A perennial favorite of mine is Star Trek Online—now owned by Perfect World Entertainment—and as a game it’s amazing and heartening to me that the game keeps evolving and adding content even after it went free-to-play and was bought by PWE. As the nature of a game based on a popular show I’m constantly wary that it might either go extinct or go stupid (see what happened to LucasArts and Star Wars: The Old Republic.) If you haven’t played the game, now is a very good time to get in and check it out; if you have and haven’t been back since the content changes, it’s time to go back and check them out.

Season seven changes a great deal of things from the addition of new maps, an entire new sector, the rise of the tholians, and even some new ships and an amazing amount of content.

Let’s take a look at what caught my eye when I went back to check out the game.

New Romulus: A fresh start for the Romulans and Remans

The New Romulus map is huge and it’s a beautiful world with geological features that will compel the aesthetic sense of a Romulan as well as touch the dim venues of the Reman—in fact, it’s the perfect place for the two races to once again reintegrated after the destruction of Romulus proper. Only recently become inhabitable (as radiation levels from the nearby Azure Nebula decrease) there’s a great deal of work that needs to be done.

This also adds an entire new sector block named Tau Dewa between Pi Canis and Psi Velorum.

New Romulus also ties heavily into the new reputation system added by Cryptic Studios during the newest expansion. As players do tasks on the planet—mostly missions involving helping fix equipment, suss out saboteurs, study local wildlife for their radiation resistant evolution—they slowly earn Romulan Marks which can be used to rank up with their faction. As the tiers go up, players gain access to new parts of the planet and even interesting items that can be bought with marks and level 50 “expertise” experience.

Simply exploring the planetary map itself can be a lot of fun. As can chasing around strange bunny-hamster-guineapig creature called epohh—these critters in fact add a new breeding program to the game (not very similar to breeding tribbles, but definitely a new crafting experience for those people who like cute furry animals.)

The Romulans and their reputation has a great deal of new equipment, a reputation store for good equipment, as well as just a way to experience the lore of the Romulans and an understanding of what happened to their world and how the rift between the Romulans and Remans happened.

Now that the two races must live side-by-side in the same world, and the same new city, it’s important that they set aside not just their political differences but their age-old feud.

Tholians, the Mirror Universe, temporal artifacts and  other oddities

I don’t know why the tholians love extradimensional and temporal research so much, but whenever it comes into play they’re always jumping onto the scene to attempt to steal or otherwise shanghai it—as a result, when temporal missions start showing up in STO, the Tholians aren’t far behind.

Tholians are a crystalloid race who live on extreme high-heat worlds (the opposite of the breen) sport six legs, two arms, and a torso that doesn’t seem to have a neck—their head is really just part of their orange crystalline body with two angled yellow eyeslits. Of course, in STO they’ve taken to inhabiting a Hell World called Nukara and are now employing lots of strange equipment to study extradimensional rifts that have formed there (or perhaps they’re forming them there.)

Starfleet and the Klingon Defense Force don’t want to stand for this and have begun harassing the tholians on Nukera. If you’re looking for Nukara, of course, head down to Eta Eridani and visit.

Captains can beam down to the planet, but they must wear an encounter suit—hopefully a heavily armored one—before they can step foot outside of the shielded safe zones. Doing so without a suit has unfortunate consequences—mostly involving lighting on fire, shaking, and then being vaporized… That’s not fun.

The planet itself is pretty, a glowing orange sky, and an otherwise drab set of rocky outcroppings, caustic green rivers boiling with acid—and, of course, it’s covered wall-to-wall in tholains all of whom want to put a hole through any visitors with high radiation.

Doing the mission there is very similar to the Deferi Borg Invasion event. There’s a set of missions that send captains on wild goose chases, grinding mobs, sabotaging equipment, plumbing through labyrinthine depths and the like. There’s also a nice number of rewards from doing the missions including anti-tholian weapons (using sonic effects to shatter their crystalline carapaces) as well as armored encounter suits to enable players to move through the Hell World’s environs.