While everyone's going doo-lally about Star Wars, another licensed sci-fi MMO based on a loved franchise is feeling sadly neglected, like an old dog who's just had to give up his favourite basket because of a new puppy. Star Trek Online was a bit of a failure on release, but it seems that Cryptic still has faith in the MMO, and the “seasons” (read: updates) have added new content and addressed player's issues .
The latest “season”, numbered five, has been detailed on the official STO blog , and adds the Borg Invasion of Defera (which we inevitably read as DEFRA), Federation and Klingon Academies, as well as a brand new event calendar. Gameplay improvements include a “Duty Officers” minigame (we bet they get shot a lot), the ability to Transwarp to episodes, and a Dilithium Economy.
The new “season” is available now for current subscribers, and will be released for all when the game goes free-to-play on January 17 2012. Hit the jump to see the full list of new and improved content and gameplay.
New and Improved Content
- Borg Invasion of Defera – An all new action ground combat map that features multiple play areas, boxes, and a variety of game play.
- Re-envisioned Borg Strategic Task Force (STF) maps – These were cleaned up and streamlined to improve play. Then they were given a “Normal” version so everyone can experience the content, as well as an “Elite” version for some seriously challenging play. And finally, we threw in some great new rewards and elite gear that you can earn.
- Federation and Klingon Academy – All new academy maps to explore and do non-combat game play.
- Lore Missions – A whole new type of non-combat play. Learn about the Star Trek universe while playing these fun little missions.
- Patrol Mission Revamp – The patrol missions got a new feel, now requiring some exploration to discover them. They also got better Skill Point rewards.
- Event Calendar – A new event calendar that features nearly a dozen new events that happen around the clock.
- Threaded Storyline – The whole storyline for STO has been put together in a cohesive way by threading the Episode content. Now it's easy to know what to do next, and to play through the core storyline.
- Tighter Klingon Storyline – The Klingon game play was tightened up to play starting at level 21, so that the whole experience for Klingon play is improved.
New and Improved Game Play
- Duty Officers – This is a whole new game play experience within STO. Collect, trade, and manage your Duty Officers as you send them on assignments. It's a great down-time activity and really fun!
- Space Skills Revamp – The whole set of space skills in STO was taken apart and put together in a way that makes it a lot clearer what you're getting with your valuable skill points.
- Transwarp to Episodes – We've made it even easier to get around the galaxy to key content. All of the episodes now feature the ability to transwarp to them.
- Faster Leveling – The leveling curve has been adjusted through the game, particularly at the earlier levels.
- Dilithium Economy – The game now ties together the various daily missions, Duty Officers, and end game play around a new currency called Dilithium. Dilithium adds value to players at all levels from the early game onward. It replaces many of the narrow use currencies previously in the game, such as Marks, Emblems, Badges, and Merit.
- Dilithium Exchange – You can trade Dilithium to other players for Cryptic Points, giving you a way to get your hands on Cryptic Points without spending money.
- Mission Journal Upgrade – The mission journal UI got an upgrade to make it faster and easier to find that great content you want to play.
- Social Map Facelift – The key social maps in the game, such as Earth Space Dock and Qo'noS, got a facelift. They are now better organized, better performing on lower end graphics cards, and easier to get around.
- Tutorial Facelift – The tutorial mission set got a nice scrub and cleanup to make the experience better.
- General Game Polish – Many hundreds of bug fixes across the whole game were rolled in to really improve the overall game experience.