We go in-depth on last week’s Star Trek Online news, recapping the game’s big STLV panel with a look at September’s “Awakening” update.
Welcome back to another installment of our regular STO column. As expected, much news came out of the last week’s Star Trek Las Vegas convention. Let’s start with the biggest announcement first:
Last Wednesday saw the announcement of Star Trek Online: Awakening – which returns players to the story of 2410, thus concluding the game’s “expansion-over time” trilogy of Discovery-era content drops. That isn’t to say the game is done with Discovery as a whole, however. In the new content update Captains face a new threat posed by future-forward invader of House Mo’kai, the matriarch J’Ula (introduced in the IDW comic, “The Light of Kahless”.)
During Age of Discovery, players witnessed J’Ula and her Klingon forces stealing Mycelial technology, which pulled them forward to the year 2410. Captains must now follow this ruthless Klingon matriarch back to the 25th century to ensure she doesn’t corrupt the entire Mycelial Network in pursuit of her own dangerous agenda. Unfortunately, the insurmountable threat J’Ula poses to the universe also draws out the Elachi, who fear her actions will lead to the destruction of their home planet – and they will stop at nothing to protect it. In order to complete their mission, Captains must rely on the help of an astromycologist expert, a sentient hologram of the legendary Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets from the U.S.S. Discovery (voiced by Anthony Rapp), to help them track down J’Ula and repair the tears she’s caused in the fabric of space.
During a Sunday panel regarding the future of Star Trek Online, actor Anthony Rapp came on stage to discuss his role in the game (he records his voiceover work this Thursday), citing Brent Spiner as an inspiration to play this new thrilling hologram facade of his character.
Debuting with Awakening are five new Patrol missions inside a brand new user interface to “better access to the game’s patrols and yield new rewards”, a new Task Force Operation, and a brand new story mission entitled “Beneath the Skin”. Play any combination of these three pieces of content during the game’s “Mycelial Event” to receive a T6 Elachi ship – teased to be an existing ship that isn’t currently playable. Process of elimination means said ship is presumably the Qulash Frigate. Awakening is set to release on September 10th for PC players, with a release on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One scheduled at a later date.
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Last Saturday, the roadmap for the rest of 2019, leading into 2020 was released.
First on the event agenda is the triumphant return of the “Arena of Sompek” Featured TFO, running from August 8 to August 29. It is the last FTFO in which PC Captains are able to earn a Free Tier 6 ship of their choice, as well as Section 31 operative Leland’s heavy phaser rifle from Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. During the event, the typical death penalty for the Arena will be removed and the mission will automatically end at Wave 7. At its Featured conclusion, the Arena will be available for the first time ever as a normal year-round TFO. This should not only please Captains who were burnt out by the last attempt at making Sompek a three-week event (myself included), but also those who wish to do an endurance run of the Arena whenever they want.
Other tidbits include the return of the “Kobayashi Maru” TFO in October, a new TFO where players “take the fight to J’Ula” in November (along with a new bundle of Discovery-era ships, the Engle and Sech classes for Captains to purchase), and the return of the annual Q’s Winter Wonderland event in December. The end of the year features some interesting Kelvin Timeline twists; more on that later.
For ships collectors and enthusiasts alike, this week also marks the return of the Infinity Lock Box. With its return brings two new upgrades: a pair of Tier 6 Voth ships with new traits and specialization seating. Alongside this content update are major changes to Flight-Deck Cruisers (adding a second hangar bay and now referred to as Flight-Deck Carriers), Escort Carriers (similarly, now Strike Wing Escorts), and much more. Systems Designer Jette “CrypticSpartan” Leavens details these changes in a blog post here.
Finally, to round out a thrilling week of STO news is the announcement of the game’s 10th Anniversary celebration update, entitled Legends – coming 2020. Details are sparse unfortunately, as the bulk of details were kept exclusive to convention and panel goers.
What we do know from Twitter screen caps (courtesy of Priority One Podcast) is that the Kelvin Timeline has been brought back into the spotlight once more, marking the first time since 2016’s Agents of Yesterday expansion that content from J.J. Abrams‘ alternate reality will be added to the game. This includes Krall’s “Altamid Drones” in October, and Spock’s Jellyfish ship in December. It wouldn’t be the first piece of Kelvin material to take nearly a decade to release.
The convention-exclusive teaser ended on of every hero ship from every incarnation of Star Trek, warping out in formation. An exciting tease of things to come, perhaps? Regardless, it’s great to just how much longevity this game has, and I’m looking forward to learning more about this Legends update.
Star Trek Online is available for free at http://www.playstartrekonline.com. For more details, be sure to check out Priority One Podcast‘s special STLV episode here, featuring an audio recording of the panel followed by developer interviews.