Monday, September 22, 2014

Delta Rising Soon

                So I am going to try and cover some of the changes coming to Star Trek Online and what they mean to me and my characters. This is work of my opinions and what facts that have been presented on the forums and whatever interviews I have been able to hear. Do not take this as the gospel of what’s coming. I have no special insight into this expansion. With that said, on to the show!

                Announced Features
                                So I wanted to start off with listing what they announced was coming with Delta Rising.
1.       New Level Cap to 60. Gaining the ranks of Admiral (55) and Fleet Admiral (60).
2.       New Tier 6 ships
3.       New Advancement Specialization Tree starting at Level 51.
4.       Tier 5 ships can play all of the content.
5.       Some of the Tier 5 ships will be upgradable to be comparable to Tier 6, but not the same.
6.       Old ships will get some updating.
7.       Ship upgrades will not be connected to crafting.
8.       Tier XIII and Tier XIV gear will be added.
9.       Raising the Level cap will allow them to rebalance content to combat power creep.
10.   Content will be released in stages throughout the year.
So that was what was announced as features for Delta Rising at Star Trek Las Vegas 2014.

                Level Cap Information and Thoughts
                                So getting to Fleet Admiral does not mean we will command fleets in space. It does mean that we will get to hear leveling congratulations. It also means that we will no longer have our skill points converted to Expertise Points. Currently, we get this buff to expertise points which allow us to pay for bridge crew skills, bridge crew promotions, reputation missions and duty officers missions. Being aware of this change, Cryptic has stated that they will up the expertise rewards to be on par with current level 50 gains.
                                Meanwhile, skill points will not be used to up our skills. Instead, at each leveling point you will get a specialization point which you can apply to the new specialization trees. No data has been released on what these trees contain, but what is known that this provides the leveling experience of improvement without the character actually having to level beyond 60. And that this will be expanded so that no one will be able to max out the specialization tree. I don’t think that this is reasonable to assume, but could be possible if you can do more than one specialization tree.
                                At certain levels, your character will gain things. 51 will get you a small pack of Duty Officers as a reward. 52 will upgrade you Fleet Support ability to Rank III.  At 54 your Class Ground Ability will be upped to Rank III.  55 will give you a new Bridge Officer.  57 will upgrade your class space ability to Rank III. And 60 will expand your Captain Trait slot by one. All I can say about these additions is that I hope they give people more Doff and BOff space because most people will have maxed out their current cap on both groups. I hope the new BOff will be a purple Intel Officer; otherwise it will get sold off or dropped immediately.

                Tier 6 Ships
                                Tier 6 Ship will be the next Level cap on ships. They also will come in Normal and Intel variations. Intel variations will be geared towards Intelligence gathering and scouting efforts. Normal ships will be more as next generation ships.
                                Also, these ships will come with a new ship mechanic of Ship Mastery. This is a system where you gain passive abilities that increase your abilities with that class of ship. At Tier V Mastery you will get a Passive Spaceship Trait which you will be able to slot into your New Four Starship Trait Slots. The first four traits are passive buffs for that ship class only. The tier 5 trait will be available to you on any ship at any tier. Each ship class has its own Tier 5 ability to gain.
Tier 6 ships will also get increases in Hull and Shield strength as you level from 50 to 60. It also should end at a higher amount that is greater than Tier 5. So these ships will be tougher than Tier 5 eventually.
                Tier 6 ships will also have Intel Hybrid seats for BOff’s. This will allow those positions to either use Class or Intel powers, depending on the training you put into the BOff.

                New Level Advancement System for Levels after 51
                                There have not been many details released on this subject yet. What we do know is that is Specialization Trees. These Trees will be something you get passive buffs from. As you level, your Skill Points will collect and you will get Specialization Points at certain breakpoints. Initially these breakpoints will be the same at when you get a level, but once you are max level it will continue to give you specialization points at break points beyond your level. These Trees will be expandable, and maxing out the Tree will take time. And they plan to extend these trees in future expansion. Hopefully before many people have maxed the tree.
                                What we don’t know is what the Trees are, how many there are, how many powers are in a tree, or even if you can put points in more than one tree at a time. Hopefully those details will come soon.

                Tier 5 ships can play all content
                                They say that the new content you will be able to play with your current Tier 5 ships. The content that is being created you should be able to do without needing to upgrade your ships or use Tier 6 ships. At least the story content and the Normal Queue events will be doable. Playing at Advance and Elite will require better gear and probably better ships.

                Some Tier 5 ships will be upgradable to be comparable to Tier 6
                                So upgrading a Tier 5 ship will give it 10% more Hull and Shields and one more Console. They also will be able to do the Ship mastery till Tier IV. They will not have Tier V Mastery skills. Certain ships will get free upgrades and certain ships will not get to upgrade at all. This upgrade will make these ships only less power in the fact of not having that extra bridge slot. I don’t see this as a bad thing and actually delivers on their promise of them being comparable.

                Some Old Ships will get updating
                                The models for some ships, like the Intrepid Class, will get its visuals updated. These updates will make things look better on our higher resolution screens that people have and bring the beauty back to these ships. Not all of the ships getting the updates have been announced.

                Ship Upgrading will not be connected to Crafting
                                The ships will need to get ship upgrade tokens or spend dilithium to upgrade it. It will be a button to click on the Ship Interface, my understanding, and you will only need to unlock it once per account. So if you have multiple toons, then every ship of the same class will be upgradable for free after the first one across all of your toons.

                Tier XII and Tier XIV gear will be added to the game
                                But how we get this gear has not been released. At least outside of a new feature that they are adding that allow players to upgrade their gear in Tier and Quality, maxing out the Tier to XIV and Quality to Gold (Legendary). This upgrading will apply to almost all gear in space and ground gear. You will be able to upgrade the gear without crafting. And you can get these tradable upgrade resources. The upgrade resources add a certain amount of Research Points to the unit. Once the Research point’s set point is reach you will level the Tier. As you collect the points, you will get a percentage change to level the Tier and or the quality every time you add more research points. The percentage chance is retained and built upon until that particular category is advanced. At that time it is reset to Zero. This in fact means you can buy a Tier I white item and level it up to Tier XIV Gold item. It only takes some dilithium to level it.

                Level Cap will combat power creep
                                This is true in the fact that all of the content will be redesigned to Tier 6 gear and Tier 14 gear for Elite content to be challenging. And the lower difficulties will turned down from that so that Normal will be challenging for Tier 5. This is probably the Best Quality of Life change they could do to the game. With current content being destroyed by Solo Players in less than 5 minutes, I think that this is going to be the best thing that STO could have done to it.

Well that is what I have for now on this subject. Tune in next time to for the next Character Update installment. Until then, Enjoy!

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