Star Trek Online players have been enjoying the Iconian War story arc for a while now, a storyline that has been building for the past five years. Cryptic Studios will be bringing that particular tale to a close in the near(ish) future, though epic stories from all of the iconic television series are waiting in the wings. In fact, there is content over content that is coming throughout the balance of this year and even things that will be revealed in the coming months that will not seem to play a big part until later in 2016.
In between major stories, generally introduced through expansions such as Delta Rising last fall, Cryptic puts out mid-season updates that have been becoming larger and larger over the years. Half-season updates tend to be more on focused on system updates, but occasionally a big feature wends its way into one that gives players something wickedly awesome to both look forward to and to experience once the update goes live. Be sure that Season 10.5 will give players lots to explore.
STO’s Lead Designer Al Rivera took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with MMORPG about what’s next in the mid-season update for players.
The Armada System
For the Season 10.5 update, Cryptic will be adding the Armada System – a huge enhancement to the Fleet System.
For those who don’t know, the Fleet System is essentially the STO version of guilds and can be anywhere from 5-500 players. Fleets get a number of neat perks, including a starbase and a number of additional holdings – an embassy, a dilithium mine – and projects that everyone in the fleet contributes to. In addition, players can gain access to Fleet Starships, some of the most powerful ships in the game.
All this is great, but over time, Cryptic noticed that Fleets had a significant shortcoming: Getting the balance right between larger and smaller groups. Small fleets are frustrated by the inability to complete projects while large fleets complete them so fast that players don’t have time to contribute and don’t earn credits to purchase special items from fleet vendors.
“We wanted to address this with the Armada system. Fleets can join together. Fleets can pledge fealty to one above them. Each can have three below them, each of those can have three, up to thirteen fleets total.” Al explained. “There are no size requirements whatsoever to form an Armada. It encourages larger fleets to be alphas, smaller on the bottom for the best bonuses, but that is not a requirement, neither is a “full” Armada of thirteen required.”
When asked if Armadas could be formed of thirteen tiny Fleets and then reorganized from time to time to place groups in different tiers, Al said that, while the team had considered such a notion in the planning stages, it was not something included in the upcoming 10.5 update.
There are a number of reasons why the combining of Fleets into an Armada is a boon to both ends of the population spectrum:
- A larger community
- Larger fleets can contribute to their beta or gamma fleets
- All get bonuses – skill point bonus and dilithium discounts are based on the combined level of all fleets in the Armada and where each sits within the hierarchy. Gammas get the largest dilithium discount as they need it the most. Conversely, they get a smaller skillpoint bonus. Alphas earn smaller dilithium discounts, but get a greater skillpoint bonus. Mid-tier betas get a balance of both.
Armadas Aren’t All That’s Coming
Fleets will also have some other great things coming with 10.5 including a new Fleet holding, the Krenim Holding. Krenim offers a new space based research outpost to earn a lot of new rewards and comes just in time for the Armada system.
Additionally, Fleet leaders will be able to export to a spreadsheet all kinds of member data including ranks and promotions, contributions, time in game and so on.
10.5 will come with a new episode and feature Aron Eisenberg. He appeared in this new episode. His story continues in the next featured episode. We release one every 4-5 weeks and every time it’s released, there are special rewards during that time and there are special rewards too.
“There will be additional episodes that will come out over time, more celebrities that we’ve recorded the VO for already. Some characters from the past will make a reappearance. There will be some surprises, some favorites who will make a return.”
“And let’s not forget that there will be things happening now that will extend beyond the Iconian War and all the way in to 2016. We are tying content in to the actual shows themselves. Our stories are always something from one of the series. We’re always anchored in advancing stories that audiences may not have gotten the full story when watching.”
All of this will be heading to the Tribble test server soon so be sure to keep an eye out on the Star Trek Online site for how you can get involved with helping test out the new Armada System!