Boldly Going into a New Dawn for Season 11
Cryptic Studios is coming off a five year story arc for Star Trek Online, one that saw the Iconian thread woven throughout all other arcs throughout the years. With Season 11: New Dawn set to launch in October, Executive Producer Steve Ricossa is very much looking forward to players getting to see where STO is going next. We had the chance to sit down with Steve to hear more about Season 11 and Cryptic’s return to story.
“The new storyline is a big deal for us. We are really pushing story. Iconians have been around for a while and now that their story is drawing to a close, this is a good time to jump into the game for a brand new story.” Steve said. “We have already planted seeds for New Dawn, not obvious ones, but enough that players will have a real ‘aha’ moment.”
“Even though we are keeping the story sort of under wraps, I can speak to a few things in a broad sense. One of the big things that’s happened during the final stages of the Iconian War is that time travel is out of the bottle. We (the players) are investigating time travel and in the recent episode, temporal technology has been tried. There is no conventional way to fight Iconians. The fallout from that testing will ripple out beyond the Iconian War. Now everyone has access to time travel. Episode 11 is going to have an optimistic feel with exploration, but some temporal oddities that are weird and bringing the Federation and the Alliance into a new era.”
In addition, Steve had this to say about Season 11’s story, “The Mirror Universe will play a big, pivotal role in Season 11. The Mirror Universe had an Iconian War as well but we don’t know if they won or if they lost and what impact that will have on our universe. We made friends with everyone in Delta. The Terran Empire doesn’t work that way. What does that mean for us on our side of the Mirror Universe? Time will tell.”
When asked if New Dawn would be another ‘umbrella story’ that would stretch across multiple years and seasons, Steve answered, “We will tell this and other stories almost like seasons of a really good TV show that last about a year and that transitions into the next season. Our stories are planned 12-18 months in advance. We know where we want to go with something big at the end. We figure out where we want to go and then figure out a way to get you there. ”
Season 11 will be available to any players after level 10, and can be played through the highest levels in the game. Asked if there would be incentives, Steve joked that he didn’t want to advertise anything, but that “we typically run XP boost events right before release, anticipating the season, can level up more quickly.”
Steve also mentioned that current and former veteran players will have a lot to look forward to with a new reputation with great new gear as well as story missions that also feature a ton of gear.
“We want to keep veteran players engaged and for a while too.” he said.
While the main focus of Season 11: New Dawn is story, a pretty cool new feature will also be introduced called the Admiralty System.
“The Admiralty System is similar to the Duty Officer System, but reimagined.” Steve explained. “Our players love ships, earning them, getting them from missions. We want players to be able to do something with all the ships in their personal fleets. You can send your ships on missions for very good rewards. There are a lot more options to be strategic when sending ships out. It’s a very cool system that makes you feel like an admiral sending them on tasks and missions and it will come on day and date with Season 11.”
Steve is particularly excited as this is the first content shipped with him at the helm of the development team. Having worked with Cryptic since 2008, and having been involved with previous seasons, New Dawn is still his first “solo” mission and he’s very excited to see what players think.
“We’re always in game and we’re looking forward to seeing people take part in Season 11. We’re really excited.”
Star Trek Online is boldly headed out into a new space in its story and it is the hope of the development team that players will be as engaged and pleased with the forthcoming arc as they are.
Will you be trying out Season 11 when it launches later this fall? What do you think of the commitment to story? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.