To keep you up to date on upcoming features and releases, I wanted to take a quick moment to go over some changes that were made since my last Engineering Report.
There is a lot of excitement around the studio at the moment with all project teams cranking on all cylinders. The biggest news is that Champions Online is opening the doors to Free to Play next Tuesday. We are expecting an influx of players to check it out and as much as our operations center has prepared for this, you can never say for certain what could possibly come up. Since STO and Champs run on different servers we do not expect any game related issues, however we do share an account server and so you'll notice that we've been doing some account server upgrades over the last week or so to prepare.
In STO related news, we are quickly coming up on our 1 Year Anniversary, and subsequently our 400 day Veteran Rewards. The Foundry is preparing for its next major update which will add some highly requested storytelling features and if all goes well, we will begin preparations to turn on Foundry on Holodeck. On top of that we also have the launch of our new Feature Episode series – “Cloaked Intentions” which features a storyline related to the Romulan Empire. In addition to all of that we also have some combat updates going into the game, new shuttles being made available, as well as some new costumes and a Vulcan playable ship.
All of this is expected to hit over the next several weeks. As such, I’ve asked the team to make some minor scheduling changes to ensure that things get released without a hitch. The biggest change is pushing back the start of the next Feature Episode Series by 1 week. This will both allow time for a few extra goodies I’ve asked for as well as give STO a week’s space between Champs F2P launch weekend and the start of our series.
I’ve also made it know on the forums that it would be fun to allow the KDF to blow up Earth Space Dock if we ever replaced it with something else. As much as I wanted to see this, we’ve focused our efforts on spending more time on the feature episodes (which everyone can enjoy) instead. Despite shedding a small tear about this, it makes more sense for us to spend the time making more PVP or Fleet Actions maps that are a permanent part of the game. So instead, someone else is going to get rid of ESD (not players).
So with these changes in mind, here is the updated timeline for the upcoming weeks.
Disclaimer: These are tentative dates and may still change.
Jan 25 (Tuesday) – Champs starts Free to Play
Jan 27 (Thursday) – HOLODECK Update
Holodeck Maintenance Restart. (EDIT - this was previously an update which was moved to the following Tuesday)
Feb 1 (Tuesday) – HOLODECK Update
Minor Combat Updates
Earth Space Dock Interior Update
New Default Font
Remastered “Stranded in Space” (replayable mission that scales to level)
XP Boost Devices added to rare drop tables (20% Skillpoint gain for 1 hour on use. These do not stack)
Open up Psi Velorum Sector Block to KDF
C-Store: Delta Flyer Shuttle (note: free basic shuttles will be given out at the start of the Romulan series)
C-Store: XP Boosts (20% Skillpoint gain purchaseable in 1 and 8 hr increments. These do not stack.)
Foundry Mission Test – We hope to copy over a few player made missions from TRIBBLE for everyone to test on HOLODECK. (this is still very tentative)
STO Anniversary Event Preparations
Feature Episode Series Preparations
Feb 2 (Wednesday) –1 Year Anniversary Event
10am Pacific - Start Anniversary Event on Earth Space Dock and Qo’Nos.
Feb 5 (Saturday) – Feature Series 3 – Episode 1
11am Pacific – Feature Episode Series “Cloaked Intentions” begins with the episode “The Vault”
Free Basic shuttles are given out at the start of this mission
Dammit. I was hoping to see news about opening up a new open PvP sector with territory control, base and planet assaults.
I'd bet there'd be more people giving PvP a try if they make a new sector like that. Just think. A sector that changes as you win/lose in it until one faction finally wins and it resets again.
Even people who aren't good at PvP can jump in, do some PvE missions to help fuel the war effort in that sector by doing repeatable missions to weaken an area/ star base / planet. While people who are more willing to go toe to toe with other players can PvP with other players, knowing that each win or loss will have a lasting effect in the overall war effort for their faction in the open PvP sector.
I am looking forward to Champions going F2P, and I intend to check it out again once it does. I haven't played it since I had my 6-month sub back when it launched, and I'm more used to 'ground MMOs' now (having only really played Eve before CO, DDO, and STO). I do hope that the account servers' tribbles don't have any breakdowns during the CO F2P launch, heh.
The 1 Year Anniversary, 400 day Veteran Rewards, and Foundry update (and hopefully Foundry hitting Holodeck) all sound very exciting. I'm really looking forward to the shuttles (and gettin' mah Delta Flyer! ), along with the new Feature Episodes.
However, I have to give an 'awww!' for the postponement of the launch of the first new episode, but I suppose it's understandable. I just hope the 'few extra goodies' you've asked for are worth it, or I foresee the forums melting, heh. (Ah, who am I kidding? The forums will melt regardless of what you guys do, so I'll just daydream about what these goodies are.)
As for not getting to blow up ESD, super sad panda here. Maybe you guys could make a video of some of the devs blowing it up at least? *wink wink, nudge nudge*
As for the updated (and tentative) timeline:
Jan 25 - Champs F2P: Sa-weet!
Jan 27 - Holodeck Update:
Minor combat updates? Intriguing...
ESD Interior Update sounds very cool
New Default Font? I hope it's the one we had for a while on Tribble, because I loved that one!
Looking forward to Gozer's work on the remastered "Stranded in Space", especially the fact that it scales to level
XP Boost devices, meh. I won't be using them, but I'm glad that they don't stack.
Opening up Psi Velorum Sector Block to the KDF is most excellent. I hope Klingons eventually get access to almost all of the sector blocks, to be honest.
Delta Flyer!!!1one! ^_^ Can we get some stats and/or pictures, perty please? (Also, free basic shuttles when the Romulan series start sounds cool, too. Are they going to be Class-2, SC-4, or what?)
I'm looking forward to the Foundry missions you guys want to bring to Holodeck, especially after reading Stormy's post about them earlier today.
Feb 2 - 1 Year Anniversary! Yay! \o/ I'll be there at 10am Pacific with bells on! And I'm glad it lasting for a week.
Feb 5 - Feature Series 3 - Episode 1 - Hellz yeah!
Feb 10 - Vulcan D'Kyr Class Science Vessel - Meh, I might get one, if there's in-game means. Any chance we can test it out on Tribble before it launches?
The rest I'm looking forward to as well (especially the 400 Day Veteran Rewards, Foundry on Holodeck (very tentative), and speculating what the 'Species Series 3 Reward' is going to be).
Keep up the great work! Now, I'm off to post in the Ask Cryptic thread!