Cryptic Studo’s and Perfect World Entertainment’s MMO Star Trek Online has shown a great deal of growth since going free-to-play two years ago. GameOgre has covered the Legacy of Romulus expansion, Season 8, Season 8.5, and now Season 9 is on the doorstep. As a game, STO works extremely well following an expansion cycle and naming scheme similar to a TV show, since it is based on the Star Trek TV show, movie, and literary tradition.
Season 9 is an expansion from Season 8.5 by spreading players out into the ever changing universe and re-using content from Season 8 with the Dyson spheres. The Borg and the Undine are prominent factors in this release with bio weaponry and ships making the forefront of the content alongside a new series of things to do and places to go for players.
The Undine space battle zone
Season 8 introduced the Voth and the idea of ground and space battle zones. The Voth ground zone happens to be one of the most-fun-ever areas to play the game that gives a noticeable number of players (around 20) the chance to rush around a zone, capturing points, and finally killing giant dinosaur bosses.
The space zone for the Voth somewhat lacked luster in comparison—so it’s good that when Cryptic thought of making a space zone for the Undine, they made space similar to the Voth ground zone.
With part of the Season 8 sphere being overtaken by the Undine, the Federation, Klingon Defense Force, and Romulan Republic must fight these biological terrors back. To do this, starship captains jump into occupied sphere space and destroy fluidic rifts being generated by the Undine. Without the rifts opening into Fluidic Space (the extra-dimensional universe from whense the Undine hail) the invaders cannot keep a foothold in the sphere, and therefore cannot threaten this universe as easily.
To close these rifts the Federation, KDF, and Romulan Republic have created powerful technologies each of which can kill rifts. Similar to the Voth zone, each type of technology requires a particular type of interaction: either turning on Klingon weapons, protecting a Federation tachyon device, or chasing a Romulan singularity detonator.
After taking all the areas in the contested zone, Undine Planet Killers appear. These giant bolated biological monster ships are capable of outputting devastating amounts of damage with a single shot. Players are then tasked with killing at least one of the three in 10 minutes. The more Plane Killers sundered and scuttled the more rewards players receive.
Undine Counter-Command Reputation
With the Undine on the doorstep of the Alpha Quadrant, the alliance of the Federation, KDF, and Romulan Republic have banded together to form the Undine Counter-Command and they’re seeking the aid of capable captains with combat-worthy ships.
To reward these captains for their aid, the Counter-Command is offering a great deal of new equipment designed specifically to combat the Undine threat. The newly revamped reputation system allows players to run one daily mission (every 20 hours) and 3 hourly missions (with the 4th onwards in a 20 hour period producing dilithium.) Every project turned in produces a random reward box containing equipment from the reputation store near the tier the player is currently in.
Each tier also has available a piece of space equipment or ground equipment that will form together into a Counter-Command set. Space equipment adds to damage for phaser and disruptors and the ground also includes resistance to psychic damage (common to the Undine.) The space set will also give players easier maneuvering in Fluidic Space and reduce damage from anti-proton (also common to Undine weapons.)
The above reputation revamp has also been extended to other reputation types to allow players easier access to equipment and traits in other reputation lines.
The Undine lockbox and lobi items
As with any new season, Cryptic has released a new lockbox containing Undine-themed items and new ships. Amid these ships are the lobi ship Diromas bio-cruiser—a biological cruiser of Undine design outfitted with anti-proton weaponry and the ability to open a fluidic rift—and the lockbox ship the Nicor bio-warship—a smaller bio-ship outfitted with high firepower, good engines, and the ability to call in other Undine ships to emit a devastating antiproton artillery blast from its main gun much like those of the Planet Killers.
The lockboxes also have a chance of dropping Fluidic Anti-Proton space weaponry and ground bio-weapons similar to those wielded by the Undine themselves.
As well as new mirror-ships and the usual rewards that come from lockboxes.
Also added to the lobi store is a new weapon—a wrist-attached Undine pistol capable of devastating blasts.
Earth Space Dock changes [SPOILER ALERT]
The old and venerable space of Earth Space Dock for the Federation has changed dramatically. No longer is it the circular space where people come to meet, do their business, fix ships, and get healed—it’s now entirely revamped and changed.
In part this is because old ESD was destroyed by the Undine in the new mission “Surface Tension.”
The new ESD is a huge open space with easily accessible Exchange, Tailor, Equipment Sales, Commodities, Medical Bay, and Shipyard. It’s no longer difficult to find the Starfleet Admiral or anything else. Just a little bit of getting bearings and it’s easy to go anywhere.
So far, however, the place only seems to lack a dance floor (no more Club 47 at the moment in this staid, solemn place.)
The modifications to ESD are only one part of the changes that have come with Season 9 but there’s potentially a lot more to come from Cryptic’s MMO so we look forward to reporting on it in the future.