute powers that build entropy on a foe, and then activate another power that can use that built up entropy to make itself significantly more effective. You are capable of stacking entropy on a target up to five times, so choosing the best tactical moment to activate your abilities that consume entropy is critical! This mechanic adds some great depth to an already deep game, and will give captains new tactical and strategic options in space and on the ground.
MMORPG: You are paying homage in the game to the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. What highlights will be in the expansion besides just the ships?
SR: Aside from the ships, we’ll be highlighting some of the most classic moments in Star Trek. You’ll be visiting the Gorn on the classic planet from “The Arena,” you’ll be working with Walter Koenig reprising his role as Chekov to infiltrate the Enterprise during the events of the episode, “Journey to Babel,” in order to make sure events play out as they were supposed to. We’ve recreated enemy groups to look exactly as they did in the show, and we’ve created entire suites of Original Series-themed weapons and effects to make the expansion truly feel like you’re stepping into your own 23rd century adventure.
MMORPG: How is the team doing with the balance in all of the ships weaponry options? Are there plans for more variety in the near future?
SR: Balance is something that is always ongoing, and our systems team does their best to make sure any new sets of ships that come out work within the balance we already have in the game. As far as new ships are concerned, we always have plans to release new ships and I look forward to some of them being announced in the not too distant future!
MMORPG: Can you tell us about how the developers feel on faction balance in the game? Are there any changes they would like to see in the future?
SR: Each faction has their own tutorial, starting experience, and a suite of shared and unique episodes for them to enjoy as they work towards Level 60. I think everyone on the team is proud of this fact, and are happy to know that any player can choose any starting faction and have a great experience.
MMORPG: With this expansion coming, what are your plans for the upcoming months and into the end of the year?
SR: We have a variety of plans that will fill the months as we head towards fall and close out the year, but for now I’ll be keeping them under wraps!