Star Trek Online Season 3 to launch today.

There were concerns that it might be delayed, but the Star Trek Online servers will be coming down today (December 9th, 2010) from 10 am GMT to Midday GMT for the much anticipated Season 3.

This is a major update, with a lot of features that players have been waiting for. I’ve included the patch notes under this brief post, but I’m particularly looking forward to the newly expanded crafting. From the sounds of it, the Federation will actually be able to make high level phasers at last! It’ll still probably be a pretty dull crafting system, but at least we’ll have far more reason to use it. Being able to make worthwhile gear is fun whatever the system!

Star Trek Online Spires Of Qonos 550x407

Arktoth is more interested in Disruptors.

Poor Arktoth will also have a fair bit more content and opportunities available to him. The Klingon side of things has been a frustrating place to be til now, but with the arrival of Klingon crafting, the equipment imbalance may be over. (Though that may lead to it’s own problems. The Klingons already seem to crush the Feds whenever they meet, in my PvP experience on both sides thus far.).

I’m also surprisingly excited about the replay function. As well as giving us the opportunity to go back and play our favourite missions for new rewards, it gives me one more excuse to hang around in my ready room!

It doesn’t sound like any part of the Foundry made it in to this update, but work continues on it on the test server, Tribble. I’ve been hearing good things about it, so hopefully it won’t be too much more of a wait before it’s first phase comes to Live.

I’ll report back on my experiences in Season 3 later this week.

The release notes for Star Trek Online’s Season Three are below!

Continue reading Star Trek Online Season 3 to launch today.

Everquest 2 – Baneful Battlegrounds, and February 25th Patch Notes

It all went a bit pear shaped up at EQ2′s end-game today.

Battlegrounds went live. I’m quite excited about this addition to the game, as I discussed here. Unfortunately, as it turns out, anyone who went into a Battleground with over 200 AA points had their points set back down to 200 when they left the zone.

For folks who don’t play EQ2, Alternate Advancement points are something you gain through a separate system to levelling, that you can spend on various extra powers and improvements. They’re not something you want to be losing. Until the launch of Sentinel’s Fate the cap was 200, which then went up to 250. So people were only really losing the points they had gained in the last week. However, as a lot of them would have been gained through doing non-repeatable quests, it was a bit of a big deal.

Battlegrounds are now back up after some quick fixing work, and any player affected by the bug should be able to contact customer services to get their AA returned in full. Hopefully no harm done (except to the CSR’s nerves), once everyone is fixed.

None of this affected Maltheas, of course. Battlegrounds are only for folks of level 80 upwards at the moment. Still, he has his own problems. Kaladim was supposed to have been retiered down to t4 in GU55, but it seems that many of the quests, and even some monsters in the dungeon, are still level 60ish. The bugfixing attention is unsurprisingly focused on the high level content of Sentinel’s Fate at the moment, but hopefully Kaladim will receive some love soon.

There is also a problem with quest drops as of today’s patch. In any quest that drops a physical item that you have to loot for a quest update, the chests are completely empty. This should be getting hotfixed tomorrow.

Everquest 2 More Rude Qeynosians

For a Ratonga, Qeynos can be an emotional Battleground.

BATTLEGROUNDS

* Battlegrounds are now live in EverQuest II! To access them, simply hit Alt+Z.

GENERAL

* Guard levels in Freeport have been slightly adjusted: many level 95 guards remain, but they are no longer blocking access to quest updates for good-aligned players of high level.
* Obelisk of Lost Souls: Characters who are high enough level to gray-out the access quests now automatically gain the power to open the doors.
* Sata, the Quel’ule faction merchant, now also sells scholar type fuel (candles, coal, and incense).

ITEMS

* Elemental Barrier (a unique proc on some PvP gear) has been improved as a proc and now stacks with itself
* The PvP proc Mutilation has been changed. Instead of reducing the effectiveness of your target’s heals (thus making it only effective vs healers), it now reduces the effectiveness of all heals on your current target (making it effective vs anyone who is being healed)
* Those that completed the quest “The Fleshbound Tome Speaks Again” can now buy the “Flesh Bound Tome” from the city sages in Freeport and Qeynos.
* Those that completed the quest “A Crusade to Faydwer” can now buy “The Missing Pages of the Sword Heist Journal – Rebound” from the city sages in Freeport and Qeynos.
* Those that completed the quest “Hadden’s Earring” can now buy “Hrath’s Journal” from the city sages in Freeport and Qeynos.
* Sentinel’s Fate (and scaled-to-90 TSO dungeons) heroic legendary gear should all have resists now.
* Roger Goldie’s Straw Hat should no longer have the “Hooluk in a Hat” effect on it.

QUESTS

* Players that decline or delete the quest “Geobot” after completing “Conflict Among the Kobolds” can now regain it by speaking with Watchman Plarg in Steamfont.
* Players are no longer being misdirected to search within “The Hole: Outer Vault” for Dartain’s Fortress, while on the quest “The Footsteps of Dartain: Emergence.”
* Players on the quest “The Footsteps of Dartain: Experimentation” only need to speak with the spirit once in order to advance the quest.
* “Infiltrating the Sanctum: Emissary Kvikz” now recognizes when the player defeats “Sslan’yiz the Animator”.
* Alim Dabir in Sundered Frontier now responds for the quest ”Further Research Required” even if you have previously deleted it after completing other quests.
* “Justice for Jojo” now updates more reliably at the final stage, and correctly removes quest items from inventory when they are no longer needed.

TRADESKILLS

* Incorrect recipe costs on a number of crafted Mark of Manaar equipment items have been corrected.

NEKTULOS

* The “guardian mist grinnin” have a higher chance of carrying the kneespikes required for the quest “Ashland Kneespikes.”

VASTY DEEP

* Xilaxis the Explorer’s item tables have been corrected and he should always drop loot on both normal and challenge-mode.

Ongoing Star Trek Online thoughts, and ST.0.20100202a.3 patch notes.

I’ve just started getting past the point I got to in the Open Beta. Since last I wrote, STO has become a great deal more stable, and less buggy. Just in time, I might add!

Star Trek Online New Character Select Screen 450x265

The new Character Selection Screen for STO.

This time around, instead of going for a Science Vessel, which are the most heavily shielded, and of middling manoeuvrability, I have gone for an Escort. Escorts are much quicker on their toes, and have most of their weapons facing forward, so are a bit better at putting out damage. I’ve not found them to be overly fragile, as yet. STO’s version of public quests, Fleet Actions, only seem to score you for damage done, so playing an escort seems advantageous for now.

The set missions are well put together. Like Champions though, there are not so many of them that you won’t be doing every single one on your journey to Admiral, which does hamper replayability somewhat. You do have the option of doing exploration missions, but as they seem randomly chosen from a list of premade missions rather than being randomly generated at the time, once you do a few of them you start recognising which one you have just from the first couple of lines of mission text.

The vanishing Bridge Officer issue that I wrote about last week seems to have been finally squashed, and today the Klingons have been given access to a bit of extra higher-level content, which is certainly worthy of a toast of blood wine. So my list of gripes with STO is shrinking. I’m still far from convinced I’ll still be playing when my month runs out, but I am enjoying the time I have, and perhaps the first solid content patch, especially if it contains new features, will sway me.

General

* The Admiral promotion mission will now complete if players choose a fleet escort as their reward. This is not retro-active. If you’re an Admiral with a dangling promotion mission because you chose an escort, please submit a ticket to CS.
* Cardassian “Empire Defense” mission maps are now open to Klingon players.
* K7 station has been decloaked and returned to the sector map. Alleged perpetrators are being interrogated.
* The “Abandon Ship” power is now only available while in combat.
* General server optimization to increase performance.

Star Trek Online ST.0.20100202a.2 patch notes, 4th February 2010

A good bug-squashing attempt, most notable for the research changes. Until now, I don’t think anyone ever managed to get past the first researcher.

Also, the code left over from Champions Online that was allowing people to choose colours for their weapons has been removed. No more being blown up by fuscia coloured disrupter beam wielding Klingons for me!

Continue reading Star Trek Online ST.0.20100202a.2 patch notes, 4th February 2010

Star Trek Online Open Beta 20100123a.1 Patch Notes, January 23rd

Another substantial patch came in overnight. Mostly minor bugfixes this time, but in high quantity.

Oh, just noticed the tribble change. They can no longer be used in combat. A lot of people had been using them to make themselves almost indestructible in ground combat (petting one raises your health), so that is certainly going to make a big difference. Horrid little things anyway!

Patch Notes

  • A cutscene now plays after creating a Federation Character
  • Updated contextual mouse cursor designs
  • Costume parts in the tailor remain valid options even after hitting random.
  • The character pictured at login now updates after deleting a character.
  • Bridge Officer candidates that have not yet joined your crew may be traded with other players.
  • Fixed the interact for the Ganalda ship vendor
  • Removed some unexplored systems that were causing players trouble.
  • Fixed mini map image for Risa ground, Andoria ground, Vulcan ground and Vulcan system
  • Removed animated loading screens. Replaced with beautiful screen shots and concept art.
  • Fixed an issue where some players were unable to respawn in PvP maps
  • Fixed eject warp plasma clouds FX so they fade out properly.
  • Updated Emergency power to shields to use the new “liquid” shield FX.
  • Adjusted the coloring of Tykens rift FX to blend a little better.
  • Fixed issue with ship explosions dropping FX mid explosion.
  • Players can no longer depart system when on their bridge.
  • Updated many enemy spawn animations to user proper Beam In FX
  • Standardized the display names of anomalies nodes
  • Updated the KvK version of Borg Hunt so that it will scale with player ranks
  • Added missing merchant contacts to sector space cargo ships.
  • Added Klingon versions of ground weapon fire and batleth icons.
  • Fixed an animation issue where arms looked weird while holding rifles
  • Fixed a bug that allowed food and drink to be used in combat
  • Fixed a bug that allowed tribbles to be used in combat
  • Fixed several new gameserver crashes that players reported
  • Updated FX for several Klingon Kit powers
  • Added more faction icons to enemy target status windows
  • Added subsystem targetting to the Weapons tray, if those powers are available to the player
  • Fixed Subsystem targetting powers categories so they can appear correcty in the Science vessel special UI.
  • Removed the recipe search category from the Exchange
  • Fixed a bug that was spawning too many Borg cubes in iPVP
  • Added descriptions of how to acquire exploration badges to appropriate vendors.
  • Updated the visual appearance of contact windows for both Federation and Klingons.
  • Updated costume presets for some species
  • Added indication when your current power value exceeds your target (due to buffs, skills, etc.).
  • Added a message to the queue server that lets you know you were forced from the queue after it halted.
  • The crew of the Azura are no longer wearing Starfleet uniforms
  • Fixed warp cutscene playing from Sector space to System in Cardassian space.
  • Klingon and Romulan Patrol missions now point to proper locations
  • Added a fix to prevent the instance selection window from popping up briefly when transferring to another map
  • Removed checkbox from instance selection window that would set the “always select instance when switching maps” option
  • Fixed several commodity missions that were being greedy and taking all of a given commodity in your inventory, rather than the necessary amount. Fixes
  • Fixed a typo with the Klingon PvE exploration mission description
  • Fixed the door leaving the Qonos warriors hall so that player can’t get stuck inside
  • Updated the PvE repeatable Klingon missions to clarify that players must complete the PvE map 3 times to complete the mission
  • Fixed many unknown system ground missions that were put into an unwinnable state if the objectives were done out of order.
  • Adjusted kill counts for all PvP ground arenas
  • Clicking a power in the tray that is flagged for auto attack will now fire properly
  • Removed the assault column from assault PVP scoreboard
  • Added black backgrounds to the target window images so that ground headshots don’t float.
  • Also added art for the new device/kit backgrounds.
  • Add more translation text for non-english players. More to come.
  • Adjusted mission rewards at higher levels that were giving rewards too low compared to the mission. These should be much more in line now.
  • Bridge Officers can now use costume presets when customizing
  • Change Memory Alpha mission text to make it clear that E’genn is in the middle of Earth Spacedock
  • Starfleet was offering Klingon Empire bridge officers to Federation players instead of Klingon Starfleet bridge officers. Not anymore.
  • Fix some issues with assault and area control scoreboard information where teams weren’t showing up properly.
  • Bridge Officers no longer have a voice option. This will be re-added at a later date.

Known Issues

  • There is a bad bug with shuttles that are causing them to despawn properly and inflicting players with 10 minute cooldowns in combat. A fix is coming soon. For now exiting the map or dying will fix the cooldown issue.
  • If you end up with ground powers in your space tray, drag them off your space tray and hopefully they won’t come back
  • Bridge officer powers are not automatically assigned a keybind. Moving their power on your power tray should fix this
  • Some status FX will show as white squares on space targets

Star Trek Online Open Beta 20100119a.12 Patch Notes, January 22nd

It looks like there were two patches last night. The larger of the two addresses player concerns (which I share) that the game has become too easy since the giant patch of the 20th of January. Though if it has left the tier 1 combat as easy as it was, it is going to be a bit of a shock for players when they hit tier 2.

Recent changes added when we unlocked the level cap introduced imbalance to combat at mid to high levels. Closed beta players will be quick to point out that things are much easier than what they remember. To address this we have tracked down the issues and reverted combat back to the intended difficulties. We hope that you will find space combat to be more challenging now, especially starting in Tier 2.

Improved gameplay balance in space

  • No direct change in Tier 1 combat
  • Increased damage of space enemies above level 11 (Tier 2).
  • Reduced science vessel shields and hull by about 10%
  • Added more interesting weapons Bridge Officer abilities to enemy ships
    • All Romulan/Reman ships now use mostly plasma torpedoes instead of Photons. So their High Yields will be Heavy Plasma Torpedoes instead of Salvos (including their Bird of Prey Frigates).
    • Improved Romulan/Reman Mogai – Added Plasma Turret, Dual Beams, Rapid Fire, Attack Pattern Alpha and Evasive Maneuvers.
    • Improved Romulan/Reman D’deridex – Added additional Aft Plasma Array, Viral Matrix, Photonic Shockwave, and increased its used of Heavy Plasma Torpedoes.
    • Improved all Hirogens ships– Added Transphasic Torpedoes
    • Improved Klingon Negh’Var – Added Boarding Party at higher levels
    • Improved Cardassian Galor – Added Evasive Maneuvers, and Feedback Pulse
    • Fixed Borg shipWeapons (It’s tractor Beam and Cutting beam were note working)
  • Fixed Torpedo and Mine powers that were unintentionally harming your own crew.
  • Fixed Rapid Fire to work properly.
  • Made a tuning pass on Chroniton projectiles
  • Tricobalt weapons now have a 30 second shared cooldown.
  • Updated the plasma ball to have slightly more direct damage and slightly less DoT damage
  • Removed some Federation spawns in Klingon PVE missions that were not granting XP properly
  • Added some missing end tier ships to the stores
  • Removed a bad Shield HP console that was not working properly
  • Reduced the damage from the Metreon Gas in the Briar Patch that was smoking everyone. Sorry Riker, we had to do it.

There as also an earlier one intended to enhance stability.:

  • Some players were unable to interact with objects on public maps (such as the ground portions of the Tutorial). These now work more reliably.
  • Fixed a crash when inspecting and looking up item information.
  • Fixed a crash when using the Tailor
  • Additional server performance updates

Star Trek Online Open Beta 20100119a.10 Patch Notes, January 21st

Another night, another patch! Most importantly, it sounds like the lack of exploration anomalies that was making the clusters so tedious has been dealt with. Also, I’m not certain, but perhaps those “exploration rewards” mentioned below are the long missing Badges of Exploration. I’ll check that out tomorrow!

Star Trek Online Open Beta 20100119a.10 Patch Notes

* We’ve removed the code that unequips items when you drag a power off of your power bar. Note that the only way to return these powers to your power bar is to have the item equipped, then open your power list (the datapad icon on your power tray) and drag the power icon back to where you want it.

* We’ve added a fix to address transactions that were taking longer than expected on the latest release. This should improve issues where players reported their weapons getting swapped constantly.

* Video setting defaults were being miscalculated improperly for some cards. We’ve made an update to address this. If you log in and your video settings are not as you expected, Go into the Options – Video menu and select Restore Defaults. If it is still not to your liking, you can use the basic and advanced settings to adjust your video resolution and display features.

* PVP Queuing systems have been updated so that they will refresh more reliably.

* Addressed reported issues of zone chat and custom chat channels not working properly or being disallowed due to zone name length.

* We’ve fixed several bugs that are responsible for the majority of the gameserver crashes on this new release. Instances should play more reliably now.

* Added mail locations to QoNos so that Klingon players can send and receive mail with attached items

* Repeatable Star Cluster missions now grant exploration rewards.

* Addressed an issue where Star Cluster anomalies were too scarce or not respawning fast enough as well as lowered the maximum number of ships per Star Cluster Instance. Exploration should now uncover more unknown systems!

* Space Weapons Cannons: Removed the limitation that prevented you from firing two cannons simultaneously. They still have a 1 second shared cooldown, which has a very similar impact. Fixed a subset of cannons that were not following this behavior.

* BOff Abilities: Cannon Rapid Fire: This ability was cancelling itself after one shot, like other attack upgrade abilities. However, this is supposed to last for a duration and improve all cannon attacks for that period. Fixed so that it no longer cancels itself.

* Addressed the issue in the Korvat system where if the user cancelled the mission dialog, you could not progress the mission. Note that there may be additional similar issues in other systems. If you find one of these, please bug it. To fix, you may need to use the “Depart System” button on your MiniMap, and then continue the mission again. If that fail, drop and retake the mission.

* Added mission text explaining changes to Klingon PVE objectives.

* Addressed an FX issue on the Ghost Ship that made the map unplayable once the player initiated the dimension shift.