Prelude to Season X: Updated Pilot Specializations, Item changes, a New STF & more…

Long-ass catch-up post.  It’s been a crazy week in STO.

While the fans mull over the ‘somewhat’ shocking news of layoffs at Cryptic HQ, Team STO has been hard at work on the march towards Season 10.  Updates to several game mechanics already discussed are now going through testing on Tribble.

Specializations are changing

The good news is that they appear to be doing away with ‘secondary only’ specialization abilities- at least for Pilot.  The existing ‘Pilot’ secondary ability set is being expanded with 15 additional abilities including (excuse the formatting errors):

Turn the Other Cheek
Taking damage on any Shield Facing applies +5%-20% Shield Hardness to opposite facing.
Thick of It
Having “Turn the Other Cheek” active on all four facings simultaneously grants you 2sec of Damage Immunity. (Max once per 30sec)
Danger Zone
For each Foe within 2km, gain a 2% Damage Bonus. Stacks up to 10 times.
Wing Man
“Danger Zone” now also counts Friends within 2km.
Scratch the Paint
You are immune to the damage caused by a Warp Core Breach (max once per 60sec)
Bob and Weave
Each time you are missed, gain 1x stack of “Bob and Weave.” Stacks up to 10 times.Each stack increases Critical Severity by 5%. All stacks are removed on a successful Critical Hit.
Shield Scraping
Passive PBAoE Shield Drain, 1km Radius. Instantly drain a moderate amount of Shields from any target you ‘scrape’ against, and leave behind a Shield Hardness Debuff. Both the amount of Drain and the severity of the Debuff are higher based on your Throttle % at the time of impact.

Now any specialization set can be used as  secondary specialization.  Anything slotted in the secondary position will give you access to ranks one and two from that list.  The primary will give you access to ranks one to four.  Pretty nifty.  Hopefully this expansion will include Commando at some later date.

Upcoming Item Changes for Season X

FlyingTarg posted a lengthy explanation behind the companies decision to change they way items are created, recognized and stored within the game.  Given the explanation, and the changes we have already seen with item upgrades, it’s no wonder that Cryptic didn’t change this earlier.

A simpler explanation of the change:.  Rather than have an individual data reference per item, they will be converting individual items to “Dynamic Items”.  Why?  In the simplest of terms this dramatically reduces the the amount of data needed to support said items.  For players this will reduce the installation size of the game by several hundred megabytes, and it will improve the games performance overall.  Nothing will change in terms of your total items. 

This change has already been visible when you attempted to update any item from XII to XIII.  Right clicking on that item changed it from an individual item to a dynamic item.  Often the change saw a small increase in ability.  The real question will be whether or not they will catch (and adjust for) all of the potential errors before it goes live on Holodeck.  The change is live on Tribble as of today, and we’ll keep a close eye on the fun to come.

Denise Crosby Returns

A week from today (Thursday March 26th) will see the arrival of a new episode staring Denise Crosby in “Uneasy Allies”.   Taking place six months after the capture of former Empress Sela in “What’s Left Behind’, this next episode in the series which is said to be the kick-off of a story arc that’s been five years in the making.

I’m actually getting excited about this next wave of content.  While DR was a disappointment in terms of changes to game mechanics, the content was engaging and fun.

A New STF – “The Herald Sphere” will introduce us to to our new adversaries

Update: Check out burstdragon323’s review here:

This cross-faction 5-captain mission sounds a lot like taking on the Voth (City) Fortress ship in “The Breech”, one of my favorite missions from the first sphere we encountered.  A six-phased mission that proved to be very challenging and fun for the right team:

The time has come to take the fight to the Iconians. Their servants, the Heralds, have constructed a temple to their Iconian masters. A temple that can use Iconian technology to move ships across the galaxy at will or open a gateway to the center of a sun and channel that destructive energy wherever they like.

We can ill afford to allow them to have such an advantage over us. Therefore, Alliance Command has developed a daring plan that requires your skill and resourcefulness.

We have developed special ships capable of holding open an Iconian gateway. We have seeded them throughout the galaxy. We need only wait for an Iconian attack. We then use their own gateways to penetrate the interior of the sphere.

Once inside, we hope you will be able to disrupt whatever battle plans the Iconians have in mind. And, with luck, destroy or disable the sphere.

The Herald Sphere is a new, five-player crossfaction queue. The normal version is available to level 50 and above players. The advanced version is also available at level 50, but will bolster you to level 60. The Elite version is available at level 60.

See you in game for the launch of Season 10.

Jaddua Ross
Content Designer
Star Trek Online

And of course, upcoming new content means… oh heck, I ‘ll do one more post before bedtime.  It’s Leak Time.

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