Grab Bag

Today was an oddly busy news day for a Friday.

Champions Online

I’ve been wondering for weeks now if Poz was still running the Champions Team over at Cryptic. He hadn’t posted on the forums in weeks and the level of communication from the team had really deteriorated. So, I wasn’t surprised by this announcement that Poz hitting the pause button. The thing that’s odd about the news is it’s half written like Poz is on vacation and half like he’s left the company. Rob Overmeyer is taking over, which is also not a surprise since he did the excellent follow-up Ask Cryptic for April.

Besides the (possibly temporary) change in management, Cryptic also posted a new Costumes and Concepts page. The Champions team is going to use this page to give players a peak at upcoming costume designs and get feedback. I really like this idea and hope they keep it up to date. Costumes are a major part of the superhero genre, and the more Cryptic can add to the game the better. Plus. it opens more lines of communication between the development team and the players, and I’m all for increased communication.

Star Trek Online

The other half of Cryptic’s been busy too.

The Breen Featured Episode rerun is underway and offers players who missed out the first time a chance to get the Breen Bridge Officer. The team’s also added a new equipment set, so player’s who’ve already been through the FE have some incentive to go back. I really like the idea of reruns while we’re waiting on Season 4 to come out, of course I’d like new FE’s better but this will help pass the time a bit.

Besides the reruns, Cryptic released a massive Ask Cryptic for May. Fifty good questions and nice detailed answers by Executive Producer Dan Stahl. Here’s some of the highlights, although you should still go read it yourself:

  • Some big new Borg-related coming, including a revamp similar to what the Romulans got.
  • Rare particle traces are getting their own icons. I know this sounds minor, but when I return to Spacedock and I have a row of rare traces in my inventory, it is so slow to hover over each to figure out which one stacks where.
  • Season 5 will focus on End Game and Fleets.
  • Featured Episode series 4 doesn’t have a release date yet. Stahl is talking like they want to make sure they’re setup for a consistent FE schedule with two weeks between each before series 4 comes out.
  • Despite the possible delay in FE4, Dan said, “The next”content release may not be a feature episode, but something bigger.” So maybe we’ll may see some type of expansion similar to the Season 2: Ancient Enemies?

One other thing I wanted to mention. It feels like the team has a big content change coming related to the Borg. Stahl mentioned that they were getting a graphical and mechanic overall like the Romulans got in FE3. He also mentioned that the Undine would be back but not before the Borg “make their move” which he hinted could happen before FE4. Lastly, Stahl answered a question about the Gorn Rebellion by mentioning it depends on whether or not their homeworld get’s assimilated.

I also feel like I should mention that Cryptic announced the winning design for the Enterprise-F. Apparently there was some voting done by the community a while back and the fan-favorite isn’t even on the Runners Up list. This of course has resulted in a fifty (when I wrote this) page thread full of nerd rage, trolling, and pleas for sanity. I don’t recommend reading them, except to check out Stahl’s follow up posts herehere, and here. Personally, I like the winning design more than the one some of the community is upset about.

Rift

Finally, I wanted to highlight a post on the forums by Producer Scott Hartsman regarding character names on RP servers. I generally don’t look at the Rift forums outside of the dev tracker, so I’m not informed at all on the “excitement” Scott’s referring to. I’m inferring from his post though, that there’s been some kind of drama over character names. Which doesn’t surprise me much. Were the server not marked as RP in the launcher, I’d have no idea based on the high number of immersion jarring character names I see running around. I try to keep an open mind about it, but I’m pleased to see Trion talking about clarifying what the naming policy is on RP servers. I’ll be even more pleased (and a little shocked) if they’re enforced.

9 Comments

  1. I don’t mind the winning design, to me it looks a little more “Enterprise-y” than the fan favorite. Both are nice though. My personal fave is the third prize winner.

  2. LongascNo Gravatar says:

    Interestingly Craig “Zinc” Zinkievich is back to STO: http://www.startrekonline.com/node/2378 – not as “Executive Producer” but as “Chief Operating Officer” so he got rather promoted. It’s interesting that he returned, many including me expected him to be fired because of the awesome Metacritic score and general success of STO (sidenote: STO seems to be doing well, despite all flaws and criticism. I think they are making quite some money – and who knows, maybe soon even more with F2P?).

    Is working at Cryptic working your ass off, get a year sabbatical and then return in a new position? This kind of human resources management is not new in other sectors and usually reserved for top managers/specialists and high potentials.

    Enterprise F: Massively posted a wrong image of the winner, I dunno if they corrected it already. That’s also to blame for the shitstorm, it caused confusion! I also like the winner, but I would not have picked it for one reason: While it is a very classic design, a mix of Enterprise D+E, the saucer has no NECK but the silly Oberth-style struts. Argh! They will have to use a rope to get to the engines section, beam down or really take an odd king of elevator down the oval struts?! BUT I agree with you, I also like it more then the hyper-marketed “community favorite”. It’s not really pretty and rather scored high through permanent clever marketing efforts. Maybe they should rather have hired the guy for their marketing department. ;)

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      I’d say that’s a feature of the game development industry in general, google “EA Spouse” in case you missed that drama a few years back. Honestly, it’s one of the reasons I never got into the game industry. Working as a programmer in areas like finance and manufacturing aren’t as sexy, but the pay is better and the hours are much much more sane.

      Massively picture looks correct now. Yeah the neck is the only part of the design I’m not crazy about, but it sounds like they’re using the design as a starting point/inspiration and not a blueprint. One Oberth-ugly ship in the game is enough.

  3. MoxieNo Gravatar says:

    The interesting thing is that up until this point, the exact same naming convention rules have been in effect for both RP and non-RP servers.

    The Rift drama was caused when a GM (Giant, I think) posted something to the effect that since they hadn’t been enforcing naming conventions on any servers up to this point, then they were going to just remove those rules altogether. He then proceeded to compare RPers to smokers in a restaurant in some kind of strange analogy.

    Not exactly the best customer service strategy, IMO.

    Then after the RPers went bonkers (and deservingly so) Hartsman then posted that they were going to add the naming convention rules back for RP servers only. Although now the question is will they start actually enforcing them?

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      If they do, they’ll be the first. I can’t think of any MMO that’s ever visibly enforced naming rules on RP servers. Hope springs eternal though.

  4. JomuNo Gravatar says:

    i’d love to see a naming enforcement put into effect; sure, some players don’t take their name seriously and its their right to make up whatever name they like, but i don’t like it. I saw one player’s name was “MichelleObama” in one pvp match; its just annoying

  5. [...] first Dev Diary about designing the Enterprise-F is up. Most of the controversy that surrounded the winning design has subsided now based on the dev diary forum thread (or [...]