STO, or Star Trek Online, is getting it's first expansion, Legacy of Romulus. They are added the Romulans as a playable faction, and adding lots of content for Klingons and Romulans. But there has been a HUGE amount of talk about this expansion and what it actually is. As an avid STOer and major fan of the Romulans in the Star Trek Universe, I had to wade through all of the talk to find out what is really happening, and how I feel about it. So here is my review of it now.
Romulans as a Faction.
The story line for the Romulans has been harsh. Romulus and Remus have been destroyed by the Hobus supernova. The Supernova was not of natural origin and is really not understood, but it's effects are felt through out the Romulan Star Empire. With the home worlds destroyed, the Empire is thrown into disarray, Empress Sela tries to hold it altogether but an unknown ship (assumed Iconian) grabs her and whisk her away through newly revealed Iconian Gateway. And you destroy the gateway so that the aliens do not return. The Tal'Shiar, or the covert secret police and intelligence group, are confirmed as being a puppet of the Iconians, through Hakeev. The Tal'Shiar are trying to rebuild the Empire with them in charge. They do this through covert black ops and out-right terrorist activities. With the Empire falling apart, the Reman slave race have risen up and try to gain independence. Obisek, the Reman leader, has done everything he can to get help from the Feds and KDF with help from your character. He is using banned Thalaron weaponry which, apparently, can weaken normal space. So he is branded as a terrorist too. And now you come into the picture joining the new Romulan Republic formed by a student of Spock's, the Romulan D'Tan. He is trying to form a peaceful democratic society that allows all species an equal place in the Republic. Now people are complaining that this faction is not Romulan Star Empire (RSE) and the The Romulan Republic (RR) is just Fed-Light. The Dev's have clearly stated that the RSE is not the direction they have planed for their story arc. And I am O.K. with that. The RR is also asking for help from the Feds and the KDF to resist Empress Sela and the Tal'Shiar. It looks like that Obisek is at least in talks with D'Tan on New Romulus and so may be joining the RR. You will get level up as a Romulan but gain access to your chosen allies resources. For you must choose a ally in either the Feds or the KDF at level 10. So the Romulans are a faction, but very weak when compared to the current Factions and so are relying heavily upon their allies to stay alive.Fitting for a new nation trying to get their feet under them after such a devastating blow to their peoples psyche.
Playable Races at Start
Unfortunately the Dev's have stated that Romulans is the only race you get at start. Remans are possible after a rep grind. And Aliens are only for C-Store buy or Membership level unlock. This sucks. This will make the Romulans the only faction that you can start with only ONE option for a race. Both the KDF and Feds have their Iconic races and player made races available from start. Why this is not true for the Romulans makes no sense. And it truly weakens the experience overall.
Klingons Fully Fleshed from 1 to 50
This has been an issue for the KDF from launch. Initially you had run as a Fed Character till level 25 and then you open the KDF charcter slot. The KDF character started at level 6. The down side of this was that you couldn't make your KDF character first. According to the announcement, you can start a character at level 1 with ANY of the three factions. This is a huge change. Not only does the KDF get all new content, but now you don't HAVE to be a Fed first. And since this means that you also get content from level 1 to 20, which currently doesn't exist., it means that the KDF become more like the Feds as a fully defined and fleshed out faction. There are so many people afraid that this will be nothing but reskinned Fed missions. Even if this is true, which I highly doubt, it still means that you don't have to have a Fed Character to make your Klingons anymore. And this should help balance the number of Feds and KDF's in the game.
It is worth pointing out that the Feds and the KDF are in a state of active aggression against each other, and all of the PVP material is centered around the Two faction war. The RR will not be a third faction but will be joining their allies in the PVP arena. So if at level 10 you picked Feds, then all of your PVP experience will be from the Fed side of the war.
Tune in tomorrow to find out what WOW stuff I will talk about.