Thank you for all of the feedback and responses to this Ask Cryptic. Over the next month we will be sharing more details about the specifics of Legacy of Romulus, and later in April, we will be opening up access to create and play a Romulan on TRIBBLE so that you can see how everything works for yourself.
Keep in mind that the team has been hard at work on this expansion and this remains an entirely FREE expansion. We are not charging for it. It will be a free download when the expansion hits. So with that in mind, try it for yourself and see what you think without any risk. This isn't a $50 expansion that you have to buy up front in order to play. Yes there will be plenty of additional items in the store later on to enhance the experience (we are a business), but you will be able to play a Romulan from 1-50 as a free player.
We are happy that many players appreciate our decision to have the Romulans join existing FED or KDF fleets at launch. We realize that not everyone understands or agrees with why we did this, but it is the best decision for Star Trek Online. As stated in the Ask Cryptic, we will consider allowing the construction of Romulan Starbases in the future, but at launch, we want to recognize all the effort that existing Fleets have put into their Starbases and not introduce a "must start over" approach this early.
Additionally, we have a story to tell with the Romulan Republic that is central to the future updates in our game. We specifically chose to go this route as far back as the Romulan Feature Episode series where we introduced Obisek and Hakeev. Romulans are splintered and there are factions within the Romulan Empire that are specifically pursuing goals that are not necessarily beneficial to the Romulan species (investigating Borg Technology, collaborating with Iconians). One of our next blogs will go into detail about these conflicts and how they will play into the Romulan Republic storyline. That storyline will advance the plot for all factions in coming seasons.
With the Romulan Republic being a prequel to the Romulan FE series and the founding of New Romulus, our intention has been to allow players to explore the backstory of what has happened since the destruction of their homeworld. New Romulan captains do not even start in the military. These are Romulan citizens that must decide how they will survive. As the launch site says, "you are one of the survivors." "These are dark and dangerous times for your people."
The New Romulan storyline will dive deeper into the underlying darkness threatening the galaxy than any species has thus far and by the time they finish their storyline, it will be clear why New Romulus needs to exist and why we chose to have players play Romulan citizens rather than the Tal Shiar. Future Feature Episode series will continue the story from this point.
To answer some specific questions, Romulans will be asked to choose sides in the war by the time they are level 10. The exclusive Romulan storyline takes place in all of the new prequel episodes that have been made that will now end in and around the events that culminate in the Romulan Feature Episode series. Since we are moving around many of the levels of episodes with this expansion, we expect Romulan captains to be around level 40 when they finish their primary episodes (much like the Feds at launch). Note that for Romulans, most of the feature episode series have all been moved past this point. Thus the Devidians, Breen, and 2800 series all take place after the Romulan storyline. This also includes all of the Borg, Undine, STFS, Nukara, New Romulus and end game event content. So when we say that the alliance has an impact on end game, it is in reference to all of the level 40+ missions and end game content that exist for all factions. Instead of creating a 3rd set of queues, we're limiting it to the existing 2 sets and, at least for now, limiting Romulans to helping the Feds or KDF with their Starbase while the Feds and KDF help to build new Romulus. We will be adding more Fleet Holdings in the future and, as stated, Romulan Starbases have not been ruled out.
As an MMO we can always evolve this in the future, but this is how it will be at launch on May 21. Again, you'll have a chance to see all of this in action when we put the update up for testing prior to May.
Brandon "BranFlakes" Felczer | Community Manager
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For those who can't work the links (Hello mike update your browser)
I cut and pasted it
Q: (wilv) Will the new Romulan faction be an extension of the Romulans in New Romulus or will they be a separate group of Romulans?
Dstahl: Romulan captains will be playing a storyline that is a prequel to the Romulan Feature Episode Series and provides a backstory to the Romulan Republic. Romulan captains become the Romulans and Remans that establish New Romulus and discover the secrets of Mol?Rihan.
Q: (kekvin) What races (species) will be in the Romulan faction?
Dstahl: At the launch of Legacy of Romulus there will be Romulans, Remans, and Alien-Gen hybrids. Reman species are an account unlocked reward that will be added to the New Romulus Reputation or available for purchase. Alien-Gen hybrids may only be created by Subscribers or Lifetime members. In the future we will be adding more species to the Romulan faction.
Q: (midniteshadow7) Will the Romulan Faction have their own Fleet System, Starbase, and Holdings? Will there be any new Fleet Holdings?
Dstahl: This is an important question that needs a detailed answer.
The Romulan Republic was created from the ground up as a complete new faction. They have their own backstory, their own exclusive missions and episode series, exclusive costumes, faction-exclusive social hub, unique playable species, a full ship progression line from level 1 to 50, unique HUD UI, and more. What they don?t have are their own Starbases. There are many reasons why we?ve made this decision and here?s one of them.
During one of the episodes in the Romulan Republic storyline, the Federation and Klingon Defense Force will challenge Romulan captains to choose sides in the Federation-Klingon War. This permanent and personal choice forges a very important alliance. Once this decision is made, individual Romulan captains will gain many benefits through their alliance, all the while remaining their own independent faction. Romulans still continue their own independent mission journal and storyline after this choice, remaining neutral within the Romulan faction, but the choice has an impact on their progression towards end-game.
In many ways, Romulans will have the best of two "worlds" ? theirs and their ally?s. Not only do they have their own exclusive stories, ships, and costumes, but they gain many benefits of their ally. This includes access to a variety of their allies? ships, rewards, and hubs. While Romulans can?t wear the actual uniform of their ally, they do gain unique costume options, such as a Romulan Republic/Klingon Uniform variant, for example. So when a Romulan creates a Fleet, they are creating a Fleet that is open to Romulans of a chosen allegiance as well as members of that allegiance. Vice-a-versa, they?re also free to join existing fleets of their chosen ally.
Our goal is to encourage existing Fleets, many of whom have spent countless hours on their Starbases, to stay in business and welcome in New Romulans instead of splintering to go "do it all over again". We want captains to group with Fleet mates who decide to start a Romulan and entice them to ally at end game. This not only works thematically, but it also keeps the conflict focused on the Klingon/Federation War.
Now that many established Fleets are finishing their Tier 5 Starbases, we expect to see established guilds enticing all the New Romulans to join their cause in exchange for access to the best ships and gear the ally can offer. In the future, we will consider unique Romulan Starbases. For now, the New Romulans are just getting their feet on the ground and must look to the planet New Romulus as their new home and rely on the Starbases of their ally for support.
Also, a new Fleet Holding is in development, but will be launching after the release of Legacy of Romulus.
Q: (robdmc) Will gold and lifetime subscription perks get applied to the new Romulan faction?
Dstahl: We are currently reviewing all of these perks to determine which of them will be available to the Romulan faction at launch. We?ll finalize a list once we get closer to May.
Q: (lordhavelock) How excited are you to finally be able to talk publically about STO: Legacy of Romulus? Have you lost sleep over not being able to talk about it up until now? And just how free will it be?
Dstahl: The entire team is both exhilarated and exhausted to finally be able to discuss what we?ve secretly been working on. While we?re still very busy putting the final touches on the expansion, the team can let out a sigh of relief that we can now explain why we?ve been so quiet about what we?ve being doing.
As far as how "Free", it will be very similar to our already generous free-to-play philosophy. There will be ships at every level that can be gained for in game currency as well as Dilithium and C-Store ships. Captains will unlock new costumes in-game as they progress through the story as well as have premium costumes that can be purchased in the c-store.
We believe that anyone can have an awesome Romulan experience without spending any money. If you enjoy it and want premium c-store items, we?ll be thankful for your business. Along those lines, we?ll give a full run down of all the premium items that will be available at launch very soon!
Q: (crichtonsr) How have featured episodes been used with the new content for the Romulans and Klingons?
Dstahl: As has been our plan since we introduced the Featured series, these episodes will remain available to any faction, and thus are available to the new Romulan Republic faction.
In order to improve story flow, we?re restructuring when individual series are offered to Romulans and Klingons so that new and returning captains will experience more of the new missions first. The rewards from these series will remain available to all factions as will the special rewards when we have Rerun Events.
Q: (hevach) Who is the "Silent Enemy"? Their ships don?t resemble Iconian, but do resemble a handful of canon ships (including the unnamed aliens in the episode Silent Enemy). Are the squid robots the same faction? Will they be the only new enemy group we?ll be facing in May?
Dstahl: This is one of the secrets you?ll to have to play to find out else we give out too many spoilers.
Q: (stardestroyer001) What kind of adjustments will be made to the structure of PvP, as a third faction is added to the mix?
Dstahl: Since individual Romulan Republic captains will ultimately have to choose sides in the war, PvP will remain two-faction with Romulans alongside their ally. This supports our future goal of using PvP to emphasize the Federation-Klingon War and provides an interesting choice for Romulan captains and existing PvP based Fleets.
Q: (lan451) Getting queues to pop over on the KDF side can be difficult sometimes due to the lack of players. Recent queues have been cross faction to help with this. With the advent of the Romulan faction, can we expect new queue events to be cross faction?
Dstahl: While Romulan Republic captains are their own faction, they can group with allies in the Federation or Klingon Empire, thus providing more captains for all queues. With the addition of new events in Legacy of Romulus there will be more options for players of all factions and more players available to group for events in all factions.
One important note is that allied factions will be able to "cross-faction-team" each other?s episodes. For example, Klingon captains will be able to team up with Romulan Republic allies to fight in Romulan episodes and likewise, Romulan Republic allies may team up with their Klingon allies for Klingon episodes. These episodes will not appear in your faction?s journal, so you will not receive the faction specific personal reward for the episode, but you will receive open mission rewards such as skillpoints and energy credits if you join with a captain who does have the mission in their journal and enter the mission with them.
Q: (orondis) Will the May update be available for testing on TRIBBLE and if so when?
Dstahl: We do plan to have Legacy of Romulus available for play on TRIBBLE but we are not announcing dates yet.
Q: (ceekayzero) Will existing Duty Officer Packs be available for Romulan use? Or will those Duty Officers be added in another way?
Dstahl: In addition to adding Romulan Republic Duty Officers to existing packs in the game, Romulan Republic captains will gain access to the Duty Officers packs of their chosen ally.
Q: (inkrunner) As this is STO's first "expansion", what other expansions might we receive in the future; will we ever see "seasons" again?
Dstahl: Legacy of Romulus is a major update for STO and is beyond the scope of one of our previous Season releases by adding an entirely new Faction to the game. After the May update, you can look forward to our next Season later this year along with our standard cadence of events and premium item releases.
Q: (archanubis) Will Romulan characters be able to access the Romulan Reputation System?
Dstahl: Yes, they?ll gain access to the same reputation and rewards including the ability to unlock the Reman species through the New Romulus Reputation.
Q: (ooiue) Now that the precedence has been set of you guys adding factions, are there plans to put a playable Dominion/Cardassian faction sometime within the next year or two?
Dstahl: Legacy of Romulus definitely opens up the door to adding new factions in the future and ultimately puts STO one step closer to a living Star Trek galaxy.
Q: (enterprise629) If the Tholian Reputation will be available to all factions, have you considered putting in Tholian Marks for helping out at Nukara prime?
Dstahl: The Tholian Reputation will include a variety of missions and rewards related to Tholians, including those on Nukara prime.
Q: (starfish1701) So far, what part of the whole process of planning and building this large update are you the most pleased with? Behind the scenes, what has gone particularly well?
Dstahl: The look and feel of the Romulans has turned out fantastic. The team has been able to take the existing aesthetics from the shows and expand on it to make the Romulans look and feel familiar, yet new. Many of the uniforms, ships, and locations in this update blow me away when I seem them. Personally, it has me window shopping for the latest top of the line video card so that I can be ready to experience it all in full detail when it releases.
Q: (azurianstar) Are you still considering scaling down Dilithium Costs or creating an alliance/co-op system to help small fleets advance their Starbases?
Dstahl: Yes, we are and plan to address small Fleet project challenges and will release more information about it closer to the May release.
Q: (akpa) Previously you?ve mentioned upcoming level cap increases to Fleet Admiral Rank, yet we don?t see anything about that in the Legacy of Romulus revealed. Is there any chance we?ll see it in May?
Dstahl: Our plan to increase ranks up to Fleet Admiral will take place in one of the Seasonal updates after the Legacy of Romulus release.
Q: (gornman47) Will there be a 25th century version of the D?deridex, and how many original Cryptic Romulan ships are we going to get with the faction?
Dstahl: Yes, there are Cryptic 25th century variants of all the base ships, including the D?deridex, and there will be at least two additional Cryptic-original Romulan ships at launch with more planned for the future.
Q: (walshicus) How will lockbox ships and consoles work for Romulans?
Dstahl: Romulan Republic captains not only have access to their exclusive faction ships, but will also have access to the ships and consoles of their chosen ally. Lock Box ships will remain available to all faction captains. This includes the possibility that we might release a Romulan themed box that may have specific Romulan ships that are available to all factions.
Q: (robertuso) Will a free character slot be provided for the Romulan Republic faction?
Dstahl: Yes, but we haven?t finalized how this will be granted yet.
Q: (c0mbustiblelemon) The legacyofromulus.com and startrekonline.com sites show Federation female and Romulan female officers with very wild wavy hairstyles. Can we get a few more add-ons to the character creator?
Dstahl: Yes, there will be a few new hairstyles for all factions in the expansion.
Q: (felderburg) Will basic Romulan ships have the three standard variant, escort, cruiser, science?
Dstahl: Romulans have their own unique ship class, Warbirds, which is the first new ship class in STO. This new class uses singularity cores instead of warp cores and introduces new ship combat powers tied to the harnessed energy released by the singularity core.
Max-level Romulan Republic captains will find a nice variety of Warbirds that each gravitate towards a specific type of existing ship class and play style. There will be some Warbirds that lean towards existing classes (escort, cruiser, science, etc.) that players are familiar with, though they will all feel distinct in that they are from the new Warbird class.
Q: (starfleetownsall) With Legacy of Romulus coming out in May, is there anything else you guys are planning to release between now and then?
Dstahl: While the team is focusing on the finishing touches for the expansion, we will be running two events in April including First Contact Day and, for a limited time only, an updated Crystalline Entity Fleet Action will be returning to offer a new challenge and reward.
Q: (tpalelena) Will Romulans be allowed on social hubs like DS9 and New Romulus?
Dstahl: Those two hubs are currently open to all factions, including Romulans. In addition, Romulans will eventually gain access to ally-specific hubs. This includes a Transwarp power to both New Romulus as well as a Transwarp to either ESD or Qo?noS. Likewise, max-level Federation and Klingon Empire players will gain a Transwarp to New Romulus as a new Tier 1 reward for the New Romulus Reputation system.
Q: (ravin) Will this update include a feature that would enable NPCs to address our captains by a chosen rank or title instead of our actual level/rank?
Dstahl: We plan to add that in the future, but for this release the one change we are making is removing long character ranks so that contacts will refer to you as "Admiral" instead of "Rear Admiral, Lower Half".
Q: (webdeath) Is there anything you can tell us about the new Advanced Traits hinted about on the www.legacyofromulus.com site?
Dstahl: Most traits will become re-trainable. Also captains will be able to unlock additional trait slots. Specific traits will become a new type of reward item that can be earned in game.
Q: (sechserpackung) What can we expect in upcoming dev blogs about Legacy of Romulus?
Dstahl: Between now and May 21, there will be a lot of information to share. We have a host of web blogs in the works that will dive into each of the features listed on the legacyofromulus.com site and how the expansion will improve Star Trek Online.
Q: (jbeecher44) At the present time it appear the Romulan faction is a republic, i.e. R.R.W. (insert ship name here). Will we be able to play as an officer in the Romulan Star Empire? If not, will we be able to join the Tal Shiar and crack down on those player attempting to join the Romulan Republic?
Dstahl: At launch, Romulan captains will be assigned the R.R.W. prefix and are intended to play as part of the Republic. Players will not be able to join the Tal Shiar or officially designate themselves as I.R.W. at launch but any more details would be spoiler material.
Q: (lordshadow007) Is there any possibility that future episodes will feature Captain Data of the U.S.S. Enterprise-E, Captain Ezri Dax of the U.S.S. Aventine, Captain William Riker of the U.S.S. Titan, and Captain Chakotay of the U.S.S. Voyager?
Dstahl: There are always possibilities.
Thank you for all of the great questions. Sorry if your question did not get answered, but you can rest assured that I do read the questions and even questions that don?t get answered to get flagged for the internal team to address. Thank you for continuing to make Ask Cryptic a useful feature for the game team.
Major bummer, no Romulan Starbases and you have to choose which faction to join. PvP and Federation-Klingon war still ongoing. Romulan Doff system also seems in question. I guess the first post had to dampen the excitement, and now the crushed hope can be rebuild be revealing things that are actually available for Romulans.
Uh Chief, you missed the "Submit Q&A" questions in the other thread. This is the one linking to the questions that Dan Stahl has answered.
You could hold on to your questions for the April one, though.
Member since November 2009... I think.
(UFP) Vice Admiral T'Phira, Ragnarok Fleet - Head of Logistics Division; Captain Selena, Ragnarok Fleet; Captain Altecha, Ragnarok Fleet; Captain K'Kera, Ragnarok Fleet
(KDF) Lieutenant General Vokno (aka Lady Vokno); Lieutenant General Raylene
Seeing the Klingon/Federation War being used as a rationale is interesting and dangerous imo. No commitments given as to new pve storyline support for the war, yet a commitment to seeing pvp emphasize this war. I wonder if this will lead to pvp victories making pve content available for limited periods of time, i.e. territory control.
I think its misleading of Mr. Stahl to suggest that pvp queues will see more captains with three factions feeding into two fighting parties. Naturally there will be new and returning players engaging in Romulan content, but there will also be runoff from the existing factions, particularly the Federation.
Plenty to be pleased and intrigued about, but as always, its best to wait and see.